Friday, 30 November 2012

YaY for FridayFavs!

 I watch the snow fall out my picture window...again...as I pretty much do each day, I thought it would be fun to share with you some advice I got about living in the UP from a dear, and funny friend via Facebook. Keep in mind that Justin and I may or may not have dressed quite appropriately for trick or treating with the kids (and when I say Justin and I...I might mean mostly mean me) and this may or may not have been a note of encouragement to do so among other winterly advice.
Enjoy!

Hi friend,
On the eve of your first full winter here in "God's Country" (because, you know, God's preference is for places where frostbite is common and no food can grow) and after watching you and your family valiantly shiver your way through our less than stellar attempt at trick or treating, I've decided to share with you my top secret top 6 ways to prepare yourself, mentally and physically, for the long U.P. winters
1. Despite what you were taught in school, there are not 4 seasons. There are five. "The Holidays" are indeed their own season. They start around the first of November and last until the Christmas clearance sales are done. WINTER doesn't start until at least the second week of January. The sooner you mentally adjust to this "fact" the happier all 5 of your seasons will be.
2. Turn the heat up - a bit controversial perhaps, but I'm committed to saving the planet from April through September only. After that I figure the winters are just too long to be cold all the time and so I choose a comfortable 68-71 degrees.
3. And speaking of being warm enough - long johns...all the time.
4. In February, change the light bulbs in at least one of your rooms to the kind that resemble sunlight. It's really neat to go into the "sunshine" room and get a pick me up.
5. The best way to make the winter go faster is to make a long list of ridiculously ambitious goals that you hope to accomplish before Spring (i.e. this winter I'm for sure gonna finish writing that novel/organizing my pictures/potty training my youngest). It is best if they are winter weather dependant ("this winter the whole family is going to become experts at the luge!"), however anything that completes the sentence "I can't believe that winter is almost over and we have hardly spent any time________" will work just fine.
6. Finally, to truly enjoy the U.P. winters, you pretty much have to plan to skip town for almost the entire month of March. You do that and you'll probably be just fine. ;-)
 
Thank you, Karen.
You always make me laugh
You are one of my very favorites!
 
 
First sledding adventure of the year.
 
 
Keep this wagon train a movin'!
I think they were on their way out west.
There was some arguement about that
I'm not sure it was ever resolved.
 
 
These two.
They said they wanted a "real" old timey photo.
Ya know the ones where no one is smiling?
And it looks "kinda brown"?
 
 
The coveted Cub Scout Uniform.
Finally came in the mail.
And was laid out on Monday.
Though the meeting was Thursday...
evening.
 
 
Our Boy Scout.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Giving Good Gifts

"Why is it that we give gifts at Christmas?" This, the first line of the Christmas story board book that we received shortly after Hunter arrived in late Dec., 2008. It is this story that I read to him while he lay, all 5 lbs. of him, a blindfold covering his sensitive eyes, in a wondrous gift of an incubator. I read. He slept. I prayed. And he worked hard to breathe. And what a gift it was, that incubator. Surly, by God's grace. incredible nurses and this little incubator we have our first son healthy and happy (well, mostly :) )

 
Not unlike that incubator that kept our little man so safe and warm, free from the world he was not very ready to enter, sometimes gifts can be the saving kind. And as we celebrate the greatest gift ever given, Jesus Christ, I wanted to share with you some places that you can go to share the same kinds of gifts: life giving and changing gifts, in the name of Christ, with children and families across the world who are in desperate need of them.
 
 
 
Operation Christmas Child is something that we do every year. I've mentioned it before here and shared the link. If you have never participated in Operation Christmas Child, it can be a wonderful tradition to starting off the Christmas season right by giving gifts to those who may have never received a gift in their life.
 
 
Instead of our kiddos receiving gifts under the tree from us this year (they will have stockings stuffed full of small and needed items) our family has decided to give the gift of clean water.
 
 
Compassion also offers a Christmas Gift Catalog that includes many different ways of helping families in need. There are gifts big and small and every one counts. Every. Single. One. And of course there are always children waiting for a sponsor. What a Christmas gift that would be!!
 
