Monday, December 22, 2008

snow berm

I woke up early this morning and just couldn't get back to sleep, so I made myself some hot chocolate and took a gander out the window. There are inches of new snow this morning, and it's still coming down. We have a spruce tree by the garage that was hanging a bit lower yesterday because of the quarter inch of ice sitting on it. This morning I could probably walk up and kick it because it's nearly touching the ground. The snow has brought the branch down about 8 feet. I'm not sure if we had more freezing rain during the night or if the snow is just really heavy, but the poor plant life is suffering.

When daylight comes I'm going to stick a measuring tape in the snow on the walk and find out exactly how much we got overnight. Ken had to sweep the walk again last night so people could make it to our house, and looking out right now you can't really tell that the snow was ever removed.

If all those weren't signs that this storm is very different from others I've seen, the news this morning clinched it. I turned the t.v. on and the announcers were taking a look at a car that was high centered on some snow. The anchor used the term "snow berm" which I'm pretty familiar with from winters in Alaska. That's the first time I've ever heard that term used here. The guy also made an amusing joke about changing the name of the program to "Good Morning Fargo".

Snow berms. It's official... we're not in Oregon anymore.

Friday, December 19, 2008

my view on santa

It seems that I've had many conversations this holiday season about Santa Claus and what we will be teaching our son. Ken and I have talked about this for a while now, and we have decided not to teach our children that Santa is real. Instead we will treat him just as any other fictitious character our children would know about from books or the media. It seems to be the most sensible approach that I can think of.

I know that I want to teach our child about Santa before somebody else does. It is much better that they hear from us that Santa is based on a real person who used to help the poor instead of being a real person who is magical. Christmas in our house is about Christ, and there's no reason to perpetuate the belief that Santa comes into the house to give good kids presents at night. We're not even convinced that presents are all that important, unless we're giving the kids something they really need, like new clothes. I know that we're going against the norm, and even against what our parents did when we were little. It doesn't sit well with me to lie to a child, though. I think that kids are perfectly capable of understanding that certain things are not real. My nephew loves lights, frosty the snowman, and other holiday things, but when asked why we celebrate Christmas his answer is, "because Jesus loves us." Even a child can tell the difference between fun fictional things and the real reason behind this winter holiday. I wonder why adults think they won't be able to handle the truth.

I do think that the idea of Santa can offer a somewhat tangible example of somebody displaying Christ-like qualities that kids would understand, like being charitable, loving one's neighbor, caring for widows/orphans. We make parallels between things today and things from the Bible, and I see no harm in pointing out to children the positive actions the original St. Nicholas did. I do not believe the character himself is inherently evil, but the way society exalts him to a god-like status is wrong. It is no different from the way we worship food, tv, sports, comics, video games, etc. It just happens to coincide with a holiday dedicated to Christ. In reality we should be worshiping Christ every day, not just on a select few days of the year. We must be careful not to let anything become more important than our Savior.

That's my view on Santa- fictitious character based on a real person who did nice things to help others. Great opportunity to segue into Christ's characteristics and the real reason we are celebrating Christmas. After you discuss it with your children there's really no need to re-approach the topic, since I think kids are pretty smart and there's a reason Christ said our faith should be child-like. They know that Jesus loves them, and they accept it. Santa need not be a substitute.

Monday, December 15, 2008

let it snow!

After Church
Safeway Parking Lot


It finally feels like winter here, with the snow storm that hit yesterday. Today it is cold and beautifully white out, and some of the snow is hanging on through the sun. We are supposed to get hit with another wave of snow around Wednesday, but I'm taking that forecast with a grain of salt. It may be too much to hope for another day of snow.

Yesterday it started snowing around 8 am, and continued through the whole day. Ken and I went to the church Christmas program, and it snowed about 2 inches in the time we were there. The roads were icy and slick, and we managed to get to the top of the only hill on the way home before our tires spun a little. Ken and I took some cookies to people and then decided to take a walk to Safeway to get some sugar on sale. It was cold and snow was blowing, but there was something beautiful about the fresh white snow and lack of cars on the road. We did get to watch people slide through the stop signs by the store, which made me thankful we walked instead of drove. On the way home we met a woman named Amy and her son Atlas. It turns out that she lives in the apartment we just moved out of! Ken says it's a God-thing that we met her, because we'd never gone on a walk before. I think we're going to take her some welcome-to-the-area cookies this week, which will be fun.

Today Ken and I are hanging tight at home and wrestling with the heat, which has been working a little slow. I let out a cry of joy when the thermostat hit 70, even though a digital thermometer says it's only 64. Somebody will be out Wednesday to check the system unless something else goes wrong before then. I'm sure they are busy helping all the people who have heating problems because of the storm. Quite a few people didn't have power last night or this morning, and were much colder than we are.

I'm hoping to get in another walk around the neighborhood before all the snow is gone, and maybe find some other cool places to take pictures.

Monday, December 8, 2008

the media and pregnancy

As I get closer to my due date, I've been watching some of the pregnancy/baby shows on tv, and some of it just baffles me. I had a discussion last week with our birthing instructor about how our society kind of drives women towards pain relief and epidurals during labor, whereas in other countries women wouldn't even think of asking for pain relief. Now, I think it is perfectly natural to desire pain relief. Most of us don't enjoy pain, and I would suppose that labor pain is one that most women would wish not to feel.

That said, I was a little taken aback when watching a labor on tv where the narrator was seemingly astonished that the mother had refused pain relief, and then commented that she was "paying for it". It made childbirth without medication seem like an undesireable, crazy thing to attempt. I know women who gave birth without pain relief, and they all seem of sound mind to me. It irks me a bit that the media would dare portray any woman giving birth as anything less than brave and special.

I don't care if you've got pain relief or not... childbirth is hard work for every woman, and that should be acknowledged. I do think women who try for a labor without pain relief must be pretty determined to go against the "norm" and we should support them, not ridicule them.

Later in the same show the nursing mother was portrayed as "stuck at home" because she had to be able to feed the baby. I can see why new mothers would feel that way at the beginning when baby is feeding so often, and especially if they haven't been told what to expect with breastfeeding. But I also know many mothers who choose to nurse and manage to do that while still getting out of the house.

Maybe my point should be that having a baby isn't some kind of death sentence for the mother and father, like the media has a tendency to make it. It is a beautiful thing to raise a new life and we should praise God for the opportunity!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

pregnancy is beautiful

I've been doing a lot of reading up on pregnancy and what happens after birth, and I've got to say that though pregnancy sometimes makes you feel miserable, it really is a beautiful thing. God has so blessed women with the ability to bear children and raise them. God has blessed husbands and wives with the ability to express their love physically, and we can see the fruits of love in the children they bear.

That said, I am absolutely appalled by people who seem to think that these God-given privileges are in some way dirty or wrong. Maybe it's just because during pregnancy women seem to lose that sense of secrecy, because everybody knows how babies are made. Maybe it's because it seems like the only time a woman can be completely candid and honest about what she is going through is during pregnancy, where you have to brace yourself for all sorts of personal questions from others. Or, maybe it's because I'm a Bible believing Christian woman of God who refuses to be sucked into the added stipulations some who profess to be Believers place on scripture. Whatever it is, I am compelled to speak out against those who would place others under a more stringent rule than God Himself does.

