Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Not a Preschooler Anymore

She's officially 5 today.

This seems like a big deal. A huge deal. 
How did this happen? And more importantly, how can I make it stop?

I am currently reading, "Keeping the Little in Your Girl" by Dannah Gresh, creator of Secret Keeper Girl, which I fully intend to utilize the resources from. I do want to keep her little. I do want to be who she looks to as an example. I do want to be the one who answers the "why" questions. I want to take the time. I want live out the values that she will take on. I want to give her confidence in how God made her. I want to play princesses, tea party and pretend games for as long as she will let me.


I praise the Lord for you, Taylor Joy. That He created you from the inside out. That God knit you together inside of me just as He wanted to. That you are perfectly made by God's own hands. I so badly desire to live in a way that instills a love of life, a love of learning and a love of God within you. You should know by now that I need help to be able to do that. I need so much grace. 


I can't imagine a better "helper" than you. I don't think I would have survived welcoming our third baby into our home if it hadn't been for you. You delight to grab diapers, to help the boys put on shoes, to buckle them into their carseats, to grab a towel for me when there is a giant spill...The Lord created you with a gift to help. Someday a man will be greatly blessed by that amazing gift. Our whole family has been a recipient of that grace within you.


You also delight in such little things and become so enthusiastic over the simple things in this life. I rejoice that your joyfulness always spills out onto others as you lead the way in playing games, including others, and beginning a new adventure with friends. Joyfulness follows you wherever you go. You are so caring and thoughtful when it comes to your close friends: making notes, giving gifts, making them feel so special. Your friendship is a gift.


The soil of your heart that Daddy and I have been working on for 5 years is ready. We have been fertilizing it, cultivating it and making it ready for the seeds of the Gospel to plant in your life. Some of those seeds are beginning to take root and we see that God is giving you faith...slowly, but surely. God doesn't start something that He doesn't intend to finish. We have great hopes for what God is going to do within your heart. That's a gift from God that I am unable to put into words or put a value on. It's what we have longed for from the moment we found out about you and even before.


I pray this blessing over you Taylor Joy: 
May you boast in the Lord
In His wisdom, in His might, in the riches of His grace. 
May you boast in the grace of knowing the Lord. 
May you be blessed as a tree planted by streams of water.
Not fearing the heat
Not anxious in year of drought
Always bearing fruit
May you be blessed as you trust in the Lord
May you seek God and find Him
For He hears the prayers of His people
May you call upon God and seek Him with all your heart
For He will be found by those who belong to Him.
(taken from Jer. 17 - from a Father's Guide to Blessing Your Children)

Will you join me in praying this over sweet Taylor Joy today? 


Happy 5th Birthday, Sweet Taylor Joy!!!

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Jessie the Cowgirl Party

Taylor Joy's all-time favorite character is Jessie the Cowgirl from Toy Story 2 and 3. She was Jessie for Halloween and she puts on her costume almost everyday when they play dress up. So, naturally, when talk about her 5th birthday came up, Jessie was the subject of that conversation. 

We compromised and made it a Jessie the Cowgirl Party, so as to steer away from an all-out commercial party.

Taylor Joy and sweet Brooklyn

The cowboys and cowgirls

And cowmama with her kiddos...

That's a face of guilt...I know this one all too well...

The craft table...making Bullseye nametags and cowgirl bracelets

Gotta slip in one of this cutie. He wears Taylor's cowgirl hat all around the house just about all day everyday, and yet, would not have any of the cowboy hats that were offered to him this particular day. That's just one of the reasons why he becomes a sermon illustration for Allen so often!

First game: Snake in My Boot
Object of the game: See who can throw the snake into the "boot" from the farthest away

2nd Game: Water the Horses
Object of the Game: In teams of two, dip sponge in first bucket of water and quickly squeeze it out in the second bucket of water. After a specified amount of time (ours was very arbitrary), we check and see which team has more water.

