Thursday, October 27, 2011

The New Liberalism

Fall cleaning has begun!  Well,'s technically not fall cleaning at the Lund household.  I've set out to deep clean one room a month from October to April - October's the kitchen.  Last week I cleaned out and reorganized all the kitchen cupboards - it feels so good to have that done!  My fridge and oven are spotless too - yay!

For the first 20 minutes of the six hours it took to complete those tasks, I worked in silence.  Then I turned the radio on.  And then I thought, "How am I redeeming the time as I am cleaning?"  [This question has popped into my mind a lot lately - "How do I redeem the time at my sewing machine?"  Now I memorize Scripture while I sew. OR "How do the farmers redeem the time when they're going back and forth, back and forth in the field?"]

So I set my computer to the White Horse Inn (dot org) and began listening to their radio shows.  I just think the world of Dr. Michael Horton because he was one of Brian's favorite profs at Westminster.  Not only did my cleaning time seem to quickly pass, but I was learning!  

I want to recommend one talk in particular to you: Christianity & The New Liberalism.  If you go to the WHI site, you'll find "Listen to WHI!" on the right side.  There you'll find this talk.  It was really eye-opening for me, especially since I grew up in a large, fast growing evangelical church.  Not that all evangelical churches are becoming the "new liberal", but it's just something to ponder, be aware of, and pray against.
Happy listening!

P.S. How do you "redeem the time" when you're completing tasks that don't occupy your mind?  I'd love more suggestions!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Lovin' Fall

We've been spending as much time outside as possible.  Last week was beautiful - sunny and high 70s.  I totally slacked on some housework a few days so we could just play outdoors.
 Our favorite at 15.5 months.
 The Greimans grew Aidan a pumpkin and even carved his name in it!
He loves to climb the steps and touch it.
 The boys are always together.
 Aidan shares the windblown corn husks with Leo.

I am so thankful to the LORD for my dear little family.  They bring so much joy to my heart.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Frugal Me?!

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control..." Galatians 5:22-23a

Not even one cell of my bone marrow is frugal.  I'm like a magnet to the most expensive item in any category.  But lately I've become convicted of my need to cultivate self-control in the area of spending.  No, I don't just go on random shopping sprees or have two caramel lattes in a week (I wish!).  But I do have trouble sticking to my grocery budget (which includes toiletries and cleaning supplies).  Sometimes things that aren't on my list just sneak into the cart.  And do I use those extra items?  Yes - usually first!  Especially because they are often the fun, unnecessary items like potato chips or Almond Joy Fun Size Bars.

Ugh, budgets.  Hate them.  However, Julie (see my previous post) linked to the blog: The Frugal Girl and I thought I'd check her out.  No, I probably won't be cutting my hole-y jeans off at the knee and sewing the legs together to make a skirt or dye my faded 8 year old shirt that cost me $10 black again.  BUT I may check out Aldi.  Yes, that's the store we used to drive by each Sunday on the way to church and every Sunday, I'd think to myself as we were sitting at the stoplight next to it, "Gross...who would shop there?"  But my snobby-self is turning not so snobby in order to save money!

The Frugal Girl's site is really neat.  When I get back from vacation (I'll tell you about that in another post), I'm going to try her meal planning.  She gives you the menu, recipes, and shopping list (yes, she shops at Aldi).  Her goal is to spend $400/month.  At first that seems like a lot - and was my monthly goal - but I just can't seem to stick to $400.  So I'm going to try it.  I'll let you know how it goes.  
I'll be that 'green' person who's bringing my own bags to Aldi and paying $.25 for a cart.  That's so not me, but if I can be a good steward of our money, it's worth it.  
Let me know if you try Frugal Girl's menu planning - I'd love to hear how it goes for you!  And pray for me...that I'll be self-controlled!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Winter Fun

So when some seminary favorites, Brian & Julie, came to visit this summer all the way from Canada, we asked them how they survived their first cold-climate winter (both are from LA!).
Their best answer, "We '...think we can dance!'"
And they busted some moves in our basement!  It was so hilarious and looked like such a blast!  
This was their routine:

Julie found it from this site:
National Dance Day 2011 - the Master's Class.

