Tag Archives: Children

30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Day 1} To Good Health and Happiness

1 Nov

November has long be regarded as the month in which we reflect on thankfulness.  Family, friends, and lots of delicious food.  What isn’t to be thankful about those things?

During this month, I will post everyday on at least one thing or person that I am thankful for.  The posts may be short or long, but they will all be straight from my heart.

Here we go….

Day 1~~Health and Happiness

We recently took a day trip in to Broken Arrow to surprise my mom for her birthday.  I made sure to pack the camera and come cute clothes for the boys because we were also going to try to swing by a pumpkin patch and capture some perfect pictures.  Right.  Do things ever go according to plan with children in tow? Continue reading

Micah Man is 3!!!

5 Oct

My sweet Micah, you are 3 today!

All your Cheesy Smile Glory

Time has flown by as it seems like only moments ago your daddy and I were cuddling you as a newborn.

Newborn Micah

You are not the baby anymore and you have embraced your role as Big Brother with all the grace and gusto one would expect of you.  You love your brother, Kasen, fiercely, sweetly, and with wonder.  Your favorite question since we brought Kasen home has been, “Is Kasen okay?”  Yes, my sweet boy.  He is, despite your best efforts to “love” him to pieces.

The “touching” side of your love for Kasen

You, Micah Man, have taught me so much, not only as a mom, but as a child of God.

1) Be Joyful: You have an incredible smile that will no doubt melt more than your mommy’s heart one day.  Your laughter remains one of my favorite sounds in the world and your daddy and I take great pleasure in tickling you just to illicit this joyful noise.  You find great delight in small things and you love to share it with anyone who will look.  You truly have never met a stranger and will go out of your way to say hello to everyone.  You have recently started saying everyone is your best friend.  I hope, my love, that you will always take the time to say hello and to befriend even the random person you meet in the grocery store parking lot.  Your joyful heart is truly a gift.

2) Patience: Your Grams thought she had a tough time raising me.  Then she met you and she says I have met my match.  You are incredibly headstrong and determined to do things on your own, in your own time, and your own way.  This will hopefully serve you well in the future, but it sure does put you and I at odds quite often.  You allow me to practice the art of patience everyday and you are learning it right along with me.  The first time you got so mad and hurt when mommy and daddy told you something you didn’t like, you pouted, said you were going to your room, and you ran to your rocking chair.  And you just sat there.  You blew us away as you demonstrated an amazing ability to reign in your emotions and come back out once you felt better.  You still have your meltdowns (and they are doozies), but you still prefer to go be by yourself until you cool off.  We can all learn a thing or two from you on this! I pray that we can channel this determined and strong spirit into a mighty heart that is sure of himself and his gifts. Continue reading

Straw Survival

4 Oct

Each day is exhausting and I’m drowning.   I feel like I am bailing myself out with a straw.

Okay, so a straw and Diet Cherry Dr.Pepper are helping with survival

I don’t have any money to make an adorable fall wreath or even the energy to arrange my fall décor.  And it makes me feel like a failure.  My house is beginning to feel like it’s aiming for a spot on hoarders (ok not even close), but the bathrooms are dirty, clothes are piled up, and crumbs were being carried off by ants (literally), until the bug guy came out.  If we get the dishes cleaned, and the toys somewhat contained, we consider it a victory.  It all feels like too much and I’m not enough.   My worry over not enough of this and too much of that is consuming my joy day to day.  I am finding it hard to focus on all the good amidst the clutter of my heart.

I’m clinging to a few things right now.  I have started working out with a great group of girls every weekday morning.  We meet from 5:30-6:15 (Yep, A.M!) and are led by a few girls who completed GFit.  We have jokingly nicknamed it Equate GFit since it is sort of a generic form of the popular workout.  We don’t pay in $, but believe me, we pay in sweat.  I’m so grateful that I asked to join the group and convinced my friend to join me.  I am even more grateful that I have gotten up to attend, although I am somewhat less than grateful when every movement causes me to grunt in pain.

My boys are another source of hope, love, and grace for me. Even when Micah has tested every boundary possible and Kasen refuses to stay asleep longer than 30 minutes, I am grateful to have two precious boys to love.  I’m not a perfect mom by any means, and most days feel like the furthest thing from it, but I am trying.  The other boy I couldn’t make it without is my husband.  Aaron loves me enough to stick by me.  He helps out so much with the boys and the day to day operations.  When he sees me at my limit, he is quick to step in and give me a little while to regroup.  He is truly my prince and my other half.

The other source of strength right now is the daily devotional I have been reading.  It is much easier to find the time for this when my day begins at 5am!  I have been devouring the words that the ladies over at Girlfriends in God share and it never fails to speak directly to my heart.  I have the GIG app on my phone so I have access to devotions wherever I am.

Today’s scripture particularly spoke light and truth in the darkness of my heart. Continue reading

From Storms to Smooth Sailing

7 Aug

Hello sweets!  I know that it has been an extended absence on my end, and while I apologize for no new posts, I desperately need some grace.  I’m struggling to find my place, rhythm, and routine since Kasen’s joyous arrival into our lives, and this blog has been a casualty of that wandering war.  When I have found moments where I might put my “pen to paper,” I find myself utterly lacking in inspiration, leaving my blog stagnant but my draft box burgeoning.

