Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sabbath Quote

Lead on, O King eternal,
The day of march has come;
Henceforth in fields of conquest
Thy tents shall be our home.
Through days of preparation
Thy grace has made us strong;
And now, O King eternal,
We lift our battle song.

Lead on, O King eternal,
Till sin’s fierce war shall cease,
And holiness shall whisper
The sweet amen of peace.
For not with swords’ loud clashing,
Nor roll of stirring drums;
With deeds of love and mercy
The heavenly kingdom comes.

Lead on, O King eternal,
We follow, not with fears,
For gladness breaks like morning
Where’er Thy face appears.
Thy cross is lifted over us,
We journey in its light;
The crown awaits the conquest;
Lead on, O God of might.

Hymn by Ernest W. Shurtleff

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Best Part of My Family

Yesterday Lily and I were talking about what a family is. I was explaining how families have daddies and mommies and brothers and sisters and grandpas and grandmas when Lily interrupted me with, “And Miss Barbs? Families have Miss Barbs.” I laughed and answered that not every family gets to have a Miss Barb. Having a Miss Barb is a very special thing that only a few families get to enjoy and we agreed that we were very blessed to have one as part of our family.

Maybe you’re one of the few families that have a Miss Barb or maybe you’ve not been blessed with one, but one thing is for certain- our Miss Barb is the Best.

Happy Birthday, Gaby!

You know how there are some people that you can be yourself around? You know how those certain people are themselves around you? You know how rare these people are? You know how special a thing it is to know someone like that?
Well, I know someone like that.

Gaby, thank you for being that someone for me. I love you, baby sister. May this new year of your life be full of wonder.

Happy Birthday, Gaby!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Of Minor Interest

Now you can say you've heard a French Rap Song.

And if it sounds familiar, you probably heard it here first.

The dance in the second link is a form of Capoeira. Check it out here.

Well, at least I find this all interesting. ;)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I Can SO Relate

(click on comic to see full-sized)

Monday, December 17, 2007

An Excerpt From Spurgeon's Morning Devotional

"I remember thee."
-- Jeremiah 2:2

Let us note that Christ delights to think upon his Church, and to look
upon her beauty. As the bird returneth often to its nest, and as the
wayfarer hastens to his home, so doth the mind continually pursue the
object of its choice. We cannot look too often upon that face which we
love; we desire always to have our precious things in our sight. It is
even so with our Lord Jesus...
Many a time before his incarnation,...the Son of Man visited his people. Because his soul
delighted in them, he could not rest away from them, for his heart
longed after them....
We may often forget to meditate upon the perfections of our Lord, but he never ceases to remember us.

Get Charles Spurgeon's MORNING & EVENING in a daily email HERE.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A Lullaby

This is a song that Joshua and I are trying to get into musical form. I wanted to share the lyrics now, though I'm sure I will have to polish and edit them quite a bit. If we ever succeed in our endeavors then I'll try to post a video of it being sung.


The day has found its end
I’ve bid the sun adieu
He only shone on emptiness
While the faithless struggled through
My sword lies heavy at my side
My battered eyes finally in their repose hide

He sings me to sleep
A haunting melody
He frees my dreams to prance
And they dance among the stars

And the battle rages on
And I carry on

My shield is worn and damaged, too
But it’s carried the blows that brought me to You
He rests my weary soul
And His hand brushes my face
His breath it warms my soul
And I carry on


And the battle rages on
And I carry on

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Look in a Mirror

Today Lily threw a temper tantrum which involved screaming and a matchbox car flying through the air. Now, as tantrums go, this one wasn't too terrible, but my little girl did remind me of a certain former little girl who had quite a temper, too. I saw that she was out of control, so before starting the discipline process I just held her in my arms until she was calm.

"Get it together, Lily. Calm down," I said. She responded, "I can't! Please help me."

In that moment, I saw myself as a child in my dad's arms as he soothed me after a tantrum of my own and I knew that I needed to do for my daughter what my parents did for me. I needed to help her.

It is my great responsibility to help my children to fight temptation. I need to help them to fight the temptation to be selfish, to complain, to be lazy and more. This is the responsibility of every parent and yet so many parents do not take this seriously. It is a little frightening to dwell on this responsibility because of the great "what if": What if we fail?

"Was I a fool to even take on this whole parenting job?" I ask myself. "Can I handle it?" Well, if it were all up to me, then yes, I would fail. Unquestionably. But the same God who gave to Joshua and me these children will also see to it that they are raised in the way He designed for them. He has and will give us the strength, wisdom and grace to care for these young souls.

