Micaila is 10!

We have a ten year old in the house! Our sweet eldest daughter is a decade old. I still vividly remember bringing her home. Wrapped up in a pink, princess labeled outfit that swallowed all seven pounds of her, with most of her weight being in that head of hair.

Now she is a kind, smart, and beautiful young lady.

She drives this John Deere daily to deliver hay to Duet.

This past year we watched her mature, grow, and blossom in countless ways. I would like to highlight one.

Micaila made a profession of faith just before Thanksgiving. This thrills us to no end. Jason and I desire our children to have relationship with Jesus Christ but we’ve never tried to coerce them into making a disingenuous decision. We pray that as the Spirit draws them in they would respond, but we want their confession to be authentic. I believe when Micaila told me that she trusts Jesus and wants to be His disciple, following Him wherever He leads, she meant it. I have already seen evidence of her faith in many ways. I can’t wait to see how God uses her strengths (and weaknesses) for His purposes.

The ten year mark is a huge milestone. Lord willing we will have many more, and I know there will be ups and downs as we enter this prepubescent roller coaster. Having said that, Micaila is truly a delightful daughter. I am thankful for the privilege of being her mother. And I am thankful to know she is a daughter of the King.

Happy 10th Micaila! We love you more than words can express.

Daughters of All Kinds: The Thank You They’d Like to Say.

Dear Nana,

I was observing you today….. And I want you to know I learned so many wonderful things. I witnessed with a fresh perspective how you gave of yourself from the moment your feet hit the floor till you lay your tired head down at night. I watched you love and nurture all those grand babies by feeding, changing, swinging, hugging, kissing, nap giving, inquiring, complementing, encouraging, and feeding, again. I watched you balance  your grand parenting by not coddling or over indulging but giving freedom for them to learn, grow, and be independent. Yet, you know just the right time to peek in, lovingly correct, or wipe away tears and give Popsicles for good measure. All the while maintaining a smile and your sense of humor. What an example you gave me for embracing the role as a wife and mother. You make sure to have dinner ready whether it’s for two people or eight or eighteen and it amazes me how flexible you are if plans change unexpectedly. When you begin to get tired you don’t gripe or complain you just “do the next thing.” Oh how many notes I took of you and the grace you operate from, through the power of His Spirit. And in the midst of all the activity with kids and babies and parents coming in and out, you take delight in making your husband happy and ensuring his needs are met, too. In doing all this it occurred to me that you are not only loving your grand children you are loving your own children, just as you have for so many years.

If I haven’t said thank you in awhile it’s probably because words are just not even adequate in expressing how truly grateful I am for all you do. In fact sometimes I feel downright rotten after all you sacrifice for our family. You give and give and give and I sit and wonder “How will I ever convey to this incredible woman what she really means to me?”

Thank you for being there for my children when I am not. They love you so much and that brings joy to my heart because I know with you they are safe, treasured, and loved. Thank you for being a constant support in a multitude of ways. And please, keep those prayers coming!! I don’t know what I appreciate more, your care giving, or being a prayer warrior on my behalf. You are a source of strength for our family and that strength and love point me right to Jesus. You are truly a gift from God and I just want to go on record saying how much I love you and how thankful I am for you.

With love,

Daughters of all kinds

For Micaila’s 8th Birthday

My sweet Micaila Elise,
We are a few hours short of the moment 8 years ago when you made my lifelong dream of becoming a mommy come true. We have pretty much had all our parenting firsts with you. We said “I love you sweet girl” to you first. We heard you tell us “I love you mommy” and “I love you daddy” first. We experienced the developmental stages from baby, to toddler, to little girl, to now young lady. We had many laughs as you learned how to walk, talk, dance, and play. I’ll never forget your first favorite book that you would “read” to us from memory, Mice are Nice! Or you running around at 2 years old singing “Racing day it’s racing day!” from your favorite show, the Backyardigans. God chose to make you our first born child. This is a high calling with great privilege and responsibility and he chose you, my dear daughter, for this role. We can see very clearly why. God made you a natural born leader but also poured in you an extra helping of nurturer. When you aren’t pestering your siblings with childlike antics you are tender, patient, generous, and compassionate. You are so very helpful with all the little ones in our life. You are playful like your daddy. You take time to teach and guide the people around you. This is an excellent quality to have. Not only do you have an excellent character but you are smart, athletic, strong, and beautiful. I pray you will allow God to cultivate and grow your gifting’s for the glory of His Name. I pray you would protect your mind from the worlds influence and allow Jesus to shape you, your beliefs, and your choices. I pray you would see all God has generously entrusted to you for what they are; His. Just as he has entrusted you to us, yet ultimately, you are His. All that we are and all that we have come from God. I pray you would understand how much he loves you and one day you would choose to completely trust in Him with every fiber of your being. Your daddy and I love you so much, which is why we pray you would grasp God’s great love for you and embrace how he wants to use you in His story. I know you are still so young but I see in you a maturity beyond your years. One evening recently, after spending time in God’s Word, we had a conversation where you admitted your awareness of the sin nature we are born with. You recognized the difficulty in resisting sin and the desire to “cling to what is good”. You are a critical and deep thinker. 🙂 You also have an excellent memory and a knack for being insightful. God wants to use all your gifts to bring people into relationship with him. Make it your ambition in life, not to be the best or most popular or the winner, but in all humility before God to be used by Him in whatever capacity he sees fitting. I hope you know how proud you make us. I hope you know that there is nothing that will ever take our love for you away. Daddy and I are not perfect parents but we serve the perfect Parent, God, and he teaches and guides us in loving you.

