Friday, December 27, 2013
Saturday, December 21, 2013
It was on that first Christmas that God Himself came to earth, in human form, to be with US and it is during this advent season that we prepare our hearts for Him. That takes on special meaning for us this Christmas.
You see, a few things have been happening the last couple of months with our first born son. First, he's been increasingly interested in God and spiritual things. And second, he's been increasingly stubborn and naughty and at times willfully disobedient. I am certain that the second thing is just a phase, a stage he's going through. I'm sure some of it also has to do with not being the baby in the family anymore and I am certain that a lot of it has to do with testing his boundaries!
So, that's what has been happening the last couple of months with Eli. And then recently Lily brought two little sticker booklets home from school that shared about the birth of Jesus. She was encouraged to keep one for herself and to give the other to somebody that might not know Jesus. At lunch that afternoon she said that she wanted to give her extra one to Eli. Eli seemed to take great offense to this...claiming loudly that he had, indeed, already invited Jesus into his heart. So a little bit later I talked to him about it. It was then that he said that he wasn't sure if he had ever asked Jesus into his heart. After a little more discussion he said that he wanted to do just that, but that he wanted to do it later.
The next day we had a bit of a challenging afternoon with Eli (he broke the baby's wooden toy gym by hanging on it...which he had been told many times not to do). Then that night Lily and Liam were asleep- leaving a great opportunity for Eli and I to have a good talk. So we sat in his bed and basically talked about the Gospel and what it means for him. We talked about how he is sinful and about how we are all sinful (this was easy for him to understand after the afternoon we had). We talked about how the punishment for our sin is death (and being separated from God when we die). And then we talked about how much God loves him, and how God doesn't want Eli to die or to be separated from Him...and that's why He sent His son, Jesus, to die in our place and to take our punishment for us. And finally I explained that all Eli needed to do to be forgiven was to pray and tell God that he believes in Him and His son, to ask Him for forgiveness, and to ask Jesus to come into his heart.
You should have seen Eli's face light up when he understood this! I haven't seen a smile on his face like that in a long time! And then right there on his bed we prayed together. I prayed and he prayed right after me...asking Jesus to come into his heart! It was INCREDIBLE!!! Praying with my son to receive Christ was possibly one of the biggest privileges of my life. And after we finished praying Eli (still grinning from ear to ear) asked it I could share with him again about what it means to ask Jesus into your heart (I think he was just so amazed by it that he wanted to hear it again). So I shared about the gospel with him again and then we talked more about heaven...and it was amazing!
Sure, Eli doesn't understand all of the finer aspects of the Gospel, but he has come to God with a child-like faith and I believe that God will honor that faith and I pray that God would grow it in Eli over the years. I am thrilled to watch my Eli grow in his faith and I can only praise the Lord that He would willingly sacrifice His own son to give life to mine!
Monday, December 9, 2013
Here is Liam's little 4 month photo shoot.
Otherwise known as, "My mom likes to dress me in cute animal outfits."
Otherwise known as, "I'm not really a turtle or a giraffe, but it's fun to pretend."
Otherwise known as, "My Grammy made me these adorable things."
Otherwise known as, "I might be a strawberry blond like my sister."
Otherwise known as, "I might be the cutest baby ever."
So, okay, Liam might actually have turned 5 months today, but I got these pictures in a few days ago so it still counts!:) And he's still pretty fantastic. He's starting to roll over, he loves to babble, and he's still just as smiley as ever. Getting him to laugh is pretty easy too although he seems to think that Eli and Sadie are the most entertaining in the family. He's a trooper driving to and from the kid's schools and he's chewing on everything that finds a way to his mouth (though his chew toy of preference is still my fingers). Really he'd be just about perfect if he would just sleep through the night, but alas things have only gotten worse in this area. He's back to getting up every 2-3 hours through the night to eat (but thankfully he goes right back to sleep most of the time)! Overall he's pretty wonderful and I'm more and more in love with him each day!
Sunday, December 8, 2013
If you read this and have a moment please say a little prayer for Joe this week. He is in his last week of his intermediate EMT class with his written final tomorrow (Monday) night and two practical finals on Wednesday and Friday nights. Joe has been working so hard this semester not just in this class, but in ministry, and at home and trying hard to make some time for each. Would you pray that the Lord would bless his efforts and that he would do well on all of his finals? Thanks so much friends!
