Raising Children During Chaos

Raising children in the midst of chaos can seem like a task of responsibility and accountability because our hearts are filled with thoughts of logistics, plans, & overwhelmed by circumstances. 
Pressing into Jesus while I admonish our children has made me the most aware and humbled by the gift of the Holy Spirit. 
While their behavior is filled with selfishness, tantrums, questions, and the need for training, it isn’t abnormal. It can feel like the greatest inconvenience, though, when my heart is reeling and my thoughts aren’t captive to Christ. 
I’m overwhelmed by the grace and wisdom the Spirit speaks into me and through me when I’m gently talking through life with my children. When a directive, a calm answer, or wise training comes from the depths of my innermost heart. I’m overwhelmed because Jesus speaks to me even more than whatever I’m speaking to my children. 
When I’m speaking hope and understanding to them (through the Spirit’s leadership), it’s actually me He’s speaking to…filling up my heart and mind to prompt me towards steadfastness. I’ll never stop growing, and the inconveniences of nurturing and training my children insure this and though I don’t always thank God for it, I am today. 
So today when my heart is very aware of the circumstances today holds, as we travel to another town to meet with an oncologist to hear pet scan results and chemo treatment plans, I’m asking the Lord to calm my anxious heart with moments of truth shared with my children that are ultimately for us all. 
Grace so free, washes over me. 

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Steward Well

(Honestly) part of the blessing in being a stay at home mom, for me, is that I am not a morning person (soooo it’s rare we go anywhere very early.) This morning, however, I filled in as the mops coordinator at our church. My husband got the boys ready and brought them to the church when he came to work and they went to their mops class. 
As I was backing out of the drive way, Drake stood in the front windows to wave and mimicked every kiss blow and wave I gave to him. He looked like an 18 month version of himself. Passionately saying bye to me and throwing out some sad faces bc this isn’t our norm. My memories on Facebook today showed me his first steps 5 years ago. 
How is the human heart capable of sadness over our children growing AND AT THE SAME TIME pride and joy over our children growing!?!? I totally know that’s only a mix of emotions God sets within our hearts in order to appreciate His complex way of loving us with grace and mercy. 
I’m so sick and really exhausted but we managed to grab lunch at Cracker Barrel bc dad usually has lunch meetings and didn’t today. I will say, my heart pounds equally big time as I watch my husband raise and lead our boys. It was hot and I was tired and they asked to play and I plopped down in a rocking chair and my husband squatted right there and taught them how to play. 
Feeling the weight of expectations I put myself is deceptive and unworthy of sharing space in my heart with the grace of Christ. Walking in freedom that He guides and provides what we need to parent these children brings a new measure of the gospel and love each day to lavish on them and one another. 
Let go of the confusion (He doesn’t author confusion) and the overwhelmed feelings (because He is sufficient), and do whatever comes next in the day to be a good steward of His blessings:: relationships, possessions, and responsibilities. 

Motherhood as a Ministry

matthew 16

 

I am reading a rich book alongside Scripture. It is geared towards home education, but mostly what I’m drinking deep from this book is the hard truth regarding discipleship of my children. I will be doing a series of blog posts to share with you what I’ve gained from this book and how it has nestled into my heart concerning my role in biblical parenting.

These are my personal thoughts from reading “Educating The WholeHearted Child” by Clay Clarkson with Sally Clarkson

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves Me.”  John 12: 24-26

This verse appoints to us the necessity it is to account for the cost of ministry, given that we have acknowledged our role in ministering to our children. Although they’re discussing home education, I couldn’t help but dwell on the great ministry I have to my children. We have chosen for me to be a stay at home parent since my oldest son (5 year old now March 2016) was 6 months old. After the first month, my husband noticed a gigantic shift in my countenance. He asked if I was doing alright. I told him I was going to pray for definition, but that I didn’t FEEL alright. We were able to talk through my newest disposition and nailed down than my downtrodden appearance was negligence. Of myself. I quickly learned to discern when I needed time to refresh and recharge, but also learned that wasn’t going to be a consistent reality. I learned to find those opportunities even in the presence of my children because my calling was to model Christ to them and He wasn’t about self. In a culture that is screaming at us “you deserve _____” or “be true to yourself”, parenting in a biblical effort means we understand Jeremiah 17:9 “the heart is deceitful above all things”. We can lean into our heart or feelings when discipling and disciplining children. Those two will lie to us and steal the future healthiness and wellness of our children.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will rewards each person according to what he has done.”  Matthew 16:24-27

There is a cost to parenting with Christ in mind and goal. We make decisions and sacrifices with great prayer and focus in order to lead our children to the mind of Christ.

