Monday, January 31, 2011

Some days are long…



Most days you can find my living room looking like this at one point or another…strewn with blankets, toys and kids dressed in crazy ways!

“Be encouraged as you train up the next generation of leaders.  Though the days are long, the years are short.”   from an article in Home School Enrichment Magazine

This is a thought I’ve been pondering since I read that line last week.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the every day do this and do that and forget that every day should be enjoyed.  It won’t be long before they don’t need me to cut their food, read them stories and they’ll be asking for the car keys.

So I’m purposing to take time to enjoy the little things now, while they are young.  All the while remembering my calling as a parent:

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.  Ephesians 6:4 NLT

Saturday, January 29, 2011

{Project 52} Week 4

best friends

Out of no where, they were hugging and calling themselves ‘best friends’.  I have the sweetest children!

Friday, January 28, 2011

An Interview with an Almost 4 Year Old


The above picture is a tell tale sign of cabin fever.  He dressed himself, he said he was ready for the beach.  I can definitely relate, I’m glad that it’s nearly the end of January!

These are his answers to the same questions Hosanna answered last week.

What is your name? Judah

How old are you?  3, I mean 2, I mean 3 (holding up his fingers)

When is your birthday?  February

What’s your address? He told me the house number and street name

Who is your mom? Becca

What does your mom do during the day?  Makes hot dogs, goes to the store and gets toys for kids, tickles bellies.

What does Dad do during the day?  He works in the garage with tools.

What is your favorite song?  Uh, Dad’s song (the kids hear songs that we like and call them Mom or Dad’s song)

What do you want to do when you grow up?  Be a bitar (guitar) singer with a bitar.*

Where do you want to live when you grow up?  Here.

What is your favorite food?  Salami and mustard.

What is your least favorite food?  Vegetables.

What is your favorite animal?  A horse to ride. 

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?  Chocolate.

What is your favorite book?  Bernard books (We have a couple of them - Nap and Bath.  The kids love them!)

What is your favorite toy?  Ken and Hercules (Ken the barbie doll and I’ll introduce you to Hercules another day).

How do you like to spend your time?  Playing with Ken.

*The other day I asked him what he wanted to do when he grew up – he said “I wanna be grown up here, with you and dad.”

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cookie Cutters Aren’t Just For Making Cookies

cookie cutter1

They are also for using with homemade vanilla-scented Play Dough on a cold winter’s day.  The dough is super easy to make and they can’t get enough ‘play time’ with this stuff.

 cookie cutter2

It is endless fun!

cookie cutter3 He used a candy cane cookie cutter, which also looks like a J.  And yes, one of these days I will get around to cutting this kid’s hair!

cookie cutter4

Zoe used her dough for various things, like dividing it into many small pieces and smooshing these princesses into it.

cookie cutter5

They were all very proud of the different things they were making and would have let me take a picture of everything they made.

cookie cutter6

But I had to stop and make supper.  This was the last picture I took, a ‘cookie’ Hosanna had made with a little face.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Word of the Lord Will Stand


For all flesh (mankind) is like grass, and all its glory (honor) like [the] flower of grass.  The grass withers and the flower drops off.  But the Word of the Lord endures forever.  And this Word is the good news which was preached to you.     1 Peter 1:24-25 amp

We, as mere men, only have a short time to bloom here on earth.  The Word of God  never changes.  It will stand forever (Isaiah 40:8).  So, with this knowledge…how do we live our lives? 

Everything that God said, He did.  He sent His Son to save a world in need, to pay the price for our sin.  He lets us choose to follow Him.  And often enough, we don’t take this into account.  We follow Him when it’s convenient and comfortable, not necessarily when it squeezes us or brings change to our hearts and lives.

We need to consistently remind ourselves that studying and praying the Word of God are the best ways to proclaim His promises that can’t be undone or ever change.

Look to His Word for answers to your everyday situations and with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to Him (Philippians 4:6).

Saturday, January 22, 2011

{Project 52} Week 3

walkin in my shoes

In this week’s picture, these shoes tell a story. 

The story of a 2 year old who saw her brother wearing Daddy’s shoes and decided to put on her mama’s shoes.  Later, after the kids were in bed I saw these shoes near the front door.  Just like this, with her little slippers still inside.

So sweet and such a reminder that children always want to be in your shoes, following your example, learning from each and everything that you, their parents, do.

Friday, January 21, 2011

An Interview with a Five Year Old

SLC_pb3 I’ve decided to do a little interview of the kids, just to see what they say and to be able to look back on when I ask the same questions next year.

So here it is, the questions I asked with her response in italics.

What is your name? Hosanna

How old are you?  5

When is your birthday?  In July.

What’s your address? She told me word for word, including city and state.

Who is your mom? Becca.

