Monday, February 27, 2012

Discouragement (sermon from Andy Heis)

That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” - Mark 4:35-41

Discouragement is the number one tool that the enemy uses to push us away from freedom & walking completely with God. When you place your trust in the Lord, you have courage. But discouragement is the removal of courage (not walking by faith).

Let's go through the verses above:

  • Mark 4:35 - There's always another side of discouragement. Jesus knows there's another side because He told the disciples to cross to the other side of the lake. He knew what He could offer the people on the other side. If we don't fight to get to the other side, then we're limiting God.

  • Mark 4:37 - Storms of life can either make you or break you. You look around & the boat is filling with water which causes panic (just like the disciples) & feel as though you're drowning. God wants you to focus on the answer (God) instead of the water (life's circumstances). Often times, when we're in the midst of battling sin we forget about the cross. If you lie down in the middle of your fight, then the enemy has won (you need to fight for holiness). Battles are won in the prayer closet! Let Him fight for you! Look past your sin & fight for your potential.

  • Mark 4:38 - We often cry out to God, "Do you care what I'm going through?" Storms can cause you to change your perspective/mindset in life. For example, my miscarriages. Having two miscarriages made all other petty things in life not so important. In this verse, Jesus was in the boat with His disciples just like He is always with you. He got in the boat even though He knew the storm that was coming.

  • Mark 4:39 - Jesus is the one that calms the storm. Jesus wants to stop the storm that we're facing but sometimes His will has to be accomplished. God will stop the storm in His time! Remember, your storm is never too big for Jesus.

  • Mark 4:40 - Through our faith in Christ, our storms can be calmed.

  • Mark 4:41 - The disciples' faith grew only because they endured the storm. The storm also gave them a testimony to His greatness.

  • Mark 5:1 - The disciples arrived on the other side!!! Jesus will always carry us to the other side. You're closer to the other side than you think; you've got to fight!

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. - 2 Corinthians 4:8-10

  • God allows us to go through discouraging times for death of ourselves in order to complete us & become more like Him.

Boys know how to have fun!

This past weekend was a blast! Weekends are definitely my favorite time of the week because I get to spent it with my family. What could be better?!

Being lazy Saturday morning (Stryker always has to look cool with whatever he's doing)

Sunday after church we stopped by for a quick haircut. He did better than before, sitting still but kept saying "tick tick" (he thought Midge was tickling his neck).

After haircuts, we drove to Homewood for a little fun! Uncle Steve & Aunt Barbara are building a new house on their old lot. As you can see, Stryker had fun being a boy!

Stryker wanting to steer the bulldozer!

playing in the sand, rocks, & dirt

helping with the landscape plans

lining up rocks before throwing them as far as he could

By the way, the house is gorgeous & can't wait for Stryker to enjoy breaking it in for them! Stryker decided a drive around the neighborhood with the windows down was a good idea before sunset. He loves to sit in daddy's lap & show him how to drive! We took daddy's truck off road which Stryker enjoyed bouncing all around on the rough terrain. Couldn't have asked for better weather or better memories with my family.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

New playset!!

Stryker's birthday present from Coco arrived & was set up yesterday...

a new PLAYSET!!!!!

He never wants to come inside (even more now). Coco & Stryker enjoyed a picnic on his playset yesterday afternoon. Thank you Coco for the amazing present!

It's fun for him to look out over the hill behind our house!

tire swing


playing on the rings

Keeping your eyes on God

(Sorry the picture is sideways but I couldn't fix it)

A wise man drew this illustration for me yesterday. It refers to a Bible verse.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." - James 1:2-4

Looking at the stair step diagram above, it shows trials on first step, tests of faith on second step, perseverance on third step, & mature & complete not lacking anything on fourth step. As you can see, you should have joy throughout all of these steps in life. I didn't say happiness, I said joy.

