Julia at 27 Months







Julia is doing so many things right now, and saying so many cute things, this post is just all about her and her sayings.

Each morning when she wakes up she says: "Hi mamas!" (this is from aunt Sara)

At breakfast, while she's eating, she asks for a napkin, and she sings, "Clean up!" or she'll remind herself, "Don't spill..."

After breakfast she watches a video or the part of Sesame Street that includes Elmo (the last 15 minutes of the show is the best part...La La La La, Elmo's World!) And she'll say, "C'mon Mom (or Marky) watch show!" "Elmo's world!"

During her playtime, I've been noticing her interacting with her dolls more, she talks to them, hugs them, showers them with kisses, washes them with wipes, dresses them, or asks for help to dress them, and I've been listening to some of these conversations she has, "Don't cry baby..." "Be nice, or spankin on the hiney" "That's not nice" "I love you Brenna" (That's my friend's daughter's name who's 3 years old, I guess she named it after her, actually it does look like her with dark hair and brown eyes) or if I ask her a question "Ssssh, be quiet, baby sleeping" with her finger over her mouth to remind me.

She has been having a lot of fun with Mark now that he crawls. She crawls next to him and says, "Come on Marky!" They have a blast crawling together and chasing eachother. I love to hear Mark laugh through his binky, and Julia gets so tickled to see how happy she makes him.

Julia now has no problem, not only telling me "Snack, hungry, eat!" As a sentence, but she'll say "Muffin! or Tuna! or Pizza!" I'm training her not to demand things, but to say, "Snack please mommy." And it's cute how she signs please, (she rubs her hand over her heart) I guess for some reason she still does both, but I love seeing her do it.

When I correct her bad behavior (which has been creeping up a lot lately, especially in the sharing department with her brother) she stands very still and watches me, and usually once I'm done speaking she says, "Sorry mommy" and I can't help but hug her right away.

When it is time for nap-time she says, "Hold you?" When she wants me to pick her up and as sometimes if we are walking side by side on the steps, she goes, "Hold hand?"

We've been going to the library at least 2 times if not 3 times a week for Miss Marilyn's 10 am toddler class or just to go on the computer and play Reader Rabbit games while Mark plays in the toy area with the blocks, barn, puzzles, and other fun toys. She loves rabbits now. It is so funny. She finds them everywhere and she says rabbit perfectly. She can tell you all about the "rabbit's hands" and "pressing the button" and "popping the bubbles" on the computer screen. She's very enthusiastic about it.

Night time is still my favorite time with her because we've memorized lots of books now, like "Good night moon" and "Who is Coming to our house?" so she says each page and we read it together. I also love hearing her say "Lord my shepherd, I shall not want" The way she says shepherd is so hysterical because she says the whole word but super fast for some reason and she loves ending the verse by saying not want because she is very firm and expressive and nods her head in agreement. I have to film it! We've been memorizing Ephesians 6:1 together "Children Obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." but Julia always goes back to saying "shepherd...I shall not want!"

We sing "Jesus Loves Me this I know" and she knows all the words and it is adorable. She got an Easter bunny that sings this song from her Aunt Laurie and every time she sang it on Palm Sunday John's family was amazed. They loved hearing her little voice. Who wouldn't? She's such a cutie! At night when we sing she sometimes holds my face in her hands, this is my favorite part. I can tell she loves me.

Preschooler Playtime: Resurrection Eggs




Just wanted to use this post to showcase how big the kids are getting! LOL

For Palm Sunday, we spent the day with John's family, and now my house is filled with Easter baskets, toy plastic eggs, tons of new jars of bubbles, and lots of rabbits and chocolate!

Soooooo...I've decided to have a little Easter Egg hunt on Sunday, after church, with Julia and Mark (okay, really Julia) and I will be using the plastic eggs we got as gifts mixed in with the Resurrection Eggs.

Resurrection Eggs are 12 plastic eggs but each one has a filled with a small object that helps tell the Easter story. Every year I would use this during Palm Sunday and Easter, before spring break, to share with my students. John and I even hosted an egg hunt at the Taekwondo School for all the little kids and we told the parents ahead of time we would have the hunt, enjoy some snacks, and then share the true meaning of the Easter story. It was awesome to be able to share the gospel with so many un-churched kids or kids from families who maybe go to church but don't have relationships with Jesus. Actually we were really impressed with how much the kids enjoyed the story and knew about the crucifixion, burial, and how Christ rose again. Then we shared our testimonies.

I'm hoping Julia will understand more about Christ this year...we sing about Jesus, pray, read the Bible, but I'm just not sure how much her mind can understand at this point, but it can't hurt to try? Right?

Resurrection Eggs: The twelve eggs are all different colors and each color has a specific item (it comes with a booklet that guides the parents too, which is very helpful, also it was very inexpensive, less than $15 and you can buy it online or at your local Bible bookstore:

1. Blue egg: Donkey (Palm Sunday...Jesus' triumphal entry)

2. Light pink egg: silver coins (Judas' betrayal money)

3. Light purple egg: passover cup (The Last supper)

4. Orange egg: praying hands (The Garden of Gethsemane)

5. Green egg: leather whip (Jesus' trial and 39 lashes)

6. Light yellow egg: crown of thorns (mocking of Jesus)

7. Yellow egg: nails in the cross (crucifixion of Jesus)

8. Light green egg: Dice for gambling (Gambling for Jesus' robe)

9. Purple egg: soldier's spear (soldier piercing Jesus' side)

10. Cream egg: linen wrapping (Jesus' Grave Clothes)

11. Pink egg: Stone at the Tomb (Stone rolled away)

12. Light blue egg: empty (Jesus rose from the grave...my favorite egg to share!)



I hope you check out the link because the price was only $12.99!!!

Pampered






I want you to think back to a time when you felt completely relaxed, completely at ease, comfortable in your own skin, fully rested, and happy.

Well, I always think back to our Christmas vacation (The week after Christmas through New Years...school teacher time) spent in Barcelona, Spain. John and I flew into Milan and then over to Barcelona and it was one of my favorite trips with him.

It was December 26, 2005 til January 2, 2006 and we had the time of our life! Traveling with John is my favorite thing to do and as a young, married couple God really blessed us to the point where I would say to John, "What is God going to do to us? Why is He being so good to us? Are we going to have to be missionaries in a far off 3 world country?" Have you ever experienced something to good to be true? That's how life is with Jesus. He showers all of us with too good to be true moments if we just stop, and take the time to appreciate them when they come.

It was here in Barcelona that John gave me a full day of pampering at the salon, and I mean pampering. First of all, I have very, very curly hair, so curly that when I want to have it straight it takes about an hour and a half to blow it out. And as you will see in the pics my hair was very long. We had just eaten breakfast at a quaint little shop (chocolate croissants and expresso...oh, the life!) Then we walked around, the air was crisp, the sky was blue, the perfect day for straight hair (any humidity gets it frizzy).

So, this was a free day, it was our last day in Barcelona, we had shopped, so all the museums, ate at the best restaurants to try all the wonderful Spanish foods, including the best Paella ever! (a true highlight for my John) and I turned and looked at John and said, "Can I get my hair straight-ed?" Without hesitation, my husband agreed and we just walked into the nearest salon, and immediately they sat me down, and to my surprise two women did my hair (which cut the time to maybe 30 minutes, if that) and I even got a manicure done all at the same time. It was FABULOUS! John thought it was so cool, he even video-taped it! I was all smiles. There's nothing like getting your hair and nails done all at the same time.

