Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween


I’ve been thinking about what to write about Halloween.  When I think about it I don’t have any cute stories or pictures of my children in costume.  We just don’t participate.  But we do need to be aware and protect or children body, mind, and spirit during this time of year especially.  What it comes down to is education.  As Christians we need to know more about what Halloween is before we decide for ourselves and our families whether to participate.  I haven’t found a better way to explain it than they do with a flyer at my church.  I would post the flyer, but it’s in Spanish.  So instead I’ve decided to translate it for you.  I hope you will read it and consider carefully what to do for Halloween.


“Where Does Halloween Come From?

Many years ago in England people believed that the dead returned to eat with people.  The druid priests took advantage of this belief by dressing up as the dead and going door to door asking for food.  This is where the tradition of going door to door asking for candy dressed in scary costumes comes from.  If the priests did not receive anything they would curse the house or they would burn it down with the people inside.  This is where the phrase ‘Trick or Treat’ comes from.  The people were terrified of these visiting ‘spirits’ and put candles inside of pumpkins to scare them off.  In popular tradition this celebration is known as ‘All Hallows (saints) Eve’ also known as Halloween.  This festival on October 31 is considered the most important day of the year for those who now practice witchcraft and satanism.

What Does The Bible Say About Halloween?

The origin of Halloween and the Day of the Dead is just as unknown to people as the Bible verses that show such practices to be an abomination for God.  The Bible says in Leviticus 20:27 ‘A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. . .’  Many people participate in this celebration for their children, but they should remember that Christians should not conform to the customs of this world (Romans 12:2).  This celebration is an integral part of witchcraft and according to the Apostle Paul those who participate in witchcraft will not inherit the Kingdom of God.  (Galatians 5:16-21).  While some may think that Halloween is an inoffensive party, it is really a satanic celebration.  It is serious and dangerous.  During Halloween night those who are in opposition to Christ gather together to observe satanic rituals against the church and the family.

What Should I Do For Halloween?

We invite you to talk to your children, explaining to them the reasons it is not good for them to participate in these celebrations, teaching them to respond to the questions their friends and classmates may ask, so that they can do it prudently, without judgment, and without scaring them.  If it’s possible also speak with your children’s teachers explaining to them why you and your children do not participate in these activities.  Tell your small children that if they want candy, you will buy it for them, and do it so they won’t be tempted to get them by participating in Halloween activities.  Speak to the older ones about the danger involved in participating in anything that is related to the darkness.  If what your children want is to be with their friends organize a healthy party in your house.  Prepare games and entertainment for them that have nothing to do with the darkness, but have everything to do with Jesus (it could be a good opportunity for your child’s friends and their parents to know God).  Pray and intercede to destroy the works of satan during these days.

Don’t get involved in these satanic practices!”


. . . what fellowship can light have with darkness?
2 Corinthians 6:14

Childproofing

As I was ironing this morning I looked down and saw the electric plug cover on the floor.  It reminded me of a while ago when I had bought a pack, started to put them in, got distracted, and then forgot where I had put them.  We lasted a while keeping the doors to the rooms shut since they weren’t child proofed yet.  Then one day Samuel opened a drawer in our dresser we never used and asked me if I knew we had a bunch of child proofing stuff in it. 

Well I had bought everything, but it was doing me no good sitting in the drawer.  I had to actually use it!  Just like I protect my children from danger by child proofing my house God protects us by giving us his armor.  But armor does no good sitting in the closet, just like the plug covers did me no good sitting in the drawer.  We’ve gotta put on our armor if we want to have the protection we need.  And we NEED all of it!  Why have the helmet of salvation and leave the breastplate of righteousness on the floor?  Our mind may be protected, but our heart would be wide open to attack.  I wouldn’t put only one cover on a socket with two plugs!  I’d only be half protecting my children.  So let’s do an inventory.  Are we truly using the armor God had given us?  Have we picked up the sword of his word?  Do we speak and live in truth?  Do we live in righteousness?  Are we ready at all times to share the gospel of peace?  Are we covered with the shield of faith?  Are we wearing our salvation as a helmet?  If we are missing any one of these things it’s like leaving an electric socket open when we already bought the cover.  It’s there.  Jesus bought it for us. Let’s use it!

What a difference it would make when life gets difficult or things happen to us if we would only wear our armor.


For the word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow;  it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Ephesians 6:13-17

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Calm In The Storm


I had the privilege of watching my nephew Adoniram today.  I had heard that after you have 3 children it’s just as easy to have 4.  I only had all four for one day, but honestly it seemed to be the same amount of work.  It wasn’t any more difficult for me and my boy’s loved being able to play with their cousin all day.  Caleb seemed unaffected by the change to.  As you can see he is sound asleep while the other three were playing, making noise and on occasion fighting over toys in the background.  But Caleb was calm.  He was the calm in the storm.  

Jesus was the calm in the storm in Luke 8.  While everyone was frightened He had the peace of God and was fast asleep.  When He woke his actions and words brought calm to the storm that surrounded him.  When we’re in the middle of a storm what do we do?  Do we contribute to the storm and make it bigger?  Or do we decide to BE the calm in the storm.  When I see this picture of Caleb I’m reminded to be the calm in the storm.  I have the peace of God in me and the ability to transmit that peace to the circumstances that surround me.  Will I do it?

