being thankful, family, God's love, Identity, love, ministry family, pastor's wife, preacher's kids, sabbatical, sisters, vacation

Someone I Can Identify With 

Today is Sunday?! Wow, it doesn’t feel like a Sunday!

Cub 3 made this statement earlier this week, and the truth is, our Sundays haven’t really felt like our normal Sundays since Poppa Bear’s (PB) sabbatical began at the beginning of this month. We haven’t seen our church family in about three weeks, but it feels like three YEARS!!

The summer months do cause us to lose sight of what day of the week it is at times. Most of this sabbatical feels like any other summer except that PB gets to participate in all of our summer activities without having to work around his church schedule.

Like most families, we take more trips during the summer than any other time of year. When I know that we’ll be around a big crowd of people, I make sure to dress the girl cubs alike. It’s easier to pick them out in a crowd and if they were to get lost, I would be able to describe them easier (yes, that’s how the worrier’s brain works). I used to do the same with Cubs 1 and 2 until they no longer wanted to dress alike. So, Cubs 3 and 4 have many matching outfits just because of summer outings that help me to identify them as my girl cubs.

So, I’ve been thinking about this identity thing. Our identity is everything, right? We can be identified in SO many different ways – some good, some bad. I can be identified as a woman or an African American or a mama bear or a preacher’s wife or as being short or a friend, an aunt, or a sister. However THE most important one is a child of God. 

Being a part of God’s family comes with many perks because identifying with Jesus means that I am all that and a bag of salt n’ vinegar potato chips to him!! My cubs may have features and behaviors that identify them as our cubs, however our love for them doesn’t even come close to how much they are loved by our Creator as a part of his family.

He loves us…ALL of us so much!  Don’t pay any attention to the negative identities that the enemy wants us to focus on.  We are God’s children and that means…

…we are a part of God’s family; an heir.  Romans 8:16

…we are God’s masterpiece. Ephesians 2:10

…we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14

…we were set apart before we were born. Jeremiah 1:5. 

…we’ve been called out of darkness (those negative identities) into His marvelous light. 1Peter 2:9

…we are forgiven. Ephesians 1:7

I love being identified with Him!

Mama Bear

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allergies, family, field trips, God's love, grace

Beware of Falling Birds!

Am I overprotective? I don’t know…I think so…sometimes I am…like today.  Today is a true overprotective kind of day, and I’m okay with that! Cub 4 is playing hooky today because most of her class is on a field trip. They are on their way to an island to release their class pet turtle, Lilo, back into his environment. As much as she wanted to go, she was afraid of the boat ride that they were going to have to take to get to the island. Since neither myself nor Poppa Bear (PB) would be with her, I had no problem saying she didn’t have to go if she was hesitant about the boat ride. I was more concerned about her being exposed to some type of allergen that would involve using her Epipen or inhaler while on the island or while traveling to or from the island. Therefore, I’m proudly being overprotective today and planning to spoil Cub 4 a little with a movie, lunch, and some shopping!
While mapping out our plans for today, I had to pause and thank God for Cub 4’s amazing teacher (it is Teacher Appreciation Week, by the way). Mrs. Haney has been the best at keeping us informed with the details of class projects and assignments that could become triggers for Cub 4’s asthma or food allergies. Besides providing all of the details about potential hazards like today’s field trip, she has differentiated lessons just for our cub. They recently made bird feeders for Earth Day, but instead of using seeds, they used Cheerios so that Cub 4 wouldn’t have to be exposed to sunflower or sesame seeds. She was so excited about hanging her bird feeder out on a tree in our front yard.


Unfortunately, birds don’t seem to have much luck with surviving around our house, so we moved her bird feeder across the street to the edge of a little patch of woods that would be safer for the birds.
We have an issue with birds crashing into our house and knocking themselves out. Seriously, it’s not unusual for us to step out of our front door to find a dead bird on our steps or on the ground. It took us some time to figure out what was happening, but we think it’s because our huge window reflects the trees from across the street. 


