Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Date Night

Mimi and Papa kept Walt while Noah and I enjoy a date night. He had a blast watching soccer games and eating ice cream!
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Week 18 - Looking to the Cross

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I have never watched The Passion of the Christ, but within the first paragraph Nancy Guthrie has me convicted of my reasoning for not seeing it.  It is real.  The blood, suffering, and death of Christ are real from the past, and these things should not be ignored.  This movie definitely is not a requirement for heaven, but through discerning eyes, it can better our understanding. I must say this every chapter, but I am convicted.  I acknowledge what Christ has done for me by dying and God by giving up his son, but it is hard to think of the details of such a gruesome death.  My thinking is completely wrong because I stop on the death of it all.  Through this chapter I learned not to stop there, and I pray that God will continue to allow my life to reflect it.  By such a shameful death, I can find hope and guidance for my life.  A Christian hope describes a definite hope that we have.  It isn't a possibility as in "I hope you get better", but one much more secured in God's promises.  
In the cross we see Jesus' characteristics that we should exemplify.  As Jesus hung on the cross he did not curse those harming him, but he knew that this was God's will for his life.  Although the pain was severe, he continued through it all willingly because of the joy that would follow his death (Hebrews 12:2).  And not only did he suffer and die, but he humbled himself to die in the most demeaning way.  (Can we say that we are humble when God calls us to do EVERYTHING?.....again, the "C" word comes....conviction!)

"There's only one thing that enables me to accept what I cannot understand about my suffering and the suffering of this world: the Cross." "...the Cross is the ultimate example of God's ability to world all things together for good.."
Romans 8:28 - And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
This verse has become more significant to me after Magdalena's death than before.  Since God worked through the death of his only son, so that we may presented before him holy and blameless, wouldn't he work through our other sufferings?  I still cry out "Work it out another way!", but in my heart, I am confident in His love for me and I am given peace that his plan is greater than I could ever imagine.  To see this I focus on the cross.
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Monday, May 30, 2011

Tim Keller Winners!

The following people won a Tim Keller book!  Congratulations!  Be sure to email me within a week telling me where to mail it! julie.joyingod@gmail.com

Sara
Amy
The Burgess Family
Kathryn
Andie
Ruthie
Nicole
Sean


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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Books to Give!!!


After reading Timothy Keller's last book, I sent an email to his ministry requesting some to give away to my readers! I am so excited that they arrived today! There are 8 books to be given away at random (using random.org) through the comments left below. You can have your name entered in three ways:


Entry 1 - Have a confirmed subscription to the blog. Click HERE to subscribe, and be sure to confirm through the email that will be sent to you.
Entry 2 - Post the link to this giveaway on your Facebook account (at the end of this post you will see a very little FB emblem that you click on to do this the easy way).
Entry 3 - Put our button on your site or blog.

ONCE YOU DO ANY (OR ALL!) OF THE ABOVE , PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW FOR EACH ONE SO I WILL KNOW HOW MANY TIMES TO ENTER YOU FOR THE DRAWING OF THE BOOK GIVEAWAY!!!


Winners will be announced on Memorial Day!
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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Keeping Up With Walt

This past Sunday, Noah, Walt, and I enjoyed a very relaxing day of being together after a stressful week of Noah finishing up classes. It was time very much needed, and words cannot express the enjoyment that I got from having my two favorite men together. You are not going to believe this...but.... I took a nap in the afternoon. It was an hour-long nap of me completely resting while Noah played with Walt. When I went downstairs, Noah was definitely tired out from keeping up with Walt, and that is the stage that he is in now. He is always on the move wanting to experience it all, and yet, I think that he obeys pretty well. He is definitely NOT perfect, but he is already learning what my eyebrow raise signifies before I open my mouth. And the words that he is saying! I forget how big he is growing! Before I realize it, he has learned another word, and it always surprises me! Today we were playing on the floor, and I pulled him over my back by his arms where he dangled with his toes an inch above the carpet. He giggled so hard, and then, said "Again". How could I refuse? His sweet, innocent smile practicing a new word that I didn't know that he knew. He has us wrapped around those little fingers!

Also, it is time that Noah and I admit to the blogging universe that Walt sings Justin Bieber. It reminds me of the episode of Friends when Rachel and Ross keep singing "Baby Got Back" to their newborn baby because that is the only thing they do to get to see a smile. Walt has only heard the song one time on the radio, but since he can say the word that the song consists of "Baby" he loves it. I found myself singing it with him the rest of the day just to watch him laugh, sing, and dance all at the same time. Now, when he should be sleeping, I hear him singing "Baby, Baby, Baby, ooohh".

