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?