Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I'm convinced that it's God's way of preparing me for all the sleep I'm not going to be getting for the next few weeks (or months).

It seems that towards the end of all my pregnancies, I wake up around 3-4:00 am--WIDE awake. I typically get up early, but most of the time it isn't until around 5:30 or 6:00, since, in our household, no one usually rouses until 7:30-ish (for now).

However, I try to look at the bright side and realize that I'm getting at least 2 or 3 hours of uninterrupted time! I do take advantage of this, because even though I'm not getting much sleep, at least now I can decide what to do with my extra time in the mornings. When the little one comes, that will pretty much be decided for me!

Speaking of the little one, if all goes as planned, he or she will be here two weeks from today!!! The girls have made a pink and blue paper chain in their room and tear off a piece each night. Jacob has a fascination with peeking at my "big bewee" (belly), and Emily goes to the "hospital" to have a child nearly every day. We are all excited!

Wow, God is so gracious and I'm thankful for His blessings. These quiet moments are precious to me amidst the constant flurry of activity that comes with having small children at home. God is faithful to fill my soul and give me encouragement to face the day. And even though I have (and will have) many extra-tired moments throughout the day, He always gives strength and stamina when I need it most.

I hope you find encouragement in this Psalm today as I have:

I will bless the LORD at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth
My soul will make its boast in the LORD;
The humble will hear it and rejoice.
O magnify the LORD with me,
And let us exalt His name together.

I sought the LORD, and He answered me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces will never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him
And saved him out of all his troubles.

The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him,
And rescues them.
O taste and see that the LORD is good;
How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

Psalm 34:1-8

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Twelve Years and Counting!!

Twelve years ago on this day I made a promise that would change my life.

I promised to stay committed. I promised to love. I promised to forgive.

Twelve years ago on this day I married Jason!

You know, in some ways it seems like just yesterday, but it's so natural, and so much has happened in our lives, that sometimes it seems like a long time. I am SO thankful to have a husband who not only loves me, but also loves God and loves our children. Jason is such a great dad; I love watching him with the kids, and obviously they adore him.

I think marriage is one of many ways that God chooses to form our character. I know that Jason and I both have grown so much, in so many ways. When you're married, you learn about selflessness. You learn about forgiveness. You learn about respect. It teaches you to be vulnerable.

Of course, anybody can choose to NOT learn about any of these things. I mean, technically, a person can be married yet choose to live the way they want. But God calls us to something greater--and the rewards He promises are unimaginable!

I would be the first person to tell you that it's hard (well, Jason might beat me to it), and that our marriage isn't perfect. But, we both know that God blesses when we obey Him by keeping our commitment to each other. We trust that He will keep HIS promise to reward obedience.

I could go on and on about this, because I know that the enemy has a great desire to destroy one of the greatest institutions that God created: marriage/family. It helps us to remember that truth when we feel like giving up. It helps when we remember that it actually isn't the two of us against each other, but in fact, it's two of us plus One against a very vicious enemy. When we remember that truth, then we are better able to combat the lies in a way that actually produces more strength for our marriage.

I don't have it all figured out. But I know that I am grateful for my marriage, for my husband, and for the patience that God demonstrates to both of us time and time again. The more we depend upon Him, the more love He gives us for each other.

I hope that this Scripture will encourage you as much as it has Jason and me in the journey of marriage:

Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able
to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,
but against the powers,
against the world forces of this darkness,
against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 6:11-12

I LOVE being married, but I'm so thankful that God doesn't leave us to go at it alone! We acknowledge our need for Him and pray that He will continue to bless!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I'm Jacob!

My son, Jacob, seems to really know who he is (yeah, I know he's only two). After playing with him, I might say to him, "Jake, you are so funny!" His immediate response is usually, "No! I'm Jacob!"

He might come into the room with a dirty diaper, about which I might comment, "Jake! You are stinky!" He assuredly replies, "No, I'm Jacob!"

Sometimes I might be cuddling with him, and feeling overwhelmed by his big brown eyes and blond curly hair, I might declare, "Jacob, you are so cute!" And again, "No, I'm Jacob!"

Hmmmm....could he be on to something?

It sort of reminds me of one my favorite children's books by Max Lucado, You Are Special. Have you ever read that one? I love reading it to the kids because it's always such a great reminder for me too. In it, the little wooden characters can't seem to escape the words (negative or positive) of their peers. The main character soon learns that nothing will "stick" if every day he visits with the carpenter who designed him. He realizes that it is only his opinion that matters.

