In order to remember.

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The purpose of recognized holidays is to use the day as a time of remembrance.  To think about and talk with one another about something that happened a long time ago.  My kids have had projects in school all week leading up to today.  They have talked about the presidents and colored pictures.  But when my husband asked our daughter why she had the day off of school, she said “I don’t know.  They just knew I was tired!”  He tried again and asked about the color pictures.  She simply said “Oh.  Those were really old men.  I don’t know if they are in Heaven or not.  I don’t remember if they loved Jesus.”  Being honest, there was a little part of me that was proud of that answer.  I am glad that she thinks about eternal things.  But, my point is, she really did not understand the time given to remember.

President’s Day aside, I think we often suffer from amnesia regarding spiritual things as well.  We do not take time to remember what God has done.  We barely acknowledge what He is actively doing today, let alone what He did long before us.  We read the Bible like it is a story, rather than an accurate recounting of events.  Why does that matter?  Why is our awareness supposed to be broader than just today?

Because GOD said so.  He told us to remember.  He told us to talk about it…everyday. 

“These commandments that I give you today are to be on 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 door frames of your houses and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6: 6-9)

We are commanded to talk about the commandments of God in everyday life.  They are supposed to cover our surfaces.  Impact our day.  Penetrate our hearts.  They ways of God should matter to us.  When we incorporate God into our daily life, our children will see what is important and they will remember God’s faithfulness through the ages.  It will change how they view today.

Further into the passage, verses 20-25, it says:

“In the future, when your son asks you, “What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the Lord our God has commanded you?” tell him: “We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand.  Before our eyes the Lord sent signs and wonders—great and terrible—on Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household.  But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land he promised on oath to our ancestors.  The Lord commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the Lord our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today.  And if we are careful to obey all this law before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.”

Catch that? In the future…God knew the children would ask!  Before the situation even came up, God was laying the foundation to lead His children.  He was preparing the parents to be able to explain their way of life.  To remember all that the Lord God had done for them.  They were supposed to recount all that God had done, so there would be deep meaning in their daily activity.  God was commanding them to obey but He was also providing them with a purpose for their lives.

Children can trust GOD today, when they have been taught how He’s been working since time began.

Teach your children how to remember.  Teach them how to recount the deeds of God in normal conversation.  Lay your “memorial stones” so your future has purpose and your children can learn and understand.  Not only will this encourage you to trust God more, it will teach your children how to really know the God they obey.

Ideas to practice remembering:

1.  You can write things down and put them in a special jar or journal.

2.  You can take pictures that you hang on the wall.

3.  Read through the Old Testament with your children.

4.  Write verses on your wall.  Memorize them.

5.  Learn songs.

 

 

 

My Son

Things I think you should know now that you’re 3…

1.  If you let others hear your words first and your dinasour growls later…you’re probably going to make a better first impression.

2.  You will not always look adorable in collard shirts and jammie shorts.  Rock the look while you can.  You will need to start wearing outfits that match soon enough (but we can probably save that for preschool).

3.  When you held my hand today, my heart melted but you left my hand feeling pretty sticky.  You need to learn to always wash your hands really well.  Girls think clean hands are hot; it’s not just a mom thing.

4.  Please never ever forget the excitement you experienced when you asked Jesus into your heart…I know I won’t. 

5.  Daddy is teaching you to be respectful towards women and authority.  I know you sit on the time-out steps a lot, but if you learn the lesson now…you will go far.

6.  On that note, please know I can see you move up the steps during time out.  Especially when you giggle.

7.  Your new line is that you start every sentance with “little boys…” and then tell me what you want.  Although it’s not always accurate, you are learning to communicate.  Keep learning.  It’s a good tool to have in that belt of yours.

8.  You ran outside to catch Daddy yesterday morning because we forgot to pray before he left for work.  Please keep doing that even when you’re big.  Always pray with your family.

9.  You made sure your sister had her snack today when you got yours.  It is your way of starting to “take care of her”  and look out for others around you.  I’m proud of you.  Even though you’re younger, I want you to always take care of her.  You protect the ones you love no matter what; God will provide the courage and strength. 

10.  You are learning to wipe the seat after you go to the bathroom.  Seriously.  You are going to be one well-trained catch when you grow up and leave home.  Count on it!

