Monday, November 30, 2009

Jesse Tree- Day 1

Tonight we began our new advent tradition of the Jesse Tree. Each evening after dinner, we will do a small devotion that point us to the birth of Christ and God's eternal plan of redemption as we travel from Creation to His birth. And as we do, we will create an ornament for our tree.

Tonight's scripture was Isaiah 11: 1-10:

1There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. 2And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. 3And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, 4but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. 5Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins.

6 The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.
7The cow and the bear shall graze;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
9 They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.

10In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.

In this prophecy of the Messiah, we see that among other things, God promises that He will come from the line of Jesse. Verse 1 tells us that a shoot will come forth from the stump of Jesse. It is from this verse that we get our Jesse Tree. Jesse was the father of David, of whom Joseph was a descendant. Jesus was in the family tree of Jesse. As I was reading about the Jesse Tree and today's passage, I came across an interesting nugget- our idea of a family tree looks backwards to previous generations. In the Old Testament, the tree of Jesse looks forward towards the coming Messiah. As we celebrate this season, I am excited at anticipating and looking forward to the celebration of the birth of the Messiah with my boys.

Key Verse: 1There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.

Symbol- Tree

Daddy teaches the boys about the Jesse Tree

Mommy and Noah work on the ornament

Our finished ornament

Caleb hangs the first ornament on our Jesse Tree as Josiah looks on

Friday, November 27, 2009

Lots to be Thankful For

We have had a wonderful Thanksgiving thus far. We enjoyed a wonderful meal with family, decorated for Christmas, went shopping at the crack of dawn and got our nice new camera and have just been together. Truly, for me, there is no greater gift. There really is nothing I want more than just to be together.... that's all. I don't really care what we eat, where we go, what we do, just as long as we are together. I guess that is why I most wanted a nice camera- to forever record in picture our times together. Time flies by and if we are not careful we'll miss the little moments that one day will be what we cherish most. These are the moments I want to capture. I'll post some pictures and video we've taken with the new camera soon!

12. christmas decorations
13. noah yelling "hey!" after jack yells, "war eagle!"
14. slobbery kisses from sweet messy faces
15. baby coos
16. "the evers"
17. singing my boys' songs for them at bedtime
18. my mom
19. a husband who gets up at 3:30 am to go shopping with me
20. boys and daddy wrestling
21. just being- no schedule, no plan, just being

holy experience

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

1,000 Gifts

6. a little pudgy hand inside my big one

7. hot tea

8. baby smiles

9. sandy, susie and elizabeth- three friends who i would not have survived last year without

10. jill- an old friend who i treasured in college and who i now treasure in cyperspace

11. t-mobile fav fives so i can call my sister as much as i want and i don't have to worry about the minutes

holy experience

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Jesse Tree

I think we are going to try A Jesse Tree this Christmas. It is an Advent devotional that traces the Line of Christ and God's plan of Redemption for the 25 days leading up to Christmas. For each daily devotion your children make an ornament to put on your Jesse Tree- you can use a small artificial Christmas Tree or an empty branch from a tree in your yard. Jack and I are doing to sit down and come up with the 25 devotions we really want to use- there are several different ones out there, so I guess we'll just pick and choose, add and take away as we want to. Here are some links with more information if you are interested in making a Jesse Tree. I'll post here our list of scripture when we come up with it and pictures as we go along this journey.

Advent- The Season of Expectation
- This site has a description of a Jesse Tree and a list of scripture for devotions.

Here's a Coloring Book with Ornaments and Scripture for a Jesse Tree.

This is the blog of a "friend of a friend." She made her own devotions too and blogged each day about it.

(Jill, I posted this here especially for you cause I think you guys would love this too!)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

1,000 Gifts

I stumbled upon a blog today called A Holy Experience. As I looked around it, I happened upon something called 1,000 Gifts. Ann, the blogger, has been keeping a list of 1,000 gifts- not gifts she wants or gifts she is giving, but gifts she has been given.

