It’s HARVEST Time!

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Overflow of Harvest…

Brian, Emma, and I had the stomach bug pretty bad last week…Brian and I worked together as a team to serve and pour out to our kids, but we both felt sick and weary.  Lewis and Hannah, you see, were not sick!  ….I have come to accept a few unchanging factors about my kids …especially the two, lovingly called, “the twins”–they have more energy than can be bottled and sold!  And more will than I have seen in any my entire parenthood so far, except in three others!  THESE are the hard days.  Sick parents, energetic, strong-willed kids…  I love, though, the perspective that a few days give.  I remember feeling at the end of a hard week, I truly hope to see that fruit soon!  It feels so tiresome and weary sometimes.  I love that God’s Word trumps my feelings!!  His Word says that if you sow seeds, you will reap a harvest IN THE PROPER TIME.  It takes FAITH for me to believe this sometimes when my days are long and the sowing is hard work.  But God graciously gives us sweet and persistent love for our kids…He prompts us to keep going…waking up each morning with new grace and new mercies…with freshness and new creative ideas…and vision.  Sometimes, He even gives us glimpses (hope) of the harvest to come….other times, it is an overflow!!

Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen beautiful glimpses…Today, it was an overflow.

I want to share a few of our beautiful glimpses and what God is doing in our amazing kids right now:

Just the other day, Lewis looked at the melted snow flowing down our drain pipe outside our home…and he said to me quietly, “mommy, look, the rain is coming down the pipe…flowing…just like God’s love…it just keeps coming and keeps coming.  It doesn’t stop.”  My eyes teared up.  It is in moments like these that I can see that they really do understand!

I love seeing God’s faithfulness to them…to pour love and counsel into them…as Lewis was thinking the other day, he told me…”mommy, I think the kids bother me at school sometimes because I expect them to treat me perfectly.”  Wow.  Such introspection, such sweet counsel from Him…a wonderful breakthrough!

And on another day, when I was wishing I had more time with Lewis that day, Lewis whispered to me while we were cooking together after nap time, “mommy, God came to me in a dream while I was sleeping and told me He loved me!!”  Oh, He covers them with His love.

And Hannah, as she battles being 3…and we all feel it…God pressed into me the other day to remember to remind my children that we are all sinners and fall short of His glory…I said this to Hannah during a time of great struggle for her and her eyes lit up…she asked me if I make wrong choices too…”oh yes, Hannah”…I said a bit too joyfully, “I do!”  I loved seeing her feel freedom knowing she is not alone in her struggle.

~Today, there was an overflow in their little spirits.  Hannah…in her intimate love…her social grace, her sweet manners, her joy in spending time with me, her desire to love and nurture me…and Emma…and her cuddlies 🙂  Lewis, in his sweet desire to help…opening doors, running to the kitchen to ask daddy, “How may I help?”  and telling me, “Mommy, you sit here and I will find it!”  What a wonderful quality to have in the firstborn child…I really don’t know what I would do without it.  …Lewis giving me and sissy back scratches…telling me how much he loves us.  This is my romantic, strong poet!!  …Lewis and Hannah’s sweet love for each other…playing sweetly together, considering each other’s needs and desires…joyfully playing together.  Oh, they are like peas and carrots.  They do love sweetly…yes, and they can argue passionately too!  But, today, only sweet love.  What a joy and gift it brings to our hearts.  They even went to bed obediently and with focus.  Really, it was an evening to remember.

Emma brings LIFE and BEAUTY and JOY and PEACE and FUN to our days….she is a gift beyond our wildest dreams…I really couldn’t imagine God giving me such a gift in a baby…in a child.  I just KNOW the depth of God’s love for me when I look into these deep and sparkly blues.  She brings forth praise and thanks in my heart…in each of my days.  We are deeply grateful for her life…and cannot believe our little Emma “boo”…our Emmy…is turning 9 months in a week and a half.  Oh we love her and will miss her babyhood.  Every day is a holiday with Emma.  She really does brighten our lives and lift our hearts up to the Lord in praise.

In Hannah’s words, “Oh Emmy, you are such a cutie baby.”

I love capturing the overflow of harvest…that I may remember…for the next sowing season 🙂

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Marathon Days.

There really is no other way to put it.  My days feel like I am running a marathon…with my sweet little bed welcoming me at night.

Things I am thankful for:

I LOVE my Emma.  Her two-toothed grin and sparkling blue eyes light up with joy.  Her giggles bring unending joy.  She brings peace to my days…and love always.  I love seeing her delight and distaste in different foods…the joy of learning her sweet little personality.

