The Macs

Thursday, June 30, 2011

thirty day challenge {day 30}

Day 30. It is hard to believe that today marked the 30th day that I have started off my mornings alone with the Lord in His Word and in prayer. The 30th day that I have really made an effort to make the Lord the priority of my days. This was definitely a first for me. A discipline that I have longed to make a daily habit and priority in the past, but failed many times. I'm not sure what was different about this time. I think that I have finally realized that if I really want to make the Lord the priority of my days...if that is what my heart really desires...then it is going to take discipline and sacrifice on my part. I am not trying to pat myself on the back. While this challenge did take some effort on my part, it is only by the grace of God that I got myself out of bed even one of the past thirty mornings. And I'm not going to stop now. It is my prayer that my devotion time with the Lord would be a delight not a duty. I pray that I would understand what a privilege it is to meet with the Lord and that I would long for this time with Him. And I pray that God would be the priority of my days...not just in the month of June, but everyday. That is my prayer for you too.

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in His Word I put my hope.
Psalm 130:5

So how did you do? There were 54 of you who responded to my original post...54 of you who desired to seek God daily in the month of June. If you participated in the 30 Day Challenge I would love to hear what God has been doing in your heart and life over the past thirty days. Please share! Maybe the 30 Day Challenge was really difficult for you and you felt like you failed over and over...much like I have felt many times before. Don't give up! Keep seeking Him with your whole heart. We need Him more than anything else. We need His strength and wisdom to make it through each day.

I have been reading a book this past month {how can June already be over?!} about finding intimacy with God through a daily devotional life. It has been so encouraging to me as I battle all the frustrations and failures I have had with my own personal devotional life. I'll tell you a little more about it next week and I think I'm even going to give a book away...just because I like you all so much! May we all become women you seek after God everyday.

* * * * * * * * *

And one more {much less important} thing for today...

I was featured at Baby Lifestyles

Levi's first birthday party and nursery were both featured at Baby Lifestyles this week. How fun. You can find the nursery feature here and the first birthday feature here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

fourth of july {inspiration}

We are planning a little Fourth of July party with some friends and family. I love having parties and I love celebrating the Fourth! I was looking around for a little party inspiration and thought I'd share some of my favorites...

I love the pinwheel idea, so today I decided to try to make some of my own. I think I'm going to use them as center pieces on our picnic tables...if it isn't too windy {you never know in Kansas}.

I used this tutorial. They were so easy to make. Now I just need some more scrapbook paper to finish up.

I gathered up as many red, white, and blue things as I could find around the house. Our party won't be quite as elaborate as the parties above {although they are so pretty}. I am trying to use as much as I can from around the house and from Joel's birthday last year. This weekend will be full of sprucing up the yard, party details, and time with friends. Can't wait!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

just wanted to let you know...

...about a few good deals going on at DaySpring right now.
The Life to the Full collection is 50% off.

Life Collection - 6? Bread Plate
The bread plate is my favorite. And right now it is only $2.99.

Last year for Christmas I filled these plates with chocolate, wrapped them up and delivered them to my neighbors. They were perfect.

Colors of Compassion - 10 Premium Greeting Card Assortment     Hope and  Encouragement 2011 - 10 Premium Greeting Card Assortment
And my two favorite card packs are on sale too. The Colors of Compassion and Hope and Encouragement assortments are on sale for $19.99. These are really great cards.

Max Lucado Value Pack - 15 Premium Greeting Card Assortment     Sweet Springs & Cute Friendship - 10 Premium Greeting Card Assortment
And there are a few card assortments like the Max Lucado assortment and the Sweet Springs and Cute Friendship assortment that are on sale for $4.99.

So, there are my good deals for the day. 
And to make it even are a few coupon codes too:

15OFFGIFTS to get 15% off all gift purchases.
15OFFCARDS to get 15% off all card purchases.
shipping25 to get free shipping on $25+ order.

Shop Christian gifts, cards, decor, and more!
This post is part of DaySpring's affiliate program.

Monday, June 27, 2011

the weekend

We took a little trip to the airport along with the rest of Joel's family.

 Uncle James (Joel's brother) is home visiting from China. Yay! 
The kids were so excited to see him. 
We were too...of course.

