Monday, March 31, 2008

To sleep or to study

For some time now I have been very convicted that I needed to study the word of God again, rather than just reading it. It is inevitable that the first few years of motherhood are often hard spiritually. When to find time to study the tired to get up early and when you do you can bet they will get up early tired to stay up late and when you do you can bet that they will be up through the night or get up early....feel like we need to be mindless during naps...and so it goes. How precious is the grace of God. There is no reason for me to feel condemnation for the absence of studing the word of God. Scripture says that there is no condemnation for those of us who are in Christ Jesus. Some days I do good to merely read it and there have been seasons during the last four years that this has stopped. But lately I have felt as though I have robbed myself of the joys of the Lord. Satan is so tricky. Young moms are such easy prey because our guards are often completely down. I think I need to sleep or "chill" to make it through the next few hours with the kids. Satan says "Well that was easy enough." What a lie I have believed. At church the sermon was about the "give us this day our daily bread" part of the Lord's prayer. He said that bread is the physical foundation on which we need to survive daily. If we need to seek the Lord for this small of a thing, how much more do I need to seek him to give me the strength to make it though with the kids the next few hours. He is my sustainer, not an hour of sleep.
I have also been convicted that I need to speak more of God's word into my children's life. The only way that I can do this "as I go through the day" is to know it - memorize it. I remember a time in college where I had a ton of Scripture memorized and really experienced the Holy Spirit bringing the word to life in my life. But as the saying goes - don't use it you loose it. I haven't continued to memorize and have lost a lot of it. So in order for me to speak it into their lives I must begin learning it again.
So last month during my planning and evaluation time I decided to combine both of these convictions with one application. Study proverbs. It is simple yet so complex. It is loaded with verses helpful for training my children but it is a great intro to studying the Scriptures again. There are not tons of history, cross references, etc to it.
Today I started and my plan had been to do a chapter a day but I realized today that is to much to really get a lot out of it so today I did vs 1-7 and I was so encouraged. I wanted to share my applications of what God taught me today.
1. Verse 7 says that the fear of God is the beginning of all wisdom. In Dueteromy the "fear of God" means to live by specific stipulations in a grateful response to God's redemptive grace. The context in which I seek to gain wisdom must be one that will help me learn to better revere, honor, worship and stand in awe of God because of his redemptive grace in my life. I don't do it to be a better person, to train my children, to become wise in the eyes of the world but so that I can better fear God.
2. As I study proverbs with the right motives and perspectives, this book can teach me:
-a way of thinking or framework that enables me to do good
-instructions on how to do good - with specific intructions regarding righteousness, justice and equity
- the ability to read between the lines when specifics are not present
-how to live these teachings out daily so that I will become characterized by them a life of...
3. proverbs is useful for all stages of a believers life:
-the inexperienced - baby
-the young
-the seasoned
-the experienced
*It was intresting to me that they divided it up into seasoned and experienced - how much seasoning does one need to become experienced????
4. I am a fool to not learn it and live it.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Take me out to the ball game....

Today we officially entered a new era of our life as parents....4 year old t-ball. It was an absolute blast. Jake was so excited about his game and allll the people coming to see him. Yesterday our cousin that is a freshman at samford told him he was gonna come watch him play. Jake ask Kendall "what do you think about those cheerleaders coming to my game?" He was referring to the samford cheerleaders he saw at a basketball game Kendall took him to. It was quite amusing.I love that the team consist only of 4 year olds so they really get to have fun and experience the sport just for fun. Over half of the team, including Jake were more amused by all the dirt at their fingertips than the game itself. What is it about dirts, rocks and water that captivate them so??? Anyway, it was a blast and I feel overwhelmed that Jake is so big. Seems like yesterday I was freaking out because I couldn't figure out why he was crying on the first day home from the hospital. Way too fast....