Did you know you can help feed a family for a month with just $12.00 a month?? Unbelievable right?! But it's true. Children's Hunger fund does that for hundreds of families each month. They also offer a Christmas Catalog. And right now if you give a gift from the Catalog from now until the 30th you will receive Mark Swayze's song No Matter How Far for free! You can listen to his beautiful song in the video below.
 
 




And one last but not least....though K.P. Yohannan might say that he does serve the least of these in Asia, sharing the Gospel and loving those forgotten. He is president and founder of Gospel for Asia. His mission group offers a Christmas Catalog and you are sure to find something there to make a difference in the lives of the children in Asia.

Our children, in years past, have enjoyed us giving them some money to "spend" in one of these Christmas Catalogs. As they browse they shout and holler (yes, in a good way) about how little everything is. And how excited they are to be giving. They can't believe so little can go such a long way. And really, neither can Justin and I!

As I think back to all of those Christmases ago (7 of them to be exact), sitting, reading, praying for that little one I hate to think what life would be like with out that incubator. Again, I remember it as one of the blessings of living here in America, in our nation of impressive technology. It was a gift. It is a gift. No bigger or smaller than the ones highlighted above. Simply, a good gift.





Monday, 26 November 2012

Made Humble

As I hold and rock our two year old for a must-have-or-I'll-fall-asleep-at-five-and-not-go-to-bed-'til-11 nap, we listen to quiet Christmas music. As I hold and rock this littlest one of mine, I think about Mary, rocking her God-in-flesh baby. It is sweet. And again I am made humble as I think about this Word becoming flesh...baby flesh.

You see, almost every time I want to rise up, to gain something in and of myself, to want a high accolade, it is then I am reminded things like this: that the God of the universe, He who made all things, came as a baby first. No, not as a King. No, not as a ruler, but as a babe in a manger whose every need had to be met first by his own mother.

And so in this life of bending low to be lifted up, I find myself battling against always wanting a pat on the back, recognition for things done well....given well. Just this morning here I am standing in the kitchen crying out for grace to love a friend when I really want, and think I deserve, to be shown the kind of love that I am asked to give freely and with out expectation of return.  And it is hard. Isn't it? And the tears fall.

If there is anything good in me, it is because of you, Christ.
Thank you for coming as a mere babe.
For your life here was lived humbled.
From the first to it's last.
 
 
756. rocking quietly with sweet Gideon
757. remembering what humility looks like
758. free Christmas printables (I do love free things)
759. lovely Christmas music
760. new possibilities
761. blessing another
762. antibiotics for ear infections
763. knitting gifts for friends
764. Skyping with family
765. remembering Who I write for




Friday, 23 November 2012

Friday Favs: Thanksgiving Style

We have this wonderful life in the Air Force that the Lord has given. Yes, we do! We love living off yonder (I stole this word from my mother) here and there. There are these times that come around once a year, namly the holiday season, and there in my heart...all our hearts really....this pang. A little twinge of saddness that we are not sharing turkey (or pizza if you live in our home), dressing, cornbread, mashed potatoes, and just about every dessert you can think of that you can put in a can of pumpkin into with all those around the world, friends and family alike, that we love so dearly.

I once was told by a dear friend who is a missionary to military families and has see her fare share of people coming and going in her life that, "Oh, how I do wish I could gather all those that I love in one special place and live together....forever." No more good-bys or hellos for that matter. Just together. Sounds lovely. And a bit like heaven, which certainly isn't going to happen on this ball of dust. It was a bit like heaven yesterday, though, Skyping with my mom and dad, and Justin's mom and grandmother. Then chatting a bit with each my brother and two sisters once during the day, it was almost like having them here. It was special. I do hope you're time together was enjoyable, even if it was hard because sometimes they are, those holidays, the best and worst of times for many of us.

And here is a little dose of the special time we had this week together.
Enjoy!
 
 
Operation Chirstmas Child is the kick of to Christmas for us.
If you have never participated check out their website mark the calandar
for next year.
Becasue it is SO worth it!
 
 
This boy.
I love him!
All those tears have been well worth all the fun.
 
 
This book.
Sent, with love, to us by my mom
after her visit.
It's lovely.
And I love to walk by, and smile a bit remembering our
time together.
Busted pinjata and all. :)
 
 
This one too.
It has wonderful, simple, kid (and mom) friendly knits.
After sitting in Jordynn's room for over a year,
we're finally using it.
 
