Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Crazy Times!!

Seriously, I don't know how anyone can blog in the month of December. Only those who are highly organized and talented. I don't think I fall into that category this month. However, I am so aware of how quickly time is passing, I at least want to try to give an overview!!!

We've decorated cookies....

gone "dumpster diving" (well, some of us, anyway...)

had some good, clean fun with the cousins....

had ourselves a sleepover!!

did some Bible reading along with our advent calendar....

saw the new Veggie Tale movie (Saint Nicholas) with friends over...

went to church...

loved on Grandma...

decorated Grandma and Grandpa's tree with the cousins...

more fun with more cousins...

sang songs about Jesus!!...

decorated MORE cookies!!...

were SO thankful for SO many things....
played games, delivered apple butter to neighbors and friends, and so much more...
It's a wonderful life.
The only words I have come from my current favorite worship song......
"I can't sing loud enough, when I'm singing for You my God...
I can't bow low enough at the vision of You my God....
I can't lift my hands high enough when I'm reaching for You my God."

Friday, December 18, 2009

Deja Vu

Sorry, I couldn't add the little marks on my post title. =)
But, seriously, don't you get the feeling, you have seen this face before??

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Rockin' My World...

Life seems to be flying by! Also, pictures take forever to upload to the blog, so it makes taking the time to blog something that more daunting. I will try to catch up soon, but for now, I just wanted to share the lyrics to a song. A couple of weeks ago, we had a Women's Night of Worship at our church. It was a perfect opportunity to stop amidst the business and just refocus our hearts on Christ. This song does that for me too... Emma and I sing it at the top of our lungs in the car, over and over. No other songs right now, since if I don't start it over, Emma will ask me to.

"God is With Us" (on the Casting Crowns Christmas CD)
The skies don't seem to be as dark as usual
The stars seem brighter then they've been before
Deep within I feel my soul a stirring
As though my hope has been restored
The shepherds say they've heard the voice of angels
Confirming rumors spread across the land
That a child protected well from Herod's anger
Is our Father's Son, and the son of man

Love is raining down on the world tonight
There's a presence here I can tell
God is in us, God is for us, God is with us
He's the Savior we have been praying for
In our humble hearts He will dwell
God is in us, God is for us, God is with us

I feel compelled to tell all who will listen
That peace on earth is not so out of reach
If we can find grace, mercy and forgiveness
He has come to save, He is all of these...

You're the Savior we have been praying for
In our humble hearts You will dwell
You are in us, You are for us, You are with us

Click this link to hear the song...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Point of View...

For school work, the kids have been preparing to rewrite a fairy tale from a different point of view. I was printing out the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears for Emma, and she wanted to tell the story from the point of view of Goldilocks. As I was printing it out, I was telling Emma that she might need to pick another point of view, since the story is kind of already told from her point of view. Emma said, "No, Mom, it is told from the point of view of the Narrator!"
Oh. Okay.

Monday, November 30, 2009

My Update...

It's always hard to know when you're blogging, if people want to read about the kids, or if they are interested in what goes on with me too. But, I figure that one of the main reasons that I try to keep up with the blogging is for my own personal record keeping. =) So, here is the update on me.

I recently finished reading a book called "Created to be his Help Meet." (Sorry, I still don't know how to underline on here!!) Anyhow, I finally figured out what was bothering me about the book... I just felt like there was not nearly enough Jesus in the book!! She had some really, really good things to say (hard things to hear) about the relationship between a husband and wife. So I didn't disagree with the end point, so to speak, of what she was talking about, but I don't think that I agree with the path to that end, in the way it was presented. I really feel that as I whole-heartedly pursue Jesus, and treasure Him above all things, that He will bring me into a relationship of submission to my husband that will look radical to some, and her portrait of this beautiful submission was a good one. I just felt like there was not enough emphasis on the personal relationship I MUST have with Jesus Christ, and allowing His Holy Spirit to empower and enable me to submit in a loving way. And, if I am submitted to Christ, and sensitive to His Spirit, then I can be the helper that my husband needs.
But, I got some really beneficial things from the book as well. One great thing was just a reminder that the husband is the head of woman, as Christ is the head of the church. I am still thinking about the far-reaching implications of this... But, it was funny to me that I have always prayed that God would cause my heart to care about the things that He cares about... I just never correlated that concept to my relationship with my husband. God graciously gave me a chance to practice this. Ben came home and was really excited about Kettlebells. They are these cannon-like balls, with handles on them used for exercise, and primarily concerned with correct body movement. There was a free 3 hour workshop on kettlebells and he wanted me to go with him. I decided to put what I had been reading into practice and attend the workshop with Ben. As we were done, he was SOOO excited, telling me what great fun he had with me, and that I was his best friend. We really had a great time, and needless to say... I'm into kettlebells! =)

