Posts Tagged ‘glory’

A Week Ago Today

A week ago today, Sawyer took a big step in obedience to the Lord and got baptized!

She was first!

She was first!

Nervous smile

Nervous smile

Comforting hug - she needed that!

Comforting hug – she needed that!

Dead to sin...

Dead to sin…

She was pretty nervous when it came right down to it, but she did so well and had a great big smile on her face when it was all said and done.

Joy!

Joy!

It was a joyous occasion and we had so many sweet friends and family join us to celebrate her big day.  THANK YOU to each of you who helped make her day special!

We all had lunch together and spent time feasting and visiting and thanking the Lord for all He has done for us!  (Can you believe I didn’t get a picture of the actual lunch festivities?!)

Let's feast!

Let’s feast!

A timeline of some of the things that have lead her to Jesus...

A timeline of some of the things that have lead her to Jesus…

Sawyer girl, we are so proud of you and Jesus is, too!  We love you dearly and know that the Lord has specific plans for your life.  We pray that you will seek Him with all of your heart, all the days of your life.

The day she asked Jesus into her heart, 2014

The day she asked Jesus into her heart, September 2014

A week ago today was one of the best days of my life to date!  So proud of sweet Sawyer and so thankful for the group of people He has given us to do life with…the day was PERFECTION.

The Ones I Hold Dear

You know those friends you have in your life that are always, ALWAYS there when you need them?  I feel blessed to have quite a few of those and the past several weeks, there are few that have just captured my heart all over again…

One, is this girl.

Beauty to the nth degree

Beauty to the nth degree

Most days, I feel like I was a better mom when it was just her.  Parents of more than one, please don’t tell me I’m the only one that feels this way.  I just feel like so much of my day is spent picking up after people or taking care of Sayble who eats/sleeps/poops and needs something almost constantly or disciplining Wryder and it feels like my patience and tolerance run out quicker than I’d like…and that’s not fair to her.

I know we live in community and it’s part of being a family and it’s part of having siblings, I just want so badly to do it well…because she deserves that.

The more time goes on, the more I feel like she’s one of those once in a lifetime kind of kids; she’s mature beyond her years, she strives for obedience, she doesn’t push boundaries, she’s quick to forgive, she’s quick to do the right thing, she’s got the heart of a servant, administrator and worshiper, she’s a doer and a fixer and a creator, and one of my best friends on the planet.

Today, she talked to me about how we can choose things for ourselves, but we can’t choose things for others.  See what I mean? 

She constantly chooses to strive for obedience when Wryder doesn’t and she constantly chooses to love me even when I don’t feel lovable.  Lord, help me honor her by giving her more of my best…more of You and less of me.

I love you, sweet girl.  I know I’m not the perfect momma…but I wish I was.  Thank you for thinking I am and for encouraging me to try even harder.

****************

And this pretty, pregnant thing with a banging bedroom.

Isn't she a doll?

Isn’t she a doll?

She’s probably gonna kill me for this, but I *might* be able to (or at least attempt to) outrun her in her baby-will-be-here-in-3-days state.  ;)

She is one of the busiest, most efficient, creative people I know…but I have yet to call upon her for ANYTHING and she not answer, and answer quickly.  Scared about some weird health thing?  She talks me off a ledge.  And prays for me.  Confess some horrible parenting ordeal or poor choice?  She’s points me back to Jesus.  And makes me feel better with some story of her own.  Call her with a million website/design/Adobe/computer/color/Apple/blog questions?  She answers.  Every time.  And encourages me and compliments and fills in the gaps when I can’t.  And never makes me feel bad about it. 

She is one of those sisters of the heart that the Lord just plopped in my life…and another one of those, “Why in the world would He make us live so far apart??” kind of friends.

I love you, KJ!  You rock at life.  So glad I get to be a part of yours…

****************

And these people.

Sibs

Sibs

Marrying Wrex was one of the best decisions of my life and besides making a life WITH him, the next best thing I got out of the deal, were these wonderful siblings.  We all got to be together (sans Warner) over Easter and it was so. much. fun.  I rarely laugh more than what I do when I’m with them!

They are fun, funny, ambitious, family-oriented, life-giving, encouraging people and honestly, my life wouldn’t be near as fulfilling if they weren’t in it.  I truly consider them some of my best friends…

My sisters are the best –  I can tell them anything and they are never anything but encouraging!  My brothers are the best – they make me laugh like no other and I get a good dose of sarcasm, general immaturity, sports talk, cow talk, blue-collar talk, good-natured teasing and all-around fun when I’m in their midst.

And?  They all love my kids so. stinking. well.  As a parent, what’s better than that?!

