Sunday, September 22, 2013

7 more weeks and counting down.

Up again...

Nights are seemingly becoming a challenge...

Which... if to think of the glass half full I am having precious time to think and reflect on "stuff"...

Some of which is silly... buying that diaper bag that I found on kijiji.... what I am going to be making for dinner.... and then... at times hitting a deeper level.

Before I found out I was pregnant I was on a mission to encourage every pregnant woman that I had the opportunity of crossing paths with. I had this burning desire to pass along a few incredible scriptures for those women to read through before or during labor. I didn't get to everyone... but I wanted to reach as many as I could with the Word. I wanted so dearly with the help of our God to pass along strength and encouragement during one of the most vulnerable states that a woman could find herself in.

.... Now I find myself in such a vulnerable state. Not because I am worried about the labor or birth... that seems to be something I don't have a hard time wrapping my head around. I am struggling to make my way through the pregnancy. There is nothing vitally wrong. No trauma or circumstances for concern. Baby is healthy. Things are progressing normally. It's just been a long season. For me the difficult part of pregnancy has been the 9 mths of morning sickness and although it seemed as though I might have been experiencing a release from nausea few months ago... it reared it's not nice head only a few weeks later. (Gives you such a respect for those who have long term health issues.)

There is nothing more precious then having the ability to bring another little life into the world. My words don't even begin to express the weight of how precious especially when I take a moment to reflect on so many dear friends where easily conceiving a child is an luxury that costs on so many deep levels. My burning heart cries out for those women to be able to experience the healing and blessing in the areas that they need it most.

I find it so much easier to pray for others experiences and believe for their healing and presence of the Holy Spirit in their moments of need.

Why is it that it is so much more difficult to believe it for myself. Should that not be the most natural thing. Hmmm....


Whatever area of vulnerability we find ourselves in God is only a hand away from being our comfort and support.

I am in need of reminding myself of that.

I praise you God for the blessing of this beautiful child and I ask for strength in these last weeks. 7 and counting down. May my focus stay locked on the positive. May my words bring healing to my body and take the focus off of the difficulties. May my eyes come off of myself and look up towards You the one who can give me the ability to walk out the last part of this pregnancy with grace. May I continue to focus on encouraging those around me. May my countenance become one of peace and reflective depth of Your hand in our lives through all circumstances.





Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Positive Parenting Solutions - mini recap from June 27th 2013



Well are you ready for the recap from the parenting webinar from a couple weeks ago!!!


If you need a quick refresher from the last webinar check out the recap here:
http://motheroffivelittleladies.blogspot.ca/2012/06/getting-kis-to-listen-without-nagging.html



I will only be touching on a couple things that popped out to me for this one!!!



There are three popular parenting strategies that are widely used that typically escalate misbehavior. 


1. Time out: 

  • strong willed children see times outs often as a challenge
  • it becomes the parents job to keep the child in the time out
2.  1,2,3: 
  • this method trains the child not to respond right away
  • trains them that we are not serious until we start counting when our desire is for them to listen the first time.
3. Rewards:
  • the more we reward for obedience the more it fosters a `what`s in it for me` mentality
  • the interest will actually decrease to listen the more we use this method because we are training them to be externally motivated not internally motivated.
  • they are more likely to become externally motivated adults. 

So being a mother that uses time outs as one of my consistent go to`s this was difficult to hear. 

What should we do instead...

Parenting Solutions suggests a tool called

WHEN - THEN
(This tool has been hailed as `magical`in it`s effectiveness!!)
Why does this work

It delays or denies a privilege (Y) until (X) is done. 
This tool is used in those situations when you need an action to be taken.

Important Points:
  • Be sure to emphasize the WHEN and THEN. (When - pause.... you pick up your toys, Then - pause... you may play outside)
  • The privilege must be something the child cares about, and is something that is a regular occurring privilege during the day (movie time, playing outside, playing with toys: not a reward like cookies, candies, treats) A privilege is something that you can control the order in which it can be enjoyed. 
  • After the When - Then, you must walk away - DISENGAGE (do not become an audience or a hover-er to demand that they listen
Walking away says:
  • I`m not going to argue or negotiate.
  • I am complete faith you`ll get it done.
  • Allows the child to ``save face`` and still do what you`ve asked.
CAUTION!!
  • It`s not IF - THEN : it is WHEN-THEN
  • Don`t give 2nd chances or reminders (it only reinforces you`re not serious!)
  • Stay firm. Follow through with dignity.
  • Ignore meltdowns, fussy and negotiating

So some examples would be:

Tyler WHEN you pick up your cars, THEN you may watch Backyardigans.

Sophie WHEN you clear off your place setting THEN you may play outside.

Susan WHEN you put away your laundry, THEN you may have computer time.


If there is no follow through there is no privilege! 


So everyone...
there you have a new tool in the bag to try out and see if it works. REMEMBER whenever trying anything... consistency is the KEY!!! If we don`t follow through... we confirm that we are not serious and then the issues continue!!


Blessings momma`s have a fantastic week!!!

Lots of love 
Nicole

Friday, June 28, 2013

Your Hands: by JJ Heller

I was listening to this on the radio... and really felts stirred to share.

So for you who need to know that God is always there for you.

In tears, in sadness, in those unanswered prayers.

He is still there!!!

He Loves You!!!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0D1P8k9mWM





Your Hands
by JJ Heller



I have unanswered prayers
I have trouble I wish wasn't there
And I have asked a thousand ways
That You would take my pain away
That You would take my pain away

I am trying to understand
How to walk this weary land
Make straight the paths that crookedly lie
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

When You walked upon the Earth
You healed the broken, lost, and hurt
I know You hate to see me cry
One day You will set all things right
Yea, one day You will set all things right

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

Your hands
Your hands that shape the world 
Are holding me, they hold me still
Your hands that shape the world
Are holding me, they hold me still

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave You when...

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave...
I never leave Your hands

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Embarrassment Factor of Pregnancy

I was on pinterest today... looking at all the beautiful pictures of "perfect" pregnant ladies.

You know... the ones with the incredible baby figure!!! Who shine and glow and look like they have it all together... Well I just had to sigh. 

