Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Those Aren't My Kids...

They must take after their father.

Yep, definitely from the Gardner side.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

A Birthday Wish

Tomorrow is our dear friend Jeremy’s birthday.

Jeremy, may God bless you abundantly in this coming year. Thank you for being our friend.

Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

My Daily Thanks #13

This will be my final Thanksgiving post seeing as tomorrow I will be too busy cooking, eating and being a wonderful hostess to want to write a blog post.

I am thankful that I am thankful. I am thankful that God the Father chose me, Jesus’ blood saved me and the Holy Spirit has worked in me and given me a heart of flesh to replace my heart of stone. A stony heart can never really be thankful, but my heart of flesh is and for that I am grateful. I am a thankful disciple of Jesus not because of anything I’ve ever done, but only because of what He did on the cross so many years ago. I have hope in this life and I’m headed for eternal bliss because God chose me- not because I chose Him. He has forgiven my sins and has made me sing and dance with joy. He has made me thankful.

Thank you, God, for my thankful heart.

“Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
Bring her into the wilderness
And speak kindly to her.
...And she shall sing there....”
Hosea 2:14-15

Have a joy-filled Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

My Beautiful Family

My Daily Thanks #12

I am thankful for my life. When I was younger I had my dream life all planned out. I would marry a handsome Christian man, live in a nice house and have beautiful children. God has granted me exactly what I hoped for- and beyond. I can’t imagine a more Godly, loving (and good-looking) husband than Joshua, our home is gorgeous and displays our distinct style, and when it comes to children you won’t find cuter or more precious ones than ours.

When I think of all the mistakes and sins that I’ve done along the way I am amazed that God would grant such a life to someone who so fully doesn’t deserve it.

Thank you, God, for my beautiful life.

Monday, November 20, 2006

My Daily Thanks #11

I am thankful that I am pregnant. This pregnancy has not been easy for me- physically and emotionally- but I don’t want to fall into the trap of complaining about all the struggles when the reason for my struggles is something so good and beautiful. I love feeling Baby Buddy kicking and squirming inside of me. He must be so cozy, warm and contented in there. I like dreaming about the day that I’ll finally get to meet this little person. A couple of days ago, I was in the attic and I stumbled across a box of baby clothes and found a fuzzy, pink sleeper that Lily used to wear. I cuddled it, remembering how snuggly a newborn is. I’m looking forward to having a little snuggly baby soon.

I’m writing this post at a little before five in the morning because I woke up over an hour ago and couldn’t get back to sleep. Malachi just started crying because he woke up and couldn’t find Chewy. After finding the missing Chewy, I tucked him back in, gave him a kiss and he fell right back to sleep. That was just another reminder to me of how much I love being a mommy. I’m so very thankful that I get to be mommy to yet another baby.

Thank you, God, for this beautiful gift of pregnancy- backaches and all.

Thanksgiving Letter

Starting last year we have begun the tradition of sending out an annual Thanksgiving letter to various family members. I thought that I’d post the letter here for your viewing enjoyment.

“We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks! For Your wondrous works declare that Your name is near.”
Psalm 75:1

How much we have to give thanks for! As Thanksgiving approaches, it is good to count up our many blessings and note the many gifts our God has given us this past year. As a family, we have been tremendously blessed and we would like to take a moment to share our thankfulness with you.

Joshua is still working at [his job] in Research and Development and, while it’s not a dream job, we are grateful that he has a job that provides enough money to support our growing family. Especially in these days of unemployment his having such a good job is a huge blessing to us.
And he still has time for play, too. On any given night, if someone were to stop by our house they would hear beautiful guitar music being played by Joshua’s skilled fingers. Most of what he plays is self-composed and he’s been experimenting with children’s music as he writes little songs for Lily and Malachi- much to their delight. Music is a big part of our life and the talent that God has given Joshua is something for which we are very grateful.

Homemaking and mothering continue to be Adiel’s main daily occupations. And even though the kids may drive her crazy some days, she loves being home with them. “School time” has become part of her daily routine as she teaches letters, numbers, colors, shapes and songs to two smart, but wiggly little kids.
Through her love of creative decorating she is continually filling the Gardner home with bright, cheerful colors which will be especially appreciated during the upcoming gray winter months.

