Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The First Gift

I find myself drooling over the Target Black Friday ad that is already out, tempting me in every way.  I have already had the boys make out their Christmas wish lists, laughing at the few things they put down.  A laptop?  Oh, you must be a teenager now! Extra Cheddar Goldfish?  Now that is more like it!

Before the season is upon us, let us all stop and ask ourselves if we want this year to look like all the others.  Personally, I want to make gradual changes so that even the small things point more to Jesus and His worth instead of all the other things that seem to rob the miracle of Holy-God encased in mere mortal flesh.

This post gave me pause.  I agreed with some, not with some...but that is the point.  Be purposeful and remake this season into how you as a family want to honor the humble King.

This year, we are trying something new.  We ordered the book "Jotham's Journey" which is a storybook for children during the Advent season.  Before we go buy them a few gifts for Christmas, we want to start with this first gift, a gift that will point them to the beating heart of the Ultimate Gift.  We so want to see Him freshly this year.

I devoured the whole thing today, wondering if it could be as good as I had hoped. It really went beyond my expectations!  It was full of mystery and suspense.  It told the story of arriving at the manger in a fresh way, through a boy of only ten years.  Jotham must go through a lot of heartache to reach the Messiah, but what he learns along the way is priceless.  He learns about respecting authority, the consequences of sin, and telling the truth. 

This book is meant to be read as a family a chapter a day, starting with the Advent season, which starts on December 1st this year.  So, if you order now, you can start on time!

Here is to one small change amidst the chaos and materialism.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Looking Up

My husband looks at me with large eyes.  "I just measured Cade.  He's over 5 foot 7 now. It's official, Becke'; he's taller than you."

And with that, the firstborn has overtaken me.

What is a mother's heart to do with such information?

I can remember the first time I saw him, just a tiny little pinto bean on the ultrasound screen.  I knew I always wanted kids, but this one, now this one brought a whole new meaning to that desire.

I remember carrying him inside, the sheer humility of being some sort of holy-safehouse where the Creator was busy at work, knitting and creating.  Knitting and creating.

The first time I laid eyes on him, he stole my breath away.  Head full of dark hair.  Perfect in every way.  I haven't breathed since.  These boys know how to steal fast.  Steal hard.  Steal completely.  Sons can strip you bare, leaving you absolutely undone.

I see him there, curled up on that sweet chest of Eric's.  Spit up spews everywhere in true-baby-Cade style.  I laugh, thinking we have all the time in the world with this sweet baby and he surely will stay little forever.  How is it that I could have been so wrong?

I look up to him now.  The baby I rocked and fed and sang to.  The toddler I chased after and worked puzzles with.  The child I cheered on from the stands and watched joyfully as he rose from the Baptismal waters.

Cade has surpassed me in height. I pray he surpasses me in other ways, too.  I pray he out gives me.  I pray he doesn't live a life of fear.  I pray he has more courage when loving the downcast. I pray he won't doubt God's goodness when life throws an uppercut.

I see him growing in so many ways, height only an outward expression of the inward.  I see his face light up after understanding another truth in "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe."  I think of the joy of knowing that your children are walking in truth, that there really is no joy to compare it to.

I smile and think that God has been extravagantly kind to allow me all these days and inches and snotty noses and Bible stories.

May he never stop growing, not where it really matters.

Monday, November 18, 2013


Honored to be a guest blogger over at The Mob Society.  The Mob Society is a great online community whose desire is to "help moms delight in the chaos of raising boys, enabling them to have more peace in their hearts and love in their homes."  I am all about some peace amidst the chaos! 

God put this topic on my heart to write about...I hope it blesses you!  {I have only boys but if I had a daughter, I would do the same thing with her...point her to her father!}

Thanks for joining me today over here.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Some firsts!

Asher has been full of new tricks the past week or so! He is sitting up, crawling, squealing, attacking the dog,and teething. He also got his first ear! Even when sick, he is full of smiles. Bless his little happy heart! 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What Happens When the Photo Session happens to the Photographer

