The Week That Flew By!

I'm having a hard time wondering where this week went??  Wasn't it just Father's Day like 15 min ago??  It was a busy week because it was VBS week at our Church!  I love VBS week.  Didn't love it so much growing up, but really love it at our Church :)  I worked at the Registration table, which is right up my type-A alley!  We help kids get in the right classrooms and then keep track of all the stats everyday...attendance, visitors, contest points and offering.  Sounds silly I know, but when you have 1,000 kids and they give $5,900.00 all week, we are busy!  It's so fun though, I love catching up with my friends at the table and watching all those cute kiddos run around the Church. 
The best part is that my kiddos also get to participate in the early childhood program, which is hilarious and wonderful!  They both came home with crafts (ha ha) and had so much fun each day with their little friends.
Carter was wonderful this week, he charmed the sweet older ladies who took care of him and everyday they would give me the play by play of his morning.  So thoughtful, they were very serious about it!  They got the biggest kick out of him because he'd be so tired (typically he naps every morning) but he was so determined not to miss anything that he just wouldn't give in to a nap.  He'd drop his head and his eyelids but then would startle himself and start playing again :) I was not complaining because each day when we've come home, he's been so exhausted that he's taken a 3 hour nap!  Yay for VBS!!
Of course today was the last day and it was dress up day.  We had a western theme all week, but honestly I kind of forgot about it everyday.  It was enough work just to get us all out the door every morning!  At some point, I also decided why set myself up for going all out when they don't care and we've got yearrrrrrrsssss of this to go??  I did manage to pull something together for them today, but it was pretty lame :) As you can see, the idea of taking their picture together was more successful than the actual execution of that!
Ava did great this week too.  She had some ups and downs that mostly come with being 2 :) Somedays we had tears, most of the time she just had a blast.  She talked about "Bible school" all day and night, and all of her friends she got to play with, but then I'd go to drop her off and she'd burst into tears.  Lots of mood swings going on over here!  She had wonderful teachers and they just bent over backwards to keep her happy and entertained.  I think she truly loved this week and I can't wait to watch her excitement about it grow every year.  And thankfully, she has also been exhausted each day and has napped like a champ too. 
Now, on an unrelated note, we had a *moment* last night while we were looking back at Ava's monthly update when she was the same age as Carter.  I've been thinking lately that I needed to start giving Carter some table food soon, but since he has no teeth yet and honestly, because he's the 2nd and I often forget about it, we've not made a lot of progress there.  Well, imagine my horror last night when I realized that Ava at this age was already eating: ham, turkey, cheese, grapes, melons, cheerios, puffs, and the list goes on and on!  Poor Carty.  In the words of Travis, "We are really horrible parents!" 
So, in a guilt-driven panic, I pulled out some rice krispies for him this morning and as you can see, he was more than thrilled about it!  Don't you love this??  He was beside himself with joy at breakfast.
He couldn't shove it in fast enough :)
So, it's off to the store for Carty and his new dietary needs!
Finally, here are a few pics from Father's Day.  We had a simple, low key day.
Both kids were so sweet all day, it was just the quiet family day we needed before the storm of this week!
Happy Father's Day Trav! 
I have no idea where this week went, but there is no rest for the weary...We leave in 2 days for a week away at Junior High camp with Trav!  We're all going and it should be tons of fun.  But I have so much work to do, I'm getting a massive headache just thinking about!  The laundry, the packing, the errands...oh my!
Back to back weeks like this are exhausting but it sure makes summer fun!!


Walking Through the Word

Thought I'd chime in today to chat a little bit about my walk through the Bible this summer and where I'm at. I want to say up front that I'm so glad I decided to do this!! It's been like fresh wind in my sails already and I've still got two months to go. Sometimes I can't believe I'm going to get through the entire Bible this summer and then I realize, I did just read the entire book of Leviticus in one day, so I suppose that will do it! Ha ha! Because I don't want to forget this summer and this experience, I thought I'd list a few things that have struck me so far, 23 days into this journey.  BUT I also want to hear from you if you are doing this with me! I know there are a few of you who have joined and I'm loving keeping up with you via twitter or facebook.  I'm interested in hearing what YOU think of this challenge so far, no matter where you are in the process. So chime in or blog about it and leave the link here.

-In general, so far I would say that this has been easier than I thought it would be. The hardest part is just carving out the time to read a chunk of scripture, but I'm surprising myself at how easy it's been to find those pockets of time that I typically waste on other things.  This is a discipline I am already asking the Lord to help me maintain after this is "over."  It's been very convicting to realize how much time I can easily waste when I'm not busy. 