When somebody takes issue with something another has done (believer to believer), it is appropriate for the complaining party to have scriptural support for their position. It is inappropriate for the person who is concerned to simply say something is wrong without supporting it, and even worse for them to say the Bible says it's wrong without being willing to find where it is in scripture. Normally, I try to take people lightly when they can't give me scripture, and I just bite my tongue and express my understanding for their personal opinion. I get a little defensive when I see these people instigating their rules on other Christians, and using their position to strong arm them into submission for something that wasn't even wrong to begin with.

We see people who tried to force their rules on others a lot in the New Testament... Paul called them Judaizers. It wasn't meant as a compliment. Jesus was harsh with the Pharisees, and Paul had no patience for those who tried to place Christ followers back under the Old Testament law.

All we need to show that God meant human sexuality to be a beautiful example of His glory is to look at what is in scripture. God created man and women, to be together, to be fruitful and multiply. Sexuality in it's entirety (from identity to sex to procreation) is a beautiful thing within its proper context. Song of Songs is a book dedicated to the beauty of the relationship between husband and wife. References are made to the womb and children at the breast, without shame for the relation. The marriage relationship is used as an example of Christ and the Church, the headship that lies within.

I'd challenge people to search scriptures before they jump to conclusions about what is and is not permitted by the Almighty God. We are strongly cautioned not to try to take scripture and apply it to what we believe, but to mold our lives to fit what the Word lays out as a guideline. Will there be variances in beliefs and comfort levels? Of course! We are to give grace and be understanding about our brothers and sisters who are weaker than us. But we are not to change our core beliefs that are supported with scripture.

Christmas is coming

I am so ready for Christmas! I've been avoiding all of the Christmas advertisements on TV for the past week, but now I can embrace them since Thanksgiving has passed. I have two rooms full of boxes from the apartment that I still need to put away, but as soon as it's done I'm decorating our house for the holidays! Ken and I will be working hard to find a place for everything today so I can start decorating by Monday. We've only got a few weeks left in the holiday season, and I want to make the most of it! There's just something about all the beauty of the colors of this time of year that makes it so special to celebrate Christ's birth.

I'm looking forward to all the holiday baking, and then sharing that baking with family and friends! I still have all the ingredients out for my apple muffins, and hopefully will have some time to get to them today after the walk-through at our apartment. I am SO happy to be done there! We spent the entire day emptying and cleaning the place yesterday, and I'm hoping all that hard work pays off today.

Every time we move I swear I will never do it again because it always ends up so stressful. Now I'm looking forward to being able to decorate the house, and then the Weslee's room, which will be pretty exciting for me. I can't wait to take pictures of the finished product to show everybody!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

happy thanksgiving!

Here it is: your one day to remember how thankful you are for everything the Lord has blessed us with in this world... hmm, that doesn't sound right. Though I love Thanksgiving, I love it even more when people remember to give thanks to the Lord every other day of the year for the things He has done. I wonder sometimes why it is that everybody harps on "be thankful" only during the last half of November, and those same people don't say a word the rest of the year.

This year, I am especially thankful for:
~ My salvation and promise of eternal life with God in Heaven
~ My marriage
~ How good God is to those who have passed this life to be with Him
~ Weslee, and how God has protected him
~ Family and friends
~ Financial woes, because it teaches us to rely on the Lord
~ A real house to live in and welcome Weslee home in
~ A fragile emotional/hormonal state that forces me to rely on God and not myself
~ Difficult people that help challenge me to deal with them appropriately
~ Those who are persecuted for their faith in Jesus and have so much to teach us
~ Creation
~ Every day I survive, and every day I begin

This is the story of a little baby named Eliot, and how his parents were thankful for every day God blessed them with. It hits a little close to home for me after losing a baby and watching my nephew in the hospital for the first month of his life. You might want to grab a few tissues before you watch it.


I hope today that we take the time to think of the reasons we should be thankful EVERY day, and not just when we hang out with family and friends to eat an exorbitant amount of food... but I hope we also enjoy the fellowship and food!

Friday, November 21, 2008

new adventures in life

I can't believe it's already been a month since I last blogged! Things have been so hectic the past few weeks that I just haven't been together enough to sit down and write anything coherent. I am writing from my bedroom in our new house, which is turning out to be much better than the apartment we were in! I must say I love that I don't hear the next door neighbor playing their music/tv/video games at all hours of the night. It's quiet here, with the occasional sound of passing cars.

I have to admit my favorite place here is the kitchen. I have two ovens and a glass stove top, and cooking is so much easier and more fun! Ken and I have been doing a lot of cooking together because there's enough room for both of us in the kitchen now. Yesterday I tried my mom's recipe for Dutch Babies, which I have been told are the same thing as German pancakes. They were delicious, and I'm planning on having them more often because they're so easy to make! This week I've got a recipe for oatmeal apple muffins that my Grandma Ruth gave me years ago, and I want Ken to try them. I'll hopefully find where I put my camera by then so I can take pictures and post the recipe here.

Only 10 more weeks until I'm considered full term and Weslee is free to be here. I'm coming up on the 28th week in pregnancy, which means that fun glucose tolerance test. I'll let you know how it goes, but I am NOT looking forward to it. We had a little excitement a few weeks ago, and I ended up at the hospital and the doctor's office and ended up finding out I've pulled a uterine ligament. I've had to be pretty careful about not stretching the ligament any more, and have worked at physical therapy for a couple weeks to help reduce the pain and strengthen my core so the uterus has better support and the ligament isn't as strained. This morning I found out that I get to do maintenance on my own, which will be nice. Ken has been very helpful with all the restrictions I've got now.

With the final trimester comes these lovely practice contractions called Braxton Hicks, and I've felt a few now. I am not so much looking forward to labor after feeling them, but they aren't anything unbearable... just uncomfortable.

I am looking forward to the holidays- my favorite time of the year! Ken said I can decorate before Thanksgiving if I can get all of our things put away here at the house, so I'm working hard to reach that goal! With Thanksgiving so late this year, there isn't much time before Christmas, and I want to have a month to appreciate all the twinkle lights and pretty ornaments. I will hopefully make it another week before I start singing carols all day long... I think.

Monday, October 20, 2008

b-b-b-blueberries!


I woke up unusually drowsy this morning- in fact, I had slept right through all of the noisy yard work that happens every Monday morning here. By the time I woke up it was nearly time for lunch, and I wanted to make something yummy for Ken when he came home. I looked through our cupboards, fridge, and freezer, and just couldn't find anything especially spectacular. That's when I realized that I hadn't eaten anything yet, and thought breakfast sounded pretty good. So I pulled down the Wheat & Honey pancake mix (the only pancakes I make from scratch are crepes) and stirred up some scrambled eggs. Then I noticed there was no syrup- oops! I had seen blueberries in the freezer, and Ken loves blueberries with his pancakes, so I pulled out about 1/2 cup and threw a few tablespoons of sugar on top of them in the bowl. I microwaved them for a couple minutes until they were warm and the sugar had made a nice syrup with the berries. Instant blueberry compote for Ken!

