Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Random Rambles

We officially started school today!

What a sweet student I have!

What a sweet student I have!

Sandhills Sonrise Christian School had it’s inaugural day and it was a success!  Sawyer is such a good student and loves to learn, so teaching her is quite fun.  I’m sure there will be harder days down the road but today?  Today was a good day.

Also, just so we get it out there, Wrex totally laughed at me for getting her a first day of school outfit but I couldn’t resist!

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After Sawyer’s baptism last week, Wrex’s Grandma (and the kids’ GooGoo) stayed with us for a whole week!  She hasn’t gotten to do that in more than a year so it was such a special treat for us!

I love this pic!

I love this pic!

I know I’ve talked about her several times before, but she really is a magnificent lady.  She is leaving a legacy of the fear of the Lord and a legacy of familial love with all of us, and we can’t thank her enough for that.

The kids adore her and she spent more time playing with them than anyone I know!  She even got in and out of Wryder’s little playroom multiple times a day, despite her being “not as spry as she once was!”

Snuggling GooGoo

Snuggling GooGoo

They read every book on the bookshelf and watched a few fun cartoons and ate snacks and did hair and played farm and sale barn and Paw Patrol and Barbies and Uno until she was just plain tuckered out!  She even slept with one of the kids almost every night, which they loved.

Lots of time in her lap...

Lots of time in her lap…

My favorite moments where some of the quiet ones where I could hear her talking to them about being kind or using manners or how to show respect to someone or how to include someone that was lonely.  Wrex has always attributed a lot of his kindness and manners to her and I love seeing her pass a piece of that on to the next generation.

We took her to North Platte on Saturday so she could start her journey home and when it was time to say goodbye, there wasn’t a dry eye in the car…except for Wryder because he had just gotten a toy train from RaRa and that seemed to assuage his heartache.  *ahem*

We sure love our GooGoo and all that she does to pour into our lives and our kids’ lives…  Come back soon, Grandma!

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While we were in North Platte, we had to make a stop at Cody Park!  The kids rode rides with RaRa AND GooGoo!

Fun!

Fun!

So. Much. FUN!

So. Much. FUN!

I’m telling you, she’s the coolest!

We also checked out the Fort…

Love these people...

Love these people…

Here comes Sayble, riding on a pony...

Here comes Sayble, riding on a pony…

and the kids loved the wooden display in the back.

Sawyer was so inspired, that she came home and made a paper version!

Cowgirl, cowboy and horse

Cowgirl, cowboy and horse

Calf by a pond with water, complete with a boat and a DUCK!

Calf by a pond with water, complete with a boat and a DUCK!

I love that girl’s creativity and drive!

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Wryder got a special gift on Saturday, too!  The grands were going to wait until Christmas but decided he was gonna be too big if they waited any longer and let him have them now.

What is it?

What is it?

He got PaPa’s chaps from when HE was a little boy!  His mom had them custom made and he wore them and then Wrex wore them and now Wryder will wear them.

Pure joy!

Pure joy!

In case you can’t tell, he was FIRED. UP.

Is that cute or what?!

Is that cute or what?!

He’ll wear them proud, PaPa!

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While I bought groceries, the kids played at the park with daddy.  Sayble had a BALL!

One of my new favorite pictures of her!

One of my new favorite pictures of her!

That smile!

That smile!

Seriously, she's darn cute!

Seriously, she’s darn cute!

Wrex and I were talking the other day about how her adventures and discoveries and her new tasks and words are still just as exciting as they were with the other two.  It never gets old…

I’ve said it a million times – and I’ll say it again – these ARE the best years of our life!

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This week marks the beginning of the busy fall season for us.  Sawyer starts dance next week, Awana starts this week (Cubbies next), Wrexy’s sales start getting longer and of course, school.  All of these are such good and fun and wonderful things but they can leave us scrambling to get from one place or event or thing to the next.  I’m such a lover of peace…I’m trying not to spread myself too thin.  I want my the Lord and family to come first and to truly come first…not just get lip action.

As I was shutting off the lights in the school room last night, I was uttering little thoughts to the Lord about our school adventure and my heart shouted, “Lord, I just want to be pleasing to you.”  It caught me off guard, yet settled my soul.  Though I care about what she learns this year, more than that, I just want us to be a family that pleases Him.  Let it be so, Lord…

 

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.

