God loves me (and He loves you, too!)

It occurred to me (again) yesterday how much God must love us. We are His children. I love my children more than I could ever describe to any human. And God loves us more than we love our own children. So, why wouldn’t He bless us and give us the desires of our hearts? At the same time, He wants us to grow and learn lessons sometimes, too.

Up until a few days ago, I had been battling with a big decision in my life and I had no peace or joy. Well, I wouldn’t say “no”, but it was a lot less than it had been in the previous months and years. After praying about it and weighing all the options, I decided I had to make a change and now I have peace and joy again! Through the process, I feel like I’ve grown closer to God and now I have the desire to become even closer to him.

I get Rick Warren’s Purpose Drive Life daily devotional via email. The one I read this morning almost made me cry, even though it was several days old. The part that got me was, “How do you know when you’re letting God live through your life? When you embody the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” It got me for a couple of different reasons…I have the peace and joy again. AND, just a week or so ago, I blogged about my goals for this year and one of them was to study the Fruit of the Spirit.

God loves us. We’re his kids. He’ll talk to us if we listen.

Matthew 7:9-11 King James Version (KJV)

Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?

10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?

11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

My sweet baby boy is 6 months old today!

My sweet baby boy is 6 months old today!

being a mom

I’ve thought a lot about being a mom lately. I mean, I already AM one, but I’ve been pondering what it really means to be a mom. Technically, I guess anyone who has delivered a baby is a mom…or would she be a mother? Either way, my thoughts have been about being a GOOD mom.

My two-year-old started preschool last week. Up to this point, he’s only ever stayed with family during the day, so it was a big milestone…for him and us! He did well the first day (last Thursday) just crying a little when some of the other kids cried, then the next day he cried a little bit more when we got there then he was fine. He only goes Thursday and Friday mornings for 3 hours, so when he went back yesterday, there were tears again. Yesterday, he started crying as soon as we got into the parking lot, but he wanted to go in. He cried a little, but wasn’t clinging to me or begging me not to leave, so I told him his Poppy would be there to get him a while and he was fine. Today, he didn’t cry at all and didn’t seem to mind staying, thank goodness.

For the first time yesterday, when I saw those heartfelt tears as we pulled into the parking lot, I felt the pain a parent must feel countless times throughout their child’s life. I guess it’s similar to the pain you feel when you take them for their shots, knowing they are experiencing physical pain, but this is different. This pain is knowing your child is hurting emotionally and there’s not much you can do about it.

Growing up, I was a homesick kid until about the age of 13. I went to Bible camp and came home early. In the 4th grade, I went to 4-H camp and cried all week, but didn’t get to come home. It’s the most gut-wrenching feeling in the world. So, when I know my son is having similar feelings, it tears me up inside, too.

I say all that to say this – being a mom isn’t easy, but I can’t explain how rewarding it is. When I was leaving to go to work the other day, Ezra runs down the hall saying, “Wait momma. I have to give you a kiss.” Now, what else in the world is sweeter than that? I didn’t even have to ask for it!

Being a mom is taking your kid to preschool. Being a GOOD mom is wiping away his tears, feeling his pain, and looking forward to the time you are back with your child again (among a million other things).

Our happy Ezra after preschool today having lunch with his daddy.

Our happy Ezra after preschool today having lunch with his daddy.

God still speaks

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I picked up this new sign for my house a Wisteria’s Gifts in Fayetteville, WV on Friday when my husband and I spent the day ziplining for our 11th wedding anniversary (we had a really great time). When I read what it said, I just about cried it touched me so much. I just had to splurge and by the thing. It fits perfectly by the sliding glass door between the kitchen and dining room.

Recently, our preacher mentioned hearing the voice of God. I have to admit that I hear God talking to me on a regular basis. Just like with anything else, to hear something, you have to be listening for it. I’m not perfect and I don’t listen nearly well enough, but last week, I felt God leading me to go see our neighbors.

They are a  young couple that lost their 24 week old fetus about two weeks ago. The mom had to deliver this still born baby, which they then named and buried. I just had a burden on my heart to go introduce myself (I hadn’t yet met them) and take them dinner or something. Well, before I got to it, God sent them to me.

