Monday, November 29, 2010

Scripture Memory Monday

I was so challenged and encouraged by my Dad's sermon Sunday morning.

He was preaching from Galatians chapter 4.  (Maybe I can share a link to it once it's posted online.)  Without rehashing the sermon - I do hope that you can hear it for yourself - I wanted to make note of one point that pressed upon my heart most heavily.

We often speak of bondage to sin;
and each of us are keenly aware of our personal struggles with it.

But do we give enough thought to the possibility of being in 
bondage to self-righteousness?
You know, 
  • checking off the list of "DO"s and "DON'T"s 
  • comparing to see how we measure up to someone else 
  • always hoping to be a bit ahead of the next person in the "righteous" department
  • attempting to "score points with God" by doing this and not doing that 
  • by giving here, attending there, always serving, and not missing a day . . . 

All of these are good and well, but we must truly understand that we are saved by
Christ ALONE, 
Christ and . . . 

Do we understand this?

"Well, of course," you say.  And I'd say the same thing.

But are you and I really living out what we believe?
Do the motives and attitudes of our hearts match what we are saying here?

Dad stressed the importance of understanding GRACE.  He articulated a portion of his personal testimony; always having been a "good boy," yet always feeling the need to "rededicate his life" at every revival service or "alter call."  It wasn't until his freshman year of college that he truly understood God's grace, his wretchedness, Christ's righteousness, and the beauty of "If any man be in Christ, he is a NEW CREATION" (2 Corinthians 5:17).  A new creation, not just a "good boy."

And Dad reiterated the fact that we can add NOTHING to Christ's righteousness.  We can take nothing away from it.  When Christ proclaimed from the cross, "It is finished!" He meant what He said.  His mission was accomplished.  The work had been done.  DONE!

Thank you, Dad, for sharing this powerful, timely message.
As you've been preaching through Galatians, 
the Lord knew that I needed to be there for chapter 4!

  So this leads me to share the verse that was actually today's VERSE OF THE DAY. 

"But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy."
Titus 3:4-5 (ESV)

In thinking of my meager, pointless attempts to add to the perfect work Christ did on my behalf, I envision His robe of righteousness wrapped around me.  I envision myself standing there before God, and then squatting down a bit - hoping that no one is watching . . . or maybe I do want others to see . . . as I try to sneak a stitch of embellishment on the robe.  I think to myself, "If I could just add one more glistening rhine stone here or a sparkly sequin there, this robe would be even more lovely and God would be even more pleased with me,"  I proceed to prick my finger in the stitching process, bleeding and feeling defeated.  My attempts were in vain.  There is NOTHING I could do to make Christ's robe of righteousness that He's so graciously enveloped me with more perfect, more beautiful, more accepting in the sight of God the Father.  Absolutely nothing.  

In closing, I wanted to touch on the topic of bondage to sin. 
Of course, this hits home with all of us. 

While my Dad was out of the country on a mission trip last week, my older brother preached in his place during the morning worship service.  (My husband preached in the evening.  I rehashed a bit of his sermon last Monday.)  He also said something that greatly resinated with my heart and convicted me deeply.  In the words of my brother, 

"You won't put an end to your desire for money 
[or whatever your temptation] 
by wishing it away.
You must replace it.
You must replace that desire with a superior one."

Amen, brother!
Thank you for sharing this truth with us  
and for prompting us to pray for 
an overmastering desire for Christ.

Holy and Triune God, 
please plant in our hearts an overmastering desire for YOU.
May YOU be the sole recipient of our dearest and deepest affections. 
YOU alone are the ONLY ONE who can satisfy, 
and it's in YOUR righteousness ALONE that we stand complete.

they say that catching up is hard to do!

When I pleaded for time to stop in my last post,
I didn't intend on putting a stop to blogging.

I mean, if there was ever a Thursday to post something that your thankful for,
it would be Thanksgiving Day, right?

Well, many events have taken place lately, and I would still like to make note of them here.  I really want to try to do this blog to book thing.  I think it would be a good scrapbook, of sorts, for our family.