Updates and Upstairs

Oh, sweet friends!  Were you wondering if I’d ever return?!  Life has been crazy and GOOD – crazy good!

To catch you up in one, simple run-on sentence, we had the opportunity to sell our house, rent an upgraded (read: bigger, newer, central air having, more-than-one-bathroom-and-an-actual-dining-room) home that answered all of our prayers…so we packed our things and cleaned out barns and buildings and took way longer than we ever imagined to move in because apparently we have a lot of stuff and like things just so…BUT we are in and feeling settled and LOVING. IT. HERE.  The Lord blessed our socks off and we feel this is exactly where we are supposed to be for the here and now – not much better than that!

And?  Apparently, I have some of the sweetest, most encouraging friends on the planet who want to see pictures of the place so what better day than today to get me back in the saddle of blogging.  I’ve missed it so!

Moving had been on our minds for a while for lots of reasons, one being that we had bought our home on what we had called a five-year plan.  It suited us well and we loved that sweet, little 100 year old farm house but with the addition of two other children, things started to feel a little tight.  (And, I know, that is definitely a first world problem.  We have never felt anything but blessed to live there - remember that awesome story!? – but we felt the Lord prompting us towards something different and we were ready to go!)

We had heard about the house from friends from church.  They told us where it was so we drove by just to see if it was even something was an option for us.  Whoa. Nelly.  It was like dream-home material!

Yes.  Just YES.

Yes. Just YES.

A month or so later, we took a tour, prayed our faces off, sold our home and moved in here!  We LOVE IT.  I’m afraid, no other home will ever compare – truly!  Obviously, there are things we might change if we owned the place but for now?  It’s perfect for us!  The Lord answered all of our requests and desires and then some!

From the moment I walked in, I could SEE us making memories here.  I could see myself in the kitchen, cooking with Sayble while looking out the window at the other 2 playing outside.  I could see Bible studies and card parties in the big ole family room and loud family dinners in the dining room.  I could see kids playing for hours in their big kid rooms and looking out over the pastures from their windows – I could just see us here!

Some people probably think we’re crazy for renting but for us, this was the best option for now, for several reasons. (And just so you know, I don’t feel the NEED to explain myself, but if you don’t know that I’m an open book by now…)

1) We had reached a point with our old home that we felt we had maxed out or profit potential without doing something drastic…and we weren’t up for drastic.  2) Moving is always on the table when you work for a company 3 states away.  While we love this area and home we never have to, it’s always an option.  3) Building costs mega $$ these days!  I don’t know if we built what we’d like and then had to move, if we’d ever get our money out of the place. 4) There aren’t very many farmsteads in the area that AREN’T either a modular or a 100 year old farmhouse and we’ve been there done that.  5)  It was the Lord.  All Him.  I won’t argue.

So, to recap…moving with 3 small children is hard.  Moving with livestock is harder.  Moving 112 chickens is hardest.  We love our new home and can’t imagine life anywhere else!

Here are some pics of the new digs!

We’ll start upstairs.  The stairs come up out of the dining room, up to the kids’ floor.  All three of their bedrooms and their bathroom is up here, which is so nice!  They’re all together and it’s REALLY quiet for them…which means good sleep for them, so good sleep for mom and dad!

Don’t knock the paneling – ha!  We weren’t gonna mess with that!

Upstairs - empty

Upstairs – empty

Upstairs - empty

Upstairs – empty

Top of the stairs

Upstairs after; top of the stairs

Now, why did I start with that picture?!  The bookshelf.  Sigh.  I have visions of it being artfully arranged…but then I remember that I have 3 small children who I want to LOVE to read so I’ve given up the fight on the perfect bookshelf and have gone with the “we use it all the dang time so it’s always disheveled look.”  You should try it, too!

Upstairs after

Upstairs after; truly a happy place!

My brother-in-law got me that dreamy pew last year and I was so happy to have a place for it in our new home!  I started out like this:

Pew before

Pew before

and after a good sanding and a fun color, it’s one of my favorite things in the house!

Pew after

Pew after

The kids’ bathroom isn’t huge but I think it’s perfect for them!  I’ve been so impressed with how clean they have kept it!

Kids' bathroom before

Kids’ bathroom before

Kids bathroom after!

