Friday, September 30, 2011

Praying God's Word

I have a good and provoking post percolating in my head, but Levi's down for a good nap and I gotta boogie this morning with some stuff to get ready for the weekend (working this weekend! Prepare to launch the space shuttle!), so I don't have time to flesh it out right now. But I do want to pass some words along...

Several months ago I listened to a program that was discussing the power of praying God's Word over our families. I often find myself stuck on knowing what to pray specifically for Levi, Matt, or anyone else for that matter. When I say, "Do your will, Lord," what exactly do I mean by that? Fortunately, His will is plain to us in his Word, and praying scripture is as powerful as you can get!

This past year I've focused on praying for Levi's mind, and dug out some verses to pray specifically for him. I can type those out later if anyone's interested. This year I'm going to focus on praying for his heart and feet (I just learned in a study that I'm doing the strong connection between our hearts and feet! Where our hearts are, our feet will go there...).

If you're a parent, pray these for your children and spouse. If you're not, pray for yourself or choose a niece or nephew to cover in prayer. Or whomever. You get the gist.

So I'll pass these verses along, and feel free to print them out and add your own - but let me know what you add, because I'll want to add them too!!

Psalm 44:18 - Our heart has not turned back, nor have our steps departed from your way.
(If you've never prayed this way, I would pray, for example, "Father, I pray Levi's heart will always be turned to you, and that his steps will not depart from your way.")

Psalm 25:15 - My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for he will pluck my feet out of the net. ("...and that his eyes will ever be toward you. I pray his feet will be freed from the entanglement of sin." And so forth.)

Joshua 22:5 - Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that...the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Ezekiel 36:27 - And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

Jeremiah 31:33b - I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Proverbs 4:23 - Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flows the springs of life.

Psalm 86:11 - Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.

Proverbs 23:15-17 - My son, if your heart is wise, my heart too will be glad. My inmost being will exult when your lips speak what is right. Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day.

Gotta boogie now!! Have a great Friday!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Guess who's 11 months!!!!!

Is it possible? Is it really possible? That our baby isn't really a baby anymore...he's becoming a toddler??

In case you've been wondering why I'm pretty short on pictures in the past couple of months, here's why: he doesn't stop moving long enough for me to take one. Most of what I take now is videos, and I can't get FB to upload them, which is too bad because they're pretty funny.

He cruises furniture but he doesn't walk yet...EXCEPT behind this little push-cart toy that our neighbor gave him as a hand-me-down. That is how we spend our day now - careening around the house and terrorizing poor Molly by plowing into her...repeatedly. He walks up and down the sidewalk, the driveway, around the block, you name it. I'm tempted to take him to the poor little Westshore Mall (read: always empty) and just let him go.

He eats like crazy. Still gets two big 9oz bottles a day but takes a sippy at meals with his array of veggies, beans, and chicken. He's been intensely interested in my water bottle with bite-valve straw, so I bought him his own water "bottle" with a straw. (If you know me and Matt, you know you'll almost never see us without a water bottle. Levi needs one too!!) He loves it. He cruises past it (see above paragraph), stops, backs up, plops on the floor and takes a swig, pulls himself back up and sprints on. I introduced whole milk at dinner for the first time this evening and he sucked it down. Organic local pastured cow. Good stuff, baby.

He's crazy for his daddy. He won't SAY "daddy" (we say, "Say da-da" and he looks at me and says, "ma-ma" - *heart melting*) and reaches for him as much as he reaches for me. I love that. They have their fun "boy time" in the evening playing while I clean up after dinner (ta-rust me, I treasure the time alone!), and Matt gives him his bath and bottle before he goes to bed. They have a special night-night wave they do at each other as I carry Levi off to bed.

