Monday, June 29, 2009

What I'm Up To

Our friends got in safely tonight and we are having fun catching up with them. My kids were SO EXCITED to meet their little kids and they seem to be getting along really well. My friend Amy brought her nifty pop-up camper over to our driveway so we could have more space for Jared and Cheri to stay. There is room in there for 8 people, and we set up a little portable crib for their one year old and sleeping bags for the others. Ali and Jer helped me dust and clean a bit in the camper and it was so cute because Ali brought out a huge wad of kleenex and said, "This is for if the girls get a snotty nose." (I thanked her and discreetly put a kleenex box there instead of the wad!) We tried to make things clean and neat with fresh towels and water bottles and for a fun surprise we bought all of the kids a fun little $1 water bottle (3 Pink Princess ones for the girls and a racecar one for Jer of course!) Cameron and Justus are both so laid back and easy-going, they are just there, watching all the excitement of the siblings all around them. The guys took off after supper for a night hike to the falls while we Mamas put the little ones to bed.

Tomorrow we will probably be going on the River Walk near our home with all of the kids and either for a hike in the mountains and picnic lunch or a picnic in one of the beautiful parks in our town. And then, Cheri and I get to hike to the falls tomorrow while the Dads get bedtime duty! Yay for a break and a chance to hike without feeling like a pack mule! On Wednesday, we may take turns watching one another's kids so we can have some dates out without the kids (a rare treat!)

One great thing about missionary families is their ability to be versatile. I so appreciate the flexible way that most missionary families deal with the continual travel and different schedule issues and the very simple life they lead and the faith they have to trust God for provisions and help. I've always liked MKs (missionary kids) and have a close friend who is one, a wonderful sister-in-law who is one, a nice brother-in-law who is one, future nieces and nephews who will be MKs, and other great friends who are too. I can already see that flexibility and friendliness in my friends' very small children, which is cool.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Thoughts on TV and Movies

Piper apologizes for a sharp comment he made when asked about his opinion on TV. I'm not sure which inspires me more, his example in showing repentance and humility in apologizing or his wise words on the subject of TV viewing. Check out the whole article here.

Some excerpts from Piper's Article:

There are, perhaps, a few extraordinary men who can watch action-packed, suspenseful, sexually explicit films and come away more godly. But there are not many. And I am certainly not one of them.
I have a high tolerance for violence, high tolerance for bad language, and zero tolerance for nudity. There is a reason for these differences. The violence is make-believe. They don’t really mean those bad words. But that lady is really naked, and I am really watching. And somewhere she has a brokenhearted father.

If you want to be relevant, say, for prostitutes, don’t watch a movie with a lot of tumbles in a brothel. Immerse yourself in the gospel, which is tailor-made for prostitutes; then watch Jesus deal with them in the Bible; then go find a prostitute and talk to her. Listen to her, not the movie. Being entertained by sin does not increase compassion for sinners.

Whatever dulls the eyes of our mind from seeing Christ powerfully and purely is destroying us. There is not one man in a thousand whose spiritual eyes are more readily moved by the beauty of Christ because he has just seen a bare breast with his buddies.
But leave sex aside (as if that were possible for fifteen minutes on TV). It’s the unremitting triviality that makes television so deadly. What we desperately need is help to enlarge our capacities to be moved by the immeasurable glories of Christ. Television takes us almost constantly in the opposite direction, lowering, shrinking, and deadening our capacities for worshiping Christ.

One more smaller concern with TV (besides its addictive tendencies, trivialization of life, and deadening effects): It takes time. I have so many things I want to accomplish in this one short life. Don’t waste your life is not a catchphrase for me; it’s a cliff I walk beside every day with trembling.

Continue reading here.

Why The Ergo Carrier is My Favorite!

Jer needs a break from walking

Justus takes his morning nap (sun shade/neck support up)

Jer takes a quick nap just before lunch

Sun shade up (he's a little crooked here, I adjusted him after taking this pic)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Zoo Trip Pics

Zonked at the zoo

Zonked on the way to Denver
Sleepy Little Man on the drive home from Denver

Frugal meal in the hotel room--since we couldn't afford to eat out more than once we brought spinach salad, carrots, and fettucini alfredo to reheat in the microwave. The room had a fridge which was nice!

