Saturday, January 30, 2010

Who is Alexa?

I have been meaning to do an update on Alexa for a while - she is ever changing right before my eyes. She is developing into such an adorable little girl I think that time is literally flying by!! I treasure the description I put together of Treyton back in October so I thought I would do the same for Lexa.

Alexa - her name means "helper of mankind", she is the 1st born girl with an older brother.
She is: a loud car singer, story-book reader, recently mastered puzzle learner, big bed without a rail sleeper, lamby lover and kisser, hilariously funny, cleaning helper, worlds-biggest copier, no-fear climber, dramatically dramatic, pony tail wearer, unbelievably goofy, number one veggie tales fan, white chair marker coloring queen, silly face-maker, wild dancer, eye-closing twirler, big-brother lover, picture poser, church's shortest nursery drop off crier, and belly spot wiper.

We absolutely love her to pieces and I feel indescribably blessed to not only be her mother but to watch her grow and learn new things every day! She is a treasure and authentic princess. 








Friday, January 29, 2010

Swagbucks!

I've been meaning to post on this for a while, but you know how time gets a way from me!


I have been using Swagbucks.com as a search engine that I use for a while now, just by searching on their site you can win "swagbucks" which you can evenutally redeem for cool prizes and gift cards (45 swagbucks is worth a $5 amazon gift card - this is what I usually get).

I have already gotten 2 of them and am well on my way to get another one soon!

The beauty of it is that you don't have to do anything that you don't already do - you just search, the search results come from google and ask.com so it's not like you're not getting good results back on your searches either.

Just by signing up you will receive 3 swag bucks to get you started!! (Thanks to Jessica at Mom For Him, she has broken a swagbuck value down to $0.11 per swagbuck - if you get the amazon gift card). If you are interested in signing up just click the link below and it will take you right there and walk you through the steps. I have been with them for a while, I have never received junk mail from them or any unnecessary e-mails. It really is a win-win!

 Search & Win

Good Luck and Happy Searching!! 

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Heart of Worship: A Choice

Have you ever been at a place in your life where you just think "enough is enough"!

That's where I am at right now.

This morning Treyton watched a short little video on two of the Ten Commandments (there are 5 videos in all) and it was based on the Golden Calf. I could tell he was a little confused about half-way through the DVD so I paused it and said "Do you know what is happening? Do you have any questions?" He did - so I began to answer them. Towards the end of his questions and my explanations this is what I said "The Israelites were naughty because instead of serving God alone they began to worship a different god." To try and give Treyton an example I asked him "What is something that you really like?" (he told me) I said "Now if you love that thing more than God and you start to make that thing more important in your life than God is, that means you are worshiping that thing the way you should be worshiping God. God should be the most important person in our life."

As I was saying it I can't tell you the number of people and things that started popping up in my mind about my own heart. But one stood out above the rest - the one that God has been working with me on for a while now, the one I've been most resistant to let fall.... and that one is me!


I will be honest here, this is hard for me. It's hard for me to worship God with my all - really hard. Why? Because I love myself, and I hold back much of what is God's, for me.

It's not that I'm all about me all the time or anything like that - I don't think I'm the best or the prettiest or the most awesome in any area, in fact, many times the opposite is true. BUT, I am controlling, selfish, prideful, full of self-pity and doubt and sometimes I really think I'm capable to take care of things on my own.

Most all of my struggles are rooted somewhere in the center or my self-centerdness. I am full of guilt, because I'm not good enough. I'm full of pride because I think I can do it on my own and that maybe (when things are going well) it really is all because of me. These are two of my largest issues - rooted deep in the heart of  who I am worshiping.

That brings me to where I am at - "enough is enough" I don't want this anymore. I don't want to be overwhelmed and buried with guilt one moment and flying high in the lie of pride the next. I want to stop making it about me and make it about Him. I am not able to control everything - there I said it! And I'm really tired of getting frustrated by that obvious revelation every day!

I want God to be my center. When He is - the guilt fades and the pride cannot stay. I want to bring Him glory, I want my worship to be honest, heart-felt and sincere. How can I do that, truly, when I am so busy worshiping myself?

