Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Are We The Only One's?

We received a package today in the mail from Heather's parents. It was full of things we left at their house recently as we spent Christmas with them. As you can see we didn't just leave some socks or a book. We left my shoes, Heather's cell phone, a pacifier, a bib and some snacks. Are we the only one's who do this?


Acacia Tree

This is one of my favorite pictures. I have no idea where we got it. It could have come from the Internet or from some friend who traveled to Africa. But what I do know is that it makes me smile every time I see it. Why? It makes me think of my second born, Acacia. You see, this is an Acacia tree. The tree is so beautiful, just like our Acacia.


Monday, December 29, 2008

The kids were there too!

Here is evidence that the kids were there too. :) The snow wasn't really good for "playing". It was a little too icy and hard and there wasn't enough of it for any real serious play. But the kids enjoyed slipping around on the deck and James had his first lesson in shoveling snow. They don't know what they're missing so they had a blast with what was available.

Jason had his chance at some snow fun too!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Full Day

The day is drawing to a close, and what a full day indeed. My day began this morning with church. Pastor Steve Jackson preached from II Timothy 2:3-7. The text is a good reminder as I head into 2009 that I need to be living as:

1. A Soldier - one who has a singular focus = to please God. No matter how hard, how unpopular or what damage it might cause on a human level I need to make it my aim to Him and Him alone.

2. An Athlete - one who runs this race with integrity and obeys God. There are many shortcuts in life that can be taken to gain instant wealth, fame and pleasure. But all of them would be a slap in the face of God. He has clearly said that if you Love Me You Will Keep My Commands.

3. A Farmer - one who toils and labors for the fruit of the harvest. The farmer puts in great effort to reap the rewards of the field.

My day ended with a reading of Mark 13. Jesus' words are clearly a warning in verses 35-37. These few verses read:

"Therefore stay awake - for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning - lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: 'Stay Awake.'" (ESV)

Does the beginning of my day and the end of my day have anything in common? I think so. If I am living as a soldier, an athlete, a farmer than I will be ready and will not be caught off guard when Jesus returns.

Lord help me to be ready. And return Quickly!


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Our Christmas Weather Surprise

On Christmas Eve Heather and I, along with the kids, traveled up to Sonora, California to spend Christmas with her parents. We had a fun time with them celebrating the birth of Jesus, eating great food, relaxing and opening up Christmas presents. One treat that we did not expect on Christmas day was the weather that we were blessed with. Below are some pictures of how the day progressed.


This picture was taken off the front deck at my in-laws house. A mist of rain mixed with snow started to come down on Christmas morning.
Not long after the first shot the weather turned to pure snow!

The weather changed around mid-day to sleat (or hail, I don't know the difference between the two. I live in Southern California, all I know is that hard stuff was falling from the sky.)

The sleat got pretty aggresive.

It didn't take long for the sleat to start to have a winter wonderland affect on the neighborhood.

Just about dusk on Christmas night!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

All I Want For Christmas...

The picture says it all! Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Vacation Tasks

There are many things that one could do with 2 weeks off of work. The cars could be washed (thankfully the rain is doing that right now), the garage needs cleaning, the backyard is in desperate need of some care, the inside of the house needs some touch up, the toilet handle needs to be fixed, pictures needs to be hung... I am sure that most of these will get done over the next two weeks. But, what I really want to do is.....

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sometimes Peter Did Get It Right

One of the more common jokes about Bible characters surrounds the Apostle Peter and his propensity for sticking his foot in his mouth. There is the amazing scene in Matthew 17 of Jesus being transfigured before the eyes of Peter, James and John. This is an incredible moment for the three witnesses of Christ’s glory. They see amazing things on top of that mountain and the first thing that comes out of Peter’s mouth is “it is good for us to be here.” Duh! Talk about a moment killer.

Peter is also famous for wanting Jesus to wash his whole body, not just his feet; for promising Jesus that he would never deny Him and for asking about the future of John. Peter messed up so many times with his words that most people think that he never could get his words right. But in John 6 we see that Peter did get it right, at least once.