In our decisions, consistency and commitment are among the most important.
Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying “This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.” Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation wile the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.  Luke 14: 28-33

It’s a desperate moment when our children’s hearts are bent against Christ because they are caught in a battle of the spirit and flesh. That desperate moment when we waiver whether we are going to swiftly address their heart issue or if we’re going to let is slide because it’s the hard work. The hard work of being committed to biblical discipline and discipleship is what will produce the children we (as parents of young children) see in the teens and their parents relationships that we hunger after for our families in a few years. We watch our mentors and friends with high school and college children who have healthy relationships with positive life choices and love Christ and desire that for our families. It takes the hard work of ministering to our children, making sacrifices, and being committed.

 

finding my stride::my momma “aha” moment

i’ve been told so many wise statements since becoming a mother. perhaps my favorite “remember, they’re sinners in need of discipleship & training”. i know it’s hard to think of our precious littles as sinners, but it’s absolutely true, isn’t it? aren’t we sinners? so it’s perfectly logical to realize our small children, who have yet to understand the saving grace of Jesus, are sinners. they will always be with sin, but the great logic needing to seep into our soul of parenting, is that while we pray and pursue salvation on their behalf, they don’t have it right now. it is our accountability and stewardship of their hearts to teach and train them repentance and relationship.

so i’ve been told this. my heart knows this. my brain processes this on a daily basis while i’m home with them. but there are breaks in my understanding of this that crash into the reality of frustration, disappointment, and anger. frustration when i feel so spent with their disobedience that i am ready to punt for the day and let all chaos ensue in order to have a break. the disappointment i feel when we’re in a public place and they lose all semblance of the endless hours we’ve worked on obedience and manners. the anger i feel when they are rude and disrespectful with fits of rage, tantrums, and screaming at me.

as i reflect on the day, i see one word that is a common thread through my description. feel. that is 100% the descriptive word i used. how am i any more mature, grace-bound, or live giving that my 2 and 4 year old if my operation of parenting is fueled by my feelings?

it’s all so messy. my house. my head. my heart. it thrashes, swirls, and explodes like a tornado. one evening last week, my husband (with great provision of the Lord) found the eye of the tornado with me on our bed. somehow everything seemed tragically calm (enough) for us to lay down on our bed and talk. he was laying the opposite direction and our eyes remained in engaged for an amount of time that was cumulatively much longer than the moments we steal here or there while passing and even while trying to parent when we’re at home together as a family.

back to the eye. he said “it’s not personal, you know”. to which i responded exactly like my 4 year old or a teen “i know!” i really did know this. and i really am confident that i believe it and do not act out of feeling personally assaulted by my children. my 4 year old tells me pretty frequently “bad momma!” or “yucky momma!” or “mean momma!” and has fits of screaming at me when he’s in disagreement, with, well, anything. he’s 4. my husband has chimed in on that very powerfully and i usually receive a heart felt apology within minutes and a bonus explanation of what a bad momma really is (because in the mind of 4 year old we need a definition of the opposite if we’re going to be operating out of definitions.) my husband mostly agreed that i don’t take it personally.

most of my distress is born out of my great desire for them to “just get it”. the number of broken spoons, migraines, and missed fun is too high to count and it breaks my heart for them sometimes. when my husband comes home and takes over (which is another shift for him…i’m not starting an argument about child rearing being a job, but let’s face reality–he’s been at work all day earning a living and now the work of parenting and husbanding is just as mentally, emotionally, and spiritually filled with work). so watching him discipline and address them give me a huge release. i then watch these little boys fear their discipline. i watch them repeat the offenses over and over. it breaks my heart. just get it. please!

and then. they get it. magic number ___ spanking, conversation, consequence unleashes the lesson and understanding. don’t worry, offense number ___ is lurking so we move onto something else just as rigorous. but they got it with the last one! hope to continue and remain CONSISTENT.

