Monday, January 31, 2011

How can she be 3?

I can't even believe that Little Miss is three years old.  Three. Years. Old.  Our first born.  Our trial run...She's survived! Emma really is a great kid.  She definitely shows that she's a little sinner and God has used her in big ways to convict me in areas I hadn't really given much thought--patience, love...patience!

The girl talks up a storm..and you can actually understand her.  It's amazing to watch her grasp things and formulate ideas.  She loves to imagine.  She likes Dora, Diego, and WonderPets (thank you Netflix).  Oh, and she knows how to use netflix---and my iPod.  She can sing her ABCs, tell you the sounds of all the letters, and she's starting to figure out how words are formulated.  She can trace all her letters and knows how to write some of them (you know, the important ones: E-M-M-A)! She loves to make up stories.  She loves reading stories.  She loves listening to Daddy tell her stories each night. She likes to recount tales of "when I was a little girl..." or "but now that i'm growed up..."

She loves her baby dolls.  When asked by her Sunday School teacher what her favorite part of the new house is she replied, "Jackson."  I mean how adorable is that!? She was not intimidated by Malachi.  She saw her brother--past all the tubes and sensors and machines.  She knew immediately why there were six stockings hanging this Christmas instead of only four.  She still considers Jordan and Malachi part of our family...waiting for us in heaven.

I wish I was keeping better track of the things that come of out this girl's mouth.  She keeps John and I on our toes and laughing each and every day.  Thank you, Emma.  She's made it possible for this mama to move on from Malachi's death--looking forward to each day I have taking care of her... even if she never shuts up ;).

One of her many birthday "parties"...
(not complete without Dora, pink, and purple)
 a crown for the birthday princess...
(pretending to be bashful)
 knowing exactly what to do...
birthday pizza with mom and dad (on dora plates)...
the classic "hold-your-present-upside-down" picture...


Oh, how our lives would not be complete without this little girl!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Best Goodwill Score... EVER!

So our Indiana Goodwill stores have a Sunday special going on.  All "color of the week" clothing items are only 99 cents!  To me, this makes it worth it to take the time to peruse the aisles.  

Naturally, this makes me more vulnerable to buy non-clothing (not on sale) items.  John and I love Norman Rockwell, so these puzzles were perfect.  We also enjoyed doing a Mickey Mouse mosaic puzzle, so I'm looking forward to the day when we have time to do this Tigger one.
Norman Rockwell Puzzles   $15 x 2 = $30
Monopoly Card Game $40
Tigger Mosaic Puzzle $45
Shelf  $10
Dora Dominos  $5
Total Retail Amount (non-clothing items):   $130

 Alfani pants  $70
Ann Taylor Loft pants  $60
New York & Co. pants $40
Express Design Studio pants  $60
St. John's Bay shorts (tags on)  $28
9 other kid clothing items
Total Retail Amount (clothing items):  $258

OVERALL TOTAL:  $388!!!

I paid a whopping $49 before tax for all of the above items.

Oh and the big kicker... I also snagged THIS!!!

...making our GRAND RETAIL TOTAL $588!!

Whoever priced this baby must have originally thought it was just plastic.. I have no idea, but I'm thankful that this mostly intact (missing oven door), clean set of kitchen furniture was only $16 of that previously mentioned $49 total.  

Like I said... It was a good day.

Friday, January 28, 2011

swallowing a camel

I hate when God humbles me. Unfortunately, this lesson is one I don't want to soon forget--and I know if I don't document it, I will forget.

I've been sitting under some great teaching each Sunday and God has definitely used this series Pastor has been preaching regarding Extreme Christianity. Basically, true Christianity should look extreme to a watching world in our obedience, worship, etc.  Needless to say, I've been convicted...

 Jesus:  “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others."  (Matthew 23:23 ESV)

It's finding the balance between a right heart attitude and legalism.  While, yes, God looks at the heart and motives behind our actions, He does not justify sin in any way, shape, or form.  On the other hand, we can keep the law to a "tee", yet treat others without love, justice, mercy, etc.  It's a balance.  It's keeping the things of the law WHILE exemplifying God's love and mercy AND having the right motive/heart attitude. It's hard to do.  It's harder to confess when you fail.  It's harder yet when it affects your child. 

