Monday, January 16, 2017

Who Can Stop?

You know how sometimes you get a song stuck in your head it practically drives you insane!  This is not a song like that.  It's been stuck in my head for like a month and I LOVE IT!  In fact, I'm grateful that I can't get these words out of my head.  I feel like the Holy Spirit continues to lay this song on my lips to remind myself of His power and majesty, because who can stop the Lord Almighty?

Friday, January 13, 2017

Rerooting

I have to start by saying that this post has the potential to offend you, but I’m not sorry.  I know that is one heck of a way to start, but please hear me out.  It seems to be really popular with the new year to select a "word of the year" instead of a resolution.  And I too have done this in the past with a huge emphasis on a spiritual perspective, with my word or scripture.  And it hasn’t always been easy, especially when the word I got in 2015 was perseverance.  In all honesty that was terrifying :-/ In early December I started thinking about and praying for God to give me a word to focus on for this new year, 2017.  It started to make me anxious and maybe even dread what my word would be for 2017.  
Would it be another hard word?
Would God want me to do something outside of my comfort zone?
On Christmas Eve we planned on going to a small local park for Dutch to go fishing.  The park was closed so we started driving around to find another park for him.  We found a new park that we've never been to so we decided to just drive around and explore the park first, hoping that we would find a creek for Dutch to go fishing.  The deeper we got into the park the more I noticed the trees.  There were so many huge trees!  Row after row of towering trees.  But the trees themselves weren’t what struck me the most.  Instead, the roots captured my attention.  The roots on these trees were intricate and complex and deep.  I was captivated by these roots; I couldn't stop staring.  My eyes shifted from tree to tree examining the beautiful root systems. The boys found a fishing spot but I could not shake the thoughts of these roots.  So while I nursed and rocked Ellis to sleep in the shade as the boys were fishing, I just spoke with God about my fixation on these roots, and I knew what my word was for this year: I am rerooting.Rerooting-2
With complete transparency, 2016 was not an easy year for me.  Not. At. All.  (and this had nothing to do with the state of our world, politics, family, or my marriage, solely my personal year was rough).  Last year was probably definitely the hardest year of my life since we lost our first baby in 2010.  Of course there was a lot of joy this past year, especially with the birth of our baby girl, but with that came a lot of defeat, failure, & shame.  With my focus on the trees in the park on Christmas Eve I realized that I was the tree.  I am a tree, that hasn’t been chopped down, but is severely dehydrated.  It’s not that I stopped speaking with God or lost my relationship with Him or was really even angry with God, no nothing like that.  Instead, with my defeat, I allowed other “vegetation” to trickle into my world with the potential to influence my witness.

If you’re like me, this might sound kind of familiar: there are individuals that we allow into our lives, that at first seem perfectly harmless and while they might do a few things here and there that might "rub you the wrong way" or you don’t agree with, they are teeny tiny things that we make allowances for or we brush to the side because they are really just so small, petty, or insignificant.  BUT those microscopic offenses add up.  Now I’m not referring to the big things like drugs or abuse; those are big things and huge red flags that should most definitely be dealt with immediately.  What I’m referring to are microscopic offenses, such as the woman who makes cutting remarks about her husband, or describes how she is manipulating her husband to get her pregnant so she doesn’t have to go back to work outside of the home, or the woman who continually chooses to complain about her world instead of being purposeful in looking for joy.  These examples that I am describing are not fictitious, but I honestly heard from several women in my world last year who I would have called a “friend” before now.  While these things they are saying are mostly just words, these words speak volumes about their characterIf I continue to be around these individuals then what my presence is saying is that I agree with, condone, and support their behavior or motives.  This does not help my witness.  This hurts me.  This also has the potential to hurt my relationship with my husband.  If my husband sees that I am friends with a woman who verbally disrespects her husband or describes ways in which she plans to manipulate her husband, what would that say of me to him? In what light would I paint myself for my husband?  I don't want to give my husband any reason to even suspect that I have anything but the upmost integrity, ethical code, and honor for our marital covenant.  And when it comes to me and God, I want others to see that I am a woman who loves Jesus. And if I am a woman who loves Jesus then that changes who I choose to surround myself with and what types of words and behaviors I expose myself to.

Okay so clearly I want to be aware of who I am exposing myself to and how my associates may impact my witness.  Last year I got some red flags from those around me.  Again nothing major, but those minor digs add up.  Maybe I chose to ignore them at first or maybe I kept giving them the “benefit of the doubt”, but a couple weeks before Christmas I became aware of some behavior around me that completely shocked me (like jaw on the floor) from a "friend", and then on Christmas Eve it really hit me.  This has to stop.  It matters who I'm surrounded by. It just matters.

