Thursday, 29 November 2012

Raise them in the Word

The other day I was talking to my dad about how important it is for our children to be raised with the word of God.  

Unless the Lord builds the house,
    the builders labor in vain.

Psalm 127:1

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16

After our conversation, I opened up the bible on my phone while Little A and I were eating lunch. The verse of the day was Psalm 136:1. I read it aloud to Little A and then we practiced it a few times together.  Since then she has been able to recite it with some prompting.  She totally knows how to do it on her own but refused to do it when asked.  I have heard her do the whole thing while trying to fall asleep at naptime and bedtime.  

Give Thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. 

Psalm 136:1

If you are still thinking your kids are too young to start pumping them full of verses I fully disagree.  I think that we should be immersing our children in His words from the beginning of their lives.  We have a great opportunity to instill good values and verses that will help them through many issues in their lives. 

I used to have horrible nightmares as a child. There were many verses that my parents taught me that I knew off by heart, that were of great comfort to me when i felt alone and afraid. Verses that I would use to fight back against attacks of the enemy and that would restore peace and joy to my soul.  I want to teach my children and equip them with the sword of the Spirit. So that when they are in need they can stand firm in the Truth, the Word of the Lord. 

I have hidden your word in my heart
    that I might not sin against you.

Psalm 119:11

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God,so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powersof this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
Ephesians 6:10 

Isnt that exactly what we want?
To equip our children with what they need so that they do not sin against God and so they can wield the sword of the Spirit. 

Steve Green makes some great CD's entitled Hide 'em in Your Heart. They are a great resource and can be played during playtime. Your kids can be playing and be picking up on the scriptures without even knowing it.  

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Peace, Joy, Love

I've got peace like a river
My Loves enjoying a fountain in the park
I've got peace like a river
I've got peace like a river in my soul.
I've got peace like a river
I've got peace like a river
I've got peace like a river in my soul.

I've got love like the ocean
I've got love like the ocean
I've got love like the ocean in my soul. 
I've got love like the ocean
I've got love like the ocean
I've got love like the ocean in my soul. 

I've got joy like a fountain
I've got joy like a fountain
I've got joy like a fountain in my soul. 
I've got joy like a fountain
I've got joy like a fountain
I've got joy like a fountain in my soul. 

(isn't she the cutest thing you have ever seen?)
 I just love those chubby cheeks 

I have had this song stuck in my head all morning.  

But honestly, today I am falling short in all three areas. 
I have peace like a leaking faucet, it slowly and occasionally drips out. 
I have love like a cup of water, there is only so much and then it is gone. 
I have joy like well, like a normal person. 

I am feeling humbled and called out because of this song that is stuck in my head.  Where is my joy, peace and love coming from.  

If I am honest, most days I give of myself and am left feeling empty.  But there are some days that I get it right and I ask God's love and peace and joy to come and fill me and flow out of me so that I can give to others.  Those days are when I end up having a really full day of giving and I fall asleep at night feeling thankful that God was the one giving and that it wasn't me. Because if it was me, I would have quit a long time before the day was finished. 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

The fear of God came on all the surrounding kingdoms when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.
2 Chronicles 20:29-30

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.

Matthew 5:9

The Laws of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The Word of the Lord is pure, giving light to the eyes.
Psalm 19:8

 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7

There is a way that seems right to a man, 
But its end is the way of death. 
Proverbs 14:12

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.

For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.

Jeremiah 17:7-8

It is the Spirit that gives life. The flesh is of no help. The words I speak to you are spirit and life.
John 6:63

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Nana's Spiced Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Our church does bible study groups we call life groups, because we "do life together." The group that hubby and I are involved with, is going to be dropping off about 12 dozen cookies and treats to a place called Riverside Mission. The Mission will be serving a Christmas meal to those in need and we are supplying some of the treats.

So Little A and I had a wonderful time yesterday baking a few dozen cookies. I thought that I would share the recipe with you.

The recipe comes from hubbies Nana. She is such a wonderful woman and loves to cook and bake for us.  Any family gathering is blessed with goodies from Nana and she always makes the most amazing meals.  She loves to bless her family.

We only live a few blocks away from Nana and Papa right now. I am just starting to realize how different things will be once we move. We will no longer be within walking distance and it makes me very sad to think about not being able to just stop in to see them on our walks to the park.

Nana and Papa have been wonderful examples to their family and others. They are strong followers of Jesus and have lived their lives walking with him.  Their faith has impacted their family for generations and we have been so incredibly blessed to have had Little A be able to spend so much time with them, as well as ourselves.

