Six Years as Mrs. Hutcheson

This post is going to be a bit sappy. But, to be fair, I hardly ever post mushy love posts and it’s my anniversary so cut me some slack. =)

Six years ago on August 7, 2009 I made the second best decision of my life – I married Drew (the very best decision of my life being to give it to Christ!). I had no idea how to be a wife, no idea what marriage was really like, no idea how to truly set aside my selfishness for the good of another person. But I jumped into marriage with both feet and faced the steep learning curve. Let me tell you, marriage is not for the faint of heart. Choosing to combine your life with someone for better or for worse is not an easy task considering the sinful state of human nature. But it’s worth the work because marriage can be refining, healing, beautiful, and fun!

God says that marriage is GOOD:

He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord. Proverbs 18:22 

I’m so glad God gave me the good gift of Drew. Is he perfect? Nope. But he’s perfect for me. He is weak where I’m strong and he is strong where I’m weak. He balances me out and helps me think from a different perspective. In marriage it’s easy to get stuck on the little annoying things your spouse does. But a few years into our marriage I realized how silly it was to pick fights over how to squeeze the toothpaste tube (FYI: Drew and I now have our own SEPARATE tubes of toothpaste because we finally decided to just agree to disagree!!! =)). But seriously, I’d rather save up my energy to fight battles that really matter, like conquering sin with each other’s help or fighting through difficult life circumstances together.

We’ve done a lot in our six years of marriage. We’ve lived in two different countries, three states, and six different houses. We’ve had three children, completed an international adoption, and lived in Africa for a year. We have said hurtful things to each other and we have forgiven and been forgiven. We have had a blast together on numerous crazy adventures and we have laughed together till our sides hurt.

Interested in a healthy marriage? Listen to this:

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.”

Colossians 3: 12-15

That’s a big pill to swallow!! But the closer to Christ we become the better we are able to love our spouse like this…. and it creates a sweet, sweet marriage.

I must say that my second year of marriage was better than my first, my third year was better than my second, my fourth year was better than my fifth, and my sixth year has been better than them all combined! Our marriage just keeps getting sweeter and sweeter as we continue to learn each other in and out, as we face and overcome trials together, as we walk through valleys and as we rejoice on mountaintops together. There is no one else I would rather live this life with than my very best friend!

Engaged!
Married (we saved our first kiss for our wedding day!)
First Year – Isaiah was born a month and a half after our first anniversary. 
Second year!
Third year! Eloise joined our family!
Fourth year!
Fifth year! Olive joined our family!
And Sixth Year!

I love seeing how our family has grown, our love has strengthened, and our lives have changed in these six short years. And I look forward to the next 6 (and 16 and 60 years, God willing!!).

Advertisements

Do What Makes You Oh-So Happy (Not)

I came across this cute little sign last week while I was browsing the decorations aisle at Target (you know, because I go down that aisle every time I go to Target…). The sign says, “do what makes you oh-so happy”. And as soon as I saw it, I immediately got defensive and thought, “That’s not true! Life is not about doing what makes us happy!”

Even God did and does things that don’t necessarily make Him happy…. sending Jesus to die on the cross comes to mind. God sent Jesus (and He went willingly) to the cross but it was not with happiness over His painful death. It was with deep sorrow that He had to do this to save His creation in the first place. Also, I think about the consequences the Lord bestows upon humans because of sin. I don’t believe He punishes us with happiness but instead with sadness over our disobedience, just as I don’t discipline my children with joy but with grief over the choices they’ve made. God does things that are just and right, not necessarily things that always make Him (or us) happy.

You see, life isn’t really about happiness at all. Sure there will be plenty of happy times! God has given us {SO MANY THINGS} to bring us JOY in this life!!! And because we are children of God, I believe our Father desires happiness for us just as you and I do for our children. But the Bible surely doesn’t teach Christians to do whatever makes them happy. There are many things I can think of that would be fun and would make me super happy but I know, without a doubt, would be against the Word of God. When we live our lives trying to do whatever it takes to make us “oh-so happy” we often end up oh-so miserable in a life of sin. Chasing worldly happiness eventually comes up empty. Because only living a life in obedience to Christ can bring deep, everlasting joy and happiness.

I’d rather do what honors the Lord in the long run than what make me oh-so happy in the moment. How about you?

Hey Dads: A Man of Sayings for the Man of Sorrows

In honor of {Throw Back Thursday}, this Thursday I am posting from our blog The Hutcheson Headline that we used while living in Uganda from 2012-2013. The post below was originally published by Drew on February 27, 2012. You can view it here if you’d like to see the original version.


