Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thankful Day 20- Thanksgiving Program

My daughter had her pre-k Thanksgiving program today.  So sweet.  Really, all the kiddos were so cute.  Neela was great.  The night before she sang all the songs to me and showed me the motions.  She asked that I sit where she could see me.  :)

Neela's teacher told me as they were leaving for the program she told her teacher she was hoping I found where the program was going to be and was worried about me.  My 4 year old was worried about me! so cute.  I asked her on the way to school where the program was just for conversation and this is where she took it in her mind.  oh girl.

I am thankful for this Thanksgiving Program which reminds me of what a great school Neela attends. I am thankful she has made friends and is thriving in her new school.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thankful Day 19- Butterfingers


Thankful Day 18- Slumber Parties

I am so thankful for slumber parties.

I can't believe how much slumber parties bring joy to my daughter's heart.  Neela and I had a slumber party tonight and I don't want to forget it.  I mean seriously, she laughs with that deep within laugh that just makes you start laughing.  I love it!

Our slumber party consisted of:

Movie: Lalaloopsy.  Enough said.

A Crazy game of Candyland- She get so excited to play this game.  It's not just about the moving her Gingerbread Man piece but all that is included like the fun area's on the board and gobbling up all the candy as she moves her pieces.  Really is so fun to watch her joy.

Painting Finger Nails.  We do this every time at a slumber party.  Not sure why this is always included it just seems like that's a fun thing to do at slumber parties.  She loves it. She picks her color out and I get to paint maybe one nail and then she wants to pain all her nails and mine.  My nails are currently pink that is a little uneven but I don't mind. :)

Reading. Weird I know, but she loves reading.  So we picked a few books and read.

Taylor Swift dance party.  So I have a feeling taylor swift is a staple in my life right now and will probably in the future will remind me of this time of our lives.  But I don't mind. We danced to 3 songs with her stuffed bunnies and I loved this moment.  I want to lock this memory away because it's just so sweet.

I hope, in years to come, our relationship will include fun moments like this.  Full of fun, being our selves, vulnerable, and full of laughter.  Yes.

Thankful Day 17- Today's Message

Pastor Mark, taught the last of the 10 Commandment services.  This commandment is the only commandment that deals strictly inward not outward actions.  No one can see you coveting in your heart.  If you want someone's home, job, family, personality, or gifts no one can SEE this in your outward appearance. 

I don't think of my self as a covetous person, but when I start to look in my heart, I see this is true in my life.  When I am finding my identity in my the pursuits of this world, my heart is often discouraged and finding satisfaction in my abilities and not who Christ is and who I am in Christ.

Scripture says, "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks".  Wow.  what do I talk about the most?  What does my heart dwell on most of the day? The heart is stated 900+ times in the bible.  Our heart is a big deal to the Lord.  

I need to fix my affections for the Lord not for things around me.  I need to set my heart for the things of the Creator and not the created.  

Coveting hurts God: God gives us the law as an extension of God's love. 
"As for the rich in this resent age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy." 1 Timothy 6:17

This convicted my heart.  The Lord is my heavenly, loving Father who gives me riches to enjoy and my heart does not always rest in this.  He is enough.  He is my identity. He is my hope.  Why do I look else where?  Why do I let me heart go astray?  

Coveting hurts people you love:

"What causes quarrels and what causes passions are at war within you. You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.  You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions." James 4:1-3

These fights we are waring within our hearts and they eventually show eternally.  Because we are coveting others, we end up fighting with them because our hearts are not pure towards them and we are desiring what they have or have put an expectation on them.  Be sensitive to the Lord's leading and know what his word says.  Keep our eyes fixed on him and know where you are letting sin rule your hearts.  Confess and Repent to the Lord.

Coveting hurts people you could love

God reminds us to love others where they are at and not because of what they have and who they are.

"...It is more blessed to give than to receive." Acts 20:35

Crushing coveting with contentment

"Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content." Philippians 4:11

"I can do all things through him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

God is enough. He paid the price and we are given life. God continues to sanctify us through revealing areas of our life we are not giving him ultimate control, we confess these areas and repent.

Take Away from 10 Commandments

1. God is an amazing Father
2. Jesus is incredible and perfect
3. He sent the Holy Spirit

Thankful Day 16- Sweaters

I am so thankful sweaters.  Living in the northwest has given me a new love for sweaters.  It's really getting cold.  I mean, chilled to the bone cold.  Hopeful my body will adjust to the weather and the rain which I'm sure is coming soon.

I have a feeling my winter wardrobe will grow during my time here. :)

Thankful Day 15- Stay at Home Mom

I am thankful to be able to stay at home with my kids. I always knew it was better to make the sacrifice if we could and it is so worth it. Man do I sleep hard at night but I wouldn't trade it for anything. I work so much harder being a stay at home mom than I ever did working out in my field. THis job is 24/7.