The backtracking of the occasional "Rewind Wednesday" posts will probably characterize most upcoming entries until I catch up with record keeping.  But it sure is hard to catch up once you're behind!  Oh well.  I'm gonna try, if and when time allows.  Until then, here's to precious, fleeting time with family, friends, and my ever-growing little ones!  (They are both simultaneously napping at the moment - a rare, but pleasant blessing - hence this mini documentation.  Well, never mind . . . I hear Claire over the monitor.  Nap over already?  Better go! ;)

Until next time, 
I love that it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here!
Well, not so much at our house.
This is at my Mom and Dad's. :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Oh, Time. . .

please STOP!
Or maybe slow down;
for just a little while, maybe?

The days are going by so quickly, 
and my children as growing up too fast. 

Claire is 14 months old today.
Though this was taken about a month ago,
and she looks even more "grown up" now,
I can't believe how big Claire is getting.  

Claire is soaking up everything and is trying to communicate so much; and often does a great job of it.  She is very opinionated, and (thankfully) she's very good at letting you know what she wants.  She signs "more", "please", and "all done" to help get her point across, and she's quick to enthusiastically shake her head "no" if she's in opposition to your suggestion, or to give a wide mouth grin and squeal of excited delight when she's in favor of it (usually to your offer of a banana :).  

Though her first word was "ball" (John David's was too), her favorites now are "shaw" (straw - she prefers this method over the sippy cup), "book", "ball", "cicle" (circle), and "DaDa"(of course - he's so fun!).  With a pointed finger, "dis" (this) and "zat" (what's that?) are also constants throughout the day, as Claire draws your attention to something and wants to hear what you have to say about it.  She loves to play with the computer - though we usually try to steer her away - and she often requests to Skype my mom by pointing at the computer and making the "T" sound (we call my mom "My T").  She also loves making animal sounds and playing with the animal and letter magnets on the refrigerator.   

Claire does love her Daddy and brother so much and enjoys following these guys around the house.  I'm so glad she loves her Mommy too; though I'm not as fun as Daddy, we do have a great time together!  She likes when I unload the dishwasher and would rather climb in it, of course, than help unload it.  She still loves the trampoline and riding around on her train that JoJo and Pap got her for her birthday.  She now likes to push toys too, and she can't wait till she's walking unassisted.  She loves being on the move, crawling everywhere and - most often - preferring for you to hold her hands so she can walk.  And when you can't (it's an inopportune time, conditions are undesirable, or your lower back is simply worn out), Claire is quick to express her displeasure. 

For the longest time, Claire has loved to jump whenever she gets the opportunity.

But since she is now a professional crawler and prefers to do this,

 David felt that it was time to put the faithful Jumperoo away today.
I never thought this day would come for Claire.
We're putting it away now until our new niece is ready to start jumping!

Well, Happy 14 months, sweet Claire!
We love you so much. 
You are so fun and bring so much joy to our day. 
The Lord was so kind in giving you to us.

Did I mention we have a lot of fun with our girl?  
(and this was taken today. :)

Back to time slowing down -
I also wish that time would because we're about to move.

Time with family is precious - as it always is -
and especially now as we prepare to be farther away.  
We were so glad that JoJo stopped by the house today,
and we were able to spend some sweet time with her. 

Onto more about my "growing up too fast" little ones - 
John David - who wouldn't mind you assisting him with anything that you are willing to -asked if he could wash his hands and brush his teeth by himself today.  He then asked if I would leave, and I listened to hear how things were going.  I was quite excited when I peeked in the bathroom to see his toothbrush right back in it's holder.  He had done all of the proper steps, and I was very pleased.  Good job, big boy!

He also asked if he could stay home by himself tomorrow.  
(We were talking through our Thanksgiving agenda.)

"I'll just stay here," John David suggested.
I said, "What would you do?"

He replied, "Take a nap."

Then I queried about what he would eat.

He enthusiastically said, without missing a beat, 
"Cake . . . and ice cream.  Dirt.  And a peanut butter and jelly sandwich."

Oh, yes, of course.