What a fun thing to do with your spouse on a cold, winter night when you've been cooped up in the house for way too long!
Brian, are you ready to bust some moves?  Yay - I am so excited!
Next summer, Jules, you'll have to come visit again and we'll have a dance-off.  Ha!  I'm sure I'll be way too embarrassed to show anyone!

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Tribute

If you've hung out with me in the last seven years, then you've met her.
This is our dearest, most faithful Sebring, once nick-named Stella by Kgal.
 Today, as I was cleaning her out for the last time ever, I suddenly became sentimental.  Can I really part with her?  We've been besties for seven years now; we're inseparable - where I go, she takes me!

We've been 132,000 miles together:
  • Stella was a wedding gift to us from Brian's parents.  She was brand-new in 2004 and our first ride together was on our honeymoon up to the North Shore of Minnesota.
  • She safely took me to and from our apartment in St. Anthony to Liberty Classical Academy where I taught middle school science (mornings) and then to my downtown Minneapolis job each afternoon for two years.
  • She patiently followed that yellow Penske in August of 2006 to Escondido, California so that Brian could begin seminary at Wscal.
  • Daily we went to Heritage K-8 Charter School where I taught 6th grade for four years.
  • In the summer of 2007, she flawlessly tackled the Rockies again to get us home to MN for a six-week vacation. (Gotta love being a student and a teacher!)
  • In 2008-2009, she accompanied me to the University of San Diego twice a week so that I could obtain my Masters of Education in curriculum and teaching.
  • And we won't forget the hundreds of trips to the Pacific Ocean or all the others areas we explored in San Diego County and LA. (We both left our hearts in California - she and me - not Brian, unfortunately!)
  • She powerfully climbed those big hills on "The 15" to get us to church at Christ PCA, Temecula each Sunday.
  • In the first six months of 2010, Stella gracefully took me to each appointment with Dr. Chortkoff in Del Mar where we could hear our baby boy's heartbeat.
  • She waited in the parking lot of Sharp Mary Birch as we prayed and begged God to spare our son's precious life as he was in the NICU for a week in July 2010.
  • She rejoiced with us when we drove Aidan John Lund home on July 15, 2010.
  • She grieved with us as we waved goodbye to dear dear friends and a wonderful life in California.
  • She admitted - Iowa was a huge adjustment; she followed those super slow cars on these two-lane highways way more patiently than her driver.  She did whisper that she loves going back to the big city and stopping so that I may get a Starbucks, Chipotle and a few fun things at MOA.
 Leo and Mama's last picture with Stella.

We are thankful to the LORD for the ways He kept us safe in her those 132,000 miles.  In seven years, here's what I remember going wrong:
1. Battery died (once)
2. Fender-bender on East Valley Parkway (no biggie - she stopped so perfectly!)
3. Coronado Island, CA 2008 fiasco (remember, Chings and Brittons!?) - again, not her fault!
4. Snowy ditch 2010 - screaming child, pulled over too far, got stuck.  Yay for AAA!

Pretty great track record, eh?  Yes, I will miss her.  She rocked.

But we are pleased to introduce:
 Mr. Jeep
 Thanks, Grandpa Fretty, for finding us the perfect car!
Low miles. Older so the price was right.  Extremely clean.  Lots of space.
Our little man was there too - and he's excited about our purchase too because he squealed all the way to Grammie and Grandpa's - but he didn't want to be in the picture with us.  Running between cars is way more fun.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

How I Wish the Homosexuality Debate Would Go

My hubby always finds the most interesting articles; I encourage you to read this one:

As I read this, I was reminded of what I read this morning in Barcley's The Secret of Contentment in regards to gays just being "true" to who they are.  
"...the world says that the way to happiness is to 'be yourself.'...In contrast to today's emphasis on self-esteem, the biblical message is that contentment only comes from not being ourselves.  That is, we find peace and joy from being conformed to the image of Christ."
"In a sense, then, we can say that Christianity is about becoming ourselves, not being ourselves.  Simply being ourselves in our sin and depravity leads to death and despair," (pg. 144).

