Friday, June 28, 2013

Friday Favorites

1. I love the message Jessica presents in this video.  If we all did something about our convictions, like she did, we might make a bigger difference than we think.  We might not have the exact same standards but the issue is well-presented. 

2. And back to Inspired to Action for an thought-provoking article when we are tempted to compare. God put you exactly where He wanted you!

3. To Love, Honor, and Vacuum had an excellent article about following your passion in work.  "If you want to create a career for yourself, you have to first think, “what is my audience thirsty for?” Then fill that void."

4. And thank you, Psychology Today, for this article about why French kids don't have ADHD. Not sure you want to read it? This will sum it up for you. 
As a therapist who works with children, it makes perfect sense to me that French children don't need medications to control their behavior because they learn self-control early in their lives. The children grow up in families in which the rules are well-understood, and a clear family hierarchy is firmly in place. In French families, as Druckerman describes them, parents are firmly in charge of their kids—instead of the American family style, in which the situation is all too often vice versa.

5. And in light of the Supreme Court's decision, here's how I feel about this. And I even refrained from sharing this on Facebook.  Be warned, you should avoid the comments below the article. 

And now the pictures! 

We went to some friends so Micah could go swimming on Sunday. Kevin showed his adorableness while napping! Seriously....cutest baby ever! 

Mary Poppins is still the favorite movie. Here are a few different ways we watch it! 

Baby love! 

Jelly is the favorite food right now. You lick it off before you eat the bread. 

I have no words for this! hahahaha Life with kids is so fun! 

First garden produce! 

We can scatter toys like nobody's business. Big brother might have helped a little. 

We had chimichangas this week and I made one, actually two, for Micah. He devoured them like he had never seen food before. Score! 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What Do You Want To Be Known For?

I have an overactive imagination.It sometimes causes me problems but other times it's very helpful! (I stopped watching crime shows when I was pregnant with Micah and that helped my nighttime jitters a lot!) But my imagination allows  me to picture scenes in life that haven't really happened. Sometimes I think about what I want my funeral to look like. It reminds me of that scene in The Jungle Book when they think Baloo has died and Bagheera says all those nice things about him!  What are people going to say about me? Obviously I'm not trying to live for what others think but my life does speak to others and I want it to say the right things.

Our preacher read a story in church from one of our missionary letters and in it the lady mentioned that it was much easier for her family to serve God now that her husband had died! And after hearing the rest of the story I believed it. What a sad testimony for a life!  That's not what I want to be said about me after I'm dead!

Maybe you have grandiose ideas of how you are going to be and who your family and loved ones will remember but that's not reality. They are going to remember today. They are going to remember yesterday. Who are you in those moments? Every day you are becoming the person you will be when you're old. 

When I think about the legacy I want to leave there are a lot of things that don't matter. I don't care if my kids remember how smart I was. Or how hard I tried to be pretty. Or how other people admired me. I don't care if they think I was a good piano player. I don't even care if they think I kept a really clean house!  If those aren't the things I want them to remember they should not be my first focus. 

There are some things I want others to know and remember about me. These are the things I want to focus on in my life. 
  • I want them to know that I loved Jesus. Am I loving Jesus today? Do they see that love lived out in me? It's not enough to say that I love Jesus. I want them to see Jesus' love through me. 
  • I want them to know that I loved my husband. I want my life to be a testament of my faithfulness and love to him and his vision for our family. That is manifested in our day-to-day moments not in a couple of "big" memories. How do I greet him when he comes home? How do I answer his questions? How do I respond to his suggestions? How do I talk about him to others? 
  • I want them to know that I loved my children.  God is letting me raise His precious children. I want them to know that I loved and cherished and took seriously my opportunity to be a mother. I want them to look back at what I taught them and know that it was all to point them to Jesus. 
  • I want them to know that Jesus can transform their life. I'm nothing special. There's nothing good in me. But Jesus can take anything and make it something He can use. I don't want them to see those first three things and think that I'm anything important. I want them to see those first three things and know that I couldn't have lived that faithfully my whole life on my own. I needed Jesus. They need Jesus. 
It's easy to see from looking at this that I want to be remembered for love. Not my love but God's love coming through me. My love is impatient, expectant, selfish, demanding. God's love is kind, longsuffering, humble. (1 Cor. 13:4-7) What am I doing today to show this love so that it will be what's remembered about my life? 