On the way back to the hotel from the zoo.

Alathia loved the kangaroos

At the motel pool

Outside the Mexican grill where we ate lunch on the way home from Denver

Jer and I rode the carousel. Ali ran off screaming at the top of her lungs when it started!

King Jo's favorite animal

This Griz was actually fairly small

Looking for monkeys

The elephant was squirting water and then drinking it

The giraffes were awe-inspiring

Huge Snapping Turtle

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Lots of Boys!

Jeremiah and Daniel 9 Months old
Before I had two boys I still loved putting kids in matching outfits. Guess what, now I will have FOUR boys to match for family photos! That is...for a few years until they think it's uncool!

The last time the cousins saw each other--Christmas 2007--13 Months old
Matching sweaters and matching monkeys!

Daniel mudding on his fourwheeler (Yes, the grandparents bought him one too!)

King Jo's sister shared the news this week that we are going to have a nephew in late October! So far, we only have one nephew, no nieces. Daniel is 6 days younger than Jeremiah and now he will have a little brother. The baby will be named David Zachariah. We are excited to meet him around Christmas time when we head back to Minnesota for the holidays. It's too bad we don't get to see our nephew much. He would have so much fun with Ali and Jeremiah and I'm totally the spoil-'em-rotten kind of auntie who wishes she could do so much more regularly! Ali is thrilled to hear about another little boy cousin even though it means she will be severely outnumbered at the family get-togethers! I foresee lots of fourwheeling, snowmobiling, hiking, climbing, wrestling, camping, and adventures when all of our boys and energetic Ali get together!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cute and Easy Puzzle

A few weeks ago I was having an incredibly rough day with my daughter. I practically begged my mom to take her. While at Grammy's for the afternoon, they made this fun craft together! Ali loves it!
Mom took an old chocolate box of ours which she had bought us for Valentine's Day (they were sooooo yummy!) and made some shapes with foam and foam stickers she had on hand.
She traced around each of the foam shapes with a marker so that it is a puzzle. Ali has to try to match the "candies" to the shapes.
Frugal fun!

Monday, June 22, 2009


Our friends flew to Kansas out of our town the other day and invited us to come to the "airport" to see them off. Jesse's aunt and uncle have a private plane and it was available to come and pick them up to save them a long, arduous trip with 3 little ones.
I say "airport" because I'd never known anyone to fly out of our town before. It's only a strip for private planes to land.
Inside the plane (seats 9 I think?)

Kennedy waves goodbye to us!

Watching the pilot load luggage!
Ali was so sad when we drove home. I think she must have thought they were vaporized into the sky instead of just going to Kansas for 5 days! They'll be driving a new-to-them minivan home! They've saved for it throughout Havily's pregnancy and now get to enjoy the luxury of having a nice, large vehicle!

See that white blur in the middle of the pic! They were going so fast! In fact, as the plane turned around the propellers were blowing on us and even from a distance it was a warm rush of wind that was so strong it blew my shirt up over my head (so much for modesty huh?)

Busy Times!

Wow, June has been busy and has been flying by! I look forward to some kicking back and relaxing a bit more in July!

Within the span of a week we have King Jo's birthday, our anniversary, and Father's Day. Throw in a sick baby for a week who's not sleeping well and fussy a lot, designing my Dad a website for his business for Father's Day, hosting 5 Day Clubs at our home this week, and picnics, church events, company coming in a week, and my plate is more than full. We've had some good times together as a family though and have enjoyed the things we've been a part of!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Blessing Others

This post described one of the sweetest ideas I've ever seen for blessing a loved one far away with a "virtual" shower. What a devoted and loving sister. Check it out! It is inspiring!
And check out the reaction from the wonderful lady who was the recipient of the virtual shower! (By the way, these gals are some of my favorite singers!)

