"…And she smiles at the future." ~Proverbs 31:25

Sweeter than ice cream

When we dropped my son, Connor, off at work, he insisted (No, really!) that we come inside and let him buy us some ice cream. As we waited in line to order, five-year-old Remington started pulling on my sleeve and pointing at the guy in front of us–a man we’d never seen before, whose arm was in a sling.

Just as I opened my mouth to tell her to stop pointing at strangers, she finally managed to get out (in a loud whisper) what she was trying to tell me:

“Mommy! We need to pray for him!”

{sweet girl}

Thank you, sweet girl, for helping me understand these words of Jesus:

And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)

Thanks for stopping by!

Supermen

This past Sunday evening, like every Sunday evening, I attended a worship service. Walking into the auditorium at about ten minutes until six, I looked around…and what I saw impressed me.

OK, Amy, what did you see?

Glad you asked! I saw….

…men.

Men, everywhere.

Men who, had there not been a regularly-scheduled worship service, would surely have been glued to their TV screens, eating and yelling as they watched the Superbowl along with much of the rest of the nation.

http://i.i.cbsi.com/cnwk.1d/i/tim/2013/02/20/football_620x350.jpg

But they weren’t.

Because to these men–these men who love and follow football with the most avid fans–there was something even more important going on.

And men, please know this: We noticed!

No, that’s not why you did it. You did it because you are the kind of men who lead your families by example. You not only state your priorities; you live them. You understand that the sacrifice you made–while it was a sacrifice–was nothing, NOTHING, compared to what He did for you on the cross.

You get it. And you live it. And I thank you for that.

Your commitment to put Christ first, no matter what, inspires me. It sets an incredible example for my children. It reminds me to think about eternity, not just the here-and-now.

So thank you, men. You are heroes to me. You may have missed the Superbowl, but you clearly haven’t missed “the point.”

As far as I’m concerned, you are Supermen.

Thanks for stopping by,

Out with the old

2013 is done and gone. And frankly, I’m glad to see it go. At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, this past year has been one of the worst years of my life. But in addition to making one miserable, having a rotten year can also be an excellent and effective teacher. Here are three lessons I’ve learned:

First, I’ve learned to love the Psalms. They say misery loves company, and there is something very comforting about having someone else pour out his heart in words I can’t seem to find in mine. Just listen to a few of the many verses of the Psalms I’ve relied on this past year:

 When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,
Your consolations delight my soul. (94:19)

The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him,
And rescues them. (34:7)

But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling,
My steps had almost slipped.
Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You have taken hold of my right hand.
With Your counsel You will guide me,
And afterward receive me to glory.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (73:2, 23-24, 26)

Psalm 37:24

Psalm 37:24

I will rejoice and be glad in Your lovingkindness,
Because You have seen my affliction;
You have known the troubles of my soul,
But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord,
I say, “You are my God.”
How great is Your goodness,
Which You have stored up for those who fear You,
Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You,
Before the sons of men!
Be strong and let your heart take courage,
All you who hope in the Lord. (31:7, 14, 19, 24)

The Psalms have reminded me that this is not my burden to bear. God will fight for me if I allow Him to, rather than trying to control everything myself. I can’t do it; but He can!

When I am afraid,
I will put my trust in You. (56:3)

Psalm 68:19

Psalm 68:19

And I can’t leave out an old favorite from Psalm 55:22,

Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.

Second, I’ve learned the necessity of daily focusing on the positive. I’ve been blessed so abundantly, yet it’s easy to look past all the great people and things I’ve been gifted with if I’m focused on the rotten parts.  Spending time every day expressing sincere thanksgiving goes a long way toward helping keep the focus on what’s great about this life.

Four of my many, many blessings

Four of my many, many blessings

Third, I’ve learned to long for heaven. Yes, I’ll admit it: Sometimes my world is SO good, SO easy, SO comfortable, that I lose sight of the fact that we who are Christians are just passing through this world on our way to heaven.

But this year I have looked forward to Christ’s return like never before, and it has kept me going forward. In the words of Psalm 27:13,

I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.

So, maybe it wasn’t such a rotten year after all, since I learned some much-needed lessons.

What about you? I hope 2013 was FANTASTIC for each of you reading this post. But I suspect I’m not the only one who’s had it hard this year. If it’s been a difficult one for you, too, why not take a moment right now to leave me a comment and let me know what YOU are truly thankful for? You may be surprised at how quickly it will put a smile on your face, just acknowledging one of the many ways God has blessed you recently. In fact, even if you’ve just had your best year ever, I still encourage you to share what you’re thankful for here. Maybe, just maybe, it will be the perfect reminder the rest of us need.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

Due to the popularity of the New Year’s interview I created last year, I’ve updated it for 2014 so you can, once again, capture a slice of life from your child right now–whether that child is a new baby or is about to graduate!