Well, Ken walked in the door and saw the pancakes, and asked if I would put a few blueberries in. It was the perfect wife moment, because I pulled out the compote and he was giddy with glee! Ten points for me!

So here's to knowing our husbands, and knowing how to be innovative with the food we have on hand!

righty tighty!

22 weeks


Project for Weslee

So it's been about a month since my last blog, and I figured it was about time for another one. I'm 23 weeks along now, and starting to feel the discomfort of the growing belly. There have been several occasions where Ken has had to give me a little push out of bed because I just couldn't get the momentum to do it myself. I've also been sick just about every week, and finally figured out that I was catching a virus every week at a church event. I feel much better now that I'm not going to that event, and hopefully won't have to worry about the weird illnesses anymore.

Weslee just keeps growing, and it's pretty hard to sleep when he's rearranging my innards at night. The cool thing is that Ken can feel all of the movements I feel now, and I love to hear the excitement in his voice and watch his face light up when he gets to feel his son move.

Ken and I have been making the most of this fall, with all the activities at church and with family. I'm ecstatic to get to watch my nephew Quinn again, after taking several months off. It's amazing how much you miss when you're not there every week. He likes to take my crocheting squares and tell me he's making a blanket for baby Weslee (which comes out "weswee"). I've also been told that when he's playing pretend sometimes he will pretend to be baby Weslee. Have I mentioned what a cool kid he is?

It seems like there's always another adventure around the corner for us. We were having a relaxing Saturday this past weekend, when our toilet decided to freak out and bubble up. Ken was yelling that he didn't know how to stop it from overflowing, and I was doing my best to run (which looks like a funny waddle) through the aparment to the bathroom, yelling, "Righty tighty, righty tighty! Turn it to the right!" We ended up having to have the plumber come and fix it for us and we left because I needed access to a bathroom during the 2+ hour wait. By the time we came home the guy had already been and gone, and our toilet was all pretty again. I never did find out what happened, but I really don't care because everything works well! It made me realize just how thankful I am for basic amenities like the bathroom facilities.

I'm hoping to get some fall stuff for the apartment once the leaves start to fall from the trees. We don't do Halloween, but Ken happily lets me do a fall theme to my hearts content. I love all the colors outside right now, and wish I had an orange sweater to match it all! I'm going to settle for leaves pressed and put in a frame, and a few mini pumpkins :)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

it's a boy!


foothand

We had our ultrasound today (19 weeks, 4 days) and learned that we're expecting a little boy! We've decided to name him Weslee Adonijah Cook. He's a big little guy right now, measuring about a week ahead of the due date, and every little part is formed perfectly! We were able to watch him try to suck his thumb, wave, and kick. He even showed us how he can already make a great fist! Ken is so excited, because he really wanted another boy, and his wish came true!

For all those who said we were having a girl on the poll, Ken would like you to know how wrong you were, lol. I am a little curious why everybody thought it was a girl though, so if there was any rhyme or reason behind it, feel free to let me know.

Friday, September 19, 2008

18 weeks


Here it is- the first official belly pic for all of you who have been begging me for one for so long (*cough* Joanne *cough*). That is the best I can do myself, since it's getting hard to get all of me in a photo without help. I'll try to get Ken to take a few this weekend or next week for 19 weeks. I'll also be posting the results of the high resolution ultrasound in 6 days, so if you haven't voted on the poll for sex, do it while you still can!

Today my new feat is to try to walk for half an hour without collapsing in pain, so I'm praying the sciatic nerve keeps silent for my walk!

Friday, September 12, 2008

moving right along

I had a great visit with my midwife yesterday. We are 17 weeks 5 days, and baby is doing great! He or she is happily floating around inside, making a challenge when searching for their little heartbeat. When the midwife found it, we were able to listen to the little beats- 150bpm! I also now have reassurance that I am not getting fatter- my uterus is twice the size I thought it was, and as it gets bigger, my organs are shifting higher to make room. So my stomach is visibly popping out now, and it's almost impossible to hide it.

We will be going to the hospital in two weeks for the 20-week high resolution ultrasound. It will be the first time we've been able to see our little one in 6 weeks, and I am looking so forward to it! We will also have the opportunity to find out if we're having a boy or a girl. We haven't decided how much we will share with family/friends, but hopefully there will at least be an announcement about the sex, if not about the name of the baby.

While we're not having anything similar to fall weather, the autumn activities have started up again. I went to the first choir practice of the season last night and really enjoyed it. It's great to have the opportunity to worship with others who love singing for the Lord. Ken is busy planning things as the youth intern, and the pace of life is picking up. I will begin teaching a women's Bible study next week, and am looking forward to the new experience.

Keep reading for more updates, and tune in September 25 for the results of that ultrasound!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

do you really love Jesus?

On Fridays I go shopping with my sister Meredith and nephew Quinn. This past week we were coming home from the stores, and Quinn asked to hear the "Aunt Donna Song" which is what he calls "Oh! How I Love Jesus" on my cousin Tyrone Wells' CD. We usually end up listening to it a few times and all singing it together. Quinn is so amazing- he will say all the words to the song, including the parts for Tyrone, his dad, and Grandma Ruth.

My sister and I were talking, and from the back seat we hear, "Mom, do you love Jesus?"

"Yes, Quinn I love Jesus," Meredith replied.

More talking between Meredith and myself, then I realized that he was addressing me, "Aunt Court, do you love Jesus?"

"Yes, Quinn, I love Jesus," I said back.

"Do you really love Jesus?" He finished the verse.

"Yes I really love Jesus!" I am amazed that even a little child knows that Jesus is somebody we love. Of course Quinn won't understand all the sacrifices Jesus made for us for years, but for now he knows that Jesus loves him, and that's good enough reason for him to love Jesus back.

There's Childlike faith for all of you out there. Jesus loves me, and that's good enough reason for me to love Him. In fact, Jesus loves us so much and so wants to glorify the Father that He willingly gave up His own life that we may have the opportunity to have life with Him for eternity. What greater love is there?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

We've Made It!

As of today, we are officially in the second trimester! Yay! Praise God! This week my insurance finally approved a better anti-nausea drug, and I have finally been able to eat a meal or two each day, which is awesome. I will be able to gain a little weight, which is important at this point. I've lost 13lbs so far, so I should end up right back where I started when this is all done.

We had an appointment with the midwife on Tuesday, and weren't able to have an ultrasound, but we did have the chance to hear baby's heartbeat for the first time! That was a new and exciting thing for us. There was some concern about how baby was doing with me being so sick, but he/she has a very strong heartbeat and is doing a great job moving around. I get to stop taking my progesterone this weekend, and then I should start to feel radically better, so hopefully I won't need the nausea medication anymore. All of my restrictions will be over as well, and I'm looking forward to being able to do some things.

As the baby grows, he/she is starting to mess with my sciatic nerve, and causing me a good amount of pain. So while I feel better, I'm limited by what the pain allows my body to do. I'm hoping this doesn't last too long.

