Saturday, December 20, 2008

Future Plans

Jovey has now decided she is going to be a ballerina or a pony doctor (depends on the day) and has informed us that, "I'm going to go to work and then come home and live with you and daddy forever, momma! And Laney, she will live with us too and we will always share a room!"

When I inquire about possibly she having a fun family someday and leaving our home like mommy and daddy left Nana and randad's and Nunu and Bop's house, she says, "OOOHHHH, NOOOO!!!! Just wanna live here!" We plan to get this on video so that someday, when she is slamming the door and saying she can't wait until she moves out, we can remind her of the sweet days when she wanted to live with us forever and ever!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"Shut the Door!"

Jovey and Laney were sitting at the table last night as I was finishing up cooking dinner and getting it on the table. Laney, as usual, was babbling and screaming with glee at the thought of eating and Jovey was obviously annoyed (either at the volume or her lack of ability to get a word in edge wise, which is a rare occasion) as she sighed and rolled her eyes (I was mistaken that those two things came much later in this human developmental process!).

Jovey finally said, "Shut up, Laney" which is a phrase we don't allow around our house but has been uttered at least twice already this week. Joshua heard this, as did I, and he replied quickly saying, "Jovey, we NEVER say those words. They aren't nice and I don't want to hear them again. It doesn't make God happy and it doesn't make us happy! The only thing I ever want to hear with the word 'shut' is 'shut the door.'"

Jovey thought for a while and Laney continued her ranting of screams and babbles. Jovey then said quietly, "shut the door, Laney." Although Joshua and I almost broke out in loud laughter, we both kept straight faces saying that using the phrase, "shut the door" to Laney was the same thing as saying, "Shut up!" She smirked, told us all she was sorry and we began eating dinner.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Resume For a Good Daddy. . .

. . . may include the following, as Jovey would claim riding home after celebrating her birthday a bit early at school, since next week, school is out for the Thanksgiving holiday.

"Mommy, Daddy is a good daddy. . . he brought me princess cupcakes to school today!"

Jovey, I would have to agree. That sentiment along with hundreds of other notable thoughts, deeds and words do make your daddy extra "good"!

Thursday, November 06, 2008


Lately, I have had the opportunity to reflect on the word "friendship". I have been more than blessed to always have a few people that I consider my "true friends" and have looked at those relationships as true gifts from God. I have considered friends to be people I have at least one thing, if not several things, in common with as well as people who I can laugh with, cry with and be totally and insanely goofy with (and yes, I know that "with" is a preposition and not correct at the end of a sentence, but this is how I would tell you in person!). Friends have come to my rescue, especially these last few weeks. . . offering words of hope and encouragement through email, texts and facebook messages; greeting me at the finish line to hug and give me chocolate milk when my muscles were sore; watching my girlies so I could focus on much needed packing or much needed rest from illness; providing adult conversation during long days and weeks while my hubby drives through this school thing with two jobs on top of that.

Friends are necessities. God knew we needed friends. In the beginning, he looked at Adam and knew the animals weren't gonna cut it, so he made Eve. And ultimately, He sent His son Jesus, who didn't have to have friends, but made the choice to draw close to people because he desired relationship to make His stay on earth a bit more interesting and to model our need for the same thing. As precious as my friends continue to be in my life, when one fails, as we all do in our relationships, I always am reminded of Proverbs 18:24, "A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." That friend is Jesus and when I am tempted to place too much expectation on my earthly friends, I remind myself that friends are important, but Jesus is truth and will never fail or leave me.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

And again. . .

Jovey, Laney and I went to eat at McDonald's (the story of our life when it comes to meeting up with friends) after a MOPS meeting today. When Andrew, a little friend of hers, was expressing that he was always super scared of playing in the playplace because of the "weally big tids" that would bother him, my sweet and amazing Jovey just looked at him and said, "Oh, Andrew, you don't have to be scared. Just ask God to make you brave and He will! Just like when I'm scared of the dark and I ask God to make me brave, and I lay there and then I'm not scared anymore!"

And again, Jovey the Amazing goes way above and beyond the understanding that even I can express some days of the awesome power of God to give us confidence in even our smallest of fears!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Psych Profile

Today, the girls and I met up with our friend, Katie (otherwise known as Joshua's and my little sis), so that she could interview me, and then interview Jovey for a paper for one of her grad classes in counseling. Here are a few of the many humorous things I overheard Jovey say in her time with Katie:

Katie: Who is your favorite friend to play with?
Jovey: Mommy and Daddy
Katie: Oh yeah? But if Mommy and Daddy can't play, who do you like to play with?"
Jovey: I told you, Mommy and Daddy.
Katie: Oh, anyone else?
Jovey: Oh yeah, Nana and Grandad!

Katie: What is your favorite book?
Jovey: Olivia!
Katie: How come?
Jovey: Because I LOVE how it sounds! OH-LIV-I-AAAAAHHHH! (she giggled a lot afterward)

There were many more moments, but I only caught them here and there while chasing after a jabbering and super fast Laney Belle around the school! I hope she always considers mommy and daddy some of her best friends, even if we aren't cool for a time during the teen years!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

"What's That On It?"

