Growing Up Too Fast

"I'm ready to shave, Dada!"
Joshua, 2 years old

A few more weeks to go... and a challenge to YOU!

I've had a lot of people ask me if I'm "ready" for this baby.

To be honest, I don't fully comprehend the question, and can't even begin to answer it.  YES, I'm ready to LOVE another human being, experience the miracle of growth, and once again... feel in the flesh the meaning of God's unconditional love for me (and humanity).  

Sure, there are fears.  The fear of the unknown (once again), of how Joshua will react to a baby sleeping in his  "old crib".  The sleepless nights, the constant feedings, the crying... Or how my attention could ever be divided.  Or how in the world could I love them the same?  I know it's possible, and I know in my heart of hearts that God is shaping me to understand HIS love for me.  Did I say that God loves me UNCONDITIONALLY??  It's the only way He knows how to love, and I'm thrilled that I GET to experience a small dosage of what that means.  

So, am I "ready"?  


Are YOU?

During quiet times of reflection, while Joshua takes his nap... I REMEMBER the first time I felt that warmth of God's love in my heart.  Then I grieve for those who's never experienced that in their life... sometimes out of ignorance, sometimes out of rebellion, and sometimes for lack of opportunity.  God is "there".  God is HERE. God whispers your name when you (who's searching) cries out in search for answers.  

So, ARE YOU READY to experience 
God's unconditional love for YOU?  

"For God  SO LOVED the world, that He gave His ONE and ONLY Son, that whoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have eternal life."  
John 3:16 (NIV)

ps:  That is my prayer for my own children... that they would come to know, understand, and experience God's unconditional LOVE for them at an early age.  

Joshua's Book Rotation

I thought you might want to have an idea on what's on rotation as Joshua's
FAVORITE books lately.

So here it goes:

by Denise Doowling Mortensen
Good Night Engines

by Caroline Jayne Church 
The More We Get Together

by Rachel Fuller
Waiting for Baby (My New Baby)

by Peggy Rathmann
Good Night, Gorilla

by Priddy Bicknell books
My Big Truck Book -- 2002 publication

We can sit through the same 5 books and read them OVER and OVER and OVER again...  He loves looking at them!  I get tired of reading them OVER and OVER and OVER again, but I KNOW I won't be able to take these sittings back once they're gone.  

For any suggestions on books he might like 
(on tractors, trucks, anything with wheels...), let me know!

PS:  By the way... the first 3 books listed here belong to the local library!  I've renewed them twice (we've had them for over a month now!), so I'll really need some new books to entertain Joshua and get his mind off of these...  Help!

Our Summer 2011 Garden!

Some say it's ENORMOUS...
others say it's GREAT...
some others say it's BEAUTIFULLY GROWING...


I say...

... it's a BLESSING
(especially since Joel has been doing all the work... tilling, planting, weeding, tilling some more, fertilizing, and protecting it against bunnies...)

What do YOU think?

Happy Dada's Day!

To my wonderful husband...

A Reminder...

"Whatever you do, 
work at it with all your heart, 
as working for the Lord, 
not for human masters."

Colossians 3:23

Joshua is TWO!

This past Saturday was Joshua's second birthday!

I really cannot believe how fast this boy is growing... and getting older, faster, smarter, naughtier, messier... but more loving, handsome, and definitely more curious about the world around him.

We had a small get-together with his cousins and a couple of his new lil' friends. 

 I totally failed to take more pictures, but I DID manage to snap a few of the infamous cake (thanks, Darla P. for your HARD work on this fabulous replica of the "green" tractor!  You're a true artist!)

and of the other "treats" for our guests.

Joshua, mama is so proud of you!  
Mama loves you lots!

Me?? Joining a Book Club??

I LOVE to read.

I LOVE sitting down with a cup of coffee and a good book at hand.

I LOVE ending my day reading in my bed.

So, wouldn't it make sense for me, a book lover, to join a Book Club?

For the FIRST TIME in my entire adult life, I can say that I've "joined" a Book Club.  

It is one of the ministries of (in)courage called Bloom (in)courage.  This is the same Book Club I followed when reading
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp (another MUST READ!!)  
I am absolutely enthralled by the new book in their study, "The Fitting Room" by Kelly Minter. 