May both homo and heterosexuals repent of their sins and seek to live, by faith, a life that glorifies Jesus Christ.

 P.S. Today I've been addicted to this song.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Bulls-Eye is Complete!

Remember when I purchased my first quilting project?  This is what it looked like when I bought all the fabric.

Well, I am proud to show you that I have completed all the sewing!

The green polka-dot fabric in the foreground will be the backing.

The next step is to take it to Mary's to be professionally quilted, but I'm going to wait until January to do that...unless I decide that I want it to be my Christmas present.  ;)

Then it will be bound (yes, by hand - truly, that's the worst part about quilting).  After that it gets washed so the edges of the circles will fray (yes, that's the look we're going for!).  And then it'll be finished!  I can hardly wait.  I'm then hoping to get a picture of all us Zion sewing ladies and our Round-Abouts with, of course, the best teacher ever, Mary!

Monday, October 17, 2011

the boys

Auntie Callie and Uncle Andy asked Aidan to be the ringbearer in their December 17 wedding!  Sweet Auntie even ordered Aidan his navy blue suit and it came in the mail last week.  He was excited to try it on!

Practicing his walk down the aisle!  It'll probably be more like a run or a mad dash.  He's getting so fast; Mama can hardly keep up especially if Leo is running in the opposite direction (which happens all too often).
Now we're on the search for a white button down shirt with cuff links (per Uncle Andy's request) and a fuchsia bow tie.  I found a few cute ones on etsy, but they'll have to be approved by the bride first!

Saturday was a very fun day.  Aidan, Leo, and I spent time with Great Grandma & Grandpa Wayt, Auntie Kathy, and Auntie Judy!  They stopped into town on their way home from Illinois.  We enjoyed our time with them very much - we just wish they could have stayed longer!  Grandma is going to send me some of the pictures she took.

 This evening we spent time outside as a family.
"Nah, Dad, I'm not really into standing by you for a picture."
"I've got places to go..."
Leo is always in tow.
 Aidan has spotted the playground and he's off!  No help from Daddy necessary.
 Both boys stop to touch (or lick or chew up) and carry around pieces of litter - ugh!
 Aidan is thinking, "I don't have time for a picture...I'd rather be sprinting toward the slide."

I love that Leo enjoys the playground too!
And he's ready to climb the stairs again!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ordinary Love in Marriage

Have you been the wife in the passenger seat whose knuckles are white because of your husband's racecar driving?  Or is your husband the one in Iowa who drives 51 mph in the 55 mph zone?  Whatever it may be, it's easy for us wives to want to take control by just offering a few suggestions on how to drive appropriately.   You only want to arrive alive!  Or maybe you're the husband who feels belittled and frustrated by the wife who is constantly back-seat driving.  You only want respect!  Yes, we've all been there.  This article by Winston T. Smith was very eye opening for me because it offers unique, God-glorifying insights into the driving scenarios, as well as many other "tough" areas of marriage as well.  I recommend taking three minutes to read it.  As Mr. Smith suggests, it is just ordinary love that can create extraordinary changes in your marriage.  Enjoy.

And, guess what?!  Last night, as we drove to the nearby town for supper, I put into practice what the author recommended "Rita" was a blissful car ride with a happy wife and a contented, respected husband...and we didn't even crash!  ;)

Friday, October 14, 2011

First "Real" Quilt!

I just dropped off my very first quilt to be professionally quilted at Mary's Country Threads!  I am so excited!  Mary invited me to her quilting camp in June and that's where I started this one.  And, since I decided to do all my house cleaning in one day this week, I had some extra time during Aidan's naps and was able to finish it.
This is a picture of me and Kay, the professional quilter.  
I'm holding my Christmas quilt (Jovial Two-Bits it's called) and Kay is holding the backing.  I didn't take too many pictures of it because I'm thinking of giving it to a family member for Christmas!  In this picture, you can also see the huge $20k quilting machine.  It's so impressive and neat to see how it works.

Leo came to Country Threads today, too, and enjoyed his time playing with Izzy, Maggie Mae, Benjie, and Janie, his favorite.  Mary is so great to us!  It's such a beautiful and fun place.

