The Significance of 6! Jesus and Lego’s

There’s something very significant about turning 6! Who knew?!? I anticipated planning a party, buying supplies and singing “Happy Birthday” to our boy. What I didn’t know was that he would become a Christian and learn to build Lego sets alone.

Just a week before Hank’s 6th birthday we went through the Roman’s Road with him:

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation of everyone that believeth…” Romans 1:16

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God…” Romans 3:23

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans: 623

“But God commented his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Romans 10:9

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:13

As I read each verse and paused, looking up at Hank to see what he thought, he professed with his own words that he believed.

I have both joy and trepidation for my son. He will live the rest of his life with the perfect intercessor. He will have the Word of God to rely upon. But, he will also be guaranteed suffering by which the Lord will proof his faith like silver in the fire.

Dear Sweet Hank,

As your momma, I cannot be more proud of your acceptance, belief and confession of faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Don’t take it lightly, you will need your savior dearly at times of suffering and even in times of abounding joy. Your daddy momma and brother are here for you no matter what, to point you back to Jesus. I pray you will read the living Word of God and from it draw strength for the great purpose God has for you.

love,

Momma

On Hank’s 6th birthday, March 15th 2016, we went to Barnes and Noble bookstore and purchased The Action Bible so Hank can begin his daily discipline of reading the Word of God. I am proud of him.

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Hank holding his new Bible on his 6th Birthday

The following Saturday, Hank had his birthday party as planned (despite my having recently recovered from pneumonia and three of us fighting head colds). He had a wonderful time celebrating with 10 of his good friends at the Dojo where he takes Karate. I must say I really enjoyed it too. There’s a cool joy that comes from watching your child having fun. It trumps almost every kind of joy I can think of (beside the Joy that comes from the Lord, that one wins hands down). Hank received wonderful gifts too. Among them were three lego sets.

Pardon my tangential backstory for a moment:

Several months ago, I asked Hank how he and I can connect more and he said he really likes building Lego sets with me. I took that seriously and decided I would purposely help him with his future sets. I want to do whatever I can to foster meaningful life giving relationship with my boys because I know the benefit will be more than I can measure with regards to their sense of assuredness in life. Plus, I really Super Duper love them and want to enjoy them as much as possible.

After the party we went home and started building legos. To my surprise, Hank was doing them all on his own! I was both excited for his new skill and nostalgic.

Have I missed my chance to build lego’s with him!?!?!

Thankfully, he still enjoyed me sitting by his side as I sat in awe of his ability to follow the instructions step-by-step to completion. I love him so much.

6 is significant! Hank has been maturing right before my eyes. I’ve seen him choose to be generous with his brother. When I ask him to do something, without complaint, he helps me (more and more often). He is becoming a light in this world as he learns more and more how to reflect Jesus.

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for the gift of faith. Thank you for bringing Hank to you. I am so very thankful that he will have you to rely upon all the days of his life. I pray Lord for his future family too. Please bless Hank as he grows. I pray he will one day marry a woman who loves you too and together they will see their children love and serve you. Thank you for the gift it is to be Hank’s momma. In you I am delighted and humbled. Amen.

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If I was the Devil…

I just listened to this video today.  My heart is heavy for mankind.  We HAVE to get right with Jesus. Before you brush this off as one more Bible thumping, consider what I stand to gain by telling you, you need Jesus.  If I wanted to get for myself, if I were purely evil in motivation, so consumed by my own agenda

well

If I was the Devil…

I’d tell you your “Universe” talk and blatant disregard of God’s commands were good.  I’d support you and sit by smiling and watching.  I’d revel quietly in your agony.  I’d stand by and let you destroy yourself with your ‘new truth’ and your pride.  Then, when you were ruined, you couldn’t blame me because you did it to yourself.

Jesus the God of the Bible, is the way the truth and the life.  Not one of us will get to God except through Jesus.  I cannot omit this from my heart or withhold it from a world so desperately wallowing in filth and ignorance.  So many are completely blind to the perfect completed love of Jesus.  So many are striving for diety’s that do not exist or are constructs of Satan.

From the bottom of my heart I emplor you to get right with Jesus.  Lay it all at his feet and seek Him for what He comnands is good.  Every other compass will not sustain you, will not fulfill you.

God SPOKE all of creation into existence.  What evil has God ever caused you?  Search your heart, why do you hold your hurts against your creator?  Take it all to him, he can handle it.

