Yesterday morning I heard the familiar ring of my cell phone. It was my mom! I talk to her at least once a day, so even Karis will tell me that "Amma" is calling. My dad asks me if I would like for them to come visit on the 18th and stay until the next Monday. My heart jumped for joy. I never thought about asking them to come since they will be coming in December when the baby is born. My wonderful dad said, "You know I would do anything for my girl." Thank you Mom and Dad! Thank you for your constant love and support. I love you both very much and can't wait to see you in a few weeks.
Yesterday was a hard day for me. It is getting close to my birthday and my mom's birthday, and I am again realizing that I will not be with my mom yet again this year for our birthdays, hers is the day after mine. God has been so gracious to me to give me a mom that is my best friend, someone I love and admire, someone I have fun just spending time with, and most of all, someone who desires to know Him more. In the last year, I have seen my mom grow in her spiritual walk, and I want so much to be there with her. God has been doing a lot in her life, and I am so thankful for that. I got a crazy idea in my head to fly home this weekend so I could see my mom and dad. Dad, I do miss you too! I had already looked up plane tickets and tried to figure out who I could ask to keep Karis one day, since Justin is off on Saturday is not preaching on Sunday and Monday is a holiday. I was only going to need someone to watch Karis on Tuesday during the day. I had worked it all out in my head and asked the Lord to please let this happen, but when I called my husband to run it by him, the answer was a regretful no. It was no because of many things, but mostly because I am 25 weeks pregnant (I know that it is still safe to fly when you are pregnant), and He doesn't want me flying alone. I never thought about the fact that I was putting a lot of pressure on him to watch Karis for three days by himself. I know he would do it, but I was only thinking about myself and not about my family. Karis would have a really hard time if I was gone for that long. Wow, it is an amazing thing to have a husband who is so loving and cares for me even when my mind is going another direction. Justin was right as my mom and dad both said. God is continues to show me the gift that I have in my godly, discerning husband. I am so blessed and thankful for rational thought in my life right now when maybe I am just being hormonal!
All this week, I have set my alarm to go off at 6:30. My goal was to get up, have a true QUIET time with the Lord, and make my husband breakfast on three of the mornings. I did good on Monday, of course, it was the first day! Tuesday I got up right when the alarm went off and had an amazing time with the Lord. Wednesday, I got up a little later. Thursday, I got up even later, because my alarm never went off. I realized that I had turned it off in the middle of the night. Last night I did the same thing, I turned off my alarm. I remember doing it last night because I was having trouble sleeping. I don't think that I got more than three hours of sleep. This morning I did get to have a nice quiet time with the Lord because I let Karis sleep longer than usual. It is hard for me to make "rising early" a set thing right now, but I will press on and know that I cannot do it myself. I prayed today and all this week for the Lord to give me His strength. I find that my days seems sweeter and more successful when Christ is first and when my time with Him is uninterrupted and quiet. I would challenge anyone who can to rise early and spend quality time with our Savior before the cares of the world come crashing in. I know that at different seasons in my life, a new baby coming, this will be harder and look very different, but I know that if I am already in the habit before he comes, then it will easier to get back into rising early after a few weeks or months.
Last Tuesday night, our very dear friends, the Rob and Michelle Tombrella, stopped by our house to spend the night on their way to Maryland. They are moving to Maryland for Rob to attend the Sovereign Grace Pastors College for the next 10 months. We had a very short but sweet visit. Karis got to play with Samuel and Joel, their two boys that are only 8 months apart. The kids had a blast playing in Karis' room, and the adults enjoyed some great conversation once the kids were asleep. Rob and Michelle also enjoyed not having to drive another 12 hours on Wednesday. Driving from Texas is a long, tiring process, especially when you have two toddlers and no one to switch driving with.
Karis and Samuel are having a tea party. Karis forgot that she wasn't supposed to really eat the food! (She loves to eat her fake peas, but she won't touch the real ones.)
Joel smiling at the camera while Karis looks on with delight. She is getting much better at sharing her toys, and she really enjoys playing with other kids.
We were so blessed to have our dear friends here. We are praying that God will do great things in their lives in Maryland, and we are very excited to be able to see more of them than usual. Thank you Tombrellas for coming to visit us, we love you very much!
