Sunday, May 31, 2009

Treytonisms -- taking an opportunity

This morning on our way to church we passed Tim's work
Treyton: There's nobody there (talking about the shop)
Tim: No, cause it's Sunday, Sunday is a day of rest, and we go to church
Treyton: What's before that?
Me: Saturday
Treyton: What is that day?
Tim: Saturday is just a day off - Daddy doesn't work
Treyton: What's after that?
Me: Sunday - church day
Treyton: What's after that?
Tim: Monday
Treyton: What's that day?
Tim: That's the first day that Daddy goes back to work
Treyton: What's after that?
Amber: Tuesday
Treyton: What's that day?
Amber: Just a fun day that we have, while daddy is at work
Treyton: What's after that?
Tim: Wednesday and that's a day that Daddy goes to work and we go to church at night
Treyton: What's after that?
Amber: Thursday
Treyton: What's that day?
Amber: Just another fun day that daddy's at work
Treyton: What's after that?
Tim: Friday - and that's the last day that Daddy is at work.
Amber: And then it is Saturday. There are 7 days.
Treyton: Wow, that's alot!
Amber: Yeah, that is alot - there are 7 days; and 7 days makes 1 week.
Treyton: Wow, that's alot!
Tim: Yeah it is.
(silence for a few moments)
Treyton: Thanks for teaching me that stuff
Amber: (through hysterical sobs) Your Welcome Baby

This conversation just melted my heart and taught me a valuable lesson we are given so many teaching moments with our kids, but sometimes we (okay, I) miss them. Sometimes I rush a conversation or am not even listening but responding with quick little "uh-hus"s or "yeah"s. I am certain that I have missed many precious moments just like this one. I'm just glad that the Lord has allowed me to have more, and that I am learning to take them for what they are and appreciate them. This morning actually reminded me of the verse in Deuteronomy 6 that says we are to talk with our children about God when we are lying down, rising up, walking, in our home, (etc.) It's because it is through the smallest, simplest moments of our lives that our greatest opportunites to teach and imprint the minds, hearts and lives of our children are given.

The greatest part is that even when we don't receive a "Thank You" like we were so blessed to receive this morning, the time we spend talking with our children about even the smallest things is appreciated and noticed by them, our spouse and most importantly God.

Recommended Sermons

I've heard some pretty great sermons lately, if you have time I would highly recommend them.

Matt Chandler - The Repentance Series, there are three parts (part 3 is especially great "Theology of Repentance" Dated 3.22.09)

John Piper's sermons based on John 3:16 there are two parts, part 1 is good but part 2 is AWESOME (part two touches more on the idea of God's love and the different types of God's love)

Awesome Children's Book

This week while I was at the CHEA convention I picked up a new book for Treyton - I really love it so I just have to pass it on to you!!

This book is the best book (even for adults) that I have read on the Trinity (then again, I haven't read that many) and it just so happens to be broken down to a level that even our children can understand.

The illustrations are simple and colorful and Treyton has already asked to have it read to him 4 times (and I've only had it home since Friday night!). As shown by the cover of the book - the author uses the illustration of an apple and the concept of the peel, flesh and core of an apple and how there are three parts but only one apple - and even goes into how the three parts have different functions, but are still the same apple.

It really is a great book... for those of you interested I did find it on Christian Book Distributors for $7.49 amazon has it for $9.49

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

God's Pursuit of Man - Chapter 4 "Victory Through Defeat"

“The Lord cannot fully bless a man until He has first conquered him.”

“The strength of our flesh is an ever present danger to our souls. Deliverance can come to us only by the defeat of our old life. Safety and peace come only after we have been forced to our knees. God rescues us by breaking us, by shattering our strength and wiping out our resistance. Then He invades our natures with that ancient and eternal life which is from the beginning. “

“For we teach men not to die with Christ but to live in the strength of their dying manhood. We boast not in our weakness but in our strength.”

“When He has overpowered our resistance He binds us with the cords of love and draws us to Himself. There, “faint with His loveliness” we live conquered and thank God again and again for the blessed conquest. There, with moral sanity restored, we lift up our eyes and bless the Most High God. Then we go forth in faith to apprehend that for which we were first apprehended of God.”

This has been an extremely difficult chapter to write about because to be honest, it’s a topic I don’t really understand that well. Even as a parent, this is an area I struggle in – the ability to break the flesh/sin nature of my child without breaking his spirit…. It’s a thought far beyond my understanding. Yet, here it is, yet another topic I don’t fully understand but I feel as though the Lord is speaking to me through. So let’s attempt to wade through this together, shall we?