You see, it's not just the negative comments from others that can do damage. Sometimes the positive ones can be just as harmful, if not more, because then we start to rely on them and perhaps think more highly of ourselves than we ought. Before we know it, our whole identity is founded upon the "insight" of others into our lives. We have suddenly forgotten that there is only One whose opinion of us matters.

Maybe at one time we were like little Jacob (who is inadvertently confident in who he is), but somewhere along the way, we learned to let others determine who we are or who we become. I'm constantly learning that while there are times when others' input is valuable, I must ultimately take those things that I hear--good and bad--to my Father, who always has my best interest at heart. If what I'm hearing doesn't match up with what He believes about me, then I should discard it. God doesn't want me to think less or more of myself than what He intended. He wants me to place my character, my self-worth, my everything in HIM.

Our identity must be in Christ alone, because when it comes to who we are, He is the only One who matters.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What I Need the Most

Life. How anyone thinks they can manage it on their own is beyond me. I am desperate for a daily dose (or more) of direction and wisdom from the One who created me, knows me and has a plan for me.

That's why I love the promise in James 1:5, "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him."

I need the wisdom of God in my daily pursuit of being a wife and mom, in my efforts to understand the teachings of His Word and in every other aspect of my life. I long for God's perspective to overshadow my own ambitions and viewpoints.

I have prayed for wisdom for a long time, and I have claimed the promise that God will give generously. But I also wanted to pray for wisdom for my family; my children, my husband, my loved ones. However, I wasn't sure if that verse meant that people must be responsible for asking for wisdom on their own, or if others could intercede in that way for them.

I know that must seem so trivial, but it was just a question I have carried in my mind for a while.

Then I started a study of the wonderful book of Ephesians, and I discovered that Paul prayed for spiritual wisdom for the people of the church at Ephesus. Because I believe in the power of scriptural prayer (and I didn't think Paul would mind), I felt compelled to adopt this prayer from Ephesians 1 as a prayer for my own family. It goes something like this (the blanks are whomever I am praying for):

I give thanks for ________, and I pray that You, the Father of glory,
would give to _________ a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the
knowledge of Yourself. I pray that the eyes of _________ heart
would be enlightened, so that ___________will know what is the
hope of Your calling, what are the riches of the glory of Your
inheritance, and what is the surpassing greatness of Your
power toward us who believe.

I then continue the prayer myself, praying that God would turn their hearts (and mine) towards Him, because it is only God who can do a work in a person's life.

I write this today to encourage you to do the same for yourself, or for your children or loved ones. It is a gift that is lasting and that is honored by God.

I can't imagine what my life would be without the direction and wisdom of God, and without people interceding for me. I want to do the same for those that I love, because I know that He is more than able (through the same power that raised Christ from the dead--Eph. 1:19-20) to give us strength, wisdom, spiritual understanding and so much more when we simply ask Him for it.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Emily and Ariel

This was the moment Emily had been waiting for.

Last time we were at Disneyworld, we had waited in line to meet Ariel for probably 30 minutes when a monsoon hit and we had to abandon the line to try to find shelter. Plus, we were there in July (terribly crowded), and even though we had waited for 30 minutes, it was clearly going to be at least another 30 minutes or more before we'd get to meet her.

Sound silly? It was. But knowing how much Emily loved Ariel was what prompted us to make the decision to wait. And then we never got to see her.

Thank goodness the September crowds are not nearly as bad as July. This year, as Jason, Mom and Dad took Jake and Ashlyn to several other rides, little Miss Emily and I waited a mere 25 minutes to meet her favorite character! When asked about her favorite part of the whole trip, she has repeatedly replied "Meeting Ariel!"

So, in honor of this event, I have decided to post something I wrote last year about Emily and her favorite princess. This was written July 9, 2008:

Yesterday at lunch as I was sitting across from my Emily, I looked up to find her combing her hair with her fork. If you've never seen "The Little Mermaid", then you wouldn't know that she was mimicking Ariel, the red-headed, sea-dwelling star of the movie and sweet Emily's favorite princess.

I don't know exactly how many times I have heard the phrase, "Mommy, I'm a princess named Ariel....", but I know that it is at least once a day, and usually more. After her declaration, she then proceeds to tell an animated story, completely made up (and usually really lengthy) about how maybe she went to Wal-Mart or went to visit her friend Belle.

She also likes to use her character as an opportunity to refer to me by my first name. "Hi, Amy", she'll say, "I'm a princess named Ariel". And then she continues to her story, and sometimes will go ahead and burst into a very loud and full-of-vibrato song.

