Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Difference Between Boys and Whales...

Pre-kids, dinner conversation was candlelit, romantic, and covered various adult genre. It was educated adult conversation. These days? Well, it's certainly educated. But, with a three-year-old...ya never know what you're gonna get! Take last night for example. The convo started out simple enough. "Mommy, whales have holes." See. Simple.

It took a very abrupt turn. "The holes shoot water...out of their neck! Or wait....out of their back? The water shoots high. I don't have a hole on my back. I don't shoot water...I do shoot water but it's out of my mouth in the tub. I'm not supposed to drink the bath water. The whale is really Big...but, God made me little. Can I go in a whale? Jonah was in the whale's throat...then he shot out of the hole. And went to Ninevah. Marlin (from finding Nemo) and Dory came out of the whale's hole (spout)." This went on for quite some time then turned to Pirates, what babies eat and so on. Now, Mr. J and I did have input somewhere in there...but, it wasn't much...we just couldn't seem to fit it in before the next question or statement was spoken. Want to know something? I loved every minute of it.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Pirate and the Strawberry...

What do a pirate and a strawberry have in common? Well, nothing. Except that in our household they happen to be siblings. Here are a couple of pics of my sweet kiddos in their costumes right before we headed out the door for our church's fall fun night! Ethan's dream of becoming a pirate finally came true. His favorite accessories were his cowboy boots (from Aunt Lanie and Uncle Ryan) and his sword. And Eva? Well, her accessories were her red chucks and her chubbiness. There's nothing better than a chub-i-licious strawberry. Don't you just want to nibble her up?

Here are the kiddos with Miss Colleen from church...she is so sweet...and the kids absolutely adore her! We look forward to Fall Fun Night every year! It's a fantastic outreach to our community and the staff and volunteers work so hard to make it great for everyone! It's the ultimate kid zone...candy, bounce house, games, petting zoo, face painting. The candy is EVERYWHERE! And so is the gospel message. Which is the sweetest of all. Thanks for a wonderful night Federated! And just so you know...candy was apparently on the breakfast menu this morning.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Story Time With Ethan

Potty time in our household is...storytime. Oh, come on! I know you do it too! Don't even tell me you don't sneak the paper in with you! :0
Anyway, We are proud that Ethan has carried on this special tradition as he potty trains 'Georgie' (his monkey). Ethan has decided that since he's now the in-house pro, it's time to turn teacher and pass his potty training knowledge along. Good Luck George! You can do it! AND...there's a special treat in it for you!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Free Gift!

I admit...I am all about the FREE STUFF! It seems every blog is offering something for free these days and frankly, it excites me! What I love even more is that I usually don't have to do much to get it...just leave a comment? Ummm...OKAY! Sign me up!

Well, I've decided to follow suit and offer something for free too! Well, it actually isn't from me, but from SOMEONE else. But, hey...it's still free! And the best part? I won't be doing a random drawing or picking a number...you ALL can have it!

If you don't mind, I'll be unwrapping this gift for you...but it's still yours if you want it. Let's start with reading the tag and undoing the bow...

The gift is from Jesus...HOLD IT! Now, for some of you, this is the point where you are tempted to click on the small 'X' in the upper right hand corner of the screen, forever deleting this post from your thoughts. Please hang with me a bit longer. I'm not judging or preaching 'fire and brimstone', I promise.

So, what's in the box?

Life. Mercy. Love. Sacrifice. Acceptance. Grace. Forgiveness. So, who's this gift for? EVERYONE...that's right. You. Me. Everyone. And the best part is that we haven't had to do anything to earn it. It's FREE! That's the whole purpose of a gift right? The giver doesn't give it to you with strings attached...it's free...all you have to do is accept it (well, and usually there's a 'thank you' somewhere on your part ;)

You see, what God longs for is to have a relationship with us. And, we are created to have a desire to search for HIM. But, unfortunately, something is standing in the way of that relationship. It's called sin. Again, hang with me here. I'm not wagging my finger at anyone.

I know what you're thinking, because I've told myself the same thing, "But I'm a good person! I'm a nice person!" But, I know that deep down I'm selfish. I'm out for #1. I lie. I gossip. I envy. I covet. I'm weak. Sometimes, I'm filled with hatred.

Do you want to know the blessing...the GIFT? The gift is that while I'm all those things...while I'm a sinner, Jesus died for me...HE died for you. HE didn't wait for me to be good enough, or nice enough, do all the right things or earn my way to Heaven. No, he died for me, for you, while I was (am) dirty, imperfect, selfish, weak. This is why I love HIM.
This is the ultimate SACRIFICE...THE GIFT my friends.

