One-on-One Time

Last week I mentioned we had a rocky start to 2018. I had surgery and was in recovery mode all of January. At which time, the kids went through a destruction phase (which is when we donated about 70% of their remaining toys), a defiant phase, a teething molars phase and finally a potty-training regression phase. I have been asking God for a double portion of grace each and every day. At long last, I feel that we are getting out of the weeds and I am happy to report we are all alive and even healthy. Yay! It may sound dramatic, but lets be honest: being a parent of young children makes surviving each day feel like a personal victory.

For those of you who have entirely forgotten the physical and emotional demands of parenting young children please just give us a hug and a gift card to Starbucks and refrain from encouraging catch phrases. It is too easy to look back and only remember the nostalgic feeling of having little tots sitting on your lap. Which I do have lots of precious moments of. Although more often than not my little tots spring onto my lap like goats and with as much grace manage to head butt me right in the nose. That’s about the time I start pushing them off my lap and checking for blood.

Brian and I have brainstormed our parenting trials and it is our conclusion that more one-on-one time would do us all a world of good. Personally, in the midst of chaos I forget how cute they actually are. So when I am with just one they take my breath away. Suddenly they are beaming smiles and giving hugs the entire time. We used to take them out for dates, but it resulted in too many toys and treats and a “Gimme Gimme” attitude. It was hard on the budget and our schedule. A great idea in theory but not sustainable when trying to cycle through 5 kids.

Somehow I heard of a better strategy and we are implementing it. Here’s what we decided to do: Each kid has their own special night every week. Esther has Mondays, Micah has Wednesdays… so on and so forth. They get to stay up an extra 20 minutes with one parent on their night (next week is the other parent). We play games, we color, we read books. If any of the kids causes problems on someone else’s night they lose their turn. The other parent puts the rest of the kiddos to bed and oddly, this hasn’t affected the usual bedtime at all. We still manage to make it down stairs at the same time we always did. Win. Win. Double win.

Oh – side note. You have to actually tell them this is their “special time with mommy/daddy” otherwise they miss the obvious… because that is what kids do.


Pray for them

Over these last few months, I have been praying that God would give my kids obedient hearts. This is a prayer I highly encourage! The Holy Spirit is just as powerful in the heart of a child as He is in an adult. There is no child-sized Holy Spirit!

Lord, you have instructed us to obey those set in authority over us. I pray that (Name) will “obey [his/her] leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over [his/her soul], as those who will have to give an account.” May (Name), “let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to [him/her].” In your Name I pray, amen. – Hebrews 13:17

Prayers taken from the BiblicalPrayers mobile app. Download today on the App Store or Google Play store.


Book Review: I Will Not Fear

 For Black History month, I read I Will Not Fear: My Story of a Lifetime of Building Faith Under Fire by Melba Pattillo Beals. This is an autobiography of a woman who was selected at the age of 15 to be one of nine black students to be integrated into Central High School of Little Rock, AR in 1957. This story impacted me in a way that forced me to shift my previously held assumptions. Never have I been so happy to challenge my beliefs and broaden my understanding.

Click here to continue reading the full Book Review: I Will Not Fear.

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Getting Crafty at Chick-Fila-A!

Forgive my absence! I have been trying to play catch up. These kiddos of ours have been keeping me hopping. The beginning of this year has been a little bumpy for us (as you already know) and I am only now feeling caught up. Yesterday I even did three loads of laundry (to which Micah looked at and said, “Mom, why haven’t you done that yet?” …yeah), the dishes and mopped my floors! And now I need a B12 vitamin.

Over here in our corner of the world it has been birthday mania! In the last two weeks we have enjoyed 4 separate parties for our friends and family. So yesterday, when I heard that Chick-Fil-A was doing a Dr. Seuss story time with free coffee for parents… I said, yes please!

So here we are… stuffed into a booth with each kid happily recreating their version of Oh! The Places You Will Go!  hot air balloon. Up to now, I have avoided taking all five to recreational things all by my lonesome. It’s too hard to protect them and keep them together. Very similar to herding cats actually. But the girls are walking now, so I thought to myself, “Hey Les, if it implodes just get back in the car and go home.” Always good to have an escape plan…

Which we didn’t need! Aren’t they cute?

Heads up: I have been reading lots of books lately and I will be reviewing them on the next two posts in lieu of recipes.


Pray for them

Oh. My. Goodness. I saved this prayer in my BiblicalPrayers app and for a solid year prayed it over myself.  Raising kids is hard and I daily need the help of the Holy Spirit. I can tell you from personal experience that spiritual growth does not happen over night, but this verse is powerful and I can see God moving.

Lord, I ask that self-control – fruit of the spirit- will grow to maturity in (name). “Let [him/her] be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of god.” In your name I pray, amen. – james 1:19-20

Prayers taken from the BiblicalPrayers mobile app. Download today on the App Store or Google Play store.


Book Review: The Sea Before Us

This is the first time I read Sarah Sundin, and I loved her. The Sea Before Us is the first of her Sunrise at Normandy series.  That fateful day at Normandy changed the tide of the war and Sarah Sundin did a beautiful job of representing those who served on the sea that day. More intriguing to me was Wyatt’s beautiful story of redemption and Dorothy’s story of self-worth… I highly recommend!

To continue reading the full review, please see The Sea Before Us here.

