Monday, November 21, 2011


Yesterday we randomly stopped at an open field that sported hundreds of beautiful white birds.  The kids were so excited. Unfortunately, the birds saw them coming.  Caleb didn't even get close before the birds  lifted gracefully into the air.  The rest of our time was there was spent running through the mud and leaves!

See,  lots of leaves...

Picking up leaves and showing them to his adoring sissy.

It was certainly time well spent. 
This little trip reminded me that the best memories are often made without planning.

Evie shared Daddy's popcorn right out of the bowl while her brother finished his afternoon nap. 
We had to do something to keep her quite, right??  She LOVES popcorn.

As you can see, she is quite the little ham.

After a long day of play, the kids are "riding the horsey" on Daddy's leg before bed.

Yeah...she's showing you her new teeth.

Good night, all.

Caleb saying good night to Mommy.

 I've finally figured our how to post pictures to our blog, and as you can see, I am pretty excited about this new found ability.  It's a really wonderful way to remember our days (days seem to meld together for me, one running into the next).  I don't want to forget what my babies are like *right now*.  I figure blogging with pictures is kind of like lazy, digital scrap booking.  I hope you enjoy the pictures, I sure do. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Everyday something happens that makes me think, "Man, I really should blog about this!"  But life has been so busy lately, that I haven't had the gumption to do blog once the dust settles for the evening (i.e. the kids are asleep).  The kiddos are doing wonderfully.  We just had Caleb's third birthday party! We had another potbless-style birthday bash.  While Caleb was the only child his age present, he had a ton of fun with Uncle Jonathan and Wesley (ages 27 and 11 respectively).  Larry and I planned all these games, and I stressed about whether or not Caleb was going to have fun at his non-traditional know what those three boys did for over an hour??  They spun around in circles.  They spun until they fell down, laughing so hard they cried.  That's it, and they had a blast doing it.  Go figure.  The Father really just took care of Caleb, largely without my help.  Our little boy was thrilled with his birthday gifts and the chocolate cake.  It was a really fun evening.

So now,  all this year's birthday parties are over, we have moved on to holiday season which means Christmas light installation for Larry and Mike.  For two weeks or so, the guys work really hard and put in long hours.  They have been leaving before 7 am and aren't back until after dark.  Caleb asks to "go to work with Daddy" every morning before they leave.  He's so cute.  He tells me often that he is wearing his "work pants, like Daddy."  The kids already love the Christmas display at Costco, and I cannot wait to show off some of Daddy's work when we go looking at Christmas lights this year. 
Meanwhile, we are still pursuing our business, Abundant Living for Seniors (ALS), and frequently have folks over to look at our home.  It's really a trust issue for me right now.  It's difficult to have people in and out of my home (especially with the kids underfoot) with little notice, but I know God is at work in the situation.  I am also learning to trust my husband through his process.  As per God's word, I am committed to following Larry even when I do not completely understand or agree with his decisions.  We are waiting on God to either provide the right residents for our home or give us clear directions about our next step.  Know any seniors needing an assisted living arrangement??  Please keep us in your prayers regarding ALS.

Oh!  A quick word about Halloween!  It was a blast.  Nana, Papa and Uncle Jonathan came over and we all took the kids trick-or-treating around the neighborhood.  Evie dressed as a dino and Caleb was a frog!  The kids had a blast being the center of attention.  The costumes were fun and warm (which mom liked).  Everyone was tired by the time we had made it around to three blocks.  A good time was had by all. 

So for now, the kids and I have fallen into a beautifully predictable routine.  We play outside, eat - a lot, bake yummy things, go to the library or museum, have tea parties, read, generally have a great time.  God has so blessed our family!  Right now I am learning and teaching Caleb that God doesn't give us everything we want, but He will always provide everything we need.  He gave us new life in Christ, all spiritual blessings, authority over all things in heaven and on earth, provision, wholeness, and the list goes on.  Daily life with the kids provides such unique opportunities to explain spiritual principals.  I suppose that's how God set it up.  I am excited that Caleb and Evelynn will grow up knowing that the spiritual, invisible realm is more real for them that this physical world.  I cannot help but wonder what they will be like as a result.  I'm humbled to be a part of their everyday lives.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The simple life

She's wearing a pale purple and gray flannel shirt, blue socks, and a damp diaper.  Evelynn is tottering towards me.  She's lovely and, for the most part, entertaining herself right now.  This girl of mine is just a doll, and I am so enjoying being a mommy.  She mimics facial expressions and sounds (blowing kisses, snorting, rolling her tongue).  She wants my laptop so badly, she cannot take her eyes (or her hands) off of it.  I just dug out Caleb's play laptop for her, but she seems to know the difference!

I continue to be amazed at how quickly my children change.  My Evie Hope has nearly weaned herself; she is also walking, talking and eating independently.  She now sleeps 10 hours a night and naps at 10 and 2 during the day!  I thought that would never happen!  I am also amazed by how different my children are from one another.