Anyway now that I am fighting back tears because of the realization of being a little farther away, here is her amazing recipe that she has allowed me to share with you.

Spiced Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup White Sugar
1 1/3 Cup Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Cloves
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
2 1/2 Cups Oatmeal
1 Cup Raisins
1 Cup Softened Margarine
1 Egg
1 tsp Vanilla

Preheat oven to 350'. 

Mix Dry ingredients until well blended. 

Add Egg, Margarine, and Vanilla. Mix well. 

Form into balls then press flat. Place on ungreased Baking Sheet.   (as you can see in the photos I used parchment paper to line the sheet. I just moved the paper with cookies still on, to the counter then replaced it with another.) 

Bake for 10 minutes.  Allow to cool on pan before moving or lifting. 

Makes approx. 4 dz. 

Little A and I had so much fun making these together. They are a perfect cookie to make with a child. All of the ingredients are easy to count out together. She loved getting to dump each measured ingredient into the bowl and then stir the dry ingredients. She helped me roll them into balls (great practice for fine motor skills) and then flatten them on the sheet (her favourite part).

Of course, despite my efforts, Little A managed to grab a large handful of dough when I went to grab the cookie sheet. I turned around to find her shoving the giant handful in her mouth.  She was so proud of herself for being able to reach the bowl (that i had placed presumably out of reach), and she was excited to be like daddy. Her response to my scolding was, " I eat it like daddy."

I hope that you enjoy.  I have loved these cookies ever since the first time I ate them. Actually I am pretty sure the first time I tried one was also the day I was introduced to Nana and Papa. She always has a stash of these in the freezer just waiting to be shared.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Nearing Christmas

Christmas is fast approaching and I am so excited.  This is the first Christmas for Little E and the first Christmas that Little A is spending with my side of the family. It is also the first Christmas that we will be in our new home, hopefully I will be able to make things a little festive but likely I will barely be unpacked and will have little energy to unpack Christmas stuff on top of everything else.

Little A is very excited about Christmas. She doesn't really understand what it is though.  She was too young last year to really understand or remember any of it. I think this year her biggest excitement is because she knows that her birthday comes after Christmas, and she does understand what birthdays are.  ( though to her its all about cake, balloons, toys and friends)

We have been trying to get some ideas of what Little A is hoping for for gifts this year and all she has responded with so far is, " mice."  Thats it just mice.  I have no idea why or where that came from but anytime we have asked her that is her response.  There was one time I asked her why she wanted mice and she responded while not really paying attention to me because she was distracted by her toys, she replied with, " They're nice."

Wow, really mice are nice. Thats great. I hate those nasty little things.  Even the ones that are bread to be pets ( not that a mouse will ever really be a pet if you ask me) are nasty. They really do creep me out and make my skin crawl.

But that is it. She has never said anything else. All she has said she wants is mice, plain and simple.
I have asked leading questions like, " oh thats a nice baby doll, would you like a baby doll for christmas?" She rarely gives any response and when she does its "no."

What a silly kid.

Anyway putting aside all that oh so important gift buying stuff (hopefully you picked up the sarcasm in my voice), How are you getting ready for Christmas? Anything you are doing special to teach your little ones the true meaning of the season?

Recently I picked up a book for Little A about Christmas. I wanted her to have a book that she could play with and read on her own. There were so many Santa, frosty, and elves books, it was shocking. It was actually somewhat difficult to find a Christmas book about Christ.

I did find the great book shown below, Stable in Bethlehem by Joy Hulme. Little A loves it.  The pictures are beautiful and it is simple to understand. I think it will end up being a cherished book for all of our children now and through the years.

I love adding books to our collection and I plan on slowly adding new Christmas books every year.  I saw a great idea on Pinterest from a blog post found here.  This family wraps up 24 Holiday books and allows the kids to open and read one nightly until Christmas. Sounds like a great idea for family time and a nice alternative advent calendar.

This year we are hopefully going to start a new family tradition and will be working through the family advent book listed below. I have been searching all over for ideas and books of new traditions for our little family. We will try this one out and see how we like it, hopefully it will be something we enjoy that can become a tradition.

I cannot wait for December 1st to come so that we can get started on advent. I am finding great excitement from the idea of getting to teach Little A the Christmas story and for spending time as a family making little crafts together and preparing for Christmas.  

These links are adds and I do receive a small percentage if the books are purchased through these links.  Just wanted to make you aware. 

