Your Family Praise Psalm

Praise  sing praises speak of His wondersHave you ever considered that your family could write your own praise Psalm?  This would be a great thing for your family to do at Thanksgiving or at any time of year.  After all, a psalm is simply a heartfelt prayer song to the Lord. Psalms are always honest. The Psalmists speak of times of difficulty in some songs, but they always come back to the fact that God is Supreme over all and that He is good and is worthy of our trust and our worship and praise. Psalms can be very personal, but at the same time they are universal in that the heart cries of the Psalmists of old still resonate with people today.

Living a life of trust and walking by faith are not always easy, so one thing that the Psalmists did was to declare their intention to honor their covenant relationship with God by choosing to be guided by God’s word or to praise the Lord every day. In addition, the Psalmists often spoke of who God is as far as His character. In the Psalms, we read of God’s holiness, righteousness, goodness, kindness, long suffering, His mercies, His everlasting love, His power and might, and His glory. The Psalmists were guided by their knowledge of who God is and their relationship with Him. In Psalms that were written in times of trial, the Psalmists call out to God because of the fact that they know He is good and loving and merciful. In good times. the Psalmists exalt the Lord because of His kindness and long suffering that has been revealed through both trials and blessings.

Psalm 100 scripture memory photo

We all have life stories and faith journeys, just like the Psalmists.  Every individual story is unique, and every family has their own journey as well.  In order to focus on the element of praise in your family’s Psalm, it is helpful to look at two of the most well known praise Psalms in the Bible.  Both are very short (only 5 – 6 verses), and they are a good model for your family’s prayer of praise.  So, here are two scripture memory photos for Psalm 100 and Psalm 150.  These can be printed in whatever size works best for you and used for your family times of devotion.  Perhaps your family can memorize the five verses of Psalm 100 one month and the six verses of Psalm 150 the next.  Or, spend some time reading and talking about these two Psalms during a couple of your family worship times.  Look at the times that are mentioned when the Psalmist praised the Lord.  Look at the attributes and actions of God that the Psalmist praised.  Look at the commitments to the Lord that the Psalmist mentions in the verses.  What actions or attitudes have the Psalmists chosen for themselves in order to demonstrate their praise to God?  How can your family demonstrate your praise and thanksgiving?  At what times of day and in what places can your family express their praise?  Read through the two brief praise Psalms above and below this paragraph, and then think about what your family’s praise Psalm would say.

Note:  For a family devotion resource on Psalm 100, check out this post on our primary blog, which shares the why and how of praise, as found in the Psalm, as well as a list of the benefits of praise.  http://worshipsounds.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/psalm-100-a-prescription-for-praise/

Psalm 150 memory help photo

WRITING  YOUR  FAMILY  PRAISE  PSALM

Make your family’s praise Psalm as unique and personal as you desire.  You can frame a copy for each child’s room or for your family room if desired.  Just make sure that it reflects your family’s desire to praise and thank the Lord for who He is, what He has done, and what He is doing in your lives.  Your praise Psalm should state your family’s intention to be faithful to God in praise as He has been faithful to you in everything.  Most importantly, your praise Psalm should be true to scripture.  Have fun working together with your family to figure out what your praise Psalm should say.  Below, you will find a set of suggestions for writing your praise Psalm that would be easily understood by most children.  This can be printed and used to guide that process of writing if you feel that it would be helpful.

Print this guideline to help your family write a Praise Psalm, or write the suggestions on sentence strips and give each family member one suggestion to work on as their contribution to your family’s Praise Psalm.

How to write a Praise Psalm 2

MY  FAMILY’S  PRAISE  PSALM

Praise   Lets just praise the Lord“Praise the Lord!  Praise Him wherever you are.

Praise God when you get up in the morning to get ready for the day.

Praise Him when you go to school or when you run to play.

Praise God when you are with your brothers and when you are alone.

Praise God at church; Praise God at home.

Think of God and praise him all day long.

Praise Him with a thank you song.

Praise God when it is time for slumber;

Count your blessings…what a number!

Praise the Lord!  Praise Him everywhere you go,

Praise Him for all of the love that you know.

For our God is so good.

His promises are true.

His love lasts forever.  His mercies are new.

Praise Him with your family.

Praise Him with your friends.

His love lasts forever.  His grace never ends.

Praise the Lord!”

(Your Praise Psalm doesn’t have to be poetic.  Ours just came out that way.  Just make sure that your Praise Psalm reflects your family’s personal opportunities to praise the Lord, some reasons to praise Him, and your intention to do just that.)

Blessings to you and your family as you walk with the Lord day by day and choose to praise and worship the Lord together!

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This post was written by Cynthia A. Boyd

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Do you know Jesus?

The decision to ask Jesus to come into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior is the best decision you could ever make! The one true God is ready to give you forgiveness and eternal life as soon as you understand your need for Him and believe on the name of His only Son, Jesus, for your salvation. Here’s a blog page link to help you find the answers to your questions about Jesus. http://www.familysong.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

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Mother’s Day 2013

Happy Mothers Day flowerpotPrayers and blessings to Mothers everywhere!  You are a special gift to those you care for.

I must say that I’ve had a wonderful week-end and a decadent Mother’s Day.  I am so blessed! On Friday, when our boys got home from school, my husband, Travis, and I were still working in the yard.  Camden (one of our 7 year old twin boys) came to the backyard to keep me company, while twin brother Austin chattered happily to his Dad in the front yard.  Camden was my sweet little helper buddy for a while, and then Austin came to the backyard, too.  At that point, both boys began picking flowers and bringing them to me, telling me that they love me and that they were bringing the flowers to me because it was almost Mothers’ Day.  They picked tiny yellow weed flowers and larger (half dollar size) white flowers from a flowering bush.  Since neither of them can keep a secret, they could not wait to tell me about the gifts that they had made at school and at church.  “I’m not supposed to tell you, but….”, they would say.  I heard all about the paper tea pots with a tea bag inside that they’d made at church.  Camden informed me that he had added paper “steam” to his teapot’s spout and that he wanted to share the tea with me since he likes tea.  From school, Camden had brought home a laminated placemat that he’d made for me.  It was already on the table.  Apparently, that was the first thing he did when he got home, since he was in the backyard with me in just a few minutes.  🙂

Austin's Paper flowerpot gift

Austin’s Paper flowerpot gift

Austin told me that he had made a paper flower pot with flowers that pull out.  It was already on my bed when I came upstairs later (to shower after my yard work was finished).  Each flower does pull out, and he had written on the stems his “I love you because…” reasons.  The orange tulip stem said, “You are nice.”   The blue one says, “You by me toys.”   The pink tulip’s stem proclaims, “You take care of me.”  The red one says, “You are sweet.”  And, finally, the purple one says, “You help me lern.”  I can just see him concentrating and cutting out all of those flowers with his little first grade hands.  His phonetic spelling and the way he sometimes forgets to put space between words just makes it even sweeter.  🙂

The frame our boys made at Respite, with a photo of all 6 boys

The frame our boys made at Respite, with a photo of all 6 boys

On Saturday, our younger 3 boys went to Respite care at our church (for special needs children and their siblings).  They came home with a Mother’s Day picture frame that they had made.  Our two biggest boys, Jared and Zach (ages 19 and 13) had helped us while the younger boys were gone to do some furniture moving, which we desperately needed to do.  Some furniture and musical equipment came down 2 flights of stairs, and some went up a flight.  Rooms were cleaned and re-arranged as we all worked together.  Having them willingly help their Dad and me with the heavy lifting was a great Mother’s Day week-end treat for me.   Having our younger boys so well cared for at Respite for several hours that day was also a great gift from all of the volunteers who help with that ministry.  🙂

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!  I love you!

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! I love you!