This is #6 for me... and I have yet to have one of those fantasy pregnancies. 

Now don't get me wrong...  this is not a post of the horror of pregnancy... I tell you... I have heard enough of those over the years to basically scare off every single young woman I know... (which is why... if you ask me about pregnancy and labor/birth... you will hear about the incredible parts of my pregnancies!!! Pregnancy and birth should NOT be a fearful thing!!!) It's intended to be a post on the funny side of my personal journey so far.

SO, basically... I have found myself completely out of my graceful tendencies and into a mode of filter-less mess!!!! 

As I take time to think about this new season... (yes, every baby has felt like a new season... even for the well seasoned if not over flavored moms) I cannot help but wonder what God is teaching me through this. 

Here we go... I am going to tell you a few of my encounters... so you can all have a good laugh at my expense and be a part of the journey as of late... 

... a few of the typical pregnancy symptoms have found me at quite the inopportune moments.

It started at a recent young adults camping trip... I was enjoying relaxing with a few of the leaders for the weekend lounging out on chairs and watching a volley ball game go on in front of us. We were in a full blown conversation, it was really good...  really good... that is until the volley ball flew out towards my head causing me to flip back in my chair... AND.... wait for it... let out a huge TOOT!!! O my gosh... I could have died... no one said anything at first as I collected myself... then one of the guys couldn't hold it back... "DID I JUST HEAR THAT???" 
"Yup, yes you did..." How do you even move on from that... 

... well for me apparently not well... 

It wasn't three days later that my incredible husband took me out on a date... 
I was sooooooo excited... a movie... and some fun yummy food!!! Perfect!!! I ordered what seemed awesome choices at the time....a slushie and of course what pairs better with that then a New York Fries Poutine!!! YUM!!!! 
We got into the theater and I was pumped. STAR TREK (yup I am a closet Trekkie). I started into my perfect late night treat... and almost couldn't keep still the movie was so exciting... slowly though that excitement faded, as the combination of slushie/poutine began to mix with a full action movie, complete with flashing lights and quick movements of the camera... 20 minutes into the movie... I was not feeling good. Which quickly turned to really bad as motion sickness and morning sickness collided. I couldn't even turn to Adam to tell him what was going on... 5 minutes later I was trying to settle my stomach so that my worst nightmare didn't come true... then... when I felt as collected as I knew would be possible... I delicately got out of the chair and walked carefully towards the door, through the exit and towards the bathroom... 
... that's when it happened... 
... I couldn't hold it in any longer... within seconds... all that fun food found it's way all over the entrance of the bathroom.... 
... needless to say... I did not get to finish that movie... BUT>>> that was not the end of the story...

After only two days of recovery from that.... 

The girls and I headed off to pick up Leanna from school... 
I was pretty pumped because I hadn't seen a bunch of the moms in such a long time. (A neighbor of mine offered as the snow kicked in to bring Leanna to and from school, instead of me trying to get all the kids ready. Plus Leanna and her daughter enjoy walking together. She had let me know that she wasn't free that day... so I jumped to the opportunity to show off the baby belly and say hello!!!) 
As I got to the school, I was welcomed with so many smiles and points at the belly. Pretty fun to show off #6 in the making. My girls asked if they could go and play on the play ground as I chatted and I said they could.   Not long after that I was fully engulfed in a conversation again... then I heard two of my girls screaming at the top of their lungs. "MOM, Shay's up really high!!! She's going to fall... MOOOOMMMMMM!!!" I turned around to see Shaylee on the top of a ladder that curves around open 5-6ft off of the ground. In a panicked state I ran towards her... while 8-10 other mom's watched in horror... while my UNFORTUNATE sense of body awareness and balance failed me... my left foot did not make it over the plastic border around the pebbles... and I tripped and flew face first into surprisingly soft rocks.... 
I heard an audible gasp!!!

Completely Mortified!!! 

That's how I felt as I ungracefully rolled over, checking that my shirt was covering all the vitals... (feeling in the moment that my boobs must have flown out of the shirt since not much more could have occurred to trash any sense of pride) I was fumbling my way to a standing position... when I remembered that Shay was still dangling at a dangerous height above the ground... well I turned and ran and reached up and saved her!!! As I pulled her down I called the rest of the girls... and turned to the captivated audience... sheepishly giggling I said, "well now that I have made quite a performance out of myself... I guess it is time to go home."

And that's what I did... 

So what am I trying to learn through all of this??!!!

#1 Life has a tendency of being out of control and as much as I HATE the thought of that... It's okay. I need to find a way of being in peace and confidence in the midst of unexpected chaos. 

#2 God is in control. In each of these circumstances... the worst could have happened... from... peeing my pants to throwing up all over the people in front of me at the theater... and actually hurting myself and the baby when I landed on my face!!!

#3 It's good to be able to laugh at myself. Posting this on here is my way of taking a step towards not taking life so seriously!!!


Well dear friends... as I stumble my way through another week... I love you... and praying this week is finding you all amazing and in good spirits!!! May we all continue to giggle at those little mishaps that occur beyond our control!!!!  :) 

Thanks for joining me in another raw addition of the Pregnant filter-less Passionate Women episode teheheheehehe!!

Nic


Ps. Here's a picture of Shay just being Shay... not caring about what others think of her... something else that I am learning...














Friday, June 21, 2013

The Fad of the BIG "M" - Modesty!!!

I saw this video on a young girls FB wall and felt compelled to share. But it didn't seem to do much justice merely re-posting the video on facebook because... well to be honest I simply didn't want to be judged with a message that has the potential to make me look like one of those fanatic christian "prudes." (....just being real...)



SO Wow!! This trend of modesty is seemingly becoming a "fad" big deal! With this one... shesh... did I ever get convicted and encouraged and... frustrated all at the same time. On one hand..  I find myself back in high school irritated that I am being told to embrace the responsibility of dressing modestly. Taking a moment to admit I was absolutely one of those teens who stuck my nose up in the air and believed, "so just don't look!!" And although my goal was to always keep "stuff" covered, I tell you most of what I wore was skin tight and included some pretty wild 4 inch heels. Which for the majority of my attire, showed off just as much if not more of my "perfectly" well matured 17 year old figure. To be real here... I enjoyed the attention. ugh. I know!! Super yucky!!!!!

