Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Praying for Your Home

Well, if you haven’t noticed the theme of my last few posts…..it’s PRAYER. God has done a powerful work in my walk through my prayer life recently. I feel led to blog about it to encourage those of you who feel stagnant in your prayer life and wanted to share some of the specific things He is teaching me. I have an awesome example of ladies at our church who have a fervent prayer life, & I have longed for that. It is awesome to witness & hear them teach about and share their passion for prayer. But to be completely honest, it’s been an area where I have struggled. I didn’t know HOW to get that kind of a prayer life. The Circle Maker kicked it off for me, but the answer is simple. Pray MORE.  So just being real….I prayed out of habit more than out of desire. I prayed with words rather than my heart. I prayed empty prayers- to check it off my daily checklist rather than to seek a deep, intimate relationship with my Savior that he and I both desire. I talked and didn’t listen. I didn’t pray Scriptures. I would start praying and become distracted and never finish. I would pray at convenient times. I prayed more for a “need” than out of thanksgiving. I BELIEVE in prayer. I know it’s powerful. But it also takes effort on our part. Thankfully the Lord tells us if we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us. (James 4:8)

I have been praying more intensely for my walk, husband, children, family, friends (post to come), and ministry. One area God laid on my heart to pray more specifically is my home.

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For those who weren’t reading this blog back in 2010 when we got married, you may not know this about our home. We prayed and prayed and prayed about finding a house. We actually started searching in 2008 (before we even got engaged) so we could capitalize on the tax credit. Jon was going to live there until we got married. But we never found anything.

Closer and closer to wedding time, we still had yet to find our home. We were doing our best to seek the Lord, but not gonna lie, it was tough.  We both felt that He had the PERFECT house for us, but naturally we were discouraged we hadn’t found it yet. We ended up living with my parents for the first 8 months we were married, and we received some ridicule for that (people insisted that we should just rent something somewhere), but held fast to knowing it was what we were supposed to do. It worked out perfectly, and in February 2011, we finally found the house. We found out in April we got the house, and it far exceeded anything we could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

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It’s changed a lot in the past three years, but here is our early home tour.

One of my favorite things about this house is that I know it is BLESSED. The lady who built it had friends write their favorite Scriptures throughout the house during the framing and they prayed over it. Here are a few examples we saw when our house flooded.

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I have a whole list of the Scriptures and where they are located in the house. That is something we definitely plan to do if we ever build.

Before Jase was born, I prayed fervently over his nursery too. Funny, it is one of my favorite rooms in the house because of the PEACEFULNESS. It’s hard to describe, but others people have told me they sense it and feel it too, so I know I’m not making it up.

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Since reading The Circle Maker (anyone sick of hearing about it yet? Sorry, I’m not sorry. It has been THAT impactful for me.), I have had an overwhelming sense to physically walk around the outside of our house and pray over it. Jase & I were eating lunch on the back deck the other afternoon & when we finished up, we began our prayer walk. We walked about 5 or 6 laps around the house, praying out loud.  Thanking God for so many things, but also praying over it. Here are a few of the things we prayed (not everything, but just some ideas):

  • protection within these walls -physical protection from floods, natural disasters, evil people, harmful animals/rodents/insects, gases, fire, etc. AND spiritual protection from Satan, attacks from the enemy, and his destruction.
  • that we will use our home to bring God glory. that we will open it to others and be loving neighbors.
  • that we will SEEK the Lord and make effort to spend time with him every day we are in this house.
  • for the entryway- that everyone who walks through our doors will feel safe, welcome, uplifted, and an overwhelming sense of peace. that our love for Jesus will overflow and praise will always be on our lips in our home. it will be a safe haven from the outside world.
  • for our dining room. that we will enjoy meals together. always give thanks to the Lord first. that our meals will nourish our bodies so we can honor God through our temple. that we will be safe from choking (sounds silly- but that’s scary). that we will have lots of laughs and make sweet memories around that table.
  • that our future children will desire to spend time with us at home because we create a loving environment, and that their friends will want to come to our house as well. that we will love their friends and are a positive impact on them.
  • for the kitchen. that I prepare meals with love and find joy in taking care of my family in this way. that I take time to plan meals, prepare healthy choices, and teach my children how to as well.
  • for the bathrooms. that although we strive to take care of ourselves, we do not become vain.
  • for the bedrooms. that we will rest well so we can be most effective.
  • that God will help us remain focused, disciplined, and bless our efforts to pay off our house and be debt-free.
  • that God will help us speak edifying, life-giving words that build each other up in this house. that praise music, laughter, Scriptures, and encouraging words fill our home.
  • that we always remember how BLESSED we are and not take that for granted.
  • that anyone who ever works on or in our home be protected and that we represent Christ to them.
  • that we effectively teach our children responsibility as we all do our part to care for the home.
  • that God will reveal to us if and when we should move.