Knowing what I want to be remembered for will help me prioritize and make decisions. It will help me bite back angry words. It will help me discipline my children (Pro. 13:24). It will help me look over trangressions against me. It will help me choose not only the right words but also the right tone to say them in. 

As the Veggie Tales song says, "Our lives are better because (s)he loves us." I hope that's the truth for those who know me. Maybe I'll ask my husband to write it on my tombstone.  It certainly sounds better than "She lived her whole life for herself." 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Winning Husbands

Sometime this spring I did a Bible study in 1 Peter. I love the practicality of Peter's writing. He was a fisherman, not a scholar like Paul, and I love how God designs and uses different kinds of people. He doesn't want us to be the same! But I digress. That's not my point for this post. 

In chapter three (which contains a lot of controversial stuff for our generation) Peter tells us that wives can live in such a way that they could win an unsaved husband to Jesus. We must have a profound influence on our husbands for that to be true! I also think there are great marriage principles in here for wives with Christian husbands as well! 
Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;  1 Peter 3:1
1. First we see how they aren't won. They aren't won with words. Women have a lot of words and we can use them like weapons. But it never works.  A husband isn't won by lecturing or scolding. Not by being preached at or obnoxiously prayed over aloud. 
  • No nagging. Let him be him. 
  • No mothering. My husband already has a wonderful mom; he doesn't need me to try to be one. Let him be a man. 
  • No sermons. No lectures on how he could be a better dad. No accusations about how he doesn't do certain things. 
  • No criticizing. There are plenty of people in the world ready to criticize my husband. He needs my support. 
The main thing I try to do with my speech is to "shut up for Jesus." So much does NOT need to be said. God didn't design me to be the world's conscience. Or my husband's conscience. (That's not my place. I can save myself a lot of mental distress by not obsessing with all the things I see wrong that I either can't change or aren't my place to change. This is one of my general life principles.)

2. But then they are won "by the conversation of the wives." Conversation means lifestyle. How they lived day in and day out. 
-how do they teach the children?
-how do they keep the house?
-how do they manage money?
-what tone of voice do they use?
-how do they handle discouragement?
-how do they manage their time?
-how do they respond to their husband? 
All of these things- and many others-  should show Jesus to others. Not our carnal nature. Not our natural reactions, but Jesus. Does my behavior match up with the Bible? That is the ultimate litmus test. 

This is such a profound verse to me because married people see the best in each other- but most often they see the worst. We reserve our contempt for our husband. We reserve our criticisms, our bad moods, our irritability for our husbands. And sometimes we feel justified in this because "they have to love us." 

I don't know about you but I don't want my husband to "have" to love me! I want to be easy to love. I make to win his heart every day. I want to be crown to him. (Pro. 12:4)

Now I am blessed with an amazing Christian husband! I don't need my lifestyle to win Him to Christ; He already knows Jesus. But I do want to live with my Christianity that genuine. A Christianity so real that the person who knows me best would say that Jesus lives in me. Who we are at home is who we really are. 

Also I don't want to treat my wonderful husband any less well than I would a husband that I needed to win to Jesus. Instead my gratitude toward God for my husband should spur me on to be the best wife I can possible be! 

One last thing- if, by God's grace, we live this kind of Christianity out in front of our husbands, it will also be visible to anyone else who knows us and needs to know Jesus. And isn't that what we want? 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday Favorites

I love music. Pandora always sends me an email toward the end of the month telling me that I only have x number of free listening hours left. It's always sad. (Anybody want to buy me a year subscription to Pandora One??) But rhythms are an essential part of music. They make the music work; they make the music enjoyable. And rhythms in life are equally wonderful. The same things repeated over and over at the appropriate time make life beautiful and stable. 

We have a few rhythms specifically for our marriage. I love being married to my husband but it's an intentional building of our relationship. I love to go on dates with my hubby. No kids, a nice restaurant, that whole spill. But that's expensive, you need babysitters, and you have to be back by bedtime! So one of our rhythms is Friday Night Date Night at home. We  started this a few months ago and it's one of our favorites. How do we do it? 

photo courtesty of sattva/

1. We put the boys in bed early! Or at least we try to. We tend to take forever with the bedtime routine because we're having too much fun. Good problem to have, right? 