Deuteronomy 6:5 "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your should and with all your might" 
Exodus 20:3 "You shall have no other God's before Me" 

Thank You Lord for Your grace, and thank You that Your mercies never come to an end. You are a gracious and loving Father. You are good. Help me to love You, help me to worship You and help me to began to tear down the idol of myself so that I can put you in my place.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Treytonisms

A couple of weeks ago while praying together at night, Tim had mentioned Satan in his prayer.
Since then, Treyton has asked Tim (not me), about Satan during their bedtime routine.
Tim answers his questions simply, but tries to avoid most of the more in depth questions and probing that Treyton has begun. Personally, we feel like it's too soon to introduce or expose Satan to Treyton except as "an enemy" that is against us but that God is bigger than and has defeated.

Anyhow, tonight Treyton asked Tim a few questions, this is the conversation as Tim remembers it:

Treyton: How big is satan? Does he bite?
Tim: Oh he's not very big - he doesn't bite he lies to us and stuff, but it doesn't really matter because Jesus is way bigger and could squish him like a bug.
Treyton: Where does Satan live?
Tim: I don't really know, but it's not important.
Treyton: No, like God is in the sky, where does Satan live?
Tim: (chuckled)  Maybe he lives way down in the ground.
Treyton: (laughed) Oh well, he's a pickle!
Tim: What was that?
Treyton: Yeah, he's a pickle!
Tim: Oh, alright. Good night.



Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Post Card Exchange

I posted this already on my Refined Metals Blog but I know I have different readers over here.

Treyton and I (& Alexa too) are trying to collect as many postcards as we can from as many states as we can - we are willing to exchange with as many people as want to participate. If you are interested in sending us a postcard from your state or country please just comment (with your e-mail address if it's not on your profile) and we can exchange information!!

Thanks!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Winner: Get Out of That Pit!

I used random.org to select a winner tonight for the Beth Moore "Get Out of That Pit" book. (I tried to save the image from random.org so that I could post it here but I am not sure how, do any of you know how?)

The selection was #4 - which is Jessica.

Jessica, I already have your address, so I will mail it out to you as soon as I get to the post office, which should be a little later this week.

Congratulations! I hope to have another giveaway coming up soon, so stay tuned. 

To-Do List: The BIG One!!

This past weekend my AMAZING man completed the biggest item on my to-do list. He painted our living room!! I can't tell you how much this meant to me, and what a sacrifice it was to him. You see, Tim had NO problem with the way the living room was. He does not share my unquenchable desire to "change things". I love change and I have to switch things up - I love to rearrange furniture, even move rooms around, I love painting walls different colors and moving pictures here there and yonder... I like change!! It makes me feel good. Tim however, does not share my enthusiasm for change. It's not that he hates change, but he is a laid-back, easy going kind of guy and he doesn't appreciate unnecessary work.

So when I began going crazy about a month ago, arranging and rearranging and moving things that I have moved a hundred times before, talking about how I wanted to decorate finally, Tim just sighed and understood that my incessant need for change combined with the beginning stages of nesting period was too much for him to resist. He put it off for a while, but in order to calm his preggo wife's nerves he obliged.

I love that man!!

So anyhow, here are the before and after pictures - There are 3 of both.

Before #1 - The fireplace and shelf wall is a cream color - the TV wall is purple. 
 
 After #1 - The fireplace and the shelf wall are now brown and the wall behind the TV is green.

 
 Before #2
 
After #2 - The wall is green and I found a picture in our basement I had Tim hang up - I don't know for sure what my plans for decorating are but for now I am happy with this. 
 
 Before #3 - the wall behind the couch is purple
 
After #3 - the wall behind the couch is now brown (though I had Tim paint it green the first time I decided I didn't like it so he repainted it!) 

So here it is!!

Adventures with Lexie - Continued

The saga continues:

This morning Treyton was soaking his feet in the bathroom sink (we did this with apple cider vinegar to get rid of a wart he had on his foot a while ago). I was doing my hair - Lexie came in and put her sippy cup up on the counter, it fell into the sink full of water. I pulled it out but because I was doing my hair I didn't dry it off. A little while later she came in and wanted her sippy cup which I handed her - still dripping with water a little bit.

When a few drops fell on the floor she pointed at them and said "Ooo, ooo!!"

I said "That's okay baby, it's just water, no big deal"

She wandered off and a little while later came back with a towel from the kitchen to dry up the spots on the floor!!

I think Tim is getting a little freaked out thinking about 3 cleaners in the house (Treyton has these same "tendencies"), but if it's any consolation she didn't pick up the towel after she dried up the floor!! :)


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Adventures With Lexie

I just had to jump on here tonight to tell you guys a story about Lexie this evening.

