Sunday, February 28, 2010

Family Time

Aron's parents & our nephew Luke came for a visit this weekendWe had lots planned, but Saturday Belle spiked a 103.5 fever. (This has been an unfortunate and disappointing custom every time we have the opportunity to visit with family.) She was a trooper and tried to tag along, but a fever like that really zaps any energy or vigor one hopes to experience during a rare few moments with grandparents and cousins.
We did go ice skating - which was a lot of fun...especially for us big kids.And our littlest ice skater enjoyed dressing up as one, even if she didn't have much energy for it (you can see belle, aron, & I in the distance).
Judah enjoyed his time with Grandpa, Grandma, & cousin Luke.
Now to get my girl healthy again. We're still fighting a fever today. No other symptoms. Just a high fever that is making her feel miserable.
much love

Thursday, February 25, 2010

dress to impress?

I want to preface this by saying I love to dress up, love to dress down, love to dress cute (though I am often too frugal to make this an actuality). This morning as i was dressing, I felt a frustration, a deep longing to be more than I am. Jeans wouldn't button (don't worry, I did what any classy girl would do...rubberbanded them), hair was shaggy, face was pale, shoes were worn. I felt as I feel many a morning...a ragamuffin trying to be more than she is.

Thankfully Beth Moore had much to say to me (and a roomful of others) about our true identity & worth in God's kingdom, which thankfully, has nothing to do with the reflection in the mirror. Though God loves that reflection - every last laugh line & freckle.

So this evening I stumbled on an article about our motives in dressing...and I wanted to share it with you. I believe it is wonderful to put on a great pair of jeans and that perfect sweater and feel like a million long as our motives are pure. So that being said...check out the article. It gives great perspective for every woman to consider as we seek to honor Christ.

Recently I read an article addressing choice of dress among Christian women. It was written by a man, so I was particularly interested to hear how he would approach a topic of such delicacy from a male perspective. What I read was a sensitive, well-presented plea for Christian women to consider the weaknesses of their spiritual brothers when choosing their clothes. Though many discussions of dress focus on “how short is too short” or “how low is too low”, this one avoided these legalistic pitfalls and took aim for the heart: what is your motive for choosing the clothes you choose?

The plea to bear with our Christian brothers by covering ourselves is an important one for us to hear. Dressing modestly is one of the simplest ways a believer can distinguish herself from the world around her and keep herself free from sin. But any female over the age of eleven can tell you that modesty is not the biggest hurdle to overcome in aligning our fashion with our faith.

The way we dress is a reflection of the extent to which we have embraced the Great Command to love others as we love ourselves. This is a preferential love: a love that places the needs of others above the needs of self at every possible opportunity. What is the perceived need a woman seeks to meet when she chooses her outfit each day? A woman who chooses immodest clothing is clearly craving the attention of men. Or is she?

Consider the following incident related to me by my thirteen-year-old son: With summer approaching, the band at his middle school planned a party at a local water park. Several moms went along as chaperones. One of the mothers, a woman presumably in her forty’s, chose to spend the day in a very small bikini that showcased her enhanced assets. As she snoozed in the sun, she became the topic of lively and inappropriate discussion among her son’s classmates.

Wait a minute – didn’t I say modesty wasn’t the biggest struggle for women in choosing their dress? How can Malibu Mommy possibly support my claim? I have to ask myself: Did this woman wake up the morning of the trip and ask “What can I wear today to excite lust among my son’s peer group?” No, the question she more likely asked was “What can I wear today to impress my own peer group?” – a group in this case, composed not of both genders but of one: other women.

While dressing for the attention of men is problematic, dressing for the attention of other women is epidemic. The question “How do I look?” implies the answering inquiry “Relative to whom?” The prideful among us may choose clothing to stand out, while the insecure among us may choose clothing to blend in. Pride and insecurity, the two-headed hydra of self-absorption.

Bikini Mom wanted to be the hottest 40-something woman at the pool. She probably doesn’t love Jesus, so I am going to have to let her off the hook. But what about me? How do I compete with other women by the way I dress? Do I dress to be the trendiest? The wealthiest? The thinnest? The fittest? The quirkiest? What about the purest? In certain circles, even modest dress can be a venue for self-promotion. There is nothing inherently righteous about a denim jumper or culottes. Nor is there anything inherently sinful about platform peep-toe stilettos. The problem, then, is not any particular outfit, but my craving for the superlative, the “-est” of any wardrobe choice – a craving rooted in the desire to elevate myself above others.