It’s human nature to promote our strengths while downplaying or all together ignoring our weaknesses. But the truth is, God doesn’t work that way. God typically does not choose to use what we feel our strengths are but actually tends to use our weaknesses. It is through our weaknesses and brokenness that God can bring the most glory to Himself. It is when we are at our weakest point that we are most aware of our dependency on God.

When we are allowed to make it by on our own strength a dangerous level of self-trust and self-dependency tends to develop. Pride soon follows and we begin to look to ourselves as capable without help, without need of the Lord’s hand of blessing on our lives. Paul talks about this is 2 Corinthians 12, where he refers to the “thorn in his flesh” given to him to keep him from being too elated or boastful of the revelations given to him. Verse 10 says “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Though we fight and pray against weak and broken moments – regardless of how they may come – God has chosen to use these moments to change us, and grow us in Him. We have these moments as opportunities to take our weakness and turn them into a moment for Him to shine through us. Sadly, we don’t always take the opportunity – when tragedy strikes or conflicts arise, we sometimes choose to not accept it, to not allow God’s hand of blessing in a particular situation. We choose to hold it against God, ourselves or others in our lives. We blame, we get angry, we get bitter, maybe even try to get even.

Tozer uses the example of God wrestling with Jacob. All night Jacob wrestled a “man”, and when the dawn was near, the man placed his hand on the hip of Jacob, dislocating it. When Jacob realized he was defeated, he clung to the man demanding a blessing – it was then that Jacob’s name changed to Israel, and Jacob realized he was actually fighting the Lord. Jacob walked away with a limp from a dislocated hip, but He also walked away with a blessing from the Almighty. It was through an entire night of wrestling, and brokenness (literally in this case) that the Bible says of Jacob “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” (Genesis 32:28) It was through Jacob’s weakness that he prevailed – not his strength.


Pictures and Update

Last week we went to the Bay Beach Wildlife reserve with our friends from church - Treyton had a great time looking around at the different animals. That was our first time there - we were really impressed with their set-up for the kids.

This is Treyton feeding the geese - this was Treyton's favorite part - and why wouldn't it be?!!? There were TONS of geese all around him - he actually got one to eat out of his hands - it actually hurts a little bit but it was such a great experience - wild geese eating out of our hands.... too cool! They were also pretty loud "honk, honk" Treyton said on the way home (just like the geese)
This is a picture of Lexie eating spagetti for the first time (in it's original form at least). She has learned to be quite the messy eater :)

This is Lexie outside helping Treyton play his David and Goliath rock game we made for school.

The kids playing dress-up before church on Sunday... Treyton actually ended up wearing the tie to church (he took it off for sunday school) and then when we went out to lunch he also wore it.
I've been replaced by the "newer" princess Lexie... somehow, this does not sadden me :)

These pictures are of Treyton and his friend Sam - who came over yesterday - Treyton and Sam got along GREAT. I have never met a boy that is more like Treyton... it was such a treat to see two common souls bond! It's a strange thing to say but they just seemed to "get one another"
~Notice how Sam is unaffected by the fact that Treyton is leaning up over the windshield... in motion!!~

.... still driving.... just looking at the camera :) Hey, watch the road!!

.... once again... still moving... but looking behind them now. They were actually trying to get away from a bee that they had run over but not killed. Jack (Sam's older brother) was wise enough to jump ship after the incident - but these two just kept on moving waiting for the angry bee to retaliate....

Treyton working with Mat Man for the first time

Monday, May 25, 2009

Treytonisms

Tim and Treyton were over at the old house mulching the flower beds, it had started to sprinkle a little bit and Treyton said something like "No more rain God."
Tim: What did you say?
Treyton: I was just talking to God - I asked Him to stop the rain
Tim: Oh that's a good idea
Treyton: Yeah, He said "Yes"
Tim: Wow that's cool!
Treyton: Yeah, God is good
Tim: Yes, God is GREAT!

