Thursday, February 18, 2010

Book 3/13

I just finished another book. Yea!

The book is titled JUST COURAGE: God's Great Expedition for the Restless Christian, by Gary A. Haugen. I found out about this book while I was at the Encouragement Extreme Event.

I became aware of the author, who is the president of International Justice Mission (IJM), from an attendee (Helen), who wrote a song dedicated to this ministry. She sang her song during the event. It was extremely powerful! IJM was created to seek justice for people caught in slavery and to help free them.

yes slavery still exist today!

Just Courage, is not so much about IJM as it is about having the courage to step out of your comfort zone and pursue the adventure God has for you. Stepping out in faith is usually not safe, comfortable or easy.

We Christians can live our lives all wrapped up in our cozy homes, comfortable churches and familiar friends... yeah, we're on the trip, but if we are not stepping out in faith, taking risks and doing what seems impossible then we are missing the adventure.

If we choose to follow Jesus beyond what we can control, beyond our own strength and beyond the norm, we will experience His power, wisdom and amazing love.

I encourage you to visit the IJM website to find out more about this ministry.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentines Day

Lately, I have felt led to be more intentional about making family traditions. The memories of these traditions will hopefully be a lasting reminder of the love our family has shared through the years.

I am reminded of the commands God gave to the Israelites to impress upon their children so they would learn and not forget what God had done for them. How He delivered them from slavery. (Deliverer) He destroyed their enemy. (Protector) Daily He provided them with manna. (Provider)

These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all His decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. Deuteronomy 6:1-2

Love the LORD your God, with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:5:9

In the Jewish culture they still carry on many of these same traditions that remind them of their God. So I thought what better holiday to start with than Valentines Day.

We started earlier this week by making Valentines for the elderly that we visit. We like to go through the bible and pick out just the right verse to go on each card we make.

Here is Seth with his finished cards. We deliver Meals-On-Wheels once a month with our home school group. We made the cards to go with the meals. If you have kids that are home during the day this is a great service project to do with them. They love kids! Every time they open the door and see the kids their faces light up with a huge smile. We deliver meals to bless them, but every month WE end up being blessed too.

The next thing we did is the night before Valentines Day I had everyone write something positive about each family member on a separate piece of paper. It could be anything they like about that person or a talent/gift that God has given that person. After all the pieces of paper were collected and everyone went to bed, I cut out hearts and wrote the positive words on them. Then I taped them to their bedroom door for them to find in the morning. It was really fun to watch their reactions to what was written on their hearts. I had plans to take the hearts and put them in separate notebooks for each person to keep their collection each year. Unfortunately I never got around to getting the notebooks. I may still do it, because I think it would be great to have a collection of positive comments about yourself so that when you are sad or down you could go and read what others think is good about you.

The last thing I did was bake a cake with a heart and cross. We talked about Valentines being about love and how Jesus is love. The white icing on the cake represents Christ being without sin. The red heart represents His great love for us and that He shed His blood to pay the debt for our sins. The cross represents that He died on the cross so that we might be able to have a relationship with our heavenly Father and live with Him for eternity.

Mike also had a short devotion on love that went along with the cake theme. I plan on making this a tradition we do every year as a reminder of what Christ did for us.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Ready For Spring!

I am so ready for spring. We have had more snow than usual this winter. Don't get me wrong I love a good snow. It is amazingly beautiful to look out the window and see everything covered in white, but enough is enough.

As everything has started melting away our dog, Mordecai has discovered a new hobby...

... digging in the mud leftover from all that white stuff. Mordecai's "white" paws were completely covered with mud!

and he thinks if he doesn't look at me i won't notice.

well i noticed.

maybe he won't notice getting a bath, which he hates!

Who knew taking a bath could be so exhausting? At least he cleans up well.

Shortly after we moved into our home I noticed in the midst of the tree-tops the shape of a heart. The leaves from two huge trees overlap just enough to form the outline of a heart. Through the outline you can view the sky. It's really pretty and reminds me of God's great love for me. I often look at it and think about the verse, "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands." Psalm 19:1

Well with all the cold weather it has taken a toll on those trees. They have lost all their leaves and a few limbs. Just the other day I looked up to gaze at the heart God put in the trees for me and to my unpleasant surprise it was gone! I was really sad. I turned and slowly walked over to the sink to finish the dishes and decided to take a peak out of a different window hoping I could see it from another view. No luck. It was truly gone. Just then my eye caught a glimpse of something at the bottom of a tree a lot closer to our house.

I just had to take a picture of it! God is so good to me! He knew I needed that, thank you Lord.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Book 2/13

I just finished book 2/13 for 2010. "Family Driven Faith" By one of my favorite authors Voddie Baucham Jr.

This was a fast read, but not because it was full of fluff. It was so good I could hardly put it down. I have read two books by this author and I have loved both of them. We think alike on many issues, especially when it comes to the family.

Voddie really challenges parents to prioritize the spiritual development of their children.


The church is suppose to be a great resource for families, supporting them in their journey. Making sure your children are growing spiritually is the job of the family. It takes commitment and lots of time. It is hard, but all your hard work will pay off. You will see great rewards for investing in your children. There is no greater reward or responsibility than raising godly children.

i pray often for the Lord to show me areas that i need to work on in order to be a better mom to our boys.

We have to be people of the Word, not just Sunday morning and Wednesday night attendees. We have to live the Word at home and at work. I highly recommend you reading this book and putting the wisdom gathered from it into practice with your family.

On another note...

Seth had a loose tooth for a week or so and was getting pretty aggravated with it. So he decided to take matters into his own hands. As you can see in the picture above he meant business. Unfortunately the tooth was very stubborn and did not want to cooperate. A few days later it decided to come out while Seth was eating a chocolate chip cookie and he swallowed it right down. Later, Seth said, "I thought that was a hard chocolate chip."

so now you know that if you ever bite into a hard chocolate chip spit it out don't swallow!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Snowy Fun

This past weekend we got more snow. We were going to operate on a 2hr delay for school, but when the boys went out for a 30min. break our neighbor offered to let them use his snowboard and that was all it took for school to be canceled for the day. The boys were having so much fun I couldn't bring myself to making them come in to do school.

what can i say, "i'm a softy".

I love that my boys have such a good time playing together.

Here is Seth going down the hill.

Joshua's turn.

Now for Noah... he went the farthest.

And last but not least... Mommy.

I couldn't let the boys have all the fun. I actually didn't fall over here... but I did a few seconds later! They got a good laugh at there momma.

The weather was great, not too cold.

The boys stayed outside most of the day.

They all had to take turns eating the snow.

First Annual Encouragement Extreme Conference

This weekend was our first annual encouragement extreme conference with Luann and friends from Encouragement Cafe'. Despite the blizzard we still ended up having a little over 50 women brave the weather. I'm sure not a one of them regretted coming. It was AMAZING!

Go to the website here to read all about the things God did this weekend.

Here is the picture from the conference. One woman got to take this home with her.

Here is the whole "Extreme Team". Just let me tell you, there are some great women in this bunch. I often looked around during a planning meeting and wondered, "How did I get here amongst these wise women?" I can't wait to see what God has planned for us next.