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Chasing Babies... Growing in Grace: August 2008

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Fun with Family

What a great time we've been having so far! Thursday (last week) through Sunday was spent with My Beloved's family (grandparents, aunt and uncle, cousins... and all the kids (as well as parents and brothers and their families of course.) What fun. I have never before met the cousins and their families. What a treat to meet them and get to know them a bit. Oh... and we stayed at a fabulous resort type place with little cottages at Maumee State Park in Ohio. So fun... did I take pictures for you??? Not a chance. The couple times the camera came out, it was all about the babies... my little Sweet Pea and her cousin (3 days older than she). I have a few of Tornado too... but really there are more of him from this week.

Sunday we made the drive back from there to My Beloved's parent's house, where we've been since. What a fun time with My Beloved's immediate family! His middle brother (My Beloved is the oldest) and his wife and daughter were here one night... and his youngest bro and my dad-in-law are on the way to the airport this morning so he can head back to Alaska where he lives. Now it is just us. We have loved time with everyone... now we will enjoy some smaller groupings.
When my dad-in-law gets back, we will pack up and head 5 hours north, to N. Michigan to spend a few days with My Beloved's grandparents... without ALL those other people. :) We enjoy it so much up there. A few days on a lake and walking around quaint Traverse City (the nearest city around) looking at cherry things and eating cherry things... yum! We won't be around Internet again for a bit. Friday we will be back with my mom and dad-in-law to spend the weekend with just them. Sigh... if only all these people lived closer.

That's it for us for now! Enjoy your Labor Day weekend! I'll be back next week. :) I'll try to take some pictures for you up north... but no promises... I am on vacation after all! :)


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Counting down

We leave on vacation in less than 24 hours and I have way more to do that I have time to do it! We were up till 3 this morning trying to finish one project that needed to be done. In my mind, if that were done before we went to bed yesterday then I would have a jump on the rest of the projects/deadlines I have for today. Well... it didn't happen. I just finished yesterday's stuff... still have a bunch to do, and haven't started packing yet. Thankfully the laundry is caught up for the most part, so I do have the clothes to pack when I get around to it. :)

If I don't get back around here, we'll be away till Labor Day. I don't know if I'll have time to get online or not... I may just go on a complete computer strike. We'll see. :)

Have a great week if I don't see you again!


Monday, August 18, 2008

Dying to Self ~ Part 2

To find part 1 of Dying to Self, click here.

We looked at the “obvious” applications of dying to self already, but as I’ve been meditating on the concept, I’ve seen so much more. My need to “die to self” doesn’t stop at giving up the last bite of my cookie to my husband or child (this is a huge thing by the way!) I’ve been challenged, through Passionate Housewives, to view my day to day chores and duties as a die to self thing. Yuck… do the dishes AGAIN!... Die to self. Iron even though I’m tired? Die to self. On my feet all day working around the house and dealing with grumpy littles? Die to self and keep going, oh, and without gripping about it. (By the way, rarely am I on my feet all day working around the house. The trick here is that I need to die to self in order to be willing to do those sorts of things. It is this lack of discipline that is the reason our home is in the state it’s in… and the reason for my “dying to self” reflection in the first place.) Though I have been greatly challenged in the last week or so to die to self in my home duties (and I’ll be working on that in the coming hours/days/weeks/months)… it goes deeper!

Dying to self, in its core, means giving up those things we “have a right to”. What sort of things do I mean??? My “right” to be grumpy, for one. But, just wait… it gets better! My “right” to get frustrated with my toddlers blatant disobedience. My “right” to sit and read. My “right” to an uninterrupted Bible time. My “right” to take something personally.

You see, our “rights” need to be the first things to go when we are dying to self. I am a very sensitive person… and I struggle with a bit of a “fear of man” problem. When I die to self, I must dismiss both of these. When my husband makes a comment that I take negatively about the house or dinner or whatever (regardless of how he intended it), dying to self means I must give up my “right” to be hurt by it. Did that one hit a nerve of anyone else around here? You see, this all occurred to me last night… LAST NIGHT (written Friday)! I have not yet even had a chance to put any of what I am sharing with you into practice… I only know it to be true.

