Monday, December 26, 2011

Santa's gift to our family

There may not be peace on earth, but we have peace in our home thanks to Santa and his elves. The girls are upstairs enjoying their new desks and we are enjoying quiet.

Thank you Santa!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Teacher Gifts

When I saw these on All Things Heart and Home (she got the idea from Craft Rookie), I knew this was what I wanted to do for teacher gifts. (You can find the recipe by clicking on the better picture of the reindeer pop on their sites.) Sure, a gift card would probably be more useful but the purpose behind the gift is to say thank you. I thought these little guys did the job well. We simply wrapped them in sandwich bags and attached a little card that said "You are a deer. Thank you for being part of my life." The girls signed them and we had tasty little thank yous.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Wedding Witness

Anytime I hear of a marriage falling apart, my heart aches. When did we decide that the wedding comes with a revolving door? Is it really a wonder that people push the thought of this “commitment” far away? Will marriage ever again become what God intended it to be and appeal to us once again?

Recently, my husband and I attended a wedding of a girl I used to babysit when I was a teenager. My emotions got tangled up in the day. From embracing the adults in my past that made such an impact on my life to flashbacks of me as a bride, tears blurred my eyes. It was emotional to see children I babysat for in the current stage of life I was back in the day. The bride’s brother closest in age to her was my own ring bearer so it was especially difficult to prevent my mind from wandering back to my own wedding day.

The most difficult moment for my heart to witness was the father walking his daughter down the aisle. The moment has always choked me up but even more powerfully on this day. Not only did I respect and look up to this man and the role he played in my life, but my own dad is no longer alive. It was heart wrenching to recall the way my daddy fought back his tears as he prepared to give me away on that day some fifteen years ago. Now, here I stood witness to the same raw emotions between a father and his daughter with “Butterfly Kisses” playing in the background.

My heart was present at this wedding ceremony and my ears were attentive to the challenge the pastor would give to the bride and groom. What I did not anticipate was the challenge I would hear for myself that day from God. Have you ever thought about your responsibility at a wedding? Are you simply family or an honored guest? What is your relationship to the bride and groom? In that moment, God impressed upon my heart the responsibility placed on me as one of the witnesses gathered.

Here are two young people making vows for life “before God and these witnesses”. “These witnesses” are referring to those of us watching the intimate moment unveiled. Have you ever thought about the fact that you were not just invited to the wedding to comment on the beauty of the bride? We are not in attendance to smile and clap or even renew our own vows with our spouse. As invited guests, we are there to witness a binding agreement.

Vows are being made for a lifetime. Our challenge is to listen to those vows so that should this couple reach the revolving door, we can stop them before they begin to walk out. We can help them remember that vows made before God and a multitude of witnesses were never meant to be broken. Could it be that we are partly to blame for the failed marriages in this world because we refuse to stand up as witnesses and say “I was there that day you promised to share this life together and I am going to do everything I can to help you keep those vows”?

If we were witnesses to a will signing or some other binding contract, we would be called into court to give testimony of what we witnessed. In the same way, shouldn’t we be there to give testimony of the vows we witnessed in a legal agreement on a wedding day? If we would surround ourselves on the day we say “I do” with witnesses who will encourage us to work on this priceless institution of marriage, wouldn’t we be better off?

I am so grateful to know that my wedding vows were not made with an open door. Had I made the choice to leave my husband at any moment, I would have face repercussions. It would not have been an easy out for me and I’m grateful for that. Because, yes, in the early years of our marriage, I probably would have walked right through that revolving door had it been readily available to me. And if I had, I would have missed out on the many blessings of where hard work and commitment have taken my husband and me in these fifteen years.

Commitment is not a welcome word in our world today. Not with work or church and sadly, not with friendships or family. If we cannot keep our commitments that we make before God and witnesses, how will we ever keep any commitment we make? Yes, commitments take work. Very often, we will look at the long road ahead with all the obstacles in our way and wonder how the work can possibly be worth it. But it is. It is so very much worth every effort we put forth.

I am going to seize the challenge I have as a witness to wedding vows. Take this into consideration if you think of inviting me to your wedding. I will encourage you that the challenges and obstacles ahead are worth the work. Any relationship that endures that kind of testing will be gold in the end!

The relationship between a husband and wife was meant to be so much more than what we have turned it into. God intended for our marriages to be a glimpse into our relationship with Him. Could it be that if marriage is done right we might want more of God as well?

Will you join me and take your responsibility seriously the next time you are invited to be a witness to a couple’s wedding vows?

"Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together." - Matthew 19:6

Need help? Check out Family Life's Weekend to Remember.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

When did you realize that you weren't alone on this journey called motherhood?

It's the Hearts at Home Blog Hop today! For December: When did you realize that you weren't alone on this journey called Motherhood?

Because I know God is always with me

Because I have a husband like no other

Because my sister will drop whatever she is doing if I call for help

Because my mom is the very definition of the word “servant”

Because my brother and sister-in-law have a little girl exactly 4-months older than my oldest

Because I have a community of believers

Because I joined a MOPS group when my firstborn came along

Because I can tell my girlfriend that I feel like throwing my child out the window and she knows I don’t ever really intend to do that

Because my girlfriend knows just the right words to say to point me to truth when my mind is filled with negativity

Because my life is filled with older, wiser advice givers

Because being a mother gives me a greater understanding of God’s love for me

Because giving birth to three little girls swells my heart for my Creator

Because I have friends who are with me through the thick-of-it

Because my girlfriends are all up for a weekend away

Because my husband is a trooper and knows how often I need to be refreshed

Because God sent His one and only Son into this world for me

Because Jesus took my sin upon Himself on that cross

Because the stone was rolled away

Because He lives

Because of all this and more, I have never had to feel alone on this journey called Motherhood. And when the moments of self-pity hit, all I have to do is be pointed in the right direction to fill up on truth to shine light in the darkness. Motherhood was never a journey meant to be done alone. I’m grateful for the blessings in my life and the grace God has given me just when I need it. If you feel alone in mothering, find a MOPS group, comes to Hearts at Home, join a church community or most importantly, pull out your Bible and empty your heart to He who has always been.

This journey of Motherhood was never meant to be done alone.

Jill Savage is starting a book study on Facebook in January on Real Moms, Real Jesus… check it out!

MOPS has groups all over. Moms looking for others in their same life stage find this group invaluable.

Hearts at Home is March 16-17 at Illinois State University. Don’t miss it!

(in)courage is hosting a conference where you don’t need a lot of money, time, or even friends to attend on April 27-28. Check out (in)RL.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

If you only had 30 days to live?

Robin over at All Things Hearts and Home asks the question: "If you had only 30 days to live what would you change?" It's a good question because it is how we should attempt to fill our days every day.