I got to talk to my Mom on Saturday afternoon, and the beautiful card she’d sent also arrived that day.  Of course, I’d planned to call her this week-end, but Mom is always the early bird.  She called me before I had a chance to call her.  While we were talking, she told me how she so often thinks of her own mother, my Grandmama Tinsley, who passed away due to cancer when I was 3 years old and my brother was a newborn.  I wish I’d had the opportunity to know Grandmama, but I feel that I know her to some extent from the stories that my Mom has told me.  Her name was Pearl, and she had a broad twinkly-eyed smile in every photograph I’ve ever seen of her, including one in which the family is celebrating my first birthday.  Pearl raised 8 children, passing away when her youngest, my Aunt Sandra, was only 13.  My mom has talked about wash days with the big iron pot in the front yard over a fire, improvised child gates made from chairs laid on their sides, the quantities of food that Mom’s 5 brothers would eat, and the way that her mother sang as she worked.  That “working song” gene was definitely passed down.  My mother often sang hymns or songs like “Love is a Many Splendored Thing.”  (Come to think of it, I often sing as I work, too.)  🙂

eggplantGrandmama Pearl was inventive and hard working.  She kept her family fed and cared for during the great depression and throughout the rationing of World War II.  These are all things that I already knew, but my Mom told me a story on Saturday that I’d never heard before.  She said something about living in Florida and totally surprised me.  I only knew about her family homes in Ft. Mill, Liberty, and Easley, South Carolina; so I said, “I never knew you lived in Florida!”  Then Mom told me about how her father was promised a job as a construction foreman on a bridge build and moved the entire family (5 children at the time, I think) to Florida.  When they arrived, the job and the pay were not as promised, so they lived in Florida less than a year and experienced some very lean times.  At one point, Mom’s oldest sibling, her brother Ansel, was sent to a nearby field to glean some produce (legally) after the harvesting had already been done.  He took a flour sack to carry his gathered food and came home with it full of eggplant.  As my Grandmama Pearl would later say when this incident was discussed, “We ate eggplant rough and eggplant tough until we’d had eggplant enough!”  🙂

The front of my Mothers' Day card from Mom

The front of my Mothers’ Day card from Mom

My own mother learned from Grandmama Pearl and could stretch a grocery dollar until it whimpered.  Somehow, we always had all that we needed, even when my Dad was in graduate school.  My Mom is still a wonder is so many ways, carrying on bravely after my Dad’s passing in 2004.  She sold their condo, bought a house on her own for the first time, had some remodeling done, lived there for several years, and sold the house to move cross country and be near my brother and sister and their families.  She lives in a senior adult apartment complex that has a lot of common space and great amenities, and she always has a busy schedule keeping up with all of the activities and outings with friends.  She just joined the church she’s been attending, and she is still at work blessing the lives of others.  You can’t beat her to a phone call, and you certainly can’t ever out-give her.  I love my Mom.  🙂

????????????????????????On Sunday, my husband, Travis, who is a Minister of Music and Worship, went to church early, as usual. Our six boys and I were only two minutes late for early Praise Band/Praise Team and Orchestra rehearsal, which was great.  I was actually the first Praise Team member there (by just a few seconds, though).  Our oldest son, Jared, age 19, went to his Dad’s office during the early rehearsal, where he and I would later have our own Sunday School class. (I am studying with him through the gospel of John.)  Our son Zachary, who just turned 13, went on upstairs to the youth department.  During rehearsal, our four youngest boys were really good in the Worship Center.  They were just a little active, running around through the pews as the worship team rehearsed.  It was a little ironic to be singing a worship song about waiting on the Lord that began with the words, “Be still …” while watching their constant motion.  Even that was a blessing, though, knowing that they are healthy and happy.  🙂

When it was time for Sunday School, I took the four youngest downstairs to their classes.  Logan’s class had combined with the class that Austin and Camden are in for their “Muffins with Mom” breakfast, so Austin brought me orange juice and then Camden brought me a muffin.  It was sweet to watch all of the children serving their Moms and then sitting down to eat with them.  Logan was roaming around the room a bit.  He has Autism, and sometimes he just needs a little time to be Logan.  He was in a very good mood, though.  Camden and Austin gave me the paper teapot cards they had made, with the teabags and a hand-written “Happy Mothers’ Day” message inside.  🙂

Mothers' Day teapot card from Camden

Mothers’ Day teapot card from Camden (with steam!)

Camden stressed to me once more that he wanted to share the tea with me, so we’ll have to do that some time this week.  Logan had made cute little owl magnets.  🙂

Mothers' Day owl magnets from Logan

Mothers’ Day owl magnets from Logan

After attending “Muffins for Mom” with our 3 youngest boys, I went to Braden’s 3rd grade Sunday School class for more “Muffins with Mom”.  Braden was a sweetheart, as usual.  I didn’t need another muffin, but he presented me with a gift bag that had some fragrant hand soap and a printed bookmark that had been personalized with Braden’s answers to some questions about me.  Here are the statements, with his answers underlined.

My mother looks beautiful when she wears a white shirt with sparkles.

My favorite meal that my mother makes for me is macaroni and cheese.

I enjoy spending time with my mother when we work around the house together.

hug even tighterI feel most loved when my mother hugs me.

My mother teaches me about Jesus by telling me.

I love my mother because she prays with me.

I show love to my mother by hugging her.

🙂  Isn’t he the sweetest 3rd grader ever!  🙂

After attending the Mother’s Day “Muffins with Mom” events downstairs, I went back upstairs for Sunday School in Travis’ office with Jared.  We had a great lesson.  It’s always good for me to hear his thoughts about scripture and how God’s word relates to life.  I must say that even though I have a little bit of tech savviness, I am still getting used to the fact that his Bible is on his phone.

Both of our teen-agers were sweet with their Mother’s Day greetings.  When we were at home, Jared gave me a big hug and told me he loved me and “Happy Mother’s Day!”, and Zach did all of those things plus he gave me a kiss on the cheek!  It’s always good when teens appreciate and show respect and love for parents and for others who are helping them through life.  🙂

We had an incredible worship service at church.  To me, it seemed a victorious and hopeful service that really lifted up the Lord and brought glory to His name while also ministering to people (including me!).  Mothers were honored at one point in the service by having all of the Moms stand up.  There are so many wonderful women who attend our church, and I am so blessed to know many of these amazing Moms as well as other wonderful women who love the Lord and love people.  Some of the incredible ladies I know don’t have children of their own but have such loving and nurturing qualities that they bless the lives of everyone they know!).  🙂

Our twins, Austin and Camden, at a Firehouse Subs in Arkansas in 2010 (on the way home from a trip to Oklahoma).

Our twins, Austin and Camden, at a Firehouse Subs in Arkansas in 2010 (on the way home from a trip to Oklahoma).

After church, our family went to Firehouse Subs for lunch.  Their sandwiches are so good, and our boys love it.  (Me, too!)  The best part is that the location closest to our home currently has a “kids eat free” promotion on Sundays, which is great for our large family (Mom and Dad plus 6 boys).  Our boys enjoy picking out their own bag of chips and then getting a drink with the fountain machine that will mix your personal choice of soda.  When we first started going to Firehouse, we would come home with 5 of the plastic firehats.  They’ve almost outgrown that, but Austin and Logan still got a hat on Sunday.  What a joy it is to be with my family and hear their conversations.  I realize how much they have grown and learned.  They are such awesome boys!  🙂

The back of Braden's handmade Mother's Day card from school

The back of Braden’s handmade Mother’s Day card from school

When we got home, there were more gifts and cards.  I don’t deserve all of this, but I sure am blessed!  The sweet card that all of the boys signed says, “There’s only one of you for all of us, but that’s okay…  you always have plenty of love to go around.!”  Camden drew a stick figure Mom holding out a big heart.  🙂  Braden also had a bag of gifts that he had made from school.  There was a hand-painted flowerpot, some seeds, a laminated bookmark with a poem about mothers and a picture of Braden and Travis on the back, and a card that Braden had made that says, “Moms make children blossom.  My favorite part of that card was what Braden wrote on the back.  🙂

