Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! I hope you are all enjoying time with your families and even finding a little space to reflect on what coming to earth meant for Jesus. It's a little different from what Christmas means for us. What sacrifice and what love!

I plan on taking a short blogging break until the first of the new year. Until then we'll be visiting with family, playing with our boys, celebrating our anniversary, and doing normal life/work/church stuff too!

This is what Christmas looked like for us.




I look forward to seeing you in 2014! I have lots of new content planned for our new year and I'm eager to share it with you! 

Merry Christmas! 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Cincinnati, Presents, and Christmas Cards

Today was Micah's genetics appointment in Cincinnati. He goes on a four month rotation now (far different from the every other week rotation we did when he was a baby!)


Obviously he was having a great time in the car this morning. They were more than pleased with him and did the normal bloodwork. 

But let's talk about the Christmas present we made for Micah's metabolic doctor. Yes, because he's awesome. I have mentioned that he called us from vacation- in HAWAII- to check on Micah when he was sick once? Oh, and there was that Christmas when Micah was sick and we talked to him on the phone or by text approximately 9,000 times a day while he was visiting his family in another state. He gets a present. 


We made this adorable thumbprint ornament! Tell me that's not cute? It was super easy too, just some craft paint and a cheap ornament. 


I wrote his name and the year on the back. This is a horrible picture but the bulb reflected the light wherever I stood. And I used a gold paint pen. It's amazing. My new best art friend, I think. I'll collect several. 


Then we made chocolate chip cookies. I used a wide mouth mason jar and stacked cookies in the bottom of it. (You have no idea how hard it was for me to make cookies that were sure to fit in this jar!) Then I set the ornament in some muffin liners that I had fluffed so they would hold the ornament safely.  Then I put a green and red curling ribbon around the top and tied it in a bow. 


I cut some kraft paper out in the shape of the lid of the jar and wrote on the top with my gold paint pen. It turned out remarkably hard to see on the brown paper so I outlined the left side of the letters with a red colored pencil. Then I hot glued the paper to the lid.  Cute, right? I hope it wasn't too cheesy :/


And there's a Christmas card saga. We had the family pictures made. We ordered the cards the day after Thanksgiving so we would have plenty of time to mail then. They shipped the next day. The postal service lost them in Memphis for two weeks. They refunded our money over the weekend. What? I was so sad because we had actually done everything to order the cards this year! But Justin whipped up this beautiful card for us and we saved our money! 

And really....if that's my biggest Christmas problem I am one blessed lady! 

(I promise I'm working on my photography skills. I know they're terrible!)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Learning Takes Time

When Polish pianist Ignace Jan Paderewsky played before Queen Victoria, he won her enthusiastic approval. "Mr. Paderewsky," she exclaimed, "you are a genius." Paderewsky shook his head. "Perhaps, Your Majesty, but before that I was a drudge," he replied, alluding to the number of hours he spent practicing every day. 
I'm learning- slowly- to play Canon in D on the piano right now. It's so slow progress because my practice time is limited and divided among several endeavors. But I'm working on it and measure by measure I'm learning it. 

Of course a more experienced pianist would have no problem with this song. But it's not really fair to compare my four years playing experience (as an adult) to someone else's decades of playing, is it? We all start as beginners. And we slowly practice and learn and get better. 


photo courtesy of stock images/freedigitalphotos.net

This isn't just for playing the piano. It's true for mastering any new skill really. And yet I often forget this when I'm teaching my children. If I need time and practice to learn something new, why wouldn't my one and three year olds? 

It's easy to get frustrated when I'm explaining and demonstrating the same concept over and over.  But it's like learning Canon in D. Repeat short bar measures over and over until it's mastered. Then add a little more. Then practice the part that's already learned so you don't forget it. And slowly add more. I don't expect myself to play the whole song competently when I first sit down with the music. Neither should I expect my children to learn new concepts in one day. Learning takes time. 

