Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Eve Day

Brian's family came to our house to celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve Day.
 My niece, Sophie, and me.

Grammie, Grandpa, and Aidan
Presents were way more exciting for Aidan this Christmas! 
 An Aidan-sized chair!
Thanks, Grammie and Grandpa!
He loves to sit in it and read books.
 Or he'll just relax - opening presents is overwhelming!
He's very good at unwrapping presents now!
 A train from Great Grandpa & Grandma Fretty!
Our boy was given so much this Christmas.  The lawn mower and vacuum are his favorites so far.
Thanks, family, for making Christmas so special for our little man!
After the service on Christmas Day, we headed to the Cities to celebrate with my dad's family and then my mom's family on Monday.  Unfortunately, I forgot my camera both times so I'm going to have to steal pictures from my cousin or my grandma - both ladies take excellent pictures and are never forgetting their cameras.  Maybe that should be a New Year's Resolution for me - always have my camera...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Resolutions of Edwards

What New Year's Resolutions are you making?

Normally mine are to exercise more and memorize more Scripture. Vague, I know!

Thankfully, I've been exercising at 5:30 am three times per week for over 3 months now.  I absolutely LOVE the class - cardio sculpt.  Exercise, though, is only of some value:
...for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
I Timothy 4:8

I  need to be more consistent with Scripture memorization.  My goal for 2012 is one verse (or chunk of verses) per week.  I think I'll start memorizing the verses from the Wise Words for Moms so I can be prepared to guide Aidan in truth (and it will be sooo helpful for me as well).

We've been enjoying time in northern MN with my parents this week and look forward to our weekend with our Cali besties, but next week I'm going to spend time studying The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards.  He was such an amazingly Godly man who was constantly putting sin to death.  Even though we were justified through Christ's death and resurrection when we believed, it's essential that we are continually putting sin to death - it's our do in our sanctification process.  I've read through Edwards' resolutions before, but I am very excited to spend time studying them over coffee and praying that the LORD would guide me in putting sin to death.  

So in addition to memorizing one verse/week, I'm going to also make resolutions similar to those of Jonathan Edwards.

What do you think of Edwards' Resolutions?  Any that you're interested in keeping for 2012?

Happy New Year!  May the LORD bless your 2012 and draw you closer to Himself.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Cheer

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

God, in his amazing mercy, sent us a Savior to save us from His wrath that we so deserve.  And that is reason to celebrate - all year 'round - but especially during the Christmas season.  
So we invited some young couples from church over last Wednesday for some Christmas cheer - warm drinks, goodies, and games.
Besides the great friends, my favorite part was the yummy drinks.  I googled "warm Christmas drinks" and found some awesome recipes.  Brian wrote out the menu:

Nine couples came and it was so much fun to fellowship together as we celebrated Christ's birth.  And as we were all playing What's Yours Like? together, I was overcome with gratitude as tears welled up in my eyes - the LORD has given us so much.  Not only salvation through His Son, but friends in this tiny remote town...9 good girlfriends!  Wow.  And a warm home with fun Christmas decor and lights to make everything sparkle.  Candles.  Good food.  And joyous hearts.  It was a wonderful evening, and I am very thankful for all the Lord has given to us.

The members of our church have been so gracious this season.  Al DeWitt spent two days hanging Christmas lights outside our house because he knew that Brian was just swamped with 2 funerals, 2 weddings, and 2 additional services on top of his normal monthly duties.  Thank you so much, Al!   Each day this week, the phone has been ringing with people asking to drop off gifts - hot chocolate, pork and beef for the freezer, vacation money, lefsa, strawberry pie, Scentsy burners, giftcards, ornaments, and cookies.  They are so good to attend to our physical needs and very generous - we are blessed by this congregation!  And Brian's flight to Andy's wedding?  A gift too.

Zion also loves Leo.  An invisible fence man from Des Moines showed up last week because the church is raising money (thanks, Mary!) for a fence to surround the property!  Leo and I will then receive four training sessions and then...the best part...I won't have to bundle up to take Leo out every three hours to go potty!  Yay yay yay!

It's hard to believe today is already December 23.  Last night Brian and I enjoyed the evening drinking Glogg and wrapping gifts together.  Tonight the college students are coming over, tomorrow is Christmas at our house with Brian's family (I am making the ham!), and Sunday we are off to celebrate Christmas with my family for a few days.  Friday brings an extra special treat with a visit from our California besties, Kgal and her hubby and son (who is just 3 weeks older than Aidan).  I have missed Kgal so so much and cherish our weekly phone dates...but I can't wait to squeeze her and see her face...I am tearing up just thinking about our sweet reunion.  And the last time our boys were together?  Sean was 3 weeks old and Aidan was 3 days old.  It will be so fun to see them interact.

Blessings to you and yours as you prepare to celebrate these next few days. May Christ be first in your heart and mind during this time.  Jesus is the BEST - He just rocks - I hope you know Him!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rehearsal Dinner

 My parents threw the Rehearsal dinner for Andy & Callie on Friday night at the Hampton in Shoreview.  I was able to help my mom with decorations!  In November, we spent 5 hours in Michael's trying to decide what to create for centerpieces.  This is what we ended up purchasing:

We placed Christmas balls of their colors (fuchsia, charcoal, and navy) into a vase with water and a floating candle. 