Kids bathroom after!

Kids' bathroom after!

Kids’ bathroom after!

Kids' bathroom after!

Kids’ bathroom after!

Since then, they’ve gotten a new faucet, as this one bit the dust about 2 weeks in, but it’s just a fun, sweet little bathroom – I love it!  (It was the first room that was completely finished in the whole house!  Gotta love small rooms that didn’t need paint – ha!)

Wryder’s room DEFINITELY needed paint.  It’s hard to see in the pictures but the walls were in pretty bad shape as far as scratches and dings.

Wryder's room before

Wryder’s room before

Wryder's room before

Wryder’s room before

Wryder's room before

Wryder’s room before

We painted it a pretty, neutral grey and I love how it turned out!

Wryder's room after paint

Wryder’s room after paint

Wryder's room after paint

Wryder’s room after paint

Wryder's room after

Wryder’s room after

Wryder's room after

Wryder’s room after

Wryder's room after

Wryder’s room after

Wryder's big closet!

Wryder’s big closet!

Sayble’s room is the smallest, but it suits her needs just fine for now!  I love how it turned out…so sweet and cute – like her!

Sayble's room

Sayble’s room

Sayble's room

Sayble’s room

Sayble's room

Sayble’s room

Sayble's room

Sayble’s room

Sawyer got the biggest room.  It was an easy choice for us as far as layout goes…and?  The girl’s got a lot of stuff.  There’s a hoarder gene on the Phipps side and by golly, the girl’s got it!

Part of why she needed the big room was for this:

LOVE LOVE LOVE

LOVE LOVE LOVE

There’s just something about a cute farm house with two twin beds in a room!  I bought those headboards at an auction one day for $5 each.  They are vintage 20’s and just cute as a button and I’ve been storing them for this room!

Headboard before

Headboard before

Headboard after paint - Sweet Caroline, to be exact!

Headboard after paint – Sweet Caroline, to be exact!

Sawyer's room

Sawyer’s room

Sawyer's room

Sawyer’s room

Her room is so sweet and so totally her.  She loves her double beds; she loves the little table for tea parties and such and she loves using the toybox as her desk/office.  And?  She has a huge closet – a must for a girl with a penchant for cute things!

Sawyer's room and a few of her fun things!

Sawyer’s room and a few of her fun things!

Sawyer's room

Sawyer’s room

Sawyer's closet

Sawyer’s closet

And, yes…that is exactly what you think it is!  She has a “secret room” behind the bookshelf in her closet!  We turned it into a toy room for her and all of us love spending time in there.

I wish I had taken before and after pictures of it because we did the works in there!  New carpet, new lighting, boarded the walls…

Sawyer's toy room after

Sawyer’s toy room after

It is so fun and the perfect place to store all of her Barbies and babies and doll house things.  And?  Wryder has one, too.  How did we luck out like that?!

Wryder's playroom before

Wryder’s playroom before

Wryder's playroom after

Wryder’s toy room after

We put in new carpet, painted everything and put in new lighting.  I LOVE this space and he does, too!  I love having the toys out of sight, too, I won’t lie!

Wryder's toy room after

Wryder’s toy room after

Wryder's toy room after

Wryder’s toy room after

And?  Sayble has a little crawl space in her room that we can turn into a playroom for her one day.  But we’re tired.  And she’s still a baby.  So we’ll wait.

Thank you for humoring my little house tour with my awful iPhone pictures.  ;)  We’ll hit downstairs tomorrow.  Maybe, all of my pictures will have uploaded by then.  Oh, how we miss our good internet service!

Pressing In

I have a temper.

And I hate it.

I’m an opinionated, passionate, perfection-loving, anxious person and the unsanctified parts of those things tend to rear their heads through frustration and anger.

I try to be even keel – that helps when you have small children – but sometimes, it gets the best of me.  After the 300th time that I have to repeat the rules that have yet to change since the beginning of rules – no banging on the table, no back talking, no pushing your sister, no jumping off of the coffee table, not getting ON the coffee table, no pulling Sayble around by her legs, no dumping out the dog food, no putting food from our plate on the floor, no sneaking snacks without asking, no screaming while Sayble naps…you get my drift – my flesh takes over and I go into angry-lecturing parent mode.

