Tuesday, February 28, 2012

By Eleven

By 11am, I washed a sink full of dishes, did a load of cloth diapers, fed matthew (of course), prepped 4 dinners, and went for a run with the running stroller. SCORE! Now since books are taking up his time right now, i might plop him next to the bathroom with some farm animals and get a shower in before lunch. even better.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Revelation of Love!

My head knows about God. I know who Jesus is and some of the stuff in the bible. I know it in my head. Today my pastor talked about it moving from our heads to are hearts. As he would say, "I know people that can quote anything from scripture for you and tell you lots of history and knowledge of the bible. But some of those people, are the saddest, most critical, depressed, and angry people I know. Let me tell you, a sad long face is not spiritual. It is just, a sad long face. I don't know about your bible, but mine says the JOY of the Lord is my strength."

Our pastor must have been praying for us to get that today, and as I was listening to a song while making dinner, revelation of his love just poured out over me. Revelation, as in, "ohmygosh, my heart feels it and gets it." I could actually hear him tell me and I could feel his touch and the warmth of his spirit run through my body. As I listened close to every word of this song tears just ran down my face and as I stopped everything I was doing to be with him in that moment as my body could hardly move. I felt like I was being surrounded by his Glory. And my messy haired, jeans and hoodie self felt like God clothed me with his garments of pure royalty as his daughter, and I was just sitting there, praising him, being loved by my Savior. It was so real I could actually touch his love. I love my God. I just am so full.

This is the song.
It started a ton at 2min and 20seconds.
Where it talks about his unconditional love no matter where we are in life or what we are doing or have done. It blew me away.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


I have to say, when it comes to quality time, our little family has lots of it. I am going to owe it to the race and lots of moves in the helping of this wonderful thing. The race and moving have really helped us simplify our life. Simplify, as in stripping away all our activities,church stuff, and just material possessions. It has been the best thing that has ever happened to us. It is like God wiped our plate clean and helped us to find balance and slowly added things in. We embrace responsibility but we pick and choose where we want to invest that responsibility and where we want our time spent. We really have chosen to be responsible for the things we decide to own and for our relationships. But because relationships are the most important and our quality time as a family we decide to get rid of stuff in order for our time not to go towards taking care of "things". It is really nice to have the house clean by 7:15pm every night, leaving the evening very wide open. What we decide to keep, we try to take care of. We have decided to get rid of distractions. Getting rid of facebook and t.v. have drastically changed our lives and our marriage relationship. We no longer talk about facebook status and scroll up and down the live feed page while trying to have a conversation with each other. My husband told me the other day he doesnt even miss tv; except for a game here and there. With those distractions available it was easy to only kind of pay attention to each other, even matthew. But I want Matthew to receive our focused attention and for him to learn that electronics are not the primary way to connect with the outside world and people. All this to say, I have been reading in the bible a lot about hospitality. And because we are disconnected, mostly, via internet, it is time to get a bit old fashioned and meet our neighbors, have people over more, and do creative things with the time we would spend on our electronics. I want to fill my free time, that does not hinder our family quality time, with important things.

I got to hang out with one of our neighbors yesterday and it was such a precious time. But because God commands hospitality, I really want to continue to make my life more efficient and simple, so that I am ready to take anyone in when the opportunity comes. One of my downfalls is meals. I can meal plan, but prep is sooo tough when matthew realizes there is food up there. And it is hard to chop carrots while holding a baby. And I cannot tell you how many times I have a friend over and dinner is just not there for them. I cannot think on the spot and whip something together with a 10 month old. I just cannot figure it out. So, in order to save time and make for a cleaner kitchen I am trying something new today. I am going to prep 14 meals today. YAY! I hope this opens up an hour each evening to spend with Matthew and maybe even to get the laundry folded on the floor with matthew before Mike gets home, or have time to workout or go for an extra stroller ride. Wish me luck. this is a huge step for me. But I am pretty excited. I think it will be nice to have all my fruits and vegetables chopped and ready to go for 2 weeks in advance. Plus, Id really like to master this before our family grows so that I don't have to sacrifice even more floor time with my kiddos.