I'm looking for hospitality ideas! We're hosting some missionary friends for a few days in a little over a week and I would love to do some special things to make their visit here fun. They have 3 little kids (age 3, 2, and 1) and we have a small house so those are some factors but I'm just curious: What fun things might you do to bless a missionary family staying with you?

Monday, June 15, 2009

On Loving Difficult People

Do you ever feel like you are trying to love, but not being loved? Encouraging someone but not being encouraged in return? Investing in a friend only to be used?

I have been dealing with a lot of this lately in a relationship. It has been painful and difficult. And yet, through this situation God has been showing me some incredible things. As usual, it comes down to the gospel, His majesty and greatness and my overwhelming sinfulness. God is showing me through this that I need to treasure Him above my friend's love and friendship. If I feel I need someone's friendship, crave it, am seeking after it, or am angry when I don't get it, then this relationship has become an idol to me. I love this quote from John Calvin, "The problem isn't usually with what we want, but that we want it too much." (italics mine). It's not wrong to desire mutual love in a friendship, but if I feel that I need it, it has become an idol. I just dealt with a different idol in my heart recently regarding this same friendship and here is yet another one God has shown me! Another Calvin quote, "Our hearts are perpetual idol factories." We continually exchange one idol for another. Deal with one, and another soon finds its way in. Deal with that, and soon you'll be wrestling with another. This is why I have the John Owen quote on my right sidebar of my blog. If you are not actively waging war against sin, be assured it will be actively waging war against you!

God is also reminding me of my vast sinfulness. Whatever small offenses I have against my friend, God has infinitely more to hold against me, and yet He loves and forgives me! He has pardoned my sins by paying for them with His own blood. I, who have been so abundantly forgiven must also forgive my friend and bear with that person in love, however difficult it may be.

So, what has God been doing in me? He's weaning me. Weaning me from idols that I've unconsciously had for years. He's showing me idols in my life right and left as I continue to listen to godly pastors, read soul-feeding books, and dig into the Word.

In the weaning process, just saying "No!" to myself isn't enough. I can't just say, "Don't crave that! Or, put another way, "Don't worship this friendship!" If I turn it into a mere, "Don't do that" I would simply move on and replace that idol with another, whether food, or the pursuit of health, or another friendship, or status, or admiration, etc. Instead, I have to replace that craving with God. We were created to worship but we continually worship things other than God. All sin boils down to being a worship problem! We turn good things into god-things. We all worship, it's just a matter of what we worship. (These thoughts taken from a Mark Driscoll sermon on Worship). This is why, in being weaned from the poison I have been drinking I need to replace that poison with the life-giving nourishment of God and His Word.

So, when a friend hurts me, someone reviles me, or a tough situation comes up I have an opportunity to say, "Oh God, I need You! Help me to treasure You above all people! I need you, God, like I need water to survive. I need You like I need air. May this moment cause me to find my satisfaction in You!!!" When I am hurt, it's a reminder to me, deep in my spirit that I must glory in my Creator, and that only He can truly satisfy me. Those longings, heart pains, and frustrations are grace to me as they bring me to my knees in prayer. This trial hurts; it hurts sometimes like a root canal as He cleans out the infection of my sin and idolatry. God is good in allowing this cleansing in my life; it is exactly what I need from my loving Father and He is present in this pain. And I know that soon, and very soon, as my heart yearns after God, my friend will not cause me pain and hurt anymore because I will be so satisfied in Him that these pangs will be quickly forgotten when I am rejoicing in the truest, deepest love I have ever known. As I am filled up with that incredible love from Jesus, it will spill over and flood into this person's life as well, blessing them and bringing a longing for more of God to them as well, perhaps transforming our relationship.

God is also teaching me thankfulness. My wise mentor suggested that I take a look around at the amazing friends I do have and pour into them instead of chasing after this other friendship. I have been blown away as I've opened my eyes to the incredible blessings all around us, including many of you who read this blog. I am learning to cherish these precious friends more than before and to intentionally invest in relationships that spur me on towards godliness, as well as trying to invest in loving those who need friends, those who are difficult, and those who need Christ.