"My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places."- Isaiah 32:18

“He blesses the dwelling of the righteous.“ -Proverbs 3:33

“By wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established; And by knowledge the rooms are filled With all precious and pleasant riches.” – Proverbs 24:3-4 

“Now therefore may it please you to bless the house of your servant, so that it may continue forever before you. For you, O Lord God, have spoken, and with your blessing shall the house of your servant be blessed forever.” –2 Samuel 7:29

Friday, February 21, 2014

Praying FOR, With, & In Front Of Your Children & Book Recommendations

Y’all, if you still haven’t ordered The Circle Maker, do it ASAP. I am so thankful for how God used this book as a tool to refresh me in my walk & encourage me in my prayer life.

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It also spurred me to order Praying Circles Around Your Children.

I absolutely LOVED this except from the book:

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“You’ll never be a perfect parent, but you can be a praying parent.” Truth bomb.

I truly believe it is my obligation/responsibility as a parent to cover my children in prayer (just as it is for wives to pray for your husbands). But more than anything, I consider it a PRIVELEGE!!! How cool that we get to go to the Lord and intervene on behalf of our families- our future or current spouse and children- to lift them up to God?!? Man, that is powerful.

Jonathan and I have been praying for Baby Jase since lonnnng before be was born, and we pray for our future children as well. Being totally honest, I find it more natural to pray for our babies than anything else and find myself doing it all the time. I have to work to be more intentional in other areas of my prayer life, but this is one area that is second nature.

I found something on Pinterest a long time ago about praying for your children, and I loved that it had Scripture attached to each prayer. I underlined or highlighted the Scripture in my Bible & I copied the list (I wanted it in my handwriting) and put it on our frig so it’s a constant reminder for me. I pray for more than just this list, and definitely more in depth in each area, but I like having some specific daily targets to pray over Jase and appreciate that they are directly out of God’s Word.

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I know it is equally as important to pray WITH your children and in front of them. We make it a point to pray with Jase several times during the day. When he first wakes up, before all of our meals, and before bed are the go-to times, but I try to pray out loud when I am praying throughout the day. I always pray out loud in the car, for example. And I try to say praises out loud too. I am working on being more mindful of always having praise on my lips and thanking God for the “small things” so I can have a more grateful spirit. More recently, I have been asking for forgiveness out loud too. I want my kids to see that I’m real and I I mess up (I don’t think I’ll be able to hide that- ha!), but God is merciful when we ask for forgiveness and repent. Man, I’m having to do this WAY MORE than I’d care to admit.

It is truly my heart’s desire to be a prayer warrior, and I want my husband, children, grandchildren, family, and friends to know they can count on me to lift them in prayer. I want to pray constantly throughout my day. The Circle Maker has inspired me and taught me how to do that & I feel I have grown tremendously in a short time in this area. When someone asks me to pray for them, I will pray for that person out loud with Jase (if it is appropriate to do so) so he can begin learning the power of prayer.

I know God honors bold prayers, and one prayer can change EVERYTHING. I have recently been praying specifically for mentorship for both Jonathan and myself because we know we have a LOT to learn! And we want to learn from those who already walk in wisdom & are raising godly children.

We are blessed in the fact that our church is filled with some awesome men and women of the Lord who are great examples to us- especially regarding parenting. I have learned so much from so many of the couples already & I will soak up ALLLLL the wisdom, advice, knowledge, and experience they want to pass along. I am a “learner”-- especially when it comes to the topics I’m passionate about. (I know that is not grammatically correct, but I prefer to write like I speak.) Parenting is definitely one of them, and we’re obviously very new. We have a LOT to learn & will still make LOTS of mistakes, of course. (I think that’s why I am so set on being a prayerful parent. I don’t want to let my hot mess self get in the way of raising children who LOVE and FEAR the Lord.)

