Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Best Mom Day of All

The world will tell you that the best days of your life will involve weddings and graduations and births and maybe even that day that your last offspring finally moves out of your house after returning twice. Those days are wonderful and important and life changing, but there is only one day that is the best day.

Today, both of my children shouted to the world that they choose to follow Jesus!!

Today was the best day.


When each of them was born, but even more so with Evan being my first, I remember looking at their tiny hands and feet. I sat in awe of the way that I could cradle their little heads in my hand so easily and I didn't really know how to protect them. I wasn't sure how to keep bad things from happening to them but to let them live life at the same time.

It's a terrible problem to have, but it's the same overwhelming feeling that any new parent feels. Especially mothers. For 40 weeks or so, you can carry them with you as they grow and develop. You know where they are, that they're fed, and that nobody is hurting them. 

But Jesus never promised us a life without troubles. What He did, though, is something amazing that surpasses all struggles, all fears, all hurts, all wrongs, all sins. ALL OF THEM.

Jesus Christ died on a blood stained cross to save us ALL. My babies, included. And they know. THEY KNOW! And today, they BELIEVE and have JOYFULLY told the world that they know that when they leave this earth - they will live forever in Heaven with Him.

That is protection, my friend. There is no greater.

That is what I was searching for eight years ago. That is how I know everything with be ok. These two sweet souls have just begun to explore the world. They have met some of the typical happinesses and challenges of childhood but they have no idea yet what God has in store for them. Undoubtedly, their hearts will break for many things, for many situations, and for many people in the years to come. Mine with break over and over along with theirs, I am sure. But we will all have the ultimate comfort in knowing we have the greatest love of all in Jesus Christ!

Understand that their will be no perfect in this house. Just as I still don't always get it right after 30+ years of being a Christian myself, they will not. Our lives will still be messy. But even on the worst of days, we ALL have something to hold us up. There will be more love and more forgiveness and more understanding. There will be lots of do-overs.

Because...Praise Him...Jesus gave us the best do-over in the history of time! And I am forever grateful to know that death will not be the end. When my protection of my children ends, HIS BEGINS!! And there is no more fear here...because we will all be together in His Kingdom forever! Amen!






18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”                                          
 ~Matthew 28:18-20

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Presently speaking.


The little people that run around my house on a daily basis bring me so much joy. I've really tried to stop and enjoy these little people all. summer. long.

I'm really trying to just live in the now. We know tomorrow isn't guaranteed. And, I want my kids to look back on their childhood and have a mixture of memories filled with laughter, discipline, structure, and FUN. 

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”
Psalm 127:3-5 ESV

I want my kids to feel like they are a blessing to me.

Every. Single. Day.

Sometimes thankfulness gets lost in all of the chaos, activities and everyday shenanigans.  

I'm claiming my joy today. 

Too many times lately I've had to regroup myself and dig back in the Word to find my joy...

Parenting small children is so exhausting. However, this is the most important structuring time in their little lives!! We are laying foundations in their little souls that they will NEVER forget. God has made a promise to us as parents...

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Proverbs 22:6 ESV

That doesn't mean, like little and big sheep, that they won't ever stray. But, it means the foundation you are laying is making an impression on them FOREVER. 

Make it a glorious, God serving, exciting, loving, foundation. 

My soul is in desperation for so many people who plant degrading and demoralizing foundations in their children day after day.

Words are powerful.

Every word we speak to our children trickles down to somewhere in their soul and stays. And it starts to make a footprint of who they will turn out to be...

Are you making your child's footprint one that is glorifying to God and building self esteem? 

Children need to feel loved. They need boundaries. They need structure. They THRIVE on consistency. 

We run a tight ship in our home. But we also run a ship driven by God. And His ways are always loving and just. 

Children are a gift.

Children are not a burden.

When you feel overwhelmed and ready to explode, dig in The Word.

Before you or I say that unkind thing to our kid...

PAUSE.

PRAY.

SPEAK.

When your toddler pees his pants for the 124 time in one day...

Pause.
Pray.
Speak.


When you are so tired you can't hardly sit upright and your kids want to climb all over your lap and fight while they are jockeying for position...

Pause.
Pray.
Speak.


Our kids LOVE us. Like, really really love us. And I was reading another blog post that said, 'we will never be this loved again by our children'. And in a certain way, I agree. They really really really think we are amazing. Because of this, we need to be living our lives in a way that is worth repeating. 

Would you want your kids to live their lives and raise their kids the way you have parented them?

I'm sure there are many instances where I can say no to this, myself! But I pray that in the grand scheme of it all, when my kids look back on their childhood they say, 'you know, my parents weren't perfect but they certainly laid a foundation worth following.'