remember that eye of the tornado we found? my husband spoke life-giving, mother affirming, inspiring truth to me. he listened. he heard. he doted. and finally, i looked up and said “they don’t know any better”. AHA. i know, that is not profound. but it let me off the hook. it let my little boys off the hook.

it let me off the hook of the frustration, disappointment, and anger. in the grand scheme of the consistency with which we parent, they DO know better. but with every small battle we endure through the day, they are…..here it is……the eye of the tornado where my husband spoke directly to my soul……..they are testing. i know, i’ve been been told that one a million times before. i cannot explain to you whey i immediately FELT relieved.

they don’t know any better (for each and every offense). they’re testing. and do you know who they’re testing the MOST? me. the stay at home mom they occasionally tune out so that all they hear is “wha wha wha”

to top off my aha moment. we were eating dinner with the boys one night and i gave my 4 year old a few directives that he unashamedly rejected, denied, and did the opposite. my husband was in and out because we were at his office. i redirected the 4 year old with fewer directives and a promise of discipline if he didn’t obey. he handled it well and moved on. all of a sudden my husband walks in and my child says “momma, just quit going on and on and on”. my husband snapped into gear quickly and handled that disrespectful address as well as his attitude and intonation.

as we were sitting on our bed in the eye of the tornado, i told my husband about an understanding i gained while reading SEVERAL books about raising boys. it was never directly stated, but from all of our incredible opportunities to counsel, and even from my own husband, i understand very vividly and clearly that men are hard wired to loathe nagging. i mean scripture is VERY specific about what it’s like to live with a nagging women. why would i be surprised that my little boys don’t appreciate it either? (for the record, i was not nagging in the moment he decided to be dramatic!) but my husband grinned from ear to ear. he said “that’s why you are such a wonderful wife and mother,” he went on “that you can know your little boys will tune you out and test you harder with the approach and nagging says you care more about their hearts in the long run than you do immediate satisfaction for yourself”. i really do. yes, we can be heard saying “you obey momma/dadda!” but there is great relationship backing up that command. they can both tell you about how much we want them to be good men, (and they will say like dadda…which i only dream they are as incredible as my husband) we want them to be honest men, and we want them to fear the Lord with great reverence and respect. they’re learning to obey us, to believe us when we set up a consequence, and to trust us when lay out an expectation means they are gaining tangible understandings of what it is to love the Lord our God with all of our hearts, souls, and minds.

i’m finding my stride in understanding discipleship and discipline in time with my children learning obedience. it’s a long haul. i’m thankful for a husband who leads me through conversation, understanding, and an effort to help me take practical steps to continue loving him and our children in a biblical, God-honoring fashion. there’s no formula. what works for our family won’t work for others. no one can tell me how or what to do with my children because God entrusted them to me. i take suggestions, prayers, and advice on a regular basis, but it’s me who they were entrusted to for shepherding.

what has been a recent “aha” moment for you? a moment where a truth you have known for a while just sunk in so deep it became part of you?

the one word that sums up all i’ve learned about myself when i became a mommy

 

it’s so painful to my flesh to say it.

selfish.

it’s painful to my flesh for 2 reasons.

1. because i’m embarrassed i didn’t learn how selfish i was when i got married…it took having a child for me to realize that i’m selfish.

2. because i have a root sin of pride and to realize, confess, & grow beyond this selfishness means i’m not perfect.

1 John 2:16

King James Version (KJV)

16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

when i have on the filter of Truth, i can see my selfishness for what it is (sin) & press into Christ’s redeeming forgiveness. when my heart is bent towards asking God to produce based on the good intentions, motivations, & desires He has put within me to steward the lives of my children, i am outside of my flesh & directed towards the idea of redemption.

yes we are all selfish. but praise the Lord of all Heaven and Earth that He is in the great and glorious business of Redeeming.

Ephesians 5 Amplified Version

13 But when anything is exposed and reproved by the light, it is made visible and clear; and where everything is visible and clear there is light.

14 Therefore He says, Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine (make day dawn) upon you and give you light.

15 Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people),

16 Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil.

so there is no condemnation for the temptation to be selfish towards my husband or children. but an ever present reminder of what success really is in the realm of home. success in the Spirit is waking up each morning and asking of the Lord

Psalm 139 New Living Translation

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

so that when our children will not give us a break, they spill milk, have a potty accident, pull their clothes out of their drawers, wake up 3 times each in the middle of the night, scream and run away when discipline is knocking on the door of their hearts……….or when our spouse forgot to do something important for us, forgets something special, makes a decision we don’t agree with, or is having a rough day and their attitude effects us–we can confess we have selfish hearts that want to scream or pout, but then repent and remember Lord’s ability to lead us in the way everlasting.

