Sunday, May 31, 2009

Meet the newest member of the family...

The family of musical instruments that is.
The Mason & Risch. Old Clawfoot. Whatever we decide to call her, she's a beauty. Created in 1917, our old, new upright piano has awesome, vintage tone, and is amazingly in tune.
The sweetest part of the deal, you ask?! Let me tell you.
Our lovely piano was 100% free. Thank you, Craigslist. One more reason for me to love you, and prove to my husband that my time spent surfing you is indeed treasure hunting.
We just had to find 5 strapping young gentlemen to move the beast. So we called up our very strong small group buddies, promised them a homecooked lunch, and the piano was as good as ours!

It took 6 lbs of pot roast, 3 lbs of potatoes, and a bottle of ketchup (inside joke) to feed our fiercely strong friends.
But after all that hard work,they indeed worked up quite an appetite.The lovely Erica York and Abigail Carr joined us for dinner, and Erica brought along some Alabama sweet tea...mmmm.Our latest treasure, Home at last.
And the best part of all... sweet melodies.

Baby on the Brain

Okay, everyone, I need your input. When we found out Belle was a girl, I went a little crazy with the pink...hey, I'm pretty "girly", so what can you expect?! We could put little brother in Belle's posh pink ride, but the poor fella's gone have enough trouble with Belle as a big sister and me as a mommy, no need to give him a complex this early, right?
So Target has free shipping this week on their baby gear, and I'm considering ordering a new car seat. But I'm really struggling with what to get. So I need your input. I want something plain, but cute. No frills, though.
Do I go with the classic Travel System?
I like this one because it matches Belle's current car seat. But I'm concerned I may get really bored with all the brown. I've also suggested it for my sister in law, Kara's new baby. It goes perfectly with her color scheme of Baby Isaiah's room, so if she goes with this one, I'll choose another. I did see it in person, and its really attractive.

I like this one as well.
Plus, I could get the matching sit and stand stroller. Belle currently has no interest in riding in a stroller, but I figure as soon as baby brother has one, she'll want in all the time. What do you think, mommies? Do I go with a single or double? And does the sit & stand really work, or will the 2nd child want a seat?
Here's a few more I like...
Okay, so please help! Tell me what you like, what you don't. Plus what you think is best in your experience.
much love,

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Saturday, May 23, 2009

From Creeds to Deeds

So that's the what the lead minister, Andy, asked Aron to speak on tomorrow. And can I just say that this topic has literally kicked our rear ends in every way imaginable this week. Theologically, practically, physically.

I have never seen Aron wrestle so much with a message; our kitchen table is filled with books and he's put in close to 40 hours already just pouring over the topic. As Aron explained, when you teach on a topic, you can't just know your stuff, but you have to really examine yourself with a fine tooth comb.

If we really believe this Jesus guy and all that he claims, then our faith (or deeds) should reflect that. James puts it this way:

14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”

Jesus said all we must do is believe in Him and confess or sins. Yet, James is pointing out that belief leads to action. It moves from head knowledge, to heart knowledge, to a changed life. If this doesn't happen, do we really believe in Jesus? Don't get me wrong, there is NOTHING we can do to ever earn our salvation. It is a free gift. But this gift God offers us requires us to believe with our whole heart, and this belief changes who we are. Good deeds are evidence of that change. Because once we encouter Jesus, our priorities shift. We start to care about the things God cares about. Our deeds simply mirror our heart so it seems.

Jesus used the analogy of trees bearing fruit. Good healthy trees produce big, juicy fruit (healthy faith=evidence by love, deeds, joy, kindness, ect). Dead trees do not produce fruit and are good for nothing but to be cut down (dead faith = no evidence of faith, no action, apathy, self centeredness).

Speaking for myself only...Ouch!

So time for a confession. For the longest time Aron & I have wanted to sponsor a child from Compassion. We've talked about doing it, said we were going to do it, but month after month we neglect it. Mostly because of busyness, but isn't that kinda like saying, "Go, I wish you well. Stay warm and well fed."...and doing nothing about it. Yes it is; I'll answer my own rhetorical question.

