Sunday, January 31, 2010

Scripture Memory Monday

Good morning! It's Monday again, the beginning of a new week and the beginning of yet another month. If the old saying is true, I must be getting really old, because time is flying! I pray that the beginnings of a new week will bring new and fresh reminders of God's unfailing love and faithfulness to us, His children whom His has adopted and bought with the blood of His beloved Son. Oh, how glorious is our identity in Christ! I often am reminded of the words of the lion Mufasa, - from the Disney movie The Lion King - which he spoke to his son Simba, who was having some what of an identity crisis. In a strong, deep voice he urged his son, "Remember who you are." I cannot tell you how often that has come to my mind regarding my identity in Christ. When struggling with sin, I have sometimes repeated Mufasa's words aloud to myself. It is true. Because I belong to God, I am no longer a slave to sin; I have been "bought with a price." I am a child of the King. He has adopted me as His own and has given me His spirit - the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead - to dwell in me. So, the next time you or I are tempted to sin, to be anxious, to doubt or fear, let us remember who we are - because of Christ's presence in our lives - and Whose we are, because of His precious blood.

With that said, I will mention the verse that I plan to memorize for the week. We are already on verse 5. If we are tracking together, that means that by the end of this week we will already have 7 more (because of the 2 extras I've thrown in) verses of ammunition to aim at the enemy when he attacks us. Hallelujah!

Week 5's Scripture comes from the book of Psalms. I love these TWO verses (we can do two!:) because they focus on the greatness of God. If you are like me, I sometimes focus on the size of my problems (which are always disproportionate!), rather than the size of my God. Hopefully this will help us keep a more proper perspective:

"For I know that the LORD is great
And that our Lord is above all gods.
Whatever the LORD pleases, He does,
in heaven and on earth,
in the seas and all deeps."
Psalm 135:5&6 (ESV)

Our Great God, whom we belong to, is Sovereign over all...
Rejoice today, remembering who He truly is & who you truly are IN HIM!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday's Photo

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thursday's Thanksgivings

I mentioned in a recent post about the healing nature of gratitude. It is no doubt that the Lord commands us to "give thanks in all circumstances" (1 Thessalonians 5:18) for it truly aids in gaining proper perspective on any situation. (Click HERE for more Scripture on giving thanks.) Keeping with verse 18, no wonder it is "God's will for [us] in Christ Jesus", for it can be a means of our kind Father imparting grace and peace to us in a time when we feel overwhelmed or find ourselves in - as Anne Shirley would ever so dramatically articulate - "the depths of despair."

**Time out....Below is a picture of Miss Shirley herself. Click HERE if you would like to enjoy some of my favorite music of all time as you finish reading this post. Or just stop reading altogether, close your eyes for a minute, and enjoy...

My purpose of this post is to hopefully start something that I will do on a weekly basis - once again, I don't want to sound selfish - but for the good of my own soul. I want to make Thursday's Thanksgivings a time each week where I mention something that I am grateful for. Similar to Scripture Memory Mondays, I thought that this would serve as a form of accountability - a way to keep my often overwhelmed or just plain ungrateful heart in check - especially if I knew I was going to be posting about something for which to give thanks. Whether anyone reads it or not (I know my mom will...and probably my friend Melanie ;), I think this will benefit me greatly. So no matter what I am facing each week, I know that on Thursdays I will have to stop and ponder long enough on being thankful that I have to write about it. Hopefully this will help me live out God's will for me in regard to His First Thessalonians command. And if I feel I am running out of things to write, then I will just dig deeper. I can see this being nothing but beneficial for me, for at times my countenance all too similarly reflects the words of my sweet John David .... "I'm just sad."

So to kick off Thursday's Thanksgivings, I will type my first lines of gratitude...

Just today, I mentioned to someone, "I don't know what I'd do if I didn't have family in town." Truly, I have not a clue. I think back a little over a year ago, and where we thought we'd be at this time, and it looks nothing like the present. (Click HERE if you are unsure of where we were a little over a year ago.) But, of course, the Lord knew His plan for us and exactly what we would need during each moment of it. We did not foresee autism, nor child #2, in our future, but of course, our wise Father was already holding those things in His hand, as well as the grace to see us through each day. For that, we are so grateful. Of course, we are thankful for our precious second child; and I can honestly say that we are thankful for autism...all that the Lord has taught us through our precious John David and the circumstances surrounding his unique little life - oh, I cannot begin to articulate!

