John Turns 11

I’m not even sure where to start. John is 11. How did that happen?! He is the one that paves the way for the girls and where Aaron and I learn new things in parenting!

As John prepares to start 6th grade next month, I am reminded of dropping him off for Kindergarten. I remember visiting APA when he was still 4 for a tour, seeing the sixth graders in a line and the tears welled up in my eyes thinking I wasn’t ready for that yet. I IMG_0729also was not happy at the thought of dropping off my little 5-year-old kindergartener off at the school where there were super big 6th graders! But now, my mama-heart is so happy that he’s not yet headed into junior high and that I have another year to prepare for that milestone.

John is a great kid. He has an infectious laugh and reads… all. the. time. And he reads quickly too! If I had to buy every book he read, we’d be poor! We lived at the Sandy house for most of this past year and if he wasn’t in the house, he was more than likely on the hammock, reading.

He also loves Minecraft and Civilization, Star Wars, Adventures in Odyssey and LEGOs. He loves to make other people laugh and will try to find the best jokes to repeat! Oh! And he loves science. One time he had a friend over and they burned a CD (with parent permission) just to see what would happen. He has a curious mind and a great imagination. And while his sister annoys him quite a bit, he also plays really well with her. He is a great big brother!

While it’s hard to let go as your kids get older, you know it’s necessary. We can’t make them stay small forever. So I keep stretching my limit of what I’m comfortable with when it comes to letting go and giving him new responsibilities. One day, Lord willing, he’ll be a man providing and protecting his wife and kids. I can at least let him ride his scooter around the block! 🙂

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Published in: on July 12, 2017 at 7:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hannah Turns 3

Hannah is incurably happy. That’s what Aaron always says. She really does have a smile on her face more often than not!

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Dancing on the table!

Highlights from this past year have been:

  • Dance with Me – A mommy and me dance class that was the highlight of our week.
  • “My best friend Wade.” Hannah and Wade have a love-hate relationship! They are always so excited to see each other, but then get upset because one doesn’t want to share a toy — especially when that toy is, specifically, Wade’s doctor kit.
  • Speaking of doctor kits… Hannah’s favorite toy was her (or even more so Wade’s) “wishenscope.” Better known to everyone else as a stethoscope. 🙂
  • She loves being Super Hero Hannah! “I’m here to save the day!” She loves wearing capes and masks and pretending to have super hero powers.
  • She left behind Daniel Tiger as her favorite show and instead prefers Doc McStuffins and PJ Mask.
  • Hannah LOVES music! She always asks for music in the van. And at night when I sing a song (the majority of the year it was Twinkle) she’ll sing at the top of her lungs right along with me!
  • Hannah is also officially potty trained! While it took longer than I thought, we made it and there are no more diapers in our house.

My sweet little Hannah! How I have loved every minute of her growing up. She is so talkative and smart! She is adorable when she gives me a thumbs up – which is quite often. She loves twirly dresses, dress ups and pretty shoes. She loves puppies and always asks to pet them when we see them in public. She is a sweet girl with a happy attitude and is quick to change her bad attitude when it appears. I can’t imagine life without her!

Published in: on June 30, 2017 at 6:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

Lydia Turns Nine

Lydia is my bright, bold, beautiful little girl. She is silly and active and social. Every time we’ve moved these past few years she finds a friend as quickly as possible! Then she begs to go play with that friend as soon as homework is finished. She likes having other people around and playing games together or doing some activity.

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Lydia being silly with frosting on her nose!

Lydia is finishing up the 3rd grade with Mrs. Provstgaard. She has worked so hard this year. We’ve studied for history and science tests together and worked hard on math homework. She loves reading A-Z Mystery books, but she’d rather be playing games with a friend.

She has been taking ballet classes from En Pointe School of Ballet and this year gets to be horse and pull the carriage in the ballet Cinderella. She has been so excited about her roll since the beginning of the year. Soon she’ll start track and she’s super excited about getting to run!!!

Lydia loves animals and takes our neighbor’s dog on a walk when she can or brings the dog to our yard while she plays outside with his son. She loves Splashlings, Shopkins, Littlest Pet Shop, and American Girl doll stuff. She had a great birthday party at All Stars with laser tag, bumper cars, and arcade games! She has some good friends Olivia D, Olivia F (who she doesn’t get to see often enough), and Evangeline.

I’m excited to watch this little girl grow up over the next few years.  To see the vivacious young woman that she will become. I pray that the Lord helps me to raise her to be a woman who loves Jesus and lives to serve him.