This morning I read this verse from Hebrews 13:16

"And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased."

It is time for action. Good intentions are not enough. So I sat down at the computer and signed us up (finally!). I want to be what I believe.
much love

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

3 Things Not to Say to Your Wife When She's 6 Months Pregnant

Not that anyone I know would ever say such a thing...

3. Hun, are you sure you want to finish that burrito? I didn't want to say anything, but I've noticed you've been gaining a little weight... your stomach is looking a little 'out there' lately.

2. "Beep, beep, beep..." as she waddles around the house.

1. "Babe, I think you're really gonna get big with this one. I mean, it seems like you were about this big when Belle was born. And you've got months to go...I bet you're really gonna look like your gonna pop." (He was dead serious...what could he possibly have been smoking, I ask you?!)

Poor men - they don't have a chance with these growing thighs and raging hormones. The other day we were walking by a store front and I caught a reflection of my profile in the glass. It took me by surprise, "Oh my!" I gasped. "I'm really getting curvy. Baby got back!" Aron agreed. Yes, indeed, he agreed with me wholeheartedly. Apparantly he didn't realize he was supposed to totally discredit my statement!

Aron does enjoy teasing me now and then, but in all seriousness, he has been incredibly supportive. He's gone the extra mile to help out with cleaning and work around the house and has insisted I rest when I feel compelled to work, work, work. And best of all, behind closed doors and all jokes aside, he is incredibly sweet complimenting me on my new curvy figure. I couldn't dream of a more amazing man to be pregnant with...if that makes any sense. Even his jokes at my expense give me a good laugh!

This journey of creation and new life is such a privilege. God knew just what he was doing when he gave male and female each other to love. And then, as if this wasn't enough, He designed life in such a way that the culmination of their love, their oneness and union together, would result in a crescendo of new life. A piece of man, a piece of woman, a breath of the Most High...fused together to create a sum greater than the parts. Nothing short of divine synergy.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

my sweet, sweet Rose and a little life in between

Some of the most precious things have been coming out of little Isabelle Rose's lips lately. Like tonight while I was fixing dinner, Belle plopped down next to her daddy on the arm of the couch, looked at me and randomly said, "This is my best friend, daddy. He's my best friend." Aron melted.
Later in the evening, Belle wanted to take her Bear for a walk outside. She diapered him, rocked him, gave him a milk bottle, then gently strapped him in the stroller. As we were walking out the door, I heard her gently explain to him, "No, I cannot hold you. I have a baby in my belly, and you are heavy, so you need to ride in the stroller."

This week has been an exhausting one. It started Sunday night when Isabelle climbed up on my belly and immediately fell asleep at 8:00 pm. Okay, this is NOT my child...she's a late night owl, and never falls asleep cuddling in the living room. I figured she must have been really exhausted. Then I realized, "No, she's burning up." Oh yes, a high fever.
I stayed home from work Monday and took her to the doctor. The bacteria count in her blood was very high, but there were no other symptoms to account for where the infection may be originating. We just got a call from the doctor saying we need to bring her back in tomorrow for further testing as Monday's results had to have been contaminated (she's growing 3 different bugs simultaneously, & this is highly unlikely they say).

Tuesday I woke up so very sick with some sort of sinus infection. 3 days later I'm feeling absolutely miserable. I have 12 very long hours to look forward to tomorrow, so I'm praying for some healing with rest tonight!

One last story before I turn in:

Tonight Belle and I went to JoAnn's to finish gathering fabric for the baby's quilt. Feeling as bad as I do, I thought a nice warm drink would soothe my throat, so I grabbed a Caramel Machiato from Starbucks on the way. I left my latte next to Belle in the cart while it cooled, but quickly neglected it as I became engrossed in the wall of fabric before me. That is, until I heard, "Gulp, gulp, gulp, gulp." I looked down to see Belle chugging my Starbucks. I had only had a few sips before she downed it like a sippy cup of milk. She lowered the cup, grinned, and said, "Ummm, that's good coffee, mommy." I bet it was. There wasn't a drop left for me.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What the heck is going on?!?!

