Saturday, June 24, 2017

Your Home is your Ministry

Ladies, I just want to encourage YOU today.

Image result for if you want to change the world, for home and love your family

Your home IS your ministry!

What a powerful opportunity we have every single day to serve the Lord...even in what may feel like mundane tasks. I’ve said before “If I’m scrubbing toilets, I’m going to scrub em for Jesus!” May sound lame, but isn’t that what we want to do? And isn't that exciting? Taking care of our homes & families is such an awesome contribution to the Kingdom that we should be proud of and work heartily in! It may not get all the glory now & may seem like a thankless job, but I feel full confidence we are storing crowns in Heaven as we walk out that great calling.

There are a few passages in the Bible that are just for us women, like Titus 2:3-5 that says "the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed." We should study those verses & become passionate about them as we pursue our mission to become more like Christ.

Being a homemaker- to me, that means your best efforts should be inside your own four walls. If your ministry ever becomes so demanding of you that your own home- your family...husband/marriage, children, health, personal walk...begins to suffer, it's time to step back. We can't let our light shine for others if our lights are burned out, and they can even be burned out by doing "good" things like serving/working outside the home. Do I believe both can be done? Yes. But we have to be super cautious to GUARD our hearts, minds, & homes. You have to take care of your own light first, and the bigger the flame, the more it draws others & more you can share. We are not called to be busy, stretched too thin, or too exhausted for our own family. I have no doubt Satan is using this as a tool of destruction & a sneaky method of getting into families...making us busy, making us feel inadequate & like we aren't doing enough in what should be our greatest calling, by keeping us from finding fulfillment in being homemakers, & in having us pursue things that mean some of our own families' needs go unmet.

Let's pursue godliness together by becoming warriors for our own four walls! I get excited at the thought of how we can change the world when our own husbands and children get our most Christ-like efforts.

"I want to be respected most by those who know me best."

Munchkin Murphy Mission

You guys know how precious adoption is to me since I was adopted. I can tell you from the perspective of being adopted, it is an incredible bond and such a gift. I am forever grateful to both my biological mom and my family taking me in and always treating me like blood. I am grateful every day they chose LIFE & that the Lord orchestrated and placed me where he did.

We have some sweet friends – PJ & Kiley Murphy- (they are farmers in Kentucky) getting ready to adopt a precious baby, & they're fundraising with these super cute t-shirts!

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing

There are lots of colors & options available if you want your own. (I ordered some for Jon & the boys too.) Here’s the link to order shirts: https://www.bonfire.com/mmmlovegrowsfamilies/

(You can read a little more of their story here too.)

If you decide to get one, be sure to post a picture and use the hashtag #murphymunchkinmission . Kiley is making a collage with pictures to put in the baby’s room of everyone who supported the adoption.

Saying a prayer today for all of the families going through the adoption process and all of the precious children waiting for a family to call their own. A sweet friend reminded me to pray for the birth mothers too, and that is so very true & honestly something I didn’t think of. It is such an act of sacrificial love, but I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for those mamas. Praying for them too.

19437355_10100683453456102_8182928530537397407_n

“For this child I have prayed, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.” – 1 Samuel 1:27

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Kade’s 2nd Birthday

Kade’s official 2nd birthday was on Wednesday, June 14th. We had a fun day at home & Kade loved talking about turning 2 all day. He even helped us sing “Happy Birthday” to himself with his sweet little voice.

IMG_6466IMG_6442

We celebrated his birthday on Saturday, June 17th at INK (Interactive Neighborhood for Kids) in Gainesville. His party was from 12-2 (naptime), and we had Jase’s first little baseball game early that morning. It was busy a busy morning and we were up earlier than normal, so I was hoping he wouldn’t be too tired and would be able to enjoy his party. In true Kade fashion, he didn’t disappoint! He had a blast with all his friends and family.

IMG_6478IMG_6491IMG_6479

He sang with us again and blew his candles right out. He couldn’t wait for some cake!

IMG_6497IMG_6499IMG_6501IMG_6510IMG_6511

That would be his second cupcake. He helped himself to one when we first got there and were setting up. Little stinker!

IMG_6514IMG_6518IMG_6519IMG_6522IMG_6525

He got some great gifts- a cute outfit, a bike, some blocks & outside toys,sunglasses, learning cupcakes, and a grocery cart with food. He was so sweet and told everyone “taint tou” for the presents. He spent most of his time playing with the trains by Papa and Granddaddy while all the big kids explored the museum. All of the kiddos had a blast!