Can you see yourself standing on the bottom step? I can, especially right now. Everyone goes through difficult times in their life. If you rely on yourself to face these times in life, you won't be able to visualize that life will be great in the end (reference picture: you can't see over the step). But if you were to keep your eyes on God (reference picture: God is driving the helicopter able to see the whole picture), He can help you see the final step.

Monday, February 20, 2012

An afternoon at the King's farm

The King family is building a house on some property not far from our home. They graciously invited us for a fun afternoon on the farm! Stryker enjoyed walking through their new home, playing in the mud/water, hiking around the property, & seeing a newborn baby goat!

Stryker with the momma & daddy goats.

Stryker wanted to hand feed them!

Stryker, Chaney, & Tripp with the baby goat (only an hour old)!

baby goat!

sweet Chaney

the new family of 3!

Dancing & Singing

Feelings vs. Faith

Yesterday's sermon could not have come at a better time in my life. God's timing is always perfect.

1 Kings 19:1-9 "Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.” Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night."

God has called us to walk by faith, not by feelings. God has given us feelings in order to feel the presence of Him. When we put our emotions above faith, then we're walking in a dangerous place. Unfortunately, some people base their faith on feelings.

Walking through the desert/wilderness (difficult life circumstances) is the one best places to be because that is the place where you can be the closest to God. This allows one to see how strong God is when He removes feelings in order to teach you to walk by faith.

Hebrews 11:6 "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."

Hebrew 11:1 "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see."

Believing is not a feeling. Believing is faith which always produces an action.

When we walk by feelings, it will always produce fear.

Some people have more lack of faith in God than faith in God because they do not fully trust Him.

Fear/walking by feelings will always cause you to walk alone but faith will cause you to walk with God.

Truth is not a feeling. Truth is the foundation of faith.

Walking by feelings causes a person to quit but walking by faith causes a person to persevere.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Stryker's 2!!!!

You grew & grew; Today you turn 2!!

Can't believe your 2 years old, buddy!!! You sure are a growing little boy. Logan & I both took off work to enjoy this special day with Stryker. We started the day off by your 2 y/o check-up.

2 year check-up stats:
Height = 34 5/8" (60th percentile)
Weight = 26 pounds (25th percentile)
You have been a true blessing to everyone, especially mom & dad! We have been enjoying the past 2 years with all new memories as a family of 3. At 24 months, you:
  • continue to talk & beginning to form 2-3 word sentences
  • still want to be outside all the time
  • extremely active, athletic, smart, & handsome
  • continue potty training: you average 0-1 accidents/2 wks (daytime only)! Way to go big guy! You've started potty training during nap time as well. Your teachers are trying to determine the time you normally go pee-pee during nap so they can take you to the potty & then put you back to sleep to prevent accidents.
  • watches Sprout channel (highly recommended, educational program on t.v.)
  • very social - loves to play with other children
  • have separation anxiety sometimes (mostly when you're in an unfamilar place)
  • still attending church nursey & loves the music at church
  • will pick up your toys, put things in trash, or vacuum/clean furniture
  • learning to pedal a bicycle (no thanks to your inherited short legs!)
  • diaper size = 5
  • shoe size = 5 - 6
  • pant/short size = 18 - 24 months (mostly 18 months; skinny boy)
  • shirt size = 2T - 3T (long torso)
  • counts 1 to 4
  • knows some letters & numbers
  • bedtime = 8:30 - 9:30pm
  • still sleeps through the night
  • generally wakes up between 7:30 & 8am every morning

2 year old birthday party invitation

my happy little boy

hugs from my little man

He's already figured out how the medical instruments work!

Our tough little dude didn't cry until they held his hand down to put the band-aid on his finger. Can you believe he didn't cry with the finger stick nor with the shot in his thigh until they put a band-aid on?!

After his check-up, we grabbed lunch at Backyard Burgers before heading to I Jump! It was worth the $5 it cost for us to spend 2 hours as a family jumping & playing in all the inflatables! I definitely recommend this place to anyone with children.