Because Father’s Day is just around the corner, I thought that this Throw Back Thursday Post should honor one of the best dad’s I know – my husband! In looking through our old blog for a TBT post for today I came across this post where Drew listed some of the sayings that he lives by and teaches his kids. I can attest that Drew truly is a man of sayings. He is currently teaching the kids The Two P’s – Patience and Perseverance. Both Isaiah and Eloise know The Two P’s and what they mean!

I am incredibly blessed to have such a wonderful man as my husband and the father of my children. I am so thankful for the time that he invests in training our children in the Lord and how he aims to leave them a godly legacy. I’m so proud of that man! 

Happy Father’s Day!


Hey Dads: A Man of Sayings for the Man of Sorrows

Below is my collection thus far of some quotes, one-liners, and their explanation (if need be) I have collected from others over the years and or have created from something I’ve learned. I want to instill these into my children.
“Envy is the seed of discontentment; it gives birth to chaos!” – From James 3:16
“Teach-ability is the posture of humility.”
“You can have the best jam in town, but if you spread it on too thin, the toast is no good.” – Stewart Hamrick, on spreading yourself too thin in life.
“God will not protect you from anything he will perfect you through.” – Bill Muntz on losing his toddler son to a drowning accident.
“Per-se-vere is a three syllable word. Just as ‘life’.” Referring to life being birth, living, and dying and that trials will come. But we’re to persevere well through all 3 eras.
“Unresolved anger is like bad coffee.” Referring to unresolved anger or bitterness being like coffee on the burner for too long. If you drink pop over coffee, then it’s like pop that’s gone flat.
“Discipline is doing what needs to be done, how it needs to be done, when it needs to be done, regardless of how you feel.” – Ron Sauer, Greek Prof at Moody Bible Institute
“Cheer for the team, even in defeat.” – On loyalty
“Do > Say.” – On James 1, being a person of action makes for more influence than merely a person of words.
“Be offensive towards defensiveness.” – Referring to being a person who takes ownership of mistakes.

“Who cares if God doesn’t?” – On learning in life what matters to the Lord.

Leaving a legacy our children will be proud to carry on is a more difficult feat to conquer than ever. Amidst so many distractions our world promotes today, it is more of a sheer fight to focus on what really matters most.

You can easily look at one’s Twitter or Facebook page and easily see where their priorities are. No, I’m not trying to play the role of judge nor cirtic. I just often find many disclosing things virally which are a tad weightless and vain. Do you agree? (And I myself have been victim of this.)



Having said this, one thing I have come to want to be known for by Isaiah and future children, as well as friends and family, is to be a man of sayings for the Man of sorrows. Simply meaning, I want to have several expressions, phrases, figure of speech which I collect or create which teach a life-lesson, a principal, or a token of character. They don’t have to be from the Bible or even from a Christian. But, I would love for the greater portion of them to help me and those who hear me say them live life well, and in turn, reflect the work God has done in me through his cultivating grace.

Trying to conquer fixing the sink together.

As I am a young father, I write this post with other young dads, older dads, and future ones in mind. As we’re all terminal, and as life is such a blink, seemingly smoke on a mirror, it will be what we did and were known for which lives on following our passing. What is so awesome is that even our words are seeds which give birth to action in the lives of others. Hence, what we say and how we say it hold great potential in leading others in how they may live. Therefore, I want to be known not merely for the things I do, but for what I say.

If you have any that you could add to the list or you say often, I’d like to know – so please share!

A Good Reminder

“God

does not promise

to lead us in paths of

prosperity or popularity,

paths of

comfort or temporary happiness.

He promises to lead us in

paths of righteousness,

which means

God will sometimes lead us into

pain

and

discomfort

for our holiness.

And this is good for us.

It is good because

in those moments

we hold tightly to Him

and in those moments

we are conformed more

to the image of His Son.

This results in our joy.

— Eric Geiger

Is God Really Good?

When I was in college I specifically prayed, numerous times, that God would do whatever it took to keep me in a growing relationship with Him. I remember adding (reluctantly) that I really meant {WHATEVER} it took……

I’ve been thinking about that prayer a lot lately as I’ve been contemplating our last two years since returning home from Uganda. We’ve experienced numerous trials and hardships in our lives and the lives of our extended family members since then and a question has been on my mind lately- Is God Really Good?