I felt like a queen. I don't think I ever smiled that big in my whole life! Later that day, John had dinner reservations at an awesome restaurant (John is a planner, he plans all of our vacation the way any tour-Nazi (we tease him) would, with strict times and places, but I love it because we get the full cultural experience, and he is always very flexible if say, I get tired, or want to stop and window shop, but he likes to always at least have a plan....just a random factoid about my guy) But because he is a planner he puts a lot of thought into everything and this means so much to me.

This particular evening was very special...the restaurant was high class. We had to be dressed to the nines, he even had to wear a suit and tie! We brought in the New Year to a Spanish custom that for every 12 seconds before midnight you have to put a grape in your mouth! It was so fun and so silly (I even had my students try it when I got back) and the grapes are really big so it is impossible to do all 12 of them! Well, anyway, I cried. Right there in the restaurant...just because it was so wonderfully planned, because he made me feel like a queen, and because he loved me so.

Yup, for me, that was #1 on my list of being pampered!

Shepherding a Child's Heart Chapter 15



Chapter 15 Infancy to Childhood Training Procedures

Proverbs 22:15 "Folly is bound up in the heart of a child but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him."

This is probably one of the chapters in the book that gets the most controversy, but just like you can't be a teacher and not expect to discipline your students the same way you can't be a parent and expect not to discipline your children. It is just the way God has designed for it to be since sin has entered into the world, and since we are all born sinners.

Disobedience must be corrected, because if it isn't well, then you are sending your child mixed messages because we tell them they must obey us, but then if they disobey and we don't do anything, then what are we teaching them?

I know there are times with Julia that we will be getting ready for bedtime and I say come here so we can put pjs on, and she runs in the opposite direction. I'm not the type of parent to make things like that a game, if I called her to come here and she is disobedient and runs away then we have a sin issue here. I am always telling her how important it is to "Obey right away" We even sing an Obedience song that I learned at my old school (TCS-I taught 3rd and 4th grade for almost 7 years there).

Tedd Tripp says, "The 'When' of spanking is so simple that parents miss it. If your child has not obeyed, he needs to be spanked."

The circle of safety is where we want our children to be, where they honor and obey their parents, and God promises them a long life that will go well for them. But when our child disobeys us they step out of the circle of safety.

Tripp says, "While they are still young, you must teach your children that obedience is a necessity, not one of many options."

The "How of Spanking"

1. Should be done in a private place. We are not seeking to humiliate our child in front of others or their siblings. Children are to also be treated with dignity and respect. Another reason why we do not broadcast their faults or failures to others.

2. Tell your child specifically what he has done or failed to do. Your child needs to know that the spanking is in direct relationship to the bad behavior and not that you've "had it!" or are angry.

3. Make sure your child is old enough to acknowledge what they have done. So that they know why he/she is being spanked.

4. Remind them that it is not being done to vent your anger or frustration, but that the spanking is to restore them to the place which God has promised blessing. Remember we are rescuing them back into the circle of safety. When they disobey they leave the circle and are in serious danger. They must learn to submit to our God given authority.

5. Tell your child the number of swats or slaps on the bottom they will receive. (I think this is to reinforce that you are in a calm controlled place and not spanking to vent your anger)

6. After the spanking, take the child in your lap and hug him and tell him/her how much you love them and really don't want to have to spank (it grieves you) and how you hope you won't have to do it again. Restoration is the key.

7. Pray with your child. This is a time of encouragement because we are all sinners. This is why Christ came to die for our sin. Ask the Lord to help your child with their heart issue.

The "Why of Spanking"

God commands us as parents to discipline, and spanking "enables you to deal with issues of the heart. Remember the heart directs behavior. Discipline addresses the heart. It does not focus on behavior alone."


Some reminders:

"If you are too mad to discipline properly, you must instruct your child to take a seat or go to his room. Then you must seek the face of God. Repent of your anger. You must remain before God until you are able to deal with your child in integrity."

"When you feel pressure from observers, abandon the scene. (let's say if your in laws or friend do not approve of spanking) Go to a private place where you can respond to your child's needs without the pressure of public observation." I've had to do this. And it also teaches your child that even at someone else's house, the same rules of obedience apply. Have you ever seen children at a friend's house or with family act up because they knew mom and dad would not discipline them because other people were around. It is torture to watch because that child is being taught a horrible example and they think it is okay to take advantage of the situation.

Thanks for reading guys!

Mark at 10 Months







Mark Ciro is 10 months old now! In just 2 months we will be celebrating his big day (Can't wait to show you all the fun things we have in store for Mark on his day).

Here are 10 fabulous things Mark can do now:

1. Crawl on all fours (step above army crawling)

2. Stand up on his own

3. Cruises by hanging onto toys or furniture

4. Chases Julia around the house (I love to hear them giggle)

5. Climbs the stairs

6. Moving away from jar food (big money saver)

7. Nursing less (drinking juice and milk from sippy cup)

8. Sleeping longer hours at night (finally only getting up once to nurse and goes right back to sleep)

9. Talking and waving!!! Mark says "Ba ba" "Da da" "Ma ma" and many other combos

10. Stands in his crib and cries for me (one of my favorite sounds in the world)

I love you Mark-man! My little guy! Can't wait to post pics of my man on Easter (he has a tie and hat ensemble)

Saturday Recipe Swap--Banana Bread (or muffins)


Hi friends! Today my Mark is 10 months old!!! I can't take his cuteness :)
In honor of my muffin man I am sharing another Mama Mac favorite of mine: Banana Muffins (or a loaf)

I don't know about your kids, but muffins disappear very quickly in the McInerney household!

Banana Bread

1 loaf or 12 muffins

Ingredients:

1. 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick) or for low fat 1/2 stick of butter and 1/2 cup of applesause
2. 1 cup sugar
3. 2 eggs
4. 3 medium bananas
5. 1 tsp baking soda
6. 2 cups of flour
7. 1/2 tsp baking powder
8. 1/2 tsp salt
9. 1 cup of chopped walnuts (if you want)


Directions:

1. Cream butter and sugar together
2. Add one egg at a time, beating until smooth
3. Blend in bananas
4. In a separate bowl stir the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and nuts

For one loaf 350 degrees for 1 hour
For muffins 350 degrees for about 20-25 min.

Enjoy!!!

Stop by Suzette's Kitchen to see what's cooking! http://godlyrose.blogspot.com

Respect Means More



John and I outside near our hotel in London (2006).

Today's talk is inspired by lots of marriage experience (okay almost 7 years, but that's a lot!) And Shaunti Feldhahn's book: For Women Only: What you need to know about the inner lives of men. My mentor, and dear sweet friend, Christy W. gave this to me after John and I got married (the got John the guy one too).

Chapter 2 is all about why respect means more to him than even your affection.

She says, "While it may be totally foreign to most of us, the male need for respect and affirmation-especially from his woman-is so hardwired and so critical that most men would rather feel unloved than disrespected or inadequate. The survey indicated that three out of four men would make that choice." Whoa, they'd rather be respected than loved, or rather they spell love R E S P E C T... If I think back to any of our most heated arguments, they all go back to John not feeling respected by me, by either my tone of voice, or my word choice, or my lack of willingness to budge on an issue.