I read Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ (John Piper), which was perfect as a daily devotional-type reading. Each short chapter focuses on an aspect of Jesus, like his wisdom, his sufferings, etc. It was a great way to start the day, really thinking about my dear Savior.

Now, I am reading 50 Reasons Why Jesus Had to Die (Piper) as another devotional. The chapters are really short, only a page or so of reading.
I am also reading Finally Alive (that's a lot of John Piper!!!) which is all about what it means to be Born Again. It's also been so encouraging, and really interesting to be thinking about what really happens in the process of regeneration.
"The research is not finding that born again people are permeated with worldliness; the research is finding that the church is permeated by people who are not born again."

Ben and I have been reading through the Bible chronologically. We jumped in towards the end of the year, so we will really just read the New Testament chronologically, and then pick up the Old Testament next year. But, it has been so neat, and so interesting, and a great fit since the kids and I are reading Genesis.

And last, but not least, Ben and I just signed up for a course called Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. It looks like it will be pretty intense, and we will be going Tuesday nights from 6:30-9:30 pm. We just really felt like this was such an awesome opportunity, and such a great fit for the other things that God is working out in our hearts. Plus, it will be so neat to go through this together!! I am so excited.

So, that's what I've been reading.... what are you reading??? =) I'd love to hear.


This morning, we were reading the beginning of Genesis, chapter 24. This is such a cool story, of how Abraham's servant goes to find a wife for Isaac, and the Lord leads him to Rebekah. We had a great time talking about it this morning, and it provided a great opportunity to pray for the future spouses of the kids. Emma and Caleb prayed for their future spouses, and then Noah said, "I didn't say MY prayer!" So, he took his turn praying....
"Thank you God for giraffes, and knights, and ninja turtles."
What a blessing it is, to enjoy these special moments with them. I am so privileged to share in their learning adventure, and it has been quite the adventure for Ben and I as well. I don't think a day goes by where I don't learn SOMETHING. Even if it is just a reminder that my own heart is desperately wicked and in need of the regenerating power of the Spirit of Christ!!

Anyhow...Here are some pictures of our recent days. Emma was my special helper for our little family Thanksgiving. We had turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, rolls, and pumpkin pie.
We had a great family bike ride to the park, and had a little picnic while we read our missionary story (about the Tila Indians in Mexico). Emma had met a little friend, so she came and joined us for a snack and to listen to our story.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Quotes of the morning...

....From Noah
(Praying at breakfast)
"Thank you God for Christmas trees, and guns. Thank you God, Amen."

Coming out of the bathroom:
"My bottom smells MINTY!!"

This is a few weeks ago, Caleb had to scrub the kitchen floor as part of his discipline. When I was putting him to bed that night, I told him what a wonderful job he did!! This was his response:
"Mom, I'm glad I learned how to scrub the kitchen floor well, so that I can learn how to be a good daddy!"

Emma, praying before bed:
"Dear God, please help us to get lots and lots of money so that we can adopt an orphan from another country."

And Caleb, on the way home last night (we have been studying Egypt in schoolwork):
"Mom, I think we should adopt an orphan from Egypt."