This year I am rerooting.  I am going deeper with God and away from the surface.  I am going to get stronger in my faith and in my relationship with Christ.  I am not going to be effected by the superficial stuff on the surface, because I will be deeply rooted in the Father.  I am a deep person, and if my relationships don't go deep with me, in a ethical and God-honoring manner, then I don't need them, nor do I want them.  The majority of the root system can't be seen from the surface but it is truly a reflection of what is going on inside the tree, and I want healthy, strong, ethical roots without allowing anything toxic to enter the fortress.  I want my tree to be the reflection of a life that honors God.  I desire for my family to be the light of Christ to others and to demonstrate pure joy and integrity.  With going deeper I will be more focused on my own tree than anything or anyone else.  There is a fence planted tightly around the base of my tree for protection so that I can focus on the fruit, my husband and babies, of my own tree.  I am like the fig tree and my focus is on my fruit, therefore my fruit has to back up my love for Christ without deception (Mark 11:12-21).

So why did I start this post saying that I'm not sorry if I offend you?  Because people in my life are going to get the axe (sorry I couldn't pass up the opportunity for the metaphor).  Some individuals have had a toxic effect on my life and they need to go because they are hurting my witness.  I want to be associated with goodness, morals, joy, and Christ.  So with that, some people have to go and I don't feel bad about their exit from my life.  In fact, I feel relief for me and great compassion for my family.  I know it might sound harsh to just cut someone out, but I don't see it that way.  I see this as coming from a place of compassion, where I carry a privileged burden to be concerned with what I expose myself to and who I expose my family to.  There was always a fence around my tree, but now the fence is closer and the roots are further established.  My circle is shrinking significantly, and I am more guarded, but also healthier, as I protect my character and integrity.

Now of course there is a time for mission work, and reaching out to those who are lost, but there is also a time to protect your tree (Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8).  Furthermore, with rerooting I'm not opposed to new relationships and I'm not going to be a hermit, but I will be discerning very quickly about those who will continue to remain in my social circle.  I need my inner most circle of friends and associations to be purely focused on God-honoring behavior, thoughts, & words.  With rerooting I'm more guarded on who can influence me and my family, and I take it very seriously.  

I am a disappointment, and I continually mess up, but He doesn't.  And I want to do everything in my earthly power to be focused on Him and guarded from the things that may distract me or hurt my witness.  I'm focusing inward in a completely unselfish way; my focus is not on other leaves where comparison and jealousy may reside, but with the Father.  I want my character, in an age of image, to reflect nothing by Christ in my behavior, thoughts, & associations.  Last year my roots lost their luster; they were defeated and lacking empowerment.  It’s no surprise that while I was struggling I was more vulnerable to the toxicity around me which brought me further down.  If those around me are not edifying Christ-like character then they are out (Genesis 6:5-13; Ephesians 4: 17-32).I am the Vine you are the branches
So, despite last year being pretty rough, this year I’m going deeper.  I’ve heightened my focus on Christ and I’m leaving behind those that may tarnish my witness.  I’m looking forward to a year of healing and growing deeper.  He will be my vine and I will be branches, and it is my prayer that my fruit will also shine for Jesus (John 15:1-8).

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Hawley Peeps Monthly: Month 11

