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Friday, September 30, 2011

wonderful beautiful ::*Grace*::

It's happened to all of some point or another in your lifetime, you have had one of those days where you wish you could push rewind and do it all over again.  It happened to me on Tuesday.  It was a day that I would define as horrible.  But you know, now that I look back on it, the only thing that made it horrible was my response to the little "inconveniences" that took place.  Instead of walking in light and responding to the not so convenient circumstances with grace, I let my flesh control me and my tongue.  And if you have ever came in contact with me on a not-so-good day, then you know that I can be very good at hurting people with my tongue. Just ask my husband.  This is something that the Lord is working to refine in me everyday. 

It all started while taking the boys out for our morning walk in Mr. Bob.  Now Mr. Bob is a wonderful stroller. I love him.  But for the last few weeks, Mr. Bob's tires have not wanted to stay inflated...not even with fix-a-flat or that green goo stuff.  Now mind you, Mr. Bob was a very expensive stroller and was built for "all terrains".  I have called the company three different times about our little tire problem and was told to replace the innertubes.  So Tuesday morning, Jordan made a special trip to Walmart before having to leave for work just to buy the innertubes so that I could take the boys out for our walk.  Imagine my frustration when I found myself several blocks from the house with a flat tire after just having the tube replaced.  I was so mad that I called and left the company the meanest voicemail you can imagine. And after they failed to return my phone call (I can't imagine why), I called them again and chewed the poor guy out....thus began the start of my bad day.

Later that day, Jordan had to make a trip to Wichita Falls to run some church errands.  I decided to take the boys and go with him.  Now ever since we moved to Vernon about a year ago, I have wanted to visit the big water fall in Wichita and take family pictures there.  So we decided that this was a good opportunity.  However,  once we got to the park, we realized that you can't just drive up the water actually have to walk quite a good ways.  Which wouldn't have been that big of a deal if the tires weren't flat! Once again, I found myself getting frustrated. 

So, we settled on just taking pictures in the park area since it had a pretty stream and greenery. But Josiah, being the curious, little explorer that he is, had no desire to sit still to take a family picture.  Nope, all he wanted to do was run back and forth across the bridge and try to stick his feet in the water...and pester the ducks withs sticks.  This was probably when I should have just tossed the picture idea and took a seat on the bench to enjoy watching him be a little boy.  I didn't.  I can be so stubborn.  So after about 30 minutes of fighting with Josiah to look at the camera and stop crying and resetting the timer about 50 times, I still wasn't pleased with the results.  I found myself getting angry about the fact that I was having to use a point-and-shoot instead of a camera that I could manually adjust the lighting and all that jazz....mad that I had dropped and broke my good camera  a couple of months ago...mad that we couldn't afford to buy the camera that I wanted...frustrated at Jordan because he looked drunk in the one picture that I actually liked.  Have you ever heard the term "hot mess"? I still don't know exactly what the word means but I'm pretty sure it could have described me at that point!

So we decided to leave.  I started looking at the pictures in the car and I couldn't hold back the tears.  Not because the pictures were horrible, but because of how childish I had been...I had acted worse than my two year old.  I had single-handedly turned what was suppose to have been a fun outing into a nightmare.  I apologized to Jordan and he just looked at me and said, "I still love you." All I could do was wonder how that was even possible.  And then it hit me....Grace.  Wonderful. Beautiful....Grace. It's the same reason that my spotless, blameless Jesus still loves me and forgives me when I act according to my flesh.  Grace. Mercy. And I am so unworthy, as we all are. 

I thought really hard about deleting the pictures.  Or at least the ones with me in them, because all I could see when I looked at myself in the pictures was the horrible attitude behind the fake smile.  But I decided to keep them anyway, just to serve as a reminder that I never wanted to act like that again...I never wanted my husband or children to see me like that again.  Most of all, I never wanted my God to see me like that again. 

I am so thankful for my husband who bestows grace upon me everyday...and our boys who still love mommy when she is having an "extra grace required" kinda day.  They truly are my earthly rocks!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Park

There is just something magical about the park.  It is all things wonderful to a child.  Even at only six months of age, Eli loves the park.  And I cannot even pass by the park by our house while taking the boys for a walk without Josiah trying to unstrap himself from the stroller.  Oh, how I am thankful to our Lord for blessing us with cooler weather and actually being able to get outside with the boys.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Elijah Neal {6 months}

My Little Elijah,

You are 6 months old today! You have learned so much in the last few weeks.  To my surprise, you are almost crawling already. You push yourself up on all fours and then belly flop…but you don’t give up.  Nope…you just start army crawling.  I love to sit and watch all of this transpire. 

You have also started sitting up really well...but if you get too excited and lose your balance, you topple right over like humpty-dumpty.

You are officially eating homemade baby food...well, sort's still very new to you and you try to suck it off the spoon.  So far you have had avocadoes, bananas and sweet potatoes. (and I may or may not have dipped your pacifier in a little bit of nutella.  yes, this is probably a no-no, but I felt guilty eating it in front of you and not sharing!)