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Despite the business of our fall it really was beautiful (fall has always been one of my favorites) and it really was one of the nicest falls I can remember. The kids played outside quite a bit (though I don't have any pictures to prove it) and it seemed like our beautiful fall was going to be around for some time until out of nowhere winter seemed to hit last week! So goodbye fall...hello winter (thankfully I like you too). I guess I'm ready to trade in crisp air and colorful leaves for snow days and hot cocoa. But before I do here are some pictures from one of our favorite fall crafts...leaf painting and printing. This one was a big hit and even held Eli's attention for quite a while (until after many prints he decided to mix all of the colors to make brown...which is how all of our painting experiments eventually end for him)!:)
Monday, December 2, 2013
We have had some great semesters and we have had some really hard semesters. And this one? Well, this is the busiest semester we have ever had. My motto for the semester is...It is what it is. Because that's just really all there is to it. It is what it is. There is no changing it, there's no cutting back, there is nothing to adjust. We just need to get through it. It is what it is...and It. Is. Crazy!
It's not just one thing, it's many things. Ministry on campus in the fall is always a little crazy and busy, and since we are the only two staff here this semester is no exception. And yet we never feel like we're doing enough. There is always more that could be done, and more that we want to do. But for now we just have to trust that we are doing what we can and that God will work and move where we cannot. On Tuesdays I meet with a couple of student women for discipleship and it just turned out that the time they could meet was during a day that Joe was not able to be home. So the girls come over to my house and as we talk about Jesus and the gospel and the Holy Spirit and the trinity I am quite literally bouncing a baby. Oh, those girls are so patient with me. And I can only hope and pray that during our time they get a taste of Jesus and a glimpse of what it looks like (the good and the ugly) to be a mom who is doing her best to follow Christ. Oddly, through all the craziness of this semester, I have been more involved with ministry than I have been in a while. I have never been busier, but I am learning to let people into my craziness and to welcome them into my life when it's crazy and busy and messy. I'm learning.
So, ministry has been good and busy (and I am so looking forward to next semester when we'll both have a little more time with the students). And then, of course, life is also busy because we have a baby. He may be the sweetest baby EVER but babies, no matter how sweet, are still a lot of work. I prayed often before he was born that God might somehow give us a laid back baby this time around. I am happy to share that Liam is about as laid back as we are going to get. As long as he is getting some attention and is well fed and rested he is mostly all smiles. But he is still with me all of the time and needs to be held a lot...because he's a baby and that's just the stage he is in (it can be tiring, but I am really trying to soak it all in). Mostly though having a baby is exhausting because I haven't been sleeping through the night in almost 5 months. It is actually quite easy to get our sweet Liam to sleep, but he still wants to get up every 2-3 hours at night to eat. Most of the time he goes blissfully right back to sleep when he's done eating but it is still exhausting to be woken multiple times a night. Good thing I love him so much!
Life is also busy because the kids are now both in school...and two different schools at that. In many ways this is less work than homeschooling, but I'm still busy with the baby while they are at school so it doesn't feel like down time. And because they are in different schools it is quite busy getting them both to and from school each day. We are able to carpool with friends for Lily and that makes a huge difference...not sure we could do it without them!
So these things have made for a busy semester, but by far the biggest factor has been Joe's EMT class. This class is CRAZY. Seriously. We honestly just really had no idea how much work it would be. Because on top of ministry work and family life with a baby Joe is trying to juggle this crazy class which includes night classes 3 days a week, 12 hour days of clinical/field work at least one day a week (this week it is almost four), tests, papers, studying, and just generally so much work. It will be worth it in the end (I know it will be) but right now it just feels crazy. There are often days when Joe doesn't even see the kids. It's hard and it's even harder on him trying his best to balance everything.
But it is what it is. And we just need to get through it. Just another two weeks and we'll be there. We are in the home stretch (but sadly the home stretch will the busiest weeks of them all). But do you know what? In the busiest semester of our lives God is meeting me. He is getting me through in ways that I wasn't even expecting. The exhaustion and craziness that might have sent me over the edge before are somehow okay. Tiring, yes, but okay. He is giving me strength to get through (and some days do even more than simply survive)!:) I am so thankful that I don't have to live this life in my own strength (because that is just long gone these days)!
God is getting us through and next semester is going to feel like vacation in comparison! And until then there is this...
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes are one of our favorite things to do during the Christmas season. Every year we fill one shoebox for each of our kids (to send to a child of the same age and gender in another part of the world)...they get to pick out all of the goodies and it is so good for them. It's good for them to think of others and I love watching them pick out things that they really want (and probably want to keep for themselves some of the time) and send them off happily to a child who has far, far less than they do. This year we got to fill one more shoebox...how fun! And this year I finally got with the program and paid for the shipping of our boxes online which means that our boxes will be tracked and that we should be able to see later where in the world our shoeboxes went...I can't wait to find out!
Thursday, November 21, 2013
I just had to share these pictures of two baby gifts that we are loving right now!
Thank you Nonnie and Grampy for this wonderful swing! He's still just a little bit small for it, but with the little pillow behind him it works even now and he really seems to like it!