Thursday, December 31, 2009

see ya, '09

"What mighty praise, O God, belongs to You.... You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance." (Psalm 65:1,11)

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 25, 2009

and He will be called... Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

"My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot,
like a root in dry ground.
There was nothing beautiful or majestic about His appearance,
nothing to attract us to Him.
He was despised and rejected—
a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on Him and looked the other way.
He was despised, and we did not care.
Yet it was our weaknesses He carried;
it was our sorrows that weighed Him down.
And we thought His troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for His own sins!
But He was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on Him the sins of us all.
He was oppressed and treated harshly,
yet He never said a word.
He was led like a lamb to the slaughter.
And as a sheep is silent before the shearers,
He did not open His mouth.
Unjustly condemned, He was led away.
No one cared that He died without descendants,
that His life was cut short in midstream.
But He was struck down for the rebellion of my people.
He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone.
But He was buried like a criminal;
He was put in a rich man’s grave.
But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush Him and cause Him grief.
Yet when His life is made an offering for sin, He will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands. When He sees all that is accomplished by His anguish, He will be satisfied.
And because of His experience,
my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for He will bear all their sins.
I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier,
because He exposed himself to death.
He was counted among the rebels.
He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels."
(Isaiah 53)


"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a SAVIOR has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.' Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

'Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth PEACE
to men on whom his favor rests.'"

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

episode 13: too many problems

matt chandler - pathology report

Please be praying for Matt and Lauren Chandler, their kids and The Village Church. The following is the letter by the pastors updating the church on the pathology results. Click HERE for updates.

Dear church,

In the first chapter of Philippians, the Apostle Paul writes that whatever imprisonments, beatings and trials he may have suffered, they all "serve to advance the gospel" of Jesus Christ. We implore you to keep the gospel of Christ as the main focus as we walk with Matt and Lauren through this trial.

On Tuesday, Dr. Barnett informed Matt and Lauren that the findings of the pathology report revealed a malignant brain tumor that was not encapsulated. The surgery to remove the tumor, the doctor said, was an extremely positive first step; however, because of the nature of the tumor, he was not able to remove all of it.

Matt, who is being released from the hospital today, is meeting with a neuro-oncologist this week to outline the next steps of the recovery process. There is a range of treatment possibilities but the exact course of action has not yet been determined. He will continue outpatient rehab.

The Lord is calling Matt and Lauren and The Village Church body to endure this trial. It will be a challenging road for Matt, his family and our church body. The gospel is our hope and the Lord is our strength. Matt and Lauren continue to find solace and hope in Christ. They weep facing this trial, but not as those without hope and perspective. The gospel clarifies their suffering and promises more of Christ through it all.

You have done a wonderful job respecting the family, and we ask that you continue to do this. They are processing all of this together and need you to give them precious space. Please do not visit them at their house unless personally invited by the Chandlers. The best way to serve the family is to continue to be faithful in prayer. Specifically, pray for the following:

- Wisdom for all the coming decisions
- Strength and peace to endure
- The kids' (Audrey, Reid and Norah) hearts; pray the Lord is merciful as they process and that their little hearts do not grow embittered
- The Chandlers and The Village would suffer well because of the gospel and for the sake of Christ's name

As you hurt and weep for the family, do not do it alone. Gather with your home group and with other believers in homes and pray together. This is a time to walk together with others and to endure this trial in community. If you wish, send cards and letters to Matt and Lauren at 2101 Justin Road, Flower Mound, TX 75028.

We will continue to keep you informed as new information is made available. Please be patient with the frequency of the updates. May God strengthen us all and may His glory shine brightly through this.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

never judge things by their appearance - even carpet bags.

On Monday, as the sky clouded over and the air grew steamy once again, a small army of gangster elves disguised as third graders gathered on the back porch and "smoked" their candy canes.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Monday, December 7, 2009

video from matt chandler

"For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever. He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD. His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries."

- Psalm 112:6-8

Friday, December 4, 2009

a bit of magic?

It’s been one of those weeks.

After much consideration, C2 named his new pet fish Teal O’Neil. (Even though he’s brown? “At night, he jumps out of the water and does cartwheels and somersaults, and his stomach turns blue.” Of course.) And my cluster headaches came for a night, a second night, and disappeared. And Rainbow (the bearded dragon) was bleeding, wait, no, he just ate some dewberries. And the SAT and I will sit down and have one last (please, Lord) dizzying conversation of words and numbers on Saturday morning. Oh right, and this morning, fat snowflakes fell straight out of the sky, and I drove to the doctor with flurries hitting my Houston-Texas-windshield, y’all. It’s been one of THOSE weeks.

And in the midst of all this global warming (ahem), you just have to snuggie-up and ask,

"Have you ever traveled to where snow is made,
seen the vault where hail is stockpiled,
The arsenals of hail and snow that I keep in readiness
for times of trouble and battle and war?
Can you find your way to where lightning is launched,
or to the place from which the wind blows?
Who do you suppose carves canyons
for the downpours of rain, and charts
the route of thunderstorms
That bring water to unvisited fields,
deserts no one ever lays eyes on,
Drenching the useless wastelands
so they're carpeted with wildflowers and grass?
And who do you think is the father of rain and dew,
the mother of ice and frost?
You don't for a minute imagine
these marvels of weather just happen, do you?"
(Job 38:22-30)

No, Sir.


And (before I go back to my snowman) C2 decided to keep warm from the cold temperatures (see above) by putting on his brother's pads and tackling little B from next door (who fell over giggling when he first caught sight of the mini-football player) because yesterday was just one of those days.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

happy thanksgiving!

"Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen."

- Revelation 7:12

Thursday, November 19, 2009

docious-ali-expi-istic-fragil-cali-rupus.

Main Entry: frag·ic
Pronunciation: \ˈfra-jik,
Function: adjective
Date: November 19, 2009

1. constitutionally delicate: Little B from next door screeched, "Watch it, I'm fragic!" after C2 tried to knock him over with the ripstick.

[synonyms: fragile, breakable, delicate, frail]

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

we're clearly soldiers in petticoats.

I scored major points in the ‘hood this afternoon when C2 heard I had a dream that he defeated the Crystal King from the deck of the Death Star. I let him in on all the details, a swirl of the latest afternoons swished together into what my subconscious randomly spit out last night. And to be honest, later I felt quite validated as I overheard my eight year old buddy excitedly describing his “babysitter’s dream” as he picked up the 168-piece Lego creation from which my dream originally drew inspiration.

C2’s bedroom is something of a Lego universe. The little men are arranged shoulder to shoulder in precise rows and are put away in their home after a hard day’s work (see also: battling Droids, cave crushing). The adventures the little men go through, however, are absolutely captivating. I mean, if their little plastic heads could talk….