Last game: Pin the Tail on Bullseye
Object of the game: With a bandana over your eyes, get the closest to the space where Bullseye's tail should actually be.

Proud winners!

Yummy food!

Lovely party-goers enjoying watching the games

Quality time with Easton

Ready for the homemade pinata! (in case you can't tell!)

Easton got in a GREAT hit! Excitement all around!

Even some adults were scattering to get the goods

That 5-year-old and her cake

Presents for the princess (that seemed to be the theme of her presents...)

A Sleeping Beauty dress! She has been asking for it and I am thrilled she got it! There is something about getting gifts that promote an activity like pretending, imagination and creativity that make me excited as a parent. I am excited about playing "princesses" with her. 

Oh, and a dress for her baby Emmy, of course! She loves it! I love to see her so excited...

A wonderful day for celebrating my precious girl who was seemingly 3 just yesterday, yet acts like she's 15 everyday. I pray the Lord will give us grace to celebrate and soak in this girl everyday instead of just birthdays.

(Special thanks to Brittney for taking all the pictures and helping with games, Sue for making the delicious food and hosting us, and Mom for bringing the cake and supplies. Made for an easy job for me!)
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Monday, May 02, 2011

Prayer Cards

Several years ago, after reading A Praying Life by Paul Miller, I decided to make some prayer cards to assist me in praying for the people in my life as he did and as he recommends in his book. I thought the idea of praying specific scriptures over my children and husband was a beautiful thing.

I searched the scriptures and asked the Lord to help me choose the ones that were right for my children and for Allen, ones that would speak to the calling God has on their life and to the giftings he has given them as well as the struggles they will face and the Lord laid some on my heart.

Since them, I have made many others for women to use a little more generically with blanks at the top to fill in with stickers the names of your children or husband or whoever you want that card to be for. I would love to share them with you as well. But before I do that, can I just share my conviction on why I did this or why this may be of some assistance to you?

In reading the scriptures, I am convicted that I need to be praying and in a prayerful spirit throughout the day from these passages,

Ephesians 6:18 says, "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kind of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints."

1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

Apart from that, having a history of prayer in my life, I know it as a source of power in my life, leading to growth and perseverance. As a mom of 3 littles, I need this desperately and I am so dependent on God to help me when I am clueless as to handle a situation, when I need to be in the right state of mind for discipline, and when I begin traveling uncharted territory (which is mostly everyday).

I also know that it has the power to bend our wills to God's will as we pray and put ourselves out there, allowing God to change our will and align it to His.

Prayer is discipline and work, and doesn't come easy, but if you have failed in the past,(and hasn't everyone?) be willing to start fresh. Confess your failure to God and discipline yourself to begin anew. Take baby steps, like the prayer cards, setting them by the sink while you do dishes, allowing yourself to meditate on and pray through the specific scriptures on the cards. Redeem the time you spend in the shower, in the car, and waiting rooms, using those spare moments for intercession or meditation.

Once you are doing well with "baby steps," expand the prayer time by waking up 10 minutes earlier in the morning and then adding on to your time. And I have come to realize how important it is to take hold of the distractions. The way I do this is by writing them down. If I get distracted thinking of all the things I need to do today (especially as I sit in the house which screams out to me for help and maintenance), I tuck those away by writing down "load of reds, call Mom, get chicken out of deep freeze, etc.) and then I don't have to let them float around in my head anymore. They are written down.

I hope these are helpful for you as you embark upon the discipline of prayer, hopefully flowing from a heart that desires to pursue God. Keep in mind that these are just a starting point, expand from these cards and pray many different scriptures over your children and husband, church, family, friends, and our nation.

Be sure to click on the picture to make it large, and then right click and save as... After having them printed at your photo place of choice, we added names with stickers and then laminated them for durability. We also hole punched and used a metal ring to hold them together and make it easy to flip. It would also be easy to use a dry-erase marker to write on and add scriptures or people, if you desire to do that.

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