My favorite part of staying at home with my kiddos is getting to be there for the questions and the aw-ha moments. 

Man, with my 4 year old is learning so much right now. She is a little sponge taking in all the information around her. I am constantly amazed by her questions and just how it of the blue she brings up a random topic she has been thinking about.

Here are a few of her questions or comments lately:

Why does the policeman drive around the parking lot?

Tim: Why did God flood the earth? Neela: to feed the flowers

Me: God hears the quietest whisper in our hearts. Neela: he hears Bubble Guppies in my heart. I think about them all the time!

"Mommy, I'm going to look out the window when we are driving because I don't want to forget what Portland looks like"

"When I grow up I want to be a teacher"

These are just a few off the top of my head.  

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thankful Day 14- Multnomah Falls

Bottom of Multnomah Falls

Top of Multnomah Falls
Family pic at the top of the waterfall 

Fun on the hike.

Thankful Day 13- Not for a Moment

It's been almost 3 months since our lives completely changed and we sold our first house in Texas, left our family and friends in Texas, and moved to the northwest (Portland).  Wow,  to be able to say it in such few words does not display all the details of how our lives have changed physically, emotionally, spiritually.  God has been good and faithful through this process and my heart is filled with gratitude to serve a God who knows the depths of my heart and is replacing my desires with His.

I trust and know the Lord lead us here.  As Tim and I prayed and sought God’s guidance, we knew this is where God lead us.  With that said, it does not take away all the transitions we have endured the last 3 months. 

I have lived in Texas my whole life.  So moving out of state, somewhere we have no family or friends within 2,000 miles of us, and knowing the weather was not going to be as warm as it is in Texas most year round, it’s been a transition. Not in a bad way, just different.  I do remember our first day in Portland just being in awe of the beauty that surrounded us.  The flowers are so big and vibrate here.  People have hydrangeas in their front yard! I mean, I have never seen that in Texas, or just didn’t observe it that much.  On the drive from Portland to Seattle, you can see Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helen, and Mt. Rainier.  I mean, truly breath taking sights.  Everything was so green and lush. The people here remind me of the “Keep Austin Weird” people so I felt right at home.:) As amazing as all of this sounds, it still was different for me. 

As everything that was familiar to me was striped away, God broke me in a good way.  When everything that is familiar was gone, the only thing constant was the Lord.  Yes my family was here with me, but we were all taking it in, learning the culture and adapting to our new environment so we were all changing together.  

But God was the only constant, unchanging person in my life.  My dependence and desire for the Lord grew so much.  I have always needed the Lord but I finally recognized how much I NEEDED Him.  I needed him to remind me why he took us across the country to glorify Him, to provide me with the words to have heart to heart conversations with my kids about why we moved from family and close friends, and to seek the Lord for my husband to love him well as he transitions to a new ministry.  Waking up early in the morning was not as hard as it used to be.  The Lord occupied my mind in the “little” daily tasks of the day.  Those tasks that bothered me before were seen in a new light, tasks given to me to glorify the Lord not me.  And my heart delighted in this.  My heart delighted to seek the Lord, trusting he alone is in control and is using us for His glory.  Of course, transition is hard.  New state, new town, new home, new church, new school, new everything! I needed the map to get to Target! Everything new is hard.  But God does not change,is constant and my Rock.  God has equipped me for every good work and desires to use our family for His glory! What a gift. 

“He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my might rock, my refuge is God.
Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.
Psalm 62:6-8

God has always used music to speak to my heart.  I love singing songs of praise to Him, I can't carry a tune, but I know He is still glorified whether I am singing in tune or not. :) Parts of this song talk about how the Lord is constant and not for a moment did he forsake me. Not for a moment was he not present as were a week without furniture living on blow up mattresses, when our car got broken into our first week, or our crazy travel weekends to Seattle. Even though transition can have it’s ups and downs, His arms are always opened to be a place of refuge and clarity.  He is always with us and we are held in his hands.  He is Sovereign over all things.  

I am so thankful for this journey. I am thankful for how the Lord is revealing Himself to me and to my family.  We are experiencing a dependence on the Lord we would not have experienced had we not taken a leap of faith to do what we are doing.  I am thankful my Heavenly Father loves me with an unfailing, steadfast love.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Thankful Day 12- Taylor Swift

Ok, so I know this sounds weird, but I am thankful for Taylor Swift music.  My daughter loves Taylor Swift.  It literally puts her on her feet jumping around. How does every little girl love Taylor Swift? Well, mine does and I have fun with it.  We will have dance parties just the two of us and my son will sometimes join us, just excited we are jumping/dancing around.  

Today Neela has been a bit under the weather and we watched Charlotte's Web and jammed to Taylor Swift.  Also, when we lived in Texas Neela would listen to Taylor Swift when she would take a bath (I know!) and so it's fun for her to remember that and just sweet memories from our home in Texas and a great way for her to remember.

