Saturday, October 11, 2014

Jada is 8!

   You are one of the most tender hearted people that I have ever known.  Though I'm your mother, you teach me daily about vulnerability, tenderness and gentleness and you are one of my biggest comforters when I have tears.  You heart is pure and you really want to please the Lord.  You have said 'yes' to Jesus in you heart and you continue to say 'yes' to Him as you go about your days.  You are learning how to hold your hands open and you are learning to trust Him beautifully and honestly.  You are quick to repent and quick to forgive.
    I love the way you love.  You serve our family and your siblings without counting the cost and you continually give away what you have.  You love to draw and you give your artwork as gifts to many.  You are a sincere learner.  You perceive truth and you rightly discern what is good.  I'm learning that you are a perfectionist.  I'm learning that you refuel by having 'alone time' and although you enjoy your siblings, you especially like my focused attention when you are feeling tired.  You giggle a lot and you pay attention to details.  You are still very much a little enjoy playing restaurant, babies, school, 'the duggars', and 'little house.'  Most often you are the mommy in pretend play.  You are truly a care-taker and are drawn to babies everywhere we go.
    As you have become a big sister again, you have invested into Kason in ways that are mature beyond your years.  Your dad and I often talk about how you are emotionally SO deep and profound.  You understand and perceive, both spiritually and emotionally, at a level that most adults never reach.  I believe the Lord has and will continue to use you to display his tender and sincere heart of love to the world.  Right before Kason was born, you were feeling afraid that we might lose Kason like we did Mia.  You weren't sure how to process it, but you were able to lean into Jesus and trust Him.  You longed for him with great love and when he was born, I have never quite experienced the level of joy that I did getting to celebrate him with you.
    You have taken risks and trusted Jesus in new ways with your time as well.  As you started Oakwell, you took a risk, and the Lord was with you in new ways.  You are learning how to delegate your time with more school, piano, home life, church, Talitha Cumi and having free time to play.  You recently sat down exhausted and said, "I'm just feeling stressed about my fish tank not being clean.  I just feel like I don't have enough time." :)
    Through the influence of 19 kids and counting, you have decided that you want to wait to kiss until you get married.  We are more than happy to support that decision!  You have thought through it and don't see why you wouldn't want to wait and save your kisses.  Again...we are more than happy to support that decision :)  You also recently said that when Kiva gets married you are going to cry a lot of happy tears and will be so happy to celebrate with her.  Recently I've thought about Proverbs 22:11 "One who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace will have the king for a friend."  This is you, dear girl...and the promise is that you will have The King as your friend.  

     Jada, I LOVE being your mom.  You are the one that made me a mommy and you are the first one to introduce me to each stage of childhood.  What an honor it is for me to raise you.  I pray that this year  you would be unafraid, bold, at rest, full of peace and not anxious for anything.  May Philippians 4 be your banner as you continue to grow into an incredibly beautiful young lady, both inside and out.  I love you my precious daughter.

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Judson is 3!