This is the season of list making- grocery lists, shopping lists, gift-giving lists, wish lists, address lists, etc. This year, right now, I want to start my list of 1,000 Gifts- from the mundane and ordinary to the huge and impacting, I know that everyday God fills my life with gifts! And most days I miss them. Why? Maybe because I am too busy or too self-absorbed, or maybe it's because I am just not looking. So, starting today, I am looking. Join me if you want to. You can list your gifts on your blog, or if you don't blog just grab a sheet of paper or a journal. How will our lives be different if we are awakened to the awareness of His gifts?

holy experience

Click the button above to learn more about the Gratitude Community at A Holy Experience

Here we go!!

1. a baby sound asleep on my chest

2. a 3 year old who still asks for his mommy's kisses

3. music- it's such evidence of God! The melodies and harmonies that touch us, move us, bring us joy, and engage our worship.

4. a husband who holds me at night

5. when noah plays with my hair

The journey into a life of gratitude has begun!

A Weekend with a Fancy Camera

So, a few weeks ago, our good friends loaned us their Digital SLR camera so we could try it out as we are thinking about getting one. After the weekend, we are DEFINITELY getting one. In fact, yesterday at Caleb's Fall Program I was sooooo wishing we had one. We have checked the Black Friday flyers and will be getting up a 4 am to get ours next week!

Here are a few of my favorite pictures with the nice camera:

One of Josiah's first smiles!

Noah's crazy bed head and big smile!

My sweet boy

Jack took this really cool shot of Caleb checking out the jellyfish at the Georgia Aquarium

Jack took this one too- I think it's really cool with Josiah's reflection in the mirror

I could just eat him up!

Halloween- Diego and the Monkey Bobo Brothers

More smiles!

I love the colors, how stylish they are and the expression on their faces in this picture!

Fun at the park on a sunny day!

And believe it or not, I could have put up about 10 more that I LOVE! I can't wait to get that camera!

Caleb's Fall Program

Caleb had his Fall Program yesterday at school. They had an Indian Village where the children walk around the gym doing different crafts and activities related to the Indians. What we didn't realize until we got there was that the children were also performing (the 2 year olds don't perform since they are so young so last year we just did the Indian Village and were unaware there was a program). As soon as I dropped him at his room and realized they were getting dressed up to perform, I called Jack to tell him. A big Thank you to Pastor Michael who told Jack absolutely he could come see Caleb perform. When Caleb's class got onto the stage and Caleb looked out and saw Jack there, his precious face lit up and he yelled "DADDY!!" I am soooooo glad Jack was there.

They sang two songs and then the whole school sang a song together. As you will see, Caleb did not sing a word! What a crazy kid! He just doesn't sing in public. He loves music and when he thinks no one is listening or when he's not thinking about it, he sings! Jack and I love to hear him sing in the car. But at VBS- no singing, no dancing for Caleb. On Wednesday nights at church his teachers tell me- no singing, no dancing for Caleb. And yesterday during the program- no singing. He just stood there looking adorable. So be prepared for a 2 minute video of Caleb just standing there!

I'm a strong Indian!!

He may not sing, but he sure is cute!

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Gift of Happiness

For much of my spiritual life I've known the difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is based on our circumstances and so is ever changing. Joy is a part of the fruit of the spirit and a gift to all believers which never changes. I think I've heard this so much I've almost over spiritualized it. It's almost as if we believe that happiness is wrong sometimes or that longing for happiness is wrong cause we have the joy of the Lord so that is all we need. It's not that I disagree with the definitions of the two words, but at least in my life, without saying so I've come to almost villify happiness.

I've been working through the Beth Moore study on Esther and last week we spent a day looking at the happiness experienced by the Jews when they heard Mordecai's new declaration in Chapter 8. Beth Moore asserted a new definition for happiness- well not really new, but expanded. You see, happiness is certainly based on circumstances. But she asserted that happiness is really "God intervening in our circumstances so that we FEEL as blessed as we know we are."

