Wednesday, October 27, 2010

He's 15 months...

Our precious babe is 15 months today. Seems unreal. As I type this he is running around the house, squealing with delight, point to Buzz Light Year, saying "dis! dis!" (this).

His primary words now are dis (this), dat (that), uh-oh, da-da, dee (drink) and ah-duh (all done). My favorite is uh-oh. He says it and the "oh" part of it sticks for a long time. It's the most intense "oh" I have ever seen.

In his mercy, God granted me a beautiful glimpse into Easton's life last week as we played on the trampoline together. Easton thinks it's hilarious when he walks on the trampoline. He stands up slowly, taking one timid step and gearing up to take the next and before he knows it, I am bouncing him and he falls to the mat in stitches of laughter that make my heart smile. He does it over and over and over again and I really can't get enough. Hearing him laugh is so refreshing to my soul. Something about that baby laugh, being outside in the cool air, looking up into the sky, did more for my soul in that moment than any reading or other discipline could have done. Just being with him, having fun, seeing his personality in action, God gave me a renewed passion and hope as I pray for him and live out the days with him, seeing what God will do with his life.

He delights in wearing hats. He walked in at Life Group one night during a in-depth and serious part of the discussion wearing this. How can you not crack a smile at that?

Could those eyes get any bigger (or bluer?)???

He loves playing with his BFF, Weston. I think I laugh more when watching these two play together than almost anything else. It's a joy to watch these babies learning how to play and interact with each other.

I look forward to every day with this little comedian, drama king and heartbreaker.

Happy 15 months, Easy E!
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Monday, October 25, 2010

Wood Block Photo Display

 My MOPS group got together last week and made these adorable wooden blocks. They are a beautiful way to display a picture you love and switch it out whenever you desire.

Here's a tutorial of something very similar:

Easy Photo Blocks

To give a simplistic idea of what we did:

One of the men in our lives cut the wood and beveled it for us.

We painted the blocks and sanded the edges. (Yes, I used my very first power tool. And Allen knew about it!)

All the ladies picked out a piece or two of scrapbook paper.

We modge podged the paper to the wood block.

Picked out some coordinating ribbons, fluffy yarn, and other decorative items to hot glue to the top.

Selected a button paper clip or modged podged our own binder clip to fancy it up. Sanded the back of it to rough it up a bit, and hot glued it to the block.

A precious way to display a photo! I am making lots of these for Christmas gifts. I think they will be perfect: a photo of the family displayed in a beautiful, handmade way. Let me know if you make these. I'd love to see pictures.

My table of happy crafters!

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Halloween Wreath

My friend and I made these wreaths based on a few tutorials we thought were cute:

Boo Wreath
Ruffle Wreath

Ours is a combo of the two. We liked the ruffle, but also like the idea of making it holiday-specific. My goal is to make it interchangeable. So after Halloween, I have some fall fabric that I will make flowers with and attach. At Christmas I can attach some berries and Christmas flowers and make this a year-round wreath! That is super exciting to me!

We followed the directions on the Ruffle Wreath tutorial except we didn't hot glue the front ruffle, we stitched it on with a loose stitch. The hot glue wasn't working so well and with it being burlap, we decided to stitch so that our fingers didn't burn off. Burlap and high temp hot glue should not go together. Not a good combo.

And we modge-podged the scrapbook paper to the BOO letters and I simply pinned the bows into the wreath. I cut a long scrap of fabric to hang it from. Voila! I will update with the Fall Wreath when I switch it over...hopefully every season! This is a very easy, practical way to spruce up your home during the different seasons! Love it!

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Gospel Ministry

Allen has written some really helpful blog posts about our Gospel Ministry as he is going through Galatians at New Life this fall. I strongly encourage you to take a look:

Practical Suggestions for Fulfilling our Gospel Ministry

Fulfilling our Gospel Ministry by Remembering the Poor

Never Graduate from the Gospel

I was thinking it might be fun to get together and make some of these bags that Allen referenced in the post about remembering the poor. We could call them "Good News Bags" and include a copy of the scriptures. After all, we want to nourish their souls as well as their bodies. Anyone interested?

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Monday, October 04, 2010

Psalm 139

I had the wonderful opportunity to speak about Psalm 139 at my MOPS group last month. I love this Psalm and want to share my findings with you.

O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.
You hem me in--behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

God has a perfect, in-depth knowledge of you. God knows your thoughts, words and motives. He is not a far-off God who distances Himself from His people, but instead He knows the ins and outs of your lives. He knows every single detail.

He knows your thoughts about yourselves: negative or prideful
He knows your words towards our children: harsh or gentle
He knows your motives towards our husbands or roommates: loving and submissive, or irritated, bitter and unsubmissive
He knows your motives in posting things on Facebook or your blog: self-promoting or a humble discovery, something we want to share with others
He knows when you are tired and need encouragement
He knows when you struggle
He knows that there is nowhere you can flee

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

There's no hiding from God. There's no place you can get away from the knowledge of God or His knowledge of you. This is a good thing if we are His children! We serve a God who is omnipresent. There is no place we can go that is not under His precious care.