One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s go over to the other side of the lake.”  So they got into a boat and set out.  As they sailed, he fell asleep.  A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.  The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”  He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters;  the storm subsided, and all was calm.

Luke 8:22-24

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Looking For Sponsors


At devotionmama.com we are accepting applications for sponsors.  If you have or know of a Christian organization or company looking for an advertising opportunity please let us know.
I signed up at http://business2blogger.com but have not received emails or offers yet, but will let you all know if it works.  It’s a free website, but they do require that you post a blog about them to acquire membership.  So here’s my blog.  I can’t say much since I don’t know yet if it will work, but I hope it does.

Going To The Heights


Matthew loves to stand on our dresser and look at himself in the mirror.  It’s fun for two reasons.  He’s up high, and there’s a mirror.  But he can’t get up there by himself.  In fact he can’t even get part of the way up there by himself.  The only thing he can do is ask someone to pick him up and place him on the dresser.  
Do you want to go to the heights?  Do you want to go higher than you ever could on your own?  Regardless of what area in your life you want to advance in, the only way to go beyond what you can do by yourself is to ask for help.  Who can lift you up?  God.  He is our strength and only He enables us to go on the heights.  So what are you waiting for?  Ask and let Him pick you up and place you where you should be.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights . . . 
Habakkuk 3:19

Washing Shoes


So it seems that Matthew wants clean shoes today.  He took the silverware holder from the dishwasher out and stuck his shoes in it.  Matthew, Matthew, Matthew!  What are you doing?  The thing is that he doesn’t know that you clean shoes differently than you clean dishes.  He doesn’t know how to clean his shoes.
How many people today walk around with a dirty heart?  A dirty soul.  Trying everything they can to be clean.  Living well, making money, yoga, meditation, spirituality, self denial, walking on their knees, traveling to so called holy places, consulting witchdoctors.  The problem is that’s not how you clean a soul.  Just like you don’t clean shoes in the dishwasher, you don’t clean your soul any way other than drawing near to God and being washed in the blood of Jesus.  Just as I had to let Matthew know that you don’t wash shoes in the dishwasher we need to let the world know that there is only one way to have a clean heart and soul.  And that “way” has a name.  JESUS!
. . . they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Revelation 7:14
let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
Hebrews 10:22

I See You!


I live my life under a microscope.  Everything I say, everything I do, every facial expression I make is absorbed by three little pairs of eyes.  I may not be an example to many, but I am an example to those I treasure most.  My children.  
They hear me let out a frustrated sigh and the next time they get frustrated that sigh I showed them comes out.  They see me complain when I don’t like something and they do the same.  They see me hide toys under the couch and the next time I tell them to pick up the toys guess where they put them.  They catch me eating chocolate in the kitchen before dinner and they want chocolate to! 
They see me pray, they pray.  They hear me laugh and they laugh with me.  They see me eat broccoli and they eat it to.  They see me smile and they smile back.  I hug them and they hug back. 
 I can’t hide my weaknesses or my strengths from them.  They see me clearer than anyone.  They are always there.  Observing and learning from me.  There’s no fooling them.  So now, more than ever I have to be good from the inside out.  I have to show integrity and speak truth.  I have to be the example I want them to follow.
In everything set them an example by doing what is good.  In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
Titus 2:7-8

There's Room For You



We took this picture at the mall today.  It was a group effort.  We started with Josiah.  I sat him down and posed him.  He got up and said “no pictures.”  I put him back on the bench.  He got up and said “no pictures.”  I said ok.  The good thing is I have another model.  I sat Matthew on the bench and posed him while Samuel snapped away with his iphone.  We got home and he edited it and here it is.  I LOVE it!  When we look at it we are both reminded that in God’s kingdom there is always room for more people.  
We originally wanted Josiah to be in the picture, but he didn’t want to.  So we called in a replacement.  An adorable replacement.  But while Matthew got an opportunity he would not have had otherwise, Josiah lost out on being in a great picture.  He missed out on being in a picture that speaks of God’s love.  In the end he is still loved the same and he is still every bit my son, but he missed out on participating in the picture.  
Serving God is the same.  That’s where the saying that everyone is important, but no one is irreplaceable comes from.  God calls us.  He gives us the opportunity to participate in His plan, but if we refuse he will call someone else.  Either way His will will be done!  We can’t stop Him from doing what He wants, but we can lose the privilege and blessing of participating in it.
The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.  He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.
Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.
For many are invited, but few are chosen.
Matthew 22:2-3, 9, 14
In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so I would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
John 14:2-3

Carrying Each Other


Our Pastor had a concert today at a MLS Soccer game and we got to go.  It was a great time to be with family and friends and we had a blast.  By the time it was over though we were exhausted and no one wanted to walk to the car.  Josiah quickly climbed into the stroller as soon as it was opened.  I was carrying the baby and Samuel had Matthew.  Until he thought to put him on Josiah’s lap.  
Josiah “carrying” Matthew made it easier for all of us.  It was easier for me to just carry Caleb.  It was easier for Samuel to just push the stroller.  It was easier for Matthew to be carried.  And it was even easier for Josiah since he wouldn’t have to walk.  That’s how it’s supposed to be in the body of Christ.  We are supposed to carry each other.  And even though you may think it will be difficult, in the end it helps and makes life easier for us all.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2

