Thursday, March 31, 2011

Raising Real Men, part 6

Moving into Part Two of the book, "Civilization for the Tough," the Young's begin with "First Things" first! What do you think is the first thing involved in raising REAL men to be civilized? Deuteronomy 6:4-7 The Young's have dubbed this passage of Scripture "the basic commandment for homeschoolers." I think many homeschoolers use this passage, as well as Deut. 11:18-20, which I even have had on my homeschool blog for awhile :) To summarize the verses: Teach (these words) diligently to your children, talk of them while you sit, when you walk, when you lie down, when you rise...The foundation of the raising of our children (boys or girls) must begin here. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength," and with all your mind (which we so often forget!!!) (Matthew 22:37)

I am so glad the Young's state this as being first, because even though, as a believer, it seems obvious, it can so easily be swept to the side. I often feel like life just takes over. How ironically awful!! If life is getting in the way of me teaching my sons about the Lord and His Word, then (quite frankly) I need to re-evaluate what our lives are being filled with! I have 4 boys ages 5 and under, and while the messes, the meal and snack fixing, and the piles and piles of laundry and fights and bruises and blood I currently live under tend to overwhelm me, I absolutely need to make sure Christ is #1 in this home. If that means stopping everything (or better yet, not beginning anything) until He is our top priority, then Amen! So be it!!

I am also glad the Young's stop to mention that just because we raise our children "in the way they should go," we are not guaranteed of any end results. To that topic, I will link to this article and leave it at that. (No need to step up on my soap box about how that verse is so misused!)

The quote for this week is a simple, yet profound one:
"Our goals are that our children would be without excuse and that we would be without regrets." (p. 130) do we follow the commandments in Deuteronomy to "teach them diligently" and how do we make God #1 in our home? By living out our walk on a daily, hourly, moment by moment basis! Use situations that arise to teach the Word, live according to Scripture, seek the Lord and allow your children to join you on the journey.

Just have to throw this in right here: I am once again convicted of letting "life" get in the way of this. It is definitely easier to just deal with a two year old's temper tantrum in whatever way possible, move on, and forget about it (until the next one, of course!) Fights and arguments can absolutely be settled very quickly through various (read: lazy) means. Whining and discontentment can also easily be appeased without stopping to teach what the Word has to say about it. BUT what a disservice I am doing! I am suffering the consequences of my laziness by not getting to the heart of these matters. My kids are suffering as well in more obvious ways. Lord, I need Your help. I need Your strength, Your patience, Your words! Teach me how to teach my children Your truth, and give me the desire and energy to take the time to reach their little hearts!

Anyway, I couldn't keep going on without confessing my short-comings....just in case someone reads this and begins to think I am perfect or something ridiculous like that!
Now we get to my favorite part of chapter 8: Family Worship

I just love the idea. I love the concept, I love the goal and purpose of this time...
but I just don't consistently do it with my kids!!!! I have read articles, books, blogs, etc. about the what/when/why/and how's of Family Worship, but I love what the Young's say is the most important part of this time: "doing it." (p. 132) That simple, and I almost quoted Nike here, but I'm going to restrain myself. I can read my children the Bible, we can sing and worship together (we have more than enough CDs to sing along to!), we already use a catechism for kids, and I am well aware of the need for specific prayer times as a family!

I realize this post is getting long...this chapter was full of good stuff! I'll add a link here to something I thought was wonderful. This checklist deals with brotherly (shall we say) affection (?) and how to handle the arguments and tattling that comes with the territory.

I've said it before, I'll say it again...get this book if you have boys (or even just one.) I could keep going on and on about this chapter, but I might wear you out...not to mention, find myself walking a fine line of plagiarism!! I seriously could quote about 75% of the book if that were should see the blue highlighter that has taken over the pages of my copy :)

Can I brag?

I just want to brag on God...

I have posted before about how the Lord has blessed my homeschooling efforts in very obvious ways. Just yesterday, the "Sid the Science Kid" show on PBS Kids was about freezing water...on the day we were going to do an experiment with frozen water. Things like that seem to happen often, and I am continuously amazed (and obviously encouraged!)