It starts off very simply. C2 sits, tearing apart and building back and grabbing and contemplating and – it’s finished. He gently crams a tiny miner into a Cave Crusher, locking in the front blades and answering all of my questions about the function of each individual piece. If the vehicle passes inspection (and it never does; tiny miner has a HUGE head), C2 flips it around to face the rock monsters under the bed.

I adore his imagination. I love that he will take 168 chunks of meaningless plastic and form something new for a purpose I’ve never heard of. It creates this set up for worship for a scale much larger than 6-inches.

“God,
Creator of the heavens—
he is, remember, God.
Maker of earth—
he put it on its foundations, built it from scratch.
He didn't go to all that trouble
to just leave it empty, nothing in it.
He made it to be lived in.
This God says:

"I am God,
the one and only.
I don't just talk to myself or mumble under my breath.
I never told Jacob,
'Seek me in emptiness, in dark nothingness.
'I am God. I work out in the open,
saying what's right, setting things right." (Isaiah 45)

Now to take one last verse completely out of it’s context, “Since then we are God's offspring, we ought not to suppose that Deity (the Godhead) is like gold or silver or stone, [of the nature of] a representation by human art and imagination, or anything constructed or invented.” (Acts 17:29)

He's way greater than the Lego creations, too.

Monday, November 16, 2009

dotty as you please.

C2 shut the front door, chunked his backpack under the dining room table, and continued on through the kitchen and out the back door without a word. By the time I caught up to him (struggling to get the garage door unlocked and his bike out) we managed to communicate the immediate plan: he was leaving for his friend’s house a few streets over. I grabbed the key to the garage and began jiggling to get it open for him. As he hopped up next to me and we shoved together, he asked if I knew where the friend lived. Yep. I followed you last time.

“You what?!” I followed you.

“Katie, . . . people are gonna wonder.”

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009

aren't we sick yet of missing out on life?

My blog post failed, so check out this Katie's instead:

"Francis Chan wrote, 'How we live our days, is how we live our lives.' I had to read it several times as I let it soak in. Because it is true. So often we find ourselves waiting for a specific moment, a specific call, something special. For what? How we spend our days... that will be our LIFE. Because today could be it. If Jesus came back today and said, 'Let's go!' would we be ready? Would we be doing what we want to be doing when we meet Jesus? People say to me often, 'You are so lucky that you found your calling, that you know your purpose in life.' This statement boggles my mind. I AM so blessed to live the life that I do. But it isn't rocket science. God did NOT part the sky and shout out to me, 'Katie! Serve my people.' I read it in His word. You can too. We can all see as plain as day that Jesus says the number one commandment is to love the Lord and love your neighbor. I happened to move to Uganda and love those neighbors, but that is not the point. As believers, we should already KNOW our calling; it is to love the Lord and love our neighbors by caring for them in whatever broken state they are in. When He said that 'the poor will always be among us' I don't think he meant that as an excuse not to worry about it but as a reminder that there is ALWAYS a neighbor, no matter where we are, in a worse condition than we are. I can only believe that God created us to make this world a little better. That he designed us in love to show that love to others. I just don't know what everyone is waiting for."

Read the rest of her post HERE.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Thursday, November 5, 2009

update, yo

Hey guys,

I'm so sorry for a lack of stories lately. These days, my life is a jumble of cluster headaches and doctors appointments and studying. Nannying has continued, however, and as soon as I get our latest (mis)adventures typed, they'll be up!

Love you guys lots and lots and lots.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

crazy love

"I think we naturally assume that if we look out for our own interests and concerns, we will be happy. But people who sacrifice for others will tell you that seasons of giving are the most rewarding of their lives.

"It turns out the Bible is right - 'It is better to give than to receive' (Acts 20:35). People generally do find greater joy in giving freely to others than they do in rampant self-indulgence. Regarding this, the playwright George Bernard Shaw writes, 'This is true joy in life, the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.'

"God is the only true Giver, and He needs nothing from us. But still He wants us. He gave us life so that we might seek and know Him."

- Francis Chan, Crazy Love

Monday, November 2, 2009

hebrews 13:7

"Remember those who led you,
who spoke the word of God to you;
and considering the result of their conduct,
imitate their faith."

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

know ye not that ... ye are not your own?

"Why shouldn't we go through heartbreaks? Through those doorways God is opening up ways of fellowship with His Son. Most of us fall and collapse at the first grip of pain; we sit down on the threshold of God's purpose and die away of self-pity, and all so-called Christian sympathy will aid us to our death bed. But God will not. He comes with the grip of the pierced hand of His Son, and says - 'Enter into fellowship with Me; arise and shine.' If through a broken heart God can bring His purposes to pass in the world, then thank Him for breaking your heart."

- Oswald Chambers

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

the state of the american woman

I was thrilled to find out that Carolyn McCulley had covered TIME's latest special report. The following is from her post, which I highly recommend checking out:

"TIME magazine just published a special report, "The State of the American Woman." The Rockefeller Foundation, in collaboration with TIME, conducted a landmark survey of gender issues to assess how individual Americans are reacting. What they wanted to know was whether the battle of the sexes was really over, and if so, did anyone win? I guess it depends on how you define winning, because one of the more challenging aspects of this report is what was said about women's happiness:

Among the most confounding changes of all is the evidence, tracked by numerous surveys, that as women have gained more freedom, more education and more economic power, they have become less happy. No tidy theory explains the trend, notes University of Pennsylvania economist Justin Wolfers, a co-author of The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness. "We looked across all sectors — young vs. old, kids or no kids, married or not married, education, no education, working or not working — and it stayed the same," he says of the data.

