This Beautiful Inheritance

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Importance of Prayer

I am a member of the Tommy Nelson Mommies for Thomas Nelson, Inc. As a member of this group, I receive products for my use and to review at no charge to me. I receive no monetary compensation for my participation. All opinions are my own.

Prayer is something I've always struggled with. My mind often goes to the theological underpinnings of prayer... why do we do it? Do we actually change God's will? Is it more for us than Him? Honestly though, my theological questions are more excuses than anything. I don't pray as much as I should because I get lazy and distracted. Life gets in the way.

My girls are currently going through the devotional I Can Learn to Pray by Holly Hawkins Shivers. The book is divided into 52 weekly devotions that teach kids -- in language they can understand -- all the "theological underpinnings" of prayer. Why we do it, how we do it, when we should do it, and more. Needless to say, it's been as good for me as them.

And ironically enough, since starting this devotional with them, a friend of mine contacted me and a few others about reading through 31 Prayers for My Husband by Jennifer Smith. We are doing the daily prayers on our own and then meeting each week to talk and pray together.

God must be wanting to teach me something about prayer!

I don't know why I so often struggle to pray. Anytime I have fervently, consistently prayed for my husband (for example), I have seen God move. But then, like I said, I let things get in the way and I start slacking off. I am excited about friends holding me accountable to pray and excited to see what God will do in all of our marriages. And I am excited to continue learning the whats, whens and hows of prayer in my devotions with the kids. Sometimes doing kid devotions is so good for me... I, like many of you I'm sure, tend to over-analyze God and faith and scripture. Sometimes the simplicity of kids' devotions is just what I need. After all, the Word says we are to have faith like a child.

Something else I've noticed in my Bible reading lately... the apostles prayed. The writers of scripture prayed. If the disciples who walked with Jesus and Paul who was blinded and transformed by Him felt the strong need to pray, it must matter! Obviously there is purpose in it. Even if I'm never able to fully grasp whether my prayers are changing the will of God or if they're just changing me, I will pray because God's Word says to and the holy men He inspired to write scripture found it vital to their existence.

I am giving away one copy of I Can Learn to Pray to a lucky reader. To enter to win, leave a comment on this post telling me any struggles or victories you have had in prayer. Then enter via Rafflecopter below. (Earn additional entries by following me on Twitter and visiting me on Facebook.)

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Friday, May 20, 2016

Hello Summer!

My, how I've waited for you!

I've realized recently that summer is indeed my favorite season. I used to say it was fall (and fall is GREAT), but something about being a mom in the summertime is extra special. It is sacred time for making memories with my kids, slowing down, and enjoying life. Even more so this year because my big girl has been in school all year, and now I'll finally have her home every day to enjoy!

She graduated from Kindergarten this week, and the whole thing was just so exciting. Only once does your first-born start and finish Kindergarten. I was so proud of the way she handled herself this year. She was brave and independent yet stayed kind and innocent. We were blessed with a wonderful first year and I'm so thankful. But I'm even more thankful for the arrival of summer and the more relaxed schedule it brings with it.

Suddenly I'm able to sleep in a little, read in the mornings, and make real breakfasts. This, of course, is temporary as I will be having a baby in a few short weeks! But I am enjoying it while I can. Eden lost her second tooth at breakfast Wednesday and the tooth fairy visited her that night. She and her sister came bouncing into my room about 7:15 Thursday morning excitedly showing me her two dollar bills. "That's great!" I told them. "But new rule: y'all are not allowed to wake Mommy up ever again until Ezra is born. I need to sleep while I can." They nodded in agreement (although I'll be shocked if that actually works), but it's worth a try. :-)

I already have a list of things I want the girls and I to do before baby brother gets here. My summer bucket list includes having a lemonade stand, going to the splash park, making homemade Play-doh and more. I love slow schedules and downtime, but I also want to make the most of our time before our schedule gets hijacked by baby ;-).

Also, I wanted to let y'all know that coming in June, I'll be hosting another "Be The Mom" summer series with ideas to challenge you in your "mom role" this summer. My friend Amanda Farris and I loved hosting this series together last year, and I hope it will be a blessing to you once again!

So tell me -- what's on your summer bucket list? How did your school year go? Are you as pumped as me it's over?

Monday, May 16, 2016

Mom Meals {with #HummusMadeEasy}

I was hired by The Women Bloggers to participate in this #HummusMadeEasy campaign for Bush's Beans. All opinions are my own.