Most of the time, when it comes to Jackson, I find myself praising God.  When I include Malachi in my perspective, he's an extremely EASY baby.  Extremely.  Earlier this week, Jackson did not get the memo that it was bedtime.  I would think I got him to sleep, gently place him in his bed, wait to make sure he was still out, make my way to our side of the room, crawl in to bed, and just when I got comfortable ... he was crying.  It was a weeknight and knowing John has to get up early to go to work, I try to take care of any night baby duty.  Jackson and I played this game for two hours. 

Earlier that day, I had decided to do something radical for God.  I was going to take part in The 5 o'clock Club starting the next morning.  That was my ambition.  Sacrifice my morning of sleeping in to spend time with God.  Good works.  Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately since the result has been conviction), this lofty goal revealed an ugly heart. 

I cannot begin to tell you how beyond frustrated I was with Jackson that night.  I rocked him. I walked him around.  Didn't he know I had to get up early to be with God in the morning??? What was God thinking allowing Jackson to be so fussy and uncooperative so that I could do this big thing for Him?  I began mumbling things under my breath.  While holding Jackson, I tried with my free hand pulling his bed out of our room (and quickly getting even more frustrated when it was wider than the doorway) and kicking around things on the floor in the process.  Why won't he stop crying?  He's fed.  He's changed.  What more does this kid want from me?  So I pulled his bed to the farthest wall from our bed.  I decided to just put him down, turn up our noise machine, and cover my ears with my pillow. 

Thankfully, John took over at that point and I could just sleep.  When I woke up the next morning and held Jackson in my arms, I was ashamed.  I looked around at all the clothes I had disheveled and prayed for forgiveness.  I was thankful that in the night, John at least moved his bed back to where it normally was placed.  Even moreso, I was thankful for God smacking me upside the head and realizing how wrong I had been.  Needless to say, I've held baby a little closer these last couple days and have enjoyed him that much more--fussiness and all.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

8 Months -- A New Look

This picture of Malachi taken at about four months old is quickly becoming one of my favorites.  He seriously has to be the cutest little CHARGE kiddo there ever was--okay, I might be a bit partial, but still.  At this stage in the game John and I were finishing up training to bring baby HOME! We were fully equipped and confident--doing more than we ever thought possible--to have Malachi under the same roof as the rest of our family. 

His skin is clear--my maternal antibodies have yet to begin rejecting his skin and leaving it rashy, blotchy, and shedding.  It was so hard not to feel bad that those very antibodies which were rejecting his largest organ came from his mama. 

He's on trach collar trials.  During these trials, he was doing all of the actual breathing on his own.  The globe-looking thing covering the trach opening was just providing humidification for the air he was breathing in.  He was never able to come off the ventilator, but during this time he was making progress.  

I love pictures of Malachi sleeping.  So peaceful.  So content.  Truly at rest. 

It's hard to believe that Malachi has been with Jesus longer now than he was with us.  It's weird to not truly feel "whole" when a piece of your heart is in heaven.  I am thankful that the bad details of Chi's life are slowly fading.  However, I am terribly afraid to forget some of the good in the process.  Slowly, it is getting easier to look back at pictures and once again be encouraged by cards and letters we received in the last year and a half.  I guess you can call that progress.

As you can see, Chi's blog has a new look.  I would also like to make this more of an organized resource for those struggling through trials--especially those in situations similar to us.  Please help me with this process.  Any suggestions for content or whatever would be GREATLY appreciated as I slowly work through all of this.  Thank you.

8 months

Is it really possible that eight months have passed since we had to say goodbye to our baby?  Malachi, you are certainly missed.  Your brother is sleeping in your bed for the first time tonight.  It was weird to see your crib set back up with the same mobile you loved hanging above.  It was also weird that the light we have in that room slightly resembles an IV pole.  I am so thankful you no longer need IVs or medication or holes in your body to complete necessary functions like eating and breathing.  You are most certainly missed, my love.

In honor of the 8-month anniversary of Chi's homegoing, I revamped his blog design a bit.  Still a work in progress for sure, but it's slowly getting there.

Monday, January 24, 2011

wallpaper

I'm trying to figure out this whole digital scrapbooking, blog background/header designing, etc.  I still have much, much, much to learn, but here's a bit of what it's looking like.  The first two are wallpapers I created for John and his computer at work and the last is for my laptop here at home.  Any suggestions for me?



testing

I'm testing out some new programs I have on my computer... consider yourself forewarned that the majority of upcoming posts will be mostly pictures--I can feel your disappointment ;) I'm trying to figure out how to work presets and actions (from here) and batching and import/exporting in photoshop elements and lightroom.... still a work in progress.

love this look...

more cute jackson pics... 