Now with a momma figure, that is "blooming" with baby (and well a few too many late night cheeseburgers. ;) wink wink, don't judge until you've been there...lol) I guess most of the time now I have more of a tendency to work my hardest to hide it... let alone flaunt it... but I do have that innate feeling of... wanting those moments back when you knew the whistle and cat call were directed at you.

Sooo that's the one, hand... now on the other... I am raising. 5!!! YES 5 WOMEN!!! (Possibly 6, only time will tell on that one... few more weeks baby... you may all just get to find out early... tehehehehe, oops getting side tracked) So being a mother of 5 growing and learning young ladies... do I ever have a huge ache in my heart to show them and teach them how to live in this society with modesty. To bring them up to be women with a stunning character, charm and beauty that shines bright... with out the need to flaunt the "figure" in order to gain the attention.

... I am a work in process as a woman and as a mother... but as I take time to think... and ponder and talk it out. As I watch these videos and get into the minds of others. I find myself slowly becoming more of the mother and teacher that I desire to be... and more importantly I find myself growing and maturing as a woman myself.

I was in a conversation recently with a good friend of mine who's husband from some people's perspective may be a little over the top with her on the modesty of her clothing. They have discussed in depth about lengths of skirts and heights of tops. For real!!! That conversation challenged me. Pretty amazing to work out in such detail something that really is that important, props to you guys!! (Side note.... Surround yourself with those people who challenge you!!! It's a love/hate internal feeling... but it's a really really good thing!!!)


So... I'll be the one to challenge you who have watched this and who are reading... Be CONVICTED!!! Lets take the time to actually work out these things... don't just pick up or put on that outfit because you look "hot" in it...
To all you young gals... yep... I am a talkin' to you too!!! Take the time to work it out... I say this often.. but I'll say it again... as I head into my 30th year .... IT IS A BIG DEAL!!!


Love you all again...

Thanks for reading my personal rant tonight.

Nic

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Not about feelings!!!

It is June 18th and about a month since I have updated.

A lot has been happening on the home front over the last couple months!! Adam resigned from his job with good friends of ours to step out in faith and accept a position that God lead to our door step. Morning sickness has finally eased it's hand on this pregnancy. And I have found two little bundles, 3 yrs and 11 mths of boy energy in my house starting full time this week until the end of August. Plus on top of it renovations including a new office for Adam upstairs and a bedroom in the basement to be started soon for a couple of the girls once the baby is born.

Life is feeling quite full. So I am taking a moment here while Adam heads off to take Leanna to school and pick up a stroller system for the new baby and my four girls are contently playing and giggling with the boys.

To be honest I find it difficult to pull out some spiritual moment in a season when life is surrounded by survival and physical needs of myself and all those around me... but I guess that is where the lesson is.

Life is not about feelings. If we get wrapped up thinking that being close to the presence of God is having the emotions of feeling "it" then that would mean when we are having a hard time, God is far from us, right???!!! Of course the answer is NO!!! That is the furthest from the truth!!! In these moments of busy. I need to remember that God is always with me, beside me, leading me. He is always right there ready to give me the strength to make it through another amazing full day!!

So I have a prayer or statement of faith on my board at home to remind me. "Choose a good attitude beyond your challenges and the Joy of the Lord will be your strength. Choose JOY!!"

I think I am learning... that being in a state of "choice", instead of a state of "feeling"... I have a much easier time being fulfilled at the end of the day instead of merely spent and exhausted.

Blessings to you dear friends. Although it may be few and far between in the next few months, know you are all on my heart often. I think of you and pray for you. Be encouraged and keep those influences in your life that bring a message of hope and life!!!

Lots of love
Nicole


O and for your pleasure... here is a picture of our baby #6 to be born Nov. 5th, or somewhere around there!!! Good to remember what life is all about!!! Not ourselves but those around us!!!




Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Writing with purpose!!!




As many of you may have noticed, I have been missing some days in the "schedule" of the blog.

I didn't quite expect the amount of things that would pop up out of the blue during this spring season that would take up so much energy and time.

Instead of choosing to overwhelm myself with personal expectation I believe I need to pause. I have said before my purpose for this blog is two fold. First, I don't desire to just write for the sake of writing but that my heart is to speak what God has been stirring within me. Then secondly, I desire for this to not just be a blog about me, but the hearts of the women around me with different view points, experiences and seasons of life.

I have been so excited time and time again with how God has used this small seemingly insignificant blog to encourage and inspire those who take the time to read. You all have been the sole reason for investing time to keep pressing on and becoming more real and transparent .

My heart for this blog is to be full of purpose. So I am calling out for some help and guidance from all of you. As I move forward praying for the leading of where to bring "Passionate Women," where are all of you at?

What have been the posts that inspired the most?
What have been the topics that have hit home?
What are some topics you would like to see included?
Would you like to see more guest post included in the future?


I would love to hear from you.

Feel free to comment here, message via Facebook, comment on the Facebook group page https://www.facebook.com/groups/445035028880946/ or email me at nicoleandadam@hotmail.com

Blessings friends.
Nicole






Monday, May 13, 2013

Meditation Monday: Life


I have been thinking on life lately.

Our church is going through a series called "What on Earth am I Here For?" By Rick Waren.

Such a cool reminder and reveler to the depths of what I am called to. So many simple and profound moments have been coming from the 40 day devotional and also from the Wednesday Night small groups.

But ... that's not quite what I am going to be spending time on...

Last week I had the privilege to attend a funeral for a dear friend of ours wife who passed away at the age of 29. My heart couldn't help but to pour out a deep overwhelming sorrow for his loss. I wasn't sure how to support him, or show him how much my husband and I loved him, other than to just be there standing beside him for a time, then to just hug him.

I also wasn't sure what to expect at the funeral. Heidi was so young. I anticipated a deep sense of pain and agonizing hurt. A spirit of heaviness. But I found myself in awe, the chapel was full of a peace. Tears ran down from every eye, but this sense of understanding and wealth of her life could be seen on every face. Although I could see the loss in her parents hearts, they seemed to be at rest. As I spoke to our friend and told him he was loved dearly, he gently and humbly thanked us for being there.

