Monday, April 25, 2011

A Hidden and Inexhaustible Mine

Michelle and I were reading through my Devotional Classics book (which has been an interesting book. It is a compilation of writings from varies figures in the history of the church) for my church history class. We were reading from a man named Sadhu Sundar Singh. I had not heard of him before, but he sparked my thinking. The first section of his writing is called "A Hidden and Inexhaustible Mine." He begins by saying that it is very difficult to explain or express the experience of the inner life. At one place he says, "My heart overflowed with heavenly joy. I saw that in this world of sorrow and suffering there is a hidden and inexhaustible mine of great joy of which the world knows nothing, because even those who experience it are not able to speak of it adequately and convincingly."

I often find myself at a lack of words when I so desire to express what I am thinking or feeling. At the same time I so long to be able to speak of the joy that I do feel when I am in a state of worship of my Lord. At the same time there are times when I might be in a dark place feeling very low and empty and I equally have trouble expressing what I feel. I find myself getting frustrated with this, and realize that this is a problem that I see in men so often. We grow up thinking that emotion is a bad thing, and that a true man should be like a rock, not allowing himself to go up to high or down to low on the scale. As a result we turn cold, and lack a great deal of intimacy that we are designed to have with God. Of course there is a right way and a wrong way to express emotion. We often forget how full of emotion the Psalms really are. It is there that we are given a perfect example of how to explore the "inner life" before God. It cannot not stop between just me and God, however. As we are called into community by the gospel, we must be open and exposed. As men we must be willing to weep with those who are weeping. To have joy with those who have joy. To raise your hands in worship of God. To abandon the cultural norms of what it mean to be a man, and enter into what it means to be a man after God's own heart.

I realize that this was somewhat of a rabbit trail, and not exactly what Mr. Singh was describing, but it was a take away for me from his writing. We are all finite and can never exhaust the experience of the inner life when we are in Christ, but we should still strive for it.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

He is risen!! He is risen indeed!

We have had a lovely Easter weekend. Last night we dyed some eggs then made our resurection cookies. This morning we got up to see our cookies and how the "tomb" was empty :) We got all dolled up and headed to church then over to some friends house for lunch and fellowship. Hope everyone else has had a great weekend celebrating our risen Savior! So I will keep my words short and just show you an overload of pics instead :) Enjoy!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Book recs

So I wanted to share 2 recent books I have read. I guess with having a husband constantly reading, it has pushed me to spend more time reading. I go in and out of stages where I really want to read and then times when I don't really care to spend the time. Lately Michael has had to read countless books, so I have jumped on board too. I figure if he is going to be sitting on the couch reading, the best way to hang with him, is sit down too and pull out a book of my own. Plus, I can't have him getting all kinds of knowledge and me not. He keeps telling me as he finishes a book, "you have to read this one too." I think we are up to 7 that he thinks I really should read. The next book I read will be one of his recs, but I had to read both of these first. I have heard all about "A Praying Life" from our church family back home. Well, it def. was an incredible book. If you haven't read it, go now and get it. It will rock your world. Here is just a few snippets from it:
"When we slow down to pray, we are immediately confronted with how unspritual we are, with how difficult it is to concentrate on God. We don't know how bad we are until we try to be good. Nothing exposes our selfishness and spiritual powerlessness like prayer."
"The criteria for coming to Jesus is weariness. Come overwhelmed with life. Come with your wandering mind. Come messy."
"...power in prayer comes from being in touch with your weakenss. To teach us how to pray, Jesus told stories of weak people who knew they couldn't do life on their own.... Learned desperation is at the heart of a praying life."
And lastly, one that really hits me...
"If you are going to enter this divine dance we call prayer, you have to surrender your desire to be in control, to figure out how prayer works."
"Until you are convinced you can't change your child's heart, you will not take prayer seriously."

So, go get the book. Or if you are in St. Louis, I have a copy you can borrow.

Next book. Adopted for Life by Russell Moore. I wish I had just bought this book, but I checked it out from the library. It is what inspired me to write this post. Now some of you might say that you know you are not called to adopt so you rule this book out. Don't. Please. We are all called to be a part of caring for the orphans and widows. James 1:27 says, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." We are all called to care in some way. Some to actually adopt. Some to help financially or prayerfully. Some with our time. Think of ways we can actually be workers for the kingdom by following this command. There is so much more than just the act of adopting. What about the widows who sit in nursing homes, some with noone coming to see them, day in and day out. Pray about how God is calling you to take care of orphans and widows. He will show you. For us, we feel that International Adoption is where we are being led to. We are so excited. And this book was good for me to read at this time. We are at the place where we are just waiting on the Lord's timing and taking the time now to study up on adoption and prepare our hearts for how to truly be used by God in whatever way he will call us. We want to be prepared for what He will call us to. So, put this on your list too :) I wish I had some quotes to share from this, but like I said, it wasn't my copy, so I couldn't highlight and write in it. I like to be able to do that to look back. Maybe I will just have to buy it and read it again sometime.