*Later when we were talking to Treyton about the story he said the same thing again - he only added "He's the biggest bestest God I have ever seen!"

~~~~~
Treyton: Is Daddy at work today?
Me: Yes, Daddy is at work
Treyton: I don't want daddy to go to work - I just love him too much
Me: I love daddy alot too, and you know what?
Treyton: What?
Me: Daddy loves us alot too, that's why he goes to work - so that he can buy us food and clothes and nice things
Treyton: Yeah, but I just love him too much for all that.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Throne of Grace

"Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4:16

Have you ever had a time in your life when you knew God was the only one that could get you through the next few steps of your journey? I guess the right answer would be to say that that's where I am all the time, but realistically I'm not, it's certainly getting to be that way more, but still, when things are going along fine, I am sometimes oblivious to the Love dancing all around me, and the grace that goes before me and mercy that follows me.

But then there are those moments, those periods of.... uncertainty and confusion, times when you don't know where to turn or what step to take next. Those times that you feel desperate; truly desperate: desperate for guidance, desperate for help, or just desperate to make the right choice.

It is in those moments that I have learned there is only one thing I can do and that is to go before the throne of God and lay it all down. I go to Him in prayer, I tell Him exactly what I'm feeling, the situation that is before me, (Us) and I tell Him EXACTLY what I'm going through (in detail) and then I am silent.... I say nothing, I give it to Him, and I just allow His grace to cover it - to cover me. And then I feel it --- peace --- oh what unspeakable peace.

To go before His throne is one of the most unused blessings we have as Christians. Often we allow our problems to get so big before we decide to bring it to Him, and by then we have not only been wounded, but we are bleeding out. Maybe we have already made some agreements with a lie about ourselves... about others.... about Him....

Beloved, regardless of what is going on in your life I encourage you to bring it to Him now, right now, stop what you are doing and take a moment to express WHATEVER it is to the King and allow Him cover you.... let His throne become a throne of grace for you.

"Be still and know that I am God" Psalm 46:10

make Your Own Prayer Journal

I doubt many of you remember, but several weeks ago I said that I would post regarding the prayer journal that i had picked up and was loving!

The prayer journal is called "The Busy Mom's Guide to Prayer" and is written by Lisa Welchel. I actually got the book at a pharmacy when we went to go get bandages for Tim's hand (that was what two months ago?) Anyhow, I have absolutely loved it and it has changed my prayer life FOR sure.

I have often felt like I just didn't have enough time to pray - when I would sit and make a list of "prayer requests" it would literally take me an hour - not to mention the fact that I hadn't actually PRAYED for them yet. I obviously would start with myself and my family and list the needs and blessings for my husband, children and our home.... just getting through all of that was alot but then I knew I should pray for our other friends and family, the government, the church, missions, etc.... not to mention the many prayer requests you receive throughout the day/week. It can be rather exhaustive when you think about it and often times, I would find my self just that, exhausted... and almost stressed out - is this what prayer is supposed to be Lord, I'm overwhelmed. But all of these things are good and they need to be brought before you..... how can I get this down without stressing myself out? That's when this prayer journal came into play and it's been much better ever sense.

The prayer journal is divided into 20 days - meant to be done 5 days a week (I suppose she's leaving out the weekend), and is divided into 6 primary topics (that stay the same) throughout the week
(1) PRAISE: a praise on a part of God's character (for example, His forgiveness, mercy, grace, holiness, compassion, etc.)
(2) YOURSELF: each day you pray for a specific area of your own life (your tongue, your role as a mother, your role as a wife, prayer life, confession, etc.)
(3) YOUR HUBBY: you pray for a specific area of your husband's life everyday (your relationship with Him, his relationship with God, his role as a father, provider, leader, etc)
(4) YOUR CHILDREN: same thing here (their ability to learn, future spouse, anger, coming to know the Lord, sibling rivalry, purity, schooling, etc.)
(5) PERSONAL INFLUENCES: each day a new you pray over an area that your life personally touches (teachers, pastors, coworkers, prayer requests, sick friends, family, etc.)
(6) REACHING BEYOND: this is the category of those areas that need to be prayed for but may not be in your direct reach (missions, government, economy, etc.)

There are blank spaces in the book where I went ahead and added my own catergories: I did friends and then a family category -
I happen to have 20 extended family members, so I put one on each day and I pray for a specific one each day, I did the same with 20 friends - I made a list of the first twenty friends that came to mind and put them in --- I have since added a few but you get the point.

Each day that Lisa put in she included a verse and two small prayers (one directly from the verse and another from her own heart). From the ones that I wrote myself I have slowly added in verses for the people as they have come to me (and some do not have verses yet, but I'm still waiting on the Lord for those :))

The reason I tell you about this journal in such detail is because Lisa mentions the fact that she first wrote this journal for herself using a binder.
I know for many of us, money doesn't grow on a tree in the back yard, so anywhere we can save is nice - if prayer is a struggle for you I encourage you to take a binder or journal and divide it into a method similar to this

Make a list of the things that you want/need to pray for - I'm sure you will have different areas on your heart than mine, but for most of us - our hubby and children are a priority and we can easily come up with 20 days worth of prayer requests for those categories - make other categories that you will use (use the ones from above if you need to) and those that God has placed on your heart - depending on how you set your journal up these will not include specific requests - you want to be able to set it up so that you can use the same journal over and over. So you may not want to put in a specific request but rather a category/topic that that request will fall under (example: the sick, unsaved friends, etc.) also keep in mind that the prayer requests we get from others (I know I get several in my e-mail box a week) can be prayed for immediatly and will more than likely be more urgent than a 20-day cycle so you may want to have a separate list/place for those.

I don't know how clearly I am relaying all of this - but if you have any questions just let me know. I hope you have a great time not only making your prayer journal but in using it as well. I know for me, it has been a true blessing and has allowed me to pray for more things more often with greater passion!! It's literally been an answer to prayer!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Update of my Mom