Right after that he informed me, 
"Then I'll go to the store and buy something."

"What store?  And how will you get there?" I wondered.

"I'll run to Target and buy 'the Big Monster'."

"Do you know how much that costs?"

"Nine dollars!" He was convinced.

He was about $76 short, but I was sure that if anyone could talk down a price by that much, John David most certainly could. 

Then I told him how sad I'd be without him, 
and further convinced him to come along. 
I'm so glad. :)   

As I was looking through some of the pictures that I took today, 
I couldn't help but be reminded of this picture of John David

when I saw this picture of Claire.
Though they have their own "look", 
there are many times that they really look alike.

I am so thankful for both of you, my dear children.
And because I know that my wish for time to slow down will most likely not be granted,
I pray that we will make the most of each moment we have together.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Scripture Memory Monday

As we were tucking John David into bed tonight, David prayed over him:
"Lord, help us not be like the nine lepers who did not return [Luke 17]
but like the one who fell down on his face at Jesus' feet, giving Him thanks."
(And this is a direct quote; I just asked him to restate his prayer for me. :)  

David was given the opportunity to preach last night at the church where my Dad is the pastor. (Dad has been serving the Lord in Uganda this past week, and he arrived safely home this evening.  We can't wait to visit with him tomorrow, to see pictures and hear stories of all that the Lord accomplished for His glory!)  Well, Psalm 103 was David's text. He challenged us to examine our souls to see if we were praising God aright.  Are we are indeed giving the Lord the glory and thanks and praise for which He is inexhaustibly worthy?  As he led us through each verse, he encouraged us to imitate the psalmist here.  He challenged us to prod our own souls to praise by pondering the provisions, the providence, and the Person of God.  (I didn't have to ask him just now to restate his sermon points.  I tried to listen well . . . and all those "p" words helped in the remembering. :)  When we do this type of pondering, we cannot help but to "bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name!" (Psalm 103:1).

This is what I want to meditate on as we celebrate Thanksgiving this week.

May we not be found guilty, like the other nine lepers, of being ungrateful
(and too often forgetful!)  
regarding ALL the Lord's benefits to us.  

[2] "Bless the LORD, O my soul, 
and forget not all His benefits, 
[3] who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,
[4] who redeems your life from the pit, 
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, 
[5] who satisfies you with good 
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."
Psalm 103: 2-5 (ESV)

Friday, November 19, 2010

AMEN, Sista!

I hope you have a great weekend! 
 And no matter what happens, remember this . . .

Thanks to my friend, Julianne Butler, for sharing this with us on facebook.
You can see her precious family HERE

Friday's Photo

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thursday's Thanksgivings

As you may have seen previously, we've been experiencing a lot of "lasts" lately.  
We will be moving at the end of the year, and the chapter we're in is coming to a close.  

On Tuesday afternoon, 
John David had his last individual therapy session with Ms. Michelle.
She has worked with him for some time now, meeting with him individually,
 as well as working with him on occasion at his preschool.

I want to express how thankful we are for Ms. Michelle.
She has been wonderful.
She also has been helpful in getting us information about 
some resources available where we are headed; such a blessing!  

I would like to also mention how thankful we are for all of the 
teachers, graduate students, and supervisors
that have worked with John David during our time here.
We could never express enough gratitude to each of you.

Well, at the end of Tuesday's session, 
Ms. Michelle had a "graduation party" for John David.
She provided delicious cupcakes and his favorite juice.

She also put together "John David's Goodbye Book"
that mentions many of his favorite things about therapy.
John David loved it, and it helped in bringing closure to the time they've shared.   

We will miss you, Ms. Michelle!
Thank you for everything.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Rewind Wednesday : Alabama Football Trivia

This video below was brought to my attention today.
I thought I'd share it here and rewind back to 1979.
The first game ever televised in Bryant Denny Stadium was
the 1979 Alabama vs. Miami game.

So here's the trivia:
Who was Alabama's MVP of this game? 

And if you don't have 5 minutes and 42 seconds to spare, 
fast forward to the 2 minute, 28 second mark to find out!