Unfortunately, the rehearsal was the only time I took pictures the whole weekend!  We'll have to wait for the photographer to finish the proofs before we can see more wedding pictures (and send out our New Year's card with the ringbearer on it).  But for now, here's what I have:
Aidan, Andy, and Dad
We're only missing Brian!
My grandparents.  Aidan loves them so much!
They were so awesome and watched Aidan Friday afternoon so I could help decorate and Friday night during the rehearsal.  We so appreciated all their help!
Dad, Andy, and two of his groomsmen
Dad and me
The bride & some of her bridesmaids
Little Aye (pronounced eye-ya) and Aidan were buddies all night!
They took turns chasing each other:
 Aidan chases Aye.
 Aye chases Aidan.
 Aye tries to grab Aidan's toy.
 Aye is successful at grabbing Aidan's toy and, therefore, is given the "look".

 Aye, her mom Lindsay, and the BRIDE!
Aye was adopted from Ethiopia last July.  She is adorable. 
She makes Brian and me want to adopt.  Maybe the LORD will give us an opportunity in the future!?
Aidan ran around the room the entire night - he had a blast!
Unfortunately, he interrupted both Callie and Andy while they were at the microphone.  They are both so sweet, though, and picked him up.

The rehearsal dinner went really smoothly; I was so thankful that all of our centerpieces and decorating came together.  My dad, Andy & Callie all did an exceptional job on their "speeches".

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mr. & Mrs.

It's true...they're married!
My brother, Andy, and Callie were married Saturday at Northwestern College in St. Paul.  It was an absolutely beautiful day and wedding - everything was just perfect.

Callie had everything documented and planned out and, because of her extreme organization, she was the calmest, most polite bride I've ever witnessed.  It was such a joy and privilege to be a bridesmaid and get to celebrate throughout the weekend with her.
The wedding party minus the ringbearer (who was napping).

The LORD was so so good to us this weekend (isn't He always?!).  Not only did the wedding totally go as planned with no hiccups, but my darling hubby was able to be there for nearly everything!  He had committed nine months prior to Andy & Callie's engagement to perform a wedding at our church on the same day.  So he drove up after their rehearsal on Friday night, making it just in time for Andy & Callie's rehearsal.  Although I was bummed he missed the groom's dinner, it was so wonderful of him to go through all the hassle he did to make it work.  He went back to Garner Saturday morning to do this other wedding, and then some wonderful friends from church flew him back up to the Cities in time for Andy & Callie's wedding!  It was so awesome - Brian even made it in time for family pictures.  Brian and Callie's step-dad, Dale, performed the ceremony.

We had so so so much fun this weekend!  It was so neat to see Andy & Callie confirm their love for one another and witness such a beautiful day.  It was also really fun to see all of my extended family and friends.  And I enjoyed meeting all of Callie's family; her dad had six brothers of whom I've heard so much about.

Congratulations, newlyweds!  We're rejoicing with you!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

First Haircut!

Aidan had some wonderful, wispy curls!

But with Auntie Callie and Uncle Andy's wedding this weekend, I thought it was perfect time to give Aidan his first haircut!
 He sat so still and perfect in the big chair.
 He enjoyed watching Miss Nikki in the mirror.
 But he seemed so sad; red formed around his eyes and I was certain he was going to burst into tears.
So we got out a sucker.
That didn't work...he started to cry.
So he sat on Mommy's lap the rest of the time.
 Here's the boy with his new haircut!
Aidan and Miss Nikki.  She did an excellent job!

Aidan, Leo and I leave tomorrow for the wedding!  We had a giftcard for a free car wash, and I wanted a clean Jeep for the weekend.  Leo was afraid of the sprayers and kept trying to get away from them - this is what I witnessed when I turned around:
Poor Aidan.  He's such a good sport!  Love him.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Parenting in the Pew

I love going to church.  I love getting to worship our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  I love that my husband is my pastor.  I love his sermons.  I love that I feel spiritually full after Sunday morning worship.

Enter in a 17 month old: Aidan Lund.  In the service, his 28 pound body doesn't like to face forward, sit still, play with toys or be held.  He likes to face backwards and stare, push against me while I'm trying to hold him and the hymnal, empty the contents of the diaper bag onto the floor, and make noise when he doesn't like being told, "No."  He makes my Sunday mornings a lot more, well...interesting!  

Our church has a tiny mother's room labeled Nursery with an assigned weekly attendant who may or may not show up.  This, in itself, informs you that the congregants want you to keep your child in the service.  

But I don't want my noisy, busy little man distracting others from worship, nor do I want him making it difficult for his preacher daddy to form coherent sentences due to all of his distractions.  Of course I believe that the LORD wants all of His creatures to worship Him, but I'm just not convinced that now is the right time for Aidan to be in the service despite what most in our church believe.