"This has also been reported elsewhere. For example, Maureen Dowd of The New York Times wrote an op/ed piece in September about the same trend, titled "Blue is the New Black." These media reports have in common the Wharton study released in May titled, "The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness." In my opinion, the Wharton study uncovered one important reason for declining female happiness in an age that upended what feminist Betty Friedan saw as the problem back in 1963: the trapped housewife syndrome. Now that women are no longer bound by what Friedan saw as the primary problem of women, you'd think we'd all be happier. But the Wharton study noted the emotional ties to home still affect women:

Arlie Hochschild’s and Anne Machung’s The Second Shift (1989) argued that women’s movement into the paid labor force was not accompanied by a shift away from household production and they were thus now working a “second shift”. However, time use surveys do not bear this out. Aguiar and Hurst (2007) document relatively equal declines in total work hours since 1965 for both men and women, with the increase in hours of market work by women offset by large declines in their non-market work. Similarly, men are now working fewer hours in the market and more hours in home production. Blau (1998) points to the increased time spent by married men on housework and the decreased total hours worked (in the market and in the home) by married women relative to married men as evidence of women’s improved bargaining position in the home. However, it should be noted that the argument went beyond counting hours in The Second Shift. Women, they argued, have maintained the emotional responsibility for home and family: a point that is perhaps best exemplified by the familiar refrains of a man “helping” around the house or being a good dad when “babysitting” the kids. Thus even if men are putting in more hours, it is difficult to know just how much of the overall burden of home production has shifted, as measuring the emotional, as well as physical, work of making a home is a much more difficult task. "Though the goal of second-wave feminism was to severely diminish the importance of home--the private sphere of our important relationships--it is clear that this isn't possible because the feminine capacity for nurturing and bearing life still courses through us. That's not to say we don't enjoy other tasks and goals outside of the home. It means that the simplistic approach to modeling women's life structures after men's is ridiculously stressful. The home does matter and the relationships nurtured there do carry a priority.

"In fact, you can see this is the results of the Rockefeller/TIME poll. The theme of relationships courses throughout the poll and dominates the issue of priorities:

  • Being married is very important to 58% of men vs. 53% of women.

  • Men and women largely agree on the importance of most life goals. The biggest difference in life goals? Fifty-eight percent of men describe religious faith as very important vs. 68% of women.

  • There's a definition perception gap at work: TIME reports that 69% of women think men resent women who have more power than they do; only 49% of men agree. But only 29% of men say that female bosses are harder to work for than male bosses, compared with 45% of women.

  • More than a third of men over age 65 say that with the rise of women in society and the workplace, men no longer know their role vs. 25% of men ages 18 to 29.

"But most interesting of all was this snapshot from TIME:

  • In the 1970s, a majority of children grew up with a stay-at-home parent; now that figure is less than a third. A large majority — 70% of men, 61% of women — believe this has had a negative effect on society. Fifty-seven percent of men and 51% of women agree that it is better for a family if the father works outside the home and the mother takes care of the children. Asked to rank what they value most for their own daughters, 63% of men and 56% of women put a happy marriage with children first; 17% of men and 23% of women said an interesting career; and 15% of men and 20% of women said financial success.

"If a happy marriage and children is the highest priority for more than half of those surveyed, then I believe we need to be more intentional about helping our culture achieve those goals. The timeless truth of the Bible still speaks to us today and we who know the Word should not shrink back from leading others to learn it."

Monday, October 26, 2009

"In the future there is laid up for me
the crown of righteousness,
which the Lord, the righteous Judge,
will award to me on that day;
and not only to me, but also to all
who have loved His appearing.
... Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!"

- 2 Timothy 4:8; Revelation 22:20


"Do you love the Lord's appearing? Then you will bend every effort to take the gospel into all the world. It troubles me in the light of the clear teaching of God's Word, in the light of our explicit definition of our task in The Great Commission (Mat. 28:18-20) that we take it so lightly.... His is the kingdom; He reigns in heaven and He manifests His reign on earth in and through His church. When we have accomplished our mission, He will return and establish His kingdom in glory. To us it is given not only to wait for but also to hasten the coming of the day of God (2 Pet. 3:12)."

- George Ladd, The Gospel of the Kingdom

Saturday, October 24, 2009

state bound!

May I just brag on my brothers for a sec'?

Yes?

Okay, good... because THEY'RE GOING TO STATE!

Friday, October 23, 2009

colossians 1:15-18

"We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God's original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body."

(And on an unrelated note, I'd like to apologize for a mistake made in yesterday's post. Oma and Opa from next door are not from Germany. They are from the Czech Republic. That is to say, they still live in Dallas.)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

oh, yes, definitely. a view halloo.

I was sitting on the sidewalk smashing acorns. Little B from next door stood in front of me with his chin up in the air and the biggest smile on his face, as he explained that today was Grandparent’s Day. His babysitter had the day off because his grandparents were in from out of town. C2 sauntered over, and B led the way through the grass: “Guess where my Oma and Opa are from.”

“Pennsylvania?”
“No.”
“California?”
“No.”
“New York?”
"No, they’re from Germany.”

I picked at the mud from the dirt clod C2 chunked at my legs (upon greeting) as the pair began tearing apart the garage.

“Germany?” C2 picked up a long stick. “Do they speak Europe?”

B shook his head. “They speak German. They’re from Germany, but they live in Dallas.”

Naturally.

C2 resumed his poking about the garage with the stick, but his feet slowly ceased shuffling. He leaned over a very familiar Tupperware container, and I looked over his shoulder at our dear friend, who rested in a very new cocoon.

After staring at the silky clump for awhile and contemplating the life cycle of a caterpillar, I closed the garage door and left him to his slumber, as the boys walked back down the driveway discussing where all he might have travelled in the first stage of his lifetime. (“New Jersey?” “No.” “Washington?” “No.” “China?” “No.”)

Sleep tight, Heinrich.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

i feel a surge of deep satisfaction, much as a king astride his noble steed - thank you.

Today was magical.

C2 slammed the glass front door after announcing he was leaving for a neighbor’s house, and I slipped a peak through the blinds to make sure he was picking up his bike to speed through the mosquito-ed mist. Like every other day, I prepared to count to thirty and trot along after him, sneaking behind trees like a spy to see where he really went. I trust him. He’s eight. No, really, I trust him.

After 14.3562 seconds of sneaking and peaking, I watched as he literally threw down his bike and sprinted to the white pillar on his front porch. Another 8.415 seconds passed as I watched him frozen in awe and speculation; I waited until he whirled around and screamed my name. I walked outside, and my jaw dropped.

It was a caterpillar. Oh, my friends, it was not just any caterpillar. It was Heimlich.

More specifically, it was an Antheraea polyphemus. And how I wish I had known that then. C2 would have been impressed beyond any natural, human expression of admiration. Instead, we crawled to the live slinky, and he whispered “It’s so cool,” and I reverently responded, It’s the most crazy awesome thing I’ve ever seen.

Then he grabbed it. I swatted his arm because, obviously, it's poisonous, and he could have died; and he chunked it back against the pillar. And we continued to sit, amazed as it slinked along and shedded a delicate trail of a silk-like substance.

Now, I realize, dear readers, that you probably see these lime-green-jello-monsters every single day, so no big deal. But we were captivated, fascinated to the point of giddiness. C2 squinted at me and sighed, “I just love watching nature.”

He walked inside and came back out and walked inside – not the china! – and came back out – seriously, will you ever eat out of that again knowing what Heimlich probably did in there? - and walked inside and came back out with a container he then filled with carefully picked leaves and acorns and twigs. He hurriedly placed the grass and excitedly set the caterpillar in his new home. My kiddo practically skipped and sang as he dropped off the box in the house and biked away to inform his friends.

