..."popsicles on the porch"...what a great afternoon treat and our favorite way to spend time together! These are simple and precious moments! Princess #1 and Princess #2 along with Little Man #1 and #2 are my inspiration for most of these writings.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

WFMW: The Timer

My family uses a timer for just about everything! For some reason the girls respond really well to it. Here are some things we use the timer for:

  • 10 minute warning before nap time and bed time--this helps them mentally prepare themselves that an end to their fun is shortly coming rather than abruptly interrupting whatever it was they were doing. (When you think about it, we wouldn't like it either if someone did that to us!) When the timer goes off, this begins our clean up time followed by bed time.

  • No one is allowed up before 7am. Occasionally when they try to wake up earlier, I set the timer and let them know that I will be in when the timer goes off. As children get older, you can put a digital clock in their room and tell when they see the numbers 7-0- 0, they can get up.

  • When arguments break out over toys--the toy either gets put away for 10 minutes or they have to sit in time out

  • When mommy or papi need some time to do things around the house, and etc...

    • It's endless, simple, effective and worth a try! For more ideas, head on over to Shannon's at Rocks in My Dryer to check out the some other cool stuff! Be sure to check out the 10 o'clock scholar for a great laundry tip!

      Wednesday, June 20, 2007

      His Purposes Will Stand!

      It is so much easier to cooperate with God than to resist His will. As I was reading through Genesis this morning, the words of Isaiah 46:9-11 were also illuminated.

      Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure, Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man who executes my counsel, from a far country. Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it.

      You see, back in Genesis God had given Noah a command, "to be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth." (Genesis 9:1) Instead, the people decided to build a huge tower so that they would not be scattered across the earth. This was in direct opposition to the Lord's commandment to Noah. Because of that, the Lord "came down" and confused their tongue so that they were no longer able to communicate with one another. Thus, the tower was no longer able to be completed. As a result, they ended up being scattered across the entire earth. So a command was given, the people disobeyed and carried on with their own plans, but God intervened so that His will was accomplished just as he said it should.

      I find myself so often reading God's word and thinking, "Come on people, get it together!" But in reality, how often do we respond to God the same way? How often do we go about our plans without God? Why do we insist on having our way as if we know best?

      Sometimes God's plan calls us to be uncomfortable; sometimes we might experience pain, and many times it might not make sense to us at the time. We might not always like "whatever it is" but in the end, isn't it much easier to cooperate with God?

      I can think of so many times in my life when I have submitted to God's plan and have been blessed beyond all measure. I'm not talking about just physical blessings, but being blessed with joy, peace, understanding, a change of heart, and etc... I am experiencing that right now in this new season staying home. Though I did not completely understand how it made sense with where God was once moving me, I knew that for "whatever reason," God was changing my direction and calling me to stay home.

      As I submitted to this call, I am seeing God move in my life in so many ways I never imagined. Not only have I been blessed with so many new opportunities that would not have been available to me had I continued working, but I have had a change of heart, attitude, mind and understanding. As God continues to expand my view, I am thankful that His purposes will prevail over my own.

      One way or another, His will will be accomplished and His purposes will prevail. You can either go kicking or screaming or willingly submit...it's your choice, but in the end His purposes will stand!

      Sunday, June 17, 2007

      To our Papi on Father's Day!

      Below are a few things your girls love about you.....
      1. You are a "peacemaker"
      2. You desire to be a godly husband
      3. You are romantic
      4. Snuggling Together
      5. Dreaming Together
      6. You desire to be a godly papi
      7. You protect us
      8. You surprise us with "I was thinking of you" goodies
      9. You care about spending time with us
      10. Your laugh
      11. You Encourage us
      12. You Hold us accountable
      13. How you "sign" I love you
      14. That you pray for us
      15. The way you like to sleep (and can fall asleep anywear)
      16. The way you are so easy going
      17. The way you love country music
      18. Your strength
      19. You are creative
      20. Your passion for worship
      21. You think before you speak
      22. You are slow to anger
      23. You are quick to give others the benefit of the doubt
      24. The way you tolerate Barney because the girls love him!
      25. Watching 24 together
      26. Watching Friends together
      27. That you have a lot of patience
      28. The way you serve us
      29. To hear you sing
      30. To see you lead worship
      31. Singing at home together
      32. Our trips to HEB on Saturday morning, riding in the blue car and getting a balloon
      33. Your Saturday Morning Breakfast
      34. Saying our bedtime prayers with you
      35. Reading a book together
      36. The way you hug mommy
      37. You are a strong leader
      38. You can speak truth in gentleness
      39. You are a Good Provider
      40. The way you Love God
      41. The way you Seek God
      42. The way you can whip a great meal together even when the pantry seems empty
      43. Taking Road trips together
      44. Riding with you in the "new car"
      45. The way you make chocolate milk
      46. Taking walks in the red wagon together
      47. Laughing together
      48. Tickle Fights
      49. The way you tickle us with your prickly beard
      50. The way you hold us
      51. Playing Games Together
      We are so blessed to have such a wonderful Papi like you! Thanks for loving us the way you do!

