Friday, January 30, 2009

Thoughts on Prayer

I wrote a while back about how the Lord is pressing on my heart to be more intentional about prayer. It is an area of focus for me this year. I started a prayer journal for me to have a place to go and write down my prayers so that I can come back later and look at the Lord's faithfulness. One of the very first days in my journal I remember praying and asking the Father to teach me how to pray. I have tried things before and have always struggled because there are so many people and things I want to pray for and about. Soon after asking the Lord I felt him press upon me a desire to make some list. I asked him to show me what and who to include. I soon had a list of people I wanted to remember to intercede for regularly as well as ministry opportunities and personal requests I wanted to pray about. I don't try to pray for everyone and everything daily. I work my way through the 6 separate lists and I pray for the next thing on each list. Other than that I trust the Lord to press upon my heart other things I need to specifically pray for that day. He has been faithful to do this many times already.

As a mom of three kids, a wife, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a daughter-in-law, a sister in Christ, and a light to unbelievers, I have many roles to fill and many opportunities to be an ambassador on Christs behalf, but I can go days and even weeks without praying specifically about these roles. I have ideas about the type of mom I want to be but I often forget to ask the Lord for His strength, grace, patience, kindness, and servant's heart in this role. I forget at least until I feel stretched and spent and I am soaking in doubt of my ability to be a mom. I know the type of wife I desire to be but I don't pray about that nearly enough. Just wait until I am hurt, isolated, harsh, and resentful in my marriage and all the sudden I am on my knees begging the Father for his help. This is true of all the roles I listed above. I desire to do the work of the Father, to live my life in a way that gives glory to His name, but I fall short over and over again. I know in my head I will fall short if I try to go it alone, but I still try until I prove to myself once again that I am nothing without Christ. I have to have Him daily intervening in my life and I need to pray and ask for that intervention.

It is amazing that as I pray for my heart to be more servant-like I find ways and opportunities to be a servant in my everyday life. As I seek the die to myself more I realize that when a sweet little boy wants to be held and I need to sweep the floor and finish my to-do list so I can relax, that I can choose to die to self and snuggle with that child. I can find God in the midst of the mundane and I can follow Him more closely. I have experienced greater fullness of God as I have found ways to set aside more time to pray. I have learned the pleasure of interceding on behalf of my kids, husband, other family and friends. And the greatest treasure is that I have learned more and more about why I must depend on Him fully and pray more regularly. It has been a joy filled journey of seeking the Father through prayer this month. There have still been days when I oversleep and don't get that extended time of prayer, or I try to pray at night and drift off to sleep. Even with more intentional prayer my sin still creeps up and I get frustrated with my kids and snap at my husband. I still can be critical of others and judgemental, but I can tell a change. I really believe that prayer is largely about changing me, shaping me to be more Christ-like. It helps set my mind on the things above. It focuses my priorities and it helps me to live in the hope that is before me and that Hope is Jesus Christ.

Lord, take this year and make it my greatest year of prayer yet. Please keep me faithful and diligent to seek you and spend time with you through prayer. Help me to be more disciplined in the way I choose to live so that the things that creep in, the busyness of life, won't quiet my hearts desire to pray and the ability to actually find the time to devote to prayer.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Red, and Yellow, Black and White, they are precious in His sight

This week is the sanctity of human life week. As a mom of three living children, who suffered the loss of a miscarriage, I believe in the sanctity of human life. I can remember being in the hospital, going through a delivery and then and holding a small basket on my lap with Trevor in it. What could I do but to cry? I cried and I grieved for many days in the months that followed his birth. Just recently we were driving through Lubbock (which is where I lived when I lost this baby) and we drove by the doctors office where I was told that there was no heartbeat and in an instant my mind went back to that moment. I could feel the feelings I felt that day, I could remember conversations that were had. It is a very real loss of a very real child! It is a child that never lived outside of my womb, but as I gazed into that basket I knew the loss of a child.

The only reason I share this is because the Lord has changed my heart on this issue through my life experiences. I can remember having conversations with those around me and coming to the conclusion that a woman has the right to choose. It is her body and her life. I now believe that each and every child is formed by the very hands of God. I believe that each and every child is precious in his sight. I believe that these babies have no voice. When a mom claims to have the right to choose, her voice is heard but the baby must remain silent. It is an atrocity. It is wrong and we, as a society, turn our heads the other way and allow this to continue while we say and do little. Every year in this country 1.5 million babies are aborted. That is a startling statistic.