Caleb will be three in November (please check out the invitation on my FB wall).  He's really thriving.  He has become more outgoing and talks to everyone, about everything!  He remembers everything we say or do, and he eats constantly.    This is a kid who knows what he is about. :) He will tell you his name means "strong man who holds onto a good report."   He knows his is not to cause his sister "distress," but takes care of her and his baby bear.  He says some of the most insightful things at times. 

For the most part, I am having a great time staying at home with these kiddos.  Our days are all very much the same, but we sure do have fun!  I am blessed with a little girl who is up early, so every morning she and I take a walk (to keep her from waking the rest of the household). After breakfast, the kids and I go to the park  (there are 36 parks in Visalia!).  Because Larry works from home a lot, I am able to spend time with him during the day as well.  We eat meals as a family, and he and I take coffee breaks together while watching the kids play. We have really simple daily routines, but it keeps everything moving along smoothly. 

Life in Christ is good, and we are very blessed with a simple, happy life. Caleb just woke up from his nap, so now I have two kiddos trying to get to my keyboard!  Finding Caleb's apple juice just passed up blogging on my priority list...I'd better go.  Enjoy your blessed day (we sure are!).  :P

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Latest

Evie's 1st birthday party was a blast.  We hung out with family and friends, ate authentic Italian food, drank wine, and watched a very happy little girl open presents with her Daddy.  Aside from birthday festivities, there's so much going on right now.  The kids are getting big, strong, and!  Caleb is speaking in full sentences about surprisingly mature subjects.  Evelynn is playing games, nearly walking, and responding well to sign language.  I'm (we're) finding that our children are very aware of everything we do (and say). 

Caleb is a little hawk, so sharp! Today we had a discussion about whether Mommy should go back to work.  I hadn't even told him that I was considering a teaching position when we asked me if I was going somewhere.  I told him that I wasn't going anywhere, but I pushed him for information on the subject.  I asked if Daddy could stay at home with him while Mommy went to work.  With fiery eyes and a strong voice, he responded, "No.  Daddy goes to work; Mommy stays with me."  That (decision) was easy.  Caleb is very intuitive.  He asked for a cheese sandwich yesterday.  I was thinking about requiring him to eat some leftover broccoli as well, and before I said the word, he piped up with, "No.  No broccoli Mama."  Funny kid.

Larry is leaving for a men's retreat for a few days, so it will be just me and the kiddos for a while. And if Christ doesn't come back, I am sure the kids and I will have many insightful conversations while he's gone!  I bet Evie Hope will be up and walking confidently by the time he gets back.  I know one thing for certain:  God will never leave or forsake us (or you!).  Enjoy your blessed weekend!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Evelynn is ONE today!

Happy birthday to our Evelynn Hope Newman!  She is busily "reading" her way through a basket of books right now.  This time last year, Evelynn was still fondly known as B.G. Newman (Baby Girl Newman).  It took us a long six days to choose her name.  Evelynn means "lively" or "full of life."  The name suits her perfectly.  Everything about this little one is lively!  She regularly giggles, snorts, blows kisses, grins, and crawls to flop her bum into your lap.  She is active from the moment she wakes until she can no longer keep her heavy eyes open.  She climbs up and onto EVERYTHING imaginable.  Her middle name is Hope because she took so long to arrive; I was sure the Lord would return before she made her debut!  Boy, was she worth the wait though.  I have never met a more amiable, sweet baby.  I cannot believe she is already a year old, and with such a personality!  God's hand continues to be on this child as she grows daily into a beautifully healthy, submissive, and Godly girl.  Happy birthday, Evie Hope!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Secrets and homemade chicken pot pie!

Hello again!  It has been a very long time since my last post.  Life just keeps moving along swimmingly.  The kids are keeping me very busy and are getting cuter by the moment.  This morning Evelynn was crying while I was elbow deep in pie crust dough, and Caleb came to the rescue!  He crawled up to her, laid down on his belly directly in front of her little face and asked, "Is you okay, Sissy?" (I love 2 year old grammar!) She lowered her volume and he tried again..."Can I tell you a secret, Sissy?"  She paused, as if to answer affirmatively.  He put his lips to her ear and whispered,  "I love you!"  She giggled, and my world was made right again!  Every day these beautiful babies are such a challenge and a joy!

Right now (among other things) we are gearing up for the Senior Living Tour this Saturday, 10-2 p.m.  Our assisted living facility, Abundant Living for Seniors will be showcased on the city wide tour of elderly homes.  Which means mama is a very busy lady right now!  Evie's 1st birthday party is also this weekend on Sunday, 4-6 p.m.  Join us to celebrate with an Italian themed pot-bless and homemade chocolate cake (thank you Pioneer Woman for the great recipe!). 

I want to get back to blogging more regularly because the kids are always doing something so amazing that I am daily convinced they are both baby geniuses!  I want to share and remember these precious moments.  But for now, off to lunch with my blessed family.  Another recipe from  homemade chicken pot pie.  I'll let you know how it turns out, or better yet, head over to our place for some lunch with the Newmans!  :)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

God's perspective (What is it?)

