Thursday, November 29, 2012

Faithful in the small things.

Third trimester hit and so have those crazy pregnancy hormones.  You know, the ones that make you conjure up all sorts of catastrophes until they feel real and at other times make you want to burst into big rolling tears for absolutely no reason.  They're frustrating.  They annoy me.  But at the same time, I'm thankful for them.

Why?  Because they give me a great opportunity to strengthen my faith.

It's easy to say "I trust God."  It's hard to really believe it.  Every time a sad and crazy scenario of doom pops into my mind I have the chance to entertain it, worry over it and let it consume my joy or I have the chance to trust God, remember his faithfulness and give it up to him in prayer.  And when I train my thoughts towards God and his trustworthiness, I'm growing in my faith.  That's an opportunity I don't want to miss.

God cares.

Just this morning Shelby drove off to work and as I watched him go I began to worry over his safety.  Those thoughts are destructive and I know it.  So I silently prayed, "Lord, watch over him today.  Quiet my mind. I know that you alone hold our days in your hand.  Help me to trust you and to know that you are good".   And I went on with my day. 

An hour later I had a message on my phone:  "Hey Honey, I don't know how but I managed to not be in a car wreck this morning.  The guy in front of me drove into oncoming traffic on a bridge and corrected with only millimeters to spare."

God heard my prayer and reassured me.  Life and death are in his hand.  I have no control over life's uncertainties.  But God does.  And peace can only be found through believing he is good, his plan is perfect, and he cares. 

Thanks God.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pleased to announce....

Dear Friends, Family & Curious Strangers,

We are very pleased to announce the Lord is blessing us with another little boy!  Baby boy Hodge #3 is expected to arrive sometime next February. 

And in case you're tempted to feel sorry for us, please don't.  I love my boys.  And I love lists.  So here's my top 5 reasons for being thrilled about another addition to the boot troop.

1.  I believe God chooses and designs each child to fulfill his good and perfect will.  He's in charge of my family, he's proven himself very capable and I'm more than happy to trust his good judgment.

2.  I'm comfortable with boys.  Even though each boy is different I, in general, find them much easier to understand and deal with.  Exercise, mud, trucks, blocks, exercise, repeat:)

3.  It's convenient.  I have boy stuff.  Lots of it.  Clothes, toys, etc.  And with a house short on storage and high on organization, this makes it easier.

4.  I get to be the only woman in my house.  It's kind of a special thing.  And I don't have to share my husband with any other girl.  Or my least til they discover girls.....a long long time from now...

5.  My boys are getting another member for their boy adventure club called life.  I pray that they will go on grand adventurers together, even if it's just in the backyard; that they will fiercely love, encourage and root for one another.  I have a picture in my mind of 3 brothers, rubber boots on, tromping into the forest, laughing and wrestling as they go.  It makes me smile.

So thank you Lord for this precious little boy.  Please protect him.  Help him to grow strong and brave.   And most of all, help him to become a great man of God.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Here comes the rain

And it's so much fun to play in!

You might think I'm crazy, but there's actually a lot of benefits to letting your kids play out in the rain.
1.  It burns a lot of energy in a short amount of time.  And if you have boys you know this is important for their and your sanity.
  2.  Fresh air is good.  People don't get sick from being out in the weather, they get sick from being stuck inside with a bunch of circulating germy air.
3.  It's an adventure.  Going on an adventure with someone creates memories and bonds that aren't quickly forgotten.  So nourish those brother bonds.  Or pull on your boots and join the fun.
4.  It helps conquer fears and encourage bravery.  Face the storm, literally.  It's not nearly as scary if you're jumping in it's puddles, leaning into it's winds and enjoying yourself all the way.  For a child to conquer a fear or face a challenge instills in them an 'I can do it' attitude.  Something that's incredibly important for their success in life.
5.  Mommy can watch from indoors with a nice uninterrupted cup of tea or coffee. :)    

Danner drinking from the water spout.  (Survival skills?)
(I also believe exposure to a few germs here and there just builds the immune system.)

See, no harm done.

