Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day

As we enjoyed our Memorial Day, I spent time pondering and thanking God for all the men, women, children and spouses who have sacrificed lives, marriages, sanity, health, and much more in order to give us the freedoms we enjoy today.  
THANK YOU to our soldiers, veterans, and their families.
I was especially thankful to my favorite veteran, Grandpa Richie.
He was an artillery trainer in WWII stationed in WA.

This Memorial Day Weekend was filled with lots of work for my husband - preaching, pre-marriage counseling, pre-baptism counseling, VBS set-up, nursing home visits, and just his general Sunday duties.  I know it doesn't compare in the least to what our veterans have sacrificed, but I struggled with not having a true three-day weekend like I feel we should be entitled to (maybe I taught for too long and am so spoiled by a teacher's schedule).  It was easy for me to be jealous of those who were going camping, out of town to visit friends, etc.  There were also two commitments that we had as a family that I wasn't excited about and grumbled against.  HOWEVER, I saw the LORD's faithfulness so clearly in my life this weekend - He took my grumbling heart and changed it, opening my eyes to all of the many blessings that He's given me.  And I also felt rebuked as I reminded myself, once again, that this life is not my own - "I belong both body and soul to my Savior Jesus Christ" - it's not about vacationing (although breaks are necessary), but it's about glorifying and honoring Christ in all we do and think. I was encouraged by one of my favorite verses from Psalm 73:
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire
besides you.

Nothing on earth that I desire besides you...not a relaxing weekend, schedule free Memorial Day, etc.  Nothing.   I prayed that over and over this weekend!  And repented a lot.

So despite struggling with Brian's work schedule and our family commitments this weekend, it turned out to be a wonderful time for our family - the short moments we spent together were very sweet.  For example, last night after VBS set-up we jumped in the Jeep, drove to Clear Lake and ate supper in the park.  Then Aidan walked along the boardwalk and beach with Daddy while Leo & Mommy tagged behind with the camera.

I love this photo - in honor of Memorial Day with the flag in the background.

Of course, our trip to Clear Lake City Park wouldn't be complete without a stop at the slide.
 Aidan always heads, full speed, for the tallest slide.
"AWAY!" is his favorite word for Daddy if he's too close.
 Leo isn't too sure about having his Aidan so far away from him.
He waits and waits at the bottom of the slide.
Yay!  He made it!
"Again. Again.  I AGAIN!"
We let him go four times.
We also learned that we can't say to Aidan, "One more time," because he'll just stand at the top and never go down the slide.
Yay for family time!
Yay for a God who changes grumbling hearts!
Yay for veterans and soldiers!
Happy Memorial Day!

Prayer request, please:
I met a new friend, single-mom, at the park last week.  She came to church with me on Sunday and has now agreed to come to VBS this week with her girls.  Please be praying for the LORD to work mightily in her heart.

Friday, May 25, 2012


1. Biking with Tate.  Aidan loves Tate!
2. Leo spends his days outside now; I have to beg him to come in the house at night.
3. Aidan actually keeps his hat on this summer.
4. Kathy Upmeyer gave Aidan a swimming pool.  He was super excited to fill it up.  Thanks, Kathy!

 [So I am terrible at getting my InstaFriday formatted - on my draft, the type is under the pictures, but when I preview it, it's like four feet below...SORRY!  I need a lesson.]
 5. Aidan loves to color next to Mommy at the breakfast bar.
6. My shopper!
7. Mommy's Group met at the park yesterday.  Aidan wanted to go down the slide ALL BY HIMSELF.  "Away" he told me if I tried to help.
8. Our beans are up!
9-10. I played around with a new app I just got on my phone: Photo Grid.  It's so cool!

Have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend!  Be praising God for the millions who have sacrificed their lives for our freedoms.  Pick up Unbroken at your local library if you haven't already read it.  Wow - SUCH an amazing story of all that our veterans have endured.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lost in the Middle

When a friend told me about the book Lost in the Middle - Midlife and the Grace of God by my very favorite Paul David Tripp, I knew I had to order it (I recently figured out how to use my Discover card rewards points to make Amazon purchases and now have even less self-control when it comes to book buying).  My intention is to give it to someone in mid-life, such as my parents, (and I still will), but I skimmed the table of contents and was instantly hooked.  And, who knows, I could be in mid-life now!?  It can start at 20, Tripp says.  But regardless of age or stage in life, Lost in the Middle is an excellent book about staying focused on Christ alone amidst any change in your life (and life is constantly changing!).