First trip to the batters box

Little pep talk from coach daddy
Brothers discussing thoughts on the game and most important - where to eat lunch

Favorite part of the game - snacks!!!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Spring Fever = Spring Cleaning

I absolutely love spring time. Seeing everything come to life delights my soul. This past week was Jake's spring break so me and the boys headed to the beach. John's mom lives about 1/2 mile from the "little beach" as jake calls it. It is the sound that runs between Pensacola, Navarre, Ft.Walton and Destin. To get to the beaches you have to cross this water. But it is wonderful. We go for walks or ride bikes right from her house and get to enjoy that wonderful ocean breeze and see the water. There is something about sand. dirt and water that really romances the heart of a boy. Jake and Brady had a blast and did not want to come home. It was wonderful for me as well. I only wish it had been a little warmer so we could have spent all of our time outside. But when we were outside we loved it. Last night before we came home John bathed the boys and when I was dressing Brady I counted 6 very significant bobo's and removed 7 splinters from his hands. Amazing!!! Here he is showing off 2 of the bobo's

Coming home to this dreadful apartment has kinda put me in a fowl mood. Most of the time I don't mind the apartment but spring has been the worse both years we have lived here, especially this year with both of the boys old enough to play in a back yard. But I am trying to not be down. This spring anyway I will just load them up and head for the parks probably every day.
I decided that this week I would clean and purge because one of the things that puts me in a great mood is a clean and organized house. This desire ALWAYS comes for me with the onset of my spring fever. So this morning I started the process. Right now I am mainly purging and will do the cleaning after the junk is out of the house. Thought I'd share this picture with you. This is what is going in the trash from 3 closets, the master bedroom and laundry room. (looks like jake is all done with spring cleaning :))

It is absolutely amazing how much stuff you can accumulate in 6-8 months (I usually do this twice a year). Of course some of it was just empty boxes of stuff I condesed but still it was taking up room in my space. I love simplicity and organization and as you can see I am on my way back to my great mood :)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Check out this book

About 2 weeks ago I was doing some research online about ways to help Jake learn flexibliltiy. (practically). I came across this book and website I was very intrigued so I bought the book. WOW!!! This book is an amazing resource for parenting. It is NOT a christian book about parenting. It basically helps you apply the myers briggs test to your child. I don't agree with all that it says but it is great insight for me. For example, John and I learned that Jake is a feeler and he lives in a house full of thinkers. I see so clearly now that some of the walls that we have been hitting with him can in fact be due to the fact that we have been insensitive to his needs. Not on purpose really. Sometimes, the little things that can't be fixed, like when his biscuit crumbles and he wants it put back together, send him in a spiral and he can not gain control of himself. John and I have approached it as
Mom or dad -"Sweetheart, this biscuit will not go back together. There is nothing we can do about it."
Jake- but i want it back together - Cry, Cry harder, and harder.
Mom and dad - "Jake there is nothing we can do about it now it is time to gain control of yourself and stop crying."

Now when I look at the above conversation, I see that we did all we could and there was no need for him to continue crying, he needs to learn and practice self control. I still believe that this is true but we thinkers have to learn to rephrase what that little feeler is hearing. Back last fall, John and I went through the book Love and Respect with some couples (Great book by the way). In it he talks about how we so often step on each others air hose when we fail to communicate the way the other person needs to be communicated to. It is as though we are stopping their lifeline or sucking the air right out of them. John and I have come to realize in the last few weeks that we have been doing the same to Jake. Thankfully, God is gracious and Jake is 4 and not 14.

There are several other great insights that we have gained from this book for both of our boys. It has helped me to better think for each of them individually because they are so very different.
I do recommend this book as a resource but I also have talked with a friend who somewhat specializes in this test for adults. He gave me some great insight that i will pass on to you.
1. It is our duties as parents to be well aware of our children's giftings and personality. This helps us to train and disciple them better and help them to develop in their giftings as well as weaknesses. Knowing your child's personality, however can not excuse sin. We as christian parents are responsible for teaching our child obedience so that they can learn to be obediant to God. No personality, even the extreme ones are excused from this responsibility.
2. Don't put our child in a box labeled ISFJ or so and so. Use this as insight and not concrete. For us, it has helped me to see that I can speak so much deeper to Jake's heart if I pull him into my lap and love on him for a few minutes and then talk with him about self control, or whatever the issue is. He hears me so much better than when I had the "get over it mentality" (Sorry, but I am a pretty extreme thinker, not feeler) .