Micaila, We pray that God would do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine in you. (Ephesians 3:20) That he would equip you with everything good for doing His will. (Hebrews 13:21) And that He would enlighten the eyes of your heart that you would know the hope to which He has called you. (Ephesians 1:18) We pray out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith. And we pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. (Ephesians 3:17-18)

You are cherished and loved. Happy 8th Birthday sweet girl!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA IMG_5134

Just a good ol’ regular day

There was nothing particularly special about today. I kept Ryann home from school because she had a well visit that was early enough to seem silly to send her off and pull her out, but late enough to where it also seemed pointless to drop her off late. So I just said, “what the heck, she can stay home.” She also was getting shots so I knew there was going to be some anxiety before and maybe some needed rest and relaxing after. Going to the Doctor can not only be emotionally taxing on children but also us adults (moms imparticular!) I’ve learned a few things over the years that I firmly believe help.

1.) I’ve decided to always be honest with my kids about what’s gonna happen.

They may get worked up and cry when I tell them “yes you are getting shots” but what I’m finding is that honesty breeds trust (it’s kind of how honesty and trust work. I know what you are thinking “thank you captain obvious” lol) when I tell them what will happen and that “mommy and daddy and the doctors want your best and to help you stay healthy” and explain things like “the nurse will be careful and quick” they are hearing what I tell them, seeing that it’s indeed what happens and in turn, we build trust. Believe me it’s worth the tears for your kids to trust your word and know you aren’t with holding information. Tears are temporary but trust or distrust is always present. In being honest about why things need to happen, they can grow and begin to anticipate what life brings and we can help them handle their responses properly. I am learning even the smallest non-truth produces an insecurity in a child’s heart. As in one little lie even if you dont recognize it as a lie, can make a child feel anxious and unsure of what will happen next because that complete trust and truth isnt there. Have you ever noticed how children, babies even, are very sensitive and aware when things are wrong. I’m telling you, my kids have a “spider sense” to dishonesty. We have to have courage as parents, not to shelter our kids from the “unknown” but to be honest. Even in things that seem silly, simple, irrelevant even because our kids are so “young”. Yes, there are some matters that you can explain are not for their ears but I highly recommend honesty at all times 🙂 Our courage to face life and be truthful about some of the scary things will produce confidence and courage in our kids. And boy are they going to need it!

2.) Reward their courage.

Most of us parents do the whole treat thing. I know we have always done something special after the “trauma inducing” shot experience. I have changed my approach a bit over the years. I encourage you, after your honesty going into it 😉 to reward the courage they had after it. Don’t offer pity or let them sulk too long. Build up their bravery. It can easily be skewed, encouragement and enabling. Don’t enable your child to stay a baby. Evidence of growth both physically and emotionally is healthy. We enjoy each phase of life but we should cultivate growth and maturity. Life is tough. They need us to build their courage and strength and confidence so that they can overcome difficulties, pain, and challenges.

We should begin breeding and building these qualities now 🙂 Some great verses on bravery, courage and trust.

Deuteronomy 31:6
English Standard Version (ESV)
6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Psalm 56:3-4
When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?
(NIV)

To add to all that, I am seeing a new view from my kids OF those scary unknown things. For one they don’t begrudge me for allowing “it” to happen. They trust that it was for their benefit and see that they can “overcome” it. They aren’t scared out of their minds every time we go to the doctor or an unfamiliar place and if they do have some anxiety they move beyond it quite quickly because they see that mommy is not scared and they have learned over the years that mommy can be trusted. Mommy and daddy have never misled us and have always done their best to protect us physically and emotionally. Our children may not be able to verbalize all those things, but it is clear when they feel them or when they don’t.

So after we did the whole doctor visit, we cruised on over to Chickfila for a milk shake. Ryann was the only one who earned the privilege of getting a shake. Not me, not Caleb, not little miss happy girl. I don’t know what to code name her but she is a very happy girl 🙂 This was important to me to show. It was hard too because I really wanted a chicken sandwhich! But I wanted both girls to know that for the person who chose braveness she reaps a blessing. Or milkshake in this case which if you ask me is certainly a blessing.

1 Peter 3:13-14
Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.”
(NIV)

We get home and enjoyed some lunch and it was time for the littles to nap. So here we were, me and Ryann, in the quiet of our house.

Getting to the best part of this day, when I sat down to fold laundry and Ryann offered to help. However it wasn’t her willingness to help that filled my heart at that moment, though I certainly welcomed it. It was her company. I looked at her and realized how I miss her. I sat there with this wonderful feeling of gratefulness over this moment together folding laundry. just her and I. 🙂 I told her “I’m so glad you got to stay home with me today, mommy misses you!” And she gave me a great big gummy toothy Ryann smile. And I just feel so full right now.

And THAT comes from God and I love him for it.

1 John 4:19 We love, because he first loved us.