Saturday, January 28, 2012

It's About Time

I'm a Facebook-lurker.
I'm a fashion-watcher.
I'm a lingo-skulker.
I'm a trend-slow-poke.

I wait to dive into things until they've hit big.
Like pointy-toed shoes in the early 2000s.
Or Facebook.
Or blogging.
Or texting.
Or a smart phone.
Or referring to Sundays as The Lord's Day.
(Ok so maybe that isn't big - only in the seminary culture!?)
Or skinny jeans.
Or Twitter.
I dove in, but not until the trends were going strong (or almost passed!).

So I'm not waiting any longer.
Today is it.
Pinterest, here I come.

What do I need to know?
Update:  Well, I just found out I need an invite!
How totally dumb to be put on a "waiting list" for a website!
Unless you're invited by someone.
Will someone please invite me?
I really am a late bloomer.
My mom is probably already "pinning".
She was texting before I was.
Love you, Mom!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


This is the 18.5 month old that I get to spend everyday with.
Our everydays aren't too exciting, but I am so thankful for them.
I try to bring glory to His name everyday by serving my family with a joyful heart (I Corinthians 10:31). If this wasn't my goal or calling, I might find myself getting frustrated with certain things everyday...
Almost everyday Aidan tries on my necklaces.

Everyday my jewelry box looks like this.

Everyday Aidan goes inside the closets or bedrooms, waves, says "Bye-bye" and closes the door.
Everyday Aidan gets Daddy's razor out of the bathroom drawer.
 Everyday the toys miraculously move from the playroom to the living room.
Everyday Aidan uses the vacuum.
Everyday Aidan & Leo check out what is in the pantry.
Everyday they're looking for fruit snacks.
 Everyday (in the winter) Aidan has long socks on.
 Everyday Aidan jams and dances.
Everyday he gets upset about something.
But thankfully it only lasts a second or two.
Everyday Daddy plays with Aidan.
It's his* favorite time of the day.
(*The pronoun can be used for either Aidan or Brian!)
Everyday Leo sits in Daddy's lap.
Everyday Aidan cuddles Leo too.
Everyday Aidan plays independently with his toys in the playroom.
 Everyday Aidan reads books with Daddy and Mommy.
Everyday Aidan watches Baby Einstein.
Don't be deceived by this picture; he loves it.
(He dropped his morning nap so Mommy needs a chance to get ready for the day!)
Everyday Aidan loves to ride in the laundry basket.
Everyday Aidan gets out his cup and sits at his little table.

Everyday I am thankful to be Aidan's mama.
It is a joy.

Monday, January 23, 2012


Whoa...I have been a terrible blogger for the last two weeks - sorry!
There are a number of reasons for my lack:
My husband dropped his computer on our garage floor and so he's been using mine when he's at home.
I've been feeling a little "blah" lately and have nothing to say!  :(
(Winter isn't my friend.)
My parents came to visit!
I was able to get away with a few Garner girlfriends up to the Cities for two days - very fun and refreshing!
After this little reprieve, I'm trying to get back on track.

I'm still reading through Jerry Bridges' The Practice of Godliness and was recently encouraged by his chapter on peace.  Peace is very similar to contentment, and it's so what I want!  I want to be at peace when I look outside and it's cloudy and cold for the umpteenth day.  I want to be at peace when I can't take my crazy, wild dog for a walk because it's too cold and he's driving me nuts in the house.  I want to be at peace when my toddler is getting into everything and we can't go outside to burn energy and get fresh air.  I want to be at peace when I miss seeing colleagues each day and teaching sixth graders.  I want to be at peace living this life God has called me to in Iowa.