IMG_6527IMG_6528IMG_6539IMG_6551IMG_6562IMG_6564IMG_6565IMG_6566

I was trying to keep an eye on the boys, talk to everyone, and hold Baby Beau, so I didn’t get to take as many pictures as I would have liked. But I am so grateful to everyone who was able to come celebrate our sweet Kade with us! (And we missed you guys who couldn’t make it!)

He is so precious and makes life so much fun. He has the sweetest little smile and dimples and the funniest personality. He loves to make us laugh and is so friendly! You have added so much FUN & JOY to our lives over these past two years,and we are so thankful you are ours.

Kade- You are truly a GIFT from the Lord and I just love being your mama! You have added so much FUN & JOY to our lives over these past two years, and we are so thankful you are ours!! Keep shining, sweet boy.

Guests: Mom, Dad, Jase, Beau, Papa, “Jimmy,” Baby Kayton, Uncle RicYou have added so much FUN & JOY to our lives over these past two years,and we are so thankful you are ours.hard & Aunt Jean, Grammy & Granddaddy, Tammie, Zach, & Morgen, Dustin, Amie, DJ, Baby Ellie, Gracie, Chloe, Carsyn, Presley, Colette, Harbor Kate, Laura, Braylon, Baby Mayson, Megan, Levi, Selah

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Feelings Follow Obedience

I think there are some times in life we just have to make the choice to obey first, and then our feelings will “catch up.” If we try to wait on our feelings first before we do what we know is right, that may not ever happen. And the Bible says when we know what is right and don’t do it, that is sin.

“Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” –James 4:17

421befc79b898adb74cc15f8c1b96fc1

I’ve heard people teach that partial obedience or delayed obedience is the same thing as disobedience.  My initial reaction is to argue that or get defensive about it, but when you think about some practical examples, it helps you understand how that is truth. I know with my kiddos for example, I want them to obey immediately. This is not a power trip thing….it’s about THEIR protection. If I ask one of my boys to put his shoes on so we can leave and it takes him 10 minutes and me asking him 3 different times, that sounds like no big deal, right? It’s not life or death. But what if we are on the sidewalk in the front yard and he starts running after a ball into the street? If I yell at him to stop, he must stop immediately! We don’t have time to wait around for 10 minutes and for me to tell him 3 times. It IS life or death if a car is speeding by. Sometimes we don’t consider that, but there is no way to teach a young child that there are times delayed or partial obedience are okay and times it’s not. We have to teach them to obey immediately, every time….and that means we must live that out in our own lives. I know our Heavenly Father doesn’t expect any less from us, and we have to trust that our obedience will ultimately lead to our protection.

I can think of many people whose lives have been ruined because of ONE bad choice, can’t you? One choice to disobey can lead to “death,” both figurative and literal.

Anyway, I was thinking about a few (less serious) examples of times I have had to choose to just do it, and eventually the feelings started catching up. This is encouraging me to step out in other areas, when I know I should (or shouldn’t) be doing something, to be obedient in that area. Without questioning, delaying, or hesitating…

So here are the examples.

*Cooking. I did not know how to cook when I went off to college. I lived off of cereal, salad, frozen veggies, sandwiches, and burnt fish/chicken on the Foreman grill (lol! I’m sure my roommates loved me for that!). I remember my friend Beth telling me how to brown meat because I didn’t know. Seriously…it was bad. And because of that, I didn’t like cooking. Or at least, that’s what I told myself. When I got married, I knew that I was the “nutritional gatekeeper” of our home, and I wanted to eat/feed our family healthy and nutritious homemade meals. That meant I was going to have to learn to cook. So even though I didn’t really want to, and I didn’t really enjoy it (at first), I started cooking. I became a student. I looked up recipes, practiced, made a few #epicfails in the kitchen. But eventually I got better! And I even started to enjoy it. My feelings followed my obedience, and now I love to cook and can be found spending lots of time in the kitchen every day. (I wrote a blog post about this a while back.)

*Exercising. I have always been active and love to work out! But have you ever taken some time off for any reason? Or started a new-to-you workout regimen? At first, it can be pretty miserable. Let’s be honest…it is NOT fun getting back in it when you’re not in shape. But over time, you get better, get stronger, recover faster, have more endurance, and it gets easier. It gets more enjoyable. (And then you can push yourself harder!) I know being active helps me be as healthy as possible (*sitting is the new smoking*), so I do it…even when I don’t feel like it. I always feel better afterwards. So again, those feelings follow obedience.

