Friday, August 26, 2016

Our first time with FIVE

Sweet lady of mine,

I cannot believe FIVE years have passed since you made me a mama for the very first time.

Five.  I mean five is a big deal.  It's a full hand of numbers, half a decade, a pretty major milestone.  You started kindergarten this year and you absolutely LOVE it.  You love to learn and explore and knowledge is something you can't get enough of!  Your sweet, sweet spirit is such a joy to watch.  You are so kind to others, always concerned about the well being of those around you.

The lines between friends and family is blurred and you love people with a veracity that makes my heart swell.  You love people well, Brice, and that is something that I pray never, EVER dwindles in you.

You have the best little giggle and scrunch up your nose when you think something is funny or cute.  There are so many moments where I look at you and I think to myself, "how in the world did I deserve something so beautiful and so sweet to take care of?"  You truly are a joy.  And i don't mean a joy in the worldly view of something that makes me happy (although you do make your mama happy!!  OH SO HAPPY!) but more along the lines of joy in seeing how our Creator pieced you together.  Every little attribute is unique to you and I love seeing His design displayed through you.

We are working now on becoming brave - on being confident in being Brice - and facing head on things that are scary.  I have to chuckle writing this, because we all know your brother is the COMPLETE opposite.  Maybe God knows my mama heart can't handle two fearless children.

Our prayer for you, sweet girl, is that you always see the grace poured out on you and that you never lose your gentle and caring heart.  We want Jesus to become so real and so vivid in your life that every day you know who you belong to and that you were created for a purpose.  You are a care taker, a lover, a nurturer...and I can't wait to see how those gifts God has given you grow into becoming a beautiful young woman.

You are one of a kind.  And we are so glad you are ours.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Romans 15:13

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Monday, February 1, 2016

graham's third birthday love note.

brother bear,

we are actually closer to your fourth birthday than your third now.  this last year has been a whirlwind - crazier than all the others of your life combined.  daddy and mommy were part of a team that opened a new business, we sold our house and we moved...all within three months of your third birthday.  to say i'm a bit behind is an understatement!

so anyway, back to you.  geez, kiddo, I don't even know where to start.  there are so many things that come to mind when i think of you:  you are a MESS.  full-throttle.  crazy. a manimal.  ornery.  sneaky.  hilarious.  loving.  protective.  charming.  goodness gracious you know how to work your mama.  those big blue eyes and those kisses.  sheesh. 

you are stubborn and one of the most strong-willed children I have ever been around.  this causes many headaches, but I also know this will be one of the things that will prove to be the most beneficial to you in life.  we pray that you never march to the beat of someone else's drum.  that you always stay YOU.  the world will try to shape you into one of the masses.  defy it.  cling to what is true, what is right.  your father and I will never stop pouring the gospel of Jesus Christ into you.  we aren't old (yet!) but we have seen enough to know He is faithful, He is true.  again, the world will try to tell you otherwise, but don't listen.  there will come a day where you will know undeniably that the gospel we talk about is alive; that we aren't bound to some earthly religion, but we have been ransomed by Jesus through His finished work at the cross.  we pray your life is joyful and happy and that the freedom found in Christ enables you to live life with abandon. 

we  pray that you become a man of God that fights for the lesser ones and loves with no boundaries.  we pray that you come to grasp the enormity that everyone you cross paths with is an immortal being - that they were created by God for His glory and you will be a protector of His people. 

sweet boy, I can't even begin to imagine what your life will look like, but what I know without a doubt  is that you are loved more than the stars in the sky or the hairs on your head.  there will be a day where the gospel will capture your heart and change you, and I pray that when you are old and grey, you never remember a day in your life without Jesus. 

 you are my greatest challenge, but an even greater reward.  I am so thankful you are mine...even if I want to give you away some days.  and I am oh-so-sad that the days of #grahamisstuck are over. 

in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect
1 Peter 3:15

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Saturday, February 28, 2015

brice's fourth birthday love letter.

our sweet little princess,

i'm not sure how, but enough time has passed that you are now four years old.  FOUR.  in a blink of an eye, you have grown from a sweet little baby to one spit-fire of a little lady.  you are funny, witty, sweet and sassy, not to mention your memory is absolutely unbelievable.  you call mommy and daddy on everything we do that you know is against the rules.  you remember so many things that little white lies are pretty much non-existent in this household.  you definitely keep us on our toes but have the ability to melt our hearts.  once you realize how to harness that, we're all in trouble!

you love all things pink, sparkly and princess.  your elsa skirt is an every day accessory and it is the ultimate neutral in your wardrobe.  goes with ev. er. y. thing.  (well according to you at least!)  you and your brother have definitely entered into the sibling rivalry stage and it drives me bonkers.  bff one minute, the next minute y'all are one second away from an all out bar brawl.  overall though, you guys really enjoy each other's company and have so much fun together.  i love watching you be his big sister and you are always so happy to help him which i have really grown to appreciate!  