What does your mom do during the day?  Teaches school, cooks, helps her kids.

What does Dad do during the day?  Dad goes to work. And what does he do at work?  He looks up on his computer.

What is your favorite color?  I like all of the colors!

What is your favorite song?  Hail, Hail Lion of Judah

What do you want to do when you grow up?  Be a vet worker.

Where do you want to live when you grow up?  In a farm.

What is your favorite food?  Hot dogs and macaroni and cheese.

What is your least favorite food?  Cheeseburgers.

What is your favorite animal?  Puppy.

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?  Chocolate.

What is your favorite book?  Bernard books (We have a couple of them - Nap and Bath.  The kids love them!)

What is your favorite toy?  The princess-es.

How do you like to spend your time?  (She twirled in a circle.) I like to spend my time playing.

It will be interesting to see how her answers change over the years.  Stay tuned next week…I’ve got Judah’s interview for you then.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Thumbs Up!


It all started last fall…Judah was attending a tumbling class and he had done a somersault, jumped up from the mat, looked at his dad on the sidelines and gave him a huge thumbs up.  So, ever since then, it has been a means of encouragement around our house.  When the kids are trying to show me something that they’re doing, I can show my approval by giving a thumbs up.

About a month ago, during our homeschool lessons, I gave Hosanna a thumbs up regarding what she was working on.  She gave me one in return and took it a step further.

thumbsup2 She gave me what she called ‘a high five thumb’.  A smaller version of a high five…so cute.

And another time, it was this:thumbsup3 ‘A hug thumb’ – an even sweeter way to give a thumbs up.

These are just a few ways we demonstrate encouragement at our house.  We all need it and it’s especially important to give kids a thumbs up to reinforce their positive behavior.

Give someone a thumbs up today…add a high five thumb or a hug thumb if you’re so inclined!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

With Childlike Faith

handPhoto Credit

“She’s in Your Hands.  Amen.”

Last week, I was tucking the kids in for the night.  Hosanna stopped and knelt beside her bed and prayed for me.  I had been sick for a couple of days.  She prayed for me to feel better tomorrow, she ended it by saying ‘She’s in Your Hands.’ 

At 5 years old, she is using her sweet, childlike faith to remind me of Our Maker.  The One who calms our fears, guides our steps and heals our bodies.  The One who holds the world in His Hands.  The One who was and is and always will be.

Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do not appear. Hebrews 11:4

The Amplified version explains framed like this ‘fashioned, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose.’  I don’t know about you, but I would rather choose to use God’s Word to put my everyday world in order, then to rely on my own words.

I want to follow the example of my 5 year old and EVERYDAY put it ALL in His Hands.  To use WORDS OF LIFE, to go about my days – taking care of my children, talking to family and friends, believing that He is in control of every circumstance I encounter.  I choose to trust God by using words that tell everyone I’m leaving it all up to Him.

Today I’m joining this discussion about words.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

{Project 52} Week 2

This sweet girl has been LOVING books all week long.  She will bring one to you and just want you to flip through the pages for her.  Someone tried to take one from her last night, that was a bad idea...she let them know that she wasn't having that!

I had to throw this one in too.  She has such a darling little smile.  Hosanna was behind her trying to 'rock' the chair for her.

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Why didn’t I think of that?


Don’t touch that!  Put that back!  Leave that alone!

These are words that are common to my weekly sayings.  Without a doubt, kids love touching things!  So it’s important to be able to bring one of their favorite past times to the learning table.  Tactile learning has always been a great way to enlighten children.  It’s especially helpful when teaching children to write their letters.

The kids have always loved to play in the flour after I’ve made homemade bread or cinnamon rolls, but it made quite a mess.  So yesterday when I was reading about another homeschooling family and their tactile learning, I saw them using a great resource.  Their cookie sheets!  They put the flour in those and then were practicing their letters, etc.  Brilliant!

playingwithflour1 playingwithflour2 playingwithflour3 playingwithflour5 They had loved it and the mess is kept to a minimum!  The very first picture in this post was of Judah burying his beloved toy, Hercules.  The options of things that they can (will) do are endless!  Now they are using spoons to scoop and move the flour around their trays.  And I’m feelin’ like heading to the kitchen to try out a new cinnamon roll recipe!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Think About It Thursday – Where’s your focus?

Tourist on holiday using mobile cell phone
I heard a saying today…”Your focus determines your future”

Wow.  That’s something to take into consideration, especially with all the things that demand our time and energy these days.  We let worry take over and forget that if we seek His kingdom, He takes care of it all (Matthew 6:25-34).

Focus is defined as: a central point, as of attraction, attention or activity.  The things and activities that we spend our time consumed in is what we’re focusing on and that is what will produce fruit in our lives.