I've learned that to show John how much I love him I need to practice respecting him. It has to be a conscious effort. My tone especially really shows him that I view him as the head of our home and that he is valued above all to me. Little notes, kind gestures, saying I love you, all those things come very easily to me, but submitting to John and showing him that I respect him speaks volumes to him.

Visiting Great Grandpa


This is a pic of Julia when she was a few months old with my Grandpa...we visited him once a week in those days :).

On Wednesday I finally went to the nursing home to visit my dad's dad with both kids. The last time I visited was when Mark was only 3 or 4 months old. Fear kept me from going back because I couldn't picture how I would be able to handle two babies there without losing my mind.

I also didn't want to bring both kids because there are so many germs and sickness in the nursing home and the last thing I want to do is get my kids sick. But a friend of mine, one of my small group friends from the Live Like You were Dying series, said, "Kristi, just go!" She lost her mother 11 years ago from cancer, and she had just had a baby at the time when her mom was doing very poorly at the hospital and had days left to live. She strapped her baby in the baby bjorn and brought him right to the hospital to go see her mom. She didn't let fear get in the way. Her mom was too important. Needless to say, after that story I scheduled it on my kitchen calendar that we would visit grandpa.

I took the kids to the mall first to return an item and have some lunch. We had a great time together us three. Then we headed to the nursing home right in East Brunswick. God was so gracious, Mark slept the entire visit, and Julia was beyond well behaved (my grandpa did comment that she was indeed a talker!) she sat still when I asked her too (I had to feed grandpa lunch, he can't see anymore) and she even told Grandpa, out of the blue, "Grandpa's daddy, I love you." Oh. my. word. A tear or two definitely came out. She is just so precious.

She was intrigued at the care I gave to grandpa and I could tell she didn't understand why I would feed him, cover him and so on, but I did try to explain on the way out and in the car, plus he keeps his eyes closed, so she kept asking if he was sleeping or tired. It was kind of cute.

Anyway, it felt so good to see my grandpa. I love you grandpa. I'm making a commitment to take the kids once a month.

Book Club Thursday--Chapter 12





Decided to show some pics of John and I in Cape May in 2006 (before kids) Then me pregnant with Julia (2007) in Cape May and pregnant with Mark (2009) at home with Julia kissing my belly.

Chapter 12 of The Confident Woman by Joyce Meyer
Fear Has Relatives


Worry and dread are both relatives of the spirit of fear. God does not want the children he dearly loves, provides for, created, died for to worry. But we all do it. We jump ahead of ourselves and allow fear to cripple us with worry and dread not far behind. Instead of trusting God we worry and get anxious and think negative thoughts and allow them to totally take over. I do this much to often, I am totally guilty of this.

Just a few months ago, I allowed a situation to plague my mind, and I worried over it for weeks, 6 weeks to be exact, I lost about 7lbs and I ended up in the doctor's office because of stomach issues. The day I finally decided to give the situation over to the Lord, stop dwelling on it, and move on, the pain went away instantly (no exaggeration) and I could sleep better at night. One of the many things I learned in that particular situation, was that it wasn't worth me getting sick over and leaving me incapable of enjoying my family. I love my kids and my husband and during that 6 week period all I could think about was worrying over something so ridiculous. It isn't even worth sharing. I talked to a dear friend of mine and I asked her, how do I get past this, and her answer was priceless, "Get in the Word, and give it to the Lord." I don't know if she said it like that, but that's basically what her advice was, and it did work!

Joyce says we just have to humble ourselves and tell God that we realize we can't solve our problems but we just have to trust Him to give us the answers we need. "You can only be a confident woman once you remove fear and worry from your life and it starts with prayer."
"Prayer opens the door for God to get involved and meet our needs."
Philippians 4:6, 7 "Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

"Prayer must replace our worry"

John and I waited a few years before starting our family, but in 2006 I was really ready to be a mommy! We began trying to conceive, and when it didn't happen right away, I got so worried and felt that something was wrong with us. Was it me? Was it John? Was it my age (27 at the time)? After both of us being tested the doctor assured us we were both healthy, but just needed to be patient. That was hard! Everyone around me was holding a baby or pregnant it seemed. I would go to church and see all the babies in the nursery and just lose it. Finally my dear friend Christy W. saw my tears and I shared with her my worry. We prayed, she gave me advice, and finally I just had to give it to the Lord, because every month was a painful reminder if I got my period. I finally bought two magnets. One with Julia's name on it and one with Mark's name on it. (We knew ahead of time these were the names we wanted...like way ahead of time!) It took us about 9 months to conceive, I kept the magnets by my nightstand and prayed...and you all know, in Dec 2007 Julia was born, and May 2009 Mark was born...prayer does work! Joyce says "Worry believes it will have trouble before it does." And in this case there was nothing to worry, two babies were going to be mine and are! "Worry is the end of faith and faith is the end of worry."

Another great quote was, "Worry does not make you escape your trouble, it only makes you unfit to deal with it when it comes." As confident women, we choose not to worry because we are taking one day at a time, one step at a time, and God is right there with each step. We choose to trust Him because when you trust God you realize you don't have all the answers and He does, and that brings so much peace!

*Don't worry about past mistakes!
It's over and done with and once we ask for forgiveness we can joyously move on because we know God separates our sin as far as the east is from the west. God wants us to keep moving forward not looking back with regret. We can't change the past so let's work on doing our best in the present.

Next we move on to the idea of Dread Draining our Joy. This is one that can happen easily throughout the day, we may dread cleaning our home, dread taking our kids to the doctors, dread a family gathering filled with unbelievers, dread grocery shopping, whatever it is, dread does suck the life and joy right out of you. Joyce is so right! How often have you allowed the feeling of dread to keep you from experiencing the joy of cleaning your home, or the joy of bonding with your child during a scary trip to the doctor? I can honestly say that dread can really dampen your whole outlook on life. Most of us just want to rush to the part of our day that is comfortable and filled with rest and relaxation, right? I know I do! But I've learned in the last few months even that I refuse to let dread keep me from enjoying this season of my life.

Right now we are potty training Julia and let me tell you I was dreading starting it. Part of me was excited because you want to see your child pass a milestone, but the other part knew that this was going to be a huge undertaking, it was going to be a lot of work and worst yet it was going to be messy. But John and I have really enjoyed bonding with Julia and getting to know her little personality and her fears and how she works under pressure. It is so neat to see her grow. And I refuse to dread this time because in a few months she'll be trained and it will all be over and I'll go, "See that wasn't so bad, wish I could have relaxed more and enjoyed it." I don't want dread to steal my joy. Do you?

Being a confident woman means that I choose to trust God as opposed to worry or dread a difficult task. Nothing is going to steal my joy or keep me from doing my very best at being the woman God wants me to be. Am I there yet? No way, but each day I'm taking steps in the right direction, and that brings me joy and more confidence. After all I have Jesus on my side. Look at what David was able to do to Goliath with a stone and a sling shot! God was on His side and that's all he needed. I love watching Julia help me around the house or try something new, I've noticed that she doesn't worry or dread anything! She's confident, daring, and adventurous! Perhaps that's why we are to come to Christ like a little child. We need to simple hold out our hand and trust our Savior.

Stop by http://godlyrose.blogspot.com to see Suzette's take on Chapter 12 and Fear.