He puts His Spirit within us to walk and guide us in the trenches. yes, even the trenches of our selfishness. our hearts are deceitful (Joshua 1:9), but He is grace. He forgives. He gives. He extends mercy and grace.

He knows our hearts. our very fragile, worn out, over-extended, but very very very full hearts. the heart that beats harder and faster during the hard days. the heart that explodes at night when our littles snuggle up on our chest while we read. the heart that grows more full as our children begin to speak Truth themselves and model all that we’ve spoken about Jesus. and as we hear and watch our sweet babes talk about Christ, He is sweetly beckoning us as we watch the little seeds we’ve planted begin to be harvested by Him.

it’s so hard during the drag of day and sometimes night to remember that we are living out a calling. a calling to love our husband and children well. it is weary sometimes when we don’t know what “well” is and we’ve lost track of our purpose. but He says we can call on Him. so my prayer for myself and other mommas is that we reevaluate what it means for us (as individuals, not as compared to other mommies) to love our husband and our children well. we are all gifted, interested, and experienced in different ways. press into Him with your deepest and grandest expectation that He will speak directly to your heart about how you can rest in who He has made you and love your family well with how He has equipped you. no more trying harder. no more being better. no more rules and regulations. just asking, exploring, and living out who you already are and loving with the tools and resources He has already provided.

just ask Him. and then abandon your own idea of what the pressure tells you it should look like for you to be a mom and wife and, instead, be the mom and wife He’s already equipped you to be with a whole heart full of expectation. sometimes your greatest equipping and resources come from your children and your spouse. be sensitive to the Spirit.

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what i’m not taking for granted.

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we left saturday at 9am to travel to colorado with our two boys and my parents. we were headed there for my grandfather’s (my dad’s father) funeral. so many have asked about the circumstances. he was ill, but it is never expected and it is always grievous to experience loss.

we lost my grandmother (my mom’s mother) in december. she was buried christmas eve while i was in the hospital.

having experienced loss and a temporary goodbye, my heart is in the place of receiving grace and giving thanks for the now…

salvation. 1. i am redeemed & expecting eternity with Christ. 2. my loved ones will not have to ache in wonder about my eternal destination. for the sake of the cross, your eternity, and your loved ones…accept the sacrifice and blood covering for sins of Jesus.

my husband. 1. he’s the greatest person i’ve ever known. 2. he is redeemed. 3. he loves me like Christ loves the church:::sanctifies me and leads me.

Ephesians 5 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

4. an exceptional father. he is intimately involved in every aspect of our children’s lives.  from morning until night he is top notch and top request (DADDA!!!) for both of them. 5. his sacrifice:::for me and the boys. he sat in the backseat with an uncharacteristic gigantic fit throwing baby so that i wouldn’t get car sick. needless to say his chronic pain didn’t do him any favors, but he calmed a baby and saved momma’s stomach. i cried the entire time.

my children.

Psalm 127:3

New Living Translation (NLT)

Children are a gift from the Lord;
they are a reward from him.

1. i know what it is lose a child. i love all three of mine, including our baby not here with us. 2. i grew to appreciate all moments with my children this weekend (locked up in a car with them screaming in car seats, in a small hotel room with little space for little adventurers, no media for entertainment, no privacy for sleeping for them, happiness when we can make small luxuries for them happen, joint bath time for them that seemed like a bath tub birthday, a grandparent induced chuck e cheese visit, the list could go on and on). 3. the richness of hearing “i love you momma” over and over and over from my 3 year old. i’m not sure if all kiddos do this, but it sure does wipe away the screaming fits of disobedience when i hear this.

understanding. 1. sometimes we ask questions about our family circumstances. i’ll leave that broad. but in reality, it’s God’s design for you to be with the people you are with and related to your specific peeps. i got to see some family this weekend i haven’t seen a while. we may not see each other for a while. it’s cleansing and bonding, though, to grieve with others who you are confident understand your ache and hurt. we shared the ache of losing someone recently, losing my grandfather because we all love him, and hurting for each other as we walked through this.

motivation. 1. to love more intentionally and specifically. i feel confident i do this well with my children. 2. i have taken this area too much for granted concerning my husband. i am not taking for granted the motivation to love him more intentionally and to show him more often.

friends.