Joshua, Jovey, Laney and myself made a visit to the mall tonight to grab a quick bite to eat after our 2 hour car ride back home from Bowling Green. Joshua needed a repair to a charm that his mom and dad had gotten him for his high school graduation that he has worn since the day they gave it to him, so as Laney and I finished up our dinner, Joshua took our fidgety Jovey Kay with him to see what the damage would be to send off for the repair at a local jeweler. Since it was within our budget, Joshua filled out the paperwork to get the sentimental piece fixed and as they waited for the jeweler to finalize all the paperwork, Jovey and Joshua had a conversation, as does any person who is around Jovey for more than. . . 20 seconds!

Jovey: "Daddy, look, there's a cross like yours, what's that on it?" (referring to a very large, gold crucifix charm in the glass case)
Joshua: "Oh, that's Jesus!"
Jovey: "Yes, He died on the cross!"
Joshua: "What happened after that?"
Jovey: "On the third day, He rose for our sins!"
Joshua: "That's exactly right, Jovey!"

There is nothing that makes our hearts happier than to see our 3 year old grasp the simple concepts that God loves her, He sent his son, Jesus, to die and then to raise again for all the bad stuff we do (as Jovey says), and that now, we can live in joy when we accept that awesome gift! Never underestimate the power of God, even in the heart and mind of a preschooler who teaches me more by her childlike faith than any theologian ever could!

A New Place

I have always been super blessed to witness the blessings and the curses of the high calling (that also serves as the main source of family income) of full time ministry, first in my father's role as a pastor and local missionary and now, in my husband's role as first, a youth pastor and now, a lead pastor at a small church in rural Kentucky. Nothing can bring more joy and at times, more frustration, then seeing the men you love work diligently to serve God and serve others, as obviously deamed the most important commandments by Jesus Christ in Mark 12:30-31.

I never fully grasped what giving your whole life over to do the work of God truly meant. I never got that my dad could have done anything else and made more money, provided more "stuff" for us to enjoy, provided a more open schedule that could even allow sleeping in on Sunday mornings, should Saturday evening been rough. He could have, but God called him to live a sacrificial life that included long, odd hours, busy weekends with conference leading and attending, long, hard Sundays and lots of hours studying God's word for personal growth as well as guidance in how to lead others to grow in Christ. God saw that I didn't totally grasp the joys and the importance of such a calling of people in His kingdom, so he sent me Joshua, whose life could again have been filled with prestige, money, stuff and time, but instead, God blesses us with more than we could imagine through the joy of being a family that is committed to leading a life that is hopefully a testimony of God's great grace!

We have recently been more humbled by God's recent calling to Joshua to accept the call to serve in this different area of ministry of lead pastor's family. God uses us, His people, to share His love with others. He could have done anythingand shown his greatness by any means he wanted, but he created people and then, he decided that he would send His only son, Jesus Christ, to be the sacrifice for all of our sins, and calling us to Him, he would change our hearts, our minds, and give us overwhelming desires to follow Him, no matter the cost. I will never stop being amazed at how very unworthy I am and how very awesome that God is to show us his power in real and true ways in the smallest and biggest of ways each day that we live.

I pray that our little family never loses sight of where God has called us and what He has called us to in this fishbowl that is the minister's home. I won't always raise my children how some of our "church folk" might agree and Joshua won't always bring the best messages or say all of the right words that spur people to grow closer to Christ, but with the grace and wisdom God provides, we pray that when people see the McFarlands, they see the sincere desires of our hearts, which first and foremost are to love God and then very second, to love others. . . our family, our friends and those who have yet to know Christ!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Happy B-day, Joshua!

What a gift it is that I get to spend my life with this man! He swept me off my feet back in 2000 and since then, I find more and more things to love about Joshua; like the way he giggles when something is really funny to him or the way his face wrinkles up around his eyes when he is smiling big or doing said giggling. Then there is the fun way that he likes to surprise me with fun times out that are just when I need them, especially for me as a stay at home mommy that needs to get out and about in the "big people" world sometimes! There is his gentle way of putting all the many things on his plate to the side to make time for me and for his beautiful girls, knowing that this life is too short to work too hard without enjoying the love of family! Of course, there is the caring and fun way he plays with Jovey and Laney, taking each moment he has with them as if they were his last. I love how people just flock to him for no apparent reason, besides the fact that God has blessed him with a wonderful personality that I'm sure few people would deny loving! There are so many reasons that Joshua is super special and it would take all day to record the many ways he is the perfect man that God has sent to me, the girls and the people who have the privilege of being lead to learn and grow in Christ because of his gifts as a minister!