Thank goodness I took notes and wrote this awhile ago, and just needed to edit it, because Ellis will be one in just about a week.  It’s time to crank out these last two months before her birthday! Life is moving fast, so I’ve got to make sure I stay on track. I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.
Month 11 Dutch
  • You had your first Easter this month
  • And you actually said “yes” at Easter dinner!
  • Dutch likes to whisper
  • This month you tried a donuts, mac and cheese, ham
  • You love books
  • Lots of talking from Dutch and he loves to hear himself
  • Signing “please”
  • Learned to throw
  • First trip to the zoo, and also your first experience with projectile puke on the way to the zoo
  • Your napping schedule is 10-12ish and 4-6ish
  • We have lowered the crib rail
  • Getting top right tooth
  • Dutch is standing on his own
  • Getting up around 7am everyday
  • Says "nana" for banana
  • Smacks lips when something tastes good
  • Loves to share
  • On 4/30/2015 Dutch slept from 8:30-5:00 for the first time ever! He has only had 2 six hour stretches in his life so this is big! Hopefully this isn't a fluke and he does it again so that I can sleep and not keep checking him to make sure he is breathing every 45 minutes lol
  • Dutch says "ahn-young"
Month 11 Ellis
  • "Dada" was definitely your first word last month, but this month you're saying "mama" when you want me.  It's the sweetest sound :-)
  • You can shake your head side to side as if you're saying "no" though you don't know what that means. 
  • The first thing you do when you wake up now is clap and wave to me.  Your little wave is so cute and it makes you smile.
  • You've definitely asserted yourself as a morning person.  In the morning when you and I get up and we have the house to ourselves you crawl every where and play with everything.  You're so fast and so giggly.
  • I can see you becoming more and more girly with how much you scream.  When you're playing you just get so excited that you scream.  It's not a shrill squeal (yet) but definitely a scream.  You're very loud hehe
  • You're walking around and pushing things more and more and faster and faster!
  • Your first Thanksgiving was this month and we went to the ranch.  You got to ride on the ATV (my first time nursing in an atv) and go fishing with us.  We also went out canoeing together and you loved the peaceful water.  Dutch sat on daddy's lap and you sat on mine and it was so peaceful.  No one said anything we just looked around.  It was very tranquil.
  • During Thanksgiving you slept through the entire meal.  I think you're still dealing with an ear infection (though I later found out you didn't have an ear infection, you were just tired lol) and teething so that may have contributed but you missed the entire thing.
  • At the ranch you sat in a high chair for the first time.  I think you loved having your own place at the table.  You kept looking around and smiling at everyone.
  • You've officially learned how to flush the toilet.  You think the spinning water is so funny.
  • 11/30/2016 was your last day of Montessori school....it was a hard day for mama. You only went for about 7-10 hours a week for 3 months, but it was still hard to say goodbye to your teachers, who also were Dutch's teachers.
  • The sound of the kitchen door into the garage opening instantly captures your attention from anywhere.  You speed crawl over to the door to see what is going on.  You can even open the door if it's been left open by a small crack.  You just love that garage door! 
  • 12/4/16 You went to the nursery during church.  Up until this point you have just sat in my lap, but today you went to the nursery during church and Sunday school.  It was a big deal and you did a great job!
  • Nanny & Grandpa came to visit this month and you enjoyed playing with them.
  • Daddy pulled out the walker and you are in heaven, you love walking around and having more freedom.
  • You're not standing on your own yet; you still want to hold onto something to keep steady.
  • You nap from between 10 and 11 in the morning until about 2 or 3 in the afternoon.  Then you might take a shorter nap in the evening for about an hour and are ready for bed by 8:30.  You still don't sleep through the night.  You are up by 11 & sleep with me, waking to nurse every hour or so until about 7am.
  • You're still a very petite girl and wearing 6-9 month clothes (some 12 month jammies just for the length).
  • By the end of this month you have 8 teeth!
  • This week (week of the 5th of December) was the first week where I think you're feeling better again.  You're not teething, no ear infections, no cold, no thrush.  FINALLY you're feeling 100% again and I'm so happy for you.
  • Solids have not been something that you seem interested in.  That is until today (12/13/16).  While I was in the shower you got into the Christmas candy I had stashed away to make cookies for the neighbors for Christmas.  You ate a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.  It was all over your face, hands, & pantry.  Apparently food isn't appealing to you unless it's chocolate.  I couldn't agree more with you baby girl ;-) 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Hawley Peeps Monthly: Month 10