Just this week Alexa has been interested in my growing belly. She likes to lift up my shirt to pat and rub it. This evening when she was examining it she noticed a brown mole/freckle (whatever you want to call it) near my belly button (I say near because it's moving further and further away from it's original location). She got up, I assumed she was done, but she came back with a piece of toilet paper in her hand. She lifted up my shirt and proceeded to rub my "spot". After a minute she finally gave up, discouraged by the stubbornness of my stain she threw the toilet paper into the toilet.

What is your enjoyment?

"The enjoyment of [God] is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of earthly friends, are but shadows; but God is the substance. These are but scattered beams, but God is the sun. These are but streams. But God is the ocean."
— Jonathan Edwards

Thursday, January 14, 2010

{Review} Book: Where is God? by John Townsend

I just finished reading John Townsends "Where is God?"
This is my first ever, official review, for Thomas Nelson. I am so excited to be reviewing for them!! I was over-the-top the day I got my complimentary copy of "Where is God?" in the mail... there is just something special about a free book!!


Book Description (from Amazon) 

Hard times make us look for God.
Everyone has problems. But if we could solve all our difficulties ourselves, would we ever search for God? Psychologist John Townsend says "It is actually the very unfixability of our problems and our powerlessness to bring right results that keep us asking, 'Where is God?'"
With a compelling narrative, Townsend offers new insights into the pursuit for God's help and presence. Designed to give readers hope and meaning, he divides the discussion into three parts:
  • Why does a loving God allow us to experience difficulties?
  • How is God active in the middle of our hard times?
  • How can I find God?
With powerful stories and practical applications, Where Is God? assures readers that even when it feels as though God is absent it is his nature to be in relationship, to connect with, love, and guide us. And when we seek him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, he shows up in ways that transform us forever.

My Review
When I started reading Townsends "Where is God?" my first thoughts we 'This will be a really good book for me to read for 'so-and-so'." But the truth is, as I got into the book, I realized how much I needed the book as well.

The book is centered around several solid Biblical truths including;
~ our pain and suffering is real and it matters
~ God is present and active in the midst of our suffering
~ We are not expected to act like suffering & tragedy doesn't hurt us or affect us - pain is real
~ God is loving and good - ALL the time

I appreciate the fact that throughout his book, Townsend mentions in at least a couple places that some of these truths are not appropriate or comforting to speak to someone in the middle of tragic suffering or loss. I like how he says it in chapter 9 when he is talking about the process of transformation, "There is a sequence to this: Empathy first. Perspective second."

Townsend does an excellent job of explaining several aspects of the question/search "Where is God?" including what people even mean when they as that question, why it's important to ask as well as answering the question with empathy and grace.

This book, though filled with theology and doctrine, is not a theological study of theodicy as much as it is a tool and guide for people who are experiencing (or have experienced) real pain and hurts in their past. One should keep in mind that Townsend is in fact a psychologist by trade, not a theologian or scholar. That's the perspective that this comes from. The book offers a graceful blending of some hard to accept theology with loving empathy - keeping in mind that many who pick up this book will be in the middle of intense and painful suffering and pain.

Townsend mentions, in chapter 11, that "The purpose of this book doesn't allow for an in-depth answer to the problem" Townsend isn't trying to solve the reader's problems - He is simply giving us biblical truths, guiding principals to strengthen our faith, encourage our hearts, increase our knowledge of God's character and offer hope.

Knowing that, I think this book accomplishes it's purpose.

The only negative that I saw in this book is that a few of the chapters were a little long and could have been shortened up, but the reading was "easy" making even the longer chapters readable.

If this is a book you are interested in you can purchase it here at amazon.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Picture Update

Time for some new pictures - most of these are from last week when Tim took the kids 4-wheeling in the yard, but there a few from today as well.

 I came home from coffee with a friend, Saturday morning and saw Tim and the kids on the 4-wheeler - Tim motioned to me that was Alexa was sleeping (he motioned because this particular 4-wheeler is especially loud) not that that seemed to bother Alexa's nap one bit!
 
 Here she is, slumped over, completely passed out!! If you recall I stated here that Lexie NEVER just falls asleep, I suppose now is the time to admit - I stand corrected!!
 
 Tim sat her up and she still couldn't manage to open her eyes!!
 
