Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Trip to DSS

I had to drop something off at DSS (Department of Social Services) last week.
This was a much longer process than I had anticipated.
And this was the second of 2 recent trips.
I had to wait in line....for....nearly an hour.

My, how the darkness in my heart was evident when I began to wait in that line.

I was determined, focused and unwilling to engage with anyone. (darkness again)

I wanted to wait, quietly, all to myself, turn in my paperwork and walk away, practically pretending it never happened and I was never there.

And go on with my pretty normal life.

My thoughts of myself had been so elevated.
"I am not one of these people" kept coming to mind.
As if I was separate. different. set apart.
And lo and behold, I was waiting in the same place, in the same line, trying to utilize some of the same services everyone else in my line was.

At some point during my wait, I remembered that verse that says:
"Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord.
And He will lift you up."

My thoughts began to become less of me. And more on...Jesus. ("what you have done to the least of these, you have done to me.")
Compassion began to enter my heart and humility, as well.
It was as if the Lord gave me exactly what my prideful, self-sufficient heart needed at exactly the most appropriate time.

Not even seconds later.

A lady came around the corner pushing a cart full of ice cream.
Each little bowl, full of neatly scooped ice cream, sprinkles and spoons.
Just like at a birthday party.
And we were the guests.

All of our faces lit up.
The lady in front of me, her little boy, the man behind me.
the lady two lines over.
Mine, probably more than anyone. As I, am a sucker for sweets. And have often received them on the same level that I receive someone telling me "i love you."
My thoughts rapidly changed to "I want some ice cream!"

What a gift from the Lord - I mean, has there ever been a recorded ice-cream giveaway at DSS in history? "...and He will lift you up."

But also - the reality of my selfish heart.
"I will not be identified with these people...unless it serves me."

Lord, please change the darkness in my heart. I want to have the heart of Jesus wherever I am, whatever line I'm in and by whomever I stand.

Thank you Lord for the humility moment...and the ice cream.

"humble yourself in the sight of the Lord.
and He will lift you up." James 4:10

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Muscle-Shirt

Wyatt adores his "muscle shirt".
(some may know these as wife-beaters)
He lovingly named this shirt his "muscle shirt" and it has stuck.
It began in the Spring.
He wears one every day.
If we're out, its under his shirt (even in 100 degree days)
If he's wearing a T-shirt under a collar shirt, its under the T-shirt
He would wear it swimming if I let him.
He would wear it in the bath, if I let him.
If we're at home, the shirt(s) come off all the way down to muscle shirt.
Dress up - the muscle shirt is on as well.

Here are a few clips that show his favorite attire.

video


video

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wyatt's fascination: Superheroes and Policemen

At the Clemson Game:
(some policemen were walking by and Wyatt says to them:)

Wyatt: "What are ya'll doing here?" (with wonder and awe)

Policeman: (lowers himself to Wyatt's level on one knee) Well, we're here looking for bad guys.

Wyatt: (fascinated) "What kind of bad people?"

Policeman: Well, maybe people who are drinking Kool-Aid (noticing Wyatt had a Capri-Sun). Do you ever drink Kool-Aid?

Wyatt and Anna Grace: NO! we always drink Capri-Suns!

(back to the original issue of looking for bad people)

Wyatt: Well, are you looking for the green gobbler?

Policeman: We might be. Have you seen him?

Wyatt: No.
(after he thinks for a minute)
But. If you see Spiderman. He. Is. Good.

Policeman: Thanks for the tip. :)


On Wes' way out the door to go to class:

Wyatt: You know, whoever finishes breakfast first, gets to go with Daddy.
Wes: Would you like to go with me to school?
Wyatt: Are there toys there?
Wes: No. Not at all.
Wyatt: Well, do you play at school?
Wes: No. All I do is sit in class all day.
Wyatt: Well, you don't play?
Wes: No, we learn about the bible.
Wyatt: (after he thought about it) Well, you've got to learn about a policeman!