    You are a delightful and kind young man.  You have totally won my heart with your scrunched nose smile and sideways glance.  You giggle and squeal more than you do anything else.  When daddy and I talk about you we talk about what a fun personality you have.  You are a great mix of super sweet and super fun.
   As you have turned 3, you still like sleeping in your crib and your sleep with your quilt that MiMi made you and 2 other blankets, your ball pillow, zebra, donkey and your 'wawa' koala.  When you wake up in the mornings (around 7) you yell "Mama...Daddy..." in a sing-song kind of way.  You usually complain about how bright it is the moment we step out of your room and lay your head on my shoulder as we walk downstairs.  You then say "eat eat and oovie" we get you a bowl of cereal and set up 'Paw Patrol' or 'Peter Rabbit' as you adjust to the day.  About 15 minutes later you exclaim with a very excited voice "PLAY!" and try to urge your sisters upstairs to the play room.  Usually they go, but when they don't you say 'awww' and then go back to the movie.  You are learning to sit still during family worship times and you LOVE to sing.  You sing during worship, throughout the day, and when you lay down for 'a rest' and at night.  You also love to pray.  You initiate prayer at almost every meal and you are happy to repeat prayers after one of us (and you always give a strong 'AMEN' at the end :).
    Right now, you love to hide.  Usually that means you will get in a ball on the couch or the chair in your room and cover your eyes.  I pretend I don't see you and say "where did Judson go?" and then you giggle until I 'find' you.  You also love to dance, spin and fall down.  You can hit a ball with a bat when we throw it to you and you are excellent at shooting hoops.  You can play catch with daddy for a long time without getting bored. You love to cut with scissors, although you have recently enjoyed cutting the covers of the color books (Jada and Kiva really don't like it when you do it)...but it is definitely more fun to you.  You would play chase all day if we would let you and you use our downstairs as a circular track to run through.  Koko and Kiva are your favorite people to play chase with.  When you laugh it's contagious and you pat your leg, like your calling a dog to come, when you want someone to come play with you.  You also love swatting flies :) and you are already the one the girls will find to pick up dead bugs.  You take care of them in that way.
   When I tell you that I love you, you say 'no daddy,' then the conversation usually goes something like this :
Mommy: "mommy AND daddy love you"
Judson: "and MiMi and PaPa and KoKo and Aunt Ashley and Grammy and Aunt Aubrey and Un Will and baby Lily..."
    There are different variations of people on the list, but those names are the most common.  You know you're loved for sure.  You got tubes in your ears last year and since then you've been talking more, but you are still not talking as clearly as you could be.  We are working on it.  Right now you have fun names for things like water is 'ya-ya' and you will randomly say 'E-I-E-I-O."  Whenever you fall or there is a loud noise you often proclaim without anyone asking "I'm OK!" and when other people are eating something you don't prefer (like salmon or asparagus) you say "ooh gross."  It's funny.  When you burp you quickly say 'scooz me' and then laugh.  We like to say that you are all boy.
    This past year you became a big brother.  It was a very easy transition for you.  You love to help and you laugh at all of the funny things that Kason does.  You are secure in your role in our family and help with Kason's paci, diapers, or burp cloths.  You are also a big helper in the kitchen...we cannot make granola, salad, juice or sandwiches without you running to the kitchen saying "I help, up up." Once we lift you onto the counter, you are immediately stirring or juicing or pouring in ingredients.  I love this about you!
    Judson, some things that stand out to me about you is that you are truly one of the sweetest young men that I have ever met.  You are tender, compassionate, quick to obey, snuggly, and caring.   Last night as I was rocking you before bed-time I was able to tell you some of the things that I love about listened intently and then at the end you said 'oh mommy' and gave me a sweet hug.  I really believe you are set apart as a worshipper.  The way you sing and play your cajon is unique and I am so excited to help you walk into that more.  Judson, you are an absolute joy and treasure to me. I bless you, my son, to continue to have a heart like David.  Set apart and deeply in love with the Lord.  I bless you to step into your God given design to lead and protect your sisters.  I bless you to understand in a pure way God's great love for you.  I bless you to be brave and courageous and willing to stand up for what is right.  I bless you to continue to extravagantly love and be loved without anything hindering you.  I love you, I am proud of you and I am honored to be your mommy and always will be.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I don't want to forget...Jada's heart

Today we came home from running errands.  Kason fell asleep in the car but woke up the moment we came inside.  I needed to get Judson and Kiva to bed for naps so Jada tried to give Kason his paci in his car seat and rock him...but he was so upset and was not easily pacified.  After I put Judson down, I got Kason out of his car seat, swaddled him and gave him to Jada in the middle of my bed (while I finished putting Kiva down).  I encouraged Jada that Kason will most likely cry because he may be getting hungry but I will hurry as best I can.  She was happy to hold her very upset little brother.

As I was climbing the stairs to get to Kiva, I began hearing Jada sing "I lift my eyes up, unto the heavens, where does my help come from..."  Precious....