Saturday, November 14, 2009


It was long overdue. We actually were going to cut more, but momma's heart just wasn't ready. =)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Surfer Psalm

We have been studying the Shepherd's Psalm, which was also the theme for the women's retreat I went to (isn't it neat how God works those things out??). Anyway, we didn't go to Groups (our homeschool co-op) because Ezra had developed a little fever. So, we ended up taking the kids down to the beach for some scooter time. We marveled at the power of the waves, and we sat in awe and praise of our Savior, Jesus. And so, as we sat there, we all worked together on this, our little Surfer Psalm:

The Lord is my strong ocean,
Beautiful and blue,
The birds fly over it.
In the midst of Your presence, I am satisfied.
Your Spirit guides and directs and pushes me in the ways of righteousness,
For Your name's sake.
If You did not draw us, clothe us in the wetsuit of Christ's righteousness, and set us firmly upon Your truth,
Who, O Lord, could stand?
Yea, though I paddle, and paddle, and catch no waves,
I will fear no sharks!!
The waves and the creatures of the sea,
They bow to You, O Lord!
Your wetsuit, a garment of warm comfort and peace,
And your surfboard, which is Your truth,
They comfort me, they protect me, they prepare me to go out!!
You plant my feet firmly in Your truth,
So I am not tossed about by the wind.
You anoint me with Your Holy Spirit,
Which lovingly, and powerfully carries me upon Your truth.
The long, enduring ride,
And the totally awesome barrel,
They restore my soul.
My "stoke" runs over!
Surely, your waves of mercy and the power of Your might shall follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in Your presence and declare Your splendid glory forever.
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord,
As the waters cover the sea.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Long overdue...

Well, what can I say??? I think I am too busy to blog. I'm going to try to catch up, we'll see how that goes.

I went to the Women's Retreat with Reality, and we had a great time. It was not at all what I expected, but it was a good time of putting into practice the things God had been teaching me. Our theme was Psalm 23, and so I don't think I will ever look at that Psalm in the same way. The kids and I have been enjoying a Scripture Songs CD, which includes Psalm 23.

Verses for my season in life:
"Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days!" Psalm 90:14

"Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, For in You do I trust; Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, For I lift up my soul to You. Deliver me, O LORD, from my enemies; In You I take shelter. Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness." Psalm 143:8-10

God has really convicted me (personally) that I have to be with Him first thing. I have to come to Him to be satisfied EARLY. I would never intentionally or knowingly expect my children to meet my needs. But, as I stood back and thought about it, I realized that it meets my needs when the children obey and behave well...etc. So, God really has worked in my heart, that I need for Him to meet my needs, and to satisfy me early with His mercy, so that I can be a person who is free to meet the needs of others, instead of needing others to meet my needs.

"In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul." Psalm 94:19

One of the most disturbing side effects of my medication was anxiety. But, I was learning to trust God, and work on taking my thoughts captive in the midst of this anxiety. BUT, I've been completely off the medication for about a week now, and I'll see the neurologist Wednesday to make sure I'm doing okay. I am so thankful... It seems so silly, but I never did ask God to heal me. Not because I didn't believe Him for it, but because there was such a strong part of me that believed there was a purpose in it, that I didn't want to ask for it to be taken away. But, in the end, God was gracious to answer the prayers of those who have been praying for healing on my behalf. And I don't know how long I will be off the medication, but for now I will just rejoice in the time God gives me without it!!! Thank you Jesus!!

Other than that, we obviously had a busy month with four birthdays just in our immediate family...
And, here's what we ended up with for Halloween. The kids picked out some Bible verses, which I printed on address labels. They labeled all the candy for us to hand out. It was a great "quiet time" activity for Saturday. Caleb said, "Mom, we get to pass out candy AND tell people about Jesus? This is the best Halloween EVER!"

We didn't buy any costumes, just used what we had. We ended up with a penguin, a princess, a Buzz Lightyear, and a Knight. We had to have one!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

3 Years

Noah, our family just wouldn't be the same without you. Today, you are three years old. You are so full of energy and life... we call you the "goofball" of our family. You have what we like to call the "million dollar smile." Tonight, after I was putting you in your bed for... the fourth time, I glanced at the clock and had a quick thought, that maybe I might be just a wee bit tired of getting up and down and up and down, and putting you back in your bed. Just as I got to the doorway, you said, "You are pretty, Mommy." You love trains, and you love when I read stories to you. You LOVE your brother Caleb, and you copy just about everything he does. You two play weapons together and have caught many a bad guy. It will be interesting when Ezra comes in on that scene. =) You LOVE your red blankie, and so far it seems to be the only way we can keep you in your class at church or group solutions.
We are praying that your smile and your "goofiness" will just add to the way that God will use you in the lives of many, to speak the truth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We love you Noah Benjamin.
P.S. Sorry, Noah, I only had the more recent pictures of you on this computer, but perhaps soon, I can post some of you when you were little, too.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dear Baby