It is Finished.

Dear Jesus,

I pray for those who wander lost, especially those who think they’ve found their way without you.  I pray for your protection and peace.  Please rescue our nation.  Amen.

Momma, tell me about your owies again…

Have you ever heard yourself teaching your child and learned too?  Hank has been asking about my enlarged spleen and liver a lot lately.  We often tell our boys to be very careful around me because I have “owies” in my tummy.

This morning while laying on the sofa snuggling with Hank, he asked me to tell him about my owies again.  I explained,

“Momma has two owies.  They’re kinda like water balloons that are too full.  If you push on them too hard they’ll pop.  Then momma will need to go to the hospital.”

Hank, “What will they do?”

Me, “They’ll open my tummy and take out the popped balloon.”

Hank, “Why?”

Me, “Well, do you reuse a popped water balloon?”

Hank, “Oh! No. Then what happens?”

Me, “Then we wait and trust God to make me better again.”

Then we went back to snuggling.  I heard myself tell him we would trust God to make me better and he just accepts that.  Its beautiful.  But for me its tough, you see, for me that is a HUGE call to faith that I live out every day.

We ALL will have our call to faith.  If only we can have faith like a child.

Matthew 18:3, “At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like a children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

I am writing this to you as we await test results from our veterinarian.  We adopted a dog named Sadie over Easter.  She has been a wonderful, playful, voracious eater until recently.  I suspect that she has eaten dirt that is contaminated with antifreeze.  Antifreeze causes kidney failure in dogs.  Now the call to faith feels big as we wait on the labs.

I am also writing this to you as my sisters’ significant other, Steve, is in the hospital with heart problems.  He has been there a few days and they cannot figure out why his heart rate won’t stabilize.  Add to that his white blood cell count is elevated.

THE CALL TO FAITH IS EVERYWHERE!

Why must the call be so big?

What is your call to faith?

Dear Jesus,  I feel it.  You are the mighty king and you can bear our burdens.  You tell us to lay our burdens down and take up yours, that which you give us is light.  But Lord, it doesn’t feel so easy.  I want to fear.  Please set my eyes on you.  Help us all to have faith like a child.  Amen.

My First Devotional, The Secret

Today I am sharing with you the very first devotional I have written.  May God meet you right where you are today.  ❤

True Hope Comes from Christ’s Strength

We don’t muster it ourselves.

We have probably all heard someone say, “I can do all things through Christ.” But do we know the verse that precedes that? What about the words that complete the phrase “I can do all things through Christ”?

Philippians 4:12-13 says,
“I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

Paul is writing to the Philippians from his jail cell. Imagine what he may have been experiencing? Isolation. Hunger. Pain. Sickness. And Hope!?!

When we think of Hope, can we imagine the type of Hope Paul experienced? Think of a way that you desperately need Jesus, a way that you just aren’t enough. There is hope.

I had a pancreas tumor removed in 2012. I went from being told “you’re young and healthy” to 115 pounds & wrecked by illness. I remember looking in the mirror and not recognizing myself. My doctors were at a loss. I cried out begging God for deliverance. For better circumstances. My Mom, in her wisdom said to have Faith when you cannot see. I remember the fight I had inside my body during those months of agony. Never before had I experienced my flesh at war with me and yet God seemed to keep me there. Not healing me, not letting me die. It was a hard truth to face. During that time and even to this day, I have many very dear Bible verses. God is faithful. Philippians 4:12-13 means SO much to me. I hung on every word of verse 12. When everything was stripped away, all my earthly strength and comfort, I finally intimately knew the secret of facing such things. I have been a Christian as long as I can remember. The secret isn’t becoming a Christian. The secret is Hope. The Hope of the Bible, the steadfast kind that comes when we know God sustains us and gives us strength despite all odds.

As you can see, I am still here. God has granted me partial deliverance from my physical sufferings. I can see the gift it is to remember. I look at my surgery scars and still feel pain. Because I know the secret that Paul speaks of I have Hope. Not the fleeting kind we think of when we say, “I hope tomorrow is sunny.”

Paul’s words are not a self-help statement or some type of trite pep talk. Paul is telling us of the everlasting, eternal, deep, rich, vibrant, redeeming Hope; hope in Jesus’ perfect strength.