So here's what Jerry has to say about peace:
  • Peace should be a part of a Christian's character because God has promised us His peace (pg 155).
  • God has commanded us to be at peace and, when we are, it is evidence of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives (pg 156).
  • Three parallel types of peace:
    • Peace with God
      • Peace with God is our justification (pg 156).
      • Romans 5:1, "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
    • Personal Peace
      •  The author points us to two promises from Christ in John 16:33, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world."
        •  1. We will have trouble in this world.
        • 2. Jesus has overcome the world (pg 158).
      • So why do we worry?  Because we don't believe.  OR "if we believe that He can deliver us through our difficulties, we doubt if He will.  We let Satan sow seeds of doubt in our minds about His love and care for us," (pg 158).
        • How do we fight this temptation?  Philippians 4:6-7...we are to pray about everything!  And be thankful for the sovereignty of God in every aspect of our lives and how He is working all things for our good.  What is the final result?  Peace.
      • What can hinder this peace?
        • 1. Wrong motives - we may want deliverance from the trial instead of peace (pg 160).
        • Trying to get it on our own - remember, it is a fruit of the Holy Spirit!
      • "This is the bible's solution to a lack of peace within ourselves: Take our anxieties to God in thankful prayer, and resist the devil when he slanders God to us," (pg 161).
    • Peace with Men
      • "As far as it depends on you, live at peace with  everyone," (Romans 12:18).
      • He says many, many other good things about being at peace with all men.  Grab this book from the library!
  • Remember, we are dependent upon the Holy Spirit's work in our lives to produce the desire and the means to pursue peace.  We are responsible to cultivate peace in our lives - and we have all that we need because of what He has given us in Christ.
I'm off to cultivate peace in my heart and mind today! I pray you are too.  Thank you, Jesus, that you have given us all we need for godly living!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Happy New Year (Belated)!

I really wanted a professional picture of Aidan as ringbearer from my brother's December 17 wedding for our "Christmas" cards.
I drove my new sister-in-law crazy as I continuously texted, "Are the pictures done yet?"
Hopefully she'll forgive me.
Well, the pictures are done and so are my New Year's Cards.
They arrived today via FedEx at 10:20 am.
I mailed them via USPS at 2:00 pm.
(I can get a lot done when my parents are here visiting!)
I'm only slightly embarrassed that they are New Year's cards going out on January 17.
I should have made them into Valentine's Day cards.
Like my mom did.
Oh well.
Happy Belated New Year from us.
Friends & family,
you'll be getting the real deal in the mail soon.

To-Spank or Not-to-Spank?

Recently, Christianity Today wrote an online-editorial explaining their stance against spanking.

Denny Burk responds, and he does an excellent job giving parents the biblical foundations for "training up a child in the way he should go..." (Proverbs 22:6).
Enjoy the article here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Leo's First Haircut

January has been a big month for Leo Lund.
On January 3, his seven month birthday, he was neutered.
That was quite the experience - I felt so bad for him.
Today, January 11, he had his first haircut!
Before pictures:
 I do love his face.
The curly spikes on top are my favorite.
Lots of fur!
The blonde, straight puppy fur is being replaced by darker, curlier hair.
Rear view.
My Leo.
He receives lots of compliments on how adorable he is.
I, of course, totally agree.
Unfortunately, I don't know that he'll be receiving any more of those compliments...
After his visit to Pet Kingdom in Algona:
What do you think!?
I love the length on his body, but his poor face!
His adorable-ness is gone!
But I can look into his eyes now...
and tell him how much I love him.
She even gave him a scarf.
Isn't that very poodle-ish...ugh.
Well, it's not too bad...
But next time, I think I'll have her trim his body and not his adorable face.
I hope those stick-straight-up curls come back on top of his head.
Love those.
Hopefully, though, he will be cooler and more comfortable in the house without all that fur.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Jelly Roll

Mary's Country Threads held a quilting class on Saturday.  My aunt, Kathy, and cousin, Missy, drove all the way from Minneapolis to take the Jelly Roll class with me!  It was so much fun!

You purchase a jelly roll of fabric (just thin strips of fabric rolled up into a "jelly roll"), sew them end to end, and then the length of it (1600 inches!) until you have 32 rows.  There is no cutting involved at the beginning so, since you don't cut of the edges of fabric with the labels on them, you are supposed to fold that back so it doesn't show...well, I was either talking or tuning out and missed that step!  So when I turned my fabric right-side-up, it said, "Made in Japan" on various pieces!  Needless to say, I had to cut out all those seams and re-sew them.  I told Missy to keep a better eye on me since she was sitting next to me.

We had supper together and then continued to sew until 10:30 that night.  I made them stay until we were finished so I could take a picture:
Our Jelly Roll Quilts!
It was so cool to be able to make a whole quilt in one day - this would be a great quilt to make if you are a beginner (like me!).
My quilt.
Missy's quilt.
Kathy's quilt.