So here's to more patience. For me and my children. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Prepping for New Year's Resolutions

We all know what will be happening in a few weeks- New Year's Resolutions! While I've cemented my direction for the new year I have not yet written down my goals for 2014. But I've been thinking about them. 

photo courtesy of stuart miles/freedigitalphotos.net

I've written off all the usual ones. I'm not going to promise to work out for an hour every day or never drink Dr. Pepper again. Or get up at 4 in the morning. All things I know that I cannot do on a daily basis for a year, or probably even a week. Four in the morning without some caffeine? I don't think so. 

As I've started considering goals for next year I found a quote on Pinterest.
 You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.
The secret of  your success is found in your daily routine. 

What can I change in my daily routine that will change my life? Where do I need to make corrections? Maybe it's in something small. Changing something big is much more dramatic but usually not as effective. 

What do you need to change? 

And while you're considering, don't waste your December

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Obedience or Feelings?

This might come as a shock to some but you don't have to feel good about something to do it.  I know our society screams that we should do what feels good or what fulfills our deepest dreams but that's a lie. We can make excuses for the world but we have no excuse. As Christians, is that our criteria for how we make decisions? What feels good? It shouldn't be. 

If God says it, that's enough.  We could remove so many problems from our lives if we would act in obedience instead of on our feelings. 

Obey. Just obey. 

Obey when you feel like it. 
Obey when you don't feel like it. 
Obey when you like the command. 
Obey when you don't like the command. 

Of course we want to bring our feelings around. We don't want to feel miserable if we don't have to. God doesn't command us to be miserable; actually He commands us to rejoice. But feelings follow actions. We can't will feelings into existence. 

1. Practice thankfulness. If you are obeying, thank God for the blessings He promises for obeying. Thank God for every single thing you can think of. 

2. Remember the goal. What are you working toward? Obedience is the only way to get there. What are you trying to do today? 
-training your children
-building your marriage
-becoming God's lady
-leaving a legacy of godliness

Jesus is always our example. He always obeyed even if He didn't feel like it. Read Christ's prayers in Gethsemane. Going to the cross was not what He felt like doing but He submitted to the will of the Father. He kept the end goal in mind: the redemption of mankind. 

When I've done more for Jesus than what Jesus did for me I can start feeling sorry for myself. Until then, I'm going to work on obeying. 

Whether I feel like it or not. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Helps for a Well-Run Home

The approaching holiday season, current holiday season is pretty much in full-swing since Thanksgiving is already over and Christmas activities are ramping up. This time, probably more than any other, causes women to freak out about the state of their home. But rather than just fix up the problems for a few hours when company is coming why not FIX the problem so your family can enjoy the benefits? 

I want to have a well-run home and I don't want to be crazy doing it.  Nobody benefits from "Crazy Mama." You all know one. It's not pretty. 

How to not be crazy. 

1. Know the goal.  Our home is not a museum. I don't want it to be a museum; I want it to be home. I could have unattainable standards and be frustrated over life. Instead I realize that we will blocks scattered around the house and toys that need picked up. That's ok. 

2. Have a cleaning schedule. Right now we are cleaning on Mondays. Before we did a little every day. I'm sure that over the years this will change again. And again. But find what works for you where you are. 

Commit to something and do it. Tweak it along the way but don't wait for something perfect to start cleaning regularly. 

3. Do laundry regularly. Start a load as soon as you get up. I do most of our laundry on Mondays but average a load every day the rest of the week. 

Teach your children not to unfold your just-folded laundry. Don't make yourself crazy! For that matter, teach them to help you pick up and clean too. 

4. Have a meal plan. There are a variety of methods for this. I print out a two week calendar and write in the meals. You can keep it on the computer. You can just list seven to fifteen meals and cycle through them. You can use meal plans that you pay for. Do something and shop accordingly. 

5. Add in a little at a time. Don't decide to revolutionize your homemaking in a week, especially not these weeks before Christmas. Pick one thing and start it. Then next week, pick another. 

6. Clean your kitchen after meals and before bed. There's nothing nicer than a clean kitchen. And nothing more discouraging then a dirty one. 