Happy birthday, Joshua, and always rest in knowing that your biggest fans in life are always home to greet you and let you know that you are right where you need to be in this life, no matter how crazy, hectic it becomes some days!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Back to "School"

Jovey started back to her first day of Parent's Day Out at a local church here in Louisville. We refer to it as "school", as although her real "school" career doesn't officially begin until the fall of 2010, it's never too soon to getting her comfortable about the places she'll be spending a lot of hours and hopefully, experiencing a lot of joy in both learning and socializing with friends, some of which she may even have for life! Jovey is such a busy, smart, verbal and of course, fun, beautiful girl that is full of life and we can't wait to see how God will use her in His awesome Kingdom as he speaks to her heart in big and small ways.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Cake Face!

Laney taking it all in at her 1st b-day party!

It's been a while!

So it's been forever since I blogged. My hubby filled in last minute as camp pastor for a great program called Kentucky Changers where youth from all over the state pay to go to camp to fix up people's homes in a particular city and then have worship opportunities each night during the week to help them grow in knowledge of God and His call to ". . . serve one another in love" Galatians 5:13. The camp was held in my hometown of Maysville, KY, so we packed up our girlies and headed "home" to worship and serve alongside over 200 teens for a week. It was an awesome experience and yet another blessing as Joshua has had an opportunity to be a bit more flexible on the weekends since we are in transition to where God will lead us next in our ministry.

We eagerly await for where God is leading our little family next, and although it has been a struggle at times, we have never had such a period of spiritual growth and faith strengthening in all of our lives. We question why God moves the ways that he chooses to move, but in so doing, we aren't giving Him full credit for what happens along that moving path. We miss the things that He wants us to make sure we see and touch along the way. Joshua has gotten numerous opportunities to speak to both adults and teenagers, sharing the beautiful heart that God has given him in order to point them toward Christ; I have been encouraged by the church we have been attending on the weekends when Joshua doesn't have a speaking gig to read and truly commune with God more, knowing that the Bible is truly the answer to life's toughest questions, as it is all about the love God has for us, a very imperfect and undeserving people; my girls have been loved on by all sorts of people that we have been able to meet and share with, some old friends and some new ones, which is always fun and certainly a blessing to us all. God moves ALL of the time and just when you think that you are stuck, He pushes you along and shows you new and different ways of seeing His plan! I pray we never stop seeing those valleys as a chance to rest and gain strength, wisdom and energy for the next challenge and chance to serve and live in freedom that only He can give!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

My Baby is officially 1 year old!

Last year, at this point in the day, I was eagerly awaiting the gift that God had grown in my belly for the previous 9 months. We weren't quite expecting the arrival of our precious Laney Belle on that Tues. morning, but as the events of Monday quickly unfolded, which included: a scheduled trip to the hematologist where we received great news of super high platelets as a result from the previous week's IViG treatement, a trip over to my OB/GYN to check out my progression process (which was just 2 short weeks away from due date), the news that we would start the process of induction after being approved for a bed sometime after 8 p.m. that evening, a trip to the Waffle House for a greasy, but oh so craved omelet and the large amounts of calls to family and friends to arrange for care for Jovey and prayers for us all, we were nothing less than thrilled to finally see this precious girl's face! Whooo. . . sorry, that was a super long and not at all gramatically artistic sentence, but how else to describe the feelings that were felt that day!?

As I labored, so much easier than I did with Jovey, thanks to a bit of knowledge as well as a wonderful epidural, I remember Joshua and I being so super content with what God had decided to give in having our 2 girls with us and we felt a peace that all was right and would be most blessed, in both delivery and the days and years to follow.

My first words were, "She looks just like Jovey did. . . but smaller (a whole pound smaller in fact at 7 pounds, 7 ounces!). From the very first breath Laney Belle took on this earth at 3:06 p.m. that sunny Tuesday afternoon, she was full of sweetness. We brought her home and she snuggled with us all, even enduring the "over snuggling" attempts by a 2 1/2 year old Jovey many moments. Laney laughs constantly, smiles contagiously and fills this house with a beautiful, simple, laid back joy that can only be "Laney"! Her eyes are bright and dance when we come into the room and no one can make her laugh louder than her comedic big sister, Jovey Kay!

Laney, thank you for, like your sister, allowing us to play house with you for a while, as you aren't ours, but entrusted to us as a beautiful generosity from a perfect and awesome God! As if the house wasn't lively, loud and girly enough with dress up clothes and a dancing preschooler, you have come along and have given us extra laughs, happy tears, and more reason to thank God each day that He chose us to be called your parents while you are here on this earth! What a joy and a blessing it is for your daddy and I to call you daughter, and no matter what age God grants you to reach, even a bigger joy to always call you our baby!

Monday, June 02, 2008

A Consideration for Car Makers Across the World!

Jovey and I were playing outside this morning, which is a usual occurence since we can run around with little limitations since Laney naps every morning for at least an hour. While we were breaking for a cold and needed popsicle, we sat on the back of Joshua's truck (he was working from home). Jovey looked at an SUV that is parked close to where we park our own cars in the church parking lot next to our house.

Jovey said, "Look, momma! That truck has a daughter door!"

"A what?" I quickly inquired!

"A daughter door. One on that side and another on the other side for another daughter, like Daddy's truck! It's where daughters come out of the truck!"