Even in the midst of the struggle there are great rays of light and I give thanks.  I am learning to embrace the content life, but in this I am not my usual fast learning self.  I have found a friend!  Yay!  I will fill in those details later.  She has been a true blessing and I am enjoying the moments of growing together.  We walk early in the morning 4-5 x’s a week and it is not only good for my body, it is water for a parched soul, just getting to spend that hour communing.

But there is still longing; still fixing, healing, restoring that needs to happen.  There is the discontent that I am trying to stare down.

Facing the storms of life head on

As I was making my way through my incredibly long list of blogs I read, I stopped by the ever-gifted Leanne Penny at leannepenny.com and was once again blown away at her words and the way she always seems to reach right in to my heart and pour in hope and grace.  She was writing today about connection of the husband and wife variety; the very kind I have been missing so much.  She threw down a connecting gauntlet and idea sharing challenge.  Read about that here and contribute your own connecting tips and insights.

This was my response…. Continue reading

Going Overboard with VBS?

9 Jul

We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority. Instead, we were like young children[a] among you.”

1 Thessalonians 2: 6-7a

Vacation.  That is a word we hear frequently this time of year.  Families are planning and taking vacations.  Co-workers are on vacation, leaving envious employees behind.  Worship attendance is notoriously lower as congregants vacate the pews in favor of vacation or just a summer break from church.  It happens!

Churches also advertise their Vacation Bible School programs heavily during the summer as they gear up to welcome in large and small groups of children who are eager for games, crafts, music, and hopefully a little bit of God’s love.  VBS programs are a major undertaking in even the smallest churches.  There are materials to gather, volunteers to recruit, meals to plan, halls to decorate, lessons to organize, and so much more.  There never seems to be enough time or help.  It can be an exhausting experience for all involved in the VBS process.  It can also be an incredibly rewarding event for both volunteers and children.

Our church kicks off our VBS program tonight.  We are doing Cokesbury’s Operation Overboard, where kids can “Go Deep with God.”  Our director and co-director have done a fabulous job getting things organized this year and have worked very hard preparing.  I am confident that the children who come through our doors will experience God’s love and grace in deep ways and will have a blast doing so.

As I was helping transform our church into an underwater adventure on Saturday I had a few moments to reflect on the VBS process while nursing Kasen.  I had seen the weariness of our leader and other volunteers who were helping prepare the church and materials for the week-long event.  It caused me to think about the other times I had either led or helped with a VBS event, and how tiring the preparation process and event were.  I felt God nudging at me to reflect on something more, but I just wasn’t sure what.  I decided to pray for our current VBS and all those helping out, and especially for the children who we were trying to reach.  As I prayed, God brought to mind one particular VBS I had organized. Continue reading

Hello World

5 Jun

Kasen Cross Tiger arrived Friday morning, June 1, at 9:27 am.  He is already an incredible blessing for our family and we are loving every minute with him.

Kasen Cross Tiger says hello

Kasen was delivered via C-Section and was 7 lbs. 4 oz and 19 1/2 inches.  He is incredible and on his way to being as big a charmer as his big brother Micah.  I adore watching my boys begin to interact and love each other.  Holding them both in my arms was an amazing feeling.  I look forward to playing with them both and watching them develop into the incredible souls God has created them to be.

I am recovering slowly from my C-Section and hope to be up and about without much pain soon.  So far it has been a better experience than my last C-Section recovery, apart from a couple bumps.  I am excited to take, edit, and share more pictures soon, but need to focus on our little family and my recovery right now (as my loving, doting husband reminds me!)

Hope you are all doing well.  Enjoy the few pics for now.

Big Brother enjoying the local splash pad

Getting to hold Kasen for the first time.

My sweet Kasen

Our little foursome

Micah is being such a good big brother. He loves giving gently kisses on Kasen’s forehead

 

Gracefully~~Heather

Interview with Big Brother

1 Jun

The big day is here!  It is Kasen’s birth day!  He should arrive by C-Section around 9-10am (CST).  We are all so excited to finally meet our new little man and start our journey as a family of four (with me totally outnumbered by males!)  Since I will be a bit preoccupied over the next few days weeks years, I figured I would schedule this fun little interview with the new Big Brother, Micah.  I was trying to keep him entertained the other evening as Aaron prepared dinner.  Why not interview him?! He put up with me long enough for the following:

1-     Are you excited about being a big brother?  YES Mommy! (Said in a very high-pitched squeal.)

2-      Do you know what a big brother is? No. (Blank stare)

3-      What’s a big brother? I don’t know.  Kasen? (He asked me!)

4-      Is Kasen going to be your little brother? Hmm MM (He began losing interest quickly)

Apparently, he was multi-tasking during his interview!

5-      Where is Kasen? (Points at my tummy in between bites of Cap’n Crunch cereal which he calls Mima trix* and ‘reading’ a DVD ad) In Mommy’s tummy!*My Mima gave him the cereal at her house one day and he has since asked for and referred to it as “Mima Trix.” Go figure!