At Harris Teeter:
(to the nice employee who helped us to our car with our groceries)

Wyatt: Where do y'all sleep?
Man: Excuse me?
Me: I believe he thinks you live at Harris Teeter.
Man: Oh, no. I don't work 24 hours.
Wyatt: heh?
Man: I work 8 hour shifts. I go to my house.
Me: Just like we do, Wyatt. He sleeps in his home just like we do.
Wyatt: (with that look in his eye) Well, you know who comes out at night?
Man: um, who?
Wyatt: Batman!

Interesting Conversation with Wyatt


Wyatt: Mommy, do you want to throw our baby away?

Me: (completely caught off guard) what?

Wyatt: do you want to throw our baby away? Walker?

Me: No. no. no. (shocked and trying to communicate well)We don't throw babies away.

Wyatt: We love them?

Me: Yes!

Wyatt: and take care of them?

Me: Yes! and teach them about the Lord and help them when they are hurt.

Wyatt: but Pharaoh wanted 'no baby boys'.

Me: (aha) that's right he did. And that's exactly why Moses' mother hid him as a baby.

Wyatt: Because she didn't want Pharaoh to throw Moses away?

Me: Yes! And how did God use Moses when became a man...

Wyatt: (cutting me off) And he said to Pharaoh "LET MY PEOPLE GO!"

Me: Yes.

(isn't it ironic that (by God's sovereignty) what eventually lead Pharaoh to dismiss Moses and the Israelites from Egypt was in fact, the death of his own firstborn son (the 10th plague -death of first born sons)?

For me, this was another reminder of the Lord's faithfulness in preserving Moses' life. The significance of his babyhood, and of course his life as a man. The fruit produced in his rescued life is paramount to our Christian history, in the Word and to our faith in the Father.

But Moses said, "O Lord, please send someone else to do it."
Exodus 4:13

God also said to Moses, "I am the LORD."
Exodus 6:2

A Big Boy!


...Walker is beginning to use a spoon. Thank you big brother for your example in this! It really is fascinating to see the learning patterns of both a first born and second born child. I underestimate how much Walker looks up to his big brother, observing and imitating him.

The first born however, its just different. He believes he is one of us (the adults) and yet, the need to be entertained is greater, the need to be taught everything by us is greater (of course it is) - its just interesting.

I enjoy the learning kit that comes with a first born - he/she can teach their younger siblings the extra stuff and we can focus on just the important stuff. :)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Faces

Sometimes I can't believe the variety of their faces. In such a short time span their faces can change from one delightful expression to a polar opposite expression I've never seen before. Me, being quite-full-of-faces myself, this is a nice dose of reality for me. As my husband has been the victim of many of my (not so great) faces. Its entertaining and wonderful (and trying) and hilarious (and exasperating) and fun. But for fun, to capture a few (good ones).
"But, there's nothing like looking at your own history in the FACES of your friends."
-Ani Difranco

Friday, September 18, 2009

Juxtaposition

A few posts ago I mentioned that RTS has a few bible studies for the wives.

I had no idea what the study was going to be on, I just knew I was impressed with the teacher. Mrs. Catriona (pronounced Katrina) Anderson. She is the essence of so many wonderful things. She is Scottish and speaks with a beautiful accent. She is a licensed Pathologist in Scotland. She is married to Dr. James Anderson, Wes' Theological Studies professor. She has 2 young girls, both of which she is homeschooling, instead of pursuing her practice here in the states. She is sharp. dynamic. and HUGELY encouraging.

We are participating in a very involved study. Entitled Juxtaposition, by Lindsey Braymen and Connie Dever, this is a study in itself where it requires your time during the week, answering very involved questions and looking deeply into the Word, etc. Alongside, to compliment the study we are reading 2 books, "One with the Shepherd" by Mary Somerville, and "Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian LIFE" by Donald Whitney. In a nutshell, biblical instruction and encouragement for the role of being a ministry wife.

As I began the study, I was hugely impacted by these words:

"What will your wife do if you become our pastor?" That was the question one church member asked my husband at a question-and-answer session at Capitol Hill Baptist Church (CHBC). He was candidating for the position of pastor.

How did Mark answer? Did he reply, "She'll take charge of the women's ministry. She'll work with the children. She'll accompany me on visitations"? No, he didn't.

"She will seek to love the Lord," was his straightforward reply. "She will be my wife, the mother of our children, and a faithful member of this church." Then he added, "Remember, you will be hiring me; not my wife. The best way she can serve you is by letting her be who God has made her to be, and by letting her support me."