I love that he's never had stranger-danger. Yet. He'll go to anyone. He might not SMILE about it, but he'll go with them. And play with them. He has a bestie: his buddy Josiah. Josiah's mom Mary watches him while I'm at work, and we trade off days so we can each have a bi-monthly day "off." My prayer is that Josiah and Levi will be like Jonathan and David in the Bible. Josiah's eight months older than Levi, but as Levi grows the gap between them is narrowing. When Levi spends the day with Josiah he nearly invariably hits a milestone within the next few days, he wants so badly to be like a big kid. :)

I could go on and on for days about why I'm crazy about him. His little happy dance in the morning when I go in his room singing the little "Good Morning" song I made up. How he loves his stuffed giraffe and stuffs it in his face because he's so happy to see it. How he pokes and prods at Molly. How he has zero fear of the vacuum cleaner. How he chortles when he laughs. How he pulls at my nose and cracks up. How he waves at every car and bicyclist when we're out on a walk.

Our baby. Our little boy. Our son. How Mama and Daddy love you. Happy 11 month birthday, Booboo.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

These things are always harder than they look...

I think in a world where we cherish ourselves far more than we cherish others, this might be a good challenge. I have no idea what it'll entail, but I'm sure that if you're single you can probably tweak it so you are loving and serving friends and family. Join me?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Grocery Store Gratitude

A trip to the grocery store totally busted up my groove today. It was not what I had in mind at all. I wanted a relaxing day at home where I'm bustling around getting ready for work this weekend (which feels somewhat akin to the launch of a space shuttle - diapers washed, laundry put away, food prepared for Daddy and Baby, stuff put away, backpack and lunches packed...).

And then I got totally derailed. My plan was to make an easy Gouveia-staple-standby. But I discovered I had about two grains of brown rice left (critical to said standby). I did a little mental temper tantrum. This was my last-resort dish. Now I *had* to go to Meijer. This was NOT what I had in mind. Now my whole day was messed up, I was going to get less done, be scrambling around, I really wanted to take Levi to the park...

Wait a sec. I quickly remembered the article I recently read about the famine in Africa where mothers are having to make the unthinkable decision to leave starving children sleeping under a tree - to die - because they have to keep moving toward where there is the hope of food. The book I just finished reading about human sex trafficking that discussed the number of families who feel they have no choice but to sell a daughter into prostitution to support the rest of the family.

These people would give anything to be me. To have the biggest problem in their day be that they have to go to this enormous box filled with food. To be kind of in a pouty mood because they have to clean a house when what they really want to do is read a magazine. They would give anything to have an 1100 square foot...mansion, to them.

I was suddenly humbled with gratitude. I get to go to the grocery store! I get to clean my house! Thank you, Lord! What a gracious and undeserved gift!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Proverbs and a buggy-eyed Bible

I have this little kid's Bible for Levi. At first, I had the board-book version of it but was mildly annoyed at how watered-down it was. I know, he's a baby. But still. If only Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology came in a board book! I can see it flying off the shelves.

Anyway, so I got the next step up, the toddler-ish version of the baby Bible, and while all of the characters are buggy-eyed, bearded, doofy-looking men wearing dresses with ropes around he waist, it's an improvement. But the pages are regular pages, pages that will get torn and chewed and gummed, so the little Bible sits in a high place and wasn't getting read.

Aha!!! But there's one time that I can read to Levi from his buggy-eyed, doofy-dude Bible, and it's while he's eating. He has no choice while he's banging his sippy and shoving mango and banana chunks in his mouth but to listen to me!! And he can't reach out and rip the pages (although, is it just me, or do babies' arms grow about seven feet when they're sitting at the table???).

So every morning, he "listens" to me while I read a chapter out of Proverbs (the corresponding chapter with the day of the month that it yesterday was Proverbs 7 because it was September 7th. I actually found myself explaining to him what an adulteress very, VERY simple terms, mind you: "Levi, that is a woman who makes very, VERY unwise choices..." We'll leave it at that for now). And then we read a chapter from his little cartoony Bible. He really seems to like those pictures.

I know he's a baby. I know it'll be a long time before what I'm teaching him soaks into the bottom of his tender little heart. But I also know it'll be sooner than I even know. He picks up on more than I even know right now. I'm astounded that when I ask him, "Where's ______?" he immediately looks at what I'm talking about...and it's not exactly a word I say to him over and over and over again, trying to produce this result. He imitates sounds we make. My point isn't that my kid's a genius...he's a regular baby who is soaking the world in around him like a SPONGE - and that's my cue to be very, very intentional about what he's soaking in.