My mom has another kidney stone - this one is pretty big 7 mm (?) so she is calling the urologist tomorrow to schedule surgery to remove it - thank you so much for your prayers. I'm sure she felt them all!

Prayer Request for Mom

I just got off the phone with my sister, who is with my mom in the ER - she went in for severe stomach pains. My mom has had a (full) history of kidney stones, but says this pain is in a different place - more in her stomach than her kidneys.
Please keep her and the doctors in your prayers as they try to figure out what's going on.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6

Monday, May 18, 2009

God's Pursuit of Man - Chapter 3 "The Mystery of the Call"

I want to just say before we begin uncovering the complicated material ahead of us, that I am aware that what we are about to discuss may or may not be the “popular belief”. This chapter touches on the topic of election, the belief that we are chosen by God to be saved, and that it is only through that election that we can receive salvation. This has been an area that I have been researching for quite some time, and while I don’t declare myself to be “an expert” by any means, I want you to know I am not taking this topic lightly. If this is a topic that interest you or that you would like to learn more about I would recommend visiting the Mars Hill Church website or the Desiring God website – Mark Driscoll and John Piper do an excellent job explaining predestination, election and Calvinism as a whole.

“By a complete misunderstanding of the noble and true doctrine of the freedom of the human will, salvation is made to depend perilously upon the will of man instead of upon the will of God. However deep the mystery, however many the paradoxes involved, it is still true that men become saints not at their own whim but by sovereign calling.”

“The master choice is His, the secondary choice is ours. Salvation is from our side a choice, from the divine side it is a seizing upon, an apprehending, a conquest of the Most High God. Our “accepting” and “willing” are reactions rather than actions. The right of determination must always remain with God.”

Theologians have been arguing for centuries the order of salvation – which comes first, faith or grace. Does the act of faith, of “accepting” the gift of grace, complete our salvation or is it grace that gives us the faith to believe in our salvation? Is redemption “accepted” or simply “recognized”? I was raised to believe that we accepted the gift of salvation, that salvation was there for all and that we choose whether we want it or don’t want it. It was only recently that I was even aware that there were other viewpoints.

The words predestination, election, calling, destined are mentioned many times in the Bible, one of the major scriptures is Ephesians 1:4-5 “Even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will.”

Now some would argue that this verse is referring to the fact that God knew beforehand who is going to choose Him (foreknowledge) so He first chooses them (predestined), I see it differently. I believe that our God is all-sovereign and in His sovereignty before time began (foreknowledge) He simply chose (predestined) some to become holy and blameless. It had nothing to do with us, whether or not we were good enough, or whether we would choose right or wrong – we ALL chose wrong (Romans 3:23) – we have all already chosen death – there is NOTHING we can do to save ourselves, and by this I mean even the act of “acceptance”. It is only through God’s grace and love that we can even see ourselves as sinful and in need of a savior. Without the revelation from the Holy Spirit our sinful flesh prevents us from that realization. Therefore, God does EVERY part of redemption, we simply realize and confess , at this point we may say an “acceptance prayer” (or we may not), but that prayer in no way “saves us” – it is simply an acknowledgement of what He has already done in completion.

The problem with this theory, for most is the contradiction of “free will”. Most of us do not have a problem with the idea that God is sovereign; that He is ultimately in control of all things – the problem comes in when we (even Christians) are faced with the idea that our “free will” may not be as “free” as we thought. When asked if I believe in free will – I would have to say that I do, but I don’t think that our free will is what we have been taught or to the extent that our flesh and pride would like to believe it is. I have written before about the Will of God, which I think helps to clarify what I am trying to say here. When it comes to God’s Sovereign Will, there is nothing that we say, pray or do, that will change His Will – it WILL occur. However, when it comes to God’s Will of Command – we have the choice to obey or disobey. There are certain callings on our life that we choose to follow or not. It’s our choice to do God’s will of command that determines our level of fulfillment and happiness here on earth, and even our rewards in heaven.

I realize that this post is already getting pretty long, so I would like to try to close – I want to leave you with the chapter of scripture that impacted me the most in my study of predestination and that is Romans 9 – other portions of scripture offered a taste here and a taste there, but when I got to Romans 9 I found the entire chapter dedicated to this topic so in closing I would like to leave you with the words from the apostle Paul himself (the key section – for me – was verses 18-23):

1 I am speaking the truth in Christ I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. 4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. 5 To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, 7 and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but Through Isaac shall your offspring be named. 8 This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. 9 For this is what the promise said: About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son. 10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls 12 she was told, The older will serve the younger. 13 As it is written, Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.

14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. 19 You will say to me then, Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will? 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, Why have you made me like this? 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?

25 As indeed he says in Hosea, Those who were not my people I will call my people, and her who was not beloved I will call beloved. 26 And in the very place where it was said to them, You are not my people, there they will be called sons of the living God. 27 And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, 28 for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay. 29 And as Isaiah predicted, If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring, we would have been like Sodom and become like Gomorrah.

30 What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 as it is written, Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Reflections 3.20.09

I was looking back at some of my past post and realized that this one never actually got published... I was literally in the process of typing this post when Tim called and told me he was on the way to the ER for his hand. It never got finished but I thought that maybe you all could still glean something from it.... enjoy!