So today I cry to my Heavenly Daddy, "I can't! Please help me." And He will. I know it.

And maybe there are things I should be doing to make it easier to do my job. Perhaps a good option would be for me to take Lily's advice. After she calmed down enough to speak after her tantrum, she spoke these words of wisdom: "Why don't we just get rid of Malachi?"

Monday, December 10, 2007

Just Because it's Cute

Malachi- Thank Goodness There's Only One of Him

This is his "I'm innocent- really, don't I look innocent?" face. Usually this face is surrounded by a mess that I need to clean up.Unfortunately, I see this face quite often.

The Amazing Lily!

She may look dainty, but this little Lily is a mini muscle girl! There is only about a three pound difference between Lily and Malachi (Lily being the heavier one) and yet she can carry him! Can you lift your own body weight?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

A Thing of Beauty (really just a nag in disguise)

Well, we've finally finished our latest renga. Check it out:

gray sky
yellow lamplight
shining on my book

mere letters on paper
creating stories

stories come to live
as companions in my head
chiselled from the mist

friends I’ve never met
treasured moments that never happened

lonely with my dreams
waiting for my someday friend
this time maybe real

a hand to touch mine
a heart to know mine

laughing as one
thoughts intertwined
it wasn’t even that funny

fleeting moments twined to life
with echoes of laughter

rolling away
watching them go
wanting these moments back

rolling on to eternity
waiting for us there

today just a glimpse
of the forever light
shines through the cracks

Hands warmed by the light
turn to grip the sword

I really, really like this one. Notice how it begins and ends with two different lights. There is a sense of longing that develops throughout the poem, which then turns to hopefulness and finally ends as a call to fight for that which we hope for. I find this renga to be moving and very beautiful. All of this is to say: The next time Raquel starts a renga- join in! The more people contribute, the more diverse our poems will be. Come on and write with us! Why don't you?

Thanks to Raquel for starting and maintaining the Renga Blog!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Public Opinion Poll

I've heard the question asked: Would you rather be invited to a house that is clean and organized or to one that is slightly messy, but the occupants are most welcoming? I think many people would choose the latter, but what about those homes that are so messy and disorderly that they are unpleasant to be in even with a warm, welcoming host? But then, we've all been in houses that are so clean and sterile that you're afraid to sit down for fear of disturbing the meticulously arranged throw pillows. So my question is this:

How important is cleanliness to you as a guest?

One reason I'm asking this question is because I'm attempting to reach that perfect balance between a tidy and pleasant home and the realities of having children who enjoy wreaking havoc on whichever room they are in (and some they're not in!)
I'd love to get some male opinions in here, too. So tell me, what do you think?

Friday, November 30, 2007

Blast from the Past

Remember when Malachi used to do this? I found this picture and cropped and re-colored it and I think it captures his former signature stance well. I love how the sepia tone brings out the shadows and adds depth to his chubbiness. My little man has outgrown his thumb sucking, but he hasn't outgrown his chubbiness!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I Want It!

Really, have you ever seen T-shirts as spiffy as these?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Ben-Ezra Kids

For most of my life I was one of the "Ben-Ezra kids" and now that title has been passed down to these worthy recipients.

Cute, aren't they?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

My Family (Well, except for that guy)

We've had a smashing time with the S. Ben-Ezras in town. Yesterday we went to a beach/playground and I got some great pictures of everyone. Here are just a few for starters. There's more to come!

(Just a small note: that funny-looking guy in the odd hat really isn't related to me. He just happened to be at the beach at the same time so I snapped his picture, too. Really, there's no relation at all.)

Sabbath Quote

"I’ve found a Friend, O such a friend! He bled, He died to save me;
And not alone the gift of life, but His own Self He gave me!
Naught that I have mine own I call, I’ll hold it for the Giver,
My heart, my strength, my life, my all are His, and His forever."

---excerpt from hymn by James G. Small

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Daily Thanks #10

My dear husband has been listening to this song with some frequency of late so it's been going through my mind a lot these days. That's okay since it just makes me laugh.

Done listening to the song? Good. Quirky, eh? That brings me to my Daily Thanks for the day: I'm thankful for Joshua's silly side. Most of you don't get to see his silly side since he's usually mild-mannered around many people, but I know some of you have seen his duck-fighting, Fenton de Bruce side, too. And while he may never show off the famous "Joshy Shuffle" dance in public, I get to enjoy his goofiness and so do our kids. We have some very, very silly moments in our family and I can't throw all the blame for that on the kids. I am so thankful that I married a man that makes me laugh at myself and also at his silly ways.