I am very uncomfortable writing these words. I know that there may be people reading this who have made that choice to abort. I am not passing judgement on you! I believe that we serve a God who is both righteous and forgiving. I believe that we serve a God who wants you to seek Him about this issue so He can forgive you, so He can love you, and so He can comfort you. He offers grace and mercy and I pray that my words are also seasoned with mercy. If you are struggling the pain from a past abortion please look into this study and look into the healing the Lord has to offer you and if you are willing to share this with me I would love to pray with and for you. Please feel free to email me privately at

Please join me this week and throughout the year in prayer for Our Nation and Our President on this issue. Melinda is asking us to commit to praying for President Obama's heart on this issue every Monday morning. She will post a scripture on Sunday night so that we can pray over this topic in unity. Will you consider being a part? I will leave you with this short video...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A New Look

My blog just got a total revamp thanks to my sweet, creative, talented friend Brianna. The old header was replaced by more current pictures that were taken recently when we visited the Saban family. Brianna is a great photographer and I get super excited whenever she takes our pictures! Too bad she doesn't live closer, but if you are ever in the New Mexico area let me know and I will connect you. It would be worth it!

Brianna made the header for me and I love it, however it made the old background look funny so I changed it. I like this one much better. Change is good from time to time. Brianna has some more pictures of our family posted on her blog. Go check them out if you would like and while you are there take a look around and tell her how much you like her work. We all like to get our feathers fluffed every once in a while and she deserves it! You Rock Bri!

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Sweet Shower for a Sweet Friend

Last weekend I got to help host a baby shower for my sweet friend Meridith. It was so much fun. I have known Meridith for a long time, since first grade maybe? I know that I knew her in third grade because I attempted to kick her out of the talent show dance that me and some other girls were making up. Oh ya, I was mean like that in the third grade. No good reason, just plain mean. As you can tell our friendship has endured many trials over the years. We try to avoid the talent show competition conversation, but I think we have moved beyond that. Right Meridith? Anyways, she is pregnant with her first baby. A sweet baby boy should arrive soon. It is so fun to see my childhood friends finally joining me on the motherhood adventure (oh, how I kid).

This shower was super fun because the hostesses were long time friends. I don't necessarily talk to them all that often, but we are able to just pick right back up. Those types of friendships are so great and comfortable. They are also rare and I think they are a beautiful picture of unconditional love. Despite life, differences, and conflict, these relationships remain. Thanks girls for being that in my life! I think you are all fabulous!

Well, I did want to just write a bit about my girls but I also wanted to share with you some of what we did at the shower. It was one of my favorite showers to be a part of and so I thought I would share the ideas and maybe you can use them one day too.

We painted bibs, burp cloths, and onesies. Allison came up with the idea and I think it is precious. She made this sheet to be suggestions for people and then we each got to paint something.

Here are a few of the pictures of the work that was done. Allison painted the Longhorn and I was glad because Meridith is a Texas graduate and a HUGE fan. I told Allison it was the first thing I thought to do for her but that my allegiance to Texas Tech wouldn't let me.

I did this one:

Here are a few more:

Aren't they cute? Are you adding this to your shower idea list yet? Too bad I can't take credit for the idea, but I love it and I have every intention of stealing it.

Here is a picture of a group of us girls:

The Allison I referred to above is the brunette on the left. She and her husband own the local Smoothie Kings (go buy a smoothie from them!). She and I used to get chased by dogs on a regular basis when we were growing up. We lived in the same neighborhood as kids. She is super sweet. When we were wrapping everything up she made the comment that we are great to throw a shower with and I replied by telling her she was great, because she does almost all the work and pretty frugally! Thanks Allison.

Then there is Stephany who is soon to married! Congratulations Steph!

Allison in the blond is in the middle next to me. Our friendship doesn't go back quite as far (which may be a good thing since I was a little nicer maybe), but we have known each other since junior high. She is my friend that I asked you all to pray for when she lost her baby nearly a year ago and yes if you can tell that is a pregnancy bump under that shirt! Words cannot express how happy I am for her! She has been through so much and she just keeps pressing on! I love her and am thankful to be a part of her life.

Meridith is the pregnant girl next to Allison. I am so excited for her and I can't wait to meet Riley. So fun to see her become a mama! It was fabulous to see her for the shower and even better to grab a cup of Joe after the shower and chat. I can't wait to hear how this baby rocks her world. It will be in a good way, but these kiddos have such a tendency to shake things up a bit! Praying for you and baby to have a healthy delivery!

Then there is Kim with red hair. She is the next one we plan to be throwing a baby shower for...right, some day soon?

And last is Lisa. Lisa is a mom of two sweet girls and everyone agrees she is so fun to be around. I'm just not around her often enough.