Not a bad start, and the fridge looks sooo much more better with tupperware.

Have a great weekend everyone.
oh yeah. and mikes brother and wife our home for a bit from the navy.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Matthew, A Letter From Dad

Matthew -

I've been wanting to write you a letter for a long time now, but I just haven't been able to put thoughts to words, but I will try because I want you to know some things.

First, I want you to know how much you've changed my life. You have brought so much joy and happiness to me these past 10-11 months that it is just incredible.  Your smile and laugh absolutely brighten my mood, no matter how upset I may be at the time. Your joy is contagious.  I see genuine love come out of you in everything you do. The way you cuddle with your mom in the mornings and after naps (and other random times throughout the day) almost make me emotional. It is so obvious how much you love your mom that it makes me want to love her more too. She is absolutely crazy about you by the way. The two best parts of my day are in the morning and when I get home from work. In the mornings, mom puts you on the ground outside of our room, and I say “hey there buggy!” and you sprint crawl to me just to come give me hugs and kisses. I wouldn't want to wake up any other way. And when I get home from work, whether you are in your high-chair or playing, the moment you see me, you sprint crawl to me once again with the biggest smile on your face. Each time I see it, it makes me know that you missed me while I was gone and you are happy I'm home. I love those moments more than you'll ever know.  You have also made me want to work harder in everything I do. I want you to have everything you need from me, and I will work as hard as I can to provide what I can for you. There will be things that I can't do for you, or won't do for you, and that is only because you will need to learn certain skills and lessons for yourself, but in everything that I can and should do for you, I will do it the best way that I know how.

Second, I want you to know how proud I am of you already. You are learning so much so fast! I still remember bringing you home from the hospital when you were born. You were completely dependent on us for everything, there was nothing you could do without us. Just a short time later, you learned to roll over and back again, then it seemed like only a few minutes had passed by and you were sitting up on your own. I feel like I turned around and you were crawling, and now you're close to walking! Slow down boy! I feel like I can't keep up with you! :-)  I want you to know that I am proud of you and there isn't anything you can do that will make me any less proud of you than I am now. Sure, there will be times when we don't see eye to eye, but that doesn't mean I'll be any less proud of you.

Third, I want you to know how much God loves you Matthew.  God created you Matthew, with great care and with great purpose. There is nothing about you that is a mistake. Your eyes, your ears, your nose, your hair...all of it was designed perfectly by God, because He loves you. He loves you so much that He sent His only son Jesus to die for the sins you haven't even committed, but will, so that you could be close to God the Father. Jesus knew you before you were born, and He loved you then just as much as He does now. You don't deserve, you can't earn, and you can't lose His love. My prayer is that I can accurately show you, and teach you about this great love. My promise to you, Matthew, is that I will do my very best to live out the love of Jesus in my life, so that you have a glimpse of the perfection that comes in Jesus. I will mess up, I will hurt you,  and I will let you down, not on purpose, but because I am not perfect. But Jesus is perfect. He will never let you down, He will never leave you nor forsake you and He will provide for your every need. I love you so much, Matthew, but my love for you is small when I think about how much Jesus loves you.

I love you son, and I can't wait to watch you grow into the man that God has created you to be.

Love Always,

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Joyful Parenting

Today I read a blog that my friend recommended and as I read it my heart is being filled with so many good things I could cry. She is an incredible and wise woman of God that writes more beautifully than anything I have ever read. One of her things I came across was 10 points of joyful Parenting.
I can't contain myself when I read it. I pray this for my home over and over again. I think about it non stop. Oh these are wonderful.

1. Today, I will make our home a house of prayer. I will pray at set times. And I will invite our children to come move into an interior space that lives with God.

2. Today, I will transfigure all things into beauty, and I will refuse to see anything else.

3. Today, I will not have any emergencies. There are no emergencies! Only amateurs hurry.

4. Today, when stress mounts, I pray to dismount it with gratitude. My stress management plan will be intervention with verbal thanks. I can only feel one feeling at a time, and I choose to give thanks at all times. Fight feeling with feeling!

