Friday, April 17, 2015

Heart Problem

Hudson has a heart problem.

It is in his genes and ultimately it will be fatal.

His problem is sin.  His sweet little almost three year old's heart is as black as can be with sin.

One minute he's as sweet as can be; the next he's devilishly disobedient.  It's exhausting.

Now, I've read the many books.  I know to start pointing him to the gospel of Christ when he sins - to encourage repentance and belief.  The books are full of nicely scripted conversations where even small children confess their sin and desire to follow Jesus.

However, these books have never met my Hudson.

Here's the conversation from last night at bedtime:

     Hudson: I don't like spankings and time outs.
     Me: I don't either.
     Hudson: Yeah
     Me: You know, you're in control of that.  You obey and there are no spankings or time out.
     Hudson: I don't like to obey.
     Me: (laughing on the inside) No one really likes to obey.  But Jesus can help you obey.  He'll  
             change your heart so you want to obey.
     Hudson: I don't want Jesus to change my heart. I don't like to obey.
     Me: *sigh*

Gotta love the honesty of a toddler, huh?  He's not even trying to feign the desire to obey, and I think that's a good thing.  No little Pharisee-toddler here, hopefully.

Now, I know he's not yet three so hopefully Jesus will change that little heart of his, to repent of his sin and believe in the perfect substitutionary death of Jesus.  But in the meantime, please join me in praying for my little one's heart and mine - it's causing me to be reflective which is difficult at times.  Only difficult in terms of not liking what I find, of course.  The Lord definitely has a way of using parenthood to teach you about his love for us.



Search me, God, and know my heart.
Test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, 
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23-24


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

All Smiles

Today Hudson has his first dental visit.  He did amazingly well - much better than I thought he'd do honestly.

All smiles in the waiting room.
 Jamie, the hygenist, said that normally the first visit was just a lap exam using their fingers to feel his teeth but that they'd like to clean his teeth if he'd cooperate.


He was a little hesitant at first, but then opened wide and let her clean all his teeth.  Such a big boy!




Goofy Kid

Then Dr. Ball did the exam and put a flouride treatment on his teeth.  His teeth and gums look great!


Hudson was such a big boy .... until time to go.  That darn reward box brought out the nearly 3-year-old in him.  He couldn't/wouldn't decide what he wanted and got quite frustrated that I wouldn't just stay there all day for him to make a decision.  Really kid?  It's a plastic duck, let's just go. Oh well, they keep us humble.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Ministry Update - Winter 2014/15

It's been a remarkably mild winter this year, at least compared to last year.  We've only had about a foot of snow this winter.  Weather, it's all relative.

December began with Christmas festivities.  We had our Christmas program wtih record attendance - 49!  Plus we enjoyed a soup and sandwich lunch afterward.






We hosted a Christmas Open House at the Parsonage.  The entire congregation was invited to stop by for snacks and to just hang out.  Most everyone came.  We ended up playing Apples to Apples and Mrs. Mable won!








We had the youth over for New Years' Eve.  We ate and played games: spoons, Apples to Apples, and Scrabble.  At midnight, we enjoyed waffles and sparkling grape juice.  Hudson amazingly not only stayed up until midnight, but was so energized from having the teens over that he didn't go to sleep until 2 A.M.  Yawn!









In February, we took the youth to a sister church to hear Wise Choices.  Take the time to check out their ministry's website.  I've heard a lot of abstinence speakers.  Sadly, many are no more than fear-mongerers.  However, Barb and Rich weren't that - they spoke of God's grace and forgiveness and restoration.  It was very encouraging.

Valentine's Weekend, I took my Sunday School class of preteen girls for a girls' afternoon.  We did manicures, ate chocolate, and studied the life of Leah and Ruth, Proverbs 7, 1 Corinthians 7, and Ephesians 5 to help understand God's plan for marriage.  I love these girls - they are such fun!