There is one family who especially sticks out to me as the type of family I want to have. They have seven INCREDIBLE children. I could go on for days with stories about them. I respect their family tremendously and value ANYTHING this couple has to say about child rearing. And when I think of the Proverbs 31 woman, this mother is who pops in my head. They are both so humble and so full of wisdom. (Just shows how much growing and maturing I still need to do. If I had raised seven children like theirs, I would be offering to do parenting seminars for the whole world! They 100% give God ALL of the credit He deserves and constantly point everything back to Him. Sheesh, I have such a long way to go…)

They recently had a “family night” where they shared some insight with anyone who wanted to attend. I was excited about it for months, and of course Satan tried to keep us from making it back to church early so we could participate- but we MADE it. (No way I was missing it!) It wasn’t nearly long enough and left me so hungry for more. They said that they were blessed to have lots of great mentors along the way (even through authors of books they’ve read), which was confirmation in my heart for us to have mentors.

I wanted to share these two resources they gave to us because I know our world needs more godly parents who desire to train up godly children.

The first list is book recommendations. They reminded us, of course, that the Word of God is the ULTIMATE place to seek wisdom in parenting. The father reminded us that we may not agree with the doctrine or beliefs of all of these authors exactly, which is why we take the wisdom from them that works for us. Pray and seek the Lord to determine what is best for your family, as every parent, family, and child is unique. I ordered as many off the list that fit into our entertainment budget for this month (amazing how much more money we have to spend on books now that we cut out tv) and will order more next month. I seriously have so many books on my “to-read” list right now, I have enough material to make it through the rest of 2014.

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They also gave us this list of specific ways to pray over your children and grandchildren someone had given them early on.

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Look familiar? Ha! SAME list I found on Pinterest a while back. They handed Jonathan this when we first walked in, and he tapped me to show me, in awe that it was exactly what I have posted on our frig! Ha! I guess he thought I came up with that list on my own? Nope, definitely can’t take the credit.

One of other book I have that I wanted to recommend is:

Quick, easy read with lots of practical principles.

Anyone else have advice in regards to praying for, with, or in front of your children, or GREAT reads??

Thursday, February 20, 2014

#TBT

Keepin’ it real since 1985!!

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I was the “girliest” tomboy you’ve ever seen! (Minus 4th grade- the year of Umbros, No Fear shirts, slick pony tails, and Air Jordans. But we won’t go there.)

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My dream job has always been “Mama.” LOVING every minute of this journey and so thankful God is allowing me to be Jase’s mom. (And maybe the twins are a prophecy? Ha!)

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And just when I think Jase looks like me as a baby, I take a picture like this. TWINS.

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The Blessings of AdvoCare

I am SO incredibly thankful for AdvoCare. It has blessed our family (along with countless others) beyond measure in many ways. We are healthier than we’ve ever been, we are more financially “fit” than ever before on our journey towards debt freedom, and we have grown tremendously as people and leaders, which is helping us be better examples for our children. For example, we have cut out cable off and spend more time together and reading. We have also improved in the area of procrastination & not making excuses. (Self-development is one HUGE area that many other career fields are lacking, but is encouraged in AdvoCare.) We have made some awesome friends that help us to be better. It truly is a champion culture- very positive, uplifting, & encouraging- which I know is unique- and we are proud to be a part of it. I am reminded of this as I read through our guiding principles and the learn more about the values the company was founded upon, but even more as I SEE others changing and growing. (Like my sweet friends Jenn & Nikki for example. Just two of MANY!)

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It’s a blessing to know we have found a way to earn residual income that will take care of our family long into the future, and hopefully even help our parents retire (if we beat them to it). We plan to pay cash for anything we buy (Lord willing) and save our children from the burden of student loans. More than anything though, we want to give them the gift of our TIME.  We are still very early in our parenting journey and know God has a lot more up his sleeve for us in the family department. Both of our parents were extremely present in our lives growing up, an that is important to us. Our ultimate goal in raising children is that they LOVE the Lord with all their heart, soul, strength, and mind, and serve Him to the best of their ability. (There will be trials, of course, but I believe everything else will fall into place if we focus on that.) The BEST way we can do that aside from modeling it through our own walk (which we strive to do- fail often, but continue to strive for anyway) and through TRAINING them up in the way they should go (Prov 22:6). That requires lots of effort, consistency, and most of all, TIME.

AdvoCare has been around for 21 years and is continuing to grow at exponential rates because the products and opportunity are so incredible. We are thankful for the time freedom and financial freedom this is going to continue to provide us so we can give our best selves to our children. I was just talking to Jonathan about this yesterday and he said he thinks that is what makes it so special. Sure, we could have other professions that pay us well, but there is NOTHING else we can think of that would allow us the time freedom we have with what we do now.

