Friday, August 31, 2012

FamilyFridays: 2012 Ward Family Reunion.

Family. This is an area I consider myself very blessed in.

When I first met Ben he wanted me to me his family. I'm not just mentioning Mom and Pops. He meant "The Family."

When I first met one of his 'Aunt and Uncle Combos' when we went to college - they gave me a hug after a brief visit at their home. The next day I got to meet another 'Aunt and Uncle Combo' that recommended I come with them to their daughters gymnastics event. I ended up in their car without Ben and it was like I was family.

Years later my these same family members, held me up over the summer before Ben and I got married, helped host our rehearsal dinner at their place, and played the role as our legal representation to adopt our son.

I am enamored by my husbands relatives. On his mom's and dad's side. I am blessed.

The Ward Family Reunion is always on Sunday of Labor Day Weekend - on Grandpa Ward's property in good ole' Grandy. In college we always made the event on Sundays. After we were married we served at our church and would make the last few minutes of the reunion - then hang out at Ben's grandma's. A few years ago one of Ben's uncles got a lake house at Table Rock. That's where the real fun has begun - great memories.


At the reunion - our generation doesn't really know many of the people we are hanging out with at the reunion. The real fun for us is to be around Ben's dad's brothers and sisters and their kids (who are our age and younger) and just chill on the screened in front porch at the lake house.

I consider this reunion a treat too because I did not grow up going to reunions. I had one very involved Aunt and Uncle on my mom's side and my mom's dad - my grandpa. My dad's side is very blended. My dad played huge roles in our lives and the lives of his sister's kids. But my grandparents (his parents) and relatives weren't sentimental or super close. I didn't really see my dad's parents but on rare occassions...that was reality - I didn't know different. Our grandpa now lives with my parents, which I enjoy. And my dad's side visits - and it's incredible to see them and their babes - but we aren't mega close. And I'm okay with that - that's our reality.

So to go to an event where family is celebrated, you are hugged and loved on and fed and well..... hugged some more...and then genuinely told 'i love you' by all your husband's cousins - like it's second nature...welp you know you're in a great life-giving place.

So our weekend's opening ceremony will begin tomorrow afternoon at the lake house with lots of food and close family..followed by the reunion Sunday morning/afternoon and then back to the lake house till Monday evening. Pax and I will have Ben for 3 straight days, we'll see baby Logan and Hunter and stuff our faces.

Happy Labor Day Weekend to you!

TheoThursday: Not to me but for you.

I never really made time yesterday..oh with working from 9-6 and then going on a sponatenous family date night and getting in at write my blog. So I'm writing 2 today. Which will be great because I always have lots to say.

TheoThursdays: One to another.

"Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results." - James 5:16

Don't you just get so wrapped up in what's in front of you?

As if every thing seems to find a way to go wrong, break or do the exactly opposite of what you have planned.

Our family feels the acquainted urge to move to Africa. We had set our minds, our hopes and all our plans on being gone by May, which turned to August, which evolved into January of next now were saying maybe January 2014...or 2020. I joke.

In the midst of feeling like God had forgotten us. We experienced job loss, another month of not getting pregnant, our son being sick with one thing and then another and our house not selling and falling apart even more (the joys of home ownership).

My neverending focus was that I was forgotten. Me, my, us, our, we, and I. I would plea and fast and plea some more.

But then one loving, unexpected, tender, real moment of being still and shutting my mouth. God said "others"... James 1:27

Within days what seemed to have fully vanquished from my mind was now returning. The vision I had lost and the promises I remembered that were spoken became clear. My heart was being broke not for my circumstances...but the circumstances of those around me. The brokeness, the worry, the fear, the loneliness.

At first it was hard (I sound so selfish - because if I'm honest I am)...I would pray a little prayer for my friends' needs or the needs of our church. Then throw in a couple of requests from yours truly - and staying on me and my needs for a while only to very briefly re-route to the hurting and broken (selfish, I know) ... I just genuinely felt like God would forget about me (okay I get it I'm selfish).

As this journey has continued in the last few weeks - His presence, his nearness has been irrefutable. This time of intercession and advocating for others has compelled me, empowered me, convicted me and more interesting defined my own perspective of my Lord's character. Funny how the closer someone is to you the more you truly know them...weird.

In Matthew 6 (mainly focused on verses 24-34) Jesus is talking about money and possessions. We all want to make a good income and possess things - and money allows us the opportunity to possess things, to possess dreams and to possess peace of mind.