Live Like You Were Dying







The past 30 days (Feb 21-Mar 21) our church did a series called Live Like You Were Dying by Gary Smalley. We talked about loving deeper, speaking sweeter, giving forgiveness, and embracing eternity...each Saturday a small group came to our home to watch a quick video and discuss some questions. It was awesome!

The discussions and video, and sermons each Sunday really reminded us that all our days are numbered, just like it says in Psalms 90:12. Since we all want to make the most of the time that God has given us we want to love deeper, speak sweeter, give forgiveness, and embrace eternity.

I think what impacted me the most was my relationship with John. Now, I literally have The Best Husband in the World! (sorry ladies) But, sometimes I let the dumbest, most insignificant things bother me. I mean honestly John's worst fault might be leaving his socks near the bed on the floor, and that's it. He really does an amazing job at loving me, being an attentive dad, supporting me, leading our home and being a godly figure. He just couldn't be any better if I tried to mold the perfect man.

But since I've been a stay at home mom, I think I've gotten "on his case" more than he's deserved, because maybe I'm overtired, or cranky, or whatever, but it's not acceptable. So this past month I've really thought about how I need to change the way I treat him and love him. Because if I only had 30 days left on this earth I'd want him, of all people, to know just how much I love him and appreciate him, and enjoy his presence. I really do. He's my favorite person to just sit on the couch with and I can totally relax and be myself. Why then am I so difficult at times? Still trying to figure that out. Still trying to figure out why we hurt the people we love the most too...

Anyway, I've been thinking back to our single times (married life before the munchkins came) The time we traveled to Rome and saw the Spanish Steps, the Fountain de Trevi, the Colosseum, The Vatican (I fainted, literally in the Sistine chapel because I got dehydrated, very funny story actually), our many times in Cape May each summer for our anniversary (the one in this picture we woke up early to watch the sun rise on the beach...and I was newly pregnant with my Julia), our time in Barcelona when we spent New Year's in a ritzy restaurant (I cried because it was so beautiful, John always out does himself with each trip he's taken me on) Our time in Paris at Versailles, and the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower (finally got to use all the French I've learned since I studied it for 7 years) and our first anniversary as a married couple spent in Mexico!

Life has been such a blessing being married to a godly husband who really has a goal in life to make me smile and to spoil me rotten (Did I mention that when he got back from California a few days ago from a business trip that he came back with a new pair of shoes that I had my eyes on when we were window shopping?...see! he's so great!)

I really am going to purposefully love deeper, speak sweeter and give forgiveness quicker! And you my blog friends are my little witnesses and accountability partners!

So, whatever you are holding onto that you might be upset about or angry over, let it go. Whenever you can do a random act of kindness, do it! Shower people with love! And whenever you can pour a bit of sweetness in your words, sprinkle it on...because words are so powerful, you can change someone's whole day by being extra sweet, extra loving, and extra forgiving! And embrace eternity. As Christians, we have nothing to fear when God calls us home, we will be safe in His arms!

So, today, live, like you were dying!

Smile!







I love to smile, and I love to laugh!
I fully believe that the more you smile and laugh the more joy you can bring into your own life and the life of others.
It is amazing what a simple smile can do to a person's face.

Here in the northeast we really don't reach out to people as much as southerners do or people in the west. We are a bit jaded and closed off. But I try really hard to speak to strangers as I walk by, and smile, and I get Julia to do that also. People are very receptive to children even if they may be intimidated by scary adults. :)

So today, share a smile! You'll be glad that you did!

Shepherding a Child's Heart Chapter 4



Chapter 4-You're in Charge

Come now, we've all seen it...

A mother takes time to prepare eggs and toast for breakfast and the child clearly doesn't want it but wants cereal, and the mother instead of taking her rightful place as the authority of the child gives in and gives her child cereal. Who's in charge?

The parents are pleading with the child to practice for piano because it's what they said they wanted to learn, but ok you don't have to play the piano its whatever you want to do. Who's in charge?

Or the parents trying to get the kid ready for little league, but the child doesn't want to go, even after going through all the paperwork and signing up and getting the uniform, then arguing about practicing and arguing about leaving the house, but ok honey, its whatever you want to do. Who's in charge?

As parents we were put into our child's life as their authority and we are in charge, but many parents give their authority away each day and allow their child to be in charge, and it is quite sickening to watch a 3 year old win a battle of authority in the supermarket, but you see it happen all the time, and the parent gives in to keep the child quiet. So, the child gets his/her way, the parent loses the authority and a very unhealthy cycle begins.

Ephesians 6:1 (Julia's new verse tomorrow...I was inspired by today's Sunday School class) says "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.

As parents we need to teach our children that God has given us this authority and it is in their very best interest to honor and obey their parents because the Bible tells us when they do they will have a long life and be blessed. And it is true, when adults see that a child or teenager obeys and honors authority it goes so well for the child because the adults are able to turn their back on the child and not think something bad will happen, adults are able to trust the child with more responsibility, and thus more opportunities will come the child's way.

We live in a culture that does not like authority. Tedd Tripp says, "It's not that we don't like being under authority we don't like being authorities." Funny story, during my student teaching in a public school in south jersey, I was co teaching in a third grade classroom, and within the first week, my co-teacher pulled me aside and said, "You know what, you need to stop being the authority, you should try to be the childrens' friends." In my mind, I knew what she meant, she meant she wanted me to tone it down because I was strict, (but very loving...I still receive letters from those third graders who are grown up now!) but in my head I was thinking, I am not their "friends" I am their authority! At that same school several teachers who saw me in action in the classroom wrote me recommendation letters because they were so impressed with how I handled a classroom. Now, I was by no means a drill sergeant, but I had high expectations of the students, and I expected them to obey me, and that meant in the classroom on the recess field, in the cafeteria, and in the hallway. I just will always remember her telling me I need to be their friends, because I thought that was so ridiculous. I wasn't getting a degree in education to be my student's friend. My job was to teach them, love them, and be their authority. But, like Tedd says, our culture shrinks from being the authority and so we have chaos in our schools and in our homes.

Children need to know their boundaries with the adults in their life and that starts at home. "If you are unsure about the nature and extent of your authority, your children will suffer greatly. They will never know what to expect from you because the ground rules will be constantly changing. They will never learn the absolutes and principles of God's Word that alone teach wisdom." Have any of you ever watched the show Supernanny? This woman from England goes into a household to help the parents get control of their children again...and oh my word, the children are always out of control, and are the authority in the household, where does it all go wrong? Right from the start. As parents we set the tone in our homes with who is in charge.

Our culture has no notion of intelligent, thinking persons willingly placing themselves under authority. As Christian parents who want to please God we need to take our role as parents very seriously and be the authority, not in a harsh or demeaning or denigrating way, but as loving parents who are teaching our children that God loves them, we love them, and this is why we choose to follow what God's word says about authority and shepherding children.

Remember this:

1. We are called to be in charge
2. Children are called to obedience

(Proverbs 6:23 For the commandment is a lamp, and the law is a light; reproofs of instruction are the way of life.)

And this:

1. Confidence to Act: "When you direct, correct, or discipline, you are not acting out of your own will; you are acting on behalf of God."

2. A Mandate to Act: "Understanding that you are God's agent as a parent deals not only with the right to act, it also provides the mandate to act. You have no choice. You must engage your children. You are acting in obedience to God."