The first 6 chapters of John are an amazing account of the early ministry of Christ. Jesus, over and over, would tell the crowds that they must believe in Him if they want eternal life. By my count the word believe is used 24 times and the word(s) life or eternal life are used 22 times in these chapters. Jesus’ teaching was very clear. If you want eternal life you must believe in the Son of God. As a matter of fact that last sentence is very close to what Jesus said in John 3:36 ~ “Whoever believe in the Son has eternal life.”

It is recorded several times in the first six chapters that many people “believed.” They liked this message that Jesus was preaching. They liked the miracles that He did. The signs and wonders performed by Him captured their attention. They wanted to follow this man. On top of that Jesus was standing up to the religious elite and calling them on the carpet for their fake religiosity. But, when Jesus told them what following Him really meant at the end of John 6 many of them decided for reject Jesus and turn away from him.

Granted, Jesus’ words at the end of John 6 are tough to swallow (no pun intended). It reads

53Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. 57Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever." 59He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

Verse 60 clearly points out that the crowd had a hard time with these words. Some have suggested that the people understood this to be a literal command of Jesus. That if we were to follow Him, believe in Him, have eternal life, than we must literally eat His flesh and drink His blood. I don’t think this is what they had trouble with. What they had trouble with was that if they wanted to be true followers of Jesus they would need to whole heartedly grasp, take in, surrender to and believe that Jesus is the only way to God. He was the only means of salvation. This they could not do.

As a result many of these false disciples left and turned away from Jesus. They refused to believe that He was from Heaven and the only way for them to get there. They walked away. In response Jesus turns to His true disciples and asks “Do you want to go away as well?” No doubt this was testing time and Peter stepped up and hit a home run. He says in verse 68 “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” Wham! Peter opened his mouth and the right answer came out. Peter and the other apostles got it. Remember, Jesus had been preaching since the start of His ministry that “you must believe in me and if you do you will have eternal life.” And Peter and the other apostles got it. They know that the only way to God was through Jesus Christ. They were true disciples.

Think about Peter’s words for a minute. He starts off by declaring that Jesus is “Lord.” No one else is Lord, Jesus is. Lord is an amazing word. It is defined as “one who has power; or a position of authority.” Right away Peter acknowledges who Jesus really is. He is not some dime store trickster who can do some really cool magic like turning water into wine. Jesus is the One who has the power of God, the One who has the authority of God because He is God. He acknowledges that no one else has the right direction by saying “to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Peter makes it very clear that all other people who claim to have a path to God are charlatans. Their path is false and will only lead to death and destruction. Jesus and Jesus alone has the words of eternal life. He then pronounces that they “believe.” No doubt these words were a source of encouragement to Jesus. He just watched a multitude of people walk away and reject believing in Him. But, His 12 apostles have just said “we will not follow the crowd, we will believe in you.” Not only do they believe but they have “come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” Scripture clearly tells us that the apostles did not understand most of what Jesus did in His earthly ministry. They only understood after He rose from the grave and ascended to the father and sent the Holy Spirit to “teach them.” But in their limited understanding they were able to say “Jesus, you are the Holy One of God.”

All of this must force you to ask the question: Can you answer as Peter did? Do you believe? Do you believe that Jesus is the Holy One of God? Do you believe that He is The Way, The Truth and The Life and no one can come to the Father accept through Him? If so, rejoice during this season as we celebrate Jesus becoming a baby that was born to die.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Speaking the TRUTH

Heather and I chose, before our kids were born, that we would not teach our kids that Santa Clause was real. This was an easy decision for us. Santa Clause was a lie and we didn’t want to lie to our kids. Since that initial decision we have had many wonderful conversations with our kids about Christmas and the real celebration of that day. Over and over again we would talk, we would sing, celebrate Advent, read Scripture that was about baby Jesus and why He came and what He did on the cross for us. We have purposefully trained our kids to know that Jesus is the celebration focus of Christmas.

However, we have not left Santa out of the picture. Anyone who lives in America must deal with the issue of Santa. At this time of year you see him all over the place. He is on commercials, TV shows, billboards, magazines, at the mall (he has been at our mall since the week after Halloween), he even paid a visit to our dentist’s office. Kids see him all over the place. The way we have addressed it with our kids is that Santa Clause is a very fun story. The kids read fun books about Santa, they watch fun movies with him as its central character and sing silly songs about him. But we always remind them that He is a fun story. I liken Santa Clause to Mickey Mouse. Both are fun make-believe characters, but that is all that they are, make-believe.

