Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I think I took my own advice too seriously

And took a HUGE break! We did have a crazy, go go go summer, but it's October now and the 5K post I wrote months ago (still awaiting pictures) is only one of many glaring posts that need to be finished or deleted. Look for something soon - or pester me about it.

Friday, July 10, 2009


So I've been trying to write this post for almost a year. And the short of it is, we all need a Sabbath. A while back (maybe last October?) Kevin and I noticed that I was not okay. I was hanging on, but something wasn't sitting right, and it underscored everything. Sure, there was busy and full and stress and whatnot, but still. When you're off, you're off. And then I had to go grocery shopping one Sunday morning and Kevin sniffed it out. So we talked about my time and how I used it and then Kevin lovingly brought up Sundays. Now, he's a pastor and church is at 4pm so it's a full work day for him and the "family time" many enjoy after morning church is not available for us. I guess I had just written off the day as a "work" day for me too, but going to the grocery store or cleaning the house served neither him nor me (or the kids, for that matter). He gently but clearly pointed out the need for a Sabbath and that I was to take one no matter his vocation. His work was preaching the sermon, mine was preparing to hear one. To not do so is to be in sin. And if sin is anything apart from God's revealed will, well, I sure was in it, because God had made pretty clear His will for me here. [See Exodus 20:8-11 or Deuteronomy 5:12-15]

Here's what did it for me:
the Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 21, sections 7 &8.

VII. As it is the law of nature, that, in general, a due proportion of time be set apart for the worship of God; so, in his Word, by a positive, moral, and perpetual commandment binding all men in all ages, he hath particularly appointed one day in seven, for a sabbath, to be kept holy unto him: which, from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, was the last day of the week; and, from the resurrection of Christ, was changed into the first day of the week, which in Scripture, is called the Lord's day, and is to be continued to the end of the world, as the Christian sabbath.

VIII. This sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest, all the day, from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employments and recreations, but also are taken up, the whole time, in the public and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy. (emphasis mine)

Doesn't that sound like good news? I really wanted to day described above - sounded almost too good to be true. So I moved it all to 6 days a week, and if it didn't get done - so be it. The girls only got a Veggie Tales movie (not just silly songs - something substantive), we spent more time enjoying each other, and Sydney and I now do the catechism every week. Sometimes with Savannah, sometimes when she's sleeping. Each week we do a question (or two - if they're related) and she has a special composition pad where we write out the question and answer (or whatever she's thinking) and she draws a picture to illustrate the concept. It's one of my favorite times of the week. And the name of this glorious collection of artwork? "The God Jesus Holy Spirit Book" - her idea. :)

And everything else around me, though the same, was drastically different.

Turns out, I could do more than I thought throughout the week, and the true rest that comes on Sunday just fills me up to do it again. I used to take a Sabbath, but somewhere along the way I lost it. I guess that's why we are to "remember" it, and to "keep" it holy. The Sabbath rest is so necessary for my daily life now, it's hard to imagine I'll go that long without again. But just in case, I'm going to keep remembering it, and reminding myself the true purpose of the Lord's day.

So there it is, my post on the Sabbath. I thought I'd have some big grand ideas to share, or some major insight after all this time, but it turns out the best learning on this subject comes from the doing. Won't you join me this Sunday and leave your laundry on the floor, your dishes in the sink, and run to the lap of your Maker and your God? I'll see you there.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

They're cute when they're cute!

Yesterday while walking out of a store, Sydney said to Savannah, "I'm just going to have one of those *goodies*. You can have the rest." To which Savannah replied, "You're the best, Sydney!" To which Sydney replied, "No, you're the best. That's why you get the rest!" It was A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E!

Just when I thought it couldn't get cuter, we started to play "I Spy" on the way home. You know, "I spy, with my little eye, something that is [insert color]."

Here's how Savannah said it EVERY TIME: "I spy, with My Little Pony, something that is [insert color]." Holey smokes was it cute!

And now, to put you way over the top - a couple pictures from our trip to California for my brother's wedding.

Friday, May 1, 2009


I'm joining Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and the carnival of Friday's Fave Five - my top five things for the week.  Since I'm training for a 5K I thought I'd just list the related five things here.  