Heidi's life was one that was full of creativity, adventure and many tattoo's. Although I didn't know her well, the words spoken about her at the funeral brought so much clarity and beauty to the little bits that I had the privilege of getting to experience in person. She was not perfect and I am sure there are lots of funny and challenging stories that her parents, siblings, and husband could relay. But the thing that struck me the most was that within her short life, how much living she did experience. She did more in her lifetime to impact the many around her than most have the opportunity in the countless years they have before they are old and grey. She was found in many countries, mission trips, travels and teams like YWAM. Reading thoughts and memories and hearing from the hearts of those who knew her well, time and time again they spoke of the overflowing passion and love for Jesus and what he had done in her life. Followed so closely with her desire to make a difference for the downtrodden and the outcast, the poor and the broken.

I don't begin to try to understand why some are healed and live and why some dear spirits leave from us at such young ages.

But I have found myself being incredibly challenged with the life that Heidi had lived.

Am I living a life that is so incredibly full of purpose, that whenever my time comes, will those around me be able to say... She lived life to the fullest. She understood who she was and what God had called her to be. Would the words be written   "She fought the good fight, she has finished the race, she has kept the faith." (2 Timothy 4:7)




~May the life of this beautiful woman, stir my spirit to embrace who God has called me to be. May I never find myself taking for granted the years I am given. May I be found loving those around me to no end.~








To those dear friends who have lost this beautiful spirit. I love you. Thank you for sharing your lives and Heidi's life with those around you. Your strength and tenderness and peace through this has brought so much inspiration to my life. One life out of the countless I believe with all of my heart that has been impacted by your loss. I pray God's comfort will continue to bring you peace. I pray that her life continues to inspire you to a beautiful new understanding of your life. I pray that the tears of sorrow will slowly turn to joy that will bring you all strength.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Throw Back Thursday/Freedom Friday: Trust.



As I look back I can only marvel at the hand of God in my little families life. He has been so good!!! He has brought us through so many things, trials, heartache, bad decisions, hard work, sickness, the list goes on. I feel as I head into another new season of the unknown, I am looking back and reminding myself of all the things He has done.

I remember being overwhelmed with this young guy, 20 years old. I couldn't figure out why and how it is that God would have brought him on my path at such a unique time. A year and a half later from that point... I stood at the alter of the church with tears in my eyes thanking God for blessing me with my husband.

3 mths later, we look at this little "innocent" test and became speechless as we tried to fathom how God would trust a 19 and 21 year old with a precious life. As we celebrated months later our first anniversary, we looked at each other, then at our beautiful first baby girl, we were blown away with the blessing of becoming a family!

1 year later with another newborn in tow we looked into our empty fridge and empty pockets and became heart broken with the worry of how we would feed our family. That week we encountered miraculous provision, a box of food from our church, a young adult moving home from college giving us her "left over" never touched freezer full of meals. Then to just make a beautiful point God touched the heart of a family and they came over with a full list of groceries from cleaners, to shampoo, to fresh, pantry and freezer foods.

As another year went by, with 2 children and a desperate need for financial stability, we cried out for God to lead Adam to a new job. He then got a call from his grandfather. One day of work from that phone call became 1 year. Because of this job, full of many hours and hard work, we were able to facilitate our dream to move back to Kitchener.

The move to KW brought with it an incredible new church. Our striving, struggling lives connected with one of our greatest blessings to date, Koinonia Christian Fellowship. A church, full of humanity and imperfection, but with humility and faithfulness to live out what they preach. With longing hearts to learn we grew in so many areas!!! Then came the renewed desire in our heart to believe for more of what God wants out of our future.

Adam's passion grew from merely needing finances to needing meaning in his work. He cried out for clarity... God settled our spirit with the word of trust again. SOOO as we welcomed our third baby girl, we got a call from a brand new friend who offered a job and experience of a life time!!!

During this season we have had countless opportunities even as a couple for growth at a fast forwarded rate.

So much has happened since then. 2 more children, 2 of our very own homes and now a new bundle of joy to come... but through it all the consistent lesson that we have been taught is that life is a journey of trust and reliance on God. To embrace the "changes" in our plan and enjoy the path that God sets us on.

We are at a new cross roads again.. but as God has show us time after time... only when we trust in Him will the road to the future bring growth and blessing.

 As we continue to commit to our core family value... Lord we choose the best path regardless of the road to it... we rest in His confidence.


Today as I pair together Throw Back Thursday and Freedom Friday.

~I pray that we learn to let go of our plans and Trust that God is putting us on the right path to the blessing that He has set before us!!!~
  


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Worship Wednesday:Burning in My Soul - Passion


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zB5DaXPEvQw


                                         Burning In My Soul
There is power, power
Here in this hour, hour
We are all together, together
Waiting here as one

Whoa, hear the sound from heaven!
Whoa, a mighty rushing wind!
Whoa, we're calling for revival!
God let your fire fall again,
It's burning in my soul!

All Your sons and Your daughters Dreaming the dreams of their father
seeing the signs and the wonders, the kingdom of God

I cannot contain it, it's burning inside
I cannot contain it, so let it shine
I cannot contain it this light of mine It's burning in my soul




~God we pray for our sons and daughters to be dreaming dreams of their fathers seeing the signs and wonders of your kingdom!!!~

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Toddler Tuesday: Nixing the Negativity!


I am going to send you to an incredible resource for today's blog from Positive Parenting Solutions. This post is all about getting rid of negativity in the way we talk to the kids. I really needed this reminder yesterday... as my energy levels are being reserved to make a baby (wink, wink), keeping up with the kids is getting to be a bit of a challenge. I needed to be encouraged again to stop barking out No's and don't, and stay outta that's! Instead I should be changing my vocabulary to what it is that I actually desire them TO DO.... in a positive manner. Less confusing and creates a better response.

So enjoy!! I cannot wait to read part two on this topic!!!



http://www.positiveparentingsolutions.com/parenting/nixing-negativity-ditching-the-dont-part-1





Monday, April 29, 2013

Meditation Monday: My life IS worship.


