Thursday, June 21, 2012


Nine years ago I was 20 years old.  I was halfway through college, young in my faith, and very much in love. I married my sweetie on that day.  It was a beautiful day, we married early, and it went so smoothly.  Our pastor who married us was & still is a huge influence in my life and he made the ceremony light and fun and personal and Christ-centered.  We sang as a congregation Come Thou Fount.  We wrote our own vows together & prayed.  I know it is always true looking back but we really had no idea what we were getting into!  And I can say with all honesty that what we "got" is better than anything I could have hoped for.  Nine years later and we have lived in 5 countries, 2 states, had lots of jobs, gone to grad school, moved 7 times, dealt with divorce in our family, prayed for and watched God move in incredible ways to answer prayers, brought Cyrenthia into our home, added Madeline, Simeon, & Anna into our family, and a whole lot more in between.  

If I were to have one word to sum up Andrew & his incredibleness in my life I think it would be to say that he is always so steady. From the moment we met when I was just 14 I can remember seeing this steadiness in him.  And in our marriage and family his steadiness draws us all closer to Christ and directs us toward His will and purposes for us.  He is steady in his walk with the Lord, steady in his prayers, steady in his faithfulness to his job, steady in stewarding God's gifts to us, steady in leading others around him, steady in living a sacrificial life, steady in his friendships and pushing and challenging people to see Christ more fully, steady in his love for his children, steady in his pursuit of their hearts to bring them to Christ, steady in his wisdom to lead us to pursuing adopting our little girl, steady in pursuing me and loving me so well.  He is steady in all the best meanings of the word.

I can't express how blessed I am to have him as my husband and daddy to our children.  He is definitely an unbelievable expression of God's love and kindness to me and I love him like crazy.   

Here is a look back on year 8, if you are curious :)

    Come, thou Fount of every blessing, 
 tune my heart to sing thy grace; 
 streams of mercy, never ceasing, 
 call for songs of loudest praise. 
 Teach me some melodious sonnet, 
 sung by flaming tongues above. 
 Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it, 
 mount of thy redeeming love. 

 Here I raise mine Ebenezer; 
 hither by thy help I'm come; 
 and I hope, by thy good pleasure, 
 safely to arrive at home. 
 Jesus sought me when a stranger, 
 wandering from the fold of God; 
 he, to rescue me from danger, 
 interposed his precious blood. 

 O to grace how great a debtor 
 daily I'm constrained to be! 
 Let thy goodness, like a fetter, 
 bind my wandering heart to thee. 
 Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, 
 prone to leave the God I love; 
 here's my heart, O take and seal it, 
 seal it for thy courts above. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

tuesday time-thanks Gram!

Today is Tuesday, a good day of the week for me.  On Tuesdays, my mama-in-law  takes my sweeties for the morning until nap time.  I say it is good not because I want to be rid of my kids (although, sometimes, I'm not gonna lie...).  It is good because I firmly believe I can be a better mama because of this time we all have a little space from one another.  I need some time to pray, read, think, breath, rest, clean, walk aimlessly around Target, and rejuvenate a bit.  I definitely believe I can love my kiddos better and serve them and teach them and discipline them a little better when I am healthy and filled up.  Katherine is incredible to me.  She serves me in more ways than I can name.  And giving me my Tuesday mornings is one of them.  

So, thanks Gram!  Love you.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

dear daddy

You are such a good daddy.  I love you more and more as I watch you be a daddy.  You love our kiddos so well.  You play.  Like really really play with them.  You say yes when so many others would say no.  You are patient and gentle and a great teacher.  You make them smile and laugh.  You are such a good daddy.  We, me & all your kiddos, say a big giant WE LOVE YOU!

Thanks for tickling me and swinging me around.  Thanks for building towers for me to knock down.  Thanks for swimming with me and throwing me in the air.  Thanks for singing songs and dancing with me.  I love you, Anna

I love you because you like to tickle me.  That's what he does, mom!  Daddy makes me happy when he wrestles me.  I like to ride on my big bicycle with daddy.  I like it when daddy tries to get me and he runs and I get him. I love you,

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

words of life: sin traps

As said, I am reading through a chapter of proverbs a day with Andrew & Ren.  I have gone back to proverbs 7 several times already and had a great conversation with Ren about it the other day.  She mentioned she wasn't really sure what to take from it because it mostly refers to lust & adultery.  I know that the overall proverb is regarding adultery but it surely does apply to sin as a whole and how it works in our lives.