      ~Love your girls

      Thursday, June 14, 2007

      Love and Respect

      Tim and I have just started reading this great book called Love and Respect by Dr Emerson Eggerichs. It is an awesome book based upon the command in Ephesians 5:33.

      "Each of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."

      The other night, we had a much needed date night. We grabbed a coffee at Starbuck's and browsed through the books at Barnes and Noble...it was perfect! I was on a mission looking for a specific book when I happened to stumble upon Love and Respect by Dr. Eggerichs. The title itself is so powerful! As I read through the overview I became more and more drawn in.

      In his book, Dr. Eggerichs explains that "without love, she reacts without respect. Without respect, he reacts without love; thus spinning them into the crazy cycle."

      Though we have understood this unique balance in our own marriage, we never specifically associated it with the love and respect command found in Ephesians. Why is serving one another with love and respect so difficult? When you think about it, it seems like such a simple concept yet so rarely practiced in marriages...sad to say, even among Christian marriages.

      I love how he put these words love and respect together to define this cycle. Grant it, it's straight from scripture, but it really gives us something we can all put our arms around as we continue in this journey called marriage!

      So, it's that time again for Tim and I to retreat...so we are going to be attending the upcoming Love and Respect Conference in Austin this November at Hill Country Bible. I am so excited! I'm hoping that maybe we can get a group of couples interested in going!

      Wanna come?!

      Wednesday, June 13, 2007

      WFMW: Sippy Cups and TV Guards

      Below is a post from Jana, a blogger I found at Rocks in My Dryer. I thought these were some great ideas!

      Posted on June 13th, 2007 in Little, WFMW

      Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer hosts a wonderful round up each week called Works for Me Wednesday. I thought I would jump in this week with a couple of things that have worked well for us with Little (my 10.5 months old daughter). These may or may not be things that you have already figured out, but they were great discoveries as a first time mom.
      First up is the Nuby straw sipper cup. Being exclusively nursed until a few weeks ago, Little had a tough time figuring out how to use a regular spouted sippy cup. A friend suggested that I try these cups as they had worked well for her son (who was bottle-fed, but couldn’t figure out how to tip the sippy cup to get to the good stuff). Little figured the straw out right away, and they have been wonderful!

      Next is our make-shift TV guard. When Little began pulling up she quickly discovered the buttons on the TV. It wasn’t really a safety problem, but it started to get annoying when she became good at turning the TV off and on. I had heard of clear plastic TV guards that adhere to the front of the TV to keep little fingers away from the buttons while still allowing the remote to function properly, so I checked them out on Amazon. The problem is that the area of our TV where the buttons reside is curved, so the adhesive type of guard wouldn’t work for us. I had a picture in a clear acrylic frame on top of the TV and thought, “Hey, this might work until we can find something else.” I removed the picture from the frame, slid the bottom part under the TV, and, voila, a guard that protects the buttons from Little without blocking the signal from the remote.

      So, that is what is working for us right now. Head over to Rocks in My Dryer to see what is working for others in the blogging world.

      Saturday, June 9, 2007

      Modeling Clay and Intentional Parenting

      We had a great time at Mom Time last night! It is so refreshing to get together with other women just for some Mom Time--our time without the kiddos! It has been a great avenue to connect with other women, encourage one another, sharpen one another, laugh together, and share a great meal!

      Last night was a Spanish Tapas theme night...it was delicious!! Following dinner, we had a great discussion from an excerpt in Lisa Welchel's book called "Speaking Mom-ese." Since "good fruit" produced in our children's lives doesn't just happen over night, we challenged each other on how we can be more intentional in parenting our children in the ways of the Lord. Together, we realized that this "good fruit" is the result of years and years of intentional instruction, training and modeling

      What is an area in your parenting that you would like to be more intentional in modeling before your children?

      Based on this question we got a little creative! We each made a playdoh molding of an object that represents an area that we would like to be more intentional in modeling for our children.
      For Example….
      • A Shield--being more intentional in shielding our children from bad influences i.e. certain friends, t.v., and etc.
      • A Cross--being more intentional in memorizing scripture and praying with our children
      • A Clock—being more intentional in spending enough quality time with our children (non household related i.e. grocery shopping, cleaning house, and etc...)

      The old expression more is caught than taught is so true.