This is Larry here...

I was reproved, corrected and enlightened this morning. The word of God, the truth, the gospel is an awesome thing and God surely has enlightened me to things in his word, regarding his truth, about the gospel. There are some things that God has shown me that have revolutionized my life such as...
The way to know our Jehovah God is by understanding his mercifulness to our iniquities and that he never brings to his remembrance our sin. (Hebrews 8:11-12) This reality is the basis, the foundation to our NEW covenant with God. For me this was such a cool connection. It showed me the nature of our Father, as forgiving (and faithful to what he says).
Another truth that God has shown me that once again has recoursed my life in so many ways is the reality that we are justified as a GIFT by his GRACE. It is nothing of ourselves, nothing we did. Our justification (being right in God's sight) is purely and wholly in the reality that Christ’s redemptive payment of shed blood was enough for God to never ever ever hold anything against us. (Romans 3:24-25)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Which seed will you plant?

Ungodly beliefs: the LIE which produces DEATH
  1. I don’t belong. I will always be on the outside (left out).
  2. I will always feel lonely. My spouse will not always be there for me.
  3. I am the problem. When something is wrong, it is my fault.
  4. My value is in what I do. I am valuable because I do good to others, because I am “successful.”
  5. I can avoid conflict that would risk losing others’ approval by being passive.
  6. The perfect life is one in which no conflict is allowed, and so there is peace.
  7. I am unattractive. God has shortchanged me.
  8. I have wasted a lot of time and energy, some of the best years of my life.
  9. Authority figures will just use and abuse me.
  10. My value is based totally on others’ judgment /perception of me.
  11. I will not be known, understood, loved or appreciated for who I am by those close to me.
  12. If I fail to please you, I won’t receive your pleasure and acceptance of me. Therefore, I must strive even more (perfectionism). I must do whatever is necessary to try to please you.
  13. The correct way to respond if someone offends me is to punish them by withdrawing and/or cutting them off.
  14. God is judging me when I relax. I have to stay busy.

Godly beliefs: the TRUTH which produces LIFE and PEACE
  1. I do belong. I am an adopted child of God. I am in his household.
  2. I am not lonely, and I have God’s perfect spouse for me permanently in my life.
  3. I am not the problem. When something is wrong, I am not always at fault.
  4. My value is in who I am in Christ, not what I do.
  5. I will not avoid conflict by being passive. Instead I will confront the issues in a Godly manner. I will no longer fear rejection.
  6. When there are conflicts, I will use the wisdom and knowledge of God to bring about peace.
  7. I am attractive. God says I am beautifully and wonderfully made.
  8. If I fail to please others, I will still receive their pleasure and acceptance because I am in Christ.
  9. Godly authority figures will not use and abuse me.
  10. My value is based totally on God’s perception of me in Christ.
  11. I am known, understood, loved and appreciated for who I am by those close to me.
  12. I can be very open about what I say because nothing can be held against me.
  13. The correct way to respond when I am offended or hurt is to choose to be open and communicate my hurt to the other person. I can do so because God will protect me and love me unconditionally.
  14. Not I, but Christ. Done (instead of do).

    Thursday, July 7, 2011

    Camping with the Saints

    So we are back from Camping with the Saints!  From the first VERY cold night at Huntington Lake, I looked forward to my cup of Starbucks in Clovis on the way home.  It was certainly a long, productive trip.  The kids did great.  It was so good for them to play and learn in the environment of Truth and amongst saints.  Caleb played long and hard with the big kids, who were so patient and kind to him.  He seemed to grow wings and was rarely at our camp site as he was so busy exploring.  Gone is my little mama's boy.  *Sigh*  And our Evie Hope loves dirt!  She wasn't truly happy unless she was plopped down in the middle of the camp site in the dirt.  She ignored her toys completely opting instead for sticks, pine needles, dirt, dirt and more dirt.  She crawls like a pro now, and I really have to watch her (more than I ever had to watch Caleb) because she moves so quickly. 

    Mothering around the saints was really eye opening for me.  Not only did I see how the body of Christ works together to take care of itself, but I became aware of how much judgment and condemnation I had been placing myself under.  Satan is really crafty.  Sometimes judgment against myself is really subtle and others it is so obvious.  No, I am not at my ideal weight.  No, I do not capture every opportunity to spend quality time with my kids.  No, my children do not always sleep when they should or obey when they ought.  But SO WHAT?  More and more I am seeing that this is the very stuff of Christ's redemption.  I learned that when I reckon myself dead to sin and alive unto Christ, I am FREE from caring about how badly my old man flesh stinks.  Talk about revelation! So when my 9 month old cries until 11:30 pm because she is cutting teeth and then wakes the entire camp up before 5 am for the same reason, I refuse to let satan (I purposefully use the lower case) trick me into wasting time worrying over what others will think.  Because I am right before God, I can do my best as a mother and let the rest go (in theory).