How can God really be “good” when mental illness overtakes the mind of someone you love? When finances are so tight and thing after thing drains your account, never allowing you to get ahead? When a child dies in your womb without ever having the chance to breathe on Earth? When you find out your husband or wife is cheating on you? When you desperately desire to bear children but can’t? When you receive the news that you have just a few months or years to live? When you are overcome with addiction? When relationships dissolve and friends turn to enemies?  When past abuse haunts you? When everything and everyone you’ve ever held dear is stripped from you in a moment of tragedy? The list of terrible things that you or I have experienced in life is long…

So, tell me…. Where is God in all of that? Is He seriously GOOD in all of that BAD?

Yes, He is. Here’s how I know:

The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.
Nahum 1:7
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Psalm 34:8

Not only does the Bible tell me that God is good, but it also tells me that He uses the circumstances in my life for good:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

The Lord your God will then make you successful in everything you do…the Lord will again delight in being good to you.
Deuteronomy 30:9 
 
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good, to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
Genesis 50:20

It’s a difficult concept for Christians in the midst of hardship to wrap their minds around- the concept that God is good even though life sucks. Even when we’re completely hopeless and helpless. Even when it seems that no matter how hard we try things just get worse. God’s there. He’s good in the middle of it all. And in the middle of it all He’s working everything for our good.

BUT, there’s an important thing to remember: God’s good often doesn’t look like how we think our good should look. If I was running my life you better believe there are lots of good things that I would include in my story and many not so good things I would leave out. But God is infinitely smarter and more wise than me and is working out my story for a greater good I may not or cannot ever understand. He has a birds-eye view of His creation and can see how every circumstance affects another. What happens in my life may be for the good of another person. Or for my good down the road, or for the good of humanity. No matter what, I can be assured that God will use each situation in my life for His glory! And, if I allow it to, that not-so-good situation can stretch and grow me and make me more like Jesus. It can give me understanding to comfort someone else in a similar position. It can bring healing to deep parts of a heart that can only be healed through exposing old wounds. I may never know why things I consider “bad” happen, but I can choose to believe GOD IS GOOD and HAS MY GOOD IN MIND no matter what.

When I prayed years ago that God would do whatever it took to keep me close to Him, I knew that one of the things that has an amazing ability to bring people back to the Lord is trials. Hardships bring us to our knees and force us to either deepen our faith in Christ or reject Him all together. Your life may not be going the way you planned it but it’s going exactly the way God planned it. How awesome is it that God loves us enough that He will use every circumstance in our lives for His glory and our ultimate good and growth in Him! I cannot understand why God allows so much evil in this world, but I will choose to let trials and hardships build in me a stronger relationship with the Lord. And I can only do that if I trust in God’s goodness.

For no one is abandoned by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion because of the greatness of his unfailing love. For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow.
Lamentations 3:31-33

The Hutchesons are Homeowners!

That’s right…. We just bought our VERY. FIRST. HOME! Wahooo!!!!

I’m so excited to take you on a picture tour of the house but I don’t have time right now! We’re busy painting and doing a few projects before we officially move in mid-December. I promise more pictures will come soon, though!

So excited… We have the keys!

We are so {grateful} to the Lord for his provision in our lives and so excited to get into a place that has more than 1 bedroom and 875 sq feet of space. While we’ve enjoyed our little apartment since we moved to Florida three months ago, the kids are anxious to have a little more space to run! =)

The kids have LOTS of room to run, both inside and outside, in our new house!

We were originally scheduled to close on the house in October (will tell you that story later) but our closing date got pushed to today… and what wonderful timing. With tomorrow being Thanksgiving, what a wonderful blessing we have to be thankful for!!

And, if you’re in the market for a Realtor in the Jacksonville area, Kimberly King is A-MAZING. Seriously, cannot say enough good about her!!
“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” 
Joshua 24:15


How to Pack a Shoebox

It’s that time of year again! Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child time! Have you ever packed a shoebox for them? If not, this year would be a great year to start!

Not familiar with Operation Christmas Child? The cute video below will fill you in on this great organization!! (And even if you know what Operation Christmas Child is, the video is still pretty cute to watch.)

Need more information? Check this out:

How to Pack a Shoebox

  1. SHOEBOX

    Use an empty cardboard or plastic shoebox (average size). You can wrap the box, lid separately, but wrapping is not required.
  2. BOY OR GIRL

    Decide whether your gift will be for a boy or a girl, and the age category: 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14. Download and print the appropriate boy/girl label. Mark the correct age category and tape the label to the top of your box.
  3. FILL WITH GIFTS

    Fill the box with a variety of gifts that will bring delight to a child (see Gift Suggestions below).
  4. INCLUDE $7 DONATION PER BOX

    Help cover shipping and other costs related to delivering your shoeboxes to children overseas by donating $7 for each gift you prepare. You can give online to discover the destination of your box. Or, you can write a check to Samaritan’s Purse (note “OCC” on the memo line) and place it in an envelope on top of the items inside your shoebox. If you are preparing multiple gifts, please make one combined donation. Note: Follow Your Box is only available through online giving.
  5. PRAY

    Ask God to use your gifts to show His love to the child who will receive your shoebox.
  6. DROP OFF

    Place a rubber band around each closed shoebox and bring it to the drop-off location nearest you during National Collection Week, November 17–24, 2014. Visit our Drop-off Locations pageto find the closest collection site. Or, call 1-800-353-5949.

