Monday, August 29, 2011

Back-to-School Encouragement

For this is the will of God, your sanctification:
that you abstain from sexual immorality;
that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor,
not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God.
I Thessalonians 4:3-5

As students head back to school, I'm reminded of the difficulties they will inevitably face, particularly those who love Jesus Christ: 
"You may be tempted to join the party scene (rebelliously indulge your sinful desires, James 1:14-15), to downplay your faith (hide it under a basket, Matt. 5:14-16), to keep an open mind (question the only eternal truth, 1 John 1:1-4), or to chase your dreams (pursue selfish ambitions, James 3:13-18) instead of running after God’s commands," (, He Goes With You).
The students from our church have been on my heart lately.  I want to encourage them to be pure, "set apart" for God in a world that denies Him and encourages students to live for themselves.

Godly living isn't a set of rules to follow; it's desiring, because of work done in your heart by the Holy Spirit, to please Him in all you do.  And this holiness actually produces happiness -which is what everyone is going for, right!?  God designed it perfectly that way.
Students, if the Holy Spirit is at work in your hearts, participate in that work by controlling your body & mind against the temptations of this world and guarding your heart against unruly passions.  You are responsible to be obedient to Scripture and trust that, with the help of the Holy Spirit, you will be able to overcome all temptations.
Holiness is a blessed thing - run toward it!  And be encouraged when the going gets tough:
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Yay for Fresh Produce (and a New Ride)!

My garden is going strong!  Despite the extremely dry weather, I've had a lot of green beans, beets, tomatoes, green peppers and some lettuce.  My spinach and snap peas went to seed and dried up so I pulled them all out.  When my in-laws were here last weekend, we wanted to check out the carrots; I was shocked at how large they already are!
A friend told me, "There's nothing like home-grown carrots."  And she was right - they were scrumptious!
Just ask Sue & Brian...
 A small sample of what we picked Sunday.
Leo loves to help John pull carrots.
Leo has been hilarious in the garden.  I know I shouldn't have him in there with me, but he loves it.  He loves green beans; he'll sit and eat all the beans within the radius of his mouth.  Then he'll move to a new spot.  And digging up the weeds - oh, what a joy for him!  He's been such a blast.

On another note, my birthday present is finally up and running:
Yay for a Burley!
 This is the face you receive before you start moving...
Or whenever you stop....
 But he's a happy camper when you're long as you don't go too far.
I've been loving it - we went to the Post Office to mail letters, to a friend's house to see her new play set, on a ride with another friend and her Burley...oh so much fun!  I just hope Aidan continues to enjoy it as much as his mama.
Funny story:  the other bike my parents gave us is my green Huffy from junior high (without breaks!).  Well, my chivalrous hubby refuses to let me ride a bike without breaks so he's been riding it when we go as a family.  The poor guy - his legs barely can go 'roud and then the seat doesn't stay up or in place so he wobbles around.  I get the giggles every time we go - I think it's time to get him a new bike!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Proverbs Project

A woman who fears the LORD:
She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
-Proverbs 31:13

I saw this wool project at Mary's Country Threads and loved it.  I have nearly no decor in the huge parsonage kitchen and with black-ish counter-tops, I thought it'd match - if it turns out!  I conned my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, her mother-in-law and a friend into taking the class with me.  Sweet Grandma Fretty came to watch Aidan and Leo while we sewed.
  Here is the kit we purchased.
This is Christie and Darcy using Transfer-Ease to copy the picture onto the silk.
 Bethany and Mary, our fabulous teacher.
My dearest mother-in-law who was disgusted because she could never get her needled threaded.

