When Levi was a baby I’m pretty sure I posted just about every photo I took of him and documented every milestone. I posted a little less about Griffin, but still documented most things. Then Jake came and…well…I’m sorry, Jake. For some reason (three boys, maybe???) I don’t have much time for blogging and I often forget to even pull out my camera! I don’t want Jake to get a complex when he looks back at this blog and realizes I forgot him. So, let’s go back a few months and pretend like Baby Tiny just started crawling even though he is almost walking (I know!).
Crawling is fun and he loves cows. So obviously this was the perfect setup to catch a few pics of his newest skill.
Come on, Baby Tiny! Get the cows!
Yay!!! His brothers were behind me cheering too.
Not long after the crawling began, he started doing this too.
Crawling, standing, and even his first steps (more on that later!). He is growing up way too fast.
I don’t know about you, but I am so thankful summer is here! We are ready to spend some time outside soaking in the sunshine. Although it seems like so far all that we can soak in is a lot of rain. For now, cloudy days outside splashing in mud puddles followed by lots of baths will have to do. At least we are outside! As June rolls around everyone is talking about plans for summer projects, summer fun with the kids, and summer trips. All of those are true for us too…except the summer trip plans. There are no advanced plans for summer trips when you are a farmer. You just pray for that time when the weather and the amount of work that needs to be done all perfectly align and then you head out the door as quickly as you can before anything else changes. It is not about planning and all about flexibility. 😉
It seems like as each summer rolls around I find myself desperately needing another sort of plan. A plan for my time with God. If you are like me, Bible studies end, small groups break for the summer and my schedule at home changes too. I find that without the accountability and schedule in place it is easy for me to let my time with God slip. Before I know it, summer is over and I have spent plenty of time outside but barely any time connecting with my God. I need to be connected with God in the summer just as much as any other time of the year…probably sometimes even more because the summer days on the farm can be crazy and loooong. Just imagine me about ready to pull my hair out as three little boys run circles around me at the end of a 15-hour work day for Joel during harvest. So I need a plan. Just in case you are are finding yourself in the same place, I thought I would share my plan for this summer and a few other favorite Bible study tools that I love too.
I just finished studying the life of Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy) in BSF. A friend told me that Jen Wilkin had a free study on Joshua on her website. It is an 11-week study. You can download the workbook for the questions each week and then listen to Jen’s podcast over the week’s content. You can even download an app to listen to the podcast on your phone. So handy! I thought this would be a good study to follow my BSF study. I plan to start Monday and it should get me through most of the summer. Clink on the link to find the Joshua: Every Good Promise Fulfilled by Jen Wilkin. She has other free studies available on her site too!
And since we are already talking about Jen Wilkin, do you have a hard time even knowing where to start with Bible study? How do you study the Bible on your own, anyway? If you have asked similar questions you need to read Jen’s book Women of the Word. And even if you have studied your Bible for years this is still a great read and reminder for our purpose in studying God’s Word. This was so challenging to me…
When women grow increasingly lax in the pursuit of Bible literacy, everyone in their circle of influence is affected. Rather than acting as salt and light, we become bland contributions to the environments we inhabit and shape, indistinguishable from those who have never been changed by the gospel. Home, church, community, and country need the influence of women who know why they believe what they believe, grounded in the Word of God. They desperately need the influence of women who love deeply and actively the God proclaimed in the Bible. -Jen Wilkin
Maybe I’ll write more about this book in another post, but trust me…go read it now!
Another favorite of mine is A Place of Quiet Rest by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. I have written about this one before. Such a good resource that approaches all of those excuses and frustrations that we have when it come to our devotional life. She gives practical suggestions for overcoming those frustrations and finding intimacy with God as we spend time in His Word.
Ok, back to Bible studies. The past two summers I have co-led a Bible study using Nancy Guthrie’s books from her Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament series. They are so good. She also has teaching videos that go along with this series. I love these studies because Nancy helps you see Jesus throughout the pages of the Old Testament and grasp the bigger story of the Bible as a whole.
This week I finished up the Hymns study from She Reads Truth. I have done a few of these studies before but the new Hymn study even had music! Love that. Ellie Holcomb was one of the artists…she is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Like check out this song…
So good. Have you downloaded the She Reads Truth app yet? The app is free and there are so many good studies available right on your phone for so cheap! They are starting a new summer study Monday, June 1 called Women in the Word. I love that the goal of She Reads Truth is to have women in God’s Word everyday. Maybe this would be a good option for you?