C making a birthday cake for fellow youth worker, MAE

We've been trying to take the kids/youth bowling for the past two weeks, but snow keeps interrupting our plans :(  Come on Spring!

James is preaching through the book of Mark on Sunday morning and just finished preaching through Judges in the evenings and is starting Ruth.

We've had some sicknesses in our church family.  Hospitalizations, Physical Therapy Rehab, etc...

Prayer Requests
- James has been specifically praying for two families to join our church - whether by conversion or transfer of membership.  Please join him in praying for this.
- Youth Sunday is March 8th - pray for our youth as they lead the services that day.
- Youth Bible Study - we'll finally finishing up Share Jesus Without Fear.  Man, it has taken forever.  Pray for guidance as we select a new study.
- Summer plans: elementary camp, youth camp, mission trip, VBS, just to name a few.
- Summer Mission Trip - we plan to tag along with our old church in Louisville on their summer mission trip this year.  I have asked three people to accompany them along with me.  Please ask that the Lord will provide for this.
- Encouragement.

And just for fun - Enjoy this snapshots of Hudson playing in the snow this winter.  19 Days until Spring!





Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Lent - Toddler Style

Like I've said before, I enjoy participating in Lent even though I'm Baptist.  It's about preparing my and my family's heart for Easter.  This year, I'm hoping to make it even more toddler-friendly for Hudson than last year.

After searching through pinterest - I stole this idea and combed it with these ideas.  Basically, there will be 40 Easter Eggs with slips of paper including a random act of kindness for Hudson to complete.

This Christmas we had lots of fun doing our Advent Calendar, but I noticed that after about a week Hudson started asking where his present was each morning.  I get it, I like presents.  However I don't want him to be entitled, but to be grateful. So this Lent season he's not getting candy or presents in the eggs, but will pray for and serve others to hopefully gear his little heart towards thinking of others more than himself.

Inside the eggs, there are 33 papers directing Hudson to pray for one of our church members that attend regularly - that's one plus of a small church, I guess!  Then the other seven are more service oriented:
- visit Aunt Maxine
- mail his cousin Woovens a letter
- bake cookies for neighbors
- tape money to our town's coke machine for someone to enjoy (yes, we have a town coke machine, actually only Pepsi products - yuck! and I have no idea who stocks it - weird)
- leave an encouragement package for our mailman Mr. George
- visit the nursing home
- give away a toy of his choice.

The strips are ready, now to dig out the plastic eggs


The week of Easter, we'll make a tomb from biscuit dough with a cross made from sticks.  Then we'll move Jesus around while reading about what happened to him during holy week.  Here's the recipe I use for the Easter mountain.

Last year's Easter Mountain

And of course, we'll do typical stuff like dying eggs, an Easter basket, wear a new Easter outfit, etc...

So that's the plan!  Pray for my sweet boy - that the Lord will soften his heart towards loving and serving others over himself.  I know he's not yet 3, but it's never too early.

H and me, Easter 2014

Joshua told the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow 
the Lord will do amazing things among you." Joshua 3:5


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Quotable

It's hard to believe that this time last year, Hudson was being tested for a speech delay.  Turns out he did have a delay - 30%; but in Missouri one must be 50% delayed to receive any kind of therapy so tough luck, huh?  One day I'll write Missouri a letter about being the only state in the country with such a pitiful standard....anyway back to my point.


About a month before Hudson's second birthday, he started speaking.  Today? It's pretty much nonstop talking from the moment he wakes up until he goes to sleep.  I wanted to write down some of the things he says so I can remember them later.

"I have the piccups"
     Piccups is what Hudson calls hiccups.  Too cute for words

"I can't see my eyes!"
     Anytime Hudson enters a dark room, or if we turn the lights out suddently, he'll respond this way
     to declare his sudden blindness.

"My favorite!"
     Randomly, I'll tell Hudson that he's my favorite.  Don't tell him that as an only-child, he has no
     competition.  He'll usually repond by pointing at me and telling me that I'm his favorite!