Bathroom Break


My children love me.  My children need me.  My children depend on me for everything.  My children would prefer to never leave my side.  I’m reminded of this whenever I need to use the bathroom.  
I like most people prefer to use the bathroom alone.  My boys would rather be with me.  Yes, even when I’m in the bathroom!  I try to run in without them noticing.  But unless they are all asleep I’ll have someone banging on the door crying “Mami!” before I’m done.  
Today that was Matthew.  He started out by knocking, then crying, then yelling, and eventually was sticking his little hands under the door passing me flashcards.  (In the past I’ve also been passed cars and cookies)  It was so sweet to see his little fingers I really wish I’d have had my camera with me, but I had no idea I would need it.  
My boys crave my presence.  They love to be in constant contact with me.  They want my attention, and want to be touching me all the time.  It’s really beautiful.  This love and desire they have to be with me is the same love and desire we should have for God’s presence.  
If the Holy Spirit took a five minute bathroom break from your life how would you react?  Would you notice?  Would you be knocking on the door?  Crying out for Him to let you in?  Would you stick your little fingers under the door just to be a few inches closer?  Or would you unknowingly keep going with your life?  Do you really desire to live in the Lord’s presence, or do you want Him to show up just when you’re in need?
Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
Psalms 84:10

If the Shoe Fits


Matthew (18 months) had fun with his baby brother Caleb (2 months) today.  He tried sharing his yogurt covered raisins.  Which I quickly fished out of the baby’s mouth.  He also tried to put his shoes on his brother’s feet.  And while he struggled less than when he tries to put them on his own feet, they were a bit big.  
You see what Matthew doesn’t understand is that Caleb is smaller than him and can’t do everything he does.  He likes yogurt covered raisins so he thinks Caleb will to.  He likes to play with cars and dinosaurs, so he thinks Caleb will to.  And Caleb will, when he’s older.  But for now the shoes don’t fit.  
And it’s the same in the body of Christ.  Some are babies.  Some are children.  And some are parents.  Who are you?  Are you a baby?  Still needing milk?  Are you a child?  Not understanding why others aren’t at your level?  Or are you a parent?   Mediating and helping the babies and children to grow?  Regardless of your size there is a shoe to fit.  Are you wearing the right size?  What about those around you?  Are you expecting a baby to wear a toddler’s shoes?
I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it.  Indeed, you are still not ready.
1 Corinthians 3:2
Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
1 Peter 2:2-3

DART


My husband’s birthday was this past weekend.  We took a mini-vacation to Dallas.  Saw Veggie Tales Live on Friday night.  Stayed at a hotel, or as Josiah called it a “house for lots of people.”  And planned to go to the Holocaust Museum.  We could see the DART train from our hotel window and the boys were very excited about it.  They both asked to go on the choo choo.  We decided to take the train to the museum since it was not far away, we wouldn’t have to look for parking, and the boys would get their train ride.  
It was raining and even though the train stop was right across the street from the hotel we stepped in some puddles and were half soaked by the time we made it.  We decided to forgot the museum and just take a ride on the train.  As we rode we marveled at the huge buildings and scenery downtown.  Such a different lifestyle than that of the suburbs.  
As we continued on, we left downtown and entered some of the poorer areas of Dallas.  Again we noticed differences between what we were seeing and the area we live in.  This time we were seeing houses with bars on the windows and doors, and run down liquor stores.  
At one point a kid (probably about 14 years old)  got on and let out a puff of pot smoke.  Obviously high and accompanied by a prostitute he made me want to cry.  You could almost see the spirit of manipulation, hopelessness and bondage on him.  All I could do was pray.  
What do I know of DFW?  All I see is what’s in my circle.  Houses with well trimmed lawns, stores and restaurants, iphones and coffee shops, lacking nothing, abiding in the richness that is the presence of the Holy Spirit, while there is a world out there in need.  Help me to see.  Bring me to my knees for them.  Show me how to shine your light.
Feeling complacent?  I encourage you to take a trip on public transportation.  See the people.  Look them in the eye.  They are just like you.  Precious in God’s sight.  Jesus died for them.  Renew your prayer life.  Refresh your outlook.  See what God sees.
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Luke 10:29

Heal Stick


My sweet baby Caleb turned two months old today.  Did he get a party?  No.  Did he get presents?  No.  Cake?  Balloons?  No and no.  What he got was stuck.  Three needles and a heal stick.  Now vaccines I can handle.  Shots are rather quick and over before the kids even react.  The heal stick is another story.  
Thankfully the first one done in the hospital I was not present for.  It was done in the nursery at some point while I was getting some sleep in my room.  The second was to check for jaundice when he was a week old.  It was pretty awful, but at least it brought good news.  No jaundice.  
The third and what was supposed to be the last was at three weeks.  That was one for the record books.  Thank the Lord for my husband who went with me to that appointment.  The blood just wouldn’t come out.  I was holding Caleb and the nurse just kept squeezing Caleb was crying and it honestly took about 5 whole minutes just to fill the first little circle.  I couldn’t take it.  I nearly passed out and Samuel had to take over while I sat down.  A lot of crying and a few more sticks later all the circles were finally filled.  And we headed home.
About a month later I get a call from the doctor saying that somehow the blood from the heal stick clotted on the way to the lab and we have to do it AGAIN!  If there was one thing that I never wanted to do again it was the heal stick.  
So for his appointment today we were prepared for the worst.  He got his check up and is beautiful and healthy.  11 pounds 8 ounces and 22 inches long.  I heated his little heals up with a warm wash cloth before they stuck him to get the blood pumping well.  And the nurse stuck him.  Ouch!!!  I’m pretty sure it hurt me more than it hurt him and by his crying I can tell that it really hurt him.  But to our surprise he bled well this time and before we knew it the circles were filled and he was sleeping soundly.  What a relief.  
Sometimes we cry like Caleb.  We cry and say “You don’t know what it’s like!  You don’t understand how much it hurts!  You don’t know how hard it is!”  But He does know.  He takes our sicknesses and carries our pain the way I do with Caleb.  When something hurts him it hurts me.  God’s compassion for us is the same.  He has decided to take our pain upon himself.
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. 
Isaiah 53:4