Why do I bring this up? A few days ago Isabel’s teacher called us to let us know that Isabel got into an argument with the rest of the students in her class. The subject of the argument - Was Santa real and what is the real celebration of Christmas? The class insisted that Santa was real and Isabel insisted that he wasn’t and that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus. Apparently neither side was giving in and the argument continued. Eventually the teacher restored order and moved on to another activity. She did feel it was important to call to tell us about the exchange.

When I found out what Isabel did in class I had several conflicting emotions.

Emotion #1 Frustration

We have talked to both Isabel and Acacia about the issue that not every kid, as a matter of fact most kids do not believe in Jesus. They know that most kids believe that Santa is the reason for the season and it is he who brings them presents and at their age they do not need to argue about this issue with their friends. This is such a big issue they could possibly lose friends over it. As a parent, I don’t want to see my kids go through losing friends because of an argument.

Emotion #2 Fear

The second emotion that hit me was fear. I kept thinking: “How many parents are going to call our house seeking to ‘chew us out’ because our daughter has ruined their Christmas by spilling the beans about the truth of Santa Clause?”

It didn’t take long for me to realize that rather than being frustrated with my daughter and to fear the reaction of the parents I should be proud of my daughter for standing up for Jesus Christ. I was too wrapped up in man’s opinion. Quickly the Holy Spirit laid it upon my heart that Isabel should stand up for the Truth. She should be bold about her belief in Jesus Christ. And if she is bold for Jesus the Bible is very clear as to what will happen: Persecution. I should not be surprised that Isabel might lose friends over this. I should not be surprised, nor afraid, of parents who would be upset at what Isabel said about Santa being a fake and Jesus being the reason for Christmas. Scripture is very clear that unsaved man is at enmity with God. Any thought of Jesus would naturally bring about hatred from unredeemed man. Isabel was bringing in front of their eyes that Jesus is real. And if He is real than mankind has a big problem. That problem being sin and how it separates us from God. That problem being that Jesus clearly claims that he is THE way, THE truth and THE life and that it is only through Him that we can have peace with God. Failure to believe in Him means a complete submission to the just reward of falling short of the glory of God: Death and Eternal Separation from Him.

Emotion # 3: Good for my daughter for speaking loud and clear about Jesus being the reason for the season.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Lights

Not far from our friends Jason and Mary's house is a street that sells it soul to Christmas decorations. Virtually every house on the street has every nook and cranny covered in lights and Christmas decorations. Tonight we were able to visit this festive street. We have driven through this small neighborhood in the past, this time though we parked the car and walked around the block to look at each and every house. It didn't take too long, about 45 minutes, and the kids had a blast.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Canyon Country ~ Winter Wonderland

Last Saturday we had some good family fun in the snow. Acacia made a snow angel, Isabel used a cardboard sled to slide down a snow bank and James made snowballs.

The Truth is...

wait for it....

Isabel's school rented a snow machine to make snow for the students to play in. We paid $4.00 per kid to play in a patch of snow that was 20 ft x 20 ft.. What is this world coming to?

Just so you know: the kids did have fun!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Isabel's Turn

Anyone we've talked to since August knows what 1st grade has been like for Isabel. While loving school, her teachers and her friends it has been difficult and more work than we could have ever expected. She perseveres with a good attitude and mostly a happy heart but the academic side of school has been hard and at time challenging. At parent conferences a couple of weeks ago amidst discussing these challenges her teachers also informed us that she would be receiving an award at the next awards assembly. She didn't know about it and they asked that we would keep it a surprise.
Well, last Friday morning was the assembly. Acacia, James, Brenton and i waited in the multi-purpose room for the students to arrive and the assembly to begin. You can imagine Isabel's excitement when, while marching in with her class, she spotted us. Not only was she thrilled to see us, waving and blowing kisses, but she also knew that this was her day; she was getting an award. The principal called students up one at a time, announcing their achievements, Math Whiz, Super Speller, Excellent Reader, and so on. After this first group of students received their awards and recognition and headed back to their seats Isabel looked back at me very concerned and said "I didn't get an award". I told her to just wait, her turn was coming.
The next group of students received awards for their character. When Isabel's name was called she leaped out of her seat and ran up the middle aisle to receive her certificate for "Caring for Others" She beamed as she stood with other students recognized for kindness, trustworthiness and caring.
it is with joy that I celebrate this award with Isabel. Isn't this what scripture says we are to do - to love kindness, to care for one another, to follow after Jesus!? I don't want to downplay Isabel's hard work and progress academically. In four short months she has gone from reading a handful of sight words to Days with Frog and Toad. Her academics will come, but I am even happier to see the growth in her character. She cares deeply for her friends and people she doesn't know are just friends she hasn't met yet. I am thankful for her sweet heart and pray earnestly that regardless of her studies at school, she continues to learn and cultivate her care for others. Thank you God for such a sweet girl!