A challenge and building passion has been hitting me over the last couple months with the continued revelation that my life is worship to God.

By the pure fact that God created me for His pleasure, concludes that He had enjoyment in who I would be even before I was in existence. Such a comfort comes when I realize... before I could do, serve, create anything, He had pleasure in who I was.

*Sigh*, deep breath of relief.

Take that in friends. God found pleasure in you... before you could bring anything to Him.


So then living a life of worship to God should be simple, not a heavy burden. It should be as easy as lifting our eyes to Him.


The manner in which we live worship to God, I believe comes out in the little things, the organic, common moments, where we allow the presence of our Father to engulf our lives. It's in the natural day to day life, where we please our Father. It's in the smile we give our children. It's the small conversation to our neighbor that says they are valued enough to spend time with. It's in the running your hand through your hubby's hair, to show you love him. It's in the simplicity of preferring another over yourself. It's in the whispered prayers through out the day.

So sit back for a moment. Let it soak in. God loves you. His first purpose of your life is to show you that He Loves YOU! That He enjoys YOU. YOU, not what you've done. Purely and simply just YOU. Once we realize that.... it becomes a joy to live. We are loved and accepted beyond all things.

Blessings today as we rest in God's love.


Friday, April 26, 2013

Freedom Friday: I cast all my cares and worries on the Lord. Baby #6!!!!!



For today I though I would announce something special!!

I eluded to it on Tuesday... tehehehehe....

We are EXPECTING!!! Baby #6 to come Early November!!!

Lots of things come to mind when I think about this pregnancy.

To start this has been the first time that I have genuinely been surprised. With all the others I knew the time was coming. This was a bit of a new experience.

I have had to process more this time than I have with the others. We had said that we were pretty sure we were done at 5 babes. In my mind, it was a wisdom call. I felt I had a good handle on the 5 girls. My quiver was full. I felt like I could do a great job raising the 5 girls. On top of that we have been overwhelmingly blessed with 5 healthy children. What more could I ask for????!!!!! We were thankful for being able to have so many children and didn't take it for granted. Plus the birth of our last one was almost magical. I couldn't imagine a better experience to finish off our family!!! Yet we did not feel the peace to do anything permanent. I often said to friends that, if I didn't get so sick and had so many hip issues at the end I would jump at the opportunity to have a 6th. But I couldn't in full consciousness have another one and sacrifice the girls for 9 months.

Then the test!!


The words were taken straight out of my mouth.



I praise the Lord for my husband who is so amazing. I know I might sound like a broken record by now. But I have honestly been blown away with him. The peace that covered him was exactly what I needed. He challenged my attitude. But not only that, has continued to rise to the occasion taking on more than I could ever expect out of a full time (plus) hard worker, father of 5 girls, fully invested in pouring into our local church and now to have a wife, that is  in dear need of support.

I have a lot of fears in my weakness moments. Which is why Adam was challenging my attitude.

Can I possibly be able to handle having another baby? Can I be a blessing to my family, while being sick and dealing with joint pain? After experiencing the loss of a baby, I was also dealing with fears of the health of the baby.

But then I am reminded, I have God. I have a God that has a good and perfect plan. A God that desires to give us above and beyond what we expect out of life. We have been praying for favor and blessing. We have been praying for God to lead our family and direct our future.

After I walked down from our bathroom to register it all... I looked to our fridge. I have two things printed and put on my fridge that we are meditating on and believing for!! I couldn't help but giggle. God does have a sense of humor and praise the Lord he does have a hand in our lives.





Here I thought I have been set off track and yet that couldn't be further from the truth. God has been preparing us for months. He knew all along and was softening our hearts and building our capacity to handle another child and yet more change. Our prayer has always been give us the path that creates the best outcome regardless of the way too it. He is bringing abundance in our lives. Having a big family is a huge blessing but it isn't easy. Life is never simple. But then I remember... every person who has favor in the bible didn't have it easy. They had pressure points that help mold them into a better person, someone who sought after God in all things.


I desire that life. I desire a full life that has a full and beautiful future ahead. We talked with a couple family's after we found out we were expecting and the advice they gave was amazing. Don't plan for the today, plan for what you desire the future to look like. God will always help you with the today. AMEN to that!!!

As a step of faith, I have written a prayer, it's my prayer for this new little one. God's plan is so much greater than mine that I can hardly fathom it in my humanity.

"Lord we thank you for this opportunity to trust in you. We thank you for giving us this baby!! We sing praises to you as you knit together this little on in my womb. We have faith and hope and certainty for the things that we do not see. For by God all things were created including this baby! We thank you for the opportunity to build our family once more and we trust you to work out all the details as we cast all of our cares on you!! We fear not or dwell in the past but rest in the shadow of You our Almighty God. We choose peace as you are doing a new thing in us. As the streams spring up, we see you make a way. For Yours is the glory forever and ever. Amen."

For Freedom Friday I release all worries and cares about the pregnancy and birth of this incredible blessing of another baby!!!


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Throw Back Thursday: Clear Eyes: The destruction of Pornography



Sooo this is a big one today... fairly heavy and fairly raw. I pray that it lands on gentle ears and brings healing to those who may need to know that they are not alone!!!



I am unsure where to start really… maybe with my undying admiration I have for my husband and his willingness to be open about his struggles….

My incredible husband of 10 years!!!! It’s because of the way I see him live out life with a passion to feel the pain in order to gain the lesson that I share… It’s the fact that no matter what we go through… I always know that the way that he looks into my eyes tells me a world of answers to questions that only God can direct me with grace to ask…. Maybe it’s because the more time I live out life with others the more I know how much this topic needs to be addressed. 

For the women… for the wives… for the girlfriends who all desire to support the men in our lives, this blog is for you!

Only by the grace of God do I share this… and not because I believe that we are free from struggle but because I have seen so much victory within our marriage in the last 10 years!!!

 I will never forget the day that he told me everything… before we were married… before we were dating… he opened up… We prayed we cried and I told him I would support him no matter what!!!  And I believe that I have… even to a fault. That’s the day that I was introduced to a topic that I didn’t know anything about… Pornography.