In the past week, I have been reading about prayer, being convicted of the need to do it more often and with more purpose, and talking to the boys about my shortcomings in faithfully praying with them. Yesterday, we painted the word "PRAY" together and put it up in the kitchen as a reminder to do it more ("without ceasing" as our verse of the week says.) I also (completely randomly) listened to Be Thou My Vision and posted some of the lyrics on the blog as a reminder to myself to seek the Lord's pleasure and not man's approval. I can't even put into words everything God has been revealing to me and the ways He has confirmed my thoughts and my heart and my desires. The coolest thing in all of this happened this morning...I logged onto Facebook and saw on our church's wall a YouTube video of a sermon jam someone created on one of our pastor's sermons on prayer. God kept the awesome ball rolling when He inspired this person to set that sermon jam to none other than "Be Thou My Vision." Enjoy :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Isn't it ironic?

In our discussion of Matthew 23:1-12 at Bible study this morning, I was struck by a couple of things about us as humans. We try so hard to DO and BE for our salvation. We try to jump through hoops and cross things off our "good enough for Jesus" list in order to win His approval. We say that we have been "saved by grace through faith," but most of us certainly don't act like it. We strive for man's approval, and quite frankly, we come by it pretty easily. That tends to lead to our desiring more recognition, and therefore we continue to fall into the "do" and "be" mentality. The problem with all of this is what God's Word has to say...

In this passage, Jesus is speaking of the law readers and interpreters. The Scribes and Pharisees took it upon themselves to make sure everyone obeyed the law. However, they often left themselves out of the loop and "lay (the rules/burdens) on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their fingers (vs. 4.)" They were guilty of holding everyone else to their high standards...except themselves. Our Bible study leader summarized their actions well by saying they had a "self-confidence in their self-righteousness." Yet, we who have been saved by grace through faith alone should live with the realization that "in Christ, He makes us less and less confident in ourselves!" (also quoting my Bible study leader here :) )

The irony in all of this seems to be that while we may "outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside (be) full of hypocrisy and lawlessness," (verse 28), we continue living for man's approval when in the end, that doesn't even matter!

The law? We can never follow it perfectly.
Righteousness? We only receive through Christ (2 Cor. 5:21)
Anything at all that we might bring to the cross in our own doing? Doesn't exist!!

The only thing I can bring to God's feet is myself...bathed in the blood of Jesus, washed as white as snow. Guilty, yet pardoned. Blind, now I can see. Lost, now found. Bound, now free! (Sing it with me!!)

Let's stop trying to do and be and start living in HIS deeds, HIS death on the cross, the truth of HIS being and the truth of what Christ has done for us and in us. I HAVE been saved by grace through faith, and I need to remember (and apparently remind myself often!) that it is NOT of myself, NOT because of anything I could ever possibly do...lest I should boast! (Eph. 2:9)

One reason I tend to repeat the "I am NOT supermom" phrase around here, and one reason I want to make sure I am quick to point out my many faults and shortcomings is because I do not want Matthew 23:28 to be true about me. I do not want to "outwardly appear righteous to men" but inwardly be full of hypocrisy. The Lord knows my heart. He knows my every thought, my every action, my every sin. And the best part about all of that? HE is the only one who knows all of that and loves me DESPITE me. I have nothing to do with His love for me, and for that, I am thankful.

I apologize if this post seems scatter-brained. Honestly, I feel scatter-brained about this subject. I wish I could have just sat up in our Bible study room by myself for about two hours after it ended. I had so much to meditate on, to search my heart over. One thing I love about blogging is that I have an outlet for writing down my thoughts. I tend to express myself much better in writing than I do in speaking, and my prayer in putting myself "out there" is that I would be an open and honest reflection of what Christ is doing in my life. I'm not perfect, none of us are, and I want to make sure to point people to where my HOPE comes from.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Day in the Life:: Weekend Edition