The economy. Obama. Stimulus packages. Tea parties. Auto industry. Bailouts. Unemployment.

If you're like me, when you hear these words, it makes you want to say, "what the heck is going on?!?!"

Well, as I was cleaning our condo this past Saturday afternoon, I listened to a recent message by Andy Stanley from Northpoint Church in Atlanta, Georgia, called "God and Country: In Search of a Conscience." It's the first message in a two-part series on WHY our country is going through what it is right now, and it completely blew my mind. If you've been asking "what the heck is going on?" then check out Andy's message here.

I'm looking forward to listening to the second message in the series later this week.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Fathered by God

Aron & I spent last evening with John Eldredge during his "Fathered by God" Tour. There are no words for the way God showed up last night.

I've had great respect for Eldredge and his insight on the heart of God, but man, he took it to 'a whole 'nother level' with "Fathered by God". I mean, "Wild at Heart" was good (though in some ways simplistic), but that book could only be described as a preface to understanding and unlocking the heart of a man when compared with the depths explored here.
So I could blog for a month on what God showed me last night, but I know I wouldn't do the truth of this message justice. So if you're a man, or if you love a man, or if you're raising a man...this is an absolute MUST read. We can't wait to get our hands on it. Trust me, you'll read it and pieces of your heart will awaken that you never even knew existed.
And while I'm on my Reading Rainbow soapbox, go ahead and pick up "Walking with God" while you're at it. One of the greatest treasures God has given mankind is day to day conversational intimacy with Him, and as Eldredge said last night in his Q & A time, its one of the lost arts/treasures of the Christian faith.
much love,

Monday, May 11, 2009

Hope for the day

Ever feel like you've blown it? Like you're perpetually failing or stuck in a cycle of monotonous meaninglessness? Like you're going to bed and dread the morning b/c you know that tomorrow will be the same as today and nothing new will grace your experience? Then check this out:
"22 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23

New hope awakens with each day. God's compassions, his mercies, are new each and every morning. As Romans 2:4 says, it's God's kindness that leads to repentance.

Chances are, whatever your facing is your fault. Whether it's some sin you have committed or you're stuck in a cycle of meaningless monotony b/c you're not walking by faith (which, by the way, is sin), remember that it's not your faithfulness that gave you hope in the first place. It's God's. And no matter how we fail, God's mercies (plural) are new each morning. His kindnesses. His gentle leading encouraging (NOT rebuking) you toward repentance.

So when does the cycle end? When you give up, realize that Life is a gift, and let the gratitude of what God has done through Jesus motivate you toward obedience as an act of worship.

This is the refrain of a song I wrote awhile back. Let these words speak Truth:
Every morning is a new beginning
Opportunity is dawning
Possibility is calling

Praise for this morning
And all that gives it meaning
Its newness is redeeming
And I have been redeemed


Saturday, May 9, 2009


My heart is at peace this morning.

I sit staring out the window, watching the tree limbs dance to the rhythm of my husband's strumming. My coffee is cold now, but I don't care...I sip it anyway, and it satisfies.

He's giving Belle & I a private showcase of his latest acoustic folk material. The melodies take us somewhere transcendent - where life is how it should be and love is eternal. I smile as I consider how God uses art to echo eternity in our hearts.

In the quietness of this moment, I can feel the Spirit restoring what the craziness of the week robbed.

Aron just finished another song, and in the stillness following, I hear my 2 year old whisper, "That's a good song, daddy".

Then she sheepishly asked, "How about, 'Elmo's World?'" And Aron begins, "La, la, la, Elmo's world". Belle joins him, "Elmo loves his goldfish, his crayon too...."

Indeed, my heart is at peace this morning.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

As of late

***Guys, I'm gonna warn you now, this is a total chic post. Nothing gross or tmi, just stuff men simply could care less about. You're welcome to read on, but just wanted to get that out there so you don't think, "Well, that 30 seconds was a waste of my precious guy time..." I warned you!

So I cannot believe I am now 6 months pregnant...check out the bona fide baby bump which is now starting to feel like a barrell of monkeys invading my space. But I love it!

Everyone always says you carry boys and girls differently when prego, so I thought I'd pull up my 24 week picture with Belle and compare...

