Thursday, October 21, 2010

Holy in the Ordinary

“It is ingrained in us that we have to do exceptional things for God—but we do not.  We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things of life, and holy on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people—and this is not learned in five minutes.”

Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

Saturday, October 9, 2010

God’s Love

“Every single thing that happens to us expresses God's love to us, and comes to us for the furthering of God's purpose for us. Thus, so far as we are concerned, God is love to us--holy, omnipotent love--at every moment and in every event of every day's life. Even when we cannot see the why and the wherefore of God's dealings, we know that there is love in and behind them, and so we can rejoice always, even when, humanly speaking, things are going wrong. We know that the true story of our life, when known, will prove to be, as the hymn says, "mercy from first to last" -- and we are content.”

J.I. Packer, Knowing God p. 123

Play-n-Worship

Charlee watching one of her favorite “movies” of all time.  Clearly, Andee’s not quite convinced yet…IMG_3622

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Seriously, if you are looking for a DVD with some awesome Christian music that is all about Jesus (with some cheesy graphics thrown in to make it even better!), I highly recommend this DVD.  I love these songs myself and clearly Charlee them too!

Play-N-Worship: Play-Along Songs for Toddlers & Twos

Friday, October 8, 2010

…so that it may go well with you.

The Lord totally blessed me today when I heard my Charlee repeat to me words that I often say to her, but that up until now I thought were falling on deaf ears.  I had just told her not to take her “ni-night” (ie blanket) out of her bed and she said to me, “When you obey things go well for you.”  I thought to myself, “Did I really just hear those words from my child’s mouth?”  After all, this is the same little girl who not two minutes before had tried to order me to get her a marker.  I’ve been working to remind her of Ephesians 6:1-3 when I instruct and discipline her.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised to see fruit from my efforts, but I honestly never expect it because sometimes I think I’m working with the most stubborn strong-willed child on the face of the planet…it takes one to know one! =)

Thank you, Jesus, that she does hear me…which serves to humble me and to remind me at the same time that she looks to me for direction even though she doesn’t want me to know it!

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.

                                                                Ephesians 6:1-3

 

But you, take courage!  Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.

                                                                2 Chronicles 15:7

Cupspoon

This afternoon while playing with noodles, Charlee asked me to get her a “cupspoon.”  With absolutely no idea what she was talking about, I asked her to show me where I might find her a “cupspoon.”  When she led me to where the “cupspoons” are located I laughed out loud.  In case you weren’t aware of what a cupspoon is, the following picture will show you so you know for future reference…

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Looks like a cupspoon to me…basically a big cup with a spoon handle.  What a crackup!  I absolutely love how literal a child’s mind is…it provides a whole new perspective on life! =)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Fall is in the air

I think we may be turning the corner from HOT weather to less hot weather which means we get to back outside…yay!!!  This morning we took advantage of the beautiful cooler temperatures.  Thank you, Lord, that you know we can’t handle 120 degrees all year round! =)

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Daddy’s Husker

This is for Grandpa Chuck…it would have made him proud!
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Friday, September 3, 2010

First Kiss

Andee received her first kiss this morning…her first kiss from a boy other than her Daddy or another family member.  This precious little boy, Asher, has stolen both my girls’ hearts now…what’s a mother to do?  Eat it all up and take pictures! =)

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You think perhaps big sister is jealous?IMG_3409

True love…                                                                      IMG_3403

Thank you for coming to visit, Asher.  We love you and all your boyness…even if your Mommy doesn’t believe me! =)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Charlee’s a good helper…

…that’s what I get told quite often around here.  I am constantly reminded by Charlee herself, “Charlee’s a good helper, Mommy.”  To which I always reply with a smile, “Yes, you are a great helper honey!”  I LOVE having someone to help with the day-to-day things because it adds an element of fun to things that quite often are more like chores to me.  Little people are so great at reminding us that it’s not always worth it to rush through the mundane…memories are actually made in the mundane.  That is what happened today when Charlee helped feed Andee cereal.

I’m pretty sure that in this picture Andee was thinking, “Really Mom, you’re gonna let her do this?”IMG_3336 (2)

“Mommy, if I open my mouth maybe she’ll open hers!”IMG_3349 (2)

“Oh yeah, we’re pros now!”IMG_3352 (2)

“That wasn’t nearly as disastrous as it could have been!”IMG_3364 (2)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Milestone

Tonight as we were driving home from my parents’ house, Charlee asked, “Where Andee go?”  Now, this may not seem like a milestone, but it is…actually, I think it might rank more along the lines of a miracle! =)  You see, Andee is staying the night at Gramma and Grampa’s house because tomorrow is a big day for Charlee.  Charlee is going to learn to go potty like a big girl and I’m hoping to get most of our training accomplished in this one day.