Next on the list is up to Michael. I have told him that I will read one of his choices next. I will let you know though. He really has read some good stuff and I hope he has time in between classes in May to share some of his learnings from the semester. Right now he is in crunch time though. I think there are about 3 weeks left in the semester where he has to get a big paper done, which he has I think 8-9 sources for, a timeline, another smaller 5 page paper, and some other little things, and finals. Whew. That makes me tired just looking at all that he has to accomplish. Then comes Greek this summer. He is really enjoying this school thing though, which is good, cause he has 3 more years of it :) Ok, enough jabbering. Maybe everyone will decide to get up soon. SK is cuddling in the bed with her Daddy. Maybe I will go back and join them. I wish I could sleep in like those 2 can. Oh well.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Bunny

So if you followed our blog back around Christmas time, you might remember me saying that we have decided to go against the norm (or so it seems) and not do Santa Claus with SK. Well, that then must raise the question about what we will do with other holiday characters. The answer: the same. We feel the same way about the Easter Bunny as we do about Santa. Both aren't horrible or we aren't downing those who do this with their kids. That is what I don't want to do. I am not here to point fingers and say we have it all figured out and our ways are better than others. This is just what works for us. We know plenty of people who do Santa and everything else and their children completely know the gospel and it doesn't take away from the true reason for the holiday. We just feel like for our family, we want to take away distractions. Both Michael and I both grew up with Santa and the Easter Bunny and all. Do we feel like our parents were wrong? Or did a poor job training us and raising up strong Christians? Absolutely not. We have just decided to look at why we do things and decide for ourselves what we want to do in our home and why do it. So many times these "holidays" turn so much into buying and getting for each other and I want to get away from that. I want the focus of this season to be about Christ and how He is a Risen Savior! I can easily fall into focusing my energy into having a cute dress for SK and fun activities and totally not spend near the same amount of energy into teaching SK what Easter is. What we are celebrating, not only on this one Sunday each year, but every single Sunday. Christ is resurected! Death was not the victor.

So how do we handle not doing this whole bunny thing. We don't really have that all figured out. Suggestions welcomed. We are planning to teach SK about Santa and the Easter Bunny just like Winny the Pooh or Dora. They are good stories and fun. Some people believe them to be more than that and that is ok. We are still praying through how to teach Sk about it in a way that glorifies God and points her to Him.

We want SK to look foward to Easter Sunday because we get to celebrate with the body of Christ what an incredible Savior we have and we get to call Father/Daddy. How awesome is that. I want her to hunger for Him and seek His face instead of being so focussed on what she can get in her basket Sunday morning.

Once again, don't get irritated with me if you do different. Or if you do, I am sorry. We don't claim to think our way is best. We are messed up sinners who are just trying to keep our eyes on Christ and pray for God to be glorified through us. As messed up as we are.
We do have fun plans tomorrow night. We have made a family tradition with SK making resurrection cookies on Sat. night. I will post pics hopefully tomorrow from doing that. If you haven't heard of them, check out this website. SK had so much fun helping last year and I am sure will enjoy it this year. She loves to help in the kitchen.
We have been looking at Philippians on Wed. nights. It has been so awesome to just rest in Christ on Wed. nights. So I will leave you with this:
"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."--Philippians 2:12-14
The prize is in front of us and we are to press on. So press on friends.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Busy times...

Weeks seem to fly around here. We stay so busy during the week and never seem to have time to update the blog. That is just how it is going to be it seems for now. Oh well. So our week. Let's see. Monday we decided (or more like Mommy decided for the family) that we needed to check out a cupcake shop after dinner. It was in a cute area called Central West End, not far from our house. We all shared a yummy cupcake and headed back home. Tuesday brought storms and I had a nice night at seminary chicks. Wednesday was busy with storytime at the library and then church that night after running a couple errands after work. Today was a fun day too. We headed out to a park to meet some friends and have an egg hunt with the kiddos. It was cold. Very cold. Like in the 40's cold. We had planned to have a picnic after hunting eggs, but decided it was a bit cold for that, so we headed back to Molly's for lunch and naps. SK had a blast at Molly's today with a new bunny (that happened to be the same size as her!) and even requested that the bunny take a nap with her. Goofy kid. I really want to get better at recording the crazy funny things that she says so here is a list of things that she has said lately that I can remember:

"When you a get to be a little again, you can get a prizes" --Her response to me asking if she wanted to share her Easter candy. She tends to say that pretty often about when I am a little girl again. Crazy.