 
 
Just this.
Looked and looked for something sweet like this.
Thank you St. Vinies.
Aren't thrift shops the best?!!
 
 
Christmas crafting with our only sweet girl.
So thankful for her.
 

Our Thanksgiving tree.
Want to make one.
Find the free printable here.
And scroll down to Ann's post entitled,
A (Christian) Family Thanksgiving Activity:
The Thanksgiving Tree (free printable) 

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Trust

Hebrews 11 is known as the "Hall of Faith" for every Christian. In it we see clearly that faith is how a person is saved. Every believer mentioned in Hebrews 11 is from the Old Testament which means that Jesus was not born on earth yet. What we also see clearly, is also what the Lord has been teaching me these last couple of weeks:

"These (Abraham and Sarah) all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them,embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.  For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland.  And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return.  But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them." (Hebrews 11:13-16)
 
Recently Jordynn said absentmindedly, and more to the window in the car, than to me,  "I can't WAIT to be in heaven with Jesus." It's always convicting. I usually say, "Oh, I know sweetie won't that just be wonderful?!" Insert weak smile here. I say this all the while my life says surely that I think that this earth is quite wonderful actually and really there is no place else I'd rather be.
 
I do not want to admit that I am a stranger or a pilgrim (we've read about those recently and their journey was rough!). I don't even want people to think I'm different. I want to blend in. I want people to think I'm one of them. My eyes are clearly focused on here. Just here. This country. The one I've grown up in and grown to love. Apparently, too much at that ,for this is what my journal read but a few days ago:
 
 
 
"I have for too long clung desperately to this world. I have for far too long
been complacent because life here in America is easy. And, Oh,
how I long for it to be just as easy for my children! Yes, there are time I feel as an alien, but most of the time I am content to just blend in. I know my hope is in You
(Jesus), yet I live as if I care more about the cares of the world.
I want my children to live in a country that honours you,
but at what cost?"
 
Experience is a funny thing isn't it? I don't pretend to base all things on experience, but she can be a very good teacher. The Lord has used her many times in my life to show me sin that I was missing. And so as I looked back even further into my first scribblings about Philippians 1, beyond a few days ago and on into the beginning of August I see it was there that I learned (at least in my head) of Paul longing to be at home with Christ, but knowing that the church needed him also. Tension is found there, in verses 21-27 of Philippians, but for sure if Paul could have it his way, he would already be at home with the Lord.
 
It often happens this way. I read. I scribble away. I look up meanings of words. I pray. And pray a little more. My mind wanders. I learn a little in my little brain. There is a twinge of conviction here and there. I confess. And then WHAM life hits me over the head and that lesson is pounded deep into the reservoir of my heart, settles in a bit and it is then, and was in this experience that I realised that my hope, as much as I would have liked to protest to the contrary, had been in America.
 
Now hear me right please? I'm no fanatic. Of course we can and should enjoy our lives here as much as possible. We are so blessed to live in a country that freedom still rings. And I can relate to Paul, in that, I believe my children need me somewhat like those baby churches needed his teaching. That is a high a holy calling for any woman, and I want to delight and find joy in serving Christ in that capacity.  I want to live each day with those around me that I love, wondering this wispy life together to it's fullest. I want to treasure the time with these 4 and the one I call Love.  I want to travel and see all that I can...all that the Lord made and spoke into existence. Yes, I want all of this and probably more....lots more. 
 
 
 
These things that I want, they are not bad nor wrong in and of themselves. The problem is they had transformed into desires and grown into longings and then morphed into demands as if I deserved to have all of them. And though the world tells me that I do deserve every, single one of them, the hard- to-swallow truth is that I don't. They are a bonus, those things I want. I know this because I look around, I read and see what the rest of the world faces each day as they rise early in the morning and come face to face with the magnitude of the blessings that have been granted to all of us that call ourselves American.
 
Blessings they are! Though they are not worthy of my trust. It is only the One who has bestowed the blessings on us that is worthy of that kind of trust. It is only he who will never fail or forsake me. He is patient and long suffering and kind, always showing me my weakness and forgiving my sin. Thank you, Lord Jesus...I am humbled.
 
