Sunday, July 20, 2014

Zadok Attack


Our little man is now on the attack. Grandma was his first victim. Watch out, you could be next!



Zadok Attack from Laura Hulseman on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

5 Videos That Will Unleash Your Inner Superhero

Today my family was so gracious to take the kiddos and dump me at a coffee shop so I could have some alone time, breathe and maybe write one of the ten blog posts I've started but haven't had a chance to finish between road trips and sick kids.

So what productive thing am I doing with this valuable time away? I got totally sucked in to watching videos. I just wanted to sit still, sip my coffee (with caffeine I might add!) and waste a little time... because I could. This girl here doesn't have cable and most hours I'm elbow deep in snot, playing pretend, putting someone down for a nap, calming down a crier, or making and cleaning up a meal.

What started as just watching my friends Facebook posts of fun videos while sipping my exquisite non-fat latte, quickly led me to looking up all kinds of amazing feats of craziness. You may have heard me mention it before, but I have a not-so-secret ambition to one day be a superhero.


My cape wearing days didn't start at the usual toddler age. I might have been a little closer to 30. I mean, I already enjoy leaping from tall buildings in a single bound, plunging to the water faster than a speeding bullet and kids have often pointed up at me in the sky and said, "It's a bird, it's a plane... it's Laura diving!" Okay, well, maybe not quite, but platform diving can give one aspirations of becoming a superhero. So as my kids have begun to don masks and capes, I get the itch to join them. After all...



As I'm watching these videos this morning, I started getting sucked into these amazing feats of strength, adrenaline and pure craziness and well... that superhero inside desperately wants me to get back in shape so I can try this stuff! Going from one to three kids in 13 months was all the working out I could handle. But now we're starting to be able to breathe again and I think these videos may provide me some motivation to get back into the swing of things.  Enjoy and unleash your inner superhero friends. Although, most of this you shouldn't try at home... unless you're these guys.

5. Because these guys are insanely strong.





4. Kacy Catanzaro- American Ninja Warrior... indeed.



3. Damien Walters- free runner, stuntman, gymnast. This guy is amazing.




2. I started sweating watching this.



1. Because this stuff is just plain crazy




Monday, July 14, 2014

The Igorant Parent- A Prayer For You

The Ignorant Parent posts are a new series that some friends and I thought would be fun to write from our different perspectives on various topics. Our goal is to encourage you when you need to be lifted up, to show you hope in every situation, to let you know that you are never alone and to glorify God with the stories that He has written for our lives. For more background on who we are and how we know each other, check out our bio page.

Today we wrote prayers for the insecure, the longing, the anxious, and the weary souls out there. We wrote a prayer for ourselves because these are the things we are struggling through right now. And we pray that if you are struggling, too, that you might be encouraged and that these prayers will become your prayers.

Elizabeth

If you are struggling with insecurity...

God thank you for your delight in my everyday life. Thank you for loving me as I am and guiding me as I grow in glorifying you, and understanding your ways for me. I pray and am seeking you to grow my confidence and trust in myself and you. God,  your promise says the same power that raised Christ from the dead is alive in me. The same spirit is alive in my spouse, friends, and strangers. God I pray to have that confidence. To believe I am special, with purpose. That the good and the difficult in my life is being worked out for YOUR good. Father fill me with your good, overload my spirit with confidence so that I don't compare my path and gifts to others. Allow me to rejoice with their victories and give praise to you, for the plans you have for us as individuals and collective souls. Let me be so in awe of what you're doing through me and others that our spirits begin to soar. And the generations affected. Close my mind to insecurities. Close my mind to things that are not of you, grow my love for myself and others through a clear understanding of your love and delight in me.

For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:8 HCSB)

In Jesus' name, Amen.

Danielle

Father God, this prayer is for the woman whose heart is longing for more, whose desire is to do more, whose dream is to see more of you, magnified and glorified through her life. This prayer is for me, and (I pray) it might be for the one reading it too.

I want to live the extraordinary. I have big dreams, big hopes, big ideas, but the seemingly small is my reality. The ordinary is what I live.

And yet, all throughout your Word, you remind me that the ordinary is extraordinary. The least is the greatest in your kingdom.

When I want to travel to the ends of the earth, thank you for reminding me "...that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in [Christ's] name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem," the city of closest proximity to the disciples (Luke 24:47).

