Friday, November 16, 2012

recent good blog reads

here are a few blog posts that have recently spoken to me. some made me laugh. some made me cry. and a rare few that were REALLY good made me do both at the same time ;) enjoy.

Not Alone

Good Enough

A Fallen Hero

How Not to Miss Your Real Calling in Life

Why The Battle for Joy is Really Worth It

The Habits of Mothers who Change the World

The Song for all the Women

Not Her Best

Momentary Motherhood

How to be a Happy Mom



side note, here is a website i ran across and bookmarked today. it's a nonprofit charitable organization which facilitates the safe & legal transfer of abandoned babies to foster and adoptive homes. perhaps someone reading this blog today needed to find out about it...

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Election Thoughts, Part 2

i find myself continually, consciously steering my mind away from the temptation to fear & despair at the thought that our country will never be the same. and in a very short time, we may no longer enjoy the freedoms we do today. i am not trying to sound like doom & gloom but just telling it like it is. we are losing our freedoms one by one, that's obvious to the even the casual (but thoughtful) observer. my mantra these days is 'God is in control', 'God is GOOD', 'God is on His throne'. My ultimate allegiance is not to a man, mission, or ministry, it's to HIM. plain and simple.

I'm not sure who reads this blog - if anyone these days - but i write yes to encourage others out there but to mainly leave a legacy for my children & grandchildren. I make my blog into a book every few years since bound books are more lasting than the internet and more fun to look through, anyway. sure, my kids' childhood (and adulthood) will be different from mine, much less my parents' and grandparents' but i pray that as the 'dark' of this world gets darker, the light of the hope of Jesus would become brighter and brighter. i know they will face trials and situations that i may not live to face. sometimes, as i'm washing the dishes or folding a load of laundry in my sun-soaked Florida living room surrounded by heated, running water/AC/nice things, my eyes brim with tears. i walk to the precipice of that old yet unwanted companion, Fear, and have to make a choice: to dive into that messy, tangled, downward-spiral relationship with him again or to say 'No!' and turn away by the power at work within me, Christ's power. some day, these earthly comforts - and so many more not mentioned - may not be daily mundane blessings i have for too long taken for granted. i may be faced with the loss of my children, basic freedoms, liberty to publicly worship my King, my health, etc. what will i cling to then? bitterness over loss and unjust oppression from wicked, corrupt leaders or joy in knowing I am His, He is mine, I'm a slave to righteousness and a daughter of the victorious God of the universe who spoke this world into existence by one word from His mouth?

Sure, I love my freedoms and yes, I'll totally admit it: I would put up a fight to keep them (call me a radical far right, evangelical, freedom-loving, Constitution-upholding, patriotic American. that's fine. i'm actually proud of that fact) but at the end of the day, I don't have to sink into despair, anger, and crippling fear. I can do all that I can in my own power but if we are taken captive (literally or figuratively) much like the Israelites were time and again under enemies such as the Babylonians or Assyrians, I can REST in Jesus. Because before being a patriotic, conservative, small-government-loving, freedom-loving American, I am a Christian. A follow of Christ, not a patriotic ideal. And, ironically enough, being a true Christian does not really fit the mold of the ideal American. While i am so grateful for my freedoms here in this country and would be proud to die for them, I am more grateful for a sovereign God who has called me out of darkness into light and made me a slave to righteousness. And I would hope to die first and foremost for my God over my civil liberties on any given day.

In fact, in a weird way, I'm almost glad that we have who we have in office since it's a wake up call to fellow Americans that life is going to change from how we have long known it to be. Our country will truly never be the same. In some good ways (no longer floating on our comfortable lifestyles) and in many not so good ways (you know what they are and if you don't, stop listening to mainstream media and seek out sources of balanced, unbiased journalism which are telling the truth backed up with actual facts and not the same old rhetoric and lie-laden propaganda). It's time to stand up against wickedness (and by that, I mean killing babies, oppressing the hardworking average citizen who makes an honest living and rewarding those who sit back with a victim complex when they could legitimately be making their own way and not relying on others to do so. i'm all for helping the poor and underserved. i just don't think it's the gov't's job to do so. it's the church's.)