Thanks, Kathy & Missy, for coming all the way to Garner!  And thanks, Mary, for teaching us!  We look forward to coming to camp this summer.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Tandem Bathing

Sean Ryan and Aidan even gave knuckles in the tub!
It was so cute.
 The boys were so excited to jump in - especially Aidan.  He's never had a bath partner before.  He literally was squealing with delight.
Too fun!
 So happy!
 My teething boy.
Sean loves the toys!
 The paparazzi.
All six of us were in our little bathroom.
Four of us had cameras.
Two were being photographed.
Aidan slowly slid toward Sean Ryan, crowding him out!
 Clean hair!
Cute hairstyles.

So I was so sad earlier this week because I wasn't sure when I'd see our Cali friends again - or meet their new baby.  But I just prayed and thanked the LORD for the ways He has provided for us to see and be encouraged by seminary friends every 6 months..and the very next day, we found out that Brian's cousin will be getting married in September.  Where?  Santa Barbara.  We are very very happy for Betsy and so excited to have Corey join the family.  And an added bonus?  We'll be visiting San Diego friends too!  God is good - He truly takes care of His saints.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

My Constant Battle

I heart Jerry Bridges like I heart the Tripp brothers.
Recently, I've been reading Bridges' The Practice of Godliness.  He encourages believers to put on the new self (Ephesians 4:20-24) - humility, contentment, thankfulness, joy, holiness, faithfulness, etc.  It is all so so good, but I especially enjoyed the contentment chapter.  "Contentment is one of the most distinguishing traits of a godly person" (pg 85).  I hate that it is still my constant struggle.  After devouring Lydia Brownback's Contentment and William Barcley's The Secret of Contentment, I thought I was fairly well educated in the contentment department.  But my heart still skips a beat and, if I'm not careful, tears well up in my eyes when I see SoCal friends write on Facebook, "It's 80 degrees in January - I'm so glad I live here!" or when I watch our besties drive away, not knowing when I will see them again.

Yes, I have a lot of growing to do in this area.  It's my constant battle.  And as my pastor-husband said on Sunday, we are in a battle in this world!  I'm thankful for Jerry Bridges' chapter on contentment because it has encouraged my sinful yet redeemed, teary heart.

Bridges has reminded me:
  • Contentment in our bibles is actually translated sufficiency (pg 85).  My grace is sufficient for you (II Cor 12:9).  Because of God's grace, I have ALL I need to be contentment - no matter my location, provisions, or possessions.  That is SUCH good news.
  •  Discontentment is destructive and very deadly.  It was discontent that led Eve to eat the apple in the Garden of Eden.  It was discontent that led to Satan's fall - he refused to accept his position in the hierarchy of angelic beings (pg 87).  Bridges writes, "Discontent is one of the most satanic of all sins, and to indulge in it is to rebel against God just as Satan did," (pg 87).
  • God places us where we will most please Him.  "Contentment being faithful to fulfill the function that God has called us to..." (pg 92).  The Potter has the right to do whatever He pleases with the clay (Romans 9)!   I am where I am and doing what I am because God, an all-wise and all-loving Father, has deemed it best for me, and He promises to work it for my good (Romans 8:28 and Jeremiah 29:11).  And I don't even deserve to be where I am (Ephesians 3:8)!  It is a gift.
  • The secret of contentment that Paul learned: "God's grace is sufficient, whatever the circumstance," (pg 98).  
  • The grace that is sufficient and enables me to be content is expressed in two ways: "God's unmerited favor to us through Christ and God's divine assistance to us through the Holy Spirit," (pgs 98-99).
    • How then should I live contentedly?  By realizing that no matter what my situation is, it is far better than I deserve because all I deserve is God's wrath (apart from Christ).  And that no matter how frustrating or difficult our situation may be, we have God's divine assistance through the Holy Spirit to help us be content and respond to life in a godly manner (pg 99).
Additional resources to help believers grow in the area of contentment:
Luke 12:15
Hebrews 13:5
I Timothy 6:6-8
Psalm 119:36-37

I'm going to spend some time praying over these verses before my little man wakes up.  May I find my contentment in Christ alone today in this wee-little town.

P.S. My brother and sister-in-law are definitely not struggling with discontentment...they are in HAWAII! ;)
Happy Honeymooning!
Andy and Callie's photographer also finished the wedding pictures:
The Ringbearer!
When we get the real photos (these are "stolen" off the Internet), we'll send out a New Year's card...or will it be Valentine's Day?

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Post-Racial Church

When Kregel Publications offered this book as a blog tour, I jumped at the chance to read it.  Having lived in Downtown Minneapolis for three years and at Bethel University for another three, racial reconciliation was always at the forefront of topics discussed at college and church.  I always wondered if it is truly possible to have an ethnically diverse, unified I started reading.