Published in: on May 18, 2017 at 9:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

Envy of Eve – Quotes

The Envy of Eve: Finding Contentment in a Covetous World by Melissa Kruger should be required reading for all young college/career women! While coveting and lack of contentment are not sins only women struggle with I do think women struggle with the comparison game more than men. I’m pretty sure that’s why there are “Mommy Wars” and not “Daddy Wars.”

 

I know I have struggled with lack of contentment in my life phases: when I was single I wanted a boyfriend, once I had a boyfriend I wanted to be engaged, once married I wanted children, etc. The cycle continued. I recognized my lack of contentment but struggled with what the secret to contentment was that Paul talks about in Philippians.

 

Years ago as I awaited the adoption of my 3rd child my covetous heart was out of control. Thankfully God eventually got a hold of my heart, but when I think back on those dark years I think about the wasted time and energy. I’m not sure if I could have been saved from the pain of my coveting had I read a book like this, but if young women could read this book in preparation for a life that, without a doubt, will bring trials in one form or another maybe it could prepare their heart and they could walk with God in a much better manner than I did.

 

There is so much Biblical wisdom in this book! It ministered to my heart in so many ways. It stretched me, convicted me, and encouraged me. I highly recommend it!

 

Let me share some quotes:

“Coveting is the antithesis of Christ’s command to ‘love your neighbor as yourself,’ because our neighbor becomes our enemy simply by possessing what we desire. We cannot love well those whose lives or belongings we covet.” pg 29

 

“Our lack of contentment primarily flows from unbelief regarding God’s sovereignty and goodness in our lives.” pg 48

 

“A heart softened by the Spirit can respond to the Word preached. However, a heart hardened by sin’s deceitfulness will only grow harder still upon hearing the tidings of God. Only God’s Spirit can awaken a heart to believe the message of sin and redemption.” pg 49

 

“The serpent tempts Eve to doubt God’s Word and His goodness to her. He stirs up discontentment in her heart, as well as a longing to rule, rather than be ruled. Do not miss the fact that Eve, even in the middle of all the goodness of Eden, finds herself longing for the one thing forbidden. In the midst of perfect circumstances, unbelief can still arise.” pg 73

 

“Satan wants us to believe that we cannot control what we long after or that if we have a longing, it must be good, in spite of God’s instruction. It is one of his most damaging lies, keeping us enslaved to years of worthless pursuits. Although we cannot always choose what we see, we can choose what we set our heart upon.” pg 75

 

“Our incessant cravings suggest to others that we worship a God who is not able to satisfy.” pg 88

 

“If we desire to fight Satan’s attacks, we must immerse ourselves into God’s Word and seek to understand the full counsel of the Bible.” pg 100

 

“Our joy, peace, and hope do not flow from perfect circumstances or gaining all that this world has to offer. Instead, these items are fruits of spiritual growth. They are often born in the furnace of trials and afflictions, but they lead to a hope that is imperishable.” pg 104

 

“Our outward grumbling is a sure sign of inner coveting.” pg 134

 

“We need to bring our good and right desire for relationship together with an understanding that no earthly relationship can mend the brokenness in our lives. Pg 147

 

“A content woman can share with friends and the Lord her honest struggle. However, she does so in a way that demonstrates her belief and trust in the Lord. In contrast, the covetous woman believes her outward circumstances are proof of the Lord’s failure to be good to her. She complains and grumbles, seeking others to join her in her lament. She cultivates discontent and soon, she becomes a woman who takes from those around her.” pg 209

 

“Such a person hides her own sin as she thinks to herself, ‘My situation is so uniquely difficult that I am allowed to be miserable. Anyone facing what I am facing would be just as discontent as I am.’ Paul speaks to the fallacy of this type of thinking when he writes, ‘No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful’ he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.’ (1 Cor. 10:13)” pg 211

 

“As we spend time with the Lord each day, slowly our desires will transform and grow into new hopes. Even as we long for circumstances to change, our greater longing will be for contentment in any and every circumstance.” pg 215

 

“As we sacrifice our own lives to give to others, we should expect to feel worn out, tired and spent. The call of the gospel is not one of self-protection, but of self-denial.” pg 243
There were so many more quotes I could have added or ended up deleting from my list to make this shorter. I’m telling you, this is an amazing book… Go read it!

Published in: on April 29, 2017 at 7:25 am  Leave a Comment  

A Failed Adoption – Two Years Later

We are coming up on the 2nd anniversary of our failed adoption and I still think about it.

