Monday, December 10, 2012

What are we teaching our children??

     Eric and I have been extremely convicted over the last year of what we are really teaching our children. This time of year, especially makes those convictions stronger.
     We try to teach our children to love God, and to always put Him first. BUT, we don't really do that! Talking the talk, but not really walking the walk on what we're "preaching" to them. We tend to put  more focus on going to "church" than actually being the church. We have seen this over the years that this is the overall focus of most believers. We busy ourselves with "church" events and activities that take all of our time, so we therefore don't have time to actually minister to others. To do so, we would have to take away time with our family, which we believe is NOT how God wants this done. HE wants and deserves to be first in our lives.
"Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need."
--Matthew 6:33 NLT

     It seems that believers take this time of year to try and cram into one month what we should be doing all year...helping the needy, ministering to widows & shut-ins, inviting lost family & friends to a worship service, fellowshipping together, etc.  I'm definitely NOT saying that these things are bad and that we shouldn't do them, it's just that this should be done year round. We try to spend the holidays with family and enjoy that time together, but there is always so much other "stuff" going on that it makes family time seem like a hassle. To be honest, when we finally get time at home we don't want to run to another place, even if it is to be with family. I am convinced that this is not the way it should be.
     With Eric being a pastor, our children have always been at "church" A LOT! We desire and feel a strong calling from God to quit busying ourselves with activities and events and really teach our boys how to be the hands and feet of Jesus! Getting out of our comfortable four walls and taking Jesus to the people, instead of expecting people to come into a place where they don't belong. Unbelievers shouldn't feel comfortable or even desire to enter to the church building. When we gather together as believers we are to "worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs."--Psalm 100:2  If you don't already have a personal relationship with Jesus how are you able to worship Him?  Our world needs to see the Church, which is the people, everyday living for Him, not just on Sundays and an occasional Wednesday evening. "Live wisely among those that are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity." --Colossians 4:5 
     Jacob, our youngest, always keeps us laughing and guessing at what he will say next. This weekend he summed this up perfectly by saying, "I hate going to church! I really like Jesus 'cause He's nice, but I really hate church!"  (side note:  Hate, is his new favorite word. He hates naps, hates to eat, hates to wear clothes, hates to do anything that he doesn't first choose to do himself!) :) 
     Him saying that reminded me of what a poor job we are doing at teaching our boys what we've been so convicted about. At only three years old, he has already gotten a misconception of what the church really is. We have once again allowed ourselves to become busy with stuff, not just this month, but for a while now. I pray that God will help us and everyone else to see that most of the "stuff" we do doesn't impress Him at all. Showing and sharing Christ with others it what pleases Him. 
     Let's slow down for a moment refocus on Him, and what He has called each of us individually to do. "We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps."--Proverbs 16:9  What steps does He have for me and you??

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Temper Tantrum

If you have kids, been around a child, went to a park, or even shopped in a store, you have seen a child throwing a temper tantrum...guaranteed!  
Chances are, you have probably even seen a teenager and an adult throwing a tantrum as well when they didn't get what they wanted. We tend to get very angry and upset when things don't go our way.
Having three kids and one being a three year old now, we experience at least one tantrum a day! Someone takes a desired toy, looks at another the wrong way, or sometimes can even just enter a room and someone gets upset. 
We are very spoiled people that live in a fast paced world that is all about gimme, gimme, gimme!  You've heard the car horns blow when the closest parking space is taken from someone that thought they were there first. I mean come on, didn't you see my blinker!  And, please tell me that I'm not the only mother out there that has experienced the horror of grocery shopping with kids!

This has made me think about how God must feel when I throw a tantrum with Him because I've prayed for something, expecting Him to answer MY way, and He doesn't. He answers. Just not the way I wanted. Oh, how He must throw up His hands at me sometimes when I say things that my own kids say when they are told no......"But, Why?!?!" Why can't this be MY way?!?!!!

We have been praying about a situation for some time now, and honestly it's hard to come to terms with the answer we are receiving. It's not really what I want to hear, but I know that His answers are always the right ones!  Trust me, I have stomped my feet, cried, fussed, and still could possibly fall in the floor thrashing around like something crazy. But, everytime I do HE corrects me like a Father should. There may actually be more tantrums on my part, but I trust and know that He will be patient with me, and let me throw my fit. He knows that eventually I will realize that I'm acting foolish. When we quit thinking things should go our way, it's then that He can use us.

"For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him."--Philippians 2:13
He is teaching me more and more everyday that I am not my own.
I am His.
He hand picked me for the task ahead before the earth was even created.
"just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world... ... ... In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will." (Ephesians 1:4a, 11)
He knows how it's all going to work out. He has planned it out to the very detail. The purpose He has for us is far greater than what we can imagine. He will work it ALL out according to His master plan. And, I guarantee it will bring Him glory and be far better than anything I could imagine and work out on my own!


So, what are you fussing with God about??  
Remember it's okay not to always like what He tells us at first, BUT He is the parent and we have to obey!
Just like I tell my kids when they are throwing a tantrum, "You can fuss and be stubborn all you want, but I will win this battle!"
I believe that God is saying the same thing to us, "I have this under control. Get off the floor, quit crying, stop fighting, and just trust ME!"