Sunday, January 23, 2011

stinky

emma: boys are stinky.
john: well, emma, you're stinky.
emma: i'm not stinky 'cuz i'm a girl... and girls aren't sinky... well, when there is poopy they're stinky.

almost all better.

My coughs are all gone  God healed me and made me all better.

(cough)

well there was one more left, but now I'm all better again!

Emma, my love

I love that Emma loves puzzles...she has the 24 pc ones mastered as she can do these without any assistance.  we'll see how she does with the 48 pc she got for Christmas from Uncle Bud.


This week was also the first week for her story time at the library.  I lied about her age by 5 months so that she could be in the 3 1/2 to 5 yr old group instead of the 2 to 3 1/2 yr group... don't tell our library ;)  this week they read books about penguins and "ice skated" (wax paper under their feet on the carpet--a good idea unless it leaves a weird residue, not sure).  Here's a pic of her craft--a penguin necklace.
showing off her finished product...
counting the penguins...
she's still a few inches shorter than an average emperor penguin... 
even on her tiptoes...

a sense of modesty

This picture just cracks me up.  Emma got these princess cards for Christmas.  She was looking through them and brought this one up to me and said, "this princess is not 'ceptable"... she was referring to the fact that jasmine was not modestly dressed.. you're right emma, she is not acceptable.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

thankful

There was a video clip that I was hoping to share from the same time as this picture was taken, but blogger was taking too long to upload and my patience is pretty thin. The clip has Mr. Jackson laying on the ottoman smiling and cooing and kicking like crazy looking up at something on the ceiling. Watching that clip makes me thankful. I'm thankful that we have our baby home. With Malachi, we still had two more months in the hospital before bringing him home for the first time. Looking at the clip (and the pic below) also makes me thankful for no tubes, no ventilator, no trach, the ability to HEAR my baby...truly amazing!




I love you too, baby!

one of john's favorites... you know it's love when he still finds me beautiful with hair undone and no make up... i think it helps that I'm holding his beautiful babies...

lastly, funny story that needs to be shared because it happens more than I care to admit.  I have what google describes as "overactive letdown". Below is what happens when I;m not paying attention and forget to change my nursing pads frequently enough... yes, this wetspot formed while he was nursing on the other side.  It is most assuredly  from me and not a leaky diaper...
...doesn't seem to bother him though ;)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

$20 gift card for $10 on amazon.com

Pretty great deal if you ask me!  If you follow the link below, I think I can get some sort of referral bonus... If you're gonna do it anyway, might as well go through this link ;)

https://livingsocial.com/deals/21336?ref=conf-jp&rpi=4970102

Giveaway Winner!


Our friends at CSN actually provided me with a $35 code toward any single purchase through their site!  Congrats!  I'll e-mail you directly with the info!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Cash Back!

I wanted to tell you about Ebates, a shopping site that gives you up to 26% Cash Back every time you shop online. You can shop at over 1000 stores including eBay, JCPenney, Macy's, Nordstrom, Overstock.com,  Walmart, Kohl's and Home Depot. Plus you get additional savings with exclusive coupons, free shipping offers, and limited-time sales!

John and I used this when we bought gifts online this Christmas and i received $50 cashback on blinds that I purchased for the new house on a Double Cashback day for blinds.com and another house purchase at Lowes.com.  It's super easy and ebates.com literally just sends you a check in the mail.  If you're buying things online anyway, might as well get an additional discount!

Sign up with Ebates today and we'll each get a $5 bonus when you make your first purchase! 

Happy shopping!

Baby Steps

{ Side note:  How cute is 11-month-old Emerson? }

In a recent post I mentioned this quote from Francis Chan:

"We should be terrified if we have mastered the art of becoming convicted and doing nothing in response."

The Holy Spirit is really using this idea and truth to move forward and be changed--with baby steps.  Here are some little things I've done in the last week or so...

Unhappy with my post-pregnancy times FOUR body.  Instead of just complaining and talking myself down in the mirror (or completely avoiding it altogether), I'm exercising.  Yes, exercising.  This is a foreign concept to me in my married life, so it is a welcome change.  John is doing P90X so I thought I would just tag along with him.  UM NO... I would be setting myself up for failure at this stage in the game.  Instead, I've completed 5 days of Jillian Michael's 30-day shred level 1--much more reasonable for this out of shape gal.  I'm also adding to that (starting yesterday) the couch to 5K program which will boost my cardio three days a week--it's doable.