11.  Your desire to open the door for everyone is admirable.  However, you may want to avoid screaming “it’s my turn” and pushing everybody out of the way to get to do it first.  Gentlemen do it quietly.

12.  Keep eating oatmeal like it’s going out of style.  It’s good for you to really like a food that is cheap and good for your cholesterol.  That will also serve you well when you move out…or in a few years when we cannot afford to keep feeding you at the rate you like to eat!

13.  You are super excited to go to VBS and Cubbies this year.  We pray you are always excited to learn about God and that you participate in every opportunity to do so.  Cheerful participation is a good thing to learn.

14.  Thank you for understanding my rule of “picking your nose is a bathroom activity” and obeying it.  You will stand out from your peers positively amongst adults if you remember it.

15.  You continually teach me.  I hope you always teach with your actions for God’s glory.  “Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.” 1 Timothy 4:11-13. 

I love you Aaron Joshua.  You are God’s little boy but I am so glad He put you in our family.

Love, Mommy

I Know I am Not.

When I think about accomplishments or things that could have filled my time, I can ponder up a sizeable  list.  In the quietness of my own heart, there are things that swirl around if I give in.  IF I had…IF this had not happened…IF this had been different…do you notice the trend?  Giving in to discontentment or even thoughts of unfulfilled dreams will always be a dangerous, slippery slope of  moving away from where God has us.  Who God has made us to be.

One thing that always catches my attention is that in order to fulfill these faux accomplishments, I have to remove my current realities.  Satan never allows things to co-exist.  Satan’s plan is always on the opposite path from God’s.  When starting down that path, it usually feels great.  I do not know your distractors, but mine are always public attention, appreciation, someone thinking (or just saying) that I am amazing.  I know, it does not take much.  I really like attention.  But, before you quietly judge and stop reading…because that is not your distractor, I want you to be honest with yourself.  Something popped up in your mind.  There is a temptation that Satan knows he can nail in your life. every. single. time. 

If you will ever accept God’s peace that surpasses understanding and live in the joy He offers, you have to be honest about your distractors.  When I am fully aware and fully willing to give up my distractors, God moves.  He works in my heart and brings me to live fully in the place He has me. 

And before you think that it’s not worth it, just hear something else.  God often has a divine way of using the parts of our personality that gives into our distractors for HIS GLORY.  The part of me that likes being in front of people CAN BE USED FOR GLORY rather than self-satisfying distractors.  God is the One who made me.  Satan tries to use parts of me to lead me astray, but God provides a more satisfying path if (in His strength) I choose to obey.

This blog for instance, is focused on design and family…but lately, it’s been more family because I have not had time to design.  I could make more time for it.  I could pursue contracts and really jump-start my “business” but that would involve putting my kids to the side.  And, right now, my main job is being mom.  Most of mothering, does not involve a lot of accomplishing, appreciation, or people telling you that you’re amazing.  Mothering is all about sacrificing for the greater good and it is really hard to accomplish anything if you are not fully tapped into God’s power supply.  Unlike design or event coordinating, excellent mothering does not come naturally.  It does not usually leave me feeling really good about myself…it leaves me desperate for God.  Completely dependant on Him to lead me.  To forgive me.  To realize I am not.  More of Him…A LOT LESS of me.

Wow…that is probably why He gave me kids.  A lot less of me and greater amounts of Him.  That sounds like His redemptive plan to me.  That sounds like being molded by the potter (Isaiah 29, 64, Romans 9), if I have ever heard it.  And I need to hear it. every. single. day.

A really great example of this lesson is also found in John 3.  John the Baptist, who is Jesus’ cousin, is talking to disciples about exalting Jesus.  You can read the whole story, but the point is this (vs 30) “He must increase, I must decrease.”  John the Baptist had his own disciples.  He was older than Jesus.  He could have been very bitter about being overshadowed.  But instead, he submitted and celebrated his role in the Kingdom.  He proclaimed who Jesus was.  He exalted Jesus.  He thrived in the role he was given.  His whole life’s mission can be found in John 1:35-37 “The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples,and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”  The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.”

As John stood with his disciples, He proclaimed who Jesus was and the disciples followed Jesus.  John obeyed and it was not about him.  He did his job and the disciples followed another…

I know I am not a famous designer.  I know I am not in high demand.  But that is okay.  Instead, in this season, my calling is far greater.  I get to proclaim who Jesus is to the next generation.  I will sacrifice in hopes that they experience the love of Jesus from their heads, landing and rooting in their hearts, and finally propelling their sweet little feet towards Jesus.  I want to call out to my children “Behold, the Lamb of God!” and I earnestly pray that they hear this and follow Jesus.