5. Today, I will pray to speak words that are only STRONG words, words that make these children feel strong. Grace words. Grace is the only non-toxic air. All other words I breathe are death words.

6. Today, I will pray to be consistently consistent. I will create safe rhythms that our children can find security in. I will create daily ceremonies because everyday we are CELEBRATING the gift of now!

7. Today, the moment when I am most repelled by a child's behavior, that is my sign to draw the very closest to that child.

8. Today, I will hug each of my children as many times as I serve them meals -- because children's hearts feed on touch. I'll look for as many opportunities to touch my children today as possible --- the taller they are, the more so.

9. Today, my priorities will be all Things Unseen.

10. Today, I will laugh! And I will let the little children laugh! I will create a culture of JOY!

ANOTHER post of hers I highly recommend is THIS. It is AMAZING!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Just Playing

Ask Matthew what he does nowadays. And he will tell you he is "just playing". The two of us had a great day out at a kids play place. He loved it. And was cute and hilarious. Some kid hit him very meanly and matthew just stared at him very intense, kinda confused. Also, after i stopped playing with him and backed off to see what he would do, he sat in the middle of the floor for 30  min, looking at and watching everything, until he eyed one toy out of a million and went to play with that for a good amount of time. i prayed so hard that no kid would take it from him. he was soo happy with it and it took him 30 minutes to decide that toy was the one.

 the blue car is the toy he picked out all by himself. 
he just crawled around pushing it.
it was so cute.

and the above picture is after matthew didnt want to nap this afternoon.
he just started to stand on his own without holding onto things.
everytime he does something big like that,
he wont nap. he will just huff and puff around his crib for an hour;
maybe even scream for a bit. hehehe
oh well, atleast he is a very happy guy.

It Will Get Easier

That is what they all said. And they all were right. The screaming, inconsolable infant Matthew has progressed to one of the most content and sweetest people I have ever met. Naps and bedtime are a breeze, (most of the time) and I don't hope for a longer nap for the reason that I need to get things done; because after a few minutes of cuddles the kid is on the floor ready to get in as much playing as he can. He of course has his days, but I am really going to admit, he is one easy kid. I do have to say, we have worked REALLY hard in making his home a safe place for him. He has always been a very jumpy and emotional child. But that has really eased since we have found a balance in our home and become very routine with him. Not strict strict scheduling but very routine. We have found a good balance of making him feel listened to and comfortable while at the same time keeping boundaries to where Mike and I can function best as parents. This sometimes means that it can be more difficult when the environment drastically changes or he has to sleep somewhere else, but when 90% of our lives are at home, this works. And really, it is more fun than work. Really. I don't always feel that way, but when Matthew is healthy and his teeth are at ease (the other two did come in) we are happy people over here. And I LOVE BEING A MOM!!!!!!!!! I told a friend that I am more "me" than any other time in my life. Staying home and taking care of my family. I just cannot be more thankful that God is letting me pursue my dream of taking care of people in this way. Oh. So Good!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Tons of Stepping

Everyone says that kids grow like a weed and my is it true. Matthew is playing and moving more advanced each day. Today Grandma and Papa Murphy came over to play and got him moving. Yes. He is walking with his little toy walker. All by himself. AH! It is just so strange. I always say that I remember my childhood like it was yesterday. I can still feel that warm magical feeling with new things when I was a kid. I am overwhelmed for Matthew. The world is becoming just a little bigger for him, and that is fun. Did I mention how much I love being a mom? Watching my sweet sweet child just glow with discovery. =) I LOVE IT.

I cannot even handle that little profile!

Oh and again! Did I mention that Matthew flipped through ONE book after his afternoon nap for 45 minutes. That doesn't count the hour and a half he spent this morning flipping through his books. My gosh. I didn't even know what to do with myself. I don't think the house could get any cleaner. Mike and I both just sat on the couch this morning and read our books while matthew did his thing. So cute.