I find myself complaining when I look back at when we first started attending our church.  Everyone was really friendly and welcoming at first, but then when you get to be a familiar face you don't tend to "stick out" as much and it's easy to just get lost in the crowd.  Well, you guessed it, it's time to stop complaining and do something about it.  I need to get out of MY comfort zone and help encourage others at church--that's part of what the body of Christ is for.  I met a great couple that I went over to say hi to after the evening service and their daughter and emma hit it off right away! Looking forward to seeing them again and hopefully remembering their names!  I'm also trying to look for little ways to help.  I picked up an older lady's purse and bible off the floor which she had set down in order to put on her coat.  It's little things.

I've been avoiding conviction.  After Malachi died I went into this weird zone where I just didn't want to be changed.  Change is hard and I had started making an idol out of "easiness" if that's even possible.  It was clearly sin because I was avoiding church, I was avoiding prayer, and I was avoiding reading my Bible--all avenues for the Holy Spirit to be working in the life of a believer.  It had been nagging on me, but I tried to ignore it as best I could.  It finally came to a head a couple Sundays ago when pastor was preaching on Extravagant Worship.  (His series on Extreme Christianity has been a great blessing to my spiritual life).  We've also been going through the book Idols of the Heart in a ladies' bible study and this last lesson it was stressed that we must know the true God of the Bible (as opposed to an image of God we've created in our mind to suit our desires).  I need to know God.  So, my baby step for this... working through the book and study guide of Knowing God by J.I. Packer. 

Feel free to drop me a note and remind me to stay focused on these things.  Where are you struggling?  Need to be encouraged?  I know I can use all the prayer and encouragement people are willing to send my way!  If you feel led to share but don't want it to be posted for all eyes to see, head up to the "contact" tab above the posts and use the e-mail form that can be found there.  Be changed!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Voices of the Faithful --Beth Moore (Review)

Voices of the Faithful

 Inspiring Stories of Courage from Christians Serving Around the World

A 366-day devotional with inspiring stories from the front lines of faith.

"A willingness to go is all they have in common," says Beth Moore, speaking of her friends on the front lines who are spreading the gospel around the world and with whom she collaborated to create this book. This brilliant, 366-day devotional features incredible stories of God's faithfulness in the face of uncertainty and danger, written by hundreds of missionaries worldwide.

With a foreword by International Mission Board president Jerry Rankin and an introduction by Beth, this volume also includes advice on how to hear God's voice, pray for missionaries, and understand the church's and individual's role in missions.

My thoughts: 
God has given our family a burden for China.  Our plans were sidetracked when Malachi was born, but we truly feel that teaching English is a great avenue for us to pursue godly ambition.  That being said, I love a good missionary story.  Unfortunately, I don't have much time to delve into a 300-page book in just a few sittings.  I LOVED the layout of this book.  This book is chock-full of first-hand accounts by missionaries sharing how God is working AROUND THE WORLD.  Clearly, I was partial to those testimonies coming out of Asia, but you can't read through this book and NOT see the hand of God working in big ways. There is now a second book which I would enjoy sitting down and looking through as well.  God is so good!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday, January 16, 2011

teen retreat testimony time

I was so so so very blessed and encouraged to sit back and listen to our teens during the service tonight at Calvary Baptist!  Not only were teens completely transformed and brought back on track during the winter retreat, but we witnessed THREE of the guys decided to live their life for Christ and become Christians--truly a miracle!  Those three and another one of the guys were baptized tonight.  So thankful for that! 

Also, thanks for those of you who saw my status update on Facebook and were praying for me as I had been asked to say something as well.  I'm glad I sounded coherent (I stuck to just reading my thing verbatim) enough anyway.  I was also blessed to hear that the lesson I taught (including God's working in my life over the last two years) had impacted the girls on the trip.  So glad to know our story with Malachi is being used for His glory. 

Anywho... here's what I said:


As many of the teens have mentioned—and I’m sure will continue to do so—we had a great time together on the winter retreat.  Jackson even joined us and I was definitely thankful that he cooperated the entire time.  Besides bedtime, I don’t think he went one minute without being held and loved on.  I was also fortunate enough to get to know the girls a little better and I’m excited to build on those relationships.