It takes an act of God-Almighty to get us all together for pictures.  Who said modern day miracles didn't exist?  We had a brief 30 minute window of opportunity on a Saturday at noon.  Every photographer worth her salt knows noon isn't the ideal time to shoot pictures, so I picked a location that would offer plenty of shade. Luckily, our "dream-neighborhood" offered just the ticket, with a cute bridge to boot! 
So, Saturday morning comes, and we all go in different to take a family's pictures, Eric and Eli to soccer, etc.  Eli has 10 minutes to shower and change.  My hair which was perfect at 8 am has now been in the drizzle/dew.  Flat, I tell ya.  But, we were a slave to the schedule, or we knew it would never get done.  We also only had 30 minutes tops because Eli had another soccer game to get to!
I was a hot mess when we got to our destination.  I blubbered out, "I can't believe it is my profession to torture other families like this!!!"  But, by the time we started smiling, I was all better...having visions of family cuteness wallpapered to every single wall. 
We coerced our friend Michelle to take some of all of us...she did great despite the fact Asher was about to have a meltdown (his naptime had to take a backseat to everyone else's schedule!)  I'll show you our family pic after we mail our Christmas cards out.  (WHOOP WHOOP--cards are bought!!!)
I wanted our colors to be vibrant and bright, without a lot of matching going on.  Here are my tips for coordinating outfits: 
1.  Pick your color scheme...avoid all one color, especially white because white overexposes the faces.  Choose 3-4 colors that coordinate and roll with it.
2.  Pick your outfit first, Mom!  You know you want to feel your best, so go with what you are comfortable in.  Add lots of jewelry, a scarf, accessories, and makeup a bit heavier than usual.
3.  Shop everyone else's closets before you go shopping.  This year the only thing I had to buy were 2 pair of shoes...but they were needed anyway.  Luckily we had colors that would go with the theme.  I am a big believer in that you don't have to spend a fortune on clothes to create good pictures.  The best thing you can do is mix and match textures and designs. Don't be afraid to mix plaids, solids, stripes, and patterns. Also, add layers and accessories (chunky necklace, scarf, knit sweater, vest, headband, etc.) when you can.  This adds depth and richness to the pictures.
4.  Lay everything out on the bed and get a "feel" for how it is going to all come together. Shoes, and jewelry and everything!  If your eye goes to a particular item, it will do the same thing in the pictures.  Consider changing it out.
5.  If possible, avoid glasses, excessive cleavage (sometimes the photographer will shoot down on you,) sleeveless shirts, shirts with a tiny check print (will lose its look and become distorted,) or anything with writing on it.
6.  Have Fun and Relax!  It doesn't matter if you have hired a professional or recruited a will totally appreciate documenting that one moment in time.  For us, the session documented our final days before Asher started crawling! 


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Gift Envy

Maybe you have witnessed it in your own living room floor.  Your children are opening Christmas presents and all the sudden, one kid wants what another kid got.  All the Christmas joy gets stripped away when they start coveting each other's gifts and not being appreciative with what they received.

As a parent, you are a little baffled at this.  I mean, you know each kid better than they know themselves. You know what they will enjoy and really play with.  You know their talents and preferences.  You know that when you find the perfect Christmas gift, it is meant for that kid and that kid alone!

God told me I am no different than a child coveting another's gifts on Christmas morning.

It isn't in the material realm at all.  After all, I am a grown up, mature believer who should know better than to covet someone else's house or car or handbag. 

No sir.  No mam.  My coveting comes in the cloak of spirituality.

I covet others' spiritual gifts.

A beautiful and funny teacher got up and started teaching our class on all that God had been showing her.  She had stories that delivered the punch.  She was funny and engaging.  She knew God and His Word.  She made a difference.

All the sudden, I was asking God why I couldn't have the gift of teaching.  After all, it was for His glory.

A friend invites me in with welcoming arms, ushering me to the most comfortable chair while putting a warm cup of coffee in my hands.  She focuses the conversation on me and makes me feel loved.  Her home is a quiet haven of rest and joy.  She knows how to make me feel welcome.  She is the epitome of a perfect host.

All the sudden, I was asking God why I couldn't have the gift of hospitality. Couldn't God use this gift for His glory?

Another friend tells me about her trip to the park and how she started talking to the lady next to her.  A short conversation later, the friend has invited the lady to church who is now saved and actively involved.  This friend has the gift of gab.

All the sudden I was asking God why I couldn't have the gift of evangelism.  Talking to strangers is soooo not me, but couldn't God use this gift for His glory?

I read "Accidental Pharisees" a few weeks ago.  It was convicting on many levels, but this topic perhaps hit the hardest. It talked about how we can struggle with gift envy.  It set me free in so many ways, telling me that if God created me to be an introvert, then I don't need to upset myself over not serving in callings that require me to be in the public know, like teaching, hospitality, and evangelism.

I can stop the gift envy and start to recognize the ways He has gifted me...ways in which solitude might be a better fit for my gift than a public platform.  I remember when the book "Kisses from Katie" came out.  I felt like a heathen because I wasn't loving on children in some far off country.  This book makes it clear that if God wanted me to be a __________ then He would have made me one. (Fill in the blank!)

There is freedom in repenting of gift envy and thanking God (who knows us better than anyone else and who hand-picked each gift we have) to give me exactly what I need in order to bring Him glory.

What about you?  Have you ever wanted someone else's spiritual gift?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Asher {6 whole months}

Tater Tate is half a year!  He is officially now a squealer!  He rolls, rocks on all fours, sits, eats all kinds of veggies, cereals, and fruits, enjoys his pack and play, loves loves his brothers, loves the dog, looks like Cade, Eli, and Sam all at the same time, is suffering through his second cold, laughs hysterically when tickled, drools all over everything, enjoys watching people, loves bathtime, and smiles all over himself.  He is still 65% in height and weight.  He was sleeping great at night until he started getting these colds. (boo) I wish it would all slow down, but we are so blessed to have him as part of our family!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Such a busy busy busy time of year for photographers...but I had to take a sec and capture the gorgeous color!