I love fixing and feeding healthy foods to my family. However, my girls (like many children) can be picky! There are many healthy foods they like, but there are also a lot they don't. As I've said before, I try to find a balance when preparing our meals. We usually manage by making sure I have at least one side I know they'll eat and one that may be just for me and their daddy. Still, there are some foods I know will never make it onto our table because they're not kid-friendly or hearty enough to fill up my husband. You know what I'm talking about -- they're "mom foods." They're the things we eat when at a "ladies luncheon" or a "brunch."

A few weeks ago my girls had a sleepover with two of their cousins. These four precious girls decided they wanted a tea party for supper. It sounded like an easy meal to me, so I fixed them turkey finger sandwiches, fruit, pretzels and popcorn, and tea in fancy cups. They were thrilled. Tyler was working that night which left me to realize I could fix myself whatever I wanted for supper! It would just be for me! I could eat Mom Food! :-) Of course I needed something fairly quick and easy so I could get back to monitoring the sleepover. So Hummus Made Easy it was! Hummus Made Easy from Bush's Beans is a new product available at Walmart that allows you to whip up delicious, homemade hummus in just a couple minutes. You simply empty a can of Bush beans into a food processor along with one of the Hummus Made Easy packets, blend them together, and voila! You're done.

I couldn't believe how quick and easy it was to make my own hummus. To eat with it, I made a mozzarella and pesto sandwich I found on Pinterest, with bread soaked in butter and parmesan. Yum! I thoroughly enjoyed my little Mommy meal in the kitchen while the kiddos ate and giggled in the dining room. Aren't they cute?

I have whipped up Hummus Made Easy spur-of-the-moment a couple more times since then. Pretty sure it's always been on Tuesdays when Eden was at school and Selah at Mother's Day Out! I've now tried all three varieties: Classic, Southwest Black Bean and Roasted Red Pepper. My favorite is definitely the Southwest Black Bean. I'm a sucker for anything with a little Mexican flare. Add a dollop of sour cream on top and it's especially delicious.


You can add toppings and mix-ins to any of the Hummus Made Easy flavors. I topped my classic hummus with some oregano and the roasted red pepper with paprika.

For some unknown reason my kids claim they don't like hummus. (To me this doesn't make sense because they love bean dip.) But oh well. They can keep their plain sandwiches and dry crackers and I'll keep enjoying my Mommy Meals. Maybe one day they'll figure out what they're missing.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

A New Chapter

It's been an interesting week for us. After seven years at the same job, my husband started this week at a new fire department. Right now he is in training, which means he's not on a typical firefighter schedule. Instead he's driving back and forth (a longer distance than ever) every day. People have often asked me how I do it, referring to being without him so often for 24 or 48 hours at a time. And I just say I don't know any different. But this -- this gone all day, home every night schedule. This is different. It's been exhausting for him. He gets home in the evenings ready to eat, play with the girls for a few minutes, and go to bed. And it's put a little more pressure on me. I have to make sure I have dinner ready, with leftovers for his lunch the next day, as well as the girls bathed and ready to spend a little time with their dad. (And it will be this way most of the summer.)

I realized this week that this is the schedule most families handle all the time. And it's demanding! I think we all sometimes think the grass is greener on the other side, but the truth is, no grass is perfectly green. There are pros and cons to virtually every lifestyle and career. For us, making this career change is thinking about what will be best long-term. But in the short-term, things are going to be difficult for a while. Still we feel very blessed for this opportunity. It's something we have waited and prayed for for a long time, and I know it will be worth it in the end.

In other news, we are gearing up for Eden to finish school and graduate Kindergarten! And getting things ready around the house for the arrival of our little guy mid-summer. Lots of changes going on at our house. What's going on at your house? What do you have planned for the summer?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

30 Weeks Along!

I felt like it was time for a pregnancy update. And I realized that I did a 30 week update when I was pregnant with Selah so I thought it would be neat to compare the two.

First of all, here's me --

No, I still cannot believe I'm housing a little boy and I don't think it will fully sink in until I hold him in my arms. Even typing masculine pronouns feels funny to me. Everything about this is new and strange but also exciting.

Size of baby: A head of cabbage. This sounds big to me!

Maternity clothes: Um yes. Also, my belly is about to fall out of the few medium T-shirts I have and I'm about to graduate to my husband's larges. Also, sadly my wedding ring won't go on about half the time...

Movement: All day, err' day. Boy doesn't stop. And I'm concerned about what this means... Also starting to feel lots of sweet hiccups.

Sleep: I am surprisingly sleeping pretty well. I've gotten accustomed to sleeping on my side and if I don't drink too much before bed I can make it through the night without getting up to pee. :) Also it helps that my four-year-old no longer gets in my bed!! Praise the Lord.