These little, amazing kids are mine!! God sent them specifically to me for a purpose, and I pray every day that I help them discover Whose they really are...




Hanging on

There are only a few things in life that are certain. 

1. The Lord, My God, is real.

2. When I don't write I feel like I'm going to explode.

3. Donuts and ice cream are a direct tangible blessing from Jesus Himself. 

So, basically, I need to write more consistently and that is a new goal I've set for myself as of late. 

Also, I have another mini offspring starting kindergarten in September so this is actually just a warning post about the obnoxiously emotional post that will come with the beginning of school. (Sorry. But, not really sorry because it's just what I do.)

There are some big changes happening in the Keffer house! We are moving soon in to a new house, leaving our current neighborhood, where we have so many memories! It's sad and happy all at the same time. 

I can NOT wait to hang a tire swing, plant a garden, get some chickens, and start wearing amazing hippie dresses. The house is great, but my main excitement resides in our new creek and woods to play in.

“Now therefore may it please you to bless the house of your servant, so that it may continue forever before you. For you, O Lord God, have spoken, and with your blessing shall the house of your servant be blessed forever.””
2 Samuel 7:29 ESV

Leaving our current house will be weird. I love my current house so much! But, like we've told our kids all along, it doesn't matter WHERE you live. All that matters is, if all of your family you love are there too. A house is only a home with love and laughter...and God plopped right down in the middle.

Our new house will be a home. 

THAT is also something that's certain.






Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I'm No Angel

Today my Instagram feed was filled with images of women in their underwear.

Not my usual smiling babies and scripture with curly typeset and lovely background images; I was taken aback. With a few clicks, I discovered that Lane Bryant has launched a new counter-campaign to promote their Cacique line of undergarments. Which I wear. Daily. I have for years upon years because they are THE best bras I've ever worn. Truth. 'I'm No Angel' is a play on Victoria's Secret Angels line. One ad touts a feisty, plus sized model lifting up her shirt to show her bra and panties and proclaiming, 'This is the new sexy! I woke up like this!'

I follow Lane Bryant because I wear their clothes faithfully. I've been a plus sized girl pretty much since the day I was born. Give or take a few of my high school years. (The fad diets worked back then.) It is difficult to find plus sized clothing that is of good quality, stylish, and affordable. LB is, and will continue to be, my wardrobe staple.

The marketing angle has an applaudable secondary focus, which is to promote positive self body image in women. As any plus size girl can tell you, we live in a body-worshiping, air brushed, warped reality of a world. Actually, any girl, plus sized or not, can probably tell you that. If you think of five women that you know, I guarantee each of them can tell you multiple things they think are 'wrong' with their bodies. I'm willing to wager that one of those five has had some form of eating disorder at some point in her life.

The I'm No Angel campaign uses other slogans such as, 'How boring would it be if we were all the same?' and 'Beauty Is Beyond Size.' I couldn't agree more with both of those statements. God created us differently and we should absolutely celebrate that. And then, there is that whole issue of inner beauty. Do you have that? Because that is far more important than anything that is on the outside.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. ~Psalm 139:14

There's just one problem, though.

Even in their sincere efforts to help women to feel better about their not-so-perfect bodies (and to sell underwear), they are still making one huge mistake. The focus here is still on the hypersexualization of the female body. Lane Bryant is still flaunting busty pictures of scantily clad ladies. So, what I take from this, is that in order to be sexy - in other words, viewed as attractive by a man - I need to walk around with my midriff and my boobs hanging halfway out? Is this really what we want to see our daughters doing?

Yes, I get that they are advertising lingerie and therefore would need to use photographs OF the lingerie. I have nothing against pretty, feminine undergarments. Lingerie has its place. But its place is just not on a giant billboard in the middle of New York City. Nor is it in daytime commercials on my tv, nor in catalogues sent to my home that my seven-year-old son might lay his sweet little eyes upon.

Wrapped packages create far greater anticipation. Haven't we always known that? Why is it that that we keep uncovering more and more? The whole thing is backwards. If you've got it, flaunt it? No! Don't share your body with just anybody. Save it for the one that matters. Think about it. You know I'm right.

Modest really is the hottest. Now, don't go burka on me here. But please, just keep the girls covered and your booty contained. Your body is a gift. Don't unwrap it until the right time.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.   ~ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Be Still

Sweet Sister,

Please stop. Please take a minute to be still today. I know you weren't expecting this. Your schedule is off. The day is a mess...the week may even be a mess. But I promise you that this isn't the end of the world! It just isn't! Whatever was supposed to take place this week can be planned again. And whatever you missed may have been on purpose. The Mighty One knows our every need. Our every move. Our every everything. He knows!! Maybe you missed a car accident by being stuck at home. Or maybe you experienced a first today because you were THERE!! A first step or a first funny precious little smile...a first word read...or anything...just anything.