This is her favorite video:


Monday, November 11, 2013

Thankful Day 11- Veterans

Thankful Day 10- Glimpses of Grace

I recently read this book and loved it!  My heart was convicted and pointed to the gospel in the mist of my sinful and selfish heart.

This book "Glimpses of Grace" by Gloria Furman is about treasuring the gospel in your home.  Being a stay at home mom right now, my selfish heart struggles to serve all day and not having a lot of down time for myself.  I sound so awful right now, but it's the true state of my heart at times.  Gloria Furman points our hearts to what scripture says about glorifying the Lord in the mist of our mundane task around the home and our duty of the never ending changing diapers.

God's grace and presence is in every area of our lives.  He is glorified and made much when we seek to know Him more and to know He is our Savior, Redeemer, and purpose we live for.  I love how she uses so much scripture to point us to the gospel.  It's not just her being witty and great with using her words, which she is, but loads this book with theology and truth my heart is desperate to hear.

She addresses how so often we feel like life has to be perfect to pursue Jesus or to even glorify him.  But we are called to glorify him in the mist of life, struggles, discouragements.  Our home will never be clean enough, our kids will never be "good enough", our dinners will not be "tasty" enough.  We will have people see us in the mist of our messiness and what a beautiful opportunity to point overs to the Jesus who sustains our life.

I am thankful for the time I have with my children and even in the mist of a hard day, this book has taught me how to point my heart to the gospel.  I have the life I have because the sacrifice Jesus paid on the cross for my freedom.  Because I have experienced true love and grace, I am given the ability to extend the same to my children and my words to be filled with love and grace because of Jesus.  I was dead in my sin and now alive in Christ.  This is life I have the privilege of sharing with my children on a daily basis.  What a privilege.

Here are a few gems from the book. 

-Scripture my heart is dwelling on, "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Jesus Christ." Colossians 3:23, 24

-"Spiritual disciplines serve as gateways to cherishing the gospel, not as substitutes to the gospel."

-Two Purposes Jesus used Parables: "1. To reveal things. 2. To emphasize the point that his teachings were concealed form people who did not understand the things of God."

-"Treasuring Christ changes us. Faith looks back at the cross and agrees with Jesus who said, "It is finished." My debt has been paid and my sin is forgiven because Jesus paid it all.  I am reconciled to God through the death of his Son.

-"What we need more than clean hands is a clean heart. God is the only one who can purify us: "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow... Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me" Psalm 51:7, 10

-"The greatest nightmare of shame is the fear of being found out. But the gospel turns this fear into an occasion for joyful celebration at the foot of the ross. We will be free from the controlling effect of shame only when we are repenting of our efforts to cleanse ourselves and rejoicing in the saving blood of Christ instead."

These are just a few gems from this book.  I highly recommend this book!

So thankful for this book, "Glimpses of Grace."

"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Jesus Christ." Colossians 3:23, 24

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Thankful Day 9- Hoyt Arboretum

I love all the beautiful hiking trails here in Portland.  Honestly, you can walk anywhere here and enjoy the beauty of creation surrounding you.  Today we discovered Hoyt Arboretum. Wow, trails between streams, red wood trees, fir trees, and all sorts of coloring mushrooms.  I climbed a fir tree super high because it was so easy to climb almost to the top of the tree.  My daughter enjoyed exploring, singing loudly, and dancing her own jig.  My 1 year old loved walking around screaming and staring at everyone who walked by.  The hubby of course taking it all in and thankful for our time in Portland.

I'm thankful for the ability to teach our kids to enjoy the beauty of the Lord that physically surrounds us on a daily basis.  In our culture, we are so quick to think we need games, ipads, toys, and man made entertainment for our children at all times.  Yes, these things are gifts from the Lord but He is our greatest gift and His never ending beauty surrounds us. I am thankful for the opportunity to do this in such a beautiful place like Portland.

I am thankful for  a day of hiking with my family at Hoyt Arboretum.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Thankful Day 8- Parenthood

I am so thankful for this show!  I love Parenthood! It's a fun time for Tim and I to sit down and have a show we enjoy together.  Now that we live in Portland, Parenthood does not air until 10:00pm!?! Crazy I know!?! I have to be honest, there are times I have fallen asleep because it's so late and will watch Parenthood on Hulu, but I do try to stay awake. :)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thankful Day 7- Children

I am thank for my children.  Children are a gift from the Lord.  It’s true. 

Psalm 127:3-5
"Children are a heritage from the Lord,
 offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
 are children born in one’s youth. 
Blessed is the man
 whose quiver is full of them."