~~~~~~~

Hello Dear Friends!

Wow, I have truly missed you all. Not just in the last week or so, but even before that, the last month has been so cram packed with busyness I have not really had a chance to devote the time, energy or passion that I have wanted to towards the blog. I can't tell you the number of times I have had a thought or verse come to mind and I think "Oh, wow, I need to remember that and blog about it." and then of course.... I don't..... and life just keeps passing by.

There has been so much I wanted to share with you all and though some of the opportunities are lost, I want to make sure that I touch on a few of the things that have been on my heart the most.

~~~~~~~

As you all know, we recently moved. Moving is..... an experience. There aren't many ways to describe it because moving is different for everyone. Some people organize while they pack the old house for the new house, some people organize at the new house without really worrying about how to pack, some people don't organize at all and then again some people don't even move themselves at all. But one thing can be said about all movers: It isn't easy or fun. Packing especially (for me) is terrible. For me, packing is like taking my life apart piece by piece.

It was harder than I thought to move. To leave a house we knew as our home: the house where Treyton learned to walk in, where we brought Lexie home from the hospital to, the home where we had all of Treyton's birthday parties, many play dates, extended family gatherings and intimate moments with our family. We literally watched our son transform from a baby to a boy in this house and it's hard to leave that place. The memories that we made in our home were truly priceless and the important thing for me is that those memories are not gone, and will never be taken from me but it was still hard to walk away from the building that housed those memories.

The verse that is most applicable to what I have been experiencing is Psalm 127:1 "Unless the Lord builds that house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain."

I cannot deny, even for a moment, that the Lord's hand has been on our family and our home in the past three years. This is not to say that life has been easy, in fact, the last three years have been the hardest of my life. I moved (quickly, I might add) to a place that I was completely unfamiliar with and had only visited a handful of times, my husband made a complete career change; going from a job that he worked hardly more than 30 hours a week, to a job where he worked 50-60 hours a week (in the beginning) and was consumed with responsibility for. One of my closest friends passed away, I experienced fertility issues and treatment, depression, church searching and then most recently and difficultly, the loss of our nephew Trent.

We have alot to look forward to in our new house and the Lord has totally blessed our move, which is confirmation in my spirit that we made the right choice in not only moving but in the house that we bought. God is faithful and He has called me to open my grip on something that I wasn't quite ready to release. But after the last three years of my life, I have learned that the blessings that come from obedience are far greater than the cost of letting go of the things that are hard to loosen the grip on.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Treytonisms

We were getting ready to do a craft and Bible story - I was trying to get Treyton motivated to get dressed so that we could get started and he said
"Am I going to need to listen?"
Me: "Are you going to need to listen to do the craft?"
Treyton: "Yeah"
Me: "Yes, you are going to need to listen."
Treyton: "Hmmm.... we'll see about that."
Me: "What?"
Treyton: "We'll see if I can be a good boy and if I can listen to get the craft done."
Me: "Yes, I suppose we will."

~~~~~

We went garage sale-ing this morning, and I picked up a cute little people alphabet tree. Treyton was playing with it and said "Mom I need to talk to you about something"
Me: "What is it that you need to talk about, Treyton?"
Treyton: "Why did you get this toy?"
Me: "I bought it at the garage sale because it was cheap. It's cheaper to buy toys at a garage sale than a store because someone else has already been able to play with it."
Treyton: "Kind of like a bird"
Me: "No, it's not like a bird, what do you mean?"
Treyton: "Cheap, cheap.... kind of like a bird."
Me: ~I laughed~ "yeah, kind of sounds like what a bird says, you're right"

~~~~~
Treyton: "Mom, can you come here? Something is going all wrong." (He was playing with his train)
Me: "No, I'm changing the baby, I can't come there right now."
Treyton: "Okay, don't even worry about it - I got it"