It's still snowing. I know. And they are crying for dinner. And you didn't get a shower today. I so, so know! But these days will be gone soon. Sooner that we'd like to believe. They will be driving and going to college and finding girlfriends. And worse...boyfriends.

We will be wishing for these days back.

And we will not get them.

Father God, bless these mothers. Bless them deeply. Bless them so that they know that the work they do is not just important and necessary but INVALUABLE. Father, let them be so full of YOU that their children can feel Your presence. Let them know that what matters today is that their children are alive. They are together. They are safe. And warm. And loved.

Father, please give them strength to mop that snowy, melted mess in the foyer one more time. Give them the energy to sled down the hill again. Give them the patience to referee one more argument and turn that xbox off when the time comes. Bless them with the creativity to come up with one more thing to do before chaos ensues.

And when the chaos happens, just allow them to bask in those noisy voices that are breathing fresh air with healthy lungs. Let them be thankful for Netflix and ipads and all things that blink and need internet. Help them to make one.more.cup.of.hot.chocolate.with.extra.marshmallows.

Because we will wish for these days back.

And we will not get them.

Amen.

Seize this day! Make it good! In reality, it may not be perfect. But there will be something you can love about it! Find that. Enjoy that. Bask in that.

Because you do not know what may happen tomorrow.

"Jesus said, ‘No procrastination. No backward looks. You can’t put God's kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day.’” (Luke 9:62 MSG)



Who needs make-up anyway??

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Make it stay.

Make it stay.

The clinging on to Joy. You know, Not taking a moment for granted. Realizing our days are numbered and savouring each and every precious moment together.

Make this feeling of thankfulness and most indescribable family synch, stay...

With the passing of Kdog's momma, we've been emotionally & physically exhausted. There were emotions that surfaced we were unaware exisited. But, that goes to show you can never really prepare for the passing of a parent.

We've been grieving for years. Slowly over time, as you lose your loved one the FIRST time, to Alzheimer's, you begin to grieve. 

Thank goodness we are on the other side of the hill and have found JOY in pain and earthly confusion. 

But, the most amazing part of this whole experience is that this scripture has come alive in our home:

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5 ESV)

I keep saying to myself over and over, make it stay. Make this sense of urgency and thanksgiving and love and savouring every. Single. Moment. Stay.

It's so annoying to be human sometimes.

We get caught up in the mundane. We drown ourselves in laziness. And hop right back on that 'take it all for granted' train.

I keep finding myself deeply pondering how to make these feelings of urgency stay.

There's only a few 'good' answers for this question...

Stay connected to God's word. In His presence we find urgency. 

John Piper writes about paradoxes of Christian life:
Let me illustrate some of the paradoxes of the Christian life by simply quoting the apostle Paul. He described his own life in 2 Corinthians 6:8–10 like this:
. . . as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
This is what I mean by the paradoxes of the Christian life. Paul says he is "sorrowful, yet always rejoicing." How can you be always rejoicing if you are sometimes sorrowful? There must be some kind of "sorrowful joy" and "joyful sorrow." Indeed, there is—that is one of the deep paradoxes of life for those who rest in a sovereign God and live in a sinful world.
No matter what: God is sovereign. 

John Piper goes on to dissect Ephessians 5:15-20 and has such great insight on giving thanks and being careful and vigilant...

{But let us be very careful here. It doesn't say you should dance around the coffin. It doesn't say you can't cry if you have cancer. It doesn't say there is no place for anger against injustice. But it does say, "Always be thankful for everything." And this is the word of God, not merely the word of man. If it puzzles us, if it even provokes us, we must not become cynical or rebellious.}

If you'd like to read more on this article by John Piper you can do so here:


We can't go forward focusing on what should have been or what could be...we need to be present. Always.

As I watch Kdog twirl our daughter around the kitchen and chase our toddler tornado through the dining room I focus on THESE MOMENTS. Enjoy each sweet moment and let laughter echo in your memory.

I am seriously overcome with gratitude for all the lessons I've learned over the past 12 years as we watched my mother in law's body and mind deteriorate.

 Am I sad this had to happen? Absolutely.

 But, am I thankful for the impact it has had on my relationship with The Lord? 
More thankful than I can ever express.

We can't ever go back, in this house, the way it was before 'Nanna' passed away. And I wouldn't want to...we have been blessed with the knowledge and feelings of a greater joy that can only come from God. He has allowed us to glimpse into the eternal elation that will be forever our own when we one day join our loved ones in Heaven. 