Godly women do not seek to elevate themselves above others – not by immodest dress, and not by competitive dress. They seek to provoke neither the lust of men nor the envy of women. They love preferentially by keeping the focus off of themselves. Clothed inwardly with the righteousness of Christ, their outward clothing becomes a matter for sober consideration: How can I best worship God through my wardrobe choices? May we, as daughters of the Living God, be measured not by our hemlines but by our humility.

-Jen Wilkin

much love

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Coloring My World

Irish Moss - with your wild bursts of green and untamed texture in a world that is frozen over.
And a vintage leaded glass sun-catcher casting rainbows across our living room.
Acquired atop an obscure Lewis Mountain in beautiful Southern Ohio, you remind me of Herb Festivals, freshly shaken lemonade, & family.

Precious, blow-my-mind-creative artwork found in random places all over the house.
I found the above self portrait & asked my 3 year old impressionist what she had created. "That's me, momma!" Belle beamed. She proceeded to show me each feature formed from random objects collected around the house. When I say I live with a hurricane named Isabelle, this is what I mean. She collects and gathers and spreads and compiles. I can't keep up with her! But I love it!

And finally, sweet gatherings.
My girl has an imagination like I have never seen. Aron says he can remember playing with the creative spunk which encompasses her world. I know I didn't. As in the artwork, I find scene upon scene of princesses and ponies, dwarves and Dora's in the most random places. My favorite is when they lie "asleep" in a dark room covered by shreds of toilet paper for blankets and leaves (torn from my plants) for pillows. She is a hoot to live with!
Coloring my world,

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Childlike Honesty

Isabelle recently introduced me to one of her 3 year old friends at church. At least she's honest:

Belle (to me): Daddy, this is my friend Evie.
Me: Oh, okay.
Belle: Say hi, daddy.
Me: Hello, Evie.
Belle (turning toward Evie): This is my dad. He looks funny.


Growth in the Cold

With the cold forcing us indoors, Aron & I read quite a bit more in the winter. I think there are about 15 books laying around our condo right now - each with dog-eared pages reminding us where we left off.

Because we are so busy - between ministry, marriage, music, & mini-me's (in no particular order) - we rarely read novels for pleasure but rather books that challenge, inspire, coach, or help us to grow in our relationship with Jesus. But we need this. We crave this. We talk about what we have learned or how it impacts us in the moments uninterrupted by life's noise. We are idea people - motivated by possibilities and potential. (We are both NF's - intuitive feelers - for those of you familiar with the MBTI). I think this make us incredibly compatible - but also incrediby passionate (and as we have learned through personal life experience... passion can either be synergistic or combustible). But that is a post for another day.

So I'm wondering, what books are you reading/have you recently read that are shaping you or causing you to think and grow? How so?

much love to you, friends

Sunday, February 21, 2010

mold on

thank you, God, for drawing us to yourself.
for our good & your glory.

thank you for coming near to our filth
taking on our messes & mistakes

thank you, Jesus, for championing the cause of my heart
for fighting to make me yours.

thank you for coming near to the brokenhearted
thank you for coming near when I am the source behind brokenheartedness.

thank you that when you come near
I am never the same.

your spirit pressing the fingerprint of your character
into the clay of my soul.

mold on, Great Potter.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Men are from Mars, Women from Venus...or so the saying goes

Among Isabelle's most favorite things in life is 'making crafts'...especially if it involves 'big people' sitting at her table in her room. She & Aron have been working on 3-D wooden puzzles Grandma Jackie sent home with us at Christmas.
Belle & I painted the beautiful butterfly perched in her window.
Can you guessed who helped her paint the T-Rex? Notice the blood stained jaws & claws as well as the 'battle-damage', as Aron explained it to Belle, on the right hip.
Disturbed, anyone?
Gotta love the ferocious nature of the men-folk in our lives.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

quick peek

Our Prima Ballerina got all dressed up with nowhere to go...
nowhere a girl who awoke with a fever & sinus infection can go that is.
So we stayed in this evening finishing cleaning up from a houseful of love this weekend.
Along with a few projects we've been working on.
Isabelle & Chloe played every waking minute - all day until midnight every night. Belle is sure going to miss her.
Judah still hasn't cut his bottom 2 teeth, but oh is he so ready. I think extreme interest in food & teething misery resulted in the following:If you can't tell, there is a piece of ham on my plate. Judah grabbed the plate dragging it to the edge of the table & then tried to take a bite.