Wave Goodnight!

last night i put matthew in his crib for bed and he waved at me before i left the room. i was cracking up. "bye mom. see yuh in the morning."

I also could not sleep last night because my mind is going crazy for what i want to do for Matthew when he turns a year. We are pretty excited. Its nothing too crazy, just fun and I think he will like it.

He has been reading his books for the last hour and randomly throwing his football and chasing it while shouting.

We also are realizing how much Matthew understands what we are saying and as he is starting to say more sounds we are gonna start working hard on doing a little less baby talking to him.

Today Matthew was using Mikes phone to put through his basketball hoop. I told him not to use daddy's phone and to go get his ball. And so he did. He put the phone down and went and got his ball. I was so amazed and how much he understands.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

So Much Good!

Oh. This weekend was a blast. Spent some time in downtown Royal Oak with a friend and Matthew. Went out one afternoon to buy TONS of craft supplies which ended up turning into an awesome craft night with my sister. With no kids. Weird. We have not hung out with no kids in YEARS! Seriously awesome. We want to do it more often. Crafting that is.

Our little family of three had some awesome quality time this weekend and Matthew keeps making us laugh more and more everyday. He has actually discovered the joy of laughing a lot and he does it all the time, even if no one is trying to make him laugh. I love it. and this morning after matthew almost slept 13 hours, WOW, mike brought him into our bed for cuddles in the morning and matthew just crawled to me and curled all up with his head on my chest, wrapped his arms around me and just cuddled with me like no other; lifting up his head for kisses in between the cuddles. melt my heart.

Church was AWESOME as we talked about how we can get so caught up in trying to do the right things as Christians but it is easy to forget that what it is all really about is how much God loves us. Oh. So good.  AND Matthew is just amazing me how he sits through 1.5 hours of church. He just sits on our laps and flips through his books and plays peekaboo with the people behind us. So quietly until the end when Mike decides to make funny faces during a prayer and matthew is squeaking with laughter. I LOVE IT.

I got a great workout in today with a friend at a gym and I will blog about my awesome experience in a bit.

Also. I may have talked about small goals. And how it is much easier to focus on one small goal at a time in life than just trying to do a bunch at once or reach on big one. Small goals makes it less stressful and helps prioritize my life as I only focus on one at a time. Well I haven't been great at it and so I have a friend holding me accountable now and in the last 2 weeks I have finished THREE HUGE goals that i have been slacking on. And no, crafting for my home will never count as a goal. But I am just so excited to keep going with this. I am feeling so empowered to actually be getting things done and moving forward and taking responsibility with the things and relationships the Lord has given to me.

We also just paid of a HUGE chunk off of my school loan. Our school loans is the ONLY debt hanging over us, thank the Lord, and we just cannot wait for it to be gone. We are still doing good at not buying anything we dont have all the cash for upfront and the sacrifice sure has paid off. Its nice not to have "stuff" around that I am paying for every month. Mike is going to a free financial class now and im excited to hear what he learns.

This week is also moms night out with moms group. all us  moms go and do something fun while the husbands are with the kids. did i mention that moms are the most fun to hang out with. seriously. its cuz they dont take going out for granted and we just have a blast. 

Whew. That was a ton. Im sure there is more. But i am going to go read a bit now for my bible study at church. I get to start driving a girl a little younger than me to the study who i have not met yet. she needs a ride and i cannot wait to meet her and get to know her story.

here are just a few pictures of my productive and cute weekend.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Mike had Valentines Day off so we all spent the day together. It was fabulous. We went out to eat and Matthew is now a fan of Chicken and Dumplings. More the Dumplings. Mike got me a beautiful necklace and some delicious chocolate covered fruit. Matthew even made his first Valentines Day cards. So sweet of him. His idea. ;)

Out for lunch!

