Monday, September 30, 2013

His Promises

I was at the park last week feeding the ducks with some friends.  I noticed along the bank of the pond there were some giant trees whose roots stretched down right into the water.  It was actually a really neat sight and I wish I had taken a picture, but it reminded me of Psalm 1.  "[Blessed is the man who] delights in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.  He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.  In all that he does, he prospers."  How wonderful for that tree to be planted right beside a source of water.  I think when doing a job like being a mom of littles, it is so easy to become weary , bone tired and exhausted, desperate to just survive each day!  I ask God to help me be like that tree planted by a water source.  Help me to dig my roots down into the Word so I can have that vital water that I need to survive, or produce fruit even!  What an encouraging verse to a mom of littles.

Another verse that I think is wonderful for moms of littles is Isaiah 40:11:

"He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young."

Yes, Lord.  Claim this verse for yourself, moms.  Lord, gather us in your arms, carry us in your bosom.  Gently lead me while I'm with young.  Yes, gently, because I feel so fragile some days.  I need you to carry me.  This is a promise from our God.  Claim it for yourself.  Pray it all day.  God knows this is a hard job.  That's why he even acknowledges that we need to be led, and gently at that!  He knows when I am up all hours of the night, and still expected to get up at dawn and care for my children all the way until their bedtime!  He knows I'm bone tired and emotionally unstable some days.  He knows about every meltdown I have to tame.  Lord, lead me.

Finally, God has another promise for us.  Matthew 11:28:  "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."  I am claiming this, you guys.  Give me rest, Lord.  Help me carry my burdens.  Give me the strength and love I need to be the mother and wife you want me to be today.  Give me rest in your arms.  Moms, this is probably one of the most physically demanding times of our lives.  God knows it.  He promises to carry us in his arms, to gently lead us moms, and to give us rest.  And he will use this difficult time to sanctify us and teach us and form us into the women he wants us to become.  Thank you, Lord, for continuing the work you've begun in us.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Half a Year

Is this little joy already 6 months old?  Wow.  I have to admit that the first few months were pretty hard.  I'm pretty glad we are past them!  But I do love this stage she is at now.  A few things about her:

1.  She knows what she wants and goes for it.  She will dive for objects or try to get anything mommy is holding by flailing her arms all about when I'm holding her.  She is a determined little lady.
2.  She still can't handle dairy.  I took half a bite of ice cream a few weeks ago and that resulted in blood in her stool the next morning!
3. She still wants to eat 2-3 times a night.  Usually I feel fine, but some days I am just bone tired and weary.
4.  She started sitting shortly after turning 5 months.
5.  She wants learn to crawl in order to get objects, but she doesn't like being on her belly for very long.  We'll see how that goes.
6.  She is fun-loving and a generally content baby.  She is usually pretty good at entertaining herself.
7.   At her 6 month appointment, she was 15 lb 12 oz (50%), and I don't know the exact measurements, but the doctor said 60% for length, and 40% for head.

Yes, Lyla is sittin' pretty in that picture up there, but I had to work hard to steal that one!  Here are the others I ended up with:

Brother is going to toughen this girl up!


Lol, you would think all her different poses were intentional!  Clearly, we can't get the girl to sit still.  And we have the hardest time keeping brother out of the pictures!  He can't stand it when I take her picture each month.  Cracks me up.  So far, Emerson and Lyla are pretty good buddies.  I pray they always are.

Happy 1/2 year sweet girl!  I love you forever!

Monday, September 16, 2013

What Makes a Daughter Beautiful?

One thing I have noticed since having a baby girl is how often people call her pretty.  As a little girl I remember being told the same thing.  Growing up with sisters, I think looks were probably mentioned a lot around us.  It's just funny to me, because when I had Emerson, I don't remember people commenting on his looks so much (usually he was called smart).  For some reason, people feel that when you are complimenting a girl, it should be about how she looks (I'm guilty of it too!).

