If you have visited here before, you can probably see that I have changed the name of the blog again. I started blogging at 4URuthie to tell the story of our journey to adopt our 1st daughter. I changed it to Mountains for Maggie when we were praying for God to move mountains on behalf of our 2nd daughter. Well now it is no longer just Ruthie’s or Maggie’s stories. It is now our family's story, and the stories of those we share life with, as we Conquer Mountains together. Both ConqueringMountains.net and 4URuthie.blogspot will lead here.

About Me

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I am a pastor's wife, mother of 4 kids (2 adopted and 3 with special needs), physical therapist, and photography junky. This is where it all comes together for me. Feel free to join along as I process life out loud.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Black and White Wednesday

Every summer (12 years running), Trent spends one week teaching high school seniors at a youth camp in Arkansas.  For the last 2 years, he has taken Jack along with him and Jack loves it.

This year, the adventure started before they even got there when Jack was allowed to spend some time in the cockpit before take off.

Jack is my responsible, servant hearted child and loves the responsibilities they give him at camp.  He works in the snack shack with our good friend Casey (see below) and even ran the video projection system for worship (see above).

Every year they ask if the rest of the family wants to come along, but I think at this point that could never happen.  Jack might just kill me if I interrupted his special time with his dad and Casey.

(oops added my logo on these out of habit to keep them from being snatched.  These pics were actually taken by my hubby and Casey.  Obviously since I wasn't even there. )

the long road

Monday, June 27, 2011

For the Grandparents

I completely understand if you guys get tired of seeing pictures of my children, but the grandparents always let me know how much they enjoy them so here is a post of just a few more pics from family camp.  No sayings or deep thoughts.  Just pics for the grandparents.

I see London.  I see France...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Intentional Living Resources

I have very little parenting experiences.  Only 8 years and 9 months of it to be exact.  However, I have been fortunate enough to have come in contact with some women with more experience and really great ideas about how to intentionally parent your child.  I am going to share some of the resources and ideas that I have benefited from here.  I fully recognize that there are A LOT more out there and I would love for you to comment and tell me what has helped you.

On Intentional family building and character building
1. Praying Values- I have mentioned this more than once I am sure but one thing we love is choosing a value for each member of our family that we feel like is appropriate for that person and then praying it over them and looking for opportunities to build that in them for an entire year.  We have done this for 3 years now and it has been so cool to see what God has done.

2. Just ADD Family- I just bought this box of ideas from Family Life Ministries.  It is full of "recipe cards" which are activity ideas for family and character building.  We will start it next week but I am going ahead and recommending it here because it came recommended to me.  You can get it HERE

3. Lynelle Zandstra speaking CDs- Every year at camp Lynelle Zandstra gives a talk on parenting.  Several years this talk has been the highlight of my week.  She has great insight on things like disciplining instead of punishing.  Her talks are relevant for families with small kids all the way to college students.  You can get her CDs HERE and they are awesome. 

4. Choose Words Choose Life- This book consists of 51 dates with object lessons for parents and kids.  It was written by the same person who has the speaking CDs in #3.  Just all around good stuff.  You can get that HERE.

5. God's Wisdom for Little Boys (and a girl version too) was given to me by a great friend right after Jack was born.  Each page has a character trait, a picture, and a corresponding verse.   This was a great resource for me to help Jack learn what these words meant while at the same time seeing what God says about them.  Jack still talks about this book and I will pick it up with Sam soon.  It is a good start for a word study at a young age. 

Okay so I know this just barely touches the surface of what is out there and I am by no means an expert, but these things have and will help me so I wanted to also share them with you.  Like I said, if you have something you would like to recommend too, please add to the comment section because I want to know all about it. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

More Intentional Living (and more pictures from family camp)

The day before we moved from Waco to Houston we bought our kids a baby black rabbit and named her Baylor.   For 3 years Baylor was completely content in her wood cage in the back yard.

