Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Logan Is Cooking Up Dinner

     Logan is learning about measurement in math. He came home today with the assignment to help mom cook dinner. I can cook, but my mom usually takes care of that. She definitely does the cooking on Tuesdays and Thursdays when I work. But tonight even as tired as I was, I was glad to cook dinner with Logan. And my mom had done most of the prep work before she picked us up, so our job was pretty easy. Logan helped me measure and add the ingredients. We made chicken and mushroom rice with lemony peas. Lucas had a meltdown because I would not let him help. He was very unhappy as you can see in the picture below. It was so much fun to cook dinner with Logan; I think I need to let him help more often. And of course both boys gobble dinner up and declared it "Yummy!".

Monday, April 28, 2014

Weekend with Kyle Nizzle

     My sweet little nephew, Kyle Neal aka Kyle Nizzle spent the weekend with us. He's so much fun. So sweet. And such a good boy. We love him so much! I'm so thankful for the all snuggle time I had with him this weekend. Here are some pictures from our weekend with Kyle.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

AWANA Pinewood Derby 2014

     This afternoon our church held it's annual AWANA Pinewood Derby. The boys were so excited. We were suppose to have it at the end of February, but it was rescheduled because of ice. The boys have had their cars ready since before the first date, and it has been hard to keep them from playing with the cars. They were so excited that today was race day, and they were finally going to be able to play with their cars that they had worked on with daddy.

     We were the first ones to arrive, and the boys were so anxious to begin. The Sparks and TNT kids raced the cars they made first. It has taken us a couple of years to figure out how to get the car to go fast. Logan finally had success this year. His car finished third overall in the races.


          Logan also won first pace for design. He was surprised and super excited! 

     The Cubies got to race matchbox cars. Lucas had picked out a special car from our vast collection. He chose it because it was Iron Man colors. Now that I think about it, it's kinda funny. Logan had a Batman car, and Lucas had an Iron Man car. The cubbies just raced for fun. But Lucas's car did pretty well. I know it finished in first place on at least a couple of races. He was so excited to race too!

     They had said dads could build cars to race too. Joshua was the only who had, so they let the first, second, third, and fourth place winners race against Joshua for bragging rights. All of the kids beat Joshua. The boys were excited to see Daddy race too! Hopefully next year, more dads will build cars and race.

      Logan strapped his trophies in for the ride home. Silly boy.

       I was happy to see Logan's effort and hard work pay off. But I was more proud of the way he acted and his attitude. When his friend Sean won first place, he ran over and gave him a high five. He was genuinely excited for his friend! He told the girls that won for design with him that he like their cars. I'm so thankful for Logan's sweet and gracious heart. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Lucas's Family Night Performance

     Last night was Lucas's family night performance at TLC. They've been working so hard, and he was so excited until we got there. Then he got a little nervous, but once he got up on the stage, he had fun. His class's theme was Hogwash. They sang I'm a Mess. Then they recited Psalm 51:10, and sang Splish Splash. Lucas was excited because his cousin, baby Kyle is staying with us this weekend and was with us for his performance.

     Kyle and Uncle Joshua watching the performance.

     Every year a class creates a project that is auctioned off in a silent auction. This year each class created a quilt that has each child's name and hand print. We won the quilt for Lucas's class.

     Baby Kyle was pretty tired when we got home because it was so close to his bedtime, so he didn't want to take pictures with us.

     Here is the video of Lucas's performance.

     "Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me."
Psalm 51:10 (NIV)

Friday, April 25, 2014

Uncle Josh is a Sailor!!!

     Josh called home this afternoon to let us know that he passed his final exam yesterday, and he is officially a sailor!!! He will graduate May 2nd. We are unable to go, but thankful we can watch it on the internet. He will also receive a promotion. We are so proud of him!!! 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

3 Simple Steps

    If we want to walk in the Spirit rather than walking in our sinful nature, we have to feed the Spirit. What we feed is what will win out in our lives. Here are three simple things I do to feed the Spirit.

1. Pray. Yep, I said it. It seems like a Sunday school answer, but this is more than your typical heal everybody who is sick and bless us for being here today prayer. This type of prayer is powerful and desperate for true transformation to occur. It also is the kind of prayer where you sit in silence and listen for God to speak to your heart. The kind of prayer that the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf with groans too deep for words (Romans 8:26) when our hearts are overwhelmed and don't know what to pray. Prayer that is way more than here's my list and amen. Prayer from a heart that is continually ready for conversation with God. When I'm driving in the car, buying groceries, tying shoes, etc., I bring my requests to God. I thank Him for who He is and what He has done. I intercede on behalf of people I know who are in need. I confess my struggles and weaknesses to Him. I ask Him to be the portion of whatever I need. I have found there is so much power in praying His Word back to Him. Recently I will often choose one of the prayers Paul wrote in His letters or a Psalm and I pray that truth for myself or someone else.

2. Bible study. Not just reading a verse or chapter to check that off my list. Not just completing a Bible study written by someone else, but actually digging into the Word myself. I have found that when I pray for the eyes of my heart to be enlightened to His truth, I usually get much more out of the Scripture I read than when I just open it and try to figure it out on my own. He has given us the Holy Spirit to open our eyes and impart wisdom and application to us. To me, it seems foolish not to ask the Holy Spirit to do the very thing He was given to us to do. And yet for many years, I wrestled to figure out Scripture out on my own, instead of inviting the very One given to me to reveal God's truths to me. I often read a couple of verses or a short passage. Through the YouVersion app on my phone, I will read the verses/passage in a couple of different translations. I also use www.studylight.org and www.biblegateway.com/ to read commentary on the verses as well. I pray that God will make clear to me a way I can apply that verse to my life, and then try to purposely look for ways to apply it. Am I always successful in this? No. Do I always do this? No. But I know the benefits I experience when I do. It takes purposeful planning on my part to make time for this in my day. I know that it is worth the time I invest in it every time.