"Lemon m's" --m & m candy :)

"Belly Jeans" ---Jelly beans :)

These days when I ask for a kiss from her I get, "When we get home, you can get that kiss from daddy. k." Her face cracks me up with this one, cause she is so matter of fact about it.

"I wanna hold you, Mama!" --I know other kids do this too, but I think it is so precious.

"I'm Hickin' Up!" --We laugh so hard at this one. If you need translation it means she has hiccups.

"That's not a good idea." or "You think that's a good idea? Yeah." When likes or dislikes what Momma or Daddy says we are going to do.SK also got a surprise in the mail from Mimi today. She was most excited about the "Lemon m's". The new shoes came in a close second :) Child loves her some shoes and chocolate. Girl after my own heart I must say! Thanks, Mimi for the fun package!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

happy Birthday, Pop!

Today we celebrate our Pop (or sometimes called Papa from SK--she goes back and forth with what she wants to call him :))! We love you and hope you have a wonderful birthday! We wish we could be there to celebrate with you! We are truly blessed to have such a great dad (I-Michelle consider you like a dad too) and Papa. You are an incredible man and we are so grateful to have you in our life. It has been so much fun to see you with SK and how much you love her and care for her. She is so cute when she talks about "Papa's piggies". We love you and can't wait to see you in about a month! I think y'all have had a special bond since day one :) We love you Pop!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Boo's visit!

We have had an exciting couple of days around here. Boo (a dear friend of ours from Moody, AL) and 2 of her children came to visit. She was visiting family in Indianapolis for the week and drove over for a couple of days since she was somewhat close (4 hours). It was so much fun to see the girls (Maddy and SK) playing together and for me to get to hang with a good friend. It is crazy how quickly her babies are growing up! She got into town on Thurs. afternoon and we were able to spend some time letting the girls play at the seminary's playground while catching up then headed to our house for the rest of the night. The next day was supposed to be bad weather, but turned out beautiful! We were able to go to the zoo for a little bit and see a few animals and ride the carousel, then we headed over to the science center. Michael joined us after that to go to Crown Candy Kitchen for lunch. It is a famous soda fountain kind of place that has been featured on the Food Network and was quite yummy. After that the girls were really ready for naps. My dear, sweet hubby stayed with the sleeping little ones while Boo and I scooted out to a nearby coffee shop. It was nice to get away just us and get to chat and relax. We stayed in the rest of the night and just hung out and ate dinner. We got up this morning and the girls helped me make scrambled eggs then we had to get all packed up and Boo headed back to Indianapolis and we headed to swim lesson. It was a whirlwind and crazy time, but so so much fun. I really enjoyed it. SK really enjoyed having her "best friend" stay here with her and get to play so much! Thanks Boo for coming to see us! Love you and am so so glad you came :)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Jesus paid it all...

It is 6:00 a.m. and a story morning here in St. Louis. I should take advantage of getting to sleep in, but my body tends to wake up around 5:00 a.m., since that is my normal time on weekdays. ugh. But, I have been bugged by something for quite some time and need to get it out. here goes.

So 2 years ago this May, Michael and I suffered a miscarriage. Most of you know this. Hardest thing I have ever been through in my entire life. I have never hurt so bad. Well, a week after having found out we lost our baby, I got a phone call. No need to know who, I am not here to speak poorly of anyone, and the person that called, I love very much. So back to the phone call. (And just in case this person might actually read this blog and know who you are--not likely--I do love you, but I am here to say you were wrong). This person called and asked how the pregnancy was going, to which I replied that we had lost the baby. He was sorry that it had happened, but then proceeded to tell me that hopefully I would figure out what the sin was in my life so that I would be able to get pregnant again and don't have to deal with more punishment.
Yep. If you need to reread that sentance, go ahead. Let that sink in for a sec.