-I don't mean this to sound irreverent, but think I was worried that this would somehow be "boring" or something I was going to have to endure.  Instead, it's riveting and it's fascinating.  Reading so many of these stories is bringing back so many memories of Sunday School for me but it's also connecting the dots as far as the big picture of the Bible is concerned.  When I step back and think of the Bible as God's love letter to us, as the story He's written to tell us about how He came to rescue us from something we couldn't do for ourselves, it helps tie all of these stories and events together in a fresh way.  Most importantly however, is the picture I'm seeing of who God is.  From the beginning on my way to the end, I'm getting a refresher course in the ways of the Lord.  I'm reading about the miracles He performed for the Israelites, the way He withheld his wrath and poured down manna to provide each day, for example.  And this time around, I'm also seeing His chosen people not with eyes of judgement, but with a humility that recognizes, I could have been one of them.  I am one of them.  I grumble, I doubt, I fall prey to snares along the way and yet, He forgives, He gives me grace and He restores.  Who doesn't need to be reminded of that on a daily basis?? 

-I'm behind, by about 2 days worth of reading, but by the grace of God, it hasn't gotten me down yet.  I'm staying up with the plan and just letting myself feel free to do what I can, when I can.  I still plan to be all done by August 31st, but I don't want this challenge to become some big burden that I have to do.  I have enough of that stuff in my life, and I don't want reading the Word to fall into that category.  My prayer is for this to feel like an intense craving that I can't wait to fill. 

-And speaking of craving, can I tell you that so far the best part may just be the appetite that God is giving me for His Word??  Reading in large volumes like this, is making read a little bit more before I go to bed; it's giving me an excitement to see what's up on the list for the next day; and it's making me think about what I'm reading all day long.  And I'm amazed by that because I just know that all of that is NOT of me.  It's totally God-given.  He has begun a work in me and His Word is living and active, so it's doing its' own thing in me.  I remember praying a few years ago that God would give me the desire to "want to" read His Word, because for so many of my years it always just felt like a chore.  A chore that I was constantly failing at.  But when I prayed for that desire, when I took the pressure off myself and realized I didn't have that but HE could give it to me, it totally changed the way I approached His Word.  He filled the empty places in me and made me realize how much more I wanted of Him.  And now, as I've committed myself to giving His Word my time this summer, He is providing the energy and the craving and the time to do it.  And that's amazing to me.  So simple and yet, very profound in my daily life.  Obedience and surrender really do go hand in hand, but the blessing that follows both is always greater than the motivation to dive in from the beginning. 

-I'm just geeky enough to really get into using the "my version" Bible app on my phone everyday, to keep me on track.  I mostly use my Bible to do my reading, but I love checking the chapters off the list from my phone!  Twitter has also been fun to keep up with several people.  Just last night, Jill let me know about an incredible app that we downloaded on Trav's ipad, called "Glo Bible."  We bought the full version and we LOVE it!  So often all this technology can be a waste of time, but I love when you discover ways to make it work for you!  Or more importantly, ways to redeem it and use it in your relationship with the Lord.  If you have an ipad or iphone or itouch, check out "Glo Bible!"

-This is already long enough, so I'll save this for another post, but I am also keeping a running list of things God is showing me in each book.  Not tons and tons of notes, just big picture themes or lessons that are truly speaking to me in this season.  So far I've read through Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Job and most of Deuteronomy.  Wow!!!  So many lessons to learn from the Israelites and the way the Lord loved them, led them, disciplined them, provided for them, and taught them.  There is a reason the Bible is the best selling book of all time, why it's survived 2,000 years of history and why every Word is not wasted!  I love it!  It's powerful.  It's alive!  It's God's very words, written for us and applicable for EVERYTHING we face.  Let me encourage you to pick yours up today and read it!  Any part of it.  You will be blessed I promise...

So what about you?  Have any of you ever read through the whole thing?  Or even books at a time?  What did you learn?  What did you love?  What is He showing you right now if you're doing it this summer?

Let's cheer each other on to keep reading!!  Stay the course and don't give the enemy an inch to weasel himself in there and rob you of the joy of God's word or the blessing of staying in it.  Let's be do-ers of the Word and not just hearers only.  If you're in, I'm praying for YOU! 

"All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
2 Timothy 3:617


Girls and Boys

Ever feel like the same message keeps popping up in your life??  I've been reading a book now (at a snail's pace) about the differences and distinctions between boys and girls for several months.  It's been a great read for several reasons and in fact, I'm getting ready to review it on here soon.  What I appreciate the most about it, is that it has reinforced for me the truth that we are created equal (male and female) in the image of God BUT we have been given very different roles and jobs to do.  So although kids may gravitate toward all kinds of things, they cannot deny the role their gender will play as they grow up and become who God created them to be.  Gender matters. 
I mean, no one had to teach her to put a baby on one hip and talk on the phone at the same time, right??
 She's definitely immitating her Mama yes, but she's also got very instinctive impulses that encourage her to nurture and multi-task because she's a girl.  There is no way to sum up in a few words the broad implications of being a girl and the many ways girls are different, but it's as clear as day to me that I definitely have a GIRL and a BOY and even in these early years, they are not the same.