Proverbs 11:25

New Living Translation (NLT)

25 The generous will prosper;
those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.

1. i never realized what a definition in my head for what a friendship is or should be. that has been butchered and redefined as i have received hugs, texts, facebook messages and posts, cards, etc. people watch, care, pray and meet our needs. that is friendship. even if it’s “just” through facebook. they took the time and shared their heart. that’s vulnerable and compassionate. that’s a friend.

i could go on and on about what i’m not taking for granted especially since i’m not in my big, warm, comfortable home in the quiet while the boys are visiting their other grandparents. but i’m going to rest and relax while i can and then eagerly pick my boys up and squeeze all of my friends and family i see today.

though the sorrow may last for the night, His joy comes with the morning.

i had a few moments of feeling a bit like David recently. (i mean, seconds. especially once i got to the end of this psalm and read his resolution). this psalm has followed me since Shane & Shane released a song utilizing this particular psalm. i was listening to their cd (yes, we did use cds at one time) and while i was listening i was reading this psalm and the corresponding song came on at the same time. that was a time of the Lord’s deep moving in my heart and i forever remember the time i spent with Him then. i thought things were very difficult at that moment. i had no idea how NOT difficult it was and what a preparation of my heart that time was for me.

Psalm 13[a]

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love;
    my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
    for he has been good to me.

lightning fast

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Everyone tells you “it goes by fast” as if fear will motivate moms of littles to cherish every moment. We do cherish it. Those of us who work outside of the home and those of us who stay home. We cherish it just like everyone cherishes their own lives. You know? You know how we have all have to be reminded to “live each day like the last”? Or how every time something tragic happens it jolts us back into the reality of how precious and short life is? Those are humbling moments that bring perspective. If a mom of littles is feeling overwhelmed, discouraged, frustrated, etc. I can guarantee we already feel guilty that we aren’t “just loving every moment”. I know everyone means well by trying to encourage moms of littles with “cherish it now” “it goes by fast” “tomorrow they’ll be driving”. I definitely get it. When someone says this and I feel guilty for having a hard time, I remind myself they’re trying to encourage me. They’re trying to love on me. No matter how much those comments push me to condemn myself and cause me to resolve myself to “never complain again” (however, sometimes I receive these encouragements just because my boys are acting in a way that requires some extra love). I’ve even tried to find my own slant to encourage myself. My husband helps me remember everyday that this is only a season. My oldest was just where my youngest is….yesterday. And before I know it, they’ll both be self-sufficient and momma kisses will be scarce. I would never trade my time at home with my boys. Whether I stayed home or worked and my time was different with them. Just because I know something is my calling and the best for my family doesn’t always make it easy.

My husband and I have gone through some hard stuff recently. That’s where we have no choice but to lean on the Lord and trust Him. We can’t change some of these circumstances. So we roll with it and talk to the Lord and each other about it and how it can penetrate and change our hearts.  I take the same approach with hard days at home with my boys. I can’t change them and I don’t want to but I am here to train and mold them. That takes a lot of discipline and consistency for parents. Sometimes the most encouraging thing someone says to me is “you’re doing a great job.” I know it’s not hardest thing in the world to parent my children and that I’m very blessed to have them and to stay home with them. Just because something is the greatest thing in the world doesn’t mean it isn’t hard sometimes. I’ve had my dream job before (before staying home became my dream job) and it was still really hard! I needed help and I needed admonishment.

This post was brought on by a “lightning fast” milestone for Holt. He stayed up past 6:30 last night because we were at church and did surprisingly well! It caused him to sleep until 8:30 this morning (we’re going to have a GREAT DAY 🙂 I’m not a morning person. The biggest milestone, though, …… no bottle this morning. He ate breakfast and had a cup of milk. Drake pretty well weaned himself off the bottle and I didn’t have to think twice about it. He never held his own bottle so transitioning to cup made sense and worked. Holt can hold his own bottle and when he sees it, he says “nigh nigh” because it’s so comforting to him. He didn’t flinch with no bottle and I know we’ll be fine. My momma heart can’t believe my youngest is almost done with all things that resemble infancy (except those expensive diapers!).