Leslie

Two Year Olds

Happy Friday!! So glad we all made it to the weekend. We are definitely in the midst of the “terrible twos” from the phantom two-year molars that torture us all at night to the power-struggles during the day. But you know what? I just love this age.

Ruth Adeline: Fashionista

These two girls bring so much joy and life to Brian and I. They are just so gosh darn cute!! So today, I thought I would share some of my favorite pictures we have taken recently. Sorry if they are blurry… these girls are fast!

Grace Elizabeth: Olympic Swimmer

And you know two year olds give the best snuggles. There is never a missed opportunity to compete for lap time when I sit down. Of course, then comes the begrudging compromise for a leg each.

Snuggles

These days go by too fast. Potty training hasn’t began yet and it’s all fun. Crying and tantrums don’t phase me anymore so what’s not to love?

Sister Hugs!


Pray for them 

It is amazing how many people fall short of representing. Whether it is the company they work for or the faith they proclaim. This year I would like to challenge every believer in Christ to refocus their thoughts and words and intentionally represent Christ in a worthy manner. Pray for a brother or sister in Christ will also walk in intentionality.

Lord, I lift up (Name) to you and ask that (he/she) would “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which [he/she has] been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.” In your name I pray, amen. – Ephesians 4:1-2

Prayers taken from the BiblicalPrayers mobile app. Download today on the App Store or Google Play store.


Book Review: A Song Unheard

Roseanna M. White is an author I typically seek out for new books. I loved her Ladies of the Manor series and look for other books by her. She just released her second book from the Shadows Over England series: A Song Unheard. Situated in England during World War I the heroine, Miss Willa Forsythe, is a woman of extraordinary talent. Willa is not only one of London’s most adept pickpockets she is also a prodigy at the violin. Her abilities put her at the center of attention for both the English and German governments as they vie for an important weapon of war…  Click here Book Review: A Song Unheard to read the full review.

Leslie

Book Review: Ladies of Ivy Cottage

Over the last five years I have spent a lot of time rocking babies and reading books.  One of my favorite authors is Julie Klassen. I think I have read every one of Julie Klassen’s books. Recently I finished the second book, The Ladies of Ivy Cottage in her newest series Tales From Ivy Hill.

First of all, I could not put this book down it was so good. I found the diverse range of characters and various unique-to-women struggles refreshing to this genre. Rarely do readers get a closer look at the historical aspect of universal issues like miscarriage and women in business. Because of this unique perspective I believe this book will connect with many readers on a personal level.

So Good!

All my favorite characters from The Inn Keeper of Ivy Hill return bringing with them their personal histories as well as intriguing new characters. In fact, in comparing the second book with the first, The Ladies of Ivy Cottage provides the rich background of the relationships between all the characters that The Inn Keeper of Ivy Hill lacked. So much so, I found myself wondering why Klassen did not put some of this background story to the first book to help provide context. Be it as it may, with The Ladies of Ivy Cottage, Klassen will keep the reader riveted to a great story and concludes it by setting  the next book up with a new twist in Jane, Mercy and Rachel’s future.

Let’s do this together! Join me in my journey back in time to Ivy Hill village. The newly released The Ladies of Ivy Cottage is now available on Amazon.com or at your local book store. Looking forward to Julie Klassen’s next book!

Leslie

 

The Classics

Books and I have been friends for a long time. Brian (the ultimate reader – who is up to almost 100 books a year now!) mocks me for my limited genres however. He says, “You read the Bible, Christian Historical Romance, Christian Nonfiction and the Classics.” To which I reply, “Don’t forget Parenting books too.” So there’s my thesis folks. There are only so many hours in the week, and since (unlike Brian) I do not spend an hour daily in commute listening to audio books on double speed… these genres are the ones that I am soaking up in this season of life.

Lately I have been visiting the classic Moby Dick. Somehow, I made it through high school, college and graduate school without ever reading this incredible book. Speaking of incredible… the size! It’s basically the size of the Bible so it’s going to take me three months to read I think. Melville writes like Dickens so his sentences never lack descriptive prose. Which frankly is my favorite. I love descriptions. The longer the better. If you are more of a give-me-the-bare-facts kind of person, when it comes to Moby, ye be warned.

Since Moby is so awe inspiring, I will break up my reviews into conquerable sections. So far I have made it about 20 chapters in. What is intriguing about this book is that the reader is introduced to the story through the inside perspective of the narrator yet  virtually knows nothing about his past. While you have his opinion on each encounter, you are the least familiar with him than  you are with the rest of the characters who are introduced to him. Its a meandering book that takes you down the streets of Nantucket, into sea shore inns and rickety whaling ships.

Something else that struck me about Moby Dick is the response this book would have gotten if it had been released today rather than in the 1800s. Protesters anyone? Given the current climate of our culture now, reading Moby Dick makes me feel like I am engaging in an underground activity because if the millennial protesters ever get a whiff of Melville he’d never be mentioned in schools again. (Or maybe that’s why he’s not?)

Shall we be counter cultural and enjoy some Moby Dick together? Brian and I have this exact copy. It is the Easton Press hardcover collectors edition and it is beautiful. Amazon will ship it straight to your door if you so desire. Seems to Brian and I that if we are going to have a classic on the shelf it should look like one. In fact, all of our classics do! Here’s a peak at our growing collection.

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Meet me again in a few weeks on the stern with Captain Ahab? It’s a date!

 

Happy reading!

Leslie