It doesn’t happen all of the time or even the majority of the time, but one time is one too many and I find myself fighting with that urge more than I’d like.  The Lord gave us emotions and He gave us the ability to feel anger but He does not give us the ok to sin in our anger; when I raise my voice or roll my eyes or let an exasperated naughty word slip or lecture on and on and on hoping they get the point?  That doesn’t please Him.

Anger is one of those really difficult emotions because in the moment, you feel completely justified.  Whatever you feel like doing in rebuttal MUST be ok because of what the offender did or said.  BUT?  That’s just not the case.

The Word says repeatedly that the Lord is slow to anger and abounding in love.  While He’s flipped some tables for the sanctity of His holy place, we don’t see Him on this constant rampage with a furrowed brow and venomous lips.

Parenting is HARD.  HARD, I tell you!  In this stage, with three littles under the age of 6, it can be exhausting.  There is so much physicality to the job right now.  One day, it will switch to more of a mental exhaustion and we’ll be craving those dirty diapers and untied shoes again, won’t we? 

As a mom – especially one that has the luxury to be with her babies all day, every day, weekends-mean-nothing – we are constantly pouring ourselves out to tend to their needs and mend their hearts and navigate their emotions and guide them back to the trail to kindness and righteousness.  Add in the daily chores of laundry, dishes, meal prep, feedings, cleanings, prayers, school work, yard work, etc. and the weight of all of those duties can pile up and sends us teetering on the edge of a meltdown.

While I do want our home – our sacred place – to be a place of peace of righteousness, how I respond to the sins of my children will determine the tone of my household more than their choices do. 

They’re not perfect.  They’re gonna sin.  That’s what they do!  But how I handle that will either lead them TO Jesus or AWAY from Him.  Another big job to add to our list, yes?

This weekend, I felt like we had all been really busy this past week and because of that, our prayers had become choppy and repetitive and insincere.  We regrouped together as a family on Sunday night and we began praying things that aligned with the heart of the Lord.  When we take our desires to Him – things that HE desires for us as well – He is faithful to move on our behalf.

He doesn’t want me to be angry.  He doesn’t want me to sin in my anger.  He doesn’t want me to speak harshly.  His desire for me is to be slow to anger and abounding in love.  And that has been my prayer.

Prayer is not an argument with God to persuade him to move things our way, but an exercise by which we are enabled by his Spirit to move ourselves His way.

While I desire obedience for my children, let the sanctification and obedience start with ME.  I still pray they choose obedience but oh, I pray for me to be more like YOU.  I want to move myself your way…

Lord, we want to be more like You, simple as that.  Isn’t that the goal?  That with each day and week and year, the maturing Christian would look less like the world and more like Jesus?  Pressing in to get there…

Worth 1,000 Words: Easter Edition

I’m behind.  I know.  But we had a SPECTACULARLY MARVELOUS Easter!

We stuffed 100 eggs to take to the cousin egg hunt down in Oklahoma…

Yum yum!

Yum yum!

We took communion together and remembered all the Lord has done for us…

Sweet girl

Sweet girl

and boy

and boy

He spilled his juice LITERALLY as Wrex was saying, “This is my blood poured out…”  It was perfect timing…

We colored Easter eggs.  We tried the fake ones this year as the others never really get eaten.  Not a fan.  The real ones are better.

Serious business

Serious business

I made cookies for all the cousins (and the RaRa) for their Easter baskets I took down…

Yum yum for sure!

Yum yum for sure!

We gave the kids their little goodies before we left…

Lots of pink!

Lots of pink!

This cute girl…I just love her to pieces!

Hip to the max

Hip to the max

We headed south, loaded for bear!

Thank the Lord for the Suburban

Thank the Lord for the Suburban

Uncle Waco and Aunt Amber surprised us and came to Aunt Tootsie’s too!  We all had such a good weekend!  The kids went on a MASSIVE egg hunt!

All the grands in one place - love.

All the grands in one place – love.

There were eggs EVERYWHERE!

There were eggs EVERYWHERE!

The boys were quite competitive!

The boys were quite competitive!

The girls, too!

The girls, too!

She was so cute!

She was so cute!

The girls looking through their loot...

The girls looking through their loot…

Sunday morning was a typical Sunday morning.  I got one good picture!