A few years ago, I remember wondering if I would have struggled so much with insecurity about my image if external beauty wasn't emphasized so much growing up (not necessarily by my parents, but people in general, plus media).  What if I was complimented more on my abilities, or intelligence, or joy, or heart, or leadership, or good works, etc.  But I guess even these type compliments are all focused on me and my ability to do something.  Which would ultimately put pressure on me to succeed in some form or another.  This would eventually result in failure and disappointment in myself, because no one can be perfect at something their whole life. And one might be willing to go to extreme measures to maintain that characteristic.  My identity and self-worth should not be found in any of these, but in the fact that I am a child of God, chosen by Him, and covered in His grace. This fact is unchanging and does not depend on my works or ability to do anything. 

So, now that I have a daughter, how does this affect the way I speak to her or build her up?  It's not like I will refuse to call her beautiful!  She is beautiful.  God does make beautiful creations and it is good to praise Him for that.  But I certainly don't want to make that the only or most frequent thing I say about her.  That would teach her that her beauty is what is most valuable about her, which it isn't.  It is not wrong to tell her that she is smart, or coordinated, or sweet, or a good artist either.  God designed us to be able to do and be these types of things... to be creative and active and capable of learning lots of things.  After all, we are made in His image and He is those things.

So, how, as parents, do we help our children view themselves rightly, as God sees them, and not according to the world's standard?  Maybe we should start by helping them to see God rightly.  As He has revealed Himself in Scripture.  It seems impossible to view ourselves rightly when we don't view God rightly.  The better we know Christ, the more we see our sinfulness and need of a Savior.  And the better we know Scripture and the good news in it, the better we understand God's great and unwavering love for us.  And we will know that we did nothing to deserve it, but it was a free gift and God chose to give it to us. 

Would understanding the Gospel not help our children to develop humble, grateful attitudes and self perceptions?  However, I also know that a parent can only do so much to lead their child to Christ.  It is out of our hands at some point, which is why our children's souls should constantly be in our prayers.

I have not reached a conclusion about this.  These comments are just where my thoughts take me when I think about it.  I have seen opposing views on blogs from other Christians... some go so far as to say you shouldn't tell them they are pretty and others believe it is what girls need to hear!  What do you think?  How can we teach our children to see God rightly and to see themselves as God sees them?  How can we teach our daughters to find their self-worth in the fact that they are a child of God?

Please know I am not writing this to create a debate or anything.  I just think it is good to think about parenting and parent on purpose, not just fly by the seat of our pants or make things up as we go (all the time at least!).  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Gone Campin'

Over Labor Day Weekend, Miss Lyla had her first camping trip!  It was a great, relaxing weekend.  The kids did great too.  It was in the mid 90's for the weekend, but we actually kept pretty cool!  I tried to document the whole weekend with my camera, since it was Lyla's first campin' trip and all :)

The first Razorback Game of the Season called for Lyla to wear her Hog Call Onesie :)

Do you think that is a dimple on her cheek or just how her cheeks are?

Lyla (5 mos) and Callie (10 mos) keeping cool

The boys playing on the top bunk
Boys bein' boys... making forts!

Going on a hike!

E's first time fishing!

He caught a fish on his first cast!  Beginner's luck.

Nana and 2 of her 3 girls :)

Devil's Den has a great kiddie pool!

Ashley and Callie

Nana and Papa!

We had a sudden thunderstorm, which forced everyone into the camper... always exciting!

Roastin' Dogs
I think Miss Lyla already approves of the great outdoors!  She's outside about every day watching brother play, so she better like it!  I absolutely love how my kids have cousins their age to play with.  They are already becoming such buddies and it is such a joy to watch!  What a rich blessing family is :)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Off to School

Today, I dropped my little boy off for his first day of school ever!  It was only mother's day out and it was only from 8-12, but I still missed him.  Our house is SO MUCH quieter without him in it.  It makes me think how empty our house will feel one day when all the kids go off to college.  I won't worry about that now.

Here are some pics of Emerson before school.

How adorable are his doggie backback and lunchbox?!

His teacher is Miss Jennifer!  She is super sweet.

When I picked Emerson up, she went on about how great he did and how he was a good helper and how he was a good eater (we already knew that part! lol).  I think he had fun.  This afternoon he said, "I wanna go to school!"  So, I think that means it was a success!  Here's to many more first days of school!