Isabel racing up the aisle

Standing with the other "Good Citizen" award winners.

Posing with her certificate.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Fun Decorating the Christmas Tree

Last night our family had the joy of putting together our Christmas Tree. (Actually, we started on Saturday, but our tree lights didn't work and it took us two days to pull off the old lights and put on the new one's.) Anyway, here are some fun shots of the kids.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Something Very Wrong

Something is very wrong with where we live. Yesterday, November 29, I went Christmas shopping for Heather. I drove to the mall where I heard wonderful Christmas Carols over the loud speakers, saw beautiful Christmas trees with lights in almost every store, noticed very warm looking Christmas sweaters, scarves, gloves and slippers for sale, took in the sights of green and red banners wishing everyone a "Happy Holidays" hanging from the ceiling; all the while I was dressed in shorts, a short sleeved polo shirt and flip-flops. The thermometer peaked at 81 degrees. Isn't there something wrong with that? Or is it something that the rest of you who don't live in Southern California are just jealous of?


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Can I help?

It's so wonderful to begin to see and understand the beautiful and unique gifts given to our children. I have often prayed that God would give me insight, to know each of my children as the person He has made her or him to be. Each is so beautiful and I am thrilled to get a glimpse of who they are and whom they may become. This brings me to Acacia, my "Little Love". Acacia's greatest joy is to be by my side, helping me and talking. "Mom, can I help make lunch?" "How can I help Mom?" "Can I put the soap in Mom?" "Can I help?" These are daily, an sometimes hourly, questions from my second born. But as I reflected on this I realized what a truly wonderful question it is and how it shows me Acacia's personality. "Can I help?" What a thoughtful and giving question. I have learned to say "yes" at every possible opportunity. There are times, of course, when a 4, nearly 5, year old simply can't help. But if it's something she can do I try to say "yes" even if it turns out to be more of me helping her to help me. How else can she learn? And how else can I nurture her marvelous gift of desiring to help others? And, why would I ever want to turn away my dear daughter from wanting to spend time with me? It's so much fun to see her get all excited when I say "yes". As I pull out the step stool for her to stand at the kitchen counter with me she sometimes claps her hands and says "This is going to be fun". And you know what? It is! Allowing her to joyfully help helps me joyfully do my job and suddenly it's fun because I did it with Acacia. Who cares if it took a little longer and that she's left handed and I'm right (by the way Mom, how did you help me do anything?)? In the end it's time spent together and I want to take every advantage of my daughter wanting to hang out with me; and every teaching opportunity to encourage in her her love and care for others. Can I help? What a glorious question. May we all learn to say "yes" whenever anyone asks us that question.

Acacia helping to make Daddy's favorite pie for Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 28, 2008

I Know It's Long, But..