This is what I want my kitchen to look like when we're done using it. And yes, I do have fall decorations up and a Christmas centerpiece. It's a work in progress. 


7. A little is better than nothing. Can't do it all that day or week? Just do what you can.  Do something even if you can't do it all. 

8. If you clean the house well every week if you have to skip a week it won't be a big deal. Say, "we'll get to it next week" and then go on with life. 

9.  Remember what's important. People aren't coming to your house to criticize (and if they are, they will find something regardless! You should probably find new friends in that case too). They are coming to enjoy your family's company.


Should I think of something else to have a number 10? Maybe, but that about covers it. I think it's interesting that half of the list is actual physical tasks and the rest is mental. How we think about what we do matters.  

Don't be a crazy lady- at least if you can help it!- keep that house in line! 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Friday Favorites

I did a really bad job of taking pictures during our Thanksgiving celebration. Something about cooking and caring for babies and spending time with family. Anyway...here are some pictures of the past two days. We've enjoyed our days hanging out with family. 





Micah shares my love of grapefruit.


Thanksgiving food! The rolls are amazing. I used a different recipe than usual and it was amazing. Be forewarned though- the first part of the recipe is written very...strangely. Read the whole thing and make sure you understand what you're supposed to do in the right order. 


The hubs had been wanting waffles for a while so I made him a big pile this morning. He ate all but three bites. 

Enjoy your weekend! 



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

What's Really Happening

"I am working with Jesus. This is not an ordinary day."
It's easy to think that as wives and mothers and homemakers that our work is mundane and boring. And maybe on the surface it is. Ok, really, it is. We change diapers; we cook lunch; we read books; we fold laundry.





But what's really happening? We're creating a home. A place for our family to grow, rest, be accepted and challenged. We're freeing our husbands for the work that God designed for them. We're training our children to think and be like Jesus. We're raising the next generation of Christians. And every day that we're following Christ's leadership we are becoming more like Him.

Suddenly our work doesn't seem so small, does it?

The knowledge that what we are doing has such eternal impact energizes me. 

It helps me get up in the morning and meet with Jesus recognizing that I can't handle these tasks by myself. 

It helps me discipline calmly because "that doesn't make Jesus happy." "and if Mama let you act that way Jesus would be unhappy with her too."

It helps me greet and serve my husband cheerfully knowing that our marriage is supposed to show Christ to our family and to the world.

Remember to look at what's really happening in your day. 


… if two angels in heaven were given assignments by God at the same time, one of them to go and rule over the greatest nation on earth and the other to go sweep the streets of the dirtiest village, each angel would be completely indifferent as to which one got which assignment. It simply wouldn’t matter to them. Why? Because the real joy lies in being obedient to God. For a Christ follower, the important thing isn’t what God has us doing; the important thing is that we’re doing what God wants us to do. John Newton

Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday Favorites

Several years ago I found the website "Laine's Letters." Although some are fairly old-fashioned (even for me!) they are beautiful reminders of what we are supposed to be doing with our time here at home. She has lots of great tips too. I love the encouragement in this letter, "Why I Love Homemaking.

Preacher visited our Peru missions team a couple of weeks ago and  Justin taught two Wednesday nights. He does an amazing job; I'm married to a wonderful man! You can hear them here.  They have his name (Justin Hensley) beside them. 

One of the missionary wives sent back some Peruvian treats for me! Wasn't that sweet? We've been trying them out. So yummy! 


This year I made our Thanksgiving tree. We've been filling out our leaves every evening. I love doing that and I think it'll be a fun tradition for the kids in addition to cultivating gratitude in our lives. 


Bless you, Pinterest. (Please excuse my really bad photo.)

I've been working away on my snowman painting. He's making good progress; just a little more work until I declare him finished. There's several "mistakes" that I probably can't fix now but as my husband said, "Imperfections are what makes it art." Profound, right? I could always go get a printed snowman canvas from Target (actually, no, I can't; there's not one near us) but that's not art.  But you should know- there's a science to oil painting. A science- this isn't just art. I'm obviously clueless. 