Ezra, tomorrow, you will be a year old. Everyone always tells you, "It goes by so fast!!" Even when you start to believe it, you just don't realize that a moment (or many moments) will come where your heart will ache in your chest, wishing you could slow it all down, or freeze time, just for a minute. You are growing up too fast. It seems like yesterday, when we were waiting in anticipation for you to come. And then you surprised us all, by coming here at home. Daddy tied off the cord with dental floss. And we marveled at God's grace and mercy as we held you. I remember when Daddy covered me with a blanket, and ran and got your brothers and your sister, and they all came in to see you for the first time. I remember that small gathering the night you came, of people who love you and had been waiting for your arrival. I was going through, wanting to post a bunch of pictures of you. I chose a few... but there are so many. You have grown so quickly, and every picture I looked at seems like just the other day. And now, I have been looking at pictures for too long and it is bedtime. I love you so much. You are such a joy and a treasure to our family. We have prayed for you, that you will belong to God's elect, that you will love Jesus fiercely, and with all your heart. We have prayed that you will be a Knight, and a warrior... and a servant for the kingdom of God.
We love you, Ezra Lucas Knight Hester.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Reality Ministry Conference

This weekend our church is hosting a ministry conference. People from all over came to attend, and it was totally full. Ben was on night shift, so I knew that neither of us would be able to attend. But, it was so cool, they did a live feed, so I got to "attend" from home. Tonight's session really rocked my world... I will be spinning on that for a while. But, here is a link, in case you want to watch tomorrow (sorry for the late posting!!)

Highlights from tonight:
Topic: Refresh: Keeping Jesus preeminent
Ministry flows from intimacy
The reason that some of us are not growing in holiness is because we think too highly of ourselves apart from grace.

"We slander God by our very eagerness to work for Him without knowing Him."
-Oswald Chambers

"The main difference between a moralist and the true Christian is that the true Christian obeys out of sheer delight."
-Jonathan Edwards
The main text was Romans 8:1-17.

First session tomorrow is Saturday, October 17th, 2009 at 9am!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Noah was having trouble getting into our bathroom so that he could go potty. Ben opened the door for him and Noah said, "Thanks, Dad. You'we my supew hewo."

Ezra has taken three steps, I think four is the most. But for the most part, still seems content crawling around.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Family Game Night

The kids have been really into games lately. I got Battleship for them at a thrift store, and it had all the parts!! (The old school kind).
Overheard in the car:
Caleb: Noah, say B-10
Noah: B-10!
Caleb: Uh... MISS! Now, say J-4.
Noah: J-4!
Caleb: You've hit my Patrol Boat!!
(They weren't really playing the actual game.)

Anyway, this is what we played the other night:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Please Pray for Daisy...

This is the five year old daughter of one of the pastors at Reality. Please pray!!


You can click the link for the basic info., but I will try to summarize here:
Daisy Love is five and has a tumor the size of a large orange. She will be having surgery on Thursday morning, and they are not sure how much they will be able to remove due to organ involvement. She will have to have chemotherapy either way.

What God's been up to...