Joel was home for the afternoon.
Always such a nice surprise.
We worked in the yard while Levi slept.
Joel mowed and I admired my first Zinnia of the summer. :)

Then we finished up a project we have been working on for Levi.
Just one last thing to do this week.
I'll show you when it is all done...I hope Levi likes it!

 After church we spent the rest of the day with my family celebrating a belated Father's Day.
It was HOT so we spent all afternoon in the pool.
Levi wasn't so sure about the water...maybe next time.

 But he did have fun watching his cousins.
He laughed and clapped his hands for them.

Such a fun weekend filled with family and lots of cousin time.
How was your weekend?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

practicing his "big brotherliness"

While I am busy trying to get our house a little more organized, dreaming up nursery ideas, trying to be comfortable with my big growing belly {so hard}, enjoying these summer moments with just Levi, and trying to come up with another boy's name that we love...Levi has been busy practicing his "big brotherliness". 

All of a sudden he decided he could climb onto chairs all by himself. Which means that if adults are sitting in a big chair he wants to sit in one too. He even goes so far as to remove his tired, pregnant mama from her chair so that he can have his own seat. Sitting in my lap just isn't cutting it anymore. Oh, and it also means that there are many more things that my big boy can reach with his new climbing skills. Nothing is safe anymore.

After having lunch at a friends house this week we also came home with this stroller. Levi LOVES it and has been pushing it all over the house. He moves at lighting speed and crashes into walls so I don't think he will be pushing his little brother around any time soon. For now, his doggie will have to do...and even he has to be buckled in!

How fun it will be to see Levi as a big brother.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

day 22 + my quiet time

Only eight more days and I will have made it to day thirty of my 30 Day Challenge. What I love about this challenge is that it is developing a habit that I so desperately want and need in my life every day. This challenge is not a goal that I want to just check off my list or pat myself on the back for accomplishing thirty days of meeting with the Lord and then go on with my life. My morning devotional time is just becoming part of my day now. And it is my prayer that this habit doesn't end once I reach day thirty, but that it becomes a life long habit of making the Lord the priority of my days...every day.

How about you? For those of you who have joined me in this challenge, what have the past 22 days been like for you? Has it been a struggle to find a consistent, quiet time to meet with the Lord? What has God been teaching you?

What about my quiet time?

A few of you have asked me to share what my quiet time/devotional time looks like and some resources I use. I hesitate to share about my personal quiet time because everyone's time with the Lord will look different. I am a rule follower by nature (aka..."fun hater") and that even trickles down to my quiet time. I have struggled to find the "right" way to do my devotions all my Christian life...even though there really isn't such a thing. I don't want my devotion time to become a legalistic thing...making sure I meet with Him at a certain time, for a certain amount of time, in a certain place just to check it off my list and feel good about myself. I am meeting a Person, not a habit.

However, over the past year the Lord has used many different people and Bible studies to show me in His Word some really important things about a personal quiet time. It has been helpful for me to learn from these people and so I pray that instead of this looking like a list of rules, you would be encouraged as I share a little bit about what my own quiet time with the Lord usually looks like.

Like I told you before, I have really been challenged to start my days off with my devotions. I can't tell you how early to get up to have a meaningful time with the Lord in the mornings, but for me that has meant setting my alarm to get up before Levi wakes up. I have found that if I don't do this it is so much harder to find time during my day to quiet my heart once my little guy is running around, the phone starts ringing, and I am in the middle of my "to do" list for the day. There is definitely going to be a season in my life once Levi's little brother arrives that this might have to change or look a little different, but for now this is what is working for me.

There are two things that are crucial to my quiet time...God's Word and prayer. Someone once told me that when we are reading God's Word we are receiving from Him and when we pray we are responding back to Him. This really helped me see the correlation between reading the Bible and praying.

We become more like the people we spend time with. So that is my purpose of spending time each day with the Lord; to know Him and to become more like Him. I usually start my time with the Lord by just asking Him to speak to me and give me direction through His Word. A friend suggested that I read a Proverb a day. Proverbs is the book of wisdom and there is no doubt that as a woman and mom I need God's wisdom. And it is perfect that there are 31 chapters in I just read one chapter a day. While I was doing BSF I was also reading through Isaiah, but this summer I have started reading through the Bible chronologically. This has been awesome! I am ashamed to admit that even after being a Christian for this long that I don't think I have ever read through the Bible. But it is never too late to start, right?? I am following this chronological plan. The Lord has been teaching me so many things and I love that I am getting a "bigger picture" of His Word. I have a journal that I write things that God is teaching me in, but I don't write in it everyday. I love keeping a journal though. It is so encouraging to look back and see what God has done in my life. I started writing in my journal pretty consistently after Cora died and it is amazing to look back at how He carried me through those dark, dark days.