Bride of Christ

I wanted to share this amazing spoken word with you today, it is done by an old friend of mine.  He is an amazing man of God that is walking out his faith and serving God.  The video is called To the Bride of Christ. Enjoy 

Check out their site

Thursday, 22 November 2012

TWO !?!

Little A almost 2 years ago.  She stole my heart and now
has it wrapped around her little fingers. 

It has finally happened.

Little A has hit the "terrible twos."

Man do I hate calling them that.  She is anything but terrible. I love her to death and would give my life for her. Maybe I will begin to call them the Trying Twos, or even the Test my Patience Twos.  Or even better yet the Try To Not Rip All of the Hair off of My Head Twos. (but that doesn't rhyme as nicely)

I knew that someday we would enter into this phase of life, that someday she would develop more of her own personality and character and that she wouldn't want to listen and do exactly as she is told anymore.  She has held off for so long with the tantrums and attitudes and being strong willed, I wondered if maybe we would be the most blessed people on the planet and would have an angel on our hands. The kind of child that loves to please and has no temper and loves to do what she is told.

She is turning two in January.  She is almost there. I knew that it was coming but for some reason it has totally thrown me.

Little A has had her melt downs when she gets too tired. And she has been disobedient many times, but she has always responded right away when told to do something or not to do something.  But now we have entered into a phase of hearing what mommy says and doing the exact opposite.  Like when mommy asked us to come and put on our jacket at the church and we went running and hiding under one of the toys. (of course this isnt a big deal normally but because I had taken the kids to church by myself since hubby was working, and because her little brother was starving and crying at the top of his lungs, I had a lot less patience than normal)

Also we have begun to pretend not to hear mommy.  I had to actually laugh while telling my hubby this because he himself said,  "Oh, I wonder where she learned that from," referring to himself.  Hubby has gotten really proficient at tuning women's voices out.

I was never able to figure out why he seemed to never hear what I was saying when I called to him or asked him to grab something for me (though I am partially to blame for this since I talk at him sometimes without making sure he is focused on me). It was not until we were visiting his parents home and were visiting with his dad and brother and sister in law. My mother in law called to us saying dinner was ready, all of the women heard and left and all the men continued to sit and talk.  I went back up and asked, "Aren't you coming?" I was met with many blank stares and a confused, " coming where?"  None of them heard or payed attention to their mom.  Mr T later fessed up to the fact that he has learned to tune her out, and does the same to me.  What a lovely thing to hear from your husband.

I have been attempting to stop during the day and ask God for patience. Honestly without his help yesterday I don't know how I would have gotten through a very long hard day of being stuck inside because of crazy weather.  ( we had freezing rain followed by a lot of snow, not a good idea to take the kids out in that) I am finding more and more that when the weather is bad and we cannot go out, even if I hadn't planned on going out anyway, it feels like we are trapped.  I like knowing that I have the option of taking them out to play or meeting a friend or even running errands.  It helps to break up the day and eat up some hours.

Today God is having to heap his patience and love on me for my child. I feel like I am falling short.  The way that God wants us to parent our children is honestly beyond our human ability. We can only do it with God. It is through his wisdom and guidance, love and grace, and peace and patience, that we can parent how he intended. Without him we fall short.

Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. 
John 14:13-14

Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. 
Mark 11:24

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. 
Isaiah 43:2

God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. 
1 John 4:16

All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children. 
Isaiah 54:13

so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,  being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.
Colossians 1:10-12

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

A few Tips - Purposeful Love

I had a great encouragement from an old friend the other day. I have not been in contact with her for a long time but she sent me a message telling me that she has been reading the blog and has been able to relate on some issues I have talked about. She gave me a great example of how she has been trying to show her husband love, deliberately. I thought that I would share her great advice and see if any of you have been trying to show your hubby love by doing something specific.  

"One thing that I have been working on is to make sure I give my husband a happy greeting and kiss at the door when he comes home. Because the last thing he wants to come home to is a home where he is not being acknowledged or shown love and excitement to see him. Its hard, and sometimes I don't even think about it.. but I definitely do see his face brighten up when he feels valued."

Asking around I have learned of a few ways some friends and family show their spouse love in a purposeful way (ie something they have to actually think about doing, that doesn't come naturally to them). 

~I try to touch him unexpectedly, not sexual, just a touch as I go by. Sometimes I just give him a hug and kiss and walk away. He is normally bewildered and I just smile back to him as I walk away. It has been a learning step for me, to take the time when I am busy, walk away from what I am doing and find him just to show him love or tell him I love him then go back to what I was doing.