So, for all you car makers out there calling it th 3rd and 4th door, may we give you the "daughter door" for your consideration. Those with sons, I am guessing you will have the option to have an exact replica, known as the "son door!"

Jovey Kay, you never cease to amaze me with your quick wit and funny ways of looking at life!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

A good reminder

To further help my moment of, "I should have been a better mommy/example/light" discussed in the post below, Jovey was reciting the verse that we learned earlier today as she was falling asleep that is a beautiful reminder that we can never be "good enough" to receive God's awesome grace, because God loves us, not because we are good or worthy, but simply because He does, inspite of ourselves!

"But God demonstrates his love for us in this: WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS, Christ died for us!" Romans 8:5

Blog Confessional

Jovey has really been "getting" this whole God/Jesus/Bible thing lately and it has been a joy to watch and hear. Just tonight, as we were getting out of the van from a fun trip to take daddy his keys so he could unlock to retrieve his other ones out of the igntion, I jokingly referred to Jovey as a "booger pants" for doing something silly, as Jovey is so often in the habit of doing. Yes, moms and others reading this blog, it was not smart to use words that refer to bodily functions of any sort around a 3 1/2 year old who knows that "potty" words referred to at her parent's day out program are not nice to say. But not to fear, because before I could even say that I was wrong to have said such words or called her a name at all, even in jest, Jovey responded, "Mommy, you shouldn't say those kinds of words. They aren't nice. You should tell God you are sorry and try not to do it again!"

I must say that this was the first time I had been so specific for my language, which I will admit has been a bit worse than the above mentioned verbage, but she was right. I had used words that weren't respectful of her and I needed to ask for God's great grace to shower on me once again, as it does so often in my human, sinful state. So, before getting out of the van completely, we bowed our heads together and I prayed a simple prayer, "God, I am sorry that I called Jovey a name and used bad words to make her sad. I will try to do better." Jovey affirmed me by saying, "That was GREAT, momma!" And you know what? She was right. How great. . . no, how awesome and amazing that we can admit our so many shortcomings to the God who created us, knowing that we would fall so many times, in need of Him to lift us up to be a light for Him and bring Him glory, even to our 3 year old children!

Thanks, God for loving me inspite of me and thanks, Jovey, for helping mommy keep on her toes to shine a brighter light for you and your sister and all those around me!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Kill Your TV/ Cultivate Beauty

At the church we have been attending, Sojourn, they have a tradition of devoting a month to cultivating beauty as well as "killing" the tv. . . or at least watching it less, all in a hope to spur a spiritual renewal and a deeper appreciation of the great love our Savior showers upon us each day; a love that is all to easily covered by the noise and "stuff" in our lives. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the mundane tasks of each day, especially as a stay-at-home parent, where routine becomes monotony, which quickly becomes disregard for anything that is awesome and fresh in our lives from our Creator, whether it is the flowers that are popping up as spring truly springs or just the simple words from our small children! I am all too often guilty, especially in those slow, cold, dreary winter months, of using tv as a crutch when I am "too tired" or "too lazy" to be creative.

So Why? Why don't I do better? Why am I not searching for new and fun ways to teach and play with my kids every day? Why is it so easy to turn on the tv for 20 minutes before bed instead of reading extra books or playing another game? Basically, on those days where the TV is on, even if it's background noise, it's a simple answer: I have become stagnant; lazy and not desiring to use what God has gifted me with in order to share and give back to my own children. I am guilty of being a lover of noise, discussed in a previous post, while refusing to be a listener during the quiet times and a person who appreciates the glory that God has to reveal through the extra words and actions of my children that come from simply turning off the distractions that can easily be eliminated.

Now, am I killing my tv for the month? Of course not. . . not literally, or else, my husband may in fact kill me since his parting gift from his ever so fulfilling year as a banker happened to be a 42" plasma television as a reward for doing so well in sales and to do physical harm to it would provoke a month of mourning for him. Am I saying that television is of the devil and will have no place in my daily routine now or ever? Nope! I enjoy many shows on TV and in fact, like to experience some of the intelligent writing of certain shows, such as LOST, or the silly, but quick wit of How I Met Your Mother. Jovey learns great little moral lessons from Clifford and her letter and word recognition has soared since KET introduced Super Why.

I am NOT anti-television, and I am not even a huge television watcher. I encourage Jovey often to leave the TV off and just play without it. We don't have the TV on all day long, but I must say that this month, I am going to certainly be more cognisant of how my time is spent during the day, as well as my girls' time. I want to be a more creative, active mom (again, easier done during these beautiful days where chalk drawing and swinging is the mainstay) whose downtime during naps is always focused on recognizing God's moving in my life, whether I am running, doing laundry, or sitting, soaking in his Word. I want the long days that Joshua is gone from 9 am to 11 pm to be filled with laughter and reading and puzzles and running and when my brain gets tired, as it always does around 4 p.m., I want that time to be spent with more of the same instead of the ease of turning on the television when I have 30 minutes to kill. I want the girls to be able to go in the playroom and play for 20-30 minutes while I fix dinner without the "noise" of the tv, which I encourage regularly, but will truly focus on now. It is funny, since I use the TV very rarely right now with the beauty that is just the simple presence of sunshine, but the little I do use it, I want to be focused on "hey, do I really need this on?" I just want more!