I know that these are precious days, and there is nothing in this whole wide world that I would trade for my little princess. I love the way she twirls her hair, I love the way she wears her "high" heels, I love the way she names every living thing "Sparkles", I love that she only wants to wear dresses (and has about a 4 or 5 dress rotation). I love to paint her nails pink, I love listening to her stories, and of course I LOVE hearing her little voice singing at the top of her lungs. She is our princess right now, and I will cherish every twinkle in her little eyes. And the best part about it is that I can truthfully tell her how she can be a real princess--a daughter of the King of Kings.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Day at Sea World

Today we had a great time at Sea World! It was very hot, but at least it wasn't raining! As soon as we got back to the condo, I made dinner and put the kids to bed at 8:00. It's thirty minutes later and they are all sound asleep. That's a real blessing, since we have our last full day here tomorrow and it will be spent at the Magic Kingdom! Hopefully everyone will be rested and refreshed for a great day.

I have to share this funny thing about Jacob, though. This morning, on the way to Sea World, he was not happy for some reason. He wasn't crying or anything, but he kept saying he didn't want to go, but that he wanted to go home. So finally, Mom said, "Jake, we're going to Sea World. If you go home, who will stay with you?"

Without missing a beat, Jake confidently replied, "Jesus". How sweet!! Of course, some of you may remember reading a previous post I've written about Jake answering questions with "Jesus".

Along those same lines, when we were at the Playhouse Disney attraction (the show about Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, etc.), a man sitting next to us asked Jake, "Who is your favorite character?" Jake of course said--you guessed it--"Jesus!"

You may not think that's as funny as I do, but it cracks me up!

Anyway, we had a good day today, with the highlights being the dolphin show and the Shamu show. Incredible!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Good Times in Orlando

We made it to Orlando! First of all, I want to thank those of you who prayed for Emily. She was very cooperative in our efforts Sunday morning to drink lots and lots of replenishing fluids. She was still very weak most of the day, but I could tell she was beginning to perk up that afternoon. By the time early evening rolled around, she was nearly back to being herself. That night, we were on our way to eat at the Rainforest Cafe, when Ashlyn made a comment about her being sick. Emily emphatically declared "I AM sick, but I FEEL good!" We knew then that she was on the way to being back to her normal, dramatic self! Praise the Lord!

Yesterday, we went to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

It was Jason’s birthday, so he got to wear a fantastic button around all day which warranted him free admission, as well as free desserts a couple of times! The highlight for Emily was the live “Ariel Show”, while Ashlyn and Jason liked the stunt shows. Mom and Dad were able to be participants in a "movie scene", where they got gallons and gallons of water dumped on them (they did have special suits on), and Jacob loved getting to see Handy Manny and the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse characters.

The highlight for me was....the American Idol Experience!

I couldn’t resist auditioning, and I made it on the show to sing “I Want You Back” by Michael Jackson. It was quite the experience indeed. I first had to audition for one person, then I made it to the “producer”. After he sent me on, I was told a specific time to come back to studio. When I got back, I met with a vocal coach for rehearsal, had my hair and make-up done (too bad they didn’t have a wardrobe department), and I got to do a sound check on the big stage, which was a replica of the real American Idol stage!

There are shows every hour during the day, and they select three contestants to be in each show, based on prior auditions. The three judges (who were remarkably like the three real judges), give feedback, and the audience (of about four or five hundred) votes the winner. I think they try to make it as authentic as possible!

"Randy" liked my performance and told me it was like "maternity ward gone wild"! HA! "Paula" liked it as well, and "Simon" said he liked the song choice but said (in a way that only "Simon" could say) that he thought I needed to add a lot more energy (I think it was something about trying to crank up an old car - WHAT? HA!) I didn’t win, but it was lots of fun getting to participate!

We are having a good time, still going to hit Sea World and Magic Kingdom this week. I’ll be updating!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Please Pray for Emily

Tonight we are in Georgia, stopping over for the night on our way to Orlando!

We had a good day of travel, except for little Emily, who is not feeling well. It breaks my heart to think that we have had this trip planned for nearly a year, and the kids have counted down the days, and now Emily is sick!!!

So, I just wanted to ask you to please say a prayer for Emily. Honestly, I don't know exactly what's the matter with her, because her symptoms are a little strange. But please pray that whatever it is, that she would overcome it very soon, and that she would be cooperative in our efforts to keep her hydrated.

