Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Giving Up the Bottle (of Milk!)

Riley Grace is now 19 months and 1 day! I cannot believe she has gotten so big. It seems as though she changes exponentially every day. Yesterday, my mom posted a picture of Riley Grace from her six-month photo shoot last March. Oh my goodness! It made me cry like a little baby. She was so tiny and chunky and cute. Now, she’s my big girl who’s walking (well, running) and talking and learning so much! Her favorite words are dog, door (which she says “do”), dada, and thank you (which sounds like she’s saying the letter “Q”  so cute!). Time flies so quickly. Slow down!!!

When Riley Grace was attempting to wean from the bottle and begin eating table food, I was very nervous. I had (have) a really big fear of her choking and me not being able to help her. Because of this fear, I was really hesitant to keep trying table food. She did not have a big choking disaster, but I was still afraid of the possibility. When she had just turned one, I (finally) bought some whole milk and table food. I was going to wean her from the bottle and start trying table food. Then she got the flu, followed by a double ear infection, and then hand-foot-mouth. It was a crazy three weeks, so I ended up keeping her on the bottle instead of trying new foods when she was so sick. I kept pushing it back and pushing it back. Then, with the help of my mom and mother-in-law, Riley Grace (and I) became more comfortable with table food. My mom and mother-in-law each took turns keeping Riley Grace while she was sick and out of daycare, and while she was with them, they were braver than me and kept offering her table food! J And, she loved it!
So, when she was about 13 months, she started LOVING table food. I cannot stress that enough. She eats more than any child I’ve ever seen. I had been holding out on her literally. Enough of that formula stuff! Give me peas and carrots and cabbage and broccoli and chicken and salmon! She is the biggest “big girl” food eater ever. Her teachers at daycare have told me that she’s usually the first child to finish their lunch, and she eats off of her friends’ plates once her plate is empty Yikes! When I feed her supper every night, she eats as though it’s a race and she will never see food again. She’s storing up for winter! J Despite my fear of trying table food because of the choking risk, she is doing so well, and would never give a bottle a second glance.
After this point, I would still give her a morning bottle right when she woke up and evening bottle right before bed. She still needed two full cups of milk, and I cherished my time feeding her bottles. A few weeks ago, my mom asked me if Riley Grace was still on any bottles. I said “yes”, and then thought, “She’s too old to be on bottles!” Of course, she’s too old! She’s 19 months! She was more than ready to give up any connection with the bottle, butI was not. The more I thought about it, I realized that the reason that I kept her on her nighttime bottle for so long is because I love that time with her. Our routine is generally supper, bath, play, bottle, and bed. I would heat up her bottle, and hold her while she drank it, played with her hair (that’s what she does when she’s getting sleepy), and just savor that time. Last week, I stopped offering the nighttime bottle. Instead, I offer her milk during supper. The more I think about it, the more I am sad about this change. I miss my cuddle time with my girl right before bed!
Of course, when I realized that the issues with table food / bottles were with ME (not with Riley Grace), the Lord showed me several spiritual applications. 
1.  The Lord does not desire for us to live on spiritual milk forever. He desires growth and maturity. Just like Riley Grace cannot live on six-bottles-a day forever, we cannot live on elementary teachings and minimal time with the Lord and expect to mature in our walk with Him. We can only move into a deeper relationship with and knowledge of Him as we feast on the things of Him in more intimate and dedicated ways every day. I was comfortable with the six-bottles-a-day routine, BUT at this stage in her life, that’s not what’s best for her. She is growing physically, and needs more. Every day, we should be growing spiritually, and thus needing more depth in our relationship with our Heavenly Father.

2.Sometimes, the Lord calls us to give up something in order for Him to bring us to something better. Riley Grace needed to give up the bottle in order to transition to table food because, physically, she needed more sustenance than what the bottle provided. She needed this for her physical development. In the same way, the Lord may be calling us to give up something in order for us to grow spiritually in ways that are good and necessary, but may be hard. It was hard for me to let go of my nighttime routine with Riley Grace, but it was necessary for her development. She’s not a tiny baby anymore who needs Mom for everything or milk for every meal. She still needs me for lots of things, but she IS growing up, and I have to let her.