And then one day Baylor decided she was ready to explore life outside the cage and she chewed her way through the wood.  I found her in the yard after she was played with by our dog.  She survived and returned to her cage that was now pushed against the fence to block the hole.

It wasn't long though until Baylor chewed her way out the bottom.  Trent responded by getting some lumber and closing in the bottom of our playground to give Baylor a larger home where her feet were on the ground.  But that didn't last either.

Baylor was determined to be free and she eventually escaped and made her way out of our yard.

We saw her a few times in the front yard over the next few days and then the sightings stopped.  You see we have coyotes in the woods near our house and at night they come into the neighborhood in search for food. I am afraid Baylor's experience in that cage did not prepare her one of those evenings.

I remembered that story the other day as I was pondering the importance of intentional living in raising my kids.

My kids are a lot like Baylor in that the comforts of this home will someday not be enough for their curious little minds and they will do everything in their power to leave the nest and see the outside world.

My job is to do for them what we did not do for Baylor.  I must prepare them now for the "coyotes" that wait for them.  I want them to be ready so they can respond victoriously.

As parents it is so easy to get caught up in the day to day activities and then look up and find that our children's biggest influence was the world around them and not the lessons we took the time (or didn't) to teach them.

As much as ever I feel a real burden to be more intentional in my instruction of my kids.  I am not talking about putting them in more programs where other people teach them truth.  I am talking about intentionally looking into their little hearts, seeing where they need instruction, and then slowing down enough myself to do a better job investing in them that way.  Think about this.  Kids these days spend several hours a week preparing to be the next great baseball player, gymnast, rocket scientist, and so forth.  What if we intentionally spent that same amount of time personally investing in our children's character?  Who might they turn out to be and what might God do with their lives? If you are challenged with me, stay tuned because I am going to share some things I have learned from others on the how over the next few posts.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Black and White Wednesday- Radical

I started a book this week after several friends, who I have a ton of respect for, recommended it to me. It is called Radical and was written by David Platt who is a pastor in Birmingham, Alabama.  I am less than 1/2 way through but am challenged by much of what he has said so far.   Here are a few quotes from the first 4 chapters that caused me to pause and think.

"Because we are starting to redefine Christianity.  We are giving in to the dangerous temptation to take the Jesus of the Bible and twist him into a version of Jesus we are more comfortable with."

"We are molding Jesus into our image.  He is beginning to look a lot like us because, after all, that is whom we are most comfortable with.  And the danger now is that when we gather in our church buildings to sing and lift up our hands in in worship, we may not actually be worshiping the Jesus of the Bible.  Instead we may be worshiping ourselves."

"What if we take away the cool music and the cushioned chairs? What if the screens are gone and the stage is no longer decorated? What if the air conditioning is off and the comforts are removed? Would his Word still be enough for his people to come together?"

"I invite you to consider with me a proper response to this gospel.  Surely more than praying a prayer is involved. Surely more than religious attendance is warranted. Surely this gospel evokes unconditional surrender of all that we are and all that we have to all that he is."

"But here the gospel and the American dream are clearly and ultimately antithetical to each other.  While the goal of the American dream is to make much of us, the goal of the gospel is to make much of God. "

"In the process we have unnecessarily (and unbiblically) drawn a line of distinction, assigning the obligations of Christianity to a few while keeping the privileges of Christianity for us all."

 I am looking forward to the message of the next 100 pages.  I think.

the long road

Monday, June 20, 2011

Intentional Living

Let me say first that the pictures in this post have nothing to do with the content.  They are just a sampling of some more pictures from our time at camp.  For you photographers out there, they were taken with my Canon 70-200 2.8 with image stabilization.  The were all taken at somewhere between 2.8 and 3.5 and at 1/2000 to 1/6400.   I love this lens for action shots.

Okay so now onto my spill.  I am a slave to my calendar and my to do list.  I have to be organized with all that we juggle around here or things don't get done.  The problem is that my motivation has moved from doing something for the right reasons (with good intention) to do something so I can check it off.