So I purchased:
And she's calmed my fears: she says it's OK to keep your child out of the service until 3 years of age!  "Older infants and toddlers up to two and a half or three years old do well in the nursery...Three-year-olds and some younger children, can be trained to participate in worship that includes the creed, Scripture readings, music, and offering...By about the fourth year of age, children can be in the worship service for the entire time," (pg 59).
In their family, the fourth birthday is a rite of passage - you are now officially able to be in the service the entire time!  They make it such a big, wonderful deal that her children often asked to be in the service long before their fourth birthday.

Author (and pastor's wife) Robbie Castleman's main premise is that we, as parents, are to demonstrate to our children what worship is: the surrender of our souls to a God who is jealous for our attention, time, and love (pg 24).  We are to show by example what it means to "seek God, to love his Son and to respond to the Holy Spirit in worship," (pg 25).   Our attitude toward worship will transfer over to our children - are we excited to worship our Lord and Savior?  Are we excited to sit under the preaching of God's holy Word?  If so, our young children will be too.

To help with this, Mrs. Castleman encourages parents to make Sunday the best day of the week!  She says, for example, to create a different Sunday morning routine that includes a special yummy breakfast.  And don't be rushed or frustrated...let Sundays (even the mornings before church) be a true, calm Sabbath rest.
I really enjoy what she has to say, and I will post more about what it really looks like to parent in the pew.  But for now, WHEW - I breathe a sigh of relief - it's OK to have Aidan in the nursery.
PS - A friend, Rachel, wrote recently on her blog that she is going to start training her 20 month old son to sit in worship.  I asked her to write about how she's going to go about this task...and I hope she does; I am so curious!  There are many differing viewpoints on children in the service (or not), and you have to do what you believe is most honoring to God and best for your family.    Any thoughts or advice?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Leaving a Legacy: Grandpa Lund

On Friday, December 2, Grandpa Lund went to be with Jesus.  Even though we are sad and will miss him, we are truly able to rejoice because Grandpa trusted his life to Christ and lived a life of incredible faith.

We were so thankful that Brian was able to be in the hospital room, praying and reading Scripture with Grandpa as he passed from this earth into the heavenly realm.  Aidan and I were there an hour or so before he died, and I was just reminded of what an incredible man he was: he said he was, "Good," just two hours before he breathed his last - saying it through labored breaths and lungs full of fluid.

And that describes Grandpa - he never complained or responded with anything but joy.  He knew that his hope and comfort rested in Christ alone and believed in the sovereignty of God in all things - and lived that way.  In fact, in his darkest hour as he buried the love of his life in 1993, he sang so boldly, "My gracious Redeemer, my Saviour art Thou; If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, 'tis now," from the hymn My Jesus I Love Thee.  Wow.  I want to be like him.  

Just 9 months before we moved to Iowa, Grandpa suffered a stroke and went to a nursing home.  We were able to visit him a number of times during his two years there, and he was always so excited to see us.  He always had such wonderful things to say about the staff, the residents and things going on there.  Never once did he seem discontent or frustrated by the fact that he couldn't communicate well, had to have help bathing, and was, essentially, locked in that prison.  And then there was me: super discontent and struggling so much with this new small town life.  I have so much to learn from Grandpa.  And I want to be like him (and Paul!) - content in all circumstances!

Dr. R. A Lund lived out what he believed.  He was incredible.  He raised an incredible son who is just like him.  He has a grandson, my darling husband, who is also just like his dad and grandpa.  These men are amazing - they are so full of Christ and rest in what He has done for them, that there is no room in their lives for discontentment or frustration - not in circumstances, people, or anything.

I wish I had asked him more questions about his faith and how he had cultivated such a wonderful peace about life.  But I know the answers will be found in God's Word.  Grandpa loved God's Word - he knew it and lived it.  In fact, the morning he died, he was quoting Psalm 23 with John.  Wow.  Loved him.  Will miss him.  Was so proud of him.  And am so thankful I get to spend my life with his incredible grandson who takes after him in so many ways.  He would have been so proud of Brian at his funeral; Brian preached Psalm 37:23-24 and encouraged people to hope in the Lord because He establishes our steps and upholds us because we are united to Christ by faith.

You can read his obituary on Brian's blog here.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Boys' New Favorites

The crew comes whenever it snows to plow out the church and our driveway.  The boys have a new favorite past-time.

Aidan has another new favorite past-time:
Only this type of reading isn't on Mama's lap.
 Leo likes to be read to, too.

All done!  Nothing lasts too long with a 17 month old.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Guilty Party(ies)

The evidence:

The alleged:

Leo chewed up Mommy's ornaments.
He had sparklies on his nose.

Until I witnessed the following:

And what is Aidan doing?
Giving the ornament to Leo!?
"Here, buddy, chew it up.  Then Mommy will punish you and not me.  We've got a good deal going."

So they are both guilty.  Aidan for pulling ornaments off the tree and giving them to Leo.  And Leo is guilty for chewing them up.  Today I am thankful for superglue.