We may wear different “hats” during different seasons.  But I really hope you are understanding my heart.  Whatever your role is, wherever God has you right now…choose to forsake your distractors and follow Jesus.

Jesus tells us very clearly this difference between Satan’s (the distractor) path and His path…”The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10). 

Even if dreams and accomplishments have changed from what we thought they would be, don’t we all just really want an abundant life?  Don’t we all just want to feel like we are truly doing what we are supposed to be doing?  Turn and follow Jesus.  Choose to live the abundant life.  He may have a different path, but His way will give you life. 

If you already have a personal relationship with Jesus, don’t let the Distractor (Satan) steal from you by planting lies in your head.  And when he tries, because he will, give your thoughts back to Jesus and do not entertain your distractions.  Pray for God to show you His plan and walk in obedience.

Now I am off to fill a glass of water, do some laundry, and practice what I share!  I pray “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you (Numbers 6:23-25).” 

Anna

Right Now

Dear:

Honda Odyssey:  I am so glad that you have spots for so many people and that you hold so many carseats safely.  Not because those spots will ever be all filled with all of my kids.  For that, I only need a small sedan.  But my kids have friends.  And the government keeps changing the rules, so I will need a car that holds carseats for the rest. of. my. life…

Animal Crackers:  No thank you for having resealable bags.  That makes me guilty when the bag is empty before it has time to be resealed.  I can’t handle the pressure.  If you would have bags that automatically stayed open, I would feel like I was doing a public service to eat the bag and prevent any from becoming stale.

Side Table:  You came into my living room before I was ready… thanks to the husband wanting you out of his garage.  You really need another coat of paint.  Right now you look like a second-hand piece…rather than something I paid good money for at a real store and had high hopes for.  Watch out if you feel sunshine.  The spray paint is waiting.

Little boy:  Thank you for staying right beside me at the aquarium.  I was doubtful that you would ever start to grow up.  You blessed my mommy heart and reassured me that I am doing something right. 

Gas:  Seriously?!  Once I get where I am going, I have no money left.

Jesus:  I need you every moment of every day.  Thank you for dying on the cross for me.  Thank you for never leaving me.  Thank you for faithful forgiveness.

Heaven:  So glad this world is not our home.  It is downright painful right now and I don’t want this to be all there is…that would be scary.  I am so glad that God made you and I am so glad I get to spend eternity with HIM.

Daddy:  I am still your little girl.  You will always be my hero.  I am so glad you taught me truth and to do what is right, even when it hurts.  I am so proud of you.  Thank you for walking worthy of the gospel.  Thank you for creating a Godly legacy. 

Momma:  You amaze me.  Your strength inspires me.  Your love for God teaches me.  Your sacrifice humbles me.  Your commitment to family encourages me to keep strong.

Insanity:  I have not worked out in a little over a solid week.  Although I originally had a good reason…part of me wants to not go back.  It feels good when I am in the routine.  But chocolate and pizza feel good too.  Why can’t I have the work-out results without the work?!

Rain:  You flood my yard.  You do not tan my legs.  You make it gross to be outside.  You help plants to grow.  (In case you didn’t notice, your “cons” win)

Mr. Kintigh: Thank you for holding me while I cried this week.  Thank you for teaching our son to talk to me with respect.  Right now you are snuggling the kids in your chair…you are so handsome.  Thank you for calling me so much while you were out of town.  And for saying “I love you” and “I miss you” even though I know other people could hear you.  Thank you for praying for me.  This June will be 6 years.  And I can’t imagine life without you.  I am a better person because God uses you to bring me closer to Him.  And let’s be honest, I keep you on your toes 🙂

Seattle 1/2:  Watch out.  Once I start running again…I am going to rock you.  And yes, you don’t need to keep reminding me that you are getting closer.

Design:  I will come back to you.  I will actually do some of my good ideas again…once I figure out this parenting thing. And why it takes so much time.

Beautiful.

She rises early with sleepy eyes and a bright smile.

She is infused with excitement for the new day.

Her little face and little hands are scrubbed clean.

She asks “Do I look beautiful, Mommy?”

Yes, precious girl.  You are beautiful. 