One of my best friends in college was a beautiful picture of this concept of giving up her “rights”. She was blessed with a roommate who selfishly hogged their only phone. Night and day she was talking to her long distance boy friend, making it impossible for her roommates to call home, or even across campus. It was a regular frustration, but I will never forget the day she shared with me her struggle to give up her right to the phone. I had never heard of such a reaction before. The only reaction I’d ever heard of growing up was that of claiming my rights, and here she was asking the Lord to help her give hers up. What an amazing concept! And imagine how our perspective changes when we do give up those rights. No longer are we angry or frustrated, but instead the Lord gives us love, peace, contentment and joy!

Can you imagine how much happier I will be, how much more joy I will have, as soon as I die to self and give up my “rights”? I live a truly blessed life! I have a husband who loves me more than I ever dreamed of. I have two beautiful and very sweet children. I am blessed to stay home with my children. We live comfortably, have a wonderful church and truly lack nothing we need! It is when I cling to my “rights” (my “right” to be disappointed, my “right” to be oversensitive, my “right” to have my husband agree with me) that I become discontent and loose my joy! Why would I want to do that? Why do I sabotage my own happiness?

I am determined to make a change. I repent of my old, sinful ways, and I am purposing to dye to self.

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Dying to Self ~ Part 1

I’ve been dwelling a lot in the past few days on the concept of dying to self (thanks to my own sin and reading Passionate Housewives Desperate for God ~ read it… it’s great!) “Dying to self” is the arch enemy of self-centeredness, and is, in essence, the same as selflessness. Why is it, then, that it holds such a powerful kick in the pants for me? What’s the difference? I don’t know.

Though I get the meaning of the phrase, “dying to self”, it has opened my eyes to really look at what it means to me personally. I have found life application in that little phrase that I never would have put on it before.

Allow me to digress a bit, and to jump up on a quick soap box (one, by the way, that nails me to the wall of hypocrisy!) Self-centeredness… not one of us doesn’t struggle with it to some extent, because, as I see it, self-centeredness is at the root of every sin. Eve ate the apple because she was thinking only of herself! People tell lies for self preservation. People steal because they are coveting something they want for themselves. People kill, people lust, people have affairs, all the sins I can think of… all because of self. Children fight over toys because they selfishly desire that toy for themselves. Wives leave their husbands because they cannot imagine living one more day in that unhappy marriage… selfishness. Babies tantrum because they didn’t get what they want.

From the first sin until now, we live lives that revolve around self! Self help books, me time, people who say “God just wants me to be happy.” Since when is this life all about me? I’ll tell you… it’s not! It’s not about me, it’s not about you! God did not create this world for us. God didn’t create me for me. He created me for himself. This world, and everything and everyone in it, is for Him. It’s not all about me, it’s all about Him! The murderer, the thief, the adulterer, the fighting children, the woman who makes the choice to leave her husband… each says, like Eve, “it’s not all about God, I want this life to be all about me.”

Just imagine how different this world would be if each of us put away self-centeredness and began dying to self on a day by day, minute by minute basis. Marriages would be in tact, children wouldn’t be neglected, and crime would be at an all time low.

These things are the obvious (to me anyway) ways to apply this concept of dying to self. Jesus says, “If you love me, obey my commands.” (John 14:15) To die to self and live for Him, means to obey his Scriptures. But as I’ve looked deeper into what dying to self really means in my life, I’ve been amazed to find more.

To be continued…

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Friday, August 15, 2008

A moment of prayer

My Beloved and I were talking on the couch last night when I shared with him some fears and struggles I've been having. I didn't plan to say anything, but it flowed from the conversation we were having. I led out with the words "I don't know why that bothers me so much" and he could see my tears.

He didn't try to fix anything. He listened. He talked with me. Then he asked me... "do you want to pray about it?"

Why is that little question so powerful? When it comes from your husband, your head, your leader... those words, that question carries with it the strength of Christ, leading him in order that he can lead me.

