Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Twins turn 3!

My babies are 3!
These two little ones celebrated their birthday today and I don't think I will ever celebrate one of my kids' birthdays where I am not overwhelmed with emotion.  
These two have been such a challenge in so many ways over the last three years and yet they bring so much joy into our lives. 
 I am humbled that God would choose me to be their mom, that he thinks that I can do the best job of rearing them.  It is not an accident that our children are placed in our hands.  God puts each child purposefully into a family.  He thinks that Brenner and I are the best suited parents for Cole, Clara and Elise.  They will teach us and help us learn the hard lessons we need and we will do the same for them.  They will challenge us through them and we will hopefully grow closer to Him as we seek to parent best.  
These two light up our lives, and yet they push me to think deeper about parenting and rely on God for wisdom and strength on hard days.  
They are silly, tenderhearted, loving, and passionate.  I love that they are so similar and so different at the same time.  It is hard to believe that I have only known them for three years because they are pieces of my heart and feel like they have been there forever. 

I love these girls fiercely with my whole heart and look forward to what the year of 3 brings.

True Love.

So, with it being Valentine's Day and all, I thought I would talk about love.  Original, don't you think?  But what I have to say is not what much of our culture may say....

(us drinking our Dutch Bro Coffee on our day out for Valentines...that cooler in the back is about to get filled with stuff from Costco...our life is exciting :) )

Love is hard.  Love is work. Love is draining. Love is not what I thought it would be.
Rewind a dozen years back to when we first got married.  These truths hit me not long after we said "I do."  The reality hit that we had no idea how to love each other and that we both were living to love ourselves.  Of course we were in love, and we wanted to love each other, but we seriously had a hard time doing it for a long time.  At least loving each other right, the way that we do now.

It took a few hard years to learn that the core of love, true love, is sacrifice, servanthood and selflessness.  It took even longer to start to put all that into practice.  And it is still taking work to be selfless daily, multiple times a day, for the good of our marriage.  But, through all that work, do you know what I found?  I found that I like to be selfless.  I like it when my hubby and kids get the best parts and I see that my day has not revolved only around me.  I like the look on my husband's face when he notices I did something for him, that I did something for our family and I did it out of love.  But even if he does not notice, I still like to do things for him to show him how much I love him.  I also have learned (and am still learning) to keep my mouth closed as a selfless act, to not bring glory or attention to myself by getting the last word, making sure I'm known to be right or using a condescending tone.  And he does the same for me.  And that is love.  Choosing to be selfless for the good of someone else.  Choosing to put yourself and your thoughts and your desires and your words after someone else.

Early on in our marriage it felt like we were keeping tally of who was better, who did what, who did more, who did it best.  We were young and trying to figure out who we were in this world and make two crazy different personalities coexist in one house.  I look back at those two people and cringe that we missed out on chances to grow and change.  It took longer than I would have liked, but eventually we have changed, and I am sure that we will grow and change even more in the future.

Love is not just being able to pour out your heart and soul.  It is not just finding your soul mate.  It is not just the fluttering feeling that we feel inside.  The love that Christ intended, that he modeled is one of selflessness.  It is one that is eternal.  It is one that we truly cannot fulfill.  We are called to imitate Christ in this life and above all else he calls us to love: Love God and love man.

And yet our Valentines is based around feelings and expectations.  God has called us to an eternally focused love.  To love outside of ourselves, beyond ourselves, and love as Christ loved.  And that definitely includes our spouse.  My husband is to love me as Christ loved the church.  My purpose, my eternal-focused love of my husband, needs to be bigger than the love of this world.  For this world is fleeting and the feelings that are inside us will dwindle at times and things will get hard and the flesh will want to give up.  But through Christ's love, we can love better.  I am so glad that on our wedding day, we chose each other for life.  We chose each other knowing our love was not enough or the most important.  Knowing it would be messy and realizing quickly it would be way too hard to do on our own, without Christ and his love working through us.

I am so thankful for my husband that strives to love Christ first so he can love me better.  I am thankful for the time I get to have him here with me, where I can learn to love him better.  My heart still flutters with him, it truly does, but more than that, he takes delight in my growing more like Christ.  He encourages me to love God more.  And I am so thankful the lessons on being selfless sink in more and more each day, where we can choose to have our marriage and our love reflect Christ.
The world wants us to set our mind and settle our lives on things that are not eternal and are not Christ focused.  But while our culture wants us to make sure we have warm fuzzies, Christ wants us to love like He did, out of a servants heart with a bigger purpose.
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Thursday, February 12, 2015

San Francisco

When my friend Aaryka was in town one of the things that she really wanted to do was go and see the Golden Gate Bridge.  So we decided to make a quick trip over to San Francisco for the day with the kids.  We went to Pier 39 and ate the famous clam chowder in sourdough bread bowl, saw the seals and Alcatraz.  We went to Ghiradelli Square for chocolate.  And after driving by the Golden Gate, we went to Baker's beach to have the best view and play in the water.  Amidst our day of fun was a bunch of craziness too, such as one dead car battery, blown fuses, three trips to Auto Zone, numerous emergency potty trips on the side of the road, Jake riding on top of our luggage, the search for sourdough bread, phones with 1% battery driving home and three naked kids in a parking lot.  
You know you want to be on our next road trip!
Here are a few faves from the day!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

A long awaited visitor!

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Aaryka came to visit us.  We met her at our church when the girls were about 7 months old.  Brenner was about to go on AF duty again for a few weeks to Wichita Falls and I was a tired nursing mama that hardly got a break.  Aaryka mentioned one day that she was not intimidated by crying babies who did not like to leave their mother and would babysit sometime.  She came every Monday afternoon so I could get out for a few hours and I think she saved my life :)  She became more like a friend and sister as time went on and even though we are time zones apart, we still keep in touch and she finally made good on her promise to visit us in Cali!!!
We had so much fun, baking and cooking, going bowling, playing outside, going on a couple adventures, drinking a lot of Dutch Brothers Coffee and laughing and talking.  
And she took LOTS of pictures with the kids!

So blessed to have this sweet friend in our lives!  We look forward to her next visit!