Weekend Thoughts

5 years ago this month, God took her home to heaven.  Though the truth is, Alzheimer’s/Dementia took Grandma from us long before then.  At first she’d just forget what time we’d be leaving for church the next day or when we’d be eating dinner.  Later she forgot her grandchildren, children, and eventually even her own identity.  Bit by bit the disease took more of her. 

I remember walking into the care facility the weekend Scott and I had gotten engaged.    At this point, Grandma wasn’t able to have coherent conversations anymore.  She’d say rhymes or gibberish or murmur under her breath.  It was incredibly hard to visit her b/c you knew she didn’t know you, and she couldn’t even hold a conversation with you.  And the pained look on my father’s face as he watched his mom like that always tore my heart out.   I’d still go with my dad when I was home from college, we wouldn’t stay long, but I just felt we should still go.  And that weekend I wanted to go to tell her I had gotten engaged.  Scott had met her before (I had wanted her to “meet” him so that I at least knew in my heart that she had seen him).  We went for me, not for her.   I knew she wouldn’t understand, but I wanted my grandma to be a part of this life changing occasion in my life. 

It was Easter and there was hymns playing in the sitting room.  Grandma was there in a wheel chair staring off into space.  As I got closer though I realized she was singing along with the hymns.   My eyes filled with tears.    The disease may have stolen her memories past and present but it didn’t take her faith.   More than once when Scott and I went to visit her in the midst of a string of gibber gabber we’d hear her murmur, “God loves me, I love God.”    I couldn’t help but think of the verse in Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”   Grandma may not have understood her situation or what was going on around her, but she truly had a peace that passed all understanding.    I was also reminded of Romans 8:8-39, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

5 years ago we buried Grandma.  As I sat in the old country church holding my very loud and squirmy 18 mth old son, I mourned the fact that she never got to know him.  She would have loved to play games with him and make him laugh much like she did with me when I was little.  She’d have sang him Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Old MacDonald and played peek a boo.  With tears trickling down my face we sang the old hymn, “Blessed Assurance.”  They couldn’t have chosen a better hymn to sing at her funeral. 

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

  • Refrain:
    This is my story, this is my song,
    Praising my Savior all the day long;
    This is my story, this is my song,
    Praising my Savior all the day long.
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  • Perfect submission, perfect delight,
    Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
    Angels, descending, bring from above
    Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
  •  
  • Perfect submission, all is at rest,
    I in my Savior am happy and blest,
    Watching and waiting, looking above,
    Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

I have lots of memories of my grandma.  Lunches at McDonalds, getting letters in the mail written on the back of McDonalds placemats,riding in the front seat of Grandpa’s Ford Pick up truck, playing in the fields of her farm, but the one I cherish most is that Easter in the nursing home when I witnessed her praising her Savior all her days long.  I hope that when I am gone my family can say that my story was such.

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A few years ago a woman from my church passed out these prayer cards written by Bob Hostetler to the ladies in our MOPS group.  Each card had 31 Biblical Virtues to pray for your children, with verses included. 

I thought this was a great idea and instantly tucked it away inside my Bible.

Only to forget about it and lose track of it with all the other papers stuffed in there.

While doing some cleaning recently I stumbled across the card again and decided to put it up on my fridge instead.  Because the kitchen is pretty much the center of my home and where I spend the majority of my time it seems. 

With the card up on my fridge, I see it throughout the day and am prompted to pray for that days virtue for my children.  I am so excited to pray more specifically for my kids.  Not only does the card help me with that, but it also has helped me to focus in on the traits that I want to be instilling in my children.  It serves as a great reminder to me of what we are striving for. 

I’ve also gone through the list and picked out a specific trait that I am consistently praying for each individual child.  They are traits that I see them currently struggling with and it has helped me to focus on working on that with that child.

So, we are working on self-control for one, kindness for another, and respect for a third.  With these in mind, when I discipline them and correct them I am trying to really hone in on those virtues and also to praise them when I see them exhibiting these traits.    As they grow, or as new needs arise, I am sure I will find other traits to focus on, but for right now, these are the areas I am concentrating on with each individual child.

And I love the prayers that go with them… just listen… (or read, I suppose)

For self control:  “Father help my children not to be like many others around them, but let them be alert and self-controlled in all they do.”  1 Thes 5:6

For kindness:  “Lord, may my children always to try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.”  1 Thes. 5:15

For respect:  “Father grant that my children may show proper respect to everyone, as your Word commands.”  1 Peter 2:17

There are so many wonderful prayers on here… for salvation, love for God’s word, heart for missions, courage, purity… it really has been a wonderful tool for me over the past few weeks and I hope to keep up with it. 

I want to be an intentional and prayerful mother.  That is my goal.  Some days I just survive and make it through, but this little card on my fridge, is helping give focus and direction to my mothering.

If your interested in the card, you can click here and download the card for free.   I highly suggest putting it in a place you look at often, as that has definitely worked for me in following through with the prayers.

Do you shop at Amazon?  If so, please click here to read more about how you can help me help those suffering in Sudan without costing you anything more than a click of your mouse.  Together we had raised $280 dollars total as of January, but since then thinks have drastically slowed down.  Just wanted to remind you of this simple opportunity to help as you purchase birthday gifts and other things throughout the year.