I'll be posting from Disneyworld soon!! Thanks everybody...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Tale of the Deviled Eggs

I detest deviled eggs. I've never liked deviled eggs, and I don't think I will ever like deviled eggs. To me, they are a repulsive fare that I don't ever care to even try (no offense to all of you who make deviled eggs...I'm sure they are delicious to the many people who seem to love them). BUT, it was because of some deviled eggs that I learned a valuable lesson.

One day when I was small, I was going to ride to church with my Grandma Lillian and Grandpa Dallas Jacobs. I guess we were having some sort of pot luck at church that night, because Grandma had made guessed it...deviled eggs, and had set them in the floorboard of the back seat of her car. Before I got in the car, she kindly reminded to be careful not to smash the eggs in the floorboard. However, I, being very young (yeah, we'll blame it on that), stepped on the eggs anyway. They must have been covered with plastic wrap or something, because the eggs were pretty much ruined.

You can imagine the frustration that Grandma must have felt with me. But do you know what she did? She didn't yell. She didn't fuss. She didn't show any anger. She got out of the car, took the container of eggs and threw the whole thing up in the air while letting out a gleeful, "Wheeeeeeee!"

True story.

That's what I call making the best out of a "bad" situation. I need to remember that when I'm on the verge of losing my temper because Jacob won't stay in his room. I need to remember that on days when twice I open the refrigerator and an open glass of unfinished milk falls out onto the floor. I need to remember that when bedtime rolls around and I am tired, yet my kids seem to have gotten a fresh round of energy and run around like wild animals (literally--they pretend to be tigers) and I can't seem to get them settled down. I need to remember that when I am simply at my wit's end!

In short, I learned from that story, that yes, some things are worth getting angry over, but some of those things can be just as easily tossed aside...or up in the air!

Proverbs 19:11
A man's discretion makes him slow to anger,
and it is his glory to overlook a transgression.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

He Sees

One night, not too long ago, I was reading to the girls at bedtime about the vastness of God's creation. I really can't remember what we were reading, but it prompted lots of questions--many of which I couldn't answer--still, it was great to see their minds whirling around as they pondered how enormous the universe must be.

Finally, Ashlyn asked, "Mommy, if God is so big, and the universe is so huge, then how does He see us?" Another question that I couldn't answer very well, except to say that He promises that He does. She was fine with that.

A few days later, I was reading in Psalms, and I came across this scripture:

The Lord looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men
From His dwelling place He looks out
On all the inhabitants of the earth,
He who fashions the hearts of them all,
He who understands all their works.
(Psalm 33:13:15)

I couldn't wait to share that passage with Ashlyn, as a specific promise from the Lord that He sees us, He watches us, and He understands us because He created us. I thanked God for leading me to that Scripture!

I also loved how it says that He "fashioned us". He didn't randomly throw us together, but purposefully crafted us according to a unique design. How thrilled I was to be able to share that with my girls, for whom I pray every day will find their identity in Christ and not in superficial things of this world.

He sees us. He knows us. He loves us. And as huge as God is, He hasn't forgotten us. He has a plan for each of us, so we need not hesitate to trust Him.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Little Things

Little things can make me so happy. Like watching my kids become ecstatic over a little thing. That makes me happy. And trust me, when I say "little thing", I do mean little. Literally.

Saturday morning, we all got up, ate pancakes and then went fishing.

Jason and I baited the hooks while the kids cast the lines and reeled them in. They would get a tug or a nibble every now and then, and the worms would get eaten, but they just couldn't seem to hook any fish! So we baited more, then they would cast and reel in...nothing.

Then we decided to move to a new spot, a sort of spillway on the other side of the dam. They started catching fish immediately! Tiny little fish--but you would have thought they were catching the largest fish in the world! And because the fish were so small, the girls could reel them in all by themselves, which made it even more exciting for them!

Yes, they were little fish, but that didn't matter to us. Those little fish made them happy (as is clearly demonstrated in the following photo--check out Emily's face), and that made me happy! Sometimes it's just the little things, huh?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Welcome All People

Apparently my kids are really big into making our guests feel welcome.

Last night, we had some friends over for dinner.  Before noon, Ashlyn had written (on the driveway with sidewalk chalk) a big welcome sign, directions to NOT go in through the garage, and arrows (on the sidewalk) leading to the front door.  Once they made it to the front door, our guests were greeted with the following notes:

In case you can't see it well, the bottom sign says, "And you kids to".  We actually all thought that was pretty funny.  Okay, it was funny enough to me (I am her mother after all) that when it crossed my mind during church this morning (yes, it did) I almost laughed out loud!  

