Thursday, October 26, 2006

Christmas traditions, please.

With our new budget and new baby this year, I am trying to get creative with gifts and would also like to start a few traditions that we can continue as Isaiah grows up and we have more children. I need ideas! I know many of you are a wealth of information in this area, so please share!

One idea for a tradition that I came across today was to write Isaiah a Christmas letter every year highlighting that year of his life...kinda like a month by month Christmas update that you send to family. It should be all about him and ways that he grew, special events that happened, things he learned, the anticipation of his birth (for this year), etc. The idea is to keep it a secret and give them to him in a keepsake box when he's 18 or starts middle school...some kind of milestone in his life.

If there has been a family tradition that you guys do or that you did growing up please share that with me. I would also love ideas on how to instill the true joy of celebrating Jesus' birth as well. Creative gift ideas for family are also very welcome (I may do a whole other blog on that!)

Hopefully, this will get the creative juices flowing!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Photo update

These first 3 all take place in about a 30 second time period....poor kid.

#4: Playing with Daddy

#5: Napping with Mommy

#6: Just hanging out on the floor at Nana's house (pretty smile!).


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Encouragment from my couch

So, I overslept this morning and didn't have enough time to get myself and Isaiah ready for church on time. Disappointing, but I took the opportunity to read today's reading out of Spurgeon's "Morning and Evening." So good.

"He will take what is mine and declare it to you." -- John 16:15

"There are times when all the promises and doctrines of the Bible are of no help unless a gracious hand applies them to us. We are thirsty but are too faint to crawl to the waterbrook. When a soldier is wounded in battle, it is of little use for him to know that there are those in the hospital who can bind up his wounds and medicines to ease all the pains that he now suffers: What he needs is to be carried there and have the remedies applied. It is the same with our souls, and to meet this need there is one, even the Spirit of Truth, who takes the things of Jesus and applies them to us.

Do not think that Christ has placed His joys on Heavenly shelves so we may climb up and retrieve them for ourselves; rather He draws near and sheds his peace abroad in our hearts. Christian, if you are tonight struggling under deep distress, your Father does not give you promises and then leave you to draw them up from the Word like buckets from a well. The promises He has written in the Word He will write afresh on your heart....So Jesus not only gives you the sweet wine of His promise, but He holds the golden cup to your lips and pours the lifeblood into your mouth. The poor, sick, worn out pilgrim is not merely strengthened to walk, but he is lifted up on eagle's wings.

Glorious Gospel that provides everything for the helpless, that draws near to us when we cannot reach it ourselves -- it brings us grace before we seek grace! There is as much glory in the giving as in the gift. Happy people who have the Holy Spirit to bring Jesus to them!"

Friday, October 20, 2006

Provisions of Grace

Sorry it's been over a month since my last entry (if anyone is still checking in). I didn't expect to be this busy! Here's my best attempt to capture the journey this last month has been:

It's probably best described in three categories: Struggle, Faithfulness, and Growth. These have been challenging weeks for me....and very revealing ones. I'm not totally sure of the starting point, but somewhere in there Isaiah hit a growth spurt that left him crying ALL day and me about to lose my mind. It felt like it lasted forever. If he wasn't eating or sleeping he was screaming (this really isn't an exaggeration), and even then he was eating every two hours....including through the night. I was spoiled by his previous 5-7 hour stretches of sleep at night so this was extremely frustrating. He had been through growth spurts before, but none like this. As the days wore on I was feeling angry at him, exhausted and like I didn't want to be a mom anymore. I didn't even want to be around him. Josh had a hard time understanding that which made me feel even worse (and of course he didn't....he wasn't with him all day). On top of this we were hit with financial issues. We had basically gone through Josh's check half way through the month (he gets paid once a month) and were wondering how we were going to pay the rest of our bills. Now I get REALLY stressed about the point that I nearly hyperventilate....I know, a little dramatic. I don't know why, but few things cause me more anxiety. I was wondering if we had done the right thing in me staying home and if I should start to look for a part time job. On top of this I had taken on entirely too much by committing myself to several people at the same time and was running around exhausted and delirious.

Sooo....all of this came to a head last Friday when we were supposed to go the Mts and pick apples (his parents had made it possible for us to go for a night). We had planned to leave that morning but didn't get out until late afternoon. I had a huge breakdown. Uncontrolable crying and sobbing all while trying to get everything off my chest to Josh. I felt totally helpless with no end in sight. I think this is where the turn around began (at least partially).

Josh was so sweet and just held me (and Isaiah) and let me cry while reminding me of God's promise to provide for us. He reminded me of what God had called me to as Isaiah's mom and that He was for our good in all that we were going through. He prayed through so many verses that my fearful heart desperately needed to hear....and still need to hear.

We left to go the mountains and had a wonderful, much needed time away. Although Isaiah wasn't fully out of his growth spurt he was much better, and this week he's been a different baby. He's content and happy most of the day and finally is back into his schedule and sleeping 6 hours at night. I love being a mom again! I felt like Isaiah and I needed the trip just as much as Josh and I did! It was really therapeutic just being in the fresh air and sunshine with the beautiful fall scenery all around us.

The financial struggle didn't stop once we got home, but we've seen some strong signs of God's provision and also learned some important lessons. We feel like God is bringing us through this partly to teach us greater responsibility and stewardship with our money. We're not big spenders, but neither of us have ever made a budget. We just freeze all spending when we're fearful. It's become VERY clear that God would have us learn to budget. It does my heart good to see a clear purpose for all this.

Another evidence of God's provision happened a few days ago. Josh had made extra money helping his brother paint and was carrying that cash with him. I told him we needed to deposit it to pay a bill, but when he counted it, it was considerably less than I thought (hense, need for a budget). I was so stressed I could barely breathe. I spent a lot of my time worrying about how to pay this bill, but when Josh pulled the cash out to count it again it was at least $30 more than he counted the day before. It was just enough to cover the bill! I don't know if money had gotten stuck together or if God had miraculously put the money in his wallet but I know that was God telling us that His promise holds true....He WILL meet our needs!

I still need this reminder....even today my heart was anxious when a friend called and just opened up about her own financial struggles and tendency to worry. She reminded me of the faithfulness of our God and His call on us as moms. She reminded me of how blessed we are to be home with our babies. God gave her exactly what I needed to hear and even as I write I see more and more ways God has been meeting my every need.

23Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
--1 Thess. 5:23-24