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Since before each of my children were born, my hearts deepest desire has been for them to know the Lord Jesus as their Savior.   My son has demonstrated to us numerous times through various conversations that he recognizes he is a sinner and Christ died on the cross to forgive his sins. 

IMG_7023 My girls have not come to that point yet, but this Easter season we got one step closer.  We did the Resurrection Eggs with the kids this year and the way we did it was to start 12 days prior to Easter and open one egg each day leading up to Easter Sunday, opening the 12th egg, Easter night.  We would spend time review the previously discussed eggs each night, with the hopes of truly solidifying the Easter story in their hearts and minds and helping them to grasp the significance of the events leading up to our Lord’s death and resurrection. 

One night we were discussing the cross and my husband asked my oldest daughter some questions. 

“Who died on the cross?”

“Jesus”

“Why did he die on the cross?”

“Because he loved us.”

“What did he die for?”

“Our sins”

“Whose sins?”

“All of our sins”

“Did he die for your sins?”

“He died for EVERYBODY’S sins”

It took several rounds of discussing and questioning to get her to not just answer everybody’s sins, but to get her to say that he died for HER SINS.  And this was a crucial first step towards her coming to a saving faith of her own.

This is a huge point, that in my opinion is well worth spending time on.  It can be easy to say, “Yes, Jesus died on the cross for all of our sins.”  My girls can even tell you that sins are the bad things we do and that Jesus didn’t do anything bad.  But, until my child recognizes that she herself is a sinner, that Jesus died on the cross to take the consequences of her sins, until she makes it personal, she won’t recognize her need for a personal Savior. 

My prayer for my kids isn’t simply that they grow up with a sound head knowledge of Christian doctrine.  My prayer is that my children will have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  That they will call Him Lord.  This relationship is possible only because Christ, who had no sin, took the consequence of our sin upon Himself when he died on the cross.  With the consequence paid, the perfectly just creator God can be united with me and my imperfect daughters.  Jesus is the mediator between us and God, but only if we personally acknowledge our need for a mediator. 

Before my girls can have that personal relationship with our Lord, they need to first recognize that they personally are a sinner.  That their personal sins were enough to require Jesus to die on the cross.  He did it for them.  Once they recognize that point, then they can grasp what is means to call Christ their personal savior.  Then, once Christ is their Lord, they can go on to live the life of purpose God intends for them.

I eagerly await that day.  We’re one step closer.

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Sometimes the music in my car radio really serves as nothing more than background noise to the chattering or squabbling going on in the back seat and the to do lists and other random thoughts going on in my brain. 

One day though something about the lyrics caused me to take pause and listen.  I turned the radio up and even though I’ve heard the song countless times before, I listened to it for the first time.

It was called “The Change” by Steven Curtis Chapman.

Well I got myself a T-shirt that says what I believe
I got letters on my bracelet to serve as my ID
I got the necklace and the key chain
And almost everything a good Christian needs, yeah
I got the little Bible magnets on my refrigerator door
And a welcome mat to bless you before you walk across my floor
I got a Jesus bumper sticker
And the outline of a fish stuck on my car
And even though this stuff’s all well and good, yeah
I cannot help but ask myself

What about the change
What about the difference
What about the grace
What about forgiveness
What about a life that’s showing
I’m undergoing the change, yeah
I’m undergoing the change

Well I’ve got this way of thinking that comes so naturally
Where I believe the whole world is revolving around me
And I got this way of living that I have to die to every single day
‘Cause if God’s Spirit lives inside of me, yeah

I’m gonna live life differently
I’m gonna have the change
I’m gonna have the difference
I’m gonna have the grace
I’m gonna have forgiveness
I’m gonna live a life that’s showing
I’m undergoing the change

It made me think about the way we as Christians portray ourselves to the world around us.  So often we are concerned with letting everyone know we are Christians and making sure we look like “good” Christians.  But, I can’t help but think that if we spent our time and energy living our lives as Christ did, then they would be able to tell without us having to tell them.   They could see God’s work in our lives by our actions.   It is my prayer that those I encounter in my life would notice the change taking place in my life.  And that then I would be “prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have.” (1 Peter 3:15)

Weekend Thought ButtonWhat are you thinking about this week? Why not use your last post of the week to highlight something a bit "deeper" then the average “Momblog” fair?  I’d love to read your thoughts.  Please feel free to write and link up a  “thoughtful” post below.  You can write a new post or link up one you wrote earlier in the week.  Please include a link back to here in your post.

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As 2009 came to a close, we spent some time as a family discussing the highlights.  It really was a wonderful year!  I feel so blessed for the many opportunities for family fun that we had in the past year.

IMG_4674 In January Scott and I were able to go to a Steelers  home AFC championship and watch them beat the Ravens and make it to the Super bowl.  Shortly after we hosted a Super bowl party with our family and watched our beloved Steelers bring home a 6th Super bowl victory.  What a way to start the year!