In other words, he did not want the church to view me as an assumed, unpaid member of the church staff. He did no want me in a position. Rather, he wanted me in juxtaposition. That is, he wanted me to be closely connected to my God, my husband, my family and the other members of the church in a way that fulfills the biblical roles for all wives, mothers, and church members, and yet which also makes the most of the special opportunities that I have to complement my husband's ministry."
-Connie Dever
Juxtaposition


"The title of this book, 'One with the Shepherd' sums up what I believe is the key to a fulfilled life as a ministry wife. It expresses your relationship to your husband and to Christ. Unity with each is the key. As Christians we are one with the Good Shepherd who purchased His flock by His death on the cross. Apart from Him we can do nothing. If we abide in Him we can do all things. Likewise the more unity that exists in our marriages to the under-shepherds of Christ's flock, the more effective we will be in our practical calling."
- Mary Sommerville
One with a Shepherd

WOW. Already, the pressure and burden is falling off. The expectations, mostly put on probably by myself, are paling. To first and foremost pursue my Lord. Doesn't He always promise to provide the necessities if we first seek Him? (Matt 6:33 - seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things...)

And ironically, what about the necessity of seeking Him? Oh what I become in His presence is far more valuable to any earthly relationship than first pursuing any earthly thing. Because what I become in His presence is changed. strengthened by acknowledging my weaknesses. righteous by confessing my darkness. hopeful by sharing my doubts. glorifying to Him by laying myself down. at His feet.

How significant that is in our marriages and ministries. In our husband's ministry, specifically. How much more effective my husband will be if I am first, putting myself at the throne of Grace and in a posture of solitude and significance with my Savior.

More to come, I'm sure.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Fields at Old Muldrows Mill Road

Just before we left Florence, we had the sweetest opportunity to stay with our dear friends Jack and Beth Marchette.

This was the second time they welcomed us into their home to live for an indefinite period of time... We ended up staying there for nearly 7 weeks.

They breathe hospitality.
They welcomed us in,
with all of our stuff,
invited us to their movie nights,
their dinner table,
to grandma's house,
to ride their pony,
for our dog to take on official guard dog role,
to invite our friends over, whenever we wanted,
to use their golf cart whenever we needed,
to simply join them in their wonderful and warm world.

Jack and Beth were the ones who committed themselves to being a significant part of our growing relationships with the Lord.
They began a small group that would suit our schedule, take care of our children and feed us a meal.
Jack devoted himself in for an entire year (Aroma Underground's final year) to help us make wise decisions for the business.
And it was Jack and Beth who gave us the encouragement we needed and desired when we first shared with them about the call to seminary.

A few days before we left, a good friend (Tyler Lacross) came out and took pictures of us on their land (acres and acres of land). These captured two main things - the boys at their ages (3, 1) and a place of great significance to us. A place where much of growth in Him occurred. A place that represents a biblical relationship between two couples in the church. One with wisdom, full of encouragement and the other with a huge desire to learn from the other. :)

"Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us."

Titus 2:4-8


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Little Tricky.

..fitting our Florence house into our Charlotte apartment.

Decreased 1600 sq. feet.
Had 3 yard sales.
Truck loads to charities.
Threw away...16 garbage bags

and still. it wouldn't all fit.

Until we discovered tinyhouseblog.com, apartment therapy blog and a little store called IKEA. All have excellent ideas for small space living.
Among the things I've discovered:

1. walls are excellent places to keep things
2. 75% of our stuff was put away, that is now out in the open
3. everything really can be a "station" in your house.

here is a picture of the boys in the living room, opening a party favor from Catherine Canfield's birthday. They loves these, Charissa and Wyatt sleeps with his. :)

our coffee table in the living room. Now arrayed with puzzles and games. The game station, as I like to call it. :)

above our couches in the living room are these shelves (IKEA) with storage boxes. In these, I have "the things I didn't know what else to do with." Photos that haven't made it to an album, old Christmas cards, potpouri, youth ministry binders, dvds, the children's artwork, cds, all of which are labeled on the little white tab in front.

inside the living room looking into the dining area. the arches make it feel more open, which I appreciate. :)
coming in from the front door - the "foyer" looking into the living room.

