Thursday, May 29, 2008

Bike riding fun!

Before Daddy left for his conference on Tuesday, he took the kids out in the alley behind our house for some bike riding (there's no one out there at 10 in the morning!) It was Jaden's first time riding a two-wheeler as he was just blessed with one . . . given to him by a couple from our church -- thank you, Tom and Carol! Both children had so much fun riding together -- I think we've found a new family activity (maybe Mommy and Daddy will have to get bikes too)

Monday, May 26, 2008

One of the things God is challenging me to do in 2008 is to be more PURPOSEFUL -- to know why I'm doing what I'm doing and to make sure what I'm doing is what I'm supposed to be doing.

In my visiting to other blogs, I came across this article about being PURPOSEFUL in praying for your children . . . I really liked what the author shared and want to incorporate some of his thoughts into my prayer time for my children. Here's the link in case you want to check out the article in its entirety --

31 Ways to Pray for Your Children by Bob Hostetler

Following is the list I have developed, complete with brief suggestions for prayer from Scripture. Feel free to duplicate it--or improve upon it--to help you pray specifically and purposefully for your children to experience and evidence:

1 salvation "Lord, let salvation spring up within my children, that they may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory" (Isaiah 45:8, 2 Timothy 2:10).

2 growth in grace "I pray that they may 'grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ'" (2 Peter 3:18).

3 love "Grant, Lord, that my children may learn to 'live a life of love,' through the Spirit who dwells in them" (Ephesians 5:2, Galatians 5:22).

4 honesty and integrity " May integrity and honesty be their virtue and their protection" (Psalm 25:21, NLT).

5 self-control " Father, help my children not to be like many others around them, but let them be 'alert and self-controlled' in all they do" (1 Thessalonians 5:6)

6 a love for God's Word " May my children grow to find your Word 'more precious than gold, than much pure gold; [and] sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb'" (Psalm 19:10).

7 justice " God, help my children to love justice as you do and to 'act justly' in all they do" (Psalm 11:7, Micah 6:8).

8 mercy " May my children always 'be merciful, as [their] Father is merciful'" (Luke 6:36).

9 respect (for self, others, authority) " Father, grant that my children may 'show proper respect to everyone,' as your Word commands" (1 Peter 2:17a).

10 strong, Biblical self-esteem " Help my children develop a strong self-esteem that is rooted in the realization that they are 'God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus'" (Ephesians 2:10).

11 faithfulness "' Let love and faithfulness never leave [my children],' but bind these twin virtues around their necks and write them on the tablet of their hearts" (Proverbs 3:3).

12 courage "May my children always 'Be strong and courageous' in their character and in their actions" (Deuteronomy 31:6).

13 purity "'Create in [them] a pure heart, O God,' and let their purity of heart be shown in their actions" (Psalm 51:10).

14 kindness "Lord, may my children 'always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else'" (1 Thessalonians 5:15).

15 generosity "Grant that my children may 'be generous and willing to share [and so] lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age'" (1 Timothy 6:18-19).

16 peace, peaceability "Father, let my children 'make every effort to do what leads to peace'" (Romans 14:19).

17 joy " May my children be filled 'with the joy given by the Holy Spirit'" (1 Thessalonians 1:6).

18 perseverance " Lord, teach my children perseverance in all they do, and help them especially to 'run with perseverance the race marked out for [them]'" (Hebrews 12:1).

19 humility " God, please cultivate in my children the ability to 'show true humility toward all'" (Titus 3:2).

20 compassion " Lord, please clothe my children with the virtue of compassion" (Colossians 3:12).

21 responsibility " Grant that my children may learn responsibility, 'for each one should carry his own load'" (Galatians 6:5).

22 contentment " Father, teach my children 'the secret of being content in any and every situation. . . . through him who gives [them] strength'" (Philippians 4:12-13).

23 faith " I pray that faith will find root and grow in my children's hearts, that by faith they may gain what has been promised to them" (Luke 17:5-6, Hebrews 11:1-40).

24 a servant heart " God, please help my children develop servant hearts, that they may serve wholeheartedly, 'as to the Lord, and not to men'" (Ephesians 6:7, KJV).