 
These Thanksgivings courtesy of our 4 as I yelled out some word prompts:
small things....
739. books
740. Koen (which he was not happy that sister thought he was still small)
741. cups for measuring medicine
big things....
742. big turkey
743.cups
744. chairs
745. pillows
yellow things....
746. sunshine
747. Jesus (as in he will be bright in heaven??? so says Jordynn)
748.colours
things that smell good....
749. coffee brewing
750. deodorant (and the people that wear it, I might add)
751. flowers
things that taste good....
752. candy (of course!)
753. clean water
754. pizza, clean air, biscuits
755. pumpkin and chocolate pie
 
 


Friday, 16 November 2012

Gratitude: FridayFavs

I'll be sharing our home with you today
in all it's messy glory.
I'm asking for grace, please,
and for one more thing too
But more about that in a bit.
 
 
This Country.
I'm thankful we live here.
No, not perfect.
Not even close.
Still, freedom rings and I am thankful.
 
 
These People.
The Pilgrims.
Who endured and persevered at great cost and suffering.
Again, not perfect.
Though...
Their yearning for freedom: unquenchable.
Their hope in Christ: unshakable.
 
 
Messy boys, lots of toys.
 
 
 
Comfy beds to lay our heads.
 
 
 
 
Lots of shoes of which to choose.
 
 
 
Always enough.
And really, even more than that.
 
 
It's was in the looking through the lens today that I really could see. The more pictures I took of the beds and lights and running water and the washer and the dryer and toilets and toilet paper and dinner and the dishwasher and a girl making a sweet treat in the blender, the more I was reminded of the blessings surrounding us and just how much I take advantage of it. After shooting, I asked myself, the same question I remember asking myself in Mrs. Harris' class in 6th grade, "What would it be like if I were born somewhere else?" Somewhere else that didn't have electricity or running water or closets full of shoes. Somewhere in which bellies were not full, but growling all day and all night....mothers and fathers not knowing when and how their children will be fed. Somewhere the clothes are pounded hard against rocks to get clean and though the water is not clean they still dip their jugs in to haul home to drink. Somewhere else is most of this big wide world that we live in isn't it?
 
And often, when I receive a Compassion Blogger assignment, I don't know of what to write. All I have ever known is an affluent life in America. I know nothing of poverty, no not the kind our David and Ernstia know and will know all of their lives, very probably.  So it is hard to relate. It is hard to communicate with out sounding like the mom or dad doling out a guilt trip (or a "lecture" as Jordynn calls them.) But that is not what it this about. Instead today, every day can be a day of...
 
Gratitude
Yes, gratitude.
Being so thankful for what you have been given that you want to extend a little,
and  make a sacrifice for another.
 
Because if you think about it: their needs are so great, but what most of us has been given is FAR greater isn't it? Take a look would you? Would you pray? See for yourself. And truly, these two, David and Ernstia, that we have the honoured privilege of helping are more a gift to us then we could ever be to them.
 
 

 


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friday favorite things | finding joy

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Don't Judge Me!

Words mean something. There I said it. They just do. They mean a lot. And it is interesting how the same word can mean different things to different people? No, I'm not talking about synonyms silly. I mean the exact same word. I haven't figured out why this is. My uneducated guess that it is our postmodern, relativistic society wherein we can't even define a word because it means one thing to one person and another thing to another person.

I looked in the dictionary used dictionary.com and I see this when I punch in the letters that spell the word judgement:

1. an act or instance of judging.
 
2. the ability to judge, make a decision, or form an opinion objectively, authoritatively, and wisely, especially in matters affecting action; good sense; discretion: a man of sound judgement.

3. the demonstration or exercise of such ability or capacity: The major was decorated for the judgement he showed under fire.

4. the forming of an opinion, estimate, notion, or conclusion, as from circumstances presented to the mind: Our judgement as to the cause of his failure must rest on the evidence.
 
5. the opinion formed: He regretted his hasty judgement.
 
From what I see here it can be then, a positive thing to be judgemental. In many circumstances it is quite necessary. It means, for the Christian, that you are being discerning while "judging" through the lens of Scripture. Being judgemental has gotten a bad wrap as of late and probably for good reason. However, as I stated before words are important are they not? They're so totally important that Jesus himself is called the Word.

 So then, lets take a look together for a few minutes.  (If you left your thinking cap in bed, I totally understand, just skip here to my last FridayFavs, and come back later. ;0) And the rest of us, we will move on....
 