3. Clear Objectives: "It is instructive to ask parents what concrete training objectives they have for their children...Genesis 18 calls fathers to direct their children to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. Being a parent means working in God's behalf to provide direction for your children."

4. Humility in Your Task: We will have to ask for forgiveness from time to time to our children, because as parents who are sinners, we will make mistakes.

5. No place for Anger: If you manipulate your child in anger then you are teaching them the fear of man, not the fear of God.

6. Benefits to the Child: Proverbs 15:5, 29:15, 15:32
prudence, accepts correction, they learn that correction will bring them undersanding

7. Discipline is an Expression of Love: "Your correction must be tied to the principles and absolutes of the Word of God." (not self-interest or convenience)

I am excited to be learning so much on parenting! Thanks for reading and learning along with me! Please share any thoughts or tips that God has put on your heart!

His Work



Proverbs 22:29

Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before unknown men.



Sorry this is a late post, I tried to get it in time for Sunday, but speding time with my family was too important to me. John has been in California since early Thursday morning (4:30 am to be exact) and when he met us for lunch after church yesterday, wild horses couldn't have dragged me away from him.

Julia couldn't stop smiling at her daddy, and she kept saying, "I'm so proud of you, daddy." I love when toddlers say such grown up things. I think she was trying to say she was so happy to see him, but decided to say what we always are telling her when we are so pleased with her. It was so special between the two of them. She kept wanting him to hold her and kept grabbing his hand.

This week especially I want to remember to pray for John and his work. He has been pursuing a new field right now in finance and has passed two of his big certifications (Series 7 and Series 66) This upcoming week he will be in downtown, NY, studying at an insurance class from 9-5 everyday. His new position is Financial Adviser for Wealth Management for Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, and I could not be more proud of him! Julia is right...we are so proud of you daddy.

In Stormie Omartin's book, The Power of a Praying Wife, when you pray about your husband's work, we are seeking to ask God for a good balance between avoiding work altogether due to fear or lack of confidence and workaholism. John is by no means lazy, I mean he gets up at 5 am just to work out before heading into the city by 7am, and he comes home in the evening exhausted from the day of studying and commuting and looking for contacts. This past business trip was very successful because he not only landed a client, but he met up with a lot of potential clients that he is hoping to continue to reach out to.

John has been a successful Taekwondo instructor and owns his own school for almost 8 years. He loves his students and at his high point had around 280 students at his school. We have been so blessed by our friends and the families that allow their children to go to taekwondo. John, also knows that once our children go to school he would see them very little, like only on the weekends because when the kids are at school he would be home and then as he was heading to taekwondo, they would be coming home from school, this was how the first 5 years of our marriage was before kids...weekends were our main quality time. But with kids, that just isn't an option for us, so John wanted to pursue finance his major in college, and since he has successfully run and managed a school, I knew he would be great at it. He is such a people person and really seeks to honor God in all that he says and does. He has so much character and integrity and that is why people love him. There is not an ounce of pride in him and he is always seeking to spotlight other people's strengths.

Starting a new career can be scary for anyone. But I am going to be praying several verses into his life this week, not only because I adore him, but because I do want him to be fulfilled and happy in his work and more importantly I want him to be right where God wants him to be. I want to pray that the right people are put into his paths, and that any unsaved people at his office will not bring him down, but that he will be able to lift up and encourage and share his testimony (he's already had some awesome opportunities and I know God will continue to work here).

Right now, I am just very content and know that our life is in God's hands, and that is the safest and best place to be. I know that God will continue to guide John and give him wisdom.

Lord,

Please bless the work of John's hands. Give him your wisdom and discernment. Help him to do well in this insurance class this week. Give him the rest he needs each night. Put people into his path that will encourage and bless him. Please keep him safe as he travels into NY each day. Allow him to meet godly men that can help him to meet good contacts. Help John to do well but not to be stressed in the process or to overwork himself. Please open doors of opportunity for him that no man can close.


Romans 12:11, Psalm 1:3, Psalm 90:17, Proverbs 23:4,5

Saturday Recipe Swap--Spaghetti with Spicy Turkey Meat Sauce

Hi Guys! Happy Saturday! The sun is shining! At breakfast we were praying for the food, and after-wards I asked her (she's 2) Julia, who are we praying to? She goes, "Jesus!" and then began singing "Jesus loves me this I know..." as if to help me understand...it was soooooo cute! Love her!

If you haven't noticed already, I really enjoy Rachel Ray's Meals. When I first had Julia, Rachel Ray really inspired me to get creative in the kitchen again and I began to love cooking! This is a simple recipe, that you may have made before, but with that extra Something Special to liven up an ordinary meal! Have fun!

Don't forget to drop by Suzette's Kitchen to see what she's got cooking, and feel free to post your own recipe to swap with us. http://godlyrose.blogspot.com

Ingredients:

1. 1 lb of whole wheat spaghetti
2. 2 tbsp of evoo (extra virgin olive oil)
3. 1 onion, chopped
4. 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
5. 1 lb of ground turkey
6. salt and pepper
7. one 28 ounce can DICED tomatoes
8. 1 tsp crushed red pepper
9. 1/4 cup chopped parsley
10. 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra fro serving

Directions:

1. In a large pot of boiling salted water cook pasta according to package directions (after you drain reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water)

2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over med. heat; add the onion and cook until softened (8 min) Add garlic and cook for 1 min more. Increase the heat to med high and crumble in the ground turkey, seasoning it with salt and pepper and cook until no longer pink...about 5 min.

3. Stir in diced tomatoes and crushed pepper and cook stirring occasionally until thickened about 15 min. Stir in parsley and cheese.

4. Toss the pasta with the sauce and 1/2 cup of reserved pasta cooking water to thin the consistency and more water if needed to thin down. Serve immed. with cheese on top!

Preschooler Playtime



Now that Julia is getting older and definitely more anxious and excited to meet new people and try new things (she definitely is a social butterfly like her mama!) I have been really purposely trying to take her to new places and practice new things.

Since my John is not home I can't upload my pictures just yet (I know, I know, I need to learn how to do it...I always have John "teach" me, but always forget to write down the steps, forgive me) But yesterday, after naptime, Holly came over (she's on spring break from PBU) and so we took the munchkins, aka my kids, to Geick Park. I brought Julia's pink and purple car, Mark's stroller, some snacks and bubbles (the most inexpensive toy that brings hours of enjoyment) and we were off!!!

Mark has never been to Geick park (only in the womb...hahahaha) and Julia hasn't gone since last summer so this was a real treat, and I think we are going to try again today! It was so nice to have Holly because I think I literally took 300 pictures (ok maybe 75, but still, A LOT) and she was even able to snap some of me, which never happens because usually I'm the photographer.

We made friends with this other 2 year old girl Jordan, so you will see her in the pics too. Julia and Jordan followed eachother around and climbed up the slides and on the shaky bridge. They picked up the shredded mulch under the monkey bars, they blew bubbles...(Ummmmm, bubble blowing by a two year old is kind of like the messiest possible thing, and most of the soap ended up on her jeans, my jeans and the grass, but she was soooooo happy to try to blow bubbles herself, and she needed less soap during bath time, lol).

My Mark was plopped in the grass with a bunch of puffs spread out around him (note to self: remember to bring a blanket next time). I took a lot of photos of him because he loved the grass!!! He was so into the grass and eating and so serious. When I started to sing he started to smile and bobbed his little head to the music and started waving! It was so adorable. Holly was hysterical. I got some good pics of her too.

