living on pb & j

Ordinary moms living on Prayer, the Bible, and Jesus!


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A Glimpse of the Future

Today, I am home with only two children. My other two are visiting with my parents in Tennessee for a few days.

My big ones are home; my little ones are gone.

The first day of this quiet, I realized something. This is a glimpse of the future. I had school with my boys, cleaned, exercised, had some quiet time with the laptop planning next school year, and perusing Avon books. This is what my future looks like. No toddler messes. No diapers, no pulling entire bookshelves onto the floor. ;) I don’t know what life with no little ones looks like. I know it will still be busy! But in the middle of the littles, it’s easy to feel lost and discouraged. Nothing stays clean, there is a lot of screaming. And even though we wouldn’t trade being a mommy of a little one for ANYTHING, there are those moments when you find nail polish everywhere, or realize 6 bath towels are stuffed into the toilet, or discover every tube of lipstick destroyed. And going on a little mommy-cation crosses your mind! Anyone relate?

But while my little ones were gone, I missed my 2-year-old’s snuggles, and my 4-year-old’s giggles. But I loved my 6-year-old’s reading practice, and my 8-year-old’s conversations. I felt happy, I felt torn. Weird, I know. But as I LOVED the quiet, I was MISSING a piece of my heart.

I know life will never be free from busy-ness, and chaos. But life without the toddler messes is a reality. That phase is passing.

We will trade diapers for real-life-problem conversations. We will give up board books for novels. We will lay down our bedtime stories, and replace those with deep discussions about life and God. We will stop going to library story time, and start soccer practice.

Life will change. There is an end to the toddler chaos. So, embrace it. Enjoy those tiny hands that make big messes!

There is no promise of tomorrow, only this moment!

I am purposing today to enjoy each stage of my kids’ lives. Join me!


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More Abundantly

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,” – Eph. 3:20


I DESIRE, I CRAVE for God to just be so real in my life …to speak to me. …to be obvious in my life. 

…AND what He has taught me today is that He wants to be in my life and He wants to bless me and He wants to do that and so MUCH more then I desire. 

I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE Psalms 132. 

Let’s read it…

FIRST DAVID SPEAKS: “Lord, remember David, and all his afflictions: How he sware unto the Lord, and vowed unto the mighty God of Jacob; Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed; I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids, Until I find out a place for the Lord, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob. Lo, we heard of it at Ephratah: we found it in the fields of the wood. We will go into his tabernacles: we will worship at his footstool.  Arise, O Lord, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength. Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy. For thy servant David’s sake turn not away the face of thine anointed.” 

THE LORD SPEAKS BACK: “The Lord hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne. If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore. For the Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it. I will abundantly bless her provision: I will satisfy her poor with bread. I will also clothe her priests with salvation: and her saints shall shout aloud for joy. There will I make the horn of David to bud: I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed. His enemies will I clothe with shame: but upon himself shall his crown flourish.”

DON’T SKIP this. THIS IS SUCH A POWERFUL PSALM.

Have you ever just wanted to have a sit-down conversation with God, where you talked to Him and He responded?  Where He is leaning forward to you, listening to your every request. 

After you tell him all that is on your heart, He reaches out and takes your hand and says “Sweet daughter of mine, I have you covered. I am not just going to give you “that”, but I am going to give you more then you ever asked for. I love you, baby girl. I have it all under control.”

THIS, MY DEAR FRIEND, THIS is how Psalms 132 is. 

The history of this Psalm is that David is trying to get the ark back home. He first does it the wrong way, by transporting it on a cattle cart, and then he finally does it the right way with priests. 

David desires to have the Lord there and thus he desires to bring the house of the Lord home. He desires the Lord’s presence. 

Follow with me the responses. See David’s requests and then see the Lord tenderly reaching out and responding with over-abundance of love and care. I am paraphrasing below so please see the verses above to get the actual words of God. 

David: Please remember the vow you made me.

The LORD: David, I am not going to turn from that vow. I have sworn in truth. I will place your children on the throne as long as they will keep my covenant and the things I have taught them.

David: I want you HERE. I will not sleep until I have you home. (The ark is still in Ephrata)

The LORD: David, I have chosen Zion. I desire to be here. I want to be here forever and I am going to bless this place with bread and provision.

David: Let the priests be clothed in righteousness. 

The LORD: David, I’m not going to just give them righteousness, I am going to give them salvation. 

David: Let the saints shout for joy.

The LORD: David. they SHALL shout ALOUD for joy.

David: …and lastly please don’t turn away from me, your servant, your anointed one

The LORD: David, David, if you only knew how much I care. You are not just going to be my annointed servant, you are going to bear THE ANOINTED ONE, the horn of YOUR salvation, the Light of this world, the Crown Jewel, the Savior. …so much more then you can even imagine.