Logan had a gift for me in his backpack, too.  He had written a gift card himself (the first time he has ever done that), and it said “For Mom, Love, Logan”.  That is huge for him.  The gift his teacher put together was so sweet.  I will scan it like I have several of the other things and post the photo below.  It is a black and white photo of Logan, holding a heart that he had colored, with the words “I Love You” written on the heart.  Logan had written “Mommy” on the mat above the photo and his own name below in pink crayon.  The photo was in a black frame, but I did remove it briefly for scanning.  Here it is!  🙂

Logan loves Mommy

Logan loves Mommy

Our daughter, Meredith, is older than the boys.  She is married and lives in Oklahoma, so I didn’t get to see her.  She sent me an online greeting with a “Happy Mother’s Day” graphic and a message about how much she loves and misses me.  What a blessing it is to be able to communicate!  We can say, “I love you” through the internet or during a phone call and talk to each other as though we were in the same room.  Even though we are far apart, we can still stay close at heart! 🙂

Mothers Day graphic sent by our daughter as her e-card

Mothers Day graphic sent by our daughter as her e-card

ice cream freezerThe day was far from over.  I had not slept well the night before, so I actually had the luxury of taking a short nap Sunday afternoon.  Travis had an idea for a Mother’s Day treat for the whole family, so he went to the grocery store and purchased ingredients for home-made ice cream.  We had not made home-made ice cream in several years, so it was fun to see and hear the excited reactions of our younger boys to the process.  Travis made Butterfinger ice cream, and it was a very decadent treat after supper.  Travis cooked supper (grilled), and then he cleaned up the kitchen.  I was a totally spoiled Mom.  🙂

For me, it didn’t take expensive gifts like clothing or jewelry or flowers to feel loved and appreciated.  I enjoy all of those things as much as anyone, but the home-made and spontaneous expressions of love always mean the most.  Those tiny yellow weed flowers (blue-bell shaped, but I don’t know what they are called) were more beautiful than a professionally arranged bouquet because they were given with the purest love and a little boy sweetness, with a desire to say, “I love you.”  The hugs and the help and the “queen for a day” treatment were better than a spa day to me.  There have been past Mother’s Days when doing anything was an afterthought (as in a trip to the grocery store to buy a card after returning home from church), and there have been times when there were nice gifts that were given.  But whether my hubby was so busy giving of himself to our family (as he does all of the time) that he was a little late on preparation for Mother’s day or whether there were flowers and gifts or homespun treats, these Boyd men know how to let me know they love me.  When I get a little overwhelmed with all of the maleness around here, it’s a good thing to remember the loving hearts that go along with the messy footprints and stinky laundry.   I love them all dearly!  🙂

I know that it is a bit indulgent to share all of the details that I’ve shared in this post.  For me, it is definitely a story about the blessings of life and love, home and family, and a special day now and then.  Since I stay so busy with all of the chores that must be done, I don’t get as much done as far as keeping a chronicle of family memories as I should, so this is say to my family that they are awesome and that I love them all dearly… on Mother’s Day and on every day.  🙂

🙂 🙂 🙂  And, oh yes, I am blessed!  🙂 🙂 🙂

Happy Mother’s Day and every day to all of the Moms out there! 

Count your blessings, sweet friends!  So many loving and nurturing women never have the opportunity to become a Mom.  You are so blessed!

A wise friend once counseled me to enjoy each stage of my life, even with its difficulties.  She said that too many people effectively put off their own happiness by saying or thinking, “I’ll really be happy (or glad) when _______________ .”   Fill in the blank.  Are you waiting for a developmental milestone or for more independence for your children, a career boost for yourself or your husband, a move to your dream house or anything else before you really claim the happiness you could be enjoying today?  Don’t wait!  Take charge and determine to be happy right where you are, at this time in your life.  Don’t waste another day missing what you’ve never had.  Be thankful for what you do have, and move forward with such a contagious joy that you lighten the load for your entire family.  You can do it!  🙂

Happy Mothers Day photo pink azaleaHere’s short verse for you, Mom!
(from Braden’s bookmark made at school)

“Thank you for watering me with love,

feeding me with encouragement,

and nourishing me with time and energy.

I am growing beautiful because of you!”

Amen!

These are the days

These are the days of scattered sneakers, backpacks, hoodies, and homework. backpacks and hoodies

This is a time when super heros and cars that have names and faces inhabit our household.

This is a time when every moment is characterized and enriched by the tangible evidence of life and health and six active boys.

For example, our homework helper baskets include crayons, pencils, markers, scissors, rulers, glue sticks, and large erasers.

Dirty socks multiply under the furniture in the den.  Little toys and treasures and pieces of toys migrate everywhere.

Someone keeps un-screwing the knobs on cabinets, drawers and furniture.

Keeping the pantry full is a constant endeavor, thwarted by six hungry boys.

Laundry overflowingLaundry overflows the hampers like lava flowing down the sides of an active volcano.

Pocket treaures must be extricated before washing clothing.  (Actually, those tiny postage-stamp size DS games still work once they dry out.)

The boys’ bathroom upstairs is decorated with monkeys….even when there are no boys inside.

Said bathroom is generally not pristine.

Our garage houses no cars but does shelter 7 bicycles, an assortment of water guns, and outdoor play gear of every description.

Family vacations are not a vacation at all for Mom and Dad, but they are worth it!

Keeping some semblance of order and sanity is an ongoing challenge; but we wouldn’t have it any other way, because these are the days.

Yes, these are the days…

These are the days of sweet handmade gifts

*  little boy hugs

* *  sticky fingers

* * *  laughter and silliness

* * * *  report cards and learning

* * * * *  Bible stories at bedtime

* * * * * *  big boy hugs

* * * * * * *  fervent prayers

* * * * * * * *  lessons from life

* * * * * * * * *  learning to follow, learning to lead

* * * * * * * * * *  and boys in the process of becoming men.

Our six boys with Dad

Our six boys with Dad

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Thank you for spending your valuable time reading the contents of this page.  We hope that it has been helpful to you.   If you or someone that you know is looking for answers about life, we hope that you will visit our page called “Do You Know Jesus?”.   The links provided on this page will help to answer life’s deepest questions.   Here is the link to “Do You Know Jesus?”:  http://www.familysong.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

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Boys, Cars, and Blessings

Teaching topics:  Look for blessings, and trust God.

Life can be complicated.  At our house, lots of things are super-sized.  With Dad, Mom, and 6 boys ages 6 to 19, there are a lot of mouths to feed and needs around every corner.  There are many examples of our need for super-sizing through the years.  Some of these relate to the number of children we have, and some super-sized needs have related to the ages of our boys.  The youngest three are one and a half years apart.  By that, I don’t mean that boy #4 is a year and a half older than boy #5, who in turn is a year and a half older than boy #6.  Nope.  Boy #4, Logan, is a year a half older (18 months and 1 week) than twin brothers Camden and Austin, numbers 5 and 6.  Since Logan has special needs, he has often been going through some of the same developmental milestones as his younger twin brothers.  As a result, it was really like having triplets.  In fact, we were often asked if they were triplets.  We had 3 toddler beds for a long time, two high chairs and a strap-on booster seat, three potty chairs lined up in a row, and a double stroller plus a single one.

The blessing of Suburban transportation

For a while, we had to take 2 vehicles everywhere we went in order to transport the whole family.  I know that’s nothing compared to the truly super-sized families like the Duggars, but it is certainly different from anything my husband and I experienced as we were growing up.  I was the oldest of three children, and he was the youngest of three.  We’ve definitely been figuring out how to make things work well for a larger family while on the job.  We were so excited when we were able to buy a 2001 Suburban that was actually large enough to accomodate the four car seats that we were using at the time, plus our two oldest boys and Mom and Dad.  Travis had actually taken our car seats with him as he was looking at vehicles in order to determine which of the vehicles that were advertised as seating 8 could actually accommodate all 4 of the car seats with room for four more people.  The Suburban was the only model he found that could do the job, so we were thrilled when we found a used one in good condition.  It was great to be able to fit the whole family into one vehicle again.   This was about 5 years ago, and Mom and Dad were the only drivers in the bunch.  We were very thankful that one of us could drive while the other tended to any needs which arose during our travels.