And what I am soaking in. What my mind marinates in, that's who I become. That's what I emulate for a world - and a small pair of bright blue eyes - that is watching. What I put in my ears and in front of my eyes are what goes in that...marinade, if you will. Lord, put apathy to death in my heart.

I want my son to know - and I want MY heart's resolve to be knowing - that wisdom is more important than being smart or successful or wealthy.

And now, O sons, listen to me: blessed are those who keep my ways...for whoever finds me finds life, and obtains favor from the Lord. (Proverbs 8: 32, 35)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Welcome, September

Good morning.

Is it a good morning for you?

Are you a mom who is terribly relieved to be sending your kids back to school? Or are you sobbing because your kids are going back to school? Or starting their first day of school? Are you a homeschooling mom who is like WHAT am I DOING? as you lead your little lambs? Is it another day as usual as you head back to work from a glorious, end-of-the-summer holiday weekend?

Do you love fall as much as I do? Do you just love the way the light bends a little bit differently through the trees, reassuring you that there are still some remnants of summer left (only a few!), but the colors will change and soon give way to....snow? Do you welcome September like you welcome a dear friend, with spicy baked-goodie-smelling candles, throw blankets, and dust off fthe crock pot?

I love fall. It's like one big sigh of relief.

It's also a reminder that there's work to do. School's back in session, routines are re-established. The sand is shaken out from between our toes and summer is packed away. I think even more than New Year's, this is the time of year that we decide, This is the way I want life to look for us this year....

How do you want life to look in your home this year? Whether you're single or married, kids or no kids, you've got some vision of the home you want to establish and the sphere of influence you want to have.

On the practical side of things, I have my projects...

-weed the front (seriously, if you've seen our front "landscaping," even the weeds are embarrassed to be a part of it) and make it look divinely welcoming with mums and pumpkins and an inviting fall wreath

-clean up the basement - I plan on implementing a 10-minute-dejunkify plan on a daily basis so it's not so daunting. When my surroundings are in order, I somehow feel better emotionally and spiritually

-paint and tastefully decorate our upstairs - if you've seen it, you know it needs it. If you haven't seen it, there's a strong and compelling reason for that.

Personally and spiritually, I have projects as well.

I want to grow in wisdom. Daily I pray for my son to become a man who will be a man of discernment, who can plainly see truth from a lie. Who will speak truth and encouragement. Well, if Levi's going to be such a man, he needs a mom who is seeking the Lord on the same things. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise....There is a lot of foolishness around us being marketed as great wisdom.

I want the fruit of kindness to be on my tongue. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. I've been camped on Ephesians 4 and 5 all summer and praying it continually. There's a lot of snark, complaining, bitterness, and rudeness in our world today. What more counter-cultural thing to do than to just control our tongues? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks...What comes pouring out of my mouth is evidence of what is in my heart. Lots to work on there.

I want to wisely use my time. I want to abolish laziness. And look well to the ways of my household. Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time...

Finally, I want to grow in security, knowing who I am in Christ. You know that Proverbs 31 lady? Yes, she's amazing. She's an amazing mom and wife, an amazing seamstress, and amazing business woman, makes amazing financial decisions, is in great shape, never sleeps...but my favorite part about her, the part I REALLY want to have? Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. Strength and dignity. Who doesn't want to be a strong and dignified woman? Who is so sure of who God made her to be, is SO strong and dignified, she just looks at life and is like, *BRING it.*

So welcome, September!! We have a lot of work to do!

PS - I have a new favorite blog (link below). So favorite that I can't wait to fire up my computer in the morning and receive encouragement. If you scroll to the left hand side of it, there's an icon for a housekeeping schedule, and I'm using that as my basic template for keeping up with my house. You might like it too.

I've linked this post on Time-Warp-Wife for {Titus 2}SDays - sit down with a cup of coffee sometime today and have an encouraging read with other bloggers!