Wednesday I listened to a fabulous sermon by Sinclair Ferguson on the tongue. The sermon was given at the 2008 National Desiring God Conference, hosted by John Piper, and was titled The Tongue, the Bridle, and the Blessing: An Exposition of James 3:1-12. It was a blessing to listen to the sermon, as the tongue has been at the heart of a battle in my own life. As many of you know, and I am sorry that you do, I have been reckless with the use of my tongue. It is a sin issue that blew up in my face about 2 years ago when my pride manifested itself in words flowing out of my mouth that proved to be untrue. It was not the only time that I have sinned with my tongue, it was clear sign that what was flowing off my tongue was exactly what was hidden in my heart. My tongue was running rampant; hurting and damaging others and showing exactly who I was in my heart. I had a big problem and I needed God's help. By His grace, through the study of His Word and the power of the Holy Spirit I have battled that sin issue in my life. By no means am I done with this particular sin issue and listening to this sermon reminded me how far I have to go. Ferguson did a wonderful job unpacking a very popular section of Scripture and explaining the damage that can be done by an untamed tongue. One very beneficial section of the sermon focused on a set of resolutions, in the style of Jonathon Edwards, to put into practice to combat the sin of an untamed tongue. Listed below is "Practical Council from James in Growing to Maturity with the use of my Tongue" according to Sinclair Ferguson. The reference after each resolution refers to the passages used to create this list. I pray that it will challenge you as it has me.

I resolve to ask God for wisdom to speak out of a single-minded devotion to Him. 1:5

I resolve to boast only in the exaltation I receive in Jesus Christ and the humility I receive from Jesus Christ. 1:9,10

I resolve to set a watch over my mouth. 1:13

I resolve to be constantly quick to hear and slow to speak. 1:19

I resolve to learn the Gospel way of speaking to both rich and poor. 2:1-4

I resolve to speak in the present consciousness of my final judgment. 2:12

I resolve never to stand on anyone’s face with the words I employ. 2:16

I resolve never to claim as reality in my life what I never truly experience. 3:14

I resolve to resist quarrelsome words as evidences of a bad heart that needs to be mortified 4:1

I resolve never to speak decided evil of another out of a heart of antagonism 4:11

I resolve never to boast in anything that I will accomplish 4:13

I resolve always to speak as one who is subject to the providences of God. 4:15

I resolve never to grumble, because I know the Judge is listening at the door. 5:9

I resolve never to allow anything but total integrity in everything I say. 5:12

I resolve to speak to God in prayer when I suffer. 5:13

I resolve to sing praises to God whenever I am cheerful. 5:14

I resolve to ask for the prayers of others when I am in need. 5:14

I resolve to confess it whenever I fail. 5:15

I resolve to pray with others for one another when I am with them. 5:15

I resolve to speak words of restoration when I see another wander. 5:19


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Halloween Fun!

I know that Halloween was a while ago, but I thought you would all like to see the fun we had at the Lycklama's house. For several years now we have been going to James and Emily's house, good friends of ours, to celebrate Halloween. This is a fun way for our kids to dress up, yet not get scared to death by the gruesome costumes that other kids wear around the neighborhoods. We have dinner, do a craft, make desert, go on a treasure hunt and watch a movie. It really is a great time. Enjoy the Pictures.

The boys watching Charlie Brown and The Great Pumpkin.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Cross

This morning I was challenged to consider "what I think about when I ponder the cross?" It is an interesting question. Over the years I have thought a lot about the cross that Jesus boar for my sins. As I have done that I picture the crown of thorns, the severe beating Jesus experienced at the hands of the Romans, the arduous journey from Jerusalem to Golgotha, the driving of the nails into his hands and feet, the hours of exposure on the cross, the other crucified man who cursed Jesus, the other crucified man who believed in Jesus, the men casting lots for Jesus' clothes, Jesus asking the father to forgive them, Jesus crying out to the Father, Jesus actually dying and the sword in the side to see if he is dead, the earthquake and the tearing of the curtain in the temple.

When I get real theological I start thinking about Christ being my substitutionary atonement. I think about that glorious passage in II Corinthians that describes the Great Exchange: "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

Those thoughts are all right and good. But today I was challenged to think along a different line. Steve Lawson in his book titled "Made In Our Image" says the following:

"Towering over mankind, the Cross is the most comprehensive revelation of God's glory. At the cross, Christ, 'the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature,' poured forth the very essence of the glory that belongs to God alone. To look upon God's Son willingly dying in our place is to gaze at the fullest disclosure of God's divine attributes. We see the unveiled glory of God fully revealed in Jesus Christ's crucifixion."