Mark also had a milestone yesterday! He now crawls off the ground, with belly lifted, before he did an army crawl, kind of like a snake. I'm just sad that John was in California and missed it! At least I have you guys and Holly to share the joy with!!! Seriously, Mark is so smooshable and squeezable, we won't mention that he was up 3 times last night either...I think his teeth are finally trying to cut through.

Anyway, by bringing Julia's car to the playground she learned how to share with her friend Jordan, by bringing bubbles she got to try them herself (and it was so messy, did I mention that?) She really doesn't like slides, but Holly and Jordan convinced her. All in all it was a great day at the park, and Julia went to bed at 7:15 last night and slept til 7 am this morning!

So try some new things with your toddler today and remember, it may be messy, but it will be fun! (Julia shared her verse Psalm 23:1 with Holly, Holly was really impressed! I think I'm ready to teach her a new verse next week)

Book Club Thursday-The Confident Woman Chp. 11

Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'

I can still hear the voice of my first principal, Mary Martin (Who reminded me of Mary Poppins because she loved to sing) singing this verse as a song to us..."Fear thee not for I am with thee be ye thou not dismayed, let no anxious thought or'take thee for I am thy God. I will strengthen thee, surely I will help thee, surely I will uphold thee, with my righteous right hand, I will strengthen thee, surely I will help thee, surely I will uphold thee with my righteous right hand." Oh, Mary, I miss your songs and stories!

Today's chapter was all about The Anatomy of Fear. Joyce was teaching us that "confidence is holding on to a strong faith in God, a faith that is backed up with complete knowledge and understanding that with God's help you can do anything." One of my favorite verses, besides Isaiah 41:10 is Philippians 4:13...I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. And sometimes even if I still feel afraid or controlled by fear I say those words of truth over and over until I believe them, and until I can calm down and just let go of the fear and trust God.

Fear is a panic that can overtake you with no notice. Have any of you ever had a panic attack? I have. It started in High School during my senior year. One minute I was putting books in my locker, and the next minute I was hovering in my guidance counselor's office unable to breathe slowly, sweating profusely, and it felt like my heart would come out of my chest. I couldn't move. Fear is powerful...but God is bigger than all our fears, Amen?

I began having panic attacks my senior year because I lived with an alcoholic parent that was unwilling to change their lifestyle. It made me fearful to go home. It made me angry and it affected a lot of my choices to never even want to drink alcohol as a teen. I didn't have my first sip of alcohol til about Sophomore year of college because of fear of what it could do to me.

Fear can cause us to withdraw, retreat, it eats away our confidence, and our self assurance. I never wanted to go home as a teen because I didn't know what I could expect when I got there. Would there be drinking going on? Anger? Quietness? Control? I think because I couldn't predict or depend on the mood of my parents I began to fear the unpredictableness of it all.

During College I got professional counseling for all four years while I was on campus about the fear I had and my alcoholic parent. Facing my fear, talking about it, acknowledging it all helped. For years our family kept this secret. A purple elephant was in the room, so to speak, and noone was allowed to discuss or mention it for fear of upsetting the parent. Thank God we never faced any physical abuse whatsoever, but I believe their was emotional abuse because I was so confused and messed up until I began to face my fear.

Joyce Meyer says, "Confrontation is extremely difficult for many people, but it must be done unless we want other people and other things to control our lives." My friend Christy H. helped me to write down my feelings to my parent to tell them how I struggled growing up and tell them about their sin and how it affected me. I think as I wrote this letter in 2002/2003 I never really intended on giving it to them. I was still afraid of speaking truth in love and sharing how I felt, even when my parent was no longer drinking anymore (another blessing from God). The fear stopped me from moving on and kept me in the past.

"Courage is not the lack of fear but the ability to face it." Well, when I was pregnant with Mark, in 2009, God put it heavy on my heart to pull out that 4 or 5 page letter and read it to both my parents. I also had some sins I wanted to share with them. I've learned that Satan loves to keep sin in secret. He loves to keep us in darkness. "What we hide in the darkness has to be brought into the light if we're going to get rid of it." I drove over to my parents' home in fear, my heart was pounding, my stomach hurt, I really was afraid, but at the same time I had a peace that what I was about to say/confront/do was not only from God but it was the right time. "Fear means to run away from or to take flight, but confrontation means to face something head-on." I sat down in our living room and confronted my parents. We laughed together. We cried together. And it couldn't have gone better. I could see the regret and love in their eyes...and the almost audible sigh of relief that the "secret was out"...sin can only truly be dealt with when put into the open. I shared my past sins and was very honest about my childhood. Because of all that I can proudly say we are so much closer as a family, perfect, no way! But on the right track.

I'm not applauding my confidence either...it took me over 6 years to read that letter out loud and confront my parents, but God knew that all the time. He allowed me to "Do it afraid" sometimes the only way to face our fears is to just face them afraid and trust God's strength will get us through...but we have to take the first step. Remember, God is our partner, we don't do anything alone. Take confidence in your God who will uphold you with His victorious right hand! "Confidence is holding on to a strong faith in God, a faith that is backed up with complete knowledge and understanding that with God's help you can do anything!"

See Suzette's book club post here. http://godlyrose.blogspot.com

Well Visit






I thought it would be neat to show some baby baby pictures of Julia and Mark and their recent ones. Can you believe both were born at 8lbs 1 oz and Julia was 20 inches long while Mark was 19inches long. After their well visit yesterday I found out Julia is now 28lbs and Mark is 18lbs and Julia is 36 1/4 inches tall and Mark is 27 1/4 inches tall.

My kids are getting sooooo big! Yesterday after women's Bible study I had to pack the kids in the car and head to our Dr. office for two well visits. My dr is so great because he lets me combine the well visits when possible since I have Mark and Julia so close in age. Julia was due for her 2 year appt. (actually she is 2 years and 3 months, but he said it didn't have to be exactly at the 2 year mark) and mark was going for his 9 month visit.

Well, I told Julia the whole car ride about the dr. visit and how if she was good she could get a lollipop, so she told everyone at church that morning that she was going to the doctor and getting a lollipop, even Pastor Joe and Pastor Steve got an earful about it. She was ready and excited.

I was not really looking forward to the visit because it was going to be difficult taking two alone this time (John now works in NY all day) so I was going to have to be very good at planning ahead and finagling. Not only did I have the visit to go to but Bible study. Our appointment was at 11:30 and I needed to get there a few minutes early to fill out new insurance paperwork. Picture me with two kids and filling out paperwork.

The good news was that there was no wait. They saw us right away. But...Julia flipped out when we weighed her and measured her (what?) She is afraid of heights so putting her up high on a scale or on the table was not fun. She screamed bloody murder and then woke up Mark who was sleeping like an angel. Well, he woke up crying. So I had to undress both by myself, help the nurse, fill out the forms and try to soothe Mark. I can do all things through Christ...I kept repeating over and over.

Once Dr. Shih came in and began the check up it was great. He made the kids laugh, we got to share all the new things they are doing and eating and learning. We talked about swallowing coins (I think Julia swallowed a nickel...not even going to go into that story) and how Mark can stand and talk. Mark tried to take Dr. Shih's glasses off and he ate his stethoscope (so much for germ free).