We don't have another appointment for a month, which is kind of exciting after having them every week or two for the past couple months. At the next appointment they'll schedule the 20 week ultrasound where we'll find out the sex of the baby. Only six weeks until we know- how time flies!

Our official due date is February 15, so not quite a Valentine's Day baby, which we are fine with! We appreciate all the prayers that have been sent up for us, and ask that you continue to pray for us and baby throughout the pregnancy. We are now in uncharted territory and it's both exciting and a little daunting!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Baby Cook: Coming February 2009


Yes, we're pregnant again! I had my 12 week visit today, and everything looks perfect! The baby was moving so much that my midwife had to wait a few minutes to get a clear picture. I'm thinking we'll have a swimmer, since he/she was kicking their legs so much. We were also able to see them wave their little hand!

I decided to wait a while to officially announce this pregnancy because we got off to a rocky start. There were a few weeks where I had spotting and cramping due to a subchorionic bleed in the uterus. Rarely bleeds can lead to miscarriage if they get too close to the baby, so we had a lot of ultrasounds to monitor everything closely. I was also put on Prometrium, a form of progesterone, to help prevent miscarriage.

At the 9 week appointment there was no visible bleed, and the baby kicked and wiggled for us! It was very exciting to get to see movement, and to see a strong heartbeat at the ultrasounds. I always have my midwife point out the heart, just to make sure.

I've been sick as all getout this pregnancy, probably due to the increased progesterone from the medication. They finally put me on a prescription anti-nausea drug last week, but so far it isn't helping much. Looks like I'll be toughing it out for the next couple weeks. I've lost 10lbs so far (8 in the past 3 weeks) and have been told that I need to increase my fluid intake because the amniotic fluid is a little low. Luckily, my midwife doesn't care what kind of fluids it is at this point, so I will be trying everything since liquids make me sick.

I have another appointment in two weeks (week 14) just as a precaution, and then we should be on a more normal schedule, with only monthly check-ups and an ultrasound at 20 weeks to find out the sex of the baby. Ken and I really appreciate your prayers right now, since we're right around the time we lost Ahlai, and it's a little stressful for us for the next couple weeks. I will be very happy to see our little one swimming around at the next ultrasound!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

mid-summer nights

Here we are halfway through the summer! I've been MIA from the blog for more than a month now- sorry readers! Life has gotten the better of me for a while, but I'm going to attempt to blog regularly again.

Let's see, what's new... Well, Ken has a stable job working for a local manufacturing company. He's basically moving them from one building to another all summer. I have never seen him dirtier in the time I've known him, lol. He's also doing an unpaid youth internship at our church, which he really enjoys. It's great to see him doing something he likes so much.

I've just been up to the same old stuff. I've started watching my nephew twice a week instead of once, which is a lot of fun for me, and hopefully him, too! He is growing up so fast. Every time I see him he wants to sing a song, so we sing together. I've been tired a lot, but that's normal for me in the summers, since it's so warm. We've had some great weather the past few weeks, but some days are getting a little hot for my liking. I'm hoping our air conditioning unit holds out through the summer. Obviously, I'm having issues sleeping, seeing as I'm writing this blog pretty late. I get up every morning around 5am to get Ken ready and off to work, and try to be in bed by 9-10pm. I'm still working on the bedtime thing. My body just doesn't want to sleep until after midnight.

I'm on a cleaning streak right now. I emptied a good portion of my side of the closet today, and feel accomplished about that. It's nice to have a little more room in there now. At some point I'm going to go through the closet in the guest bedroom again, and see what we haven't touched in the past year. Hopefully all the clutter will be gone by fall.

Well, that's all for now. I'm going to attempt to blog at least once a week, and if I don't, just remind me. :)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

tagged by crystal

I was tagged to do this survey-type thing by my friend Crystal over at Serving God and Family. If you haven't checked out her blog, you should do so!

Favorite person (outside family): I'm going to go with my friend Crystal, since she's the one I talk to the most :)

Favorite Food: I love the chocolate chip muffins that are in one of my earlier blogs. I am such a sucker for those carbs! I could cut out like everything else but those! I also loooove grapes.

Quirks about me: I'm a control freak... I don't know if that's quirky... but it's weird.

How would the person who loves you most describe you in ten words or less? "Funny, smart-alecky, intelligent, charismatic, caring, ambitious, friendly, sweet, loving" - Ken

Any regrets in life? There are things I regret and I'm definitely not proud of, but God has used them to change me and bring me closer to Him.

Favorite Cause/Charity: Since I don't want to copy Crystal's answer (you win, hands down) I'm going to say our Youth Group, since I really enjoy working with the kids.

Favorite Blog Recently: Serving God and Family

Something you can't get enough of: My husband. I love spending time with him!

Worst job you've ever had: I never had a really bad job.

What job would you pay NOT to have? Some of the stuff on "Dirty Jobs" would just make me sick.

If you could be a fly on a wall, where? I'm not big on listening in on other people. Sometimes I want to know what kind of theological discussions my hubby has with people, but that's more like a phone tap... can I do that instead?

Favorite Bible verse right now: 1 Peter 3

Guilty pleasure? Chocolate Chip Muffins

Got any confessions? I really need to do laundry, my kitchen isn't mopped, and I should probably run a load of dishes, too. Some housewife I am!

If you HAD to spend $1,000 on YOURSELF, how would you spend it? I'm not big on spending money. I'd probably put it in savings.

Favorite thing about your house? I love the vaulted ceiling. It makes it seem like we don't live in a tiny box.

Least favorite thing about your house? We've had quite a few spiders get in... yuck!

One thing you're bad at: Keeping the house clean. I clean it and hours later it's dirty again.

One thing you're good at: I'm going with cooking/baking. I have a culinary certificate for patisserie and baking, and I'm going to say I'm good at it because that's what other people tell me :)

If you would change one thing about your circumstances, what? I would have us be financially stable.

Who would you like to meet someday? Hopefully a baby... And God, of course!

What makes you feel sexy? My husband

Who is your real life hero? My husband

What is the hardest part of your job? Staying focused.

When are you most relaxed? When I'm asleep! I don't think I'm even capable of relaxing when I'm awake

What stresses you out? Pretty much everything. I'm getting better though.

What can you not live without? My Salvation- my pastor just spoke about this today, about being content with Jesus' sacrifice for us, and how nothing else matters.

Do you agree or disagree with the recent article that reported that blogs are authored by narcissists? Some are probably narcissists, others are not.

Why do you blog? I wanted something easy for people to keep up with me, and where I can post writings for others to read.

I'm supposed to tag:
Two Newish Bloggers: I'm pretty much the newest blogger I know...

Two Blog Friends: Joanne at The Zarzana Family and my sister Meredith at Branching Out

Two Bloggers I'd Like To Know Better: CeCe at Blind Faith Bruises

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

delve deeper


All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

Do you study scripture? It saddens me when I think of the countless "Christians" out there who try to walk according to scripture without having ever read through or studied it. Our ultimate goal is to bring glory to God, but how can we know what will glorify Him if we do not read His Word, His instruction to us?