 I brought her inside and she remained passed out until I got her undressed!


 
 Here is our little princess this morning - just looking precious!
 
 She actually has a chapped part on her chin because she does this with her tongue (always to that side) so much. I'm glad I got a picture for proof!
 
Here is our superhero Treyton with his universal tool/weapon/guitar. 
 
This is actually the family a week or so ago at the Schoessow Family Christmas - we participated in a gingerbread house competition - this is the family with our graham cracker gingerbread house!! It was lots of fun!

There are more pictures I could share, but this will have to do for now, hope you enjoyed.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

How Do You See God?

I just started reading "God as He Longs for You to See Him" by Chip Ingram.
I've only read the first couple of chapters, but I am so excited about where this book is taking me!

Ingram opens up the book with what seems to be an obvious statement, but is often overlooked and that is this: a person's view of God shapes their entire relationship with Him. What a person thinks about God is the most important question they can answer, and when answered incorrectly the results can leave us in bondage or even cause eternal damage. In addition to this, what we "know" and what we believe and understand are often two different things.

Chip says it this way "Nothing in all your life will impact your relationship with God, your relationship with people, your self-view, your decisions, and your purposes like the way you think of God. Who we are and what we become cannot be separated from our understanding of God." 

This is huge! And for most of us, this is an area that we need to examine, reevaluate and pursue further.

One of the charatcteristics of God that I am most thankful for is for is His desire for us to see Him and know Him - His longing for an intimate relationship with us is incredible and humbling. He knows us so intimately and so deeply, in ways we don't even know ourselves, and He longs to be known intimately by us. It is because of this desire that He has given us the tools and the heart to not only pursue but to know Him.

We have a large responsibility in what we know (or don't know) about God. Seeking God and learning about Him isn't a once come once served event - it is a long-term (often life-long) building upon itself process - it is relational to its core! And, as if that weren't exciting enough, it comes with benefits! As we began to seek Him, coming to Him with an open heart and open mind we will encounter the Almighty and, beloved, a true encounter with God does not occur without a true transformation within ourselves!! The more we learn about God the more we will be changed into His likeness.

To get us started I wanted to include from Ingram's book his "Five Action Steps" for seeking God. These points are based on Proverbs 2:1-5 which says:
"My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God." 

From this,  Ingram concludes the following steps helpful to seeing God revealed more in your life:

1. Accept, learn, treasure and store up His Word.
2. Submission and teachability, a desire to be taught by God 
3. Develop a passionate prayer life
4. Make your quest for God a priority each day. 
5. Motivation: If we seek Him with all our heart, we will experience the knowledge of the Holy One. 

"True knowledge of God only comes firsthand... even the best description of God will never compare to knowing Him personally in all His grace and glory."

I believe that most of you, like me, desire to know God as He truly is. I want to see Him - all of Him that He is willing to reveal to me - and I know that that is so much more than what I see and know right now!! I want more, so much more - what about you? Of the five action steps Ingram stated, which area do you struggle with the most? Which area(s) are you willing to commit to improving?

To answer my own question, I see myself growing a little bit in each of these areas, which is exciting, but an area that I would like to be more deliberate in improving is storing up God's Word in my heart, I read scripture daily, but I am not great at memorizing it. I know how important this can be, and what a valuable tool it is, I just need the discipline to commit to it.

God is beyond anything that we can comprehend, picture or describe - we are not able to know God fully this side of heaven, but we can know Him more!
Isaiah 40:10-18 
"Behold, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? Who has measured the Spirit of the LORD, or what man shows him his counsel? Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust. Lebanon would not suffice for fuel, nor are its beasts enough for a burnt offering.  All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness. To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him?


Just reading this scripture gets my heart pumping!! How great is this God we serve!!

He is the greatest of the great, the most loving of the loving, the most powerful of the powerful and the most just of the just --- can you imagine? Can you really even for a moment fathom the greatness and the fullness of our God? 


I can't but, Lord help me, I want to!! 

Friday, January 8, 2010

Tagged - Yay!

I have received a tag award from Mandi over at Capitol Heights Mommy To accept this award I have to tell 7 things you may not know about me, this could be tough because I feel like I tell you guys everything! But I will do my best :)


1. I have been hearing so much about the show "24" lately, that I am very tempted to get into it... probably not a good idea, maybe I should just rent some of the old seasons and go from there.... 