Back to the miraculous part of this story though…  Any other time we’ve left Andee with Gramma and Grampa, Charlee has never said one word about her being gone.  Recently though she’s really been taking interest in Andee and actually enjoys having her around most of the time…praise the Lord!  So, for her to wonder where Andee went was HUGE!  Thank you, Lord, for the beginnings of a relationship between these two precious girls!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bumbo…big and small

Currently we have two Bumbo Seats which is great because I had no idea just how much an almost 3-year old would enjoy one.  I just get the biggest kick out of seeing Charlee and Andee side by side in these things…IMG_2777

Andee still struggles a bit to hold those cheeks up for long, but she’s getting stronger every day! =)IMG_2775

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

On My Tummy

Well, tummy time is now officially determined by Miss Andee herself who rolled over for the first time today all by herself.  To be honest though, tummy time has never been something I’ve made a priority.  So, I’m glad all my hard work has paid off…ha!

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Monday, July 19, 2010

I Write Like…

This is kind of fun!  I found this in reading my favorite blog this morning and discovered that I write like Stephen King.  I’m not sure what to think of that, but found it kind of fun.  If you’d like to find out who you write like, click here…

http://iwl.me/

Friday, July 16, 2010

Using the Bible Biblically to Parent Biblically

Now here is a great post from my most favorite blog!

http://www.challies.com/guest-bloggers/using-the-bible-biblically-to-parent-biblically

Back in May, my wife and I attended an incredibly challenging and inspiring Paul David Tripp conference on marriage, entitled What Did You Expect? Redeeming the Realities of Marriage (there is a excellent Crossway book of the same name). I learned so much about parenting.

Did I say parenting? Yes; I took away manifold parenting insights from this marriage conference. That’s not to say that I didn’t imbibe any marriage insights; I certainly did. I was chastened up and down regarding all the ways I superimpose my failings onto my wife. I was humbled to learn that the secret to our long and successful marriage is that we share a deep and abiding love for me (HT Jess MacCallum for that phrase).

It’s no secret that the Bible speaks to parenting, but it may be a surprise to you just how often it does so indirectly. At his conference, Tripp stated, “The Bible isn’t arranged by topic. If you go only to the “marriage” passages, you miss most of what the Bible says about marriage.” In his book, he elaborates in a section entitled “Using the Bible Biblically”:

Part of the problem is the way we use Scripture. We mistakenly treat the Bible as if it is arranged by topic - you know, the world’s best compendium of human problems and divine solutions. So when we’re thinking about marriage, we run to all the marriage passages. But the Bible isn’t an encyclopedia; it is a story, the great origin-to-destiny story of redemption. In fact, it is more than a story. It is a theologically annotated story. It is a story with God’s notes. This means that we cannot understand what the Bible has to say about marriage by looking at only the marriage passages, because there is a vast amount of biblical information about marriage not found in the marriage passages.

In fact, we could argue that to the degree that every portion of the Bible tells us things about God, about ourselves, about life in this present world, and about the nature of the human struggle and the divine solution, to that degree every passage in the Bible is a marriage passage. Every passage imparts to us insight that is vital for a proper understanding of the passages that directly address marriage, and every passage tells us what we should expect as we deal with the comprehensive relationship of marriage.

Ditto with parenting. Perhaps more so with parenting, since each addition of another person to your family multiples the number of social interactions occurring within the family grouping. Tensions, conflicts, and differences are therefore more prevalent than if it were just the two of you coasting blissfully (as if) through married life. If you are anything like my wife and I, you often feel that Sin Personified is having a heyday within your God-given family unit. Where’s the grace?

Grace in all its beauty is found where sin is displayed in all its ugliness, when - and only when - the gospel is being momentarily and actively applied to parenting and the Bible is being used biblically. To lift yet another example from Tripp: if my children wake in the wee hours, start to fight, and I respond by stomping down the hall toward their bedroom with the mantra “inconvenience, inconvenience, inconvenience” running through my head, I am reacting sinfully to their sin. Of course, it’s a fact of life that sinners tend to respond sinfully to being sinned against. “But,” as the Apostle John reminds us in his first epistle, “if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1) That doesn’t only go for the one who is sinning, but for the one faced with addressing the sin. As C.J. Mahaney often says, there is never a moment in which I don’t need a Mediator. Later John goes on to say, “whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked” (I John 2:5). As I am traversing the corridor in the wee hours, abiding in the grace of God means my heart is softening toward my children with every step and I am choosing to view the situation as an “opportunity, opportunity, opportunity” to extend the grace of God through kindness and correction. For ultimately even the corridors and bedrooms of my own house are not my own - they are part of the kingdom of God. And in that kingdom, grace flows in all directions at all times.