My kids are such a joy and I have the privilege at this time in my life to stay home with them.  Each day is an adventure full of barbies, crafts, letters and numbers, care bears, blocks, picnics, cars, and so much more! Jealous I know. J

My four year old is my tender hearted, compassionate, silly when no one is looking, has a love for learning kind of gal.  She is inquisitive and often brings me to tears with the questions she will ask me.  Questions about our family, friends, God, herself, and super heroes and princesses of course. Never a dull moment. 

My one year old is a fun lovin, interactive, stare you down, ball of energy.  He is very much go with the flow just have snacks for him and his pacie and he is good to go.  He loves balls, exploring and pooping in his diaper. J Again, never a dull moment.

We moved to Portland two and half months ago and it was a big transition.  I was nervous for the transition for our children but they have champs!  Of course, my four year old ask dozens of questions, even now, but have embraced our new city and we are settled in.  I know this is the Lord’s doing.  It’s funny when I worry so much about things I really have no control over and realized how much energy I wasted.  The Lord has gone before us and knows what will happen.  He is taking care of us and is our place of refuge.

The other day my four year old said, “Mommy, I’m going to look out the window while we are driving in Portland because I don’t want to forget what Portland looks like.”  Who says that!?! She is constantly process things and I’m always amazed with what comes out of her mouth. 

The Lord reveals to me daily the need I have for him to give the the strength and wisdom to parent and love my children well.  He is so faithful and equips me for every good work.

Today, I am thankful for my children. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Thankful Day 6- Tim

I am thankful for Tim.  After the Lord, he is my closest friend.  We have experienced so much life together and there is no one more I enjoy spending time with.  I am so thankful for the privilege to live life together with him.

Wow, we have lived in four cities, 4 cars, 2 pets, 6 homes, planted a church, started and sold a business, bought and sold our first home and 2 little nuggets later here we are.

He brings so much joy to my life.  He enjoys being silly and the kids love it! He is definitely known as the “fun parent” because of his adventurous side and the kids jumping on his back.  Not only for the kids but he also brings out the silly side of me and if I’m getting all wrapped up in the details of do I have enough snacks, diapers, wipes, drinks, possibly pacie, etc., he stops me from my mind exploding and keeps me in the moment.

He is full of integrity.  This was one of the first qualities I noticed about him even before we started dating and this has not changed.  What you see is what you get.  He does not try to be something he is not.  Yes, he is a learner and a processor, but he tells it to you straight and does not hide things of where is heart currently is.  He is honest and will do his best to be as accurate as possible. Throughout our marriage, I can honestly say he tries to always be honest with me even about hard things.  He’s not one to act like something never happened. 

He loves me well.  Regardless of my response sometime, he loves me well.  He will put me before himself and know what’s important to me.  This speaks volumes to my heart.  Of course he is awesome with the kiddos.  They never have to question for a second and they are showered with Daddy hugs daily.

This year we have had the privilege of visiting different states in the US and it’s so fun to experience these new adventures together.  We know each other so well which makes it easy to travel, make crazy plans on trips, and just hold hands as we experience new adventures together.  Truly this is a gift from the Lord.

Also, being parents together and discovering all the joys of parenting has been an adventure. We may have different approaches at times, but the end result desired is the same and we are like minded in wanting our children to see God in the mist of our parenting and disciplining and so this keeps us unified and seeking the Lord for salvation for our children.

Those are just a few of the many qualities I LOVE about my best friend.  I love how he points my heart to the Lord and to drink of him and know the Lord will be the only one who will satisfy my every need.  

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Thankful Day 5- Grace

I am thankful for Grace.

I once didn’t know who God was.  I didn’t know until God showed me there's more to this life than working hard, marking a name for myself, and trying to keep my ever feeble body healthy. 

Ephesians 2:1-8: “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following he prince of power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience- now at work in the sons of disobedience- among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath like the rest of man kind.”

I was once dead spiritual and by nature children of wrath.  Romans 3:23 states, “For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.”

There is nothing I could do by on my own to earn God’s love or grace because if it was by my efforts, it wouldn’t work.  I am dead in my trespasses and fall short of God. It’s like I am dead at the bottom of the ocean, not floating on a raft, and God saved me and gave me life.  All his doing and none of my doing.

BUT God….

Ephesians 2:8-10: “But God being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were death in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ- by grace you have been saved- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is a gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

This reminds me it’s not of me, but ALL by his Grace.  His sacrifice is a gift from the Lord.  He is rich in mercy and gives me life. I didn’t have my act together first and then God saved me.  I didn’t do nice things for other people and then God saved me.  I didn’t have my life in order and then God saved me.  It was through his grace and sacrifice. I am thankful. 

Ephesians 2:13: “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”

I cannot earn his love, He freely gives it to me as a gift from him. 

I am now:

A new Creation. 2 Corinthians 5:17- “ Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Not rule following but a changed heart. Galatians 3:13,14: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”- So that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.”

Freedom. Galatians 5:13- “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh but through love serve one another.”