I have heard it said that there is no such thing as a lukewarm Christian, that a Christian must be "hot" and not "cold". Paul Washer talks about radical Christians, and how we must be radical or nothing at all. If you ever think you are radical, I encourage you to listen to his story about a little boy who could not deny Jesus, and was killed for it- now that, my friends, is a radical Christian.

Jesus said that we must "hate" our families and give up our possessions in order to follow Him. Granted, we are not literally supposed to hate people, but we are supposed to be willing to give everything up in order to glorify God.

If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple... So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his possessions.
Luke 14:26-27, 33

I would venture to guess that not many of us in America are sacrificing a lot by reading scripture, yet so few take the time to try and understand what God is teaching us through His Word. God speaks to us through His Word. If we are Christians, we should be out there trying to learn all we can from what He has said in the Bible. We should desire to know scripture, and desire to understand it, and desire for others to know it and be saved.

As we progress in our Christian walk, we must be growing in holiness, and studying scripture more in depth. Paul speaks about the age of our Christianity by referring to baby Christians as needing milk- basic scriptural understanding, and more mature Christians as needing solid food- in depth scriptural understanding. Where are you at as a Christian? Are you still drinking the milk of scripture, picking and choosing verses here and there, wondering why you don't understand what others are speaking about? Or are you looking hard at scripture to glean all you can from God, finding ways to equip yourself to carry out the Great Commission and disciple others?

For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.
Hebrews 5:13-14

Monday, May 26, 2008

oh be careful little tongue, what you say!

I've been reading Liz Curtis Higgs' book "Bad Girls of the Bible" for my Tuesday morning Bible study, and this week I was catching up when I read the story of Delilah. You remember Samson and Delilah- he trusted her, she betrayed him, and ultimately that stuff led to his renewing of faith in the Lord and his death.

Delilah betrayed the man who loved her because she was selfish and some Philistines offered her money that she didn't want to refuse. I got to thinking, and realized how often women do that to their husbands. We are so selfish that we betray a trust or say something that humiliates or brings shame to our husbands. Some things that I can think of that we may selfishly be interested in are: popularity/status, acceptance, power, a role we want to achieve/job we want to do, money, security, beauty, freedom, etc.

I have an example to share, and have my husband's permission to retell this story of a time that I brought humiliation to him because of my own selfish desires. Our church had a men's retreat a while back, and one of Ken's friends was trying really hard to get him to go. I thought he was going until the friend said something to me about it, that Ken had declined the invitation to have his way paid. The friend wanted to know why Ken wasn't going to go, and I just told him I didn't know. Instead of leaving it at that, the friend started asking Ken, and when he didn't answer, the friend started asking me again. After several times of getting the third degree, I did what Delilah did- I asked Ken for a reason. At first he didn't tell me, and then said he didn't like hunting for no gain. When his friend wasn't satisfied, I started nagging Ken (ladies, from my own experience, nagging doesn't work) and finally he told me he didn't want to go on the retreat because he didn't want to spend that much time away from me. I thought that was sweet, and I was so intent on getting Ken's friend off my back that I didn't think about how a guy would see that answer, that it could be embarrassing for Ken to explain to his buddies. So I shared the information.

You can guess by now that it didn't go well. The friend called Ken up and hounded him about his reason for not going on the men's retreat. I felt guilty for sharing publicly something that was shared with me in confidence between husband and wife. I should have treasured the fact that my husband is so dedicated and loves me so much that he didn't want to spend days without me.

I'm sure everybody has their story, and I'm also certain that many would try to justify their selfish actions to make themselves feel better about sinning against their husband. In her book, Higgs points out that we never know whether or not Delilah loved Samson, but only that he loved her. They were not married, but I looked in the Bible anyway for a command for women to love their husbands. I did not find any explicit command that we must feel those lovey-dovey mushy romantic feelings for them, but only that we are bound by the command to love our brothers. Husbands are given a specific command to love their wives as Christ loves the Church. So I see no justification for people saying things like, "he did it first" or "I don't see the problem- he doesn't show love for me, why should I be kind to him in return?"

Unfortunately, we often overlook blatant sins because we are only thinking of ourselves. Even if our husband is not following God's instructions, we are told to be examples to him.

In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. 1 Peter 3:1-2

There is no room to be catty or two-faced and plot to disrespect our husbands. If you'll look at scripture you will see that it is not our job to act out revenge on those who have sinned against us, or those we do not want to submit to.

Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, " says the Lord. Romans 12:19

I encourage you to look at your own actions and search for those places where you have sinned against your husband. Then repent and ask God's forgiveness for those sins, and ask your husband to forgive you also for disrespecting him. We are to be examples to others of what Christ has done in our lives, and one step that is crucial is to form our marriages to the biblical standard that we may be an example for them. Remember, it's not about selfishness, it's about God, and bringing glory to Him in every aspect of our lives.

But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Colossians 3:8

... in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us. Titus 2:7-8

Sunday, May 25, 2008

color my world


Just for fun, I thought I would post the different kinds of fabrics that I have to make bags with. I've got them in a circle, kind of in the order I'd like to use them. For example, the red eastern print with the tan print, the two spotted fabrics together, the black flowered and the red flowered, and the brown and teal together (that was my original plan, to copy a shoulder bag and Bible cover with a scripture printed on it that I saw in a catalog a month ago). I figure that I'll keep acquiring fabric, and eventually I'll find something that I want to pair with the other fabrics.

it takes a village


I've mentioned before that I watch my nephew on Tuesdays so my sister can go to work. Right now I'm also taking the days my parents normally watch him because they're in Kansas doing family stuff and vacationing. That little guy is so awesome, and he never ceases to amaze me with all he can do! He loves to "go to work" and get his keys and pack his bag- to go to George Fox to work with his mom and dad. He's been using the bags I've made as his work bags, and this past week he went and put on my shoes, grabbed the bag and his keys, and headed towards the door. I managed to stop him long enough to snap a picture of him, then chuckled to myself for several minutes. Have you ever seen anything so cute?



We also had a ton of fun during lunch! We sang a little song I created:
Thank you Jesus, for saving my soul
Thank you Jesus, for making me whole
I will praise you for all of my life!
Thank you Jesus, all of the time

I know, it needs some work, but Quinn seemed to love it and picked up on the lyrics pretty quickly. Seriously, just an amazing little guy.

ahhh, comfort foods!


I thought I would share with you some of the foods I've been happy with lately. My favorite quick food is dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets that take less than two minutes to prepare. Put a few next to some salad and grapes and you have a nice little lunch! They're perfect for when Ken won't be home for meals, since I don't waste food by cooking a lot.



My favorite all-in-one meal is roast with potatoes and carrots. You throw a roast in the crock pot, add carrots, potatoes, garlic, onion, worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, and water, and let it cook it on low for 8-10 hours. It is so wonderful to eat, and great to just have to serve it up at dinner time instead of busting out pots and pans!