The authors answer YES to my question - and that is encouraging.

Author Kenneth A. Mathews writes the first five chapters, and I like the foundation that he creates - He begins with God.  Mathews shows very clearly from Scripture God's design for creation.  Man (all created human beings) was created in the image of God Himself (Genesis 1:27).  Once it's been established that all persons (humans) were created in God's image, Mathews goes on to show that God is carrying out his plan of salvation through even the least of them - even those who have been "marginalized or discarded by society," (pg 64).

Mathews continues to write a detailed history of the ancient nations of the bible, saturating his work in Scripture and continually demonstrating that "the racist idea that peoples were predetermined to be superior or inferior based on divine selection does not...correlate with what actually occurred in the history of Israel," (pg 79).

The other author, M. Sydney Park, continues by showing how Jesus reconciled people of difference.  She discusses Jesus and the Gentiles (the Centurion from Luke 7:1-10 and the Gentile woman from Matthew 15:21-28), Jesus and the Good Samaritan, and the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) in order to give the reason for racial reconciliation: we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Park writes that this requires, "an all-inclusive position with respect to ethnic boundaries...the disciple of Christ loves the other fully regardless of race," (pg 170).

There is so much more to say - this book is so rich - but I will end with worship because that is why I was most curious about this book.  I wondered, with all the varying styles of worship music, how an ethnically diverse church would satisfy all of its members.  Park writes, "It's one thing to know that God desires all races to worship him, that his son Jesus Christ makes this possible at the cross, and that we are, regardless of race, one body in Christ.  But it's a different matter entirely to implement this.  Each church will be different," (pg 229).  Brian and I attended Bethlehem Baptist in Minneapolis when they were asking this very question, and I love that this author attended Bethlehem for a time and shares their success in implementing various styles of worship: "On some Sundays, worship was a combination of hymns and praise music; other Sundays, it was a combination of African-style music and hymns," (pg 231).  

In her conclusion, Parks discusses issues that require further attention in our modern day such as immigration, interracial marriage, multiethnic worship, and evangelism/missions.  These issues are reevaluated based on what Scripture teaches.

Racism is still very real today, even though the Jim Crow Laws are no more.  I am thankful to the authors for writing an excellent, Scripturally-sound book that speaks to how churches are supposed to respond in this post-racial era (although it's not truly post-racial).  Park concludes by encouraging churches to pursue ethnic diversity in their churches, helping people experience "the profound love of Christ that bridges all gaps and heals all wounds.  The only question that remains is this: Is it possible for all races, as members of Christ's body, to live in self-sacrificing love and mutual submission to one another?" (pg 255).

Exceptional read.  Buy it from Kregel today and praying about how the LORD may lead you to begin bridging the gap between ethnicities at your local church. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My Hope is Built on Nothing LESS...

than Jesus' blood and righteousness.

I've been pondering those words to an old hymn the last few days.  Where is my hope?  Not in this life.  It's in Jesus' blood and righteousness.  He has saved me from myself!  And my hope is built on nothing less.  All other things I find myself putting my hope in?  Those are lesser things.

I'm thankful for reminders like these that help focus and correct  my wandering, world-craving mind.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

January 5 is a very special day.
It is my dad's birthday.
I am so thankful to the LORD for him.
I am so thankful for all the ways my dad loves the LORD and his family.
I am so thankful for all the ways Dad sacrificed time and energy to give his children success.
I am so thankful for the ways he loves Aidan.

He is the best.
I LOVE you, Dad!
Happy birthday!

Monday, January 2, 2012


Aidan loves to give High Fives and Pounds.
Sean Ryan does too - he calls them Knuckles.
The boys loved to give eachother Knuckles!
Especially when they were supposed to be eating!
Then they'd clap for themselves after the Knuckles - so proud!
Knuckles again!  
Sometimes Aidan's Knuckles look like a thumbs-up.
And when Aidan's not looking?
Sean Ryan goes in for the food...
Just kidding.  Both boys were very polite and never stole eachother's food.
BUT Sean Ryan is a hobbit - for example, he ate FOUR pancakes, eggs, and grapes for breakfast.
In contrast, Aidan ate one pancake and grapes.
But then when you see them next to eachother in the tub,
Aidan's legs look a wee bit chubby next to Sean Ryan's skinny little legs...