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.  You are truly beautiful.

She twirls in her rainbow dress; her face lit with joy.

Her Master’s workmanship shown for all to see, for His glory.

She asks “Do I look beautiful, when I dance, Mommy?”

Yes, precious girl. You are beautiful.

God made your dancing legs; you are healthy and strong.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are truly beautiful.

When you dance, you show God’s beautiful creativity.

You show the heart of His plan.

In the midst of dinner time busy, she remembers to bow her head.

She opens one eye and slips her hand into mine, smiling.

Quietly she says thank you for her food.

The precious girl is learning what beautiful is. 

Learning how to honor the One who made her.

She snuggles into bed at the end of the day; eyes heavy.

Wrapping her arms around my neck, she wispers,

“Mommy, I think you are beautiful, just like me.  God made both of us beautiful.”

She now understands.  Her child like faith truly believes.  She trusts her Maker.

Yes, precious girl. We are beautiful; made in His image.  For His glory.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are truly beautiful.

Magnificent Monday–10 Reasons

It’s especially easy to find ourselves in a slump of ungratefulness on Mondays, following the weekend.  But today, I’m challenging myself (and you) to make a conscious effort to have a Magnificent Monday.  Yes, it’s a choice.  And, together, we can succeed! 

My 10 Reasons.

1.  My little guy woke up dry (an answered prayer)!

2.  My little girl loves school!

3.  I have a husband who works hard for our family!

4.  I get to exercise with a friend for 1 hour each day!  It’s a great way to stay healthy and recharge!

5.  Even when it’s raining, our house keeps us warm and dry!

6.  I have time and freedom to help my kids learn Bible verses!

7.  My father in law is helping my husband maitenance our van this week!  I’m so thankful for his ability and time, which is saving us lots of time and money!  And my mother in law is watching the kids so I can see a friend and get my hair done.  I’m so excited!

8.  I got to make valentine cards/treats this weekend with 2 special friends.  We talked and talked about God and our families.  So encouraging and refreshing; I am so thankful for friends who share the Lord! 

9.  We have the perfect driveway for side walk chalk!  Right now, there are some beautiful pictures on my front step!

10.  My kids are enrolled in swim lessons and I love the mom’s I’ve met and am so thankful for their teacher.  She works so hard for them and we enjoy our time at the pool so much!

When we choose to take upon ourselves an attitude of gratefulness, it is easier to keep our mental list going!  We start to see more and more things…when we make it a habit to look!  Your whole family can benefit from this when your attitude is spiritually transformed, especially if you talk about what you are thankful for aloud with your spouse and/or kids! 

“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom,singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”  Colossians 3:14-16

Today

Hello Sunshine:  You are a welcome surprise.  The rain was getting old and it does nothing for my hair.  It was mostly a problem when I had to get kids out of the car and when those kids wanted to play at the park.  Please stay a while; I promise to appreciate you.

Goodbye Baby:  I went to a baby shower last night and it was very enjoyable.  I loved seeing the little outfits, especially knowing I purchase big outfits now.  Love sharing the new mommy’s joy; love that I am saying goodbye to the “baby season” in my family.

Welcome Busy:  You came fast and by surprise.  I do not see a day on my calendar that does not hold a lot of life!  I did not think young kids were this popular to have their own schedules and therefore creating mine.  I am at home now and will not be for the rest of the day.  So welcome.  It looks like we will become quite close.

Stay Active:  I am through the first week of my workout routine.  I have stayed consistent.  I am actually looking forward to the one hour a day.  I am hopeful to see results soon.  I am learning to love the feeling of hard work, sore muscles, and hot showers.

Crayola:  You are not in fact washable.  There. I said what every other mom is thinking.  When my child colors all over his own face…he is still blue after scrubbing.  I hold you responsible for those empty promises.  Don’t judge the fact that somehow he colored his own skin under my supervision.  The kid is ninja fast.

Small Hands: That are often sticky.  You fit in mine perfectly and I love it when you fit in mine willingly.  Especially when your owner looks up at me and smiles.

Mirror:  When I pass by little man’s room and he’s looking in you; I giggle.  It may be the way you show him his growing muscles or the way you reflect his face as he makes dinasour noises.  Either way.  Thank you for keeping it real.