~I suppose the one thing I am purposeful with is support. I want to show my husband support in all his interests, talents, goals, dreams etc. That ends up being a little double sided in that when I show him support for his interests, I get quality time out of it. I also do little things that don't take much effort like asking about his day, making supper, doing laundry, greeting him when he gets home, and telling him I love him at random times throughout the day, to show that I care.

Check out the Pinterest Page for more great ideas and tips found for Loving Your Spouse. 

Monday, 19 November 2012

Called to Hope

For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people,  I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.  I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.  I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,  and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength  he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
Ephesians 1:15-23 (emphasis added)

"that you may know the hope to which he has called you"

God has called us to hope.  Hope in the depth of despair and heartache. 

There was a time when I felt without hope.  It is not a good place to be. It is a dark and lonely place. A place where you cannot see the light or the path that you are on.  

But thankfully we have a God that is the light. 

The Lord wraps himself in light as with a garment;
    he stretches out the heavens like a tent

Psalm 104:2

Your word is a lamp for my feet,
    a light on my path.

Psalm 119:105

For this command is a lamp,
    this teaching is a light,
and correction and instruction
    are the way to life,

Proverbs 6:23

The Lord is my light and my salvation
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 27:1

And thankfully he has a good plan and path for us. 

You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way.
2 Samuel 22:37

He makes me lie down in green pastures, 
he leads me beside quiet waters, 
he restores my soul. 
He guides me along the right paths
for his name's sake.
Even though I walk 
through the darkest valley, 
I will fear no evil, 
for you are with me;
Your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
Psalm 23:2-4

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Part Two - Lies and Love

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
John 10:10

For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ.  And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.  It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15

Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake,  in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.

2 Corinthians 2:10-11

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith,because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

1 Peter 5:8-9

Sometimes I am thrown off guard by the ways the enemy uses to steal my joy. His schemes can be hard to see sometimes and sometimes it is difficult to recognize his lies. 

When I was dealing with the third of our miscarriages, I was in a horribly dark and low place in my life. 

I was becoming depressed. I was hiding my feelings from everyone and when asked how I was doing my response was always the same, a smile and "fine."  Those that know me knew that there was more going on, but I did not willingly give up any information about what I was going through.  

I believed the lie that I was told. I believed I was in it alone and that no one would understand. 

I continued to go deeper and deeper into self loathing, anger and resentment toward God and lack of trust in his plan. 

One day as I was getting ready for work alone, hubby used to work early so he was gone well before I was awake, I was told a lie. A voice whispered in my ear saying, " You should just kill yourself."

I was overcome by many emotions in an instant. Sadness. Fear. Rage. 

I knew that this voice was not my own.  I, thank God, was able to recognize the voice of the enemy. (For those that did not notice, let me point out that the enemy said "you", You should kill yourself. Be mindful of that, there are lies that can be told in first person but this was obviously an outside voice and not my own.)

It was in that moment that I ran to God. I curled up on the floor sobbing and asking him to hold me in his arms. To bring comfort and healing. To show me his plan and purpose, because despite the enemy, I knew there was something to come. I held on to the knowledge that God has good plans for my future. 

 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosperyou and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11

You make known to me the path of life;    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Psalm 16:11

In their hearts humans plan their course,    but the Lord establishes their steps.   
Proverbs 16:9

Do you not know?    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,    and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary    and increases the power of the weak.Even youths grow tired and weary,    and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;    they will run and not grow weary,    
they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:28-31

I did not let this attack go uncountered.  I believe that when we are attacked we need to attack back.  It is not always about defense.

I prayed against that demon, I cast it out in the Name of Jesus. I prayed the blood of Jesus over me and my husband and our home. I called on the Holy Spirit to bring healing into our lives and to show us where we are allowing the enemy to get a foothold.

Then I made a counter strike.  I prayed against the spirit of depression in my family and my husbands. I asked God to reveal the truth to them, to open their eyes and bring them his Joy. I prayed for our children, those we lost and those I was finding hope to think would come.

Then I prayed over our city. I prayed the blood of Jesus over our city and I asked that the Holy Spirit would move here and change lives. That people would find joy that day, that God would meet them where they are at and that people would feel joy.

That attack of the enemy turned things around for me.  It was then that I started to allow the emotions I was dealing with to actually get talked about, and really dealt with. That attack was totally used for Gods good plan, it was when I turned to God angry and broken and asked for his help. His healing power.  That was when God met me in my brokenness.

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.    
Genesis 50:20

Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed,for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning;great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion;therefore I will wait for him."The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
Lamentations 3:22-26