God, as I look for ways to truly cultivate the beauty of this earth and this life that you have so generously given for me to enjoy along with my family, may I look to you during tired and bored times when my heart gets heavy and my brain gets lackadaisical. May I find comfort, peace, strength and creativity from You, the Creator of everything, to and use in more effective and meaningful ways to sustain and push me to be a better child of Yours, all the while, striving to be a better wife, mommy, friend, daughter, sister and witness to your awesome power.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Another day, another blessing. . .

Yesterday, our dear friend Katie had to let her Grandfather in West Virginia go home to be with God. Joshua called to let me know that she may be spending the night with us before heading home to W.V. today to be with her family. When I shared with Jovey after her nap that Katie, who usually is our church buddy, may not go to church with us last night because her grandfather had died, her response was, "Oh, is God taking care of her grandfather?" My reply was, after a moment of pause at both the sweetness but great understanding of how God loves us, "Yes, Jovey. . . God was taking care of him on earth for a long time, but decided to take care of him now in Heaven!" I asked Jovey if we wanted to say a prayer for Katie since she was a little sad, so in her sincere and precious voice, she closed her eyes and simply said, "Dear God, please make Katie feel better! Amen!"

As Katie ate dinner with us later that evening before we all left for church together, Jovey couldn't get it out of her little mind. She said, "Katie, God is taking good care of your grandfather!" With a little tear and many giggles, Katie just simply replied. . .
"yes, Jovey. Thank you for reminding me!"

I know Jovey doesn't understand everything about God. . . the greatest theologians in the universe still yet to understand the many facets of our great God, but there is no greater knowledge than that of knowing that even at 3, God has created us to be aware of His awesome power, His great love and His constant care for our lives, both here on earth and after our bodies are no longer alive. What a great promise to know that we are cared for forever by simply trusting Him and choosing to give our lives to the one who gave us breath! I pray that as Jovey and Laney grow and learns, she will choose to take full hold of the great grace that God offers through the blood of Jesus Christ, His perfect son!

God, help me continue to look to you as I teach Jovey and Laney about the awesome and beautiful God you are! May they both have no other choice but to choose you and the gift you have offered through the sacrifice of your son so that we may live eternally, loving and praising you!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Oh, to be famous!

Jovey: "Mommy, daddy is soooo famous!"
Me: "ummm. . . I don't think daddy is famous, Jovey!"
Jovey: "yes, he is! You, Laney and me are all pretty and daddy is famous!"
Me: "Oh, you mean daddy is handsome? Yes, he is handsome!"
Jovey: "oh, yeah. . . that's what I mean!"

Monday, April 14, 2008

Number 13

"Mom, look, is this one thirteen? You know, 1 and 3 make thirteen!"

-Jovey's questioning about the lane we were standing in at the grocery store today. Just when you think that you are speaking gibberish and they aren't getting it, out pours out a simple little lesson on numbers you recently just figured was noise to everyone but yourself!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


My wise and wonderful husband, Joshua, has been leading a small group of couples for over a year now. . . couples from varying walks of life, varying religious experiences and varying interests at times in life, but we all hold one thing in common, the seeking of God's face and his leading in our lives. Last week, Joshua spoke of silence and the importance of not only studying the Bible, holding those words dear to our hearts and in our minds, praying, and other wonderful times with God that we can find but also, just being silent. Silence is so awkward in the world we live in. As I type, I just finished working out with a DVD and the next workout session after came on and I didn't bother turning it off, so I am being told to "march. . hands on hips", but to me, it is just noise as my workout is complete. Why didn't I just turn it off? Maybe silence reminds me of lonely moments I have had when I longed for my husband to be home from class or maybe, I am just too lazy to even care.

Joshua challenged us in the world like where I sit and type in the noise of a workout video in the background, to find 15 minutes a day where we can just be quiet this week (hopefully turning into something we long for each day!). We can reflect on our day or days that have passed or days to come; we can call to mind God's words which we have been memorizing to have as tools of comfort and peace in our times of challenge and struggle; we can just do our best to push everything aside to hear God's voice, whether it's in a whisper or a thunderstorm in our moment of silence; we can just rest in His care and find peace that yes, life is hard and unknown, but so full of wonder and hope as we look to our Creator, the maker of everything! As I have found these moments to just get away and be quiet the last two days, I have found so much peace and a rejuvination from the craziness that seems to be so overwhelming and so loud at times as I attempt to seek God's face.

It is hard to find quiet in the middle of all the cell phones, ipods, television, traffic, our own rambling and yes, even kiddos running around the house, but I pray that as I continue to find these moments, that I will cherish the time I have in the arms of my awesome God and that I will listen to His voice that I might otherwise miss when I am too afraid of the silence that He has given as such a gift!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The McFarlands

My best friend and the other half of these beautiful girls' smiles!