When I returned from putting Kiva down, Kason was perfectly peaceful and asleep in Jada's arms while tears were streaming down her face as she said "I don't know what I would do without him."  And then she said she sang to him and he began to rest and then she was praying for him to love God with his whole heart.  "That he would be a wonderful man of God and that when he has kids, he would teach them about God."

Tears in this mom's eyes for sure.  Thank you, Jada.  You invest yourself well.  Luke 6:38  "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."  May it be over your life, precious Jada!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Thankful for seasons...

It's been a really really long time since I've posted...since then we have moved, all 3 kiddos have turned a year older and our little Kason is only 8 weeks away from making his appearance into this world.

So...these are my thoughts and what this season has been:

I'm learning more about my own weaknesses.  I just can't do it all.  I am so grateful for the community of people that God has so lovingly placed in our lives.  Family, church community, families and friends in our city, faithful friends placed all over the map...all of these people have so deeply added to me as a girl.  Yes, as a wife, mom, leader, learner...but mainly just for me.  Steph.  Simply me with no titles or jobs...just the spirit within me. are some bullets about what I have been doing and learning over these past months:

  • I'm planning a community wide women's conference!  Crazy.  The Lord gave me a specific and clear direction last January 2013.  Since then, it's been taking shape with a team of outstanding women leaders from all over BCS.  It is exciting and a very precious thing to steward.  I am excited and steadily grateful for the wise women around me.
  • Our church is a small group of people that are very large in the Spirit.  They love God extravagantly and love me deeply.  I love running alongside and bringing God's kingdom to earth with these people.  
  • I am homeschooling...and loving it.  And I am not sure I am good at it yet, but I see our children learning and laughing and loving eachother well in the midst of our school times.  So, I trust Jesus with the outcome and am grateful to have the honor to be their teacher (and ask for mercy and wisdom often!)
  • I'm learning more about personal daily communion.  God has healed my body through it and strengthened me in the gospel.
  • I hunger and thirst for more of the Spirit of God...and I love the people that God has brought into my life that keep me seeing more of God in powerful ways.  There is just no end to knowing the fullness of's such a full and fun life of faith we get to live!
  • I'm learning that there is no sense in being afraid of anything.  Fear is a spirit that I want nothing to do with.  It's empowering to be free from fear and fully convinced of the love of God.  I have made a daily practice of taking in and receiving the Holy Spirit that has given me power, love and a sound mind.  I am so grateful.  Simply confessing my offenses, my lack of faith and my weaknesses as they come up releases so much freedom from fear. 
  • Our kids are cool.  I'm convinced that Jada could be a 'Disney' character.  She is often found in the clouds dreaming about all things wonderful and lovely.  She is beautiful both inside and out and she easily believes the best about everyone.  I'm pretty sure if the scene in Cinderella with the birds and animals singing and helping Cinderella could ever actually happen, it would happen to Jada and she would just giggle and enjoy it!  Her voice is angelic as she sings and she is a precious example of humility, grace and the joy of being a daughter.  She is 7.  
  • Kiva is beautifully strong in stature and in spirit.  She is brilliant and bold and has a sense of humor that breaks through any sort of mundane life.  I am convinced she will change this world and lead many towards Jesus...utterly convinced.  She will place her feet only where she is convinced they should go, and because of that conviction, many will follow in her footsteps.  As of now, we are praying that she continues to learn humility and wisdom in a beautifully submitted heart to Jesus.  She is 4.  
  • Judson is fully dude and fully content to be my baby.  He snuggles with his head on my shoulder better than any of our kids have done.  He finds cozy nooks over my big pregnant belly and insists that I sing and whisper all sorts of secrets to him in between songs.  He laughs hard and obeys quickly.  He is a servant and watches everything with a very acute eye.  I believe he is a storehouse of deep thoughts and will love out of the deep reservoirs that are in him.  He is 2
There it is...surely I will publish this and remember 20 more things that I have been learning and experiencing.  But this is summary enough.  I love this life that God has given me and I treasure this season in ways that are inexpressible through written language.  As Kason moves around in my belly, I take a deep breath of gratitude and say goodnight.