Our marriage has been solid. We often say that only by that grace of God have we been able to stay unified through some of the struggles that we have gone through in our few years of marriage. Sometimes we look back in awe at how many moments God gave wisdom that was beyond our years… and then protection that was undeserved considering the decisions that we had made.

There may be some of you that read this and are in shock!!! “How could you possibly be a follower of Christ and struggle with pornography.”  This is where our humility comes in and a reliance in the fact that we believe that only through being able to create open avenues of communication can we grow and learn from others mistakes.  So we put our hearts and our story on the line, we desire to help and open a door to healing in those who have struggled with the same things.

On the other side there may be a few of you who are rolling your eyes and confused at the topic even being addressed. "It’s just porn!! Calm down!!! What’s the big deal? It’s just a guy thing!! "

Early on, at one point I fell into the side of “maybe it’s not that big of a deal” and decided  to stop confronting. For all the struggles that people go through this certainly was not something that I needed to make a big deal out of… I had a husband that love me unconditionally and worked his butt off to support our family… he was an incredible father to our two children (at the time)… and I knew that even through this one struggle… he loved God with all of his heart and desired to live his life serving God in every possible way he knew how. It was a short time… I think only about 3mths or so… but during that time… everything seemed to darken around me. Including his eyes and the way he looked at me. The more I chose to give freedom instead of talking, the more I felt chained to pain and hurt. God was pulling at my heart non-stop! It was a big deal!!!!!! And everything inside me screamed… until I couldn’t handle it anymore. By this quick point everything had spiraled in my mind to believe that the disconnect I was feeling meant the worst must be the case and there for… I asked him… I asked if there was anyone else… that’s the first time my words have ever broken his heart. Not because I had accused him… but because of the reality of how far he had gone and how much he had hurt my heart… There was no one else, but his mind and thoughts were not mine, his eyes were not mine. He confessed of how he was going to the strip clubs and he was really struggling.  In my naivety I hadn’t realized there was anything more than “those” magazines and “those” websites. That’s when his count started… I’d have to ask him for the exact # of days…. pretty sure he stopped counting after the 2,500 day mark since he has gone to a strip club. That was a HUGE step to seeing the clarity in my husband’s eyes and a step towards victory!!!

I would like to say that it got sooo much better from there… but we continued to struggle within our 3 year old marriage.  It was a journey. Something we learned was how to fall forward.  Our broken hearted prayer became one of “Lord, I know I will fail but within those failures teach me how to fall forward. Teach me how to grow and learn and NOT go through the same lesson over and over again. May I be open enough to allow You to mold my life into something beautiful.”

I love him more today than the first day that I laid eyes on him. BECAUSE, we have allowed God to teach us through this struggle. Because we didn’t sweep things under the carpet. Because we chose to address every little issue, every feeling I had. Because I chose, as much as it hurt to not allow for it to be an attack on my worth.  All of that… has created our continuing story of God’s faithfulness again in our lives. And because of that I now have the confidence to say our marriage is stronger because of it!!

We now have a new count… it’s pretty amazing… this is the victory part right here…. I know that one day soon we will be able to look back and say… it’s been… soooo many thousands of days since pornography created a wall between him and I and with God. The victory is the deep line carved out in rock!!! We, not just my husband… it’s him and I, unified, doing life together and being led by God to obtain all that He has called in our lives!!!

So…..
Why is denying pornography to be a part of your relationship a big deal?? For me it’s because I have seen… I have seen the clarity and loving passion in my husband’s eyes. I have seen him without the capturing of his soul and mind to something that pulls his spirit from my spirit. Nothing can steer me away from how important it is to fight for my husband’s beautiful eye’s and heart now!!!!  Nothing will steal our future from us!!!

*****************************

What I have learned!!!!

For those who are not married:
Whether you are in a relationship or not… you will always see signs of a sexual struggle. A couple of the obvious ones are crude comments or jokes. Something that I remember one of our pastors saying was what you are willing to laugh about you will accept as being normal. Movie choices also show an acceptance of sexual sin.  We had to go through our movie collection at one point and get rid of a bunch of movies with crude humor. God was teaching us that you can never have too sensitive of a spirit.
Every person struggles with something, BUT!!! What you want to look for in a friend and eventual husband is a willingness to be open and honest. Someone who will address issues quickly, and isn’t defensive when confronted. Above all else you want a man who you can see God’s presence and hand in their lives at all times through all circumstances!!!  Those qualities will last the test of time!!!

For those who are newly married or engaged:
Ask the right questions now!!! Open the communication NOW!!!! There is nothing like a kick in the gutt to know that for so many years your husband has been struggling with pornography alone!!! There is not a one sided struggle in a marriage… you’re in it together!!!  Mark 4:22 “We’re not keeping secrets were telling them; were not hiding things, were bringing them out into the open.” Marriage is about being unified and connected and working through things for the good and the bad!!! We need to allow ALL topics to be in the light!!! No matter what!!! Choose to be courageous!! It is a big deal!!!!!!!  It will save a lot of heartache in the long run!!!! Then pray!!!! Pray for wisdom and protection, and sensitivity to know when things are not quite right.

For those who are in the trenches:
You are not alone!
This is not about you!!! No matter whether you are at your pre-baby, pre-wedding weight…. or how often you have sex. IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU!!! This was a struggle before you!!!
Men’s attack comes in the area where they are meant to cherish their wives…
Women will be attacked emotionally … and it typically comes out when we start using manipulation and guilt as part of the process of confrontation.

We will always receive better response from our husbands when we confront with a loving confidence that addresses the core first before the emotional effect it has had on us.
Pull out the best in our husbands not the worse. God created men to have that passionate drive and desire… What is your husband passionate about… what has God called him in. To start God has called our husbands to be the head of our homes. To passionately protect and care and love our families!!! Pornography will cause that drive to be side tracked. Pornography will always leave a hole.