6:30 am: Josiah is awake and wanting to nurse. He has been waking up around 6:30 every day lately, and it's slowly killing me. I feed him and get back in bed, although I shouldn't...we have to get up in 30 minutes and the little sleep I get will only be a tease.
7:00 My cell phone alarm goes off. Why are we getting up so early on a SATURDAY?!!
7:30 We have snoozed long enough. Derek gets up to get the boys up and around for breakfast and to get them dressed in their baseball gear. It's going to be another busy Saturday, but once I am dressed and moving around, I am excited about the day.
8:30 We load up in the car and head off to Titus' game.
9:30 T's game is over (his are very short :) ), and we head across town for a Police (Fallen Officers) Fundraiser and motorcycle show. Derek's office has a booth set up there, so the boys and I walk around to look at ALLLLL of the motorcycles (they were EVERYWHERE, and the boys were enjoying themselves immensely!) We watch a couple motorcyclists go through the stunt course and head over to the playground to play and have snacks. We re-join Derek and spend some time in the shade with complete strangers. The boys take and eat food from said strangers (note to self: I should probably get around to teaching our kids the "don't take food from strangers" rule.)
1:00 We are exhausted from the sun and heat, so we pack up again and head home. We grab some lunch on the way home, and Derek and Justus eat and run off to Justus' t-ball game. I am blessed by my husband to be able to stay home with the 3 nappers, so I set myself up on the couch with my food, the computer, and complete silence!!! LOVELY!!!!!
2:30 Titus is up from his nap, so we enjoy snacks, legos, and a puzzle together.
4:00 Derek and Justus come home, and Titus, Josiah and I run to Lowe's to buy some stuff for yard work. When we get back, we all head outside to play and work in the yard. The neighbor's puppy comes over to play, the boys race, ride their bikes, play in the dirt, and do whatever else it is they do. (Time always flies when we're outside playing, and sometimes I am left thinking, what in the world did we DO the whole time?! I love it...)
6:30 I bring Josiah in for bed, and I head back outside, reminded of how much I love this early-bedtime stage during the spring/summer months. We still have so much daylight left!! We visit with neighbors, work on the yard some more, and come in only because we are finally out of sunlight.
8:30 We eat dinner. Yep, I said it. We ate dinner at 8:30. Derek takes the boys upstairs for bed, and by 9:30, our day is finally over! Whew!!! Such is life on Saturdays for probably the next 16 years of our lives, right?!!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I never thought I would say this...

We have a trampoline...
I never thought I would say that!
We have had only minor injuries so far,
and I'm hoping this contraption does not send us on our first ER run.

We play Marco Polo, Ring Around the Rosie, Hide and Seek (don't ask), and break the egg on our trampoline.

Three out of five of our current jumpers can do tricks so far (although they are not very impressive tricks, but we're working on that :) )

Much to my surprise (or not), the jumping/wrestling/rolling the boys do on this thing does not even begin to wear them out. It's a fact: their energy is endless!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Forget the birds and the bees talk

No one tells you to talk to your kids about losing their first tooth!!

Justus: Look, Mom, what happened?!
Me: Oh my goodness! You're losing your first baby tooth!
Justus: (look of worry on his face) HUH?

Me: (wiggling his tooth in the aisle of Walmart and almost passing out at all my memories of having my own teeth pulled) You lose your baby teeth, so your big boy teeth can come in! (Well, that does sound kind of scary, doesn't it? kind of like he's going to be without any teeth!)
J: Is it going to hurt?
Me: (oh brother, how do I answer this one?) It won't hurt if it just falls out on its own...
J: Can I still eat????
Me: Yes, of course you can still eat. You won't lose all of your teeth at once. Do you want me to pull it out?
J: (reluctantly nods his head)

haha I totally wasn't prepared for any of this. What do I say? What do I do with the tooth? Do we do the Tooth Fairy thing?

I'm actually impressed that Justus took all of this with such ease. Knowing his personality, I probably would have guessed he would have flipped out (especially without having any prior knowledge as to what was going to happen.) He was a brave boy, and in case you're wondering if he is dreading the loss of more teeth, know this:
The dollar under his pillow this morning has definitely lit his desire to lose more!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Back to it: Raising Real Men, part 5

AAAAAAAAAAAAAnd I'm finally back to reading this book! :)

When I opened it up to chapter 6 and read the title, "Racing to Win," I knew I would be able to relate to the things I was about to read. Well, not relate as far as understanding what the big deal is in every.single.thing being a RACE...but at least understanding that, for whatever reason, it IS a big deal to boys. Since, apparently, God made our sons "normal" in this way, I definitely want to know how to steer their desire the way of the righteous!