Here are some other things that you have been up to:

You are finally getting some hair on the top of your head.
You love to pull and chew on mommy's hair.
Josiah is still your favorite person.
You are starting to become a cuddle bug. (you actually fell asleep right up against me for a nap yesterday!)
You've started to really like your swing all of a sudden.
Mommy finally got over her anxiety and started taking you to the nursery during church. 
You love to get in Mr. Bob and go walking with mommy and Josiah.
You like to watch Leap Frog with Josiah.
And baths/showers with daddy are the best.

Oh, and you've become majorly chunky.  And I LOVE it!

I love you so much Eli (my little doodle)!

Keepers at Home {part 1}

So we’ve all been there…sitting in the doctor’s office filling out paperwork and it asks that inevitable question…Occupation?...You would rather leave it blank than write the word “homemaker” on the line.
Or maybe someone introduces them self to you and they ask you what you do…Why is it that you wish you could tell them that you do anything in the world besides stay at home with your children?
I think that one of the big reasons it is so hard to answer this question for some women is because our culture keeps telling us that we are as not as important as the other women  who bring home a paycheck. ..Just think about it…Why is it that a woman who works at a daycare taking care of someone else’s children looked at more highly than the woman who has chosen to sacrifice a career and a paycheck to be able and raise her own children?
I’ll be honest. I have struggled with these questions myself.  Even though I LOVE staying at home with my boys, I have been that woman in the doctor’s office hesitating to put it on paper.  But like any other struggle, God’s Word is quick to point me in the right direction and reassure me of my calling. Titus 2:1-5 says this:

1 But you must speak what is consistent with sound teaching. 2 Older men are to be self-controlled, worthy of respect, sensible, and sound in faith, love, and endurance. 3 In the same way, older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to much wine. [They are] to teach what is good, 4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be sensible, pure, good homemakers, and submissive to their husbands, so that God's message will not be slandered.
Our culture no longer looks to God's Word for answers to questions like: What is the man's role? What is the woman's role? But that doesn't mean that we as individuals should not.  Colossians 3:5 says this:
"Therefore, put to death whatever in you is worldly: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry."

I want to focus on the words "evil desire" and "greed".  Sure, we all want nice things.  For awhile now, I have wanted a souped up camera and a new dining room table set.  And I know that if I went out and found a full time job and sent my boys to daycare, I could have those things and Jordan could have a nice truck in no time at all. 

Don't get me wrong.  This is not a post about whether or not the stay at home mom is better than the mom with a career/job outside the home.

But maybe you should examine your heart and your circumstances.  Is God calling you to give up a career in order to be a homemaker? Has he given you the resources to do so? What are your reasons for working while your children are so young? Is it out of necessity? Or can you make the sacrifice but are unwilling?

For me personally, God has called me to this and He has made a way.  Yes, it is a sacrifice day in and day out. But I do not want to have to stand before the Lord one day and try to explain to him why driving a nice vehicle, having the nicest house on the block, and having my fingernails always manicured was more important to me than being a keeper at home and obeying His commands for me...I do not want to have to explain to him that dressing my children in the nicest clothes and buying them the best toys and even sending them to the best college was more important than obeying His will for me. I do not want to try and explain to Him why I didn't cherish my family above my worldly desires.

I am so thankful that I am a homemaker. I no longer shy away from telling people what it is that I do.  In fact, I will boldly scream it from the roof tops.  I love what I do and I no longer read scriptures about homemaking wishing that the Lord had given us women a different role.  I cannot imagine how it would feel to have to send my boys off to daycare everyday knowing that someone else was shaping their values and witnessing all their changes and growth…and knowing that they wouldn’t get near as excited or proud as I would.   I may not get paid monetarily, but I get paid in ways that money could never buy. My pay is hugs, kisses, smiles, laughter, first words, first steps...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Labor Day Weekend {2011}

So I'm only over a week late on this post but better late than never, right?

The Thursday before Labor Day, we packed up the boys and headed to Bowie. Jeremy and LouAnn's crew were there visiting along with Heather and her girls.  I love it when we all get together and just let the munchkins' run wild....all ten of them! Well, eleven actually if you count baby Deacon who will be making his grand appearance any day now. 

Allow me to introduce all my lovely nieces and nephews:

Let's start with Jeremy and Lou's crew:





And here is Robbie and Heather's crew:





...and Deacon will make 5!

here's a few more pics from our day together:

So we headed back to Vernon Thursday night and my parents came up to visit the next day.  Josiah loves it when his Gammy and Bobpa come to stay.  I'm pretty sure that Bobpa is Josiah's favorite person in the whole world.  He may even love Bobpa more than he loves cheese...and that's a big deal folks! While they were here Jordan and dad went dove hunting and we grilled up what they shot. And by "we", I mean my dad.  It was my first experience eating dove and I have to say it was pretty awesome. 

While they were here, Eli started pushing up on all fours really well:

....and of course, we played at the park:

...until we couldn't play anymore...