As I previously mentioned in an earlier post, Logan's future career will be requiring him to dress in business attire. Therefore, we ran by Macy's for their sale before going home. Stryker was enjoying playing with ties.

We finished the day with some fun at home. Stryker took me for a spin in his truck! He even had to lean back to look cool as he drove.

Stryker having fun swinging on the front porch swing with daddy!

inflatable slide time!!! (nothing scares our son)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Valentine's Day 2012

Logan received his Valentine's Day present earlier this past weekend: a card expressing the blessing that he has given me in a husband, role model for our son, & Christian leader of our household along with a set of pens & calendar notebook (to prepare for the future - more on that later). We discussed how we did not want this day to be the only day that we express our love & gratitude to each other. "Love is a feeling, marriage is a contract, & relationship is work."

I'm not a flower person, but absolutely love the unique vase for my table!!! Logan even agreed to let me put my "sticks" (modern bamboo sticks) in the vase later.

I will cherish my card that Stryker & Logan left on the kitchen counter for me to find as I entered the house after work on Valentine's day along with the vase & flowers. I am a huge card person. Seriously, I would rather receive a card than a gift any day!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Stryker's 2 year old Sesame Street Party!

Welcome to Sesame Street!!! Sunny days, sweeping the clouds away... We celebrated Stryker's 2 year old birthday on Sunday, Feb. 12th at 2:01pm (traditional time because it was time of birth). This year's party theme was Sesame Street. I surprised myself on how creative I was able to be with all of the details. Thank you to everyone who came to celebrate another year of our little man!

Big Bird's footprints lining the sidewalk & driveway - leading everyone to the party! I traced the image onto yellow construction paper & then cut each one out. Logan was able to tape them on the ground for me.

footprints up the driveway

footprints ended at the front door

Front door decorations - a sign with "Letter of the Day S, Number of the Day 2" along with Cookie Monster & Elmo pictures

Elmo!! A big thanks to Teresa Lee & Bama Balloons for this amazing Elmo!

Happy Birthday Stryker!!

Sesame Street gang ready to party!!

Stryker loves his bike from Fletch (notice he had to attach 2 loud horns on the handle bars)!

Kid's table: cookie making (sugar cookies, mini Hershey kisses, Reese Pieces, marshmellows, sprinkles, & vanilla icing); the Sesame Street pinata sitting next to table

Grandmomma's gift: sandbox with tractors!

yummy food table

Big Bird's Apple Juice (made a little bird's nest along with mini apple juice boxes)

Dorothy the goldfish!

Bert & Ernie's Hot Dogs

Elmo's Pizza

Cookie Monster & Elmo cookies (can you believe that I actually made these?!!)

Stacy & her daughter Lucy making cookies

Stryker & Lucy eating the cookie decorations!

Lucy amazed at all the people

everyone in the living room enjoying the party

Coco & Fletch watching Stryker opening presents

Presents everywhere! I put on the invitation to bring unwrapped gifts for donations instead of bringing presents for Stryker.

Tripp helping Logan with Stryker's John Deere lawn mower

tearing into presents

It was like Christmas all over again!

A fun bowling set, except Stryker wanted to use the bowling pins as a baseball bat!

people everywhere

using the bowling pin as a baseball bat!

how many does it take to put together a child's toy?!

trying to clean up as we go

I'm sure I was laughing at Stryker

mowing the hardwood floors!

I got to hold baby girl Noah!

Peyton making her daddy proud playing golf.

Peyton & Lorie playing on Stryker's new drum set

Stryker learning how to pedal on his new bike!

Stryker seeing his Elmo balloon for the first time!

Pinata time!

Stryker learning to pedal his new bike!

My little drummer boy! A gift from Uncle Cody.

Singing Happy Birthday! Guess he didn't enjoy this kind of attention. Stryker really didn't like the cake that much but enjoyed playing in it more (sorry couldn't upload all of the video). Logan appreciated Stryker saving the cake for him to eat after the party!