Saturday, July 12, 2014

A smile that just won't fade!

I have been walking around all day with a smile that just won't fade, and for good reasons.

Today, as a family, we experienced a day full of so much fun that our hearts almost exploded with excitement and joy!

Cannon participated in his first ever competition, a bike race.

I know it doesn't seem like much, but I invite you to take a look from our view.

When Charlie died at 14 months (June 2011), we were pregnant (28 weeks) with Cannon. We went from just emerging from the baby stages to catapulting right back into them. So in a way it was almost three years straight of baby months. Three. Long. Years.

Subsequently, we watched from what felt like the shadows, as our friends with kids the same age as Charlie progressed into the toddler and preschool years, longing for those moments we lost.

Without doubt, today was a victory in a multitude of ways.

Another step in grief.
A step of acceptance and excitement for the future....something that doesn't come easy for us.
A fulfillment of our desire to see our children happy.
And...a victory for Cannon.

We went there with one, very clear, expectation for Cannon. To have fun! And fun is what the boy had. I've never seen such excitement, joy and a smile so huge on his face.

To our surprise, he took first place out of all the 2 year olds.

Practicing before the big race!





Big kiss for mommy before the big race! 


And some typical Cannon silliness....



Getting ready to go in the first round...



I was too busy watching him race to take pics during, but I got some videos of his finishes. :)



He was so proud and excited!








An amazing, fun day of JOY! 

Thank you God, for filling the hole in our hearts 
with your Love and Grace and for restoring our happiness 
in this temporary world. 

We can smile again through the tears 
because we know and we believe Your Word!

Amen.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Train them right and they will not stray.



Ya'll, I am so excited about this!

I cannot even remember how I came across this (probably pinterest), but oh my goodness! The Child Training Bible is the best tool I've seen for teaching children the biblical reason behind morals and values. It even has scripture cards with topics to discuss with your kids and example prayers for each section.



I actually decided to put this right into my personal bible because, let's face it, so much of it is useful for adults too. It is a great quick reference for those moments when you need God to step in and overwhelm your heart with His Word, instead of your emotions.

Amazing!




Cannon even helped me put it together. He had so much fun playing with the extra flags.

The only complaint I have is the size. I had to trim it down because my bible is slightly smaller. Other than that it's awesome!

It took me 3 days with about an hour to an hour and a half each day.

Completely worth it.

There is a virtue version too that I want to get when the kids get older.

If you're interested you can get everything here:

Child Training Bible
Post It Note Flags

NOTE: I didn't use highlighters because I couldn't justify the $12 price tag. Instead I used crayons and it worked great! Better than highlighter, in my opinion.

Proverbs 22:6
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Emerging.






The toddler years are passing us quickly, and I'd love to say that the hard times we've had with our son are finally being outgrown by him.

The reality though, is that WE'VE grown.

We've been using a new way to approach discipline and it's working!

Yes, there are, and always will be, times when toddlers push our buttons and test the boundaries of their limits.

That's normal.

What's also normal is "those boys" that are 250% boy. The boys that never cease to push buttons and test the boundaries that have been set for them.

There is a difference in "making it through those years", and "embracing those years".

The difference?

A clear understanding. By clear I mean, an understanding that life with kids is muddy, dirty and a constant adaption to the current situations.

Our lives have literally changed so much over the last month. We've been doing a lot of reading and studying of scripture in regards to discipline and rearing children.

Kids are always going to be a challenge. The determination they exert is a peep into their future and the determination and drive they will possess throughout their life.

The key is how we motivate them to use those traits.

Constant nagging and trying to control every little thing they do is only going to do two things.

1. Tear them down. They need encouragement in all aspects of life. Part of this encouragement is teaching them to embrace their punishments, when they're truly warranted. Meaning...pick your battles, especially with little ones and take the time to help them understand, on their level.

2. Teach them to rebel in ways that will pave the way for their attitude towards authority for the rest of their lives. That's right, the rest. of. their. lives!

They're watching and absorbing every little thing they see AND hear you display.

Boys are especially sensitive in this period of development.

Take the time to get on their eye level and explain (in an appropriate message for their age) the results of their actions. And most importantly, in my opinion, do it immediately. Their minds are so busy that the moment is gone the minute they leave the "scene of the crime".

Don't worry about the people around you, they're meaningless in the long run. Their looks and whispers only support the fact that we need to change the future generations to not be judgmental. The truth is that they're probably struggling just as much, if not more, at home.

Be firm but loving, and you will be amazed at the results.

We all have a picture in our minds of how children should be. But the reality is that they are human and they have their own personality. No one, even a parent, can control them at all times. Besides, who would really want to anyway?