Seriously, you guys…  My heart beats for family and these people make family worth fighting for.  You five have my heart.

He Is

Today is one of my favorite days of the year when it pertains to church.  Being Palm Sunday, all the cute little kiddos parade down the aisles of the church waving their palm branches proclaiming, “Hosanna!  Hosanna!  Hosanna to the King!”

After we all ooed and awwed over their cuteness and returned to worship ourselves, the weight of Palm Sunday really dropped into my heart.  As I was thinking about Jesus, Palm Sunday marked the beginning of the end.  As He rode into Jerusalem to ultimately meet His death, He was greeted with such celebration and splendor with people laying down their branches and coats in submission and allegiance to Him.  Hosanna…

As I think back on my life, I feel like the one name or attribute of the Lord that is most marked  for me is that of Hosanna.  He IS the God who saves.

He has saved me from a life of mediocrity.  I know a lot of lukewarm Christians…or followers that believe the Lord exists but don’t truly have a vibrant and thriving relationship with Him.  Most of my life, those were the only kind of people I knew.  When I entered college, the Lord changed that for me.  Through some incredible mentors and an extremely handsome guy named Wrex, the Lord showed me what a real relationship and walk with Him looked like and I’ve never looked back.  I’m big on living a life of excellence and that has to start with Jesus.

He has saved me from mediocrity in other ways, too.  For me, there were certain areas of my life that I always assumed would look exactly like what I’d seen lived out in front of me, even though I desired something different.  I can admit that I had high hopes for marriage but there was a part of me that was skeptical.  Did the type of relationship I hungered for really exist?  Today, I can attest that it does, indeed.  Because I was obedient to follow His lead (even though that meant hurting someone else), the Lord gave me an amazing husband!  My relationship with Wrex and my kids is something I treasure (and try not to idolize!) and I’m so glad I didn’t settle in my search for Mr. Right.

He has saved me from warped views regarding myself.  I went through a period of my life where I felt like I just wasn’t good enough…for anyone, anywhere.  I wasn’t smart enough for these people, I wasn’t wealthy enough for these people, I wasn’t thin enough for these people, I wasn’t outgoing enough for these people, I wasn’t funny enough for these people…I wasn’t ever enough.  Sadly, I held these people in the highest of regards (at the time) and I can look back now and see how they really reinforced these ugly things I had started to believe about myself simply by the way they were treating me.  It’s taken a lot of years to untangle some of those webs and I wouldn’t even say that they’re all undone, but I do know that the Lord has used some people from the opposite end of the spectrum – people who really “see” me – to save me from those lies and help set me free with the truth.

He saved me from my own stupidity.  Poor decisions, poor choices, flat out disobedience…  Times I should’ve been dead.  Times I shouldn’t have made it out of horrible circumstances.  Times I should’ve had stiffer consequences.  Times I should’ve never been given a second chance, yet time and time again He has shed His grace on me with loving-kindness and patience.

He saved my life.  Literally, my life.  There are memories related to my health and well-being engrained in my mind that still cause me anxiety.  There are times I made poor choices and He was merciful to me.  There are times when I was trying to be tough and probably should’ve gone to the hospital but He was my healer.  There have been times where I’ve just had some of the weirdest, freak incidents and He has spared me every single time.  Even this winter with the tumor on my thyroid, His mighty hand has saved me (literally!) again and again and again.

He saved my life, my whole life.  I am not a slave to death.  He paid the ultimate price through His death and resurrection and I get to LIVE because of that.  Not just in the here and now…forever.

Palm Sunday is the beginning of the end…but it’s also the beginning of the beginning.  The beginning of the new covenant…the beginning of our salvation through faith…the beginning of the cleansing of our sin…the realization of Hosanna…the God who saves.

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Several years ago, I did a study on covenant (and I’ve written about it here before).  To say it changed my life and the way I understood the Lord and His word is a COMPLETE understatement.  It. was. AMAZING and completely fascinating.  (It’s honestly, one of my favorite things to talk about EVER so if you have questions, let’s chat!)

In studying Abraham, the topic of covenant comes up again.   In Biblical times, people would “cut a covenant” as a way of making a binding, holy, irrevocable contract.  To cut a covenant, they would perform a covenant ceremony.