So as I've watched my little girl and little boy interpret the world in two different ways, my ears have been perked to anything I read or hear on the subject.  Which brings me to my next link, probably the best sermon I have ever heard for Father's Day.  Such a critical message for our homes, our families, our churches, etc., that is really a much larger conversation than what has been started here.  But still, if you've got 30 minutes to listen to this, it is worth your time!  If you know and love a man of any age/stage OR if you are a man, this is for you.  Be encouraged by it too...Gender matters and we've all got jobs to do.  I'm so grateful that my kids get to grow up with the Daddy that they've been given.  We are both doing our best to model Biblical malehood and womanhood to them, because we've been commanded to by our God, but also because it matters.  They've only got one Mom and one Dad to show them how what life looks like from 2 different perspectives and to point from two different vantage points, back toward ONE God. 
So there you go, my unsolicited two cents. 

If I never read a word about gender, the things I observe from my own children alone, would be enough to convince me.  I love the responsibility and privilege of training a little girl and a little boy who will soon grow up to be a Godly woman and a Godly man of the future.  For all the time we invest in ministry to others, there isn't a more significant spiritual work than the two little lives under our care.  We are full time missionaries to them and we've commited our lives to faithfully sowing the seeds so that God can reap the harvest, all by His grace alone. 

Hope you enjoy this slice of daily life around here...
On any given day, there are schedules to coordinate...
...households to run...
...children to care for...
...Diaper bags to pack...
...Pajamas to lay out...
...Baths to run...
...Things to organize...
...Rest to be had...
...Stretching to be done...
...Supplies to gather...
...Conversations to be had...
So while a little one works and the other one rests...
We can encourage natural tendancies and praise God given abilities.
We can appreciate our differences and celebrate the unique viewpoints that everyone brings to the table.
But mostly, we can just love each other for WHO God created us to be! 
Differences and all...
A fearfully and wonderfully made little boy and little girl.

"For you formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. 
I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in the secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.  Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed,
And in your book they were all written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them."
Psalm 139:13-16


8 Months Old!

I'm behind again this month, but I thought I needed to get something posted about your 8th month before it's over! 
You are getting bigger and bigger in that chair and are really beginning to dwarf that teddy bear! 
At 8 months, you are...
-Wearing mostly size 6-9 mo clothes, with a few 12 mo things thrown in there.
-In size 4 diapers, which is the same size that Ava wears!  Convenient :) 
-Drinking 6-7oz bottles, every 3-4 hours.
-Eating mostly fruits with a few veggies/proteins too.  We got behind on our solids this month because you were sick for 14 full days with a stomach bug :(  So, we are trying to get back into a routine with other foods and as soon as those teeth come in, we'll be ready to introduce you to some new things!  I think you're ready for it, you lunge and grab at everything we eat.
-Napping twice a day, for a couple of hours each time.
-Sleeping about 9 hours a night...good, but we want to get you back to 11 hours again!  You got out of that habit while you were sick and waiting for these teeth to break through has messed you up a little bit, but we're thankful for 9 hour stretches too.
-Starting to say "da da" all the time now!  It's adorable and you really ramp it up when your Daddy is in the room!  We love to hear you over the monitor after you wake up calling for your da da.  It makes smile.
The worst part of this month was that darn stomach bug that kept you down for a full 2 weeks.  You were a trooper but it made me so sad to see you throw up and be so fussy.  The only upside was that you wanted me to cuddle you and hold you a lot, which I was happy to do, until your sister got sick too.  Good thing we made it through those few weeks alive Carty! 
You were an awfully good patient, considering how lousy you probably felt. 
We have seen such big changes in you this month Carter!  You are so ready to be big like your sister and you are interested in just about everything she does. 
We've ditched your infant seat in the stroller now and you are totally into your new view!  You giggle and shriek when the wind blows your hair and you are enthralled with taking in all that you see.  You're such a happy guy though and you just never fuss.  We forget you're in the stroller most of the time!
Most of the day you spend sitting around, chewing on your toys.  So far you are still stationary, but I know that's going to change very, very soon.  You are reaching and leaning for everything, trying to get up on your knees even, so I'm sure it won't be long!
Your Uncle Jesse took some pictures of you this month that I love.
He helped capture your little personality and your curious spirit and we're grateful to have these from this sllice in your life!
But mostly, I just love to think of you like this...Laying around, happy as can be, just enjoying life :)
You and your sister are becoming quite the pair!  You love to play together now and your Daddy and I just love watching the two of you.  I often ask Ava to bring you toys or sit and talk to you and she does it!  Happily :)
You make her giggle Carty and I'm so grateful for the two of you!
Oh Carter, we love you buddy.
You are a joy in our lives and each month just gets better and better. 
8 months has come and gone too quickly but we can't wait for the fun ahead!