Well, then came the news...Julia has two shots that haven't been taken yet...I forgot that I was trying to spread them out since she was getting like 3 and 4 every visit and I hated to see her in so much pain. But I was so hoping this was a no shot visit. Anyway, I stayed calm and just said, well, looks like she'll be earning two lollipops. We had their ears and eyes checked and went into the needle room...but my two favorite nurses were in there and one held Mark while I held Julia. It was over in seconds, but boy, it is so hard to see your child cry. And Julia does that cry that doesn't come out for a few seconds but you see all the pain and just keep saying "breathe, honey, breathe." Once I mentioned the lollipops it was all better.

When we got home we had lunch and I gave Julia some motrin for the pain. She went down for her nap and all was well...thank you Lord! Surprise? Daddy came home at 5:00!!!

Kristi's Kitchen


What's for dinner this week?

Monday- Beef Stew (crock pot recipe)

Tuesday- Baked Chicken Thighs and rice

Wednesday- Grilled chicken with homemade pesto sauce and spaghetti

Thursday- Pork chops and elegant salad (inside joke)

Friday- Soup and salad

Saturday- Chicken and potatoes

Sunday- Left over chicken and potatoes

Guys, I'm reading this book The New Eve for my Bible study at church on Tuesdays (9:30-11:30) and it is so good! We are on chapter 7 today. The book is all about how we as women struggle to find our place in society as woman, the power struggle with our husbands, different seasons of life women are in, how many women are missing the opportunity to raise children because they put their career first. I am learning so much and can't wait to start sharing with you once we finish the book!

Shepherding a Child's Heart Chapters 13-14



Chapters 13 & 14: Shepherding the Heart and Training Objectives

This book by Tedd Tripp has been very helpful for me in simply remembering that it is not controlled behavior I should be looking for in my children, however nice that may be, good behavior will come after proper nurturing and shepherding of my child's heart. That means looking for the heart of the matter and taking the time to talk to my child and explain things to my child, and not just when they are in trouble but making it apart of normal everyday activity. I think this helps your child not feel like they are being lectured every time they make a mistake.

Lately, I've been commending and applauding good behavior when I see it. And believe it or not, this even helps with my 9 month old. When I encourage and applaud every time he tries to pull up and stand up or clap his hands, he gets so happy and smiles and is quicker to try it again if he falls or messes up.

With my two year old, I've been more intentional about saying, "I love how you share with Mark." "That was so nice when you kissed his hand, Julia." or "You are getting so big, I'm so proud of you that you didn't cry when Mark wanted your toy." Then she knows I'm noticing good behavior and not always commenting on bad behavior.

Tedd Tripp says, "Learn, therefore, to work back from behavior to the heart. Expose the heart struggles. Help your children see that they were made for a relationship with God." Like, when we were at the library on Friday, and Julia kept building a tall castle, and little 3 year old boy kept walking over just to kick it and knock it down (and his mom just sat and watched). Julia was so hurt and couldn't understand why he wanted to do that to her. I just held her close and started talking to her. "You know Julia, I know you wanted a big tall castle, but maybe we can build one with Dominic and see if he wants to help." Well, she looked at me like, why would I want to build a castle with the boy who keeps messing mine up? But what was I teaching her? Forgiveness. We all need it. And so did this little boy who really just wanted some attention. What good would it have done if I were to pull her away and say, "Okay lets leave?" (run away from problems, people are mean, don't even try to fix it) And guess what? Dominic and Julia happily worked together to build a castle. And no one kicked it down.

Now, Julia is only two, so saying forgiveness and getting all deep really would have been too much for that situation, but I noticed that the mom was very surprised by my reaction. I think she thought it was so great that I didn't yell at her son or move away, but included him in our play time. And when we got in the car I told Julia how proud I was of how she shared and was so nice to the boy. Finding the heart struggle was realizing that it was hard to be nice to this boy who was so destructive, but we all make mistakes, we all need forgiveness, and we all need love. Look at what Jesus did for us because he loved us and forgave us for our sins?

Tedd Tripp says, "Obedience to God is reflected in a child's growing understanding of obedience to parents."

"If a child is going to honor his parents, it will be the result of two things: 1) The parent must train him to do so. 2) The parent must be honorable in his conduct and demeanor."
This puts a lot of responsibility on the parents. But we've all seen children who are not honorable to their parents, and then we meet their parents and what do we say? "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree." We are the example.

John, my beloved, my friend...


Song of Solomon 5:16

His mouth is most sweet, Yes, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem!

So, I've decided to make Sundays my post about my aspiration to be an "excellent wife."

I'll be sharing some funny stories.
I'll be sharing some honest experiences.
I'll be sharing God's word and what He is teaching me about my job as a wife.
And also some books that I'm re-reading to keep my posts interesting.

I'll be sharing from:

The Excellent Wife: by Martha Peace
For Women Only:What you need to know about the inner lives of men By. Shaunti Feldhahn
The Power of a Praying Wife: By Stormie O'Martin

Today's story happened early this morning (it's Saturday afternoon right now).
It was 6 am and Mark just woke up so I brought him into our room and all three of us were hanging out on our bed (Julia was still asleep) and we were talking about how much Mark looks like Julia and how big he's getting, and as John was getting up to head into the shower he goes, "So honey, you are just going to be relaxing here today, right?" Hmmmmmmm....I had 2 choices

1. Get upset
2. Answer in love

So I said, "Well, honey, I wouldn't call it relaxing, but yes, I will be home today." And I actually left it at that. That is not like me. Usually I would have gotten all huffy and puffy and tried to defend my job as mother and homemaker and listed all the things I had to do, which include:

1. Feeding both kids
2. Getting both kids dressed
3. Changing diapers
4. Potty training
5. Cleaning up after breakfast
6. Cooking a meal for a friend that just had surgery
7. Taking a shower
8. Driving the food to a friend
9. Changing diapers
10. Potty training
11. Feeding both kids
12. Playing
13. Making a few phone calls
14. Cleaning up after lunch
15. Load of laundry
16. Dishes
17. sweeping/vacuuming
18. making dessert for small group tonight

Yup, just at home relaxing!!!

Now, all John was really asking was "Will you be home today?" And I knew that, but I sometimes jump ahead and try to analyze what he meant. I am learning to stop reading into the things he says, and just honestly believing the best about him, which, is that he loves me and the kids and is trying so hard to be a good dad. He works so many hours every day and he gives it 110 percent just like I do. I need to be loving and respectful at all times.

But sometimes, those comments can trigger hurt feelings. That's why we really have to learn our husbands and remember what God's word says.

James 1:19-20 says "So then my beloved brethren let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

So ladies, let's pray for eachother's marriages or future marriages. And remember to be slow to speak and quick to listen and slow to get angry!

Have a blessed Sunday!

Saturday Recipe Swap--30 min. Cheesecake!

My friends Tara and Tim came over last night for dinner (couples night) and brought dessert. It was so tasty and beautifully made I had to share with you all.


Don't forget to peek into Suzette's Kitchen to see what's cooking! http://godlyrose.blogspot.com

Quick Cheesecake


Ingredients:

Package of sugar cookie dough (made according to pckg)
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
peanut butter chips (handful)
chocolate chips (handful)
shortening (a dab)

Directions:

1. Make the sugar cookie dough according to package and press into the bottom of a pie plate or round pan for the crust of the cake.
2. Then heat in the oven for 15 min at 350 so it gets firm. Let it cool for a few minutes.
3. Then mix the cream cheese, sugar and eggs and this is your filling.
4. Sprinkle a handful of peanut butter chocolate chips.
5. In a small pan (or the microwave) heat the choc. chips and shortening so you can drizzle all over the top with a cool back and forth design.
6. Almost done...now, just pop the cheesecake back in the oven for another 15 minutes at 350 and you are done!