And stay tuned...I also finished my Bulls Eye and will be taking that in soon to be quilted.  Yes, I am a quilting machine.  Who would've guessed?!  A year ago I thought it was a nerdy 90-year-old sport.  I'm a changed lady.  That's what a place like Iowa will do to you.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Courageous Review

I'll admit, after seeing Fireproof, I wasn't excited for the movie Courageous.  What I was excited for was the quadruple supper date that preceded the movie.  
And once I got over the giggles from the fact that we were watching it in a one-room theater like the Rialto with squeaky, duct-taped seats (yes, I totally missed the glitz and glamour and busyness of big city theaters - snobby me, I know!), I enjoyed the movie.  I enjoyed the action, drama, and the plot.  I was most impressed with the way that actors didn't make their "Christianese" seem so nerdy like in Fireproof.

   But even though I enjoyed the movie and would recommend it, there were still a few things that didn't sit right with me.  For example, the Christianity that they sought to convey wasn't always clear.  It was always about god.  god, god, god.  One could ask which god?  God -  The Triune God?  The Gospel of Jesus Christ was mentioned a few times, but it wasn't the emphasis.

As we watched these four men struggle through life - as fathers, as husbands, as bread-winners, etc. - it was evident that life isn't easy.  Unfortunately, instead of encouraging it's viewers to "...take up his cross daily and follow me," (Luke 9:23), the movie portrayed a man-centered, "I can do this" attitude with no emphasis on Christ & His Gospel as the Author and Perfecter of our faith.  As Anthony Parisi writes:

Courageous rejects nuance and the cross-bearing pilgrimage of the Christian life for artificially neat resolutions to the prayers of its one-dimensional characters. Sherwood continues to make films with God functioning primarily as a tool for our lives—whether he’s helping us win football games, repair our struggling marriages, or helping us find a job within seconds of a cry to the heavens. Brief, passing references to the gospel are only seen useful to convert a skeptic, who in a few tearful seconds somehow embraces the faith. Despite all the sermonizing dialogue—the story’s form and emphatic message has all of its focus on us and our accomplishments, not Christ and his work for us.

 Mr. Parisi goes on to encourage Christians not to baptize art by saying:
While surely produced with good intentions, Courageous is likely to further entrench the misguided culture wars and bring harm to the Christian witness in the world. Alongside the political arena, art is another place where confusion about the institutional church and the way it interacts with culture is common. Churches should always encourage individual members to take up vocations in the arts, but this is to be done out of love for one’s neighbor and needs to embrace the totality of life. Films like this reinforce the unfortunate impulse that anything we create must be explicitly “Christianized” or evangelistic. Churches are to spread the kingdom not by some sort of cultural revival but by the unglamorous life of local ministry God has founded on Word and sacrament. Making movies falls far outside the bounds of what the church has been called to do.

And what about those men who may have warmed a church pew a few times in their lives but truly want to be a Courageous man?  This movie doesn't help men see "where to go from here" or how to persevere when the road gets tough.  Gritting your teeth and looking at a piece of paper titled "Resolutions" won't get you anywhere - it's only Jesus Christ that will change hearts and lives.  Men who want to be Courageous must get plugged into a Gospel-preaching church.

If you see Courageous, enjoy it for what it is - entertainment.  Be motivated and humbled to be a better father (or mother) because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ - because Christ has been Most Courageous on the cross.   Daily we will continue to fall short as parents, and that's why we must take up our cross and follow Him.  And, by living in Christ's grace, may we extend that to our children.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

More Farm Fun

Early this morning, Aidan and I went out to the Brozik's because they were receiving a load of pigs!
 These babies, just weaned from mama, arrive in a big trailer.
 Sue and Dan know exactly how to shoo them into the barn - they are so efficient!
 Dan counts out 26 at a time, and Sue puts them into the pens.
The bravest pig goes first into unknown territory!  It started to thunderstorm while they were unloading so the pigs were extra scared...and wet.  It's a good thing the barn is heated to over 80 degrees...just like their warm mama and siblings.
Aidan wasn't too sure about the little pig; he wouldn't even make eye contact with it!
 But he did like to watch them at eye level.  As long as they don't come too close...
Bye bye piggies!  Enjoy your new home.
They will stay here for a few weeks and then go to the "finishing" portion of the barn.  And you know what that means...soon they'll end up on your plate.