This is the letter that I made for Riley's room. These are so cheap, easy, and a great baby shower gift. They are made out of a premade letter at a craft store, scrapbook paper, and modge podge. I actually get to finish the rest of the name and Meridith will use them in the room. What a fun project for me!

Girls, we really don't do this enough? Why does there have to be a special occasion to get together? We should do better.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Sweet Andrew Thomas is 20 months old. I have been wanting to do a blog post all about him for a while now so here goes...

He is a ball of energy. He loves all things boy. He runs, jumps, and climbs all the time. He is super sweet and has a smile on his face much of the day, but just tell him no if you want to change that! He really believes that he should get his way ALL of the time!

He is silly! He loves to make faces at people and mimic all sorts of noises. He has the most precious giggle and he loves people! He chases his brother and sister around and likes to sword fight with them even when they aren't ready or looking. He is one tough little guy! He falls more often and harder than any child we have had. He wants a hug and a kiss with a little sympathy and then he is good to go. He has had weeks at a time when he has had a knot on his head from a fall and he repeatedly hits it and makes it worse and more bruised looking. He loves to play with balls and to play cars. We have this large storage tub full of cars and he drags it down the hall to me to have me open it for him almost daily. He will sit and make and engine noise with the cars for large chunks of time.

He is learning to talk more clearly. He says many words, but a few that come to mind are NO, chok (this is my attempt to spell how he says OK), doggie, where daddy (with arms out as if asking), ba(ball), and Chadow(Shadow- which is Gran's dog).
He loves to be outside and the minute someone is near the door or talking about going he is at the coat closet trying to get someone to give him his coat. He could stay outside all day long. He climbs and slides, and swings to his little hearts content when we go to the park.

He is super sweet! He doesn't sit still for long, but I cannot tell you how many times a day he comes to me, climbs in my lap, and gives me a kiss (which is just when he pushes his closed mouth to my face). He even will come and put his face in mine so we can rub noses. Absolutely adorable. What joy these moments bring to this mom's heart! He is the baby and he has captured a special place in my heart! I adore him. I laugh at him over and over during the day. He is a precious gift from above! God, thank you for Andrew. May we never take even a moment with him for granted!

New Year Focus

Well, it is now the 14th of January and I am finally getting around to writing a New Years Post. Probably not the best start, but I guess that is OK. I talked to Trace about resolutions and he said I don't "do" resolutions, but he has joined a gym in the past week and we as a family have been doing a few things differently since returning from our trip. I just laughed at his resolve to not participate in resolutions. I am sort of the same way and I am not sure why, however I know that this year the Lord has placed a few things on my heart. I saw around blogland that people were choosing a word for the year to focus on and some even have chosen a word for every month. I began thinking and praying about this year and asking the Lord what he wanted to press on my heart and what areas he wanted to be a focus for me.

He has given me two words: prayer and belief. The Lord has been directing my heart to more intentional prayer for the past couple of years. It has become clear to me that I need to be setting aside more time for prayer, for time with my Savior. And going along with that is the idea of belief. These two things are not separate. When I pray I must pray in belief. I must realize that I am approaching the King of All, nothing is beyond His reach. There is nothing that cannot be overcome through His power. We are allowed to enter the throne of Grace in boldness. I must have greater understanding of who I am praying to! I believe greater knowledge of who He is will radically change my prayer life.

I have said for a long time that I tend to either be bible heavy or prayer heavy, but that I don't do both well at the same time. The Lord has been merging these two things together in a beautiful way. He is teaching my that time in His word leads to time in prayer and it teaches me how and what to pray. If I pray God's word for myself, my kids, friends, and family then I can be pretty confident that I am praying God's will. I am not assuming to have this all figured out and it is definitely an area that I need to grow in, hence the focus of the year for me, but the Lord is faithful to draw us near as we ask. I remember last year that Trace prayed that the Lord would make us a praying family. What a gift to see the Lord answering that prayer.

Our church has begun the New Year with a focus on prayer. I am so excited to have this confirmation and to be a part of this 4 week series. At the end of the series the congregation will be encouraged to read a book by Kay Arthur that is called Lord, teach me to pray in 28 days. I have decided to read the book and would love to know if you would be interested in joining me. It is always helpful to know others are coming along beside you. Let me know if you are interested.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Help...we have a crisis here.

Aidan got a Nintendo DS for Christmas and it is hands down every one's favorite gift this year. Rebecca loves to play it while Aidan is at school and I have been fine with that so far, but today she played with it and now it has mysteriously disappeared. It is nowhere to be found. We have searched the house. I am sure it will eventually turn up, because I know it is in this house, but when and where is another story. I have told Rebecca so many times that she has to be careful and respectful with things in general, but especially other peoples things. I think this is a great teaching opportunity, but I am not at all sure how to handle this.