A Missed Opportunity


We went to Target today.  Not at all an unusual activity for us.  We are there at least twice a week if not more.  It may be an addiction, but that’s a topic for another day.  We got our Starbucks and went to the little food area.  Josiah wanted pizza and Matthew wanted macaroni and cheese.  We sat down and Josiah ate the macaroni and cheese and Matthew ate the pizza.  Go figure.  
Another mother came and sat with her 3 year old son and baby daughter near us.  Our boys started to play and we chatted for a bit.  At one point she asked if I lived in the area and if I went to a play place that’s nearby.  I answered her and we talked for a little bit more until she had to go. 
I didn’t feel it was the time or place to share my faith with her, but I definitely think she is someone I could build a friendship with.  I totally missed the opportunity to ask her for some contact info so we could get the boys together to play.  How could I have missed it.  I mean she asked me if I lived nearby.  But I was distracted tired and not paying attention to the opportunities that God was putting in front of me to form a relationship with another mom that I could minister to and be friends with.  
Lord, help me to see and obey in each step of the path you have set before me.  I pray that I don’t have anymore missed opportunities, but that I will be spiritually, mentally, and physically ready to do your will in every situation.
Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning
Luke 12:35
Preach the Word; be prepared in season an out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction.
2 Timothy 4:2

But You Just Fell!


So Matthew discovered that he can climb onto the chairs and from the chairs to the table today.  Unfortunately he fell from the table onto the tile floor.  Ouch!!!  It was definitely a Mami hold me and kiss me for a while fall.  As opposed to a I’m fine I’ll just get up and keep playing fall.  What shocked me was that once he did calm down he went right back to climbing on the the table!
I couldn’t believe it!  He had just fallen and hurt himself and he got up and did the same thing.  Of course I made him get down, but he was determined.  How many of us are determined to continuously do things that hurt us?  We have physically and spiritually unhealthy habits we just can’t seem to break.  And we suffer the consequences, but in our own strength we just can’t stop.  We do what we hate.  We do what hurts us.  How can we stop the cycle?  Only through complete submission to Jesus.
I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
Romans 7:15

Bed Head





This is how my son woke up this morning and I couldn’t resist taking a picture.  He looks so cute with his bed head.  It reminded me that the Lord’s mercy is new every morning.  That’s good news for me since I am NOT a morning person and I need an extra portion of His mercy and grace to get through the mornings.  Sometimes I wake up with my soul just like Josiah’s hair.  Messy, not very attractive, and in need of some fixing up.  If the Lord’s mercies weren’t new each morning I don’t know how I would make it through the day.  I need that fresh start He gives.
Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

Better Is One Day In Your Courts





This is Caleb sleeping through a great sermon.  I’ve really enjoyed going to church since he was born.  I think it’s because of how much I missed when I was on bed rest, but I’ve come to appreciate how important corporate worship, study, and companionship is.  We need to be part of the body of Christ.  We need our brothers and sisters in Christ.  There is something special about coming together to worship and learn of Christ.  I am so glad that all my boys will be able to say that they have been in church since they were a week old.  There is no better place for them or for us.  
Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere;  I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
Psalm 84:10

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Close To His Heart





Why is it that babies love to lay on their parents chests?  Because they love to be near and be able to hear our hearts.  It’s soothing.  It calms.  It brings them peace.  Caleb loves to lie on my chest.  When he’s fussy my first instinct is to pick him up and hold him close.  Regardless of the reason for his fussing it always works, although it may be temporary.  My picking him up lets him know that I’m close.  That I’ll provide him with whatever he needs.  If he’s dirty, I’ll change him.  If he’s hungry, I’ll feed him.  If he’s sleepy, I’ll put him to sleep.
I’m the same way with God.  I long to be close to His heart.  I desire and need his presence and his embrace the way Caleb needs mine.  I find the same thing in God’s presence to.  Peace.  He lets me know that he’ll provide everything I need.  If I’m dirty, He cleanses me.  If I’m hungry, He feeds me.  If I’m in need of rest, He provides it.  I will always seek what I need in His presence.  It’s the only place find true comfort.
But as for me, it is good to be near God.  I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;  I will tell of all your deeds.
Psalm 73:28
What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him?
Deuteronomy 4:7