~~~~~
While having a conversation about computer games, we got to a point in our conversation where I wasn't able to understand Treyton (come to find out he was trying to say "question" but I totally didn't get that) Treyton looked at me and said:
Mom, you need to talk better!

~~~~~
Treyton went to the circus with his Aunt Toni a few months ago and since then he has used his animals several times like they were at the circus and always at the beginning he says:
"Ladies and Genamin" ---- it's the cutest thing you really have to hear him say it!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

God's Pursuit of Man: Part 2

Chapter 2: In Word, or in Power

“A moral man is looked upon with pity. ‘A Christian’ says these teachers, ‘is not morally better than a sinner, the only difference is that he has taken Jesus, and so he has a Savior.’ I trust it may not sound flippant to inquire, ‘A Savior from what?’…. And if the answer is, ‘From the consequences of past sins and from judgment to come,’ still we are not satisfied. Is justification from past offenses all that distinguishes a Christian from a sinner? Can a man become a believer in Christ be no better than he was before? Does the gospel offer no more than a skillful advocate to get the guilty sinners off free at the day of judgment?”

“Salvation must include a judicial change of status, but what is overlooked by most teachers is that it also includes an actual change in the life of the individual. And by this we mean more than a surface change – we mean a transformation as deep as the roots of his human life. If it does not for that deep it does not go deep enough.”

“For sin’s human captives God never intends anything less than full deliverance…. The God who by the word of the gospel proclaims me free, by the power of the gospel actually makes them free. To accept less than this is to know the gospel in word only, without its power.”

This chapter is crucial to not only cover, but for us to “get” before we go on to anything else. It’s amazing to me, that many of us (your’s truly included) have spent most of our Christian walk missing “it”. And by “it” I mean the reality of what Christ did for us on the cross. I spent the majority of my Christian walk, all of it spent in Bible believing churches, without understanding what transforming power the cross really has. Beloved, be blessed to know that Christ has done so much more for you than saving you from hell – His blood has the power to change you – transform you – from the inside out!! I don’t know about you, but for me, this is good news, because I’ll be honest, I’m not a very good person on my own.

As our hearts and lives are transformed, things begin to change. With the transformation power of the Holy Spirit, comes the choice of obedience, with the follow-through of obedience comes blessings – some from merely abiding in the ‘’Vine” (John 15). Sisters, we are missing this and it is painfully obvious if you look around the church! Why are we in so much pain? Why are our marriages falling apart at the same rate (if not faster) than pagans? Where is the promised peace and joy? Why are we experiencing depression, loneliness, fatigue and burn-out as fast as those not in Christ?

I love how my friend Jaime says it (note: I’m paraphrasing) “I can’t read the Bible without realizing that we’re missing something, we are not living in the life the Bible promises that we should have.”

Do you understand what you are missing? Can you even comprehend what’s at stake? We are talking about the fulfillment of Biblical promises in our life, a life of freedom and intimate relationship with God – a true transformation from the world around us to the kingdom of God.

So what’s the problem? Why aren’t we experiencing these things?

The truth of the matter is, the very reason why most of us our missing this, is the very thing that will help us to “get it” in the end – and that is the fact that we cannot achieve the necessary change and transformation on our own. There is NOTHING that we do, say or wish that will cause us to walk a more spirit-led, powerfully blessed life here on earth. The Holy Spirit fully gives and controls our transformation and it begins with the revelation from Him that ‘something’s just not right here’. The whole point we’re missing is the POWER than comes through the Holy Spirit alone. When we realize that it’s not up to us, that it doesn’t matter how good or bad we think we are, we give the Holy Spirit the room He needs to show us the One who is “good” enough.

As I am writing this, my mind is wondering to a million more things I want to say here, but I know if I get too long you all begin to “tune me out” – so I will close with this: if you are not experiencing a transforming, unconformed, power-filled, Spirit-led, love seeking, God-fearing, intimate, passionate relationship with your Creator you’re NOT experiencing the true Christian life. There is more for you…. so much more.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Awesome Mother's Day Gift!!!

I have had a very pleasant Mother's Day Weekend (so far):

Saturday we took the kids to Waupaca to the Fine Arts Festival, where Skye's high school human video team, and solo competed. We were there all day and were able to visit with Skye, my mom and my sister Alana who is in town for a week. It was alot of fun, and I really enjoyed seeing some of the Christian high school talent from our state. We even saw some (of our) old high school friends which was a pleasant "blast from the past" it's amazing to me that it's been 10 years since I competed in the competition myself... where has all the time gone?

Obviously, while we were in Waupaca we went over and visited Trent's site. We haven't been there since the funeral, it was nice to actually get over there and visit, we also took a little time to visit Tim's Grandma and Grandpa's sites too. Treyton had a lot to say and we had fun talking about Trent and what he was doing in heaven. It was a hard visit but at the same time, I'm glad we did it and had the chance to get over there.