That's all for now. Have a great night, everyone.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

How did you celebrate the LOVE in your life?

Aron chose Dear John for us to watch at the movies on our date. Oh, was it just the perfect movie for us! Aron prefaced it saying, "The writer of The Notebook wrote this movie. I feel like this is the one we should see. It has an integrity about it." And he was so right...such beautiful, innocent love (albeit one fornication...but a PG13, modestly depicted one, at least), awesome airy folk music, and an artistic telling of a classic love & war, pull at your heartstrings flick. And it was set in beautiful just can't beat that.
Thanks to Dad & Mom as well as Steve & BeckyJo for watching the kiddos so we could have a special Valentine date.

Momma, is it Valentine's Day yet?

Every day for a solid 2 weeks Belle has asked this question. I'm not sure what about the holiday has so encaptured her heart, but she has anticipated this day with great excitement. Finally, at 10 am the doorbell rang. I suggested Belle & Chloe answer it. At the sight of her Main Man with an armful of roses and gifts for his girls, Belle let out a shrill of delight. A rose for Miss Belle, a rose for Miss Chloe, a rose for Grandma Jean, and a bunch for momma. And don't forget the CHOC-O-LATE, as Belle says it!!!!
Bubbling with excitement Belle gushed, "HAPPY VALENTINES DAY, Daddy! Grandma, It's VALENTINES DAY! Happy Valentines Day to You, Chloe!" She proceeded to wish each and every one of us a Happy Valentines Day.

I tend to down play this holiday since the babies were born - I think its the frugalista in me. I don't want Aron spending money on me...I know his love & devotion all through the year. But I think my girl is on to something. So much excitement over a day to celebrate the LOVE in your life. And each of us are so blessed to be surrounded by more love than we realize.

So with much LOVE, we wish you

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

mid-week Message: Take Responsibility For Your Life, Part 2

This week's message, "Take Responsibility For Your Life, Part 2", comes to you from Andy Stanley, the lead pastor of North Point church in Atlanta, GA. I watched this message a few weeks ago and it inspired me to be more diligent and disciplined in being a responsible steward of all that God has entrusted me with -- from my finances to my health to my role in fulfilling the personal life-mission he has given me. Check it out:

1. Go here (
2. Click on "Taking Responsibility for Your Life"
3. Click on Part 2: A Disproportionate Life


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

WARNING: Serious Cuteness Ahead

J-Man was LOVING being so close to his daddy during dinner.

Every time Aron would lean his head in close, Judah busted out laughing.
Aron ripped the sleeves off of a long john shirt (yes, his arms are just that large), and the kids made sock hats out of them. Oh the small things that bring so much joy!
This is Judah on the counter watching sis & I cook dinner. Well, he was watching for about 0.3 seconds, then he decided to grab everything within reach.
"Hey, a banana. Get in my belly!"
Belle loves to be awakened from her naps by Judah. They are so cute as they just grin & giggle cuddling together.

And a few more of my boys at a dinner. They were all so cute I couldn't decide which ones to post.

Lord, I do not deserve to be surrounded by such Goodness.
Thank you for my family,

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Aron's office Tuesday afternoon

I sit waiting for him to finish up work so we together can leave for our coffee date (during Belle's dance class).

With nothing else to do, I read over his shoulder as he finishes up a personal email to a good friend with whom he is sharing what God has been doing in his heart.

I was so encouraged by his words, I asked him if I could post a portion of it in hope that you too may share in this truth.

Slept through my alarm this morning so no workout happened, but got the reading done through Matthew 12. Jesus blows me away.

I've always felt like my
relationship with God is directly tied to my calling and what I'm actually DOING for him. I believe this is true, but when I fail to put in the time of Bible reading and prayer to check where my will and motives are, I find myself trying to accomplish my calling apart from God's Spirit, which is TERRIBLE. In fact, it's downright UNFRUITFUL. All my work is frivolous apart from his Spirit, which works within us. Scripture says, "keep in step with the spirit," and to be "filled with the Spirit" (greek word for 'filled' means the act of constantly being filled, like a sail on a sailboat that has to be constantly be filled in order to move and steer the boat!). When we don't spend the quiet time in Bible reading or take the time to pray constantly, in everything, asking God's direction, we're bound to end up going through the motions of "doing his work" apart from his Spirit, kind of like a musician trying to play a song they don't know yet apart from the Conductor.