A Time To Rest





My house was quiet! My two oldest boys were at the pool with their grandparents, Aunt, and cousins. And the baby was asleep. I really needed to clean the floors, but wanted to take a nap. I thought the floors could wait an hour or two.  I was right!  Two hours later the floors were still there waiting to be cleaned, but I had more energy to do it.  
One of the greatest challenges we face as moms is time management.  We have things to do, houses to clean, meals to prepare, diapers to change, books to read, children to teach, hugs and kisses, discipline and correction to give, clothes to wash, errands to run, and husbands to tend to.  Some how among all this we find a way to be available at the first cry of our children and we find time to rest.  
I’ve never studied time management, but as I grow and learn I’ve come to one important solution.  The management of my time and the way I use it MUST be led by the Holy Spirit.  The guidance of that still small voice, the tug on my heart that pulls me in one direction or another, the gentle assurance that He guides my steps is essential to me even in the small things.  
The truth is that I don’t know how to manage my time.  The truth is that left to my own decisions I would surely make the wrong choices.  I NEED the Holy Spirit to manage my time.  There is a time for everything, but knowing when it’s time for what is something that only the Lord can show us.  
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.  
Ecclesiastes 3:1

Night Time Praise





5:30 am:  Woken up by a 3 year old stealing my blanket. I give him the blanket. Make him a chocomilk. Put him back to bed. 3 week old wakes up all wet. Change his diaper. Change his clothes and blanket. Feed him. Put him back to bed. Go get a new blanket for myself.  Hear 1 year old start to cry. Hear husband shush him back to sleep. Praising God for His goodness and mercy! In my head that is. If I sing out loud they might wake up again 
6:30 am:  Going back to sleep!
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.  I have set the Lord always before me.  Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.  Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.  You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Psalms 16:7-11

Crayons





We had a crazy morning yesterday.  Among everything else that happened my children took their crayons and colored all the doors, several walls and a few pieces of furniture with them.  Needless to say we won’t be leaving crayons within their reach anymore.  A while ago Josiah had colored on his door and I discovered that Mr Clean’s Magic Eraser works wonders on crayon.  So I set about cleaning it all up.  
It’s a great feeling seeing something go from dirty to clean, especially when it’s easily done.  It’s even greater when a “dirty” life is made clean!  Looking for a magic eraser to clean up your life?  Look no farther than the blood of Christ.  Run to Him.  He’s the only eraser there is for sin.  
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
Romans 8:1-2
I answered, “Sir, you know.”  And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation;  they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Revelation 7:14

That's NOT Your Toothbrush!




So Matthew’s at a stage where he instantly wants everything his brother has.  If Josiah has a toy Matthew wants it.  If Josiah is doing something Matthew wants to do the same thing.  If Josiah has a cookie Matthew wants two.  So I’m not surprised that while brushing our teeth this morning he grabbed Josiah’s toothbrush when I wasn’t looking.  I guess he thought it might taste better than his.  
It’s one of the first lessons we learn.  Not to covet.  Seems to be a difficult one for a one year old.  The sad part is that one year olds are not the only ones struggling to learn this lesson.  I sure hope Matthew learns faster than I do!
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.  You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
Exodus 20:17

Signs Of Love





I was home with my boys today and went to check on Caleb who was sleeping in the crib.  When I walked in I saw he was sucking on two of his fingers and his hand was in the shape of the “I love you” sign.  Now I’m not about to claim that my 3 week old son is speaking in sign language, but it definitely warmed my heart and sent me running for the camera.  For me it was a sign not only of my son’s love for me, but of God’s love for us.
I’ve grown not to believe very easily in “signs.”  There are so many people that look for “signs” to guide their lives without looking for or even believing in the God who can give those signs.  Besides I don’t want to be a part of the “wicked and adulterous generation” that asks for signs.  But God can demonstrate things to us through signs.  And I believe this morning he was demonstrating his love for me through that tiny little hand.
Thinking through and meditating on Matthew 12:39, I’ve come to understand this issue of signs a little more.  It doesn’t say not to observe signs or follow them.  It says not to ask for them.  Jesus was standing right in front of them and they were asking him to put on a show so that they wouldn’t have to use their faith to believe in him.  So while we shouldn’t seek out signs as an excuse not to have faith, we can observe signs and discern in the spirit whether or not they are from God.
I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.
Genesis 9:13
But if they say, “Come up to us,” we will climb up, because that will be our sign that the Lord has given them into our hands.”
1 Samuel 14:10
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
Isaiah 7:14
He answered, “ A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign!  But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.
Matthew 12:39

Like A Baby





So a while ago our bank was bought by another bank.  Nothing changed for quite a while, but recently the bank officially changed name and website and our old cards stopped working.  So the payment that we thought we had made to the electric company didn’t actually go through and as I was making breakfast this morning they cut off our power.  
For those of you in DFW I probably don’t even have to tell you that we are hitting over 100 degree temperatures all week long and that is HOT!  So after giving up on getting any more heat out of the stove to finish cooking the still very runny eggs for my boys I gave them bread with Nutella and bananas.  My husband called and talked to the company and they couldn’t tell us for sure when they would reconnect us.  
So he gave me an order.  To go shopping!  He really said it like that to.  He said, “I order you to go shopping.”  When I asked him how much I could spend he started to look concerned and said he was just kidding.  So I got the kids ready and went to my favorite thrift store.  Air conditioning, and shopping that can take a long time without spending much money.  Besides I LOVE thrift shopping and I needed some new post-pregnancy clothes.  
From there we went to McDonalds and ate and the boys played until my husband called to let me know the electric was back on.  I was stressed.  I was exhausted.  I was completely affected by the situation.  Caleb was sleeping like a baby through it all.  Regardless of where we were he slept, ate, and got his diaper changed just like if we had been at home.  He was at peace and unaffected.
Reminded me that we should be affecting our world and not letting the world affect us.  Regardless of our situations we can have the peace we need to be able to sleep like a baby.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:2
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7

Is It Naptime Yet?!?!?!?!?!