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Today was great. We had Mikes parents over for dinner and some fun. And we had fun with them for sure. They are always hosting so it was good to make food for them. =)

Also, Matthew is just making me smile all the time with his love of books. Sometimes it is really quiet and when I go to find him, this is often what I find. I think today we both read our own books for about 20 minutes. I never get to read when he was awake. But about every minute I would sense him looking at me and he would wait till I looked at him, smile, and then go back to reading. These are a few shots I have taken in the last few days.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Matthews 10 month old lunch.
* I big fat carrot, (cooked)
* 3 cherry tomatoes
* an entire, very stuffed full, grilled sandwich
* two adult size handfuls of grapes
* one adult size handfuls of rasberries
* one adult size handfuls of blueberries
* 4 slices of cheese
* applesauce
* one pea =)
* and some puffs (because I ran out of ideas)
* some of my lunch (below)
* and I am sure he could eat more if I gave him something he liked. I just figure he can wait till he nurses next.  No more ideas.

My 26 year old lunch
*an avocado spread on toast

The boy can eat. That is all I have to say.

Friday, February 10, 2012

10 month old Matthew

umm. Im pretty sure 10 month old matthew just ate over 1/4 pound of meatloaf tonight. Not even exaggerating. 10 month old matthew has also really embraced  playing, and I don't see him much now. At least at my feet. I can find 10 month old matthew anywhere really. Most likely reading his books though or pulling all of his toys off the shelf and onto the floor. I love it. He loves to knock down towers that we build and he now makes the biggest cheesy smile, the cheesiest one you could ever see. It is full head up, grin ear to ear where you can see all his teeth. Matthew does best if mom and dad take lots of time to come play with him. he loves knowing that we would prefer to be with him over any task in the house. he can also play alone for a long time but the cheesy grin comes out the second we sit on the floor with him. he also copied me and said "num num" today when eating his food, a few times. he is wandering off from me more when we go to play places. very cute to see him expand a bit. I guess every age just gets better and better. i love him so much. 

 Loving his books!

 Just playing at the mall. ( love how we look in the mirror )

Oh and if Im being honest.
We may have skimmed through Matthew's "veggie tales" book to make 
sure we didnt miss any vegetables on our grocery list. =)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Matthew has determined today that it is independent day for Matthew. Since 7am he has made it clear that he really wants nothing to do with Mom today and he will determine the activities for the day. He so sweetly turned the pages of his books for over an hour today, but if I came near him to read to him he acted agitated. He totally refused his morning nap and acted angry for a while after that I would even put him in that awful crib. He since has been cheery, slamming his little hands on the ground, and I have yet to feel someone tugging on my pants saying "mama." He is getting into all the "no" stuff, found the toilet paper roll, and only acted interested in my presence when I opened up the laptop that he just ripped off the enter key from. I love him, but I for sure am getting to know the other side of Matthew.


I get pretty overwhelmed when I have more than one very important thing going on. Not the type of important like feeding my child and getting the house clean and making dinner and getting to bible study. I mean, things that don't happen often at all and the plans that are stacked on top of each other and your husband has plans too and you have a baby too. Plans where I will attend a joyful celebration and then drive to my next place of a very sorrowful and painful situation. I am (trying to) resting in God's peace through it all and pray that today I can focus where my attention needs to be. And when I come home tonight, know that it is all in His hands.

Monday, February 6, 2012


Just for the record, Matthew is saying "dada" now, consistently.
I think it is good to note this important milestone. =)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Made Me Happy


Teething. It is time for you to give us a break. I feel so bad for Matthew. The teeth keep pushing but it is only taking the skin with them. I can see the two teeth get lower and lower but the skin just won't break. Eeek. The days have just been exhausting. But, we did find one soother to teething that keeps him happy for more than 5 minutes. An entire apple with the skin peeled off. He will eat almost half of it too. It is cold and hard, and it is just really cute.

I Just Want To......

............go in a mosh pit right about now. I have so much bottled up emotional energy and for some reason a mosh pit to some really loud and energetic music feels like it would do the trick. But in the mean time, I will sit and wish I was tackling people while watching the super bowl and eating chocolate cake! I guess that will have to do. =)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Verizon Wireless

I let Matthew play with my cell phone. And he likes to do things that make me need to keep a watch on him. For example, yesterday I hear little buttons beeping and see little fingers moving and then I hear something close to......