I am thankful for Hannah’s bone to HEAL completely!!!  This is a huge miracle for me to grasp hold of today and PRAISE Him for:  Our GREAT Healer!!

I am thankful for the obedient spirit I see in Lewis…growing each day.  I am thankful for all that he is learning with his friends right now…learning to love, learning to overlook offenses, learning about God’s love over him always.

I am thankful that spring is coming SOON.  We had a snow last night, and as it melts, I wonder if it is the last one.

I am thankful that my body is able to lose the rest of this pregnancy weight…I really did wonder if it would all come off this time…I am thankful for the time to work out and the calories nursing burns!  I always gain much more than the recommended amount.

I am thankful that I am loved, cherished, accepted, and redeemed…bought with a price by Him.

I am thankful for God healing our colds.

I am reminded this week that God is FOR me and not against me.  Isn’t it so easy to confuse God with life?  It feels like I am battling so much right now…difficult attitudes, regression in behavior…I want to feel disgruntled…but I know that God is on my side.  He is working with me.  He cares more about all of this than I do.  I know the remedy for a disgruntled attitude is a thankful heart.

Lately, it seems we’ve had a bunch of setbacks…potty training, behavior.  Hannah was dry even at night just two weeks ago…and now we are back to “sweet treats” to get her to go on the potty.  I have found lots of “surprises” the past 2 weeks…after asking her to go potty…she runs and hides…giggles and goes. My little 3 is such a challenge…daily…for me.  It feels like regression some days…and others, I succumb to the “terrible 3” explanation.  She has dropped her naps entirely the past 2 weeks…despite quite an effort to maintain them.  She feels so deeply…and has opinions about everything.  She doesn’t hold back how she truly feels.  She is so determined!  She has a great memory.  She really is so smart, she surprises me daily by what she knows, remembers, and can do.  She is SO independent.  I am wondering how all of these qualities will be used someday…in ways that I know God will use to bless others.

We’re working hard on obedience right now.  I am so passionate about their hearts…I know this is a gift, but it does mean that my heart is burdened right now…I keep taking those burdens right back to the Lord.  I love them…even if I don’t like the sin.  He is able to handle all of it.  I must press on.

I am SECURE in HIM right now…not the blessings God has given me…He giveth and He taketh away…my security, my confidence is in Him.  I am SURE of Him.

Bring In, Build Up, Send Out!!!

This is the Fort Leavenworth Chapel Community motto and I have adopted it as my own for our family!!!  This is my parenting and homeschooling goal—to BRING THEM IN…to draw our childrens’ hearts close to our hearts, with the Lord as our guide in discernment and love, TO BUILD THEM UP–in truth and wisdom–God’s Word, love, and knowledge, and TO SEND THEM OUT– into the world as approved workmen, strong disciples of Jesus to be HIS MESSAGE IN THE FLESH.

Fisher of Men.

My Fisher of Men
My Fisher of Men

My not-so-little boy is giving me lots of sweet moments to share in praising God and learning about Him together….and moments of just pure awe at the boy God is growing him into.  This has been my prayer lately…that we, as a family, would begin to read, worship, serve and pray together as a unit…a team.  It is so hard because they are so little still…and family devotion times have usually been a disaster for us…but the longing is SO strong in my heart to keep persevering with this…even if it goes awry.  God is pressing this deeply in my heart…to read and pray, no matter how I feel…or how little sleep I got the night before…and to begin to come together as a family to study His word and learn together.

The other night, as Emma had cried continually for over 24 hours…I passed by Lewis’ room as he was quietly playing with his toys for some time :-), and he was singing “No more crying there, we are going to see the King.”  I was so encouraged by this.  He has nicknamed his little baby sister “crier” for now….

He’s learning to stand strong for God—when Emma is crying, when Hannah is provoking or leading him to do the wrong thing…he is beginning to stand strong.  Just yesterday, a teacher of his Stretch and Grow class told me that when the other kids are not listening in class, Lewis would continue to listen and not be drawn into doing the wrong thing!

The other day we had a precious, sweet moment of discipleship in a hard day …he was playing with his blocks and legos, his favorite toys to play with, and he had a little lego fishing pole and was fishing the lego fish with it.  Then he said, “I want to fish for the lego man too.”  And he began hooking the lego man up to the fishing pole…I was so excited for the moment the Lord provided for me to teach that day and told him how the Lord’s disciples were fisherman and Jesus called them to follow him…and they left everything and followed at once.  And how the Lord taught them to be fishers of men.  Lewis loved learning about this story and said, “Mommy, that is what I want to be when I grow up…a fisher of men.”