Surely, WD will take this good of pics when he's 5, right?!

Surely, WD will take this good of pics when he’s 5, right?!

Most of his looked like this:

Sigh

Sigh

Sayble wasn’t much better…

This was the best one I got!

This was the best one I got!

She was good DURING church, though…

She loves GooGoo just like everyone else!

She loves GooGoo just like everyone else!

Sawyer snuck in a little snuggle time with Uncle Waco…

She adores him!

She adores him!

And we got to see GooGoo’s new house and try the picture thing one more time!

Np dice.

No dice.

This was the closest we got…

That'll work, yes?

That’ll work, yes?

We got to see Uncle Waco’s new house that they’re building!  Sayble took the tour with him…

Swoon

Swoon

and his little girl took the tour with Wrex…

Cuties

Cuties

It was so much fun, I’m not sure any of us were ready to come home…especially those of us who had to unpack and do the laundry.  ;)  I’d do it all again tomorrow if it meant we were all together though…

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.

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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…

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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.

Random Rambles

It’s FRIDAY!  Do I really need to say anything else?!

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I love to see the gifts in my children become glaringly obvious.  Sweet Sawyer is such a little administrator.  It takes one to know one, perhaps.

Wryder has a crush on a cute little high school girl and the minute he saw her last fall, he’s been telling her (and everyone else) that he was gonna marry her.  He and Sawyer have made plans for him to live in the playhouse with his new wife, with a sled for a bed.  Sawyer has been busy planning his wedding for months and this week, she got their wedding clothes done.

She made notes and designs in her notebook and would check off each piece as she completed it.

Her designs...

Her designs…

Her main construction materials were paper towels and washi tape and they look surprisingly good!

The dress and "gail"

The dress and “gail”

Wryder's tuxedo shirt.  Note the red rose and the bow tie...

Wryder’s tuxedo shirt. Note the red rose and the bow tie…

I feel like we’ve fought their obsession with this project for quite some time.  I do love that they love the concept of marriage and how joyful it truly is.  We must be doing a little something right…

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Sawyer has her first 4-H meeting this weekend.  We are so excited for her and she is so excited for herself!  Wrex and I’ve done a lot of talking this week about the joys and advantages of a slower pace of life.

Everything that he is today – from follower of Christ, to husband, to father, to cattle buyer – all of the things and people that influenced him most, took place before he was 15 years old.  It wasn’t high school…it wasn’t college…it was the things he got to try and experience during his most formative years that shaped his being.

I am so grateful that I get to be a stay-at-home mom…that I get the opportunity to spend more time with them than anyone else…that we get to encourage them and teach them and train them and provide them with opportunities and experiences that will translate into their futures.

We were watching Duck Dynasty the other night and one of the older kids was pursuing his dreams as a musician and just watching his mom’s reaction made me sappy, of course.  There are times when it feels like those days are so far down the road, but we all know they’re not; they’ll be here in the blink of an eye, just like everything else.

It made us wonder what our kids would be doing and pursuing…and we pray with all of our might that at the heart of whatever it is, that it’s Jesus.

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The neighbors didn’t have school on Monday so we loaded up for a midday play date.  Sawyer got to ride in the go-cart and thought that was pretty fun stuff!

Bye, mom!

Bye, mom!

Wryder went over, looked at it, tried the helmet on and then settled for the porch.

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This cute little booger is just joy in every way!

:)

:)

She was a little fussy for the babysitter on Tuesday night and has had a few bouts of that with us lately so we assumed she must be getting a tooth.  Yesterday, Wrex was playing with her and saw the monster coming in on the top.

Lately, she’s really been pursing her mouth and that must be why.  Not sure what explains all the nose crinkling but I LOVE it.

Cute toot!

Cute toot!

Seriously, she’s the cutest thing E.V.E.R.

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We’re hoping hoping HOPING that the guys get our barn and shop finished this weekend.  They’ve been working weekends and the wind hasn’t helped their cause much….or the fact that they don’t ever get here until 10 am.  *ahem*

They have the shop all done but are still working on the barn.  I promise to post pics when they are done.  I know it’s going to look so nice but there’s something I’ll miss about the chippy old barn…

A few winters ago...

A few winters ago…

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Wrex is still sporting the mutton chops.

Yeeeeaaaahhh...