As much as it may hurt, have sex! Never allow this struggle to get in between your sexual relationship!! 
We need to be awake to what is going around us. Do not be tranquilized with the business of our lives!!!
Pray for the Holy Spirit to teach us how to see… how to see the “disconnect” in our husbands eyes.
Then stay connected… call, email, encourage… “How is your mind today?” “You seem a little distant…” “I love you babe…. And hey… can I do anything for you?” “I have an uneasiness in my spirit… is everything okay…” “Babe, you are amazing… thank you for leading our home with integrity and passion.”


I asked Adam to put a prayer together to finish this post. May this prayer become the battle cry for those who are struggling, and may it be a beautiful stake in the ground for those who desire continued blessing in their lives. 

Father,
Keep me safe in you as I pursue you first.
Give me the grace to walk life out with my own desires being less and less important in all areas of life. Give me new opportunities to put others first, to humble myself and prefer another.
Give me eyes to see your blessings all around; your joy, peace and love in choosing life over death. Blessing over curse.
Strengthen my resolve to love what you love, and a hate what you hate. To passionately desire a pure love; an unconditional agape love.
Holy Spirit rest on me today, as you build my spirit man to need more and more of you, and less of me.
I commit to start my day with you; committing my mind, soul and spirit to you.
Thank you for my wife, she is a heavenly blessing that I will cherish today. You truly are a good God.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Worship Wednesday: God's Great Dance Floor



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-WOneEXr00


                                                          "God's Great Dance Floor"

I’m coming back to the start
Where You found me
I’m coming back to Your heart
Now I surrender
Take me
This is all I can bring

I’m coming back to the start
I got this freedom
In here we feel Your heart
Your heartbeat for us
Take me
This is all I can bring

[Chorus:]
You’ll never stop loving us
No matter how far we run
You’ll never give up on us
All of heaven shouts: let the future begin
Let the future begin

Take me
This is all I can bring

[Chorus:]
You’ll never stop loving us
No matter how far we run
You’ll never give up on us
All of heaven shouts: let the future begin

I feel alive, I come alive
I am alive on God’s great dance floor
I feel alive, I come alive
I am alive on God’s great dance floor
I feel alive, I come alive
I am alive on God’s great dance floor
I feel alive, I come alive
I am alive on God’s great dance floor
I feel alive, I come alive
I am alive on God’s great dance floor
God’s great dance floor!




**************************************

O this song makes me wanna get up and dance!! Be encouraged and uplifted today!!!

~Lord I thank you for giving us a life and for giving us a life to rejoice in. Thank you for creating a beautiful future for each of us. Continue to lead us on that path to be able to obtained all that you have made for each of us before we were even born.~

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Toddler Tuesday: Family Focus



For today I thought it would be pretty cool to fill you in on our LONG awaited Family Focus. Some of you may remember me mentioning a book from way back when called "The 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family" by Patrick Lencioni. (http://www.amazon.com/Three-Big-Questions-Frantic-Family/dp/0787995320) I read it last fall and LOVED the book. But Adam and I just could not find the time and head space to put into practice what the book was discussing. Cool timing though because of how many changes have been coming up in the last couple months plus the added benefit of our decision to be purposeful with our 10 Anniversary. I guess God was just waiting for things to line up!!!

To recap the book, it basically poses three questions for every family.

1. What makes your family unique? (Core Values)

2. What is your family's top priority - rallying cry- right now? (What is the biggest thing that you are doing right now or need to be doing? (Renovations, creating financial stability, saving for something???)With in that create "Defining Objectives," the things that are vital to accomplishing that rally cry and "Standard Objectives," the day to day tasks that need to not be forgotten. )

3. How do you talk about and use the answers to these questions?

You should basically be able to put this all together within an hour. Lencioni says in my simplified words, not to make an enemy out of trying to perfect this process. Do it fast. He also writes about a 80/20 Rule. 80% of value of any endeavor comes from the first 20% of the work. We found that once we got the ball rolling it all came out super easy. Most of this stuff we have already discussed and thought about. We had just never put it into a format. All that to say have fun, get it down and make some plans!!!

To example I will use what we put down. :)

1. What makes our family unique? (We found it came out more closely as Core Values)

  • We are committed to go where God goes.
  • We are committed to the best result regardless of the road to it.
  • We are committed to building relationships with God, one another and the world. (Yes, it does sound familiar to anyone one who goes to Koinonia, we giggled after putting it down... we were trying put into words our thoughts... and well that is what came out naturally.)
2. What is our "Rallying Cry"? (6 mth timeline: now-September)
  • Bring into alignment: Vocation, Ministry and Family. 
  • Defining Objectives: Create focused efforts in all three areas (We have lots of details here, Such as prioritizing our church involvement,  Adam's work (create focus in purpose and future), setting up for  my home care job in the summer, and finally Family: getting ready for our new little addition. See how I just snuck that in here.)
  • Standard Objectives: Things we need to be sure not loose track of:  Bringing worship time into each day, accomplishing teaching Rayne to read, continue a healthy food lifestyle, nail down the budget. (there are few more... but you get the idea)
3. How are we going to use and answer these questions?
  • We prayed about and are putting action to our Defining Objectives.
  • Asked for feedback and advice from multiple different mentors in our lives.
  • Plan on coming back to this in one week, then connecting every 2-4 weeks. With each other and those who we are doing life with.

   
So that is how we put into action the three questions of this book. I am sooo thrilled with being able to have the time to do this. It is the first time since we have been married that we feel as if the future is clear. It has been a journey to get here. Each step has been an adventure and continues to be.

I am also so excited to hear from all of you. I would love to hear how you put family core values and future plans together. Or how these three questions have helped and encouraged you.




~Lord I thank you for the journey you are putting each of us on and I thank you for the lessons you allow us to go through in order to become more mature. I pray that we will all continue to learn how to become more purposeful with our time, our families and our future. May Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven!!!~





Monday, April 22, 2013

Meditation Monday: "Vacate"



Well I'm back...

For those who didn't know last week my hubby and I headed down south to Pigeon Forge,Tennessee. (I am pretty sure I can't say that now with out the Tennessee slur.) Then up into the smoky mountains to relax in a secluded cabin. IT was truly AMAZING!!!

Now to back up a bit... we've been thinking and praying about this vacation for about a year... knowing our 10th anniversary was coming up we wanted to be able to do something special.