Our Suburban is still going strong.  We did have to have the transmission re-built in July, but the occasional repair is preferable to payments.  Now, however, we have hit a snag in our transportation journey.  Our youngest three boys have just outgrown their final and largest car seats and are ready for booster seats.  When they were unable to buckle their straps on Sunday, we knew we had a problem.  So, last night, Travis and I were outside trying to figure out what to do.   Our problem is that our 2001 Suburban does not have a shoulder harness for the center passenger in either the middle row of seating or the back row.  This means that two of our boys will have to ride with no shoulder harness until we are able to find a solution.  We knew this was coming, so Travis had already been looking for a solution online.   He has found a retrofit shoulder harness assembly that mounts to the frame of the car, but it is really made for race car drivers, not for 2 six year old boys and their 8 year old brother who is about the same size.  We have also checked out the car seat options.  We have been unable to find anything but booster seats for boys as old and as big as Logan, Austin, and Camden.  The booster seats all rely on using the car’s seat belt/shoulder harness assembly, so we are back to square one.

After we had worked outside for a while last night and considered all of the options, Travis and I did come up with the new seating arrangement for using boosters.  Both of our biggest boys will have to be on the middle bench due to leg room needs.  Our 19 year old is over 6 feet tall, and our 12 year old is almost as tall as Mom.  It will work fine to have Braden, our 9 old, in the middle of the back bench with Camden in a booster on one side and Logan in a booster on the other.   They will get along well together, and they will have adequate room.  Braden can help the younger two with their seat belts.  It will be fine… except for the fact that Braden will have no shoulder harness.  And on the middle bench, we will have our oldest son, Jared, in the seat that has to be lifted up to allow access to the back bench, where he has been for the last 5 years.  Then, we will have to place Austin on his booster seat in the center of the middle bench and Zach on the other end.   Zach will have to help Austin fasten his seat belt before getting into his own seat.   Our new seating plan takes into account the width of the booster seats and difficulty buckling 2 or more that are side by side, Jared’s and Zach’s long legs, family dynamics such as the fact that Camden and Austin get too loud if seated side by side, and the way that we will function best in the vehicle.  However, again, Austin will have no shoulder harness either.   For now, it is what we have to do, but having 2 boys seated with no shoulder harness restraint is unacceptable from a safety standpoint.

We recognize that we need to provide a better situation as soon as possible, but our options are limited.   We cannot purchase another vehicle at this time.  Our Suburban is paid for and still running well.  We just down-sized our second vehicle so that we could have a more affordable option (3 years older and more gas effiecieny).  It does not make sense to get into a double payment situation.  We have both been brain-storming to try to come up with some solution that will keep our entire family safe.  Last night, after we’d gone back into the house and the boys were all in bed,  a possible solution occurred to me.  I wondered if we could find a replacement bench seat on a newer Suburban which did have shoulder harnesses in the center.   Travis had his I-pad handy and started checking the possibility.  He knew that later model Suburbans have seats that fold into the floor now and would not be compatible with ours.  But, were there some years after 2001 when shoulder harnesses had been added and the seats were otherwise still the same?  Travis has only had time to do a little research so far, but it seems that we might be looking at the range of 2004 to 2006 model years to find such a replacement seat.  He’ll probably do further research tonight.  We have no idea how hard it will be to find such seats at a salvage yard or how much they will cost.  But, we have got to find a way to keep our family safe and make this work.  It’s just another of life’s complications.

In the midst of the struggles like this, it has alway been a joy (and a survival tactic) to look for the blessings and to remind ourselves that we have an awesome God who has blessed us beyond measure.  With every problem we encounter, we have the opportunity to see that there are so many more blessings surrounding us than problems facing us.  We are truly so blessed, and we are confident that God will make a way to solve this problem.  We are so blessed!  May we never forget!

We have 6 healthy boys at home.
We have a roof over our heads.
Travis has a job that is really a calling (as a Minister of Worship)
God has been so good to us!
We live in a country where we can worship freely.
We have wonderful extended family and friends.
We have not just one but 3 working vehicles (old but still kickin’).
We have our needs met, the blessings of life, spiritual blessings here on earth, and a home in Heaven!

We are blessed!

Thank you, Lord, that we have the blessing of this need for safe seating for all 6 of our awesome boys.  We trust You and know that You will make a way for us to meet the need!  Amen.

Priceless gifts!

Scriptures About Family

When God created mankind, His plan was for us to live in families. Since God created marriage and the family, our family relationships are important to Him. His desire is for every marriage to be happy and loving and for children to grow up within a loving family structure, secure in the knowledge that they are loved by God and by their mother and father. God love you and your family. He cares about your home and wants you to have a strong family. He will help you to accomplish this most important task. God has given us His commands and guidelines for strong families in His Word, the Bible. If we follow what the Bible says about families, God will bless and strenthen our families. Family has great spiritual meaning fo believers because the church, the universal body of believers, is called the family of God. When we receive God’s gift of salvation, we are adopted into His family. The Bible tells us that we become sons and daughters of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. God’s plan for family includes your family right now, and you will be a part of God’s forever family as His adopted child.

Bible Verses for Strong Families

1) Commit your family to serve and honor God.

“But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15

2) Live in Obedience to God and make the Bible your guidebook for life.

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Joshua 1:8

3) In everything that you do, seek to honor God.

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”
Colossians 3:23-24

4) Allow the Love of God to flow through your life.

“Walk in love.” Ephesians 5:2

5) Be kind and forgiving to others.

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God has forgiven you for Christ’s sake.” Ephesians 4:32

6) Pray for you famil and for others, asking for God’s wisdom in your relationships.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5

7) Forgive each other.

“If anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” Colossians 3:13

OTHER BIBLE VERSES ABOUT FAMILIES AND FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS

Genesis 2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (ESV)

Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (NLT)

Joshua 24:15 “But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” (NLT)

Psalm 103:17 But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children— (NIV)

Psalm 127:3-5 Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates. (NLT)

Psalm 128:3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. (ESV)

Proverbs 1:8 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. (NIV)

Proverbs 11:29 Whoever brings ruin on their family will inherit only wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise. (NIV)

Proverbs 12:7 The wicked die and disappear, but the family of the godly stands firm. (NLT)

Proverbs 15:20 A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish man despises his mother. (NIV)

Proverbs 22:6 Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. (NLT)

Mark 3:23-25 Jesus called them over and responded with an illustration. “How can Satan cast out Satan?” he asked. “A kingdom divided by civil war will collapse. Similarly, a family splintered by feuding will fall apart.” (NLT)

Acts 18:8 Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, and everyone in his household believed in the Lord. Many others in Corinth also heard Paul, became believers, and were baptized. (NLT)

Romans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (ESV)

Romans 9:4 They are the people of Israel, chosen to be God’s adopted children. God revealed his glory to them. He made covenants with them and gave them his law. He gave them the privilege of worshiping him and receiving his wonderful promises. (NLT)

Ephesians 1:5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. (NLT)

Ephesians 2:19 So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. (NLT)

Ephesians 3:14-15 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named … (ESV)

Ephesians 6:1–2 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandmentwith a promise) … (ESV)

Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to angerby the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. (NLT)

Colossians 3:20 Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord. (NLT)

1 Timothy 3:2-5 So an elder must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach. He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money. He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church? (NLT)