Yeeeeaaaahhh…

Extroverts are so funny.  I spend most of my days not wanting to be seen and he’s putting himself out there front and center, with radical facial hair no less.  Cracks me up.  Here’s to hoping they’re gone by Monday…sure hope that razor doesn’t zip up his face in the night!  ;)

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It’s Fun Friday around here and today is errand day.  We’re gonna run to town and take some checks to the bank for daddy and get some cash for our Dave Ramsey envelopes and take a cupcake to a special birthday lady and get some birthday cards to send to some other special people (PaPa and RaRa!) and if the wind stops howling, we may stop at the park to burn a little energy (them) and calories (me).

Whatever you find yourself doing today, I pray that you choose and find joy in all of it.

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.

I Heart Heart Day

I know I’ve mentioned it before – I’m a sucker for Valentine’s Day!  Hate all you want; I think setting aside a day to really go out of our way to show someone we love them is a fine way to spend our time.  Who doesn’t love that?!

For Fun Friday, the kids helped make cupcakes!

Lining the pan

Lining the pan

Getting hers done, too!

Getting hers done, too!

My mixer

My mixer

Decorating them is obviously the best part…and I always feel like SUCH a good mom afterwards because it really pushes me outside of my comfort zone.  I’m not the biggest fan of messes or 501 little, round sprinkles all over the place but I do it because I love them.  And it’s fun.

Intensity

Intensity

Yep, those are the ones...

Yep, those are the ones…

They turned out REALLY cute!

They turned out REALLY cute!

And, of course, Wryder had to be rewarded for his efforts…

YUM!

YUM!

Our sweet friend/mail lady, Pam, brought goodies to the house in the form of chocolate bars (which Wryder inhaled!) and mail from friends.  We sent her home with a cupcake, too!

On Saturday, I woke up to this gorgeousness…

Swoon.

Swoon.

I LOVE getting flowers!  I vow not to be the woman who thinks they’re a waste of money because all they do is die.  They are life and they bring life – I’m a big fan.  :)

I loved the balloon, too!  I remember when I was growing up that I always, always wanted a helium, mylar balloon, though I don’t know that I ever asked for one.  It was either my tenth or twelfth birthday, my parents got me several and I was over the moon!  I kept them deflated and pinned to my bulletin board until I left for college.  I kinda wish I still had them… 

Wrexy knew my love for them and surprised me with a huge one!  Wryder and Sawyer though we should practice letting the cat jump through the center.  I vetoed that.  *ahem*

We were saving our steak dinner for Valentine’s day so I decided to make heart hamburgers (with bacon, of course) for lunch.

Nothing says love like beef...

Nothing says love like beef…

and bacon!

and bacon!

The kids LOVED this!  Especially the bacon part – a treat around here!

YUM!

YUM!

Sawyer, of course, dressed for the occasion – heels and all!

Oh, this girl...

Oh, this girl…

Sunday, we went to church and ate a little chinese food for lunch…

Those sweet smiles!!!

Those sweet smiles!!!

Handsome!

Handsome!

We found out Sayble REALLY likes ice cream like her PaPa!

Get that spoon over here!

Get that spoon over here!

Oh yeah...that's more like it!

Oh yeah…that’s more like it!

Then we came home to check on the gentlemen working on our shop and barn.  The shabby chic will soon be no more as we’re getting tin put on.  The shop is almost done and then they’ll throw the sides of the barn on.

The shop, minus the trim and doors

The shop, minus the trim and doors

I'm afraid I may miss this guy's worn, weathered look...

I’m afraid I may miss this guy’s worn, weathered look…

We have scrimped and saved and my hubby has worked his tail off so we could do this little project; we are so excited that it’s getting closer to done!  It’s gonna look pretty fancy around here…or at least a little less shabby.

It was a good weekend!  I posted this on Facebook but I’ll post it here, too.

In the midst of all of our Valentine shenanigans, Sawyer made a crown and hung it on the wall at our dinner table.

King of Kings

King of Kings

She said it was so we would remember that Jesus loves us.

My heart delights that she knows this already and I pray she takes Him at His word. He LOVES us…without condition or premise…and despite our past (or even our present) situations!

He IS the lover of our souls; the lead role in the greatest love story ever told. We can’t outrun His love, friends – it will always find us…  Let him…

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