This morning Tim and Treyton got me a dozen pink roses and a purple stuffed/bean-bag lizard (Treyton picked it out), but I have a feeling I won't be seeing much of the purple lizard... Treyton has pretty much claimed it for himself already.

We went to church - our Mother's Day Sermon was.... well, actually pretty depressing, it was about the fact that we are literally not reproducing fast enough for our culture to sustain itself. In as little as 20 years the world/society as we know it will no longer exist.... I don't want to get into it all here but if you have the time, you should head over to the church website and take a listen to it.... pretty sad. Afterwards, we went to lunch at Curly's at Lambeau field. When we passed by the field Treyton actually remembered going there last September with part of the family and standing up next to the statues - Amazing!

Then in perfect Lexie fashion, she blessed me with the most exciting Mother's Day gift - she took her first steps today!!!!
Actually, she took three - from Tim to me. After she did it, we tried to get her to do it on camera but of course she wouldn't - but it doesn't matter!! It was so awesome. I knew that it was coming, this week she started crawling different - hardly using her knees but mostly standing up on her feet with her hands on the floor in front of her. She is actually two days behind Treyton... Treyton started walking at 10 months exactly and Lexie is 10 months 2 days. Even as I am typing this, she stood herself part-way up completely on her own (without pulling up on something) and then sat back down after she realized the toy she was looking for was under her dress :).
She is changing alot, growing so fast.... at lunch today Treyton told me "I love you mom, and I like you too." Then he went on and said "I love daddy, I love baby... Baby, do you like me?" and Lexie looked at him and said what sounded (to both Tim and I) "I love you" I am sure she didn't actually say it but it was REALLY close... it's hard to say that it wasn't because it was pretty "coincidental".
She has also started making this really funny sound in the back of her throat, I can't even begin to describe it to you, so I am hoping that I will be able to attach some videos later and you can hear it for yourself. I am also officially claiming "DaDa" as her first word - she says it all the time most of the time in context. It's unbelievable to see my "baby" start walking and talking.... pretty soon we won't be able to call her "baby" we'll have to call her "Toddler".

I hope you all had a fun Mother's day weekend as well and your children blessed you as much as mine blessed me!!

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Trying to get her to walk - I know she isn't walking on her own in this video, but I wanted to give you a glimpse of how close she is here (this was this afternoon).

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This is Treyton entertaining Lexie in his own way... I never had a brother so I don't get this but it's awesome to see the big brother - little sister relationship develop.

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Two nights ago, just hanging out as a family.... I believe Lexie does her "new throat sound" in this one... wait for it.

Oh yeah... and if you didn't notice, the blog hit 10,000 hits this weekend too!!

Friday, May 8, 2009

To My Man

I am a blessed woman, there is no doubt about it. I am blessed in many ways, but the biggest blessing I have is by far my man! (I know people normally write one these on their anniversary... no anniversary today, just moved to tears over how much my man loves me)

I have spent the last 8 years of my life wondering why God decided to bless me with more than what I deserved, with a man that was far beyond my dreams.

We started dating in March of 2001, I was 17 years old at the time. It's weird to say this, but we have been together for almost 1/3 of my life, obviously I have experienced many of my life-markers with him by my side. I moved out on my own (with his help), became an "adult" (when I turned 18), transferred colleges, made the honor-roll, graduated from college, went out of the country for the first time, got married, voted for the first time, had my "true" conversion which included huge growth and conviction changes from the Lord, moved across the state (twice), bought our first home, took my first (& only) full-time job outside the home, became a mom, experienced loss and birth, lost & gained friends, seen our families grow and change; through the big things and the little things, the last 8 years have been with him by my side the whole time, to be honest, I hardly remember life without him there.

What a journey it has been.

Together we have succeeded and together we have failed, whatever has happened, his step has never faltered. He has been a rock for me, a place where I could stand and know that I could trust to be there, no matter what. When we began I was a child, he has watched me and helped me grow; and I am honored to say that I too, have watched him become a man that surpasses any and all expectations that I had of him. He is loving, true and hard-working. He is dedicated and motivated. He thinks things through and has the motivation to get things done. His first priority is and always has been me and the kids, he has done what was necessary to provide for us, love us and protect us, and made us feel a part of whatever he has done. When I have hurt, he has hurt, my joys have been his joys, my pain his pain, my sacrifices, his, my accomplishments his, and his mine. Only God knows why (or how), but he has loved me unconditionally through it all. In my brightest happiest time, his face is the first I see, and in my darkest moments, his face remains the first I see....

Tim,