It all started this morning with the refusal of clothing.  Apparently both my older boys want to run around the house naked today.  Then I knocked an entire stack of glasses off the shelf and they shattered all over the kitchen floor.  Then I dropped an egg on Josiah’s foot while making breakfast that we had to eat in two separate parts because I was interrupted by crying Caleb and had to feed him in between making my and my husband’s over easy eggs and the boys’ scrambled eggs.  And the day has continued in basically the same rhythm since then.  
It’s now 2:30 pm so I still have hope that after naptime it will calm down some.  But after all that and numerous occasions of pushing, biting, screaming, crying, throwing things at the baby, causing a paper jam in the printer, and asking for chocolate (which I did NOT give them!), I am SO ready for naptime.  Matthew was to apparently since he fell asleep on the living room floor while playing.  Josiah is at this moment lying down under his blanket and I’m hoping he falls asleep to.  
On days like these it’s obvious that children need time to rest.  Even if they fight it, when they wake up they are so much happier.  The majority of the time if you ask them if they need a nap they will say no.  The thing is, children don’t know what they need, they only know what they want.  We can be that way to.  If only we would rest when we need it.  If only we would eat what our bodies need.  If only we would stop trying to have what others have.  If only we would stop pushing, biting, fighting, screaming, and crying!  If my children were left to make their own decisions they may never take naps and may eat candy all day.  But since they have a parent here to guide them they do take naps and eat well.  Because I know what they need.  Without the guidance of our Heavenly Father we won’t know what we need either.  We will look only for what we want.  Let’s seek to live constantly in his presence and under his guidance so that we may grow strong and healthy spirits.
Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Matthew 6:8

Just When I Thought I Had It All Under Control!






It was my first day home alone with all three of my boys.  I was feeling great.  A week and a half after the C-section and with a three year old, a one year old, and a newborn with me.  I couldn’t believe how well the day was going.  I had even found time to wash dishes and start the laundry!  I was SuperMom!  By the time my husband called to see if I wanted him to bring home dinner I felt like I had walked straight out of Proverbs 31 (well maybe that’s an exaggeration).  
I talked to my husband while feeding baby Caleb.  As soon as I hung up the phone I heard an immense amount of giggling from the direction of our bedroom.  The door was closed and when I opened it, Josiah nearly jumped out of his skin.  He knew he was caught.  He was emptying an entire bottle of sunscreen on his brother’s head.  The worst of it was that the sunscreen was blue!  So now I have blue sunscreen stains on my beige carpet.  I’m pretty sure SuperMom does not have blue stains on her carpet much less blue children.  
It reminded me of two verses and two lessons we as mothers should learn.  The first is to aim for perfection.  Our goal should be to create the best environment possible for our children go grow up in and to give them the best care possible while being an example of a life completely surrendered to Christ.  At the same time we must understand that only one has lived a perfect life and regardless of how hard we try we are not capable of that kind of perfection.  We can, however by inviting Him to live in and through us grow closer and closer to his perfection.  For today I’m ok with my lack of perfection, because my blue little boy sure did make me laugh!
Finally, brothers, good-by.  Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace.  And the God of love and peace will be with you.  
2 Corinthians 13:11
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
Romans 3:23

Perfect





Wow!  It’s been a while since I’ve sat down to write.  As many of you know already I’ve just come to the end of a very difficult pregnancy.  From the very beginning Caleb and I were attacked physically.  It started with a month of bleeding which the Lord healed.  Then severe abdominal pain which was also healed.  
Then it was contractions which were treated with medicine, but got worse.  Then at 30 weeks I went to the hospital with very painful contractions and while I was there my water broke.  The doctors and nurses were sure that he would be born that night, but were trying to prevent it.  They even had a neonatal nurse come and tell us what to expect with a premature baby.  
They gave me some very strong medicine to stop the labor and at one point they gave me to much.  I remember looking at the nurse and saying, “I’m going to pass out now.”  And then I passed out.  I saw a white light that grew larger and brighter and I was sure I was gone.  I remember the only thing I could think was to pray.  And all I said in that prayer was “We are in Your hands.”  Soon I heard the nurse calling my name, but it took me a while to be able to respond.  
Once I was stabilized the doctor told me that because my water had broken I would have to stay in the hospital for the rest of my pregnancy.  And we prayed.  And we asked for prayer.  And God’s people prayed.  Two days later I was no longer leaking.  A few days after that I had an ultrasound done by a specialist and he found no evidence that my water had broken at all!  And a few days after that my doctor sent me home to spend the rest of the pregnancy on bedrest.  
After a week in the hospital I lasted 6 more weeks on bedrest at home before my water broke again at about 11 pm on July 14.  Caleb was born by C-section at 6:40 am on July 15, 2010.  He was technically 3 weeks early, but is perfect.  He was 19 inches long and weighed 7 lbs 4 oz, which is actually the heaviest baby I’ve had.  As I look back on this difficult time I can see so clearly the hand of God working on my and Caleb’s behalf.  The healing that took place is undeniable.  And as I look at my beautiful sleeping baby I can see that His work is perfect.  In my moments of weakness His strength was evident.  How can I not give Him praise and trust him in all things?
He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just.  A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.
Deuteronomy 32:4
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9