I won’t go into a lot of detail here but we’ll use Wrex and Stef as an example.  Not every culture did every step but as a whole, it looked like this:

  1. Exchange of robes – which symbolized the exchange of identities
    1. Wrex would wear Stef’s coat and Stef would now wear Wrex’s
    2. If they were seen walking from afar, someone would think Wrex was Stef or Stef was Wrex because they were wearing the other’s coat
    3. It creates a melding or confusion of identities
  2. Exchange of belts – which symbolized the exchange of strengths or assets
    1. Whatever strength Wrex brings to the relationship, Stef now has; whatever strength Stef brings to the relationship, Wrex now has
  3. Exchange of weapons – which symbolized the exchange of enemies
    1. Stef’s enemies would now have to come through Wrex first and Wrex’s through Stef – we will fight for each other
  4. Sacrificial flesh
    1. animal split down middle
  5. Walk of death
    1. Wrex would walk through the middle of the split animal in a figure eight pattern; Stef would do the same.  When they were finished, they would be back where they started, facing each other.
  6. Striking of hands
    1. Each person would make an incision on their hand or wrist and intermingle their blood
    2. Some cultures still do this and use gunpowder to create a dark scar
    3. This scar would be a visible sign of a covenant
    4. Circumcision was a sign that you were in covenant with the Lord
  7. Pronouncements of blessings and curses
    1. Wrex/Stef, as long as you obey the covenant terms, blessed you shall be as you lie down and when you wake, when you go out and when you retrun
    2. BUT, if you ever disavow or violate the terms of the covenant, cursed shall you be!  What has happened to this split animal, may it happen to thee.
  8. Covenant meal
    1. Wrex feeds Stef, Stef feed Wrex (think of cake at a wedding)
    2. As you eat this, you are ingesting me…taking me into your life (and vice versa)
  9. Exchange of names
    1. Wrex becomes Wrex Phipps Hedrick
    2. Stef becomes Stef Hedrick Phipps
  10. Sealing of the covenant
    1. Test it/prove it/see if it’s real

So those are the steps to cutting a covenant.  Isn’t that fascinating?!  Marriage is as close as we get to creating a blood covenant (it can still be broken through divorce) so you can see a lot of how those steps pertain to a wedding ceremony…

If that’s not fascinating enough, let’s look at it through the lens of Jesus creating a covenant with us in the New Testament.   So this time, let the parties be Jesus and Stef…

  1. Exchange of robes – exchange of identities
    1. Stef gets a robe of righteousness; Jesus gets a robe of sinfulness
    2. Every time the Father looks at Stef, all He sees is righteousness
  2. Exchange of belts – exchange of strengths
    1. Stef gets every strength and power Jesus has; we can walk in His authority
  3. Exchange of weapons – exchange of enemies
    1. Stef’s enemy?  Death.  Jesus took on death and beat it when He arose from the grave after 3 days
    2. Jesus’ enemy?  Satan – who Stef battles now (Ephesians 6)
  4. Sacrificial flesh
    1. Jesus was the living sacrifice; He hung on a cross and died and at his death, the veil of the temple was torn in two (Matthew 25)
  5. Walk of death
    1. To be in covenant with and follow Jesus, we have to lay down our life and follow His (Matthew 16)
    2. We are dying to self and following Him
  6. Striking of hands
    1. Jesus’ hands/wrists upon being nailed to cross
    2. Circumcision of the heart
      1. I will walk in righteousness and disallow sinfulness
  7. Blessings and curses – this one’s interesting
    1. There are SO many blessings and promises He has for us under the New Covenant through His death (I’ll never leave you or forsake you, I’ll supply all your needs, we are a joint heir with Christ ) – but were are the curses?
    2. Curses are no more.  Our sin was the curse and through Him taking our sin through death, they are no more
  8. Covenant meal
    1. Lord’s supper
  9. Name exchange
    1. We take on His name – christian – one who is of Christ
    2. Son of Man – Jesus is identified many times in this way in the New Testament; He took on our name (man)
  10. Sealing of covenant

This is the one that got me….number ten.  Like, really got me.

To test the covenant, covenant partners would exchange their oldest sons.  That’s pretty serious business, yes?  Bearing we weren’t married and just using my first example from above, Wrex would handover his oldest son to me and I would hand over my oldest son to him.

So, look at it through the lens of the New Testament covenant.  Our Father sacrificed His oldest Son, Jesus, to prove to us the covenant is real…it’s true…it can be trusted.  The things He promises us through it WILL be brought to fruition!  Because Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice, we don’t have to sacrifice anything in a living sense.  Our sacrifice is spiritual; we must die to ourselves and allow Him to be in charge of our lives.

Now, look at that through the lens of Abraham.  Remember what the Lord had him do?  He asked him to sacrifice Isaac.  Can you even imagine?! 

Isaac wasn’t a young man at this time; he was able to carry a bundle of wood up a mountain (for his own sacrifice, mind you).  Abraham loved and trusted the Lord enough that he was going to be obedient no matter the cost.  If he lost Isaac, he would lose everything; Isaac was the one and only heir to all he had been promised by the Lord…

And so he did.  They climbed the mountain and just as Abraham was about to kill Isaac, an angel of the Lord stopped him.  The Lord had seen that Abraham was serious about this test and the covenant they had made together so the Lord spared Isaac.