    We very nearly went into shock when we drove into the valley heat on Monday.  It felt so oppressive after the cool mountain weather we felt unable to breathe. To avoid the heat, we have been in the pool and indoors while we acclimate to the weather.  Caleb started swim lessons this week.  He is doing well with Hannah B. and loves to be in the pool (most of the time).  He is also now comfortable in his big boy bed.  That's another story of God's provision; we were given a Thomas the Train toddler bed - - perfect for Caleb.  It's been amazing to watch God see and provide for our needs during this time of financial conservation.

    Speaking of God's provision through the body, I have been so blessed by unexpected gifts!  Daily I am humbled by a gift from someone in the body of Christ.  Gifts that are truly blessings because they are from the heart and require nothing of me.  It is difficult to accept such abundance without anything to give in return.  We haven't shopped for veggies in almost a month because the Brophy family has provided us with egg plant, squash, and cucumbers.  Kathy gave me a beautiful tea cup and saucer while camping, diaper cream, Caleb big boy underwear, spending cash, and more.  The Christoffersons provided much of our food while camping.  Sophia gave us two huge bags of beautiful name brand hand-me-downs for Caleb (were talking $140 jeans for a two-year old!).  It's really amazing how God has just taken care of us.  Like I said before, it's difficult to accept without having something to give in return, but I suppose that's a lot like grace, right?  Christ was God's gift to us.  All we have to do is receive His work on our behalf.  We cannot earn grace and it does no good to try and "repay" what was given in love.  Humbling.  I keep after God about how I can bless those who bless me. 

    Well, Caleb is spending time at his nana and papa’s house today.  Evelynn is napping.  Larry is reading on the porch, and I am blogging.  So, life is getting back to “normal” around here – whatever that means.

    Sunday, June 5, 2011

    Please excuse the mess

    Please excuse us as we are currently under construction!

    Love in Christ,
    The Newman Family

    48 Hours

    For the past 48 hours, my hubby and I have been on a date.  I looooong date.  :)  We attended FamilyLife's Weekend to Remember.  I talked Larry into going by suggesting that we interview for free registration, which is available to serving ministers.  We got in! The conference was entertaining, and even insightful; however, the real fun began after each session ended and we talked about what we heard.  I am blessed among women to have a husband who is so thoughtful and caring.  Even on a tight budget, he took me out for two very nice sit down dinners, two coffee dates and one margarita!  He carried my bible and bag, rubbed my shoulders and held doors open.  He loved and cared for me like Christ loves and cares for the church.  Typically couples get away from home to attend these conferences, but since we have a toddler and a nursing baby, we were on a short leash.  Larry wanted to make sure we got out of our typical routine as much as possible to really enjoy our time together.  He knew I have been overwhelmed with caring for our babies, home and new business. God worked in him to provide a great time of regeneration and fun.

    Our favorite session by far was the session called "Marriage After Dark," a biblical look at sex within the context of marriage.  I adore my husband because he is not concerned with how others view him.  He cowers to no sheepish smile from a fellow embarrassed conference attendee!  He made comments, time appropriate gasps and generally embarrassed his wife.  Overall, we had fun as the presenters talked about sex in a very candid way.  The main speaker repeatedly asked the audience, "Why should we be ashamed to discuss what God created for us to enjoy?" A good time was had by all.

    Evelynn and Caleb were cared for by family in town and in Porterville.  I'm sure they had a wonderful time, staying up late, eating goodies they don't get at home, and generally being smothered by well-meaning love.  Being without them has been difficult and marvelous at the same time. 

    I feel more able to face the upcoming week having been able to sit and think for a while this weekend.  It has been a refreshing time, and I am glad to have attended the conference.  It was interesting to consider the speakers, materials, and people around us from a spiritual stand point.  In the past, I accepted most of what I was told.  Now I run everything through the litmus test of the gospel: 1) Is this good news? 2)  Is this free to me? 3) Is this available/accomplished through Christ's work on the cross?  For example, at the woman-to-woman break out session, the speaker emphatically encouraged us to make our bedrooms a sanctuary for our husbands.  While this is good advice, it is not the gospel.  Rather than blindly accepting this opinion as truth and busting my buns to get it done (potentially wasting time that should be spent elsewhere), I will seek my Father's face and allow Him to work in me regarding my bedroom.

    Larry’s napping now.  We are going to pick up our babies in a few minutes.  I am excited to start the week with renewed energy for my job as a wife and mother.  :P

    Thursday, May 26, 2011

    Splinters and pizza

    Today Caleb turned to me in the car and said "Mama, I"m hungry!" with a big expectant grin on his face.  Later that evening I pulled another splinter out of his finger.  Peroxide, needle, tweezers, band-aid...the whole nine yards.  My beautiful little boy sobbed alligator tears into my neck while Larry pried his hand open and I extracted a large splinter.  After the surgery, we had pizza for dinner and Caleb-boo affirmed that "it's very tasty Mama."  My son took comfort in my presence and depended on me to fulfill his needs. We are sons of the living God who desires to feed and heal us.  I cannot image He does not delight in our trust as I delight in Caleb's.