I want to thank you for the man that you are. You are an incredible husband, father, friend and partner. I can never repay you for all that you have given me. You are a large part of the reason that I am who I am. Thank you for letting me be me, you have never judged, criticized or tried to change me; you have given me time and space to discover who I was, and to allow God to heal my wounds. Your love has been self-sacrificing and without expectations. When we met, I was a girl, unsure of who I was or what I wanted, but together we have discovered who we both are, and what we wanted out of this life. It was because of your faithfulness that I had the freedom and ability to make it through whatever life has sent our way.
Thank you for looking to me as an equal, allowing me to speak my mind, yet fully willing to take the full responsibility for our actions. Even in our "bad" times, I have learned from you, respected you and loved you; and I felt the same from you. So thank you, not only for loving me, but for respecting me. You are the love of my life and I am so thankful that God knew more than us (or others) when he placed us on the same path. It has been a pleasure to laugh with, fight with, cry with, joke with, pick-on, love with and seek the kingdom with you. My prayer is that I have completed just a small piece in you of what you have completed in me.

Looking back at where we've come from to where we are today, I know it is only by the grace of God that we have what we have. Isn't it amazing, baby? Look at how far we've come! I am overwhelmed with the prospect of what tomorrow will hold.

You are the love of my life and I mean it when I say, I look forward to spending the rest of my life with you,

Your Wife

(The pictures are from August of 2001 - September 2002, sorry for the quality, we didn't have digital back then, so they are pictures of pictures... :))

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

God's Pursuit of Man: Part 1

Chapter 1: The Eternal Continuum

“Whatever else it embraces; true Christian experience must always include a genuine encounter with God. Without this, religion is but a shadow, a reflection of reality, a cheap copy of an original once enjoyed by someone else of whom we have heard.”
(Page 10)

I have every right to claim all for myself, knowing that an infinite God can give all of Himself to each of His children. He does not distribute Himself that each may have a part, but to each one He gives all of Himself as fully as if there were no others.” (Page 13)

Tozer begins our journey by defining the infinite ability, size and majesty of God. He begins where we all must begin to truly understand our salvation and the God who has saved us. Regardless of where our journey in this life begins or ends, God was there before, and will go on after. He has ALWAYS been and always will be.

The Word of God tells us “He is the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end”. It matters not where we have been or where we are going, our God has been there and will be there, but most importantly He is wherever we are RIGHT NOW!! For many of us it is easy to see God’s hand in our past, and where God will be in our future, but it is in our present that we fail to grasp the existence and power of our King. “For all our fears we are not alone. Our trouble is that we think of ourselves as being alone.”

We need a personal experience of God. We are not experiencing God or true salvation without a personal touch, and revelation from Him. And, oh, how sweet it is, this part of the continual process of blessed salvation. Regardless of what it takes no time or pain spent growing and learning who He is will be wasted or not worth the sacrifice. There is no painless road to take for life everlasting and freedom in Christ.

We need God now, we need Him today, and we need an encounter with the Almighty, right now. Our God is able to give all of Himself to you and your situation right now, claim for yourself all of Him for all of your needs. No matter how big, no matter how small, He is fully able and fully present to touch not only your situation but your life as well.

For More information on the study see my original post

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Picture Catch-Up

Yep, it's that time again.... more pictures... I know how much you've all missed them, so here they are :)

Most of the pictures are from this past weekend from our "Spring Fling" at Tim's parents. I had such a great time. I absolutely loved it and I think I actually had more fun than the kids!!

The pictures at the end are actually from a few weeks ago, when we were going through our series of illnesses.

Me and the kids, before the party... we tried to get a picture of the two kids alone, but for some reason Lexie had an attitude and wanted nothing to do with her brother.... he was being so sweet to her.... I don't get it, but we got a few cute ones of Tim and I with the kids.

Daddy & Alexa

Treyton just loved the canoe and asked in the morning if he could go for a ride, so later during the "fling" Tim and I took him out.... it was alot of fun, but kinda scary, as you can imagine, Treyton isn't the "stillest" kid.


Of course I had to throw in at least one of the two kids together

Uncle Tom and Treyton.... typical :)

The green team treasure hunt... I LOVED THIS... I told you I had a good time :)

Family Kite flying was a blast.... the wind could have helped us out a little better....

we did pretty good with what we had....

but there seems their is always one in the family who decides to put a kite in the tree....

"It's WAAYYYY up there"

Eventually if fell out of the tree into the water.... Terry went out to save it.... but it took a little teamwork.

The kids didn't seem to mind the setback... here are Emma and Treyton, just cruisin.

I thought these were so cute.... isn't she a doll?

This is what it looks like at our house when the kids are sick

Sickness doesn't slow Treyton down for too long, here he is "back to work" washing his car.