Dear Jesus,
Help us to rest in your word. To experience your deep HOPE through the truths you teach us. Jesus, help us to lay our fears at your feet and know that we can even suffer well like Paul by knowing your steadfastness. Lord, you strengthen us, you sustain us. Jesus, because of your strength we can face all things both wonderful and tragic. Amen.

W is for Whale, Homeschooling Boys at 3 and 4 years old.

In all, our “school time” looks different day-to-day.  Today we did worksheets, but I prefer to teach in context.  For example, when driving next to a train loaded full with cargo containers two-high to a car, I explained to the boys how we can count by two’s.  This made it easier for them to see a real-world application of this mathematical principal.

We also work collaboratively with two other family’s in a co-op that meets weekly.  We teach on a rotating basis and follow this free curriculum.  So far, we have all really liked it.  But, in the spirit of adventure, I find myself supplementing the curriculum often.

JUST BECAUSE I CAN 🙂

Homeschooling is so RAD in this way.  We can do what we want when we want.

Hank loves school because its his way of getting out of “quiet time” (nap)  and doing something one-on-one with me.  I prefer keeping the definition of school loose so as to incorporate real world learning and supplement with worksheets as needed.  I don’t know if I’d say we are Un-Schooling , but perhaps a little.

I expect our homeschooling journey to morph and take shape as we go along through the years.  I love that there’s no pressure to get it all right on the first try.

Together we are LEARNING.

W is for whale

W is for whale 2

We started homeschooling in September (2014). While we’ve only been at this a few months I have to say its off to a good start. I love how we can tailor it to our day.

Today the boys worked through “W is for Whale”. In this lesson we traced big “W” and baby “w”, colored a whale, and practised a worksheet on matching capital A, B, C and D to their lower case pair. Then we talked about the letter W and practised saying the “wahhh” sound several times alone and in words. I find repetition is super helpful for my boys. I don’t worry about them wiggling or getting up and sitting down a bunch at this stage.

I have VERY active boys so I feel it is unneccessary to spend our learning time focusing on mastery of impulse control (I have a neurology background and know that it’s a futile effort with such young minds). Instead, I use short and frequent phrases to bring their attention back to the task at hand. I intentionally give praise and attention in response to desirable behavior (thank B.F. Skinner and his theory on Operant Conditioning for that wisdom) and move along when I see they are no longer able to attend.

A friend of mine (who has a teaching background) told me that children can attend to a task 1 minute for each year they are old.  With that in mind our focus on a given task is only 3-4 minutes!  Then we move along.  Its fun and pretty fast paced.

I love that today, Hank told me to leave him alone while writting his letters because he wanted to do it all by himself.  Big boy!  Just two weeks ago he wouldn’t try unless I did hand-over-hand with him.

I’m really enjoying leading them but letting them experience the feeling of doing things as they are ready.  I don’t pressure them but I do encourage them A LOT. 😉

Dear Jesus, please help us to learn with joyful hearts.  Please help me to have wisdom to teach what you want the boys to know.  I pray for great mentors and above all a passion and thirst for learning.  Amen.

How To Get Into Fitness For Real- Part 2 Nutrition

Today is February 28th and I have officially been Into Fitness since January 29th.  I started with getting into a sustainable workout routine that I like.

Remember when I wrote part 1 of how to get into fitness?  Well, I have stuck to it and added the other half of the fitness puzzle: nutrition.

I am down 7.6 pounds as of today! So I guess you could say what I’m doing is working! 🙂

BUT MORE THAN WEIGHING LESS, I FEEL WAAAAY BETTER!

Woot! That’s my goal. 🙂

We all gotta eat to live but what we eat really impacts how well we live.  I started thinking that NOT ALL CALORIES ARE CREATED EQUAL.  With that in mind I took a look at what calories would help me to FEEL GOOD.  Afterall, feeling good is my goal here.  I want to live a long life feeling as good as I can by living out Real Fitness.

Real Fitness (to me) means sustainable healthy exercise and healthy eating.

  What makes it sustainable is choosing quality calories so you aren’t starving.  I mean it.  If you eat primarily junk calories, then you are starving and no amount of junk calories can deliver the nutrition you NEED.  The result is you are nutritionally starved.  I have noticed that when I eat McDonald’s for example that I am hungry soon after eating.  When I eat hard-boiled eggs and toast I am way more satiated for fewer calories.  I don’t think it is right to tell you what to eat.  I just want you to think about what you like to eat and ask yourself:

Are these quality calories?