Thank you, Almighty Matchmaker, for pairing me up with the perfect man for me- someone who leads me in righteousness, love, and laughter.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Daily Thanks #9

Today I thank God for giving me my creativity. For letting me see things that others don't get to see. I'm not trying to be proud or anything, I know there are many others who are more creative than I am. I am just grateful for how God made me. That I get to see waffles made of snow and flowers in soda bottles, stars on my dining room ceiling, a steaming cup of coffee on my kitchen door, the beauty of words scrawled by a familiar hand, woodgrain that dances like a rippling creek, the sun rising and fighting a storm for its right to shine- only to lose that battle, the choreography of skilled fingers strumming a guitar. All these things I see in the little corner of the world in which I live. My life is filled with beauty and I am so thankful that I get to see it.

Thank you, Master Artist, for giving me, Your apprentice, eyes to see Your art and the desire to create some of my own.

Daily Thanks #8

I'm thankful for my oven. On Monday I baked six dozen mini muffins, eight loaves of quick bread, a batch of cookies and a spice cake. As I was baking, I realized how much I use and enjoy my oven without really valuing it. My oven is one of those things that it considered a "necessity." I just set the temp, pop things in and out they come, all baked and ready to eat. My home wouldn't be what it is without my oven and yet I can't remember ever thanking God for it or for the yummy things that get baked in it.
I could go on and on about my oven, but I need to go now- I have a lasagna to bake.

Thank You, God, for my oven and all the tools that I use every day and that make my life easier, but that I never thank you for. Forgive me for my ingratitude. Thank you for giving me so many beautiful gifts so that I've lost count of them.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Our Thanksgiving Letter

We make it our practice to send out a Thanksgiving letter and family photo to various family members. I realize most of you will have received this in the mail, but I thought I'd share it anyway.

Happy Thanksgiving!

There’s a real nip in the air these days so apparently fall has finally arrived! There were times during those unseasonably warm months when we weren’t sure if fall would ever come or if it had simply decided to leave us with an endless summer instead. But it’s fall now and that means it’s time for our annual Thanksgiving letter. It doesn’t seem possible to sum up this last year and write it down in letter form. The ups and downs of the year were many and while we had many “up” moments, we also had many “down” times, too. But, true to His promises, God never fails to pull us through the bad times and bring us out again rejoicing at His goodness.
The biggest change for our family this year was the arrival of kid #3- Evangeline Felicity (or Lil’ Vay-Vay as we like to call her.) What a fun little critter she is! Lily and Malachi adore their baby sister and sometimes tend to love her a bit too much for her own good. Many a time we’ve had to rescue her from being over- snuggled! Having three kids has been quite an adventure so far and if what other parents tell us is true, then it will only get more exciting as time goes on.

Lily, our beautiful four-year-old, is constantly growing in helpfulness, thoughtfulness, creativity, and tenderness. She is getting to the age when she can actually help with chores and projects instead of hindering them. Her favorite chore to do is setting the table for dinner and she likes to fold the napkins in different and unique ways. She is always asking questions and, amazingly, she remembers the answers we give her. We are so privileged as her parents to see the world through her eyes. We just need to remember to take the time to stoop down to her level and listen as she unfolds to us the mysteries of flowers, and clouds and piggy toes.

While Lily asks questions about the world around her, Malachi wants to learn everything through experience. If there’s a button to push, a rock to throw, a bucket of dirt to spill, a puddle to jump in- Malachi will be there doing whatever mischief he can accomplish with his little hands. We’ve lost count of the times when we’ve found him in the middle of some mess with a charming smile and his best attempt at looking innocent on his face. What else is to be expected from a three-year-old boy? And yet, in the midst of the chaos he produces, a love of music is growing in him. He walks around the house humming “La donna e mobile” as sung by Pavarotti. More often than not, he is singing, humming or playing some sort of “instrument” that he’s made from some of his toys. It will be interesting to see how God uses Malachi’s gifts and talents as he gets older.