    Monday, May 23, 2011

    True heroism

    I'm on my second cup of decaf since I put Caleb and Evie down for their naps.  This is what I love about being a stay-at-home mommy: I have the option to read and sip coffee or work really hard during nap times. Today I need to do something other than clean!  ;)  I love that I now have space and time to consult my Father and think through tough issues (and blog).  While I was teaching, every spare moment was eaten up with lesson plans, tedious grading, and writing curriculum (contrary to how it sounds, teaching wasn’t all bad).  I am so grateful that I trusted God enough to stop relying on my teaching paycheck to provide for my family.  I now rely on God working through my hubby to provide for us.  Whew. What a burden lifted!

    Quitting my job has helped me prove God is faithful to His word.  God promises that "whosoever believes on Him shall not be put to shame" (Rm. 10:11).  I looked up the word “ashamed” in Hebrew and it  means to “flee” – from fear.  I see those "NO FEAR" bumper stickers around town.  Do they really know what they are saying?? It seems as though they are trying to convince themselves.  I can say "NO TO FEAR" because I (daily) place all my belief in Christ and abide in Him. I have a boldness and will not be ashamed now or during the day of judgment.  Can you imagine?  We have the right to be bold because as He is, so are we in this world (1 John 2:28; 4:17). 

    I want to pattern the thoughts of my children in this way – fearing nothing from man or God because they know they are purchased property.  I want them to daily see the fruit of trusting and submitting to their heavenly Father.  I want Caleb and Evelynn to watch their parents step out on the word of God and not be disappointed.  Even as they are sleeping in their cribs, we are living out two of huge examples of God never putting us to shame: 1) God told me to marry Larry Newman (risky business, that marriage stuff!), and 2) God showed me that it was best to quit teaching.  Both of these supremely terrifying decisions have reaped a bounty of good fruit for our family. God is faithful to His word.  

    Throughout scripture God reminds us that He will never leave or forsake us, fail us, or disappoint us.  He promises that He loves us unconditionally and that He is working everything into His plan for good. God is the true hero we read about in romance novels. The one who surrounds us with His love and will never break our hearts. 

    Saturday, May 14, 2011

    The weight of a blessing

    The warm weight of a sleeping baby is one way God makes motherhood and wife-dom  worth the (strenuous) effort!  I just put Evelynn down for her nap.  She snuggled close, looked up and smiled in my general direction, and sighed a contented sigh.  I was so blessed that I just sat there staring at her without moving for several minutes.  Larry and I have been talking a lot about God's provision and our believing.  Our Father promises that He will provide all our needs.  The promise I am hanging my hat on right now is Eph. 2:19 which says that we are in the household of God.  The verse makes me giggle when I think about my kids. My children absolutely do not worry about rent.  They do not wonder if there will be enough food for dinner.  They know they will always have a safe, comfy place to sleep.  In short, they implicitly understand that their needs will be met by their parents.  As a matter of fact, when a child fears they will not be taken care of even our carnal society recognizes there is something wrong and has developed agencies like Child Protective Services.  Well, we are children in God's household.  He will provide all our needs.  My job is simply to trust my Father.  Following the same analogy, I am so blessed as a mother when Caleb responds to me with trust.  I am blessed when he seeks me for comfort.  I wonder if God is not so different.

    Today we spent the morning at Mike and Kathy's house.  We all had a blast.  Caleb ate and ate, like always.  Whenever we mention Kathy, he immediately says, "cookies?!?!" :)  Today he was served waffles with jam and yogurt and tea in his own special, porcelain tea cup.  He was very excited.  Evie looked stunning in her new navy blue and white sailor suit, compliments of Kathy and Felicity.  Dave and Hil showed up at some point in the morning, and we were all blessed to be together as a family - eating, praying, talking and generally enjoying the party.

    I keep thinking about the verse that admonishes us to "forget not all His blessings."  Although they are harder to "see", spiritual blessings have more weight than physical.  My family was so blessed to be with the saints this morning.  I was so happy to watch my children be loved on and cared for while learning and having fun. 

    Larry and I are working through some very tough issues born of our previous marriages, but God is producing much fruit in our lives as we become one flesh.  Our children are literally thriving (have you seen Evie's thighs lately??), healthy, and happy.  They are learning obedience and God's love.  Our home is safe and comfortable; our vehicles are running; our bodies are sound; our hearts are at peace.  These spiritual blessings are worth more than the sum total of our national debt! What a lie from satan that I would even consider that my Father has not provided for me just because I don't have the latest and greatest.  Thank God I have my little sleepy Evie to remind me that my life is NOT physical, but eternal, and in His capable hands.