So, here's the scoop on how God has been at work in our lives lately. 10+ years ago, Ben attended a college group at Calvary Chapel in Santa Barbara, and the leader was Britt Merrick. Then, when I was at CSUN, I had a class with Britt's wife, Kate. I think by that time, they had started Reality, a church in Carpenteria. Anyhow, Reality has a new campus in Ventura, which opened September 6th, 2009. The kids and I were sick that week, but Ben heard one of Britt's sermons on the radio. He said we should go and check it out. So, off we went to check out one of Reality's services. I was having a particularly hard time leaving Ezra, so we brought him into the service with us. During the announcement time, an usher came up to tell us about the cry room. I responded with my "No, thank you smile." But, he made sure to reiterate that if Ezra started fussing, we needed to take him out. I was already pretty emotional, and definitely not prepared for that, so we ended up walking out into the foyer. There, Ben was talking with two of the pastors, then I am crying, then we left. After our car conversation, Ben decided he needed to go back and talk some more with the guys. I stayed in the car with the kiddos. When he came back, he said everything went well (Reality's policy in general, is that in order to minimize distractions, they ask that children under 12 attend their classes). One man in particular, saw Ben and basically at that moment just began dumping love into the guy. He has five kids, the oldest is nineteen, the youngest is third grade. He said that he could see what was going on with Ben, and expressed some similarities, and really felt like we needed to come over to their house that afternoon. They were having a prayer time of commissioning, for the new school year, with all the homeschooling families in the church. So... we showed up, and ended up in this circle of at least 25 families. What a sweet prayer time it was!! (not to mention, Caleb fell into the pond).
Well, this same guy really pursued Ben. He invited Ben to a prayer meeting Tuesday morning, and then to breakfast with two of the guys. Then, the next morning, he went to the Men's Accountability meeting. Ben was praying, and feeling God impress a verse on his heart that he was going to share with the guys. But, the guy next to him started praying specifically for Ben and used that same verse!!! Let's just say there were many such occasions like this, where God was clearly making Himself, and the movement of His Spirit known.
NOW... what my girlfriend and I have been praying for (for quite some time) was 1) a man/ men to come alongside Ben and 2) that God would speak clearly to Ben in regards to giving us direction. So, Ben came home Wednesday and told me quite confidently that he felt this is where God is calling us to be and serve right now, and that we were going to be part of a home group in Ventura. At this point, I had had very little interaction with people from the church. I hadn't even really met any women from the church!! But, I totally felt at peace, and I was so excited to see God working so mightily, and speaking to Ben so clearly about things. Then Ben mentioned that he thought there might be a women's Bible Study on Thursday. I had been trying to attend the study at our current church, but it just wasn't working out, between doctor's appointments, and childcare, etc. So, I got up Thursday morning to go to an address... somewhere where I didn't know anyone, had never been, and didn't know what they were studying. In my rush, I grabbed my Bible, my journal, and my study book for the study I had been doing on my own. When I showed up, I discovered that they were doing the same exact study and were on the same week!!! Then, through all my crying and laughing, I started talking with a lady. She was asking me all these questions, and then stopped and said, "Wait. What is your husband's name??" When I told her, she was totally freaking out!! She is best friend's with a woman, whose husband used to work with Ben (the couple now lives in Seattle, Washington). The husband had just been down here a while ago and had spent the evening at our house. So, the woman I am talking to said, "Al (the husband) was just telling me what a rich time he had with Ben when he was in Ojai!!"
Anyway, so, this past Sunday was actually our first Sunday at the church. Because they have an early service, we were able to meet Ben there after he got off his night shift (which means he'll be able to come most weeks, and only miss one a month!!). I went to drop off Ezra (dum, dum dum!!!) and the lady working the nursery was a woman I had just met at a homeschooling conference at the beginning of this year. And, a friend from high school ended up being Noah's teacher!! Needless to say, it was just amazing. I don't even have the words to describe it. But, as Ben and I just prayed and cried, and took communion together, and worshiped, and lifted our hands to our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, we knew we were in the right place.

Friday, September 18, 2009

First Day of "School"

Today was the first day of our homeschooling co-op. I am totally wiped out. The kids had a blast.
Emma is taking: Girls PE, Flying Creatures, and Manners and Conversation
Caleb is taking: Bootcamp for Boys, Flying Creatures, and Math Fun
I am helping in: Toddlers (Noah's class) and Math Fun
Ezra is: totally over me. =)
And, Emma lost her first top tooth... I think that's her third tooth, but I am not sure. Caleb has lost three, but one of them was due to a scooter.

If You're Going to Paint...

You might as well make it a homeschooling assignment:

Noah helped paint these, Emma and Caleb had the other wall.



After (we painted our bedroom and added some moulding)



Costco Day...

Gotta love Costco Day!