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Before AdvoCare, we knew we wanted for me to be a stay at home mom. (Wish I would have prayed more about this before loading up on degrees!) We were both working multiple jobs to save up a nest egg to make sure we would be “comfortable” when the time came for us to start a family. We did NOT want to fight about finances, as financial issues are the number one cause of divorce. (And in a society with such high divorce rates, those are not good odds & not a chance we were willing to take.) Jonathan is an extremely hard worker, which is one of my favorite qualities about him- I cannot handle lazy so I really appreciate this about Jon. Anyway, we both knew that when the time came, I would stay home, even if that meant him working multiple jobs & long hours. Hours and time away from us. (Neither of us are really okay with that either, but didn’t know any other way.) Me being at home was/is a non-negotiable for both of us and something about which we are both very passionate. We both saw that when I was working full-time outside the home, I was not able to give my best IN the home (which I feel is my ultimate calling & main ministry). I was often grumpy when I got home. I did not want to cook dinner- much less a healthy, home-made meal. Did not feel like doing any household chores. Did not really want to be touched or even talked to for that matter. Hats off to the women who can balance this, but I am NOT one of them! (I’m certainly not perfect now by any means, but I can say I am so much more effective in the areas I feel like I’m called to serve my home.) Now I can’t WAIT for Jonathan to get home from work! I love to talk to him and hear about his day. I love to work out with him. I find satisfaction in preparing healthy meals for our family (something I have prayed about- I did not used to enjoy cooking). I enjoy keeping the house tidy. I like not feeling rushed when I am doing my Bible study. I like being able to do things for other people in the community/serving when I am able. And I like spending Jase’s awake time singing to him, playing with him, reading to him, and teaching him.

Thankfully Jonathan has been very successful running a couple of his own businesses, but without AdvoCare,  we would have fallen into the second or third of the following categories that describes the majority of families in today’s culture:

1. Both parents work to provide for the family, and the children spend a large chunk of the time each day with caregivers other than mom and dad. Family time is often rushed with homework, school projects, meals on the go, practices, television, etc.,

2. Dad makes good money so mom can stay home, but he works lots of hours and/or travels a lot, missing quality time with the children. Or vice versa. (Honestly, we’d rather struggle financially than have Jonathan be away from us.)

3. The family lives on one-income, but struggles financially to make ends meet. This often leads to stress, worry, more debt, and marital strife.

Our long-term goal is not some lavish lifestyle with lots of jewelry & nice clothes, boats/toys, fancy cars (I just want something reliable), & vacation homes. What we want is simple- debt freedom. Debt freedom leads to many other types of freedom. The Word is clear about not owing anyone, so we are working diligently on that. We do want to build a home on some land  with animals and a monster garden eventually (we are seeking God’s timing & direction), so actually, if anything, we want to SIMPLIFY. Jonathan and I  both also have a passion for ministry, and love the idea of being able to serve whenever (because of the time freedom) without ever being supported financially by the church (because finances won’t be an issue). We are both feeling the beginnings of being called to adopt as well (that’s another post for a different day) and want to be able to fully fund that ourselves when and if the time comes. I also feel one of my spiritual gifts is giving, and although we give no matter our income level, this has allowed us to increase our giving. I believe giving needs to be a private thing between you and God so I don’t talk about it often, but I will state the obvious: Proportionately, the more money you make, the more money you are giving to advance HIS kingdom.

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We are coming upon our two year anniversary in March, and in two short years, it has already provided us with tremendous freedom. As Jonathan always says, “Even if it never paid us another dime, it has already blessed us beyond measure.” In honor of our two year anniversary with the company, I wanted to share some of what it has done for us and give God the GLORY for putting this opportunity in our paths!