Almost two and half years ago we were matched with a birth mom in Florida. We spent 5 months thinking about this baby, anticipating, praising God that he had heard our cries and that He was, after such a long wait, growing our family. While I do believe that God protected my heart during this time, I still got attached to the little boy. In my head I call him Matthew James. Aaron and I had definitely agreed on Matthew and I figure I would have won him over to James as a middle name. 🙂 So, Matthew James is the name of the little boy that I was expecting to raise.

However, his mom decided to keep him. And that’s ok! We knew that was a possibility. And she had every right to do so! I do not begrudge her in any way. But, I do think about Matthew James, sometimes – at random times. I think about how he’d be almost two. I wonder what his exact birthday is. I wonder what he looks like. I wonder if he’s happy. I wonder what milestones he’s hit. I wonder if he’ll grow up to know Jesus. I wonder what his favorite toys are. I wonder how big he is. I just wonder about him and who he is.

God has healed my heart from the pain of the loss of this expected child. He gave us a daughter instead, only four, short months later. God has blessed us immensely. I can imagine that these years – wondering about Matthew James – would have been harder if we didn’t have our joyful Hannah Pi. But God also reminds me to pray for little Matthew James. Wherever he is, whatever his real name is, he is still on my heart. I hope he is safe and knows that he is loved by the creator of the world. He’ll never know about me, but I’m here, and I’m pretty sure I’ll never forget about him.

Published in: on February 8, 2016 at 6:17 am  Comments (1)  

Do More Better

As January rolled around, making it a new year, I decided to go ahead and join Tim Challies’s 10 Days of Productivity, thinking it couldn’t hurt. In all honesty it was a promotion for his new book Do More Better. You didn’t have to buy the book to participate, but the Kindle version is only $5.99 and I’m glad I did. So, I spent the first 11 days reading this book about productivity (1o chapters + bonus chapters).

I absolutely loved this book and I am so glad that I participated in the 10 Days of Productivity. Challies’s definition of productivity is effectively stewarding your gifts, talents, time, energy, and enthusiasm, for the good of others and the glory of God. (location 185) OR Productivity calls you to direct your whole life at this great goal of bringing glory to God by doing good for others. (location 193)  Boiled down, I’ve kept repeating to myself, “Doing good to others for the glory of God.”

As a stay-at-home-mom, this definition is extremely freeing! I have struggled with not feeling productive at home. My house is somewhere in between clean-freak perfect and looking like we should belong in an episode of Hoarders. I often tell people that I’m a type A personality stuck in a type B body. I like having everything just right, clean, organized, etc. but I can just never seem to pull it off. (For the record, I don’t know if a type B personality exists… but my statement makes sense to people. 🙂 ) So, sitting down and stacking blocks with Hannah is doing good to the glory of God. Doing a load of laundry is doing good to my family to the glory of God. Even when I take a nap I am doing good to… well pretty much anyone I come into contact with… for the glory of God. (Of course if we’re actually glorifying God depends on our heart attitudes, but you get the point.)

On Saturday, during Hannah’s nap time, Aaron and I were playing a new game with John and Lydia. Aaron made a comment about doing something productive once we finished the game and I was able to look at him and say, “Spending time with our kids is doing good to them for the glory of God. We are being productive.” See what I mean by freeing?! We, well at least I, I beat myself up over the 100 things that never get marked off  my check list, but I forget about the 50 things I do each day that are doing good to others for the glory of God.

On top of Challies’s definition of productivity, he gets down to the nitty-gritty with practical tips to increase productivity. He suggests three tools: a task management system, a calendar, and a place for information. While I already understood my dependence on Google calendar (read: if it’s not in the calendar, then I will forget or double book), I was introduced to  Todoist and Evernote. Both offer web and smart phone app versions.

I’m pretty sure that Todoist has changed my life. Every time I think of something that needs to get done, it’s typed into the app… and guess what?! It has or will get done, because it’s there reminding me. Also, after you have finished all of your tasks for the day the app gives you a big check mark and says, “Enjoy your evening.” Whoa… as someone who hates procrastinating, because I hate having things hanging over my head, this small, silly message set off the reward center in my brain in a huge way!

So, it’s 15 days into the new year. I’m working the program that Challies sets forth and I’m really enjoying it. I get more done each day, I spend more time with Hannah and I have a clear understanding of where my day and my week are headed. I highly recommend the book! Picking up a book on productivity wasn’t on the top of my list, but I really feel that this book was beneficial to me in a large way! So go buy it! 🙂

 

Published in: on January 15, 2016 at 10:14 am  Comments (1)  

Interdependence

As Americans we’re taught that being independent is a great value. And in some ways it is. It is important to grow up and become an adult and take care of yourself.