"All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life.  Now then, my sons, listen to me; pay attention to what I say.  Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths.  many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng.  Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death." 
Proverbs 7:22-27

God definitely used these verses to bring conviction into my life and also gave me & Ren an opportunity to look at sin traps in our own lives & how we slowly and easily slide down into them, little knowing the price we will pay.  Sin sits before us, beckoning us to follow.  Lighting up the path at the most opportune time, the time we are the most vulnerable.  Comforting us along the way, we follow and walk.  We pay little attention or give very little thought to what is actually happening.  Instead of seeking wisdom, we do nothing at all, except slip.  Straight into a death trap.  Whether we are sliding into lies, adultery, materialism, relationships, pride, gossip, secrecy, it doesn't matter.  The trap is the same and only the grave awaits.  The answer lies in paying attention.  Stay awake & alert.  Seek God and seek to know the truth versus the trap.  Pay attention and be intentional.  Don't walk a path because it is before you.  Choose to walk the path you trust that is placed before you by God.  And that only comes from knowing Him.  And examining myself against His words & His ways and removing the sins that I am already trapped in and setting up whatever boundaries I need to avoid the ones I am walking toward.  How can I make my heart steadfast in all this?

"My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you.  Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.  Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.  Say to wisdom, 'You are my sister,' and to insight, ' You are my relative.' They will keep you from the adulterous woman, from the wayward woman with her seductive words." Proverbs 7:1-5 

Monday, June 11, 2012

happy monday

Happy Monday!

Spent this weekend having a little early anniversary celebration and enjoyed it very much.  Ate yummies multiple times and walked around Crystal Bridges.  Very lovely.

Now, on to some Monday randomness...

When we first got married, I put two pieces of chicken breasts on an air bake cookie sheet, sprinkled with accent seasoning, and baked at 350 for 45 minutes.  Dinner.  Sorry babe.

Up on our white board right now is this sentence.  "I worship and I want to be up in heaven as I worship in the Holy Spirit."  As stated by Madeline, age 4.  Theological genius?  She wanted to write that on a note to her buddy Eli, as an encouragement when he broke his arm.

Something my kiddos do that drives me crazy that I love:  yell at me from across the house until I answer.  Especially during Anna's naptime.  C'mon kids.  help.a.mama.out.

Reading through Proverbs this month with Andrew & Ren.  There is some serious business in there about wisdom.  Read yourself some today.

Happy Monday, ya'll!

Friday, June 8, 2012

deep roots at home

quotes sent to me by my wonderful mama-in-law

“Oh that God would give every mother a vision of the glory and splendor of the work that is given to her when a babe is placein her bosom to be nursed and trained! Could she have but one glimpse in to the future of that life as it reaches on into eternity; could she look into its soul to see its possibilities; could she be made to understand her own personal responsibility for the training of this child, for the development of its life, and for its destiny,–she would see that in all God’s world there is no other work so noble and so worthy of her best powers, and she would commit to no others hands the sacred and holy trust given to her.”
~J.R. Miller
“The devil never reckons a man to be lost so long as he has a good mother alive.  O woman great is thy power!” …Charles Spurgeon

mama happenings at my house.  i love these kiddos.  reflecting and talking with good friends last night and we talked about our fears and hopes for raising our children, our prayers for the ways we don't want them to be, and our desires for who we do want them to be.  our responsibility is great.  and often very daunting.  but mostly so when i am living out of my own plans for them, out of my own strength, and within the boundaries of my own failures and sins.  the beautiful reality is that, ultimately, we are not the ones who will do the saving work for our children.  we are blessed to have them now.  to teach, train, and point their hearts toward Christ.  how can i grasp the depths of what God has entrusted to me and at the same time fully trust Him for the ones He loves far greater than i could ever imagine?  i love these quotes and do want to pray for myself and my mama friends that I would have a vision of the glory and splendor of the work God has given me and that I would take each moment, each day, to to be intentional, to love them well, to not just pass from thing to thing without realizing the beauty put before me.  and the opportunity for me to become more like Christ and less like me.  and the doors that in turn will open for my children.

also, on a tangent note.  i don't want to be falsely puffed up and walking on high and mighty "me"ness, but i do think a little mama encouragement is needed in every mama's life.  so go ahead, lift a mama up.  let her know the mama things she is doing that show her love for Jesus and her kids, notice outloud some of her sacrifices that mostly go unnoticed, give her a break, write a handwritten note, say a prayer, insert some Scripture in your conversation, and lift each other up to becoming more and more like Christ.  seriously, pick someone and do it.  happy weekending.  

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

hands & feet

A sweet trio of ladies are currently overseas right now working with children with special needs in a couple orphanages.  Big yeas, big tears, big prayers going on over here!  I know one of the gals fairly well, one just a little, and one not at all, but I love them all and pray for them daily and am amazed at how they sacrifice themselves to what Christ has called and gifted them to do.  What beautiful examples of literally being the hands and feet of Jesus.  Please pray for them and follow them at their blog!  So thankful for all the work they are doing!

Monday, June 4, 2012

goodbye sentimentalism

" 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' This is a profound mystery--" Ephesians 5:31-32

Andrew & I are reading Tim Keller's, The Meaning of Marriage.  The first chapter goes to page 49 so let's just say it is a book I have to work hard to read.  And by that I mean I can't just read a page or two one day, pick it up another, and have any good connection to what I read the last time.  It's a thinker.  But I am enjoying it so far.  I took it to the gym and hopped on a treadmill and read the first chapter in one workout.  Double whammy.  Here is a little excerpt that got me.

