Friday, July 31, 2009

scandalous Jesus

You know the story. Infact, you probably know it very well, but it struck me this morning as I read in John of Jesus' encounter with the woman with less than reputable character at the well.

This must be brief...because I'm leaving for work in a few moments, but I needed to process this, so here goes:
The story screams of the heart of God to restore the human heart to it intended wholeness. The cool part, is the lengths Jesus went to find the broken.

Jesus was withdrawing from Judea to Galilee after he and his disciples were getting a little too much press for baptizing in that region. Most Jews of his day (ie...the notable religious folk) traveled a broad U out of their way to miss the entire region of Samaria, for therein resided people of questionable background and impure lives. For you Detroiters...think taking 94 or 75 or something to miss the 8 mile area...hey, I've done it a hundred times going to work. Not Jesus, though. No, he scandalously marches straight into the hood.

Then he starts up a convo with a woman...alone. The passage says the disciples kinda walked in at the end of the exchange, and were surprised to find Jesus talking to a woman.  I can imagine the disciples thoughts, "Think of the implications? You...this woman, here, alone. Come 'on man, this woman gets around (5 husbands and counting)...and you are the leader of a religious movement, Jesus?! Someone could accuse you of know...with this woman, and your credibility is shot. Your movement is dead. There is too much at stake."

There was indeed much at stake: the heart of a woman looking for love in all the wrong the places...and Jesus was willing go to all the "wrong places" to restore it. Scandalous.

Feeling there are places in your heart no God could possible want to go? Jesus will march right in and stir things up if you'll go there with him.
Or are you playing it safe walking the high road? Maybe pray that God will lead you into the questionable places to meet less than reputable people in your journey today.
I can say yes to both questions...there are places in my heart that only Jesus can tackle, and I definitely play it safe as a rule. I want to be scandalous in my love today, Jesus.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Futbol fever

Belle vs. Daddy
It was a grueling match, but after 90 minutes of play, the count was still knotted at nil. Here is the exciting PK finish...
A heartbreaker for Daddy, and a well placed nutmeg for Belle! What a finish!
woah...tipped the scales today at the doctor! 3 lbs since last week. Dr. Valice was very, very pleased. 34 cm @ 36 weeks..."You're measuring a little small, but you're consistent...and you're steadily growing. So I'm happy," he said to me.

I was happy too. Then he freaked me out.

"After next week, we welcome baby anytime." Full term in one week??? There is so much yet to do! 

So Aron & I met for lunch, taking full advantage of BW3's free wing Tuesday (and any opportunity to hang out mid-day), and while we were eating I threw out the question,

"So say baby did come this time next week, what would you name him if it were 100% up to you?"
"I honestly have no idea," he replied after contemplating the question.

I'm in the same boat. We have a ton of names we like, but nothing has stuck.
One thing is for sure though, we CANNOT wait to meet this little love.
I have framed his little foot, and as I pass by it throughout the day, I just marvel at how perfect and beautiful it is. It seems incomprehensible that in a few short weeks, I'll be able to kiss those little toes!

Friday, July 24, 2009

friday night around these parts...

We spent the entire day car shopping with nothing to show for it. We had some good laughs as we puttered along in our Civy - whose health is fading quickly. Aron likened the noises coming from her to the "death rattle"...I'm pretty sure he's right. 

Anyway, after sweating all day in that hot car, we are just chillin tonight doing not much of anything. Which is absolutely perfect.
(notice she even plays guitar as a lefty? its going to challange aron to teach her guitar backwards!!)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Kirk Haven Cafe

Grab a cup of coffee, kick up your feet, and enjoy..

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Our little Artiste

Belle absolutely floored us with her drawing ability yesterday.  I was cleaning and trying to keep her busy, so I gave her a pen and paper to help entertain her. A few minutes later she came running up to show me her creation: (you can click on the picture and it will open up full size to get the optimal effect of the graphic detail...)
I mean, they may only be stick people, but we're talking about a 2 1/2 year old here, friends. I could be naive, but I thought a two year old is doing awesome to hold a crayon the correct way and scribble in circles. This girl is already attempting to master size proportion and and bodily shapes. Besides, a few weeks ago she couldn't even draw a circle. 