When I pray I definitely struggle with my mind wondering, so it has been helpful to me to have somewhat of a "plan" as I pray. I take time to respond to the things God is teaching me through what I am reading in His Word (often that means confessing a lot of ugliness in my heart), lay my day and schedule before Him, and intercede for others. I really desire to be a wife who prays for her husband and a mom who prays for her kids. I have been using the book Prayers of an Excellent Wife by Andrew Case to guide me as I pray for Joel. This book has been so helpful in leading me to pray God's Word for my husband. It only takes a few minutes and I love it. I have also been using a monthly guide that I got from BSF to pray for my kids. There is a focus for each month along with verses to pray for your child. This has been really helpful to me too. I know many people divide prayer requests up by days of the week or use a prayer journal. Any of those methods would work great too!

So...that was way longer than I was planning it to be. I in no way think that I have my relationship with the Lord or my devotion time all figured out. I am constantly learning and growing. And often the Lord uses people just like you to guide me along the way. I read this in a book the other day:

I have found that it takes a firm commitment to make daily devotions consistent. However, I have often felt guilty if this time isn't as long as I think it should be or if I don't cover all the disciplines I think are important. It has taken years for me to realize that God doesn't love me because I have a quiet time--He just loves me! This knowledge alone has increased my desire to be with Him.

How important it is to come to our quiet time, not with the fear that God will punish us if we miss, but eager to meet Him--to learn, to grow and to find sweet fellowship with a Father who loves us far more than we could ever imagine. 
-Sandy Smith from A Place of Quiet Rest by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

How about you? What does your devotion time look like? Do you have any books or resources that have been helpful to you? I would love to know.

Show me your ways, O Lord,
teach me your paths;
guide me in your truth and teach me.
Psalm 25:4-5

Sunday, June 19, 2011

the best mac daddy

As I looked back through the pictures I have of Joel on Father's Day I was reminded of some really great memories and some really sad ones too. One of those memories doesn't even need a picture to remind me of the heartache this daddy was feeling the year he had to face Father's Day without his little girl in his arms. There will always be one Father's Day picture missing. But as I thought back through the past four years of celebrating Joel as a dad, I couldn't help but be reminded that my family is so very blessed. Joel is a fantastic dad. He loves his kids intensely. And whatever their time is here on earth, I can be certain that my kids will be well loved by their daddy. I am so thankful that the Mac kids can grow up with the best Mac Daddy!
Levi and I took Joel to breakfast at McDonalds before church this morning to celebrate. It is his favorite. He is easy to please! :) Oh, and he loved his Tiny Print cards!

I know very well that while Father's Day is a day to celebrate the dads in our lives, it also can be a very hard day for whatever reason. We were reminded in church this morning that we have a Heavenly Father who is more than capable of filling whatever void you might be facing today. And while today I am celebrating the amazing dads that Joel and I have been blessed with and the amazing dad that Joel is to my own kids, I am so thankful for that truth. Our Heavenly Father loves us more than we could ever imagine. His love is personal and passionate and powerful. He loves us like no one else can. I will never be able to fully comprehend the love of my Heavenly Father, but I can be certain that his His love for me will never change.

Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

saturday + splash park + 30 days

Somehow this week got away from me. It was one of those weeks that went fast and I didn't feel like I accomplished much. I hate when that happens. Several of you have asked me about what I am doing for my devotion time or some resources I might recommend. Not that I have all the answers...I am learning along with you all...but I had good intentions on writing a post about my personal devotion time this week. Obviously that didn't happen. Hopefully next week. So, if you have any questions, now is the time to ask! 

How is your 30 Day Challenge going? This morning I had such a hard time getting out of bed. I was tired. But when I finally made it downstairs I was so thankful that today marked day 18 of a consistent time of meeting with the Lord in the mornings. He has been teaching me many things over the past 18 days. I was thinking I might only have a few minutes before Levi woke up but he actually slept in a little today too. A little blessing on a Saturday morning.