It does go by so fast. As hard as I try to cherish every moment, some of them go by all too quickly. We can’t hold onto these moments. They just vanish. I posted once with Drake that I wish I could have one of him at every stage. It’s so true. The heart strings rip as we want to hold onto the now but also long to see them grow and flourish. Baby gear and items are flying out of his room and getting packed up and all I see are little boy clothes and toddler toys. This year I have a preschooler and a toddler. This year we continue to teach and guide and mold and train.

It’s a sweet honor that He called us to be stewards. Forgive me Lord, when it seems too much. Thank you for the grace to take it day by day and thank you for the grace to know the magnitude of this honor.

how a 3 year old changes people

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Photo Credit: Allie Saville

We had so much fun taking Family pictures for Christmas and Holt’s one year pictures. Of course, Drake joined in the Holt lovin’ fun and we love how much they play! ALL THE TIME! He was a character during family pictures and is truly a sweet little boy who puts the awe in our hearts of parenting.

Some things to know about Drake’s second year!

He LOVES Disney shows…we went from him not being able to sit still for a show to begging to watch “Doc McStuffins, Sophia the First, Mickey Mouse, Daniel Tiger, Word Girl, Super Why, Curious George, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Cat in the Hat” I mean it’s crazy! And I’m now part of the parenting world where we sing all the songs ALL day and find ourselves still watching Disney when they’re napping and in bed!

He has asked “why?” since he was exactly 2. He started the week before his birthday last year asking “why?” I was absolutely appalled.

He adores playing outside

He loves his grandparents! I mean, BEGS to see them and visit them and have them over. I LOVE IT. I love that he gets to see them on a regular basis.

He is a pretending machine! He tells us what is pretend and loves playing!

Drake loves breakfast.

He loves chocolate milk, sprite, sweet tea, water, and fruit!

He loves his dadda more than anyone or anything on this planet 🙂 He tries to dress like him, wrestle like him, look like him, talk like him, eat like him….anything! And I wouldn’t want him to seek to be like anyone else on this earth besides his dadda!

He still calls us momma and dadda and I hope he does for a LONG time.

Drake is a very smart 3 year old. I’m aware that all parents think their children are brilliant. So whether it’s normal preference or an actual observation of his abilities and learning capability, I’m not sure. But he has been saying his abc’s since 18 months and can now spell his name and Holt’s name and other sight words, he has known his shapes since 18 months (even octagon which he pronounced octologon for a while!), He can sing and loves to play on instruments. He has had songs and books and stories memorized since before he turned 2. He has 3 bible verses memorized. I’m so proud of him, not because of what he can do, but because of his desire and eagerness to learn and grow. We love him and are so thankful for the journey of parenting our first born.

a year measures more than time

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One of our college students (who is graduating and I can’t even believe we’ve watched her and her sister graduate college since starting at FBCWF) took one year pictures of Holt and our Christmas family pictures. Photo Credit: Allie Saville

The last year has been a blur AND memorable. I don’t know how both can occur, but it’s true. You can read about Holt’s birth story here. (From my previous blog). It was the fourth most incredible moment of my life! Salvation, Marrying Brady, Drake’s birth, and really, all of them make my every day the more incredible.

A few beautiful memories and characteristics of Holt::

He loves to dance *bop up and down.

He loves to crawl….FAST!

He is starting to walk! Taking about 10 steps at a time.

He climbs. So much! I looked at him today and turned away. When I looked back, he was on the train table, sitting on his knees! He also climbs in our window seat. He is pretty agile and can get down by himself.

Like all babies, he grabs for everything and I sometimes think he has go go gadget arms!

He loves to eat fruit! Just like his brother. We go through A LOT of fruit around here (and sometimes, internally, I’m proud of myself and wonder where the ability to prepare toddler food comes from? I would have never imagined myself doing breakfast, lunch, and dinner for littles had you asked me 5 years ago).

He loves his Drake. He calls us out “day day” and it’s hard to distinguish between that and dadda!

He HATES his carseat carrier. He has from day one. In the hospital…screams every time! THANKFULLY he goes into a big carseat now!

He HATES laying down to get a diaper change. Sometimes I give him a bottle so he’ll be occupied for the 5 seconds it takes to whip out diapers!

He enjoys putting things into containers.