She loves to watch a show called "Harold and the Purple Crayon" (if you have preschoolers, we highly recommend it free @ & search the Title), and her favorite episode is Harold the Artiste. After seeing this Harold, she is constantly drawing and asking to paint. Our little Lefty may be a right brained artist after all. We shall see...
a proud chubby stick person,

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

what's been a going on...

Aron's still training for the sprint triathlon in a little over a week, so we headed out to Stoney Creek so he could get a swimming workout in. That's his little head in the bottom left swimming laps (he says that's him drowning in the bottom left...he drank quite a bit of lake water today).As always, Belle couldn't wait to get to the beach. She loves playing in the sand. But she sure does get lonely playing by herself.

She was pumped when daddy was finally done with his workout, so he could take her out in the water.
Saturday night we visited the one and only Erma's Custard shop as a treat after working hard around the house ALL DAY. It turns out Aron LOVES Bavarian Cheesecake Custard...after 2 cones, he jumped in line for a 3rd..."Its the triple threat, Hun." I talked him down from the 3rd cone only by promising we'd return again Sunday before the flavor changed on Monday. So we did.
Then Monday night we wanted to get out of the house, so we headed over to watch the guys in our small group play softball in the local league. We were too late for the game. Turns out the Kneppers were too. So we decided Erma's custard would be the perfect solution. The Abbots joined us, but before we left a skeptical Rocky wanted to know if it could possibly be better than Maggie Moo's...puh-lease!
Even the kids know Erma's is the best frozen treat one could imagine.

Even with 3 nights of frozen custard I was disappointed to discover I'd lost about a pound this week. I was really shook up and worried after getting off the scale at my appointment today. When the midwife came in and asked how I was doing, I could feel myself start to choke up. Rather than risk awkwardness, I just warned her, "Well I'm feeling like I might cry because I lost weight this week and I'm afraid the baby isn't growing." 

From the corner of the room little Belle speaks up, "It's okay, Mommy. Don't cry. I will hold your hand so you are not afraid." So sweet, my little nurturer.

The midwife was actually quite happy with my progress as my tummy was measuring 2-3 cm bigger than last week (I was at 33 1/2 cm...@ 35 weeks...well within normal limits).
She wants me to try to eat 100 g of protein a day (enough to feed a football player, i'm sure), dairy, & iron...and she specifically suggested milkshakes. Problem is, the ice cream has been giving me tummy aches. So I guess I'll stick with the meat.

That's all for tonight, though quite enough as you've gotten an earful already.
much love,

Monday, July 20, 2009

a message from belle...

Belle and I were experimenting with the isight video camera on the MacBook. Here's a little shout out from her...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sunrise, Sunset...I've always hated that song, but it feels appropriate today

We have worked all day rearranging, cleaning, painting...trying to get ready for baby. We finally cleaned all of our files off of the PC and restored Old Faithful Dell back to the factory settings. We'd love to keep her, but there is NO ROOM in this inn. 

In fact, Aron started getting sentimental as he was packing her up. He reminisced about the Christmas he received the computer, and how excited he was that his mom had ordered the upgraded sound card so he could record. "Its special, Hun...I'm feeling sad to let it go," he told me. I told him I knew how he felt...I felt the same way when it was time to sell the Tib a few weeks ago. 

I don't think its the things themselves that we're sad to part with, but the sentiment behind it. My parents bought the Tib for me as an enormous graduation gift for being Valedictorian (a naive promise they made when I was in elementary!) Aron's parents bought the computer for him and took extra care to get just what he would need, and he remembered his mom's excitement as she told him all about it. But alas, chapters of our life now only a memory must close in order for new ones to begin. Parting with these 'things' just make it more real.

I need a bigger car for TWO babies...we need more room in our condo, so the desktop & the desk it sits on have to go. Its stupid, but we are sappy & sentimental.

On a funny note...we had NO clue what to do with the Dell, and we hated to see it go to waste. We were able to sell the Tib on Craigslist for exactly what we were asking, so we thought we'd try to list the Dell on the 'Free' section hoping someone would have a good home for her. A few hours after listing the computer, I checked my email...forgetting about the listing. I looked at my inbox, which read ' 284 new messages'....and was instantly ticked thinking someone had sold our address and we'd gotten slammed with spam. No, they were definitely all in response to the post requesting our free Dell Desktop. 

