Saturday, April 30, 2011

More Domesticity

I'm tackling another project on my way to domesticity!  During my time in MN with my parents, my dad and I started my garden!  (I know - I'm about six weeks late, but it took me that long to decide to start one.) 
We bought our trays at Menards.
Seed Starter will give the seed embryos exactly what they need to produce delicious veggies for our tummies!
 My seed planting partner, Dad, who learned all he knows about gardening from The Expert.
Our trays filled and ready for seeds!  What will we plant?
Tomatoes, carrots, peas.
Lettuce, cherry tomatoes, chard, beets.
Green beans, lettuce, spinach.
The planting begins!
Cherry tomatoes are in.  Yum!
All done!  These are my two trays that will go home with me to Iowa.  We only started tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers because that's what The Expert taught my dad.  The rest will be planted directly into my manure-filled garden (yes, it's right outside our bedroom window - ewwwww).  Thanks, though, farmers, for taking good care of us!
Who is this Expert, you ask?
Grandpa Richie!  He's had a HUGE garden for years and will definitely be my best resource as I continue on this journey of gardening.
Thanks, Dad!  Thanks, Grandpa!  I love you both mucho!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy First Easter, Aidan!

Happy Easter!  What a glorious day to celebrate the resurrection of our Savior!

 A special 'thank you' to the Jass and Larson families for making Aidan's first Easter so special.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Religion vs. Gospel

"I'm religious because I believe in God and Jesus."  "I'm religious because I believe Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected."  "I'm religious because I go to church almost every Sunday."
Religion isn't satisfying.  The gospel is - it is life giving.
But what makes the gospel so much sweeter than religion? 
The gospel isn't about me or what I accomplish.
The gospel is about Jesus Christ.
Gospel people have a covenant relationship with perfect King Jesus who bore the wrath of God on their behalf.
He rose from the dead and now sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
The gospel is life changing.

Religion vs. Gospel
I obey - therefore I am accepted.
I'm accepted - therefore I obey.
Ephesians 2:8 - 10
Motivation is based on fear and insecurity.
Motivation is based on grateful joy.
I John 4:7 - 11
The world is filled with good people and bad people.
The world is filled with sinners who are either repentant and trust in Jesus' death for their life, or sinners who are unrepentant and remain spiritually dead and separated from God under His wrath.
Isaiah 53:6; Romans 3:23
Religion is about what you do.
The Gospel is about what Jesus has done.
Romans 10:4; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 3:18
Religion is our attempt to manipulate God: do the right thing to get stuff from Him.
The Gospel is about us receiving God himself. He is our greatest treasure, highest joy, and source of life.
Philippians 3:8-9
When life is hard, I get angry at God or myself because I am entitled to a comfortable life.
When life is hard, I struggle, but I know that God loves me and uses evil for good.  Therefore, I have hope and joy in him regardless of circumstances.
Psalm 23:4; John 16:33; Philippians 4:11-13; Hebrews 12:1-13
Religion leads to pride (for keeping the rules) or despair (for failing to keep the rules).
The Gospel leads to humility (our righteousness is a gift from Jesus, not an achievement of our own).
Mark 10:45; Philippians 2:1-11
I lack assurance - have I done enough to please God?
Assurance - our standing before God is contingent on Jesus alone, who is perfect.
1 John 5:11-14
 (Chart from Mars Hill Church,
 Religion is about baptism, confirmation, asking Jesus into your heart, or anything else that can become your boast before Christ.  The gospel is about faith in Christ and repentance, knowing that our only boast is in Christ.  Religion doesn't change what your Saturday night partying looks like; the gospel does.  Religion doesn't change you; the gospel does.  
This Easter, I encourage you to put your faith and hope in the King who is Risen!  He is Risen, indeed!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

April Snow & Shoes & Bible Study

After getting out our picnic table and chairs, playing a game of Bocce Ball in the backyard, and enjoying Modern Reformation & a Sprite in the sunlight last weekend, we woke up to blizzard-like conditions on Tuesday.  School was even APRIL!
Our backyard.

My poor daffodils; they were covered in wet, heavy snow.  They're barely surviving.

On another note, Aidan got new shoes!  He's never really worn shoes before, but it was definitely time...better late than never, right!?
He loves to watch the dinosaur squirm around as he moves his foot!
It's so cold here I had to get his winter hat back out!

A close up of my sweetie.  9.5 months already!  I am so in love and thankful to the LORD for him.