*Forgiving someone. Whew! This one is a hard one. There have been a few times I’ve had to make the choice (and still have to make the choice- unfortunately it’s not always a once a done) to forgive someone. To forgive someone who didn’t deserve it, or didn’t even ask for my forgiveness for that matter. But when I forgive that person, I feel better. It allows me to let go of anger, hurt, bitterness, and resentment…which means I can replace those feelings with JOY, peace, happiness, & love. It feels really good to be able to forgive and even love (in a Christlike way) those who have hurt you (even if there isn’t a relationship). Your feelings follow the obedience.

But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. –Luke 6:27-28

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”- john 14:23

If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. –Deut 28:1

Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess. –Deut 5:33

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. – James 1:22

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Beau: 3 Months

Baby Beau turned 3 months on May 23rd

IMG_6432

Weight/Height: He is super long & lean. He may end up being our tallest boy yet. He was around 14 lbs the last time I weighed him, and I’ve even put him in a few 9 month/12 month onsies! They were a little big of course, but I have a feeling he’s going to be a tall guy.

image

Health: Sweet baby is healthy & growing. He is such a happy, laid back baby & has the best demeanor! This sounds gross but he gets some crusty skin stuff behind his ears like every day. I gently scrub them with one of his little washcloths & then use coconut oil, but it pops back up in a day or two.

image

I bought some “natural” diapers that caused him to have a rash. We just went back to Pampers & it’s clearing up already. Nothing a little coconut oil and breastmilk can’t cure!

image

Sleep: Beau is a great sleeper. He takes really great naps and wakes up one or two times during the night. He is definitely going to be a tummy sleeper. We only swaddle his legs now since he can roll over front to back and back to front. We still use our Snuza & Angel Care monitor.

image

(For the record, when they are fastened in their infant seat, the chest strap should be much tighter than this. We loosened it a little because we were at a restaurant, but you shouldn’t have any slack like that.)

What Beau is up to: rolling front to back & back to front, drooling & blowing bubbles, laughing out loud, getting a million kisses, stealing hearts

imageimageimage

Nursing: Nursing is going well. He nurses about 10-15 min, except at night and it’s much longer for that final feeding. He definitely has a side preference, & sometimes I have to nurse one side to get the other ide to let down. Thankfully we haven’t had any issue though! I haven’t really been pumping at all since our extra freezer is in storage& we don’t really have the space.

He’s obviously not missing any meals! (Those aren’t really his size 6 diapers. He’s in a 2/3. We just needed one and had to borrow one of Kade’s.)

unnamed (27)unnamed

Post-Partum: I feel good. Still sweating all.the.time! I am always hot now which is so unlike me- I’m normally always freezing. Started working out at Fit Body Boot Camp and a few Orange Theory workouts and I feel like I’m really getting back to my normal strength and endurance. I’ve also been doing more research and we are trying to move to a little bit more of a plant-based diet, so shooting for 2 days a week of meatless meals. Still probably need to be getting more sleep, but I’m doing my best to take good care of myself. Growing a lot spiritually. Missing teaching, but try to get my fix through random FB Live videos. Also trying to take better care of my teeth and skin.

Big Brothers Jase & Kade: The boys LOVE their little brother & they take great care of him. They are very sweet and gentle with him and always let me know if he needs something.

imageunnamed (1)unnamed (2)

unnamed (3)

unnamed (4)

IMG_6438IMG_6439

He has his little birth marks in the exact same place Kade does. I feel like he has Kade’s head shape and similar marks, and even some dimples (just not as pronounced as Kade’s), but looks more like Jase with his eyes & coloring.

image

Thoughts: Baby Beau, you are my sweet, precious boy and my heart is so full loving you!! You have added so much JOY to our family & you’re the perfect Butler brother to add to the mix. I’m  already loving watching you grow and can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for you. I have no doubt it’s BIG….because you are special. And oh so very loved! Thanks for being such a sweet babe. And for not crying in the car anymore. Winking smileLove being your mama.

image

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

“What Not To Do”

A couple months ago we were out eating lunch and ran into a former student of mine. It was a young man I taught in middle school who was about to graduate high school. I could tell he was happy to see me and Jonathan and we were glad to see him too. (It’s always neat seeing them grow up and become adults).