To summarize, today I am thankful for my family so love me (in close proximity - it helps on those hardest days to have the hug of a mother or a kiss on the cheek from a daddy;), to encourage me, and to help with our children (which also helps on those hard days:). Furthermore, I am thankful for God's providence; His timing is perfect, and what He allots to each of us is only that which is for our greatest good and His greatest glory. He could do no different; if he did, He would completely defy His character - which, praise the Lord - is unchanging (yet another cause for thanks!)

As Charles Spurgeon stated: "If God ordains it, the worst calamity is the wisest and kindest thing that could befall me." Thank you for the reminder, Bro. Spurgeon! (Click HERE for more thoughts on this truth.)

Just sitting here typing, trying to put my thoughts into words, I have already reaped some of the priceless benefits of gratitude. Those of you who may actually read this, I hope that you will join me in taking time - at least once a week - to truly ponder that for which we can be thankful. If we stop and think.... my goodness, we have so much!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Four Months of Sweetness

It is so hard to believe that our baby Claire is already 4 months old. She is so sweet and fun -and besides episodes with mean gas or acid reflux - she is very delightful. Claire is quite a social little lady; she will smile at most anyone, though she prefers to be held by those with whom she is most familiar. She adores her daddy and can't get enough of her big brother. She loves to watch John David play and entertain and often smiles simply when I say his name (may be coincidence, but I believe it's purely intentional!)

Although she is tiny (we think so, at least), Claire is very strong. She loves to stay moving from one activity to another and prefers to be in the upright position. Claire definitely wants to be where the action is, and if you are around her, she wants to hear what you have to say. David was watching her - it's been a couple months now - and called from the kitchen "Why is she upset?" He knew she had just been fed, changed, etc. "You're not talking to her!" I replied from the other room. The female word bank is definitely larger than that of males from the very get go! :)

Like I mentioned, she loves the men in her life, but it is no doubt that she and I are already best friends. Time spent with sweet Claire is so precious. I love our time of bonding and getting to know one another, and it only makes me look forward to our relationship as she grows. By God's grace, it will be a special one. I am so grateful for the relationship that I have with my own mother, and I pray for one so close with my Claire.

I wanted to share a few pictures from the past month. Though I've already shared a lot, here are some more of my favorites.

We love you, sweet baby Claire, and we praise the Lord for your life each day! May you grow into a godly woman who fears the Lord, has compassion for others, and radiates His glory.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I Only Want YOU...

Today John David began a re-evaluation process that will be completed at the end of two more 3 to 4 hour sessions. We desired to have this done - not because we doubt his diagnosis of high-functioning autism (Aspergers by name) nor do we want someone to tell us "he doesn't have it" - but so that we might have an accurate, updated evaluation. John David was 17 months old when he was first evaluated and diagnosed with autism. Though he still has some areas of weakness and some differences, he has come so far since then! We praise our Lord daily for this work of grace in his little life! And, although just as precious, he is not the same little boy that he was then.

Currently, John David is eligible to receive services through the Early Intervention services funded by the state (greatly lacking in funds, I might add). However, he will be 3 years old in May - which is so hard to believe - and at that point he will be "handed over to the school system"...whatever that means. Thankfully we still have several months to ask questions and figure out the next step. But when he is "handed over", we also want to have updated information to place in the hands of .... whomever.

David and I were a little saddened though, after the first stages of the evaluation today. Not that John David didn't do well, but that as we talked with the professionals present, it was brought to light areas in John David's life that are still not, more or less, "typical." You see at home - in his comfort zone - John David is just that...comfortable. And to us, he is just John David. Our normal, typical John David. But today, we were reminded that many of the things that we know our normal, typical John David to do, don't exactly match up to everything that characterizes a definitively "normal" or "typical" child. So after several hours of the evaluation that were a bit draining for all of us, we left the clinic - like I said - a little sad. We were all tired, and were grateful that by the time we got home, baby Claire (who had been staying with my mom for the morning) was also ready for a nap. After much needed rest - and a few tears - a new perspective came over me; a perspective given by our Father, who is kind and wise in all of His ways, and whose grace is sufficient to meet us and sustain us in every circumstance. John David woke up refreshed and joyful after his nap, and excited about what the rest of the day would hold. He seemed as delightful and pleasant as ever, and made me wonder why I would be in the least bit disheartened regarding my precious child. The Lord reminded me to give thanks in EVERYTHING, for it is His will that I do this (1 Thessalonians 5:18). And there's no wonder why, for it cures the discouraged heart almost instantly. It is a healing balm, no doubt.

In the midst of the Lord encouraging my heart, these words came to my mind regarding my dear son. I want others to know that I wouldn't trade my John David for the world!

It's YOU I Want

You may not be just like the others;
That's okay,
It's YOU I want.