Happy Rainy Days to You All
Go out and enjoy them!

I almost forgot!
6. It makes the hot cocoa taste better.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Choose to be Thankful

It's that time of year again.  Christmas decorations are in the store, Halloween items are on sale, Thanksgiving is near!

Maybe it's all the election talk or economic fears or just the challenge of living with toddlers that has made me acutely aware of how prone I am to complain.  That's a nice way of saying I'm a complete whiner.  And while I completely admit it, I'm also completely ashamed of it.

Along with the whiny awareness has also come a wide open view of how blessed I am.  I have it so good it's almost embarrassing.  A husband that loves, cares and listens to me.  Children that not only love me, but open my eye's to a whole new world, make me laugh, and fill my days with purpose.  A house that is warm and sturdy, a steady income, and a fridge that is so full I have to say "no more"!  Friends that bless me, family that loves me, great health and,most awesome, a Father in heaven that is willing to do what's best for me.  Oh, and a yummy cup of coffee steaming right in front of me.

There will always be something to complain about and there will always be something to be thankful.  What makes the difference in your attitude and actions is the thought that you choose to entertain.  No wonder God says,
"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, 
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

It's God's will for you.  And it's not about how you feel.  Feelings are unreliable and, in my case, almost completely selfish.  So often I try to change by focusing on my feelings.  It doesn't work.  But if I focus on my thoughts, wow, it really does change my feelings.  (Gee, I guess God's way really does work.  What a surprise.)

Unfortunately my sinful human nature is strong and relentless.  But, thanks be to God, I'm not a slave to that sinful nature.  I've been set free by Jesus.  And not just set free, but shown the way to conquer that ugly nature in me.

Step 1
"Do everything without complaining or arguing."
Philippians 2:14

Notice the world 'do'.  This is an action word.  A choice you make.  When a complaint forms in your mind, take action, turn it off.  And then

Step 2
"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances,"
1 Thessalonians 5: 16-17

Pray about it, replace the thought with one of thankfulness, and that feeling of joy, it will start to develop in you.  

These verses are going to be written all over my house to help me write them permanently on my heart.  And when those complaints and whines start to bubble up, I'm going to repeat them to myself and do what they say.  Because in this way, I can know and feel the joy of the season.

Friday, February 17, 2012

What your kids need to know...

and what you should be teaching them:

1. You are loved regardless of your mistakes, looks, weight, success or abilities.

2. God made you on purpose for a purpose. And that purpose is good.

3. God is truth, he cannot lie and we can hope in him.

4. How to drive a manual transmission.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

My 9 tips to reduce your grocery bill...

...because who couldn't use some extra cash.

1: Make a weekly meal plan and only go to the grocery store 1x a week. (This is by far my biggest $$ saver) (Make your meal plan the day after the store ads are out so you can plan your meals around sale ingredients)

2: Skip the meals that have specific, not-on-hand ingredients. Unless of course I can use those ingredients up on another meal that week or freeze them.

3. Buy bulk on items that I use often and store well. (Like oatmeal, flour, sugar, etc..) Although check pricing oz to oz because sometimes the small pkgs are cheaper.

4. Eat I often eat twice as much for dinner then I should....then i have to go work it off. If I'd eat a real serving size I'd lose weight and save $$. Then you have leftovers for lunch. (I have not mastered this whatsoever!)

5. Do limited desserts. The kids don't need the sugar, I don't need the calories and they're often times expensive to make. 

6. If it's on sale, you eat it all the time and it stores well, stock up. I never buy cereal full price. I know what kind my family likes and when it goes on sale I stock up. Same with bread, it freezes great.

7. Do not buy prepared foods. They're expensive and they'll cost you a lot in future health problems.

8. Skip the drinks. All you really need is water and milk. They're healthy for you and you'll save tons of money. (And maybe coffee and tea!!!)

9. Remember that the purpose of eating is to nourish your body. Focus on meeting the nutritional needs of your body and not the exotic wants of your taste buds. (At least 5 out of 7 days) (Also have not mastered this, but I'm working on it.)