Proverbs 19:21 "Many are the plans of a person's heart, but the Lord's plan will always prevail."





Friday, June 6, 2014

He is not dead.














We remembered.

We wept.

We smiled.

We longed for his touch. His smell. His smile.

And in the end, as the day comes to a close, most importantly, we stay faithful.

We stay committed to a life that is for Jesus, the son of God, the keeper of our son.

No matter the battle, no matter the strength of the devil, we will always prevail and believe.

We all love you so much my sweet baby angel boy.


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Believer transition and grief...one in the same?

In my lifetime I have heard so many times how wonderful Jesus was and how much he gave for us when he died. How he paid the ultimate price for us, so that we weren't condemned to hell without a chance.

His death was a promise.

A promise that we would be allowed to make a decision. A decision to believe, and yes sometimes suffer (just as Jesus did), in this life so that our eternal life is spent in His presence.

When you really sit there and take a minute to absorb that, and process the information, it is overwhelming, scary, and just about every other emotion out there.

Honestly, I think that the process of a person becoming faithful in their life mirrors the steps of grief.



The Stages
Grief
Meaning
Believer Transition
Denial
It didn’t/won't happen
Lack of faith
It’s impossible
Anger
Unfair death
What’s the point
Why a game?
Bargaining
Postpone inevitable
Make a deal
This for that
Depression
Regret
Realization
Realizing our mistakes
Acceptance
Coping
Hope in the world
Movement in our lives


First you have the denial.....or the lack of faith. "No way that stuff in the bible is possible."

Then there's the anger....what's the point of it all. "Why would God do this game to us?"

Up next, bargaining....this for that. "Well, this isn't so bad because I did good stuff yesterday that cancels it out."

Depression is the longest stage other than acceptance. During depression people spend time regretting and realizing all the things they a.) took for granted, b.) could've done differently and c.) how much time they've wasted in this short life.

It's the same for both grief and believer transition.

Acceptance is a stage that not everyone reaches. It can also have relapses within it. Going back to any of the previous stages. But, if you're fortunate enough to have reached this stage, most likely not alone, then you're making great strides in this life and well on your way.

When we realize in grief that nothing we did or could've done would change the ultimate fact that our loved one had completed their task here, there is an overwhelming sense of calm and peace that floods your heart.

This doesn't mean that you don't hurt or that you don't have questions. It's natural to feel all those emotions and more.

It does mean that you understand what has happened, and that you invest your time and energy into learning about Jesus and the teachings that God sent through Him, the prophets, Adam and Eve and Moses.



Friday, May 30, 2014

It really happened.

It has been almost three months since my last post here on my little blog. It's hard to believe it because this is my outlet. Where I go to decompress all that goes on in my thoughts and in my world.

I have sat down a handful of times to write a post explaining our situation and sharing the changes in our life, but I never felt I had the right words. So I will do my best now.

When I last wrote I shared some tough and disturbing news about our current living situation.

Great strides have been made since then, I am happy to report.

We've officially said goodbye to Wisconsin and the house we thought would be our forever home.

To us, no material thing, including a house, is worth the safety of our family.

If there is one thing I've learned in life it's this;

imagine there is a mountain too big to move in your life, and think to yourself; there is no way this problem can be fixed, and God will show you how wrong you are.












We called our realtor and discovered that we could actually sell our house and walk away in the positive. We never imagined that less than two years after buying we could sell. We furthermore thought we were stuck in a place that truly felt like a living hell with the, (I'm not kidding) scariest next door neighbors ever.

When in fact it was a life lesson that we were meant to experience and learn from, and learn we did. We learned that we are not country folk. As much as we love it, location is far more important to us. We learned that being cautious regarding neighbors is important. We've actually done everything possible to avoid meeting our neighbors in our new place, and that is so not us. The wounds we've received will heal eventually but for now, we are cautious.

We are so beyond grateful (and excited!) to be back where we belong. Close to our church family, who has supported us immensely through this trying time, and close to friends that we've made over the past few years. We are so thankful for each and every one of you!

I am glad to be back writing, and I will do my best to not disappear off the grid again!



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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

We are commanded.

"Discipling new believers requires some "diaper changing". Clearly we must be patient with those who are growing in the faith, and continue in fellowship with them in spite of the sin they often stumble into, or are yet unaware of. But when a professing Christian willfully rejects the light, or is consistently disobedient, we are commanded to judge (discern) this and break fellowship." Acts 17:11 Bible Study

Commanded. 

Not urged. 

Not suggested to. 

Not turn a blind eye. 

But COMMANDED.

There is a difference between judgement and discernment.




Sunday, March 16, 2014

Greatness.