The girl in the photo above sees the entire skyline, but she is choosing to only focus in on a certain part to take a picture of.  There’s so much negativity and wrong doings that we hear about day after day, and while it’s fine to take notice of it – it’s not fine to dwell on it and let it affect our everyday lives.

Have you ever heard this saying “Who you will be next year depends upon two things – the books you read and the people you meet”?  Amazingly true, change doesn’t come by sitting around doing nothing.  We have to decide that we’re going to do what it takes to be a different person one year from now.

Proverbs 13:20 – He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.

As a teenager in youth group, we were always told ‘You become like who you hang around.’  But I don’t think that only applies to the younger crowd.  Even at my age, I want to surround myself with God-fearing, Bible-reading, Discipline-Administering, Honest-to-Goodness moms that provide me with an example to follow, as well as a friendship.  And I want to provide those friends in return, an example of a Godly wife and mother.  But it’s hard for me to be those things if I don’t take time out to study God’s Word or to worship at His Feet.

There is also a stack of books that I’d like to read sometime in the next five years soon.  As soon as I finish one, I will share about it here.  These are books about self-improvement – spiritually and relationally.

The challenge – to decide to focus on something that will make a positive change for your future…a book to read and that person that you’ve been interested in hanging around more because you think they’re a great example grab them both and get learning from them.

The prayer – God, I humble myself before You and I ask You to train my eyes to see the focus that You have for me.  I thank You that as I seek and worship You, I don’t have to worry because You’ve got a plan for me.

Think About It…

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Dancing to the beat of their own drum

Last week, we made our own drums and this is a picture of my little musicians singing and playing their drums to some music in the kitchen.  The idea came from a kid’s craft book and the moment Hosanna saw it, she wouldn’t leave me alone about making them until we did.  They were simple and the kids loved them!
To make them you will need:
  • Empty Oatmeal Containers (or any other kind you have on hand, Zoe’s was a feta cheese container)
  • Construction Paper
  • Crayons
  • Yarn
  • Scotch Tape
  • Unsharpened Pencils
  • Cotton Balls
  • Saran Wrap
  • Rubber Bands
  1. Begin by having the kids color the cover for their drum.  Attach it with tape to the outside of the container.  I cut circles that we taped on the lid and wrote the first letter of their name on it.
  2. Poke hole in the side of the container and put the yarn through tying to secure.  Put the lid on.
  3. Cut a small square of plastic wrap, place 3 cotton balls in the middle.  Center the pencil on the cotton balls and gather around the pencil, secure with a rubber band.  Repeat with second pencil.
They really enjoyed singing and dancing with these drums.  The only thing I would probably change is to use hot glue to glue on the lid as they came to me a few times to have me put the lid back on for them.
But it was a great thing to do on a cold winter’s day!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

{Project 52} Week 1

I have decided to do a project.  I know...who has time for that?  Well, I'm going to make time. 

Because I'd like to improve my photography skills and take more pictures of our family, I'm going to purposely take pictures every week.  Then I will post my favorite (or favorites if I can't decide).  At the end of the year, I will have a summary of our year in pictures and probably make a photo book.

Week 1 is a picture I took the other day after we had gotten a little bit of snow and Hosanna and Judah headed outside.  You could still see grass poking through, so I guess she considered the driveway a more appropriate place for making a snow angel and somehow, she centered herself right between the tire tracks.  To me, snow angels are such a reminder of childhood and that's why I love this picture.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Think About It Thursday - The Work of Your Words

This is the beginning of a new year.

If you could purpose to change one thing, what would it be?  Your busy schedule, your exercise routine, the amount of quality time you spend with your kids?  This list could go on and on.

I was reading the other day and came across this quote:
     "All the words I had ever spoken, they are making my children who they are.  What we speak into others, this is what they become." Anne Voskamp

Oh, my.  How true this is.

When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.  The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value.  The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of judgment.  Proverbs 10:19-21

The book of Proverbs is studded with verses regarding the tongue and how it's misuse can lead to our downfall.

Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.  Proverbs 12:18

The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.  Proverbs 18:21

God has given us care and charge over our children and the things that we say TO them and ABOUT them shape who they are.  No, it isn't easy, but mothering is my job so I'm going to do it the best that I can.

The challenge...Put a reminder of one of these verses (or another that reminds you of the power of your words) in a visible place where you can be reminded of it daily.

The prayer...Lord, help me to thoughtfully speak life to those around me.  I am so grateful for the job that you've given me as a mother and I pray that the things I say glorify you each and every day.

Think About It...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Song of the Month - Love Is Not A Fight

An iPod - one of my favorite Christmas gifts ever.  A device that allows me to listen to hundreds of songs whenever I please is absolutely wonderful!