What I miss: Feeling cute. Being able to bend over easily. Being able to buckle my shoes...

Cravings: None. I don't believe in them.

Symptoms: Some leg cramps. I was having some heart palpitations during this pregnancy which I visited the cardiologist for, but I have since cut out all caffeine and they've almost completely gone away.

What I'm looking forward to: Seeing what this little guy looks like. I'm so curious if he'll be a combination of my girls, if he'll have dark or light hair, etc. Can't wait to see. :)

I visited the doc yesterday for my 30-week appointment and everything looked great. I am so thankful to be healthy and have a healthy baby so far once again. I am anxious to meet this little guy but also a little nervous about the dynamics of our family changing so drastically. I am thankful though that my girls are old enough to do many things for themselves and be a help with the baby. I cannot wait to see them with him and watch them love on their new brother!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Welcome to The Selah Bear Show!

Well, you may or may not have heard by now, but my Selah officially has her own YouTube channel. This is something we have wanted to do for months (years?), but I finally quit waiting 'til I had time to learn what I was doing and just started videoing! So we still have much to learn. I'm just videoing her with my iPhone and I'm far from technically savvy... but she is adorable, and I'm running with that.

Both my girls are obsessed with YouTube. They LOVE watching what I think are frankly annoying, obnoxious videos where people open toys and play with them and eat weird things and make Barbies talk to each other. They can watch this stuff for hours! And I would catch Selah all the time sitting around pretending to make videos and talking to the imaginary camera. I knew I needed to start documenting it. Somewhere along the way she started calling her pretend videos "The Selah Bear Show." (Selah Bear has been her nickname since she was a baby.) So we just stuck with that when I decide to finally record her and publish it.

Like I said, Mama has a lot to learn. I know virtually nothing about video and editing, but this girl, I do believe, has star-quality. I, for one, LOVE watching her videos (over and over again), and from the feedback I've gotten from some of you, you do too! Here is her newest video. Show it to your kids because, believe it or not, they love this kind of thing. And please comment, like, share and subscribe. Yes, subscribe because she is keeping up with how many subscribers she has. Her goal is 100! :-)

To visit her channel on YouTube, watch past videos, and subscribe, click here.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Seeking Truth in a World of Gray

I am a member of the Tommy Nelson Mommies for Thomas Nelson, Inc. As a member of this group, I receive products for my use and to review at no charge to me. I receive no monetary compensation for my participation. All opinions are my own.

This year I have been reading through the Bible with a group of friends and meeting every couple of weeks to discuss it. I'm not going to lie. Reading through some parts of the Old Testament is brutal... so much bloodshed... so many barbaric practices. Thankfully, our reading has been broken up by alternating between Old and New Testament books. So every time I start to feel a little disillusioned, I get to read about Jesus and how He made a new way and fulfills all the law. As difficult as some parts of it has been, it's been so GOOD reading the full scope of God's story. Everything is there for a reason. Some details and stories take a little digging to unearth their purpose, but usually with study and dialogue with friends, we're able to find it.

I recently read something from one of my kids' devotional books that helped and stuck with me. It talked about how we must study what's TRUE in order to know what is a LIE. Here's the excerpt from I AM: 40 Reasons to Trust God.
There are so many lies in the world. Opinions, beliefs, perceptions and propaganda. Subtly, it can all work its way into our minds until we slowly conform to the mold of the culture. It's just like when Satan asked Eve in Genesis... "Did God really say...?" He presents half-truths and twists them so that black and white give way to gray. But THAT is exactly why we must study what's true! We won't know what's a lie until we know for sure what's not. Even some widely held beliefs and clich├ęs Christians throw around can't be backed by the true Word of God. But we won't know that unless we read it.
I am really enjoying going through I AM: 40 Reasons to Trust God with my girls. This devotional book includes Bible stories, devotions and prayers about the names of God. Most of us know some of the names of God... "Jehovah" and "Immanuel" are examples of ones that are well known. But there are so many more! Each devotion in this book tells a Bible story and explains one of the names of God. For example, the excerpt above was focused on the name of God -- "El Emeth." Ever heard of it? I hadn't until I read this devotion. It means "God of Truth." I am learning just as much as my girls as we go through these readings together. Each name and story gives us one more reason why we can trust God. In the midst of a gray, shifting, and sometimes conniving culture, God is steady and true. And there are at least 40 reasons we can trust Him!
Of course, I'm giving away one copy of I AM: 40 Reasons to Trust God. To enter to win, leave a comment on this post telling where you're reading right now in the Word of God or where you're going to start! Then enter via Rafflecopter below.

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