I know a dear family that has fostered many kids. These kids come from very desperate situations. The state had good reasons to take these children out of their homes. The judge in their cases has to make a judgement call and put the children in foster care. The judge and the state are being what we would call judgemental...in the positive since. If the state or the judge in these case would not have made any sort of moral judgement, these children's lives would be forever damaged more so than they already are. The parents of these families have to prove, through different assessments, that they are able to take care of the children and again the judge must decide, to discern, if and when they are ready to do so.

Recently I have been able to spend time with some adorable children that my friends now have in their home. And in my mind I have thought things like, "How in the world could these parents let this happen? What kind of people do these kinds of things?" Yes, I was being judgemental...in the negative since (don't judge me! ;0). Shortly after I had this very thought,
 
"But for the Lord, Kari Jo....this could very well be you making those choices....loosing your children."
Again out comes that Pharisee.

And isn't that the crux of the matter? Pride. It always is. The moment I believe that some how I am good in and of myself...that somehow I am better then that becomes the force behind my judgement. And those kinds of judgements are always hurtful.

However, if my judgements are made in light of Scripture in the matter of finding out what is true, then my judgements will always stem from love. I can be judgemental in a positive since and even say things that might be hard to hear because of love.  I can say things that are true and noble and right....things that might fall on deaf or angry ears. But just because someone disagrees with my judgements does not mean that it is hateful does it? Most of the time it is the truth that is hard to hear isn't it? And isn't a judgement to say that we shouldn't judge at all? Hmmmmmm.....

I hope you are asking yourself, "Is this true?" "Where do I go to find out truth?" I go here:

Matthew 7 Jesus says, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."

This must mean that we are to never judge right? Well, yes and no. First remember the context of Scripture is key. I have to ask myself when (what period of time is this set in?) and where (what is the cultural context?) and to whom (who exactly were these people?) was Jesus speaking. This is towards the end of what is Jesus' well known, Sermon on the Mount. Jesus was speaking to many different Jews at this point as crowds and crowds were following him at the beginning of his ministry, wanting to be near. Some of these Jews were well known scribes, Pharisees and teachers of the law.  They were the rule followers. They even had rules in addition to the 600ish (ok 613 to be exact) laws that were given by Moses.

Saul, whom we know as Paul (yeah, that guy who wrote much of the New Testament...that guy), was once a Pharisee before he met his Lord and said of himself in Philippians,..."as to the Law, blameless." Paul was basically saying, "According to all of the Law and Prophets and all those extra ones too, I was found blameless." I'm just going to assume that Paul was not the only Pharisee or Scribe that would call himself blameless according to the law. That might actually sound like a confident self assessment, but it is also very true. These men thought that by following those laws they were made righteous and so they followed every. single. one. 

Guess what? They weren't. And guess what else? Neither are we. Jesus was talking to them about judging here (and to me too.) For the very same reason it was so, very easy to pass judgement on those parents. Pride. Pride. Pride. Their hearts (and mine many times) are full of it.  Oh, those Pharisees and I, we would be great friends, I think. I so often, like they did, find my righteousness not in Christ, but in following rules or or checking things off my list or having obedient children or being a good wife or in my marriage or having a clean house or making things from scratch or what others think of me or making "good" choices or in my own ability (yes, that would be the plank in my own eye.) See my list...that could go on but won't....isn't even super spiritual. Really, it's rather stupid (for lack of a better word)!

So then, is it possible to judge with out being prideful or arrogant or malicious? Yes, indeed it is!  Does it really matter that the world will go on with the relative drum beat redefining words or not defining them at all? No, not really. It's hurtful in many cases for sure, but I believe to be a discerning believer, it is necessary to make moral judgements according to the Word. What is even more necessary though is being clothed in humility, a heart seeking out truth and indwelling love that only comes from Christ and the Holy Spirit. Then and only then can our judgements be full of grace and truth. And that my friends, is the difference. It always is isn't it? He always is isn't He?

Christ comes in. He doesn't just change our hearts, he gives us a new, fleshy one which makes us able to discern truth. What a great and sober responsibility! Thank you God for grace!  