To the degree that you use the Bible biblically in your parenting, the grace of the gospel of Christ will be evident to your children, operating as a “trysting place,” in Martin Luther’s words, of personal encounter between your children and your God.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Great Grampa Bert

Today my Grandpa arrived for a short visit.  I believe his primary motivation in wanting to come amidst this nasty heat was to meet his newest great granddaughter, Andee.  Why else would someone choose to visit Phoenix in all its summer nastiness???

Charlee warmed up to Grampa Bert immediately this time…how nice!  I believe the pink lizard he brought with him helped the warming up process…check out the action shot below!

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So, back to the real reason Grandpa came to visit…IMG_7952

Andee even watched a little baseball for the first time…IMG_7984

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Ever wondered how we came up with the name Andee?  Well, there was this amazing woman named Annette who I was privileged to have as my Grandma, who my mom was blessed to have as her mom and who my Grandpa called his wife.  That remarkable woman went to live with Jesus just over 11 years ago and from that time I knew that if I had a little girl I would want to name her Andee.  You see, everyone knew my Grandma as Ande and those that knew her were blessed and would testify to the amazing woman she was.  She lost her battle to lung cancer, but she left a legacy in our family and now my little girl gets to carry a part of her into this generation.  The story gets better though because my Grandpa brought with him a special pendant that I get to give to my Andee when she’s a bit older.  This is a pendant that he bought for his Ande when they were in Egypt together and it spells Ande in hieroglyphics.  I am so beyond grateful to have this little piece of my Grandma to carry on and share with my Andee.  Thank you, Grandpa, for such an amazing gift!

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Popasiscle

I love the joy that the simplest things can bring to a little girl’s heart!  In this case it was her first experience with a Fudgsicle.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Yember…

I stole this from Adam’s Facebook status today because it was just too stinkin’ cute not to record…

Came home from church today and Charlee said, "Yember (remember), Jesus wuvs you daddy...have happy heart.” She then proceeded to let me know that Elmo loves me too. I can now rest easier knowing Elmo loves me. Thank you Charlee for making me smile!

A small predicament

I went to get Andee this afternoon and this is how I found her…still breathing I might add.  Perhaps it’s time to stop using the sleep positioner? =)

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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Daddy Date at Donald’s

For several months now, Adam has been taking Charlee on daddy dates most weeks.  Typically they go out on Saturday mornings and most often they go to McDonald’s (better known as Donald’s in our house).  Charlee’s face lights up when we talk about daddy dates and she informs me regularly throughout the week as she pushes her stroller through the house that she is going to get “hash browns” and “sbicuits” (more commonly known as “biscuits” to the majority of us).  She will say, “Be right back,” as she strolls through the house on her way to Donald’s.

It brings me such joy to know that Adam loves to spend time with Charlee, not because he feels that he should, but because he genuinely enjoys her company.  I love listening to Mark Driscoll and one of the things I’ve often heard him say is that “you (you being Daddy) should be the first man your daughter ever dates.”  I love knowing that at 2 years old Charlee is already “dating” her daddy.  My sincere prayer is that as she grows and becomes older she would hold her Daddy Dates as a standard to the way she deserves to be treated by any boy that comes into her life as the precious daughter of the Most High King that she is!

Here are Daddy and daughter headed out the door this morning to Donald’s.  Can you see the joy on this little girl’s face…and on her Daddy’s too for that matter? =)

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Smiley

I can’t help but call Andee “Smiley” for I have never seen so many smiles out of such a small person!  She lights up my day when I look at her and she not only smiles, she beams back at me.  Love this little girl! =)

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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Helper

Charlee has a very special relationship with her friend Taylor.  Taylor is the only one who can help Charlee without causing Charlee to put up a fight (most of the time anyway!). =)

“Here Charlee, let me help you with that…”IMG_2427

“Oh, it looks like you may need help with those too.”IMG_2430

“I think it’s time to put your shoes on and get ready to go.”IMG_7926

Thanks, Andy, for the extra bit of help! =)IMG_7928

We love you, Taylor Raye!IMG_2339

Fun on the Fourth

One of our newest “traditions” since we’re not serving in Childrens Ministries for the summer is to go to the Commons after church and let Charlee run around in the grass while Andee eats.  Today was extra special because we were joined by Gramma, Grampa, Andy and Taylor.  And, it was the Fourth of July so everyone’s extra festive!