For you have a way that's all your own;
I'm so glad,
It's YOU I want.

To observe you uniquely learn and play,
Reminds me daily
It's YOU I want.

And to watch you do things only you would do...
So endearing, my child;
Yes, it's YOU I want.

It may mean the same things over again;
But that's no bother,
It's YOU I want.

You may need extra help here or there;
I don't mind,
For it's YOU I want.

And things may take longer every once in a while;
I'm not going anywhere,
It's YOU I want.

Sometimes you'd rather not say a word;
You don't have to, my child,
It's YOU I want.

And there are times you would rather just whisper;
I listen closely,
For it's YOU I want.

But to hear you tell me the things you do,
Only proves to my heart
That it's YOU I want.

I am writing this now so that you'll never doubt
That it's YOU I want,
Oh, I only want YOU!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Scripture Memory Monday

I know that at the beginning of this memorizing challenge, I said that I was not going to have more than one verse each week to work on - as to not be overwhelmed and therefore not complete the task. But today I could not help it. I feel it hard to separate verses 25 & 26 of Psalm 73. So for this week, two it is! I pray your heart is as blessed by these verses as mine has been, today specifically.

"Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides You.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
Psalm 73:25-26 (ESV)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My Favorite Little Boy in the World...

(just in case you were wondering :)


Friday, January 22, 2010

A Little Bit of Sunshine

"She's a little bit of sunshine,
She's a smile to light your days..."

Monday, January 18, 2010

And One More Thing . . .

Speaking of time flying ~

I thought John David looked so grown up in this picture (pre-hair cut today, mind you:). Maybe time could slow down . . . just a little?

Trying Not To Miss A Thing. . .

Oh, how fast our little ones grow! The days are fleeting, and the minutes, even more so. Today my boy was napping, and I had a few moments alone with baby Claire. I wanted to share a few pictures from our time together. I realize what my mother says is true (it always is!), specifically regarding the "day-to-day" when you have more than one child. You have to be intentional, sometimes creative...but "try not to miss a thing!"

And F.Y.I.

Still looking for a Bible reading plan for the new year? Be sure to check out my husband's blog by clicking HERE. It's my desire to jump on board with this, too. Wow, I am so thankful for my David and the time he invests in encouraging and assisting others in their walk with the Lord. May you find yourself among those encouraged too.

(*New memory verse is posted below.)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Scripture Memory Monday

Although it is still Sunday, in 12 minutes it will be no longer be. I feel as though our Monday will be rather busy. I thought it wise to go ahead now and post a new verse for the week, lest time slip away tomorrow.

In praying about which verse to meditate on for the next few days, my heart was greatly encouraged and challenged by today's "Verse of the Day" on the sidebar of the blog. Each day a new one is automatically displayed, and it makes me smile that almost every day it is exactly what my heart needed to feast on. I decided to personally extend the feasting of today's verse for the rest of the week.

So, for verse 3:

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us."
Hebrews 12:1 (ESV)

Happy Feasting!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Meditations on Lamentations

I am celebrating God's faithfulness tonight
And rejoicing that with the morning light
His mercies will be new once again
As we rise tomorrow to worship Him.

Our Heavenly Father reminded me afresh today
- in His kind and very personal way -
That each day of my life He has planned for me
Even before any ever came to be.
All things concerning me He knew before there was time,
And the same is true for these dear children of mine.
He holds each circumstance in His hand;
I know I can trust His wise, Sovereign plan.

So tonight I can lie down and sleep,
For I know that in His hands He will keep
my family, my future, my fears, my frets.
But His words to me I dare not forget...
To cast my burdens and cares upon Him
To stay my mind on His Truth for daily battles to win.

So, yes, tonight I can lie down and sleep
And enjoy quiet rest and indescribable peace,
Meditating on the blessed promise true
That His faithfulness is great and His mercies are new!

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

Monday, January 11, 2010

Scripture Memory Monday

Happy Monday! I hope last week was a great one and that you were able to focus more on God's Word by working on memorizing it. I sure was. Like I mentioned before, I am doing this primarily for my own sake and accountability - not to sound selfish - because consistently working on memorizing Scripture is a spiritual discipline that I struggle with. But according to some of your comments, I am not alone in this. So I hope that we can help each other.

I am excited about starting to work on another verse for this week. I was praying about which verse to post...I mean, EVERY verse is God breathed and "living and active", and the Bible is full of golden nuggets to chew on and have stored in our hearts and minds, right!?!