When I want to leave my corporate career and become a missionary, thank you for reminding me "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men... rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man" (Colossians 3:23 and Ephesians 6:7).

When I want to serve families here, there, and everywhere, thank you for reminding me how important serving my own family is, because "... if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith..." (1 Timothy 5:8).

When I want to spend my days making disciples of all nations, thank you for reminding me of the little disciples you have entrusted to me each day right here. "And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).

And when I want to do more for you, thank you for reminding me you have done it all for me. It is a gift. It is not something I can earn. "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works..." (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Father, I don't think you've said no to my dreams, hopes, and ideas; you have said, "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven" (Ecclesiastes 3:1). You've said obey, trust, love.

I ask for your wisdom, a deeper knowledge of you, and your will in my life. Help me to obey, help me to trust, help me to love.

Thank you for reminding me: the big and extraordinary can be found in the small and ordinary.

Thank you for your great, extraordinary love for me! Thank you for reminding me always, it is enough.

In Jesus' name, amen!

Amy

Dear anxiety-filled-terror-stricken-brand-spanking-new Mom,

This prayer is for you. And me.

Father God,

You are the Father of all creation. You can count every hair on my head (Matthew 10:29-31), you know my name, you made my heart and you created within me a soul to know You (Jeremiah 1:5). Today I come to you in honest fright. You entrusted me with a gift beyond words, a great blessing the size of Texas. You gave me a daughter, precious and new. And I am terrified.

Father, you have written the roles of women throughout the books of the Bible. It is natural to care for children, raise them up in your Spirit with your Word written on their tiny hearts. You have directed us in how to teach our children. It’s all there in the lessons of your parables and the words of your own Son, Jesus. So then, why do I feel so inept? Why am I so scared?

My life has wholly changed, forever. You have shown me the depths of your love in one itty-bitty life. And it’s knocked me clean off my feet. I wonder what my life will be like in a year, two, even ten. I would like to ask for your holy guidance in how to live a life pleasing to you that will teach my daughter your grace and love.

Father God, I also want to ask that you help me take one day at a time. And when I wake, I have a heart like David, a man after yours (1 Samuel 13:14). Show me how to love like Christ, so that I can be an example to my child and she can be salt and light in this world (Matthew 5:13-16).

Lord, I have been talking with you for a while now; talking about changing my life to mirror your desire for me. For too long, I have tried to fit you into my life instead of fitting my life to you. I need to stop talking and start doing. I have been scared to give up the old in exchange for the freedom of the new. You have said you will provide, and I know you will. And you have shown me the story of Jonah and what could happen if I deny your will for my life. I will follow your path. Just help me take the first step.

Father, there are many just like me that don’t know what tomorrow will bring with this new life. Help us to rely on you alone and not our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). Help us to trust in what you can make of our lives when we get out of the way.

I pray this prayer to you in your Son’s precious name, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Laura

For the weary soul who longs for rest...

God I'm tired, I'm burned out, I'm useless. My weariness has run my patience dry, grace rarely exists for others and I can no longer define mercy. I get angry at the drop of a hat, I say “no” more often than I laugh, and I get easily frustrated when things don't go as I want or expect them.

Teach me to be thankful in times of frustration. Teach me to find joy in my kids' chaos. Teach me to have grace in times of trouble. Teach me to have mercy on others regardless of my circumstance. Teach me to enjoy dropping the reigns of control so I can find excitement in trusting you with reckless abandon. Stretch me to love in words and actions beyond what I am capable. Stretch me out of my comfort zone so I might grow mightily out of my safety zone and into a role that will glorify You. Stretch me and mold me out of my life plan and into your kingdom plan.

God, I no longer want to try and squish you into my plans and dreams and give you lip service. I want more. I want to abandon my plans and live for Yours. Your plans are far greater than any I could ever dream up. And your rewards are far greater than any this world can offer.

But God I pray for these things, then as I open my eyes, I see my reality before me and immediately the fatigue of everyday hits me like a brick wall. Suddenly the hope of change seems to disappear in an instant.

Lord, I'm starting to see that it is in the fumes of exhaustion, in my brokenness, in my complete and total end of myself that I can begin to truly rely and depend on you. In that moment, it becomes obvious I need to trust you because I cannot dig my way out on my own.

God, help me to find contentment in these tired moments. When I can be content and trust you in the trenches, I know I can trust you in any situation.

"Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me." -Philippians 4:11-13

Lord, when I can find contentment in any situation and trust you with the details, I know I will begin to find true rest... in you.

"Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” - Matthew 11:29-30

Thank you Lord, for the hope, fulfillment and peace you offer that surpasses all understanding.

In Jesus' name, Amen.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Road Trip Game Plan

Today is the day! We've been counting down the days until we leave for our big (17 hour) road trip to Grandma's house!

I grew up going on road trips, and I think they're a lot of fun, a grand adventure. When I suggested it to Eriek, he looked at me like I was certifiably insane. He kept reminding me that we have three children (3, 2, and 5 months). Therefore it must be deemed impossible, or just plain nuts, to attempt such a certain catastrophe.

After analyzing every possible way to get to Grandma's house, the road trip was the most feasible, so we committed to it. Eriek immediately turned white and may still in a mild state of shock and fear. Although it seems to have settled into a comfortable state of denial. He may have to get treated for PTSD after we get home.

However, I am a most positive and determined individual, well, perhaps stubborn is a more accurate description. So I poured every spare minute into hunting down ideas to keep our toddlers entertained without melting their brains to mush via 17 hours of movies (which Eriek may or may not have suggested we do).

Armed with Pinterest, I gathered items and made several fun things to occupy the girls and hopefully make the trip fun and memorable. I'll let you know once we get to Grandma's how it REALLY all plays out, but until then, I'll give you a snippet of some of the things we have come up with.

Countdown Calendar

We mentioned about a month ago to the girls that we were driving to Grandma's house. After that, every time we got in the car, Zoe asked if we were driving to Grandma's house and would get upset when we said "No." So, We decided to make a simple little calendar that the girls could help cross off each day as we got closer. It helped A TON, and it seems to have gotten them even more excited. You'll notice we didn't bother with dates. But the girls can count a bit, so we just put how many days were left. Although we're now leaving a day earlier, but they didn't mind at all.



 How Much Farther?

I LOVE this idea! It's a visual to help the girls understand how much farther we have to go until we reach Grandma's house. It's supposed to help keep the dreaded "Are we there yet?" hounding to a minimum, but even if that doesn't work, it seems to be a fun teaching tool.

I made our minivan complete with family inside ready to travel! I printed up a picture for each segment of the trip, and as we see the pictures or get to that point on the journey, we'll move the minivan past that picture. Everything is hanging by a paperclip so they can be easily moved, however we already discovered that our minivan went crashing into landmarks, so I re-secured everything with clothes pins.

 We're ready! At least our pictures are happy even if our attitudes might not be.
  
 Each main segment of the trip is represented.
Our target- Grandma & Papa Dave's house!

Trip Map

I found this great free printable of the states over at I Heart Organizing. They can color in the states or just follow along the route I drew in.


I Spy

Of course we had to include I Spy for the girls! It's like a road trip right of passage. I found these great free printables at Prepared Not Scared. And I saw the adorable DIY binoculars at DIY Home Sweet Home. The girls picked out the duct tape and I went to town with a couple of toilet paper rolls.


Dry Erase Markers

It seems so simple, but it's brilliant. I'm not even sure where I read the idea, but thank you to whoever suggested it! I found these little dry erase markers with erasers on the top at the dollar store, and they work great on sheet protectors. So the girls can cross off things they see on their I Spy games or color on the states or just doodle, erase and redo. Love it.


Magnetic Travel Trays

So another simple, yet brilliant idea is the magnetic travel tray. You take a cheap cookie sheet and it you can use magnetic toys on it so they don't fall every two seconds in the car, plus it doubles as a lap tray for coloring, eating, playing, etc and things won't roll off  because of the edges. I found a simple was to make it pretty and fun over at My Kind of Makeover. I found all the toys at the dollar store and slapped magnet strips on the bottom.


Lacing Cards

I think this is a great idea for little ones learning fine motor skills. Activity Village had awesome free printables of all kinds of animals. I let the girls pick which ones they wanted.


Neck Pillows

I have no idea if these will work well in the car, but they were adorable. My girls love elephants, so at the very least, they will play with them. And I had to get Zadok a matching pair of straps.


Glow Things

While He was Napping had some great ideas. Unfortunately I ran out of time to make the play dough balloons and pom pom stuffers, but I scooped up some glow bracelets and necklaces from the dollar store for driving at night. They love flashlights and all things glow, so this is sure to be a hit! I just hope it doesn't backfire and keep them up longer.