Lastly, I led our bible study this morning that I co-lead with Karlyn.  I find it so refreshing to join with other women, young & old, to study God's Word and encourage & pray for one another.  It is such a blessing to me!  Today's passage was Philippians 3:1-11; we discussed Paul's qualifications for boasting and how, despite those qualifications, he considered all things loss for the sake of Christ.  It so challenged me.  We also compared religion to the gospel (which I will discuss in another post), encouraging one another to live gospel, Christ-centered lives based on faith & repentance.  I am so thankful for those women and look forward to getting to know them more in the future.  This summer we'll be doing a book study, Lineage of Grace, so if you're local, we'd love to have you join us!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Songs for Saplings

Aidan and I are jammin' to Songs for Saplings on this Monday morning as we dust and do laundry!  Well, I'm dusting and doing laundry as A rolls around, wiggles his butt in the air, slams his toys together, shouts 'Da Da Da Da DAAAAA' over and over, and flashes me a quick smile as if to say, "I'll soon learn to shout 'Ma Ma Ma Ma MAAAAA!'

Songs for Saplings is a CD set that we received from our dear friends, the Chings, as a gift when A was born.  I love them; they teach God's truths - who God is and what He has done for us through Christ on the cross and what our responsibility as Christians is.  Not only are the songs catchy and fun to sing & dance to, but each song incorporates Scripture so your child will easily memorize the reference to each truth.

I highly recommend purchasing the Questions with Answers set.  You can jam with your kids in the car, in the house, while exercising, etc. all while memorizing God's truths for our lives.

Thanks, Jason & Naom, for the wonderful gift!  I can't wait until A can sing along with me! 
I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
-Psalm 119:11
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
-Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Journey to Domesticity

SO many things in my life have changed in the last nine months.  If you know me even a little, you know that I don't like to cook, bake, sew, or craft...probably because I am not creative!  However, when Mary from church, who owns Country Threads, one of the top 10 quilt shops in the nation, asked me if I wanted to take a quilting class, I said, "Sure!"  (Not sure what got into me!)  We finished our first project, a Twister mini-quilt and guess what!?  Not only did I enjoy the fellowship with the church ladies and the yummy snacks they'd always bring, but I discovered that I LIKE to sew!  Just press the pedal down and away I go.  I'm not too concerned that my lines aren't always straight; Mary always says, "If you won't see it from a horse going 40 mph, then it's fine!"  I even decided to make a second quilt with the ladies.  It's called a RoundAbout and it will fit a twin size bed. [Note: If I finish it sometime in the next three years, I'll be pleased!  It's a HUGE project for me, Mrs. Can-Hardly-Sew!]
I purchased the RoundAbout kit.
It was so beautifully wrapped, I didn't want to undo it.
I love the bright, pinky colors and polka dots.
Mr. A and me before I left for the class!  He was looking forward to some quality time with his dad.
Mary, our wonderful & very patient teacher!  I didn't even know what a bobbin was; she's so great!
Karla & me gearing up to cut cut cut!  Last night we spent two hours cutting the squares for our quilt.  I didn't finish mine so I have homework to do!  Our next meeting is in May after the farmers get their fields planted.

A Man Date

Evidence of an Aidan & Daddy date.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Replaced Tiger Aims

In a recent New York Times bestseller, Chinese mother Amy Chua struck a nerve with Western parents in her book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.  By comparing Chinese and Western parenting styles, she discusses the secret to producing such stereotypically successful kidsSuccess, as defined by Chua, is remarkable academic achievement: from music prodigies to math whizzes and Harvard graduates.  I would agree - that is success!  Unfortunately for Chua, that is it:  academic and artistic achievement are the highest aim.

I must ask: is that enough?  Are academic and artistic achievements ultimately fulfilling?  What about when that Chinese student graduates and gets his/her first job?  Raises uber successful children?  Then what?  Retires wealthy.  Then what?  Isn't there more to life?

As mom to my dearest Aidan, I want nothing but the very best for him and the greatest of successes.  However, our definition of success and our highest parenting aims are vastly different than Mrs. Chua's.  Success, as we will teach Aidan, is measured not by man, but by God.  Aidan's chief end isn't to be the editor of the Harvard Law Review or to graduate with highest honors (although those are wonderful things); his chief end is that which is for all men:  to glorify God (Romans 11:36) and to enjoy Him forever (Psalm 16:5-11) (Westminster Shorter Catechism #1).

While Amy Chua identifies some definite concerns regarding Western parenting, it's important to remember, for Christians, that success is being faithful to Christ in all things and living a life to glorify Him.  May we, as parents, strive to instill that in our children with Christ's help so that they may enjoy Him forever!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Growing Boy

A lot has changed around here lately with an almost 9 month old boy!
 I must keep all closet doors closed...

Sponge baths must now be a thing of the past...

 Outgrown infant carriers are fun to explore...


'I'm the inspector, Mom.'

Aidan also used his big boy highchair for the first time this week.
 He loves it!
 The food tastes even better sitting in here...
 Until he started to slip...
All things were well again once he got to 'help'.

On a different note, after a five month hiatus, I've 'restarted' my blog.  I always think of lots to say but seem to clam up when it comes to blogging.  So this is a new start.  I hope to share family happenings; projects I'm working on such as sewing, photography, and home organization; and book & article reviews.  Enjoy!