Lily is an active, imaginative, clever, pretty little three-year-old. She is a doting big sister, though sometimes that shows as bossiness. She really loves her little brother, helps to take care of him and does her part to make sure he’s learning his letters and colors. She amazes us with the questions she asks: “Where is Heaven?” “Does God have hands?” “Did Jesus cry when He died?” We do our best to answer her questions wisely and praise God that He’s given her a hunger to know Him, even at her young age.

Everything Malachi knows he learned from his big sister which means he is picking up all her bad habits as well as the good ones! At two years of age he shows a great aptitude for memorization and is learning Bible verses, songs and the ABC’s almost as quickly as Lily is. He is currently obsessed with trucks, cars, motorcycles, trains and anything else that has a big engine and makes lots of noise. He and Daddy will often have wrestling matches and he often comes out as champion!

And, of course, a huge blessing- or should I say a “little” blessing- to our family is the baby that is even now growing inside of Adiel. After losing a baby a little over a year ago, we are all the more grateful for this new addition to our family. “Baby Buddy,” as we are calling him/her, is healthy, growing, wiggling and kicking.
While, right now, Malachi is more interested in trucks than in babies, Lily is almost as excited about Baby Buddy as Mommy and Daddy are. The February due date seems so far away, but hopefully the time will fly by and we’ll be holding our precious child soon. Please pray with us for a safe delivery and healthy baby.

As you can see, we Gardners have much to be thankful for. But as we are counting our blessings, let’s not forget the One who gave them to us. Yahweh, the creator and sustainer of the universe, is Lord of this family and it is to Him that we are thankful and give all our praise.

“Praise the LORD! Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD? Who can declare all His praise?” Psalm 106: 1-2

Sunday, November 19, 2006

My Daily Thanks #10

I am thankful for my daughter’s generosity. On Friday Joshua had brought home a special brownie and when Lily saw it she asked if she could have it. Joshua said she and Malachi could share it. I jokingly said how that wasn’t fair and I thought Daddy brought the brownie home for Mommy. Joshua told Lily that Mommy would share it, too.

The next day during the kids’ nightly Snack Time I gave Lily and Malachi portions of the special brownie and then started cleaning up the dinner things. When I came back into the room I saw half of Lily’s brownie sitting at my place. That little girl had remembered that I wanted some brownie, too and made sure she shared it with me! I know how special Snack Time is to Lily and for her to share some of the precious brownie was an incredible act of self-giving for a three-year-old. I gave her brownie back to her and she got Mommy and Daddy’s praise for being so generous.

Thank you, God, for giving Lily a generous heart.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

My Daily Thanks #9

I am thankful that last night Joshua and I were able to go out on a real live, kid-free date. Barb graciously took time out of her busy schedule to come over and watch the kids so Joshua and I could go out to eat at Applebee's. We ate delicious food that I didn’t have to prepare and talked about baby names, psalm singing Dutchmen, the origin of Pentecost and Seinfeld. The best part is that we didn’t even have to pay for this grand experience since we were using an Applebee’s gift card that Joshua had received for his birthday.

We had a great time and I’m so very thankful that I have a husband who still loves to take me on dates.

Thank you, God, for our wonderful date night.

Friday, November 17, 2006

My Daily Thanks #8

Today I am thankful for something that happened yesterday. I was listening to the radio in the morning while the DJ was giving the weather report. “The sun certainly won’t shine today,” she said confidently. “Ha!” I thought, “That shows how much you know.” And sure enough, later that day after a heavy rain shower, the sun came out and was shining brilliantly.

It was so beautiful. There were water droplets clinging to the bush outside of our dining room window and when the sun shone its light through them they looked like millions of precious diamonds. How much more beautiful it was that the sun came out after the rain! If the sun had been shining all day then I wouldn’t have gotten to see the diamonds out my window. I think this was one more sign to me that my God really does know what He’s doing. He sends rain and stormy trials, but He also sends beauty and hope.

Thank you, God, for being in control.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

My Daily Thanks #7

Today I am thankful that the God I serve is also a man. It makes all the difference in the world to know that any emotion I could feel my Jesus has felt, too. He knows what it’s like to wake up and feel blah. He knows what it’s like to miss someone so much that it seems the world can’t hold all your grief. He knows how the sun feels when you tilt your face skyward. And He knows what rain tastes like.