Do you know that greater joy?
Are you really living the life God has planned for you?
Can you find peace and happiness in the midst of earthly sorrow?

This Hope can be yours, and it is found in Jesus.

The Lord doesn't care if you have a good job, He doesn't care if you've got a zillion dollars, He doesn't care if people like you.

But He does care if you have a relationship with Him, bringing others to know His love and spreading the indescribable joy that is eternal.

May we not focus on our earthly pain but remember...

'O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me. O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit. Sing praises to the Lord, O you saints, and give thanks to his holy name. For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime, weeping may tarry for the night, but JOY comes with the morning. (Psalm 30: 2-5)

Dear Heavenly Father,
  May I NEVER lose the urgency to live each day as it is my last here on earth. Help me to focus on the NOW and be present in the every day life you have given me. Make me solid in faith and a studious servant to your scripture. My days are numbered but my joy is eternal because of Your power and relentless love for me. You are my hope and my foundation for each waking day. Thank you. Thank you, for You. Thank you for all you have done and all that you have yet to do...

Amen.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

How Going Organic (Didn't) Ruin Thanksgiving!

As always, we're keepin' it real around here this holiday season. So....this is a story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down...on Thanksgiving...(I think I stole that from somewhere. But I digress...as usual...)

                               


We have been trying to do this organic thing in the last eight months or so. It is HARD. We still eat out a lot and we are far from perfect. But after eight months, I feel like we have done this amazing thing. Truly, we are not totally converted. We eat out about five times per week. It's true. Don't faint. But that means we eat at home (or pack) about 16 meals per week. That's a big deal. And if we are making good choices for 16 out of 21 meals per week..well...that has to make a difference.

So, Thanksgiving is very different this year. It's not wholly organic. But here are the ways that we have made changes...without big variations on taste. Because, let's face it..we like food. A lot. So here you go...

5. The sweet potato casserole has no butter.
I bought officially organic butter as well as nearly organic butter from our local farm. But *somehow* the organic butter got put in the freezer on accident. (Ummm...I totally did that.) So I made the sweet potato casserole without butter. I bet it's just as good. I bet.

And did you know...marshmallows have artificial blue dye in them? Why? Marshmallows are white!! The real answer...to make them whiter. Hmmm. We bought no marshmallows.

4. We are eating absolutely NO MSG.
MSG just makes me angry. Besides the fact that it makes me swollen and grumpy, (True, this is a proven fact. As my husband will tell you.) it makes me angry because of its purpose. MSG's purpose is to enhance the flavor of the food it's in. Fine. But it enhances it in such a way that you become addicted to said food. That's just not fair. Especially not for the chubby girls. We have enough trouble staying healthy and you want to make us eat MORE of your junk? It's wrong. Wrong! Down with MSG!!

                                           


3. The broccoli casserole has bunny heads on it.
My Nanny's famous broccoli casserole must be topped with cheese crackers. The only organic cheese crackers I could find were Annie's Bunnies. And that's now....before General Mills has their way with the whole line of Annie's beautiful organic products. (That terrifies me.) So there are dismembered bunny body parts all over the top of my broccoli casserole. Think anyone will notice?

                                            

2. We are having no Kraft anything.
Kraft is one of the leading companies who continually lobby to keep GMO labeling from happening. In case you have been hiding under a rock for awhile, GMO's are genetically modified organisms. They are seeds that are genetically doused with Round Up in order to make buff, hard-to-kill-seeds. But, surprise! They are killing YOU!! Click here to read more: http://www.nongmoproject.org/learn-more/ You shoul know that McDonald's has joined Kraft in this save-the-GMOs war. We have been boycotting McDonald's and Kraft for about six months now.

                                                            non-gmo-logo.jpg (2405×1493)

1. I spent over two hours shopping for one meal.
My Evan wanted to go to the grocery store with me. He had no idea what he was in for. I read every label. I considered...I thought...I almost-ed...I maybe-ed...I spent two hours figuring out what would work for one meal. Some battles I  chose not to fight. But I can say for certainty that this year's feast is healthier than last year's. We are moving in the right direction. For that I am thankful.

                                                       

Over the years I have not been the best role model for healthy eating and exercising. I struggle with this daily. But there is far too much evidence that's showing how deadly our processed food supply is here in the United States. I have to make better choices to make a difference for myself, my husband, and especially for my kids. They are so worth it!

Daniel 1:8-16
8But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. 9Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel, 10but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned yourc food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.”
11Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah,12“Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.”14So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.
15At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. 16So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.

If this post hit home with you, might we suggest you head on over to http://foodbabe.com/ and look around? There is so much to learn and we are still learning!! 

"Good Eating"


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