This grace makes me walk different in my daily life.  There is no greater strength or a firmer foundation than the perfect, powerful gospel of Jesus Christ. As I strive to be a loving wife and mom, a encouraging friend, and love others around me, it’s not in my ability but by the grace and love that has been given to me. As I walk deeply in knowing the Lord, these things fall into place.  These are gifts from the Lord.  They are ultimately His and I get to participate in what He is doing in their lives.  I can only do this by God’s grace he has bestowed upon me. 

So thankful for Grace.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Thankful Day 4- This Song: How He Loves Us


Thankful Day 3- Coffee

Oh Coffee.  I was never a coffee drinker until about a year and half ago.  It's not always a must but I enjoy waking up in the morning and having coffee as I read or just having something hot as I go about my morning.

Today has been a must needed coffee morning.  Today daylights savings and we gained an hour!  Whoo hoo!!  Yay!  So typically this means you gain an hour of sleep, or it can mean your children choose to wake up an hour early and the clocks rolled back.  My daughter woke up at 5am and her first question to me as I am coming out of a deep sleep is "Can you play with me?" Sweet right? Yes, it is so sweet but also a quick realization how my heart was frustrated.  Frustrated to be woken up so early and not to mention I chose to wake up at 3am to see Tim off as he was driving to Seattle to meet with Mark and the other residents and had no idea was the rest of my early morning would look like.  So needless to say, I did not sleep much last night but did enjoy a tasty cup of hot joe and care bear play time with my girl.  Children are a gift from the Lord whether it is sleepFULL or sleepLESS nights they are little people we have the privilege of pointing to the Lord in the mist of our tired or full rested selves.

May I choose to walk in the spirit today and know the privilege I have to walk in relationship with my Savior.  I once was lost but I am now found  I am a new creation in the Lord and get to walk in newness of life. I get to serve Him through loving on my children and sharing who He is in my life even if I'm sleepy. :) My heart needed to be reminded of this.

And I am thankful the Lord gives us little gifts like coffee. :)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Thankful Day 2- Abide

This is such a strong word: ABIDE.

Abide means to wait for, to remain stable or fixed in a state. 

This word has consumed me over the last few weeks. As I rise in the morning, go about my daily routine and fix my eyes on The Lord for daily strength and wisdom for the day. We all abide In something On adaily basis. Some of us it is the approval of our boss or friends, our newest hobby we are trying to perfect or even a place of escape. 

For me, I can abide in my routine. I like to wake up and have "me" time in the morning,  have breakfast half prepared, and dressed for the day. Does this happen on a daily basis, no. I have young ones who like to wake up in the middle of the night, who like to sleep with us, who need something to drink in the middle of the night, or just cry out in their sleep which wakes up this light sleeper mama. :) 

1 John reminds my heart of abiding in Christ."whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the Same way in which he walked." 1 John 1:6

"Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling" 1 John 2:10

"And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever." 1 John 2:17

"Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father." 1 John 2:24

I'm learning to rest in The Lord. Drink Him in and not abide in things of this world which are fleeting. Life is constantly changing around me but the only constant, stable foundation is the Lord.  He is always my place to rest, to drink of, my peace and refuge, and person of clarity. 

I'm thankful for the privilege of abiding in Him.  He reveals himself through His Word (the bible) and I get to know Him.  Rest in his promises that He will never leave me or forsake me.  He will calm the storm.  His love is steadfast. He has made me a new creation.  I can rest in knowing He has gone before me and knows the number of my days. He is trustworthy and worthy of all my praise.  My heart is thankful.

Thankful Day 1- Family

I've been inspired by last month's 31 day challenge in which people wrote a blog everyday for the month of October. I decided I am going to write a blog everyday in the month if November. I hope I'm up for the challenge! The theme of this month's blogs will be what I am thankful for. I know this will be good for my heart this month as we celebrate Thanksgiving and all the joy to be had. :)

Today I am thankful for my family. I love living life with them and getting to love on their hearts. Are there crazy moments of crying babies and never ending diaper changes and I feel like my patience is so thin? Of course! But my husband and kiddos are a GIFT from The Lord.

I get to love them in a way that no one else can. I know what encourages their hearts and speaks life in moments of sadness or doubt. I know listening to my husband process his thoughts speaks life to him. To joke about the craziness of young kid life makes it fun for us. I know if in the middle of a quite moment, if I stand up and start singing loud and dancing my 4 year old's face lights up and she is asking me to hold her in my arms and spin her around. I know my 1 year old loves hugs, my full attention and snuggle time. He loves to scream out and if we take turns screaming out he is smiling ear to ear.