The foundation for this book is Colossians 3:12: Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  

Remember my last blog post?  
How cool is it that the Lord chooses to speak to me through books like this one?  

If you're looking for good - and at times quite deep - reading material, check Minter's The Fitting Room.  And let me know what YOU think of this idea, of putting on God's virtues BECAUSE He has chosen me, loved me, and made me holy.  It is not the other way around.  We don't "wear" God's virtues, such as compassion, kindness, humility and self-control to become better Christians.  We GET TO wear them BECAUSE God's chosen  us.  
Our job is to learn to wear them.  

Change = Growth?

Recently, a friend and past co-worker of mine blogged about the subject of CHANGE.  One of the thoughts she had was that, despite our desire to experience new things, change is still scary and unpleasant at first.  

 According to the good ol' Webster's... CHANGE can be defined as "to make different, to replace with another, to make a shift, to undergo a modification, to undergo a transformation." And the list goes on and on.  But you get the idea, right?  To CHANGE means to ACTIVELY EXPERIENCE something other than what you're familiar or used to.  

So, what are my thoughts?  I am a strong believer that in order for us, human beings, to grow, develop, and improve ourselves, CHANGE is absolutely pivotal to such processes.  Between Sunday School lessons I've been sitting in, books I'm reading (The Fitting Room by Kelly Minter - EXCELLENT, by the way!), and my personal devotional times with God, I've been coming back to this idea of putting off my old self, putting on the new self, which should be a reflection of Christ's character and values in my life.  CHANGE is required if I want to maintain continued growth in my physical, spiritual, emotional and social life.  I DO NOT want to live life stuck in ruts...  I want to "[forget] what is behind and [strain] toward what is ahead, pressing on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 3:13b-14.

I need to admit that CHANGE can be scary sometimes, too.  Last night was Joshua's first time sleeping on a "real" bed.  We have been planning to transition him out of his crib and into his full-size bed before Baby #2 arrives in July.  So, last night was the night.  As a mom, I couldn't help but hesitate to leave him in his room, by himself, on his "big" bed.  
What if he falls?
What if he wakes up and doesn't know where he is?
What if it's too cold?
What if it's too warm?
What if he doesn't like it?
What if he can't sleep?

Joshua is 4 days shy of being 2 years old, and for a split-second last night, his entire future flashed before my very eyes.  I started thinking about how fast he is growing, how he will one day be in school, graduate, find a wife, get married, and I'll be a grandma...  WHAT???  I know, I know, I know!!  I KNOW I'm overreacting, but seriously, putting my baby in his own bed last night made me realize (once again) that life is precious and I won't be able to take these early years back.  And when Baby #2 comes...  
CHANGE will really park in my driveway and stay for a while.  

However, I can't help but rejoice in what God has gifted and blessed me with during these last few years of my life.  There were CHANGES gallore and looking back... 
CHANGE brought GROWTH, joys, pruning, new friends, and freedom...  

My friend ended her blog entry with this statement, "in the end, you'll never know if you never try." And I couldn't agree with her more.  Thanks, Meredith... for making my thinking wheels turn.

A few images of Spring!

We've been blessed with amazing Spring (and even Summer-like) weather!  
So I thought I'd post some images of the last few weeks...

"I wanna be outside, mama!"
Joshua loves being outside, so when the weather started to get nice, he would look out the window and wonder: "Is it time for me to go outside, yet?"  
"Is it time to go outside, yet?"

Also, the farmers around here had started to work on their fields.  Unfortunately, it didn't last long, as the "land" is way too wet due to the nasty storms.  

We also had an all-church picnic a few weeks ago, so Joshua enjoyed playing outside with his friends...

and with his Daddy! :)

And last, but not least, this past week we hosted a Memorial Day Cookout here at the house.  
The boys cooling down in the playroom...

Enjoying the shade

Dana, Jeff, and Mike joined us from Ft. Wayne (thanks for coming, guys!)

We had almost 40 people join us that day!  
It was fun (and HOT), but people managed to find some nice shade in our backyard.  
Being able to see some old friends, and spend the afternoon with some new ones, 
was truly a blessing.