And since I don't have much else to say today, here are a few pictures of Levi at the splash park. We decided to give it a try again this week (this time with my camera battery charged) and I'm so glad we did.

Last time we went Levi only walked around the outside. He wasn't really interested in getting sprayed in the face by water...I can't imagine why not!?! This time he was a little braver.

My sister and a friend showed him how to put his hands and feet in the fountains. He wasn't too sure at first, but pretty soon he was trying it out by himself.

 He even got all the way wet. Way to be brave Levi!

And by the end he was being his normal cheesy self and having so much fun. We will definitely be going back. Such a fun way to end a hot summer day.

We are enjoying a laid back Saturday. Joel has been home for most of the day {yay for no working!} and we have been working on some projects around our yard. This weekend we are having dinner with friends, celebrating a birthday, and celebrating a very special daddy. How about you?

Happy Father's Day weekend!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

his first solo ride

On the first day of kindergarten there were always those moms who just couldn't quite leave their baby behind. They would linger next to their child's desk helping them get everything ready that they might need for the day. Most of the parents would be gone and I would gently walk over to the one or two hovering moms that were left and gently assure them that their child would be just fine without them. They would reluctantly head for the door with tears in their eyes as they watched their baby venture out "on their own". Of course, I thought that I understood what an emotional day the first day of kindergarten must be for a parent, but after being in the teacher's shoes, I promised myself that I would never be one of "those parents". 

Let's just hope that the emotions I felt on the day I dropped Levi off for his first solo ride in the tractor were just a result of crazy pregnancy hormones and not a pattern for the rest of my life as a parent. Otherwise, I may be needing someone to drag me out of the classroom on Levi's first day of kindergarten. I just might end up being one of "those parents".

The day Levi and I brought Joel a lunch, he asked if I wanted to try to leave Levi by himself to ride in the tractor. He only had about an hour of work left and he was pretty close to our house if I needed to run back and pick him up. So we decided to give it a shot not knowing how Levi would do. He has only ridden in my lap so far.

 We buckled him in next to his daddy...he wasn't sure what to think at first.

 And then he realized that he was getting to stay ALL BY HIMSELF. So exciting.

He blew me a kiss and that is when I had to leave my baby behind. I know it is ridiculous, but I felt like it was his first day of kindergarten. He is not supposed to be big enough to ride in a tractor by himself!

As I was climbing down the ladder I peeked back to see these two smiling at each other. Talk about melting a mama's heart. I was pretty sure Levi wasn't going to miss his mama one bit.

I drove home and wondered if he would make it on his own or if Joel would be calling me in a few minutes. About an hour later Joel drove the tractor right up to our front door to drop Levi off. He of course had done great and loved every minute of his ride. And I was so glad to have my baby home.

Levi was one happy little boy. If it wouldn't have been nap time, I'm pretty sure he could have ridden all day. He sure loves his daddy.

He had Cheetos and chocolate all over his face. Joel said he was falling asleep in the tractor and he had to feed him to keep him awake. So we headed inside, cleaned him up, and off to bed he went.

So, I made it through Levi's first solo ride in one piece...trying to ignore the fact that my baby boy is turning into such a big boy. A bit over dramatic...I know. Like I said, let's just pray that I can blame the crazy emotions on the pregnancy hormones!

Monday, June 13, 2011

a typical {if there is such a thing} day

a little quiet time before my little man wakes up

breakfast...he always wants to eat the second we get downstairs

brushing those teeth (trying to keep him busy) while mama gets ready

reading some books...lately he only wants to read by himself

playing, playing, playing

playing some glad mama FINALLY let him go outside

making my sweet farmer husband a lunch

eating lunch and making a mess

taking daddy his lunch...begging me to let him out of the car to see daddy

riding in the tractor with daddy

nap time = trying to get everything done that I need to before Levi wakes up

nap time over...ready to go again

daddy comes home...dinner at Uncle Loren and Auntie Anne's
(not typical, but so nice to have someone cook for us)

a late night run through the sprinkler park
(also not typical, but so fun)

...and then my camera battery died.

So, there is a little peek into what a day around The Macs might look like.
Happy Monday!