Today I will choose to love them well. I can only do this through the Holy Spirit and because God loved me first, I know what love is from my Heavenly Father. 1 John 4:7-12:

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

May my heart rest today in knowing I know what love is.  I experience deep communion with my Heavenly Father who's love compels me to love others as He loves me. I yearn to walk in this true of knowing I have life everlasting because of Him and have the ability to love others in this way.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

These Days

Ok, so this will be the most random blog post I have ever posted.

Life has been sweet with my little bugs at home.

Neela turned four years old last month.  I know, crazy. She is such a sweet heart and full of life.  She loves art, barbies, dolls, and reading.  She loves her brother and is so caring for his needs.  Man, love her to pieces.  There are times of defiance when I ask her to eat her food at meal time and sassiness when she wants to do her own thing, but I trust the Lord is working in her heart.  We pray for and with her daily for her heart to be softened, pointed to Him, and someday trust in Jesus' work on the cross.  The other night she asked me when God was created.  We had a fun conversation about how God has always been and he is the Creator and not the created.  She thought that was pretty cool.  The other day we were sitting in silence for about 2 minutes in the car and she said, "Where do chickens come from and why did God make chickens?".  So I told her and finished with and then we eat them.  She said, "What!?!" Completely appalled and surprised. But quickly recovered when she learned this is where Chick fil A nuggets come from. Another one, on the way to church this week we were praying for our hearts, others hearts, and for Daddy as he teachings the "mommies and daddies".  Neela's response was, "I didn't know that!  And Mommy, you mean the ADULTS right?"  What a ham. :) She enjoys dance class and recently started swim lesson.

Ashwin is 10 1/2 months old and a complete joy.  He is full of smiles, curiosity, and love for life.  He's on a great schedule and is a fabulous eater.  I cannot get enough of him.  He loves balls and we can roll a ball back and forth!  Crazy I know!  I've been trying to teach him "more" in sign language and he learned it!  We are working on a few more, but he just laughs or smiles when I say "all done", "thank you", or "milk".  He is crawling like a mad man everywhere and is pulling up on everything.  He loves all of Neela's toys, especially all the fake food in her kitchen.  It's so cute to watch the two of them playing in her kitchen together.  Tonight, I think he was teething and fell asleep in my arms.  People, this has not happened in months.  I completely embraced the moment and held him for a long time in the chair, cherishing the moment. Tim and Neela ate dinner without me but had fun conversation from what I heard from the room. :)

Tim and I are enjoying each other and our little ones.  Never a dull moment in the Birdwell home, seriously.  We have gone from moments of snuggles with our little ones, to complete break downs, to sweet prayers before bedtime.  We enjoy our quiet evenings, planned once a month date nights and time with friends.  A few weeks ago we had a "sports" date night which included a game of basketball, lifting weights, and a game of tennis. I told Tim this was a bittersweet date because it was so fun to play sports together but I really sucked it up! I used to be so good at sports, but I have not played anything in years and man did it show. :)  We both have joined a workout group in Austin called Camp Gladiator and thoroughly enjoy it.  It's fun to talk about that since we workout at different times at different camps.  Yeah lame, but it's a fun thing we do right now.

God has been so sweet to give me this time to love on my family.  I've been reading The Power of a Praying Wife and Gospel Powered Parenting.  Man, my heart is being softened and challenged to point my family to Jesus.  My ability to do this is by continuing to fall in love with Jesus.  My heart has to be filled with the truth of Jesus love for us, his beautiful grace and mercy over my life, and for sin to be exposed and repented.  I strive to be honest and real in my parenting in my daily conversations with Neela and through discipline.  I desire to love and respect Tim because of the man he is and encourage his walk with the Lord.  I am so thankful for him and how I am lifted up by him and how we have so much fun together.

Just giving you a look into the Birdwell Home these days!

Thursday, May 16, 2013


"The Lord is my Shepherd..." Psalm 1:23

What is a shepherd?
- a person who tends, feeds, or guards flocks of sheep

Isaiah 40:11- "He tends his flock like a shepherd:
    He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
    he gently leads those that have young."

1 Samuel 2:9- "He will guard the feet of his faithful servants, 
but the wicked will be silenced in the place of darkness.

Psalm 97:10- "Let those who love the Lord hate evil,
    for he guards the lives of his faithful ones"

Isaiah 27:3- "I, the Lord, watch over it;
    I water it continually.
I guard it day and night
    so that no one may harm it."

Matthew 6:26- "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?"

John 6:57,58- "Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”

We have a monthly verse we memorize with our kids and discuss how we see who Jesus is and who He is in our lives.  God never fails to press on my heart and reveal his unfailing love for me with just the five words in this verse (psalm 23:1).  

I can relate to the aimless, easily lead astray lamb.  I am easily distracted with the worlds pretty clothes, approval of others, fancy belongings, being a "cool kid" and so much more.  But the Lord is gentle and pursues my heart.  He draws me to him.  His stead fast love for me is my continuous place of joy, thankfulness, and clarity.  He pursued me, found me, and is drawing me to Himself.  He alone satisfies the longing of our hearts, approves of us, accepts us as we are, and wanting to bless you with his presence.  He is my shepherd.