726. one boy, waking unusually early, excited about saving his allowence for a circut kit and falling asleep again with satisfaction
727. this achy thing in my heart that loves my children fiercly, not wanting them to grow
728. remembering to always have my hands open, that they really are not mine
729. quiet not-so early mornings
730. a husband who gets out into the cold to close the garage door for me...it's the small things
731. these children who can't seem to sleep with out each other
732. a praying mother in law and broken fevers
733. one girl excited about playing in her first Upward league
734. snow...again...on those bendy trees
735. a little boy who is pretty much potty trained! PTL!!!
736. one bigger boy SO EXCITED about cub scouts
737. that handsome man, wearing his blues, always taking such good care of us.
738. the sober responsibility of making grace filled judgements
 




 

Friday, 9 November 2012

Desert Diorama: FridayFavs

This wispy thing called time flies by when you're having fun.
Or not.
Or when your kids are sick.
And this week as flown by.
For all those reasons and more.
Though we I did sneak in a few special moments with one of my favourite little men.
 
 
We decided to take a morning (while sister nursed a sore throat by staying in bed, listening to Adventures in Odyssey and reading) to build
a desert diorama.
Like most things in our life, it was pretty much a mess to begin with.
 
 
But like my mom is forever saying,
"Sometimes you gotta make a mess to make a thang better."
Did you hear the Southern drawl??
 
 
And tada. Something to feel good about.
It's actually a desert with an oasis.
Pretty brilliant, I know.
Ok, maybe not but good enough for this mess of a home.
And this handsome boy, he smiled big.
 
 
Cause accomplishment always feels good.
Even in the small things.
Maybe especially then.



 

friday favorite things | finding joy

Monday, 5 November 2012

Give them Grace

How is it that a just turned 20 year old looks into the eyes of her newly birthed, blue, beautiful baby girl and thinks she knows something? You see, as a new Momma I did, at least I thought I did. I thought I knew a thing or two about this thing we call Motherhood. I thought I would do (or not do) certain things and poof this wonder of a child would turn out ok. Well, not just ok, but perfectly ok. Here's the thing though. She was wrong. I was wrong.

Parenthood is not a certain formula. Sometimes it feels right opposite of what we think we should be doing as does just about all other forms of becoming a servant.

This girl that had all the answers still called her Momma (though she swore up and down she would do many things different) at least once...twice...three times a day. She walked next door to her sweet Aunt's house, tears brimming, saying, "She won't quit crying! I don't know what to do." That Aunt smiled softly, took the wailing baby child and walked her, swayed her, loved her while giving that know-it-all new Momma a break. And that Aunt, she brought the bundled baby back....sleeping.



As the Lord opened my eyes to His ways and drew me unto him through His Son, Jesus, it was then wisdom grew. Slowly, slowly at first and some times all at once this wisdom grew. Almost regretfully, this was many years later and this girl child, she was well on her way to adult hood, or so it seems. It's almost unfair how slowly I have grown up as a Mother compared to how fast these four grow physically....it's almost comical.

But what if that is exactly the point? What if the end goal is not a formula, or perfection? What if rather the end goal was seeing our desperate need for the Grace of a Heavenly Father in spite of it all?

 
The more I parent the more I realise my need for God's unfathomable grace.
It is in these children I see myself.
 
 
 
It was over a year ago that I heard of this book called Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Children with the Love of Jesus by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick, Jessica Thompson and Tullian Tchividjian. And you know what I thought? "That book, it's probably filled with all kinds of heresy!" A book about grace and I assume it's heresy. The secret rule following, Pharisee comes out quite often in the form of thoughts in my brain.  But it wasn't until a dear sister in Christ, whom I trust, spoke quite highly of it and challenged me, so I bought the kindle copy and it's taken me about a full year to get through it.
 
There have been few books that have broken me wide open besides the Word of God and this is one of them. And here is why:
 
In America what is it that we value? I can tell you this with confident assessment because, well I lived in Germany for 4 years. This is what we value: 1) convenience 2) convenience 3) convenience and 4) comfort. You know having an ATM at every corner (even the beach) and drive through tellers and pay at the pump gas, and having a cell phone plan that you don't have to write (yes, I said write as in a letter....not electronically) the company 3 months in advance to cancel? Those are the things I missed most (well, besides all my family and friends, of course). The things that irritated me the most about Germany....and most of Europe for that matter.... were the things that inconvenienced me the most.
 