      Teaching our children biblical principles, scriptures, bible stories, songs, etc... is great but do they actually see us putting into practice what we’re preaching?

      • Do they see us actively serving our neighbors and family?
      • We can insist that they speak to us with respect, but are we treating our husbands with respect?
      • We can buy our children a new bible, but if we want them to develop an intimate relationship with Christ, then they need to see us spending quality time with God other than corporate worship on Sunday morning.

      As we reflected upon these things, during our discussion time we had the opportunity to share the object we molded out of our playdoh and the area of parenting it represented. The playdoh creations the girls came up with were so neat including....

      • prayer hands--modeling prayer and scripture memory for our children
      • a child's feet on top of her mother's feet---safeguarding our children from walking in harmful paths that we once walked in
      • the world--being perceptive to the world in need around them (not just in Sugarland)
      • the bible---reading God's word more and intentionaly seeking opportunities to share in that time with our children

      It was a great oppotunity to verbalize these things and get us thinking about how we can be more intentional in our parenting. It was a refreshing and encouraging time as we shared our hearts and challenged one another!

      Thank you Lord for the gift of friendship...other women/mothers whom we can lean on, grow from and encourage one another in the many different seasons we walk through as moms!

      Wednesday, June 6, 2007

      Life Coaching

      I have a life coach! It has been so refreshing to share my personal goals, struggles and spiritual journey with someone who can both support, challenge and help hold me accountable to my personal life goals in relation to the vision and calling God has given me.

      For me personally, my life coach, Kathryn Bonner, is a godly Christian woman that has been a cheerleader in my spiritual journey. We have a half hour session once a week via phone. This week my homework assignment is to journal the negative thought processes that invade my heart and mind causing me to live and respond in fear rather than walking in the full armor of the Lord.

      People have physical trainers to help them keep their bodies fit...why not have a life coach help you get from where you are to where you want to be! Visit The Today Show for More information.

      Monday, June 4, 2007

      Laundry Prayers

      How often have we prayed something like, "O Lord, be with cousin Billy now in a special way?" Have we stopped to consider what it is we're requesting? Imagine that you are a parent who is preparing to leave your children with a babysitter. Would you dream of saying, "O Betsy, I ask you now that you would be with my children in a special way?" No way. You would say, "Betsy, the kids need to be in bed by 9 pm. They can have one snack before their baths, and please make sure they finish their homework. You can reach us at this number if there's any problem. Any questions before we go?

      We are very specific with our requests and instructions for our babysitters.
      We want them to know specifics.

      It should be no different with prayer.

      --David Jeremiah

      As I was thinking through this quote, I am called to reflect on my own prayer life. I began to wonder why it takes something significant to happen in our lives before we are really driven to our knees in prayer.

      Stormie Omartian says prayer is like a football game. When the quarterback throws the ball the play is in motion. Then it is the opposing team's job to intercept the ball and take it back the opposite direction. Prayer is the same way. When we pray, we have the power to intercede; to take what was once moving in one direction and move it in the opposite direction.

      What a great analogy! We have the power to ask for God's protection, guidance, wisdom, etc...over every area of our lives. Why wait until your marriage is on the rocks, your health is failing, your finances are overwhelming, or stress at work is insurmountable, etc...

      As I began to reflect on ways that I can be more intentional in praying for my family and friends, etc... I was reminded of an excerpt in "Taking Care of The Me in Mommy." In this book, Lisa gives practical advise on how to use your daily tasks to incorporate prayer for specific areas of your life. For example...

      • Vacuuming--Ask the Lord to shine light on hidden areas to remove things you hadn't even realized had become embedded in your life.
      • Deep Cleaning Bathroom--Ask the Lord to remove a problem in your life or a family member's life.
      • While Pouring in the Softener--You can ask the Lord to Soften your heart toward ___________________.
      • Pouring in the Bleach--Ask the Lord to reveal and remove the stains of sin in your life
      This one is my least favorite....Folding Laundry!
      I absolutely detest doing laundry!! Life is just so busy and the laundry seems never ending. I've had to help teach my family that it's ok to wear a shirt or pants more than once before tossing it into the dirty bin!

      I feel so defeated at times...ever feel like that? Even when I work hard in preventing the laundry from piling up, it's only a matter of time before I forget to switch the clothes from the washing machine to the dryer...uggh!! My poor husband walks around all too often with his shirts smelling like mildew...and you know you never smell mildew until you begin to perspire or get rained on. Mildew + sweat= Yuk...never a good combination!! (sorry honey!)
      So...I have been using my laundry time to pray over specific areas for my family.

