29 April 2010

Just a Question ~

"The critical question for our generation -- and for every generation -- is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven,...
...IF Christ WAS NOT THERE?"

Think about it.

I am... and it takes me back to thinkng about this post.

~John Piper
God is the Gospel
(emphasis mine)

27 April 2010

The Wonderful World of Books!

So much fun to listen to our little man work his way through the first few pages of this book today... and know that a whole new world is now opening to him. He's so excited!

26 April 2010

Multitude Monday ~ 1000 Gifts

holy experience

#2 a daddy for our children who preaches, prays and plays... even when I sometimes think he plays too much.

#3 flute notes floating up from the basement; it's always been my favorite instrument so when he decided to learn to play that one, it was an unexpected blessing.

#4 my young woman, still really a girl, totally captivated by a squirrel's dash or a bird's song or a skink's blue or a bug's busyness!

#5 fingers flitting over piano keys as she practices for her recital and guild auditions.

#6 watching her laugh without restraint on the sidewalk after school with girlfriends and classmates and then she hands me her spelling test with its hard-earned 77%.

#7 her silly grin, minus one tooth - her first one lost, as she rides up on the handlebars of her daddy's bike.

#8 Red Lightening McQueen crocs skipping down the trail as he proudly tells us that he remembers how Daddy kept the chickens from flying away and escaping: "He ate 'em!" (and he used the personal pronouns properly!)

#9 chattering teeth in a huge grin 'cause she's "fweezin'" while sipping her banana smoothie... with whip cream on the top.

#10 little legs that go running to the bathroom in the hopes of success and a few m&ms.

#11 cool, sunshiney days.

#12 fluffy white clouds floating throught the blue sky on those sunshiney days.

#13 "What Really Makes us Free," by Elie Wiesel, eloquently recited - with only a little nervousness.

#14 road trips with family and friends.

#15 snuggles under a heavy wool blanket with my big girl and my sleeping little girl, watching some adventure rescue show late at night and talking about Galations.

#17 times when I allow God to be my alarm clock... and I don't smash the snooze button.

#18 Philadeplphia cheese-steak sandwich, without the mayo, of course.

#19 winning band performances, even when part of the percussion breaks.

#20 teachable kids who the Holy Spirit often uses to convict me (of my own stubborn unteachableness) with their acceptance of disappointment and situations that didn't go the way they'd thought or hoped.

24 April 2010

Don't ya wonder...

What happened... and why someone snapped this picture? What do you think?

Please comment... and tell us what sort of a story you'd come up with for this picture.

22 April 2010

Wanting to direct your attention...

...to Angie's post,
Here's an excerpt~

"...How about you, Ellie? Got a favorite?"

She watched as the houses passed us and then a few seconds later I heard her say quietly, "That one, mommy. That one is my favorite. It's the prettiest one on the whoooole street. That's what I think."

"Oh, I see it! Those pink leaves are such a cool color, aren't they? I would wear one of those behind my ear for a date with daddy!"

"No, momma. Not that one. The one next to it."

I slowed down the car because I hadn't really seen one next to it. I asked her where she was looking.

"There. Right there."

I made a confused face and looked at her in the rearview mirror.

"I think it's dead mommy. It doesn't have anything on it. But it's the prettiest one."

I just sat and waited, fascinated by the fact that out of everything we were looking at, that was the one she chose.

"Tell me more, hon."

"Well...it looks dead, but I love it because everyone picks the fancy ones and that one might be keeping a secret. Maybe it's flowers haven't come out yet, or maybe it's just pretending to be dead. Nobody knows what that one is going to do. So I think it's the most beautiful."
It is worth the time it'll take to "head on over" and read the rest.


Our oldest girl... she often acts so terribly grown up. Bakes bread, cooks dinner, changes diapers, fixes hair, babysits, navigates on road trips, jumps horses over barriers, speaks French fluently, teaches Children's Church competently...

It is easy to forget...

Then I stumble across a picture like this one, where I see anew the little girl that she was... and still is ~ with crystal clarity.

And I remember...

She really is, still, our oldest LITTLE girl who likes to hold hands with her daddy, giggles and whispers with her best friend as they wander through the Creation Museum, skips outside to kiss and hug her mama returning from retreat, digs in the ground hunting for lizards and snakes, sometimes forgets to brush her teeth, snuggles her teddy bear, sneaks in next to Daddy after a scary dream, dreams of swimming with wild dolphins and thinks she'll work for Australia Zoo someday.

It's good to remember.

20 April 2010

Stories like this break my heart ~

Living here, listening to news reports of recession and unemployment, our hearts ache for many friends, neighbors, churches, etc. who have suffered and struggled the past few years. We know it has not been easy for so many. It is easy, however, to forget that we in America still live in a land that is blessed and that as hard as recent months have been, there are others all over the world who have never known the abundance that we accept as commonplace and to which we believe we are entitled.