As I was studying this last step, I was overcome with emotion.  The sealing of the covenant.  I don’t know that I could do what Abraham did…  I’d like to think I could, but would I?  I began to wonder what in my life IS the sign of the covenant I have with the Lord?  What has He asked me to sacrifice, and what have I sacrificed, as a sign of His covenant with me?  What have I given over that says to Him, I am keeping my end of the deal…that I’m upholding our covenant together?

That really struck me and caused a lot of serious introspection.  Does my life look like I’m in a covenant with the one true God?

The beautiful thing about this covenant is it’s a Suzerain Covenant, which is a covenant not between equals, but a covenant when one person has everything and the other has nothing.  Kinda like me and Jesus. 

All He desires is my loyalty and commitment, which does involve sacrifice, doesn’t it?

We can’t be in covenant with Him and be serious about it and continue on living a life of repetitive sin.

We can’t be in covenant with Him and be serious about it and make decisions based upon our fears or wants or desires without ever asking Him what He has for us.

We can’t be in covenant with Him and be serious about it if we don’t make room for Him as a priority in our lives.

We can’t be in covenant with Him and be serious about it if we continue to water down the truth of the Word and make our own interpretations of right and wrong.

It’s been something that’s been rolling around my head and heart the past couple of weeks and I’m aiming to keep my end of the deal.

I know that I will sin.

I know that my record won’t be perfect.

I know I will fall short.

And I know that the work He did on the cross and His grace alone will cover these things, but I still wanna do my best to live a life that’s signed over to Him…a life sealed with a covenant…a life of witness to the deliverance He’s set forth in me.

Five in a Flash

Sweet Sawyer…

We call you that all the time and that little name was dubbed you before you were even born.  “Sweet Sawyer” was plastered all over your baby shower along with lots of real sweets, to boot.  :)  It was if we already knew…  May I just say you have fully lived up to and embraced that name.

Sweet Sawyer

Sweet Sawyer getting a pre-birthday pedicure

There is so much I could write about you on your birthday…  I love your beautiful face and your keen eye for fashion…  I love how girly you are and how you love to create outfits and change clothes, shoes and hair accessories 14 times a day…  I love how you love being outside and coming in filthy after a hard day of building and digging and wrangling goats…  I love how you plan parties and feasts and parades…  I love how much you love people, even those that have done nothing to deserve the unconditional love you so freely share…

IMG_3763I have so many favorites about you but my favorite thing about you is your heart…

You have a heart for your siblings.  The Lord chose you to be the first born; the big sister of the Phipps family.  Daddy and I know it’s a hard job sometimes (we were firstborns, too!) but you do it oh-so well.  The way you care for and protect and mother (and attempt to discipline) Wryder and Sayble is so sweet.  They adore you and we couldn’t ask for a better role model and example for them to look up to.

Cooooookkkkiiiieeeeee

You have a heart for obedience.  Ever since you were just a tiny thing, daddy and I would set one rule and we never had to worry about you even testing that boundary.  You spoiled us, kiddo. And tricked us into believing all children were that way.  Not so.  *ahem*  You choose obedience daily and are quick to ask the Lord and us for forgiveness when you feel as if you’ve fallen short.

IMG_2850

You have the heart of servant.  This is one of my favorite things about you because it’s somewhat of a lost trait in today’s society.  You are the first one to rush over and pick something up if it gets dropped or the first to rush in with a towel to clean up a spill (and we have a few of those around here).  You never tire of helping with chores or cleaning your room or helping mom plan a party.

IMG_3809Monday night, we came home WAY past bedtime and Sayble was tired and hungry and my foot was killing me and you guys needed a snack and dad needed to run to the barn to put the cat away so you enthusiastically jumped right in and got fruit, cheese and milk for you and Bubba. That blessed me so much and you do that kind of stuff every. day.

You have the heart of a worshiper.  The Lord showed me that before you were even a year old and boy is it true.  There are no better days than when we just spend some time worshiping through song together.  I love when you want to sing when I do your hair or when we all (attempt) to play instruments or when I hear you singing in the spirit in your room or in the car.  It’s a joyful noise to His ears, no doubt.

IMG_5291You have a heart of generosity.  You so freely share your things.  I can’t count how many times you find out someone is coming over or it’s someone’s birthday and you rush up stairs and rifle through your trinket drawers and come down with something wrapped up to give them.  You shower me with flowers (and a few weeds) and little notes and pictures all the time.  I wouldn’t trade those for the world, you know…

:)

:)

And, fellow readers?  If Sawyer ever bestows upon you a half-used chapstick or a too small bracelet or a chicken feather or a few coins…receive them and receive them with gusto!  These are some of her most treasured possessions and she’s chosen to share them with YOU.