Swimsuits:  We have always had a patchy relationship.  But you make my little lady look adorable.  Love your bright colors and how she loves wearing you all. day. long…even if I have to turn the fire place on so she’s not cold.  Love that you somehow inpire her imagination.  She feels like she can conquer the world.  And I love that she feels pretty.  I hope that she never knows different.

Fenced Backyard:  You’re my favorite.  Enough said.

Laundry:  You must think I like you, because you’re everywhere.  Just for the record, I don’t.  You are still everywhere because I try to pretend I do not know you.

Handsome Man:  I saw you checking me out this morning.  I may not have called you out but it still gave me butterflies in my stomach.  You have that way.  And when you told me that you were having a hard time falling asleep when I wasn’t there…you made my day.  Let’s flirt in the kitchen more often.

Today:  You are the day the LORD created.  I will rejoice and be glad in it.

Lessons Learned from a Day in the Bathroom

This is an honest post.  A true reflection of the kind of day we lead…maybe too honest for you, especially if you do not have children.  With that said, I will now continue.  For our memories and maybe to encourage another mom.  I feel there is value in remembering “these days,” in all of their glory and grief.

We’re on day 4.  Of being in the bathroom.  Of having our day centered around 15-20 minute increments.  Of having my focus consumed by the desire for dry underpants.  Yes, it is true…we are potty training.  A boy.  This is important to note, because I have also potty trained a little girl…and it just was not like this!  This is a whole new journey.  The following are my reflections…

1.  When a little boy has to go potty, one toilet in your home (out of three) suddenly becomes the favorite.  The only one that will work.  And it is usually the toilet that you are the furthest from.  Run mom.  Run fast with your naked little boy.  This is actually not about potty training, apparently, it is about seeing how many times you can run upstairs in a day!  Take that, “Minute to Win It!”

2.  Going to the bathroom at night, when the bathroom light is “too bright,” is no longer safe.  It has actually become a dangerous sport for the strong of heart.  The consequences could be great.

3.  Having a quiet little boy is no longer peaceful.  It produces a frantic need to find him.  Find him now.  ANYTHING could be taking place…and finding him on your bed all snuggled in, is no longer cute.  It is nerve-wracking!

4.  Before this, you never knew that a day would come when you would clean your bathroom multiple times a day…including the walls.

5.  You never could concieve (or did you try) to know the depth of your son’s imagination and how many positions are actually possible to sit on a toilet without falling…most of the time.

6.  You also never concieved the actual velocity or span to which potty can travel out of the toilet, when a little boy is in control.  Watch out!  Some things are better not to know.

7.  You start deciding that a social calendar is scheduled, not on who you would like to see or what you would like to do, but rather on where the bathrooms are and how solid your friendship is…in case an accident (or a stubborn choice of the will) should take place.

8.  Refering to observation #7…you will know the difference, not to worry.  And yes, a little boy does have it in their power to decide when and where they will go to the bathroom.  Just know that now, it will save you a lot of grief.  Be careful how you proceed.  If they decide it is a battle, they will win…because there is no way you can make them go.

9.  It is helpful when your little boy says he needs to go to the bathroom.  It is frustrating when he says it in the car.  It is disapointing when he says it in a whisper tone…you never knew that little boy could whisper, did you?!

10.  If you are being honest with yourself, it is both funny and cute when your little boy runs out of the bathroom to tell you he’s gone potty…and he’s completely naked.  It is no longer funny or cute, if you have just opened your front door to accept a package from the UPS man.  True Story.

Good luck on your journey.  There will be such a sense of accomplishment when you have accomplished this milestone.  It is not just about going to the bathroom in the toilet, although that is important.  It is also about your little boy becoming a big boy!  It is about the two of you bonding through this season of life.  It is about you learning what tools help your little boy to succeed.

Everyone will go at a different rate, litterally.  It will happen, and when your little boy is all grown up…you may even miss this season of life.  There really is nothing cuter than a little boy running in his newly earned “big boy” undies!

{I’m sure we’ll be back with more reflections.  I have chosen not to post any pictures in this post, as to not unnecessarily embarress the innocent}

Flashback Friday

{This was a post from exactly a year ago!  Wow, how time changes; they have grown so much…}

Sophie told AJ she was leaving for school this morning, but “she would come back to him super soon!” I love that they are learning to be friends; they love each other so much! AJ waved and then ran up and gave her big hugs. The kept hugging and giggling. I’m so thankful for our kids.