2. Tonight I drove a 4-wheeler completely on my own (without Tim on the back) for the first time ever!! I even took the kids around for a few laps. It was exhilarating and I can't believe how much I loved it, but how intimidated I was - all at the same time!! I only drove with Tim once or twice, so this is all pretty new to me. I may become obsessed.


3. I ate an entire roll of Girl Scout thin mint cookies last night without even realizing it 'til the damage was done! 

4. I am addicted to Caramel Frappucinos from Starbucks and the caramel $1 sundaes from McDonald's --- I know, totally fits into the "healthy lifestyle we're working towards! 

5. We took our Christmas tree down the morning of Christmas (it was about 10:30) because we just couldn't stand to look at the "ugliest tree EVER" a moment longer! My mother-in-law totally called me on it --- I was totally busted! (though I still don't understand how she found out) 

6. Vacuuming excites me - specifically, my vacuum at my house - I get no thrills from vacuuming someone else's home (sorry). There are very few things that excite me as much as the smell of my vacuum and the feel of freshly vacuumed carpet in my living room or bedroom.... LOVE IT!! 

7. My two biggest weaknesses as far as spending money goes are books and bags ---- I can NOT get enough of either one!! 

As part of the award I get to tag 7 other blogs:


1. For His Glory 
2. Granola Mom 4 God 
3. Finding Michelle 
4. Confessions of a Wannabe Supermom 
5. Roger's Family Blog 
6. Adventures in Mommydom 
7. Educating Crumpet


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Book Giveaway: Get Out of that Pit


Thanks to the generosity of Thomas Nelson Publishing I am able to host an absolutely fabulous blog giveaway!! I have received a copy of "Get Our of that Pit" by Beth Moore to give away to one lucky winner!

I read this book a few months ago and it changed my life - I highly recommend this book and I am soooo excited that I have this opportunity to share with one of you a resource that was so beneficial to me.

What Amazon Says:
"From her first breath of fresh air beyond the pit, it has never been enough for Beth Moore to be free. This best-selling author and Bible teacher who has opened the riches of Scripture to millions longs for you to be free as well-to know the Love and Presence that are better than life and the power of God's Word that defies all darkness.
Beth's journey out of the pit has been heart-rending. But from this and the poetic expressions of Psalm 40 has come the reward: a new song for her soul, given by her Saviour and offered to you in Get Out of That Pit-friend to friend. This is Beth's most stirring message yet of the sheer hope, utter deliverance, and complete and glorious freedom of God:
I waited patiently for the Lord
He turned to me and heard my cry
He lifted me out of the slimy pit
He set my feet on a rock
He put a new song in my mouth
It is a story, a song-a salvation-that you can know too."


Guidelines:
~ To win you can simply leave a comment below
for additional entries 
~ Follow my blog publicly or sign up to receive e-mail updates through feedburner (both of which you can do on the right hand side)
~ Blog about this giveaway on your blog, linking to this post
~ Add my button to your site 

For each entry please post a separate comment and if you are not set up to receive e-mail replies to your comment please be sure to leave your e-mail address.

A winner will be selected using random.org on the evening of January 18th - I will then post the winner's name on the blog as well as sending an e-mail if I don't hear from the winner within 48 hours I will select another winner.

Good Luck!!

"Love & War" - Praying as a Couple

When I posted my review on "Love and War" by John and Stasi Eldredge, I knew that I couldn't just leave it at that. I wanted to talk more in depth about what the book has to offer, and what it specifically spoke to Tim and I. There is an entire book here of lessons and it was actually challenging to select only one to talk about, but lets be honest, praying together is a "big one", something that few couples really do together.

We all already know that praying together is important, we know it, but why don't we do it? 
The truth is we are in a very real war and our marriage, family and children are under attack. Prayer is one of the powerful weapons that God has given us against our enemy and, sadly, we don't use it as much as we should because this area in particular is being attacked by the enemy - he knows how powerful we are when we are united, he knows better than we do that authority that God has give us, and he does everything in his power to prevent us from using it!