2. We alternate picking movies. So far I've taken pity on the man and not picked a musical. You have to draw the line somewhere. The line also says I don't have to watch Forrest Gump

3. We have dessert! I almost always make a dessert on Friday and we share it during the movie. (Usually this is our only dessert of the week.) One time we did have pizza; we were going to eat such a late dinner that we decided to just wait. That was fun too. 

4. No technology or other work. We don't surf Facebook or write blog posts. We don't fold laundry or work out. We just spend time together. No, really, we're those annoying people that talk all through movies. About the movie and anything else that comes to mind too. 

So far we've watched a movie every time although we've not always finished them. Namely when the movie was long and a teething baby was up and down the whole time! Life happens; but if you don't attempt something it will never happen! We frequently end up in the yard looking at the garden and daydreaming before we start the movie though. 

What are some ways you build your marriage? What else would you do on your in home dates? 

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Love, love, love this picture of me and Micah! I think pictures like this are so much better than posed studio pictures. 

In other news, there's a reason we keep an extra g-tube in the car. It's so that when Micah's g-tube comes out when we're practicing music after church we can just put a new one in. No big deal, right? Thankfully it really wasn't. Much simpler than a trip to the hospital. Kudos to my husband who could have been a medical professional. And kudos to our budget because ER visits went up with insurance changes. Again, we budget- so it's not a big deal.  Budget, oh how I love thee. Most of the time anyway. 

We're still revamping our "schedule" around here. Really rhythm is a better word. Affix tasks to certain times or other activities and then you don't have to remember them. They just get done!  (You do still actually have to do them though. You just don't have to worry about when.)
  • We're still cleaning on Mondays now. So far I like it. We'll finish out the month and decide from there.
  • Micah no longer naps so we are transitioning to quiet time. We're both doing well with it so far although it's a big change. 
Overall I think both of these changes will really help once we start official school with Micah. Right now we are only doing unofficial work. Don't ask me what the difference is.

I think I'll do a review of our weekly schedule rhythm in a few weeks because quite a bit of it has changed since we had Kevin. 

Enjoy your Thursday! Our pastor and his family will be joining us for dinner tonight. Doesn't that sound better than saying  that "we'll be having them for dinner"? Proofreading really is a wonderful thing!  

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My Road To Selfishness

"I really deserve some time to myself. I just want to go somewhere alone for a while! Do something exciting and fun!"

I've lived with myself a while. Whenever I hear those words running through my brain I know that I am traveling down the road of selfishness. It is not a pleasant road and I am not a pretty person on that road.

photo courtesy of mrpuen/

When I'm traveling this road I'm not speaking truth to myself. And when I'm not speaking truth to myself it is easy to start believing the lies of the enemy. Lies like, "My husband doesn't care about me." "My kids are in my way." "God's not doing anything in my life right now." These lies can tear apart the fabric of our home. These lies can destroy relationships. These are lies because they are directly contrary to the Bible. And I want to correct myself as quickly as possible when I'm going contrary to the Bible.

Women lived for centuries without this "alone time" that is so popular now. Alone time. Me time. Personal time. Whatever it's called it's really a call to get away from the "menial" work that wives and mothers do and find some excitement. Excitement that leaves me more discontented and unhappy when it's over.

 Ask Susanna Wesley about alone time. She had it. Yes, that Susanna Wesley. I distinctly remember reading (don't ask me where) that she taught her children to play quietly nearby while she prayed under her apron. That's the alone time she needed: time with Jesus. It's the alone time I need as well.

Jesus Himself left his work to spend time with God. It's never recorded that He laid around whining about wanting vacation or Starbucks. And Jesus had many more burdens than I do. When I search for escapes I grow more selfish and more discontent. The flesh is insatiable.

So what do I do when I find myself on this road to selfishness?
1. Confess my sin.  I tell God about my selfishness. He already knows anyway. And then I confess to other people if I'm sinned against them. (Usually my husband or children. Because I'm too fake to act that way to others, right?)

2. Ask for God's grace. Grace has been defined as "the desire and power to do God's will." Sometimes I don't even want to do what God wants. But I do want to want to do what God wants.

3. Commit to God's plan. When I start thinking about how nice it would be to go out to eat for dinner or go on vacation, I banish those thoughts. What does God want me to do? Commit to it mentally. Then get to work physically.

I've been training myself to ask "What does God want me to do right now?" instead of thinking about what I do or don't want to do. Telling myself "no" gets easier the more I do it, is just as hard each time as the first time. But there is satisfaction in knowing that I'm striving to please my Master instead of giving in to myself. There is satisfaction in knowing that I'm creating beautiful memories for my family instead of making an idol of me.