I so deeply long to be a godly mom to my children and to be an instrument that God can use to mold and shape them into the men that he desires them to be. I want to a woman who is "skilled in my work" (Prov 22:29) and this book is just a tiny way to help me along the way. Plus it was fun to read. Just a thought.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Filling My Tanks

I love being creative, it fills my tanks. But as a mom of small kids sometimes I don't get to do it just to have fun, just for me. This weekend I took an hour or so to do a favor for a friend and it was a blast. Of course this wasn't for me either but it was lots of fun. Kym, I know you will be proud that I am really getting into this digital scrapbook stuff. Haven't really done the "scrapbook" yet but I am learning my way around photoshop. It is nice to have a hubby who is a pro at photoshop and already owned a copy of it. (it is really expensive). Anyway, just thought I would share with you guys what I accomplished in my fun hour (with the help of sweet hubby). It was great after the last few weeks. I am getting better every day. Praise the Lord. Thanks April for giving me a reason to have some fun :) :)

Friday, March 14, 2008


There are so many thoughts in my head i would love to share with you but I don't have the energy to do it this week. Please continue to pray for me that God would heal my body completely. Some days it feels like I am being bitten by fire ants here and there and some days it feels like I am sitting in the ant bed for the whole day. Today is probably the best day I have had in 4 weeks so that is Great!!! Praise the Lord. The boys are really struggling so pray for them as well.
There is so much I am learning during this time but don't have the energy or an ear (I am a verbal thinker) to process it. Thanks again for your prayers!!!

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Rantings of an Itchy Woman!!!

"There is nothing - no circumstance, no trouble, no testing - that can ever touch me until, first of all, it has gone past God and past Christ right through to me. If it has come that far, it has come with a great purpose, which I may not understand at that moment. But as I refuse to become panicky, as I lift up my eyes to HIm and accept it as coming from the throne of God for some great purpose of blessing to my own heart, no sorrow will ever disturb me, no trial will ever disarm me, no circumstance will ever cause me to fret - for I shall rest in the joy of what my Lord is! - That is the rest of victory!"

-Alan Redpath

The Lord is so sweet to me. Just yesterday I was reading a friends blog and saw this quote on it. I was encouraged by it but had no idea how the Lord would use it the very next day in my life. I think that before this morning when i read that quote I thought of bigger, harder, more tragic things but that is not true. God said in His word that he would never give me more than i can handle....even a sleepless night, a trip to 2 doctors before 9 am and a 1hour plus trip to wal-mart. But I didn't hear that soft voice of the Holy Spirit until it was all over and I had my breakdown in the parking lot of Wal-mart and was driving home in the first quiet moment I had all morning (I think the boys were unsure what to do or say when they saw me this way and for once decided silence might be their best option...Thanks God)

Ok so to back up and fill in the gaps. Back in the fall i broke out in an obnoxious rash that kept me awake for 4 weeks and lasted for 6 weeks (the last 2 weeks I finally got a medicine that would touch it) We thought it was an allergic reaction to mucinex but oh it wasn' came back about 3 weeks ago. I told John i wasn't going to the doctor because all they told me last time was that if it wasn't the medicine reaction they didn't know what it was. Of course, that visit i went in the morning and anyone who has ever had a rash know that the afternoon and evening is worse so the doc didn't see a lot. Anyway, this rash it 100x's worse than the last time so John told me i had to go. I made an apt for 7 am this morning..All they had till next wed. When i get in there the doc says sweetie you are covered in hives. He told me that hives are only caused by something i am putting in my mouth. Anything from shellfish to peanuts to tylenol and until we find out what it is they won't go away. So he gives me a shot to ease the discomfort, a load of meds to take for the next 4 weeks and instructions to find out what is causing it HA!!!! Oh and by the way I slept for 2 hours maybe last night and the rash never settled down for my moments of rest in the morning because i stayed up scrathing it allllll night. So then i leave that doctor and go to Jake's 4 year check up to meet John with the kids. My sweet husband saw the frazzled look on my face and said he would stay and help me with the kids. After this me and the boys head to walmart to get my meds filled. The shot is starting to make me extremely sleepy but has not eased my itching yet. They told me 30 mins and about 1hr 15 min later we were leaving. Brady was crazy beside himself. He would not stop crying in the cart and when i would put him down he would destroy all in sight. I finally walked to the corner of the store and stood there about 15 mins and just let him cry. I felt like i couldn't win either know when your child is out of control and in that moment it feels as though all of walmart has their eyes on you and that whatever way you handle it won't be right in their eyes. Usually this does not bother me when it happens because I told myself a long time ago that it is more important to not compromise consistency with my child for the appeasment of others (whenever possible, i know sometimes exceptions are necessary but they shouldn't be the rule). I finally got my meds and headed to the car Brady crying the entire way. At the car, the boys got into a fight and I broke. I immediately shouted you are both getting spankings when i get home. I strapped Brady in and in that moment the Holy Spirit broke my heart. I went to get Jake from the cart and began to cry pretty hard. I told him he was not getting a spanking and that mommy had spoke in anger and frustration. I ask him to forgive me and told him that mommy didn't feel very good today and that i needed his help today. He was so sweet and so quick to forgive me. It was a precious moment but my crying didn't stop. When we finally started home the quote from above came to my mind. It became so personal. God was not absent from this morning, it was no surprise to him that it happened. He is so much more committed to my character and holiness than he is my comfort. As i thought about the fact that this morning in my life passed through the hands of God first and he saw it good for me, I felt desperate for a moment. I ask the Lord how do i handle this because I feel at the end of my rope...what i heard was so simple. When you are weak, I am strong. It is in my weakness that God creates opportunities for His glory to shine. Had i taken time to stop earlier and ask for help and gained proper perspective this circumstance would not have caused me to fret.