Jesus talks about the division and inner battle we inherit if we serve two masters. God has heired you as his. He has bought you and will as well as must take care of you, it's in His character. He never forgets, knows everything and loves abundantly. When we truly serve God we waiver the right to have a say on what's right or wrong for us. Harsh, but truth. God knows best. God is in control and God manufactured me to be me and you to be you. He grafted us authentically - therefore He knows full well what we need more than we do.

He says do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will bring it's own set of troubles. Today's troubles are enough. God created us to take on one day at a time. However He gives us the Holy Spirit to give us disciple and wisdom to plan for the next day (but we aren't commanded to do it in worry but rather in wisdom.)

One. Day. At. A. Time.

Even in the prayer Jesus modeled for his disciples earlier in Chapter 6 of Matthew (verses 9-15). He states: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come,your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread."

If Jesus says that's how you pray then I should be wise to heed. His life was fruitful and He lived well - and I want the same thing for my life and the life of my children. He, the Son of God, Prayed that God's will be done, His kingdom come. Then he asked for his bread...only after advocating for God's Kingdom. 

So I pray. Intentionally, authentically for the needs of others. Causing me to walk obediently and faithfully, one day at a time. 

Keeps me sane. Gives me joy unspeakable. And "Produces wonderful results" (James 5:16).

One day at a time. 


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

WonderWednesdays: Babies in the air!...Here's to you expecting.

Hope you're enjoying the new updates to the blog.

I also hope this hump day found you well and anticipating the holiday weekend!

Labor Day...

I won't jump to far into our weekend plans. I'm leaving that to FamilyFridays.

However I can delve into the basics.

Truth be told I look forward to Labor Day Weekend (almost) more than Christmas. My husband's family reunion has been on this weekend for years. I love the tradition of it but more importantly I absolutely adore his relatives. I consider myself extremely blessed and honored in the "in-law" department.

This year is a little different, due to changes in our careers, for the first time in several years (6 to be exact) - we will be attending the event from start to finish...actually we'll be with his family from Saturday to Monday. You'll understand the rarity of this on Friday.

That's all the delving on that..

Other than Labor Day being an annual event our family really looks forward to - I also have really found the name of it comical.  This year more so.

A load of my friends (like a barrel and a heap) are finding out their pregnant, are pregnant and others very ready to have their little chickens. Tis the season.

Which means...

Baby celebrating and showers...

I love giving gifts. However, its important to me that I give them things made from the heart.

It's also very important that when they do come into this world...this girl gives them some serious smooches.

Lots and lots and lots of smooches.

So here's to you - all of you expecting. I'm excited for your babes to come into this world - I'm praying they love the Lord, that He gives you specific direction and encouragement to raise world changers..

...AND that they get all kinds of loving from this lady. You kind of don't have a choice.

Know that I'm praying for all of you - because there's a lot of you - with all different kinds of needs. And I consider it an honor to intentionally advocate in prayer for you, your babes (yes I mean babes) and your pregnancy and delivery. It's the greatest and most eternal gift I can offer.

and I'm honored.

Prayer & of course real tangible gifts.

My "go-to gift" is Aden and Anais muslin blankets - with funky designs on them - from my "go-to baby boutique" - Bella Baby.

My "go to hand-made item" is 0-3 month plain white onesies - with my personalized design on it - using t-shirt paint and a wide bristle paint brush & card stock and scissors to create the stencil. God gifted me with the nack of eyeballing designs - so I go with it.

So here's the damage.

WonderWednesdays...because I'm always asked (in so many words) what's up my sleeve...creatively speaking. With that Wednesdays will be about my current craft projects.

So with babies on the way...

This is my current craft interest.

Babies. Children. Such a beautiful blessing...

Such a weighty honor...

The truest of miracles...

An example of the very Kingdom of Heaven...

"One day some parents brought their little children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But when the disciples saw this, they scolded the parents for bothering him. Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Luke 18:15-17

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

TantumTuesdays: Current Read "Adopted for Life"

Thanks to help from a friend - we discovered the definition of "tantum" - it is a noun that appears only in the plural and does not have a singular. Which is rather perfect due to designating this day to cooking, the current book I'm reading or recommended blog to follow or suggested thing I can't live without. 

Tuesday was going to be for food only - however I've only recently been developing my cooking skills and even more recently become interested in doing so. I'm a baker of all things sweets - cooking however is a foreign language. Our family speaks the language of take-out and frozen custard. With all that said - I had to share Tuesdays with other things I can develope more of. 

So I call Tuesdays - TantumTuesdays.

Now knowing about my interest in cooking, it come as no surprise that today I'm gonna talk about my current & recommended read...and not the current dish I've made. Maybe next Tuesday..

For those of you who know me this should come as no surprise. However, it is very practical and relevant to us all. 