I had another incredible moment two weeks ago on another really hard day for me…a morning at a friend’s house, where the Lord was asking me to serve Him in a particular way…I had a hard time envisioning myself as capable of serving that day…but the Lord beckoned me on and I chose to believe He could enable me to serve…it turns out it was a small and feasible way to serve…in making meals as I am able for new mommies…and in the meantime, the Lord overwhelmingly blessed my little step of obedience.  It was an incredible day with a friend, a fun time for our kids, and I even was able to take all 3 kids to the pool, as well as an older child who wanted to stay a little longer with me while her mom got her littles back to home.  He showed me that with my little steps of obedience, He would do AWESOME things!  And during the inreach meeting, my friend mentioned Lewis’ name, and two ladies beamed and cried out to me, “You are Lewis’ mom!  Wow, we’ve been wanting to meet you!  He is such an incredible kid!”  It was really too sweet of a day for me…you know…those days when the Lord just lavishes His praise on you with your little steps of obedience?  It was too sweet.  And a very memorable day for me.

I’m so very proud of you Lewis!!!  You ARE an incredible kid!!!

My little instruments of refinement :-)

Loving this refinement!
Loving these instruments!

My kids have really been my instruments of refinement here so far…they are pressing me constantly into the unknown in parenting…and occasionally way past my limits.  As I ran to the Lord the other day when they had completely exhausted my resources and mental energy…He told me 3 things:

1)  Do not try to problem solve every situation…some situations are beyond your ability to understand.

2) Run to me for quiet times interspersed throughout your day and in moments of distress.

3) The circumstance may be past your ability in the moment, but seek ME and Focus on how I want you to RESPOND….your response doesn’t have to be by the book…just pleasing to ME…

Last week I felt better than I have felt this whole pregnancy (thank goodness)!  It was amazing to feel “normal” again.  Over the weekend, the sickness came back and today it was terrible…but in just 4 months, the most beautiful little gift will be in my arms…and she will be totally worth it…and THIS refinement…I am learning to really LOVE.  Being pushed to consistently seek HIM…letting go of my knowledge and will…and letting HIM guide me into new territory…I had a terrible day in responding to one of my littles the other week…but today, God gave me victory in trusting HIM…even on a day when I felt worse than I have yet.  It is so beyond me…and as I learn to let go and focus on Him, He enables me to pave new ground that has been impossible for me before.  Anything IS wonderful with Jesus!  Even refinement 🙂

Sweet comfort and joy to my soul…

Much of my time with Lewis so far has been spent doing this:

Well spent time shepherding a sweet and tender heart

However, truly, if you train them up in the way they should go, when they are old, they won’t depart from it.  I really believe this promise in childrearing.  If we allow ourselves to be a vessel of the Lord to teach God’s commands and ways and love to our children…to disciple them…God’s commands and their knowledge of His love bring forth abundant fruit in their lives over time.  We are starting to see beautiful fruit with our kids…but there is much more time, wisdom, and transformation needed…  I do, however, have something beautiful to remember that happened on our trip to Canada…to treasure in my heart for always…one of the sweetest things that has been said to me about our children –A family relative and friend looked at Lewis standing on the dock, after spending some time with him and getting to know his joyful and fun little personality, said very genuinely and lovingly to him, “Lewis, I hope to have a child just like you someday.”

These moments make it all worth it.  This was a blessing from the Lord, so needed and treasured in my heart.  I can’t wait to see what this amazing little boy is going to turn out to be!  I learn more and more about him every day.  New revelations from the Lord bring new understanding to me and new ways of teaching, loving and discipling.  This is one of my greatest joys right now…in discipling these beautiful little hearts…and showing them how MUCH God loves them…and seeing His joy all over their faces.

Praise the Lord, O my Soul!!!

Trip to the Top of Mount Blackie!

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I wanted to take Lew Lew to the top of Mount Blackie the other day, because he has been asking to go again since his cousins left in April.  He loves to hike and had fun hiking with daddy on their camping trip to Big Bear too.  Daddy said Lewis was a trooper and hiked 3 miles with him!  It was a great idea to get him to sleep in their tent at night I think 😉

We started up the hill and met sweet hikers coming down who were SO encouraging and proud of Lewis going up.  Lewis told me twice on the way up that he was tired and it was hot and he wanted to go home.  I told him we were almost there and that if he tried not to bend down to touch every rock with his stick or rock in his hand, that he might save a little energy to make it to the top 🙂  He didn’t stop…but he did make it to the top with only a few water breaks!  I was so proud of him!  We went to the top to the cross…mommy said a few prayers (Lewis didn’t want to pray right then)…and Lewis asked to touch the cross.  I lifted him up climbing over the sharp, tall rocks to touch it  and then tried to bring him back down, but sliced my knee up a bit…(mommy led Lewis one way and Lew Lew went the other 😉 )….but then when Lewis got down, he looked at my bloody knee, said a prayer for me, and we headed back down the mountain with Lew pulling me fast as I hobbled down.  It was a fun time with my little man.