He can use a fork pretty impressively!

He loves books! Not sitting down to read (or anything else) but he’ll flip through one on his own and then move on.

He crawls around with toys in his mouth making noises.

He likes to sleep with a blanket over his head (and I’ve give up freaking out over it). I’ve watched him in the middle of the night take his blanket from the side of the crib and wrap himself up. Pretty coordinated!

Did I mention he despises naps? Not a long napper. At all.

He loves water! (again, pretty impressed with our parenting skills to get children to like water!)

His birthday was a whale theme and we had more fun than I expected with friends and family! He did NOT like the smash cake but really LOVED the ice cream.

 

You can imagine with all the intricacies of a little person’s preferences and dislikes, the sanctification that comes with that for the one seeking to shepherd his heart. It has been a joy to watch his brother desire to help him (so much so that he gets into trouble for trying to stop us from disciplining his little brother sometimes). They wrestle. I had no idea what was coming with boys. Watching them wrestle is incredible and always teaches me. Boys were meant for something so much greater than what this world is speaking into their tiny minds and hearts. God put it in the male to be bold and fierce. My husband has taught me how to manifest that, encourage it, and train our boys in the way.

I never knew or spent much time contemplating what parenting would be like and I’m fairly confident that was exactly how the Lord intended my decision to go about having children. I probably wouldn’t have had any….and if you’re a parent I think you’ll understand what I mean by that comment. There are hard times. Staying with my boys all day is for the most part INCREDIBLE. But there are times I question my patience, abilities, decisions, sanity, etc. When they’re both screaming, when they won’t nap and I selfishly need 10 minutes alone, when they don’t like what I’ve made to eat (which, thankfully, is rare), when they ask hard questions, when they reveal sin in my heart….I could go on. But it pales in comparison to the joy they bring me! This is my one glimpse into how Christ sees me and loves me. My sin paled in comparison to His love so much that He died a gruesome death in order that His perfect blood be shed to pay the price for my eternity. Oh what grace. That’s what floods my parenting thoughts and momma heart. Oh what grace.

Now, onto my post about my precious Drake turning 3!

peace maker & joy keeper

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We had a very busy first week back into fall schedule. Tuesday night Portico, Wednesday night family nights at FBC, Thursday morning mops & Thursday night DGroup at our house all while maintaining normalcy in our home with meals, naps, shopping, play time, etc. It wasn’t overwhelming. I wasn’t anxious. Brady kept the focus in front of us & the peace and joy at home. Most of you mommas do this all the time. This was my first week of this busy lifestyle with two littles since having Drake.

Holt was born last November so his early days were spent celebrating holidays and staying cuddled up at home. By the time he got to a place to enjoy being out of the carrier and relating to people, school was almost out for summer break and church activities were winding down for summer.

Now, at 9 months, we carry him everywhere and he’s crawling. He’s eating table food and will still go for some baby food. He wants to be everywhere Drake is and do whatever his older brother is doing. He’s all over the house and let’s me know his frustration if I limit his boundaries. So, with chores to do and to-do list tasks mountings, I’m once again approaching my “priorities” evaluation with The Lord and myself. He won’t be into everything for long. It’s a short time to really soak up and watch him develop while trying to be just like Drake.

Both of my boys got sick this week. And then Brady. And now me. But we’re doing what you do when the sickies try to set up shop. Medicine, fluids, sleep, Lysol. And cuddles….lots of cuddles. That’s how we ALL got sick! But not too many snuggles-these boys don’t slow down for much.

And during this whole journey of testing the waters this week with a busy schedule, Brady made sure he spent time at home, helped me clean and prepare, played with the boys, did some night nights and nap times, and got everything prepared and rolling for his ministry. Incredible.

Tonight we plan and meet about a new facet of our ministry. There will be more on that later. I’m so humbled that Brady still chooses me every day. He wants to see me. He wants to spend time with me. He tells the boys positive things about me daily. He trusts me with aspects of our ministry that are very close to my heart. He asks me important advice and opinions on where he’s going with his ministry. All of those actions speak to me his love and his value of me. Love is a choice and a risk. He does this well and with intention.

What a sweet Friday it is as we prepare to open a new area in our ministry and head to Salt Lake City tomorrow with a group from our church to join Bobby Wood and his family and Redemption Church for their first church service in Ogden, Utah.