 I practiced my back-stitch.
 Christie, the perfectionist, back-stitching like crazy.  I'm hoping the "Mary's store" bug bit her that day and, now that she's a stay-at-home, she'll do projects with me!
 Back-stitching almost complete!
 The Transfer-Ease is neat because once the stitching is complete, you dip it in water and the backing dissolves.
In the afternoon, we put the strip of grass along the bottom (yes, we had to stitch around it, we couldn't just glue it - Mary said.), but now we have all the sheep and the lady to ourselves!  We might have to get together again in the future!
We survived a wonderful day of sewing!  First one done with their project wins a trip to Hawaii....HA! Thanks, Mary, for such a fun day!

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Earlier this week, I had the brilliant idea of doing a photoshoot with my boys.  Little did I know what was in store...
 This is Mr. I-Like-to-Grab-Mom's-Camera
 This is Mr. I'll-Cry-When-You-Tell-Me-"No"
 This is Mr. I-Hate-My-Hat
 This is Leo-the-Camera-Licker and Hand-Biter
This is The-Only-Good-Shot-of-the-Day
Yay Leo!
My puppy was at the vet Monday and he's 13 pounds already!  Leo has been so gentle with Aidan.  While I've been blogging for the last 15 minutes, they have been sitting facing one another sharing toys and bones.  It was so cute!  They also can be Team Mischief: Aidan knocks the candles off the coffee-table and Leo chews them up.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Canada Besties

We were so blessed, yet again, by a visit from seminary friends!  Brian, Julie, Ev & El Cochran stopped for a few days on their way to meet family in Branson.  Brian & Julie used to live below us in the Quammune - we had so many fun seminary adventures there!  A 2009 Westminster Cali grad, Brian is now a URC pastor in Regina, SK, Canada.  We had so much fun during their visit and, of course, showed them all that northern Iowa has to offer (yes, we did it in two days!).
 It was super fun watching El & Aidan eating together.  El is just two weeks younger than Aid.  She would grab Aidan's food and throw it off the other side of her highchair.  Aidan thought that was hilarious.
 Native Southern Californians, Brian & Julie braved the lake water.
 My boys.  Aidan received a terrible diaper rash from all the swimming we did the weekend prior so Mommy made sure his bum stayed dry.
 Brian, Aidan, Ev, Brian
 El & Jules
It was so wonderful to talk ministry with Julie.  She is in my boat - a pastor's wife to a solo minister.  It was refreshing and encouraging to swap stories of problems, joys, and frustrations as well as try to encourage one another toward finding our contentment solely in Christ alone - not our positions or locations!  Poor Julie just, by God's grace, survived her first Canadian winter.  Now she's battling the humidity and bugs - new battles for a Los Angeles girl.
 My boy and me - we stayed dry.
This is classic - I'm always trying to dodge those sticky little hands.  I tried to keep Leo contained, my glasses on my face, and my latte in it's cup.  But, truly, this is what I love - Aidan, Leo, lattes, summer and (although not pictured) my hubby and dear friends.

So we praise and thank the LORD for our dear Cochran friends.  We had an incredible time with them and hope they left as encouraged as we were.  Pray for their church, if you think of it - Regina URC.
Thanks, Cochrans, we miss you already!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sexuality to the Glory of God

Wesley Hill, an acquaintance of Brian's from their TBI (The Bethlehem Institute) days, recently "came out" as a homosexual.  Instead of adopting a "Christian" lifestyle that condones his sexuality, finding a church that OKs homosexuality, and modifying God's Word to fit his feelings, Wes has dedicated his life to being obedient to God.  For Wes (and other homosexuals), that means living a life of celibacy as to not sin against (in disobedience) the Man who died for him.  Wes has truly left everything - his desires for men, his longing for happiness and companionship - in obedience to Christ, looking forward to his rich inheritance in the age to come (John 17:3).  Sacrificing happiness and love are two things you don't often hear of today - even among Christians.  I encourage you to read the talk he recently gave at Wheaton College.  He also has a book coming out in September from Zondervan: Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality.  And please pray for Wes as he lives with this daily struggle and loneliness.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Latest Aidan Fun