I am eternally indebted to the God-centered ministry of John Piper. This sermon, and many other of his sermons on this subject have helped me in figuring out how to love difficult people and how to find my treasure in God. I've included this link in case you are in a similar situation and need encouragement from the Word on this topic.

Also, I was struck squarely between the eyes not too long ago by this post. It was one of those "DUH!" moments for me where a light bulb suddenly came on and I realized that if I am being Biblical, then my friend will be less loving than me. Take a minute to read this excerpt from the post below:


Taken from this blog post written by Sam Crabtree

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor (Romans 12:10).
Olympic athletes attempt to outdo each other in order to obtain honor, not give honor. But Christians are not merely to show honor, but outdo one another in showing honor, preferring that honor be given to others.

If God enables you to outdo others in showing honor, then others will receive more honor than you (at least until heaven’s rewards are bestowed).

And if God enables you to succeed in outdoing others in love, the others will be, well, less loving than you, because you're outdoing them. And that’s exactly how love behaves. It loves those who are less loving.

Instead of feeling sad that I am trying to love but not being loved in return, I need to remember that God has called me to love MORE, go the the extra mile, serve even those who reject it, and be there for others who are not there for me. When I look at it through this perspective, leaning on His Spirit to do this supernatural work of loving, it becomes a joy and a challenge for me: How much can I love this person above and beyond how they are loving me?


Something I've also found helpful in killing this idol is the memorization of the Word. My kids and I have read 1 Cor. 13 aloud most nights for the last month and almost have it memorized. Every time I read it to them I am aware of how much I need to grow in having genuine love for others, both my husband and kids and my friend too. If you are wondering how to show love to someone, whether a difficult person or not, this is a great passage to start with!


I leave you with a prayer from the most amazing book ever (in my opinion) next to the Bible, The Valley of Vision. This is a collection of prayers from the Puritans, including famous men like John Bunyan, Spurgeon, and David Livingston. I could read this book everyday for 100 years and still not cease to be stirred by it's depth.

The Valley of Vision

Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly,

Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,

where I live in the depths but see Thee in the heights;

hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory.

Let me learn by paradox

that the way down is the way up,

that to be low is to be high,

that the broken heart is the healed heart,

that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,

that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,

that to have nothing is to possess all,

that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,

that to give is to receive,

that the valley is the place of vision.

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,

and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine;

let me find Thy light in my darkness,

Thy life in my death,

Thy joy in my sorrow,

Thy grace in my sin,

Thy riches in my poverty,

Thy glory in my valley.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

At the Zoo

Today, we are enjoying the zoo with our kids! A fun weekend getaway to fulfill a long-time dream of theirs to see real elephants, zebras, giraffes, and tigers. Lots of pics to come!

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Most Common Objection

I hope you were reminded, or perhaps understood for the first time, why modesty matters in my recent series. I know I learned a lot in my research for the posts and from the thoughts that the men shared.

One of the most common objections to modesty that Christian women commonly use is:
Aren't men responsible? It's his problem!!!! He's a pervert if he can't keep his eyes off of me!" I know this because at one time I had these objections in my own mind toward modesty in my effort to understand how men think.

In digust women blow it off as crazy that we should think about modesty because after all, some guys will lust no matter what one wears and we can't live our lives trying to please everyone, right? Any talk/book/blog post/sermon on modesty is met with an attitude of "You're letting him off the hook!"

So, here's an analogy I like to think about. Analogies aren't perfect, so bear with me.

Imagine the things that first attract you to men. Think of those things that really catch your eye, your heart, your emotions because of how you are wired as a woman. What really arouses your lust or affections?

Then imagine that nearly every guy around you was doing those things. Maybe when you walk through the grocery store the cute guys you pass call you beautiful, stroke your hair, or give you a tender hug. The guys at church, including many of the church leaders/staff shower you with attention, brush their lips against your neck, buy you flowers, etc. Imagine that even when you go on a walk through the neighborhood a few guys stop and try to enter into conversation with you and take you out to dinner. When you turned on the TV to watch a movie, the actors got out of the movie and came over to offer you a lingering kiss. When you hang out with friends, their husbands wear the nicest cologne and bring you chocolates and dot on you. The fix-it man offers to do your dishes and take you dancing and when you check your e-mail, real, live, handsome muscle men pop up on the screen and start asking you to talk about your feelings. Nearly every young man you meet says he wants to rescue you and carry you off. If you were living for yourself, you would probably enjoy it and crave more and more. "Bring it on," you would say!