But even more than that, I was blessed through the lesson I was assigned to teach.  My chapter from the book Rescuing Ambition was called “Ambitions Failure.”  Dave Ramsey stresses the point that failure is often ambition refused for a better plan—more specifically, for God’s better plan.  When teaching to the girls, I used both the author’s example of David Brainerd in missions as well as how God has recently used this principle of ambition refused in my own life with Malachi.  The lesson itself was an encouraging reminder to me that God was and is in control.  John and I have been brought face-to-face with the truth of 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.”  The main thing, however, to keep in mind with that verse is that it only holds weight for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.  As a Christian, I can cling to the fact that all circumstances in my life have the potential to bring glory to God. 

I concluded my lesson with this excerpt from Rescuing Ambition:

In the shadow of failure we find humbling grace.  We learn that we’re limited.
      We discover that God is more interested in who we’re becoming than in what we’re achieving. We find our definition not in our failures or successes but in Christ.
For David Brainerd, failure was a lesson, not a label. It didn’t condemn him; it coached him. The practice of trusting God and hum­bling self became a paradigm for enduring future disappointments for the moments when ambitions remain unrealized…
      Remember, we fail because we’re not God. Whether it’s the result of selfish ambition or the design of God for our good, failure isn’t foreign. Failure is ambition refused (one way or another) for a better plan.
      Brainerd persevered, and eventually God smiled upon his service: Revival broke out among the Delaware Indians. God was faithful indeed.
      But God’s smile and his faithfulness are still there even if, in this life, we never see any fruit from our ambition being redirected by failure into God’s better plan…For David Brainerd, God’s grace and mercy meant that his failure opened a door for new ambitions. His expulsion was God’s redirec­tion. And within a few years, one of the greatest theologians in the history of the world, Mr. Edwards himself, was publishing Brainerd’s diary. And that diary, including Brainerd’s account of God’s dealing with him in failure, became one of the most influential tools in the history of world missions. God redeemed even his greatest mistake.

His ambition was rescued when it was refused for a better plan.

Cast of Characters

Meet the Fam!  
(also posted on the "Family" tab above)


This is John and I (Marissa) a couple years ago before life got "really" crazy.   We strive to serve Christ and each other to the best of our ability.  The trials we've faced in the first four years (has it really ONLY been four years?) has proven only to strengthen our love as we've learned to hold each other up through the days that simply don't make any sense.

Our first addition was Emerson Grace (Emma)--affectionately known as Punkin'.  She is full of spunk and passionate for life--seriously, the girl gets crazy excited over the smallest things.  Her current faves are her daddy and Dora. Love her to pieces...

Next is Jordan.  She was delivered from my body straight to heaven at 13 weeks on September 8, 2008.  God proved Himself faithful and showed us that in ALL things, He could be trusted.


I had thought Jordan would be the greatest of our heartaches.  Meet Malachi.  Cutest little CHARGE kiddo you'll ever have the privilege of knowing.  His story and his fighting spirit captivated hundreds around the world.  He died at 7-months-old in May 2010.  Our desire is to make Christ known through Malachi's life, suffering, and death.

Last but not least, this is our newest stunning member--Jackson Nehemiah!  We cannot get enough of this kid.  At the moment, he is the easiest baby you'll ever see.  Good eater, good sleeper, overall great demeanor--not to mention he smiles ALL. THE. TIME! He will be 1 on 11-11-11.  How cool is that!?!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

fun with photoshop

My husband found a great deal on adobe photoshop elements for Christmas and I've been dying to try it out. At the moment (you know, with the baby/toddler/housework/renovations/church things that I'm juggling at this time) I don't have much time to really get to work on the program, so I've been cheating. Thanks, CoffeeShop!  I have a feeling my posts will be either all words or all pictures.  Today is an all picture day...

I do find it semi-funny that I added the precursor above regarding photoshop and this first picture is what they call SOOC "straight out of camera" (or something like that, I'm not going to pretend to have this stuff figured out yet)... my loves.

Trying to cultivate a healthy Iowa/Indiana relationship...

The story behind this pic can be found at Punkin' Ponderings...
seriously, can't get enough of this little man... for whatever reason, I call him my "monkey", so I thought this shirt was fitting...

Oh, and have I mentioned that he's ALL SMILES now?? Yes, yes... it just adds to the aforementioned cuteness...

And if you made it this far... you'll be happy to know that Jackson is UP to the 80-something percentile for height and weight now... Little man weighs 13lb 5oz now!!  So not only is he my monkey, he's my chunky monkey. ;)

New Site's First Official GIVEAWAY!