We think the birds are deceived by the reflection of the trees in the glass. Some of the birds manage to avoid crashing by changing their flight pattern quickly. One actually ended up flying into our house while my MB was packing up her car once! However, at least 4-5 times per year, some just can’t recover and one of the boy cubs have to scoop up a dead bird and toss it into the woods across the street.  
Our deceiving window reminded me of just how easy it is to get caught in a bad situation, a bad relationship, a bad job, a bad environment, and before we know it, we’ve been knocked out, badly hurt, and left unable to recover from what we thought was safe and comfortable.  
Some of the choices we make could very well leave us as dead as the birds on our front steps, if we’re not careful.  We might fall down because of our own wrong choices, or we may get knocked down because of the effects of someone else’s wrong choice, but remember that with God’s help we can get back up and try again. God gives us unlimited second chances!

Happy Hump Day!

Momma Bear

anxiety in children, birthdays, celebrations, choices, God's love, God's plans, God's will, parenting

Okay…Wait…No…Yes

Last night, we forgot to let Kodi know that we planned to sleep in this morning.  Kodi is our 16 year old Shih Tzu who started barking bright and early this morning at 5:00am.  On any other day, someone is up and moving around the house that early, but I guess Kodi assumed that we had overslept.  I seemed to be the only one in the house who couldn’t sleep through her barking, so I was the lucky winner who had the privilege of taking her out this morning.  It has ended up being a pretty productive morning, so maybe I’ll give Kodi an extra treat before the day is done.

It’s a holiday weekend and Cub 2’s birthday weekend!  He will be turning 11 tomorrow!

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Cub 2 is the reason we came up with a birthday rule in the Party of Six, that you cannot start talking about your birthday until it’s a month away.  He used to talk about what he wanted as a gift, where he wanted to eat, and what he wanted to do for his birthday, and then change his mind ten times or more before it actually arrived.  On April 24th, he started sharing his birthday plans with us and now it’s finally here.  All week, Cub 2 has been making “This is my last time ______ as a ten year old” statements.  The other night, it was “This is my last time having dinner on a Wednesday as a ten year old.”  During  dinner conversation last night, PB asked Cub 2 what his plans were for his future if the NBA doesn’t work out, and he said that he plans to join the Army.  I was fine with that until he started talking about what he wanted to do in the Army.  He wants to be on a special team or on special assignments…like top secret mission-type stuff.  Yes, the type of stuff that will send this Momma Bear’s anxiety level through the ceiling!  Both of my boy cubs thought it was amusing that I didn’t think I could handle either of them being in the military, but it didn’t really change their desire.  I resolved that they could take credit for drawing me closer to Jesus!  Really!

As my cubs get older and make more decisions on their own, I find my responses to their actions, questions, and decisions can be narrowed down to about four responses from me (either in my head or spoken aloud) – Okay, Wait, No, or Yes – and in between each thought there is time spent with Jesus. Here are a few examples:

Cub 1 wants to hang out at the park with some boys from his school?  No.  We need to know the parents and the kids.

Cubs 2 and 3 want to walk to and from school? Okay, if I feel like walking.  Alone? No.

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Cub 4 wants a play date with a friend? Okay!  Wait, without me? No. Well, let’s wait until you can read words like “peanuts” and “eggs” and “seeds” so that I don’t worry about you eating the wrong thing.

Cub 1 wants to practice driving since he’s getting a learner’s permit soon?  No.  Okay, wait. While you’re in the country with Grandma? Yes.

Cub 4 wants to go to Kindergarten? NOOOOOO!!  Okay, okay…yes, but MB is not happy about it!

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Do you see why it’s necessary for me to spend so much time with Jesus?  It’s to remind myself that God loves my cubs better and more than I ever will be able to love them.  He’s entrusted them to PB and me, but they belong to Him.

 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.  Romans 8:28

Our responsibility is to teach them to love God.  That is a definite YES!

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Living for Him!