You have a heart that seeks Jesus.  Daddy and I have been amazed at the spiritual maturity you possess for being so young.  (We might be a wee bit jealous, too).  You are constantly asking questions about how to hear from the Lord and how NOT to hear from satan and how to tell the difference.  You are quick to share the gospel even when you get rejected.  You love to “read” your Bible and you love our family devotion and prayer time.  The zeal in which you seek Him is inspiring.

I think that’s what it boils down to, sweet Sawyer…you inspire me.  You make me want to be a better mom and sister and friend……..you make me want to be more like you.

I would be remiss if I didn’t say that these five years have gone fast.  Too fast.  In a flash you’re five and my heart is bursting with pride regarding you.  I’m so excited about these new stages and adventures we’re encountering…but I can’t help but think of all the ways I’ve failed you as a momma.  I’m so far from perfect it’s revolting….but I sure do love you.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…if I knew every kid we’d have would be just like you, I’d have 10 more in a heartbeat.  Sure would.  Until then, I’ll continue to bless you and bless the day you were born!

I bless you with a continued life of obedience.  It will serve you well in all walks of life but I pray that that obedience is always born out of a love for the Lord, not because of a set of rules.  I pray that because you love Him you so much, your heart can’t bear to bend any other way than towards righteousness.

I bless you with Godly friends and relationships.  You are so kind and so giving and so merciful and so forgiving and so loving and I pray all of that is given right back to you ten-fold.  I pray that as you get older that the Lord would deliver you a good friend to walk this life with who will be just as invested in the relationship as you are.

I bless you with lots of opportunities to hear from the Lord.  I pray that He would continually be in your ear and in your heart and that you would be attuned to listen and obey.

I bless you with a family who models what it means to love the Lord.  We fall short so often, sweet girl, but you inspire us to constantly strive to do better and strengthen our relationships with Him as well.

I bless you with the calling of the Lord on your life…that you would hear it and know it from an early age and that you would stop at nothing to a live a life that is pleasing to him.

PicMonkey CollageSweet Sawyer, you are so special to us…irreplaceable….one of the biggest blessings we’ve ever been given.  It’s an honor and a privilege to be your momma.  Happy birthday, beautiful!  Let’s party!

IMG_5682

Random Rambles

Today was one of those tough mom days where I didn’t really enjoy my job.  Wryder is in a definite boundary testing phase…again.  My apologies ahead of time to the wonderful sitter I have lined up for tomorrow.  *ahem*

There just seemed to be an overload of disobedience and nasty tones (some of them mine, unfortunately)…unkind gestures and more housework than I could juggle.  I just felt defeated come nap time.

We made it through the afternoon – praise the Lord for short sales and daddy’s who come home quick – and the evening ended decently well.

Sawyer is learning to read and doing a fantastic job!  Our plan is to home school (for multiple reasons) and there are days when I wonder if that will ever work.  Sawyer is an incredible student but we have a few little distractions running around…and I’ve never taught school before…and I don’t remember how to teach someone to read…and I’m not the most patient soul on the planet…and days like today, where it feels like we barely survive the normal daily activities, I wonder how I can add one more thing…and the thought of trying to teach Wryder to read…well…that’s just scary.

Some days I just wonder if I’m gonna be able to finish this mom thing and finish it well…

And then…Sawyer read new words she struggled with just this morning…and I came across a blog that was saying exactly what I was saying…and I learned of families fighting far bigger battles than ours…and my world got a little broader and my self-pity a little smaller.

I have no doubt that HE wants me to finish this mom thing and finish it well and thus He will encourage me and refresh me and renew me and strengthen me and grace me and give me the wisdom I need to do such a thing.

Bring it, Friday…

***************

The last two nights, Wrex and I have grabbed a blanket, killed the power to the mercury light and laid out on the trampoline to watch the meteor shower.  The sky has been cloudless and our prairie view has allowed for an awesome window in which to watch.

I was thinking of how majestic the Lord truly is and how He blessed us through His creativity.  I mean what if He chose not to make stars?  What if the night sky was just black?  What if instead of a blue sky during the day, He chose olive green instead?  What if there were no such thing as animals or what if every human looked exactly the same?  What if birds didn’t make sounds or what if food had no taste?  What if…

His creation speaks of His wonder and goodness and glory…

***************

The other day, the kids had gone out to play and I had to change Sayble’s diaper before I went out with them.  I got that done, grabbed my shoes and headed over towards the tree, right where they were playing when out of the corner of my eye, I saw an orange streak slither quickly in their direction.