But I love her hospitable mind!  In fact, my desire is that our home would always be a place that is warm and welcoming to those that our sent our way.  The Bible even speaks of this, when it says in Romans 12:13 to "practice hospitality".  

Serving others.  

Helping to meet the needs of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.  

Welcoming "all people", as Ashlyn put it, to partake in the blessings that God has given us.  Of course, that is not to say that we should let anybody and everybody into our home at all times necessarily.  But I believe that the Holy Spirit will guide us in the decisions we make concerning our interactions with friends and strangers, so we must be sensitive to that.

Most of all, beyond wanting my home to be warm and inviting, I want my heart to be warm and inviting to those around me who are in need or who can experience the love of Christ through me and through our family.  It's basically just following Jesus' command to love others as we love ourselves.  Please know that this is my desire...something that I pray for...because I am not completely there.  It's easy to be almost totally wrapped up in my own needs that I am not always sensitive to the needs of others.

But that's my prayer; for my life to say "Welcome all people", so that they too can experience the power and joy of my God.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Answer

The question was simply, "Ashlyn, do remember what we studied last year about Roman Numerals?"  Before she even had a chance to answer, Jacob piped up, "I know!  Jesus!"  

At dinnertime, Ashlyn was asking a question about writing a number in the thousands, and again, Jacob yelled at the top of his lungs, "I know, I know!!!  How 'bout Jesus?!"

He has done this several times, answering random questions with "Jesus!"  I honestly don't know where he has learned that, but we all think it's so funny!!!  It's like he really thinks the answer to everything is "Jesus!"

Wait a minute, isn't that kind of true, in a sense?  Okay, I'm not talking about the answer to math problems or things of that sort, but in a greater sense, having to do with life and problems and the journey that we are on.  He really is the answer, isn't He?  

When I feel overwhelmed, He is my refuge.

When I am afraid, He is my comfort.

When I am alone, He is my companion.

When I am tired, He is my rest.

When I am troubled, He is my peace.

When I was dead in my sin, He was my Savior.

And when I worry about the plight of this world, He reminds me that He is Sovereign Lord, and I have nothing to fear in Him.

What a peace to know that I have a relationship with the One who is truly the Answer for my every need.  If Jesus is everything to me now, I can hardly imagine what it will be like when I get to behold Him with my eyes, face to face one day!  But until then, I cling tight to His promises that are found in the truth of His Word and I am encouraged.  I pray that you are too! 

He [Jesus] is before all things, 
and in Him all things hold together.
Colossians 1:17

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Little Catch-Up

Hello!  After spending lots of time this summer being outside in the wonderfully mild weather (and eating WAY too many s'mores), I am ready to re-enter the world of blogging.  Not too much has changed for our family in the last few weeks, but I am definitely larger and gaining weight faster this days.  In fact, d-day (delivery day) has been scheduled for October 14.  If all goes as planned, we will be welcoming young baby Liddle into the world in just a few short weeks.  I can hardly believe it!  

Let's see, as far as an update on the kids, Ashlyn turned 8 years old this summer and is in the middle of soccer season right now.  She is maturing quickly and I am enjoying sweet conversations with her.  She decided to cut her own hair a few weeks ago after she ran into a pine limb and got a bunch of sap stuck in it (I think I cried).  She has since told me, "Maybe God wants me to be a hair cutter, since I cut bangs for myself".  I have my doubts, but I guess she's seeing the positive side!  As you can see, she is still our animal lover!
Emily has turned into our resident cook, making a dish the other day which she entitled "The New Macaroni".  It was a scrumptious soup made up of two chips, peas, a piece of cheese and a brownie.  Fortunately, because it was pretend food, I could pretend to really like it.  She cooks for us every day, and she loves pretending to be all grown-up!
And then there's Jacob, oh Jacob.  He is "all-boy" as they say, and really I can't think of a better way to describe him.  He also loves making us laugh and is actually a very funny kid.  His favorite thing is to make really silly faces.

Ah, the summer has been good and the Lord has blessed me with a healthy pregnancy.  I pray (and would appreciate your prayers), that God would bring this child into the world in a safe and healthy manner, and that He would grant us strength and patience as we begin this journey yet again.  Summer is drawing to a close and we are approaching the commencement of a new earthly season as well as a new season in our lives.  I thank Him for what He has done and look forward to what is to come!