1 Timothy 5:8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (NASB)
BIBLICAL GUIDELINES FOR FAMILIES

Marriage is a Covenant and is Not to be Broken

1) Marriage is a Biblical Covenant to Be One

“…she is your companion And your wife by covenant.” Malachi 2:14

2) God Hates Divorce

“For the Lord God of Israel says That He hates divorce, For it covers one’s garment with violence,” Says the Lord of hosts. “Therefore take heed to your spirit, That you do not deal treacherously.” Malachi 2:16

Bible Verses for Wives

1) “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. Ephesians 5:22 Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.” 1 Peter 3:1-2

2) “For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.” Ephesians 5:23-24

3) “Let the wife see that she respects her husband.” Ephesians 5:33

4) “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 1 Peter 3:3-4 For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.” 1 Peter 3:5-6

5) Build Your House The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hands. Proverbs 14:1

Bible Verses for Husbands

1) “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her… ” Ephesians 5:25

2) “So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.” Ephesians 5:28-29

3) “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge… ” 1 Peter 3:7

4) ” …giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. ” 1 Peter 3:7

Bible Verses for Children – Obey and Honor Your Parents

1) “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Ephesians 6:1

2) “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” Ephesians 6:2-3

Bible Verses for Fathers – Fathers Admonish Your Children to Know and Serve God

“And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

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This post was compiled and edited by C. Boyd

The scripture verses on this page and some of the content in the beginning paragraph come from these two sources:

http://www.usachristianministries.com/2011/11/30/what-does-god-say-about-families-bible-verses-on-families-bible-verses-for-family/

http://christianity.about.com/od/Bible-Verses/qt/Bible-Verses-Family.htm

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You Have a Lot to Give

His mercies are new every morning!

What does it take to make a real and lasting difference in your family and in this world? I believe that there are three key elements to living a life for Christ that has eternal impact.

1. A love for your Lord and Savior and a desire to bring Him glory.

2. A deep compassion for your fellow man.

3. A willingness to do whatever it takes to fulfill the callings that you discover as the Lord leads you in using the abilities and resources that He has given to you.

I believe that these three factors are most important for several reasons. First, in order for what we do and say as we live to have a lasting (eternal) impact, there must be a spiritual element involved. In other words, the task must be something which we believe to be our calling at that moment; and, we must have a strong desire to glorify the Lord in doing what He has called us to do. Whether our calling is teaching a Sunday School class, building or repairing structures on a mission trip, responding with kindness to people who come across your path, being the most effective worker you can be at your job, preparing a meal, helping someone directly, or singing in the choir, all that we do is important when we do it as to the Lord and not unto men. It we are not relating, serving, and working to glorify the Lord, then our lesser motivation will limit the effectiveness of our endeavors. Living to bring glory to God is true, lifestyle worship, and it is our purpose for being. (Romans 12:1 & 2)

Secondly, another key element of our motivation should be our love and concern for others, which flows out of our relationship with the Lord. People can tell when we really care about them. Any deeds or words that are accompanied by compassion will be used by the Lord to make an impact far greater than physical help or an emotional lift alone could make apart from that God-given compassion. What we are able to share becomes a far greater message that speaks to the hearts of people. The message given by acts or words of compassion accompanied by the Love of God is that we care and love people because God cares and loves them. This lets people know that God has initiated a response to their need because He loves them and has sent an instrument of caring to them in order to demonstrate His love.

Finally, our most excellent effort is called for in whatever we are doing. When we live our lives to glorify the Lord, it becomes our desire to really make our lives count for His Kingdom. However, we must remember that our job is to do our best with God’s help. He will take our efforts, indwell them with His own Spirit at work in the world, amd multiply what we are able to do or say in ways we may not expect or ever know about while on the earth. We are not responsible for the results. We are responsible for our love for God, our response to Jesus (repentence leading to salvation), our attitude and our growth, and giving our best. He will take all that each of us have to give and use it to accomplish His purpose in our lives and the lives of others.

So, don’t worry about which gifts you have or wish you had or about what the results of your efforts will be. Those things are all in God’s hands, Whatever your circumstances, you have a LOT to give! Your heart, your life, your compassion, your willingness, your obedience, your encouragement, your prayers, your hopes, and your efforts to allow God to work in and through your life are the best and most important ways that you have a lot to give to make a difference in this world. Everyone can give these things! From a prison cell, a hospital bed, a home full of pre-schoolers, a teacher’s desk, a business, a career position, and from every life circumstance, these gifts can flow! You have a lot to give! Blessings and encouragement to you as you do just that!

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This page was written by Cynthia A. Boyd. It was originally published as a post on our primary blog, which addresses the subjects of life, ministry, worship, music, and discipleship. You’ll find many other posts on our original blog which are not on this blog at http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com

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Do you know Jesus?

The decision to ask Jesus to come into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior is the best decision you could ever make! The one true God is ready to give you forgiveness and eternal life as soon as you understand your need for Him and believe on the name of His only Son, Jesus, for your salvation. Here’s a blog page link to help you find the answers to your questions about Jesus. http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

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The End of an Era (Almost)

“We tried child-proofing, but….”

I considered several different titles for this post…

“Adventures in Child-Proofing” was one possibility.

“To Insanity…and Beyond” had a certain ring.

Another option involved the simplicity of sticking to the facts, with

“We Survived Three Junior Houdinis!”

(I want the t-hirt!)

Sticky boo bear Camden

All of the possibilities listed above have the “hanging on by your toenails” chaotic edge that captures a bit of the reality of our life at the Boyd house for the last few years. But, alas, none of those catchy titles had the other element that all parents recognize as one childhood phase is ending and another begins: an odd combination of giddy relief and totally dramatic nostalgia. The symptoms are common. As you regain your sanity after realizing that the pre-school years have truly passed, you may find yourself looking at photos of sticky little boo bears sitting in a high chair and wishing you could go through half a tub of wet wipes cleaning up a squirmy little cutie pie’s face and hands just one more time. You watch a video of the holidays and realize how joyful it is to see wonder and delight through the eyes of a precious little one. Or, you see something that your child would have just loved as a pre-schooler… and realize that you don’t have anyone to share those kinds of things with any more. The feeling of treasuring all of the short-lived sweetness of the baby and toddler years lingers long after the outgrown clothes and toys have found a new home. Ah, sweet memories!

Let’s not forget the flip side of forgetful nostalgia, though. I don’t have to view many sticky boo bear photos before remembering all of the milestones that moving forward represents. There are no more diapers, no more potty chairs, no more sippy cups, and no more baby gates. Ah, yes. It’s all coming back to me now in a flood of the aforementioned giddy relief.

No more diapers means: no more changing diapers, no more buying diapers, no more waiting for the stall with the nasty changing table to become vacant, and no more wet spots in your lap.

No more potty chairs means: no more cleaning potty chairs, no more 50 yard dash through a crowded restaurant to a potty that your suddenly persnickety toddler refuses to use, and no more wet spots on your couch (even worse than on a lap).

No more baby gates means: no more parent wipe-outs after the “I think I’ll just step over it this time” syndrome claims one more victim.

And, finally, no more sippy cups means: no more frantic treasure hunts for the elusive favorite cup that fell out of the stroller somewhere on the ten block walk from your car to the arts festival (and then finding the missing cup two weeks later under the seat of the car after searching for the source of noxious fumes in your vehicle).

Are you giddy yet?

Our four pre-schoolers enjoy a moment of stillness during the sippy cup phase. Believe me, it was only a moment.

Braden is the oldest of our four who were all in the pre-school phase at once. Here’s just what he looked like back then. Isn’t he a cutie?

