Sunday, February 28, 2016

Areyna Joy Turns 11 Today

This girl is turns 11 years old today.

She is full of adventure and curiosity.

She loves everything animal, science and art.

She hates girlfriend drama.

She strives for peace.

She is often praised for being so patient with others.  I'm sure she gets it from living in such a crazy family, but it carries over into all of life for her.  Her teacher knows she can count on Rainy to split up the trouble makers in the class and I know that I can count on her to step in when I am at my wits end with a Colony kid to offer assistance and help.

She doesn't like attention on herself, yet LOVES being part of the worship team for her peers at Journey.

She'll take playing outside over playing electronics any day.

Areyna Joy,

I love you so much.  Thank you for being so patient with me as I learn to parent an 11-year-old tweenager.  I am so proud of you for loving your friends the way Jesus wants you to and for listening to the Holy Spirit that lives in you.  You make me a proud mama.  I pray that you will continue to grow in your relationship with Christ, that you will keep letting me give you goodnight kisses and that you will always come and tell me what's on your mind.

Happy Birthday sweet girl!

Love always,
Your Mama

PS - I also pray that you will let me take a few more good pictures of you so you don't resent me for having more photos of everybody else but you when you grow up;)

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Just Move

When you have a dream do you wait for something to happen before you start moving?

Sometimes I do.

But sometimes God will birth in you a dream that you know will not come to fruition for a while, but something in you just won't let you sit and wait.  There are steps you can take to make sure you follow that dream and calling.

For Josh and I, we have a dream of having a large ranch or farm(ish) place to live.  Just a big enough house for our family, but with additions on the land for other families to come live with us.  To live alongside us for a set period of time as we mentor, teach and do life together.  We'd love to have a pond, at least one separate living quarter for another family, a garden...

...and a HUGE farm table.

The table is going to be the focal point of life.
We get our sustenance from this table.
We talk about our days and aspirations.
We discuss where God is taking us and what He is teaching us.

Right now we have a table just big enough for our family, so any time we have a couple or family over we are scrounging around for seating so we can all eat together.  And we have people over A LOT!

So, the next step in the Colony home is going to be the biggest table we can fit into our dining room.

But all of a sudden we had a problem.  Our dining room couldn't fit a larger table even if we wanted it too.  (We already have 7 people squeezing in around it and limited room to walk between chairs and wall.)  Now, I know we need to wait on God's timing and all, but sometimes we can move in the direction He is calling us, before it is actually time, because it gives us accountability to KEEP MOVING.

After mentally rearranging several different times over multiple sleepless nights (this is the time ideas birth people) I decided we just needed to make a change.  Knowing that we were nowhere close to having the resources to make our dream table and benches, knowing that we were no closer to moving to a place like we are dreaming, but KNOWING that we have steps we can take before actually getting to the final destination.

For us, that meant moving our dining room table into one of our living rooms.  That's right we have two, so it kind of makes sense!  The kids were a little bummed because we took their "ice skating room" but they will get over it, ha!

Our used-to-be dining room is now a reading/music room, which also makes sense!

Now we are ready.
For whatever and whenever.

Look for the little steps you can make along the way to waiting.
You will still be patiently waiting for God's perfect timing, but personally preparing the way for it to realistically work.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Writing Apology Letters To My Kids

This morning my mouth, and the fiery darts that came from it, completely dictated the temperature of the Colony home.

I had a normal morning.
Quiet time, office work, prep the house for the day (open curtains, turn off nightlight and make beds) had all been completed, but I had this nagging in my heart that wouldn't go away.

My personal feelings of discontentment, whether they had birthed from disobedient children or 3 of them not using common sense (for the LOVE, could you please tell my kids that common sense will take them so much farther in life that not using the intellect that they were given!), or my own personal failures, were boiling up until I hear one little bickering argument over a noise that one child had asked the other NOT to make...

It was not pretty.

Moments after waking up my kids,
the atmosphere became frantic,
the kids began melting down one by one,
and the unsympathetic, accusing, dictating words began to flood out of my mouth before I could even realize what was happening.

I could literally see my kids hearts bleeding...
but the words just kept coming,
which led to more inward frustration at myself because I couldn't get a handle on myself.

Not one ounce of self-control.

Have you ever had one of those days?

Well, I'll admit it.
And I'm ashamed of it!
But I know my God is bigger.

And then the realization of how much I am loved by a Father who is nothing but love comes crashing down on me and I am undone.

After getting the kids to school Jude and I had to run some errands,
and I cried the ENTIRE TIME, ya'll!
Cried and prayed.

Because praying is the only thing that will center me again.
The only lifeline back to the perfect Father, who gives so abundantly and graciously to those who ask.

So I asked.
I BEGGED that He would be the one to guard my mouth and put a watch over my lips (Psalm 141:3), so I can speak healing, truth and love to my kids (Proverbs 12:18).

And, as if writing those verses 5 times in apology letters to my kids weren't enough to get them engrained on my heart, in my head and over my mouth, I wrote them on the walls in my dining room table.

Our words have so much power, and I'm praying mine can become more life-giving than spirit quenching.

"There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing."
Proverbs 12:18

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Jude Turned FOUR

Jude, the fiery bookend to our Colony.  I can't imagine life without him.  (I imagine it being much task productive and oh so much quieter, but I wouldn't trade it for ANYTHING!)

Jude is anything but reserved and compliant.

In fact, I'd say he's quite opposite.
He wakes up every morning ready to tackle life and all that the day has in store for him.
He plows through his day with passion and vigor.

He is a fighter and a kid with intention and mission.