My newest favorite sweet treat comes from my friend Crystal at Serving God and Family. She has the best recipe for Chocolate Chip Muffins, and when I made them the entire process only took me 30 minutes- perfect if you're doing some last minute entertaining. The ingredients are simple, and i just used a bowl and spatula to mix everything, so no mixer clean up! They are great warm with a glass of milk. :)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar (regular sugar)
2 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Salt
3/4 Cups Milk
1/4 Cups Oil
1 Egg
1/2 Cups Chocolate Chips (can use milk or semi-sweet)

Preheat oven to 400° F
Combine dry ingredients in medium bowl. Add wet ingredients and mix until blended. Add in chocolate chips. Pour into greased or lined cupcake tins, fill 3/4 of the way. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Makes 12 muffins.

another bag for your viewing pleasure




After making my sister a bag the other afternoon, she said that she thought our cousin (who just had a baby) would like a bag, so I busted one out as a project this week. Next is a bag for one of my friends from church, and I think I finally found the perfect fabric for her!

I should mention, the bags have 6-8 pockets total! Perfect for storing tons of things. There are 3-6 pockets on each side, so you'll be able to remember where everything is no matter which side you're using.

my new hobby






Well, since school finished I've been trying to find ways to be productive around the house. My mom helped me buy my very own sewing machine a month or so ago, and I've started making bags. The idea came to me when I wanted to be able to make diaper bags for people, and decided they should be reversible so my friends have more options. So I set out to create something, and so far they've turned out pretty well. I've had a lot of fun searching for fabrics that go together and give people options for what their bags look like. The examples of the bags I've made so far are above. Let me know what you think!

I'm also considering selling them in the future to bring in some extra money for groceries and such. We'll see how people like them for a while, and what I can do to "spruce up" future bags. I'm thinking of trying to put a zipper on the bag, or a button flap. The possibilities are endless :)

Monday, May 19, 2008

mother's day/birthday



Every so often, my birthday falls on Mother's Day, which is fun because the family has more to celebrate. This year it was a bit different for me, because it also marked four months since Ahlai passed. The week leading up to it was very emotional for me, because I just longed for a baby to love and care for. I listened to all of my pregnant friends get excited for the day, and I wondered if anybody would remember that I was a mom, too. My pastor said something the week before that stuck with me, and made me realize that everything would be ok. I prayed a lot, and cried a little, and Ken was by my side the entire time. Well, Sunday came and I headed to church wearing my "angel mom" pin that my mother-in-law Carol gave me (I cried when I opened the card). I had a few birthday wishes, and a couple Mother's Day wishes, but nothing big. I took the gift for the mothers, and nobody questioned me. One of the elders was so kind in telling me that he had thought of me, knowing the significance of the day.

The rest of the day was spent up at my parents' house eating breakfast for dinner (a Mother's Day tradition) and just having fun times. I got sweet cards from my family, and teared up a little at their thoughtfulness at remembering what is important to me.

So Sunday came and went, and I survived. I was amazingly blessed on that day, and am so thankful that God provides in ways that we do not expect- not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well. Though most people did not remember me on the day, I found that I didn't need them to. My family remembered me, and most importantly, God remembered me.

girlfriends night at church





A couple weeks ago Meredith (my sister) and I went to the Girlfriends "Blast from the Past" night at my church. They had fun activities like bingo, board games, movies, car rides in classics, volleyball, crafts, and of course- free coffee! Meredith and I decided to try the crafts area, and ended up making card holders... it's basically a thick poster board that you cover with batting, fabric, and ribbon, and then hang your cards/pictures on for display. I kept the brown one, and gave my mom the tan one for Mother's Day. It was so much fun! It's easy to make one of them, and adds a nice decorative touch to the house.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

midnight dishes and nyquil

Sometimes I just get hit with a sudden urge to clean. Have you ever experienced that? Tonight it was the dishes. I was in the kitchen taking my nighttime dose of cough medicine, and I realized that there were dishes that weren't washed. I had to do them. I tried to walk away, tried to convince myself to go to bed, but to no avail. The dirty dishes were calling to me, begging me to pick up the sponge and wash them. Never mind that we're not allowed to run our dishwasher at night. I just hand washed them all, and put them in the dishwasher for tomorrow morning.

I could blame it on the cold medicine that makes my head foggy, but that just wouldn't explain all those other times that I just have to clean things. In fact, I have a big cleaning project planned for the next week or so. Call it spring cleaning, if you will. I call it post-degree reconstruction of the household. It sounds fancy, I know, but it's really just old-fashioned hard work done by the sweat of the brow.

Ok, now that the meds are kicking in, I'm getting sleepy, and my hubby is calling me to bed. So I will leave you, and grab that one lingering dish I noticed a certain someone (hint: not me) left out. It must join the others.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

to you, little one


I miss you today, my child.
I am reminded that I would have been about six months along now, and would have been able to feel you moving around.
I would have seen your beautiful face on the ultrasound, seen clearly all your little fingers and toes. I wonder still what you would have looked like, whether you would have had your daddy's eyes or mine.
Sometimes I still feel like you're there, still think I feel those tiny movements you made before you left.
It's a little empty without you still.
Everybody's babies are having birthdays soon, and I wish that I could look forward to yours.
I know that God took you home for a reason; maybe you were just too good for us.
The pain is less now, but I still wish I had you back.
I know that in God's time I will have another baby, but they can't and won't ever replace you.
I love you, Ahlai.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

a day among days



Yesterday Ken and I had the opportunity to drive to Seattle and see our friends Crystal and Malachi and their little girl Sophia. They live in Louisiana but were in town for Malachi's job training. We'd never met face-to-face but have been conversing for months online. We met at Christian Apologetic and Research Ministries, and have tons in common.

It was so much fun to get to see them in person finally! We had great conversation and a good dinner at Red Robin (which they had never heard of). Southern hospitality is a refreshing thing up here in the North! We're looking forward to more fun times if they ever return to our side of the country. I'm personally petitioning for them to move here so we can see them all the time!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

torn

Has anybody else ever experienced a conflict of interest between family and God? I haven't ever really experienced that kind of conflict until this year. I'm seriously torn. It seems the more I rely on God, the more independent I must be from those around me. I've always considered my family to be the closest to me, but I think God is starting to fill that space now. I still take into account what others say, but I always take everything to the Lord before I make any moves on my own.

My faith has started to have a life of its own. I no longer rely on what others have taught me my entire life- I look at the Word, I put scriptures in context, and I build my own understanding. Now, I'm not saying that I've been taught falsehoods my entire life, but I am discovering some things that I didn't know before.

It's interesting that when you get married you form your very own family. I've recently realized that my loyalty must be to my husband as to the Lord. If my husband is doing God's will, I have nothing to worry about, ever, even if it seems scary sometimes. My husband and I are one, and I must rely on him to be the spiritual leader of our family. God does not join us for no reason. He gives us our spouse to fulfill the relationship He intended. I must guard my marriage from outside influences that would divide us.

"For this reason a man will leave his mother and father and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together let man not separate." - Mark 1:7-9

I am just so thrilled that God has been revealing my purpose to me. I used to wonder just what it was I was supposed to do in life. For those of you who have known me for a while, my choices have reflected that. I've bounced around, tried out things here and there. I think the Lord really began to mold me this summer, and drew me to Him. My job is to be a wife. It seems so insignificant to many, but I take the job seriously. I am to be the helpmeet of my husband, the one who compliments him, submitting to him and trusting him. He has a much more difficult job than I do, and I respect that.