Walt and I sing, dance, build, run, hug, and read all day. I am so blessed to have these special moments with him no matter how exhausting they are. I am looking for some more fun ideas to do with him, so let me know if you have any! Swimming is definitely about to be on the list of things to do.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Blessings

Blessings

After hearing the song "Blessings", I was definitely interested in hearing the other songs that Laura Story had written for her new album. I have not been disappointed. She has not strayed from the worship music that she is known for, and so, this is not the type of music that will leave you unchanged (She wrote the song, "Indescribable", sung by Chris Tomlin.) . For me, all but one of the songs gave me a time to praise God while driving in the car. The track, "Prodigal Song",
is a good song, but I don't consider it a typical worship song. Walt praised God on many of the songs by dancing in his car seat!

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Ready for Rest

It is that time of year that things are just busy. In preparation of a semester's end, Noah has been extremely busy, so we are all exhausted and ready for rest. Last night, both Walt and I had a very low key evening while Noah helped with the senior banquet. I cooked a pizza in the oven, but I ended up burning my arm which caused me to drop the pizza all in the oven! I scraped it off to prevent further cooking, but no further clean up was done. It had just been a long day, so I sent a warning text to Noah about the huge mess, and that I would clean up in the morning. Walt and I were asleep before Noah came home, so it was morning when I opened the oven to show Noah the mess, it was no longer there. Noah said the oven fairy must have come. :) I definitely have the sweetest husband ever! I was able to bake some of my yummy muffins without the huge pizza smell. Then, Noah was off again to help with a the seniors again at their graduation. He should be completely finished with the semester by Wednesday, and we are ready! I am trying to think of something fun to do to celebrate the completion of another semester! This time next year Noah will be the graduate!

Walt is a little sponge soaking up the world around him. He surprises me each day with a few new words, and he is singing what he can of "happy birthday" and "Mimi and Papa". "Mimi and Papa" is a song that I made up to sing when we are on our way to their house. He can't get all of the words sung, but it is definitely clear that he is trying!


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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

King's Cross

King's Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus
Tim Keller's book, King's Cross, takes us through the life of Jesus by the accounts written in the book of Mark. One of my favorite things about Tim Keller's style of writing is that he explains passages in a way that an ordinary person can understand, but at the same time I think he takes too many liberties with the Bible's wording. If you read the book knowing that they are Keller's words and not God's words in many cases, a lot can be gained by reading the book. It is divided into two parts with "The King" describing who Jesus is and "The Cross" explaining what he did and why he did it.
"The gospel isn't advice: It's the good news that you don't need to earn your way to God; Jesus has already done it for you." (Keller, pg 20)
At the end of each chapter when he was nailing his point, I truly became aware of my sinfulness. Yuck! I am not perfect nor is God asking me to be, but he is calling me to run to the one who is perfect. "He (Jesus) must become the still point of your turning world, the center around which your entire life resolves." (page 45) Don't read this book if you don't want to be convicted that you are not doing this. We are made to worship, and if we are not worshiping Him, we are worshiping something in this world. I can not run this race alone with the expectation of winning without him, and there is nothing that I can do to earn his favor. "It's not the quality of your faith that saves you; it's the object of your faith."
Run to him.
Matthew 11:28, "Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
Part II, "The Cross" of the book focuses on Christ's purpose on this earth and why he had to die. I have read this section of Mark many times before, but I learned so much about the Bible in light of what was happening during that point in history. At the time of his death, many people did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah because of his death, but Keller shows through certain historical and biblical points that prove just who Jesus is, our Savior. Also, Keller takes us through the lives of those who were closest to Jesus during his last days, his death and after he had risen. I came back with so much more of God's word after reading this section.
When we suffer from things of this world, where does our hope lie? Because Jesus left his father's side to come to this earth and die, we can have hope that one day our sufferings of this world will be gone because we will of the honor of praising God.
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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Walt's Adventures

We ate lunch with Papa on his birthday, and afterwards they had a good, musical time together!
Walt has grown up so fast! Now-a-days when we go to the grocery he gets to beep along in the car attached to the buggy! He definitely has a much more enjoyable experience shopping while he is in the car!


Nothing says summer like a piece of Watermelon! Walt is enjoying getting to taste all sorts of new fruits during this season!


