Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Happy Thanksgiving Week!

There are so many things, as always, to be thankful for this year.
God has been so gracious to give us so many wonderful gifts - especially His Son!
We look forward to traveling up to northern MN to celebrate this holiday with my family.  Brian and I both keep talking about all the things we want to do & eat (is it super obvious that we live in a very rural area!?).  We are SO excited and this will be a much needed break from the rigors of ministry.

This little man can't wait to see "Bop Chuck," "Grammie Jane," "Auntie Callie," "Uncle Andy," and "Jack & Savvy!"

Monday, November 19, 2012

National Adoption Day

Yesterday was National Adoption Day.
During the last few days, I've begun following a new blog:
This sweet Kansas family is currently in China picking up their new daughter!  It has been such a joy to be "on" this journey with this blog family, and I encourage you to take time to read through their story and prayerfully consider how Jesus may be calling you to "care for the orphans," (James 1:27).

[In love] he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ...
Ephesians 1:5

Monday, November 12, 2012

Christlessly Annoying

I was usually standing by his side when he'd tell fellow seminarians, "It's my desire to find a pastorate in the Midwest due to the lack of Reformed teaching there."  I thought I understood what Brian meant at that time, but I really had no clue.  It's only now, two and a half years into our ministry in rural Iowa, that I understand (and grieve over) the lack of Reformed tradition here in the Midwest.

How do I know that I'm finally "getting it"?  One way I know that I "get" what it means to be Reformed is because I cringe when other sources (Christian magazines, sermons, speakers, books, etc.) aren't Reformed.

For example, I subscribe to a magazine for pastor's wives edited by Jill Briscoe called "Just Between Us" and the primary authors reside in the Midwest.  At first, I really enjoyed it and now it just drives me crazy.  In this season's issue, there's an article titled "Help! I'm Burning Out!" by Amy Nappa.  Her suggestions for avoiding burnout at home and in ministry are helpful (such as communicate more, delegate tasks, encourage one another with kind notes/emails, etc.)  However, not once does she mention anything Christian until the last paragraph: 
Especially as you look forward to a new year, why don't you carve out a chunk of time and sit down with your schedule...Decide how you're going to intentionally avoid burnout so you can enjoy the life God intends for you to live and enjoy the people He's given you to love both at home and in your ministry.

That's fine and true, right?  So why are my undies in a bunch?  Because it's so man-centered.  It's all about me - my schedule, my homelife, my priorities, my vision, my my my.  When we lose focus of Christ - who He is and what He has done - that's when we go astray.  I wish she'd encourage us to spend time in God's Word and seeking Him in prayer as we reevaluate our lives to avoid burnout.  You see, all of her suggestions are fine - and some of them probably work - but Christ needs to be at the forefront of a Christian's life - including her schedule, priorities, vision, communication, etc.  I know that I can't succeed on my own, not even to keep myself from burning out.  That's what ministry women need to hear; you can't do it on your own.  Yes, plan; yes, schedule; yes, reevaluate.
But put Christ first because He's the One through which you will avoid burnout.

I'm reading Michael Horton's Christless Christianity now, and it's incredibly eye-opening to see American evangelicalism disappear from before our eyes.  A quote in Horton's book from George Barna states:
In short, the spirituality of America is Christian in name only...We desire experience more than knowledge.  We prefer choices to absolutes.  We embrace preferences rather than truths.  We seek comfort rather than growth.  Faith must come on our terms or we reject it.  We have enthroned ourselves as the final arbiters of righteousness, the ultimate rulers of our own experience and destiny.  We are the Pharisees of the new millennium.

It's so pervasive - Christless Christianity is everywhere.  Even in so-called "ministry" magazines.  It drives me crazy.  I'm praying for a Modern Reformation!  ;)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Trick or Treat

Trick or Treat!
Last Wednesday, my in-laws and a few families from church came Trick-or-Treating with us.  Aidan was super excited; whenever you'd ask him, "What are you dressing up as for Halloween, Aidan?", he'd respond with, "CANDY!"

Aidan was a parrot, and his #1 pal was a rufferee.
Pre-Trick-or-Treating pics:

 Aidan loves it when Bop chases him through the leaves.
 A friend of Leo's, CJ, also came Trick-or-Treating.  She dressed up as an alligator.
 Aidan would always say, "Hi Man (or Woman)! I have candy, please?"
 At each house, he wisely waited until the big kids were off the step before approaching.
(He was only knocked over once.)

 Yay for Bop & Grammie.
Aidan had so much fun with them.
 "I up so high."
The Laus - a ninja, kitty, and Mario.
 The Haacks - a knight, princess-witch, and alligator.
 Us - a parrot and a rufferee.
"I up so high with Bop."
This was Aidan's favorite way to keep up with the big kids.
He even insisted on carrying his candy bag the entire time - it got so full & heavy, it developed a hole as he dragged it from house to house.

Having a two-year-old is such a blast.  I am so thankful for the ways he loves life - everything is new and exciting.
And guess what!?  He hasn't asked for any candy since the morning after Halloween.
Guess who has been into the candy?
Well, OK, both of us...

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pastor Appreciation

I never knew October was Pastor Appreciation month until I became a pastor's wife.  I wish I had been more aware and could have blessed my former pastors in ways that we have been blessed.  These last few weeks, I have been completely overwhelmed by the generosity of our congregants.

Let me share:
  • Gifts of prayer.  Our head elder brought our family up front a few Sundays ago to verbally show his appreciation for our ministry on behalf of the church and pray for us.  His prayer for us meant so much - that's what we need the most!
  • Gifts of money.  Some in the church have been so generous to show their appreciation through wonderful cards and gifts.  I used all of the money for bills except for $100 of which I spent at Pottery Barn for home decor.  What a fun treat that was!  Maybe my package will arrive today!?
  • Gifts of meat.  Many in our church our farmers.  Our freezer is always full of beef and pork - we are so thankful for how this reduces our grocery bill.
  •  Gifts of yummies.  Some sweet ladies are always dropping off baked goods.  And there is one man who usually drops off muffins for Aidan a few times a month.  Now Aidan always associates muffins with Mr. Al.
  • Gifts of grace.  Sometimes this mama just needs to get out of the house.  I am so thankful for those who invite us out to their farm to ride in the tractors, see the cows, feed apples to the donkey, pick pumpkins, rake leaves & ride in the Gator, etc. 
We are thankful to our congregants for all the ways they love on us, pray for us, and bless us with their gifts.  THANK YOU, Zion-ites.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween Party

Aidan was invited to a Halloween party earlier this week.  He was very excited to wear his costume and get "CANDY!" 
 Here's our parrot, making sure he's not too close to the girls.

After the game of Duck-Duck-Gray-Duck (which had nearly all the kids running in a circle at the same time), Ms. Connie fed us hotdogs and other goodies.
 Aidan stayed long after the girls left the table, cleaned up their hotdogs and asked for more chips.
Sweet Mary waited with him while he finished eating.

What a fun time!  We can't wait to show you the pictures from Trick-or-Treating last night.