While I am still chewing on this one, I must admit that I have had a blessed day thinking about how God's holiness, justice, love, grace, mercy, sovereignty, transendence, immenence, patience, kindness, greatness, goodness, omniscience, faithfulness... were all on full display that day when Christ was crucified.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

That's My Boy! Part II

Just is case anyone is worried about the picture in this previous post, rest assured James will now have the scar to prove his manliness. Check this picture out!

For those that don't know: James cut his back last Monday out in the backyard. We have no certain idea of how he did it, but the cut was 2 inches long, went down to the muscle and required 7 stitches to close. On top of all of that the urgent care doctor put that horrible tape on his back to hold the gauze on and now wont come off!


Friday, November 21, 2008

That's My Boy!

I have a question for you all: When do we start caring about the clothes that we wear? It seems pretty clear from the picture below that James is not at that point yet.

At least he has a Handy Manny shirt on!


Monday, November 17, 2008

Relief for the Scorched Soul

My recent blog posts have been much about the trials of life. I don't mean to depress or use this as an avenue to complain. The last four months have been some of the hardest for us as we have worked through various trials and seem to continue in that direction for the time being. I read recently and was reminded once again about how we are to rejoice in our tribulation as God holds us "worth such testing". In the end I can become a woman who clings to my God and His word. This said, the following is just another meditation on the work God is doing in my heart and how He is working to draw me to Himself. It is meant as an encouragement for all who read it, to remember to turn to God, who gives to all generously and without reproach.

I was reading Psalm 63 this morning and specifically meditating on verse 1 which states "O God, You are my God; earnestly I seek You; My soul thirsts for You, my body longs for You; in a dry and weary land where there is no water." As I mused on this verse I pictured the hills around me the past few days and the "fall" that we have been experiencing here in Santa Clarita. Most of October was dominated by temperatures of the upper 90s and into the 100s. November has cooled off ot the upper 80s and into the 90s. "Is this fall?" I've been asking myslef for the last two months. Along with such temperatures have come extreme winds whipping through our valley, drying everything up even further and wreaking havoc on our yards. Here is a vivid picture of a dry and weary land. I am so tired of heat and dry and wind; I long for the cool relief of gray clouds in the sky, rain falling and refreshing this dry ground and cleaning the air of the dust and debris.
On the hills surrounding our home for the past three days fires have been burning. We are able to see smoke billowing out over the valley, patches of earth smoldering as we drive by, helicopters flying over dropping water in order to put out the flames. Thankfully, we have been spared any damage and the winds have proven helpful to us in blowing the smoke away from us, although damaging to others as it blew both smoke and embers the other direction. Can there be a more vivid object lesson for understanding Psalm 63:1? David too was in the wilderness when he wrote this Psalm. He was hiding. He, the king of Israel, was hiding in the wilderness from his own son, Absolom, when he penned this song of desperate need for the LORD. All around him he was able to see a dry and weary land, where there was no water and here was a picture of his soul. I sat this morning reading this and thinking on this and realized that Santa Clarita is a picture of my soul: dry, weary, thirsty, tired, scorched by the flames of trials.
And then I read it again and learned about how David refreshed his dry, weary and scorched soul. He didn't complain, he didn't even ask God to take it away. No, instead he turned to God, his God and earnestly sought Him until He was found! He knew that refreshment was only found in seeking God. He longed for God as I have longed for rain. He knew that by seeking God he would find a downpour of grace to wash over his soul and soak him so thoroughly that he would become saturated in the Spirit of God; and then he would find relief. That is my prayer. Today I will seek God earnestly. And this leads me back to a verse I was memorizing some weeks ago - "Be still and know that I am God". Today, I want to be still and let the Spirit of God pour down upon me, and saturate me with His grace, to soak into my heart and refresh my dry, weary and thirsty soul. It is that thirst for Jesus that is felt but not realized until you meditate on a verse like this one. Suddenly, this morning, I realized my thirst and that it wasn't necessarily for the baby to sleep or Isabel's work load to lessen or life to simply be easier, for for Jesus - for Him to carry my burdens, for Him to fill me with Himself and wash over me with the comfort of His Spirit.
And I pray for Santa Clarita too, for the clouds of relief to roll over our valley and pour out cool rain upon the scorched hills and the dry and weary land of our town.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Isabel's Busy Week!