The Young's point out 2 important things to remember as our sons wade through the various races and competitions of their boyhood:

  1. Proverbs 6:16-19 lists "one who sows discord among brethren" among the seven abominations of the Lord. 'Nuff said, right???
  2. The desire to compete will definitely lead to someone winning the competition, and therefore, bragging might ensue. We must teach our sons that any gifts, talents, or strengths they display are not of their own doing...but rather given to them by the Lord for His holy plan for their lives. HE (and He alone) should receive the glory. *See Jeremiah 9:23-24*
Is it okay to allow our sons to compete?

One of the main reasons I love this book is because the authors faithfully go to Scripture for their answers. The answer to the above question is found quite clearly in the following verses:

Hebrews 12:1 "Run with endurance..."
Romans 12:10 "Outdo one another in showing honor."
1 Corinthians 9:24 " receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it."

Competition can motivate hard work, encourage family time, build confidence and endurance, teach kids about teamwork and patience, and provide outlets for testosterone build-up :)

The quote of the week:

"A healthy spirit of competition can spur our sons to greater achievement, can build cameraderie in the family and between friends, and can encourage them to step out for opportunities in business and ministry." (pp. 112-113)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Monday, March 21, 2011

American Idols

This weekend, our pastor convicted me of something I already knew. In fact, I've even confessed this thing to my husband. Have I confessed it to God, though? No, not that I can remember. That's the part I was convicted about. Even though I knew I had this sin in my life, I hadn't asked for forgiveness. I hadn't asked the Lord to give me victory in this area, and I hadn't pursued repentance. Until now...

What am I guilty of? I idolize my children. It's kind of odd to "say it out loud." It just seems like, as a mom, idolizing our children is surely an impossibility. Don't they drive us so crazy that there's NO WAY they could be held that highly in our hearts and minds? I mean IDOLS??...seriously?? Or maybe it seems a little weird to call the people we spend every waking (and sleeping, let's be honest) minute of every day with "idols," because OF COURSE we naturally think about them all the time, do everything for them, and LIVE for them. I mean, isn't that our job?

I want to share a list of questions our pastor referenced. This list nailed the truth down in my heart. I don't just think about my kids all the time because it's my "job." I don't live for my kids, because it's what a mom is "supposed" to do. Here are some of my answers to those questions...

  1. What do you most highly value? on a good day, the Lord...consistently? my children
  2. What do you think about by default? easy, my kids
  3. Who or what do you most delight in, your greatest joy and treasure? I mean, really, I have called my children my "joys" and "treasures!!" (not that there's anything sinful about that in and of itself...keep reading...)
  4. How do you define yourself to people? mom to four boys
  5. What do you brag about? Again, on a good day/week/month, every day conversation with "every day" people? my kids!
There were many more wonderful questions to help sort through heart issues. You can read all of them here. It was very obvious to me (and shown to be true for sure by my yet again guilty conscience) after answering the questions and hearing the sermon that my children are absolutely idols in my life.

This is my struggle now: In almost every aspect of life, the key always seems to be balance. In the area of mothering, like I said above, OF COURSE we think about our kids all the time. Our job (especially when they are young) is to be their ever-present help, their guide, their comforter, their shoulder to cry on... We serve them (and I mean that in a good, non-spoiling/non-slave kind of way) all day long and even into the wee hours of the night. To do all of that and NOT have them be our idols? That is a difficult thing.

After confessing this sin to my Father, and after praying for HIS strength and help in this area, I must now "make war" as John Piper says! How I'm going to do that, I don't yet know. That is what I'm leaning on God to show me. How can I still love and treasure my children in the way God intended for me to when He called me to mother these four boys...and yet still keep them at the right "level" on my priority list? Again, it will be a learning process.