Sweetness beyond any words!

My little alarm clocks and beautiful reminders that life is more than the "stuff" this world affords!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I was recently introduced to the blog of a close friend of mine and was just so encouraged to see that she is seeking and growing in her relationship with Christ! Of course, I was aware of this through random conversations, but there is something about the gift of words that make things more vivid and real! It always makes me happy to see the people I care about truly growing and evolving as the people that God created them to be. Not just going through the motions of church, whether it be Catholic or Protestant faiths, and reciting prayers or "acting" like someone that we want people to believe we are, but truly living with Christ evident in all that we are!

All of the ups and downs of life are balanced by the grace and mercy of God and what a gift for a people who are so in need of both of those blessings! Recognizing God's grace, confessing that we are in great need of it because of our many sins, believing that Jesus Christ is the one and only way to eternal life with Him and constant joy in Him, accepting that grace, and turning from those evil ways is such a challenging concept for some to grasp, but what an expression of love and care for all people to accept and reap great benefits from! I am so very glad that I stay connected to those people whom I have known for years and can share in this "adult" life together, both rejoicing in the awesome times and supporting in the less than stellar moments as God continues to mold our souls each and every moment we are alive!

Thanks, God, for beautiful friendships that allow me to see you in real and perfect ways.

"What's up?"

Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Cute, Little Shirt off of a Precious, Princess Back

My best friend's little girl, Jovey's best friend, Lillie, is the sweetest, most precious little humanitarian I have ever met. Forget all those people who win huge prizes for world peace. The Nobel Peace Prize contenders or winners have nothing on the heart of this 3 year old, wide-eyed princess! I am so blessed to get to witness even a few of the many things this selfless child displays as what can only be explained as a gift from God.

As the girls and I were traveling to spend some much needed time with Nicole and her kiddos while our guys were away on business, Jovey decided to get car sick just 5 miles short of their house (she's only gotten car sick one other time, so of course, she was due). I pulled over to do a quick clean up, planning to strip her down and do some laundry at Nicole's house as soon as I could get settled from our long trip. I had called Nicole and warned her, so she was ready to help me strip her down. She had gotten some of Lillie's clothes for Jovey to use and was explaining to Lillie that Jovey was going to need a shirt since she had gotten hers dirty. Lillie, looking a bit concerned, immediately started taking her own shirt off. We explained that Nicole had a different shirt for Jovey to use of Lillie's, but she insisted that Jovey use the very one she had on, so Jovey dawned Lillie's shirt proudly the rest of the day while Lillie settled for a different one.

Isn't that what God calls us all to do? No, not take off our shirts and give to people, but to have an attitude, a constant desire to help others that are in need; to love on people, even when it means we may be cold and uncomfortable; to forget ourselves for even a moment and put other people first! I am so thankful for so many reasons for the friendships we are able to share with the Willis family and their kiddos, but it is in those simple, laughable moments that I know that God provides such friendships for more than just companionship; these are the friendships that makes us stop and think, spurring us on to grow and learn how to see ways to become better people.

37 -40"Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.' Matthew 25:37-40 (The Message)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Jovey the Artist

Jovey and I frequently use her magna doodle toy, a classic that I once loved to take with me in the car for long trips, to practice numbers and letters (I write them with the pencil and then she traces them with the circle magnet). Tonight, Jovey insisted that I draw a smiley face, to which I responded with a nice circle, 2 eyes and a smile! I was quickly informed that it needed a nose, so I obliged. She traced it, as with the numbers and letters and I then erased it and excused myself to go to the bathroom.

When I returned, I saw the above picture and a preschool girl smiling ear to ear saying, "A boy smiley always has to have hair, mommy!" She had drawn her first recognizable drawing, down to details I hadn't included in my simple rendering! She insisted I take pictures, so I did and I will definitely mark it as a first for the many that are to come as she continues to develop into a young lady, eager to learn!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

"Repunzel, Repunzel, Let Down Your Golden Hair!"

As Jovey and I were finishing up blowdrying her hair tonight (I know. . . I'm not an overachiever, promise. . . but if I don't blow it dry, it has just enough wave to resemble a wet dog when I try to let it air dry, especially when mixed with bed head!), I just made comment on how long her hair was getting. Jovey's response was, "I know, mommy! It's like Repunzel hair," giggling all the while. I just stopped as we were both looking in the mirror and said, "Yes, Jovey, it's kinda like Repunzel hair, I guess, isn't it?"

Again, the connections this girl makes at her young age astound me and truly make me marvel at the abilities to form ideas that God has gifted to humans. As a young child, Jovey takes something common and attaches something familiar and in her head, fun! To her, life is just. . . .fun!

God, thank you for helping me appreciate the little things in life and the fun that they can be through the words and actions of my children each and every day!

Just Dreadful!

"Oh, Mommy! That was just dreadful!"

-Jovey's take on an egg that broke on the screen while playing a phonics game online.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Life lessons

We spend our whole lives trying to grow up and all the time, we still long for the ease, simplicity and security of being infants! This is a comical picture, but what a great reminder of how God wants us to be small, finding complete comfort, peace and pleasure in His care.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Mind your Manners!

