Little hands got a hold of my camera…

I just uploaded pictures from my camera and discovered that a little someone had been busy. I thought it a funny progression of pictures and thought I’d share (alot were omitted due to vast repetition… how many blurry pictures of Malachi’s cheek do you really want to look at)

Beginning attempts…

At least we’re headed towards a facial shot.

Grand, side cheek pose.

oops…a little too close

oh boy…

finally, a glimpse of an eyeball…

making progress!!

the dazed subject…

Malachi even snuck a smile in there!

And now the picture that Mommy helped with, after the camera was discovered in little hands.

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Little Ones, Do You Realize?

Dear Little Ones, my Daniel Josiah, Trinity, Katy-Grace, Benjamin and Little Malachi,

Today, on Father’s Day, do you realize what an incredible father you have?  You are among some of the most blessed children on earth to have a Daddy like you do.

Do you realize your Daddy is showing you what the faithfulness of the Heavenly Father is like? Because he faithfully keeps his word to have a Daddy date with you every Saturday, your are learning what it means to have promises kept.  He faithfully gets up to fix you “Daddy’s special breakfast” of cheesy eggs, grits, fruit, and juice and sometimes he’s tired on those Saturday mornings and may not feel like it, but he still does it because he loves you and he wants to be faithful.  Do you realize that its a lot of work to clean up all the dishes after making that kind of breakfast, but he does it in order to serve your mommy? He takes you to the pool, or to the park, or to McDonalds for ice cream and the playplace faithfully every Daddy date because he genuinely loves spending time with you, and he genuinely desires to give mommy a break at the end of the week. Do you realize that is such a gift?

Do you realize that your Daddy desires to win your heart-above getting you to behave a certain way, or memorize Scripture verses, or learning to help around the house. He sincerely wants to win your heart, because that is what God does towards us, alluring us into a Father-Child relationship of love and unity.

Do you realize that your Daddy would give his life to protect you?  Part of the reason he trains in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is so that he will be equipped to protect each one of you, if need be.

Do you realize that he already gives his life in a million small ways each day so that you might have food and clothing, shelter and lavish love?  It is not easy to carry the responsibility of providing for a family of seven, but he carries the load (and the long working hours) so that you might be provided for.

Do you realize that your Daddy is a prayer warrior for you?  He brings you before the throne of God daily and cries out to his Father to protect and nourish your little souls.  He prays that you will become sons and daughters of the Most High and that your lives would be lived out for His Glory, for that is where your greatest joy will come from.

Do you realize that by disciplining you well, your Daddy is loving you well?  It would be so easy to let things slide because your disobedience and subsequently-needed discipline comes at an inconvenient time, when we’re trying to get out the door  or when we have dinner guests over.  But he is faithfully being obedient to his Father to correct you, to discipline you, to pray with you afterwards and to love and cuddle you back into a restored relationship with your parents, siblings, and Heavenly Father. He’s training you in repentance and your need for a Savior.

Do you realize that your Daddy is loving each of you well by loving your mommy well?  He makes date nights a priority because he knows that each of you will be blessed and loved as our marriage flourishes and is knit together.  He stands guard over our relationship because in doing so he stands guard over your security and emotional well-being.

Do you realize that your Daddy is teaching you to be creative?  Whether it be designing and building wooden pop guns, duct tape swords, or writing songs with you, he’s teaching you that God created us to be little mini creators and as you excitedly watch him and participate with him in the creative process you are learning to use your own little minds and creativity to be mini creators.

Do you realize that you are learning to be servant-hearted and hard working?  When he works with you to clean out the car or do the yard work or clean out the garage your Daddy is serving mommy and teaching you the blessing of service and the call to do it with all your heart.

Do you realize your Daddy is a winner of souls, and “he who wins souls is wise”?  Daddy passionately shares the Gospel with so many hurting hearts, and desires to make disciples of all nations.  What a gift it is that your Daddy’s heart is in alignment with the heart of God.

Do you realize that you are blessed in the spiritual realm because the Word of God is embedded on your Daddy’s heart and he delights to proclaim it in the pulpit, and in our home? What a treasure that he is giving you when he leads you in family worship each night, seeking to impart to you the Words of Life that will protect you and keep you in this life and in the life to come.