A friend of ours took some family pictures for us last weekend. They turned out great and fit perfectly in our budget! (Free!)








Enjoy your weekend, folks!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What Do You Do With Your Problems?

We all have problems in life. Problems with people, jobs, child-rearing, marriage, money. And in this age of social media everyone shares their problems with the world. In moments of frustration, anger, and hurt we lay our problems before the world, expecting either sympathy or help. I think we really want people to feel sorry for "poor me." 

The problem is that most people don't care about your problems. Why? They have their own. They read your status or tweet, hear your complaining, and they might even be glad that they aren't the only ones having problems. Misery loves company after all. 

photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net/davidcastillodominici


You will also get a lot of unsolicited advice this way. People want to solve problems. And tell people what to do. So often we complain about people telling us what to do and never realize that it's partly our own fault for spilling the beans to everyone. 

For most wives and mothers our frustrations are in our marriage and children. Don't tear down your family with your words. They deserve protection from the critical eyes of others. Don't tell everyone the things your children are struggling with or what they are doing now that frustrates you. Don't tell them that stupid thing that your husband did. Do you want your family to tell all of your mistakes?

As Christians, we have to be aware that people are watching us. The world holds us to a higher standard that we even do ourselves. They see us freaking out and realize we are no more settled or calm than they are. We ruin our testimony by blabbing everything we feel or experience. We can ruin the world's perspective of Christian marriage by complaining about petty situations that we won't remember next week. We can destroy the beauty of motherhood by focusing on our frustrations. 

However, there are times to talk about problems. 
1. You are asking a specific person about advice. This might be your husband, your pastor, your "mentor," whoever. But you knows this is a discreet person who can give godly advice. Even then don't talk about your problem all the time. In an appropriate setting, ask for advice and then leave it alone the rest of the time. 

2. You are encouraging someone else. This is normally a place where you have conquered the problem. Or are commiserating with a person who is in the same boat. (Sometimes knowing that it's not JUST you is so helpful.) Again, be careful with your words.  Be discreet and protect the people in your life. 

So what do you do with your problems?  Tell them to Jesus. You can talk to Jesus and tell Him anything. He'll never tell anyone else. Jesus loves your family more than you do. He loves you more than you can imagine. He cares about your problems. He cares about how you feel. He won't hold those things against your family. It won't lower His opinion of your husband or child. He won't rejoice in your problems. But He will carry your burdens and give you wisdom and strength. 

And while you're at it- leave your feelings with Jesus too. Don't go around in a rage or pouting over your problems. The world needs to see steady Christians who can depend on God in their problems.  

Friday, November 15, 2013

If You Want God to Use You

"If you want to be a woman used of God, you'll have to give up that which you want." Marlene Evans. 
We live in a fulfill yourself society. Society advises people that anything is ok if they are finding themselves or seeking fulfillment. They can leave their families, live an alternative lifestyle, abuse their bodies, and hurt others as long as it's good for them. 

photo courtesy of digitalart/freedigitalphotos.net


Jesus does not say that.  Jesus said, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." (Luke 9:23)

If we want God to use us-

We can't say anything we want. 
We can't do anything we want. 
We can't treat our husbands however we want. 
We can't raise our children however we want. 
We can't use our time however we want. 
We can't use our talents however we want. 

We have to give up what we want. Our words aren't our own. Our husband don't belong to us. Our children aren't here to make us happy. Our time, our bodies, our attitudes aren't our own. Our talents aren't ours to spend as we want. 

Everything we have is God's. Our money, time, families. Our talents, bodies, opportunities are given to us by God. Why? So we could use them for His glory. God is a gracious God. He allows us deep pleasure in serving Him. As we give up what we want to do what God wants we find joy and fulfillment. 

Do you want to be used of God? Are you willing to give up what you want? 