Oh, my dear friend, God’s grace is so much more then we can even fathom. I love that God doesn’t just give us righteousness; He gives us salvation. THIS IS WHAT WE NEED–so much more. 

One of my really good friends says that she just thanks God over and over for saying NO to her request for a baby because God has given her one of the most precious gifts in the little baby girl that they were able to adopt. 

God’s grace is so much more. I love that He handles it. He listens. He speaks. He calms our fears and holds us close and then gives us so much more then we can even fathom. 

He is righteous, yet He is love and He gives us exactly what we need!

Rejoicing in the Present,

Joy T


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Making Christ the Center of Christmas

Even before I found out that we were going to have our first baby, I had always a strong desire to teach my children that Christmas is a celebration about Christ. This blog post is not about whether you should incorporate Santa into your holiday or decorate a Christmas tree. It is simply about keeping Christ the center of your holiday. I recently asked some mom-friends how they kept Christ the center. Here are some great responses:

“Every Christmas Eve we read Luke 2, it is a sweet tradition in my family.” – JW

“Christmas morning while eating breakfast, we read the Christmas story from our Bibles. My children and I bake Jesus a “birthday cake” as well.” – JD

“We always watch “The Nativity Story” as a family on Christmas Eve. There are a few parts that might be a tiny bit scary for small kids, such as Herod sending out soldiers to kill all baby boys. We just explained it and hide their eyes if they can’t handle it. It brings my husband and I to tears every year, and makes the Christmas story come alive.” – KR

“Dec 1-25 we read OT prophesy and portions of the Christmas story every night in our devotion time, and the story again on Christmas morning. We try to encourage giving by making gifts for teachers and other special people in our life. We have a “little people” nativity they play with–makes it more alive. Several other nativities they can’t touch and just talk about it… all the time. My mom did that, and I hated it, as a kid. but I am eternally thankful for that influence on my young mind now.” – TP

“We use the whole Christmas time to teach lessons from the Bible. i.e. The gifts they get– some are what they ask for, some are not and they don’t get everything on their list. This teaches them that the answers to our prayers are yes, no, and wait and we point that out to them. Then, they must be thankful for everything, even stuff they don’t want. If they are unthankful for even one gift the rest of their gifts will all be given to other people by them. And yes, we have done that one year with our daughter. We teach them that God brings all things into our life, good and bad, and things we want and things we don’t want and we need to be thankful early on for each of those things.”- PJ

“We talk about it a lot!! Seems lame, but it’s amazing to me how the kiddos just love to talk if I will listen!!!” – BH

“We’re doing the Christmas Adventure Box this year, and LOVE it! It started on Dec. 1, and we have missed several nights. It goes through the Nativity in detail, and some of the other nights are like going to look at Christmas lights – Jesus came here to be our Light, and we are the light of the world. An object lesson with the candy cane, etc. Just a sweet biblical lesson each night. I’m so happy with it. You can find it by going to. Christmasadventurebox.blogspot.com” – J.B.

A cute idea that was given to me this year by a friend, D.S: Take the Joseph and Mary from your manger scene and hide them around your house (similar to the Elf on a Shelf). The kids can find them each day and you can talk to them about what their journey must have been like. On Christmas Eve morning they should be in the nativity, and on Christmas day add the baby Jesus to your nativity. – S.G.

I hope these comments give you some ideas. We have also been intentional about CHRISTmas. Here are some things that we do…

For us, we try to make Christmas a season of giving. 

We discuss with our son how Jesus gave us the biggest and best present and that we like to give gifts for that reason. He loves to give, so this is exciting for him.

We have gotten to the point where we can’t walk past the Salvation Army bell-ringers without giving money. He knows that when he gives money it goes to feed other boys and girls. He will even remind me of this fact, so I am always prepared to dig into my purse for money whenever we go shopping. I know he is going to want to give and I never want to dampen that desire.

Also, we have an amount of money budgeted for Christmas presents. He gets to use some of it to buy everyone a gift in his immediate family. We talk about getting presents that the person would like and he has done pretty well so far.

We also make Christmas a relaxing day to celebrate. He doesn’t get to rush downstairs and open presents. We enjoy our breakfast, then we read the Christmas Story, sing happy birthday to Jesus and, finally, open presents.

He is such a giver and I hope and pray that he always has this desire.

One of the families in our church doesn’t do much for Christmas. Everyone gets a few small gifts but they wait until each kid’s birthday and make that a HUGE deal. I love this thinking, because, in truth, this season is all about Jesus. It’s His birthday.

I hope this encourages you to be intentional this year about celebrating Jesus.

Rejoicing,

Joy

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