    Thursday, May 5, 2011

    An attempt

    Today was a lovely, relaxing Sunday.  As the babies grow (and sleep longer through the night) and our marriage matures, family life just gets sweeter.  This morning we made oatmeal-banana pancakes, bacon, and eggs.  Yum. Caleb ate his weight in pancakes, staked high with plain yogurt and jam.  Evelynn slurped and spit up most of her teaspoon or so of mashed banana, a process which took 30 minutes.  :)  She made us all laugh.  Caleb decided he wanted to go to church with Daddy while Evie and I stayed home to nap.  I journaled in the sun shine while she slept.  Then we went for a wonderful walk while we listened to the teaching via the conference line.  It was a deliciously quite and uneventful walk.


    I started this blog nearly a week ago.  I only got as far as the first paragraph above.  My folks came over for dinner tonight.  We had pot roast.  They taught Caleb how to do a somersault - something I attempted to do this morning before realizing I could no longer preform a simple roll without fear of breaking my neck.  The kids did well for their nana and papa.

    Larry has been working out of the house for the last week or so.  It's difficult to have him gone for so many hours a day.  I am beginning to feel the full weight of being a full-time, stay-at-home-mom and wife (that's a lot of hyphens!).  Being home with the kids all day alone is challenging.  Evelynn is teething.   Need I say more?  She is like our own crying baby setting on the sound machine.  Caleb does really well with her.  He can make her laugh and giggle through tears.


    Apparently this has become a multi-day blog attempt.  Both kids are napping now (or are in their cribs at least).  I just put Evelynn down.  She looks just like a little pink jelly bean.  She's curled into a fetal position, wearing a pink jumper.  Caleb just hollered from his crib, "Jacqwin! Baby bear fell out!" (yes, he is very excited to have learned my name and uses it frequently because it makes his daddy laugh).  After retrieving his baby bear, Emily, perhaps he'll go to sleep.

    I think I'll put this blog out of its misery.  I have no exiting new insights to report or truly memorable moments to record.  I'm just plodding along as a new creation in Christ, trying to be the mother and wife God created me to be. 

    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    Off duty

    Caleb and Evelynn are asleep.  Larry drew me a bath; I'm headed there now.  It's been a long while since I have written.  Caleb is getting so grown up and has begun to get excited about being a big brother.  He loves to make Evelynn laugh.  She has this delightful, high pitched peal.  Caleb will get started with his two-year old, "ho, ho, ho" just to watch her face crinkle into a big smile.  They egg each other on.  This morning Caleb (who peed out of his diaper last night) got into the bath...where he stayed contentedly playing for 2+ hours.  I propped Evie up in her car seat; she was enthralled with the water and Caleb. It was a nice set up.  I got the laundry folded and put away and they had a blast. Caleb walked around all  day saying "wrinkly!" and pointing to his finger tips. 

    The kids and I have planted flowers in the front and back yard.  After the long storm last week, the flowers are really thriving.  Caleb has learned to enjoy worms and rolly-pollies (pill bugs). Today two little sparrows got themselves stuck in the garage.  Caleb and I had a really good conversation about how God takes care of everything - - even the birdies.  He's such a  little conversationalist and nods intelligently as if he understands exactly what I am saying.  We talked  and talked about satan and God's angels and spiritual warfare. Caleb is a hoot!  I seriously wonder what is going on in his head when we discuss such hefty matters!  I held Caleb up, and he opened the garage door to let the birds go free.

    Evelynn is finally sleeping through the night!  Gotta love the Ferber, cry-it-out method.  Hard to stick to, but within three days she got the hang of it.  She's just a peach and loves to flirt, especially with her daddy.  Larry will get real close and kiss her lips.  She tilts her head sideways and flutters her long, dark lashes.  It's beautiful to watch.

    Larry and I have been reading lots of fun stuff in Colossians and Ephesians; I love the Phillips Modern translation.  Marriage is sure challenging, but I would not chose a different path.  It's wonderful to work through the scriptures in light of our difficulties, together. 

    That's about all for now. I'm off duty; time to relax!  :)

    Tuesday, March 29, 2011

    I Will Stand

    Standards suck.  There's no way around it.  The standards I have layered up in my heart from years of being told the "right" way to be and do creep up on me at the most inopportune times. The really horrible part is that I catch myself putting my standards on my children without even thinking about it.  My house is less than perfect.  But I've decided to make training my children a priority.  My wardrobe is outdated by nearly a decade.  But I've decided to stay home with my children rather than make money to shop.  It's hard to choose the quite eternal aspects of life when the flashy temporal things are just so much better looking! 

    It's affirming to see the fruit of our "labors" in our kids.  Caleb has an amazing depth of understand about God's thoughts and ways.  We had our first splinter-pulling surgery this morning.  After carefully sanitizing his finger with hydrogen peroxide, I started digging into his hand with a needle.  Pretty traumatic when you are two.  When asked what we should do when in pain, he says "Pain go away in Christ.  All healed."  We are teaching him to believe God's thoughts and ways above the circumstances.  He knows that the band-aid did not make him feel better, but that God healed his finger through Christ.  Wow.  He watches us to see that our actions match our words.  Larry has been having back pain.  Caleb mimics Larry by putting both hands on his back and shouting to us and God that he is "all healed, Christ." Pretty cool.