&

How can I make substitutions to improve the quality of what I eat?

With that said, I enjoy a mocha almost, if not, every day.  This mocha has milk chocolate and white chocolate powder *read* NOT QUALITY CALORIES.  But, I want to eat in a way that I enjoy so I substituted skim milk for whole and don’t go overboard on the chocolate.  I put just enough in to make it enjoyable.

I make sure my calories are in large part from real food, not processed crap.  Remember, the tiny part of the food pyramid is fats and oils.

I’ve also started counting calories so I know how much is in what I eat.  This helps over time to learn what appropriate portion sizes are.  I’m also finding I don’t want junk food as much because I know it won’t make me feel good for very long.  In fact, it will make me feel awful if I let it get out of proportion in my total daily intake.

You know what else?

Those fatty sweet and salty foods spike your appetite and when you eat more and more, you gain weight.

I want to feel good and when I eat quality calories there’s just no need to binge on junk.

Instead, I measure out a serving of the goody I want and put it in a seperate container or bag.  For example, I bought Cadbury chocolate eggs (the little ones that come out for Easter every year).   I love them enough to pay the outrageous price!  Since I am focusing on eating quality calories I don’t need Cadbury to fill my hunger.

I get to enjoy Cadbury Chocolate Eggs for what they are; just a treat.

So, I hope you can see my point here that eating well doesn’t mean eliminating the treats (at least in my book).

FOCUS on making sure you get the QUALITY CALORIES you need first, then if you still want  a treat, you can enjoy a serving.

If you are wanting to get into Fitness for Real I hope you’ll join me!  I am loving it.  I feel so much better.  Fitness is all about giving your body what it needs.  I love the stress relief of exercise and losing a few extra pounds is awesome too!  I love the stress relief of quality calories.  I love the stress relief of not being on some sort of “diet”.  Sure you won’t lose 20 pounds in a week this way but you could in ten weeks and then NEVER see that 20 pounds again.  When you are into fitness for real, you care about what your body needs to work its best, not about losing weight right now.

 Believe me, if you do something hasty like take pills that raise your “metabolic heart rate” *read* “up your risk of a heart attack!”  you are more likely to lose weight and gain it back and have long-term health problems.

That just doesn’t meet my goal.

Dear Jesus,  You are ultimately in control of our health.  Thank you that you designed our bodies to be efficient machines and gave us the means to be fit.  I pray that anyone who reads this is blessed by it and that you will enable them to take good care of the body you gave them.  I love you Jesus.  Thank you for sustaining me and giving me each breath.  Amen.

How to Get into Fitness FOR REAL Part 1 of 2, Mix-It-Up Monday’s

By now, most everyone’s new-years resolution to “eat right and exercise” has fizzled out.  Maybe they fizzled out January 3rd.

As a child I was in almost every main stream sport: soccer, basketball, volleyball, swim team, gymnastics, ballet, track, cross country….etc…

When I wasn’t playing a sport I was jumping on the pogo stick with my buddy or killing hours on her trampoline.

Looking back, I was working out A LOT!

Why?

Well I wasn’t obsessed with being a certain weight or looking like Angelina Jolie or something like that.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, a lot has changed.  I am married and have two toddlers climbing me (literally as I write this, Gideon is requesting the “Animal Sound Song” on YouTube.)  My day is so full of the demands to just keep the proverbial plates spinning on my finger tips.

I am busier than ever but when do I work out?

I’m more beat than ever how can I possibly add exercise?

I just want a break!!!

Ok that catches us up to almost two weeks ago when I went from a sporadic exerciser to someone who works out 6 days a week.

HOW?!?!

Here’s what I did.  I am not a doctor but this is what worked for me.

STEP 1: FIND YOUR MOTIVATION

I used to think the right video or gym membership would be the golden ticket.  It turns out neither really worked for me.  I never found the perfect video (and felt it was a waste of money to keep searching) and the gym didn’t work either.  I was way too distracted by other people.  I found myself unsure of what exercises to do and generally felt self-conscious.  So while the gym is great for some, it wasn’t for me.

I mentioned above that I JUST WANT A BREAK!!!! AH!!! 🙂

For me, that is the golden ticket.  Exercise is my break.  I was using social media for this purpose but never felt better for having searched Facebook.  It couldn’t make me more relaxed because I would get annoyed waiting on pages to load.