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Oh No, Terrible Threes!

This silly boy turned 3 in June! Oh my, the fun he brings to our lives! We are so blessed to have him and enjoy every minute of being with him. Of course, we had to have a tractor themed party! This kid is CrAzY about anything that moves, but especially tractors!! He started talking about his birthday about a week before, and for the life of me I can't figure out how he knew it was coming soon. I am a procrastinator when it comes to planning birthday parties. We always just do something simple at home with family, so I usually plan the day before. :) But, he was asking everyday if it was his birthday yet. The day finally came and we celebrated with his favorite food--hotdogs & a John Deere theme cake!  

We had a special treat of the Hayes family being home for Jacob's party. It's not too often that we are all able to be together for a birthday, so this was extra special! Here's all the grands together...all 8!



We were so excited to give him his own tractor! There is nothing else in this world that we could think of that would make this boy happy...and this was it! 

And where did he go first?!?!  Straight to the garden! Where else do tractors go?!?! :)

Through the "mud dirt" as he calls it!

Just as serious as he can be!

Mama & Daddy with the birthday boy!
So blessed with these 3!


Friday, June 15, 2012

Play Ball!

Another baseball season is over. :(  Even though we run wild for a few months, I really do get kind of sad when it's over. The boys LOVE playing and I LOVE watching them! They both had a great season and really improved from last year.

Noah was on a 9/10 yr. old team (Minor League) and was able to pitch this year. Wow! That was an adjustment for me...I have grown up watching my brother pitch, but now this was my child! I had to sit away from the other team, so I couldn't hear remarks from others. This Mama would be a mad mama if someone was making fun of her son! :)  Thankfully, I didn't hear any snide remarks and was able to maintain my composure. Ha! I do believe though, that his best position to play is catcher. He really does have a natural talent to play there. He can stop the ball, and I like the fact that he's covered in padding. LOL  One time he threw the ball from his knees to 2nd base...perfectly straight, and bounced once right in front of the second baseman!

Check out his form! (below, right)  He had several innings where he struck out 3 in a row! So proud of him!!

Caleb was on a 7/8 yr. old team (PeeWee league) and did a fantastic job as well! His attention span was much better than the year before. :)  His batting and catching improved the most, not to mention how he can throw the ball! He really has a great arm! Toward the end of the season, I think there were only about 3 games left, he decided that he wanted to try catching. Not sure if he wanted to be like Noah, or if the excitement of wearing a cup was his incintive, but he did GREAT!! We were all very suprised that he caught on so quickly at what to do. He stopped the ball, and was on top of what was going on. Just like his brother, they take after their daddy. From year to year we wonder if Caleb will stick with baseball, but he never ceases to amaze us with how he does. He is a lot like my brother (Chris)...loves to play, but reallly hates to practice! But according to Caleb, "he's good enough & doesn't need to practice!" Love that boy! :)

Since Eric & Papa were coaching both teams, that left me, Nana, & the brother not playing to deal with Jacob! Now, that's a job! :)  As long as he's outside, he's typically happy, so most of the time he was pretty good. Except for the fact that he likes to socialize and tends to wander away from me. He doesn't meet a stranger, and even made a few "baseball play friends". He really did make a little friend, Bradley. (His older brother was on Caleb's team.) They played great together! Shared toys, bike & helmet, gum, and who knows what else! Jacob would say that "Bradley is his best buddy!"  So sweet!!  I didn't get a picture of them together, but here's one of Jacob at the ballfield. (I belive Noah had my camera, because somehow Nana and I made it into the pic, and it's very up close of Jacob!)

So, until next baseball season, we will hang up the bat bags, store away the gloves, jock straps & cups, clean off the cleats, and hopefully enjoy some much needed time at home! :)

Oh wait......I think they may want to play fall ball!!  In that case...let's play ball! ;-)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Losing a parent...

Last week we received a phone call that no one ever wants to receive. Eric's father, Howard, passed away on Tuesday, June 5th at the age of 60. He had been in bad health for several years...much of it brought on by poor habits, but nonetheless this was devastating to Eric. This was his father. No one, regardless of the situation, wants to face losing a parent. There were tons of "should have", "could have" thoughts going through his head. But, thankfully the grace of God abounds. Knowing that Howard had made a profession of Jesus a few years back, and Eric actually had the privilege of baptising him, was the only thing that comforted the family during this time.

This was the first time that our boys have lost a "close" family member. They knew Granddaddy Howard, and had the chance to spend some time with him over the years, but not real quality time. This is what upset them the most. They desired and thought that they should have had a closer relationship with him since he was their grandfather. What they do know and will remember is fond times with him...most recently seeing him at Thanksgiving this past year.

This whole week has really made me reflect and look at how much quality time we spend together as a family. Our days are numbered here on this earth, and none of us are promised tomorrow. So, how we spend our days really does matter. Not only is it important to spend time with those we love, but more importantly, we should be sharing the ultimate gift of love with others...Jesus! Without Him we have no life and death will inevitably come to us all. I want to live a life that is pleasing to Him and brings Him glory. I also want to cherish the time He has given me with my wonderful family. I love Eric more each day, and our boys are the most important people in our lives.