That really struck a cord with me. What a perfect definition! That's exactly it. There are just some days that although I know I am blessed (all I have to do is look at the three sweet faces runing around my house each day), I don't always feel blessed. Maybe I've had a rough day or maybe the weather is rainy again or maybe the boys are very fussy, but for whatever reason, I just don't feel it. And then, God intervenes in my circumstances- the clouds clear and the sun comes out so we head to the park and suddenly I feel happy. The boys wake up from their naps in a great mood and laugh and play together sweetly and I feel happy.

And what I realized is that sometimes this can be day to day, even moment to moment. And other times it can be season to season. I think for all of us, there will be seasons in our lives when happiness is non-existent. Seasons of pain, or sickness, or lonliness. Seasons when we know God is good, we know we are blessed, we still have the joy of our salavation, but we don't feel it. For me, that was one year ago. I've blogged about it before, but for several months a year ago I had a season of pain, one filled with persecution and rejection. I never stopped being blessed- I had two beautiful, healthy boys, a home, a husband, a precious Savior- it's just that the pain of that time was stronger than any other feelings I may have had and so I just didn't feel blessed- happy.

As I contemplated this last week in my study, God brought to mind exactly how He intervened in my circumstances so that I might feel blessed. In the midst of that season, God blessed my womb. Josiah was conceived last December and he was a little bit of a surprise to us. My pregnancy with Josiah happened much, much more quickly than with Caleb and Noah and so we weren't expecting to get pregnant until closer to May. But now I realize Josiah was God's gift of happiness to me. He intervened in my circumstances at the perfect time and as this little life grew inside of me, I couldn't help but to feel blessed!

And we named him Josiah because we loved the story of King Josiah in 2 Kings. But I learned today that in Hebrew, Josiah means God has healed or God has delivered. It makes me want to shout with praise to Him! Do you see it? God gave me a precious baby and in doing so began to heal my hurting heart, and deliver me from pain into happiness. And then we named him Josiah- God heals!

So today, praise God for the gift of happiness in your life. It is no less of a gift from God than joy is. Joy is everlasting, yes, and happiness changes within our circumstances, yes, but it is GOD who intervenes in our circumstances to give us the gift of happiness! Don't feel less spiritual because you are happy right now! Thank Him for making your circumstances ones that make you feel happy!

And maybe you don't feel very happy. Are you going through a moment or day or season when you just don't feel as blessed as you know you really are? Pray right now for God to intervene in your circumstances and give you that gift. But you better be looking for it- it may be something small like the sunshine or a dandelion from your 3 year old or a piece of good chocolate and it may be something big like a child or spouse- but recognize it for what it is- God's intervening for you!! Then PRAISE HIM! What a good and loving God we serve who gives us not only joy everlasting but intervenes for us so that we feel that way too!

Friday, November 13, 2009

My Big Little Men

Today was Josiah's two month well visit. We are about two weeks late with it, but he is lookin' good! He weighed 14 lbs 8 oz which is in the 97th percentile and was 25 inches long which is also in the 97th percentile! Big boy! When our pediatrician saw this he asked if Josiah is our biggest boy yet. So, in that spirit, "Let's go to the video tape" or should I say, "Let's go to the baby books!"

Josiah Robert- 2 months old (2009)- 14 lbs 8 oz (97%), 25 inches (97%)

Noah Jackson- 2 months old (2008)- 14 lbs 9 oz (97%), 26 inches (97%)

Caleb Moffett- 2 months old (2006)- 14 lbs (97%), 23 1/2 inches (75%)

So, I guess we just make big boys around here! And it seems that at 2 months old, Noah was the biggest, although they are all pretty much the same. What big little men and what huge blessings!

Monday, November 9, 2009

For Daddy in Africa

Hi Daddy!! We are very proud of you and we miss you a lot! We took some pictures of our fun day yesterday and wanted you to be able to see them if you can!

Caleb climbing on a stegosaurus

Noah on the Stegosaurus

He's such a big boy!

A little smile for my Daddy!