"Welcome to Verizon Wireless, your plan is not serviced to make international calls. If you would like to make an international call, please hang up and dial....."

Who the heck was he trying to call? HAHAHA

And thank you Verizon, for not letting him make the call on the first attempt. Whew!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Something About You

Dear Matthew,

        In the past 10 months I have observed something about you, and since you have become more interactive it has begun to shine right out of you. Firstly, I love how God has created you. As I write this way too late at night, because it is fresh on my heart and important to me, I need you to know that you were made just as you should be. As I tell you things I notice about you now, they may be completely different when you are able to read this. But for now, here I share what I see.

       Too often I feel, and unintentionally, children that liked to be passed around at the party and jump around the center of it all to make everyone laugh, or who are able to adjust to new settings quickly, or play amazing with other children while mom and dad are gone, are looked at as the "awesome" children, the "secure" children who were parented right and have all the characteristics that people envy. As all of those are totally charming and sweet and fun, I am starting to see the beauty in the opposite. And you are teaching me this. Matthew, you are currently a 10 month old introvert. I think. Always have been. And as long as this remains true, I will protect this beautiful characteristic about you. I fully believe that if I had you around a million people right from the start, it would not change the way you are. Your ability to feel loved and content with little attention but from a few loved ones, amazes me. Little man, don't get me wrong, YOU LOVE going out in public. You love seeing new things and learning. It is essential for you. And this is why. You have shown by the way you observe and give the most intense thinking face, that you are a thinker and a processor. Ask your Grandma Murphy and Grandpa Bickel. They have talked about this many times since your birth. Because of this amazing trait, you NEED your space and quiet to let it all rest in your mind. What amazes me about you Matthew is that you don't need a ton of stimulation and lots of activity to keep you happy. I LOVE that about you. You love to be still in my arms with calm music for a good part of the day. My friend observed this about you and she absolutely loves it. She told me that you are such a lover and we believe that your ability to function without a million people giving you attention shows that maybe one day you will be blessed with the Gift to just sit still and be in the presence of the Lord, in his quiet space he makes for you. In this world we distract ourselves with so many things that get in our way from spending time with Him, but your love for the quiet and peaceful is a quality that few find and many secretly want.

You love your home. You love your crib. You love your routine. You love loooong stroller walks and relaxing in the shower. You love to just sit and look out the window and wait for the very few cars that come by.

You do not love lots of people in your face trying to give you attention. I noticed this first when I saw my world race family in Ohio. you would fuss and flail until I took you to a quiet room with just a few people. When the house had cleared out to a handful of people, you played forever, content on the floor with a few people around you.  and rooms with kids running around like crazy and mom is gone, not your thing; however, when all have backed off and mom or dad is there, you make your move. At church you found a lady you did not even know, you leaned into her as she naturally took you. You leaned in, kissed her on the lips and lunged back to me. So your gift with people is amazing. Each time we are around other kids, your first move is to sit quietly on the floor, then you look, find your person, and crawl over to give a kiss and a nuzzle and come back to mom. The moment your little friend came to visit, you glowed with a smile and nuzzled into his neck. This is most always the case. You love. You love. And your smile is the most genuine smile I have ever seen. It makes a million butterflies go crazy in my stomach. And you are also loyal. You know your people. You are so loyal to your grandparents. Right now you know Grandma and Papa Murphy very well and you are just as comfortable with them as you are to me. I love that. And you are a unifier. I just know it. You have brought family closer, you have brought your dad and I closer. Your special ways about you are treasured in my heart.