So now I'm trying to figure out how to decide who gets our black beauty. Retarded as it seems, I'm sorting through the emails looking for someone who seems like they'd really appreciate her and take good care of her. 
enough sentiment for tonight...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

from relationship to abiding

I can't help but see the world through the lens of pregnancy - but its an undeniable portion of my existence during this season. As I sit and type, I feel the rise and fall of my baby's chest practicing breathing - preparing for life outside of the womb.

There's a portion in a book we've talked about before..."I became a Christian and All I got was this Lousy T-Shirt"...and it echo's in my spirit as I consider this child within me.Vince draws the conclusion that we were never really meant to be in relationship with Jesus - though a relationship is certainly better than religion. But I'm in a relationship with a ton of people...and I can go days or even months without connecting with them, and I'm fine. Is it the same with God? Can I go days or weeks without really connecting with him?
Check out what he has to say: (pg 33-34)

A relationship with Jesus is better than a religion with Jesus, but still, I don't think Jesus was talking about us just having a relationship with him.

For instance, one time Jesus said, "Abide in Me , and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it a abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing." To abide means to live within. Jesus says he wants me to live inside of him, and he live inside of me. That doesn't sound like a relationship to me.

What if you could somehow interview a baby inside his mother's womb? And let's say you asked the baby, "Do you have a relationship with your mother?"

I think the baby would give you a really weird look. Now from the pictures I've seen, babies in their mothers' wombs look very alienlike, so you may not realize the baby was giving you a weird look. But trust me; this questions would get you a weird look.

The baby would say, "Could you repeat that?" (I'm assuming the baby can speak.)

So you ask again, "I said, do you have a relationship with your mother?"

The baby would give you another weird look and and answer, "That's what I thought you said, but I can't believe you would ask that. How do I answer? I mean yes, we do have a relationship, but c'mon it's way beyond that. I mean, I live inside of her. I can't live without her. I am totally dependent on her for everything that keeps me alive. I can't do anything without her. So yes, I guess we have a relationship, but that's a colossal understatement." (I'm assuming this baby uses cool words like colossal.)

He later goes on to say:

So when we pray to God about our relationship with him, I imagine God saying, "Did you really just say that? I mean, yes, I guess it is a relationship, but you did catch the part where I said I want us to live inside each other, right? You want to call that a relationship? You can call it what you want, but I'm inviting you into much more than a relationship. I'm offering to be the womb you exist within, and the blood that flows through your veins. I want to be the umbilical cord that brings you the fluids that sustain you, and I want to be the breath that enters your lungs when you're born, and I want to be your lungs. What I want is for you to get lost inside of me, and I want to be lost inside of you. My desire is for us to be one..."

To abide. Wow, what a concept, what a life. His strength, his life, his love, his joy, his identity flowing through my existence, giving me everything I need to not only survive, but to grow and thrive into the girl he created me to be. This is my heart's desire, Jesus.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Ultrasound...

Okay, here are the details:

Baby Boy (yes, its still a boy; I asked her to check again with the many stories of big toes and umbilical cords...) is measuring 32 1/2 weeks or so weighing approx 4 lbs 5 oz. This puts me in the 20th percentile (so I'm safe for now!). I did gain a pound this week (thank you pizza hut and coaching from Aron).

So they want to start monitoring me weekly, and they'll do another ultrasound again in 2 weeks to make sure he's continuing to grow. At that time, depending on his size, they'll decide whether to let me go naturally or induce the next week. I am praying for naturally. Half our family will be vacationing south spread out between South Carolina and Florida the first half of August, so I'm getting much encouragement to eat and cross my legs until later in the month!

Baby is head down, in position. Now we must position ourselves...
we'll be hard at work on projects again tonight.
much love and thank you for your prayers...keep them coming!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The crunch is on...

We've been buzzing around our humble abode - checklists in hand - trying to get ready for this baby.

At my OB appointment this past Tuesday, the doctor was concerned that I was measuring a few weeks small and my weight gain is low. Basically, because Belle was so little at full term, they're watching this one extra closely for an IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction). I've measured perfect up until this point...

I'm to get another ultrasound this Tuesday and see the doctor again to further evaluate. If I remain below the 5th percentile, they'd like to 'take the baby' at 37 weeks. I am 34 weeks on Tuesday...

