Monday, March 23, 2015


Let me start by saying if you have not had the opportunity to hear Pastor Jeff's sermons leading up to Easter as we all read Mark together, please check them out at  You can see the sermons parts 1-5 are listed in succession.

One question Paster Jeff asked Sunday in his message, The Gospel of Mark part 5, was about having a servant's heart.  It struck home for me.

How do you know if you have a servant's heart?
What do you do when someone treats you like a servant?

I don't respond in grace when I am treated as the servant some (most, all?) days.  Paster Jeff asked, “How much of your self esteem is wrapped up in status?”  I rebel against the idea that my self worth is tied to my servanthood (I am worth little because I a ‘just’ a servant).  But I still struggle against feeling belittled by others for my servanthood.  It is painful to be a servant.  Not glamorous.  But when I consider my Savior was the servant of ALL, even to death, my heart is softened.  When my focus is on Him and not me, the whole story changes.

As we try not to rush towards Easter, but to walk the road slowly and read through the Lord's final days walking this Earth fully-God & fully-man, we see the disciples asking him who will be greatest. Don't we ask the same question?  I know I have wrestled with the desire for greatness, for the Lord to use me in a bigger way than he's using me now.  But who's definition am I using if I ask to become 'big' or 'greatest'?  Do I seek validation for my importance in his kingdom just as the disciples do in Mark 10?  Can I hear the Lord's response to them?

The least will become the greatest.  The way to 'greatness' is to get low.

Sometimes no one will see but God.  Sometimes it seems that the unseen service 'doesn't count'.  But do not be discouraged.  Serve anyway!  What if no one recognizes your talent?  What if your 'gifts' are not used (to what you think) is their full potential?  Take your eyes off of you and look back at Jesus.

Give it up to God.  Do not wallow in self-pity.  Do you trust the Lord is good?  Trust that He is for you and not against you?  Trust that what you think is the best may not be what God has planned?  What if you are called to live in obscurity?  Serving those who may never be able to recognize the gift.  You are serving as unto the Lord.  Isn't that worth the sacrifice, whatever the sacrifice?

Walk to the cross this Easter with us.  Let us examine our Lord's steps & days & teachings.  Let us seek and find out something new, something previously missed.  Let us not miss His presence.

I wrote for 31 days in October 2013 on the topic of being a 'little fish in a big pond' who felt conflicted by the 'desire to be great'.  I am amazed that the lesson was there, right there in Mark.

"But it shall not be so among you.  But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,
and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, 
and to give his life as a ransom for many."
Mark 10:43-45

Serve others.  And those who want to be the greatest? (gulp) Must be the servant of ALL.  Wow.  What a blessing to be a 'little fish', so to speak.  To serve in community with those around me is my calling, and I pray the Lord will continue to teach me how and show me new ways I can serve.  I am humbled by the example of the disciples and how I can see myself in their shoes as I never have before.  God's grace!

Thank you Lord for your words and your Word.  Thank you for the answers to the questions we ask, even when we asked years ago.  Thank you for your goodness and grace to us, your kindness that draws us to repentance.  Thank you for your Holy Spirit to lead us and draw us.  Thank you for teaching us all, in unique ways; your body living, moving and active.  Thank you Lord for the slow walk to Easter, for the opportunity to not miss the call to repentance, and for the weight of your sacrifice for us.  Thank you for your presence.  Amen.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


February.  full.  flowers.  family.  fun.  friends.  faith.  forgiveness.  failure.  foundations.  french fries.  freedom.  fairy tales.  fair weather.  The blooming of early spring & the grasping of winter.  The falling of leaves in Florida February.

Our boys showing us their 'broccoli muscles' at dinner.  I love their enthusiasm, their personality in showing us their stuff.  I love that Hayden is wearing his super hero Hayden cape & mask.  This small taste of the days of childhood I want to savor for years to come.

We've been training again this Winter, and the running has gone up a notch this February.  Some days were too cold for the kiddos in the stroller, so the treadmill.  Despite the treadmill, the time can always become something more depending on where you focus your mind.

Out littlest guys.  They are the sweetest friends.  Calvin adores Hayden & loves to fun after him calling his name, "Hay-en!"  Hayden is tucking in Calvin for a nap in his big boy bed.  Calvin has done really well moving up to this big boy bed this month - He's taken more of an adjustment to sleeping through the night.  I think he just enjoys the freedom of being able to get out of bed when he wakes during those 'lighter sleep phases', but it is exhausting having him waking up 2-3-4 times at night!  Whew.  Luckily, he's taking up some piano to help soothe his momma.

So I started working part time from home in November, and I forgot to mention it in my last few blog recaps!  It has been a good journey so far, and I hope it continues to be a good fit for me & for my family as they all keep growing so big & so fast.