I've also discovered that we can't have enough bookshelves. We had smaller ones and swapped those out for these (IKEA). One was 50% off because it was used.

laundry room - which is inside the boys' bathroom. Here I keep my ironing board, iron, storm station (red object), cleaning supplies, sheets, humidifier, rags, etc.

one of my favorite "stations". This is clearly a desk. Oh, but not just any desk. It has shelves, drawers and dividers you could never imagine.
it becomes the "home office station" in a matter of seconds. I keep the bills, stationary, my scrapbooking stuff, Wyatt's 'school' stuff, even our computer stored inside this thing, many of my albums, paints, even a battery and lightbulb drawer!

This is in our hallway going to the boys' room. This is their artwork, hung on wire with cute little wire clips. ($4 at IKEA for the whole kit)

Our eating area - looking into the kitchen.

The left wall of the kitchen. The stainless shelves come from IKEA - also the hooks that hold all of our pots and pans, grilling utensils, oven mits and pot lids. On top of the shelf we have well everything. Its in a more convenient place than ever before.

There is a stainless rod ($3 at IKEA) hanging over the window - all of our cooking utensils (most of them) are hanging from it. Never knew I'd like this. But I do. The amount of counter space it frees up is really nice.

3 stainless shelves were mounted by Wes on the side of the normal apartment cabinet. Has been great for quickly grabbing olive oil, garlic pepper, or any easy-reach cooking ingredient.
(IKEA)
Again, a favorite station. Our coffee station. Another $3 rod with hooks to hold our favorite mugs. Also a paper towel holder hanging from the rod to free up counter space.

little magnet boxes that hold pens, business cards, etc. Again, that store I keep mentioning. We have four on our fridge. One for pens, invitations, lists and important numbers. I feel that my fridge has become less stressful.

So its actually been a treat to be able to have quicker, easier access to all of our stuff. I am enjoying it and really appreciate other wiser people who've done this before and can offer their help and suggestions.

Here's to you and your small space.
You can make it work!

Same Lunch

Wyatt: Mommy, I told Anna Grace that I was coming to Charlotte.
And she thought I was coming to Charlotte the spider.
(silence)
But I'm coming to a house at Charlotte.
(silence.
She thought I was coming to a web.

later.
Me: you can have 2 choco chip cookies for desert.
Wyatt: actually I would like oreos.
Me: we don't have any oreos.
Wyatt: who took them?

Lunch Laugh

(praying for our food before we ate)
"Father, we thank you for this food. Wyatt, don't eat while we pray, be respectful. We thank you for this food....Amen."

Wyatt: Mommy, what does respect mean?
Me: It means you think highly of God. Your thoughts are more on him than on your food.
Wyatt: Sometimes I be shy of Kris Meade.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

New Life in Charlotte

Already I've learned a lot about being here. The Lord's going before us. His preparations and provisions. Theology! Living in tiny spaces. And it's only been a month.

I'm going to have to take this at a turtle pace in order to comprehend and articulate well.

Wes is a student at RTS (Reformed Theological Seminary). He is beginning the M.Div program. The program requires 120 credit hours. He is taking 13 hours this semester. That's 5 classes which include:
Hebrew I
The Gospels
Intro to Preaching
Intro to Theological Studies
Leadership.

Some things I appreciate about RTS:
1. he will have 3 Hebrew classes and 3 Greek classes. I just think that is going to lend itself well to studying the Word later - and I find it super cool to "know" the language of the original bible?!?!

2. he will have 5 Preaching classes in all. I find that very thorough and well equipping.

3. his first assignment in Leadership was to take 4 personality tests (Spiritual Gifts, DISC, Meyers Briggs, Strengths Finder 2.0) - and students were strongly encouraged to invite their wives to participate. We took the tests together. We have a dinner scheduled with his Leadership professor in October. Dr. Colbertson is going to meet each student for dinner to discuss with each of them - their personalities - and their wives!!! So Wes and I will get to dine with Dr. Colbertson and Mrs. Colbertson and discuss our personalities. (can't wait)

4. RTS has done a nice job of including the women. There are 3 bible studies offered to the women - one of which I will be doing every other Monday night. The leader will be Catriona Anderson, one of Wes' professor's wives. How cool is that? She is Scotish and has a wonderful accent and inviting personality.