Speaking of talents, Evangeline has a real knack for mobility. She took her first step at only 7 1/2 months of age and now she’s almost nine months old and walking around like crazy! When she’s ready to do something she just decides to do it and does it all the way. Instead of attempting to climb up one step, she flew right up the whole flight of stairs at breakneck speed (with mommy right behind her insuring that she didn’t actually break her neck!) Our little Evangeline has truly been “good news” to us as her name means and we look forward to seeing her share the good news of Jesus with the whole world as she grows.

So what can we say about us, Joshua and Adiel, the parents and backbone of our little family? Our days are spent doing the same mundane things that husbands and wives and daddies and mommies have done for ages. Sometimes it’s disheartening to be stuck in the same everyday things, but sometimes God graciously grants us a glimpse of what it is that we are really doing. We are building the Kingdom of Heaven. With each day that Joshua goes to work and every dirty diaper that Adiel changes, we are bringing glory to our Creator. Sometimes we feel that what we do isn’t very important or that we’re not really having an impact on the world around us, but then we step back and look at God’s bigger plan and we know that we are exactly where He wants us and doing exactly what we are supposed to be doing. And for that knowledge we are truly thankful.

God’s blessings to us this year are really too numerous to list in this short letter, but one thing that we can say is how grateful we are for people like you, our family and our friends. Some of you we don’t see nearly often enough and some of you we get to see regularly, but we love each of you very much and thank our God that you are a part of our lives.

With our love and thanks,
the Gardners

Daily Thanks #7

I am thankful for my giggling children. Right now two of them are sitting at the table making monster noises and being goofy in general. And as they make each other laugh they make me laugh, too.

Thank You, Father of Joy, for giving my children laughter that bubbles out and splashes like a waterfall. Thank you that I can share their mirth today. May I never be too busy or cranky to laugh along.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Daily Thanks #6

I am thankful for the three little voices that sing around our dinner table. Hearing my little children sing the Psalms with gusto (and even Evangeline adds her voice to the throng) is one of the most beautiful parts of my life. I'm so thankful that we can teach our children to sing to our God whether it be a song of praise or a "sad song" as Lily calls some songs (like Psalm 22.)

Thank you, Father, for giving my children hearts and voices to sing to You. Ever help us in our endeavors to make a joyful noise to You.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Daily Thanks #5

I am thankful that right now all three of my children are down for nap/quiet time and they are actually being quiet.
Enough said.

Thank you, O Maker of peace, for this moment.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Amen to That!

During our morning Bible reading time I usually ask the kids to tell me something they want to pray for. Today Malachi mentioned his prayer request, (he prayed that he wouldn't see fire trucks) but Lily was having trouble coming up with something so I suggested she could pray for God to help her to share. Malachi pipes up, "Yeah!!! Pray for that! Lily should share her toys!"

It's so nice to know he's impartial on these issues.

Daily Thanks#4

I'm thankful for my body. I'm thankful that I have ten fingers and ten toes, two legs that move well most of the time, two arms that can work hard, eyes that see beauty and everything else, ears that hear the sounds of life, a mouth that speaks and eats (though both occupations tend to get me in trouble), a belly that has been home to my babies. I'm thankful for the body parts inside that perform not so pleasant, but necessary tasks, my shoulders that many a child has cried on, and my feet that move and dance for the glory of the King.
I'm thankful that my body is beautiful and that I can control it and move it and use it to accomplish my tasks of life.

Thank you, O God, for my body and thank you for taking on a body of your own. Bless my body and enable me to serve you well with it.

(As I was writing this Daily Thanks I thought of this post by Seth.)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Daily Thanks#3

I'm thankful for oatmeal. For steaming bowls of it on a cold, snowy day, for plump raisins and a sprinkling of brown sugar, for the faint swirl of cinnamon throughout. I'm thankful for the way it fills my belly and warms me up. I'm thankful that I can start my day with the simple little pleasure of hot oatmeal.

Thank you, my Sustainer, for not only providing food to nourish me, but granting me the enjoyment of it as well.Thank you, God, for oatmeal.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Daily Thanks #2

Today my Daily Thanks is very simple: I'm thankful for today. I went shopping with the kids and survived, I cleaned and organized a few things and I'm listening to some great music right now (it's Flyleaf in case you're wondering.)
It's gray and rainy outside, but it's warm and cheerful inside. It's a good day.

Thank you, Yahweh, for orchestrating today- for me.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Daily Thanks #1

Well, it's time again for my annual Daily Thanks posts. I'm going to try to write a thankfulness post for each day leading up to Thanksgiving, but I'm sure I'll skip a few days here and there.