It was an enchanting afternoon.

When his mom set her purse down and discovered the newest family member scooting down her kitchen counter, I could have sworn I heard C2's prize happily crying out, “But I AM flying! And from way up here you all look like little ants! Auf Wiedersehen!"


“What a wildly wonderful world, God!
You made it all, with Wisdom at your side,
made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.

“… All the creatures look expectantly to you
to give them their meals on time.
You come, and they gather around;
you open your hand and they eat from it.
If you turned your back, they'd die in a minute—
Take back your Spirit and they die,
revert to original mud;
Send out your Spirit and they spring to life—
the whole countryside in bloom and blossom.

“The glory of God—let it last forever!
Let God enjoy his creation!

“...Oh, let me sing to God all my life long,
sing hymns to my God as long as I live!
Oh, let my song please him; I'm so pleased to be singing to God...
O my soul, bless God!”

- Psalm 104:24-30

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

in Christ alone

"I will exalt You, LORD, because You have lifted me up and have not allowed my enemies to triumph over me. LORD my God, I cried to You for help, and You healed me. LORD, You brought me up from Sheol; You spared me from among those going down to the Pit. Sing to the LORD, you His faithful ones, and praise His holy name. For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor, a lifetime. Weeping may spend the night, but there is joy in the morning. When I was secure, I said, 'I will never be shaken.' LORD, when You showed Your favor, You made me stand like a strong mountain; when You hid Your face, I was terrified. LORD, I called to You; I sought favor from my Lord: 'What gain is there in my death, in my descending to the Pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it proclaim Your truth? LORD, listen and be gracious to me; LORD, be my helper.' You turned my lament into dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, so that I can sing to You and not be silent. LORD my God, I will praise You forever."

- Psalm 30:1-12

"No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand." (Stuart Townend, Keith Getty)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

psalm 119:175

"Invigorate my soul so I can praise You well,
use Your decrees to put iron in my soul."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

who am i ... that You have brought me this far?

"God is the Author of life, not man nor science. Indeed Jeremiah 1:5 says, 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.' The psalmist responded to a strikingly similar God given revelation with these words:

"'Certainly you made my mind and heart; you wove me together in my mother's womb. I will give you thanks because your deeds are awesome and amazing. You knew me thoroughly; my bones were not hidden from you, when I was made in secret and sewed together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw me when I was inside the womb. All the days ordained for me were recorded on your scroll before one of them came into existence. How difficult it is for me to fathom your thoughts about me, O God! How vast is their sum total!' (Ps. 139:13-17, NET).

"We desperately need reminders like these especially when something horrible has happened. We've got to know we're cherished and have been since - take time for wonder - before we were conceived. We were planned by someone who pondered the panoramic canvas of our entire lives, in living color, dimension, and texture, with joy as if it had already been well lived. We were assigned purpose and placed within a God-created system where no pain can come to us unless it serves that exact purpose. We need to know that the events we find so baffling don't mean God has forgotten about us or forsaken us. Perhaps, if we'd stretch our hearts and minds to perceive it, He has instead trusted us.

"... We've been reminded how before David's great awe with God - that led him to cry out, 'How great you are, O Sovereign LORD! There is no one like you!' - he first experienced the stunning, deadly failure to bring the ark into Jerusalem. Though David had been angry and afraid (2 Sam. 6:8-9), the word of God's blessing on the lives of others steeled and steadies his conviction that God is totally good. He is completely righteous. He is always holy.

"David then went back for the ark and took every ounce of his shaken heart to the God he'd loved since childhood. A bruised heart that chooses to beat with a passion for God amid pulsing pain and confusion may be just be the most expensive offering placed on the divine altar. He esteems yours as much as He esteemed His beloved David's."

- Beth Moore; Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

prayer request

My dear blog buddies,

Most of y'all know I have cluster headaches. Most of y'all know their patterns already: between cluster cycles (where episodes occur every day for weeks), my body normally has about thirty to forty days to rest and heal. This last time, I had eight days. Tonight is my fifth consecutive night of attacks for this new cycle, and to be honest, with episodes lasting eighteen hours of the daily twenty-four, my body's hurting. A lot.

Yesterday, we went back to the doctor who (changed my drugs yet again but) admitted that he doesn't know what to do anymore. At this point, we're all heartbroken and simply do not understand why this has been going on for so long, or why the episodes are not responding to any treatment.

Pride has made it extremely hard for me to write this post, but we so desperately need your prayers. If you could be praying for wisdom for my doctors, peace and strength for my family, and relief from the pain, we would greatly appreciate it.

We're continually humbled by all who have continued to pray and love on our family. I could not even begin to express in words how much it means.

Thankfully, these hard times are small potatoes (grin), and even in the worst of conditions, we've still got hope. And a Hope. (Jeremiah 29:11 , Romans 5:5)

"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." (Revelation 21:4)

Love you guys.

Monday, October 12, 2009

small potatoes

"So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There's far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever."

- 2 Corinthians 4:14-16

Saturday, October 10, 2009

pin split (part two)

When I was three, I prayed every night for a sister. When I was three and a half, my twin brothers were born.

Fifteen years later, I've never been so thankful that a prayer wasn't answered the way I originally wanted.

Words could not even BEGIN to express how much I love you two. You are the most amazing young men I know, and I am so ridiculously proud of both of you. And now, because you're sitting right next to me as I write this, I'm going to stop my message here and... attack!


Happy birthday, my pins!

Friday, October 9, 2009

pin split (part one)

My baby brothers turn fifteen on Sunday.

FIFTEEN.

They already have plans to pick up their permits and take over the Houston freeways as soon as the calendar flips to October 11. But this should be no big deal: they've been driving for years.

Because they're twins (or pins, as they corrected everyone who made this common mistake twelve years ago), they celebrate on different days. Because they're twins, the baby pictures must be brought out on separate posts.

But I don't mind. I kind of like these two.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

neither am i a maypole. kindly stop spinning about me.

I thought I was out of Nanny material. It truly made me sad because I take my role as an aspiring MP [Mary Poppins] very seriously (I’ve even searched eBay for a carpetbag and an umbrella with a parrot head: I’m waiting to purchase until that magical moment when the right one speaks to me). However, I may have thought wrong.