Yes, we are to honor and pray for our president. But to honor someone does not necessarily mean to respect them - there's a fundamental difference. And I'll just come out and say it, while i highly respect the office of President, I do not respect the man currently in office. He has an aggressive agenda to divide, weaken, and ultimately reshape this nation in ways that go directly against it's founding, biblically-based values. Another thought I am rolling around in my head has to do with submission. How can I honor and submit to my current president without violating the (more important!) convictions of my Christian faith?? (not contributing via taxes to abortions, namely). This is a hard one and while I'm NOT against the idea of possible secession from the Union if things get really bad (yup, i said it), even more so, I want to honor God in my attitude and conduct while upholding my responsibilities as a true American citizen. This message was a blessing to me on this very topic.

I want to pray more for our president - that God would direct President Obama's heart like channels of water as mentioned in the Proverbs. I want to grow in speaking more reverently of him, even though pretty much everything he stands for goes directly against what I believe. I am also wearied & grieved to see how many of those who support Obama continually pull the race card. I don't care if my chosen Presidential candidate is purple with spots, if he stands for what I believe in (freedom, liberty, right to govern one's own life/family/health/faith/business/land, small gov't, biblical values), then by golly, i'll vote for him! I would love to have a Black President again in the future. But one who has a heart for ALL peoples - regardless of their skin color - and who truly upholds our Constitution. frankly, skin color has nothing to do with it for me. In the words of the revered Dr. MLK Jr, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." I think it's safe to say that King would want that statement applied to all races - Black, White, Latino, etc. 


Another reason why I'm actually glad that God allowed Pres. Obama to assume another four years (I'm not  'happy-happy' glad, let me clarify. more 'excited to see what God does in this situation' kinda glad) is that it will prove to be a time of trials and testing for those who call themselves Christians and we know that...


"...we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.."
Romans 5:2-5



And in the words of CH Spurgeon: 

The diamond of Divine promise never glistens so brightly as when it is placed in the setting of personal trial and experience.
And the gold of sacred Truth is not valued until it has been tried “so as by fire.”

(source HERE - good message!)

Election Thoughts, Part 1


I deeply love and am proud of my country; therefore, i for one was deeply saddened at last night's election results. But I love my God even more and am finding, through tears and emotional weakness, that a deeper, more lasting, and unchanging JOY & REST - no matter what happens in our nation or world at large -comes when knowing HIM as my King of Kings.

He will one day 'make all things right'. He raises up leaders and tears them down. He is on His throne and He ALONE is in control. That's what's keeping me together right now, to be honest, when there is real reason to fear as a nation and the future doesn't look much brighter. BUT one day, it will be so bright for those who love Him that all of these temporal trials we will be called to endure will pale in comparison to beholding His beautiful face and being taken up in His strong, comforting arms. 

Amazing how trials set the stage for Jesus to speak 

most clearly to His little ones, isn't it? 



"Though you live in a faithless world, you dwell in a faithful God."
~ Spurgeon



woke up singing this hymn (The Solid Rock):


My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.



When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.



His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.



When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.



Refrain: 
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6


He holds our government on his shoulders, He holds us in His heart.

...Brings me to tears in humble worship...


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


read this last night and i feel it directly relates to the state of our nation and a great reminder of God's amazing, redemptive justice that WILL come to pass on that day when all tears will be wiped away...

Psalm 9:

I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
 I will be glad and rejoice in you;
I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.
 My enemies turn back; they stumble and perish before you.
 For you have upheld my right and my cause,
    sitting enthroned as the righteous judge.
 You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked;
    you have blotted out their name for ever and ever.
 Endless ruin has overtaken my enemies,
    you have uprooted their cities;
    even the memory of them has perished.
 The Lord reigns forever;
    he has established his throne for judgment.