You can see the mischief in his eyes! He has just crawled up to the big table. Noah and I knew at this point that it was definitely time for Walt to have his own little table. He tested it out with a box of raisins in hand.



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Monday, May 16, 2011

Week 17 - Gifts of God

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2 Peter 1:3-5

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge,

Page one of this chapter was convicting because I began to think of how often I complain to God about what he has not given me or what he seems to have kept from me without considering the greatest gift that he has even bestowed upon us all, Jesus.

Romans 8:32 - He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

Through Jesus' life and death we do not have to pay the death for all sins against God because Jesus has taken our place. There is nothing that we can do to deserve this type of love, and he is not expecting a payment for it. It is a gift. Nancy Guthrie writes, "Mercy says we don't have to do the time. Grace takes our place in the prison cell to do the time we deserve. ..Grace sets us free from the misery of our painful past and the mastery of sin; it frees us from sin's power to keep hurting us and making our lives miserable."

Titus 3: 5 - He saved us , not because of the good things we did, but because of his mercy.

"We deserve punishment but receive forgiveness; we deserve wrath but experience love; we deserve death, but God has shown us mercy." God calls us to be in his likeness, and if he has forgiven us and shown us mercy, we should show this same type of forgiveness and mercy to others. God doesn't weigh what you have done and decide that a sin is too heavy to forgive. Christ covers ALL sin. My suffering is different than others, and my pain was not caused because of someone's wrong doing, so, please, don't take this as my advice as though I understand but as something God has called all of us to do. Having to forgive someone doesn't mean that you are declaring their actions acceptable, but you are offering the same mercy that God has given you (Matthew 5:38-42, Luke 6:35, Romans 12:14-21). Justice is in God's hands. Let him do it. All him to carry the burden for you.

God's greatest gift to us is his son, Jesus, the one who gives us peace when we are suffering and helps to carry our burdens.

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Walt's Emma

We had an amazing weekend full of fun! It began on Friday morning with breakfast with friends and Walt playing in the dirt, and then, after a good nap, we went to see Walt's cousin's end of the year musical. Walt acted at home in the school playing on the lighted floor.


Walt is waiting for the performance to begin in his own chair.

Emma is the first one you see, and as she walked out her name was called. As soon as Walt spotted her, he yelled her name out too. She blushed a bit because it embarrassed her. She does love her Walt though.

As soon as Emma got to the stage, Walt attempted to wiggle down so that he could run to her. His Mimi was able to keep him content through the music until the end when he could finally see Emma face-to-face.

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Slip-n-Slide

Walt is getting into full summer mode with a slip-n-slide! He had fun running in the sprinklers, and with the help of a friend he felt comfortable to play with the big kids.


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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Warm Weather is Here!

Our sweet, little neighbor, Lilly, has been wanting us to have a cook-out again, and of course, so did we! Noah built a fire in our fire pit, filled the pools with water, and the fun began! All of the kids enjoyed roasted hot dogs and marshmallows, and I definitely ate my share of smores! I have found berry and caramel marshmallows, which are extremely tasty with a piece of dark chocolate on it! If you can't build a fire, you can build the smore on a cookie sheet, and then, cook in them in the oven on broil for just a few seconds. It will be worth the few seconds to make!





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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Few Pics

Walt did an awesome job hunting Easter eggs this year! With a little help from his Mimi and Papa, Walt found many eggs!

I love family pics!!

Walt and his Mimi

Sweet Cousins

I am not sure but this could be considered cheating, but who is going to accuse Grandmom?

Look at that egg!!

Walt's basket was getting heavy, so I emptied it into a plastic bag. I think he had to check it out to make sure I wasn't stealing any!

I will always love this sweet picture of Walt and his Papa.

Sweating after a long day of egg hunting, Walt is all smiles.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mother's Day

This Mother's Day my men treated me sweetly. I woke up to blueberry pancakes, presents, and cards! My little man gave me chocolates and a singing balloon, which he carries around the house meanwhile dancing to the music. Then, my main man, Noah, gave the most amazing surprise EVER! A KINDLE!!! He had been saving up for about as long as I have wanted one, which is a long time! I love to read, so this gift was perfect for me! So the reason why I haven't written about this incredible day is because I have been playing with my new toy! Noah preached in another town, so he was gone during the day, and during that time Walt and I were able to celebrate my mom by going to church with her and having lunch. Then, Noah topped off the day with making me dinner and picking out a kindle case together!