6-      Are you going to help Kasen?  Yes, go to the park. (Um, ok?) Continue reading

Ready or Not…Here He Comes?

22 May

Today just might be the day.  Kasen’s birth day that is!

I know.  What happened to June?  Well, when we went in to my OB for my check-up and ultrasound Friday we were told by my wonderful doctor that my amniotic fluid levels were low.  Huh?  Apparently this can happen later in the third trimester and it can send the baby into distress if not monitored closely.  The fluid levels are supposed to be between 5-20, with 5 being the danger zone.  Mine were at a 7.7.  My doctor said we were in the cautious zone, to go home and hydrate and rest, then come back in Tuesday for another ultrasound.  He said if my levels dropped or even stayed the same, he would likely deliver Kasen right away.

I hydrated really well and rested some.  Resting wasn’t easy to do in the midst of our huge 10th anniversary celebration all weekend for the church, including the open house here at the parsonage.  Good news: My house is cleaner than it’s been in 2 years and I survived!  We had over 100 kids join the celebration at the church carnival, almost 200 for worship Sunday, and raised almost $49,000 for our Miracle Sunday offering, cutting our church payoff in half! Micah also suffered an injury at the carnival; a black eye courtesy of a stray foot on the inflatable slide.  He is quite proud of his “blue eye!”  My Mima also ended up in the hospital with some irregularities in her heart, so I was so torn not being able to be with her.  (She is doing a bit better and might be released tomorrow!)

Monday then rolled around and it was all about Micah day. Continue reading

Good to Grow

16 May

This was my Mother’s Day present.  My pretty little purple teacup orchid.  I love orchids and it may be one of the few plants I can actually keep alive and help flourish.  My husband had gotten me another purple orchid plant about four years ago, and it was a glorious beauty. When we moved home to Oklahoma from Kentucky I left my plant in the care of my good friend, Heather, as a sign that our friendship would continue to flourish after we left.  It has.

It was a Just Add Ice Orchid, meaning I literally only had to add 3 pieces of ice, one time a week and keep it in indirect sunlight, and it grew and grew.  While this new one is not the same “brand”, I am hoping that adding 2ish pieces of ice a week to hydrate my little lovely will produce similar results.

As I sat gazing at my pretty present that was meant to celebrate me as a mother, I started thinking of how my plant was not the only tender thing that I was responsible for nourishing and growing with care.

I sat, almost 37 wks pregnant with my second son, looking at a portrait of our oldest son as it hung behind the orchid, and the enormous responsibility and gift of these little lives struck me with such intensity that I lost my breath for a moment.

Am I a good enough mother?  Do I know enough?  What if I make mistakes?  What about my flaws?  Can I give them what they need?  Is my love enough?

Am I enough?

My gaze didn’t have to travel far from the flower to linger upon the cross nearby.  And I had my answer.

No.  I am not enough.  But God is.

His love and grace, poured out through me is enough.

When I am weak, He will be there.  When I fail, His plans will succeed.  When I stumble, He will pick me up.

He will be the guide for my journey as a mother, and a light for my boys to seek and follow.

His love will be enough to nourish and grow them even when mine may fall short.

I can tenderly care for my plant by keeping it watered just right and providing the right amount of sunlight for growth.  If I neglect it or accidentally leave it in the shadows it may wither.

By trusting my boys to God’s tender care, I can trust that I will know the right amount of love they need for their souls to be nourished, and the perfect place of the Son in their lives for ultimate growth.

Why?

Because God is enough.

 

(This will be my only post for a little while as I finish preparing for the parsonage open house during our church’s 10 yr celebration, and Kasen’s very soon impending arrival.  Have a great week!)

Gracefully~~Heather

Tent Grumbling

24 Apr

I have not been sleeping well.  Between the heartburn and not being able to get comfortable, despite being surrounded by tons of pillows, I am feeling the effects of lousy sleep.  I feel that dark cloud creeping overhead.  The anxiety of all that I still need to get done around the house and to prepare for Kasen’s arrival is crowding out happy thoughts.  I am becoming Mrs. Grumble. (Anyone else read these books as a kid?  I loved Miss Sunshine!)

As I was forcing myself (yes, I grumbled), into reading my devotion this morning, I felt like God was on vacation.  “Hello?  Are You taking an extended Spring Break?  Did you forget about little me?  Grumble. Grumble. Grumble.”

This was the scripture I read on Girlfriends in God:

13 But they soon forgot what he had done
and did not wait for his plan to unfold.
14 In the desert they gave in to their craving;
in the wilderness they put God to the test.

24 Then they despised the pleasant land;
they did not believe his promise.
25 They grumbled in their tents
and did not obey the LORD.”

Psalm 106: 13-14, 24-25

And there it was; God’s not so subtle response to my grumbling.  I was sitting there, grumbling in my tent, and God was more than happy to point that out.  I have been grumbling because I’m tired, stressed, and a bit overwhelmed.

Who isn’t? Continue reading