If you are still overtaken with parental nostalgia, allow me to refresh your memory with a tale of aging parents totally outnumbered by four adorable and clever pre-schoolers plus two older boys. Travis and I were experienced parents before we had pre-schoolers times four. We had a daughter who was married, a son in junior high, and another son in elementary school. We’d dealt with all the issues of child-rearing previously, but the years between our oldest three meant that we were dealing with the baby or pre-school stage one child at a time. At least, that was so until the four youngest Boyd boys came along. Braden, the oldest of the four, was three years old (almost four) when his twin brothers, Austin and Camden, were born. In the middle of the pre-school pack was Logan, who was born about half-way between Braden and the twins. So, by the time that twins Camden and Austin were fully ambulatory at age one, Logan was two and a half and Braden was four (almost five). At that stage, we were child-proofing like crazy. We had all of the usual outlet plugs and cabinet latches, but we quickly discovered that we needed to go much further. Though Braden was past the age of getting into everything, he was fascinated by the toys belonging to older brother Zachary (then age 6) and by oldest brother Jared’s Star Wars lego structures. If Jared forgot to lock the door to his room, Braden discovered it and was inside in a heart beat, destroying the complicated Lego builds. The force was with him. In the room that Braden and Zach shared, Braden left most things alone. However, he loved to dump out the baskets and bins of sorted toys (like hot wheels, super hero figures, monster trucks, construction vehicles, and duplo blocks) that were stored in the closet. To prevent all of the small toys from being out at once, we did place locks on the closet doors. Even with the force, Braden could not defeat us. We were undaunted. It was a hassle getting into the closet when we needed something, though.

Precious little snoozers Camden, Logan, and Austin needed a red flashing warning light on their foreheads that said, “Recharging” !

Co-conspirators Austin and Camden

The three youngest pre-schoolers shared a bedroom out of necessity, so at first we had two cribs and a toddler bed in the room. Later on, we had three toddler beds. Yes, we used all of the conventional child-proofing stuff with these three, but we were forced to go far beyond the norm time and time again. Our three sweet-faced toddlers might have looked totally innocent, but these little guys were amazingly resourceful. What one didn’t think of, another one would. Then, they would work together to accomplish their dastardly plan. Logan was our fearless climber. There was no such thing as “out of reach” where he was concerned. Have you ever seen a pre-schooler totally dismantle a lamp, leaving the shade totally torn apart down to the framework and the base of the lamp dismantled (miraculously, without breaking the light bulb)? Logan did. We gave up on having a lamp on top of their chest of drawers. As with Braden, we had to use locks on the closet for Austin, Camden, and Logan’s room. They would even pull clothing off of hangers and drag out all of the linens stored inside if we accidentally left the closet door open. In addition, Travis had to drill holes in every drawer front and install key locks on their chest of drawers. Otherwise, they would pull the drawers out and use them as a ladder to climb to the top of the chest. They would also pull out all of the folded clothing and have a good ol’ time throwing it everywhere in their room. If Mom was in the utility room trying to start a load of laundry, it was amazing how much destruction they could create in just a few minutes. Twins Austin and Camden also had their own twin language. This is not uncommon for twins, and it was quite fascinating. We never figured out what they were saying, but they understood each other perfectly. I think they were conspiring to pull off their next daring feat of destruction.

Logan, our most skillful escape artist and climber, enjoys a moment of pure toddler joy.

One thing that our three little Houdinis did was to repeatedly figure out ways to escape their room. They had plenty of play space and toys, and their room was right next to the kitchen, so we often had them playing in their room with the baby gate to keep them confined to one area and safe. After a while, they figured out how to climb the gate. We got a taller gate. It worked for a few days. It was like watching a military obstacle course in basic training. They were over the top in no time. In response, Travis built a smooth, half door to take the place of the gate. It was rather tall. with nothing that could be used as a foot-hold. That worked for a long time, but Logan eventually learned to scale the sheer cliff face of the half door. What would appear to a little fellow as a rather imposing structure, significantly taller than their full height even on tiptoe, was no match for our little escape artists.

With three toddler beds and three pre-schoolers all in one room, the only time their room looked like this was when Mom picked up while they were all at pre-school.

Then, there was one thing these three did that I have never heard any other pre-school Mom mention. They would not leave their beds intact, no matter what we did. That drove me crazy. Every single day, the three of them took off their sheets and mattress pads. Camden and Austin started doing this when they were still in their cribs. Logan thought they had a great idea, so he was soon dismantling his bed as well. Then, they started taking the mattresses off. We finally wound up purchasing a bunch of luggage straps and strapping the mattresses to the bed frames, with the latch for the strap down below the slats inside the enclosed frame. One luggage strap was not enough. Each bed had to have one strap in the middle and one at each end. Have you ever heard of such a thing? I’m telling you, when those three little boys worked together, they were very strong. We tried everything to get them to stop doing this. We tried praising them when their beds stayed together for any length of time. We did time outs, we removed some of their toys and their favorite blankies, and even tried a little diapered bottom swat to discourage our miniature slumber demolition crew. Then, they figured out that if they all pushed, they could move furniture! Unbelievable! We literally had to fasten furniture to the wall with anchors and “L” brackets and whatever else worked. This kind of determined and systematic dismantling of their beds and their room continued for almost 3 years! Even when they could go anywhere in the house, they still were a wrecking crew in their own room. We finally abandoned using sheets for a while. It was pointles to keep trying since the sheets never stayed on. They all slept on their plastic covered mattresses in their toddler beds for a few weeks. Finally, one day, they asked for sheets. We put them on, and they have never gone back to the daily bedding battles. Whew! Finally!

Room decor genius or toddler graffiti?

Sometimes I wondered if the older brothers were supplying contraband. No matter how we tried to make sure that all coloring was done at the kitchen table or on their high chair trays, a marker or crayon would sometimes wind up in the little guys’ room. You may have seen what one toddler can do with a writing implement. Multiply that times three, and we’re talking graffiti on an epic scale. Walls were not the only target. They also ‘decorated’ furniture, the windowsill, and the window itself. Thank goodness for Mr. Clean magic erasers!

It was such a blessing to have a handyman husband during those childproofing battleground years. Travis was constantly having to come up with new strategies to keep them safe, reconstruct things they broke, and maintain some remnant of sanity for the rest of the family. They actually pulled the door knobs off of their closet doors four times, stripping out the screw holes each time. To replace them, Travis would turn the knob a new direction so that the screws would be in a different place. The knobs are on the doors now only because Travis found a super strength filler that allowed him to re-use the stripped out holes. One day not long after we moved to our new home in Georgia, I looked up to see Camden (who had been sitting on the couch watching a pre-school program just moments before) climbing over the stair rail and catapulting himself onto a table below. It was one of those hide-a-tables (with a plywood top and three spindly legs) that you cover with a floor-length tablecloth. The table was no match for Camden. As soon as his little bottom and the force of his toddler exuberance hit the table top, the whole thing collapsed, with Camden on top of the heap. That incident may have been life-saving. It scared Camden (and his brothers) so much that no one has ever climbed over the stair rail again. To fix the table after this incident, Travis built a rectangular box with a shelf, adding a base for stability; and it became the new support for the table top, with the bonus of some hidden storage. Who else do you know who has an industrial strength hide-a-table? What a man!

A couple of weeks ago, a significant rite of passage occured. The final piece of toddler furniture in the Boyd house has now been donated to Good Will. We had been talking about purchasing a bunk bed for the room shared by Austin, Camden and Logan so that they could finally all have a ‘big boy’ bed. When I found a great deal on a used bunk bed with the sturdiest metal frame I’ve sever seen, we bought it. Austin and Camden now share the imposing structure, and Logan has his own twin bed. The last remaining toddler bed is finally gone. I must admit that I did feel a little wave of nostalgia when we were removing the toddler bed from the room. After all, this toddler bed frame is the one that Travis made after the boys tore up Logan’s two previous toddler beds. The white, metal framed toddler bed that had served us well for Jared, Zachary, and Braden bit the dust when the welds connecting the bed platform to the headboard began to fail. We tried to get it re-welded, but none of the local welders we tried wanted to mess with it. So, we purchased a new toddler bed with a metal frame and molded plastic legs, headboard, and footboard. They destroyed the molded plastic parts of that bed within less than a year. Our final toddler bed was a super sturdy wooden one that Travis made, with rounded corners for safety and total overkill on the strength of the frame and the bed platform. It lasted for as long as it was needed, and we closed the door on nostalgia when it was carried out to the pick-up for transportation to Good Will.