It was also a perfect trial week to see if homeschooling would work next fall having him around all the time.  He was AWESOME all week!  He’s grown up a bit and ready to be my little learner!

Isn’t it beautiful to see the panoramic view of where we live here at Fort Irwin?  You can even see the one long road (about 30-40 minutes to the closest small town) that leads away from the circle of desert mountains to freedom!  🙂  What a refuge and place of shelter this place has become to me though.  It is full of beauty and made by the wonderful and perfect Creator.

Beautiful day….

The past week has just been exhausting for me for some reason.  Each and every day has been a struggle to physically and emotionally get through.  My body keeps crying out and today I actually fell asleep on Lewis.  He woke me with a kiss and said, “Wake up Mommy!”  He learned very well from Briar Rose (aka Sleeping Beauty 🙂 ).

Lewis and I have a lot in common.  Some days it makes us clash…other days, we are just totally on the same page with everything.  Today, I was feeling that God was distant.  Just as I started feeling it, Lewis said to me “Mommy, where’s God?”  I froze.  Did he feel it too?  I don’t know for sure, but I took the opportunity many times to tell him today, as I was also struggling, some days God feels distant, but He’s not really.  He’s right there.  That’s when our faith has to kick in and we just have to trust and obey and KNOW without a doubt that He’s as close as He is when we really feel Him.   Later that day, when I put Hannah to bed for an early nap (she’s teething and has been crying for hours each day…but thankfully, it hasn’t affected her sleep too much this time,)  Lewis and I sat on the bench out in our back yard and talked.  I talked to Lewis about thinking Godly thoughts…that when our thoughts just are flooding us and are not thoughts that are pleasing to God…we just have to stop and start thinking Godly thoughts.  I explained that Godly thoughts were staight from the Bible–God’s Word.  We think HIS thoughts and nothing can defeat them!  They are everlasting words.  I’m not sure if that made any sense to Lewis…but I felt prompted to tell him…and we both felt the struggle today.  Lewis did a lot better than I did…I really cannot believe the big boy he is turning into…most of the time it just makes me want to cry….but I am also most proud of my special little boy.  The direction he is headed makes me want to put so much more effort to be the kind of mommy that is worthy of discipling him.  I have a lot of work ahead of me.  But, I am going to triple my efforts and pray unceasing…and this old is going to pass…and the new is going to come!  To Him be all the Glory!

More than conquerors!

The last few days were tough in parenting, but as friends prayed, and God gave guidance and a huge dose of His spirit to my children (thank-you for that Lord!) 🙂 , today brought forth beauty and joy!

As I watched my kids share their toys this morning, and watched my loving son…who gets a bit particular about his projects…ask Hannah to help him build his project…and then saw Hannah mess it up a few minutes later…and Lewis not getting mad, but helping her destroy it for fun…and watching Hannah take his toy…and then seeing him use his words politely to ask Mommy to bring it back….and using his tongue to bless and not say mean things…I felt that HE was truly MORE THAN A CONQUEROR!!!!

The whole day today he has been making right choices, learning from his mistakes the past few days.  He is learning to take responsibilty; to bless others, even when difficult; to love sissy all the time, even when she makes wrong choices; to help others; and to find freedom from sin.  That is the greatest feeling of all.  To break free from old patterns that bound us.

We have a lot of hero parties around here when the kids are able to make right choices…Lewis is getting a cereal, blueberry, strawberry, and blueberry muffin hero party upon request tonight 🙂  (Isn’t that a perfect dinner?)  He really is my hero.  I see it most clearly when daddy is gone.  Already at 3, I am depending on him so much.  Sometimes, it makes my heart ache to see him act so grown up.  I think, is he growing up too fast? Is he able to relish his childhood enough?  Most of the time, it brings me joy, knowing he is learning lessons so early on that will prevent him much pain in growing up…and also being a beautiful blessing to others…and being pleasing to God.  I’m so proud of my great helper and overcomer!!!