Friday, May 6, 2016

One Year Madison!

Happy Birthday my beautiful little girl!
Today you are one year old and you take my breath away.
You turned our world upside down and everyone one of us are so grateful you did!
This past year has taught the boys gentleness and how to cherish the little sister in their lives. 
They've also taught you how to sword fight, wrestle, and spit. I'm sorry. 
You are in size three diapers, can wear 9 month-18 month clothes depending on the maker, you hate wearing socks and shoes, and not a fan of bows, but had no problem with your princess crown. 
You love reading books with Mommy, making Wils scream by stealing his food when he's not paying attention, having Jefferson and Harrison sing to you, and anything your Daddy says or does. 
You love being outside but you don't like being dirty. You want your hands washed right away after eating or playing outside. 
You are crawling, fast. You are cruising everywhere and get into impossible predicaments, but with three older brothers there's always someone nearby to come to your rescue. 
You can climb the stairs faster than light and disappear up to your room to rock your babydoll and dump out your dresser drawers. 
Because you don't like anything to stay in a drawer, in a cabinet, folded neatly, stacked, or organized. 
You are getting so good at communicating with us and able to sign for water, milk, more please, all done, yes, and no. You say Dada, Mama, Bubba, light, on, yum, bye, and you for "I love you." 
You have ditched baby food and fallen head over heal in love with the culinary world. 
You love sautéed chicken in garlic and herbs. You love sunflower seed butter sandwiches and grapes. You'd eat your weight in steamed veggies, whole wheat muffins, olives, raisins, oatmeal, and grilled vegetables. 
You've recently discovered mac n' cheese, pickles, chocolate chip cookies, and steak. 
You'd be happy if every day started with scrambled eggs and ended with something grilled. You and I get along great!
You are and have always been so laid back and sweet. You ditch your naps frequently in order to keep  up with big brothers and you never are grumpy about it later. 
You are fine eating on the go, riding in a cart seat, walking around the zoo, museums, DC, hanging out in doctor's offices or Daddy's office. 
Madison, you are our blessing and we couldn't imagine life without you. We had no idea what our world look like with you in it, but it has been so richly blessed!
A year ago we cuddled our tiny infant swaddled against our chests. Today we see glimpses of the young lady you are growing to be and we couldn't be more in love with you! 
To our sweet precious baby girl, may you continue to grow in wisdom, and stature, and favor with God and man! Happy Birthday Madison! We love you! 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Weapons Training

Walking onto a battlefield with no weapon is suicidal.
Having a weapon you don't know how to handle and utilize is almost as foolish. 
From the time our kids were swaddled bundles in our arms we've fed scripture into their hearts. 
As they've gotten older and started hiding God's word in their own hearts we've begun discipling them on how to use it. We call these memorized verses "swords" because well, they are. 
Ephesian 6:10-17 lays out a clear battle plan including preparation, training, enemy identification, attack plan, and strategy. Notice there is no wording for a potential attacks, retreats or an exit strategy. There will be attacks, there will be battles, and you will fail on your own. 
Preparing our kids to recognize the enemy, develop hearts of discernment, and utilize the armor and weapons God has given them is a crucial aspect of Godly parenting. Without their foundations being embedded in the word of God we are essentially sending our kids onto a battlefield empty-handed. 
Our memorized "swords" aren't collected and laid aside either. We practice with them daily. If you want to become completely comfortable with using a weapon and a master of it's use, you have to practice with it and use. We challenge each other in recalling the best sword to match a situation we may be facing, wether serious or light. For example, If one of the boys is awake with bad dreams we choose which swords in our arsenal would be best to fight with and we recite them together, slashing away at any "ruler, authorities, or powers of this dark world." v12. 
 We use our swords to fight anger, temptation, selfishness, jealousy, bitterness, discontentment, greed, etc. 
Our kids have become completely comfortable in handling their weapons. They are proficient in knowing not only when but how to use them. They know on whose strength and power they fight for and who they are fighting against. This essential foundation has aided their maturity and discernment with heavier topics like strangers and predators. I will be posting on how we introduced and continue to train the boys in awareness of some of these heavier parts of our world. 
Below is a list a of some of our "swords" each of the boys has memorized and knows how to recall and use, to stand firm. It's not a comprehensive list but it's a great launching point. We are continually adding to our swords. It's important for us the kids understand the words they are reciting so we take our time studying it and applying it so it is hidden in their hearts with absolute truth and understanding, being a more effective weapon in their hands.  