Tears flowed more freely as I cozied up closer to him to pray. And as he prayed, God brought comfort. I felt the comfort and love of both... My Beloved... and mostly, my Lord!

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Learning for Little Ones: ABC fun!

Welcome to Learning for Little Ones! Do you have an idea or activity you do with your little ones??? Please share it with us. I'd love it if you would write a post on it sometime in the next couple days and link up to our Mr. Linky. I would ask, though, that you include somewhere in your post a link back to this post so others can participate! Thanks!

We have the Fridge Phonics Leap Frog thing on our fridge, and Tornado loves it. It seems he selects a new "letter of the week" each week or so and that is the one we do... over and over and over. He loves the song for each letter and will push the button to make it start and run over to me where I am dancing or signing the song. He thinks it's great. Sometimes we sit together on the floor next to the fridge and do it together. He picks a letter to put in and we sing together (ok... I sing and he dances.) Then I take the letter out and put it together with other letters, sounding out words that start with the letter the whole time. After a few of these words, we pick a new letter and do it all again.

What are you doing with your little ones? Write a post on your blog and link up here. Be sure to link directly to your Learning for Little Ones post and don't forget to link back here so others can participate too. Feel free to use my little Learning for Little Ones banner at the top. Don't have a blog??? Leave your ideas in the comments section. :) I'm so looking forward to visiting your blogs and learning from all of you!


The Sweetest and Most Dangerous...

Toddler kisses are the sweetest and most dangerous things in the whole world. Trust me on this one... I think I'm bleeding. :)

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The high chair's ouda-here!

We've done it... we got rid (ok, so it's under the house waiting for Sweet Pea) of the high chair! That's right. I really do not care for that high chair. It's clunky and hard to move around... well, one handed anyway. I am thankful for it, as a wonderful friend found it for us at a garage sale... but it's just not what I would pick if I had unlimited funds so I'm excited not to need it for a while.

So what do we do with our 20 month old??? We decided to try him out in a chair. Sort of. We don't have a booster seat, and regular chairs are too low. In the mean time, between now and whatever we decide to do long term, we are using a step stool. It has 2 steps on it, and though it still isn't as high as we would like for Tornado, it does get him higher. He loves it and he is learning to stay at the table until we say it's ok to get down... without being restrained by straps or a tray.

Visit Kitchen Tip Tuesday for more tips!

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Monday, August 11, 2008

The World must be Flat

Yep... it's true. It must be, because I fell right off. I never intended to completely leave you all behind, but I've been so busy around here that I never even had time to think "I really should be blogging." It just naturally fell off the list of things to do. We shot a wedding Friday (08.08.08) and I had so many things I wanted to finish before then. Now on the other side, I have that wedding to work on, another wedding album to design from last month, 7 yearbook portraits to do this week and 5 order appointments, through Saturday. Then there is all the work those things bring and we are leaving on vacation next Thursday! OH... and the normal stay at home mommy stuff, baby chasing, and packing to leave. Whew! I have a lot to do still. I really don't want to disappear forever though, so I will try to pop in and out. How about short little things each day? Maybe I can do that. :)

I do have a meal plan for this week... though when I get it up it may have to be just dinners. Sorry. Check here for some all day ideas!

Pouring rain here (at least it was a minute ago). I hope it continues all day... sounds so fun! :)


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Bloggy Giveaway: We have a winner

I was so encouraged by all of you who ready and commented on my review of The Sneaky Chef! I was also encouraged to see how many of you desire to help your young ones (and husbands) eat healthier! Good for you! I wish I could give each of you a copy, but alas, I don't even get to keep a copy. :)

Anyway... back to the important stuff!... Drum roll please! (Bdddddddddddd...) Congratulations to Entrant #81 (as selected by!

Anonymous Audra Marie said...
I have some very picky eaters (including my hubby) - this book would be wonderful! :)
Thanks for the chance to win! :)
Again... Congratulations Audra Marie!!

Thanks so much to everyone who participated!! It was a great contest. 85 of you... that's just crazy!

I hope those of you who were first time visitors from Bloggy Giveaways will be back to look around! We love new "faces"! :)