What about in the small things today? Can you train your toddler even though you'd rather ignore the problem? Can you read a book with your babies instead of surfing Facebook? Can you fulfill your husband's preference instead of your own? Can you have a good attitude when you'd rather pout? Can you guide your home when you'd rather sit on the couch? Can you get off the phone instead of gossiping with a friend? 

It's easy to glamorize the "big" things. The tasks that get noticed and applauded. But I've never noticed that God focuses on those. He calls us to faithfulness. Day in and day out saying "no" to what we want and "yes" to what He wants. 

We will never do the big things later if we don't do the small things today. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

It Starts at Home

"What a man is at home, that he is, and though he be a saint abroad, if he be a devil at home, you may depend upon it that the last is his real character." Charles Spurgeon
Home should be the best place. The place where you belong, where you are surrounded by those you love. The place where you are accepted and loved.  Home contains the people that mean the most to you. So how do you behave there?

The people who were given you by God live in these walls. You create the atmosphere. You are the breath and life and spirit of the home.  Your behavior in your home matters. Relationships matter. All of the "things" that you do can be done by anyone except for filling relationship roles. No one else can be a wife to your husband or a mother to your children.

Think of how you want people to perceive you. Do you want to be warm? Loving? Patient? Thoughtful? Creative? Do you only try to act that way in public?  If you aren't those things at home then you aren't those things at all. You're a pretender. Instead be concerned about what your family thinks of you. 

Who you are at home is who you really are. 

You are that person that gets woken up at three in the morning.  You are that person when your husband calls and says he has to work late. You are that person who is training a persistent toddler.


Stop worrying about your public persona. Start thinking about who you are in your home.

-How do you spend your time? Are you frittering away your time on social media or television instead of raising your children?
-How do you work? Do you work with the diligence and creativity that you shows that your work matters to God?  Are you using your talents for the benefit of your family or do you save them for others?
-What words do you speak? What tone do you speak them in? Francie Taylor says, "Anything worth being said can be said in the right tone."

Be who you are supposed to be at home and you will be who you need to be in public. 

And it will be real. It will be who you really are. 


God wants us to be real. For our lives to really measure up to His Word. 

It starts at home. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Only Answer

Life has a lot of questions. There are challenges and obstacles to be faced and I need wisdom and purpose to meet them. I know I have questions about being a lady, about being a wife, a mom, about working at church, about how to spend my time, etc, etc. Everything in life raises questions.

But there's one way to find the answers to all the questions. Learn to love Jesus. I'm not talking about sitting and singing Kum-Ba-Yah. I'm talking about reading your Bible and obeying what it says. Maybe you won't feel anything some days. But do you even want to want to know Jesus? You can do something because you are forced to and it won't mean much. But to do it because you want to? It will transform your life.


photo courtesy of arvind balaraman/freedigitalphotos.net

God has all the answers. He's not going to write them in the sky. He's not going to dissolve your problems or remove all your doubts. But He is going to change you.

Maybe you feel like you're falling short as a wife or a mom or in some other area. Maybe you feel like you don't measure up and you want to change. You want to please God with your life. Let me challenge you to let go of your list of what you think you're supposed to do or be and love Jesus. Jesus can change you. He can make you the right kind of wife and mom. He can change your heart instead of you trying to force change in your actions.

Spend time with Jesus. Learn Who He is from the Bible. Learn how much He loves you. Learn what He wants a lady to be. Learn what He modeled when He was on earth. Learn what's important to Him.

Be honest with Jesus. He already knows it all anyway. Tell Him everything. Don't keep your "I've got it all together" front on when you're talking to God. Thank Him. Make it a new practice to thank God all day long. 

Obey Him. If you feel like it. If you don't feel it. If it's comfortable. If it's the hardest thing you could imagine doing.

Your husband doesn't need a perfect wife. He needs a wife that loves Jesus.

Your children don't need a perfect mom. They need a mom that loves Jesus.

If you love God, you are going to learn to die to self. You are going to learn to serve your husband. You are going to learn to train your children. If you love God, you will learn to control your emotions. You will learn to guide your home. You will learn how to love others.  But all of those things have to be born out of a love for God; you can't work them up on your own.