Mama and her girls before church…IMG_2314

Doin’ what she does best…smiling!IMG_2326

We see this face a lot these days…so serious!IMG_2331 

Kisses from Big Sis…IMG_2369

Chillin’ with Gramma…

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Fast friends…Taylor and Andee…IMG_2418

Lovin’ my baby girl…IMG_7836_2

Sisters…                                                          IMG_7856

Taylor loves Andee…always up for the chance to hold her.IMG_7861

Sweet girl…love that face…IMG_7912

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Created for eternity

I love this passage from a book I’m reading called A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken.  It reminds me that it’s okay that I feel that I never have enough time.  I feel overwhelmed and hurried because I subconsciously long to be free from the confines of time.  I hate being bound by time because I am not a temporal being, I was created for eternity!

If, indeed, we all have a kind of appetite for eternity, we have allowed ourselves to be caught up in a society that frustrates our longing at every turn.  Half our inventions are advertised to save time—the washing machine, the fast car, the jet flight—but for what?  Never were people more harried by time: by watches, by buzzers, by time clocks, by precise schedules, by the beginning of the programme.  There is, in fact, some truth in “the good old days”: no other civilisation of the past was ever so harried by time.

And yet, why not?  Time is our natural environment.  We live in time as we live in the air we breathe.  And we love the air—who has not taken deep breaths of pure, fresh country air, just for the pleasure of it?  How strange that we cannot love time.  It spoils our loveliest moments.  Nothing quite comes up to expectations because of it.  We alone: animals, so far as we can see, are unaware of time, untroubled.  Time is their natural environment.  Why do we sense that it is not ours?

C.S. Lewis, in his second letter to me at Oxford, asked how it was that I, as a product of a materialistic universe, was not at home there.  “Do fish complain of the sea for being wet?  Or if they did, would that face itself not strongly suggest that they had not always been, or would not always be, purely aquatic creatures?”  Then, if we complain of time and take such joy in the seemingly timeless moment, what does that suggest?

It suggests that we have not always been or will not always be purely temporal creatures.  It suggests that we were created for eternity.  Not only are we harried by time, we seem unable, despite a thousand generations, even to get used to it.  We are always amazed at it—how fast it goes, how slowly it goes, how much of it is gone.  Where, we cry, has the time gone?  We aren’t adapted to it, not at home in it.  If that is so, it may appear as a proof, or at least a powerful suggestion, that eternity exists and is our home.

A Sacred Obligation

Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children to another generation. –Joel 1:3

Encouragement for the day from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening:

In this simple way, by God’s grace, a living testimony for truth is always to be kept alive in the land: The beloved of  the Lord are to hand down their witness for the Gospel and the covenant to their heirs, and these again to their next descendants.  This is our first duty; we are to begin at the family hearth: He is a bad preacher who does not commence his ministry at home.  The heathen are to be sought by all means, and the highways and hedges are to be searched, but home has prior claim, and woe to those who reverse the order of the Lord’s arrangements.  To teach our children is a personal duty; we cannot delegate it to Sunday school teachers or other friendly helpers.  These can assist us but cannot deliver us from the sacred obligation; substitutes and sponsors are wicked devices in this case: Mothers and fathers must, like Abraham, command their households in the fear of God and talk with their offspring concerning the wondrous works of the Most High.  Parental teaching is a natural duty.  Who is better fitted to look after the child’s well-being than those who are the authors of his actual being?  To neglect the instruction of our children is worse that brutish.  It is a pleasant duty to talk of Jesus to our sons and daughters, and the more so because it has often proved to be an accepted work, for God has saved the children through the parents’ prayers and admonitions.

Reading this today was the encouragement I needed as a mother.  Sometimes it feels that my job as a mom is so monotonous and I feel guilty that I’m not out making a difference in the world.  How refreshing to be reminded that the “home has prior claim” and that this is where our ministry as moms and dads is to begin.  To share Christ with our children is our “first duty” and it is a very personal one.  The best part about this is that God designed it to be this way so the guilt I feel that I’m not out proclaiming the gospel to the lost in the world is not of Him…my mission field at this time in my life is in my home.  What a true blessing!  Thank you, Lord, for using Spurgeon to speak this truth to me this morning. =)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bathtime Helper

In the interest of trying to make Charlee feel like a big girl and that she is Mommy’s special helper, I had her help me give Andee a bath.  At first, I wasn’t so sure she’d be interested…after all, this did involve getting close to her sister!  Thankfully, however, she was excited and so proud to help.  I think deep down inside she does love her sister, but she’s just afraid to admit her feelings! Ha!

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