Over the weekend, C1 and C2 moved to a beautiful house in a different neighborhood. Though the distance is not more than five miles from the other residence, it’s caused some major changes. For example, C2 rode home on his new bus yesterday. I was warned in advance that he was worried, so I grabbed flashcards to memorize and plopped down in the sunshine with plenty of time to spare and without any chance of missing his arrival. Right on schedule, his bus slowed to a whiny stop at the end of the street, and two little boys hopped off. Neither were mine. The bus seemed to hug the curb for an extra long time before it pulled away again. Not surprising. If anyone could stop a full bus, it would be my child.

The set of brothers were greeted by their mom, and all three waved to me as they walked in the house a patch of grass away from my own. A flash of yellow distracted me as it danced around the corner. Now I’m not an expert in the least on public school transportation, but something seemed to have gone very wrong in that moment. What happens to those who stay on the bus? Is it like a ski lift where you have the possibility to circle around and around forever unless someone grabs your hand, yanks you off, and shoves you into the snow?

In between fighting tears and running barefoot after the bus, I called my mom (who, since the last time I lost a kid, has still not misplaced one of her own). As we worked through my rescue plan, the bus came back. MY bus. I had memorized the number painted on the back and had been chanting it subconsciously since it disappeared the first time.

It parked in front of my house. The bus, that is. The bus filled to the brim with hyperactive third-graders. The driver rolled down the window and waved at me and yelled, “Are you C2’s sister?” I had two options: deny everything and run inside, or face whatever was to come. No... no, I’m his babysitter. “Oh, I dropped C2 off one street over. I wasn’t sure what to do , but he said it was okay and got off with….” She proceeded to write down the friend’s first and last name, his address, his phone number. God bless her. She smiled apologetically as if it were her fault, and said she was new to the route. She reassured me that C1 was on his way. He could still go missing, but he hadn't yet. Great.

All the while, her own charges had rolled down the windows, impatient and sweaty. The bus rolled on down the street, and after taking off in the direction of my kid, I spotted him bouncing along toward home, picking up lizards, throwing acorns back at the squirrels, chatting happily to his new best friend.

New house, new life happenings, but some things never change.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

time together isn't ever quite enough

I apologize for the lack of "real" posts lately. Life has been nuts, and I must confess: the blog has been low on my priority list. But now that my fever and cluster headaches have ceased (still looking for that homework cure), I promise stories will be up soon.

Love!

Monday, October 5, 2009

e. dickinson

Saying nothing... sometimes says the most.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

set-apart

"The world-altering and life-giving secret that was kept hidden through the ages, but is now made known to Christ's set-apart ones, is simply this: Jesus Christ, your heavenly Prince, will actually make your earthly body His royal residence! Yes, it's true! The Prince coming to live within your sanctuary - this is the world-altering secret that ushers in His kingdom." - Colossians 1:26-27 (paraphrase)

"Christ's set-apart ones have all gone through the same inner-transformation process. They have all kicked Self off the throne of their lives, eliminating the controlling power of sin, and offered the heavenly Prince the ruling power of their existence." - Galatians 5:24 (paraphrase)

"To be my disciple, to be a set-apart one, costs everything you have. Don't delude yourself into thinking it will only cost you a portion of your existence! The very essence of a disciple is one who has completely emptied her inner sanctuary of all other lovers to make room for Me, her heavenly Prince." - Luke 14:33 (paraphrase)

"I ask that God, out of His infinite supply of spiritual riches, would mightily supply your inner life with His Spirit's enabling power, so that Christ, your heavenly Prince, might make your inner sanctuary His sacred residence as you lean more and more on Him. And I also desire that you would be able to comprehend, along with all God's set-apart children, the extraordinary life-altering dimensions of Christ's love. But even more than comprehending this love in your mind, I want you to know it experientially, deep within your heart, so that you may have every ounce of God within you that is humanly possible to have." - Ephesians 3:16-19 (paraphrase)

"The unmarried young woman centers her earthly existence around the affairs of her heavenl Prince, and her aim in life is to be completely set apart for Him, in body and in spirit." - 1 Corinthians 7:34 (paraphrase)


(-
Leslie Ludy, Authentic Beauty)

Friday, October 2, 2009

to trust You

This song has been on repeat on my ipod for several weeks. It's not from a genre I normally listen to, but the words resonated in a way I can't describe. I wanted to leave them here for y'all tonight; they're so powerful:

"Did You hear me crying out to You? Did You hear me?
I did all I knew to do... I prayed, had faith, but You still took him away from me.

I can choose to ask why. I can choose to be angry. I can wrestle when life is not what I thought it would be. I can wish that all the pain would simply go away. And at the same time, I can choose, Lord, to trust You.

Do You see me? I can't do this on my own. Are You near me?

Just let me know I'm not alone.

I prayed, had faith that You would answer me so differently. So, I can choose to ask why. I can choose to be angry. I can wrestle when life is not what I thought it would be. I can wish that all the pain would simply go away. And at the same time, I can choose, Lord, to trust Your ways are not my ways, to know there's purpose in this pain, to trust that you will bring my joy again.

But I'm still asking why. I can wish that all this pain would simply go away, but at the same, I can choose, Lord, to trust You."

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust You, how I’ve proved You o’er and o’er. Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus. O for grace to trust You more...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

faithful

From Beth Moore's blog:

"Lately God has really been bringing that first part of Hebrews 11:6 back to my mind in living, breathing color like on a cartoon strip of a newspaper. You probably know the verse by heart even if you don’t know exactly where it lives: “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Don’t dismiss it or yawn past it with over-familiarity because it encompasses the single most important concept of our existence. On most mornings as I meet with God in the quiet before dawn, I say some form of these words: 'Lord, I want so much to please you…' Recently, I’ve found myself in a season where I’m having to put very deliberate, focused trust in God in order not to be overcome by a few obstacles and invitations to fear. It’s not a bad place to be. It’s just a very intense place to be. Those seasons never fail to become the most memorable markers on my path with Christ. A few days ago when I was saying those same words to Him ('I want so much to please You, Lord'), I felt like He spoke back. These very clear and unsolicited thoughts formed like a pencil sketch on the wall of my mind: 'Beth, you keep telling Me that you want to please Me and I esteem that. It is seeing you exercise your faith with great courage and against emotions and odds that pleases Me most. You’ve had a little break in some areas lately. What do you say we get back to that walk again?'

"... Nope. Not a bad place to be at all. Just intense. For some of you... , really intense. Much more intense than what I’m going through. I want Him and the sense of His presence more than anything in this whole world. I’ve tasted it and there’s nothing in life like it. Many of you feel that same way. This many decades into a journey with Christ, I’ve concluded that the paths where our faith is stretched beyond our circumstances, our emotions, and natural conclusions are the ones where we receive the most vivid divine disclosures. These are the experiences that shape the paragraphs of our life stories. These are what keep us from being the snoozers and reward-losers in the Body of Christ. These are our hikes up the mountain where Jesus is transfigured before us. I am convinced that, in seasons that call for a powerful outbreak of faith, victory is never accidental. We make up our minds to believe God. To make no choice at all is to choose defeat. Fear. Intimidation. Constant psychological warfare.