A Place Of Covering





I went to the mall today in Dallas (not MY mall since I live in Arlington) to have lunch with a group of women from my church.  It was nice to spend time with them and was worth the drive.  After lunch I took my boys to play on the indoor playground they have their.  It was very exciting because it wasn’t the same as the one we have close to our house.  They played well for a while then Matthew found a tunnel and crawled inside.  As soon as he was inside he laid down and rested.  I guess it was nice and shaded inside.  Surely it was calmer than outside the tunnel where there was an abundance of noise and children running around.  It was somewhere he could feel safe and relax.  
It got me thinking about covering and protection.  As moms this is a huge part of our job and our days.  Covering and protecting our children.  We provide them a shelter to keep them safe physically and spiritually.  About a year ago we had a big storm in Arlington.  It rained a lot and the wind was really strong.  It blew the chimney off our roof.  Because of the absence of the chimney water got into our attic.  From the attic it got into our ceiling and if we hadn’t fixed it in time it would have come dripping down into our living room.  
When we think about being a covering for our children we are like a ceiling.  Our purpose is to protect them, but if we don’t have a roof above us we won’t be able to do it.  I would call God my roof.  When I am under the covering of His Holy Spirit it enables me to freely cover my children.  He provides the real shelter and because of that I can rest just like Matthew.  Even if the world outside is running around and crazy I find my place of rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Psalms 91:1-2

Conquering Fear





My children have a fear of carousels.  They like them a lot from far away, but up close they are a little intimidated.  Josiah has a tendency to ask to ride it when he sees it, but refuse once we get close enough for him to remember what it is like.  
We were at the mall today and he asked to ride.  A friend of mine was nice enough to give us a coupon and both of my boys got on.  They were fine and smiling for the first 3 or 4 turns.  After that Josiah started to crying and soon after Matthew joined in.  I tried to calm them as they held on for dear life, and they bravely made it through the rest of the ride.  When we got off I asked Josiah if he had fun and he actually said yes!  I’m sure he’ll try again soon and it won’t be long before he has conquered that carousel once and for all.  
What encourages me about the carousel situation is that he keeps trying to overcome the fear.  He doesn’t accept it.  When we identify fear in our lives we shouldn’t accept it either.  We should face it head on just like Josiah and the carousel.  Attack that fear with the spirit of power, love, and a sound mind that God has given us!  It will be gone in no time.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV
P.S.  Thanks for the coupon Cindy!


The New Pool





Josiah has been asking for a “pool for swimming” for two or three weeks now.  We finally bought one today, and much to my husband’s surprise, I didn’t think to buy a pump to blow it up with.  So today he was Superdaddy with the amazing lungs.  The boys had a blast playing in the pool, but Josiah really didn’t understand why we couldn’t fill it with water the minute we took it out of the box.  He actually started taking off his shirt while bouncing up and down saying “pool!”, “swimming!” the minute we got home with it.  What does a two year old know about the time it takes to blow up a pool or the fact that by then it was rainy outside and starting to get dark.  Although he didn’t like it we had to tell him he couldn’t go swimming until tomorrow.  He’ll just have to wait.
I can assure you that at his age he doesn’t understand my reasons for not letting him swim in his pool right away.  I can also assure you that my reasons are for his benefit not mine.  I’d hate him to catch a cold or get lots of mosquito bites from swimming at night.  So many times when we receive a promise from God we expect it to arrive right away just like my promise to let Josiah go swimming in his new pool.  Why does God sometimes let us know a little about what He has in store for us long before it’s His time for it to happen?  I’m not sure, but I know He has His reasons and they are for our benefit.  Just think of how many years Abraham had to wait before he had his first son, but God proved himself faithful in His promise to make him the father of many nations.  Why did it take so long?  Maybe it was to make the rest of us realize that it’s worth the wait.
No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.
Genesis 17:5



Her Children Arise And Call Her CARTOONS!





I’ve been wondering how old your children have to be to "arise and call you blessed"? Right now they arise and call me "Mami! Cartoons! Chocomilk! Teta!"  I’ve grown accustomed to having the first thing I hear in the morning be either the cries of my one year old or the demands of my two year old.  It shows that they completely trust me to meet all their needs, but I still long for the day when they wake up and say “I love you Mami!”  That will be an awesome blessing.  
Sometimes we treat God the same way my boys treat me in the morning.  Unfortunately we don’t have the excuse of being 2 years old and not knowing any better.  Jesus taught us about the order of importance in the Lord’s prayer.  God, much like me, would love for the first thing out of his children’s mouths in the morning to be praises to Him.  So let’s not be like small children who only ask, but like mature adults who bring praises to their Father.   
Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
Proverbs 31:28