"21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless." - Ephesians 5:21-27

How amazing is it that marriage is to reflect the relationship between Christ and the church! I was asked this week, if the wife is to submit to the husband, what does the husband do? He loves the wife. He is like Christ, and the wife is like the Church. The husband must love as Christ loved, and as Christ humbled himself the husband humbles himself and puts his wife's interests before his own, but under that of the Lord. It is an impossible task, but God did not give it without purpose. I think that we can see just how amazing Christ's love is when we try to be like Him.

"1 Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4 Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. 7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers." - 1 Peter 3:1-7

Yes, I know I'm repeating these verses a lot. I think they are very important for us to study, and give the most insight into why we marry and how a marriage should look. I want to be considered one of Sarah's daughters. I want to be the woman of God that He is leading me to be. I want to be a witness to the world about what Christ has done in my life.

This brings me back to my original point. I am torn between God and family to some extent. I worry more than I should, and that has been leading me to prayer in the past month. I pray much of the day. I lift it all to Him, and He guides me. I have clear direction, and I am not ashamed. My conclusion: God wins.

“16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’” – Romans 1:16-17

Thursday, February 28, 2008

citrus garlic ginger chicken

Due to popular request, I have decided to post my "citrus garlic ginger chicken" recipe- yep, it's a mouthful! This is one of those recipes where you just kind of have to figure out how much of everything suits you. I don't measure, so these are rough estimates. Feel free to change the amounts to taste.

What you will need:
2 Boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 Quart-size plastic storage/freezer bags
5 Cups Orange Juice (approximately)
3-4 Tbsp Garlic, finely chopped or minced
3-4 Tbsp Ginger, finely chopped or minced
Salt
Pepper
Steamed Rice for plating

Put each chicken breast in it's own plastic bag (I use the quart size) and pour enough orange juice to cover the breast. Add 1 Tbsp Garlic and 1 Tbsp Ginger to each bag. Let marinate in the fridge for an hour or two (or overnight if you want). Heat a skillet on medium with a little vegetable or olive oil. Place marinated chicken breasts in skillet (don't pour any marinade in). Lightly salt and pepper each side of chicken. Cook chicken for 7-10 minutes, then turn over, add remaining Garlic and Ginger, and cook for additional 7-10 minutes. Towards the end of cooking, pour in 1/2-3/4 Cup Orange juice and let it reduce to a thick liquid. Remove chicken from pan and let rest on cutting board while you add a little more orange juice to the sauce. It will be thin. Slice chicken and serve over steamed rice. Drizzle sauce over top. Enjoy!

worry not

We often talk of having unwavering faith in the Lord, but is that really so? For me, I have to work hard everyday to give my life to the Lord. I have to remind myself every morning to thank God for the day before, and praise Him for the day to come. I know that I am nothing without the faith the Lord gives me. I wonder how often man forgets about what it really means to follow Christ.

Too often we try to take our lives into our own hands. It’s no wonder, with how our society functions. Everything is “me, me, me!” and “now, now, now!” and “go ahead, get yours!” We are literally bombarded with messages that tell us to rely on ourselves and nobody else.

We try to take matters into our own hands, and we worry about the outcomes of our actions. We do not put our trust in God and allow Him to guide us through life. We try to make God conform to our will, instead of submitting ourselves to His will.

There is evidence that we lack faith if we are unable to rely on God:

“He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. 40 He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?"” – Mark 4:39-41

Salvation has set us free of the fear of death, the fear that unbelievers have. God’s love is perfect love, and in it we have nothing to fear.

“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father."” – Romans 8:15

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” – 1 John 4:18

“So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’” – Hebrews 13:6

We have such an awesome God, why would we ever fear the things of the world? Who can hurt us, who can take away our salvation? We fear the Creator, but we do not fear what he has created. We must humble ourselves and realize that we cannot control life, that we can do nothing without the Lord. We must give up our troubles to Him and learn to follow His instruction. Nothing else matters when we compare it to eternity and the awesomeness of the God we serve. Praise Him!

“25‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 28 "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:25-34

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

what are you afraid of?

Alright, Christian, own up- what are you afraid of? Are you afraid of getting the bills paid, of offending people, of causing others to stumble? Does death scare you? Are you worried about your salvation? Are you afraid of God?

As Christians, we are to put our trust in the Lord, and let him guide our lives. We should be living according to the Bible, and not our own selfish, depraved desires. So often I see Christians living in fear of everything but what they should really be afraid of. I think that this passage sums it up pretty well:

“But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.” -Luke 12:5

We have lost our fear of the Lord today. We call ourselves Christians and play the part on Sundays, but then go home and live for ourselves for the rest of the week. We talk the talk, but we do not live the faith. What is wrong with us? Where did we go wrong?

I think that every heretical view of the Bible starts with a low view of scripture. Since all scripture is God breathed and inspired, that low view of scripture is really a low view of God himself. People have made God in their own image, and it’s not hard to figure out why. How much nicer is it to have a god that approves of everything we think and do! It sure would be nice to have a god that is a big softie, who doesn’t ever punish, but always loves. I guarantee that the aberrant views we see are a direct result of people not fearing the Lord as they should.

We see that in the Bible, people are blessed and they live in fear of the Lord:

“Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.” – Acts 9:31

In fact, it appears that salvation is linked with the fear of the Lord:

“Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.” – Acts 10:35

“Since you call on a Father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.” – 1 Peter 1:17

Even in the end times, people will fear the Lord. It is completely linked with worship:

“He said in a loud voice, "Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water."” – Revelation 14:7

“Who will not fear you, O Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed."” – Revelation 15:4

We, as Christians, need to get back to the Bible and do what it says- fear the Lord, because His is the only opinion that matters in this life and the next. We must remember that we answer to Him alone. We will give an account for our entire lives, and He will decide where we go. This is why we rely on Him for our salvation, and we need to be certain that we are truly saved.

So, do YOU fear the Lord?

Monday, February 18, 2008

value in biblical role for women

I am constantly and sadly surprised that so many women devalue their roles as wives and mothers. People are very involved in freedom and equality, and I believe the family unit suffers because of it. I have to question what Evangelical feminism does for godly families.

First, I am not referring to any family in which the husband believes he needs to lord over or completely control his wife. A godly family does not involve abuse in any way. The husband fully relies on God and His Word, and he is the spiritual leader. He follows the examples set forth in the Bible regarding treatment of his wife and children. He is willing to sacrifice as Christ did.

People want to hash out the Greek in 1 Timothy, to try and say women should hold any position of a job that they choose. They have a tendency to call any man who believes women should stay home with children chauvinistic and any woman who believes the same antiquated. If the need arises, can God use anybody He chooses to do His will? Of course; however, He gives clear instruction about the structure of a family.