Disclaimer:  A family member of mine underwent a successful surgery removing a (hopefully benign) tumor from her brain/ear area today.  No matter the joy the following five things bring me, they cannot compare to God's mercy in this matter today!  :)

1. Running without showers of water or pollen falling on me.  Or pushing a jogging stroller with one or two children.  It makes a difference.

2. My iPod.  And old school ESPN Jock Jams.  And Burlap to Cashmere.  And the Imagination Movers. And all kinds of other eclectic music I've gathered over the years.  And Maurice Ravel's Bolero.  More on  that in a minute.

3. Correct stretching techniques.

4. After-running treats, like many glasses of water and this ice cream.

5.  The fact that my neighborhood doesn't find it strange to see a 31-year-old woman running up and down the streets, periodically singing out random lyrics or shouting "Run, Run, Run" with each step for a quarter mile before turning into her house.  At least, it's not strange any more.

A short note on Ravel's Bolero.  If you are not familiar with this classical piece let me sum it up for you: 15-plus-minutes of listening bliss in which a bunch of instruments playing the same thing one by one, then two by two, then three by three, etc., until it steadily grows to a musical frenzy and then suddenly, in about four seconds, cascades into a heap - followed by silence.  Much like my running style.

If you want to join, simply link over at Susanne's site via Mr. Linky.  See you there!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Overheard at our house in the past month.

Sydney to Savannah:
You can't get married today,  you're not even five!!

Savannah to Mommy (upon realizing that she would have to change into her pjs):
Mommy: Say "thank you" mommy.
Sav: (growling) "thank you mommy"
Daddy: Now say "thank you mommy" with a smile.
Sav: (teeth bared) "thank you mommy with a smile"

Ha Ha!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

In Christ Alone

In Christ Alone

In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev'ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!

And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow'r of Christ in me

From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand.

CCLI No:3350395.

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The day before Passover, or, This post has nothing to do with the song I will reference below

At church Sunday we sang a song with the words, "And right now, in the good times and bad, you are on your throne, you are God alone." My immediate thought? There is no bad right now.

Let me say that again. My immediate thought was, "No bad." How could that be? I've already written that it's spring break right, and Savannah has sinusitus, the pollen is out in full force (therefore I cower at all living plants, take my myriad meds and shower 40 times a day to breathe), and, c'mon, we are regular people - there must be some "bad" right? Wrong.

We are not mere regular people. We are in Christ. And that, my dear friends, means there is truly no "bad." How can this be? Does Jesus give us an easy, smooth, life? No, but He does give us His life, which is the source of true joy and hope and lasting peace (not just the absence of conflict).

In our weekly women's Bible study we've been studying the book of James. I've had the privilege of leading it. Since September. And you know what that means? If you've ever led a Bible study you probably know what I'm about to type - it means that I get to learn the most. Not just because I'm doing the research and preparing the lessons and questions, and not just because I'm checking in with everyone individually (as much as I can) in addition to our weekly group meeting. Those are good things and keep the gospel ever in front of me (as does coordinating childcare!! Sheesh the time and effort that takes!). But the truth is that when you labor to dissect the Word of God and present it to a group of women in whom you desperately desire to see the character of Christ formed, you see the power of scripture. You see the power of prayer. And you know (you KNOW) that you have have mostly nothing to do with the fruit that results.

It's the season of Lent in the church calendar. The 40 days before Easter in which Christians traditionally fast or refrain to draw closer to God. A remembrance of Christ's testing in the wilderness and of our dependence on our Heavenly Father for all things. A reset button, in some ways, for our perceptions. When I was a child I often gave up food, like chocolate - and was SO happy that Sunday was always a celebration of Easter so if I needed to "cheat" it was okay to eat that forbidden dark sugary goodness once a week. But that is not the point. Not deprivation.

One year when I was a child our pastor gave out $10 in envelopes and said we should tend to our "talents" to see the Kingdom of God enlarged during that Lenten season. The point of the fast is to replace the time eating, playing, thinking, etc. about what you've removed with time spent "eating," playing, thinking about God - His character, provision, mercy and love. To see sin exposed and repent - turning away from our idolatry and toward our good God who is actually worthy of our worship. I have no idea what I did with the money, but the idea of something more "holy" for that time stayed with me.