      Here are my laundry prayers....
      • Sorting Clothes---I ask the Lord to sort out the junk in my life; to keep me from adding things to my calendar that would fill my life with unnecessary clutter and take me away from God and my family.
      • Emptying my husband's pockets (I always find small change and guitar pics!)--I ask the Lord to help Tim excersice good judgement and wisdom over our finances.
      • Folding my husband's undershirts--I pray for his integrity, character, and overall spiritual growth and leader of our home.
      • Folding my little girls underwear--I pray for their protection, purity, health and future spouse!

      This has been such a simple way for me to learn how to be intentional in praying for specific areas in advance for my family.

      What I have begun to discover is that not only does the time pass a little faster, but my attitude is changing toward this once grueling chore. As I have become more intentional in tackling this task, I've even starting to experience a little joy! Knowing that I'm in the trenches lifting up specific prayer requests in advance for my family has been empowering and uplifting!

      God has a sense of humor too! Isabella came into the room unexpectedly with the most sincere and thankful attitude as she exclaimed, "thank you mommy...you washed my dress, and my underwear, and my socks, etc.." It was the cutest thing!

      (ok...ok...before you think I never do laundry...you need to know that Isa does this for many acts of service i.e. picking up diapers and wipes for Ellie, donuts for Sunday morning, and etc..)

      However, I couldn't help but see God's sense of humor in providing me with the encouragement I needed by sending little Isa in to give me a pat on my back. This has been added encouragement for keeping up with the laundry! :)

      Friday, June 1, 2007

      Works For Me Wednesdays!!

      What an interesting concept! This is a blogging community for women to exchange ideas or things that they have learned every Wednesday. It can be anything from parenting, cleaning, cooking, etc..basically any "how to" or anything that has "worked for you." For more information check out Works For Me Wednesday (WFMW).

      Here are two great ideas I picked up:

      The following is Posted by Shannon:

      1. Works For Me Wednesday
      I have a date tonight with a blond-haired, brown-eyed cutie with a great laugh and an obsession with Anakin Skywalker.

      It's my eight-(and-a-half!)-year-old son, Stephen.

      Inspired by a similar tradition in my family growing up, we do a little half-birthday celebration in the Dryer house. On each of the kids' half birthdays, they get to go on a real live "date" with the opposite gender parent. I take the boys, and Hubs will take Corrie, when she's a little older.

      In our noisy, busy family, it's so special to set aside an evening like this, where the half-birthday-boy (or girl!) gets to choose the restaurant/movie/etc for an entire evening, with one-on-one time with a parent.

      So tonight Stephen and I are eating at a local restaurant that throws (actually throws!) the dinner rolls at you. Thankfully, Stephen's a better catcher than I am. Afterwards, we'll be yo-ho-ho-ing with Captain Jack Sparrow at the new Pirates of the Caribbean flick.

      This fun little tradition works for all of us around here!

      The following is Posted By: CML--Crouching Mommy Hidden Laundry
      2. Works For Me Wednesday
      For those busy multi-tasking fools such as myself, I often find that when I am coming home from work/soccer/basketball/gym/play practice/ whatever, I have NO CLUE what to have for dinner, and the kids are STARVING..

      I got to together with about 20 of my closest friends (ha!) from church, and we created Freezer Feeders.. Once a month we get together, eat fattening snacks and gossip, and stock our freezers.
      Here is how it works--- everyone makes 7 9x13 pans of something (example, last month I made 7 lasagnas and 7 sausage casseroles), freezes them really hard, and takes them over to the gullible (I mean generous!) person's home that is hosting. We stack them up in different parts of the house, and draw numbers. In the order of the numbers, we go through & pick out 14 things, one at a time, to take home. So, you take 14 things, and come home with 14 things (and yes, you can pick your own if you want to).

      The key--- make sure you only invite people to participate that are good cooks!!! It has ended up saving a LOT of money, and it is fun to have something to pop in the oven that will be YUM! They put the recipe in with it, and suggestions for side items. Also, we all sign up beforehand, so you won't end up with 14 chicken casseroles..

      Try it, it's fun!
      **Sausage Casserole**

      6 eggs
      2 cups shredded cheese
      2 cups milk
      8 slices bread
      1 "roll" of sausage
      1 tsp. salt
      1 tsp. dry mustard
      1 tsp worcestershire
      2 tsp pepper

      Brown sausage and drain. Tear up the break & place in bottom of a greased 9x13 pyrex pan. evenly sprinkle 1/3 cheese on bread, and top w/ evenly spread sausage crumbles. Mix all other ingredients well (except cheese) and pour over bread/sausage. Top with remaining cheese. Cover & keep in fridge overnight.
      In the morning bake at 350°(uncovered) for 45 minutes to one hour.