Being a musician, I like the analogy of keeping your "instrument" IN TUNE to the song that God is singing over the earth. Scripture says God's VOICE spoke all things into creation, and that he "sings over us". His Spirit is
singing a song right now over the earth-- a song that leads, comforts, heals, reconciles, renews, refreshes, exhilarates, etc. When our instrument is in tune to God's song, we RESONATE with what he is doing, and his Kingdom begins to come in our lives as our instruments amplify his song. Our spheres of influence are drenched with the rich melodies of his love and grace.. And when we're not in tune, well, as Paul says, we're just a "resounding gong or a claning symbol"!

I couldn't believe how timely this was when I read Aron's words. My study this week has been engrossed in tapping into God's spirit that lives within me - or as Aron described - tuning this instrument to the song he is playing all over the world so that I may resonate his song. Too many days I don't take the time I need to get into the Word & pray & I end the day like a wind-up toy monkey clanging away. His words summed up what God has been speaking to me.

May you resonate with him, may his Kingdom come in your life, may you amplify his song,

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

mid-week Message: Subjected in Hope

Does someone you know have cancer? How about someone you know who is a faithful believer in Jesus? Have you wondered why God lets this happen, or where is he amidst all of this? If so, then check out this week's message by John Piper. John is a pastor and author and on December 27, 2009 he spoke at The Village church in Texas. Just a few weeks prior, the Village's lead pastor Matt Chandler was diagnosed with an aggressive, malignant brain tumor and had surgery to remove it. Here John speaks on the why we experience suffering (especially Christians, who have the power of Christ) and the bigger question of why there is suffering in the world in the first place. His insights blew me away. Check it out.


Monday, February 1, 2010

Let's close Monday night with a little randomness

I absolutely love my girl fresh from bed - her scent, her puffy eyes & pouty lips.
Speaking of bed, I suppose this why Jesus told us to store treasures in heaven - where moths and rust and thieves (but he forgot to mention 3 year olds!) cannot destroy them. Not even an 1800's amish made sleigh bed (scored on craigslist for a steal!) is safe from Isabelle's creative touch.

She gets so excited about decorating her domain. I left a roll of tape in her room, and this is what has resulted:
She asked me to take a picture of her other decorations, so I did (puhlease ignore the terrible light fixture...we're renting, what can you do?!)
Aron left Judah in the swing alone on Friday, and when he stepped back into the room, he was amused to find Belle had put Isaiah (or Ida if her baby is a girl any given day) next to brother to keep him company.

Which brings me to the next photo: Aron & Judah. I think they look alike in this picture.
My little "Danger Boy" (*credit to Kelli for coining the phrase) LOVES to hang upside down!
He also takes great delight in his daddy's stubble.And his daddy cannot get enough of having a little "mini-me" around.These are blessed moments. We do not take them for granted. Jesus, you are our treasure. Our family is yours.
happy random monday moments

oh boy, oh boy

Oh MY, raising a baby boy is sooooo different from raising my baby girl.

He is only 5 months and is into EVERYTHING a-l-r-e-a-d-y.

Just now, I placed him in the middle of Belle's floor under his toys on his playmat while I quickly straightened up the living room. I walked back in the room less than 5 minutes later to find him quietly playing completely covered beneath a pile of books (he'd rolled and scooched over to Belle's bookcase & pulled about 6 books down on himself). I couldn't even see his face.

Saturday he hoisted himself out of his swing, landing belly down on the floor; he didn't make a peep. I wouldn't even have known except Belle quietly came to the table where Aron & I were talking, "Mommy, brother jumped out of his swing". We both jumped up - expecting a hurt baby - but instead found his little head turtled up & a proud grin on his face.

Moment of honesty...he wasn't strapped in. But seriously, I NEVER, EVER buckled Belle into her swing, high chair, anything. She never tried to get out. In fact, I never even put locks on my cabinets because she simply didn't get into them. Yeah...I have a lot to learn by way of parenting a little boy.

Belle never picked up little things and put them into her mouth...judah tries to eat everything. I'm starting to fret when he does get mobile because Belle has so many toys with countless tiny pieces. How will I ever keep them picked up! I already find high-ho cherrio's and littlest pets all over the house!

Hopefully I have a few months to develop a game plan! Mommies of several little ones...any secrets?
much love