I don’t know if I could worship a God who didn’t really know what it is like to live here on earth. But, praise Jehovah, He does! Jesus left all the glory of His heaven to come down here and be born next to some farm animals. He was raised by sinful parents and surrounded by sinful friends. He had head colds and stomach aches and bad days. And He did it all for me. How can I not be thankful for that?

Thank you, Jesus, for becoming just like me.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Name Game

In a few months, Lord willing, there will be another little Gardner living out in the world, breathing, crying, giggling and pooping. One of the most exciting parts of expecting a baby is choosing the perfect name for the little unborn person. It’s really amazing to consider that the name the Joshua and I choose for our baby is the name that he will carry for the rest of his life. It’s the name we will use to talk to him. It’s the name his spouse will one day call him by. And it’s the name that God will use when He speaks to His child. So this whole naming thing is a big deal.

We see often in the Bible that when God would name someone the name had a very specific meaning (Abraham, for example). So Joshua and I have tried choose names for our children that have specific meanings as well.

Lily got her name from Matthew 6:28-30 “...Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even King Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”
When I was pregnant with her we were still newlyweds and we didn’t have a lot of money so we knew that things were going to be tight financially. But we knew that God would provide for us and so we trusted and hoped in Him. And so Lily Hope was born and we have never wanted for anything.

Malachi means “my messenger.” We are convinced that God has big plans for Malachi. Whether he grows up to be a pastor or a missionary or a janitor mopping floors at a hospital- he will bring the glorious news of the Gospel to the people around him.

So what are we going to name this next baby? Well, the possibilities will stay a secret for now, but we would really appreciate prayer so that we would have wisdom in choosing a good name for our precious baby. This child will be a warrior and child of God and we want him to have a name that reflects his awesome calling.

My Daily Thanks #6

I’m thankful for the wackiness of my kids. They sometimes make me want to pull my hair out, but then they go and do something really absurd and incredibly cute and I can’t help but love them. They make me laugh when I feel like crying and they force me to have fun when I’m being stodgy.

So, kids, go ahead and wear those goofy outfits, make your funny faces, tell me you’re a tiger and I’m an octopus, and ask me your silly questions. I love you, my silly ones.

Thank you, God, for my silly kids.

One of Those Moments

I’ve read books telling me how to be a good parent. I listen to other parents’ advice on child-raising. I pay special attention to Bible verses speaking to parents. I’ve been a parent for over three years now and I’m starting to get the hang of this thing. So why did I get stumped the other day when Lily asked me a very simple question?

There we were, at the kitchen counter making muffins. She was stirring the dry ingredients when suddenly she looked up at me and asked very seriously, “Mommy, do frogs have teeth?”
Was I so wrong to stare at her, confused, for a few seconds? And what’s worse is I wasn’t even sure of the answer at first!

Now, I ask you, what parenting book or Bible verse can prepare someone for a moment like that?

Monday, November 13, 2006

My Daily Thanks #5

I’m thankful for kisses. There are “I love you” kisses, “Good morning” kisses, mommy kisses, daddy kisses, brother and sister kisses, slobbery baby kisses, make-the-boo-boo-go-away kisses, and kisses that you can stick to the wall and save for later.
You don’t kiss just anyone- only the most special people. I love the people I kiss and I love kisses!

Thank you, God, for kisses.

Alyssa Again

I can’t take credit for this one since she’s not my own kid, but I have an aunt’s right to brag about her cuteness.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

My Daily Thanks #4

I’m thankful for the Sabbath day. Once every week I get to get out of the house to go worship the one, great God with others who love Him and are struggling to serve Him just like I am. I don’t have to worry about my chores and trying to keep up with the never ending housework. I have time to read, pray, think, discuss different issues with Joshua, and spend time with other Christians.

It’s a taste of Heaven and I’m so very grateful to God for demanding that we keep this day holy.

Thank you, God, for the Sabbath.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

My Daily Thanks #3

I’m thankful to be married to a man who loves being a daddy. Just by watching Joshua interact with Lily and Malachi it’s obvious to see that he loves them very much. Sometimes he’ll be watching Lily and Malachi play together and he'll feel a little left out so he’ll crawl on the floor with them and tackle Malachi and swing Lily around and let them climb all over him. He’s even excited about the kids before they’re born. He talks to our newest baby through my belly and likes it when the baby decides to kick his daddy.