"Thank you Jesus for _______, Amen!"
      Hudson loves to pray.  He'll pray for before meals and bedtime, and will pray at church
      sometimes.  So far all his prayers are the exact same - the prayer above with whatever in the
      blank - food, Mommy and Daddy, his friends, his Sunday School teacher, his snowman, etc...

"I can do it myself!"
      If I had a dollar for every time Mr. Independent says (screams) this in any and every activity, I'd
      be rich.



Because Hudson is surrounded by older people (kids and adults) he speaks rather impressively well for an almost three year old.  The other day at the Dollar Store, he ran up to a little girl and introduced himself with:

      "Hi, I'm Hudson and these are my friends Dada and Mama!"

Sadly, the little girl was a tad timid and just stared at Hudson before walking away.  LOL

His vocabulary amazes me. Some of the words I've noticed him use (correctly) in the past few months include:

nervous
responsible
brave
courageous
intelligent
disappoint

He has several of his books memorized - Brown Bear What do you See? The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Groucy Ladybug.  We're big Eric Carle fans!

He's also very sweet with his words.  I think he has a burgeoning gift of affirmation/encouragement.  He often tells me that I'm a nice mama.  Sunday night, I heard him tell K, one of our preteens at church, that she was a nice girl after she helped him into his carseat.  He generously gives compliments.  It's super sweet to hear.

And of course, because he's almost three we do hear "No!" a lot as well.  Followed closely by its cousin "Stop it!"  Fun times with a toddler - sweet one minute, sour the next.




Saturday, January 3, 2015

Resolved

It’s that time of year.  Everyone is making resolutions to make their life healthier, less-stressed, happier, etc… I’ve made resolutions in the past and could have a laundry-list of things I need to do better in 2015 such as:

- prepare healthier meals
- be more consistent in my quiet time and prayer life
- learn more patience
- keep the house cleaner and de-cluttered
- be more consistent with my exercise routine
- make friends
- establish a daily schedule to increase productivity at home
- worry less
- procrastinate less
- be bolder in sharing the gospel

Truly, the list could go on and on.  I have much to improve upon. So this year I’m keeping it simple - I am choosing joy.

2014 has been a long, somewhat trying year.  First there was the frozen tundra that became the Midwest. So much cold. So much snow and ice. So little sun. In January I was diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease. My already somewhat fragile kidneys (thank you spinal birth defect) have been damaged due to too many UTIs. And though I’m following doctor’s orders, my numbers aren’t stable (up one month, down the next) and that’s frustrating me. Don’t worry I’m not actively dying just not where I want to be.  Almost two years into life in northeast MO I know a ton of people but I have no truly close girlfriends - no one I talk to or see on a regular basis.  No one I hang out with or do stuff with.  I’m finding that that’s causing much heartache for my extraverted self.  I was in the hospital for ovarian cyst torsion for several days.  While I’m OK and thankfully cancer-free, it was yet another reminder of my broken body and just how fleeting health is. Ministry-wise, we’ve not seen the visible fruit we’d like to see.  That’s really, really bothered James, which inturn bothers me.  Hudson’s super independent two year old spirit brings its own challenges.  I have focused on negatives a lot this year and it’s caused much solemnness.  That’s not the testimony I want to have.

So I am choosing joy.

I have a Savior who loves me, died for me, and lives again interceding on my behalf.  That’s cause for joy.

I have a husband who loves me.  Seven years this May.  That’s cause for joy.

I have a son.  A strong, independent, spirited son who is growing up so fast it makes my head hurt.  Today he told me that it’s currently winter and will be spring next. Where did he learn this? That’s cause for joy.

I have a sweet church, a group of believers striving to love the Lord more each day.  That’s cause for joy.

I have friends back home who listen to me babble for hours (literally) on the phone as an outlet for my loneliness.  That’s cause for joy.