3. Invest in friends of the faith. The influences we allow in our lives are so important. The company we keep can push us towards Christ, but they can also push us away from Christ. Friends who encourage you with God's truth and who are constantly pointing you back to God and His Word can be so instrumental in our walk with the Lord. In the last year, I have learned some important lessons in friendship. I have learned that true friends of the faith are those who are not just talking about walking with the Lord, but those who are actively and purposefully trying to live out their faith. In the last couple of months especially, I have learned that true Christian friends love you enough to tell you the truth even when it's hard. They love enough to point you back to God and His Word. They love you enough to do the hard parts of life with you not just the fun, easy parts. They struggle through and do the hard parts of life with you even when it's hard for them too. I'm praying about and trying to be this kind of friend. I want to be that person who points others to Christ, who walks through the fun and hard times of life with others, who speaks the truth in love especially when it's hard. I want to be that person who is actively and purposefully trying to live out their faith. I feel like God is answering that prayer for me. That He is transforming me into that kind of friend. I know I still have far to come, but I feel like we (Jesus in me) are making forward progress in this area.

     We reap the benefits of a close relationship with the Lord and His blessings in our lives when we feed the Spirit.

P31 OBS Blog Hop

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tiny Baby Clothes

     Tiny baby clothes. They get me every time. I tried looking for my new little niece this weekend. And ended up holding back tears. I just kept thinking that I should be picking something out for our baby. Or stocking up on diapers. Instead, I'm standing in Target holding back tears and praying for God to give me the strength to walk out of this store without having a complete meltdown. Some days I can walk down the baby aisle and be mostly okay. Saturday afternoon was not one of those times. Joshua called the boys to come with him, while I stood there and tried to start breathing again. Maybe one day tiny baby clothes won't render me completely grief-stricken.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Don't Worry Bout a Thing

     This afternoon I've been pretty heavy hearted and worried about some things. None of them are really in my control. I've done what I can do in the situations I was actually able to do something about. The rest is really out of my control.

     I was able to wear a size smaller jeans this morning. Which should've been a good thing. Something that should've made me happy, but today it was just a reminder that my baby is gone. Instead of a growing belly, I have a shrinking waist. Which really should make me happy. I mean really, who's not happy about being able to wear smaller clothes?

    On the way home from the grocery store I was working on a pity party, when I turned on the CD player. I haven't listened to the CD player in quite a while because I usually listen to the iPod on my phone.  A SHeDAISY song I haven't heard in a long time came on. The song talks about how life has ups and downs, but you shouldn't worry about a thing. While I was listening to the song I was reminded of this Scripture.

"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. 
Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.
Then you will experience God's peace, 
which exceeds anything we can understand. 
His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)

     By the time the song was over, I was thinking of people and things I am thankful for. And slowly I was able to let some of those worries go. Even when you feel like you are losing at life, like I did tonight, the truth is you're not. There are always people or things or circumstances in life we can be thankful for. Even when they don't quite turn out the way we expect.

     "Don't worry" isn't a suggestion or a good idea. It's a command from the Lord, and it's for my good. And it's a demonstration of my faith in Him.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Sweet Sleep

     "When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
Proverbs 3:24 (NASB)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Celebration

     We started a new tradition this year that I found the idea for on Pinterest. On Friday, we Easter egged two different families. We left 13 eggs for them to find. 12 had candy and 1 was empty to represent Jesus' empty tomb and His resurrection. The boys and I loved doing that. The boys are already planning who we are going to egg next year.

     On Saturday, we dyed Easter eggs. The boys were so careful, and we had very little mess to clean up. Aren't we super cute rocking our aprons?!

     We also made Resurrection cookies. This is our second or third year to make them. It's a fun way to remember Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection. The boys love biting into the empty tomb on Sunday morning. And it's the one morning, I allow them to have cookies with their breakfast. Here is the recipe and Scriptures you read. I think the Resurrection cookies are our favorite Easter tradition.

     The Easter bunny visited our house. The Easter bunny brings a little bit of candy and a couple of gifts. The bunny is in trouble with Mommy this year because the bunny brought Lucas a new WWE championship belt that plays eight different wrestler's intro songs. It's so loud with no volume control. I'm not sure what the bunny was thinking.

     Last night while I was catching up on Hulu waiting for the boys to go to sleep, Logan had snuck into the dining room with his blanket. Joshua found him asleep, wrapped up in his blanket under the dining room table. At some point during the night, he made his way to my bed. He's getting smarter about that because now he makes sure my body pillow is between me and him.

     This morning after the boys unsealed the oven and took out the resurrection cookies, they had bunny pancakes with their cookies for breakfast.


      The boys had their children's choir performance at church during morning worship. Both boys had speaking parts and Logan had a solo. Logan had the very first speaking part and was the last solo. Logan's sweet heart really shined through, and he did an amazing job. Lucas was really nervous, but did a beautiful job as well. They brought tears to my eyes.

     We purchased two Easter lilies from the church. One in memory of Aunt Hollie and one in memory of our sweet baby.

     Today was a happy and sad day. I'm always happy to celebrate Jesus' resurrection, but I was sad too because I missed my brother. This was the first Easter he wasn't with us. I'm so glad we were able to talk to him on the phone yesterday. I missed our baby so much today. I just realized more memories that our sweet baby will never be a part of. It makes more thankful for Jesus' resurrection because when I grieve, I grieve with hope.

Jesus told her, "I am the resurrection and the life. 
Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.
Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never die."
John 11:25-26 (NLT)