Travis and all six of our boys pose after a visit to the Georgia Auarium in late December, 2011.

Through the years, Travis and I have shared so much joy with our bunch, even during all of the craziness of the pre-school years and constant child-proofing. Each of our six boys is incredibly awesome. We are so proud of them and so blessed to be their parents! If we had been blessed with more than our six sons and one daughter, we would have loved them all and found a way to make it through. Our little guys were not the only ones who knew how to be resourceful. We are just thankful to have survived and to see our boys well on their way to growing up strong and living a life that honors God. We still have locks on the closet doors in Austin, Camden, and Logan’s room, but we don’t have to worry about them climbing on the chest of drawers anymore. Logan has special needs; and he still can be destructive, but we are working on that. He and his twin brothers all keep their sheets on now, and they are growing up. So, goodbye to toddler beds, baby gates, strollers, sippy cups, high chairs, potty chairs, diapers, child-proofing devices of every description, and pull-ups. All of the baby and toddler gear served us as well as possible, but we don’t need it anymore. Those years are behind us now, but we’ll always have a special place in our hearts for memories of all of the love and craziness of those fun-filled and exahausting times.  We’ve loved our little guys through every stage and laughed at all of their antics; but now the three littlest Boydinis are moving on, and so are we!

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This post was written by Cynthia A Boyd.   It was originally published on our primary blog, which addresses the subjects of life, ministry, worship, music, and discipleship.  You’ll find many other posts on our original blog which are not on this blog at http://www.boydbrainmusic.wordpress.com

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DO YOU KNOW JESUS?
The decision to ask Jesus to come into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior is the best decision you could ever make! The one true God is ready to give you forgiveness and eternal life as soon as you understand your need for Him and believe on the name of His only Son, Jesus, for your salvation.
Here’s a blog page link to help you find the answers to your questions about Jesus. http://www.familysong.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/
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Six Boys and a Supermom

All six of our boys with Dad, celebrating Logan’s ‘Buzz Lightyear’ birthday.

Six boys? Yes, we do have six boys. Life at our house is lively, noisy, and messy. It’s also a lot of fun! Our boys range in age from six to eighteen. Our oldest, Jared, just graduated from High School in May. Our 12 year old, Zachary, is entering Middle School in August. Our 9 year old, Braden, will be in third grade this year. His younger twin brothers, Austin and Camden, will be in first grade at the same Elementary School. Then, there’s our Logan. Logan is eight years old and in a third grade Moderate Autism class at another Elementary School. All of our boys are unique, and each one is infinitely precious to us and to God. They came to us by birth and by adoption, and love for each of them was born in our hearts long ago.

Our five younger boys sit with Dad on a bench at the Railroad Museum. They are (left to right) Camden, Braden, Dad (Travis), Zachary, Logan, and Austin.

Travis and I are older parents. We are both in our mid-fifties, and it is a challenge for us to keep up with our crew. They make us laugh and smile and cry and wonder. Sometimes, they make us crazy! They challenge us to keep becoming the best parents that we can be for them. In spite of our status as “experienced” parents, it takes all that we are to be anywhere close to what they need us to be. The needs can be overwhelming. We take life one moment at a time. We enjoy holding sticky little hands. We love hugs from boys of all sizes. We treasure special moments. 🙂 We don’t buy expensive things for most rooms in our house (whats the point?). We have the benefit of years to know that seasons of life fly by. We seek to savor and to survive.

Our six boys hiked to a waterfall with Dad and relatives in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in July, 2011. Braden is in front in the black shirt. Our soon to be Middle Schooler, Zach, is behind him in the red shirt. First grade twins Camden and Austin are beside each other in the red caps. Logan is wearing a yellow shirt, and big brother Jared is in blue.

It’s impossible not to notice our family when we are out in public. We get lots of comments. Many references are made to the fact that we could have our own sports team. Some people ask, “No girls?” or “All boys?’. Some people ask if we are their grandparents, and one even told us that we should “stop trying for a girl.” Actually, we do have a daughter. She’s 31 and married and lives in Texas. The one question that people ask (right in front of the boys) that really bothers me is, “Are they all yours?”. The answer we give (with a big smile) is “Yes!”. We feel that it is inappropriate to ask about how God chose to make us a family in public and in front of the children, especially when some of our boys are so young. We never want to be unkind in our response; but our first priority is our children and their emotional well-being, as well as their readiness for any type of discussion. The curious people who ask about the gift of our children have no way of knowing whether each of the children has a full understanding of concepts such as birth parents or adoption. They are not thinking about the children at that moment. They are only seeking an answer to their question, and that is the only answer we feel the need to give. “Yes!” is the answer. Yes, they are all ours! Definitely, unequivocably, undeniably, and joyfully OURS!

Dad and Grad
Our high school grad, Jared, poses with Dad after the ceremony.

I’m sure that those who know us best see that we are trying with all that we are to be the best parents that we can be for our boys. They also have to see that we fall short of perfection by miles and miles. Sometimes, people who have not been around us as much but do know our family view us as Super Parents. We’re not. We are all too human and flawed. We are just parents who have a lot of boys and are doing our best, with God’s help, to help them become who God made them to be. Sometimes, people ask me how I keep up (with them, with laundry, with everything). There’s a simple answer to that question. I don’t. I find myself always behind on something. If I work on a time-consuming project like switching clothing sizes for a new season for all of the boys, I get behind on laundry. When I am catching up laundry and mending and picking up, I get behind on other things. We survive. We do the best we can. Travis is wonderful at pitching in on whatever needs to be done, and we are in this together. We are definitely not super parents. We are just normal parents of a grown daughter and six wonderful boys who have an awesome God.

Travis stands in the lobby of our church’s Worship Center with our daughter, Meredith, and 3 oldest boys, Jared, Zachary and Braden, Christmas 2010.

Today is a special day. Travis has devoted several hours this week to listening to the “Preparing for Adolescence” CD series with our Zach before he begins Middle School. They are on an outing today, listening to CDs on the way to their destinations. They will go to Six Flags over Georgia and then spend the night in a nearby hotel. This one-on-one time will allow them to finish the appropriate CDs and talk. The other 5 boys and I are at home. I have promised them a special treat for while Dad and Zach are gone. Tonight, we are having Super Heroes Night at the Boyd house. The boys will dress up in costumes and have all kinds of super fun. We will probably watch a movie together, too. They are so excited and can’t wait for our super night. Camden asked me what super hero I was going to be. I thought for a moment and then replied with a flourish, “SuperMom!” (singing my own fanfare) “Daht dah dah DAAAH!” “What will you put on for a costume?”, Camden asked. I told him that all I had to do was get dressed to be Super Mom. “So, you’re just wearing your reg’lar clothes?” he questioned. Yes, Camden. I’m just wearing my reg’lar clothes (since I’m really just a reg’lar Mom).

Perhaps I’ll don a beach towel cape, strap on a bungee cord belt, make myself a crown of duplo blocks, and carry a plunger. You know, …

Stronger than the odor from a bathroom used exclusively by boys…

Faster than a package of cookies can disappear….

Able to leap piles of laundry in a single bound….

It’s…

SUPERMOM!”