"SO, my verses this time around in our Scripture memory challenge are centered on faith because I find myself there again. I’m not feeling whiny because this is the place the Word jumps off the page for me and my prayer time passes before I’m finished. This is the place I grow. Every other place is where I simply maintain. Don’t get me wrong. Maintaining is not a bad thing as long as we can swing on the Vine to the other side of the road when we get an opportunity to land in a growth spurt. I’m choosing several verses this time because they’re each familiar enough to me to be fairly easy to memorize. I know them by concept and paraphrase. Now I want to know them word for word. If you want, choose just one of them and let it build up your sweet faith. Maybe you’ve forgotten lately that you are a warrior. He is so worthy of this, Sister.

"Of Abraham, Romans 4:20-21 NIV says…

"'He did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised.'
"(By the way, when I recite that one to God, I’ll probably often take it personally and use a “she” for me instead of a “he” for Abraham. After all, his faith walk is over and mine is still very much in flux.)

"And one more. It’s a really short portion but it shoots a straight shot and I love it. It’s Isaiah 7:9b NIV… 'If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.' No kidding. Let’s get back up, Girls. Remember, faithfulness is never passive. It is the active filling of every gap with faith."

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Petrichor.
pronunciation: /ˈpɛtrɨkər/;
from Greek petros "stone" + ichor ("the fluid that is supposed to flow in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology")

the name of the scent of rain on dry earth.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

beauty from pain

"After all this has passed, I still will remain. After I’ve cried my last, there’ll be beauty from pain. Though it won’t be today, someday I’ll hope again.... You will bring beauty from my pain."



"The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, an the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; ... that He may be glorified." (Isaiah 61:1-3)

Friday, September 25, 2009

we better keep an eye on this one.

Right now, it’s the little moments that matter.

Like when the cats scrambled passed me after hearing the clank…. clank. “OHH MAN.” clank. (silence) wooooooshhhhh. clankclankclankclankclankclank as the twenty-four pack of Dr. Pepper fell off the shelf and slammed into the tile, flooding the pantry in a sea of carbonation. Like when we (C2 and I) then spent a good fifteen minutes on our knees laughing and mopping as another can exploded and sprayed sticky liquid in our hair. Like when he asked if he’d get in trouble because of the accident. Asked if that sort of thing had ever happened to me before. Asked if I could relate.

Or yesterday, when C2 started cracking up as acorns rained down from the tree I read beneath, giggling as I dodged the pellets that flew toward my head at angles which could only have come from a family of vindictive squirrels spread out all over the branches to take their shots. And when he covered his head and explained how “A squirrel attacked me one time. It hurt… He scratched my arm and stuff. Like this.” Like that. My forearm may forever be scarred. But he wanted me to understand so, as inspired by an angry rodent, he dug his nails into my skin and let me feel it too.

We spend more and more time together, and his stories burst out. I’m supposed to catch each one and toss it back. He watches my throw, watches to see if I can get it back to him on target. If I’m paying attention. If I understand. The everyday stories have become the deciding move: if he makes the pitch, and I let it fly by because it’s "trivial" and "unimportant", I’m out of the game.

Because the little moments determine whether or not he’ll ask later about a problem that's "meaningful", that matters even to people older than eight. These day-to-day, ordinary situations determine whether or not my young friend will hurl a heavier topic my way with the confidence that I’ll be there to snag it. That I’ll be on the other end to hold on to what he throws until he wants it back.

Most likely I will have never played the position he asks for, but generally all that's needed is someone in the outfield, someone to keep him from playing alone. That's what matters.

“GOD, …I'm an open book to You; even from a distance, You know what I'm thinking. You know when I leave and when I get back; I'm never out of Your sight. You know everything I'm going to say before I start the first sentence. I look behind me and You're there, then up ahead and You're there, too — Your reassuring presence, coming and going. You know me inside and out….” (Psalm 139)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

episode 3: social integration

Have YOU seen A Talkshow with Caleb and John yet? It will change your life.

Don't forget to become a Facebook fan and follow their Twitter account. You won't regret it. "Stay beautiful!"

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

and it scares me to think that i could choose my life over You

I've reenacted the "lemonade stand" story so many times this week that I finally broke down and wrote it out with good ol' paper and ink tonight. But I'm going to save it for a later post (finally - I know, I know - a "Nanny Diaries" update). I realize this sounds like an intentional hook to reel you in, but it's not. I promise. (Besides, if I was trying to catch your attention, wouldn't it have been smarter to dig for more desirable bait? For example, mentioning that my Mary Poppins duties this week included filming a movie? But I digress.)

With my cluster headaches (still occurring about 17 hours of the day) lately, I've been studying as much as possible the actions needed to fight off our enemy. "For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ." (2 Cor 10:3-5)

Though my body is under severe attack right now, I feel like what is being hit the hardest is my mind. I'm exhausted and growing increasingly weaker, but I think the enemy targets my thoughts to a more concentrated extent than my physical strength. Because it's where I'm most vulnerable. Because if my mentality and outlook is twisted and what I know questioned, fear takes over and all focus is lost. This is what makes 2 Corinthians 10:5 incredibly important.

Taking that a step further, Ephesians 6 lays out the entire armor of God, but the only piece of weapon that is intended for the offensive is the Word of God. The verse following the mention of the Word says in all circumstances we should be "praying at all times in the Spirit...."

"I am utterly convinced that the two major weapons with divine power in our warfare are the Word of God and Spirit-empowered prayer." (Beth Moore)

Over the last few days, I've been learning (slowly! very, very slowly) the importance of praying the Scripps when in trials, as well as when everything is seemingly fine. We have been given what's necessary to break through strongholds, current and to come.

On a personal level, it's hit me that though we're given weapons to fight for deliverance, my relationship with our Healer is more important than my actual healing. My tiny brain is having a very difficult time swallowing this concept. But all in all, prayer doesn't always change our circumstances (I may be stuck with this physical pain), but prayer always, absolutely changes us.

(The following prayers are taken from Moore's Praying God's Word and based on the verses in parentheses)

"My Father, You are the the Lord my God. I desire to love You, listen to Your voice, and hold fast to You, for You, Lord, are my life." (Deut. 30:20)

"Father, by faith in the name of Jesus, make me strong. Help me to realize that it is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through Him that heal me." (Acts 3:16)

"I love You, O Lord, my strength! You are my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer; You, my God, are my Rock, in whom I take refuge. You are my shield and the horn of my salvation, my Stronghold! I call to You, O Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies!" (Ps. 18:1-3)

"I trust in You, Lord, so I'll let You rescue me. Teach me to delight in You and deliver me, O God." (Ps. 22:8)

One last Scripp I'm prayin' tonight (focusing on the last paragraph):

"I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and He will hear me. In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted....