There are times for vacations and Starbucks and yes, even a few hours apart from our home and responsibilities. But those times aren't just any moment when I happen to not want to do what's before me. Instead I need to die to self and serve like Jesus.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Father's Day and a Gift Idea

Normally shopping for my husband leaves me very puzzled but this year I saw this! This was a great idea for us because we don't budget huge amounts for gifts. (Anybody that knows us just laughed because we're tightwads.) Obviously this present was really from the boys but I had a great time shopping and deciding on items. 

Note to self: never shop for gun accessories without something more specific than a brand name. You'll never be able to figure out what would be best. 

So what did we put in our basket, er, gift bag? (I want to be crafty. I really do. But I always think of a bazillion other things to be doing. Plus you have to buy the stuff to be crafty. See note above about tightwads.)

iTunes gift card

2 Zero bars. He loves them and this is the only way you can buy them at our Wal-Mart. No big bags or anything. 


Cream Soda in glass bottles! 

We made this cute little craft at Toddler Time. 

And then we popped it all in a bag with a card that Micah colored on. And then I stuffed it in a new hiding place that I just thought of this week. I can't tell where it is because I need to keep using it!

My husband is such a great daddy! Our boys adore him and he's such a great role model for them. One of my favorite things about my husband is that he's so stable. He's the same day in and day out. And he provides stability for our family too. He finds what he believes God wants him to do and he does it. Our family couldn't have a better leader. We are blessed beyond measure!

And Happy Father's Day to my dad and father-in-law! Thanks for all you both do for us! We love you both! 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Friday Favorites

Hanging out in the clothes basket. Cause he's little and he can! 

Sitting up in bed! Guess we'll be moving that mattress down. Micah was very intrigued by this new behavior. 

This is how I found him after naptime. 

Playing outside! Love his little face! And his crazy hair :) 

Love this! 

Silly, silly boys! 

The hubby working on the swing set! 

Love, love, love our house! 

Micah was waiting on breakfast and Bible time. So cute! 

We took a picture to send to Daddy during the afternoon! 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Truth

I think it's time I told you the truth. 

Loosen up. No embarrassing secrets to follow. 

The truth is that you can follow all of these homemaking tips. You can read books that I like. You can set goals and even reach them. You can have a schedule. You can get out of bed early.  You can check off any list of good things that you want and guess what? You can still miss out on the most important thing. 

What is this most important thing? Time with Jesus. I'm contemplating a subtle philosophical change I've experienced in the past month. It's so subtle that I can't really put into words exactly what's changed yet but there has been a change. It's shown up in my behavior in a certain area I've been praying about. It's shown up in my attitude during my days.  And it's not something I did on my own; I can take no credit. This is an area I've tried to improve in and I've managed for a day or two before I give in to mental exhaustion. My own strength isn't enough. So where did this change come from? Reading my Bible and praying. Letting Jesus work in my heart. 

Ever admitted to yourself that you're the problem? That it's not your husband or your kids. It's not your parents or your preacher. It's not your situation in life or your job. It's one of my most used "desperate" pleas in prayer. I know the problem is ME! And when I pray about situations I admit that and then ask God to change me instead of changing what's going on. To change my heart. To change my thoughts. To change my attitude. 

And He can. He does. But it takes time. This doesn't happen overnight; it's an abiding relationship with God day after day. Reading and praying. Then living. Reading and praying. And working. Reading and praying some more. 

So if you can only do one thing forget the goals, the books, the tips, the schedules. Pursue a relationship with God. Read your Bible every single day. Pray. Obey what you read. Our preacher tells us that people never grow past their obedience. When you stop obeying you stop growing right there. 
The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord. Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established. Proverbs 16:1,3
God can change your heart. He can prepare you for your work. He can guide your thoughts. But you have to fill yourself with Him. You can't pour junk in and expect Him to have free course in your life (2 Thessalonians. 3:1).  Transformation- and that's what I'm after- a real change in my heart, not outward conformation to some rules- comes only through renewing our minds (Romans 12:2). What are you putting in your head? What are you thinking? Watching? Hearing?

Spend time with Jesus. Admit you are the problem. Ask Him for help. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Friday Favorites

A lady at church gave us an ice cream maker! It's amazing! We made strawberry sorbet in it and it was so yummy!  And I didn't take a picture. What on earth is wrong with me?? 