Now all our clothes are in the washer and I need to reshower!  Whew - how stinky!  Thanks, Dan & Sue, for showing us your operation; we were very impressed and had so much fun!

On another note, be praying for Erin Fray today.  This morning she had her reconstructive surgery; it is (LORD-willing) the last step in her breast cancer journey.  If you haven't been following her story, there's a link to her blog (Joy in the Journey) to the right.  She is such an inspiration - truly rejoicing in the midst of her suffering.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The World-Tilting Gospel Review

"The greatest need of the church today is a strategic, full-orbed, robust, biblical grasp of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and its transformative implications.  We don't need more glitz or glamour, better marketing or programs, snazzier decor or entertainment.  We do need a whole-bible grasp of the Gospel," (p. 19).

Author Dan Phillips does just that in his book The World-Tilting Gospel - he gives his readers a "whole-bible grasp" of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It's exactly what our Christian culture needs to hear; it's not about fancy programs, technology, coffee cafes, etc. in churches - it's about the Gospel.  As Mr. Phillips writes, it's, unfortunately, the world that is influencing the Church.  Instead, the Gospel needs to be influencing the Church - it's Jesus Christ that truly saves and changes lives - not glitzy programs!

This book is saturated with Scripture, yet written in a modern way - it's a must read for all those who need an introduction to the Gospel, whether it be the partially evangelized, new believer, or those seeking to know the depth of Christ's love for His people.

The layout of this book makes it very easy to follow and keeps you yearning for more.  First, Mr. Phillips discusses who we are as fallen men and women and, to do so, he takes readers to the Garden of Eden to show that when Adam & Eve fell, all of humanity plummeted into sin.  Secondly, he gives us the good news:  What Has God Done for Us? The Eternal Plan Conceived, Predicted, Executed.  And how do people receive the gloriousness of this new plan?  Part 3: How Do We Get In?  This is where Mr. Phillips presents the Gospel; through faith in Jesus Christ and repentance for our sins, we can be declared righteous in God's sight!  Lastly, readers are informed of how to go from here in Part 4: How Do We Get Going? Preparing to Launch.  I found this section particularly helpful because the author discusses the "misguided mindsets" that hinder true growth for Christians.  He is also honest about the fact that being a Christian doesn't automatically mean an easy life!  In fact, the opposite is true!  Growth is Hard and The Christian's Biggest Problem Isn't External are two chapters that encouraged me to fight this battle of faith because of the prize of Jesus Christ that awaits all who trust Him as their Savior.

As a pastor's wife who watched her husband accomplish his Master's of Divinity, I was extremely impressed with how deep and thorough Mr. Phillips is in his descriptions of the Gospel concepts.  They are not easy concepts, but he explains them so well (you will know what a passive imperative is by the time you're done reading!).  And the language he uses is not only clear about what's expected of Christians, but it also motivates believers to run toward the true Gospel - not the watered-down versions most churches so often preach.  He faithfully refutes wrong Christian mindsets using Scripture; in fact, the whole book is full of citations from Scripture.  There are also charts, diagrams, and real-life examples throughout the book to help the reader understand and remember the concepts.

The last chapter of The World-Tilting Gospel is a culmination of all the previous chapters, and what makes it so good are the "...nine ramifications of the Gospel.  These ramifications move us beyond traditional, world-flirting Christianoid barriers, and into serious, world-tilting engagement with the Gospel," (p. 277).  With each ramification, Mr. Phillips asks, "How is this a world-tilting truth?" and then proceeds to answer the question.  I found this to be an exceptional way to end the book, leaving readers with the knowledge of  how the Gospel truly transforms their world, "busting barriers!"

