Today’s post is full of photos!
We live in a small, rural town in Tennessee but I am continually amazed by how wonderful this area is. Our friends own a farm a few miles down the road and have been adding some exotic animals to the mix: kangaroos, camels, llamas, emus, and so many more. This week they had a burst of baby goats, baby lambs, and baby puppies that needed to be bottle fed so I took the boys over to help.
When Malachi’s senses get overloaded he shuts his eyes so he can focus. Malachi loves animals and being able to get him close to them is such a special treat. Levi has no fear, so I have to keep my eyes on him…and the llamas continue to believe his hair is hay and chase around getting a lick in to test their theory.
Little Levi has been dressing himself lately so if you find him in giant clothing or backwards shorts with knee high socks just know momma wasn’t willing to fight the small battles that day.
If I am being completely honest with you, life is pretty crazy right now. We always embark on this crazy train for 6 weeks starting in February and we always survive it. In addition to our ministries we also begin fundraising for our teens to go to youth camp in the summer. Our adult soccer league will end tomorrow and that will free up two of our evenings again.
This weekend we tackled soccer all morning on Saturday and then hosted a fundraising banquet that evening, serving dinner/dessert/entertainment to over two dozen couples from our church. We set up a photo backdrop for photos and I took the opportunity to take a quick photo with Jake, but we were running pretty ragged, so I left the backdrop up so we could get a new family picture after church this morning!
**Full disclosure here: I am a big fan of transparency and being authentic so I feel compelled to mention that these photos have been slightly edited. I have an autoimmune disorder that affects my thyroid, something that has become more obvious in recent years. I often hesitate posting pictures of myself because of the comments and personal (well-intentioned) messages I get from people concerned about my enlarged thyroid. I see the thyroid doctor a few times each year to monitor the nodules that keep appearing and get them biopsied each year, but so far everything is benign. If the nodules continue to grow at the rate they are going I will need to have my thyroid removed, but we are delaying that as long as possible. Not a big fan of my crazy neck but I also recognize that it helps keep my vanity in check haha!**
Malachi has been doing so well these last few weeks and his personality is continuing to grow. Right now he is in a very opinionated phase and it is so fun to see him feeling empowered to communicate his desires.
His sense of humor is pretty amazing too. He is a genuinely funny kid and finds humor in so many things. He loves hearing a good, funny story. Health wise he is doing so incredibly well right now. His seizures are still there and out of control but he is happy and relatively healthy so we are so thankful.
I had just started entertaining the thought of being able to transition the boys into two separate bedrooms at night but this weekend I woke up to Malachi struggling to breathe. He was in the middle of a seizure and had inadvertently turned his face into the mattress and cut off his air supply. I don’t feel confident that I would be able to hear that through a baby monitor and it wake me up from a deep sleep so I still sleep nose to nose with him.
Levi is also staying healthy, something I have been praying fervently over! It has been so faith building for me to watch God protect us all from sickness as we have been coaching just under 100 kids twice each week in the soccer ministry. Praise the Lord!
Levi has been loving the warm temperatures here and has been riding his bike every chance he can get.
And yes, the puppies are all grown up. They are both about 90 pounds and still growing! Watching Levi ride his bike has been very special to me. I have actually been having a lot of those special parenting moments lately. I have been a mom for 9 years now but in so many ways we are new at the ”typical”.
Watching Levi’s character develop has been so much fun. He heard this week that one of our neighbors was sick and he immediately went to the fridge and asked if we could take her some food. ”Does she like grapes, mom?” as he packed her a bag of food from our fridge. I told him we would reach out to her this week and offer to bring her dinner. Then today at lunch he set one chicken finger aside and some french fries. I asked him why he wasn’t eating them and he said ”I am saving them for Ms. ____.”
Watching that kindness develop in him is an indescribable blessing.
I have been thinking a whole lot about parenting lately and I have read two quotes that have really stuck with me.
The first one is a quote from Pastor Andy Stanley: ”Your greatest contribution to the Kingdom of God might not be something you do, but someone you raise.”
I have been given the blessing of being a testimony bearer for one of my children, and a cheerleader in the stands for the other. They each already have such powerful testimonies and I find myself captivated by the plans that God has for each of their lives. What a blessing motherhood is. And what a wonderful challenge to raise children to recognize the voice of God when He calls them.
The other quote isn’t a feel good one…but it is incredibly challenging and something I needed to hear.
”Your kids are not ’making you crazy’, they are revealing your sin.” I wish I could credit this quote but unfortunately the source I read it from didn’t credit it either.
But take a moment to read that one again. If you don’t have children yet, plug in the name of your spouse, boss, family member…
All week long I have been reflecting on this one and bringing it to mind each time I find myself frustrated throughout the week. And each and every time I am able to back it up to a specific sin in my life- most often my pride and my desire to control instead of trust God. It is so interesting how our flesh can take our sin and push the blame onto others around us. The devil is such a deceiver.
A huge part of a healthy relationship with God is taking ownership of our sins. Naming them. Acknowledging them. And most importantly learning to hate them rather than accept them.
Sins remind us of the need for a Savior.
If you get a moment this week take the time to read Romans 5. There are so many beautiful truths in this chapter about our sin. Verses 6-8 tell us this:
“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
And then another beautiful verse:
“Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (verse 20)
In order for us to understand the magnitude of what Christ did on the cross we have to acknowledge our sin. Our worldly pride tries to tell us that we are justified in the sin that we daily allow. But Christ calls us to a life that is different than the world, a life full of grace from God and true repentance for our sins.
This week I am thankful to be a mom of two wonderfully unique boys and increasingly thankful for the many lessons they continue to teach me. And I am thankful for a God that allows His grace to abound, even when I don’t deserve it.