So it just hit us this week how incredibly close to D-day we are, and the huge amount of things we need to accomplish before the sleepless nights and every 2 hours nursing begins.

I've been trying to eat more and increase my calorie intake. We'll see if it helps. Pray with us that this little baby will grow strong and be able to get all the nourishment he needs while he continues to develop in the safety of the womb.
much love

Thursday, July 9, 2009

vacation moments - Part 2

Watching 4th of July Fireworks on Rankin Hill - with the stunning view, great company, and homemade ice cream - is pretty much the highlight of our summer.

The 4th was a washout this year, but thankfully the festivities were rescheduled for the 5th...and what a gorgeous evening God gave us.Here are a few moments from the night:

eli quinton, our nephew. we've forbidden him from getting any older while we're away.

chloe and grace - nieces from both sides of the family - as they overlook the sunset.
all kinds of cousins reuniting...

aron's daddy & uncle raybrotherly love..."true love", if you will.

stealing kisses at dusk
aron's bro ben and our nephew, samuel.
grandma steals a kiss from samuel & carissa

my mom & her festive fourth of july cast!

a handsome crew of kirk men
the fireworks are getting closer...its almost dark!
great friends, clint & lindsey, who joined us on the hill once again this year.
my sister, elizabeth. this was her first year...unfortunately, she missed the ice cream.time to bust out the sparklers!
aron lighting sparklers for more than a half hour. the kids didn't get the concept of lighting each other's!poor belle was running 103 degree fever all day. we brought her along anyway (with tylenol & ibuprofen on board). she felt puny, but bless her heart, she tried to enjoy herself anyway.

mama & her girl
pretty much the perfect way to end our vacation at home.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Vacation Moments - Part 1

Belle was sooo looking forward to spending time with Chloe this we made sure they got to see each other as much as we could.
It doesn't matter what these two cousins get long as they're doing it together, they're having a blast. They especially love Papaw Paul to push them on the swing.And I could really say the same thing for these two cousins as doesn't matter what Aron & Josh get into, as long as they're doing it together, they have a memorable experience. This trip the boys loaded up Josh's jeep and canoed down Eagle Creek to the Ohio River.We didn't have a lot on the vacation agenda, but we knew we wanted to catch a Cincinnati Red's baseball game. We had a beautiful view of the Ohio River from our seats along the 3rd base line.And great company as well. My sister, Elizabeth, Josh, and Chloe accompanied us. My parents and Aunt & Uncle came too.
The talented Josh Young & lovely wife, Marie, also joined us for a night of stadium fun.Silly Josh! Don't make fun of your wife when there's a camera present.

An impressive post game Fireworks show in celebration of the 4th of July followed. Belle absolutely loved this.

From her perspective...

Cutest conversation...take a listen

Belle: "What's you doing mom?"
Me: "Putting cream on belly. Is mommy's belly getting big?"
Belle: "Yes, it is!"
Me: "What's in my tummy making it so big?"
Belle: "A baby sister!"
Me: "No...its a baby brother."
Belle: "I have a baby brother too like you."
Me: "You are going to have a baby brother, but he will be mommy's son."
Belle: "And he will be my moon."



We are home from our wonderfully relaxing week with family in beautiful Brown County Ohio. We have so much to share, but for this morning, I am unpacking, Krogering, and laundrying.
So the vacation posts will have to wait.

Until then, I'll leave you with this picture...
Only in Brown County, baby. Aron and I pulled into the pharmacy parking lot to pick up some Airborne (I felt like I might be coming down with something mid-week) and caught a priceless shot. Yes, this is a lawnmower, parked, taking up an entire spot. Giggle if you must (we did!!), but in a strange way, this warms my heart.
more to come...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Relaxation and Family...the total intent of our week

We decided to spend our vacation time visiting family in Southern Ohio again this year. We arrived at Grandma & Grandpa Jackie's...I mean Grandma and Grandpa Kirk's resort Sunday around 7, and Belle went straight for the pool.
We spent Monday poolside, soaking up the warmth and peace.
Aron's been taking advantage of the hilly terrain running and biking in prep for the triathalon.
Belle LOVES the wide open space, running in and out and all around.
Lots of family time....
and beautiful Brown County.