It was a long, nasty garter snake and he was headed right towards them.  I told them to move and then cornered him while Sawyer got me a shovel.  (The only good snake is a dead snake around these parts)…

I chopped him up and threw him in the ditch…and then had the willies the rest of the day…  But it was a good reminder of how the enemy is doing just that – heading for my kids.  He’s on the prowl, folks.  He’s real and he’s looking for someone to devour.

Pray for your kids!  Cover them and intercede for them and demand satan to flee in the name of Jesus.  You’ve got no authority here, you creep.

The snake.  I know it doesn't look that big, but it was.  *ahem*

The snake. I know it doesn’t look that big, but it was. *ahem*

Sawyer holding Sayble so I could do my thing...

Sawyer holding Sayble so I could do my thing…

***************

On a brighter note, I saw this the other day in Sterling…

Get your guns up!

Get your guns up!

It made me feel so at home.  Only a few more days until the start of football season and I’m sure hoping for a mildly successful one to say the least.  Now, to get Wrex agree to cable for the winter…

***************

I’m headed to a consult with the orthopedic surgeon tomorrow.  I hurt my foot/ankle/leg back in February and it’s gotten increasingly worse.  I’m sure they’ll want to do an MRI and all of that (expensive) jazz.  If you would  join me in prayer that it could be healed without surgery, I’d much appreciate it.

***************

Praying your Friday is fun and that the presence of the Lord is thick with you this weekend.  Praying that for me, too…

A Decade of Love

Several years ago, I did a study on covenant.  To say it changed my life and the way I understood the Lord and His word is a COMPLETE understatement.  It. was. AMAZING and completely fascinating.  (It’s honestly, one of my favorite things to talk about EVER so if you have questions, let’s chat!)

Back in Biblical times, people would “cut a covenant” as a way of making a binding, holy, irrevocable contract.  To cut a covenant, they would perform a covenant ceremony which you can read about (in the most succinct version I could find) here.

The closest thing we have in our day is marriage and the wedding ceremony.  When we choose to marry our mate, we are choosing to create a blood covenant with them…an irrevocable, holy and binding agreement.  We now share such a close relationship with each other that all we have or possess in this life is available to each upon demand.

Everything that is good that I have, you now have.  You will benefit from my organization and my efficiency…my cooking and cleaning abilities…my heart for the widow and the orphan…my bold loyalty to those that I love and my fierce protectiveness of my family.

Everything that is good that you have, I now have.  I will benefit from your patience and grace…your spirit of servant leadership…your easy exhortations and your adventurous nature.

Everything that is not so good – every weakness and every hardship – that I have, you now have.  You and I will have to work through my spirit of abandonment and my ability to withdraw for fear of being hurt…my constant state of worry…my temper that can flare and my inability to understand (or work) anything that requires an engineer’s mind – yes, even the stinkin’ waterhose.

Everything that is not so good – every weakness and every hardship that you have, I now have.  You and I will have to work through your inability to keep track of time and the way you can never effectively end a casual conversation so we (or whoever you’re talking to) can move on to something different….your wanton workaholic tendencies…your inability to put things away or keep the garage clean.

Every tool or ability I possess, you now possess.  You are now an administrative whiz!  You can juggle a plethora of tasks simultaneously and write, give and critique the spoken word with pleasure and authority.  You can poof hair and change diapers and decorate on a dime.

Every tool or ability you possess, I now possess.  I can now fix anything and everything…no really, anything and everything.  I am proficient in plumbing, electricity, carpentry, welding.  I can break horses and fit a steer and use the grill.  I have incredible marksmanship and am as strong as an ox!

When we walk down the street, people should wonder if they’re seeing you or me.  There should be no division in our beliefs or thoughts or ideas or desires or possessions or the way we view the world.  We should be a solid unit of ONE because of the Lord’s ability to  supernaturally commingle our lives.  I’m identified as you and you are identified as me.

I am now a Phipps.  I carry your name as a sign that I am in a covenant relationship with you.  I no longer operate under my own authority, but yours.  I take into account your opinion and your desires and I make every decision as this new unit of one.  I am now you, and you are now me.  I take on your personality and character and reputation and essence and authority.  I care for you just as I care for myself because of our unity.

From two to five

Comanche, Texas 2015

Ten years ago today we stood in this very spot, under that old pecan tree, and declared our undying love and commitment to each other.  You have less hair, I have more body mass and together, we have three outlandishly beautiful children to show for it.