1.  Read Hebrews 5:11-14, 1 Peter 2:1-3, and 1 Corinthians 3. These verses are straightforward and a little harsh! They reprimand readers for not growing in Christ. Are you growing in Christ? Are there things that you need to do spiritually in order to mature in your walk with the Lord?

2.Read Colossians 1:9-10, Hebrews 6:1-4, and 1 Corinthians 14:20. These verses encourage readers to grow in maturity by being weaned off of spiritual milk and transitioning to spiritual solid food. As Colossians urges, how can you deepen your spiritual wisdom? What is "spiritual solid food" for you?

3. PRAY: Pray for yourself, that you will become spiritually mature and seek spiritual wisdom. Pray that the Lord will show you someone who is an infant in the faith. Pray that you will have the spiritual maturity to encourage them to grow in a deeper knowledge of Christ. 

Always, Jacquelyn

Friday, April 17, 2015

Resting vs. Sleeping… When Caffeine Just Doesn't Cut It

This is the face of someone who woke up from the best nap ever! When your hair does this during naptime, you know it was a good nap! When was the last time you slept this good?

I’m an 8-10 hour-a-night kinda girl when it comes to sleep. I’ve never been able to live on a few hours here and there. When I found out I was pregnant, my mom told me she was worried about how I’d adjust to a life of minimal sleep because she knew I cherished my 10 hours! Thankfully for us, Riley Grace adjusted to sleeping through the night at a relatively early age. J

I’ve been talking with some friends a lot about sleeping. Strange topic, but a few of my friends at work are struggling with being able to sleep during the night. One friend was recently diagnosed with sleep apnea, and her sleep test results came back showing that she stops breathing 80 times per hour! Dangerous stuff! Another friend has had some anxiety issues due to a specific event from the past and has trouble falling asleep. Lots of mornings they do not feel rested at all, as they have tossed and turned all night and struggled to fall asleep and stay asleep. We also discussed our friends who stay up all hours of the night studying and miss the critical 10pm-2am sleep time, thus robbing their body of their most critical hours of recharging. As we were talking about not getting restful sleep, I was thinking about my sisters and brothers-in-law who have newborns at home, and probably aren’t having the best sleep either! ;-) Sleep, sleep, sleep. I’m sure people who struggle with sleep or simply can’t have it because of life circumstances daydream about a good night’s sleep! Sleep is vital and good and we need it to rest from our day and recharge for the next day. Sometimes, we can run on caffeine if rest didn’t come the night before, but caffeine only goes so far!

As I was pondering sleep, I was reminded of the REST that God can and desires to give us. Whatever your situation, whether its physical, spiritual, mental, or emotional rest, He can provide for you and meet your needs.

If you’re in a season of life where physical sleep is hard to come by, the Lord can give you rest in your soul and body in the midst of sleepless nights.

If your health prevents you from sleeping well, the Lord can provide rest for your body as only He can.

If you find yourself in a season of grief, in which you cannot fall asleep because of a heavy heart, the Lord can and wants to be your peace, comfort, and rest.

If your children demand for you to meet their needs in the wee hours of the night, the Lord can give you rest as you hold those babies.

If you’re in a season of studying and preparing for what the Lord has for you after college which requires that you stay up when the world is asleep, you can rest in the Lord when sleep is rare.

If you can’t fall asleep because of the anxiety weighing on your heart and mind, the Lord is here right now and wanting to ease your anxiety.

And if the rest that you lack is spiritual because you have not trusted in the saving power of Jesus Christ, He offers you His salvation, which can give your heart and soul eternal rest. I pray that you experience rest for your soul right now.


1.      Pray. Remember that there is a purpose for everything. Even if you’re in a season where you body won’t or can’t sleep, you can have spiritual rest from the Lord. Pray that the Lord shows you His purpose in this season. Pray that He will give you rest for your weary soul and body. When/if you are up again in the middle of the night, pray.