The Meaning of Marriage
We should rightly object to the binary choice that both traditional and contemporary marriage seem to give us.  Is the purpose of marriage to deny your interests for the good of the family, or is it rather to assert your interests for the fulfillment of yourself?  The Christian teaching does not offer a choice between fulfillment and sacrifice but rather mutual fulfillment through mutual sacrifice.  Jesus gave himself up; he dies to himself to save us and make us his.  Now we give ourselves up, we dies to ourselves, first when we repent and believe the gospel, and later as we submit to his will day by day.  Subordinating ourselves Him, however, is radically safe, because he has already shown that he was willing to go to hell and back for us.  This banishes fears that loving surrender means loss of oneself.

So, what do you need to make marriage work?  You need to know the secret, the gospel, and how it gives you both the power and pattern for your marriage.  On the one hand, the experience of marriage will unveil the beauty and depths of the gospel to you.  It will drive you further into reliance on it.  On the other hand, a greater understanding of the gospel will help you experience deeper and deeper union with each other as the years go on.

There, then, is the message of this book--that through marriage, "the mystery of the gospel in unveiled." Marriage is a major vehicle for the gospel's remaking of your heart from the inside out and your life from the ground up.

The reason marriage is so painful and yet wonderful is because it is a reflection of the gospel, which is painful and wonderful at once.  The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared to believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.  This is the only kind of relationship that will really transform us.  Love without truth is sentimentality; it supports and affirms us but keeps us in denial about our flaws.  Truth without love is harshness; it gives us information but in such a way that we cannot really hear it.  God's saving love in Christ, however, is marked by both radical truthfulness about who we are and yet also radical, unconditional commitment to us.  The merciful commitment strengthens us to see the truth about ourselves and repent.  The conviction and repentance moves us to cling and rest in God's mercy and grace.

The hard times of marriage drive us to experience more of this transforming love of God.  But a good marriage will also be a place we experience more of this kind of transforming love at a human level.  The gospel can fill our hearts with God's love so that you can handle it when your spouse fails to love you as he or she should.  That frees us to see our spouse's sins and flaws to the bottom--and speak of them--and yet still love and accept our spouse fully.  And when, by the power of the gospel, our spouse experiences that same kind of truthful yet committed love, it enables our spouses to show us that same kind of transforming love when the time comes for it.

This is the great secret!  Through the gospel, we get both the power and the pattern for the journey of marriage. "

take from page 47-49, The Meaning of Marriage

Sunday, June 3, 2012

words of life: on waiting...

Psalm 68:4-6
"Sing praises to God and to his name!  Sing loud praises to him who rides the clouds.  His name is the Lord--rejoice in his presence!  Father to the fatherless, defender of the widows--this is God, whose dwelling is holy.  God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy"

We are in the midst of waiting.  Waiting for a precious little girl whom we love beyond our imaginations.  We are waiting for papers and details and people and so forth.  But our hearts are waiting with eager longing to have our lonely spot in our family filled up with her.  I read this Scripture, this beautiful promise, and know it is for each of us in this story.  She is the lonely and we are her family.  And we are also the lonely, and she is our family.  And above all, He is the Father, the Head, the Family.  The One and only who fulfills and satisfies all our loneliness.  Who draws us each into His presence and frees us to joyfully sing loud praises to Him and glorify His holy name.  

Waiting for me is not easy.  I question, I get angry, I cry, I don't understand.  We live in a fallen, sinful, ugly world where sin and flesh dictate so many lies and hurts that control and manipulate life.  It aches me to wait when I know her face, know her life, know her hope and future are filled with love and love and more love.  So we will choose to enter the suffering, the pain.  And fall before the Lord and recognize He is the Father to my sweet girl and to me.  He is the Hope and He loves beyond my imagination.  Greater is He who is in me, than he who is in the world.  I will humble and push myself to believe, depend, and trust in God who is always working, Sovereign, Good, Loving, and Faithful.  Entering into the pain hurts, stretches, weakens me.  But she is worth every ache, and He is worthy of my life.  In hardship or at ease He is worthy and I would rather spend every day seeking His all-sufficient grace than one day of worldly ease without Him.

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord

Our God, You reign forever
Our hope, our Strong Deliverer

You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint You won't grow weary

You're the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles

Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for theLORD.
Psalm 27:14

My soul waits for the Lord.  More than the watchmen for the morning; Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning.
Psalm 130:6

Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. 
Isaiah 40:31

Saturday, June 2, 2012

beach overload

So the gang had a great great time in Fort Morgan last week.  It was crazy fun.  I loaded up a 15p, at 3am, added my children and four 18 year olds, and off we went.  15 hours later & one 45 minute nap for my baby, and we were there.  So.dang.tired.  But the ocean was calling and that always makes me happy.  So thankful for playing in the ocean, swimming in the pool, sun-worn-out kiddos at night, cable t.v. to help entertain, good convo's & fun with the big girls, great chats with a good friend, lots of yummy food, and celebrating 5 years of being a small group.  Love these girls & all my years with them.  And now, picture overload.