As much as I’d like to say that I did, I didn’t truly understand the weight and the beautiful severity of the vows I took on that day 10 years ago.  I’m still learning what it truly means to be a wife and covenant partner.  I’m still learning to die to myself and to live for the Lord and for our marriage and for our children – who, by the way, are the most perfect product of our love I could ever imagine. 

But I’m getting it…and I’m vowing to make the next 10 years even better than the first…is that even possible?!

I am so thankful that you chose me.  Our dating days weren’t perfect and our story could’ve ended in several different ways on several different days…praise HIM that this was the “ending” He had in mind and that we were obedient to that.

In all my days or wildest dreams, I couldn’t have dreamt up a better husband or partner or lover or teammate.  You are the best man I know.  I still can’t believe I get to wake up next to you every morning…

Loving you has been the easiest, most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.  Thanks for making my life, Wrex Phipps.  Being your wife and the mother of your kids is an honor and a privilege; my soul is satisfied.

Sissy, Bubba and Sacrificial Love

One of the prayers Wrex and I are constantly speaking over our kiddos is that they will always love each other and be one of each others’ best friends.  Right now, that’s a pretty easy thing for them.

Wryder was so lost last week when sister was sick.  She didn’t feel like playing and we wouldn’t let him close enough to hardly hug or kiss her and he was definitely missing his “sissy.”

Every week when it’s time to drop her off for Cubbies, he’s usually ok for about five minutes or so and then the constant questioning of, “Momma, Sissy?”  begins.  He absolutely can not wait for 7:45 to roll around so that he can go with us to pick her up.

Last night was no different.  He even asked daddy to move her carseat next to his so they could sit right next to each other.  Melt.  My.  Heart.

During the day yesterday, we ran into Ogallala to run a few errands and let the kids hang out at the sale barn with daddy for a little bit.  They had a ball, of course.  Once it was time to head home, we had two vehicles and Wrex offered for one of them to ride with him (in hopes *ahem* they’d both take naps on the way home without the other to distract them).  Well, obviously they both wanted to ride.  How do ya pick???

We decided to let Sawyer go with daddy and as he went to get her out of her seat, brother started crying.  After a second or two of thought, she piped up and said, “Daddy, I’ll stay with momma so that Wryder can go with you.  I think he’d really like that.”

I was a puddle.  I was so proud of her sweet sacrifice.  There is no bigger daddy’s girl on the planet than this girl.  She even picked out a “ranchy” outfit this morning and put bidding cards in her pocket before we ever walked out the door so she could be like him.  It was a REALLY big deal for her to choose Wryder to have that privilege over herself…

We told her how proud we were of her and then daddy loaded up Wryder while I pulled ahead to get some fuel.  The boys drove by us and stopped to wave…and sweet Sawyer just lost it.  She was crying so hard.

I think there were a lot of factors; she’s still not 100%, she was tired and I think her decision probably hurt a little.  Isn’t that how it is with sacrifices?  They’re not usually painless.  Learning to die to self in order to give to something else is a process and it’s not easy.

Dating someone?  Gotta learn to die to yourself in some areas.  Marry someone?  You really gotta learn to die to yourself.  Have kiddos?  You really, REALLY have to learn to die to yourself.  And oh, it’s a good thing…it really is…but it’s not easy.

I opened her back door and hugged on her and talked to her about sacrificial love and she just kept saying, “I love Bubba so much!   I just love him so much!”

I love their hearts for each other and we do our darnedest to foster that relationship.  Just yesterday, I came across this post and saved it to my phone…

IMG_2636Today renewed that vigor.  Here’s to raising future best friends and leaving a legacy of relationship and family with them…

To my bubba – I love you dearly, too!  We’ve had our share of ups and downs but I tend to only remember the ups.  You’re a keeper!

And to my siblings I got when I married my Wrexy – you guys have my heart.  I love you oodles!  I couldn’t have picked better ones myself…

Random Ramblings

My word, the weather was B-E-A-UTIFUL today!  71 degrees in January, are you kidding me??!  It was gorgeous!

We went to work with Wrexy today.  Wryder went grocery shopping with me, Sawyer stayed at the barn with daddy and then we all met up again.

Learning from the best...

Learning from the best…

We watched cows sell for a little while and then the kids and I took advantage of the weather and hit the park.  The kiddos had a ball and were covered in sand from head to toe.

Riding a squirrel?  Chipmunk?  What IS that thing??

Riding a squirrel? Chipmunk? What IS that thing??

Wryder loved this yellow horse...

Wryder loved this yellow horse…

Wheeeee!

Wheeeee!

Going down together!

Going down together!

Beauty

Beauty

CHEEEEESE!

CHEEEEESE!