I began the search for a way to feel like I got a break.  Enter exercise.  Allow me to explain, exercising vigorously for just 10 minutes triggers the release of “feel good” hormones.  That means that every time I workout I feel good afterwards and more calm.  I feel more collected.

Oddly, for me, exercise isn’t about what all the diet industry mantras would have you think it “should” be about.  I’m not trying to look like Barbie or lose 20 pounds in a week (yikes!)  I lost 25 pounds in a couple of months when I was so sick.  It was NOT good and I DON’T recommend it.  I became medically malnourished.  Bad Bad Bad.  What’s more the weight I reached wasn’t “cute” it was scary.

I urge you to avoid exercising for the wrong reasons because it isn’t sustainable and will do more harm than good.  In extreme cases leading to malnutrition and a whole host of illnesses or obesity.

STEP 2: Gear

Think minimal here and put it on first thing before you have come up with an excuse.  The point is to get things that work but don’t become a stumbling block between you and feeling good.  In other words, don’t over think this step.

I got this sports bra and I cannot recommend it enough.  I like it because it is VERY supportive and comes in bra sizes so you can get a great fit.  This is tough for me usually but not with this bra.  It fits so well I can jump without discomfort or really much movement at all!

I also got supportive foot wear.  I like Merril brand shoes because they fit my feet well.  The big take-away here is get shoes that fit your specific needs.  I supinate (my feet roll out) and need great arch support.  Take a minute to consider your feet then choose a shoe that fits you well.

STEP 3: ROUTINE

I have found I want to workout to some degree every day.  To start I did just 10 minutes a day.  I streamed free kickboxing videos off YouTube and did them on my trampoline to reduce the impact on my knees (I have low cartilage in my knees so “pounding the pavement” is not good for me.  The trampoline is a great solution for this and cheaper than getting several machines to get a range of workouts in.)

Why 10 minutes?  Because when you are just getting started this will be enough to get the endorphins going.  I don’t repeat behaviors that don’t have a pay-out.  If I do too much too soon I will wear myself out and be too sore the next day to keep going.

Do you see a recurrent theme here?  I am working out to FEEL GOOD.

I kept this 10 minute routine for a few days but then noticed that I felt like going just a little longer so I mixed in a couple of 20-26 minutes routines.  This week (the beginning of week three)  I plan to do Monday/Wednesday/Friday kettlebell routines (off YouTube, I like Fitness Blender) and Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday kickboxing routines (off YouTube I like BeFit).  I plan to do different ones each day and to keep each workout under 30 minutes for the next several weeks.  My goal is to workout aggressively for a shorter amount of time so I can trigger the feel good hormones and break a good sweat then be done for the day!

Over time our bodies become accustomed to the workload and the time will need to increase.  I expect to be able to keep my 10-30 minute routines longer by keeping a good variety.

Variety is important to avoid boredom and avoid a plateau (where you don’t see results).

I am intentionally doing 3 days of Kettlebell and 3 days of Kickboxing on an alternating basis because this will be a rotation of weight training (kettlebell) and cardio (kickboxing).  On Sunday’s I do light exercise (this could be walking) just to get the blood flowing and keep my muscles loose.

From what I have read you need both weight training and cardio to be fit.

So there you have it!  3 steps to getting into Fitness for real!  I hope you get to feeling good today.

CLICK HERE to read the second half of this post.

Dear Jesus, I am so excited to finally have a motivator for exercise that excites me.  Thank you for designing our bodies this way.  I pray this post will help others to get going on their fitness journey and I pray they will take it slow and listen to their bodies so they stop long before they cause themselves harm.  Lord, we often want instant gratification and if that looks like x pounds lost the temptation is to go about it in an unhealthy way.  Please bring conviction where necessary to prevent me and others from using a good thing like exercise, to harm the body you gave us.  Amen.

The Three Words, Why we feel Disconnected

Here on the west coast at least if not everywhere, we function in a busy busy mentality.  In other words if you have something to say get it out quick and make it compelling or you are likely to get ignored.

I used to do cold calls to New York coffee companies.  It would usually go something like this:

Ring Ring Ring

“Hello”

“Hi my na…..”

Call ended.

Really?  I lost you before I got to my name?  I have three words before you have decided whether-or-not what I have to say is worth listening to?