 He rules the world in righteousness
    and judges the peoples with equity.
 The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
    a stronghold in times of trouble.
 Those who know your name trust in you,
    for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.
 Sing the praises of the Lord, enthroned in Zion;
    proclaim among the nations what he has done.
 For he who avenges blood remembers;
    he does not ignore the cries of the afflicted.
 Lord, see how my enemies persecute me!
    Have mercy and lift me up from the gates of death,
 that I may declare your praises
    in the gates of Daughter Zion,
    and there rejoice in your salvation.
 The nations have fallen into the pit they have dug;
    their feet are caught in the net they have hidden.
 The Lord is known by his acts of justice;
    the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands.[c]
 The wicked go down to the realm of the dead,
    all the nations that forget God.
 But God will never forget the needy;
    the hope of the afflicted will never perish.
 Arise, Lord, do not let mortals triumph;
    let the nations be judged in your presence.

 Strike them with terror, Lord;
    let the nations know they are only mortal.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Miss Independent


(note to reader, please click 'play' on the song menu next to this post. it 'goes with' this entry ;)


Kathryn

Sometimes i forget to interact with you by talking because i honestly get so mesmerized just silently watching you 'do your thing' - explore the world with those big ol' blue eyes, intently fixated on each new sight, quietly content in my (or daddy's) arms. You love people. When strangers talk to you, you don't smile and when friends talk, you do. It's crazy how you are recognizing those in your life, those who love you. You get so excited when another little person your size (or a bit bigger) is around. You wriggle your whole self with joy and beam and coo. You reach out and try to pat people's cheeks and affectionately (but painfully!) pull hair! haha!! You also know how to 'kiss' by planting your wide open slobbery rose-pink mouth on mommy or daddy's cheek. We just soak up your love like a sponge dipped in dishwater.

The other night, I was hosting a party for a friend and daddy was watching you. I peeked in the bathroom when he was giving you a bath and my heart melted to see daddy talking to you in that sweet characteristic high-pitched voice (which is very cute, especially since one of the things mommy fell madly in love with your dad when they were long distance dating was his very manly, smooth, deep voice! haha!) and teaching you how to splash. Then, later on that evening, I peeked in again to watch you two playing hide and seek with a blanket, laughing and just having the best time together. I'm reminded of when you were brand new, one evening after cleaning up the kitchen from dinner, I turned the corner in our little hallway to see daddy cradling your tiny pink body close to his heart with tears brimming his eyes as the Coldplay song, 'Us Against the World' played. Quietly, your daddy sang the line from it, 'sloooooooow it down'. I asked him why he was getting emotional and he replied that he wanted to slow down time and not see you grow up and eventually have to leave us. Wow, we do get ahead of ourselves don't we, sweetie? Well, just wait until you're a parent and then you'll understand.

You catch onto things very quickly. Like the early days of eating solids when you would scream and pitch a little fit for food and now you know to gently tap your tray for your next bite. You also can  pick up food with your two fingers in the 'pincer grasp' now, which is pretty advanced for your age if i do say so myself. You only keep as much food in your mouth that feels comfortable and you chew slowly and deliberately with your two bottom teeth and gums! You have never choked and you eat (and love!) everything from spicy Thai food, pepper steak, honey-mustard chicken, broth, soups, all fruits & veggies, greek yogurt, eggs, cheese, dried plums & apricots, chili, and the list goes on.

Your new favorite tricks are to growl like a lion (hence your Harvest costume from this past year), sitting up, scooching everywhere and GETTING INTO EVERYTHING!! Mommy and Daddy now really feel the 'baby proofing' crunch! man, you're fast. Mommy keeps a very close eye on you at all times when you're awake and can only get on the computer when you're sleeping (that's a good thing and has made mommy much less tied to social media and just being on the computer in general. a very good thing. and more on that later). Whenever it's silent for more than 10 seconds, mommy immediately looks over at you since that almost always means you are either going for an electrical cord/outlet, getting into a nearby trashcan or those rubber door stopper thingies. Oh, and now if we leave you in your bouncer and just go to another room to retrieve something, you start squawking for us. You love having our comforting presence nearby at all times, even if we're occupied with cooking, chores, or reading beside you on the couch while you work hard at playing.