****************

We got home, unloaded groceries and decided we STILL couldn’t drag ourselves indoors so we saddled up sweet Ozark and hit the road.

My evening view...

My evening view…

Old man looks really good these days.  We are so thankful for all of the days we’ve had with him and we’re praying for more…

After supper, they weren’t quite done riding horses so Sawyer volunteered.

Ride a little pony...

Ride a little pony…

It turned out to be more of a bucking bronc fest but it was good watching!

****************

I posted this picture of Sawyer on Facebook a day or so ago…

Fancy nancy

Fancy nancy

I love this girl’s style!  She loves accessories and shoes and fancy dresses; she is all girl and I love it!

She went upstairs to grab some jammies tonight and brought down some beads for me to put on her, too.

:)

:)

Jewelry with pajamas?!  Of course!

****************

With all of the nesting/cleaning/rearranging going on, Wrex and I decided that our room would officially be downstairs and the kids would each have a room upstairs.  I always feel like our room gets neglected – does that happen to anyone else??  It’s the place we sleep and get dressed and other than that, we don’t spend much time there and I feel like it shows.

We used a little paint, bought a new bedspread, made some paper flowers, rearranged the room and voila – “new” bedroom!  I’m really happy with how it turned out…DSCF2704DSCF2705DSCF2706Hoping to get lots of rest in there tonight.  I feel whooped!

****************

It was just SUCH a good day.  A REAL good day.  And tomorrow…with 75 degrees as a high…I hope is even better.

Piggy, Kermie and a Few Other Characters

I love a good handmade, put-together costume.  For her first halloween, Sawyer was a Chia Pet.  We made a little pattern and glued a LOT of moss on it.  It was highly original, albeit itchy.

Chia Pet (2 months)

Chia Pet (2 months)

The next year, my sister in law sent me an adorable idea for a peacock costume that she had seen online.  I loved it so much we made it happen!  We found peacock feathers at the floral shop, glued them to a belt, paired them with a tutu, dyed some tights and voila!

Peacock (1 year)

Peacock (1 year)

When she turned two, she was really into Dora the Explorer so we turned her into Dora!

Dora (2 years)

Dora (2 years)

We even had Map and Backpack!

We even had Map and Backpack!

Wrex and I even got in on the fun; he dressed up as Swiper the Fox and I went as Boots the Monkey.  :)

The whole gang!

The whole gang!

Last year, a friend of mine gave us the cutest little Indian papoose costume for Wryder so we went on the hunt for something matching for Sawyer.  We found the main piece of her costume at the thrift store in Denver.  We used some leather, ribbon and feathers from home to make her head piece.  We gave her a few stripes of paint and some little braids and she was one cute Indian girl!

Indian (3 years)

Indian (3 years)

With brother (6 months)

With brother (6 months)

This year, I wanted them to be able to be something together so we were trying to think of famous duos and Miss Piggy and Kermit the frog came to mind.  I knew she would love all of the frilly, girliness of Miss Piggy so we went for it!

We made some felt ears and glued them to a head band, bought a pig nose on Amazon and a feather boa from the dollar store and paired that with some pink, fru-fru clothes and Miss Piggy was born!

For Wryder, we used sister’s green tights and a green hoodie to make the base of his costume.  We cut a Styrofoam ball in half, painted on the eyes and glued them to the hood.  We then made Kermie’s famous pointy collar, hands and feet out of green felt.  Easy, peasey!

All in all, we spent less than $13 on both costumes – score!

Miss Piggy and Kermit

Miss Piggy and Kermit

Seriously, are they not to-die-for adorable?!  I really couldn’t get over how cute they looked!

My little Kermie (18 months)

My little Kermie (18 months)

Cute toots

Cute toots

Our church hosts a harvest carnival every year so we put on all of our garb and headed to town.  They played games and ate snacks and rode the horse and buggy until they were worn out!

Trying to win a bottle of pop!

Trying to win a bottle of pop!

A little tic-tac-toe cheating

A little tic-tac-toe cheating

Riding the horse and buggy with our dear friend Jim

Riding the horse and buggy with our dear friend Jim

We’re not just uber Halloween fans nor do we (remotely) get into the dark side of the ‘holiday’ but I do love the innocence that can be found in dressing up and getting to be whimsical and downright silly.

We still proclaim the name of Jesus and worship (only) the one true God, but we do let our kids dress up and trick-or-treat.  Dressing up in costumes doesn’t make us satanic evil-doers any more than wearing a suit to church makes you a follower of Jesus; it’s all about the heart, ya know?

For a TREMENDOUS read on a wise-woman’s opinions on Halloween, read this lovely little blog post.  I couldn’t have said it better myself.

1 2 3 4