Thank goodness I took notes and wrote this awhile ago & just needed to edit it, because Ellis will be one in just about a week.  It’s time to crank out these last two months before her birthday! Life is moving fast, so I’ve got to make sure I stay on track. I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.
Month 10 DutchMonth 10- DSC_0245
  •  At your 9 month appointment you were 18lbs 4 oz (25th percentile) and 28 in long (the 32nd percentile).  You dealt well with your vaccines and blood work.  Unfortunately you're still working on your 3rd ear infection though (going on the 4th week)
  • You're eating table food,eggs (scrambled and boiled), marinara sauce, grapes, American cheese chocolate chip cookies, puffs, tator tots, whole peas, biegnets, french fries, guacamole, beans
  •  For clothes you're wearing 9 month bottoms and 6 month tops  
  • He's walking with assistance but looking good to try it on his own 
  • Your first meat was (3/8/2015).  Daddy smoke him his first brisket :-)
  • You can drink from a regular cup now
  • Balloons are amazing to you
  • Dutch got his first black eye from falling into a basket of books
  • Gave us 7 hrs of sleep on 3/29/15
  • We stayed at the ranch with Kim & Drew for Easter.  You went on your first East egg hunt, and you really like plastic eggs 
  • You went down your first slide with mama at the park
  • Your favorite book is the baby colors book
  • Shakes head side to side like saying 'no' but he doesn't know what it means
  • You rode in the front of the basket at HEB for the first time
  • Dutch can open doors (not just cabinet doors but actual doors)
    Month 10 EllisDSC_0356-2
  • At your 9 month check up you still weren't feeling good so all vaccines were skipped.  In fact your thrush was still present, you had an ear infection in your left ear, and you were very congested.  I could tell that you just weren't feeling good.  You weighed 16 lbs 10 oz (23rd percentile) and 28.75 inches long (87th percentile).  You're long and skinny just like daddy. 
  • You still have not yet started solids so as soon as you start feeling better we're probably going to start those.
  • She is officially able to crawl on all fours (not just army crawling), but prefers to army crawl because she is so much faster at that.
  • Ellis is starting to cruise along the couch.  She is holding on and walking back and forth.  First time was 10/23/16
  • She is waving and clapping on command and in response to us. 
  • Her level of excitement and happiness in the morning is just like her father.  I certainly did not give her that gene. She is always so happy to start a new day.   
  • Ellis hates to take medicine.   This she gets from me ;-)
  • I can see so much of daddy in Ellis: her personality, the way she smiles, her love for the mornings, more and more every day I see her father in her.
  • I think you're starting to cut another one of your top teeth
  • Mama left for the first time for an overnight for a girls staycaytion.  You stayed home with daddy and Dutch
  • Your first Halloween you went as Woodstock (brother was Charlie Brown).  I carried you as we trick or treated with your brother.  You didn't know what was going on but were completely content to be along for the fun.  When we got home you liked to hold the candies Dutch got because of the sound the wrappers made.
  • You went on your first service project to a nursing home (that happened to be Dutch's first service project also). We sang songs and you brought a lot of joy to the residents.
  • I think that your first word just might be "dada" 11/6/16
  • You like to play pass the ball with daddy
  • You've starting to talk and "sing" a lot more.  You have a lot to say and I love to hear you babble
  • You love to stand to play and can't stand to be set down to play.  You are a go-er and mover.  You are cruising the couch to play with your toys
  • Your first bloody nose was 11/7/16.  I was honestly just thinking about this the other day.  I believe Dutch had a bloody nose by this point so I was anticipating that it would happen soon and sure enough it happened.  While we were playing on the floor you decided it would be a great idea to flip right over my head.  It didn't end so well and you quickly changed your mind. It wasn't a horribly bloody nose but Dutch was on it!  He was so helpful and ran to get some wipes for your "ouey"  I pray that he is always this concerned about caring for you.
  • You are getting your 4 top teeth all at the same time and you do not like it
  • You had your first lick of an apple 11/12/16

    Ten Month Old Collage

Friday, January 6, 2017

Sheldon on the Shelf

I’m aware that it isn’t Christmas anymore, yet I’ve blogged about Christmas twice this week.  Don’t hate.
I’m also aware that there is much controversy over this silly little elf that I’m about to talk about.  But I honestly don’t care.  In our house, Sheldon is a doll that we play hide and seek with from Thanksgiving to Christmas.  He isn’t a tool for behavioral modification or something that the kids aren’t allowed to touch.  (Sidebar- I’m not judging those that do use it this way.  I really don’t care; do what’s right for you and your family and I respect you for that.  We don’t use it that way, because try telling a 2 year old not to touch a cute little elf and see how far you get).  It’s just a fun toy that we play with; it’s the adults playing with the kids’ toys after the kids go to bed.  Right after the kids go to bed I hide Sheldon and they look for him as soon as they wake up in the morning.  I just use what we already have around the house for Sheldon- I didn’t buy a single thing or spend more than 2 minutes a night on this.  Super easy! Here are some of the fun hiding places & adventures Sheldon went on this past month.  I’m going to pin this and use for future Christmases!!!Elf on the Shelf Ideas
DSC_0009DSC_0027DSC_0030DSC_0070DSC_0081DSC_0247DSC_0177DSC_0198DSC_0192DSC_0197DSC_0271DSC_0370DSC_0452DSC_0437DSC_0450DSC_0721DSC_0533DSC_0548DSC_0581DSC_0598DSC_0740DSC_0968DSC_0842DSC_0884DSC_0953DSC_0964DSC_0979

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Christmas 2016

Our Christmas this year (or should I say past year now?) was different, but wonderful!  We said "no" to all parties and focused on just celebrating with our family for the entire month.  I don’t know if we’ll do it like that every year, but it was great to do this year.  It took away all the stress of “getting things done”.  We baked cookies for the neighbors, saw Santa, made Christmas art projects, had grandparents visit from home, went to church, enjoyed the cooler weather at parks, rode on a Christmas train, looked at Christmas lights around the neighborhood, drank hot cocoa, & just celebrated.  It was relaxing and fun.  So here was our quiet family Christmas month (be ready for a picture overload!).DSC_0550DSC_0561DSC_0566DSC_0092DSC_0112DSC_0689DSC_0708DSC_0712DSC_0736DSC_0755DSC_0793DSC_0943DSC_0811DSC_0828DSC_0834DSC_0836DSC_0841DSC_0864DSC_0855DSC_0870DSC_0872DSC_0889DSC_0901DSC_0904DSC_0932
This was probably my favorite Christmas so far!
How was your Christmas?
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