Our purpose on earth is to glorify God always, whatever we are doing. I pray that I will become more sensitive to the Spirit in my life. This morning was a wonderful opportunity to honor God with my life, my words, my actions. I let my emotions take charge, just like my 2 year old and simply missed and opportunity to glorify him. I know and accept God's grace for this morning but i want to be more aware. So often I tell Jake that he needs to make a wise stop and think. Today I was in need of this same advice.

Well as I said in the title this was a ranting for the most part but even in my sin God was so gracious to show me his heart. He desires for me to experience the rest of victory. Not only that but He was not angry or impatient with my meltdown the way I had been with Brady's. I am so thankful for my Abba Father- daddy that loves me and Brady beyond measure and is commited to helping me learn how to glorify Him in this life. How I long for that to be true of me as I parent my boys.

I know this was long and for those of you who made it through it...Be encouraged. Most have you have had those very same moments or will have one tommorrow. Let this encourage you the way the quote at the top that I read just yesterday encouraged me to stop and think in that moment and see it is from the hand of God and know that he approved it and it is for your good. Stop...Think...and breathe in the rest of His victory......and give your child and extra dose of love in that moment....I wish i had.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Happy Birthday Brady!!!

Today is Brady's 2nd Birthday. It has passed so fast. This little boy delights my soul so much. I really never knew someone under 3 feet could make me laugh so hard and so often. Some of my favorite things about him include:
-"I did it mommie, I did it" - i hear this 50 times a day because he his so proud that he was able to accomplish whatever he is into in that moment. Once he accomplishes it he is bored and on to the next task- thus the reason for hearing it so often.
-"Soree mommie" - these are the famous last words of this kid and they prick my heart everytime. He loves to be hands on which we are really trying to encourage but it often leads to disaster. He really is humble about it and seems to be truly sorry. What a sweet kid.
-He is fearless and relentless all in one - how i pray God uses this for His glory
-He loves to sing and only we can understand what he is saying - tooo cute
-He is so in love with his binkie - that would be green blanket. It is amusing to me because it is so against his personality but he is so attached to this and you can give it up because he will not sleep without it.

I love this kid with every ounce of my being and sometimes I can't wait to see what he becomes. I really pray for God's guidance in being his mom because I really long for God to grow him into a strong, brave leader for His kingdom, and I want to embrace and nurture the person that he is becoming despite the fact that it requires every ounce of my energy (or as Jake says injurdy) to do so. Happy Birthday Brady!!! You are so loved!!!