But that was cold calling.  I realize most people don’t have the patience or interest in listening to someone like that.

What about those close to us?  What about our family and friends?  What about the people we serve?

Do they get three words too?

I have known for some time that I need to grow in my question asking ability.  I want to be better at drawing people out and really pursuing them.  I think that is hard to do with quick, yes/no questions.

Over the past several months God has allowed me to see a great disconnect more keenly than ever before.  On my pursuit of really knowing others by asking good questions and genuinely trying to listen I found one thing over and over.

We live in a busy busy mentality.

Have you ever been three words in when speaking with a loved one and you notice they aren’t listening?  They *might* bother to look but their eyes give them away.  I often take this opportunity to simply stop talking mid-sentence.

Call disconnected.

Why are we so busy?  What is so important that we cannot simply listen to one another?  In my pursuit to be a better listener it grieves me to see painful disconnect on the very ground of building close relationships.  Everyday conversations are the brick and mortar of connectedness, of being known.

James 1:19-20 says, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”

Be the change you want to see in your relationships and with those you serve.

As James says, “Let every person be quick to hear.”

I believe we disconnect because we don’t really hear each other much.

We might see each other’s Facebook post or tweet.  We might send a quick text.

But do the majority of us intentionally listen to hear?

I think we listen for snippets of “useful” information because we buy the lie that we are too busy.  Or maybe we buy the lie that we connect through the non-physical means of technology.

Well guess what?  We actually need to be physically and mentally present with each other to foster connectedness.

Does a “like” on Facebook feel the same way a physical hug does?  Or even a high-five?

It doesn’t because it can’t.

Let’s not forget that God designed us for community.

Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

While all the electronic communication is buzzing the air ways, I want to remind us all (myself too) that we are to not neglect meeting together.

Dear Jesus,  I thank you for the friends and family you have put in my life.  I realize you chose them for me and I for them so that, as your word says, we can meet together and encourage each other.  I believe one way we can encourage each other is to be quick to hear.  Lord I pray we would prioritize the people you put in our lives.  Amen.

Considering Parenthood? Mix-it-Up-Monday’s

My husband and I are blessed with two vibrant little boys ages 2 and 3.  In my short time as a parent I have come across a multitude of situations and experiences that “they” never told me about back when I was blissfully imagining baby toes.  I feel like maybe it would have been nice to consider a few things in advance.  Here are a few things I would have wanted on that list:

  • Your social life is going to change, a lot!
  • Babies poop a lot, messy up their back, poop.
  • If you have boys, open their diaper quickly then re-close momentarily before you change it.  The cold air will make them pee.  Re-closing the diaper will mean they pee into the soiled diaper instead of you.
  • Children are amazingly resilient.  Babies are kind of like Gumbi or Stretch Armstrong if you are a younger Mom. 🙂
  • Children will teach you A LOT!
  • Sleep comes and goes depending on the life stage.  Newborns eat every 2-3 hours so there is almost no sleep at that stage.  Then there’s teething and later there’s fear of the dark and nightmares.
  • You are always “on call”
  • Whenever you change a diaper KEEP YOUR MOUTH CLOSED.  Please trust me on this.  The smell is bad at times and tasting it is worse.
  • Parenting books are full of contradictory information.
  • Go with your gut.  Seriously!
  • There will be a lot of times when you think you have no idea what to do.  Its ok, most people cannot remember the first three years of their lives.  It seems to me that this reveals the intentional nature of God.
  • You will Never have it “figured out”.
  • Just about the time you have a routine, everything will change.
  • Children don’t have a return policy and by the time they are born you wouldn’t want them put back anyway!
  • Ever heard the term “sanctification process”?  Having children is a major step in that.
  • Parenting is the most humbling thing you will ever do.
  • Parenting is NOT about you.
  • Comparison starts early whether you want to participate or not.  It’s a pit.
  • Babies don’t read the milestone charts.  There is a RANGE of normal.
  • Life after child/children will NOT be the same as it was before.
  • Having children is not Us plus Kids, it’s a whole new family unit.
  • Well meaning people will say unhelpful things.
  • Jesus is your rock, your child cannot fill this need.
  • They just might get your bad traits too.
  • There’s no time like the present to go before the Lord asking Him to help you.
  • Parenting is not for sissy’s.
  • Children get about 6-10 colds a year on average.  That works out to very few healthy days.
  • Buy a humidifier and a mini carpet cleaning machine.
  • You don’t need Many of the things they sell at Babies-R-Us.  And, Babies-R-Us is the most expensive way to buy the things you do need.
  • Skip cloth bibs and go for the laminated ones with the pouch at the bottom to catch crumbs and spit-up.
  • Time will go into warp speed while simultaneously slowing waaaaaaay down when you have children.
  • Being a stay-at-home-mom is lonely.
  • Parenting is a lot of repetition.
  • Repetition.
  • Repetition.
  • Repetition.
  • You will find yourself thanking your Mom for the sacrifices she made raising you.
  • You cannot lead your children where you yourself won’t go.  Pray through that.
  • You will give of yourself in every way with little to no immediate gratification.
  • The way you will feel about your own children is an intense love for which there are no words.
  • When you have toddlers, aim for balanced weeks instead of balanced meals.
  • Learn to accept “good enough”.
  • Children like to eat off the floor and touch each others mouths.
  • You and your spouse will have parenting “differences”.  Be prepared to be gracious and allow these differences to grow you both.
  • Small children can vomit from swallowing snot, it’s not always the stomach flu.
  • Your family will likely have the stomach flu every year for a while.
  • Homemade baby food is a great way to save money. But buy the carrot baby food.
  • Cloth diapering doesn’t have to be expensive: http://www.sunbabydiapers.com
  • Nursing Pads don’t have to be embarrassing (warning shameless plug): http://www.washablebreastpads.com
  • I was formula fed and vaccinated and lived to tell about it. And, gasp, I watched tv. 😉
  • Forget what they taught you in college.  Boys and Girls are different and not just anatomically.
  • Childbearing will change your body.
  • Once you have a baby you should plan to do kegels for the rest of your life.
  • Baby can wait while you go pee.
  • If you get overwhelmed, put him/her in their crib safely and walk away for a minute.  Take deep breaths. (They did tell you that one but it bears repeating)
  • It is good to accept help!
  • You are not alone.
  • You cannot even use the bathroom alone.
  • Communication becomes harder when you have children.
  • You will be tired, emotionally and physically.
  • You never “clock out”
  • You won’t get a pay raise or performance review.  Work toward kingdom goals instead.

I am sure there are so many more things “they” could have told me but this is a start.

I will leave you with this:

The things in life that are REALLY worth a lot take the greatest investment.

Dear Jesus,

Thank you so much for our boys.  Thank you also for always being with me and that I can trust you and fully rely on you.  I pray that Hank and Gideon will grow up loving you and that this post will be helpful to others.  Amen.

Why I Hate Teasing

Proverbs 26:18-19 says, “Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, “I am only joking!”

I hate teasing.

The big kicker for me is how teasing is a bitter knife masquerading as “good fun”.

“Oh get a sense of humor.”

“Don’t be so sensitive.”

“When I said you are no good at that, I was just teasing.”

Maybe it’s because teasing is manipulative.  Yeah, that’s part of it for sure.

Did you really mean “you are no good (at that)” in “good fun”? What REALLY possesses someone to say such critical things of another?

I also find it interesting how teasing can come from anywhere.  It’s like Satan has tricked us into believing we are saying something in fun, all the while we are actually helping drive the knife in the hearers heart.  Blaming them.

What’s worse!?!  If the receiver of such teasing doesn’t play along then they’re still to blame because they “can’t take a joke”.  In truth, they don’t like to bear the brunt of another persons’ evil heart.

Luke 6:45 says, “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

A lot of the time, teasing, is just advanced bullying.  As if you have graduated the minor leagues and joined up with the majors.  I can enjoy a good joke just as well as the next person, but, I cannot advocate this form of bullying.

Think about it, you see something in someone that has a shard of truth to it and expound upon it to a degree that is hurtful but just ridiculous enough to evade rebuke.

Wow.

So as we all go about our hectic holidays, preparing for all that will fill the next few weeks, please prepare your heart to speak in kindness to one another.

James 3:5 says, “So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!”

And, if you want to tell a joke, make sure it’s not “funny” at the recipients’ expense.

Dear Jesus, you say that the tongue is dangerous and we underestimate this truth.  Please stop us before we utter hurtful words to one another especially under the guise of humor.  Please keep us fixed on you this holiday season and clean our hearts so that your glory would pour out of us.  Amen.