  • One of my favorite things about this, aside from helping others, is that we get to do this TOGETHER. Jonathan & I both grew up playing team sports and very much appreciate the mindset of having a teammate. May sound cheesy, but we view each other as teammates in our marriage and in LIFE. And there is hands down NO ONE I would rather be working along side. I know lots of couples who prefer to go there separate ways during the day and don’t like the idea of too much “together time.” They can’t imagine ‘working’ with their spouse, but I’d say that’s the beauty of having a marriage built on a solid friendship. We really are best friends, have lots of the same interests, work together very well, and actually ENJOY being together. No, we don’t always get along. We do have our disagreements for sure and get on each other’s nerves sometimes, but at the end of the day, we have a BLAST being together & enjoy working this together. We have very different strengths too, so we compliment each other well and by working together it allows each of us to thrive in the area we are strongest.
  • I’ve heard lots of moms say they could never stay home because they would be “so bored” & they have a career outside of being just a wife and mom to find fulfillment. And I respect that. Although I LOVE being a wife and mother, I can say that it is incredibly rewarding to be able to help others, especially in the two areas where most Americans are struggling- health & finances. I am passionate about teaching and encouraging others, so this allows me an avenue to use my gifts and exercise my other passions outside of being a wife and mother (while still being able to give my best to my family). Honestly, I feel like it helps me be an even better mom! I am not burnt out and needing to tell Jonathan about every detail of my day when he gets home. I am not idle, which helps me focus my efforts and energy on something productive (the Bible warns big time against idleness, and I have seen it cause issues with stay at home moms before). I love that I have the adult interaction throughout my day, and I have made so many incredible new friends through this! Most of the people closest to me are involved in AdvoCare on some level now anyway, so it’s just given us one more common thread.
  • I appreciate being able to contribute to our household. My desire is to be the wife depicted in the Bible. Still working on many parts of it… (Proverbs 31:10-29)

10 An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She dresses herself[b] with strength
and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.[c]
22 She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”

  • I “work” (it does not feel like work) 15-25 hours a week, depending on the week.  This is definitely a part-time effort. But even in that, I spend ALL of Jase’s awake time WITH him.  So really, it’s just that I choose to use my “free time” a little differently than others. I take/make phone calls during his nap times. He sleeps for 4 hours during the day, and goes to bed by 8 every night. Jonathan & I have 4 hours to ourselves every evening after he goes to bed. If I spend one hour during each of his naps intentionally working AdvoCare, and one hour after he goes to bed, I still have lots of quality time with both of my fellas. (And like I said, this is something we do TOGETHER, so even in the evenings we are still spending time together.) That’s part of the beauty of AdvoCare - you can earn a full-time income on a part-time basis.  In fact, I make three and a half times what I made as a teacher (with a Master’s and Specialist’s degree). I do not say that boastfully, but am just in awe at what’s possible and am so thankful the Lord put this opportunity in our path (and pretty much slapped us in the face with it).
  • I have plenty of time to take care of the MAIN things in my life. Bible study, spending time with family & friends, exercise, paying bills, household chores, preparing healthy meals, etc. Being a work from home mom does take some balance, and it has definitely been a process and learning curve over the last 9 months. And honestly, it has taken about 9 months, but I feel pretty good about where I am now. I do not feel guilty about the times when I was on the phone while Jase was awake though. He is still young enough to think I am talking to him, and honestly, I am using a substantially more advanced vocabulary than when it’s just me and him. I do make an effort to talk to him and be descriptive, but who can resist baby talk with a little cutie like that? I know he is learning some language he wouldn’t ordinarily hear.
  • The PEOPLE. The products are what brought us in, but the PEOPLE (and the products, duh) are why we have stayed for the past two years and plan to stay for the rest of our lives. Not only are the leaders, mentors, president/CEO & his wife, corporate staff, & our AWESOME team just full of the kind of people you want to be and surround yourself with…but we do this for the new people who aren’t even on our team yet! SO MANY lives being changed, and it’s just really cool to be a part of something bigger than yourself and your own family. We know that people’s health & finances can be improved through AdvoCare, and we love paying that forward.
  • AdvoCare allows us to travel, and it is an investment in our business. We typically bring Jase AND my parents (which allows us to spend more time with them- double bonus!), and Jon’s parents and/or sister watch him when we have local events. It’s not very often, but I’m glad he gets to spend time being poured into by family members who love him. It’s important to me for him to be well-rounded, and I know he is getting lots of love, affection, attention, and learning new things outside of me & Jon. Plus, they all LOVE the time they get to spend with him, so it’s a win-win. (And it’s usually some quality time for me and Jonathan. We spend lots of time talking/enjoying each other during the time on our way to events/training.)

With our two year AdvoCare anniversary coming up, Jonathan Butler & I have been reflecting on our journey over the past two years. I wanted to put together a post to share some of the ways it has blessed our family. I'm sure I've missed a few things, but man are we ever grateful for what it's done for us. 
http://www.butlerpartyof3.com/2014/02/the-blessings-of-advocare.html

  • By the end of 2015, we will be 100% debt-free (even our mortgage) and be a full-time, stay at home family. Honestly, that was not even in my paradigm before AdvoCare, but it is possible. I know it can be a reality because so many of our friends in the company are living it. And they are ordinary people like me & Jon. This makes me so excited because we will have the TIME to spend with our children, to homeschool if that’s where God is leading us, to give and support our favorite ministries, & to serve more freely. AND, this means we will be helping (literally) HUNDREDS (and possibly thousands) of other people and families become healthier, have more financial, time, or debt freedom.