Collection dates this year are November 17-24 so you still have time to get a box together! To find drop off locations in your city click here. The boxes get shipped all around the world!

Need some gift suggestions? I’m glad you asked!!

Gift Suggestions

  • TOYS: Include items that children will immediately embrace such as dolls, toy cars, stuffed animals, kazoos, harmonicas, yo-yos, jump ropes, balls, toys that light up and make noise (with extra batteries), etc.
  • SCHOOL SUPPLIES: pens, pencils and sharpeners, crayons, markers, notebooks, paper, solar calculators, coloring and picture books, etc.
  • NON-LIQUID HYGIENE ITEMS: toothbrushes, bar soap, combs, washcloths, etc.
  • ACCESSORIES: t-shirts, socks, hats, sunglasses, hair clips, jewelry, watches, flashlights (with extra batteries), etc.
  • A PERSONAL NOTE: You may enclose a note to the child and a photo of yourself or your family. If you include your name and address, the child may be able to write back.
  • DO NOT INCLUDE: Used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives or military figures; chocolate or food; out-of-date candy; liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers; aerosol cans.

This year was fun for our family because Isaiah and Eloise were old enough pick out exactly what they wanted to get their little boy and little girl for Christmas. We took a special trip to the store just to buy presents and everything they picked out, we bought! It was hard for them to understand at first, especially Eloise, that they were not picking out gifts for themselves but for someone else. But once they got the hang of it, they were running around the store and putting toy after toy in the cart all while saying things like, “That little boy will LOVE this” and “Mom, that girl must be a princess, she needs this.” I loved seeing their excitement to give!

This year we made two boxes, one for a girl age 2-4 and one for a boy age 2-4. We included things such as a barbie doll, toy cars, notebooks, glitter gel pens, books, combs, beads, hair clips, coloring books, stickers, socks, toothbrushes, washcloth, headbands, candy… and more! We also included a hand written card for each child and a picture of our family. I chose the option to pay the $7 per box shipping charge online here, which will allow us to track our boxes and see which countries they end up in! How cool!

Not feeling like you have the time to put a box together this year? You can fill up a virtual shoe box online in just a few minutes! Click here for more information.

What better thing could we teach our children this Christmas season than how to GIVE rather than GET??

 

Cutting the paper to wrap our boxes. Please note that this is not required, just something we wanted to do. If you do decide to wrap the box, make sure to wrap the lid and the box separately.
Eloise and Olive packing up a box for a little girl.
Isaiah’s card for his little boy and a picture
Isaiah’s box!
Eloise’s card and picture.
Elle’s box!

One Year of Blogging!

Not only is today Olive’s half birthday, but today is also my blog’s 1st Birthday!!!

I’ve been blogging on this little blog of mine for one year and boy, what a year it has been! I survived a bitterly cold Michigan winter, I had a baby, we moved our family to Florida, and we’re in the process of buying our first home. Life is never dull in the Hutcheson household!

I just want to take a minute to say thank you to all my readers! Thank you for reading my posts, for commenting, for sending sweet e-mails, for encouraging me to keep writing! I couldn’t have kept at this without your kind words!

I hope that you’ll follow along with me as I continue to share the funny, crazy, tiring, exciting, terrifying, and amazing story that God is writing called MY LIFE!

Dear Tired Mama

Dear Tired Mama,

I know. I know your baby kept you up half the night. I know she wanted either a snack or a snuggle every two hours. I know your toddlers fought all day. I know it seems that you are constantly disciplining and not only do you constantly doubt that you are disciplining the “right way” but it seems that nothing you do or say seems to impact them anyways. I know the munchkins destroyed the house and you picked it up 9 times. I know they cried when they didn’t get their way. I know you did 5 loads of laundry, cleaned the toilet, and made dinner all while your children were ungrateful and wanted you to do more (like play with them…who has time for that?!). I know you have either been home alone all day with them and feel like you may go insane for lack of adult interaction or you have worked at a stressful job all day only to come home to more work on the home front. I know it seems like you are constantly wiping either a bottom or a nose. I know your children decide to fight and scream and desperately “NEED” you every time you are on the phone. I know your baby wants you to hold her just when you are trying to get something done. I know you always have to be watching to make sure she doesn’t play in the dog food or put a Lego in her mouth. You are always on guard. I know sometimes your sweet little ones won’t nap and don’t allow you to get anything done. I know sometimes you feel like you live in a tiny little kingdom controlled by an army that you made yourself! I know. I’ve been there. I’m there.