We see from the beginning that woman was created for man, to be a helpmate and complete him. God first offered animals to try to fill the void, but none would work. So along came Eve. Then we have the fall, sin entering through man and not woman because Adam was responsible for Eve. We have the curse, that woman’s desire shall be for her husband and he shall be the head. Some will say that the curse was destroyed when Christ died on the cross, but we still live in a fallen world. Women still have pain in childbirth. The curse passes away when we have reached heaven.

In the Old Testament we see the dedication of men to God, and the wives’ dedication to their husbands. Proverbs 31 is always an excellent example of a woman’s priorities. She cares for her family first, and then does things in addition. I doubt there is any woman today who could accomplish so much. I also enjoy the reference to the Old Testament in 1 Peter 3. We gain insight into how a woman should act. She should be pure, reverent, have inner beauty, have a gentle and quiet spirit, and be submissive to her husband. Sarah’s dedication to Abraham is mentioned, that she obeyed him and called him master. Now, in today’s society it may seem strange to call a husband “master” but we have to see past the foreign concept and to the relevance of the term. The wife makes herself vulnerable and puts all trust in her husband by calling him master, and the husband takes this very seriously. He provides for and protects her, loving her as Christ loved.

In today’s society, where we are told that self is the most important thing, women find it difficult to submit as the women in the Bible did. We can’t imagine fully surrendering to our husbands, to trust them to do God’s will. What does this say about us? Jesus said to Peter, “Ye of little faith…” when he could not walk on water. Women often sink when they try to put their trust in their husbands. It is not just an issue of surrendering to the head of our family, but to God’s will. It is not man’s instruction but inspired writing that tells us how to act.

Too conservative, you say? Yes, by today’s standards it certainly is. The world does not understand why we would want to follow a God that puts one gender over the other in authority. Why, I ask, do we want to follow the sinful and depraved world we live in? We are transformed by the Holy Spirit when we live in Christ. We are set apart from the world. Our bodies may still be a part of it, but our minds are with Christ. We do not seek to please others, but God.

I have been attacked by women for desiring to be a stay at home wife and mother. They seem to act like I’ve lost my mind. Feminism used to fight for women to have the right to do whatever they chose, but now it only supports women who choose to take what was traditionally a man’s role in society. As a result, more and more women are leaving home and filling full-time jobs that continue to reduce the time they spend with their families.

People often assume that a mother must become bored staying at home with her children. I don’t see how. A full time job outside the home is redundant, and you are stuck in a specific role. There is not much variety in what you do. At home, a woman is a wife, lover, mother, cook, teacher, housekeeper, chauffeur, counselor, role model, decorator, etc. There is no shortage of variety in the role of a stay at home wife and mother. Contrary to common belief, there is much more variety at home than there is at an outside job.

Christian women should be concerned first with their families, second with those outside of their family, and finally themselves. God does not call us to “get yours” but to sacrifice ourselves for the good of others. If submission to your husband and “limiting” yourself to caring for your children seems like an impossible sacrifice, maybe you should be rethinking your attitude. God has asked much of his daughters. When we refuse to submit and care for our families, we are not relying on God, but on ourselves. We are to set an example for our dying world in everything we do. If we believe that God values the family, we should show that in everything we do. Whether we realize it or not, people are watching every move we make, and they will know and judge the nature of God through our actions. Let us not forsake our roles as Christian women, wives, and mothers.

the devil made me do it

As Christians we know that evil exists, and for many of us Satan epitomizes evil. We may think that apart from Satan, man would not have known evil. Certainly Satan has the ability to appeal to our fallen natures. However, I believe that many Christians give Satan too much credit.

I often hear people blaming Satan for the bad things that happen in their life. If they lose their job, lose somebody they care about, trip and fall down the stairs, some people are quick to blame it on Satan. They praise God for the good in their lives, and blame Satan for all the bad.

We must realize some things about Satan in order to put his power into perspective. Unlike God, Satan is not omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. Instead his power is limited and he cannot do anything to people without God’s permission. He can only be in one place at one time, though he may use other means to tempt people. He certainly does not know everything about the past, present, and future.

In Job, Satan had to ask permission in order to put Job through all of those trials. God limited Satan’s actions, and there was nothing the devil could do about it. He is under God’s rule, not his own.

Another thing we must realize is that Satan probably doesn’t care enough about us to personally show up and tempt us as he did Job. He is plenty happy with the depravity we already live in. In fact, he is probably quite content when we are having good times. As Jesus said, it is nearly impossible for a rich man to get to heaven. This does not apply only to those who have a lot of money, but those who are rich in their own contentment; those who rely on worldly happiness instead of the joy we find in Christ.

When we are going through hard times, we are often forced to rely fully on God, when we would normally not do so without our trials. When we are clinging so tightly to God, it is very difficult for Satan to come in and take us away.

People also assume that God would never allow us to hurt or have problems in life, that Satan is the only one who could do that. We overlook the possibility that God uses those hard times to grow us in holiness and bring us closer to Him.

And finally, in the end, Satan loses. God will crush him rather quickly, and it will be over. The only reason Satan is around right now is because God allows him to be. Satan is not somehow evading God and hiding on earth. We must remember that Satan is a created being, not a god. He is not somehow the evil version of God, but a fallen angel.

Through our life, both good and bad, we must remember that God is the one in control, not Satan. We must rely on God fully through good and bad, and trust that He will carry us through safely until we reach eternity. Why would we want to give credence to the lie Satan wants us to believe? We know how the story ends, and God wins.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

a glimpse of the dawn

When I was first dealing with the loss of Ahlai I thought of the song "Trading My Sorrows"

I'm trading my sorrow
I'm trading my shame
I'm laying it down for the joy of the Lord

I'm trading my sickness
I'm trading my pain
I'm laying it down for the joy of the Lord


Chorus:
And we say yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord Amen

I'm pressed but not crushed persecuted not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed
I'm blessed beyond the curse for his promise will endure
And his joy's gonna be my strength

Though the sorrow may last for the night
His joy comes with the morning

Well, now I'm beginning to see the morning after the night. Today I got a call from my midwife, Nan, and was expecting bad news because her tone was so somber. Instead, I got the best news I've heard in a long while- all the genetic tests came back normal! They determined the umbilical cord just didn't attach properly. We are free to have children whenever we decide to. I just praise God that we are still healthy and can have healthy babies!

This has been a long, hard while for Ken and I, and we are finding new ways to know each other each day. We have had many discussions about what the future may hold for us and children, and now we have a direction to move toward. It's amazing how God can turn the worst things in life into lessons that bring us closer to Him.

My prayer is that Ken and I will still lean on the Lord as much even when we are getting back to normal and continue to communicate as we have learned to these past weeks.

P.S.- We had a little BOY

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

remember me

In memory of
Ahlai Zikhrini Cook
November 2007-January 2008

You were a blessing from God for the short while that we were able to know you here on earth. We find peace knowing you are in Heaven with our Lord and we will meet again someday in glory.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:38-39


Meaning of the name: Ahlai means “ornamental” or “a wish”, both of which apply to our child. An ornament is temporary, and the baby was certainly a wish we had for our future. Zikhrini is the Hebrew word for the forget-me-not and in the language represents one asking their beloved, in a positive manner, to remember them. We will remember our child.