Well, our family is spending the week in Disney World. The Pugh family LOVES Disney World! And since I have become a Kizziah, my love for Disney still remains, and now my husband has joined the club. But, as my sweet mother often reminds us when experiencing enjoyment and luxuries (some of you may not consider a trip like this a luxury, but we sure do!), "Just take a whiff, don't inhale." That has benefited me in so many situations. Just enjoy the whiff of such "pleasures" but don't inhale, or it may overwhelm may even make you sick. We don't want to get too accustom to such things where we find ourselves seeking our joy and satisfaction and contentment from them. We know that joy comes from Christ, for "in HIS PRESENCE (NOT the Magic Kingdom) is FULLNESS OF JOY, and at HIS RIGHT HAND (NOT that of Mickey Mouse, dining with him and his friends around the breakfast table) is PLEASURE FOREVER!" (Psalm 16:11). In Christ we find contentment, not in vacations and "get aways", not luxury and short-lived thrills. So, as mom says, although it's not wrong to experience these things, we don't want feel as though we HAVE to have them. We enjoy them when we are able to, and we aren't depressed or unfulfilled when we can't. It will make us sick if we are seeking our pleasure in anything else save Christ Himself. Other things may bring momentary pleasure, but they are only that...momentary, not eternal or soul fulfilling.

So, in my ponderings of which verse to post for week 2, I found Psalm 84:10 to be quite appropriate:

"For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.

I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness."

Psalm 84:10 (ESV)

A day in His courts is better than a thousand days at Disney World (or insert the name of any other place that you LOVE to go!) In His presence is fullness of Joy and eternal Pleasure! (memorize Psalm 16:11 if you don't have it down yet...)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Smiles of a Mother

There are so many fun parts about being a mom. So many little things that make you smile. One of my favorites is getting to see your children's personalities develop and blossom.

Right now, John David really loves Bible stories and characters, and he really loves to reenact the stories (or parts of the stories:) with his daddy. He and David just got through with another session role playing "David and Goliath" and "Moses and Pharaoh". I absolutely love to be the audience during these entertaining monologues. GREAT ACTING, I might add!

I had to snap a few photos during their time reenacting the story of Jesus walking on the water. David and John David took turns acting as Jesus and Peter, who - when he got out of his boat to walk to Jesus - started to drown because of his lack of faith.

So here are some scenes:

John David, pretending to be
Jesus walking on the water

David, as Peter, drowning because he took
his eyes off of Jesus

Then switching roles:
David as Jesus, helping Peter as he began to sink

Sure wish I was able to post video...we are working on that. My favorite is probably Moses and Pharaoh. But hearing John David say "Daddy kill me" while pretending to be Goliath was pretty humorous...and a bit disturbing. Had to remind myself it was all pretend!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Scripture Memory Mondays

Now that I am too old for Awana or the Bible Drill team, Scripture memory is something that I have definitely struggled with since being a part of such valuable programs. I often have good intentions - for I know how crucial this discipline of meditation and memorization is for the believer's heart, soul, and mind - and I even have a stack of Scripture cards that I wrote out months ago in hopes of beginning a new "plan." Well, I figure a new year is as good a time as any to begin following through with such intentions. So I decided - for the sake of personal accountability - to begin Scripture Memory Mondays. Every Monday, I hope (key word) to post a verse(s) of Scripture to work on memorizing during the week. I am thinking that posting this on the blog will help me be consistent. Like I said, I AM DOING THIS FOR MY OWN SAKE, but if you find yourself identifying with my struggle to consistently memorize God's Word, hopefully doing this will prove helpful to you as well. And if you'd rather, work on memorizing a different verse than the one I posted - one that may be a bit more relevant to a struggle, situation you may be facing, etc. But if not, join me in memorizing the same, and hopefully by the end of the year, we will have 52 verses in our spiritual "tool box" to chew on or pull out during times that we must battle the lies and temptations of our enemy.

So, for Verse 1 . . . I read this yesterday morning and received great encouragement. I thought it may refresh the soul of another mother who too is overwhelmed at times with caring for children or being concerned about their tomorrows. If you can't relate to that, I KNOW you will be encouraged as well; for God's Word is living and active and meets us exactly where we are.
(*NOTE: You can click on the words highlighted in brown.)

"But You, O LORD, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head."
Psalm 3:3 (NASB)

And If you are really ambitious, go ahead and memorize the rest of the chapter (5 verses total.) I didn't want to be too overwhelmed though and therefore not do it - (I tend to struggle with an "all or nothing" mentality at times...definitely working on that!) So I thought starting with one verse was a good goal. But if we get this down easily, why not shoot for more!

May God's Word be our Bread of choice in 2010!