25 hope " May the God of hope grant that my children may overflow with hope and hopefulness by the power of the Holy Spirit" (Romans 15:13).

26 the willingness and ability to work hard " Teach my children, Lord, to value work and to work hard at everything they do, 'as working for the Lord, not for men'" (Colossians 3:23).

27 a passion for God " Lord, please instill in my children a soul that "followeth hard after thee," a heart that clings passionately to you (Psalm 63:8, KJV).

28 self-discipline " Father, I pray that my children may develop self-discipline, that they may acquire 'a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair'" (Proverbs 1:3).

29 prayerfulness " Grant, Lord, that my children's lives may be marked by prayerfulness, that they may learn to 'pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests" (Ephesians 6:18).

30 gratitude " Help my children to live lives that are always 'overflowing with thankfulness,' 'always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ'" (Colossians 2:7, Ephesians 5:20).

31 a heart for missions " Lord, please help my children to develop a heart for missions, a desire to see your glory declared among the nations, your marvelous deeds among all peoples" (Psalm 96:3).

At the end of this list of things to pray over one's children, the author shared that he not only prayed these things for his children in his personal prayer time each day, but he would also pray it over them when he prayed with them at bedtime. Over time, he began to hear them praying for the same character qualities to be developed in them that he was praying about. His commitment to PURPOSEFUL prayer changed not only his own prayer life, but also that of his children. This is such an encouragement and challenge to me as I desire to PURPOSEFULLY parent my children and see them grow up to pursue God passionately.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Just a FEW of the animals we saw at the zoo!

Our trip to the Philadelphia Zoo

In honor of Jaden's birthday last week, we spent a day at the Philadelphia Zoo! We had an amazing time! Here are some pictures that share the highlights!

(Daddy remembered climbing on this elephant when he visited the zoo a LONG time ago, but they don't let you do that anymore!)
Jaden LOVED the animal statues at the zoo . . . he wanted his picture taken by each one!
You don't realize how big some of these animals are until you see them in real life!

Mommy with the kids

Having so much fun at the zoo

Lael compares her hand to that of a gorilla (guess whose was bigger!)

Another highlight was the petting zoo . . . we loved spending time with the goats!

All in all, we had an AMAZING day!

Bye, Philadelphia Zoo! We'll be back again!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Here's the birthday boy!


Today my baby is turning 4! Where has the time gone? As I look back at precious baby pictures, I can hardly believe that my big boy was once so tiny. And as I look at him now, I marvel at how he has grown . . . in every way possible. He's not a baby anymore!

Jaden, you are a mighty man of God -- never forget that! You put a smile on Mommy's face every single day, and you remind me how much I have to be thankful for. I love cuddling with you . . . I love your hugs and kisses . . . your smile melts my heart. Always remember that Mommy and Daddy love you so much, and we pray every day that God will continue to mold and shape you to be the man of God He created you to be. Happy birthday, my sweet boy!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

My family blessed my socks off for Mother's Day this year! My precious little ones gave me flowers they planted at church along with magnets with their pictures -- which are on the refrigerator. After church we came home, ate lunch and rested. Then we went out and purchased hanging plant baskets so I could transplant the Gerber daisies that my husband had gotten for me to hang on the front porch.

After all that, my husband surprised me with an iPod shuffle -- it's just a tiny thing (so cute!) -- I wanted one to listen to podcasts and worship music when I work out, but I only mentioned it once to him . . . and he remembered and got it for me! I am so blessed! My husband and children bring me such joy . . . I am so thankful that God has allowed me the privilege of being the wife and mother in this home!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

I just love moments like these!

This is actually a common occurence in our home these days . . . with a big sister who loves to read and a little brother who loves being read to, it's almost a perfect match. Why almost? Well, there are times when little brother joins in on the book after big sister has already begun reading and he wants her to start all over again from the beginning . . . but like I said, it's almost perfect!