These two: they love going on runs up to the park.  Hayden actually helps motivate me to run because he asks go!  I am grateful for something fun for us all to do together, and the pitstop in the middle makes it a worthwhile trip for all.

Ok, so my grandma had a great, simple recipe for banana bread.  My boys like it best with a 1/2 cup of chocolate chips added (and so do I!).  I didn't have any this batch, so we made do with M&Ms.  This became such a battleground.  Sometimes, I am tempted to think the gift was not worth all the misery it caused in the wake of tantrums & tears & time-outs.  But, I'm guilty too!  I think the boys & I both grow in those moments, if we allow ourselves to be molded and shaped by them.  The trials of banana bread.

My hubs has been the best this training season for the Gate.  I have had so many opportunities to go run solo, and I am hoping to have a PR this year for time.  The ever-elusive top 10% may be in my reach, but if not, I'm going to do my best & be happy.

Family date out to the beach for cheeseburgers & milkshakes & beach time.  Could be the best possible way to spend a Saturday night if you ask me.  Hayden actually drew his first self image in the sand that evening, so we had to snap a picture!  Amazing.  He's been the sweetest cuddle bug for his little bro.  He asked me if he could go snuggle in Calvin's bed, and of course I said yes!  He took up his 'phone' to show him Lion King or something while he was waking up slow.  Love their bond.

One morning, it was just me & Calvin hanging out.  And then I saw his pants.  I laughed so hard, because he's been trying to learn how to pull his pants down and up again.  But he left his little booty hanging out!! No sir! haha no son of mine.

The Japanese Magnolia in our front yard is one of the most beautiful trees in the late winter/early spring.  I love these blooms; they make me swoon every year.

We took down our crib this month.  Yes, and tried not to cry.  What a meaningful piece of furniture.  I cannot believe Calvin wouldn't stay in it for longer.  I was hoping at least till he was two!  But, his brothers showed him how to climb out, and we didn't feel it was safe for him anymore.  Enter the toddler bed.  Its been a rocky start for him, but he's getting used to it now.  Good bye crib.  You have been the cradle for our three sons, and we have loved the memories made!! ((man it's hard to let go))

Valentines Day this year.  My hubs found the most beautiful roses that lasted forever this year.  I love fresh flowers.  Matt and I had an early date night, and the boys built legos with their sitter.  The tall tower was the next project from James!

James signed his name to all his Valentines cards for his friends.  It was just a fun thing to help him & watch him spelling it out.  He chose each one for each friends specifically.  I love seeing how thoughtful he can be.

Hayden wrote his letter H on all of his Valentines cards for his friends.  And he could read all their names!!  I couldn't believe it, but he's learned all their first letters as well, and he remembers names better than anyone else in this family!  Matt came home, and Hayden went through the whole stack and read out all his friends names correctly.  I was so amazed!  And, he made one for me (and for himself! haha)

My shaggy haired tot.  I just love his locks.

My longest runs of February were 8 miles, so I snapped the half way mark to celebrate!  I am so grateful for the motivation every year to train for this race.  I really love running.  The quiet mental space & the time to focus the mind.

We took our boys go-carting for their Valentines date from us!  They almost enjoyed the free batman mobile ride as much as the go-cart, haha.  hilarious.

Calvin didn't mind too much that he didn't get to go.  He had his brother to keep him company while Daddy took turns taking the boys out for a spin!

We made a zoo trip to see the Sea Lion show, because James had requested.  Our last attempt to see the show ended when a rowdy sea lion canceled the entire show we were waiting for, but not again!  The only downside was a bird pooped on me.  What can you do?  My Haydie bug, 3 years old and so big.  I forget how little he is sometimes.

Calvin, my helper.  Sorting my pantry.  Maybe an organizer?  He does like to help with laundry as well...

The preschool boys had their pictures taken at school.  You could draw blood from a stone with these shots, and those photographers knew how to do it!!  Honestly, I adore these shots.  Their little personalities, their group shot.  I will love these; even more as they grow bigger.

Florida cold weather!!

We started our boys off in soccer for the first time.  The older two get to play, and we are so looking forward to seeing them learn.  Cannot wait for more!

Snuggles with mom & monster trucks inspiration.  The boys never cease to amaze me.

Stroller pic? ;-)

We ended our February with the stomach bug.  Poor James was knocked out cold by this nasty virus.  But luckily, just a 24 hr thing and he was on the upswing the following day.  Poor kiddo didn't get off the couch a whole day, and even turned down TV time to sleep right there!  So glad the rest of us made it unscathed.

Adios February.  Thank you Lord for a the memories and the lessons.  Thank you for the images and the notes to keep the memories fresh.  Thank you for brothers and sports and snuggles and cold weather.  Thank you for our home and our lives and our loves.  Our family is a gift from you, and you alone.  May we never forget to thank you for it.  Amen.