"Lord, come with your fire,
Burn my desires; refine me
Lord, my will has deceived me
Please come and free me
Refine me

My heart can't see
When I only look at me
My soul can't hear
When I only think of my own fears
They are gone in a moment
You're forever the same."

(lyrics from Jennifer Knapp's "Refine Me")

This much I kids are here now but could be gone in an instant tomorrow. That, thankfully, is in the Lord's hands. What I need to do now is to pry open the tight grasp I have on them and LET Him have them. They are His, they will always be do with as He pleases.

HE is, has always been, and always will be here. He is a jealous God, and He has commanded that I have no other gods before Him.

Lord, help me put YOU first...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Titus is 4


Four years ago, you were born. Sweet, tiny little baby boy. Our second born son. We were so thankful God brought you into our family.

Two years ago, we were praising the Lord for allowing us to keep you. You fell into a swimming pool when no one was around, but (Hallelujah!) God prompted Daddy and I to go outside looking for you. He saved your life, and we never want you to grow up not knowing about that. Your days have been numbered by your heavenly Father. You have a purpose, He has a plan for you, and we feel so blessed to be a part of that.

Today, according to you :) (even though you're only 26 lbs.) you are officially a big boy. You are already displaying more confidence and taking on more responsibility. My prayer for you is that you would be strong and courageous. God is always with you, He will never leave you...that is His promise. He is strong and mighty even when we are not, and I pray that you will know that fully even at four years old.

God is using you in our family. You bring joy and laughter to each and every one of us on a daily basis. Your dad and I pray that we will know how to guide your strong will and persistent spirit along the path of the righteous. We pray that the things we see as struggles in your early years of life will be used for His kingdom purposes as you mature and grow into a man. Most importantly, our hope is that you will submit your heart and your life to Jesus as your Savior. You are a crazy, wild little boy, and we can't wait to see the Lord's will fulfilled in your life.

Happy birthday, Teej.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Titus, April 2010


Friday, March 18, 2011

Titus, March 2010

Almost one year ago...


is Up

and Smiling at all of this attention

We love you, Titus!
We are so thankful God blessed
our family with your sweet, funny, full-of-life presence :)
Happy Birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You are many things, and we are glad you are YOU!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Titus, February 2010

Titus was taking a nap when we went outside to play today. Justus went inside to get some water for the plants, heard Titus, and invited him to come play with us. At first, he needed time to warm up to the bright sun.

It didn't take him very long to get busy taking turns with the watering can.

And soon after, he was making his little brother laugh...and making me smile :)

We sure do love this kid!
(That would be Derek you see in the background of the last picture...
at it again with another project,
paving the driveway!!!
We sure do love our hard working Daddy and husband, too!)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Interrupting Titus Week for a Very Special Occasion :)

In 2001, we met on the beautiful Chesapeake Bay. We spent morning, noon, and night together, becoming friends, watching the sun rise and set, and falling in love. You swept me off my feet.

In 2002, you asked my dad if you could marry me...he said no. You asked again, and he said no. Finally, he said yes, and you asked me to marry you. You were patient, submissive, and honorable.

In 2003, we got married. We moved in to our first apartment together and made countless memories. We went to the dollar movies for 50 cent Tuesdays, because that's how cheap we were :) We ate frozen meals (chicken pot pies, hot pockets, and Steak 'Ums, to name a few!) We laid in bed at night and watched "Friends" and "Everybody Loves Raymond." You weathered my gallbladder storm faithfully, lovingly, and with compassion.

In 2004, we decided I would stop taking birth control. One month later, we conceived our first child. You surprised me with balloons, a card, and flowers to celebrate.

In 2005, we began our parenting journey. We moved in to a two-bedroom apartment, you decorated Justus' room with everything sports, and you were so ready to become a dad. When Justus was born, you were confident, proud, and such a sweet, supportive husband.

In 2006, we found out I was pregnant again. This time, I miscarried, and you were right there holding my hand and drying my tears. Two months later, I was pregnant again, and you walked with me through the joys, the fears, and the uncertainties.