Recently, our family has been experiencing an attack in our home in the area of sleep. It started with me, about a month ago, I started waking up 2-3 times a night. At first I thought it was the pregnancy but then I realized - it's too early for me to be waking up this much to pee. What was going on? I'll be honest, I could go to the bathroom when I woke up, but it wasn't what was waking me up. Next, I noticed that Tim got up a few nights in one week, which is not like him at all. And then finally, it made it's way down to the kids - in the past two weeks the kids have been getting up for "various" reasons (practical reasons mind you), needing to go potty, thirsty, cold, blankets fell off, etc. Nothing even obvious, like nightmares, just everyday, seems to be normal occurances happening EVERY night.
Last night was the worst - Lexie woke up cried for a while, Tim went in there to check on her, she calmed down and seemed to go back asleep, but woke up again a little while later, she did this 3 times before we tried giving her some milk, he drank a small amount and that seemed to help - she went back to sleep. An hour later Treyton woke up - he had gone to the bathroom but had gotten his underwear a little wet and wanted help changing his underwear, no big deal. Two hours after that I woke up to "pee", took me 30 minutes to fall back asleep. 

All of this could be passed off as "normal" but the fact is after two weeks of the kids waking up randomly throughout the night it has really started to effect their behavior, now add on top of that a more tired, less patient mama...  the days are getting a little more "harry" (if you know what I mean). The pressure of less sleep is effecting our entire family.
Can you see what is happening here? 

Now, as a couple we have an option here, we can allow this to continue hoping for it to run it's course or we could sit down together and "fight back" with prayer. Why is it that the "easier" answer seems to be to let it run it's course? Why is it that after two weeks of this we're just now even thinking about praying about it? Why does prayer seem to be a 'last resort' for most of us - left for the more "serious" issues, not normally something as silly as not sleeping through the night?

Here are some thoughts from John and Stasi:
"Couples don't pray much together. Why is that?... for one thing you have an enemy... you feel irritated at one another... you are at a loss for words. You feel stupid... Suddenly you are hungry... Isn't all this just a little too obvious?"
"Prayer is such an intimate act, a place of vulnerability. It is, hopefully, when we are our least guarded, our most honest selves... prayer lets us be in a place of need. When we are alone, this vulnerability can feel quite relieving; it feels good to drop our guard. But when we come together to pray, yikes. Most couples are not nearly as vulnerable with each other."
"Praying together is an intimate encounter; it will cultivate intimacy and companionship in our marriage."

The truth is, prayer is powerful, it unites us together as a couple to fight for our family. God knows this, the enemy knows this, we sort of know this...the power, the joined mission, the vulnerability, the confidence that it builds in us, all of it is a blessing and a gift from God, all of it is something the enemy wants to prevent us from accessing - so it is no wonder that we will be made to feel a whole list of reasons NOT to pray.

I love the encouragement that this gives me - not only do I want to access the power that comes with a man and woman united in prayer with one another, but to increase our intimacy with one another is a beautiful, awesome thing - a true gift from God - a gift that I certainly want more of!

I wanted to leave you guys with a link to John and Stasi's website if you're interested in learning more about them, their book or their ministry. As you can probably already tell, I highly recommend it!
Ransomed Heart Ministries - Love & War 

Alexa ~Our Sleeping Beauty~

I have to post this because this has NEVER happened before in our house, with Treyton or Alexa. We operate on a pretty tight schedule so it's rare that one of our children are so tired that they just "fall asleep" (other than in the car). We've always thought it would be cool to have a kid that fell asleep standing up, or in their high chair but we never have.

Today however, Lexie was ON ONE... I don't know how else to say it - she was a little stinker. So, after she followed me around the house crying for 45 minutes, with nothing working to calm her down, I put her in her room. She cried for another 5 minutes and then I heard her playing with some toys, I even peaked in at her on the video monitor and she was content as could be with her musical farm toy.

5 minutes after that.... I hear nothing, so I go and check again, I can't see her on the monitor so I slowly crack the door to find this:


~ PRICELESS ~

7WP8BA2UMYND

Monday, January 4, 2010

Reading Journey 2010: Love & War

Love and War by John and Stasi Eldredge

What can I say? I love John and Stasi! This book was no disappointment for me. The book which started out at a wedding ceremony which John was officiated and Stasi was "narrating" for us the readers stirred my heart in a powerful way. I actually told Tim - okay, if we ever renew our vows we're getting John Eldredge to do the ceremony! :)  

I want to start out by saying this book is for everyone, married, engaged or single. Even if you never plan on getting married, this book can help you relate to your friends that are married! You can read this book on your own (like I did) or with your spouse. After I read each chapter Tim and I discussed it which I found extremely insightful and helpful, but if you have a spouse that is unable or unwilling to participate, you could still benefit by picking up this book.