So I was told that due to my sin, I was punished. That I would not be given the blessing of more cihldren until I paid the dues for my sin and corrected myself. I knew the gospel, but this really made me question a lot. I highly respected this person and a Godly person, so this was hard to take and just say that it was wrong and throw it aside or call the person out on it. I have grown since then. I can say that I know more now than I knew then. And I knew in my heart then that something was wrong with that statement, but having months of infertility after that it made me question whether maybe this person was right.

Here is what I believe though. I believe in Scripture. And according to Gal. 3:13, "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us-for it is written." And I believe Romans 8:1 when it says, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of livfe has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death." Now God might be using this miscarriage to shape me and disciple me, but not to discipline me. If we say that I have to pay consequences for my sin, doesn't that take away for the work of Christ? Saying that what he did on the cross just wasn't good enough? Looking more at Scripture, I see in John 9:1-3, "As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him." As hard as I don't want to be in this place and thought I had better plans for my life, I do pray that the works of God might be displayed in me. If things had gone according to my life, I would tend to puff up my chest and say, look at what I have done with my life. That doesn't give God anything. So many times we have to go through the desert to grow and see that we need Christ. Desperately need. I know I do. So while I really didn't appreciate that phone call that day, it did something good for me. It made me look at what I believe. It made me see that Christ was enough and is good. While this whole journey has been incredibly hard, I know God has something good in store, and if we had been blessed with the good right off, we wouldn't have given Him the glory He deserves and therefore been able to testify "Look what God has done!" "To GOD be the glory!"

Friday, April 8, 2011

Dinner at the Park!

Michael was scheduled to work tonight, but ended up getting to leave early :) We took advantage of this and packed up dinner and headed over to the park across the street from our house. We walked over to the pond and ate dinner then fed the geese and fish. SK had a blast throwing bread to the fishies and "ducks" as she called them. We strolled around a bit then headed back home to get in a little Barbie jeep riding before cleaning up for bed. What a lovely night!

The weather has been lovely here and I am enjoying it very much. Have I mentioned that I am really over the cold and snowy weather. Bring on Summer. Bring on shorts and t-shirts. Bring on icecream. I am ready!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A picnic and a date :)

We had a fun day with friends at a great park. It seems like there are so many good parks here in St. Louis, which I love. This one that we went to today had a great little playground, walking paths with a cute pond and fountain, and horse stables (along with many horses). We got to play for a bit then watch the horse get his horseshoes changed out, go for a walk, and then have a little picnic. It was a bit chilly, but warmed up just as we were getting ready to head out. I think warmer weather is headed our way this weekend. I hope so. I need some good warm weather. We had some good naps and now are getting ready for our date tonight. SK has a date with a very generous, kind, wonderful family while Mommy and Daddy have dinner together :) I think Sk is going to have a tea party, which she is packing up for. Isn't it necessary to have the proper attire to attend a tea party? :) This is a quicky post, just thought I would share some pictures really of life here the last few days...meaning I will quick jabbering and just show the pictures. That's what yall really want, right?

We are having Missions Week at the church we attend here and are enjoying getting to meet some really cool missionaries and here about how they are seeking to grow the Lord's kingdom all over the world. Off to get ready for my date for now though! More to come later this weekend I hope!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Couponing and Sunshine

We had a pretty uneventful weekend around here. Except for getting a total of 24 bags of cheese :) Those of you who knew my crazy couponing adiction (a good adiction in my opinion..hehe..), know the reason I would go crazy and buy 24 bags of cheese. When it is a great deal, stock up! And this was an awesome deal. I got each bag for about .30 each. And on top of that I got 3 boxes of Michael's favorite cereal ( has chocolate in it...imagine that!) for $1.88 (so that would be a horrible price if I lived in Bham, but for here, that was good), but they also had a deal to get a free gal. of milk wyb the three cereals. Good deals :)

Michael had work on Friday night and all day Saturday, so me and SK had some good hang out time. We had swim lesson on Sat. then headed outside to break out the sidewalk chalk for the season. I love being able to go outside and play and SK needs to be able to do that. Wintertime is hard being cooped up. Yesterday and today were lovely getting over 80 degrees today. It felt so nice.
Sat. we also got a special treat from Nana and Papa in the mail! SK had a blast opening the box and finding the goodies and book. I think she has read that book 75 times in the last 24 hours!
We have had a nice Sunday too. The church we are attending is having their missions conference this week, starting off today. We had lunch with a missionary family that our church back in Alabama supports also, so that was fun.

Well, I am off to get ready for bed. Back to the 5 a.m. alarm in the morning :)

By the way, this better be the only way we can make a snowman for then next several months!