So there you have it, the highlights of our game plan. The Little Man has some knew toys I'll break out on the trip, too. And yes, we did some fun new movies for the girls: Mary Poppins, Horton Hears a Who, and Ice Age Melt Down. Plus their favorites just in case.

Don't worry, I will definitely post about the trip if we survive to Iowa. If you'd like to follow along with our real-time shenanigans, though, follow me on Facebook or Twitter.

And all prayers are greatly appreciated... especially for Eriek! Ha!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Like A Girl

I am a girl. And I was just like the young girls in this video who didn't yet understand the insult. I was the girl who won pull up contests against the boys in elementary school. I was also the girl who was told numerous times that she wasn't good enough, that she was too tall or too old or too... whatever.

At first they made me doubt. Then they made me angry. Eventually they became fuel to my fire.

I run like a girl. I jump like a girl. I lift weights like a girl. I dive off three story buildings like a girl. And I win Olympic gold medals like a girl.

I now have two little girls that I want to raise to see the beauty in being all that a girl can be in whatever path she chooses. In our house, we're rewriting the rules.

Thank you Always for making this video to rewrite what it means to be "Like A Girl."




Friday, June 13, 2014

Let It Go- A Mom Parody

Granger Community Church up in Indiana posted this great video last month. Over Mother's Day weekend they performed this mom parody to Let It Go from the movie Frozen. Dads, I'm sure you can relate too, and you might enjoy singing these lyrics instead as you watch the movie with your kids again for the millionth time, probably this weekend for Father's Day.







Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Ignorant Parent- Father's Day

I'm excited to share a new series, The Ignorant Parent, with you!  Some friends and I thought it would be fun to write from our different perspectives on various topics. Our goal is to encourage you when you need to be lifted up, to show you hope in every situation, to let you know that you are never alone and to glorify God with the stories that He has written for our lives. For more background on who we are and how we know each other, check out our bio page.

Today's topic is Father's Day.


Danielle

Happy Father's Day to all those dads out there! I don't know about you, but becoming a parent surely made me appreciate Father's Day, and Mother's Day for that matter, so much more. I have a greater appreciation for the long nights and fun-filled days. I have a greater appreciation for all the hard work done for my benefit. And I have a great appreciation for the patience and unconditional love I received. I've asked my dad how he was able to be so patient, gentle, and kind with us ALL THE TIME, and he just says we were good kids. Well, I thin he was actually just an exceptionally wonderful father! Thank you, Dad- I love you!

My husband's and my first Father's Day as parents was one I will never forget. It was just three days after our first son was born, and because he was in the NICU and so sick, we had been restricted from holding him for almost 72 hours. The morning of Father's Day, the nurses told us our son was strong enough to be held and we all decided my husband would be the first to hold him. It was the best first Father's Day gift he could have ever received.

Since the day we became pregnant, my husband has been a phenomenal father and husband to me as a mother. He is quite involved in the day-to-day operations of our household and wouldn't have it any other way. He's the one who does the laundry and packs the boys' backpacks. He's the one who takes them to school, checks in with teacher, gives goodbye kisses and thumbs up. And after a long day at work, he's the one picks them up, brings them home, and gets dinner going. He reads stories before bed and rocks them to sleep. He goes on "Daddy Dates" with our boys and tells them that we are his best friends, well, us and Jesus. And when my boys look back, they will see a father that was always there and present in the tiniest details of their lives. They will see a father who loved their mother Oh. So. Well. And they will see a father who desired with all of his heart to show them the love of Christ.

 Josh's first Father's Day with Keller in the NICU.

Amy

My husband is a Rock Star. Well, maybe not to you but certainly to me. You have probably never heard of his songs, or his band, or had the pleasure of listening to the lonesome wail of his electric guitar. But if you have, you know it's a sounds you will never forget. Because he has the uncanny ability to transfer the feeling of sorrow, joy, love and pleasure into his fingertips, the sounds leave you breathless and yearning.

Jason the rock star.

Playing in a packed venue.