Our friends, neighbors, Nigerien colleagues and churches are now entering the hottest time of the year, often also a "lean" season, when last year's harvest is mostly depleted or already completely consumed... and market prices skyrocket because of increased demand for the limited supply. And our hearts ache for dear people, precious and loved by God, from our other home, many of whom are facing a season of need like we can only imagine because we've never experienced anything like it.

"With growing numbers of people going hungry in Niger, one of the poorest countries on Earth, WFP is stepping up food assistance. Mahamadou is one of the beneficiaries. He’s 13 months old and malnourished. But nutritious food supplements are giving him a fighting chance...and his mother, Sonia, a sense of hope. But, with the lean season around the corner and food becoming scarcer by the day, she’s worried about what will happen to her son."

Please join with us in praying for the people of Niger, for the many malnourished children, for the opportunities the church will have to share the message of God's abounding love and His amazing sacrifice, and that needy hearts will hear and receive that message in this time of great need.

Thanksgiving Party with a "Little Indian" ~

~although "Little Turkey" is probably more appropriate!

These pictures of our silly girl and her class's Thanksgiving Party were taken awhile ago...but some things never change: she is still OFTEN a little turkey!

19 April 2010

Multitude Monday ~ 1000 Gifts

I've been meaning to do this for an embarrassingly long time, now... I've been Holy Spirit prompted and so it is an act of obedience. Even more importantly, it will be a regular opportunity to remind myself of all for which I have reason to be thankful and how every good and perfect gift comes from above, even when I don't always recognize it as a gift, much less "see" the Giver. Most important of all, if the heavens declare the glories of God and even the stones cry out at His majesty, I need and want to take a few moments in which I regularly and consciously seek to direct eyes off of us and our family and onto Him.

Thus, I must confess that my delay has been disobedience. I could give excuses: busy kids galore, traveling, illness, choosing other priorities... but excuses don't change the fact that I've not done something I've known I needed to do. We teach our children that obedience is not just doing what they've been told to do - it is that & doing it right away, without any complaining or questioning, exactly as told and with a sweet attitude. I definitely failed on the not questioning and immediate side of obedience this time... I claimed the excuse that I was "too busy" and that I had "other priorities." But really, when I know the Lord is prompting me to do something, something that will direct my eyes towards Him in more conscious, continual worship and that will hopefully encourage a few others along the way, well... should there be ANY other priority?

Thankfully, He's patient, gentle, and forgives with grace beyond measure and infinite mercy, if only we humble ourselves and ask. I have. And now, rather than presume on His grace and mercy, I figured I'd better get this started.

I started reading Holy Experience a few years ago and every week (if not several times each week) I am challenged by what I read. Ann Voskamp encourages her readers to join her in regularly and continually thanking God for the multitudes of mercies and the gentle grace He gifts to us each week... each day... each hour. "Earth is crammed with heaven and every common bush afire with God," if we commit ourselves to seeing Him in every circumstance - the mundane commonplace and the exciting unusual. Grateful awareness and acknowledgement is learned and best practiced, asking God to open eyes each moment to the evidence of His hand and His love. What better way to truly live in His presence day in and day out, keeping record of each heaven encounter throughout the day...? of answered prayer...? of blessings...? of sustenance in suffering...? It is kind of like the "God spy" games I've often played with our children. Someday, I want to say with Job, "I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you..."

So this week, I'm finally plunging in~

I read something the other day that highlights the number one thing on my list of "1000 Gifts": "...gods... aren't alive, just immortal; and with immortality most of the qualities we cherish become pointless. With nothing to risk, the gods need no courage." (Susan Neiman in Moral Clarity)

1. Jesus lives! None of what Ms. Neiman wrote is true about my God. My God is unlike any other worshipped ever, anywhere. He risked all, became mortal and walked this earth just like any man; He learned (just as I am) and chose obedience to the Father over and over in every circumstance; then He suffered and died to satisfy the penalty for my sin. His Father raised Him from the tomb so that someday I will join Him for eternity in Heaven.

And if that were forever my only reason for thanks, it is more than I could have ever hoped, a debt I could never imagine repaying... Instead, it is only the beginning of His extravagant, lavish love...

holy experience

Read today's Multitude Monday post at Holy Experience:

17 April 2010

Who DOESN'T Love a Parade?

NO ONE!...

...except... well... the Jon-man had a few (rare) unhappy moments, but on the whole, our family likes to both watch and participate! Brendan, Rebekah Joy, Nadia, Anna and Richelle "escorted" the Calvary float. Anna had the privilege of carrying the Christian flag for the whole 5 miles (I think). She was quite the trooper and exhausted at the end! The rest of the family met up with Grandpa Gene and Grandma Betty to watch and collect lots of candy.


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