This past spring we took a family vacation to Texas.  We had a wonderful time visiting family and spending time in God’s magnificent creation. IMG_6634

Our son was able to play baseball this spring…a dream come true for him!  We also got to go and see the Baltimore Orioles play twice at Camden Yards.  batter up

IMG_8786Scott and I both turned 30 this year and we celebrated by treating ourselves to a weekend away in Washington DC.  We both enjoyed the time away together.  

We  spent a good deal of time as a family this spring and summer swimming and fishing.  Both were highlights for the kids.

 

During the summer we welcomed two new nephews into our extended family.   My brother and his wife and Scott’s sister and her husband each had a baby boy this summer.  We were able to visit with them both shortly after they were born and we are delighted to have them in our family!   IMG_0351 IMG_1449

In the fall, we began homeschooling our son using a local tutorial.  This was an answer to prayer, as a year ago, we were not certain what we’d be doing for kindergarten this fall.  It has been a true blessing to our family and a IMG_2002delight for us all as we learn together. 

Our oldest daughter finally got to participate in a sport of her own this fall…gymnastics…it is a perfect fit for her and I can’t begin to describe the joy I get in watching her out on the floor.  My favorite is watching her on the bars!  

 

 

 

 

My baby girl is hardly a baby as she is learning and growing and absorbing new things like a dry sponge…I have a hard time reminding myself she is only 2.  She  loves to sing and read books and keep up with her older siblings.  We also learned this fall that she won’t be the baby for long!  As we look to the new year the thing we are most anticipating is the arrival of baby number 4 this summer!

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As the new year begins, I encourage you to take some time to look back and reflect on the past years blessings.   Too often it is easy to  focus on the urgency of today or the plans of tomorrow.  But, there is much to be gained from looking back as well.  For me as I look back this week, I am filled with immense gratitude.

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Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!!!

Growing up and living in the midAtlantic region means that snow is something we are familiar with, but we don’t encounter on a regular basis.  It’s not like we’re living in Houston and a dusting of snow occurs once a decade.  But, it also isn’t unreasonable that I don’t go out and purchase snow suits for my kids every winter either. 

We can typically anticipate seeing snowfall at least once a year.  It may be an inch or a dusting, but at least the kids all know what the white stuff is.  More often than not we get ice. 

Growing up Scott and I can recall watching the news and listening to forecasts hoping and praying for a snow storm, while most of the time the storm would seem to hit all around our surrounding area and leave us with rain.

But, every now and then, when everything lines up perfectly, we’ll get dumped with a good snow storm.  Last time it happened was in Feb of 2003.  Scott and I were flying to Ca to visit his sick Grandpa while the Baltimore Metropolitan Area was getting covered in a foot of snow.  I remember being so bummed that we were missing out on all the excitement. 

This time however, we are present for all the excitement.

And exciting it is!

IMG_4283We had planned to take the kids to Hersheypark today to enjoy the Christmas Candyland.  But instead, God blessed us with a winter wonderland, right here in our own back yard. 

The snow started last night around 10pm and it hasn’t stopped yet! The weather men are saying we could see 15-20 inches of snow here.  It is a record breaking snowfall for December in our area.  And 6 days before Christmas, it’s like a winter wonderland.  I really can’t think of anything more magical.  I fell asleep with the blinds open watching the flakes fall peacefully from the sky and woke to sounds of delight from my three children as they looked out their windows. 

After a filling breakfast of Daddy Omelet’s, we donned our winter gear and headed out to enjoy the white stuff.  

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My youngest enjoyed it the least.  She found it fun for awhile, but once her hands soaked through the wool gloves she was ready to come inside and bake cookies with mommy. 

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My middle child doesn’t enjoy being cold and typically bails out first on winter weather activities.   Today however, she held in there pretty well. 

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My son would have gladly turned into a snow man.  He was the first to get dressed, dressing in at least 5 shirts and two pants.  Despite the fact that he didn’t have any snow pants, he was out playing in the backyard before the girls were even dressed and never complained once about being cold.  IMG_4240

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He truly loved playing in the snow and I am confident is going to be enjoying himself quite a bit over the next few days. 

I am so thankful for this winter wonderland God gave for us to play in.  I am thankful it fell on Saturday and we had no place we had to be.  I am thankful for unplanned weekend at home with which to play, bake, and enjoy time together as a family.   I am also thankful for a warm place to come inside.  We can go outside and play for a little bit and then come inside, put our clothes in the dryer, change into something dry and warm, sip hot chocolate and watch the rest of the storm from our windows.  As we sit down at the table to enjoy yummy treats, I can’t help but think of those who have no place to go and get respite from the storm.  For those who see today as a test of survival, rather than a day of play.

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This weekend my thoughts are all on snow.  The fun and joy it brings and the reminder of my great fortune as well.

What are you thinking about this snowy Saturday?

Weekend Thought ButtonWhat are you thinking about this week? Why not use your last post of the week to highlight something a bit "deeper" then the average “Momblog” fair?  I’d love to read your thoughts.  Please feel free to write and link up a  “thoughtful” post below.  You can write a new post or link up one you wrote earlier in the week.  Please include a link back to here in your post.

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