You still hold your toys up to the light and often put them on top of your head. You talk to your stuffed animals and lone dolly (more like 'boss them around'! man, it's going to be entertaining to say the least to see you assume the role of 'big sister' hopefully one day soon). You sing and talk to yourself every single morning when you wake up at 8am on.the.dot. Doesn't matter if you stayed up later the night before. You pretty much always wake up at that time. You literally kick your feet up on the front part of your stroller for our evening family walks and casually dangle your chubby little hands over the side, reclining, with your eyes in an upward gaze watching the branches roll on by laced against the dusky sky.

You love life and trying/learning new things. You have a temper that matches your hair and a real stubborn streak inherited from both your Irish-background father and German-background mother. oh, dear! We pray daily that God uses those aspects of your character for His glory and channels your energy & zest toward fiercely loving others around you who are hurting, staunchly defending the defenseless, and boldly living for His kingdom (and no one/nothing else).

Honey, we love you so much it hurts. honestly. Please stay little, okay? No more of this growing up and getting all 'independent' on us! :) 




Love, Mom & Dad





 hmmm, let me see...




 yup, tastes good.





 hi, mom. what's up?




 who's over there??




 hiding




 her 'gorilla' face she makes all the time.




 Henry the Hippo




 Let's not eat our friends!




 Sorry, Mom. just one little bite!




 okay, fine. I'll gnaw on my fingers.




 uh.
 oh.
 spaghettio.





 caught red-handed (or red-haired?)
 i like paper. paper is so crunchy!

8 Months


My precious Kathryn, 

Please.Stop.Growing.

Your loving Mama, 


Lizzy



these little bathtime puppies are your current BFF's




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

your 'official' 8-month photo shoot w/ mommy:




Little Luke












 you love making this face and saying, 'ohhhhh!'







cutie patootie!













 teething babe.







peekaboo. i see you.








 my lil yellow 'cream puff'!







girl, you've got a good look goin' on with that hair.


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Harvest!

Kathryn enjoyed her very first 'Harvest' celebration with mommy and our sweet neighbor friend, Korianne. She tagged along since daddy had duty and mommy certainly needed an extra set of hands to help juggle passing out candy, looking after K, serving chili, replenishing the candy bowls (which happened to be filled with Cheez-Its and Goldfish crackers initially and then candy, given by our great church). Kathryn dressed up as a little lion cub since her latest 'trick' is growling! too cute! At first, she just sat in her stroller wide-eyed and silent, just soaking up all the colorful sights of various costumes and sounds of squealing, happy children. I marveled just watching her as i often do ;) Well, here are some pics of the day! Hope you all had lots of fun, too!!


Happy Harvest!!




 having fun with Miss Korianne!


















 cutest.lion.ever.







 hi, mom! i'm having so much fun!!



 each car had a different theme. 
we were the 'Teddy Bear' trunk. 













 peek a boo!



 i love my mommy!



daddy, we sure missed you but 
hopefully next year you can join us!!
xoxo

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pumpkin Patch Munchkin!

Luke & I had a fun family day on Saturday...relaxing around the house, trip to the pumpkin patch, and yummy Mexican for dinner. but the best part by far was watching Kathryn at the patch! She just soaked up all the sights & sounds - everything from the fiery orange sea of pumpkins to the other little ones happily romping up and down the aisles, in search of their 'prized pumpkin' to take home. She even tried to TASTE a pumpkin. well, i suppose that's no surprise since she IS 7 months old - the age where everything, EVERYTHING must.to.in.mouth. Here are some pics of us - enjoy!! ;) 



 our little family



 i love my daddy




 check out the dimples!




 hi, there. my name is Kathryn.
and i'm cute. period.



 
me 'n' mommy



 i love exploring new things w/ my mommy



 hmmm...
dare i?!
 yes, i will! mmm....
tastes just like pumpkin pie..right?





 Farmer Kathryn








 hangin' with my homies



 okay, it's hot. time to change.



 Mommy, no! not 'just one more'!!




 prettiest, most unusual pumpkin we had ever seen.



 shy smiles



i look a lot like my mom in this pic 
(at least, her baby pics)