Our Birthday Traditions

Birthday's at the Cook house are a blast!! John and I decided from the get go that we wanted this to be a very special day in each of our lives. (however, i spent my birthday this year in bed with the flu and could care less if it was special:)) We have some great family traditions that I thought i would pass along to inspire you. Most of these ideas were passed along to me so I thought I would do the same.
1. Every year the birthday person wakes up to his door decorated with streamers and balloons.
2. They usually make their way to the dining room where they find decorations galore, some very specific for them:
3. For each of our kiddo's their first birthday gift from me and John has been their traditions box. It includes a birthday banner:

-a birthday tablecloth or runner:
-a painted birthday plate:

-a birthday hat:

4. We start the morning by having cinnamon rolls shaped in the number of that birthday.
5. Dad takes off work for the day and we spend it together as a family - child's pick (or in Brady's case we pick what we know he likes)
6. We have a special birthday dinner - person's favorite- with cake and presents. (we have the intention of dad doing a slide show of the year and we all watch them as a family after presents but because we have moved 50 times :) this hasn't happened yet.)

Well this is a typical birthday at the cook house. We also try to purposefully have their parties after their actual birthday so that they are really excited about their day first rather than being bored by it all because they have already done the party and cake stuff once. Just a thought.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Thanks Sweet Hubby

My dear sweet husband is a web developer so he helped me "pimp" my blog. We found some cute free paper at and I got a lesson in Photoshop. I created the design with alot of his help and then he uploaded the design to the site. I LOVE IT and I LOVE HIM for taking time to do it with me and for me. He is amazing :)

Planning for the Boys

The boys were sick today so we couldn't go to church. During the boys room time this morning, John and I took some time to pray and think for our boys. In Jean Flemings book, A mothers heart, she talks about taking time to do this often for each child. It really seems to help me focus in on specific areas of their life rather being overwhelmed with all that needs to be taught and encouraged. Today was specifically encouraging and productive. One, it is always nice when John has the time to join in rather than getting the big pictures from my time thinking. He always brings insight to the table that I wouldn't catch as their mom. It also really makes the two of us feel like a team in this parenting adventure.
We have really been struggling with what to do with Brady. He is such a free spirit, so unlike his brother. John and I love this about him because he lightens up things. Jake and I are
defiantly more serious by nature but Brady does such a great job bringing out the silliness in our house. But oh when it comes to discipline he is so hard. He loves to walk the line of obedience. He waits until he sees me coming to obey and even then he is going to put up a fight while doing it. Up until our time together today, John and I have had differing thoughts on how to approach the disciplining process with him. What was so encouraging about our time was that God really showed us that He has put Brady in our lives to deal with our selfishness and our desire for our own preferences. What I mean is that Jake has always been a fairly obedient and compliant child so we had rules in our home that were preference for us rather than necessity. (Granted I didn't realize that was what we were doing till Brady) Jake for the most part obeyed these rules and made life easy for us. Brady - well that is not the case. He is a rebel of all things pertaining to rules. When John and I were talking we realized that we battle him so often over things that are our preference. So today we decided that for the time being we will choose our battles with him more carefully and discipline him for things that are dangerous and destructive. We also have to add in aggravating his brother because he is a picker and it infuriates Jake to the point of destruction :) (we are gonna work on that too.)
Another encouraging topic of discussion was each of the boys strengths. It was much easier to see these in Jake
because of his age. Granted our list of strengths was longer for both boys than weaknesses but I guess Jake's had more depth because he is really becoming a boy. We also pick from these strengths and work on developing and nurturing that strength so that all of our energy is not focused on "fixing them." Jake really has a servants heart and John thought that this was the area to nurture in his life over the next few months. I am really excited about brainstorming ways to do this in his life. I want him to know that all of life is not about him and his little world and serving other people is a way to open his eyes to this.
I loved this time together this morning it was so encouraging and purposeful. Now, I will take the things that we talked over and the goals we set for the boys and make specific applications to our daily life.
If you have any ideas of service projects for a 4 year old feel free to chime in. I think we will bake cookies for the nursery workers at church and take to them one day. We also have a friend that said they had sticks in their yard that needed cleaning up so we may try to do that one day. Any ideas????
I really encourage you to give this planning a try. It is so neat to me to take time to really evaluate my children and see the areas that the Lord is growing them in. It was such a sweet time as we spent thinking and praying for each child. It also gives you a specific time to pay attention and praise God for all the strengths that you see them developing in. I know that so often from day to day I notice their weaknesses most. Any way, give it a try and tell me what you think.