    Evelynn is a sweet pea.  She is enamored with her brother.  She may be all fussy and upset, but as soon as Caleb walks into her line of vision, she gurgles and smiles.  Caleb is significantly less fond of Evie at this point.  He will only kiss her when we press him to.  Yesterday, he did bring her the binky.  Before he put it into her mouth, he popped it into his own (like Larry and I do to ensure there's no dirty, fuzz or anything harmful).  He learns so much by watching us. 

    I'm learning how to fight spiritually for these two darlings of mine.  God says that I don't fight against flesh and blood but against the powers and principalities of darkness.  I'm the guardian of my home.  I am just now learning that satan was totally defeated at the cross and that he has no "legal" power or authority on his own.  All he has is the authority and rights that I give him by subjecting my will, authority, and rights to his demonic control.  We operate from heavenly places because we are IN CHRIST, seated at the right hand of God.  I will stand at the door way of my home and claim the blood of Christ over my home, my family, and our hearts.

    Monday, March 14, 2011

    What a trip!

    Well God has come through for us again!  We have completed the state inspection for our RCFE (Residential Care Facility for the Elderly) - Abundant Living For Seniors.  I was unnerved to watch our case worker step out of her car with a huge brief case and a loaded clip board.  She walked ceremoniously towards our front door as I nervously pulled the car out of the drive way with the kids.  We went to the park so we wouldn't be in the way while she conducted her inspection of our home.  Yikes. We spent the previous 24 hours organizing, folding, wiping, adjusting and cleaning our home.  I was sure we weren't going to pass.  The check list for the inspection was three PAGES long!  Good grief.  But God is good, and our home is ship shape and ready for residents. 

    The other big news is our new Honda!  We recently sold my '03 Honda Pilot to get out from under the steep payment every month.   Right now Larry is picking up my new Honda minivan!  It's amazing that when I decide to trust God with my little life (giving up my Pilot was difficult as it was the first new vehicle I've ever owned), He blesses me in abundance.  The new van is completely loaded (6 CD changer, DVD, butt warmers, etc.!) and has less miles on it that my Pilot!  Wow.

    Before Larry left to go pick up the van, he took Caleb aside and in a serious voice told him to take care of his mommy.  A few minutes after the kids and I came back inside, Caleb touches my shoulder and says, "How you doing, Mommy?"  Then he motions for me to kiss him on one cheek, then the other.  Just when I thought he couldn't be any sweeter, he lifts both arms up and says "hug too please."  He certainly knows how to take care of his mommy!

    Larry being away has given me chance to really appreciate him and to trust my Father.  I feel much more vulnerable without my husband in the house.  I find myself having to push fear out of my mind and replace it with truth all the time. Fears about my kids, their health, and our safety creep in when I least expect them.   This has been the first time Larry has been away since before Evelynn was born.  God is working into me the reality that I have authority in Christ over all darkness.  Colossians 2: 15 says that Christ disarmed the rulers and authorities of darkness and made a public display of them having triumphed over them through the cross.  I've been practicing!  Sickness, fear, and doubt have no place in the Newman household (even when my husband is gone) because I am in Christ who has triumphed over satan. What a trip!  :)   

    I continue to be amazed at God's goodness and grace towards me.

    Thursday, March 3, 2011

    Holding hands in the dark

    While rocking my boy before bed this evening, he reached his chubby baby hand down to find mine.  He intertwined our fingers.  What a sweet gesture.  Even amongst all the difficulties of the day, real and imagined, I am blessed.   

    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    Cheese tortillas at noon

    At Caleb's request, we had cheese tortillas for lunch today.  He's such an interesting little boy.  I was humming a hymn that was stuck in my head from Sunday when I put him into his high chair.  Caleb looked up and said "redeemed!" which is the name of the song I was humming. My smart little parrot!  Half way through his tortilla he looked right at me and said "Christ healed you."  Which really struck my heart as I have been thinking about this reality a lot lately.  I believe this was his second full sentence (if you want to count his debut with "I'm buff" a couple weeks ago as his first).  I was nearly speechless for a minute.

    Our lunch together got me thinking about how different my life could be right now.  I recently resigned from teaching at COS.  If I were working, I would have missed so much!  I would be busy thinking about lesson plans, grading, and curriculum.  It was such a difficult decision to make, but I daily find so many blessings in being home with my children and husband.  Even so, I often find myself wondering if I shouldn't be "doing" more.  You know, contributing to the gross national product or something.  As if I ought to be busy and stressed and earning my keep.  My wonderful husband continues to tell me to relax and enjoy my life in Christ, babies, and home.  That's new.  Relax?  Tempting for sure.