Don't wait until the New Year to make a resolution. Don't wait for a Monday or the start of a new month. Start now. Spend time with Him. Talk to Him. Care about what matters to Him.

Let Him transform your heart and life. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Traditions, Volleyball, and Outback

Last Friday my (best) friend Lesley and I went to Knoxville for our annual UT volleyball game. It's a fall tradition now since this is the fourth year we've gone. We always pick a night when you can wear pink (see second picture) or take canned goods and get in free. Because, ya know, we're cheap like that. 

We never shut up the whole trip. We talk the whole way down, commentate on the game like we're experts (we are, in case you were wondering), eat way more food than we should, and then talk the whole way back. We've alternated between Olive Garden and Outback (Outback for the win this year!) and I always drive. Because cops scare Lesley. (Don't let her fool you, she DIRECTS the physician assistant program at our local university. Brains and beauty, people, I'm telling you. Now she'll hate me for saying that.)


2010


2011


2012 (plus a very excited Kevin)


2013

We're just getting better with age! Actually, a serious thought but I'll save that post for around my birthday (which is coming up before too long!!).

I'm starting to really love traditions. Not necessarily ones that anybody else does but ones that mean something to my life. We've started a few with the boys already. I think they are great grounders for life. People, especially children, need to feel secure. We have a Thanksgiving tree up this year (you'll see pictures soon) and I think I'm going to do an Advent calendar and a Christmas Eve box with the boys this year too. 

What traditions do you have for you family? Which ones meant the most to you growing up? 

Oh, and for your entertainment (now you'll see why you don't get vlogs)- an instructional video that I made for Justin about taking care of the boys. 


video

Monday, November 4, 2013

Do It For Jesus

There are people that work in daycares that change diapers, happily even, because they get paid to do so. 

There are people that cook for others because that's their job. 

There are people who clean, people who do laundry, people who teach, people who sing, people who care for others all because they receive money for what they do. 

photo courtesy of twobee/freedigitalphotos.net


Are they willing to do things for a job that I am unwilling to do for Jesus? 

How piercing my lack of dedication to Jesus is! It shames me that there are people who will serve false gods with a fervor that I reserve for rare occasions and I serve the true God! 

What higher motivation can there be than to please Jesus? 

Can I love my husband...for Jesus? 

Can I change the diapers, read the books, train the children...for Jesus? 

Can I clean our home, do our laundry, cook our meals...for Jesus? 

How would that change my attitude in my work if I changed my motivation? What if my motivation wasn't recognition or money or applause? What if it was to make Jesus happy with my life that day? 

Maybe my marriage would change. Maybe my attitude toward mothering would change. Maybe our home would change. 

Do it for Jesus. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Friday Favorites

Woo-Hoo! I finished that second music theory book! And, of course, started the third one.

I can't figure out if this one will take me longer to finish because the songs are harder or if I've gotten better so that will even out and it will take the same amount of time.


Baby Kevin was sleepy and wanted to snuggle while we were reading. 


Micah has been helping make breakfast. I stepped out of the room and came back to this. He had definitely taken a bite out of each piece. :)


Playing with boys!! 



This boy is three and a half now. Isn't he the cutest?


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What's Spiritual?

Spiritual is a feel-good word now. People aren't religious; they're spiritual. They have a "guiding light inside them," "a spark of divinity." They "commune with nature." All lovely words that are intended to offend no one and change no lives. They are descriptions of things designed solely to make you feel good. But feelings are not the issue. (Have I mentioned that before?)

Spiritual is being like Christ. Spiritual is obeying the Bible. (1 Corinthians 14:37) Our Pastor says it over and over "Spiritual isn't spooky; it's scriptural." 

Spiritual isn't chanting, or humming, or yoga. Spiritual isn't being a lofty other-worldly individual. Spiritual is obedience and obedience is work.