Confession moment- I even rush through tucking in at bedtime lately and speed through the motions of sing and pray because I know once everyone is in bed, I can get my editing work done.  I know that is awful and I see it.  It is changing.

You see we are all intentional about something.  We are intentional about climbing the ladder of success, getting everything checked off our list, having a clean home, getting our own needs met, parenting well, knowing God, and the list goes on.

It is what we are intentional about that will dictate how we live our lives and order our days.  What I am experiencing is that even good intentions can sometime become routine and lose their original purpose and value OR they can so take over your schedule that they crowd out the better.   Does that make sense?  There is nothing wrong with getting your work done until it interferes with best quality time moment with your kids each day.

Over the next few posts I am going to be processing out loud my thoughts on intentional living because as my husband says, it always helps to process what God is teaching us if we write it down.

And you will probably have to scroll through some more family pictures too because this blog is one way I am intentional about remembering what God has done.  More on that later...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sunday Snapshot- Home From Family Camp

Our family just returned from the best week of our year.

Every summer we spend one week at Pine Cove Family Camp in Tyler, Texas.

It is the place where God forces me to slow down, give my children my undivided attention, and hear from Him.

Seriously every year, God takes something that he has been placing before my eyes (and I was too busy to notice) and he hits me over the head with it   reveals it to me in an Ah Ha moment.   Then he places a beautiful bow of grace on it and says here now go and follow my plan.

I always come back with tons of inspiration, fabulous teaching, and good practical application in my hands.

I also come back with a million few pictures.  I will share some of those with you as I also try and share some of what God is encouraging me to in hopes that maybe there is something in there for you too.

Now this is how we are all feeling today after having to leave Family Camp for another 358 days.

Sunday Snapshot

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Much Needed Fly Lady

For as long as long as I can remember, my kids have been mess makers.

In more ways than one. :)   I find with 2 part time jobs and 3 kids, it is really hard to keep up with cleaning my house.  I have tried hiring a house keeper (more than once), but after a few visits I just can't justify paying someone that much money for a skill set that I have.

So the other day my friend Jill introduced me to Flylady.com.  Her website is a disaster mess but her concept is genius.  She has divided up deep cleaning a house into daily chores that rarely take over 20 minutes and it gets your house much cleaner than it would have ever been just doing the basics weekly.

Yes that is a picture of my kids playroom and the reason I am not embarrassed to show you that is because I didn't do it and it was perfectly clean 2 days ago.  

So back to Fly Lady.  I get an email every morning with my cleaning task for the day that corresponds to the zone for the week (you go to the website and sign up for that for free).  This last week was the kitchen and this week is the master bath and kids rooms.  Every Monday you do a quick vacuum, wipe down, and sheet change but don't have to deep clean because that comes later.  Tuesday through Friday you just do your daily chore and then your weekends are yours!

After just 2 weeks and 20 minutes a day, I can say that my house is already cleaner than it has been in years.  Oh and I added a little something since Fly Lady thank God does not tell you to pick up your kids toys.  When I do my Fly Lady chore, I set the kitchen timer for 20 minutes and the kids are required to pick up their bedrooms and play room during that time.  That way I also don't feel like the house slave and am not near as frustrated by their messes.

Back to my chief mess maker's room.  Oh and that cash is play money.  Gotta go set the timer and make him clean that junk up.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday Snapshot

When we first got Ruthie, she was terrified of dogs.

She even screamed and cried when anyone gave her a stuffed animal and that was hard because she was given several stuffed animals in those early days.

At first we thought maybe she had never seen a dog, but then she would cry, "No go go".  We learned that the Chinese word for dog sounded a lot like go go so clearly she knew what they were.

Poor Max didn't get much attention in those first few months, but that soon changed and now they are good friends.  In fact, I am pretty sure max is a few pounds heavier from all the snacks she gives him.

Sunday Snapshot

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