Yesterday, I was at my in-laws house when the couple showed up bearing a gift for our 3 week old son…a baby outfit. Now, isn’t that the sweetest, most heart-breaking thing you’ve heard lately? Here they are, bringing a baby gift when they just lost their baby (this was the second still born, by the way).

The young lady got to hold our new baby and she seemed so happy to do so. We talked about her two miscarriages and I was getting ready to tell her things are going to be ok when she said, “I know God has a plan for me.” Now, isn’t that something? I did invite them both to church since she said they don’t have a home church at this point.

The Sunday School lesson for this upcoming week is “Victorious Faith: God will strengthen and restore me.” It points out that “When you’re down and out, cliches are the last thing you need. (Hang in there, Roll with the punches, etc.) This lesson really made me thing of this young couple. One of the verses of scripture is “Casting all your cares upon him; for he careth for you.” 1 Peter 5:7.

I’m so thankful to be so blessed, but I have to take time to stop and consider those around me who aren’t. Then, reach out to them.

a glimpse

My dad and my son playing at dinner tonight

My dad and my son playing at dinner tonight

I caught a glimpse tonight of what my life would be like if my parents were still married. They divorced when I was about 18 (so about 14 years ago, I guess). At the time, I was bummed, but it didn’t really bother me like it does now. When I had my son, I realized how nice it would be if my parents were still together. Not only would it make the holidays easier, but it would just be nice to have two sets of grandparents…not three or four. I don’t have hard feelings toward either of my parents for the decision they made to separate, but I guess I just feel sorry for myself wishing circumstances were different. I should just be happy they are alive and well and actually get along.

Either way, my son and I took my dad out to dinner tonight for his birthday. After dinner, my mom came to pick my son up so he could spend the night with her. She came into the restaurant to get him and on the way out the door, my dad was in front of me carrying my son and my mom was behind me. At that moment I thought, “So, this is what it would be like if they were still together.” It broke my heart to be honest with you. After we parted ways, it was all I could do not to cry while driving home. Dad was still with me and I didn’t want to have to explain my tears.

I don’t write about this to get sympathy or make my parents feel bad. I believe that I’ve learned a valuable lesson from my parents about what it takes to make a marriage successful and how important it is to work at a marriage so you can be a family when your kids are grown…and when your grand kids come along. I love my parents dearly and appreciate all they do and have done for me. I feel very blessed. I just pray that my husband and I have a long, happy life together and get to see our grandchildren one day.

I heard this story on NPR this morning and it struck a cord with me because I’m 14 weeks pregnant. It’s about a woman who was found unconscious in her home at 14 weeks pregnant and she’s been on life support ever since. She’s now 22 weeks pregnant and the family wants to take her off life support, which would terminate the life of the unborn child as well. The hospital is saying they can’t do it since there are two lives involved. What a terrible situation to be in as the husband and father. Supposedly, the child is terribly deformed and will not have a good chance of survival, but still… I would hate to be faced with this situation or be the woman in the hospital. Even though she’s not here to have her say, I’m sure it would be agonizing.

Read the full story on their website. All we can do is pray for everyone to make the right decision.

old fashioned and happy

I got to thinking about how “old fashioned” I can be sometimes. I think that’s one reason I feel so cozy and comfy in this temporary house we’re staying in until our new house is ready. I think it was built in the 40’s and the decor looks like something from the 70’s. But I like it (for now).

What makes me old fashioned? For one thing, I’ve never signed up for Twitter and I don’t think I ever will. Secondly, I swore off Facebook over a year ago (one of the best decisions I ever made). Next, I don’t own any type of tablet or smart phone. I have a dinky slider phone so I can make calls, text, and check the weather. I do have the internet at home, but I’m using a fairly old laptop my mother-in-law has let me borrow.