I don’t mean to make it sound too good to be true. Sometimes I feel like it is, but the reality is there are days it is tough. It takes a lot of discipline because we DO get to make our own hours & choose when to work. Sometimes we have chosen not to put as much time into it, and our paychecks reflect that. And it’s tough sometimes to keep going when you’ve heard lots of “no’s.” We do WORK this, and we do work it hard so we can help our team and our own family. Still, even on the “tough days,” I know this is hands down the BEST opportunity we have ever encountered in our life. And while I know it is not for everyone, we are both so, so thankful for the way it has blessed our family. We LOVE this company and are proud to be a part of some of the lives it is changing, including our own.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Jase: 8 Months

Hey sweet boy! You turned 8 months on January 8th, so you’re actually 9 months as I’m writing this (today is Valentine’s Day). Here is everything you were up to during your 8th month. We had a BLAST with you!! You are such a big boy, but will always be our sweet baby.

Weight/Height: You are around 21-22 lbs now. Your legs don’t seem as long anymore, but you can reach the top drawer of our cabinets (on your tippy toes). We have a doctor’s appointment next week- can’t wait to see how you’ve grown.

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Health: Still praising God for a healthy baby! I know any of our health can go at any second- ya really just never know- so we are thankful for another healthy month. (If you get a chance, check out this post Emily wrote about some of my sweet friends from high school and say a prayer for their precious little girl- Katie Adams)

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Sleep: Sleeping like a champ! (You must get that from your mama too!) You dropped that 3rd nap on January 20th, so we put you to bed a little earlier now. You’ve still needed it a few times, so we let you sleep for 30 min or so. Right now you take two 2 hours naps a day from 10:30-12:30 & 2:30-4:30. You are typically down for the night by about 8 pm. (8:30 on church nights.) You sleep a full 12 hours at night and wake up around 8:15-8:20 in the morning. Dad usually comes to get you at 8:30 and you’re playing happily in your crib. You get SO excited to see him & immediately start bouncing up and down & squealing with excitement! The only time you wake up in the middle of the night is if you move off of the sensor pad and your monitor goes off. We try to move you quietly, but you wake up every time so I go in and nurse you for just a couple of minutes till you go back to sleep. I hate for your sleep to be interrupted, but secretly LOVE that sweet snuggle time. (Before when I was sleep deprived I couldn’t WAIT for you to sleep through the night. Now I have to restrain myself from going in your room & waking you up just to hold you.) I love to nurse you and hold you pray over you during those times, and you are so loving & snuggly- even in your sleep. You love to rub my arms, and when I pick you up to lay you back down, you are completely melted in my arms with your head on my shoulder. Hands down my FAVE!!

You really love your room and it’s your favorite place to sleep. It’s SUPER peaceful in there. We’ve started spending some time in the guest bedroom/office too. You love playing on the carpet, crawling on the steps, & looking out the window.

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Nursing/Eating: Nursing has become more of a challenge and sometimes I have to pump and feed you from a bottle because you are SO curious and playful. Nursing is not something I necessarily enjoy (except at night), but know it’s best so I’m going to keep going as long as I can, and I am SO thankful the Lord has allowed me to breastfeed. You don’t like to slow down to nurse, & you even suck down a bottle super fast so you can hurry up and get back to playing. But when it comes to real food, boy do you LOVE to get your grub on!! Seriously, you will eat for 45 minutes to an hour at a time. You eat pretty much everything we eat, and the only thing you don’t like so far is avocado and grapefruit. We went ahead and (cautiously) let you try eggs and peanut butter- no reaction. (We pray before every meal and ask specifically for God to protect you from choking and allergic reactions.) Your very favorites are baked apples and toast. You eat 2 pieces of cinnamon raisin Ezekial brad for breakfast- one with yogurt and cinnamon, the other with natural peanut butter. Daddy can’t believe you can eat two whole pieces of toast! You love pretty much all the veggies we eat (I haven’t given you kale or spinach yet, but other than that we eat a TON of veggies), apples, oranges, smoothies, soup, chicken, ground turkey, & oatmeal. The list goes on though- you’ll try anything. When you are finished eating, you will wipe you hand back and forth across your tray (and smear any leftover food or sweep it onto the floor.) I’m not sure if you’re copying us from when we clean your tray, but we are teaching you not to do that and try to get you out of your high chair before you start that. You still eat purees when someone else is babysitting you because other people get nervous about you gagging.