I finished readingShopping for Time: How to Do it all an NOT be overwhelmed, by The Mahaney girls. This is a short book with a lot of punch. It only took me a few hours to read the book, but I have been pondering over and using it to plan out my schedule and days. This book is so practical and easy to implement in your everyday life. As women, we love to find the best deals for groceries, clothes, and anything else we purchase. This book uses the shopping metaphor to help us see the "best deal" for using our time and energy. Because this book has helped me so much already, I wanted to highlight a few thing about each chapter (there are only six). Chapter 1 introduces the reader to the five tips of a highly effective shopper: 1. Rise early 2. Be still 3. Sit and Plan 4. Consider People 5. Plan to Depend Chapter 2: Rise Early We need to have a set time that we wake up every morning. This time needs to give us plenty of time to spend with Jesus before we do anything else, feed our husband and children, our children wake up, etc. I am still praying over what time that is for me. I know that I cannot expect to be able to go through my day depending on Jesus if I haven't first spent a significant amount of time with Him with no interruptions. Chapter 3: Be still This chapter deals with sitting with Jesus. It describes what a quiet with Jesus looks like and gives ideas for those who are just starting or have been doing for a long time. Chapter 4: Sit and Plan This chapter really hit home to me. It talks about how we need to have a time each year where we can sit and evaluate every aspect of our life. Carolyn Mahaney has her own sit-and-plan strategy which I think is really good. She lists seven priorities and how to evaluate each one. 1. Grow in godliness 2. Love my family 3. Serve in the church 4. Fellowship with Christians 5. Evangelize non-Christians 6. Attend to my work 7. Care for my physical health She says that we should take a personal retreat away from all distractions so that we can pray and ponder these areas of our life and see ask God what area we need to change. Then, we should make an action plan on how to change that priority. Chapter 5:Consider People This chapter just asks some questions on how to better our relationships with others. It has a lot of good practical advice in this area. Chapter 6: Plan to Depend This chapter points back to our need of dependence on our Savior for every minute of everyday. It reminds us that even best intentions on a schedule of plans can go wrong, but to remember that God is in control and is sovereign over all our interruptions. We should look at each opportunity as a chance to experience His grace even more.
I would greatly recommend this book to every woman. I am praying that the Lord will continue to grow me into the person He desires me to be.
About two weeks ago, Justin, Karis, and I headed down to the beach. We have a wonderful place to stay, and we were looking forward to having a mini-family vacation. We left on Sunday after church and came home late Monday night. When we arrived at Emerald Isle, we got dressed and headed to the beach. We played for about two hours and then came home to get dressed to go to dinner. We had a wonderful dinner and then just hung out laying on a hammock and riding the golf cart. On Monday, we got up, ate breakfast and headed back to the beach. Here are some pictures from that day!
On the way, we stopped and feed the ducks. Karis thought this was so fun!
Karis throwing the bread to the ducks.
Our little one is not at all afraid of the water, so we had to put a life jacket on her. She was very compliant with it on and had a blast playing in the water.
Karis is helping me build a BIG sandcastle. We are patting the sand so that it stays better.
Of course, after we are finished, Karis has to destroy the sandcastle!
This is one of my favorite pictures. Justin thought it would be fun to sit down by the edge of the water and let the waves come up on us. We didn't think about the fact that Karis is much smaller than us, and the "small waves" just about knocked her over. The water never fazed her, she was loving it.
After being knocked over a few times, Karis kept wanting to "sit down in the water, Mommy."
We had a wonderful time. It is always great to get away if even for only a day or so. We are so thankful for our friends who let us use their home. Being at the beach, I am always amazed at God's massive and beautiful creation. We asked Karis, "Why did God make the waves?" She replied, "For His own glory!"
Karis and I have not been doing anything too exciting these past two weeks. We have just been hanging out together, doing our everyday routine. We spend our mornings playing in her room, going to the YMCA about three times a week, and then just doing some chores. Usually I am the one doing the chores, and Karis is playing in her room. She has been enjoying playing by herself in her room lately, as long as she has her "God we trust" cd in. It is a Sovereign Grace cd that she has named after one of the songs. Being a mom is so wonderful. God continues to show me His love as I love Karis more everyday. Some days are harder than others because of discipline issues, but Karis is a very compliant and easy going girl usually. Justin and I are in the process of buying Karis furniture for her room and a computer armoire to put in our living room. We have a lot of things to move around and get ready for the baby. We still have plenty of time, I am only 21 weeks right now. I hope everyone is doing well.
I just finished reading this book last night that I graciously receieved from Justin's pastor friend in Texas. Parenting in the Pew is written by Robbie Castleman. She is a mother of two sons and a pastor's wife. I enjoyed reading this book. It is a very easy and practical read. Castleman gives examples from her own experiences with her boys in worship, and she continually offers suggestions on how to train your children to understand the importance of worship from an early age. She makes a very good point when she says that as parents we are to teach our children why we come to worship and not just teach them to be quiet. We are to model for them how important worship is to us so that they too will realize their need to exalt our Savior.
This book is a very good read if you are planning to start training your child in worship no matter what age. I do not agree with all of Castleman's ideas about training your child to really listen to the sermon. I think that allowing a young child paper and a pen, pencil, or crayons gives them the opportunity to draw and eventually write down what the sermon is about. I do understand that Castleman wants to keep distractions away from the child, but even as an adult, taking notes helps me remember and later ponder what the sermon was about.
I also have to remember that Castleman's ideas are for use in a traditonal church setting, which is not what we have right now at Christ Baptist.
I am thankful for this book to give me yet another resource to help aide me in my training of Karis in worship. I would recommend this book.