Aidan has a new past-time:
 Despite the look on his face, he actually likes it.  And, no, I don't lock him up.
 He likes to pretend he's Leo.
 He actually just likes all of Leo's toys.  Especially his blanket (well, it used to be Aidan's!)
He crawls inside to clean the place out...
As you can see, now all the toys have been removed from Leo's crate.  Silly, Aidan!
The "boys" are so cute together.  I will post pictures of them soon.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Three Cali Faves

Oh, my heart is just bursting with joy after a wonderful weekend with seminary friends!  The Locatells arrived Friday and left just this morning (yes, I cried as the truck drove away).  It was an incredible weekend filled with laughter, wonderful conversation, good food, yard games, and fun.  A dose of the Locatells was exactly what we needed for a little rejuvenation.
 On Saturday, we took the boys to the lake.  Baby Locatell is going to be an ocean boy, but I am glad he liked the brown lake water!  Our lake boy couldn't handle all the excitement.
 Daddy had to hold up his dead weight so he didn't get a face-full of water!
 Christian, Baby C, and Hol
 Mamas, strollers and boys...too much fun.
 Sunday after church we went to our local aquatic park.
 Oh, I already miss them terribly.  Everyone at church thought Holly and I were sisters - I wish we were!  Then we, as relatives, would have to see each other often!  She's a bosom buddy.
 Left: my favorite men.  Right:  Hol's favorite men.
 I loved sitting by the pool discussing infant baptism, philosophy of women's ministry and missions.  Hol has such great insights.
 Sweet family.

 Praying over this truck and family, that they would get to Cali safely!  Christian is studying linguists and will be in LA getting a second Master's degree (he graduated with a M. Div from Westminster Cali in May).  They will then be looking to raise support and head to the missions field.  Hol grew up in Brazil; her parents are missionaries there.  Christian and Holly may work near them translating the bible for tribes that don't yet have access to it in their own language.
Thanks, Locatells, for coming to visit!  We're so glad you did!  Lots of love to you three!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Out of the Blue

 Two of my three main men and I road-tripped to Baldwin, WI yesterday...
to watch my dad Sky-Dive!
 Clare, our second cousin, talked my dad into Sky-Diving with her and her four guy friends.
The gang = college students + Dad
 Aid and Uncle Andy gearing up for the jump.  Aidan can't contain his excitement. ;)
 Picture of Mom & Dad...praying it's not their last (I'm so nervous!)
 Sue is Clare's mom.  She's lots of fun.
 It was a gorgeous day with such bright sun; I couldn't convince him to keep his hat on.

 Mom, Leo, Mark & Sue (Mark is my mom's cousin)
 Dad and his tandem partner (he's a pilot for UPS - that makes me less nervous!).
 Dad's photographer and video-man.
 Being cute - what he does best (besides trying to chew on my arms).  Leo and Aidan were both people magnets all day.  It's amazing the number of people you meet when you have a baby...and a puppy!
 The $1.7 million 750 hp plane that takes up the divers.
 Boarding!  Go Dad!  We love you!
 Grandma Jane & Aidan trying to stay cool.
 Uncle Andy is all spiffy riding co-pilot.
 Bye, Dad!
 And they're off...
to 13,000 feet.  (At 13,500 they'd need oxygen so they don't go that high.)
For nearly 15 minutes, we squint to follow the plane as it ascends.  It sways back & forth in the cirrus clouds and soon we can only catch glimpses when the sun reflects off of it.  And then, when the plane is no more, colors fall out of the blue...(now I know how that expression originated!).

 He's landing with perfect form - feet up!
 First words from Dad, "That was AWESOME!  Whew!"
 Dad loved it.  The spins in the air were a bit too much (he doesn't even like the Tilt-A-Whirl), but other than that, it was perfect.
And here comes Clare!  Yay!
It was a fabulous day.  We all went to supper together and then headed home.  My boys were exceptional travelers and slept the whole way.  Thanks, family, for all the fun!  We're proud of you, Clare & Dad!