Spiritual is submitting to your husband. (Ephesians 5:22)
Spiritual is training your children. (Proverbs 29:15)
Spiritual is studying your Bible. (1 Timothy 4:15-16, 2 Timothy 2:15)
Spiritual is praying. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
Spiritual is guiding your home. (Proverbs 31:27)
Spiritual is caring for the needs of others. (Proverbs 31:20)
Spiritual is going to church. (Hebrews 10:25)
Spiritual is being gracious. (Proverbs 11:16)

None of these descriptions are designed to make me feel good. And that's good. My feelings are not the issue. Reading my Bible does not make me feel good. It's usually pointing out my sin, showing where I need to change. Praying does not make me feel good. I struggle to stay focused. Training my children does not make me feel good. It's a lot of work and can be offensive to others. Submitting to my husband doesn't make me feel good. I would really rather have my own way. Caring for the needs of my family and others doesn't make me feel good. Can't I just do my own thing sometimes?

Those things may not make me feel good but all of those things are Scriptural. Obedience is the issue, not feelings. 

Are we more interested in impressing others with our "spirituality" or pleasing God with our lives? That will determine how we define "spiritual."

Monday, October 28, 2013

Today Matters

The cost of godliness is daily obedience. Francie Taylor

It's easy to think that today doesn't really matter. I can start setting goals next week. Or in January. I can start training my children tomorrow or when they turn five. 

Instead a little work today plus a little work tomorrow and the next day will equal progress in one month, one year, five years. 

The daily training of my children is hopefully producing hearts that are bent toward God. (In work with other people, I can only do my part. I am called to obey. I am responsible before God for my actions, not theirs.)

The daily housework is producing a legacy of home. The daily decisions- the daily work- make up the memories that our children will carry with them when they leave our home. 

Every day of practicing piano is building up to a skill level that I'm not at yet. I will never get better if I wait for a long time to practice or just think about practicing. Twenty minutes here and there adds up. 

A legacy of serving God is built upon obeying today. This is the one that really matters. Am I obeying today? Am I doing my duty today? Am I loving today? 

Today counts. Today matters. 

What are you doing today? 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday Favorites

1. The End of Mommy-Guilt. Let's talk about balance, shall we?

2. And we value our men...Just for my father-in-law who, after Monday's post, asked when there would be a post about men.

3. Because we do have a choice.

But most of all....I did the best thing this week. Well, last week actually. 

Are you ready? 

I deleted my Facebook app off my iPad. 

Now I still have Facebook but I only check it on my computer. At naptime and right after the boys are in bed.  
This move has several good points. 
-I'm not tempted to scroll through facebook every time I walk through the kitchen. 
-I'm more invested in what's going on in our home. 
-And...I feel like I'm more creative. I'm finding time to do other things...

Like this! 


He has a long way to go. I've only worked on it for two days and it's oil paint so I have to let it dry before I mess with it more. But I'm super excited about him! 

Happy Weekend everyone! 


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

It's Not Supposed to Be Easy

Expectations are killers. I can have expectations for how my day is supposed to go, how everyone else is supposed to act, and how I am supposed to feel and those expectations mean nothing. Absolutely nothing. If I can't even control how I feel about things how on earth do I expect to control how someone else acts? And you know what's worse? When things don't go the way I expect it affects how I feel and often how I act.

Here's a big expectation for me. It's supposed to be easy. If I were good at what I do- if I were a good Christian- then being a wife and mom, being a Christian would be easy. I wouldn't struggle with being content. I wouldn't struggle with finding my joy in Jesus instead of my circumstances. I wouldn't struggle with selfishness.

But you won't find that expectation in the Bible. It's not supposed to be easy. The Bible speaks of taking up our cross, dying to self, mortifying the deeds of the flesh, persevering in adversity. It never mentions only doing things that feel good or that you enjoy.

You're not necessarily doing anything wrong if it's not easy. (Now the path of a sinner is hard. See Proverbs 22:5. But I'm not talking about adding hardship to life through sin. I'm talking about life- the day in and out of God's will.) This realization is reassuring beyond measure to me.

