Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bringing up Boys

I just started reading Dr. Dobson's book, "Bringing up Boys". So far, I really like it. I am blessed with two very energetic and happy little boys (Timmy 2 and Daniel almost 4). Every day, I try to come up with a way that I can freeze them so they won't grow up...seriously...I've thought of having them sleep in the freezer :) That's why its hard for me to read the book, because it discusses when boys become older and the problems they'll face...and I don't want to think of my baby boys all grown up! But of course I know its reality, so I want to use the time I have with them now to really prepare them for the future. I never wish this time to go by quickly because I know that these are the days I'll treasure forever, the days before they have their own life and so many other outside influences. I look at their first five years of life as real discipleship since I am basically with them all the time and these are the years they are most impressionable. That's why I feel that it is so important that we as mothers fill ourselves with God's Word and His presence during these years (and of course later too)- because our children will be filled from what we give them and if we are empty, how can we fill them?

After reading the first few chapters of Dobson's book, I realized its good to have a goal when raising kids. Its good to remember that one day, my boys will be grown adults living in this world...they may be husbands, fathers, church leaders, teachers, etc, etc, so we have to prepare them for that day.

My goal is to raise honest, caring young men who will be respectful of women, loyal and faithful in their relationships, keepers of commitments, strong and decisive leaders, good workers, and secure in their masculinity. Most importantly, I hope for them to have a lifelong passion and love for Jesus that drives their every thought and action!

God, please help me, I can do nothing at all without You.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Snow Day!

Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever.
1 Chronicles 16:34

What a great day God blessed us with today! It's days like this where you realize His grace and blessings come so freely, even when we least deserve it. God doesn't wait until we are "good" to bless us, He just blesses us because that's His nature :)

The kids had a snow day today and two of their friends came to spend the day with us! So I had 4 kids- one 5 year old, two 3 year olds, and a 2 year old. Believe it or not, it was such a great and easy day! The kids played so nicely together and kept each other occupied. I love watching kids play together- they get so creative and never get bored.

I added in a few structured activities for them to break up the day: morning and afternoon snack, story-time, painting, and a movie; so the day actually flew by! I was also able to get a lot of cleaning/organizing done- stuff I've been wanting to get done for a year now! I am so thankful to God because a day locked in the house with four young children normally would have been tough, but our day was filled with so much peace and joy! Enjoy the pics from our day!

SNACK TIME (veggie chips)

Gracie playing with cars

Antony Reading

Timmy wanting me to take a picture of him :)

Daniel playing with the Veggietales Pirate Ship

All the kids working together to build a castle


This was the longest Timmy ever painted- he loved it :)

Lunchtime (Daniel was pretending to be a pirate with one eye)

My kids eating their bedtime snack

Monday, January 17, 2011

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." MLK, Jr.

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal'" MLK, Jr.

"This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day." MLK, Jr.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Our Pilgrimage

Every Sunday in the liturgy we pray, "and we too, who are sojourners in this place, keep us in Your faith, and grant us your peace unto the end..." Lately, I've been feeling that "the end" is not as far as we'd like to think. I keep thinking that even if we all lived until the age of 99, it is still such a tiny fraction compared to eternity. So are we really living as pilgrims and strangers on this earth or have we settled here?

This week in our women's Bible Study, as we study the Psalms of Ascent, we study the idea of pilgrimage- what it meant for the Jews in the Old Testament and what it means for Christians today. Our study touched upon a subject that has been coming up (literally) several times a day for the past few months- fellowship in our pilgrimage. When we pray in the liturgy, we say "and WE too who are sojourners..." not, "and I too who am I sojourner". Unfortunately, technology, "busyness", and the American ideal of being self-reliant and self-sufficient has caused many of us to take on this pilgrimage...alone.

Our enemy Satan loves to keep us isolated from one another because he knows there is power in number and united spirits. We had such a deep discussion about how our lives have evolved to be so busy yet so shallow. We partly blamed technology (facebook, texting, and e-mail), and we also blamed ourselves for being sucked in to all of it.

The bottom line is that it is up to us to make a deliberate effort to encourage one another on this brief journey to the Life that is waiting for us. Too many people stop their journey short or are discouraged to even begin because they don't want to be alone. It is true that God sometimes ordains seasons in our life to be alone so that we can deepen our relationship with Him, but there is no excuse for the self-centered lives that we have become slaves to.

These are my very simple and practical solutions for now (and believe me, they will be the most challenging for me!):
1) Stop texting so much and actually pick up your phone to call someone!
2) Invite people over your home...often.
3) Stop using facebook walls to tell your "friends" how much they mean to you or how much you want to see them- call them or tell them in person!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Modern Day Martyrs

Life is short.

The message plays itself over and over in my head since my dad was taken from us suddenly at the age of 59 just a few months ago. There was no illness and no warning signs.

Life is short.

The message echoes again when my sister and I rummage through 25 years of memories this Christmas when we begin the process of cleaning my dad's house in preparation for it to be sold.

Life is short.

The message now screams after 24 Coptic Christians are massacred on New Year's Eve as a suicide bomber sets off a car bomb just after church services end.

The truth is, besides the safe and comfortable Christian bubble that we live in, many Christians all over the globe are being persecuted for their faith. Just in the past month, violence and discrimination has intensified not only Egypt, but in Iraq and Nigeria as well.

Not only should we as Christians with religious freedom speak and advocate on their behalf, but we should open our ears to the message that the Holy Spirit is trying to tell the Church as a whole- LIFE IS SHORT.

Sometimes we lose the sense of urgency that Christ desires us to live with because we are so comfortable and death seems so far away. Christ warns us of this when He reprimands the man who built bigger barns in order to store more possessions, "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?'" Luke 12:20.

People living in areas of persecution often have a much greater eternal perspective, and do not hold on to their lives as much as those of us who are only living in the here and the now.

I have begun reading several books on heaven and thankfully, God has allowed me to get a small glimpse of eternity...That is something that has helped me keep the message that "Life is Short" playing in my mind. It helps me to live each day as if it were my last...not necessarily in fear, but in appreciation and enjoyment of God's gift and blessings and in hopeful anticipation of the wonderful Life that is to come.

May God protect His Church around the world and may His name be glorified now and always.