This year we hit Ash Wednesday (the beginning of Lent) right as we finished James, chapter two. It was perfect. After months and months of reshaped thinking on the world and our conduct, James chapter 2, verse 26 summed it up with these words, "For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead." So we set out to see where we live "dead" lives, places we either know that action is called for and we ignore it, or places where the action of belief is called for and we fail to run to Jesus, inviting the Holy Spirit to search us, reveal our unbelief, and begin the work of trust in areas not previously revealed to others, or even ourselves. This process has had its ups and downs, much as you might expect.

So what was mine, you might ask? Getting up early. This might sound trivial (or not), but it turns out it was much more about my expectations of entitlement than I expected. And it culminated a few Sundays ago with the Lord graciously answering my pleadings and, instead of joyfully and thankfully receiving His answers, I palpably felt my great disappointment and bitterness at His Word. And that crushed me. And I cried. My poor husband - he's in the middle of his sermon and I'm weeping like a hungry baby - for no discernable reason to anyone around me. And during the musical worship set afterwards (a time for response) I just kept going. I was a heaping pile of goo, folks, goo. And it was great. The shock of seeing such a massive root of bitterness where I had no idea it existed changed my whole world. My perceived world, that is. How grateful I am to see something that was there all along - at least now it is no longer hidden and I can move into that place, in trust (see John 3:19-21). And so I set my alarm. And get up early. Earlier than my kids? Not always. But I have a whole new attitude that seeps into my day, and all the doubt of "how will that schedule change affect my ability to function, to have quality time with my husband, to allow "light sleeper Savannah" to sleep through the beep just on the other side of the wall, to accomplish x and y, to etc. and etc. and etc." has melted away. Because the Lord knows what He is doing. He has set out my days and my paths for me to walk in, and if He commands it, it is not only better, but WILL come to pass. How silly of me to fight Him. Or to grudgingly obey. I should have run, no skipped, cheerfully and playfully to His revealed will. Maybe next time I'll have learned...

So tomorrow (or, rather, today, as I look at the clock) is the day before Passover, the day before the Last Supper, the day before Jesus washes His disciples feet, tells them one will betray Him, and has all His dearest friends sleep instead of pray with and for Him. He'll sweat blood, and submit - with no bitterness, to His Father in heaven, whose will is good and right. And then He'll be betrayed by the one He called for that purpose, and imprisoned.

The next day He'll be sentenced and put to death ON A CROSS - a bloody, humiliating, "inhuman," we say, way to die. But it's utterly human. No more human thing - than to have our sin split open and displayed.

Then Saturday. The day Jesus was really dead, in a sealed tomb, and the hopes and lives of all His followers were turned upside down and inside out. I wonder if Peter replayed his denials over and over, wondering how life would go on. What were the dark places of his heart that he saw so clearly. And how did his mourning cries sound, knowing he had betrayed the one he loved and with seemingly no way to seek forgiveness.

Sunday I'll meet you back here, and I invite you to visit for a song of praise. For the wonder is that Jesus' life was accepted as full payment for our sins. We know that because He was resurrected - proof of the Father's acceptance. And when we are united to Him (King Jesus!) in faith our life is dead and buried, and Christ's perfect life becomes ours. What a joy it will be, after meditating on my wretchedness, to see Christ's glory in all its splendor - given to me from the inside out.

Please join me and the other women of our study as we have these passages from the events of the Passion week (and some others if you want more), and let's look at all these next five days have to offer us - to reset our perceptions and line them up with the reality of substance - the reality of heaven.

Thursday Luke 22:7-65 (additional: 1 Cor. 11:17-33)
Friday Luke 22:66-23:56 (addt'l: Rom. 1:18-2:8)
Saturday Luke 23:56b, 22:34, 54-62 (addt'l: Psalm 51)
Sunday Luke chapter 24 (addt'l Eph. 2:1-10, also Eph. 1:3-14)