"No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good - C.S. Lewis A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because he was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means--the only complete realist." Acts 17:11 Bible Study

Each of us who truly know Jesus Christ can feel the strength of temptation to cave to satan's evil ways.

Those who have no struggle, well...it's clear where their heart is and God will have his day with them.

I've done a lot of searching in my bible in the last 24 hours. A lot.

A lot of praying and crying and anger has flowed from my lips.

I've had moments of question and even anger towards Him and His plan.

What good could possibly come of the evil we are faced with?

....I'll tell you what good.

God is amazing, ya'll.

Even when we feel like our world is crumbing from the suffocation of evil all around us He is working miracles.

Miracles we've already begun to see because we didn't lose faith in His plan. He is leading us to where we are supposed to be.

As we entered a new Chapter of our lives today there was a rush of Love and Peace that came over us.

It just goes to show that we are where we're supposed to be and that when your heart is truly in the right place, He will always, always, always prosper us.

I am excited for the next step in our lives and I thank each of you for praying for us, we truly felt it!

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Pride. Balance. Forgiveness.

There are times in life that I question God and His purpose. I know it's not what I am supposed to do as a Christian but, as a normal human being and a sinner saved by Jesus Christ it's what I do.

I struggle to understand the why of when and where we are placed.

Our lives are supposed to be the light of the world. Our witness is put on display in the moments we deal with difficult people.

Not only does it put our witness on display, it tests our own faith and relationship with God.

Generally, I believe that each instance and situation we are placed in is for a reason. When we struggle with an area of our lives, or our hearts are hardened in certain places, God uses those very things to work within us to better ourselves.

I don't know about you but, when this happens to me, I fight back.

I fight back with every breath I have.

Being in the uncomfortable places that stir our souls with frustration and anger is not somewhere I want to be.

Let alone where I want to go to grow in my spiritual life.

This isn't easy for me to do, I would much rather ignore this situation all together, but to give a back story I will share some facts from my own personal struggle.

Fact: We moved to our current location to be closer to where our son is buried.
Fact: We were blessed with an amazing opportunity to live in the country.
Fact: We became good friends with many of the neighbors.
Fact: We introduced neighbors who had never engaged in friendship prior to us moving in.
Fact: We were thrilled to have so many people that we were close to in our neighborhood.
Fact: Things went astray very quickly as one of those neighbors crossed lines, and said things that, in my opinion, are unforgivable.
Fact: This person has been relentless in trying to gain access into our lives, going as far as repeatedly coming to our church to rub salt in the wound.
Fact: I have literally feared for the safety of my family because of this person. This person has sent me messages telling me she is unstable and that she is trying to get help.
Fact: I am a strong person and sometimes that strength forces me to shut people out who are mean.
Fact: I am very much black and white, when someone hurts my family they are, in my eyes, shunned forever.
Fact: This event snowballed into what has become an uncomfortable situation for many people in our neighborhood, because we will not engage in any activity that involves said persons.

If you're still with me, here are some recent developments in my my heart.

I know that God is pushing me to forgive this person and move forward.

I have been fighting this with every ounce of my being.

Why should I try to make amends with someone who has worked tirelessly to be evil towards me? If I reach out to this person, who has done unforgivable things, it will make me appear weak. This person will not be understanding and accept my reaching out for what it is, a call from God to not harbor anger towards my neighbor.

Even with all of this stirring in me I still cannot muster up the heart to forgive her.

I do my best not to ignore signs from God. And I know that pride is self-destruction for a Christian.

But, I ask you....how do you get over your pride and forgive evil when you fear it will continue on its path?





Wednesday, March 5, 2014

11 months and a few randoms.


So technically I am almost two weeks late with Miss Bit's 11 month picture. Isn't she a doll? Her brother thinks so too. And....I didn't realize I had lens issues until after I took the pics and threw the sticker away. At least it's just the lens and not my camera body.

Anyway....

Like I always tell my kiddos, I love them to Heaven and back!

Things have been busy around here.

I am finishing up college (I still cannot believe I can say that), the kids have been making their way through the typical winter crud mixed with an occasional ear infection, Cannon is fully potty trained (didn't think that would ever happen), Miss Bit is walking all over the place and getting into everything, I had a wisdom tooth pulled (not fun!), I started volunteering at the school I hope to do my student teaching at and so much more!

Busy feels like an understatement really.

We have  to be careful though, when we get busy in life.

It becomes too easy to fall into the "gospel of sin management", where we are running through life trying to check of our to-do lists.

Life is meant to be enjoyed and we should make the most of our time here but, there is a balance.




Got my other lens put on before I took these so you won't be seeing blurs. 





FaceTime with family is the best!




They are the best of friends...most days. ;)


Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!