I have old fashioned ways of thinking, too. I don’t believe you should have TVs in your bedrooms, just one TV in the living room. My thinking is that if you have TVs in all the rooms, everyone will go their separate ways and it just creates unhealthy space in a family. I tried to persuade my husband (the ESPN/sports addict) to not have satellite while we are living in this temp house for 4-6 weeks. We went without for 2 days before they came to install it yesterday. I believe it was Sunday, we were sitting around staring at each other and watching our 2 year old play. I was like, “Just think – this is what people USED to do before TV. They talked, read books aloud, sang, and played games. Isn’t it cool?” He looked at me as if I had two heads. 🙂

I have found that you don’t need a bunch of gadgets to make you happy. Pleasure is found in the simple things and I’m glad I’ve learned to embrace that in my 30’s. I hope I can instill that in my children as well.

OH, one other thing. I still believe in a hand-written note – especially a thank you note. Those can be more valuable than gold.

What makes YOU old fashioned?

I googled "old fashioned" to find an image to use and this one was it! It reminds me of a time when my little sister and I got a hold of my dad's razors. We cut our faces all to pieces trying to "shave". Oh, the memories!

I googled “old fashioned” to find an image to use and this one was it! It reminds me of a time when my little sister and I got a hold of my dad’s razors. We cut our faces all to pieces trying to “shave”. Oh, the memories!

quiet Christmas morning

I’m sitting here in my living room enjoying the calm before the storm. It’s a little after 6 am and I’ve been up for about an hour (thanks to my husband needing a bathroom break). I’m blaming it on my pregnancy hormones. Once I’m awake in the mornings, it’s hard to go back to sleep. When I’m not pregnant, I don’t seem to have that issue. Anyway, I’m glad I woke up early, because I had time to read a little bit of the upcoming Sunday school lesson for the week and say a good long Christmas prayer. I don’t have quiet time with God nearly enough, so it was a blessing waking up early.

This morning, I gave thanks for all the many blessings God has given me and my family. I’m amazed at all the gifts my son has received for Christmas and what we’re able to provide for him on the money we make. I prayed for my friends and family, that they would be blessed throughout the coming year. I prayed that this unborn, 10 week old baby in my belly would be healthy and all would go well. I asked prayer for those mentioned in church Sunday, for there were many. I requested to be made more whole each day so people will see Jesus through me and know Him better.

Our upcoming Sunday school lesson is “Sin is no longer your master; Christ is.” and the scripture is coming from Romans 6:8-18. There was one point that really spoke to me this morning and it came from Augustine, a 4th-5th century theologian. He pointed out that after salvation, humans are “able not to sin.” This is the exact text from the Sunday school book that I liked so much…”Do Christians still sin? Yes. But now, we have the ability to overcome sin and to grow in righteousness – the life we live to God! We do not have to give in. As we mature spiritually, we will sin less and less. And in the process, we will show the world our life-changing God.” Now, isn’t that promising? I got a kick out of the “key word” they focused on this week. It is “reckon”. Now, around here, we say “I reckon it’s time to go to bed” (or anything else we think we best do). Their definition is “an imperative that may also mean to be of opinion, to believe.” See, we hick people aren’t as uneducated as you make us out to be! 😉

It won’t be long and my son will be waking up for the day. He’s not quite two and he actually may surprise us by sleeping in a bit later since he went to bed a bit late last night. We had a family dinner at 6 pm yesterday and didn’t get home until his bed time. I’ll just say he was over stimulated by all the gifts, people, and food (I guess there were 40 or more people there) and it was a tearful winding down. He just had so much to play with that he was overwhelmed, poor kid. But, I’m excited about him getting up this morning to Santa’s gift. I’m especially excited about this tent we got him! One thing that’s not in the picture is one of our dogs, Cujo. I totally forgot my husband let him in last night and it took me a few minutes to realize he was out cold on the couch.

It's kind of dark, but this is what my living room looks like this morning.

It’s kind of dark, but this is what my living room looks like this morning.

My stomach is growling…I put this great breakfast dish in the slow cooker last night since my mom and her husband are coming over for breakfast. Who wants to cook on Christmas morning? They are bringing his really good gravy and I’m popping canned biscuits into the oven when they arrive. I might have to have an appetizer since I’m up so early. 🙂

I hope you have a very, merry Christmas full of family, love, and peace. Know that the best gift of all was given to us many, many years ago as a tiny baby boy. The baby that would give us all the hope of eternity in heaven. Blessings to you and yours.