My Happy Mother's Day





I have to say that Mother’s Day weekend can be crazy.  Friday my loving husband told me that he and my sons wanted to take me out for breakfast on Saturday for Mother’s Day.  I was thinking great idea for several reasons.  First, Sunday we had plans with my Mother in Law and the family.  I also thought that it would be nice and calm since it’s breakfast, and it’s not actually Mother’s Day yet.  
Well we passed by Mimi’s and there were a ton of people waiting outside and no parking.  We considered La Madeline, but I was sure it would be full to.  So we went to Cracker Barrel.  It’s in a less central location and we thought there wouldn’t be as many people.  We were wrong!  We had decided to celebrate early with what appeared to be the entire population of Arlington!  When we were seated it was noisy and stressful.  The food however was delicious.  
From there we went to a community activity where we saw some crazy looking cars, ate some frozen yogurt and let Josiah pet some puppies.  Then we went to see a friend who unfortunately was spending her first Mother’s day in the hospital away from her 3 week old baby.  I am someone who loves holidays and celebrating, but I have definitely come to the realization that they don’t always turn out the way you want.  
When I think about this Mother’s day I smile.  I think of the smiles of my children and the thoughtfulness of my husband and I rejoice.  I realize that the very reason I can celebrate Mother’s Day is also the best gift I can receive.  
May your father and mother be glad; may she who gave you birth rejoice!
Proverbs 23:251                        
P.S.  Sweetie, this doesn’t mean I no longer want my gift.  (LOL it’s on backorder)  ; )

Josiah Was Here





This is how I found my nightstand yesterday afternoon.  My first thought?  That’s a sure sign Josiah’s been in here playing.  It’s just a very “Josiah” thing to do.  My being able to tell where Josiah’s been by the difference he made makes me wonder if anyone can tell where I’ve been by the difference that I’ve made.  Does God see the lives I’ve touched and say “Wow, I can tell Christy’s been here.”?  Am I recognizable by my fruit?  
We are called to bear good fruit, to make an impact on our world for Christ, but that “good fruit” can take many forms.  There are many different kinds of good fruit trees.  An apple and a coconut are both good fruit although they are very different.  You will never find apples growing on a coconut tree or coconuts growing on an apple tree.  What kind of a tree am I?  Apple, orange, mango, banana, coconut, lime, pear?  That’s only to name a few.  Have you ever been to a foreign grocery store?  They sell fruit we’ve never even heard of.  Just imagine the diversity of good fruit there is among Christians!  
I want my fruit to be good, but I don’t want it to be the same as someone else’s.  I want to leave MY mark.  I want to use the talents, gifts, and personality that God has given me for him in a way that only I can.  I want to hear someone say, “Wow, I can tell Christy’s been here.  This good fruit is so ‘Christy’!”
By their fruit you will recognize them.  Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?  Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
Matthew 7:16-20


A Little Kindness Goes A Long Way





We went to a Sonic with a little park today for a play date.  It was Josiah’s first time playing in the sand and he had a blast.  Matthew had fun to, being passed from one little girl’s arms to another’s.  We had fun.  Josiah made a quick friend with a little blond boy his size.  He had brought his Thomas the Train to play with.  They were playing really well together with it.  A while later when I found out who the little boy’s mom was I told her he was cute and seemed to be getting along really well with Josiah.  He was collecting his train to go and she told me his train was very special and he never shared it with anyone.  I was surprised to hear that and told her that he had shared it really well with Josiah.  
Afterwards I was thinking about what made that little boy share something with my son that he wouldn’t share with other kids.  The truth is Josiah is the sweetest boy in the whole world.  Of course all of you are thinking, “sure, that’s what you think cause you’re his mom.”  But he is really a very sweet boy who is very kind to other children, and I choose to believe that it was his kindness and gentle answers that won that little boy over.  Reminds me to be gentle and kind in my answers to others.  Let’s win them over with real kindness.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 15:1


A Healthy Fear





I’ve heard many people, even experts say that when you have pre-teen and teenage children it is important to keep the lines of communication open.  I agree.  My children are still very young, but I never want to reach a place where we are not speaking.  And I know it would kill me to find out that they were hiding things from me.  What I don’t agree with is the idea that our children can openly and without fear discuss their unrepentant sin with us.  There seems to be this idea that if a child openly talks about having sex or drinking with their parents that it makes it ok.  
I believe that a child should have a healthy fear of their parents.  Not a fear that their parents will harm them, but a knowledge that if rules are broken their parents will enforce proper punishment.  To me it seems equivalent to the fear we should have of the Lord.  I can’t imagine telling God, “Ok Lord I’m going to go out and get drunk tonight.  I know your word says not to, but I just wanted to be open and honest with you and thought you should know.”  If I ever hear one of my sons say something similar to me or my husband, I know we’ve gone wrong somewhere.  It will mean that we haven’t taught them well enough.  We will have lost our authority.  
If the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, I believe a fear and respect for the authorities the Lord places in our lives is a part of that wisdom.  And I want my children to be wise.  So we teach them what is right and what is wrong, and that when we do wrong there are consequences.  In doing so we are sewing a seed that will grow into a fear of the Lord and wisdom.  
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.  
Proverbs 9:10
(By the way I chose the picture not because Matthew looked fearful, but because he looked wise, and SO CUTE!)