I Love You Matthew,


Again. I have been thinking a ton lately about a few things. But to make this short and simple, Matthew had a friend stay the night. It went WONDERFUL. Even though Matthew had one of his hardest days in a long time. The worst day of teething so far. And the time I had with my mom friend and her baby was the best. Every mom needs a friend that you can have over on your childs worst day and having them makes it more relaxing than stressful. Just have to say. I love her and her son soo much. I really will be writing a blog on what I think of them later. But for now, here are some blurry pictures of cuteness.

also. matthew and I had lunch with grandma murphy at the hospital. 
He was loving the cool mirrors. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Wave

Why yes! Matthew started to wave yesterday, to his Grandma Murphy.
It was fun having her see it for his first time. It was adorable, to say the least!

54 degrees

You better believe Matthew and I went rollerblading for an hour at the end of January, 
in MI, with that kind of weather


Everyday I try and check my thoughts on what it means to be a parent and what is important for that day. I am hesitant on reading parenting books but the one we are reading for moms group has been confirming so much on how Mike and I have been feeling about raising children. What it comes down to and what matters THE MOST to us when it comes to raising our children is that they know that mom and dad's marriage is the most important, that we are lovingly unified, and that our children know they are loved and that everyday we remind ourselves to show them the unconditional love of Christ.

I need to shut my brain down the natural tendencies to believe that the most important things to focus on with our children is to give them the perfect education, to get them to respond to "no" every time I say it, to make sure they act perfect in public, to make sure they read, stick to their piano lesson, experience a nice vacation, to make sure they are involved in just the right amount of social activities, to make sure they have the right friends, that they behave in church, that they don't talk back, to be a hard worker, that they become a respectable adult etc. While all these are important to some extent, it cannot be the goal. yes. I am for sure a mom who keeps a schedule for the day and loves that he is signing to me now. But my goal at the end of his childhood is for him to know that his parents love HIM. I have been also thinking a ton about discipline and i know there are tons of theories out there and I for sure know that when we say "no" we mean "no". And I am all for consequences to actions. But I dont ever want my child to be well behaved out of fear or because they know the only way mom and dad will be happy with them is if they stay out of trouble or get a good grade.

But I just need to give an example that I never want to forget because it was revelation to me. ----- yesterday I was at my sisters house and all three kids where there. My 3 year old nephew kept asking in the most polite way EVER, "aunt denise. You play cars with me?" Of course. I would play for about 1 minute and then there were two little ones crying their little eyes out till I would hold them. So I would stand, give them some love and look down to my nephew with his head down, quiet. A little later he would ask me kindly to play and I would try but then I would be climbed all over by smaller people with cries till I stood with them. This kept on happening, and at one point I saw my nephew try to make his cars crash and he just couldn't do it and he threw them and screamed and stormed off. NOW. Not awesome behavior, but in that moment I was able to see past what he just did. I saw his little head down and I asked if he just wanted to play cars? he smiled and ran over, handing me two race cars. tantrum, over. I apologized and understood why the happy little boy turned frustrated by the end of my visit. This is what I mean. If we went on spanking him, giving him a timeout for each and every little frustrated moment he had, this little boy would come to think that his feelings of being left out, not listened to, feeling like no one cared about his cars, were wrong to be feeling. ugh. i would hate to discipline my child for a behavior but to them they think they are getting in trouble for feeling left out.

All that to say, I want to make sure my child's love tank is full. I want to look at Matthews actions, and ask God for wisdom beyond the surface. Does he just need a nap,  does he need me to not go out with friends tonight. does he need a kiss or attention, does he need mom to just stop caring about a clean house for a second and get down and look him in the eyes and let him know he means more than the work that has to be done? (or is he just being a stinker? =)) That is what I want Matthew to know. That what his feels inside matters and that we can tend to his heart. And who doesn't respond better and behave better if they know they are loved? I know I do. When Mike cares about just sitting and being with me, I totally am a better behaved wife. hehe. But really.

So that is that. I will care about schedules and talk about the form of education we want to give our children and fun activities and social events, and discipline; because they are all ways of loving a child. But what REALLY matters at the end of they day is, did Matthew feel loved today? Did he experience the unconditional love of Jesus through his parents no matter how he acted today? I sure hope we never forget that as there will be critical eyes on our parenting at some point I'm sure. MATTHEW. Your are loved!