Here's a clue:
He's my dad!

(And I'm not sure if all of that smiling was because of the award 
or because he had just gotten engaged!
He had asked my mom to marry him that week. :)

More Birthdays and Fam Jams!

 Friday afternoon, we were invited to a birthday party.
We celebrated our friend, Milo, at a "Yo Gabba Gabba Dance Party," 
and my children were definitely taking advantage of the dance floor.


We aren't too familiar with "Yo Gabba Gabba,"
but John David sure enjoyed getting to know these fun looking characters.
We also were admiring the character cakes that Milo's mommy handmade.

She even included a Gluten Free one (Thank you so much, Lisa!)

It was DEE-licious!

Claire enjoyed some fun instruments,

played in the ice,

and felt right at home with the big kids. 

 Meanwhile, John David and Milo were 
"cuttin' a rug!"
It was a great party, Milo!
We are thankful for your life and for getting to be a small part of it.  

Then on Saturday, 
we gathered with family to celebrate my sister-in-law's birthday.
We love you, Olivia!
We praise the Lord for you, and we thank Him for seeing fit to give you to us.
You are a perfect match for my little brother and are such a precious addition to the family.

As always, Uncle Kam bounced John David on the couch and sent him soaring!
(I promise, John David isn't always in his Buzz costume; 
and we do wash it frequently!) 

The girls shared in one of Claire's new favorite past times ~
 paper dolls!

 Well, not really "paper" ~ you know, the newfangled "peel and stick" kind.
Gone are the days of meticulously cutting out each item and trying not to tear tiny fold back edges.

Props to the ones who thought of these! 

John David enjoyed some time with the birthday girl before we had to depart.

Later that evening, 
we gathered with more of our family.  
While the grown ups were enjoying good conversation and football on TV, 
Claire was trying to see what was going on at the table.

 Despite her great efforts, Claire wasn't allowed to join in on the fun.
However, John David and Abigail did get to enjoy playing computer games together.  

And then on Sunday,
 Rudolph decided to make an early visit to our house!

This is what a nose dive off of the stairs will get you.
Thankfully, the floor wasn't too hard. 
So here you have a nice carpet burn just in time for family Christmas pictures on Thursday.  
We'll see if we end up postponing those.

Here Claire is signing "please" after my mention of a bed time snack. 
This delightful expression was made just seconds before 
 a meltdown due to my delay in yogurt delivery!

My little girl loves yogurt . . . and scrambled eggs. 
These are the only two things I recall resulting in tears upon her dish being clean.
I think she'd eat these food items as long as you'd let her!

(Oh, and I see it's time to wash the high chair cover again!)

I hope you had a great weekend as well,
with lots of things to celebrate and not too many injuries!
And now that the week is almost halfway over, I hope it's been a pleasant one so far. :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Scripture Memory Monday

The Lord used chapter 10 of Hebrews to greatly encourage, challenge, and convict my heart this morning.  Though I wanted to choose a passage of Scripture that I felt was attainable to memorize this week, it was hard to not post the entire chapter.  I encourage you to read it when you have a few minutes.  Until then, here are the last 3 verses.  I felt it interesting (purely providential, no doubt) that I read this chapter this morning; for there were several times this weekend that the Lord impressed upon my heart the reality of the brevity of life on earth.  He pressed further, and I became a bit introspective, praying that I'm not wasting time with things that don't matter.  

Oh, Lord, that we - as your children - would endure and not shrink back; 
that we would love and serve and give all that we have until You return.  
Please help us not to waste our lives on empty things that 
do nothing to extol Your name or impact eternity. 
May You be glorified in our efforts 
- efforts that are empty outside of You -
to invest in those things that do indeed last forever, 
namely the Word of God and the souls of men.  
Come, Lord Jesus!  
Please grant us grace to redeem the time and be faithful to the end.        

[36] "For you have need of endurance, 
so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. 
[37] For, 'Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; [38] but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.' [39] But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, 
but of those who have faith and preserve their souls." (Hebrews 10:36-39 ESV)