You might think this is how I met him. At a crowded show amongst screaming fans. But it was actually quite uneventful. The world didn't stop. There were no fireworks (at first). This was real life. My girlfriend had pointed him out earlier because, frankly, he was staring a hole into me. I decided I would ignore him. I was not in the market. I had newfound freedom from a previous relationship and wanted to know what single life at the University of Alabama had in store for me. However, God had another plan. He approached me in a bar as I watched my friend walk across the street to her apartment. He thought I was leaving and asked if he could buy me a drink. I politely declined. Here is where he stole my heart. He simply asked if he could talk to me. How was I supposed to say no? We discussed everything that night. My family, his family, faith, religion, our mutual and very deep love of music, admiration of songwriters and on it went until the sun came up. I love his heart. He felt like home.

Fast forward over 14 years, and he is now the father of our beautiful daughter. This Father's Day is his first. I would love to say I am planning something spectacular. Something he an remember forever. But we are just home with Adelyn Belle a mere six weeks after spending nearly two months in the NICU. My Mother's Day gift, his Father's Day gift, is her. And that's all we need. Oh I have an endearing card that I will fill with sweet words and heartfelt sentiment, but it will never be enough to show how passionate I feel that he is my daughter's father. His transformation from a life on the road and endless nights playing his heart out, to suburban simplicity with a wife and a little one has been nothing short of amazing. Since the first night in the hospital, my husband has shown me what it means to live like Christ. He rushed my daughter's meals to her in the middle of the night. He documented her every move in the NICU while I was recovering from preeclampsia and an emergency cesarean section and could not see her. He made sure I didn't miss her first cries, her tiny feet, her beautiful eyes. He showed me what it meant to love like Christ loves His bride (Ephesians 5:25). He truly died to himself the moment Adelyn was born.

This Father's Day will be special and full of passion. NO, it won't hold the strings of an instrument or the roar of a cheering crowd, but what it will hold is something just as dear and magical- our daughter's coos and sweet cries in the morning, a beautiful song just for Dad.

Jason the Dad, with his daughter Adelyn.

Laura

My dad is Superman. At least that's how I saw him for a long time. He's one of those guys that can figure out how to do everything on his own, and he's always trying on a new hat.

He was a CPA by day but a volunteer fire fighter by night. He flew planes. He sailed a boats. He drove RVs. He was also the most awesome cheerleader a kid could have.

My dad sporting his flag look for the Olympics, always a camcorder in hand.

He seemed invincible to me. I hardly ever remember him even getting a cold. But every Superman has his kryptonite.

I arrived home from a diving competition in Spain to find out my dad had a stroke while I was gone. To top it off, I had just three days at home before heading out to the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. My head was spinning with the news. I just couldn't fit "Superdad" and "stroke" together. I was scared to leave.

Fortunately it was caught very early, so he was fine and even able to go to the Olympics. But my view of my dad began to change. Not in a bad way, maybe just a softer way. He became a little less "super hero" in my mind, but he became a lot more real and tangible. I think it made me appreciate all the amazing things he does even more because he is actually a mortal dad that does super stuff on the side. Now that is pretty heroic.

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there! May your day be super!


Elizabeth

Father's Day. So many holidays give us reason to celebrate the fun of life and special people in our lives. When you think of Father's Day, do you think about your relationship with your dad? Your husband? Your brother? How about the one Father who created our hearts to celebrate and our love we celebrate with? We are all children, some of us have children, giving us an amazing perception of love and respect for the earthly fathers we know. Or maybe you don't think you have a reason to join the celebration or you don't feel respected, cherished, protected the way you should. We are each planted into a divine family. He is orchestrating this heavenly family with each one of us designed on purpose. God wants us intentionally seeking a relationship with Him because...

"Because you are precious in my eyes,
    and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
    peoples in exchange for your life.

Fear not, for I am with you;
    I will bring your offspring from the east,
    and from the west I will gather you.
I will say to the north, Give up,

    and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring my sons from afar
    and my daughters from the end of the earth,
everyone who is called by my name,

    whom I created for my glory,
    whom I formed and made.”
 Bring out the people who are blind, yet have eyes,
    who are deaf, yet have ears!
All the nations gather together,

    and the peoples assemble.
Who among them can declare this,
    and show us the former things?
Let them bring their witnesses to prove them right,
    and let them hear and say, It is true.
“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord,

    “and my servant whom I have chosen,
that you may know and believe me
    and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
    nor shall there be any after me.
I, I am the Lord,

    and besides me there is no savior."

-Isaiah 43:4-11