About four years ago we went to the Dominican to an all inclusive resort. It was so good!!! The resort totally made sense for the season we were in!! That being said... it was a stretch... spiritually. I remember the one night... sitting on the bed. Adam was pacing... and I just felt a HUGE spiritual oppression on us. I couldn't figure it out and it absolutely unsettled me!!! The two of us were really struggling with keeping our minds in check. I had brought some pretty cool books to read, brought my devotionals and my bible... and didn't pick it up once. We went on vacation purposing to do some future planing and praying and didn't even breach the topic. We had fun, but left a bit empty. No further along then when we left.

I am totally going out on a limb here and may press some buttons... so feel free to chalk it up as our thought process. That being said, we started thinking about resorts. Hmmm.... When you head to an all inclusive resort.... what is the purpose of going there... to put it bluntly it's to be waited on hand and foot. You go to satisfy selfish desire. I deserve, I want, I eat, I drink, I do...

Now there are seasons when... to be honest... that is super super appealing!!! This 10 year anniversary didn't seem to be that season for us. Were we needing some time to refocus... yes, rest yes. But looking back on our vacation to the Dominican. We came back physically rested, but we were not "at rest." We spent a whole week, doing nothing but, we also gained nothing. There was no progression, no growth.

So we started praying. Then in March Adam challenged me.  He asked me to follow along with what God had been speaking to him. He started by posing this question,

 "What is the root word of Vacation?"

Whaaa??? Super random question!!!! Hmmm...

THEN it HIT ME!!! I knew where he was going "Vacate."
The root word is VACATE! Are you telling me that all this time we have been planing on vacating???

I HAVE NEVER NEVER thought of that... (not to get all super spiritual on merely a word but this really hit a chord for where we were at) Here we have been processing and talking about Vacating life. Leaving it all behind for a well deserved time away from life. LIFE! God has given us this life. These children, our jobs, our life. Then things started to settle into place. We couldn't think of one area in the bible where God tells us that we should vacate life to become more rested. The only place that we could think of where someone left "life" was when a person would go to the wilderness alone to pray and wait on the voice of God.

That's when the question was posed. What is the purpose of this "vacation." Do we desire to leave life behind to satisfy selfishness?? A bit dramatic... but that's how deeply God was stirring.

Our desire for the time away was to come back not just rested, but "at rest." Not just satisfied with food, but fed emotionally and spiritually. Not just to think about how far we have come in 10 years but to pray and dream about what we want our next 10 years to look like. We really felt a HUGE conviction to be purposeful.

And so the idea came. A cabin, in the "wilderness." Somewhere that we could be purposeful with our time with out the constant pull to satisfy selfish desires.

So that's what we did!!!!

We prayed, we read, we planned. We put onto paper our Family Core values, our "rallying cry" and our objectives for the next 2-6mths!!! For the first time since we have been married our future is put into focus!!!




Now we are back. Day one of the next beautiful 10 years!!! Life is good!!! We are so excited with what God has in store for our lives as individuals and as a family!!!





God Bless you all as we continue on learning and growing as families!!!


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Worship Wednesday: Jason Gray - Remind me who I am.






It's amazing how we can so easily forget where our value comes from.
 
If you are having a hard time today remembering who you are be encouraged!!!
 
You are loved!
 
You are valued!!
 
You are anticipated for!!
 
Your are invested in!!
 
You have a purpose!!
 
You have a calling!!
 
You have a reason why you are alive and here!!
 
You belong to a Father who's love is never ending and all encompassing!!!
 
 
Embrace God's undying passion for you!!!

YOU ARE BELOVED!!!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Toddler Tuesday: Nurture



Good morning all you wonderful mommas!!!! Praying your night went well and this fine rainy Spring Day brings a refreshing to your spirit!!!



To start I wanted to encourage you Daughters of the King!!

"A daughter is her father's Joy and her mother's treasure because she quickens the heart. An heiress, she was hoped for and is their hope for the future. As the potential carrier and bearer of life, she is human wealth. Her creation was God's altogether lovely crown of creation, the one who completes."


Women of strength and purpose. You are humanities wealth!!! Isn't that such a beautiful thought!!!



Last night I was chilling in my bath relaxing after a long day and reading  Nurture by Lisa Bevere.
One part totally popped out to me! I thought I would share it today because of how much I believe it lines up with what we've been talking about!!!



We as women, as mothers to those around us, to our own children biologically or in heart we are called to nurture.

Here is a section from the book that I LOVED to explain the concept of Nurturing.


Nurture Defined and Applied


1. Tender Care
    Use this approach when you're handling sensitive areas or dealing with the young. Tender care is a genuine interest and concern coupled with a gentle approach as you tend areas in or instruct the life of another. We are charged to be tender with small children because their spirits are so pliable. There is never a need to be harsh when someone looks up to you.

Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. (1Thessalonians 5:14)

Tenderness is also required when dealing with those who are injured. If you are rough, they will not heal properly.


2. Protection
   This quality is often hard to navigate. We live in a mind-your-own-business world. But the truth is, as Christians we are to be involved in each other's worlds. If we see others at risk or in harm's way, we should intervene to see that damage is prevented. If we are in fact one body, then we are not isolated, and an injury to on is an injury to all. To protect is to prevent harm or damage from occurring. To know when to get involved, I try to turn the story around: if I were in the other person's shoes, would I want someone's input? If so, the I speak up. Meddling is messing without the motive to help.

If we are in fact one body, then we are not isolated, and an injury to one is an injury to all.


3. Encourage
   Over the years I have found this to be the most priceless gift you can give or receive. To encourage is to gift another with courage, hope and confidence. The world is filled with those whose hearts are failing them. There is widespread fear of loss on ever level. For you simply to tell someone you believe in him or hug her is huge. Encouragement is in its purest form when encouraging someone lends no benefit to you.

*****

I love how God confirms things when you are genuinely seeking guidance!!! Lines up with our parenting goals eh???!!! WOOT WOOT!!!

So how would you relate these three points to parenting?

How can we change or enhance our mothering to include these vital aspects of Nurturing to the children within our influence??



~God teach us how to parent in a tender way, protecting in vital moments and encouraging their spirits through out each day!!~