So here's 24 weeks with boy: And 24 weeks with girl:

What do you think? Maybe a little rounder in the tummy with girl? Definitely more tan, but I've since sworn off tanning beds.

In other exhilarating news, I had the most gratifying mommy moment this week: I fixed a meal and my little picky eater ate everything I prepared...I mean all of it, and was asking for more. It was a pretty healthy dinner, so maybe I need to cook au natural more often.
I'm trying so hard to soak in my few moments with my little girl, knowing how consumed my attention will be with care of the new one the first few weeks. Aron shot some photos of his girls before we left for our date the other night:
Over the last few weeks she's completely rid herself of all diapers and pull ups...even at bedtime. She transitioned herself into her big girl bed. And wants to do everything by herself. Oh, this independence is killing me, but it gives me such joy at the same time. I love watching the satisfaction flood her face when she buttons her coat or paints a picture and then shreeks, "I did it!"
Thank you, Father, for allowing me the privilege to love this child.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Chasing The Wind

I listended to a few sermons on Ecclesiastes by Matt Chandler the other day and they really messed with my head. Nothing will challenge your priorities in life like studying the message of Ecclesiastes (basically, if you put your hope in anything other than God, you'll find it to be meaningless). Chandler really brings the message of Ecclesiastes into our day and age, so check out his messages here if you get a chance.

After listening to these messages, I was also reminded of a poem I wrote a few years back called "Chasing the Wind" (common theme in Ecclesiastes). Enjoy:

Chasing the Wind
Chasing the wind. Follow the feather
Finding forces unknown by a letter
Fighting for something that could last forever
A means to an end – Chasing the wind.

I thought I saw, I thought it was –
It wasn’t at all what I thought it was!
Like starting a fire with worn out embers
Like sand I saw on a beach to remember:
Grains in hand I closed my fist
Began to run and take it with
But it slipped – slipped – slipped
And I squeezed hard but lost my grip

Like a clever wind just blowin’ off steam
Like a quiet friend ain’t what he seems
I finally caught up to that gusty dream
And it was good – good for nothing.

I think I saw, I think it was –
It was a flood to my drop of ideas
Like a universe opened behind a space
Like thinking of you then seeing your face:
Hand in hand and we take it slow
Needle and thread begin to sew
Grown together we grow, grow
And it was hard but we let go.

As sound is to a bell is to a ring
Salvation is the key to what I mean
Unless I can be what I was born to be
This world is good – good for nothing.

Go West, young man! Chase the wind!
Let me know when you reach the end.
As for me I’ll enjoy the breeze
Feel it blowing, let it feel me.
Let it know where I stand
Don’t let it tell me who I am
Enjoy the breeze while it lasts
And let it go for it shall pass
Don’t try and follow its wispy path
Enjoy the ride and save the gas.

Listen! The peace that speaks as it leaves
Proves the chase is good – for nothing.


Divine Discipline

Check out this passage from Hebrews 12 that is rockin' my Tuesday morning:

5 And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said,

“My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. 6 For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”

7 As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? 8 If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all.

This passage has had a paradigm shift on my thinking this morning, totally transforming my thoughts on current hardships. The NIV translates verse 7 like this: "Endure hardship as discipline." So these seemingly annoying trials out of my control can better be viewed as training, instruction, character building lessons that God is using to shape me.

This makes all the difference in the way I approach them. Instead of feeling sorry for myself or moping around, I can chose to lean into these hardships. To embrace them, knowing they are a divine tool. When I am tempted to whine a prayer about how hard it is or how sad I feel or how unfair this seems, I can instead ask God, "Help me to learn ALL that you want to teach me. Help me to grasp this lesson. Refine away the impurities in me that are separating my heart from yours..."

Then the passage goes on to say this...

10But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. 11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

Paul closes by saying this...and I LOVE this:

12 So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. 13 Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.

All of this hardship, all of this training - this 'discipline' so that in the areas that we are weak, we will be made strong, so that we will not fall!