So far I have taken away Rebecca's 3 favorite toys. They are in my closet. I told her I don't know when or if she will get them back. She has spent the last 45 minutes in her bed sulking. I am honestly soliciting your thoughts on this. What message am I teaching her? What would you do? If we can't find it should I sell her toys to buy him a new one? Help...I don't know what to do. I want to use this to shape her heart, but I am not sure the best way. I am also very frustrated. This is the most expensive toy we have bought and now it is gone. I don't want my knowledge of costs and materialism to seep into this. Give me any thoughts. Don't hold back (well, as long as you are still kind).

***Updated to add - We found the DS a few hours later. It was stuck back behind the TV. I have told Rebecca that she can choose one item everyday to get back as long as she can be responsible with the things she has and will make sure they are put away in a safe place when she is finished playing with them. We have chosen 2 safe places for the DS where it can easily be found the next time some one is looking for it. We will see if this was a moment that helped her understand better or not. She also has to earn back the right to play with Aidan's DS. So the issue has been resolved and I have fumbled through it but I would still love your input and thoughts about how you would handle something like this. If it was Becca's toy it would be so simple, it would just be gone. The hard part was that it isn't her toy, but rather her brother's favorite toy. So will you play along with this scenario and give me some fresh thoughts?

Catching Up with many pictures!

Sorry about my little out of town blogging break turned into an in town blogging break. This past week was long and tiring for all of us and I had many things to do to get our home back in order. We also got the privilege of making 2 trips to the doctor last week, which literally is THE BIGGEST time sucker ever. I am amazed at how long it can take to get in and out at the doctors office! One appointment was just a 6 year check up for Aidan (that I had to reschedule after completely forgetting to go) and the other was to get Andrew's ears checked. He did have an ear infection and has been on an antibiotic for about a week. Well, enough about all that boring stuff. Let's do a little catching up.

We enjoyed our time in New Mexico with Trace's family. We spent several days in Clovis with Trace's mom, dad, and his sister. The kids got to have their 3rd Christmas there. They were truly spoiled this Christmas between everyone. Everyone got something that they loved and have played with, but Rebecca was given a jewelry box by Gran (Trace's mom) and some new jewelry that she has carried around with her everywhere. When she opened her necklace she said "this is what I have been waiting for". So cute and easy to please. Sometimes I think that we overdue things for our kids, because we don't understand how easy to please they can really be. This year I have been challenged to realize that much of our gift giving is really more for me than them. We have resolved to have a more simple Christmas next year, especially in regards to the gifts we give to our children. We are still praying about what that looks like for our family, but we know that our kids do not "need" all that they receive. It was so fun to see them open their presents, but there were moments that I could see that they were completely overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next. I have this tendency to compare what we do and call it small compared to people who do more, rather than just looking at what is right for this little family of mine.

After our time in Clovis we went to Albuquerque where we spent time with Trace's best friend from college and his family and then also at his sister's house there. We always enjoy our time with the Saban family. They have 3 precious boys and we always have real, good conversation with them. I love their openness, honesty, and the fact that they just crack me up! We always stay up much too late when we visit! Then we spent a few days with Trace's sister and enjoyed a great trip to the aquarium. The kids have all fallen in love with dear aunt Susan. Here are a few pictures of our Albuquerque fun.

Attempting a family picture at the aquarium

Susan, Aidan, and the Jellyfish

Susan and all the kids, Trace and I just sat back and watched.

Andrew makes a slam dunk
Sweet Asher clapping for himself and his big shot!
Parker and Becca playing Guess Who
Somehow I got no pictures of the adults or Spencer - we have got to do better next time!

When we returned to Clovis Trace's dad wasn't feeling great so he sort of hung low. We hated not getting to enjoy our time with him. The kids loved hanging out with Gran, playing games with their family, both on the computer and off, and getting dessert everyday while we were gone. Here are some pictures from our time in Clovis.

Aidan, Becca, and Gran (Gran says she hates pictures of herself so she will probably kill me for posting this, but I think it is sweet!)
Andrew and Grandpa Bob
Aunt Susan and Andrew
Oh ya, I almost forgot. Andrew got his first haircut in Clovis and he hated it! He didn't have much to cut but he had a fuzzy tail that needed to go so we said goodbye to it with many tears.
He cried so much we tried this.
Sitting with mommy didn't help all that much either. He wanted them to leave him alone!

We finally made it back to Tyler late Saturday night. We stayed indoors all day Sunday, trying to unpack and rest. School started Monday as well as all our normal activities so we were off and running. By Friday we were all worn out. This weekend was pretty laid back and was much needed. I think we are finally hitting our stride again.