And do you realize that your Daddy is a sinner?  I know, you may not see it or think it at this point, because he is all hero in your eyes.  But he is, and do you realize what a gift it is that he acknowledges so?  For it puts him at the foot of the cross, in desperate need of a Savior to pay for the failures and sins of his heart, and this is the most blessed place your daddy could be.  For in his desperation for a Savior, he gains a new life, the life of Christ, in him.

Do you realize that all those wonderful, amazing things that you adore about your Daddy are because Jesus is alive in him? And Jesus is the one who brings you to your Perfect Daddy. Sweet little ones, I pray that you realize.

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A New Understanding of…Yeast

 Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Matthew 6:16

Malachi sleeping amongst some of the many remedies for thrush we have tried

Who knew? Who knew that something SO tiny could consume my every waking moment, as for FOUR weeks  now Malachi and I have been battling thrush with ointments, pills, solutions, cleanses, major diet restrictions, not to mention all the pots of boiling water to sterilize everything, hundreds of loads of laundry, scrubbing everything we touch and toting tons of items out to sit in the sunshine for hours.  We spent two of those weeks pumping, then feeding, then sterilizing everything involved, in an attempt to keep us from passing it back and forth to one another. I have researched every remedy known to man as to how to get rid of this thrush and more importantly the yeast overgrowth that causes it.  I have an all-new understanding of yeast.

This yeast was always there, but it multiplied when my immune system was weak, and once it had taken hold it manifested itself in excruciating pain.

It is so subtle and undetected by the naked eye.  It grows, ever growing, and the place it proliferates is in the dark and damp, those hidden places.

Eat certain foods and the yeast feasts on it, growing profusely.  Abstain from those foods and you gradually starve it to death.

Yeast hates sunlight, because its the opposite of what it needs to grow.

As, day in and day out, we have battled this thrush in our home, I have received a deeper appreciation for the Bible’s mention of it.

Yeast, or lack there-of, in the Old Testament, was cause for an an entire week’s worth of celebration following the Passover each year. To celebrate this “Feast of Unleavened Bread”, one had to entirely rid one’s home of yeast (and this is NO easy chore, as I’ve been laboring for four weeks to do so) and then spend the week of feasting without the yeast as any part of the meals. The whole week was a physical representation of being cleansed and rid of that which is unwanted.

Then again, in the New Testament, in Jesus’ warning to his disciples to “beware of the yeast of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy” Luke 12:1 we continue to see that yeast is bad, unwanted, to be rid of and be cautious of.

  Yeast is sin.

And I have thrush of the soul.

The sin of hypocrisy-of being self-sufficient, self-dependent, self-absorbed, and self-righteous, being a God-hater because I want to be god of my own life, can be harbored in my heart, undetected by the naked eye of the soul.

But then when I am weak and vulnerable, just as my immune system was a month ago, it opens up a place for that sin to grab a foothold. It grows subtly in the dark, hidden places, the places unexposed to Sonlight.  It multiplies and multiplies, until I am so infected, it manifests itself in excruciating pain.

For the yeast of my heart, hurts me, my walk with God, my relationships with those around me, my community, the world. I am a source of the infection of sin that so ransacks the brokenness of this planet. It is not just my individual battle, all I come in contact with are exposed to it.

And just as my physical diet has been greatly restricted these past four weeks, my spiritual diet can starve it…or feed it.

So, in an effort to starve that sinful nature, and feast upon that which fights it, I fix my eyes on The Feast of the Unleavened Bread, which gives me a beautiful preview of what Jesus, the Son, would do to kill this rampant infection of my soul.  The yeast was not cleared from the home until the day AFTER the Passover. First I need the Passover, then the cleansing can occur. Jesus, the perfect Passover Lamb, was slaughtered, that the judgement of God might pass over me, and be taken by His Son. After the sacrifice, the cleaning happens.  My sin is no longer my own.  It has been dealt with, paid for, cleared by Jesus. And now I can enjoy the feasting of life with Him, free of this yeast of my soul because He has done the cleansing. All that being “self-sufficient, self-dependent, self-absorbed, and self-righteous, being a God-hater because I want to be god of my own life”, can be starved and exposed to Sonlight because of Jesus’ death and resurrected Life made available to me.  That life now lives IN me, and as I invite Him into the hidden, dark places of my heart and life, His Light makes it incompatible to sin’s harboring and growth.

So, Sweet Jesus, let your Light shine in me, killing off the thrush of my soul.

Jesus, let your Light shine through me, killing, little by little, the thrush of this world.