After I asked him all about what he’s been doing and his plans for the future, I asked him about his parents. His demeanor totally shifted and he told me they got a divorce. I told him I was so sorry to hear that. He told me it was fine, but I told him it’s okay to feel sad about it and I know it can be hard. His next response has rang in my ears ever since. “That’s okay…I guess at least I learned what NOT to do in marriage.”

My heart broke for him when he said that.

image

Over the next couple weeks, that line just kept ringing in my head…”at least I learned what NOT to do.”

I thought about it a LOT. I reflected, then thought ahead 14 more years to when we will have our first kiddo graduating high school. Will he be saying “Well at least I learned what NOT to do from my parents when it comes to _________!” ?? What areas of my life do I need to tighten up? What aspects of my life am I not demonstrating excellence, or am I struggling to the point that my children won’t want to be like me? Where they feel like I was more of a lesson in what NOT to do than what TO do?

I have been praying that the Lord will give me wisdom and reveal those areas to me. I know I will never be a perfect mom, wife, or person…but I hope to be a positive example in as many areas as possible. “WWJD” is not just a bracelet – it’s a concept we should apply to our lives. To consider how Jesus would handle different situations. And if our goal is to be like Christ, I want our children to be able to think “How would mom and dad handle this? What would they do?”

Are there any areas of your life where you’re sending a message of “what NOT to do” rather than being an example of “what to do?”

Overcoming “Shy” Behaviors

For the past several months, Jase has acted more nervous in bigger crowds of people. For example, if we enter a room and there are several people around (even if he knows them), he acts embarrassed and doesn’t want to talk to anyone. He will also not respond sometimes when people are talking to him in public. (Like if we see a friend of mine out in public and they try to talk to him, he won’t talk back.) I know sometimes people feel like they know him better than he knows them because of social media, so I was trying to be considerate of his feelings, but also felt like his response might be perceived as rude and disrespectful. I wasn’t really sure how to handle it. I tried disciplining for it, ignoring it, talking for him, etc. I finally reached out to two wise women in my life to seek their perspective & suggestions. I also try to avoid labels, so I hate to use the term “shy.” But often when he wouldn’t talk back, the other adult would say “Oh he’s shy!” I didn’t really know how to handle that aspect either. We are definitely still working through it, but I wanted to share their tips/responses because their wisdom was so helpful for me.

IMG_6406

- Acknowledge we understand he might feel nervous, but tell him that we love him too much to not let him enjoy being friendly to others. Let him know that he doesn’t have to have long conversations with others, but it’s rude not to say hello when one of mommy & daddy’s friends says hello to him first. It is part of teaching him to be kind to others and esteem others better than themselves. (Phil 2:3)

- Practice/role play at home. Pretend you are someone new he is meeting & have him look you in the eye, shake your hand and introduce himself. Do it often until he becomes comfortable doing it, giving him plenty of opportunities to find it painless with me & Jon.

- Remind him of our expectations before we go in somewhere (especially if we know we are going to be around others) & encourage him that we will be right there with him.

-Give him phrases to say. It may just be that he doesn’t know what to say, so give him one or two lines. “Hey there, I’m Jase…how are you?” or “Hi, I’m Jase, nice to meet you.” He doesn’t ever have to give hugs/kisses, but needs to speak back when someone addresses him to say hello.

- If someone suggests he is shy, be sure to say something positive about him after that comment (like what a great big brother he is) so it gives us something positive about him to focus on.

-Remind others that he just turned 4 years old during conversations. “Yep, we just celebrated his 4th birthday a couple weeks ago! We had a fun pirate party, didn’t we Jase?” (He looks much older than he is, so sometimes people expect him to behave like a 5-6 year old.)

- Let him hear you praying for him thanking God for making him such a friendly young man.

- And one of my favorites…Pray for the Lord to fill in parenting gaps! Such a great reminder. I am not doing everything perfectly as a parent, and my time is divided, so ask the Lord to fill in those gaps. He is faithful!

I know each child is going to have their own personality. Some are naturally going to be more outgoing, extroverted, and friendly, and I am so thankful the Lord created each of us uniquely! However, “shy” behaviors that err more on the side of disrespectful shouldn’t be tolerated. Like one of the ladies reminded me, our goal is to raise a confident gentleman, and therefor we must discourage any selfish behaviors that will hinder that development.

Again, we are still working through it, but I feel confident this is going to help us redirect & shape him.

**Thank you Mrs. Willette and Mrs. Jan for your godly wisdom!