you are so smart.  obviously i am biased (and have no point of reference in regard to the intelligence of a four year old), but the questions you ask really make me think.  your questions are rarely like "why is the sky blue?" or "why is the grass green"? but more along the lines of "why is the earth different than the moon?"  or "what is the earth made of and why can't we see that it is round?"  i mean GOODNESS.  you are a thinker like your daddy.  i'm praying you get his analytical genes and my language skills.  

not only are you smart, but girl, you are FUNNY.  one of my absolute favorite things on the planet is listening to the conversations you have with your friends, especially olivia.  carpool is definitely one of my favorite events of our week.  

sister, your heart.  your sweet, precious, Jesus-loving heart.  the fruit of pouring The Gospel into you since birth is really starting to come forth.  you are learning what it really means to be kind and that we are to treat everyone with respect because God created them.  your words are sweet and the rule at our house of "we don't say things that don't make people feel good about themselves" is something i am so thankful is being engrained in your sweet little soul.  we are starting to work through what it looks like when we make mistakes and what offering true and unconditional love means.  when mommy totally blows it and i ask for forgiveness, you are so gracious.  you pour out love from your sweet little heart and i pray that you never lose that tenderness.  Jesus' forgiveness is unending and i truly pray that throughout your whole life you never forget that we are to forgive mistakes because we are forgiven and our transgressions have been paid for.  

this next year of your life is a big one.  it's your last year at home full time (pretty much) and i have a plethora of emotions.  starting full day pre-school and turning five are so exciting for you, yet i have a deep sense of sadness.  i am so happy to watch you grow and your excitement usually outweighs the bitterness of you growing up, but these milestones have come much too quickly.  i blinked.  i'm afraid if i blink again we'll be packing up your things and moving you to norman.  (and yes, that is the only place we will be moving you to attend college.)

from the beginning, you have been such a perfect blessing to your father and i.  by the grace of God we are doing everything in our ability to steward this precious gift we have been given.  we will always be here, always be together and will always point you and your brother to Jesus.  there is nothing on this earth that could diminish the deep, deep love we have for you.  we love you more than the stars in the sky or the hairs on your head, and that pales in comparison to the love Jesus has for you, sweet girl.  His love is vast as the ocean.  dive in.  

put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience, bearing with one another and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  Above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  Let the peace of Christ rule your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.  And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.  
Colossians 3:  12 - 17

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

to my two year old little boy...

well, in true mama fashion, this comes almost a full three  four months late.  however - we are all alive and well, so i guess it's a wash.

brother bear, our sweet heavenly father definitely broke the mold with you.  it is quite amazing to see how much you have grown and changed in just one short year.

first off, you are ALL BOY.  like crazy, fearless, rough-and-tumble ALL boy.  you ooze ornery from every inch of your body, but it is so very well hidden behind one of the sweetest little personalities i have ever seen.  you are SNEAKY, which makes me chuckle because i see the wheels turning in your little head and then in turn i'm on guard because i know you're up to something.  you love big - just like the rest of us - but you also thoroughly enjoy tormenting your sister and the dogs.  although you are A LOT of work, you are worth every second of the exhaustion.  i need to get a pedometer to track the steps i take each day just chasing you.  you are a runner:  when you are fixing to get in trouble, you sprint, and as daddy puts it, stride for stride you are the fastest person in this family.  if you get away from me, i have to legitimately run after you.

trucks.  oh man you LOVE your trucks.  you have quite the collection of heavy equipment and sometimes i think your daddy may have more fun with them than you do.  you're also into legos, building things and then demolishing them and riding your tricycle.  (oh and dressing up in sister's princess gowns, but we'll just keep that between us.)

the last year has been an absolute whirlwind.  the second your little feet hit the ground, you have one speed and that is GO.  you're still a little sensitive, and when you get your feelings hurt, i can't help but laugh because your pout face is AWESOME.  it's really more of a full body action where you cross your arms, pout those lips, put that head down and stomp off to your room, all followed with an authoritative door slam.  (which you then get a spanking for because, by golly, if i've said it once, i've said it a thousand times:  STOP.  SLAMMING.  THE.  DOORS.)

those big ol' blue eyes, dimples and "business hair" are sure to get you in trouble, so use those sparingly.  actually, i take that back...i have a feeling you'll be one of those boys that get called to the principal's office, just to flash those pearly whites and ridiculously amazing dimples to get off with a warning.  once you learn how to harness the power in those tools God gave you, the rest of us are in for it.  luckily for all those girls' parents you will cross paths with,  you have a mama and daddy who will snatch your head off if you mistreat them.  be kind, be gentle, and treat them with respect as God commands.

at your two year check up, you weighed 32 pounds (75%-90%) and were 36" tall (90%).  You are a big ol' dude sporting a size 9 shoe.  NINE.  that is crazy.  Your sister wears a size 10.  NUTSO.  bananas, chips and cereal are on the top of your faves list right now.  your language skills are improving, but i'm actually surprised that you talk at all seeing as how your big sister never shuts her mouth.  but bless her heart, she comes by that naturally.