2.    Think of others. Do you know someone who needs rest spiritually? Do you know someone whose soul has not found the One who can fulfill their every need and longing? Pray for that person. Pray that the Lord will give you a boldness and passion for their weary soul. Physical weariness is tiresome, but a soul without Christ is weary beyond measure until they find their fulfillment and rest in Him. Be a light for someone today. 

3.    Meditate on the following verses. May you find rest for your soul as you trust in the Lord regardless of if physical rest comes tonight or not.

Isaiah 40:30-31 “Even youths shall faith and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

I hope your hair looks like Riley Grace’s when you wake up (implying that you have the best sleep/rest ever), but if it doesn’t, then I pray that you have a sweet time with the Lord if your body won’t/can’t rest tonight. While physically we may turn to caffeine for energy, I pray that your soul will be prompted to turn to the Lord, as only He can fulfill your deepest need for rest. J

Always, Jacquelyn

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Spring Cleaning Assistant For Hire

Spring is hereas evidenced by my swollen eyes and nose and foggy headhere comes the annual, unwelcome sinus infection / allergy attack 

Have you caught the bug to begin your spring-cleaning? Based on the state of things in your home, do you need to catch the bug?? Do you wish that you could find a little assistance as you embark upon the daunting task of cleaning your entire house from top to bottom? Well, look no further because I have found the perfect helper for you. Let me list her many endearing qualities

Her name is Riley Grace. She’s 21 lbs. and 4 oz. of pure and unrestrained energy. She is an 18-month old Energizer Bunny. Seriously.

Her favorite place to begin is the kitchen. She absolutely loves Tupperware, although she gets a little angry if she can’t make the lids fit.

She finds innovative ways to get the job done. (Yes, she is standing inside the pots in order to reach the Tupperware. She’s also very creative in the fact that she is using the pots as a Lazy Susan of sorts to turn herself around as she throws the Tupperware out of the cabinet.)

Her final selling point is that she Never. Ever. Gets. Tired. EVER. She will keep going until the job is done, and then she’ll keep going after that, too. (See if you can find her in this picture...)

(Also, she doesn't just offer her services as a one time thing. This picture was taken last week...)

Downside: She only helps with the initial pre-cleaning phase of removing all of the items from their places in order to find the dust and grime. She won’t help you put it back, or if she attempts to help with that, it won’t necessarily be placed in its original spot. But all in all, for what she’s made up her mind to do, she does it with excellence! J

(Side Note: This morning, I washed ALL of the Tupperware because it had been strewn around the kitchen and living room all week I just decided to pick it up and wash it)

I hope you were able to laugh at her selling points.  She is our delightful ball of energy that leaves crazy messes and belly laughs in her wake, and we love her to pieces. The simple lesson from all of this lies in the following verses. As we begin a new week that the Lord has so graciously given us, take some quality time to pray through these verses.

Ask the Lord to give you and clean heart and a renewed spirit.

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”

Ask the Lord to search your heart for any uncleanliness. It’s not fun to have your sins revealed, but it is necessary. Ask Him to know you intimately and enable you to know Him intimately.

Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!

Plead for clean thoughts and a clear conscience as you battle with temptations throughout the day.

Hebrews 10:22 “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”

Pray for the strength and self-discipline to focus your heart and mind on things above, rather than on earthly things.

Colossians 3:1-2 “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

Pray to be transformed to the image of Christ, rather than the image of this world. Pray that your worship will be acceptable to Him. Pray that His Word will renew your mind so that you may know His will.

Romans 12:1-2 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Above all, PRAY. Talk to the Father. Plead with Him, for He tells us to Ask, Seek, and Knock.

And when pondering your spring-cleaning, follow Riley Grace’s method when it comes to cleaning. Allow everything (all sin and grime) to be in the LIGHT with the Father so that he can cleanse you, renew you, and set you on the path He has for you, even if a mess is created in the process. And, based on her last photo, don't let this cleansing process be a one time thing. Our hearts and minds continually need to be cleansed and renewed (just like my pitiful Tupperware cabinet)! J

Always, Jacquelyn