The Eldredges do a great job not only reminding us that Love is worth fighting for but that it is under attack - that there is a real war against our marriages and a real enemy who hates everything that marriage stands for. It's no wonder that marriage is hard, once we get over the shock of this, we need the truth of the greater Love story to get us through it. Love & War does an excellent job of pointing us in the right direction, giving us practical ways to get on the right track and see the story in it's entirety!

The truth is, parts of this book aren't "easy" to read - John and Stasi talk about the hard topics of marriage - but they do so in a way that motivates you to want to do something about it. They show a picture of what a "real" marriage looks like, and don't try to side step the hard issues that most of us face. The book includes truth like "marriage is the absolute hardest thing you will ever try to do in your life" but offers Biblical encouragement that help you see the beauty and the gift that marriage is. They remind you that marriage is worth it - that your spouse is worth it and that marriage is more than a happiness giver - it is soul saving.

To see my book list for 2010 which offers links to my other book reviews go here.


Reading Journey 2010: Unspoken

Book List Update: 
Well, it's January 4th and I am well into my 2010 reading list! To be fair, I started a little early, but I have already finished 2 of my 22 books (Unpsoken and Love & War), and have 4 others started (God as He longs for you to see Him, Boys and Girls Learn Differently, Purpose Driven Life & Jesus Lives)

Unspoken by Francine Rivers

This is a fiction book based on the Biblical character Bathsheba. This book like the other 4 in the Lineage of Grace series, is a smaller book and an easy read. I would actually read it at night before bed.

I think that Francine Rivers did a great job portraying the story of Bathsheba and reading this book really brought her to life for me, and I understood her (and David) in a way that I've never before been able. It was amazing how much more "real" they seemed to me in a fully illustrated, fiction story, such as this, than even in the Bible. Reading this story of Bathsheba I was able to see God's grace and sovereignty fully displayed in a story that seems anything but "of God". I love how our God is a god of detail, and a story like Bathsheba's bring that to your attention.


My only negative, is a personal one that I don't think would bother that many people, but for me, it was hard at times reading a "Bible-based fiction" book, in general because I kept thinking... does it say that in the Bible? could that be true? what would make her think that? was that in the Bible or is that Rivers talking?

Despite that minor negative, I would recommend the book as an easy fiction reader that has real substance and has the ability to stir your heart and mind.

Audrey's 28 Week Appointment

Today we had Audrey's 28 week appointment - we had an utrasound and my glucose test.

We won't have the glucose test results until our next appointment, which is in two weeks.

Our ultrasound went well. They got a much better look at Audrey's heart this time (which looked great), and we also got a profile picture of her face, which we weren't able to get last time.
She looks beautiful (obviously)!

We did receive a little bit of disappointment from the ultrasound, what we were hoping was an amniotic sheet did in fact turn out to be an amniotic band. We actually saw Audrey's foot and hand go around and on either side of the "band". I was actually comforted by this, as she is obviously able to maneuver around it and so far has not gotten tangled in it (which is the worst case scenario). The larger the she gets, the less likely she is to get stuck in it. In our case, the band is actually pretty far up and to the right hand side, which leaves her a lot of room to move around in without being too inconvenienced.

Audrey measured at the exact size for her age (28 1/2 weeks). She weighs 2 pounds 10 ounces. She really does look great!
God is so faithful and we know that He is in control of whatever happens. We trust Him to take care of our family and to watch over our precious little Audrey.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Craft Time: Name Blocks

As part of my to-do list, posted a few weeks ago, one of the things I wanted to get done was to make Audrey's name blocks for her room. I did that this weekend and thought I would share with you what little crafty talent I actually have :)

For both of the other two kids their names are on their walls, but when I started putting Audrey's nursery together, I just felt like I wanted to do her room a little differently. THEN, I stumbled on these fun crafts (don't ask me how... probably through something Jenna sent me :))

Thankful Blocks & Mod Podge Mania I sort of kinda combined the two ideas and came up with these for Audrey's room....

I'm really happy with them and though they took alot of time (about 3 hours total) they were cheap to make (the paint I had from other crafts, the scrap paper was 50% off at Hobby Lobby, the 2x4s were in the garage, the only real purchase I made was for an exacto knife to cut out the letters for the stencils) and I like that I "made" it.
7WP8BA2UMYND