Monday, March 11, 2013


This month I completed my 2nd half marathon!

After my second child was born 7 1/2 months ago, I needed something to motivate me to get out the door to exercise.  It's way more difficult to get out the door to workout with two sweet little ones at home so this was a great goal for me.  I love running, it's me time I use to clear my mind, pray, drown myself in music or worship, or a good audio book.  We have a great trail right by our house that goes around a pond and through a beautiful nature trail.  I ran usually 2 to 3 times a week.  Not as often as I would like, but I maximized my time by running 5-8 miles each time.

The morning of the run was really cold.  I am cold natured so before the race when I was waiting for the race to start I was freezing! As I'm trying to warm up, my sister and her friend find me out of the thousands of people there!  So we were able to start the race together and run a few miles together.  Unfortunately, I had to use the restroom and had to stop.  But other than that, I ran the entire time with no breaks.  I was not as organized with my listening material as I was the first time around.  I am currently listening to the audio book "So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore" but I did not upload it to my phone in time.  So I listened to country music, worship music, and a message by Tim Keller about the ascension of Jesus.  I was a little distracted because my knees hurt a bit at mile 9 but I pushed through.  I knew the route from running this race before and was able to pace myself.

I am so thankful for the opportunity to run a half marathon.  I am thankful for God giving me the ability to run the distance, for Tim being support through the time I had to commit to training, and God's truth in second Timothy:

"5 Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules."

My desire is to be obedient to the Lord in all things.  I will not turn from the truth of the Lord that is the foundation of my life.  Just as an athlete follows strict training and rules so I will joyfully and whole heartedly follow the Lord.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Perfect Date

We typically don't make a huge deal on Valentine's Day but Tim went over and beyond this year.  We have a sweet friend who offered to watch our kids for free for Valentine's Day so we can have a fun date night.  We decided to celebrate V-day as a family to include our kids with stuffed animals, chocolate and share what we love about each other.  It was really sweet.  

So we had our date night the next evening.  Tim usually plans our date nights so I really just get things together for the babysitter and have a fun evening planned.  It's a great set up. ;)  So Tim told me the plan was bowling and dinner. That sounded great to me.  Any evening out on the town with my man is a treat so I was just excited to be with him.  As we are driving to the bowling alley he informs me we are going to a "new bowling alley".  Once again, he planned the evening so I don't have a worry in the world and not concerned where we are driving.  So we pull up to a parking lot and he parks in front of a massage place.  Tim says, "That's weird... my GPS said there is a bowling alley here.  I guess we can just go in here instead."  At this point I am so confused!  I thought why would we go in here if there is no bowling.  These were actually the words I was saying to Tim.  But he proceeded to go inside the massage place.  He told the lady, "Do you guys have availability for a couple's massage?" She said "yes" and was a little confused.  Tim said, "wow, that's great!  We'll do a couple's massage."  The lady was so confused, she said, "Sir, you made reservations."  Hilarious!  He was trying to keep playing along for me but the lady was so confused.  I was blown away!  So sweet.  It's always been in my bucket list to do a couple's massage.... check!  I was so surprised.  Before we left our house, I was so concerned I did not forget my socks to go bowling, yet we never made it there! ;)   The massage was AMAZING and perfect after holding a baby all day.

Next we headed to dinner.  As we were turning near the restaurant, he said we have one more stop.  I thought, what could it be?  He pulls into a hotel parking lot.  He reserved us a room away for the night! He somehow packed my bag and everything I needed!!  And arranged for the babysitter to stay over night!  What a man!!  As I was getting ready before we left, I could not find my deodorant... now I know why!  We changed our clothes into "non bowling" attire and headed to a fabulous dinner with great conversation and fabulous wine!

We had a relaxing evening, uninterrupted sleep (no babies waking us up at night!) and I even slept in until 7am.  Loved it!  Breakfast was amazing and then we headed home.

The entire evening I said, "This is the perfect evening" and it truly was.  I am thankful for my thoughtful man who went over and beyond this year for Valentine's Day and did all of this for me.  So sweet!!  I know he loves me so well daily and this was beyond .  Locking the memory in!!

the picture i took, at breakfast in the morning!

2012 Reading List

1. Seven by Jen Hatmaker: Loved this book!  It's an experimental mutiny against excess.  Jen Hatmaker took 7 months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day disease of greed, materialism, and overindulgence.  I have to say, she is the most interesting writer I have ever read.  Her personality comes out and she is a fun, opinionated, authentic lady.  I was laughing with tears in my eyes to my heart being tugged at the gospel truths and pointing me to Jesus.  must read!

