29 July 2010

Sanctification through Motherhood

"The challenges of raising a child are as much for the sanctification of the parents as they are for the benefit of the child."
~ Bryan Chapell, Holiness by Grace

I've always believed that motherhood is a special gift and privilege. To think about all that I've learned (and continue to learn) in my short time being a mom is not only humbling but also something that I'm extremely grateful for.

It got me thinking the other day...

Without my children, I would be incredibly selfish. When it comes down to it, we are all prone to live for our own desires and dreams. We are naturally wired to think about ourselves in a higher manner than we should; eventually, letting pride set in.

I began to wonder, "Why did God make women mothers in the first place?" We've heard the Jewish proverb, "God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers." Of course, God is everywhere but I understand what this warm and fuzzy proverb suggests. When I think about my own journey thus far, I keep coming back to one word, one reason why God allowed me to be the mother of my children. Motherhood, for all it's responsibilities and weight, is quite simply synonymous with the word servanthood. Yes, He wants me to raise up my children to serve the Lord and further His Kingdom but in the process, He's also working on changing this self-seeking heart, to a heart that's dedicated to service-- first to my family and then to others.

I immediately thought about the first woman and mother, Eve. She too, was self-seeking. She too, desired more than what she was given. She too, believed the lies that she heard. And she too, thought the grass was greener on the other side of the garden, so to speak. I wonder, "Did Eve think of motherhood as a gift or a punishment?" Make no mistake, God can turn our sins into something for His good and His glory.

Here's what I've come to know... Motherhood allows us, as women, the special privilege of learning to live a life that's dedicated to serving others.

Honestly, a life of service is probably something I would have never chosen for myself, especially during my pre-motherhood years. If I ever served someone in my past career, it would have most likely been for my own personal gain. When I think of the word service, I can't help but think about the One who ultimately came to serve.

Do you see the correlation here? Anything God can do to help us become more like Christ is a gift, not a punishment. This also rings true for the relationship we have with our spouses, not just our children. The faster we can embrace this fact, the quicker we are to enjoy the journey and open our hearts to the blessings and fulfillment that God has in store for us. God desires to bring us to completion. What better way to do that, than to give us plenty of opportunities to serve and have a heart like Jesus.

28 July 2010

Flower Pops

26 July 2010

Del Mar & Sea World

Faith, Teagan, Grace and Trey.

Faith.

Grace, riding waves.

Getting buried in the sand.

Having a blast!

Weeeeee!!

Such a cutie pie!

The Webb's.

Faith behind the camera again.

Faith playing catch with dad.

Building sand castles.

We love the beach!

Brothers.

Looking more like a big girl everyday.

Taking Snowy for a walk.

It was more like Snowy was taking them for a walk. :)

Uh-oh, I see a dog in our future... someday.

Mitchell & Auntie Jennifer.

Blue Horizons- the new dolphin show.

Pretty cool stuff.

Waving to Cookie Monster.

Sesame Street Show.

Shamu.

Gracie.

Cirque de la Mer.

Last stop- FatBurger in PB.
Faith trying to steal daddy's nose. :)

We had a great weekend in San Diego. The only thing we missed was the sun! We met our friends, the Webb's at Del Mar for a fun beach day on Saturday. It's hard to believe that this was our first trip to the beach all summer! After playing there all day, we stayed the night with Morgan's sister and her family in Escondido. We barbecued, played with the dog, and had a nice time catching up with Jen, Bryan, and the boys. Our annual passes expire at the end of this month so we made good use of one last trip to Sea World on Sunday morning.

We ended our weekend with a late lunch in Pacific Beach. Again, the sun took it's sweet time and only peaked out at 2:00. It's been an unusually cool summer, hasn't it? We're already approaching August and the high here today is only 102. So nice!

Global warming... yeah, right.

22 July 2010

mid-week date night!

A date night... something we so very badly needed after being sick the first half of July. Let's just say, there wasn't much touching or connecting going on for what seemed like weeks on end! Ha! This week, Wednesday just worked out for us and Grandma and Grandpa graciously took the kids for an overnight. We dropped them off at 5:00 and Grandma had lots of fun activities planned for the girls. She also had homemade mac & cheese in the oven for dinner. :) From there, we made our way to Pacifica for their all day Wednesday happy hour. We enjoyed cocktails, scrumptious calamari, a tasty dinner and best of all- catching up and enjoying the simplicity of being a couple again. Morgan even indulged his sweet tooth with a dessert trio of creme brulee, chocolate lava cake, and cheesecake. We were home by 8:00 and in bed by 9:30! Date nights... so necessary and so thankful for each and every one.

20 July 2010

Charlotte's Web

I took the girls to see the movie, Charlotte's Web this morning. It worked out perfectly because we had just finished reading the book yesterday. This was only the second time the girls have ever been to a movie theatre. Morgan and I are really careful about exposing them to movies that seem innocent and G rated. Most of them carry adult themes, sarcastic tones, violence, and lots of innuendo.

Our first experience at the movies was when I took them to see a Veggie Tales movie last year. It turned out to have many violent/fighting scenes (I should have known, it was a Pirate movie). The previews were horribly inappropriate and on top of all that, they nixed the best part of any Veggie Tales movie-- the end, where Bob & Larry share God's word, how it related to the story, and what they learned from it. Totally lame.
What's been a big help for us in deciding whether or not we're taking our kids to see a movie is the site http://www.pluggedin.com/. It was created by Focus on the Family and you can find reviews for movies, music, videos, TV, and games.