So, to my father-in-law, I would say thanks. Thanks for raising the man I now know as my husband, and for teaching him respect. Thank you for accepting me as your daughter-in-law, and saying I was your favorite. (even though I was your only one!)  :)  Thanks for being the beginning of what is my family now. You will be missed, but we know that we will be reunited with you one glorious day!

(Howard's obituary)

DWAYNE “HOWARD” HARDMAN, age 60, of Demorest, Georgia, passed away on Tuesday, June 5, 2012, at his residence.

Mr. Hardman was born on January 18, 1952, in Stephens County, Georgia, to the late Ralph Benjamin and Lucille Chitwood Hardman. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother, Phillip Hardman and an infant sister. Mr. Hardman was of the Baptist faith.

Survivors include his daughter and son-in-law, Shelly and Mike Jones, Turnerville, GA; son and daughter-in-law, Eric and Cassie Hardman, Hendersonville, NC; and grandchildren, Ayla, Tia, Gavin, Noah, Grayson, Caleb, Gabriel, Jacob, and Anna Rose.

Memorial services will be held at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, June 8, 2012, at Grace Baptist Church, with Rev. Eric Hardman and Rev. Phillip Yarber officiating.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Grace Baptist Church, 1768 Chase Road, Cornelia, Georgia 30531.

Arrangements are in the care of Whitfield Funeral Home, South Chapel, Baldwin, Georgia.

Friday, March 9, 2012

I'm a Mommy!

My youngest little boy is at a very funny stage where everything he says makes us laugh!Sometimes he really does bring tears to our eyes. This age is by far my favorite because of how his little personality is really coming out, and he's becoming his own person. He loves to joke and say things that he knows is not true just to get us picking at him. He told me the other day, in his sweetest, sneakiest little voice, "you're not a girl!"  Well, of course I had to rebute this statement! :)  I then asked him, "well, if I'm not a girl then what am I??"  He says in his "for-real" sweet voice, "you're a mommy."

Out of all the titles in this world I could have, "Mommy" is by far my favorite! As women we can wear many hats and take on many titles:  wife, daughter, neice, granddaughter, mother, friend, teacher, cook, housekeeper, etc...................  but there is something special about being called a Mommy. That title is personal and intimate. Any female is capable of carrying a child, but it takes someone really dedicated to become a mommy. Laying all selfish desires, and worldly wants down. I can't be focused on what's best for ME, and what I want anymore...their needs are greater than mine. I have been given this responsiblity by the Lord to raise these children the best way I know how, with His guidance. Of course, Eric is my partner in raising these boys, but being their mom is not a job I take lightly. I desire to teach them first and foremost the ways of the Lord, and the rest follows. Some days being a mommy is not easy, and I know that harder days are probably to come, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.

"You shall love the Lord your God with all you heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up." --Deut. 6:5-7

This is why I'm home with teach them!  I don't want the world views to overshadow their way of thinking. Yes, I believe they need to have a clear reality of the world, but the ways of the Lord should be on their hearts & minds so that they can distinguish the difference and make Godly choices.  This is my prayer for them!

I enjoy being their Mommy and all that goes along with it...playing cars, watching endless baseball games, kissing boo-boos, retrieving splinters, snotty-dirty kisses, and accepting that we will NEVER have a family dinner without someone passing gas or burping! :)
I pray that when they are grown they will look back on these days with fond memories. My desire is for them to "rise up and call me blessed" (Prov. 31:28) not for my own boasting, but just to know I've done my job and done it well.

Side Note:
I have to share that God is good! He provides in ways and through people that amaze me. He is ALWAYS right on time! We have been praying as a family for God's provisions financially, and He is showing my boys that He does answer prayers! I have to ask for His forgiveness for my doubt and unbelief. As soon as I really start to wonder where He is, He shows up and reminds me that it's all in His timing, and I'm impatient! :)  I'm thankful that He loves me anyway, despite all my imperfections.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Caleb turned 7!

We have begun the second month of the new year, and I'm just now posting about Caleb's birthday! With it being just 3 days before Christmas it does seem to go by really quickly, and fine details are usually left out. We did have a family party at home with a "Star Wars" theme...he got things he wanted and some great surprises, but most of all we enjoyed celebrating him as the great gift he is to us!

He is such a fun kid!  He makes us laugh with his funny sense of humor, and then frustrates us with his stubborness. :)  He likes things done a certain way, and doesn't get in a hurry about ANYTHING! He is definitely kin to my PawPaw and brother! Nothing stresses them out and they can take a lot, but make them mad or say something about their family, and you better watch out!  He has that kind of temper, too!  Loves and laughs a lot and with his whole heart! He reminds me to slow down and not get in a hurry about things...just take things as they come.

~Opening, he didn't get a massager! I like reusing boxes to disguise their gifts, so they can't guess what it is!

Of course, little brother has to help! :)

Ready to make a wish!

Happy 7th Birthday, Caleb!!