However, the Bible teaches us that God made us to be dependent. We depend on Jesus for our salvation and we depend on the Holy Spirit for our sanctification. Not only that, but we know that the triune God — Father, Son, and Spirit — are social. Part of us being made in His image is that we are social beings.

The Bible also teaches about the church and our community within the church. Over 50 times the Bible gives us a “one another” command. For example John 15:17, “This I command to you, that you love one another.” and Galatians 6:2, “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” (emphasis added) We’re also told to rejoice with those who rejoice and morn with those who morn. The Bible commands us to live in community.

I’ve lived in Utah for almost 10 years now. Ten years of adult life without any family nearby or long-time friends. I’ve learned to just get things done. My handsome husband is a hard worker and has faithfully provided for our family. But, he works full-time, and I can’t ask him to help me with everything that comes up. When I’m sick and the kids are sick, we muddle through. When my back starts acting up, the kids get to watch a lot of TV and I drive around in pain. Date nights were at a minimum (babysitters are expensive, and we don’t pay ours enough!) As the kids have gotten older, it’s gotten easier, but I’ve gotten really good at being on my own and just figuring it out.

Last month my parents were visiting for an extended period of time. We all arrived in Utah on the 18th (after quite the road trip) and on the 19th I strained my calf muscle so badly that I couldn’t walk. I woke up on the 20th and as my husband left for work he encouraged me to call my mom so that she could help me. I was hesitant. My parents had been stuck in the car with myself and my children for days and I wanted to give them a break. So, I hesitated to ask my parents for help. MY PARENTS. The people who gave me life, fed me, clothed me, wiped my bottom, paid for my college, the people who love me selflessly and unconditionally. I know that may not be true for all people, but it’s true for me. My parents love me. And without my asking, they came over. My mom watched my kids and my dad took me to the doctor. I was helpless, and they helped me.

But what struck me was not only that I was hesitant to ask for help, but I was hesitant to ask my parents. In the 10 years I’d lived in Utah, I had become so independent, that I didn’t even want to ask my parents for help. This is not OK. This is pride. When we’re not willing to live in community and ask for help, we’re being prideful. In Utah, there are a lot of people who don’t have family nearby. We, as the church, need to be family for one another. This means that we not only need to be willing to ask for help, but we also need to be willing to be inconvenienced and offer help whenever possible.

I’m very blessed. After almost 10 years, we’ve made some good friends and have attended churches where other people have been willing to be inconvenienced for my sake, for the sake of the body of Christ they have practiced the “one anothers” and been hands and feet to me.

Thank you Jesus, for creating us to live in community. Lord, humble me and give me willingness to ask and receive help when I need it. And give me a heart that leaps at the opportunity to help others.

Published in: on September 13, 2015 at 9:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung

I don’t consider myself a super busy person. I don’t like feeling busy and overwhelmed. In fact, I can be selfish with my time. This past school year was amazing. My older kids were in school, and I had the pleasure of just living life for my baby, who took really good naps. So, it was a slow-paced year. One in which I had a lot of time to get things done and enjoy down-time.

However, this summer has felt extremely busy. Even just having my two kids at home all day, makes life busier. And God has worked in my heart, and opened my eyes to being more willing to make sacrifices in my life and with my time for other women. So, in thinking about the school year starting and with it different ministries within the church, reading Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung was a good preparation.

For my own sake, the following are quotes from the book:

  • “We wake up most days not trying to serve, but trying to survive.” pg 21                                                      
  • “For most of us, it isn’t heresy or rank apostasy that will derail our profession of faith. It’s all the worries of life. You’ve got car repairs. then your water heater goes out. The kids need to see a doctor. You haven’t done your taxes yet….Your lawn needs mowing. Your curtains don’t look right. Your washing machine keeps rattling. This is life for most of us, and it’s choking our spiritual life.” pg. 29
  • “John Piper made the statement, ‘we should care about all suffering…’ …He didn’t want to say we should do something about all suffering, because we can’t do something about everything. But we can care. We won’t all care about every issue in the same way, but there are some issues we should all care about… “Every Christian should be involved in the Great Commission, but not everyone will move overseas. Every Christian should oppose abortion, but not everyone will adopt or volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center. … And we need Christians who don’t make others feel guilty (and don’t feel guilty themselves) when one of us follows a different passion than another.” pg 49
  • “I worry that many young parents are too sure that every decision will set their kids on a an unalterable trajectory to heaven or hell. It’s like my secretary at church once told me: ‘Most moms and dads think they are either the best or the worst parents in the world, and both are wrong.’ Could it be we’ve made parenting too complicated? Isn’t the most important thing now what we do but who we are as parents? They will remember our character before they remember our exact rules regarding television and Twinkies.” pg 73
  • “…it’s easy to think the best answer for technology overload is to rage against the machines. And yet, it does no good to pine for a world that isn’t coming back and probably wasn’t as rosy as we remember it. I like that I can carry the Bible on my phone, …  and can hear from my friends throughout the day, and can text with my wife while I’m at work. There’s no doubt that some things are better because we are all wired to everything.The question is what are the threats [that the digital revolution has to our souls] and what can we do about them?” pg 79
  • “The busyness that’s bad is not the busyness of work, but the busyness that works hard at the wrong things. It’s being busy trying to please people, busy trying to control others, busy trying to do things we haven’t been called to do.So please don’t hear from me that work is bad or that bearing burdens is bad. That’s part of life. That’s part of being a Christian. pg 102
  • “God has given us all twenty-four hours in every day. It is the one resource distributed with complete equality. And for most of us, for the most part, we all do with those hours what we think is most important. I wish I ran more, but apparently I value reading at home, or working late, or getting sleep more. So the answer here is not simple willpower: “I must spend more time with Jesus!” That won’t last. We have to believe that the most significant opportunity before us every day is the opportunity to sit at the feet of Jesus. We won’t rearrange our priorities unless we really believe this is the best one.” pg 114-115
  • “It’s not wrong to be tired. It’s not wrong to feel overwhelmed. It’s not wrong to go through seasons of complete chaos. What is wrong-and heartbreakingly foolish and wonderfully avoidable-is to live a life with more craziness than we want because we have less Jesus than we need.” pg 118

DeYoung always offers a fair and balanced view on things and I really appreciated this book. I want to offer my life to others and be more available to serve Christ by serving them, this includes my husband and children. However, this can only start by reorienting my time around Jesus. It made me realize that I’m not just selfish with my time when it comes to people, but also when it comes to Jesus. Hopefully, God will continue to reprioritize my desires.  

Published in: on August 11, 2015 at 1:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Journal July 28

2011

ROMANS 1:7

“To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Do you consider yourself a Christian?

Yes.

If so, are you called to be a saint?

Yes.

Therefore what does this verse tell you?

I am loved by God.

I am loved by God.

I am loved by God.

Published in: on July 28, 2015 at 5:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

Journal July 22

2011

2 PETER 1:3-11

*His divine power has given us

WHAT?

Everything we need

FOR WHAT?

for life and godliness

HOW?

through out knowledge of him

WHO?

the one who called us by his own glory and goodness.

*Through these

THROUGH WHAT?

grace and goodness

he has given us

WHAT?

his very great and precious promises

SO WHAT?

so that through them

WHAT? 

the great and precious promises

IN WHAT? 

the divine nature

and escape

ESCAPE WHAT?

The curruption

WHERE?

in the world.

caused by

WHAT?

Evil desires

*For this very reason

WHAT REASON?

that we have been given what we need to participate in divine nature and escape corruption.

make every effort

TO DO WHAT?

to add to your faith goodness

(to your) goodness, knowledge

(to your) knowledge self-control

(to your) self-control, perseverance

(to your) preseverance, godliness

(to your) godliness, brotherly kindness

and (to your) brotherly kindness love

*For if you posess these qualities

WHAT QUALITIES?

faith, goodness, knowledge, sefl-control, perserverance, godliness, kindess and love in increasing measure, they will keep you from

WHAT?

from being ineffective and unproductive

IN WHAT? 

in your knowledge

OF WHAT? 

of our Lord Jesus Christ

*Bur if anyone does not have them

HAVE WHAT? 

faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, godliness, kindness and love

he is

WHAT?

nearsighted and blind and has forgotten

WHAT? 

that he has been cleansed from

FROM WHAT?

his past sins

*Therefore , my brothers,

WHY?

Because if you don’t you’ll be nearsighted forgetting what Christ has done

be all the more eager

TO DO WHAT?

to make your calling and election sure.

*For if you do these things

WHAT? 

make your calling and election sure

HOW?

By adding faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, kindness, and love

you will never fall

and you will receive

WHAT?

a rich welcome

WHERE?

Into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Published in: on July 22, 2015 at 5:51 pm  Leave a Comment