Although Charlotte's Web deals with the death of Charlotte, the spider, I felt as though death is a natural part of life and it would be a good opportunity to talk to the girls about it and why we look forward to heaven. Plus, I liked the fact that the movie was non-animated and contained no "commerical characters" (i.e. princesses or talking toy astronauts, a.k.a money pits for parents). The animals were "real" and they all talked. We laughed, giggled, ate popcorn, and even cried when Charlotte died. This was the first time the girls have ever shed a tear because of sadness over a death. Thankfully, by the end of the movie, they were giggling again but they were definitely moved by the loss of a "great and loyal friend."

The positives: Charlotte's Web is a story about friendship, loyalty, seeing the best in others, sacrifice, love, loss, humility, and ordinary miracles. We thought it was quite charming.

*This time, we skipped the previews and sat down, right as the movie started.
*We also took advantage of Regal Theatres FREE summer movies!

Lastly, I thought the movie was very true to the book. Except as we were leaving, Faith asked me why they didn't show one particular scene that we read about, in the movie. That's Faith for you... you just can't get anything
past her. :)

19 July 2010

Art 101




The girls' artwork is getting so good. Faith does particularly well when it comes to looking at a picture and seeing how it's drawn. She can pretty much duplicate whatever you show her. Grace is my abstract thinker. Lines and details just aren't her thing. Lately, they've been spending lots of time creating pictures for friends and family. I love it! Most importantly, they do, too.

18 July 2010

Summer Berry Picking

Halmoni picking raspberries.

Gracie.

Looking for the red ripe ones.

Cute photo of Grace & Halmoni.

Having fun!

The girls with their friend, Suzy.

Our pickin's of yummy raspberries and blackberries.

Jumping off daddy.

Sampling jellies.

Pony rides.

Sweet girlfriends.

Tired after a great day.

Us.

We met my parents and our friends, the Waldorf's at Oak Glen yesterday for some berry picking and a barbeque picnic. It's been over a year since we've seen our friends so it was great to catch up and show them around one of our favorite spots. Suzy, their almost 4 year old was adopted from Korea just a few months after the girls so we have lots in common and have remained good friends ever since. Although the sun was hot while picking berries, it was still MUCH cooler than it was at home so we were happy to get out of the heat for a while. Originally, I had intended to make a jam or a cake with the berries but they seem to be disappearing, right into our mouths! There's something so yummy about eating food that you hand-picked-- so good and good for you! Ummm, antioxident heaven.

Maybe next time, I'll save a bunch to actually make something! :) Good times!

16 July 2010

Refined

I've been sick with a nasty virus for 14 days. I mostly dealt with fatigue, body aches, stomach issues, sore throat and just an overall icky feeling of uneasiness. Let's just say that it was the longest I've ever been sick. Thankfully, I'm now on the mend. I've been feeling much better over the last 2 days. Hallelujah!

Some things I learned while I was sick...

-4 year olds carry some fierce germs.
-never schedule a vacation, right after Summer Spectacular.
-it's okay not to exercise on your vacation- that why it's called a vacation!
-we all need to rest, especially mommy.
-spiritual warfare will attack the mind when the body is weak.
-prayer is a lifeline.
-so grateful for content and happy kids!
-my hubby needs me. :)
-i love, love, love the Desert Song by Hillsong.
-godly girlfriends are a gift.

And last but not least- sometimes, God puts us through the fire to refine our flame.

I read somewhere that happiness depends on happenings, but joy depends on Christ. If happiness depends on happenings, then what happens when our possessions rust, our loved ones die, our health begins to deteriorate, our money dwindles away, and we realize the party's over? It's during these moments that we see our happiness slip away and despair sets in.

Joy however, is not dependant on our circumstances. Joy, rather than happiness, runs deeper and stronger. Joy is the quiet, confident assurance of God's love and His promises. Joy comes from knowing that He will be there no matter what. I was certainly reminded of this over the last 16 days and for that, I am grateful. James 1:2-4 often came to mind...

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

Without a doubt, all of us will suffer in this life. I am certain that God allows suffering for two important reasons-- well no, make that 3.

1. So that we may identify with Christ's sufferings.
2. To help us rely on and strengthen our faith in God.
3. To help us proclaim God's power and to encourage others.

I spent so many countless moments in prayer and petition over the last few weeks. I can honestly say that even though at times, I was down right miserable; looking back, I wouldn't change a thing. Suffering helped me to test my faith and build stronger pillars of perseverance and hope. Lesson learned. Many more to go...

"This is my prayer in the fire,
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved
Of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flames..."

09 July 2010

Bravo!

Viv and the girls before the big performance.

Under the Sea...

Finale with kisses.

Getting ready to do their leaps.

My little island girls.

Girlfriends.

Saying thank you to Ms. Mary.

The girls had their final performance this morning. It was adorable, to say the least! All the parents came to watch, take photos, and videotape. The girls had a fabulous week and loved every minute of it. Ms. Mary, their teacher was awesome and so good with the kids. The only thing I would have nixed today was the make-up but what did I expect? It was pre-theatre (insert snobby stage voice here), after all! :)

Bonus: We got to keep the costumes so we'll have lots of fun practicing our hula this summer!

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