I always assumed that if it was hard or I struggled then I was doing something wrong. Or there was something wrong with me. That's a bad expectation for me because I find that doing this work God has placed before me isn't easy. It's not easy to be a wife as the Bible defines a wife. It's not easy to be a mom that loves, teaches, and trains those babies. It's not easy to strive to be a lady that's outlined in the Bible.

We even see this in "secular" life. The activities that bring results aren't easy. No one expects them to be easy.  Working out isn't supposed to be easy. Ever tried Insanity? Definitely not easy. Why do people do it if it's so hard? Because it brings results. Sitting on the couch is easy but it doesn't bring results or change.

Practicing piano isn't easy. Some days it drives me crazy!! But I keep at it because practice brings results. Listening to music or only playing what I'm good at would be easy. But I wouldn't get better.

Life's like that too. Mothering, marriage, jobs, relationships aren't necessarily supposed to be easy.

Some days it's hard.

Some days I have to make myself do the things I don't want to.(And fake a smile while I'm at it.)

So many days I think "Wow, this is not easy." And then I remind myself it's not supposed to be and it takes so much pressure off myself. It can be hard. That's ok. God knows that I appreciate being a mother and a wife and anything else even while I acknowledge that it can be hard. It doesn't mean I'm not trying to be godly or thankful or loving.

But God is using those hard days to make me better. He's using those days to bring results in my life- to make me more like Jesus.

The goal is for me to look like Jesus (Philippians 1:21). Not for life to be easy. I am God's workmanship (Ephesians 2:10), His masterpiece. He is building, sculpting, honing me into something useful, productive, beautiful.  Sculptors and carpenters and builders use tools like sandpaper, chisels, hammers, and kilns.

Sandpaper doesn't feel good. A hammer and chisel can't feel good either. But it gets rid of all the material- the elements- that don't look like the goal. God has an image to guide Him and He is making me into something useful and beautiful and helpful.

Sometimes life's sandpaper. Sometimes it's a hammer and chisel. Sometimes life's just hard.

Don't stop because it's hard. Know your Bible principles and follow them regardless of how you feel. Feelings aren't supposed to be the leaders because feelings make really bad leaders. Relieve yourself of your expectations and remind yourself that it's ok if it's hard.

It's supposed to be hard.

Monday, October 21, 2013

How Being a Mom Is Like Being a Celebrity

Lately I've realized I'm as close to being a celebrity as I'll ever be and all from being a mom. I think I'll enjoy my little piece of the spotlight while it's here. 

How exactly is being a mom like being a celebrity? 

1. I have adoring fans.  I cannot imagine that anyone is more excited to see a celebrity than my children are to see me. Especially after I've been in the bathroom- ALONE- for five minutes. 

2. I receive focused public attention. People stop me in public all the time to comment on how adorable my kids are. Granted, they aren't saying anything about me but since people never stopped me in public before at all...I'll take it. 

photo courtesy of stuart miles/freedigitalphotos.net


3. I spend money. We all know celebrities spend more money than I'll ever have on clothes, tans,  and personal trainers. I spend my money on bananas, mushrooms, and new g-tubes. 

4. I get imitated. People dress like their favorite actress, do their hair like them, and buy that same brand of nail polish. (Not gonna make you famous, honey!) My children mimic everything I do! Nothing like realizing you should stop doing something once you see your three-year-old do it. 

5. There's that paparazzi problem.  Maybe that unflattering picture isn't splashed across a magazine cover at the grocery store checkout but it is posted on Facebook because, after all, "the baby looks adorable!" And then, they tag it. 

6. Talents are sometimes greatly exaggerated. My kids think it's the bomb when I sing with Pandora and hit some high notes. My husband...not so much.  

7. People are always tugging at my clothes! Thankfully, it's not creepy like it would be if it were strangers. I've never had to call the police or my bodyguard about it. 

I've never had any desire to be famous but if it starts to sound appealing I'll just remind myself that I'm famous enough. 

Have you ever noticed that motherhood resembles fame?