Friday, April 1, 2011


So I have had a rough week. Nothing major bad, just seemed like a long week for some reason. SK had some moments she was testing me so much I wanted to scream. I feel like I have been somewhat negative (not giving exuses). I tend to do that when I get tired and I definitely didn't get enough sleep this week. So, I am determined to be positive today. I thought I might make a list of things to be thankful for and dwell on those instead of my lack of sleep or anything else that I am crabby about from the week...

  1. 1. My awesome, incredible, most amazing husband. He has been such a help to me and really tries with the time that he does have. Granted he has a lot with school going on, so I know he has a lot on him, but he still tries to encourage me and be there for me. For instance, he knows that I really enjoy having our bed made, but I leave at 6 in the morning, with him still in it. He gets up and makes the bed each morning and then reminds SK to make hers. He and SK are in charge of unloading the dishwasher and it is such a help to me.

  2. Knowing how to sew. I am thankful for Maja Clayton and how she ministered so much to me (and continues to from a distance..). She taught me so much not just in sewing, but in life. It amazed me how she openned up her home once a week to a bunch of crazy ladies with even more crazy kids and nurtured us. I am thankful that I can now take what she has shared with me and spread that. I am excited to get to teach other ladies here about sewing and open up my home to have some good fellowship.

  3. An encouraging phone call this week. I can't remember how much I have shared about how we have talked to a couple of adoption agencies, but I talked to another this week. We had been a bit discouraged about the financial aspect of us not making enough to be approved, but the phone call this week, gave us hope. According to them, we should be able to qualify with what are income is. We are still planning to take our time and wait until Michael hopefully finds an internship or something that he thinks he will stick with during the rest of seminary. You can pray for that. The job at Chick-fil-A has been such a blessing, but it is hard. He never knows his schedule each week and he works every Sat. This week he is working today till 7 then tomorrow till 7. I don't like that schedule, but will be thankful for a job right now. Back to adoption. We are taking time right now to study up on adoption and just learn everything we can and mainly praying about it. I am so encouraged though that this could happen sooner than we were thinking (meaning not having to wait till we are done with seminary).

  4. Sunshine. We have had way too many overcast grey skies since being here. Today, I sit looking out our front windows and see glorious sunshine. It's cold kinda, but at least the sun is out.

  5. Sk is napping today. Enough said.

  6. The Lord's provisions. It has been awesome to see how the Lord has provided for us and we are only a few months into this seminary thing. I love to see not only Him working in and through my husband but using this time to grow me.

  7. Peaceful mornings. I have to be at work in the mornings at 6:15. Yeah, a little early, which I knew might be a bit of an adjustment, but I am a morning person anyways, just maybe not that early. But I have seen how the Lord is giving me such an awesome opportunity to have quiet and rest. I have had a hard time since SK was born to find time to get into the word and spend good time in prayer and just sit at Jesus' feet. Now I get that most mornings. Molly tends to get up soon before or after I arrive, but goes back down within 30-45 minutes and I have a quiet house till Sk gets there around 8. Since I am not at my own house, I don't have the option to go do laundry or dishes or piddle on the computer. Thank you Father for that. It is so incredible. I can pray and read or I can knit or smock. It is lovely and I am very thankful for that.

  8. Leftover Papa John's pizza. That's what I am snacking on now :) then I think I will have to wash that down with a White Chocolate Chocolate chip cookie. Yesterday was nice to order a pizza. I haven't ordered one since living in Alabama and I love me some Papa John's. Pizza here is different. Most St. Louis people I have found like the really thin almost like a saltine cracker with cheese on top kindof pizza. Me, I like Papa Johns.

  9. Sk's heart. We had an incident yesterday where she refused to go potty when mommy recommended and then proceeded to tee-tee all over an ABC puzzle. I was upset, not only from that but it seemed to be the icing on the cake for the day and she knew mommy wasn't happy. But, she came to me on the couch about 15 minutes later and wanted to pray for forgiveness and pray for "Mommy's heart" and "SK's heart". Her prayer was precious. I wish I could have recorded it. What I have learned from that child is beyond me. She has taught me so much and I love her so much.

  10. Movie night with my husband. He doesn't know it yet, but he is gonna watch a movie with his wife tonight after SK goes to bed. I haven't consulted his papers that are due or the books he has to get read, but they will just have to wait. I'm cutting in on tonight. At least for a couple of hours to rest and wind down from a crazy week.

I should do this more often. I so often get caught up in the bad of the day and don't sit back and see how much good there is all around me and how blessed I truly am.