you are so happy, which is fitting since "asher" is hebrew for "happy" (also fortunate/blessed, which you indeed are.) the bible talks about the blessing of a child to a parent, and you are most definitely that.  it is our job as your father and mother to raise you up knowing Truth and equipping you to take on the world after you leave our little nest.  i know you will grow tired of me plastering scripture all over our house and covering you with it daily, but there will come a day where your heart will need to turn to what you know is True.  motherhood is my mission field, and with the grace of God i intend to serve you and your sister well.

there is a school of thought that portrays all Christian men as being weak and timid, but that is nothing short of a lie.  i pray that you become a man who is strong and courageous, loves Jesus and loves others and isn't afraid to stand up for what is right and true.  do not be boastful, prideful or arrogant as those things will surely bring hardship.  take your thoughts captive and be confident in the gospel.  know that you were designed for a purpose.

you are so loved sweet boy.  you bring a joy indescribable to my heart and to our family.  thank you for helping me to realize what is truly important in life - and although i'm not always good at focusing on the big picture,  thank you for your unwavering love.  you truly melt my heart and i am so honored that God chose me to be your mama.

God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control. 
{2 Timothy 1:  7}

Monday, January 6, 2014

brice's third birthday love-letter

oh sister,  i should probably start by apologizing for the eight-week delay in writing this, but i have a feeling that this is realistically how our lives are going to operate until you and your sibling(s) are pretty much independent from me.  or probably by the time you're 12, letters like this will embarrass you, so they will then become private between you and i.

anyway, you are three.  THREE.  this was a pretty tough birthday for mommie.  you are quickly becoming a little girl and there are very few things that resemble anything close to a baby, or toddler for that fact.  this year has been filled with A LOT of changes, all of which have been the greatest blessings.  you rolled through relatively unscathed during the total disruption of your life with the remodel mommie and daddy drug you through.  there were a few weeks of some behavioral issues, but i can't say i blame you seeing as how we didn't have doors or flooring in the construction site we were living in.  you made new friends with our sweet new neighbors and also transitioned perfectly into a new school after being at spring creek for almost 18 months.  you start another new school this month and i'm sure you will roll with the punches like you almost always do.  

you are hilarious.  i mean like REALLY funny.  the stuff you say cracks us up and the funniest thing is that you are EXTREMELY logical and reasonable for a three year old.  you speak so matter-of-factly (or with conviction as daddy affectionately calls it) to where even if you're wrong, you are so convincing we start to kind of believe you.  you are so observant and your memory is totally impressive.  

you are really starting to pretend play and are OBSESSED with anything pink, purple, sparkly or princess/puppy related.  you like your hair "big" and there is no denying you have your own sense of style.  all pink.  all the time.  ALL.  THE.  TIME.  

you sleep with 382094809283094 stuffed animals and they ALL have to be tucked in just right.  JUST.  RIGHT.  i'm sure it'll be cute when you are grown and i think back on it, but right now it drives me bonkers.  it is a ten minute ordeal every night to track all your friends down and get them in bed where you want them.

you and your brother are quite the duo.  best friends one second, full-on brawl the next.  he is your shadow and you both love each other so very much.  it truly makes my mama heart happy to watch the two of you growing.

this year i have really witnessed the fruit of the seeds your father and i have planted is flourishing.  you are so thoughtful and respectful and kind-hearted.  you are very well-mannered and are so thankful for the things others do for you.  you are also showing the gift of hospitality and i love that about you.  you want everyone to come to your house and play and you are so willing to share (well most of the time.  you are three, after all.)  your spirit is so sweet and i love watching you interact with others.  

you are starting to understand how having a happy heart is directly related to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  although you don't quite understand the whole picture of the gospel yet, you do understand that Jesus teaches us to love everyone, be kind and have a happy heart.  i couldn't ask for more at this point in your sweet little life.  

we are also starting to really see the effects that society and outside factors can have on you.  you have come home from school and other places with some less-than-stellar behaviors and words and by the grace of God we have been able to work through them and help you understand that what other people do and say may not be acceptable in our home.  

as i have told you in years before, your father and i will ALWAYS be here for you and we will ALWAYS be together.  we know that our commitment to each other will directly influence the way you view relationships, and our number one goal in this life is to point you (and everyone we cross paths with) to Jesus.  we will never stop showing and teaching you that Jesus is the only way to true freedom.  He is the only way to be in the world, yet not OF the world, and don't be mistaken my sweet girl, they are two VERY different things.  

we want you to love on those who need loving.  we want you to serve those who need serving.  you have been placed into a family that will always turn to Christ and to the promises of scripture and we are here to help make this world a better place according to His will.  

you are so precious, sweet girl, and i am so beyond blessed to be able to be your mother.  you make me so proud and i am so excited to see how God uses you in this world to further His purpose.  

one request though:  please don't grow too fast.  these last three years have gone by in the blink of an eye and i can't figure out how to make it slow down!  

"whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, 
whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, 
if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." 
 phillippians 4:8

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