"You hold my eyelids open; ... I consider the days of old, the years long ago. I said, 'Let me remember my song in the night; let me meditate in my heart.'

"Then my spirit made a diligent search: 'Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable? Has His steadfast love forever ceased? Are His promises at an end for all time? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has He in anger shut up His compassion?

"Then I said, 'I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.'

"I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember Your wonders of old. I will ponder all Your work, and meditate on Your mighty deeds. Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders; You have made known your might among the peoples. You with Your arm redeemed Your people, the children of Jacob and Joseph. When the waters saw You, O God, when the waters saw You, they were afraid; indeed, the deep trembled. The clouds poured out water; the skies gave forth thunder; Your arrows flashed on every side. The crash of Your thunder was in the whirlwind; Your lightnings lighted up the world; the earth trembled and shook. Your way was through the sea, Your path through the great waters; yet Your footprints were unseen...." (Psalm 77)

Love you guys.

Monday, September 21, 2009

episode 2: going places

Remember these guys?

Check out the second episode of
What is Your Problem? a talk show with caleb and john:


Become a Facebook fan.
Check out episode 2 on Youtube.
Follow their Twitter account.

And as always, don't forget to leave them a comment with your opinion and your problem.

"Stay beautiful!"

Saturday, September 19, 2009

that's a wrap

Last night, my little town showcased an impressive amount of blue. Mustang-blue. We moved here about two years ago, and it still amazes me that most of the town stands behind the local high school football team. (Stars Hollow, anyone?)

Tradition holds that the band upperclassmen (with parental permission) wrap the houses of their freshmen the night of the first home game. This isn't the first middle-of-the-night-excursion. We started off the school year with nineteen band guys lined up outside my bedroom door at four in the morning to kidnap my brothers. Except I have twin brothers, so everything that happens must happen twice. Early this morning, our yard was TP-ed not once, but two times (despite, please note, our hilariously severe lack of trees).

(All pictures were captured around three o'clock this afternoon after the majority of the toilet paper had spread all over the neighborhood.)

I really should have helped clean up...,
but I found it too great a Kodak moment to pass up

and thus spent the afternoon standing in the grass, cracking up at their newly found, tree-poking skills.

Welcome to high school, M&M. I love you!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

psalm 97.

The LORD reigns, let the earth rejoice;
let the many coastlands be glad!
Clouds and thick darkness are all around him;
righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.
Fire goes before him
and burns up his adversaries all around.
His lightnings light up the world;
the earth sees and trembles.
The mountains melt like wax before the LORD,
before the Lord of all the earth.

The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
and all the peoples see his glory.
All worshipers of images are put to shame,
who make their boast in worthless idols;
worship him, all you gods!

Zion hears and is glad,
and the daughters of Judah rejoice,
because of your judgments, O LORD.
For you, O LORD, are most high over all the earth;
you are exalted far above all gods.

you who love the LORD, hate evil!
He preserves the lives of his saints;
he delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
Light is sown for the righteous,
and joy for the upright in heart.
Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous,
and give thanks to his holy name!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

episode 1: a talk show with caleb and john

I'm so jazzed about this


because it's the brand new, official website for the talkshow my good friends and fellow bloggers Caleb and John started. "A Talk Show with Caleb and John" began as a Facebook favorite, and last week (with recent sponsor Sugar Creek Baptist Church's student ministry LYF behind them), their new site and show launched.

These guys are awesome.

Become a Facebook fan.
Follow their Twitter account.

And don't forget to leave them a comment with your opinion and your problem.

"Stay beautiful!"

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

send Your fire, send Your fire

I had stories to add to the ever-growing Nanny Diaries tonight, but my body is refusing to let me capture them for you.

After I said goodbye to my kiddos this afternoon and hopped in my car, I felt a small stabbing pain begin to grow behind my left eye. It’s been a month since my cluster headaches ceased to interrupt my daily life, and today’s attack surprised me. It’s been hours since it occurred, and I’m still not sure if my brain has fully absorbed the fact that this will most likely be the first of days and days of horrifically painful episodes.

Until this information sinks in (and especially when it does), we’re on our knees. While my enemy's assaults could be far worse than even nasty cluster headaches, we’re praying for God to utterly destroy as promised. ("There is none like God.... who rides through the heavens to your help, through the skies in His majesty. The eternal God is Your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. And He thrust out the enemy before you and said, Destroy." Deut. 33:26-27) I’m running out of words this evening, so I’ll let Cece Winans' lyrics speak instead:

"I'm tired of principalities messing with me;
I'm tired of the devil stealing from me.
I promise he won't get one more thing.
I'm taking it back, taking territory.
I'm ready for the battle; I'm ready to win.
My weapon of power: He lives within.
I can't be defeated; the enemy gotta flee.
I'm taking it back, taking territory."


"The LORD is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt Him. The LORD is a man of war; the LORD is his name. Your right hand, O LORD, glorious in power, your right hand, O LORD shatters the enemy. In the greatness of Your majesty You overthrow your adversaries; You send out your fury; it consumes them like stubble. The enemy said, 'I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them. I will draw my sword; my hand shall destroy them.'

"Who is like You, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders? You stretched out Your right hand; the earth swallowed them. You have led in Your steadfast love the people whom You have redeemed; You have guided them by Your strength to Your holy abode." - Exodus 15:2-3, 6-7, 9, 11-13

"Fire by night,
cloud by day.
My Strong Tower, send the latter rain.
Lion of Judah,
Lord God, mighty in battle,
since You did it back then
we know You'll do it again." (Cece Winans)

Monday, September 14, 2009

first of all, i would like to make one thing quite clear. i never explain anything.

Around a mouthful of Skittles (literally the entire bag resting within his cheeks), C2 asked of a Cartoon Network character's claim, “'I stand corrected.' Hey, what does that mean?” I told him. “But she’s sitting.” I told him in different words. He nodded.

After the Skittles were (eventually) swallowed and a knock on the door interrupted our air-conditioned peace, the daily game of neighborhood hide-and-seek kicked off. We walked down the sidewalk to face the babysitter from next door and her kiddo. C2 plopped down onto the grass and counted our feet, circled up, in order to decide who would be “It” first. Little B from next door groaned when his foot remained alone in the circle. C2 popped up and watched him. “Who are you going to get?”