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Friday, May 06, 2011

The Rabbit Hole Reviewed

The Rabbit Hole was recently released, and since that week I have considered reviewing it. This was something that I had to do alone. Before Noah left we went to the grocery store together, which was the first time in a VERY long time that we have been able to go together. One of our favorite things to do as newlyweds was to go grocery shopping together. While there shopping Noah was renting a movie on red box for me, and it was at that moment we decided that I would watch it tonight. I was pleasantly surprised with the fact that it wasn't focused in on the death of the child. I don't think my heart could have handled that tonight. The theme of the movie was that everyone deals with grief differently, and in The Rabbit Hole you see a few versions of what could happen. I didn't think that the movie was entertaining in a sense that it is a "must see" movie, but it was so well done that I would recommend it to everyone. Even if you are the closest friend of someone who has lost a child, you don't know all that happens in the heart and mind. What I loved most was that they showed a couple who in the end decided to fight to remain together in the midst of the unbearable pain. Instead of succumbing to their emotions, they realize that the person that they love most on this earth is in pain too, and they work to help each other deal with their grief, even if it is different from their own.

As the following scene was happening I knew that I would share it because it so accurately describes how the intense pain in the heart of a parent changes over time, but it never goes away. Recently there was a birthday full of dresses and tea where a bunch of little girls excitedly awaited the celebration of their friend, and before I knew it my pain was brought to the front of my heart. It isn't something that can be avoided because it is "always in my pocket".

Becca (Nicole Kidman) had a son who died because he ran in the middle of the road while chasing after his dog, and her mother, Becca's brother, died of drug overdose. Their relationship is tense because Becca does not like that her mother compares their pain as being equal when the deaths were so different, but here as she has packed away of the of her son's things she initiates this discussion.

Becca : Does it ever go away?

Nat: No, I don't think it does. Not for me, it hasn't - has gone on for eleven years. But it changes though.
Becca: How?
Nat: I don't know... the weight of it, I guess. At some point, it becomes bearable. It turns into something that you can crawl out from under and... carry around like a brick in your pocket. And you... you even forget it, for a while. But then you reach in for whatever reason and - there it is. Oh right, that. Which could be aweful - not all the time. It's kinda...
[deep breath]
Nat: not that you'd like it exactly, but it's what you've got instead of your son. So, you carry it around. And uh... it doesn't go away. Which is...
Becca: Which is what?
Nat: Fine, actually.


The movie ends by showing the couple's first step together in the grieving process, but it shows no more. I am not surprised because the hope in the death is Jesus, so it would be even harder for a person who lacks the hope in Christ to grieve. "Do not grieve as others do who have no hope." 1 Thessalonians 4:13 God doesn't say that was should not grieve..meaning don't cry or be unhappy with the situation. He tells us that we are to grieve with the hope, hope of all that God has promised us.

My brick is not only full of sorrow but of sweet reminders of God's promises.

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Thursday, May 05, 2011

Eating with Friends on Cinco de Mayo

I enjoy so much the time that Noah and I get to have friends over for dinner, and tonight was one of those nights! We joined together people who met for the first time over a new (and delicious!) recipe! And because its that time of year... a strawberry pie for dessert! Noah doesn't like berries of any kind, so I always shy away from there, but since so many people were coming over I got to make a yummy strawberry pie! I love strawberries!!

Here is the Tex-Mex recipe that I made:


what you need

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch-wide strips (I used 1 and 1/2)
2 Tbsp. (1/2 of 1-1/4-oz. pkg.) TACO BELL® HOME ORIGINALS® Taco Seasoning Mix
2 Tbsp. flour
1 each green and red pepper, cut into 1-inch-wide strips
1 cup frozen cornI added a can of rinsed black beans and a can of diced tomatoes!
1-1/2 cups TACO BELL® HOME ORIGINALS® Thick 'N Chunky Salsa
1 cup KRAFT Mexican Style Finely Shredded Four Cheese

make it

TOSS chicken with taco seasoning and flour in slow cooker. Stir in vegetables and salsa; cover with lid.

COOK on LOW 6 to 8 hours (or on HIGH 3 to 4 hours).

STIR just before serving; top with cheese.

I served this over rice, but I think tomorrow I will eat it in a tortilla!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

March for Babies 2011

Thank you so much to all of you who supported us in our walk to have more healthy babies! This is our 4th year to raise money for the March of Dimes, and we are so thankful to the many of you who have join us financially and those who have walked with us.






















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