There are so many wonderful truths in this book, but I found his discussion on our culture today of particular interest.   Tripp states three reasons that we are so discouraged by the natural process of aging (the process that sneaks up on us - "wrinkles, rashes, spider veins, graying hair, loss of hair, hair where it shouldn't be, muscle loss and softening, weight gain, loss of flexibility, loss of energy, chronic aches and pains, vision loss, sagging skin, skin discoloration, tiredness, hearing loss, stiffness of joints, and the list goes on," (pg 77)) and one of them is because of what our culture focuses on and deems most important.  We live in a material world where people are obsessed with the human body.  Twelve years ago there were more than 8 million cosmetic surgeries and that number doesn't include Botox injections, laser hair removal, collagen injections, or chemical peels (pg 83).  America's goal is to stay "Youthful Forever".  If only aging was optional.

Tripp proceeds to detail some of the elements of Western Civilization.  He begins by contrasting our culture with the culture 200 years ago.  Now it's our youth who are esteemed - the unwise, undisciplined teens and twenties of today.  Why did George Washington and friends wear white, curly wigs?  To appear older.  Two centuries ago, it was the older people who were esteemed for the wisdom and discipline that came from life's experiences.  Our culture's view on aging stands in stark contrast to the Bible's view of aging as a blessing (Is. 46:4 & Lev. 19:32); even though we know this to be true, we have all, unfortunately, been indoctrinated by our culture's view - yes, we have purchased anti-wrinkle cream or bought into the latest diet craze.  

In addition, the last 200 years have shifted our culture's attitude of work.  We no longer view work as the way we image and worship God; no, we work (under someone else) to be freed to do as we please on the weekends.  We value leisure.  And because we so highly value leisure, the entertainment industry dominates our culture.  We focus on pleasure - entertain me.  So when we are faced with the aches and hardships of midlife, our world is turned upside down.  "A self-absorbed, pleasure-obsessed culture will be intolerant of all the painful, discomforting, and embarrassing physical changes at midlife," (pg 87).  Yes, a leisure driven culture curses aging.

Lastly, Tripp suggests that our culture has put to death eternity; the focus is on our bodies and bettering our lives on earth (gotta love Joel Osteen's Your Best Life Now - gag me) and not on readying our hears and minds for eternity.  As believers in Christ, we should, instead, live for that which is unseen (II Corinthians 4:18) because we know this world is wasting away.  It's only when you cherish the unseen, that you can rightly view aging as a process of "redemption, renewal, growth, change, and restoration," (pg 89).  I love what Paul says in II Corinthians 4:16:
...outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
Believe in Christ - believe in eternity - believe in the afterlife and then you won't be discouraged by the first part of the verse; you will be encouraged by the second part.

Brian asked me why I was reading this book, but it's been so good.  I pray that I wear 30 gracefully; I pray that I wear these sunspots and eye wrinkles proudly, knowing that "inwardly I am being renewed day by day".  And I'm praising Jesus that He guides us through every stage of life, never leaves nor forsakes us, and will give His believers glorious new bodies - sunspot and wrinkle free - on that great Day.

I have to add a favorite quote from this book since my 30th birthday is less that two months away:
After 30, the body has a mind of its own.
-Bette Midler
Yikes! But I'm trusting in Christ for aging grace!

Friday, May 18, 2012


Happy Friday!
My intention is to post pictures that I've taken on my phone each Friday.
I'd like them to be a peek into our everyday life.
I hardly took any this week, though.
I hope to improve!

1. Aidan spotted a motorcycle like Bop-Bop Chuck's at a garage sale this morning.  I won't post a picture of the pink Barbie guitar he had to have because it's like "Da Da's."   (Not really; Brian's is red.)
2. Aidan and "Mick" (each with their blankies) sit next to one another each night for stories. Aidan loves to have "Mick" by his side each night.
3. Aidan loves his baths!
4. Chasing Mommy and Leo in the yard with his Westminster shirt on.

Aidan is so BIG!

Videos of Aidan!

Brian caught him counting to three and helping me plant the garden.

Visit Brian's blog here to view them.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Movie Makers!

Aidan and I went to our town's little coffee shop today to pick up a latte for a friend and the movie makers were there!   They are also filming out at a nearby farm!  I'm not sure of the movie's name, but I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pastor's Wife: Conversation Killer

The article above is hilarious.