Jovey was watching "Word World", one of her fav shows that I really like too, since it focuses on letters and words throughout the 25 minute show. We had played well all morning, even including Laney in our tea party, so I let her watch this halfway educational show as a treat before lunch and then, nap. As she was watching the show, it got interrupted by the Emergency Broadcast System to alert us of impending storms in the surrounding area. Jovey was patient the first minute, but then,with frustration behind her eyes, started saying, to the man that was so loud and so rude as to interrupt her show, "Excuse me, sir! Excuse me, sir! I would like to watch my show, now!" He finally finished his announcement and the tv went back to regular programming. She just smiled and said, "Thank you, sir!" I guess being polite counts for something in her mind!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Who knew. . .

. . . the joy that is brought about by the opportunity that Joshua and I, as parents, have to raise children in God's love and ways! That sounds silly, coming from "Christian" people, right. Of course it is a joy. . . it sounds nice to say, but until we have recently started actively and meaningfully doing more with our 3 year old, it never meant more than that, pretty words from Christian parents.

We fall short, as I have mentioned before, in so many ways, which is where we have faith that God is filling in those cracks and crevises our careless work has produced, but to sit down and not only share stories of the great love and grace of God but to teach our 3 year old the actual words from His book is just a blessing. Nothing is better than to hear Jovey recite these verses and know that even though she doesn't grasp each concept perfectly as a preschooler, that hopefully, the discipline of scripture memory and study will be a tool that she will continue to use and soon, understand, as a gift that God has given to help us all become closer to Him in this world that is so often times so far away!

Jovey now has 2 verses in her little memory: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23 and "Your word is a light to my feet and light for my path." Psalm 119:105 Our goal is to continue to share and teach the importance of His word in our lives and that someday, when our girls are faced with the choices of this world, they will at least have God whispering in their ears those wonderful words of love, strength and wisdom.

Friday, February 22, 2008

"I heard that!"

We have been blessed during this time of transition in ministry to find a wonderful place to worship, to learn and to grow as God followers! Sojourn is what we envision as a healthy, growing group of believers that strive to grow God lovers as well as introduce those who may not know him to the beautiful grace and love that is God.

One of the things we like most is how Sojourn gears their programming to include the youngest people there with great detail to health, care, security and knowledge, even with the wonderful tool of scipture memory. In the Family Scripture Memory Handbook, there are passages for each month and there is one verse that is highlighted from the passage that is meant to be simple enough for even a preschooler. Knowing I wanted to begin this process with Jovey (I need to brush up on it myself as an adult!), it was just a perfect resource that was right there in front of me, available without me even having to ask. . .I'm thinking it probably wasn't an accident!

I began working on the February preschool verse with Jovey, which is "for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23. For those of you who don't know, it is the very first part of recognizing that we, as fallen people, are in great need of God's great grace. I went over and over, by rote, first reminding Jovey of what sin is (bad stuff we do) and what glory is (the best stuff ever, reserved especially for God). She would get it and forget a word here or there,which was normal, since she is only 3. I was just glad she was starting to grasp the ideas.

After dinner and a couple of days of practice, I tried to get Jovey to show that she had learned her first Bible verse to her daddy. She refused, being too busy doing her favorite thing right now, pretending. I told Joshua with a grin, "I think she can only memorize things when they are set to music. I was kinda the same way as a kid." Then, from underneath the kitchen table, or the cave as Jovey was pretending at the time, I hear, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23"! Of course, I made a great big deal out of her great memory work, as did Joshua.

I'm still not sure what was funnier; her desire to prove me wrong that yes, she did in fact know the verse, or the fact that she had heard me talking about it all! Either way, I pray that she will hide God's word in her heart so that she may be strong and able to HEAR His words of love and direction when the time comes to need guidance in this crazy life!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

"When I'm a mother. . . "

"When I'm a mother, I will eat salad!"

-Jovey's reasoning on why she wouldn't eat a bite of my salad at lunch. It is her reasoning for many things lately!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Again Amazed

There are so many moments, as I have told friends before, when I know that I miss opportunities to both model God's love to my children as well as teach them His perfect principles, given to us through his Word. But there are moments. . . very special moments when I see the very face of God through my children and this morning was one of those special and blessed times.

Joshua got diagnosed with Strep throat this afternoon and started feeling it last night after a family trip to the grocery. This morning, when Jovey woke up and asked about where Daddy was (he slept in the guest room downstairs, in case it was a virus he could help contain a bit from the rest of us), I told her that he was sick and sleeping so he could get better and play with her again soon.

She looked at me, still a bit sleepy-eyed from a good night's sleep and said, "Mommy, we should say a prayer for daddy so God will make him better." I paused, as each time this child speaks words that are so wise beyond her years and understanding, I am just in awe. I said, "Yes, baby girl, we should. Would you like to pray?" So she began:

"Dear God, Thank you. . . I mean (she's used to beginning praying for her meals) please make Daddy feel better. Amen."