In 2007, our second son, Titus, was born. We bought our first house, and you started Chiropractic school. You never neglected our family, and you remained a fun, joyful, present daddy.

In 2008, we found out we were having our third boy. Eli was born, and we quickly realized we were in over our heads. Through the busyness of school, the trials of parenting, and the craziness of life, you were our rock. You helped around the house, played with the boys, and amazed me with your continued love and affection for me (even on those days when I never even got dressed.)

In 2009, my ever-present gallbladder issues finally came to a head. We found out I had been living with gallstones for the past 6 years. Through the countless instances of pain and complaining and complications, you kept your head up for me. You advocated for my health, stood up for me in Emergency rooms and doctors' offices, and insisted something more be done. Finally, it was all truly over, and you were still there, as loving and faithful as you were from day one.

In 2010, you graduated from Parker...valedictorian. Even in your graduation speech, you managed to pick me out of the crowd, make me feel loved and special, and amazed me with your confidence, wit, and brains. I was so proud of you...and so proud to be your wife. You began your chiropractic career, our fourth son was born, and we moved to a much-needed bigger house :)

And now, here we are, in 2011. Married for eight years, four kids later, and our marriage is only getting stronger. You tell me countless times throughout the week how beautiful I am. You sing in the morning as you get the boys up, feed them breakfast, and get yourself ready for yet another day at work. You amaze me. You inspire me. You fill me with love and joy. I never imagined marriage would be this wonderful. Truly? I don't think most marriages are this wonderful. God is gracious, and for some strange reason, He has blessed us with each other. I don't deserve you. I don't deserve this beautiful family full of boys. I am so thankful for you, Derek. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY...and here's to many, many more years of memories and love.

*The boys are still obsessed with coloring, and they love to print pictures from the computer to color. Derek printed this one off for me for our anniversary :) Isn't he so sweet??!!!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Titus, May 2009

Check out this crazy boy:) ...Intense, huh?!! haha

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Titus Week

In honor of Titus' birthday this Sunday, I'll be posting re-runs of Titus posts this week.

Let's start at the beginning. Remember, I didn't start blogging until Titus was almost 2. Here's a post from almost exactly two years ago!! Wow..

Wow. I can't believe it:) Two years ago today, Titus was born. I hung streamers in Titus' doorway last night (a family tradition), and Justus and I went into his room this morning singing "Happy Birthday to You!!" He wasn't too enthused...He sucked his thumb, twirled his hair, and listened and then asked for his oatmeal and milk once we finished singing. After breakfast, though, I gave all 3 boys a bath, and Mimi called to sing to him. He LOVED it this time and had a huge smile on his face. Justus and I have been talking all day about it being Titus' birthday, and by lunch, he was singing "Happy Birthday" to himself. hahaha

Titus is such a happy kid. He loves to smile and laugh, and he copies EVERYTHING Justus does. He is getting very good at running and actually has the "correct form." He looks so cute with his arms he's really running with a purpose now:) His favorite toys are his football guys and Shrek toys (still!) He will play with them for an entire day, and we actually have to take them away when he gets too obsessed about it. (He will get to the point where he wants to gather every single football guy and helmet in his arms when we're leaving the house.)

Titus loves "Jesus Loves Me" and will often sing it to himself before he falls asleep at night. It's so sweet. He keeps us consistent about praying before dinner, and he yells "Yea!!!!!!" while clapping when we say "Amen." He still doesn't eat much, but he's certainly beginning to talk about being a "Big boy." Yes, Titus, you're a big boy...all 20 pounds of you:)

Speaking of talking, Titus has become quite the loquacious child. He will talk to just about anyone, about just about anything:) The other day, someone at church asked him what his name was, and Titus proceeded to tell her everything but his name..."Justus, jacket, Eli, Mommy, Daddy, etc." He's very observant and a little more timid than he used to be, but I definitely wouldn't call him shy. I think Titus is going to be an outgoing, adventurous little guy.

Titus, we're so blessed to have you in our family. You are a great cuddler, make us laugh all the time, and oh, that smile! You may be small for your age;), but we can't wait to see the big things God has planned for your life. Happy birthday!!!!

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