These days are tiring, but I am choosing not to let the difficulty of these days take away from their sweetness. Babies are only little for a while.

I remember when we brought our first child home and I felt like I could get nothing done. I was always looking for ways to get him to sleep longer or play on his own longer. Now, four years later, I look at him and wonder where time went?  I thought those sleepless nights and busy days would last forever. And yet somehow he’s so independent, so grown up. He sleeps soundlessly through the night and plays on his own during the day. He doesn’t need me as much as he used to.

Tired Mama, let them be little. Because they’re only that way for a while. In the blink of an eye they grow up. My oldest is only four and I know he has SOOO much more growing up to do. But I can already look back and realize that these years FLY by.

With my second I held her a little more. I cherished her sweet “babyness” a little more. I tried not to let the days slip by so fast. I rocked her a little longer at bed time. I told her I loved her a little more often.

With my third, now 5 months old, I admit that I let her sleep with me often at night. Sometimes, I just can’t bare to put her back in her bed. I take pictures of her sweet face sleeping on my chest. I trace her face with my finger, trying to memorize it’s baby softness. I start to cry if I think about her big siblings and how fast they have grown up, knowing she is doing the same thing.

Try and enjoy these days, Tired Mama. They will be gone before you know it. Kiss those sweet babies more often. Hold them a little longer at bed time. Don’t yell when they get out of bed for “a drink of water” and then “they have to go pee pee” and then “they need a snack.” They just love you so much they can’t bare to part with you at bed time. When your baby wants you to hold her constantly, strap on a baby carrier and go about your day. There will come a day when your “baby” doesn’t even want you to drop them off closer than one block away from school, let alone hold her all day! When she wakes up at night, of course there is nothing wrong with sleep training, but remember also to cherish those sweet times with just the two of you. Your baby will eventually sleep through the night.

There is scarcely anything more important in your life right now than raising your children. Your job IS incredible. You ARE making a difference in the lives of your children and impacting future generations to come. Be encouraged. Take heart. These days are long and tiring now but they won’t be forever. Make the most of your time with your children now because you can never ever EVER get these days back.

Some day you will look back on your life and evaluate it. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’m going to say, “I wish I had held my children less, made them grow up faster, and spent more time wishing away their childhood so that life could get easier.”

Go kiss your babies right now. Love on them. Enjoy them. Try not to stress so much over the little things. Try not to blow up when the days don’t go like you had planned. This is a season of life that will soon pass. Enjoy it while you can.

Love,

A Tired Mama

 

 

“So let them be little ’cause they’re only that way for a while

 

 

Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day
Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle
Oh just let them be little”
-Let Them be Little by Billy Dean (redone by Lonestar)

 

 

I Trust You, Jesus

There are four words that the Lord has been teaching me to say and {believe} this past year. They are:

Trust 
You, 
Jesus

These four words became very meaningful in my life in early January of this year. It was then that God really grabbed a hold of my heart again and I felt convicted that I wasn’t spending the quality and quantity of one on one time with Him that I should. So on January 3, 2014 I decided to start getting up before the rest of my family and having  my quiet time before the craziness of the day began. It hasn’t always been easy to do it, but it really does set the tone for the whole day and I’ve seen so much growth in God when I spend time with Him ALONE (not easy to do when you have three kids!).
It was on January 4 that I was challenged in my devotional (Jesus Calling by Sarah Young) to respond to whatever happens in life by saying, “I trust You, Jesus.” 
The phrase “I trust You, Jesus” stuck and ever since then I’ve found myself often repeating those words when things don’t seem to go as I had hoped or planned.
Praise Jesus that He is all powerful and worthy of my trust! Praise the Lord that I have Someone who knows me inside and out and is working all things together for my good! I don’t need to worry or fret. I can let it all go. It’s incredibly relieving! 
Folks, God is {REAL}. He is {PRESENT}. He {UNDERSTANDS} our circumstances. He is filled with {COMPASSION} {LOVE} and {JUSTICE}. And most importantly of all, He can be {TRUSTED}! No matter what. No matter when. 
Say it with me, “I Trust You, Jesus!” It’s freeing isn’t it!?!?!