Since last Friday Isabel has:

1. Enjoyed watching Gavin James' adoption

2. Played with her friends at a party celebrating Gavin's adoption

3. Fell off a trampoline and broke her arm

4. Visited Urgent Care on Saturday Morning to get x-rays and a temporary cast

5. Been doted on at church because she broke her arm

6. Visited the orthopedist on Monday to have hard cast put on

7. Lost her front tooth

8. Went to a class at the Master's College that Daddy was a guest teacher in

9. Went to Bible Study where all of her close friends signed her cast

1o. Went back to school and showed everyone her new cast

11. Had a pirate party in her classroom

12. Recieved get well cards and money for breaking her arm

(By the way, I am little short on cash right now, could I break a few bones and be blessed by you all)

13. And finally she went to the dentist this morning for a cleaning.


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Joys and Trials

Yesterday was a day of happiness and tears. We were privelaged to get to attend the adoption hearing for Gavin James, the son of our good friends Jeff and Christine James. He was born last February and has been in their home since coming home from the hospital. His adoption was finalized yesterday to everybody's joy. We thank God for placing him in Jeff and Christine's home as a blessing to them and an opportunity for him to grow up knowing Jesus. After the hearing Jeff and Christine invited us all over for a dinner celebration for Gavin. Our kids all had a blast playing outside in the park like back yard at the James' house. A most favorite item to play on is the trampoline. Thus, the tears: After many fun hours of jumping and playing on the trampoline there was a little accident and Isabel fell off, landing on her arm on the ground. She was quite upset, understandably, and we took that as our cue to head home. We debated as to whether we should take her to urgent care on our way home or wait it out. We opted to wait it out, but wound up having a rough night with Isabel waking up often complaining of the pain. With the coming of the morning we noticed a little swelling and so Jason took her off to urgent care first thing this morning. It was discovered that our brave little girl had broken her wrist. Isabel's first broken bone and the date will never be forgotten, Gavin's adoption day! And so we move forward with joy for the James' and a trial for us.

Sometimes it's easy to get overwhelmed with our circumstances. I was reading Deut. 8:2 recently which states "You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not." So here we are, in a little wilderness of our own , wandering through the difficulties of a new born who doesn't sleep, fatigue, and now a 6 year old with a broken wrist (did I mention it's her right wrist, the hand she writes with, she will have a cast for 6-8 weeks and first grade has proven to include a lot of homework?) These are the times we are commanded to remember the ways that the LORD has led us. Will our hearts prove to be true? Will we keep His commandments or not? His commandments to trust Him, to place our burdens on Him, to cease striving and know that He is God and so many others. He humbles us to cause us to remember our need for Him and to allow Him to be exalted in the earth. May He be exalted in us, and in Isabel, today.
Isabel has been very brave and a little "Hannah Montana" sticker and breakfast with Daddy at McDonalds helped make things a little brighter. Another good thing is that she has a four day weekend with no school on Monday or Tuesday of next week, giving her some good rest time before returning to school next Wed. Thank God for the little blessings that make the trials a little more bearable.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I Love My Wife

Our girls kept asking Heather what she was going to dress up as for Halloween. She struggled and struggled to come up with an answer. I think it turned out to be quite beautiful! (See for yourself)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Love is not Rude

I am reading through Alexander Strauch's book "Leading with Love." The book encourages leaders in the church to make sure they are leading with hearts full love. However, the book is applicable to all who would read it, not just church leaders. Strauch uses as his main text I Corinthians 13, the classic chapter on love. I was struck silent, no doubt at the thought of doing the very things mentioned, at the following paragraph:

"Christlike love is to influence all behaviors, and Scripture tells us that love is not rude; it does not 'behave with ill-mannered impropriety.' The verb for 'rude' conveys the idea of acting disgracefully, contrary to established standards of proper conduct and decency. Thus inappropriate dress, inconsiderate talk, disregard for other people's time and moral conscience, taking advantage of people, tactlessness, ignoring the contributions and ideas of others, running roughshod over other's plans and interests, inappropriate behavior with the opposite sex, basic discourtesy and rudeness, and a general disregard for proper social conduct are all evidence of a lack of love and have no place in the local church."
(Strauch, 59)