I have to read this book very slowly. It's so deep. Extremely weighty. And it has much spiritual significance. 

I set it down, only to come back to it a few weeks, or even months later. 

The current chapter has left me a bit baffled and even more eager to share its weighty truth. So I will attempt do so a short synapsis.

The book began to mention Joseph. You know the guy that married the virgin Mary not the Jacob's son who was sold to Potiphar only to work for the Pharoah. Joseph - Mary's groom - doesn't get much publicity in scriptures. Apart from marrying her, chaperoning her Bethlehem to give birth, and going back the temple with Mary to find the young Jesus at the temple - He seemed from our swift reading to be an obedient follower of God and a typical bible character. However his role is very significant to our view of the orphan (James 1:27) & our role as a father to his children (God's relationship with us and our roles as parents, especially the role of a father). But most importantly his role in Jesus' life and it's direct effect to our very souls and eternity. 

I'll keep this brief. God, in the old testament promised a king, a savior to the line of David. The virgin Mary was NOT in David's lineage. Joseph was. When Joseph adopted Jesus as his very own - though not biologically - God honored it as a very real adoption into the blood lineage of David. For if God doesn't see adoption as important nor valuable Jesus would not be considered the true Saviour of the world - and we would not be able to access the salvation given by the cross and the beautiful adoption of God. 


And so good. When I read the very detailed version to Ben (which I encourage you too to read)...I believe he became even more proud of his relationship with Pax. Ben is undeniably Pax's father. Pax is Ben's heir - his first born - and Pax lacks nothing in relation to being Ben's son. I believe the spiritual significance to Ben at that moment was reinstated. 

It was beautiful. 

It is beautiful.

This book is intense about the realness, the need, the beauty of...

... adoption. 

"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." - James 1:5 

It's important that we are always seeking God - educating ourselves on what is important to Him. That we may truly know His intricate, intentional, authentic will for our lives. 

Adoption - whether you adopt or not - you are adopted and to truly understand this and be wise in it will give you another understanding in the love of God - our Father. You will find it will empower you and give you courage. 

"They are the people of Israel, chosen to be God’s adopted children. God revealed his glory to them. He made covenants with them and gave them his law. He gave them the privilege of worshiping him and receiving his wonderful promises." - Romans 9:4

Monday, August 27, 2012

MamaMondays: Manic Monday for this Mama

My heart started to race - as I was abruptly awaken by my 18 month old coughing uncontrollably...ending with what sounded like he was gasping for air mixed with what sounded like vomiting.

As I walk into his room across the hall from mine, I found him balled up in the corner of his crib. whimpering, yet still asleep. What was left of my over beating and anxious heart - went out to him.

A few hours later, when he decided 5:03 a.m. was a good idea to wake up and face the day - I quickly took my sympathies back.

Since his typical wake up time was 7:30 or 8 - I was really unsure what today would look like.

I'm a rational human being. I understand first hand that babies change things. Let's be real - they change EVERYTHING. However, God still knit me to be organized and planned.

My day, that was intended to be very productive with a 18 month old shifted quickly to a day that was still demanding productivity however with a sick, out of routine, needy one minute - independent the next, little baby boy.

I feared the worst. However little man pulled through. Taking 2...I say it again, 2 long naps - poor baby needed them. Waking up to the second one with no fever. (Giving credit to God and the mamas on Mom on the Wall - a facebook page I'm apart of. I say thank you - so truly much for praying for him).

Now as I finish my day I can say that all the demands were for the most part accomplished. My baby was visited by three very special women - my pastor's wife, my dear friend (whom I share everything with), and his birthmom (who happens to be like a daughter/dear friend/like a sister to me-if that's possible). Along with the visits - he got to see his very hard working daddy for a few more hours randomly inbetween his interview and work. And most importantly he heard about Jesus with this mama over coffee and breakfast, straight from God's Word. Finishing him off with some pureed fruit and a good old fashion bath with the works (bubbles and toys)...which he climbed out of for the second time in his whole life (mama got this one on film however).

As I held on to my baby today - I was reminded how fast time goes by. How soon it will be till he starts school. I'm reminded as I look on our fridge at a picture of the first time I ever held him in my arms, thinking that soon he will be in his bride's arms. When his birthmom, Lesa and I talk about how big he is - my heart drops a few inches in my chest - thinking soon this baby boy will be in a big boy bed and walking himself there rather than me carrying him. 

"a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,   a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracinga time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak.." Ecclesiastes 3:4-7

And right now I'm embracing him.

Find time to embrace. Put your heart into it.

Welcome to MamaMondays.