“Her.” He pointed at me and started giggling. (Maybe I played incorrectly growing up, but we always checked for hiding spots in order to find people. In general. Vengeance was never sought after one in particular. Maybe I’m old. ) C2 snapped back, “You can’t go after one person.” B smiled.

Should we play in teams? C2 started moving. “No, but we’re going to beat y’all. We’re your minikins.” (Minikins? Minions?) As B crawled next to my car and called out numbers, the rest of us took off running. After a few minutes of sitting in a bush, scratched-up and bruised, I moved to the garage. I stood in the corner wiping off sweat and waited for sounds of tiny tennis shoes.

B sprinted up the driveway yelling, “I know you’re in there, Katie! You might as well come out!” (He totally peeked.) He ran into the garage and stopped, confused. I could have stretched out my arm and grabbed his red shirt, but he never turned his head to the right. Still, he threw his head up and with confidence shouted, “I saw you! I know where you are!” and hustled right back down the driveway.

After a few minutes, I crawled back through the bushes and crept towards base. He spun around and noticed me after I tagged it. “Where did you come from?” I can’t say. “Why not?” I’m hiding there next time. “That’s not fair.” Yes, it is. And you were right there. I could have touched you. “No way.”

We all walked back inside for water. C2 skipped to my side and asked where I hid. When I refused to tell him, he said I had to tell him. We headed back outside, and I told him that if we formed teams, I would take him to my hiding spot. He immediately ran ahead and said, “We’re on teams now. I’m with my babysitter, you [pointing at B] are with yours. C1’s on his own team.”

We split. I jogged to the garage with C2 close behind. Once in our station, C2’s breath matched mine, and for a moment, we truly became a team working for one purpose.

But then he got bored and left to meet B whose search had brought him close to our spot. C2 began jumping up and down, “I know where Katie is! I know where she is! Follow me!”

He proceeded to narrate my exact location. The utter glee in which he spoke simply echoed throughout the garage. United? I stand corrected.

“Starting from scratch, He made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find Him. He doesn't play hide-and-seek with us. He's not remote; He's near. We live and move in Him, can't get away from Him! One of your poets said it well: 'We're the God-created.' ” (Acts 17:24)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

dudes ask, "why you chase Christ instead of status?"

(Read the original article HERE. And if you would like music to read with the article, check out Trip Lee's Satisfaction (Hedonist) ... just 'cause.)

"One of the marks of our church is the aroma of Christian Hedonism. This is the biblical truth that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. The basis for this is deep, and the implications are as high as infinity and as long as eternity (both directions).

"One place to see the basis is Philippians 1:20-21, where Paul says his 'eager expectation and hope [is] that . . . Christ will . . . be honored in my body . . . by death. For to me . . . to die is gain.' His passion is that Christ be magnified in his death. Paul’s explanation is that for him 'death is gain.' The reason death is gain is that to die is 'to depart and be with Christ' (verse 23).

"Therefore, Paul believed that Christ is magnified by his being so satisfied in Christ that leaving everything else behind in death is not loss but gain. So he says in Philippians 3:8, 'I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.'

"So I conclude: Christ is most magnified in us when we are most satisfied in him—especially in suffering and death.

"...The implications of this are pervasive. One of the biggest implications is that we should, therefore, pursue our joy in God. Should! Not may. The main business of our hearts is maximizing our satisfaction in God. Not our satisfaction in his gifts, no matter how good, but in him. Here are eight biblical reasons to pursue your greatest and longest satisfaction in God.

1) We are commanded to pursue satisfaction.

Psalm 100:2: 'Serve the Lord with gladness!' Philippians 4:4: 'Rejoice in the Lord always.' Psalm 37:4: 'Delight yourself in the Lord.'

2) We are threatened if we don’t pursue satisfaction in God.

Deuteronomy 28:47-48: 'Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joyfulness and gladness of heart . . . therefore you shall serve your enemies.'

3) The nature of faith teaches the pursuit of satisfaction in God.

Hebrews 11:6: 'Without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.'

4) The nature of evil teaches the pursuit of satisfaction in God.

Jeremiah 2:12-13: 'Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the Lord, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.'

5) The nature of conversion teaches the pursuit of satisfaction in God.

Matthew 13:44: 'The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.'

6) The call for self-denial teaches the pursuit of satisfaction in God.

Mark 8:34-36: 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?'

7) The demand to love people teaches the pursuit of satisfaction in God.

Hebrews 12:2: 'For the joy that was set before him [Jesus] endured the cross.' Acts 20:35: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'

8) The demand to glorify God teaches the pursuit of satisfaction in God.

Philippians 1:20-21: 'It is my eager expectation and hope that . . . Christ will be [glorified] in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain (final and total satisfaction in him).'

"Therefore, I invite you to join George Mueller, the great prayer warrior and lover of orphans, in saying, 'I saw more clearly than ever, that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord.' In this way, we will be able to suffer the loss of all things in the sacrifices of love, and 'count it all joy.'"

- John Piper

Friday, September 11, 2009

boar-d? dis-grunt-led? (part three)

"The reason some of us are such poor specimens of Christianity is because we have no Almighty Christ. We have Christian attributes and experiences, but there is no abandonment to Jesus Christ."

- Oswald Chambers

"Daily you must trust Me, surrendering everything, including the blood in your veins and the breath in your lungs, for Me to do with as I see fit. If you want to join up with Me, you must let Me lead." - Luke 9:23

Thursday, September 10, 2009

boar-d? dis-grunt-led? (part two)

I'm a little sleepy this evening, so I'll let some wise men speak (the words I'm currently, desperately trying to absorb) instead:

"In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength." - Isaiah 30:15

"Patience is more than endurance. A saint's life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, and He stretches and strains, and every now and again the saint says - 'I cannot stand any more.' God does not heed, He goes on stretching till His purpose is in sight, then He lets fly. Trust yourself in God's hands. Maintain your relationship to Jesus Christ by the patience of faith. 'THough He slay me, yet will I wait for Him.'"

- Oswald Chambers

"Be still, and know that I am God." - Psalm 46:10

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

boar-d? dis-grunt-led?

My family has futiley resisted cracking pig jokes since the media went berserk and began spamming the airwaves with news of the swine flu epidemic at the beginning of the summer. After so many (sooo many) puns, I knew someone in our family was bound to come down with the illness. (But trust me, it was almost worth it.) Right now, it appears three of us have been hit.

What causes swine flu?


Just kidding.

By the way, the Nanny Diaries should be back soon (hopefully tomorrow as previously scheduled); as of right now, this flu makes it hard to bring home the bacon.

(... I apologize. That last one was just bad.)