    More often than not I find myself fighting the desire to do things out of obligation.  For example, Larry is outside picking weeds.  Because he is working, I feel obligated to work outside as well.  My motivation is a matter of feeling right in his sight (I don't want my husband thinking he married a lazy wife...) when in reality I am right in God's sight.  Why do I work so hard to please others when God says that as a result of Christ's work, I am righteous?

    My kids continue to be great reminders of spiritual realities.  They are children; they don't over analyze things.  Caleb accepts the provision we give him (cheese tortillas at noon).  Evelynn's heart is easily comforted by our words when she is upset.  Neither of them desire to earn their keep.  Their entire "job" rests in being loved.  And so they are.

    Monday, February 28, 2011

    Truck dirt and the fruit of the gospel

    Caleb and his daddy went to pick up a load of mulch in the "big white truck" this morning.  Caleb is very excited to "help" his daddy.  He is such a little sweet heart.  Today he is wearing five layers and resembles the Pillsbury Doughboy.  Hey, it's really cold outside! He is also wearing his daddy's NY beanie.  He has become aware that his gospel phrases ("holy and righteous, me!") provide a favorable response from his mommy and daddy and has taken to saying them quite often. He really likes affirmations (I wonder if words of affirmation will be his love language?). It's interesting that he mimics everything we say (good and bad) and while he doesn't yet understand these gospel realities, I am pleased that our home language revolves around Christ enough for him to mimic. 

    Evelynn had her first of many nana, mommy girl dates this weekend.  We went shopping (Build-a-Bear factory and Bath and Body Works in the mall) and out to lunch (Brewbakers).  I am happy to report that she was marvelous.  Very little fussiness and she gooed and smiled at nana all day.  I did  have a difficult time when she pooped out of her diaper at the mall and had no wipees in the bag.  Yikes.  All in all, it was a fabulous day out.

    These "babies" of ours are growing so quickly!  Larry and I were wondering this morning what they will be like when they are grown.  I am so blessed that we can help massage the gospel into their hearts now and watch God work in their lives.  Larry often talks of "experiementing" with our kids.  He wants to experiement by speaking as much gospel and Christ reality to them as possible (from birth) so they do not have to fight the selfish, carnal trails that we are prone to as adults.  We can see the gospel doing its work already.  Caleb has very little fear in his heart - he's not afraid of the dark or of pain.  He's still prone to being afraid that we will leave him (we have been praying about this).  Evelynn is a happy, beautifully healthy and thriving little baby.  I attribute this to God's protection. I certainly had nothing to do with it! :) I try to remind myself daily that our kids are sanctified by our belief that we are in Christ.  They are not just any kids; they are separated from this world and its systems for God's purposes.  Satan and darkness have no place in the household of God.  God is so good to allow us to watch  the fruit His gospel manifest itself in our darling children.  What a blessing!   I'll keep you posted about how the experiment is going!  :)

    Friday, February 25, 2011

    Pine cones

    Today, I cannot help thinking that much of life and most of motherhood is repetitive.  For example, every morning around 4:30am my little Evie Hope wakes up hungry.  She goes back down at 5:00ish, and Caleb is up at 6:00ish.  Caleb and I complete our morning oatmeal-breakfast routine and move on to changing him into his "big boy clothes."  Then we are off to change Evelynn... 

    The repetitive nature of parenting reminds me of a teaching of Kathy Brophy's.   She reminded us at women's fellowship that God is faithful and unchanging (Deut. 32:4).  Faithfulness means steady, true, or having a sense that something is staying the same. Sounds good to me.  Follow my logic here...If God is steady and unchanging in His nature and I am focused on living my life in service to Him, wouldn't my steady, repetitive, little life be a blessing?  Yep.  I think so.

    Not that my life is uninteresting at all.  Today all four of us went to the Imagine U Kids Museum.  Caleb played with trains, musical instruments, and several science experiements.  He was given pop corn which he continually referred to as "pine cones."  Then during prayers, before bed, Caleb reminded me that "Christ died up there, cross" to make him "holy and righteous."  No joke.  The kid is like a gospel sponge.  What a fantastic reminder of our God who is faithful, steady and unchanging.

    Thursday, February 24, 2011

    Secret's out!

    I've decided to blog, not a huge decision in 2011 as nearly all of my mom friends blog daily. However, for me, this is a semi-big decision.  I treasure my "free" time which is typically limited to less than two hours a day if, by some miracle, both of my babies are napping.  So the idea of spending my precious free time in front of the computer is daunting.  I've decided to blog, in earnest, in order to record the wonderfulness that is my life, children, and relationship with God (not in that order).  I want to remember the surpising things my children do and say.  And although I am a generally private person, I relish the idea that I can choose to  allow my friends and family to know who I am while connecting with the outside world.  I've decided also to assume that no one will read this blog in order to give myself the liberty to write authentically.  So, from here I hope to embark on a engaging relationship with the medium of blogging.  I hope you enjoy our family's blog!