You will especially love it if you are a pastor's wife.


P.S. Brian - thank you for never using me as a sermon illustration!  I love you!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Gay Marriage Links

Obama's new official stance on the homosexuality debate is causing quite the buzz here in Iowa!
I heard so many tables of old ladies talking about it at the Mother's Day Brunch on Sunday - so cute!  I love their passion.

Brian and I have been doing some reading on the subject.
Here are some links that we'd recommend - hopefully you find them interesting & helpful as you think about this hot issue.

Both of the above articles are written by Brian's seminary friend, Matt, who is studying for his PhD now in Ethics.  Smart, smart, God-fearing man!

 And the White Horse Inn always has good things to say:

Planting on the Farm

Karla, the sweetest farmer you'll ever meet, invited Aidan out to see the tractors last week!  We had such a blast riding around on the Gator - Aidan got to see lots of his favorite cows and tractors!
17 cows!
Aidan wasn't too sure about being up close by himself...
Miss Karla saved the day so Mommy could take a picture:
 Aidan wore his new John Deer boots that Miss Karla bought him.

Nolan, Myra, and Reed showed Aidan how they jump on the hay bales.
Myra - sweet girlie.

 The huge planter!  Karla's dad, Ed, drives it.
Karla's brother, Kyle, drives the big plow.
Kyle was very kind; he stopped and offered Aidan a ride.  Unfortunately, Aidan was afraid!  We're not sure if it was Kyle's bright neon shirt or the big tractor...  ;)
Maybe this fall during harvest he'll be geared up to ride in the combine.

Thanks, Rauks and Barkemas, for all the farm fun!  It's such a blast at your farm!  And I love seeing all the people out and about in the fields - Iowa comes to life.  So fun.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Garden #2

With the weather so beautiful, I couldn't resist the desire to plant my garden this morning.
Aidan and I lathered up in sunscreen and headed outside.
The only thing missing was Grandpa Richie - I thought about him a lot this morning as I planted.
Mostly because my dear grandpa is a perfectionist.
And he would've died seeing how imperfect my garden went in this year.
Why is it so imperfect?
Because of this little helper.

He was constantly on the move.

At first he stayed in his own "garden".


I could keep an eye on him from my garden.

I also had to keep an eye on Nuisance.
He only appears innocent here - he's playing with this frisbee after getting a spanking for eating my gardening gloves.

[Aidan picked out this pink frisbee for Leo.  He also tried to pick out pink tennis balls.  Brian says he hangs around me too much.  I heart pink!]

 It didn't take long for Aidan to become bored in his "garden".
"Yes, Aidan, you may help Mommy put seeds in the ground."
"I dump."
"Yes, you may dump them..."
(Thinking: "Hmm....not in that spot!")

 "I help."

 I really did enjoy Aidan's help.
It was fun talking to him about the seeds and showing him the pictures of the veggies that they will soon grow into.
After I explained it all, he replied,
"I EAT!"


 I'm very glad my mother-in-law gave me another digger for Easter - Aidan didn't want to share.

Soooo helpful!

 When Aidan started asking for "fissssh", I knew it was snacktime.

 Aidan even made sure Leo ate his snack.

 Dirty face!


I adore these chubby legs. 
[He didn't want to wear his new sandals today.]

As I planted, it was fun to reminisce about the past year.  I thought back to how I knew next to nothing about gardening and about all the wonderful church ladies who offered me advice.  I remembered the different things that I wanted to plant and how I was going to reorganize the garden this year.   I kept thinking of Grandpa Richie and how perfect his garden is going to look...unless we head up to Brainerd on planting day and give him some "help"!  I continuously thanked God for my "helper" - he has grown and learned so much in the past year.

I also reflected on how faithful the LORD has been - He has kept us and continued to sanctify us through another year.  He is so good.  And I praised Him for the creation of grocery stores; I can't imagine having to rely on just my garden for food!  Yikes.

And I couldn't help but notice how different planting was this year from last when Aidan just watched from his walker and Leo wasn't born yet.  (Last year's post: Seeds are In!)
Last year, my extra seeds were neatly tucked into a plastic bag:

This year:

 The seed packets I chased down were ripped to shreds.
And they were empty because my helper planted dumped all the seeds.

And my glove lost a finger.

I even think I planted one row twice - with two different vegetables.

But it was fun!  And I'm thankful for my boy and my puppy.
Now I need the LORD to use His rain and sun to bring my crops to fruition!