Making traditional resolutions would help me in my endeavor to live more joyfully, but they aren’t the end in themselves - just the means so I’m not going to focus obsessively on them.  Rather, I am being intentional in looking for the joy in life.  I have much about which to be joyful.

Do not be grieved - the joy of the Lord is your strength.
- Nehemiah 8:10b

Let the righteous one rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in Him! Let all the upright in heart exult.
- Psalm 64:10

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
- Proverbs 17:22

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

- Romans 15:13



Thursday, December 18, 2014

Our Advent Calendar

Per my perusal of pinterest, advent calendar are all the rage.

Now, I grew up with advent calendars.  Mine were like this:


Yummy, somewhat chalky, choclate for every day in December leading up to Christmas!  Yay!


Because I'm a first-time Mama and feel pressure to make the most of the holidays (both in a good point Hudson to Jesus way and in a not-so-good I need to do this to be a good mama way) I make my own advent calendar.

Last year, it looked like this:


Each day had either a treat or an activity to do such as read a Christmas book, watch a Christmas movie, etc... It was great fun.

This year I made it a little more complicated because Hudson is older and I am a glutton for punishment.



First, I made a tree out of green butcher paper.  Then I wrapped 24 presents because Hudson's really into opening presents.  They were things like candy/treats and activities, sometimes just a paper with what we are doing inside a box.  I reused last year's envelopes to help label each one but this year, I added a printed ornament inside the envelope that corresponded to a story in the Jesus Storybook Bible.  We'd read the story, tape the ornament to the tree, then open and enjoy the present.  It was somewhat tedious to set up, but really didn't cost much money as I mostly used what I had on hand from Christmas past.

I found the ornaments here and can I say I am so thankful for the internet and all the amazing things people do and share there.

All in all it was fun and fairly easy.  Here's what we did/are doing:

December 1- Open Fisher Price Nativity Set from his first Christmas
December 2 - Watch Veggie Tales Christmas movie he got last year in his Christmas Eve box
December 3 - Decorate Gingerbread Train
December 4 - Enjoy a Chocolate Orange
December 5 - DIY Fingerpaint Christmas Tree
December 6 - Make and Decorarte Sugar Cookies
December 7 - Watch Bob the Builder's White Christmas movie
December 8 - Open this year's Special Ornament
December 9 - DIY Snowman Ornament, purchased on clearance at Hobby Lobby
December 10 - Watch Dr. Seuss' The Grinch movie
December 11 - Enjoy Candy Canes
December 12 - DIY Candy Cane ornament (pony beads on pipe cleaner)
December 13 - Enjoy Hot Chocolate
December 14 - Open (and wear) new Christmas sweater, bought on consignment
December 15 - Go see Christmas Lights at Avenue of Lights
December 16 - DIY Nutcracker Ornament, purchased on clearance at Hobby Lobby
December 17 - Watch Mr. Magoo's A Christmas Carol movie
December 18 - Enjoy Chocolate Marshmallow Santas
December 19 - DIY Christmas Cat ornament, leftover from teaching days
December 20 - Make Christmas cupcakes
December 21 - Watch Charlie Brown's Christmas, that I got for free from the library's discard pile - score!
December 22 - Listen to Christmas CDs
December 23 - DIY Foam, Oriental Trading Natvity Scene, leftover from teaching days
December 24 - Christmas Eve box with new PJs for all and a new Veggie Tales Christmas movie

We also read a Christmas book a day, because when your mama is a former elementary teacher, you have a lot of books.  It was really sweet this year as he is retaining more about the Christmas story from the books.

18 days in, here are some pictures of what we've done so far.



















This advent calendar thing is a lot of prep work so we aren't preschooling for this month.  It is tiring to do each thing each day, however, it's been such a blessing to see his little face light up with whatever we're doing.  He's so excited, even over silly (cheap) DIY ornament things.  I hope he keeps that sense of wonder forever.  

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
- Luke 2:19