And we do that with just about everything, I believe. Parenting, marriage, relationships in general though these things are more important than being able to quickly and easily change your cell phone plan, are also things that we want a quick fix for. We want a formula. We even read articles all. the. time. like this one I saw the other day, "3 Ways to have a Healthy Marriage." So if there was a formula for marriage it would look something like this A idea + B idea + C idea = Healthy Marriage. Awesome! Not really. We do that with parenting too don't we? Except that formula might look something like Good Parenting + Obedient Children = Adults that love Jesus.
 
 
 
 
But what is the problem with that? The problem is that relationships like marriages, and parenting can't be broken down into a simple formula that makes people love the Lord. It doesn't work....at least not for the long haul. It's what I like to call a band-aide solution which doesn't address the deep waters of the heart. It is only by God's grace that, that work is done. Are we faithful to teach, admonish, and discipline when necessary? Of course! We can't forget, however, our children's salvation is dependent NOT on us, it is dependent on the Lord. Salvation is of HIM, not us.
 
It is this that has be me broken wide. So much of my parenting life has been spent on making sure the outside of the cup was clean instead of washing the inside first. So much of the time I am so worried about what others think that I scold and act harshly towards a child instead of extending grace. So much of the time I want to do what I want to do and bribery is so much more convenient than diving in deep into the heart issue. So much of the time I want to take the credit for what God alone is doing in the hearts of my children in spite of me. Thank you God for grace!

 
 
So what is it that our children need? Discipline? Rules? Responsible Parents who chase hard after Christ? Yes! Yes! And Yes! But what is that our children need MOST? Grace? Jesus? The Gospel spoken to their little sinful hearts daily? YES!!
 
 
 It is in reminder that, of what is MOST important, that makes the mess on the floor, the clothes shoved into the drawers unfolded....again, harsh words, unthankfulness, potty training...again, and general bit of chaos bearable....enjoyable, even. Because if there is one thing....just ONE thing that I want these 4 to see....it is grace and truth, working hand in hand, on display in our home.
 
So don't read this book thinking it's going to be a 1, 2, 3 step guide to good parenting. Rather, it is a guide to the one Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ "who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us," (Eph. 3:20) especially in the lives of our most precious possessions.
 
719. good, convicting reads
720. one girl who loves horses
721. learning about our God, creator
722. smoothies for breakfast
723. confidence in Christ
724. this Month, Nov. reminding us to be thankful...and for Him above all
725. learning about Canada
 
**I do want to say, though since I'm recommending Give them Grace, that I don't necessarily agree with the author on every single point. So I encourage you to be discerning by working out your own salvation with fear and trembling if you do so choose to read this one!**
 
 
 
 



Saturday, 3 November 2012

Never Too Late for Friday Favs!

Yes, I know it's Sat. It's actually lateish Sat. evening. FridayFavs are actually supposed to be posted on Friday. Which is not today. Obviously. Oh, time management we have already decided you are one of my greatest foes. However, since the past couple of weeks have been, well pretty wonderful I thought I would share in more of the fun and favorite things we did together. These here are some of our Favs from when the laundry fairy (AKA Nana) was still in town.



 Making sweet treats
 
 
And a Pinata
And just for the record Pinatas are hard to make.
It is a project that takes about a week.
Not 2 or 3 days
Unless you live in the South and can put it outside to dry in Oct.
 
 
Best.
Dad.
Ever.
 
 
Ironman.
Meg (from Little Women).
And a pirate, of course.
I love them all.
Well, the children dressed up as them anyway.
 
 
Yup.
This here is the Cowboy at the fishin' hole.
 
 
It is quite possible that our homemade pinata did not work out so well.
Thank you Wal-Mart.
 
 
Yes, that is snow.
At least 2 or 3 in.
Yes, I know it's only November.
It is pretty though covering those bendy trees right?
Kinda like Narnia. Right? Right??
 
 
Reminiscing the good ol' days...
in Switzerland.
Maybe it snows there in November too.
 
 
"The fight of faith is the fight for JOY!" ~John Piper
Well said.
 
 
And what would this FridayFavs post be with out a pix of the
laundry fairy herself.
She's one of my favorites.
Love you Mom!
Thanks for making special memories with us.
And for bringing some warm weather.
But mostly for just being you.
 
 
friday favorite things | finding joy