It was so good!!!

Four Great People

Who has God recently put into your life to make you a better person? On my drive home from the library and normal Friday errands, it just hit me that there are some amazing people God has put in my life each day to teach me something new about myself and to mold me into the woman of God He wants me to be.

1. John
Forgive and forget. My husband has always been quick to forgive and forget. I don't know how he does it, but by the grace of God he is always the first person to say "I'm sorry," and hardly ever does he bring up past wrongs. This is such an area of difficulty for me. Too often I want to hold onto past hurts and let old wounds fester and make me bitter. I am learning to forgive and really let go of things, and it is very hard. I'm thankful for John who teaches me everyday by his example.

2. Suzette
Joy. My youth group friend from the good ol' days when she used to be a Jersey girl. Suzette is now a wife and mother of Addie and such a great inspiration to me. Okay, why am I crying? She finds joy in the simple things in life and her goal is to make life wonderful for her family. How great is that? Each day her blog shares a bit of her soul and I am able to step into her Flordia world where the sun is shining and southern hospitality still exists. She is a huge blessing to me because she is able to share what God is teaching her and how she indeed does find joy in being a mom, a sister, a wife, a friend. The contentment I see in her life and the joy that I see in her pictures really make me wish she lived next door so we could share a cup of coffee.

3. Christy
Be real. My teacher friend Christy is a blessing to me because she is constantly holding me accountable to being real and being myself. She is always encouraging me and lending a positive uplifting word. Friends like this are truly hard to find. We've gotten so close over the years and she is a kindred spirit that I am so blessed to have. The hours we spend together are always too short. The advice the honesty, the forthrightness, the blunt way we are able to speak to eachother is freeing and so very rare to find. Every cup of tea we drink together is in my memory bank to always look back on with fondness. I'm so glad she is a drive away. And for once I feel like I can help her and give back to her after all the help she's been to me.

4. JaneAnn
Don't care about what people think. I have a people pleasing problem that God has been working on me for the past let's say 30 years! I'm so glad JaneAnn was able to be honest with me and share her heart with openness. Why do you care what others think? She said. People's thoughts of us have no eternal value! And she is right. You can't live trying to make everyone happy and trying to please everyone. You have to live your life bringing glory to God and enjoy Him forever. That is our purpose here on earth. People pleasing leaves you unsatisfied and it feels like you are on a hopeless run on the treadmill, getting nowhere. It is so great to have accountability with our friends.

How about you? Who is God using in your life today?

Mommy Time!!!



We all LOVE our children and husbands, but everybody needs that time alone to themselves to think, recharge, and renew their state of mind. This post is in honor of my friend Kathy H. because her fb account mentioned "mommy time" and it is so true that we all need an hour or two to ourselves. We also need to not feel guilty about it when we are allowed that time by our spouse, or mother or whoever is willing to take the kids to play.

A few weeks ago I had some "mommy time" scrapbooking! It was a mini crop that I organized and I got to church by 11:15 to set up and it was scheduled from 12-5. It was so nice to sit with the "girls" and talk. It was so nice to sit. It was so nice to talk to an adult. Let's be honest, at home with the kids all day can sometimes be lonely, until daddy comes home.

Kathy mentioned she was getting her hair done for "me time" aka "mommy time" and that is so nice too. Having someone pamper you while you sit is a wonderful feeling. Even getting a facial, a massage, or your nails or toes done can be a great time of relaxation.

In September, I went on a women's retreat by the shore with all the women at church. My mom and I roomed together (yes I did take Mark, he was only 4 mos. and the only guy allowed on the trip) but even though I had Mark with me, the fellowship, the ocean, the sharing, the meals being cooked for you, was wonderful. I recommend a women's retreat to anyone who really needs to get away with the Lord and your thoughts. And always room with someone you really feel comfortable with to be yourself (see yesterday's book club post).

Sometimes, even if I go food shopping by myself (when John gets home and kids have gone to bed) it is a great experience because just driving alone and shopping alone allows me to think.

Have you ever felt like as a mom, you just want time to sit and think? As a teacher I always had lots of "thinking" time driving to and from work (25 minutes each way) and it was so nice to listen to a christian broadcast (I loved A. R. Bernard at 6 am) or just have nothing on in the car and be able to pray and think in solitude.

We all need these moments. Sometimes, when the kids are actually on the same nap schedule, it is so quiet and I don't even know what to do with myself! It's like, okay Lord, where do I begin? Make dinner early, clean some more, read some more, pray some more, write a letter?

All I wanted to say today is enjoy those mommy times, or "me" times. You are better for your kids and husband after them. I find that after an hour or so I am ready to go back home, because I miss them already! And let's face it, once we are gone, we think about all of them non-stop, are they sleeping, did they eat enough, did dad remember to read Julia's favorite book, did he give Mark his binky, did he turn the humidifier on?...all the little details mommies remember.

Here are some more Mommy Time suggestions:

1.Power walking alone or with a buddy (working out always relieves stress, and talking with a buddy makes it all the more fun)
2.Going out for coffee (I love to take a trip to Barnes and Nobles, grab a tall vanilla skinny late and look for a good book)
3.Blogging or Writing free hand
4. Window shopping
5.Visiting a friend

Can you think of more ideas? I'd love to hear what you do to relax and recharge. Then I know who stopped by today. Also, if you are married without kids this is important too to have "me time" what do you do on your Me time?

Love you guys! Happy Friday!

Book Club Thursday-The Confident Woman Chp. 10



Chapter 10:Steps to Independence

1. Break away from other people's expectations

2. Learn to Cope with Criticism

3. Do Something Outrageous

4. Have your own opinion

5. Refuse to Pretend

6. Say No when you need to

7. Spend Time w/People who give you space to be yourself

8. Watch Children

9. Fight off Stagnation

10.With God, All Things Are Possible


I really enjoy Joyce's books because she is so realistic and down to earth. She doesn't try to be something she isn't. She is a confident woman who loves Jesus with her whole heart and is seeking to please only Him with her life. She doesn't care what popular culture says or what people say about her. She refuses to allow people to control her feelings or actions. She knows she is valuable because of her relationship with Jesus gives her all the value she needs. She doesn't need to be fake or pretend to be something she isn't to please man. Case closed.

Check out Suzette's post at http://godlyrose.com

Two Great Updates




Julia Update

Thank you for all the prayers for Julia! She did fantastic at MOPS yesterday, she did mention once about being changed, but I reassured her only mommy would do it, and that was that. She stayed in her class from 9:30-11:45 when I picked her up. She was as happy as a clam. And I packed some bubbles in her diaper bag hoping one of the mom's would open them and play with the kids and they did! See, God really cares about all the tiny details we worry over.

Mark Update

Mark has been pulling up and standing up since last Tuesday!!! He also now says "Dadada" and "Bababa"!!! I am so excited to see him grow and develop! Today he had some pizza for lunch with cut up green beans! I am going to start the baby sign with him now, we started Julia around 7 or 8 months, but Mark is definitely ready now. I think I am a bit slow this time since I have two to care for, but I'm trying!

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