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Superman Braden, Fireman Austin, Jedi Zachary, Lightning Mcqueen’s Crew Chief Logan, and Towmater’s Mechanic Camden

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This post was written by Cynthia A. Boyd.   It was originally published on our primary blog, which addresses the subjects of life, ministry, worship, music, and discipleship.  You’ll find many other posts on our original blog which are not on this blog at http://www.boydbrainmusic.wordpress.com

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DO YOU KNOW JESUS?
The decision to ask Jesus to come into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior is the best decision you could ever make! The one true God is ready to give you forgiveness and eternal life as soon as you understand your need for Him and believe on the name of His only Son, Jesus, for your salvation.
Here’s a blog page link to help you find the answers to your questions about Jesus. http://www.familysong.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/
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Extending God’s Grace in Your Family and Beyond

How can we extend the lavish grace that we have been given by God to our families, to our Christian brothers and sisters, and to others who don’t know Him?

Here are some ABC’s of extending grace:

Assume the best in the lives of others, allowing them the grace of your trust that God is at work in their lives.

Bend when possible, demonstrating your desire to extend the freedom of grace in a way that is loving, beneficial, and responsible.

Compromise on the small details of life when love is the consideration more important than having everything done as you like.

Delight in joyful news, knowing that God rejoices with us when we rejoice!

Encourage the hearts of others so that they may come to understand that the wonderful love of God was expressed as He created them!

Friendship begins with a genuine interest in others, just as God cares about every detail in our lives and even knows the number of hairs upon our heads.

Greet people with a smile, remembering about each person that they are God’s unique creation and communicating clearly your joy in seeing them.

Help when you can, pray while you help, and keep praying when you can’t help in any other way.

Invite input for a special family time or outing with friends.  Others may surprise you with their creative ideas, allowing you to invest in building relationships in new ways.

Just be patient!  God isn’t finished me. and He isn’t finished with you yet, either!  Grace is lavish love expressed through mercy and willingness to sacrifice.

Know when to listen and when to speak.  Sometimes we express God’s grace by taking the time to understand the hearts of others.

Love one another, as Christ has loved you.

Make others feel welcome and valued!  God demonstrates our worth through the ultimate grace gift of salvation in Christ.

Now is the time to pray for your neighbors, friends, family, people in the news, co-workers, and brothers and sisters in Christ…whenever they are brought to your mind for any reason.

Open hearts can give and receive love freely!  Help others to feel that their hearts are safe in your presence so that they will be open to the message of God’s love and grace. 

Put aside preferences!  People are always more important than our preferences! Preferences (or what we think is best) in areas of clothing, music, behavior, etc. are NOT the gospel of Christ.  We may associate these expectations with the Christian life in our own minds; but these things that we enjoy or that make us feel comfortable are often just part of our life experience, traditions, or the way the we were raised.  They bring back memories of family times or worship and fellowship times that were personally meaningful.  However, right now is what matters!  If we want the Kingdom of God to come to pass in this world and want future generations to know the Lord, we must be open enough to make people feel welcome even if circumstances are not as comfortable for us.

Question to ask before you speak:  “Will what I am about to say build up the body of Christ and the Kingdom of God?”

Rejoice when God is at work in the lives of people!   We cannot be skeptics concerning decisions to follow Christ or follow Him in any area of life.  The first thought in our minds when someone says ‘yes’ to God’s invitation should not be.  “I wonder how long it will last.”  We must instead be encouragers and also pray for new believers.  If we are given the opportunity, we can also be directly involved in helping to disciple new believers.

Seek the Kingdom of God first!  Leave self behind every morning for a natural outflow of grace extended to your fellow human beings!

Treat the hearts of children with tenderness.  They will more readily respond to God’s love and grace if they have seen the evidence of it in the lives of God’s people.

Understand that we are all at different points in our journey.  Grace lets go of expectations and meets us where we are.

Value the person MORE than any outward manifestations (clothing, appearance, social awkwardness, position, intelligence, special needs, behavior, rudeness, or moral failures).  That’s what Jesus does for us!

Walk in love.  Random acts of kindness are not random when done in the name of Jesus.  He has brought this person across your path.  It is not up to us to make judgements about whether others deserve kindness. Rather, we are to be vessels that God can use to share His lovingkindness with others.

eXpect the Lord to touch hearts, and pray for those around you (even people that you do not know).  Rather than becoming annoyed or upset about someone who is living an immoral lifestyle, pray for him or her!

Yesterday is gone…forgive!  We are to forgive others with the same grace that has been shown to us

Zip your lip….bite it if you have to!   Resolve to speak words of kindness and uphold the dignity of all people as unique creations of Almighty God.  Let Him work on their problems and their hearts!  He’s got the master plan and the power to change lives!

“For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.”
— II Corinthians 4:15

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(These ABC’s are far from elementary.  I’ll be working on them for the rest of my life!   The more we know,…the more we grow!)
This post was written by C. A. Boyd.   It was originally published on our primary blog, which addresses the subjects of life, ministry, worship, music, and discipleship.  You’ll find many other posts on our original blog which are not on this blog at http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com

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Do you know Jesus?

The decision to ask Jesus to come into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior is the best decision you could ever make!  The one true God is ready to give you forgiveness and eternal life as soon as you understand your need for Him and believe on the name of His only Son, Jesus, for your salvation.  Here’s a blog page link to help you find the answers to your questions about Jesus.  http://www.boydbrainmusic.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

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Creating Our Song

Mom and Dad Boydie

Mom is the melody
And Dad is the rhythm.
Together they begin the song
That lasts a lifetime long.

Your family’s song needs the joy and expression that Mom’s melody can bring.  It also needs the foundation of a steady beat, a rhythm that is always moving forward as Dad seeks to provide the security and trust for his family.  All of the harmonies (and sometimes dissonance) that come as children are added to the home are built on the foundation of the melody and rhythm in your Family Song.   It’s an awesome responsibility to give your family a song of hope and faith and joy and confidence.   Only the Music Master can bring that kind of love and stability into your home.  The Music Master is the Creator of all music, all things, and all good gifts.  He is the one true and living God.  Your Family Song is part of a greater Symphony of Praise as you seek to bring Glory to God through your lives, your relationships and your family.   Blessings and melody to you in your Family Song!

Eight Boydies in the family (plus one that grew up and left the nest, represented by the little bird house).

 

A Little Boydie told me…

Just a reg’lar Mom in a house full of boys

praise4ever

praise4ever

I'm a busy wife and mother of 7, with 6 incredible boys still at home and a beautiful married daughter. Our boys range in age from our 10 year old twins to our 22 year old. We have 2 in Elementary School, 2 in Middle School, one in High School, and one High School grad. They are all incredible and special. One of our boys has special needs. I'm a musician, singer, writer, composer, blogger, and teacher. I'm thankful for our home and family, for Travis, my amazing husband of 39 years, and for family and friends near and far. Most of all, I'm thankful for God's grace and mercy and that He has given the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.

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Giving a Song to say “Thank You”

Travis L. Boyd / WorshipSounds Music

Travis L. Boyd / WorshipSounds Music

As a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband and a father of 7, and a Minister of Music and Worship, I am very blessed. For a total of 32 years, I have served as a Minister of Worship for some wonderful congregations in the states of Oklahoma, Texas, and Georgia. It is a joy to lead God's people in worshipping Him through music, and I am very blessed to serve at First Baptist Church of Duluth, Georgia. I'm also a composer, lyricist, arranger, and orchestrator, with choral anthems, songs, and orchestrations published by Shawnee Press (now with Hal Leonard), Lorenz, Choristers Guild, and Lifeway. My web-based music publishing site, WorshipSounds Music (formerly Boydbrain Music), offers Choral Anthems, Orchestrations, Congregational Praise, and Vocal Solo music. Our worship blog has become an extension of worship ministry, and it is a privelege to share information and inspiration with other worshippers. My desire is to glorify God through my life, ministry, and composition work. I believe that music is a wonderful way to communicate the truths of God's love and mercy and to glorify Him. My wife, Cindy, and I have been married for 36 years. We have 7 children. Daughter Meredith lives in Texas. Sons Jared, Zachary, Braden, Logan, Austin, and Camden range in age from 7 to 19 and are still living at home.

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