Sometimes I listen to sermons when I am doing mindless things around the house or if I happen to have a quiet moment. Which is happening less and less these days. Ha! Lately I’ve been listening to Matt Chandler’s sermons on The Village app.
If you are needing another good sermon series to listen to, my church just finished a series on the book of Job. It was so challenging. I needed a fresh perspective on this book and it is always so amazing to see how God can speak to you in a new way even studying a book you have read many times before. You can listen to the Job series by clicking on the link. We were asked to record a short interview about how we find peace in the storms of life when the “why?” questions are never answered. I thought I would share it on here too since many of you have been following since Cora died. Hopefully it can be an encouragement to some of you who are in the middle of your own storms right now. So many times those questions never get answered. But God is who He says He is…and He is always faithful.
Since I was talking about friendship yesterday, I had to show you the new Friendship on Purpose line from DaySpring. There are so many beautiful things! The purpose of this line is to provide products to remind a friend that you are in this together. I love that! DaySpring let me pick out a few of my favorites to show you. So…here are my favorites…although it was hard to narrow it down!
Good friends are such a treasure. The older you get, the more of a treasure you realize a true friend is, right?! Life can be really hard and when you find a friend that sticks with you through some of your ugliest days, it is such a gift. I am so blessed to be surrounded by many friends like this. But I have one friend in particular who has walked through a lot of life with me and her friendship has been such a gift.
Julie and I met in high school. We found out we were both going to be attending K-State and decided to be roommates. That was the beginning of such a precious friendship. And let me tell you, we have done a lot of life together since then. College, boyfriends, leading our first Bible study together, graduations, standing next to each other in our weddings, teaching, babies, PICU visits, NICU visits, Cora’s funeral, adoption, surgeries, BSF, cheering each other on through speaking events, leading more Bible studies together, lots of phone calls and texts, late night coffee and grocery runs, birthday parties, play dates…and so much more fun in between.
The past few years she has been the friend that lives closest to me…which is a big deal when you live in the country. During the summers we spent lots of time going back and forth between our houses for play dates. Our schedules were similar and I could call her at the last minute to hang out or if I needed someone to watch my kids. I knew she wouldn’t care if she came over and my kids were still in their pajamas or my house was a mess. And we we often would end our girl’s nights by picking up a few groceries or supplies for a birthday party because you just have to do those things when you are already in town…country problems.
The fun thing about doing life together for so long is that our kids have become really good friends. Really good friends. It has been the sweetest thing to watch. Levi is actually convinced that Julie’s kids are his cousins. Don’t try to tell him otherwise.
We have two kids that are very similar in personality. In case you need a hint, they are the littlest two. Haha. When I told the boys that the Johnsons were moving they were so sad. Almost as sad as their mama. Levi said, “But mom, I will NEVER see them!”. I know the feeling, buddy.
I had to say goodbye to Julie a few weeks ago as she left with her sweet family for a new adventure in Colorado. I had been dreading that day for weeks. This girl really knows me…and still likes me, she loves my kids like her own, she makes me laugh, and most importantly she is always challenging me to keep my eyes on Jesus. She and her family are an example to so many as they follow hard after Jesus even if it means doing something that is uncomfortable. I love that about them.
So the past few weeks we’ve all been pretty sad. I think the hardest thing is letting go of the fact that we won’t be “doing life” together anymore. I know Julie and I will always be friends but knowing that your kids will no longer be growing up together is hard. Honestly I’ve wanted to just sit around and pout about the whole thing. And some days I have. But I was thinking about what a gift even these past five years of being moms together have been. I’ve loved having a friend who lives so close and is in the same stage of life as me. I’ve loved the play dates and coffee dates. I’ve loved doing Bible studies together and leading Bible studies together. I’ve loved that we’ve been able to be there for each other through some really hard things and cheer each other on through some really great things. We have both grown and changed a lot. Our time together has been a really good gift. And for that, I am so grateful. God has filled my life with good things and one of those good things is my friendship with Julie. Our friendship will continue but life is going to look a little different now…but I can be confident that HE will keep filling me up!
He fills my life with good things!
GO HERE to enter the DaySpring Friendship on Purpose giveaway. There is a discount code too!
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