You can find the updated printable here.

2014 New Year's Interview

2014 New Year’s Interview

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ConFOODsion

Young children pick up their native language at an astonishing rate. I am always amazed at how quickly and effortlessly they grow to understand vocabulary and syntax without any formal instruction. Of course, sometimes there are bumps along the way, which provide plenty of free entertainment for those witnessing them.

A while back Remi went through a stage where she often substituted words and phrases she knew for those that weren’t familiar or didn’t make sense to her. Here are a couple of examples:

She found a package of these ….

…. and asked, “Hey, Mommy, do you think Daddy would mind if I ate some of his Sesame Streets?”

A week later we went through the drive-through at Whataburger and got a vanilla malt, the first malt she’d ever tasted. Apparently, she liked it; the whole way home, she kept asking, “Can I have another drink of that Malt-O-Meal?”

Here’s where I’ll open it up to the rest of you: What funny things have you heard from the mouths of little ones? Please share them in the comments so we can all smile together!

(Note: Only your first comment on this blog has to be approved; all your future comments will show up automatically. So go ahead and share! It’s easy!)

Thanks for stopping by.

Evidence

If you are like me—and I suspect you are—you can look around your home at any given time and see the “evidence” of the people who share that home with you.

Sometimes the clues are kind of cute.

Oh, did you need to use the stairs? Sorry, those are taken.

You didn’t want your laptop, did you? I’m kind of using it.

Pie? What pie? What makes you think I touched the pie?

Other times, those “clues” are not really that cute at all. Like the other day when our four year old went to the bathroom (and I mean REALLY went to the bathroom) and then decided to do us a big favor and clean the toilet…only she forgot to flush it first. (That was not on the list of why Amy smiles. And don’t worry, I didn’t take a picture.) She was just trying to be helpful, but…  AGGGHHHH!!!!!

Finding sticky spots on the floor, dirty dishes in the sink, shoes all over the living room, and crumbs on the couch are all evidence of the people who live in this house. And while I don’t exactly consider those things fun to find, I do try to remind myself often that these are simply signs that I am surrounded daily by the people I love the most.

I will always remember sitting in a Bible class one Wednesday night and listening to an older lady who had lost her husband. Her advice to those who were married was this: “Be thankful every time you have to bend down and pick up your husband’s dirty socks from the floor. He may not have thrown them in the hamper the way you’d have liked, but be glad he’s still around to get them dirty.” I think I was in junior high that year, so of course it didn’t apply to me then. But to this day I still think about her wise words when I catch myself gritting my teeth as I clean up a mess I didn’t make. Because she’s right: I would rather have them AND their messes than to not have either!

Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean,
    but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.

(Proverbs 14:4)

I hope you are smiling as you look around at the “evidence” of your loved ones …even if it’s on your floor. Aren’t they worth it?

Thanks for stopping by!

They are us

Those of you who stop by here regularly may remember from this post, or maybe from this one, that my youngest daughter often surprises me with her unexpected responses to my questions. I love her original answers and wish I took the time to document more of them.

Last fall we enjoyed going through this little preschool workbook together:

On one occasion, I showed her the picture below and asked the related question: “What game are the children playing?”

Her answer? “Math.”

OK, so I guess I can appreciate that she noticed the numbers and made that connection. But mostly, I’m thinking we need to bust out that sidewalk chalk way more often around here!

A few pages later, she correctly answered the first question, “What can you use to write letters to friends?” with “Computer.” (Although, I think the answer I would have given as a child–pen and paper–would have been perfectly acceptable, too. Just sayin’.)

To the bonus question, “What else can you do with it?” she answered, “Work on my blog.” Yes, she said “MY blog.” As in, Remington’s.

Bear in mind that she has almost never seen me working on my own blog, as I usually only do that when she’s asleep. I guess that’s why it struck me as funny when I found her sitting at the kids’ computer desk one day, and asked her what she was doing, and she answered, “Oh, I’m just working. On my blog.”

(Notice that the computer isn’t even on!)

You know where I’m going with this, right? Our children ARE watching us. What are they seeing? What are they copying?

I love this quote by David Bly:

Your children will become what you are; so be what you want them to be.

Kind of scary, huh? But it’s also very motivating. If we want our kids to be world changers; if we want them to be honest and hardworking and loving and forgiving; if we want them to be people of integrity, then let’s work on having those characteristics ourselves. We can’t ask of them what we’re not willing to do.

Thanks for stopping by!

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