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

The gift is sitting in your lap. He's waiting to have a relationship with you. That's how much HE loves you. Won't you let Him in your life? All you have to do is unwrap it, accept it. There's no trick to it, but there's truth to it. The truth that despite how much I think I can do life on my own...that I can do it better, I can't...I need Him.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His own son (Jesus) that whoever would believe in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life.

Won't you consider what this means to you, what HE means to you? It's as simple as admitting you need Him.

Romans 10:9 If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

20 years ago someone was bold enough to share this truth with me. They prayed with me and I trusted Jesus with my life. I am forever grateful...that's why I am sharing this with you. Wouldn't it be selfish of me to keep this gift in my lap?

If anything I have said has resonated with your heart, then would you consider praying? Would you consider letting Him in your heart?

God, I confess that I need you. I know that I can't do life on my own. I know that my sin stands in the way of my relationship with you. Please forgive me. Thank you for sending Jesus to die as the ultimate sacrifice to pay the price of my sin. Thank You God that I don't have to be perfect, that You accept me as I am. Thank You God that even though I sin against you every day, you take me back. Thank you God that I am under Your grace and Thank You God, that when life seems unfair, You are there to remind me of Your truths. AMEN.

If you prayed that prayer I would love for you to let me know! I want to celebrate with you! You can e-mail me anonymously at nikolejackson@gmail.com. I would be happy to help you find a Bible believing church so you can grow in your relationship with HIM and meet others who are finding their way as well.

I want you to know that this isn't some magic bullet...or the 'easy button'. Life is hard. God doesn't promise that once you're in a relationship with Him you will never face heartache, trouble, or pain, or that people won't let you down. But, He promises to see you through it. He promises to to be there when you pray to Him. He promises you eternal life. He promises you that what you see in the world around you is not all there is to life. He is what life is all about.

Friday, October 9, 2009

My Heart Swells Every Time...

Remember when I told you about my 'Toe up, six feet under' camera? Well, because she's on the fritz, I was so bummed that she let me down when I really needed her. How do you like me prescribing my camera human traits?
Anyway...I was unable to digitally capture my children's hallmark moment, so I'll just have to recount it for you...in full detail...cause' that's my style.
From my post in the kitchen, I could hear raucous laughter in the living room. This is the scene I walked in on...Eva was in her play center and Ethan was sitting in front of her. Ethan would dangle his bare foot in front of Eva, and just as she would reach for it, pull it back quickly, enlisting them both in peels of laughter. I stood in the doorway for several minutes watching them repeat their little game, thanking God their three-year age gap had been bridged...even if it was over a game utilizing stinky, bare feet as the playing piece. My friends', it's the simple things in life.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Oh, So Humbled...

I don't even know how to begin this post...I'm speechless, humbled, embarrassed etc. etc.
Maybe I'll take the long way of telling this story and give you a bit of background info. My sweet in-laws have a DVD at their house that Ethan just loves. It's from the 'Really Woolly' series. Each video teaches kids about Biblical truths through the adventures of Woolly and Grace. The above video uses a pirate adventure. Woolly and Grace pretend to be pirates...not really sure how that ties into the story, but whatever gets the truth across. Anyway, ever since, Ethan has been obsessed with pirates....pretending to be one, turning everything imaginable into a sword, tying his pajama pants around his head, shouting 'ARGH' randomly...you get the point.

Well, this morning we had a bit of shopping to do. We made our way to Wally-world and made a quick stop at customer service to make a return. While I was waiting, there was a sweet employee behind the counter putting away merchandise. She was wearing an eye-patch over her left eye...ummm...I think you know where I'm going with this. Ethan saw her and stood up excitedly in the basket and began pointing and exclaiming (LOUDLY), "Mommy! Look! It's a pirate, a pirate! ARGH! Mommy, she's 'One Eyed Woolly!" I quickly began to shush him, praying she couldn't hear him. I explained that she was not a pirate and had a boo boo on her eye and so she wore a patch. This did not satisfy my strong-willed son one bit who pretty much ignored me and kept saying she was a pirate. I finally got him to quiet down and explained that sometimes people look differently, or have boo boos we can see and we don't want to hurt their feelings by talking about them. "Why?" he asked. Ah Ha! A teachable moment! I explained that God makes us all very different, and no matter if we are born with boo boos or look differently, we are still perfect and she is still perfect and beautiful because God made her. Ethan thought for a minute, then said, "That's Amazing!"

I'm not sure if that sweet lady heard Ethan (she probably did) if she did, she was gracious enough to not say anything. I wish I could say this put an end to the pirate talk...but no...it continued on through Hy-Vee and all the way home and ended with him turning various household items into swords up until naptime.