2. For Women Only by Shanti Feldhahn: This is the second time I have read this book. But I love it.  Basically she interviews thousands of men regarding the truth about their inner life he desperately wants you (the woman in their life) to know.

3. Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson: I should have written more down when I read this book last year, but I didn't.  A few take aways I had were: Taking responsibility for my actions-  I can't blame my hardened heart and negative attitude on Tim.  God is working in my heart and I need the eyes of my heart to be open to my need for Jesus.  Love and Respect each other regarding the other person's response- I am thankful for a husband who loves Jesus and loves me from the out pouring of God's love.

4. Orange Jumpsuit by Tara Lee Cobble: This is a biography of Tara Lee Cobble and through letting go of her comforts and choosing to be obedient to God's calling, she learned to walk in freedom from her fears that imprisoned her.

5. Safe Haven by Nicolas Sparks: The movie is currently in the theaters.  Go see it!

6. Resiliency by Elizabeth Edwards: This a biography about her life.  All most people remember about her life right now is the scandal.  But this gave me a picture of her entire life and all she has experienced  of being newly married, the passing of a child, having cancer, their political life, and the scandal.

7. How People Change by Paul Tripp and Timothy Lane: We read this book for our bible study and it was life changing, literally.  He starts off explaining how we often we can see the gospel forgiving us of our past sins and giving us future hope but we often neglect how the Lord is currently working in our lives.  They describe the big picture of our lives and a view of our daily lives that inform, motivate, convict and guide us through: Heat: This is the person's situation in daily life, with difficulties, blessings, and temptations.  Thorns: This is the person's ungodly response to the situation.  It includes behavior, the heart driving the behavior, and the consequences that result. Cross. This focuses on the presence of God in his redemptive glory and love. Through Christ, he brings comfort, cleansing, and the power to change. Fruit: This is the person's new godly response to the situation resulting from God's power at work in the heart. It includes behavior, the heart renewed by grace, and the harvest of consequences that follow. Love this book.

8. Babywise by Ezzo : Great book on getting your baby on a sleeping routine and sleeping through the night.

9. The Master Plan by Dr. Robert E. Coleman: This is the 2nd time I have read this book and it's a beautiful truth of how Jesus delcared his saving grace and need for Him through his daily life and being intentional in his relationships.

10. Instrument in the Redeemer's Hands by Paul David Tripp: My heart has been challenged and encouraged by this book.  He reminds us how we are all broken people in need of God and how we can be instruments of love and truth pointing others to God. Through seeing where their heart currently is and revealing areas in their heart they are not giving God ultimate control.  I love the practical questions to ask and ways to continue to evaluate where our heart is with the Lord and being able to be an instrument of the Lord in other people's lives. I know this book will be a reference for me often over the next few years.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

2013 Resolution

Live Life on Purpose.

I desire to embrace every moment.  Staying home with the kids can turn into just a "daily routine" of taking care of our home, laundry, dishes, organizing, etc. I can easily get caught up in these tasks and be frustrated with "interruptions". I am excited to get to know more ladies and deepen relationships I have with the ladies I know now.

I desire to embrace the interruptions and take every moment as it comes and seize the opportunities to love on my kids and use special moments as teaching moments.

I desire in the mist of busyness of kids and life, I want to love Tim well.  Sweetly, tenderly, and deeply.  I am finally adjusted to having two kids and learning how to balance giving them both my attention and meeting them both where they are at.  I am loving it.

I desire to love and know God deeply.  As a result of this, I will parent out of love and truth and point them to Jesus.  As a wife, to be his biggest fan and helpmate.  Love my man.

Here we go 2013!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Christmas 2012

Christmas this year was memorable.  So many joys and blessings to celebrate and of course celebrating the birth of our Savior.  Neela has a better understanding of our traditions and what we value in our lives which made this season that much sweeter.  Everyday was filled with Christmas crafts such as glitter Christmas trees, cotton snowmans, snowflake ornaments, homemade nativity scene, Christmas coloring pages, etc.  Everyday we ate a mini candy cane from our countdown Christmas tree and read our advent study from Neela's Jesus Story Book Bible.  I loved seeing the joy on her face as we did those activities and as she learned Christmas songs.  I love how we are developing our Christmas traditions as our family.  

This was Ashwin's first Christmas! Ok, so he had no idea what was going on, but he loved the lights, being shown coloring decorations, and hearing his big sister sing Christmas songs.  He is such a joy.  Thankful for this season anticipating the birth of our Savior and I am thankful for this season of life and how God has revealed Himself to me this year.

Loved 2012 and let's see what 2013 brings!

Christmas at my parent's house. 

Carriage Ride! 

Roasting Marshmellows 

Christmas Cookes 

Time with sweet friends. 

First time to have rice cereal! 

Christmas at the Gaylord Texan. 

Trail of Lights! 

Neela singing at church. 

Trail of Lights