Beckett loves to run from Allen while they are playing together. I'm sure even the neighbors can hear him, giggles fill the house and everyone has a smile on their face. But there are times when our children run from us for other reasons. They have disobeyed. They are hiding something. We do the same thing with God. We try to hide for those same reasons. We are nervous and fearful and feel we have disappointed Him.

We need to recognize this as a GOOD thing, that we are aware of our sin. Our sin did not catch God off guard. When Eve at the fruit in the garden, God wasn't scrambling around for Plan B. He knew all along that we would rebel against Him before the creation of the world, and His plan included the craziest, most loving idea to put on flesh and come into the world to rescue His people. He did it through His Son, Jesus Christ, who lived a perfect, sinless life and took on the punishment that we deserve, dying on a cross. When we believe that we are sinful and trust that Jesus has paid our punishment, we are reconciled to God.

The good news is that believers don't have to wallow in condemnation anymore! We fall short.

If we take our cues from the world, it's easy to believe that God would give us the cold shoulder like people do when I let them down, but God isn't like that. He's ready to embrace, ready to welcome us home, like the parable of the prodigal son.

I recognize this every day that I have been a Mom. I have never been an impatient person (that I knew of) prior to kids. When the kids came along, my impatience rose to the surface (it was there all along) and I realized it was something I needed to deal with. I once read a book that mentioned a sermon on anger and impatience, in which the altar after the sermon was filled with people. All moms of young children. Imagine that.

Every day I recognize areas where I fall short, and I turn to Jesus, who offers grace. I need His strength in order to change. All the discipline and effort won't keep me from falling short. I may be able to change outwardly by myself but it's simply the behavior that has changed, not the heart behind that behavior. God is the one who changes hearts. So thankful for that grace!

Tim Chester says it well, "Without grace, we view life as a contract between us and God: we do good works, and in return he blesses us. When things go well, we're filled with pride. But when things go badly, either we blame ourselves (and feel guilty) or we blame God (and feel bitter)."

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,  your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!  Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.
It's easy to think of my children in this way because they were actually knit together in my womb, but to think of myself this way? Much more difficult. Why? What does that say about us when we fail to rest in God as Creator? Are you doubting his perfect design of you, doubting how he made your personality, your character, your gifts? If so, like me, you are questioning how you are made and God's design and ultimately, questioning him as Creator.

He carefully knit us together and is working in us now. He is knitting together our lives now, through the good, the bad, the hard times, through the insecurities, struggles, sacrifices and joy that we encounter. 

I once read about Corrie Ten Boom’s analogy of a tapestry. She was a great missionary who would travel with this beautiful tapestry and show the backside first before she revealed the front. Here is an explanation of the tapestry by Mike Hyatt:

“(life) As it unfolds in real time, it’s like viewing the backside of a tapestry. It appears to be nothing more than a jumble of thread—tangled, frayed, occasionally knotted, and seemingly random. Nothing really makes sense. It’s no wonder people lose heart, give up, and abandon their commitments.
But things are not always what they seem. It’s only when you turn a tapestry over that you see the art: the rich colors, the texture, and the patterns that can make a tapestry a thing of astonishing beauty.
Likewise, occasionally God gives us a glimpse at what He is weaving into the fabric of our lives. That momentary peek at glory gives us the courage to soldier on, knowing that nothing happens by accident. No thread of experience—good or bad—is wasted. When it appears to be that way, we just have to remind ourselves that we are simply looking at the backside of a tapestry. And the One weaving it together, knows precisely what He is doing.”

Isaiah 40:31 says, “but those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength; they will mount up on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint." I love and cling to that verse often! Though there may be waiting, struggles, and trials, God will renew our strength. He is with us and sees the moms who are pouring into the lives of little ones day after day, He sees the students who strive to serve Him but are overwhelmed with school and studying, He sees...He knows...He is honored. He gives his children strength everyday through his Holy Spirit who lives in us.

Skipping to the last 2 verses (Allen explains the verses I skipped and more, here):

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Will you be willing to invite God to examine your inner life and rid it of anything that hinders you from walking with Him? Anything that would make you want to expose any grievous way...

David (the writer of this Psalm) has much to be fearful of in God searching him. He committed adultery and murder, just to name a few. But fear didn't keep him from asking God to search and know him. He knew God to be a God full of grace and mercy toward those who trust Him. He knew God's character, knew God was ready to embrace him and welcome him back into His arms.

So thankful to serve that God and not the God I imagine sometimes, the god who requires works, perfection and approval by others. Thankful for the way I was created, the care that is taken on my behalf, the forgiveness offered when I want to flee, the open arms, the grace I'm given, and the work He's doing.

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