At that moment, I believe Joshua slept a little sounder, Jovey felt a bit more important, I felt again amazed by God's creation of a people who desire to seek Him, and God smiled, knowing that Jovey is making baby steps to His throne of grace.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Shape matters!

Jovey: "Momma, do you like your carrots?" (referring to the shredded ones in my salad)

Momma: "Yes, I love carrots!"

Jovey: "Me too. . . but just the round carrots, not the salad carrots!" (referring to cooked carrots, not raw ones!)

The ways this girl expresses what goes on in her little brain always makes me smile!

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Jesus Ultimatum

My hubby and I just had a Bourne weekend, loving the action flick that A. satisfies his boyish love of car chases and fight scenes B.satisfies both of our loves of a good suspense and "thinking" story and of course, C. allows me to see Matt Damon take care of A and B. . . how could a movie get much better? ;-)

So, since we have Bourne on the brain, it came to mind that as Jovey was singing "Zacheus was a wee little man" today at breakfast, she made her own story up. . . The Jesus Ultimatum!

She loves to sing songs, and sometimes, gets words twisted around, seeing that she is only 3. When it comes to the end, the part that most people look to as the best part of life with Jesus: the fact that he desires to spend time with us, no matter how sinful we are, Jovey turned it to something different with just one word. Her words at the end are, "Zacheus, you come down OR I'm going to your house today, OR I'm going to your house today!" The real words are, "Zacheus, you come down, FOR I'm going to your house today, FOR I'm going to your house today!" She knows no difference, but it was the perfect opportunity to explain that "FOR I'm going to your house today meant "BECAUSE" and that it was a good thing. It wasn't a, "Straighten up, OR I'm gonna pull this car over" phrase like I heard a few times growing up. It was a loving suggestion that gave Zacheus hope and the knowledge that he was loved and cared for by the one who mattered the most!

It just goes to show how one word can change everything and even though Jovey doesn't get the difference yet, it's good to share with her how cool it would be if Jesus wanted to come and hang out at our house. . .even if it isn't always pretty or clean; a perfect picture of how he wants to come into our hearts and hang out, ugly and dirty as they are!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

We Stick Together!

Last night, Jovey was having a good time playing with her sister, our sweet, lazy Laney. Most people correct me and say content. . .either way, she is going to be 8 months old on February 5th and still has yet to make any notion of crawling or pulling up. She is on time with all of her milestones, but definitely is not pushing to get anywhere too fast. It is super funny to watch her sit up, flop down a number of times to reach a toy out of reach, then just give up, since it must not be that intriguing to merit her actually becoming mobile!

One of Laney's least favorite things in the world is tummy time. I strive to do it at least twice if not more a day, thinking that she will discover this wonderful gift of locomotion and actually go somewhere. Last night, Jovey wanted me to put Laney on her (Jovey laying on her back, Laney on top of her on her tummy). She said, with complete seriousness (my word!), "Momma, stick Laney on me. . . here, I'll put some glue on my belly and then, she won't fall!" I, starting to laugh hysterically said, "Real glue? I don't think that would be good." Jovey laughs back and says, "No, silly, like pretend glue. Like a glue stick. See?" She lifted up her shirt, pretended to rub a glue stick on her belly, and I played along and "stuck" Laney on her belly, watching to make sure that the "glue" didn't give way. Of course, I didn't get a picture of it this particular time, but I hope to in the future, seeing that Laney laying on Jovey's belly, sticking her fingers in Jovey's mouth, all the while Jovey laughing hysterically was quite a sight!

Jovey's take on it and my prayer: "Momma, see, Laney and I will always stick together!"

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Phone dating

A glimpse into a conversation with Jovey, dressed as Snow White today:

"Mommy, when Daddy comes home, will he be my Prince Charming?"

"I don't know, Jovey. Do you wanna call and ask him?"

"Yes, let's call my Prince Charming!"


"Hello, Daddy? I am Snow White. Will you be my Prince Charming when you get home from work?"

"Yes, sweetie, I will be your Prince Charming when I get home from work!"

"Oh, that's great, daddy! Love you, bye!"

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Picture of tired. . .

is a baby, who is in need of a nap, but not feeling like laying in her crib, so pushing to stay awake and collapsing with thumb in mouth, folded head to toe!

The Family Tree

Jovey has been understanding relationships lately. She has always had a good grip on family and friends, but is getting more detailed in her expression. . . for example, when we talk about seeing my parents, known to her as Nana and Grandad, she will tell people, "My mommy's daddy and mommy are gonna come to our house!" Or she will say, "Did you just talk to Daddy's grandma" when referring to conversations with Mumu. It's amazing how much she truly "gets" with each passing day. I still pray constantly about how to keep up with her some moments. :-)

Today was the best when from her room, refusing a nap and after a long time of my ignoring her talking, singing and finally requests to come downstairs, she pleads, "Mommy, can you hear your daughter? Talk to your daughter" Ha! If only she knew that I hear each and every word and that my ears are more than atuned to her constant chatter every day I learn about her! Just another reason I love this girl!