Despite the occasional debates, reading together is an activity that my two precious children enjoy doing together. Fortunately, they also still love it when Mommy or Daddy read to them. We just began reading a new set of read-alouds by Thorton W. Burgess. I remember reading these books when I visited my grandparents as a young child. They are all about different woodland animals and their adventures, and it has amazed me the little lessons of morality and character that are woven into virtually every chapter! We are currently reading The Adventures of Buster Bear (which has a copyright of 1916!) -- I have so enjoyed being able to introduce my little ones to such wonderful books which I remember fondly from my childhood.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The week ahead

We are beginning an exciting month of learning and GROWING -- plants, that is! We will spend the month of May learning about how plants grow while enjoying the beautiful world that God made!

This week we will be "rowing" Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney. We will be learning about how seeds travel, the parts of a plant, the anatomy of a seed, as well as the things a seed needs in order to grow. Of course, we will plant some seeds and care for them and watch them grow. It will be great!

Lael begins Explode the Code Book 4 this week with lessons on compound words and syllabication coming up. In math, we will be working on place value and reviewing skip counting. We'll be doing some geography -- learning about Maine (since our book takes place in part there) and other states where lupines grow.

There's probably more we'll be doing . . . but that's at least a start! I'd better run or they'll start without me!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

What a week!

What an amazing week! I feel like I've been poured into so much this week!
First was the Ultimate Homeschool Expo --a week-long homeschool convention that's entirely online! Complete with seminars I could listen to "live" and ask questions, as well as door prizes and even a "mommy grab bag" with all sorts of freebies. It was so much fun! And so many of the speakers talked about keeping our priorities in order -- relationship with God, marriage, parenting, homeschooling, ministry. There was such a passion on the part of the organizer Cindy Rushton to minister to us as homeschooling parents. And the best part? I can go back and listen to the seminars again -- I just download them when I'm ready for them. (Now I want an iPod of my own so that I can fill it with these teachings to listen to when I work out!)

Then we had a busy, but fantastic, weekend -- hosting the senior pastor of the church we served as youth pastor. He came to do a leadership training seminar and then he ministered this morning at church.

It was such a refreshing time for Brent and me . . . Pastor Phil is like a spiritual father to us as he's the one who married us and has walked with us through the first eight years of ministry. He spoke so many words of encouragement to us, and I know that our congregation here was blessed and challenged by his ministry this weekend.

I'm so thankful for times of refreshing that come from God's hand . . . He loves us so much and meets the desires of our hearts. Thank You, God, for refreshing me this week!

Friday, May 2, 2008

National Day of Prayer, Part 3

Well, the National Day of Prayer has passed for 2008, but I wanted to share our special "prayer shields" (thanks to the moms on the Five in a Row boards for this idea):

Here are my little "prayer warriors in training" holding their shields . . .

Jaden says, "I like my prayer shield.
It's special to me because it has pictures of people that I love."

Lael says, "I'm going to use my prayer shield to remember to pray for other people, like my grandparents, the president and people around the world that need to know Jesus."

This is a close-up . . . with room to add more pictures!

Even though the National Day of Prayer has passed for this year, I know that God has stirred within our family a new focus on prayer -- and that's exciting!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

National Day of Prayer, Part 2

I had the opportunity to listen to Ravi Zacharias speak on prayer (on TV, not in person) this afternoon as part of the National Day of Prayer observance in Washington, DC. He shared some wonderful things . . . one of the things that spoke to me was what prayer does. Here's what he said:
  1. Prayer recognizes the sovereignty of God in my life.
  2. Prayer recognizes that God is with me.
  3. Prayer reveals my own heart to me.
  4. As I pray, God fashions me into the person that He wants me to be.

God is calling His people to pray . . . am I listening? Are you?

More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.

- Alfred Lord Tennyson -

National Day of Prayer!

Today is the National Day of Prayer . . . and how much we need to pray! For our country, for families, for those who serve us in the military, for missionaries around the world . . . the list is really endless.

But more than anything, my prayer is for revival, and that starts with me.

Lord, revive my heart -- stir up the passion that you've put within me. Break my heart for the things that break Yours. You promise in Your Word that if Your people who are called by Your name will humble themselves and pray and turn from their wicked ways that You will hear from heaven and forgive our sins and heal our land.

Will you join me today and pray -- whatever the Lord puts on your heart! We need Him to work in our individual lives, in our families, in our churches, and in our nation.