This article about motives for dress was really good. Too often we are dressing to impress other women. Why do we wear what we wear? 

Fuzzy picture. Happy boy! 

Skillet Foccacia Bread- you MUST make this. It's amazing. And so easy. 

Another happy boy! 

Someone shared this on Facebook so I have no credit for it...but I loved this quote. It's so true. 

Pretzel bread! Yes, I can seriously eat a whole loaf in one sitting. They're smaller than they look. Ok, not really...

And I'm thankful I didn't burn the house down. If you are not attempting to set something on fire you should not put dough in the oven to rise and then turn on the broiler ten minutes later. And I really liked that bowl. Thankfully nothing actually caught on fire. My guardian angel is going to ask for a reassignment. 

My parents are visiting today so we are having fun with them! Enjoy your weekend! 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

June Experiment

Monday I did something that I hadn't done in several years. No, I didn't sleep until 11.  I cleaned my whole house in one day. 

(You were waiting on something more exciting than that, weren't you?) 

That's right. I cleaned the whole thing, minus the mopping. (But that's because my mop broke and we sent it back and I don't have the new one yet.) It didn't seem to take that long and I felt really accomplished. So accomplished that I wanted to mention it on Facebook. I didn't. Just like I wanted to mention on Facebook that I weigh less now than I did when I went to college. So far I haven't. Not saying it's not going to happen though. 

I got started before the boys woke up; finished some more once I got Micah going and then did a little more after Kevin was up. We had the majority of it finished before we ate our late breakfast. 

Photo courtesy of podpad/

Now I've always been a scheduled-let's-do-a-little-every-day kinda cleaner. But I've read that this one day cleaning is a common practice of moms with many and I figured it might help even though I just have two. So for June I'm going to try doing all my cleaning on Mondays.

  • I picked Monday because the house always seems especially dirty after the weekends. 
  • I still clean up the kitchen and sweep every day. 
  • I'll still wipe up the bathroom on Fridays. They just get gross. 
These past two days I've really enjoyed not needing to clean. I want to use the extra time to do "preschool" activities with Micah. He seemed to really enjoy them yesterday. 

I think the key will be getting an early start. If I'm up cleaning and doing laundry early on Monday then I think it won't present a problem. Now if we have a late start on a Monday, this will probably stress me out.  

So here's to mornings. At least Monday mornings.

Monday, June 3, 2013

9 Months Old!

Baby Kevin was nine months old yesterday! I hate to think he's already that old but he is plenty fun to make up for it! I want to do a home photo shoot with him but I'll give it a few more days till he's feeling better. He appears to have the same virus that Micah had last week. He's holding up well though.

Weight: 21 pounds (75%)
Height: 30 inches (75%)

(He's our tiny baby as Micah was 99%!)

He has two bottom teeth. His two top teeth are ready to come through any day now! He doesn't crawl yet exactly but he can scoot anywhere he wants to go!

So glad I'm his mama!

Asian Bowls

I sat and stared at this picture for a good ten minutes and didn't come up with anything to say. (Ok, really we're watching the end of Star Trek: Voyager and I was distracted. I hate for any show to end but they did a decent job on this one.) My hubby typed a few sentences and that was enough to let me know I couldn't let him write the post! 

This is a very simple dish that can be modified easily to create many varieties. Easy "asian" food.

It's yummy. 

I would eat it now if I had any. 

I'm going to keep it simple. You need some rice. I've been using brown rice that I've cooked in chicken broth. So yummy and the brown is much better for us. 

Then you need veggies. I've been boiling carrots and then adding broccoli for the last few minutes until both are barely tender. Salt and pepper, people. They'll get extra flavor from the sauce at the end. 

Then you need meat. I've used chicken but this would be delicious with steak too, or even pork. 
You can try this or this or this. (Although I cook the teriyaki chicken in a pan instead of the crock-pot.) I usually make extra sauce to pour over the whole thing. And sometimes, I put mushrooms in with the meat. Yum! 

Use a bowl, unless you're really hungry- then use a plate. Rice first. Then spread veggies over the rice. Then meat over the veggies. And then pour, ok, maybe drizzle, the sauce over the meal. 

This would be especially fast if you already had the rice cooked! But even with cooking the rice-especially instant- this is fast, delicious, and healthy! Oh, and it's cheap too!