Monday, May 2, 2016

Discipleship in Safety

With a very real enemy out to steal, kill, and destroy, it is our very real duty as parents to raise up warriors who are wise to his ways and equipped to fight. 
I cannot and they cannot hide behind fear and uncertainty, because if we do, the enemy has already gotten a stronghold. 
I pray in the face of danger my kids aren't standing paralyzed by doubt of what to do, but they are galvanized to act by the training and skills they have been learning. 
This is why it is crucial for Godly parents to realize safety and discipleship go hand in hand. Satan is out prowling in multiple forms. 
When someone has been equipped spiritually to combat in prayer and resist fear, while applying physical skills of reacting to an emergency or danger then they are a two-fold threat to the tactics of the enemy. 
Discipling in safety combines prayer, scripture memory, and life saving survival skills. The kids and I will have "safety school" a few times a week and review and learn ways to stand firm and stay safe. 
It's important that any discussions we have are done without fear or doubt, though we discuss some very fearful topics. The full weight of some things is left out and I'll add it in as little guys get older and stronger to carry the heavier weight of this dark world. 
But for now we've been able to study all kinds of skills like how to preform CPR, the Heimlich maneuver, fire drills, how to call 911, how to escape from a car if you're trapped, what to do if someone is trying to take you, what to do if something happens to Mommy, and active shooter drills like Run, Hide, or Fight.
We've also begun to talk about sexual predators. This is a very hard concept for me to look into these innocent faces and wonder if this is possibly something they need to learn right now. But I know beyond a shadow of a doubt this is absolutely something they need to learn right now. 
Most victims are the very young ages of my little guys and as long as I have breath my children will know how to defend, speak up, and protect themselves and their siblings. 
Having to introduce them to this darkness is incredibly sad, but the addition of discipling alongside it is not only beneficial to them, but for me as the parent.  
As I discuss the broken world and the predators the enemy has put in place I feel my own heart falling into the hands of my Father for wisdom and courage to fight the fear and doubts. 
Discipleship in safety gives us the open conversation to peel back the layers of something ugly and then hand it God for His wisdom on how to protect ourselves and each other so if God forbid there is ever a need to use it, we will all know how to respond. 
This world is not our home, it is a broken and fallen place. But it is here we prepare as sons and daughters, taking up our crosses and following Him! 
Safety school will continue to be a place where my kids will learn how to fight Satan on every level, and be prepared in season and out of season. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

A 3rd Birthday Interview With Wils

Ok Wils, Mommy is going to ask you some questions ok?
Uh, I wanna eat, Mommy.
Ok, it's cooking and you can eat after the questions.
Aw man!
What's your favorite color? Uh, I don't know. Green!
What's your favorite thing to play? I don't know. I play, I play, I play, uh...uh...uh...Legos!
What's your favorite movie? I watch a movie?! 
Not right now, what is your favorite movie?
I watch uh, I like uh....uh... rescue bots (transformers) and duhn-duhns(storm-troopers, aka, Star Wars).
What's your favorite thing to eat for lunch? yes, I eat!
Yes, in a minute, what's your favorite thing to eat for lunch?
Not again, ugh! Uh, cheese and crackers
Whats your favorite thing to wear? Cape and mask
What's your favorite thing to play? Uh, I play, uh, I play...tag!
What's your favorite song? I don't wanna sing. No singing.
You don't have to sing right now, but what is your favorite song?
Ugh, I don't know. I sing Happy Birthday. 
Yes, we did and we'll do that again, but what about in the car? What do you like to sing then?
I sing Switchfoot.
What's your favorite book? Busy Spider, yes Busy Spider!
What's your favorite thing to do outside? I don't know, I like, I run! I like-a run!
Who's your best friend? Uh, my friend is Jepp (Jefferson) and Bubby (Harrison).
What's your favorite holiday? Uh, I don't know. 
Harrison: His birthday!
Wils: Yeah, birthday!
What do you like to sleep with? Blue and lion
What's your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Pop tarts!
What do you want to be when you grow up? A dinosaur!
What's your favorite thing to watch on tv? Race cars and Rescue bots!
What's your favorite fruit? Uh, fruit snacks! 
No, real fruit, like apples, strawberries, kiwi...
No, I like fruit snacks.
What's your favorite animal? Uh, I don't know. I DON'T KNOW!
Ok, shhh, you can like them all.
Ugh, ok
What's your favorite thing to drink? I want to eat!
I know, almost done, what's your favorite thing to drink?
Uh, I don't know...Poppa's tea (sweet tea).
What's your favorite special treat? Special treat?!?!
Not yet, what is your favorite special treat?
Yes! And chocolate, and Mommy!
What's your favorite Bible verse? 
Not a fear, of love, power, and sound mind! (1 Tim 1:7)
Wils, where do I even begin? I mean there just aren't words to capture your huge personality, your spunk, your sweetness, and well, just you! You can go from being the most mischievous, impish little thing on the plant to being the sweetest, cuddliest, apologetic baby in nanoseconds. You flash those deep blue eyes and kiss away any transgression and make it impossible for me to stay on task of reprimanding any necessary behaviors. 
You smile, wave, and talk to any and everybody, and I mean everybody! I can't get out of the grocery store without several new friends you've struck up a conversation with. You love singing and humming and head banging to the radio. Running and climbing are your preferred methods of travel; you love your sleep and nap time which I love, and you make everyone around you happy with the joy you exude in your Wilson-ness! We love you more than words and feel so honored to be chosen as your parents as you continue to grow in wisdom, stature, and favor with God and man! We are proud of the man you are becoming! Happy Birthday Wilson!