This is a book I would highly recommend to those who desire to know the true Gospel of Jesus Christ - I wish every member of our church would read it.  It's rich with truth and saturated with the Word of God.  May this true Gospel change lives, churches, and truly tilt the world!  Thanks, Mr. Phillips!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Beautiful Fall

 This fall Iowa weather has been so gorgeous.  Not only is it warm, but there is a breeze just light enough to keep the "No-See-Ums" at bay.  We have been spending nearly every moment of Aidan's wake time outside!  Whether it's in the stroller, bike trailer, or strolling through piles of leaves, Aidan is having a blast - especially when Daddy leaves the office for a moment to join him!

He definitely prefers walking in the leaf piles in the church parking lot vs. piles in the grass - it's easier to stay upright!
 Aidan discovered the slide this week too; he loves it!  Leo does too...
and he must always be the first one down...
 So he can greet us at the bottom!
(Or take a chunk out of my arm.  Leo has lost 8 teeth so far - maybe the chewing will stop soon!?)
And they're ready to go again...and again...and again.
This time it's Daddy's turn:
 There's Leo again waiting at the bottom - he's so proud of Aidan too!
Daddy lets Aidan go up the slide too.  Fun fun fun!
On a side note:  Aidan has been waking up in the night at 1 am and 5 am since Labor Day.  I finally smartened up and realized that he may be getting ready to drop his morning nap.  So yesterday I shortened it to 1 hour (from 2) and still had him sleep for 2 hours in the afternoon.  And guess what!?  He slept from 7:30-7:15 last night...yay!  This mama feels well rested.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the same will be true tonight!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Contentment - It's Possible!

Brian came home from Desiring God's Annual Conference with The Secret of Contentment by William B. Barcley.  It was just what the Doctor ordered for my discontent, frustrated soul.  I could have written this part from the introduction:
"Now in a new state, in a new part of the country, I struggled with God's sovereignty.  I found no delight in my new job.  I found no delight in God and his plan for me.  My anger and disappointment kept me up at night.  I struggled to do the new work that I had been called to do.  For a year I accomplished very little and performed poorly on the job.
My discontent also affect my family.  I sulked around the house.  I withdrew from my family.  I was quick-tempered and yelled when something disrupted me...I became a self-absorbed, unloving husband and father," (p. 13).

My discontent is literally killing me.  It's wiping out my joy, my love for Christ, my family relationships, my desire to be with others, and I HATE it.  These circumstances in my life won't change - at least not in the near future - so what am I going to do?  Today I've decided I'm going to fight like crazy for contentment.  Paul says he learned the secret, so why can't I!?

Dr. Barcley extensively studied the Puritans in his research on contentment, out of which his book was written.  He says:

1. Contentment is attainable!  Yay!  According to Philippians 4:11-13, God empowers His people to acquire this Christian virtue in whatever situation He leads them.  That is so encouraging to me - I don't have to live in my misery.

2. Contentment is learned.  Paul says, "I have learned the secret..." (Philippians 4:12).  Dr. Barcley writes, "...true contentment comes by being satisfied with God and longing for heaven...But the key idea here is that we have to work at contentment.  We have to learn it.  We have to study it.  And we especially need to be 'reprogrammed' in our thinking," (p. 26).  I've met people who have learned this and they are so at peace, full of joy and just so great to be around.  I long to have that peace and joy - even if I am battling hard things.

3. You will not truly be content until you learn to be content in every situation that you face in life.  The author encourages his readers with, "...hardship has a God-ordained and Christ-exalting place in our lives.  God uses affliction to sanctify us, to make us holy.  But afflictions work in this way only if we face them with a certain degree of contentment - accepting them as from the hand of God...When we accept all hardships as from the hand of our heavenly Father, we grow in maturity, holiness, and contentment," (p. 29).

Dr. Barcley finishes up his first chapter with a definition of contentment and seven additional ideas about contentment and how it looks.  If this is an area you are struggling with - maybe it's not location or occupation, but relational or physical - I'd highly recommend this book.  As Paul taught in Philippians, contentment is learned and we must study study study it!  This book is a great way to do just that.  I can't wait to read more, and I pray that the LORD uses it to bring peace where there is none and joy where there is grumbling and frustration in my life.

See these two!?  Aren't they cute!?
They deserve a wife and mom who is happy and contented...thankfully, the LORD is in the business of doing the impossible.