But if you were trying to live for God, saving your heart and body for your husband, or future husband, it would be difficult to keep your affections in check. You would constantly struggle with giving in, especially if you were still unmarried or your husband and you were at odds or he hadn't been paying much attention to you recently. Or perhaps you would start to become bitter or cynical towards those affectionate men, and start just having to avoid all the places where you would run into them and get angry at the problem. What if you approached the men in church about what they were doing or emphasized a need for men to be less expressive and they said, "Who are YOU to tell me what to do? This is a free country! I can say what I want! If you have a problem with it, you should control yourself better! All the other guys are expressive and that's all I know! That's how I grew up and that's what popular! So, bug off!"

Then imagine that a couple of guys at church, or among your friends decide to serve you. Hearing that overt attention, lavish smiles, caresses, gift gifting, etc. would cause a woman to struggle they decide to be aloof to you and all women. Friendly, but keeping their distance and never saying anything personal or inappropriate. I personally would be sooooo grateful as a woman who is seeking to live righteously by God's grace! I would feel safe hanging around guys like that! I would feel truly cherished, in a far greater way than by the fleeting physical attention of other men. I would respect those men's character. I would plead with other guys to follow their example. If I were single I would long for a husband like that, who thought more about others than himself and honored the Lord in honoring me. As a wife, I know my husband would be so thankful that my heart wasn't being enticed day and night by those men around me. My affections would be easier to keep for my husband alone.

From what I've heard from them, men face a similar amount of temptation often, if not daily. No doubt some days are harder than others, and they are responsible to guard themselves and choose not to sin when presented with the opportunity. There will always be opportunities for them to lust just as there will always be temptations for us to sin too, whether in gossip, idolizing celebrities or leaders, putting our kids first in our lives, putting our hope in financial security, envying our neighbors, etc. But how much easier can we make it for our brothers if we help them with one of their greatest temptations by covering up what doesn't need to be seen!

The fact is, women will never fully understand the extent of a guy's visual struggle and what they are going through. And different guys may have different levels of struggle. And some guys who have given themselves over to worship lust may lust over your big toe or your hands even if you had covered everything. So dressing in a Burka isn't what we are talking about here. Common sense, and following some of the tips I mentioned in my recent Modesty Monday series will go a long way.

It boils down to selfishness and obedience. Yes, many women out there are ignorant when it comes to the importance of modesty or when it comes to specifics with different outfits. But if you are reading this post, you no longer have an excuse of ignorance about the issue in general. You have been told that modesty is a way to serve your brothers. Don't believe me? Search the Scriptures, talk to your pastor, talk to the guys around you and see. It's not about a certain uniform it's about your heart. So, if you, knowing that you should be modest, continue on in your life saying, "I will wear what I want to wear! Guys are perverts! They need to quit looking!" you are choosing to be selfish. You have chosen your way above God's Word, which commands modesty, self-control, humility, and serving your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Fun Family Pics

My job just got a lot tougher now that Justus crawls forwards and at the speed of lightning!
Grammy gave us this bouncing ball. Finally....a toy that seems to have been created with my daughter in mind!

Alathia being a horse

Playing with friends at the park

I watch Arianna once a week and it's a full-blown girl fest.
Tea parties and dress up all afternoon!

Dressed for church

The funniest pic I've seen all year! I think Jer is screaming because he thinks she's going to land on him!

The Alligator wins the wrestling match!

Justus sits under a little canopy I rigged up using my fence, clothesline, and some sheets.

Still lovin' my Ergo! Would never want to have a baby again without it! I especially love the side, hip-position.

When I was babysitting Ryanne, the girls were bored so I set them to work scrubbing the floor. (The buckets were their idea....not my requirement for cleaning...) They thought this was tons of fun and they sprayed and wiped for a long time.

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