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Yes, even Brussels.

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What Jase is up to: Oh my goodness- you are all OVER the place and into everything! We are really working on boundaries. You can crawl like a mad man, pull up, walk while holding on to furniture, & open cabinets and drawers.

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You still love to be read to, and I’m a total book junkie. Kroger was having a book sale and I bought you a few new books that we both really love. Typically I am the one that reads to you- Daddy prefers to just play.

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You love to see yourself in the mirror and really like when we give you a “tour” of anything (walk you around & describe what we see).

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You got a new car seat this month. You get annoyed when we’re strapping you in, but you like being able to see better. We went with a Britax & are really happy with it. (We moved the clip down to armpits- this was just your very first time & we were getting you adjusted.)

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You love to wave and clap your hands. You know how to wave bye-bye, but sometimes when we tell you to wave hi to someone you will clap your hands instead.

You are a friendly baby and will typically smile and talk to anyone. But if you’re tired, you get in the zone and aren’t as friendly. (Me neither, buddy.)

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You love to touch and feel everything! You are so curious. (Except snow. You didn’t love the snow)…Check out Snow Day Pics from your first snow day!

You actually got your first little boo boos this month too. I was juicing & watching you play, and you got your finger stuck in the vent. You let out a yelp and when I got your finger out, you had a little cut and were bleeding. Another time you pulled my camera cord off the couch and it smacked you in the eye. Your daddy is way more worried about your boo boos than me. Not because I don’t care, but I’m just a little more laid back about it. I know you are all boy and we’re going to have lots more of that in our future! (But that doesn’t stop me from praying a hedge of protection around you daily!!)

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You LOVE music!! Our house is pretty quiet during the day, so I keep praise music on all the time. You recently started humming during worship at church. At first, we weren’t sure if that’s actually what you were doing, but you do it any time we sing. So cute! And you can barely sleep without your hymns cd playing. I wonder if that thing can wear out?

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Your favorite toys are blocks and your hammer. You beat on everything with that hammer!

When we show you how to do something, you mimic it really well. We can show you one time and you “get it.” Like high fives. So cool seeing you learn.

You & your dad have your own little language where you grunt back and forth to each other. Love seeing you two interact! You think he’s SO funny & especially love when he plays peek-a-boo with you. You will search all around from him, and when he pops out, you will crack up with your deep belly laugh.

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You & I have our own little forms of communication too. I’m sure that sounds weird to other people and I can’t really explain it, but it’s no surprise that you talk a LOT. And sometimes you let out a really loud screeching noise. You started doing it during church last week so we had to take you out into the hallway a few times.

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Your diapers are GROOOOSSSSSS!!!! Seriously, you had a blowout (like change the sheets, use stain remover on your clothes, and give you a bath first thing in the morning blowout) like 8 days in a row before I FINNNNNNALLY realized you need to go up a size in diapers. You are still in size 3 right now and wear nighttime diapers every night. It’s probably time for size 4, but I’m going to try to use these up first. Sometimes a stinky diaper will wake you up early from a nap, and they are really stinky. And you poot like a grown man! Hahah! I am super immature and think it’s hilarious, but am sure I won’t be laughing when you do it in public and everyone thinks it’s me. There is no way I could play it off on you and people actually believe it. (It is so loud!)

Post-Partum: I feel great!! I have so much on my to-do list, but I’ve been putting it all off to soak up as much time with my sweet boy as I can! I know I won’t get these moments back. Taxes, smaxes….

Thoughts: Jase, your daddy and I both love you SO MUCH. Just beyond words. You are SPECIAL, & we know God has called you to something big. We are enjoying you so much and every new phase with you becomes our favorite. We know we’re biased because you’re ours, but you are seriously the COOLEST baby we’ve ever been around. You fill our hearts with so much pride and joy, and we cannot wait for every new phase. Your daddy & I look at each other all the time in absolute AWE of you. You are already so loving and bring so much joy to others, and it is just awesome to see that our love created YOU. Sometimes we forget you are only 8 months because you act like such a big boy already.  We can’t even imagine our lives without you and can barely remember what it was like before you. Daddy & I love each other so much & had a blast being married before you came along too, but our lives are so much RICHER and more full with you in here. Time is flying; sometimes we just wish we could push pause! We’re so thankful God chose you for us and us for you. What a precious blessing you are! (And just when we think you can’t get ANY cuter, you totally do…)

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Praying for Your Husband

One of the BEST “gifts” you can give your husband (marriage), children (family), and yourself is DAILY prayer. And I’m not talking about simply repeating the same monotonous prayer every morning and night or before a meal. I’m talking about in depth, genuine, heartfelt conversations with God. Daily. Continuously. Without Ceasing.