I'm glad all of you could find us over here at the new WhereWeAreForNow site and I'm ecstatic to be able to present you with our first GIVEAWAY worth $25 courtesy of CSN stores!

CSN Stores has over 200 online stores where you can find anything you need whether it be outdoor playsets, fitness equipment, or even cute cookware!



I did a little window shopping myself this afternoon perusing the gift finder option and found all of these for under $25! :


Melissa and Doug - 4074 - Slice and Bake Cookie Set

So... how can you enter?  Do any/all of the following:
1. Leave a comment (any ol' comment will do).
2. Let me know you're a follower (leave a separate comment stating such).
3. Become a follower/e-mail subscriber  (and leave a separate comment stating that you did).
4. Share the new site on Facebook (and, you guessed it, leave a comment!).
5. Post a link to this giveaway on your own blog (and...comment!)

There you have it.  You may leave up to five separate comments = five separate entries.  Entries will be accepted through 11:59PM EST and a winner will be randomly selected Wednesday, January 19.  Good luck!

P.S.  Shipping is not included, but the gift card will go towards your complete order (including shipping).

Friday, January 14, 2011

style

emma came into my room this morning with her shirt on backwards.  i didnt say a word.  she states, "i didn't want the picture on the front"

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

idols of the heart (2)

I want to revisit a study that I am working through with a group of ladies from Calvary Baptist--Idols of the Heart by Elyse Fitzpatrick.  I am very thankful to have the opportunity to discuss the info and digest things a little more thoroughly when we meet every other week.  It is during these discussions that the Holy Spirit REALLY likes to work as my eyes are opened to things I may have looked over multiple times, but as I try to think through an answer or comment which I'd like to share with the group I'm all of a sudden convicted--or able to put into words what the Spirit is trying to get through to me.  Have I lost you yet?

This chapter we discussed Josiah (2 Kings 22-23) and how his actions were greatly impacted by his image of God. Before his reign, the people were following after other gods and not living a holy life as God had revealed through the written word they had at that time (the Torah--first five books of the old testament).  In fact, Josiah didn't even have that written revelation--but he had still set his heart to follow in the ways of David (who desired to please God).  Many years into his reign while they were repairing the temple, a copy of the Torah was found.  When Josiah listened to a reading of God's Word, he was heartbroken.  I can only imagine he had realized just how short of God's mark they were actually falling and it also reveals to us a right heart attitude/response to the revelation of God's Word and it's convicting work in our lives. He didn't just stop there--he acted on that conviction and went to work removing all things idolatrous from the kingdom--even so much as to re-institute the observance of Passover which hadn't been celebrated for hundreds of years.

Josiah was given the opportunity to hear from God--to be a firsthand witness to the revelation of the God he desired to serve.  Josiah's understanding of God and His great holiness and intolerance for sin elicited a proper response--a conviction for change.  I was blessed by a quote Amy had included in her blog from the author/pastor Francis Chan:
We should be terrified if we have mastered the art of becoming convicted and doing nothing in response.  

That's where I'm at right now--broken, struggling, grieving...convicted.  I am so thankful for the biblical training I have received and that I know with my head that God is Good, Faithful, and True--but that's not enough.  God wants change.  He wants to bring us from where we are--lost sinners completely separated from a just God--to a holy people sanctified to be eventually seated at His table.  My heart is to bring glory to God.  At this point, my worship feels inhibited/hindered. I hate it.  I want to be transparent and I want to be changed.  Will you join me?
 
A few practical steps you can take to let God change you....
Be exposed to God's Word through study and teaching 
Accept Christ's saving work on the cross and follow Him as outlined in Scripture.
Be changed--act on the convictions revealed by the Holy Spirit. 


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Christmas

I was easily the Scrooge of our family this Christmas.  I was fighting it.  If it weren't for the fact that Emma is old enough to remember things and my persuasive husband, decorations would not have been brought out this year.  I had even convinced Emma that it would be okay if her presents weren't wrapped, but they would just be left under the tree for her Christmas morning.  John shot me a death glare and I realized that wasn't going to happen.  You'll be happy to know that the tree did eventually get put up, decorated even, and presents were wrapped and waiting for her to OPEN on Christmas morning.  (Actually, they were ready and opened on Christmas Eve morning because we had plans to go to Iowa and spend the day with my dad, stepmom, brother, and his girlfriend.  Weather, however, did not cooperate and road conditions were too iffy for a trip with two kiddos.)

You'll notice that I'm pretty partial to red, gold, and white during the holidays... how about you?