He is obsessed with drums...or on things.  My poor poor furniture!  But we found an awesome deal on a used drum set that connects to the wii so he can play along with his LEGO Rockband game (and all the surfaces in my home rejoiced!).  Did you know he snuck out of his class one day to go play the drums?  I didn't know WHERE he was until I heard the steady beating on the snare.  I guess I should have looked there first.  I love this about him.  Not just because it's music and a shared passion with his daddy and me, but because he is unashamedly smitten by something and will do anything to be able to get better at it.

The downside is his temper when things don't go the way he wants (RIGHT when he wants them to) and the drive he has sometimes drives a wedge in our mom/son relationship when, say, I need him to take a break and accomplish something else that isn't on his task radar (like cleaning up the basket of cars he just dumped out on the floor).

Jude loves cuddles.  LOTS of cuddles.  And often comes runs to hand out hugs and kisses just because.

He is my little shadow throughout the day.
He's still working on how to play by himself.  The kids have been in public school for 2 years now and he still can't stand them leaving every day and not having anyone to play with.  But he has learned how to do laundry, load and unload the dishwasher, and he LOVES to help me clean!

This boy certainly knows how to run this mama ragged and push my buttons and make me feel as though I may implode, but that smile, and that laugh, and those silly things he says kinda even out the crazy he makes me feel, ha!

Dear Jude,

Man I love you!  Every bit of you (although sometimes I wish you'd wait to exercise your leadership qualities and abilities until you get a little lot older)!  I love the time I get with just you during the day when the kids are in school.  I love watching you do things you enjoy with all your heart.  I love how you tell me and Daddy how we can "kiss and get maweed tomorrow" almost every day.  I love how you bring so much life and chaos energy to this family.  I just love you.  And I can't wait to see where God leads your life.

Your sometimes crazy but always loving mama

Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday Free-For-All : links to click on and devotions to begin

I CANNOT believe believe we have begun February.  In fact I just realized that Ash Wednesday is NEXT WEEK, which means its Bigger Than The Bunny Time!  If you don't have a hard copy make sure you head over and download the ebook version and then go over and get the songs (one day we'll finish the last 2.  Life kind of happened rapidly around this point as we worked on adding two more littles to the Colony.)

I had the privilege of leading worship with my hubby at the SEBTS GO conference last weekend.  The spirit was thick and moving and it was an honor to be a part of it!  Here is one of the songs we did:
GO Conference Worship: O Praise the Name - Lead by Josh Via from Southeastern Seminary on Vimeo.

This month is a HUGE month for a couple of products that I am pretty passionate about.

Young Living's starter kit is 10% off this month.  Make sure you head over to my YL site and put your order in before this deal runs out.  (PS- you only have a few more hours to add onto my monthly order so if you are wanting the wholesale price without signing up let me know so I can add your oils onto my order!)

Next up is Norwex.  I actually just took advantage of their February sign-up for FREE incentive.  I was asking my sister-in-law (who sells this stuff like its going out of business!) if she could tell me how to get the dusting mitt.  (the dust in the Colony casa is OUT OF CONTROL!).  She told me that it actually came in the jump starter kit, along with a handful of other amazing products.  All you have to do is pay the $10 shipping fee, no strings attached, no sales required!  And I said, I'm in!  So if you love the products and want to be able to buy yours at a discounted price head on over here and sign up, or just look around and order some of your own products to see for yourself how amazing they are!

I know, short and sweet blog post today but I just finished  putting on a pot of chicken bone broth, eating up a couple of eggs my chickens just laid this morning, and am heading outside to begin my pallet fence around my soon-to-be-garden.

What have I become?!

Happy Friday friends!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Good Gifts From My Father

I like lists so much that I even have lists that aren't written down anywhere, they simply are written and stored away in my mind.

(Yes, I am aware of how weird that sounds.)

This list even has a title, because all good lists must have a purpose and title.

I call it the "Want and Wait" list.

It is a list of things that I would love to purchase one day.
But because they aren't necessarily needs, I can't justify their purchase at the particular time.

The things on my list lay more in the gray know, things like an extra set of sheets, a nail gun (Don't judge. I like power tools.  So much so that I received a sander for Christmas!  Yup. Amazing. I actually prefer power tools over kitchen gadgets if that gives you any idea of my passions.), even some accessories and clothing items.

Anyway, my list has been known to be pretty lengthy at times.

About a year ago I added some rain/garden boots to my mental "want and wait" list.  I had shoes that worked just fine while keeping up with the chickens and doing yard and garden work.  But it sure would be nice to have some outside working boots so I didn't get my jogging shoes all muddy.

So on the list they went.  They sat there for a while.  I'd look at the boots in stores when I'd be perusing around.  I even looked online to price them and find a deal, but never felt the freedom to actually buy them.

A couple of weeks ago I was over at a friend's home helping her organize her storage area/garage.  I love to help women feel content and at peace in their home.  Plus, throwing junk away and making piles of unused items to get rid of makes me all giddy inside.  Bring those two things together and you have the makings of a very beautiful thing!  Anyway, I was sifting through bins of fertilizer, paint and camping gear when my friend came up to me with a pair of rain boots and nonchalantly asked if I wanted them.  (There also happened to be a couple other items on my list that she was getting rid of.)

Man what an awesome gift.  My Heavenly Father knew my heart, softened the heart of my friend to be used by Him, and gifted me this pair of boots through her.

He used her generous heart.
Blessed me with a good gift.
And in this gift I have been reminded, every time I put those boots on, that God does love me.  He provides for me.  And he cares about even the littlest of details.

I'm not saying that God will always give you whatever you want.  Oh no.  But sometimes he wants to shout his love through a gift that will bring Him greater glory!

I am so thankful for a God who hears me, sees me, and loves me, a sinner saved by His grace!

"If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!"
Matthew 7:11