I truly believe in the power of prayer & love the intimacy of a personal relationship with my Lord & Savior. I am so thankful for the opportunity He gives us to communicate with Him. To thank Him. Praise Him. Ask for help. Seek wisdom and guidance. To ask for direction. To lift others up. It doesn’t have to be formal- eyes closed, heads bowed, on our knees. It can be, and there is definitely power in that- but we can talk to God ANY time.

I’m so thankful He LISTENS, intercedes for us even when we don’t know what to say, and responds. How cool is it that God SPEAKS to us through prayer?

I will be the first to admit I have experienced times in my walk where my prayer life has been stagnant.  (That’s nobody’s fault but my own. That’s why God calls us to “renew our minds daily.”) It’s so easy to allow that to happen. There have been times where I simply prayed a daily “list” and prayed at certain times each day- rather than being in constant communication with Him.

A sweet friend told me about a book she was reading called The Circle Maker & was kind enough to buy it for me, and it has completely refreshed my spirit & ignited my prayer life in a whole new way! I truly feel closer to the Lord than ever and I am so thankful for what this book has taught me about prayer. (Seriously, go buy it. You’ll thank me.) Since reading it, I have revisited my prayer journal and it has been SO COOL to see how God has answered so many prayers. Maybe not in the way I expected, or on my timeline, but I have been able to write PRAISE next to so many prayers. God is continually doing a work in my heart to help me be more thankful for  and aware of ALL of our blessings.

Jonathan & I went on our first date in September of 2006. We were married in October of 2010. Cannot believe it’s been almost eight years with this stud & we’ll celebrate our 4th year of marriage this year.

 

I have told myself & Jon since the beginning of our marriage (and even before that honestly) that I wanted to commit to praying for him every.single.day.  That is not a commitment I take lightly, but it is also tougher than it sounds. Sometimes he gets on my nerves or we disagree about something, and just being totally transparent, I don’t feel like praying for him in those times.  But that’s when prayer is needed the most.

Ladies, our husbands NEED our prayer. As head of the family- protector, provider, and spiritual leader- you better believe the enemy is attacking them. (If he is not those things and you desire for him to be, all the more reason to pray for him. God hears. It is way more effective than nagging, complaining, etc.)

I keep a copy of our vows in my Bible and was reading through them the other day, and it seriously rocked me to my CORE to think about the calling I have as Jonathan’s wife and help meet. It is such an AWESOME responsibility to be able to cover our husbands in prayer. That is something that NO one else on this earth can do- intercede on our hubby’s behalf as his WIFE, go to God for him, pray a hedge of protection, blessings, and empowerment over him. I seriously get chills thinking about it. There is NO greater gift that we can give our husbands than covering them in prayer daily.

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Once again though, want to be real with y’all. I have found that since becoming a mother, it is more natural to pray for Baby Jase. I pray for him constantly- all throughout the day. I just do it without thinking. As much as I love Jonathan, it takes more of a conscious effort to pray for him. I think it’s because Jase is totally dependent on US? I know it is our responsibility to train him up and raise him in the way he should go. Jonathan is grown & responsible and capable. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t need my prayers as much as Jase. In fact, he needs them more- because now he has an even GREATER responsibility as a husband AND a daddy. I make sure any time I start praying for Jase, to stop and pray for Jonathan too.

I love the idea of praying God’s Word, so I just ordered this book & cannot wait to dig in!

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There are some things I pray specifically over Jonathan every day (& I’m not going to list it out because I feel like that’s something sacred), but I know it’s important to keep it fresh so it doesn’t become mundane. I found some AWESOME resources if you’re looking for a place to start or want to pray more specifically over your hubby. Check them out:

31 Days of Praying for Your Husband

10 Prayers for Your Husband

Verses to Pray Over Your Husband

Praying for Your Husband Head to Toe

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**Single ladies: It’s never too early to start praying for your future spouse!

**Moms: It’s never too early to start praying for your kids’ future spouses.