Whatever hardship you are facing this morning, take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. God is using this difficulty to train you, to make you strong, and His discipline is always good for us. Not fun at the time, but good for us, and will bring about peace and right living.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Conversations During a Rare Date Night...

So we dropped off Belle at the sitters house (who were wonderful!!!), and before we even pulled up to the house, she totally knew what was up. Huge alligator tears, "I want my mommy.", "I hold you, mommy."...

I had planned on staying in the car while Aron took her inside, knowing I would enjoy my night more if I didn't have to tear myself away and watch her sob. But the pre-drop off scene was breaking my heart, so I got her out of the car, tried to soothe her as I whispered how much I couldn't wait to come back and get her in just a little bit, and accompanied Aron inside. The departure was traumatic - for Belle and for me. We started to leave, she goes limp...sobs and cries escape from her little body that can only be explained by a two year old who believes she's being utterly abandoned.

We pulled away - aron is grinning from ear to ear in anticipation for some Abuelos & Wolverine action- I am weeping (only for like 10 minutes...). Through sniffles and running mascara I ask him why it rips my heart out to leave her, yet he is completely unphased.

He peered out the window, thought for a few moments. Then came the reply.

"Well, hun, when Belle was born, you know, you delivered her. They put her up on your chest, you cleaned her and loved on her...but me, I was the one who grasped those sissors and CUT THE CORD. Apparantly you missed that moment!"

He went on, "Now you've got another one in you...the whole cord thing going on. You probably are feeling the need to reattach that cord to Belle - a maternal thing, really. But I remember that moment vividly. The cord is severed, hun. You gotta let her go. You don't want to be a helicopter parent, ya know."

oh, the wisdom.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

love and the everyday

If you've known me for very long, you know there has never been any other man in the world for me but my husband. He stole my heart at 14, and though the journey has not always been easy or fun, God has given us the grace to forgive each other's mistakes and walk hand in hand.

He always, always amazes me, but I wanted to share a few of the things that I have really appreciated lately.

**He continues to ask the 'loaded' questions. I'm by nature a very emotional person...and the surge of estrogen in this growing body has definitely amplified that! He reads me like a book, and knows when I'm 'dealing with something', but I rarely talk about it unless he asks. It would be really easy for him to simply ignore that something that is bothering me, and do his own thing. After all, its not his problem, why should he inconvenience his day? But he pursues anyway...even though it may lead to an hour long discussion with tears and drama.

**He denies himself and serves. I just caught him on his hands and knees scrubbing the bathroom floors - laptop right next to him with an online sermon blaring. If it were up to him, the bathroom floors would NEVER need cleaned, but he knows its important to me. That says a lot.

**His courage. He asks tough questions and then stands with courage to deal with tough answers. He desires to follow God wherever He matter how risky or uncharted that may be.

**His Priorities. Jesus talked a whole lot about priorities and motives in the Bible. Aron has amazed me with the consistency of his pure motives and his priorities. Not that he's perfect, but he continually evaluates his inmost thoughts, and he is quick to submit and surrender his will to God. And he calls me to do the same if I am out of line or walking ahead of where God may be leading. I am humbled when I watch him, and I long to be more like Christ.

**His Pursuit of My Heart. The world tells us a man should be bored with one woman after this long. That he's seen all there is to see and knows way more than he wants to know. But Aron is showing me a different picture of love and intimacy - one I believe God intended us to experience. The pursuit looks different from day to day. Yesterday, it was him insisting that we stop and pray when I was in a funk. I was feeling frustrated and without hope, and the last thing I felt like doing was praying. But thats exactly what I needed, and his words brought healing by inviting God into my brokenness. Today it looks like dinner and a movie. I'm always hesitant to leave the baby and spend the money on date nights. Not that I don't enjoy them...I LOVE them, once I'm out. He just has to kidnap me to get me away so I CAN enjoy them. So he arranged it all to get a few precious moments alone with his wife after 3 jam-packed weeks.

I could go on all day, but I do have a date to get ready for.

I just want to encourage you this weekend to make an extra effort to honor those God has put in your life. To love them excellently, in ways that are intentional and speak to who they uniquely are. I know this causes great delight in the heart of our Father.
much love,