There’s that saying, “Anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a daddy.” Joshua is someone special and I’m so very blessed to be married to him.

Thank you, God, for my husband.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Umm, I'm Confused...

I was standing in line at the store yesterday loading my items onto the conveyer belt thingy and I couldn’t help but notice that the people in front of me were purchasing a rather large bag of cat food. I did a double take when I saw the item lying next to the cat food- a bag of mouse traps.

Does that make sense to anyone?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

My Daily Thanks #2

I’m thankful for the garbage truck. Not only does it weekly take away our refuse, but it is also the highlight of Lily and Malachi’s week. Every Thursday, as soon as we hear the garbage truck coming we stop whatever we are doing and run to a window to watch the rusted, green truck amble its way up the street. Malachi is in raptures as he sees the giant beast of a truck and squirms and jumps with excitement. Lily laughs and yells with Malachi, “Truck! Truck! It’s coming! Truck!”

Seeing the delight on my kids’ faces brightens up my day and I find that I look forward to Garbage Truck Day almost as much as they do.

Thank you, God, for the garbage truck.

My Daily Thanks

I love Thanksgiving. For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved everything about it: great food in great quantities, family gathered all cozily inside talking, laughing, just being together and sharing our gratitude to God for all His good gifts. And all of this is surrounded by the glamorous colors of the falling leaves outside and the bright hues of pumpkins, gourds and mums. What’s not to like about it?

So, in honor of this favored time I will be writing a daily post each day leading up to Thanksgiving Day stating the various things for which I am grateful. Here’s one:

My home. I love my home despite the various old-house glitches that we come upon. I love my orange living room, my deep blue dining room and my red kitchen. I love the memories that are being created every day in my home. I love seeing my kids dance in the kitchen the way I used to when I was young. I love greeting my husband every day at the door that I painted yellow and cooking dinner in the kitchen that we fixed up together.

After living in an apartment for a few years I know how blessed we are to be able to own a home of our own.

Thank you, God, for my home.

Too Much Irony

It had been a rough day.

I was driving to the store to do some grocery shopping while feeling cranky and discouraged. The kids had been acting up and we’d been cooped up in the house because of bad weather. Even though now they were at home in bed and I was out for some time alone I still couldn’t shake the cloud hanging over my head.

Suddenly, from the trees by the side of the road, dozens of little birds appeared and majestically flew overhead. As I watched them fly I thought to myself, “How amazing! There still is a world out there where things soar and fly unhindered. What a good reminder for me.”

Feeling somewhat uplifted, I turned my eyes back to the road just in time to see something splatter on my windshield. One of those majestic, free birds had just pooped on me.

I sighed.

It had been a rough day.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

For the Lansberry Family

Since most of you who read this blog also frequent my siblings’/friends’ blogs you’ll know by now that Margary Rose Lansberry was born early Monday morning. Every baby’s birth is a special and amazing event, but Margary’s was especially wonderful. She is the direct result of a lot of people praying a lot.

I remember weeping over the loss of the Lansberry babies that never breathed in this world. And I prayed for God to be merciful and to grant life to the new baby that was alive inside of Theresa. And God said yes.

When I saw the birth announcement email and James’ jubilant blog post I felt an inexpressible joy bubbling up and I just had to thank our good God right then and there for the marvelous gift He’d given to my friends.

The Lansberry family fall into that category of people that I’ll probably never get to be very close to in this life, but we’ll have a ball praising God together in Heaven. So, for now I’ll watch Margary grow up from afar (as I watch the other Lansberry kids) and I’ll remember the miracle of her birth and someday when we’re all together in the new World then I’ll tell her how I prayed for her and then we’ll turn and together thank our gracious Father- to His face.

What do you say, Margary? Is it a date?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

I See the Moon and the Moon Sees Me

Beautiful, slightly creepy- or both?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Just in Case You Were Interested

Here is a picture of the coffee cup mural in my kitchen. For those of you who know our kitchen, it's on the door that leads out to the back room.