5. Chapel once a week for the students. The opportunity Wes has each week to sit and listen to a wise Theologian without being graded. I really appreciate that knowledgeable, encouraging break for him.

6. This unique time in our life - for a few years to take a break from life and be poured into. To fill up on the knowledge of the Word. And the sound, biblical teaching offered by RTS.

7. Each professor at RTS either has or does currently pastor a church.

The program also requires that each student complete a 1-year internship. Wes has begun his at Uptown Church in the youth ministry.
Some things I appreciate about the church:
1. They have a very thorough and established internship program. Currently they have 8 interns.
2. Each intern has a mentor and is encouraged to have a different person in the church disciple them.
3. The interns have lunches with the staff once a month - including the head pastor, associate pastor, Sunday school pastor and the 8 interns. There are topics each month which they will be taught. Every third months, the wives are invited - that will be in November and the subject for that meal will be family balance. Can't wait!
4. PUB night. The church has this once a quarter where church members gather at Dr. Kruger's house and discuss a topic and how it can be interpreted through the bible. PUB stands for "Promoting Understanding of the Bible."

Again, just the unique situation to be in a community of biblical scholars. It is sharpening in a refreshing and stimulating sort of way. I appreciate all aspects of what this means for us right now - from Wes studying his Hebrew vocabulary words to the level of theological discussion in Sunday School.

I am eating it up.

And I am very thankful to be here. In this place. Right now.

"For all things are of Him to Him and through Him."
1 Corinthians 10:31

Thoughts on Halloween


Today I went to Walgreens. With my 3 year old and 16 month old in the buggy. Strolling up and down the aisles. And this guy directly above (approximately 5 feet in height) hung from nearly EVERY aisle. Well, it was a variation of this guy above. The ones we saw - had long, balding hair, and a much more evil expression. It was like Tales from the Crypt - in demonic form.
My 3 year old was torn between wanting to look and terrified. He had so...many...questions. What is it? Where does it come from? What does it do?

And I hate that I had to have THIS conversation with him. today. He is so little and while, he is a full-blown 3 year old with a normal sin nature, THIS does not have to be in his thoughts.

All I could say was. "That's evil."
And he said. "I hate them."

For years, Wes has been hung up on halloween issues. That's what I've referred to them as. He has always believed that because its very beginning was shaped from evil, it therefore should not be something we acknowledge or celebrate.

I loved Halloween as a kid. Trick or Treating. My neighborhood. My sister and I hand in hand, with our pumpkin candy holders in hand. Walking with my dad. Hi-fiving our neighbors as we'd pass each other dressed in sweet, fun characters. Mom at home, passing out candy to hundreds of our neighbors.

And I have fought him for years on celebrating this holiday and making it a part of our family.

But I'm running into a big problem. Its becoming blatantly evil. And I'm losing my argument with myself. I don't want to be a part of this. And why are these things hung up in the entrance, on every aisle and putting horrible images into my children's heads?

Are these things going to be on the front porches of the houses we go to? That's terrifying to a young child. After we had a conversation about this in Walgreens, we talked more about evil. The bible does tell us to cling to what is good. And to hate what is evil. Wyatt reflected all day on these "Scary things". And I could not argue or even correct him for hating them.

My overall thoughts: Its becoming harder to avoid and escape and overlook this kind of evil at Halloween.

A question: What is our role as believers living in this world that celebrates Halloween?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Tiny House Blog


So thus begins a new era for me and my family. God's faithful provision and promises of an abundant life have lead us to an apartment in Charlotte. First, before anything else, may I give Him all the glory for where we are and how we've come to be here. Truly as 1 Corinithians 10:31 proclaims: "For from Him and to Him and through Him are all things,"

I see this tiny place we are living as from Him, to Him and through Him.

The lessons I've already learned in this apartment. Wow.
Stay tuned for blogs on what we've been doing, what our place looks like and most importantly what He is teaching us.

*tinyhouseblog.com that has come to be a source of inspiration and practical tips for us in our new place. Check it out if you have some time.