I love music and it's ability to change the atmosphere and attitudes around us.  Music makes us feel good, it encourages us and makes us think.  That's why I've decided to share a song with you each month.  A song that has spoken to me, has a great message or has gotten me through a trying time.  I believe that what we listen to can have a powerful effect on our outlook and how we view things.

This particular song was brought to my attention by my husband.  He pointed it out to me on an app that he has on his phone.  Then when I was looking it up later, I found out it was from the movie Fireproof (that's why it sounded so familiar!).

But it has a powerful message.  We all come in contact with people who have experienced broken relationships and I don't think we can remind ourselves too much that 'love is not a fight, it's something worth fighting for.'

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

She calls them the princess-es

There are toys...

and there are TOYS

With 4 children in this family, we got plenty.  This is one that has been enjoyed over and over.

These are Disney Princess Favorite Moments Dolls.  They aren't very big, which is good (they don't take up much space) and bad (a possible choking hazard).  So at our house they can only be played with at the dining room table and must be put away when you are finished playing with them.

These dolls can be purchased individually or in sets.  Hosanna has some individuals and the Tiana set, which has a prince and horse with carriage.  Their little clothes are rubbery and can be difficult for the kids to get on and off.  They have also ripped certain pieces of clothing right in half.  Yes, I said they...all of them (except for Shiloh) enjoy playing with them. 

Overall, these are toys that the kids have asked over and over to play with.  They love them.  These princess' have slept in barns, rode on buses and been covered in Play Doh.  They are versatile and keep the kids captivated and using their imagination.

Quote of the Day: (while playing with these princess')
"They choosed not to get married 'cause it was way past their bedtime."

In other news: This little lady is 13 months old today.  My, how time flies!

Disclaimer: I wasn't paid to say this. It's just a post about some toys we enjoy around here.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Attitude of I Refuse

Yesterday I had the privilege of speaking at the Sunday morning service at our church.  I've decided to share my notes with you.  It was an exciting topic that I hope will inspire you to make a choice this year.

New Year's Resolutions date back many, many years to a Roman god named Janus.  He is usually pictured to have 2 heads, one that looks forward to the new year and one that looks back to the past.  Making resolutions usually was about forgiving your enemies and looking forward to your successes in the new year.  This Janus guy is where we get January from. 

Modern day resolutions vary from getting in shape, improving finances or careers, becoming more organized, reducing stress and volunteering to help others.  Research has shown that, while 52% of participants were confident that they would succeed, only 12% actually achieved their goals.

Last week, while listening to the radio, I heard the song, I Refuse by Josh Wilson.  The words struck me and as I prepared for last Sunday's service I was lead to read them aloud.

Sometimes I just want to close my eyes
And act like everyone's alright, when I know they're not

The world needs God, but it's easier to just stand and watch
I could say a prayer and just move on like nothing's wrong

But I refuse
'Cause I don't want to live like I don't care
I don't want to say another empty prayer, Oh I refuse

To sit around and wait for someone else, to do what God has called me to do myself
Oh, I could choose not to move, But I refuse

Those are thought provoking words.  God has called each of us to a certain time and place, He doesn't change His mind regarding that which He's called us to (Romans 11:29).  Our family, friends, neighbors and co-workers need the hope of Jesus.  We are called to be the light to the world (Matthew 5:13-16 and 1 John 1:5).

So in addition to whatever self improvement goals you are setting for yourself this year...

I challenge you to adopt (take something and make it your own) the attitude of I REFUSE...

  • not to show God's love
  • to be a bad example in my attitude, words or actions
  • to let another day go by without letting 'that' person know they are loved by God and myself
  • to ignore the Spirit's leading
  • not to take the opportunity to pray with someone when I know they have needs to be prayed about
We attended a marriage seminar this past spring, it was an incredible study about marriage and what it should look like according to God's Word.  We learned there are three characteristics that are essential to every successful marriage, but these are also the things that we need to reach people for God.

  1. LOVE - 1 Thess. 4:9b - you, yourselves, have been taught by God to love one another.  Paul said it so well in 1 Corinthians 13 - without love, I am nothing!
  2. FORGIVENESS - Col. 3:13 - Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
  3. ENCOURAGEMENT - 1 Thess. 5:11 amp - Therefore encourage (admonish, exhort) one another and edify (strengthen and build up) one another.
Reminding ourselves to engage these characteristics in our relationships will lead to positive PR for God.  We are walking advertisements for Him.  If we claim to be His children, we should ACT like it!

Statistics show resolutions don't have sticking power...adopting something is making it YOUR OWN.

The challenge...adopt the attitude of I REFUSE to let someone else do what God has called me to do.

The prayer...God, you have called us to be your children and the light of the world.  I refuse to leave you out of every day situations and I choose to share your hope with those around me today!