Today I'm thankful for being able to enjoy corporate worship with the same people that I'll be spending eternity with. Today when I sat in church and heard the Word of God and responded to Him with prayer and song, I got a sweet taste of what the rest of my life will be like after I die. (Though I'm pretty sure we won't be singing with piano accompaniment in heaven.)

Thank you, Father, for this sweet taste of Home.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Reformation Day!

On this day that we remember the brave men and women in history who mightily changed the church to serve our God better let us also remember this great hymn that urges us to fight just as they did.
This battle hymn is one of my favorites and it never fails to remind me of the power of God to win this war. I may lose hope some days, but our great General Jesus is still leading us to a sure victory.
All praise to our Mighty Fortress!

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

Monday, October 29, 2007

To My Parents

"To Dad who only reared twelve children and to Mother who reared twelve only children."

That is the dedication for the book "Cheaper By The Dozen." When I first read that several years back I thought that was a rather odd way of putting it, but only recently I realized that I understood it perfectly.

In my family, though, it was reversed. My mom only raised five children. We would always be hearing other people exclaiming at the size of our family, but I never once heard Mom say that we were a handful or that our house was chaotic because of the kids that lived there. She didn't seem to realize that she had a larger than typical family- she just raised us, clothed us, fed us and, most of all, loved us like it was no big deal.

My dad raised five only children. I think I can speak for each of my siblings when I say we all know that we're Dad's favorite kid. Whether he's talking on the phone or enjoying a meal with us or if he's helping out by watching the kids or sending gifts to grandkids, he has a way of making whomever he's interacting with feel like the most important person in the world.

Maybe I'm a bit biased here, but I know that my parents are the best parents I could ever wish for. And I say that fully aware of their imperfections and sin.

So many times I wish I could say thank you once again to my mommy. She sacrificed so much to love me. But I'm so very grateful that I still have many oppotunities to say this to my dad:
"Thank you, Dad, thank you. I love you."

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Beautiful- Simply Beautiful

I've been listening to this song often of late. I suppose that's because I like to surround myself with beauty. It's strange to think I used to not like this style of music or more "classical" voices. I'm so glad my tastes changed! To think what I could have missed.

Sarah Brightman- Time to Say Goodbye
(An announcer is speaking in some foreign language for the first 20 seconds or so.)

A Praise For the Little Things

Today I ate a banana with peanut butter on it and it was so scrumptious! It was such a small thing, but it sure put a smile on my face. Do you believe that one reason God made bananas and peanuts all those thousands of years ago was so I could enjoy my banana with peanut butter today? I do.

"Praise to the Lord...
Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
If with His love He befriend thee.

Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore Him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him.
Let the Amen sound from His people again,
Gladly for aye we adore Him."

Monday, October 22, 2007

Good Blog Post from Fritz

Once again, Fritz has written something profound that I felt I should share with you all (though I realize that most of you who read this blog also reads his.)

When it Doesn't Feel Like We are Winning

"A thing of great comfort to me is that we do not serve a lofty God who commands from the rear and is distant. Our God isn't the king who has become great on the backs of his slaves, rather He became lowly to make us great. There is not a tragedy or pain that He has not already felt for us. There is not a sorrow or test that He has not overcome. But even our great Savior understands the feeling of sorrow and loss."

These are truths that we've all heard before, but sometimes it's so good to be reminded of them. Thanks, Jonathan.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sabbath Quote

"It is a great act of eternal love when Christ once for all absolves the sinner, and puts him into the family of God; but what condescending patience there is when the Saviour with much long-suffering bears the oft recurring follies of His wayward disciple; day by day, and hour by hour, washing away the multiplied transgressions of His erring but yet beloved child! To dry up a flood of rebellion is something marvelous, but to endure the constant dropping of repeated offenses--to bear with a perpetual trying of patience, this is divine indeed!"

----C.H. Spurgeon

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Motherhood Quote

"No job on earth takes more physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual strength than being a good wife and mother. If a woman is looking for the easy life she might try teaching tennis, cutting diamonds , or joining a roller derby team. There is nothing easy about good mothering. It can be back breaking, heart wrenching and anxiety producing. And that's just the morning."

---from Stephen and Janet Bly's How to Be a Good Mom.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Oh, And Did I Mention...

Evangeline is walking now. That's right, I now have three little two-footed critters to wreak havoc in my house ( I know Evangeline always was two-footed, but it's different now that's she's figured out how to use them.)

She's quite an early walker- I'll let you all know when she's ready to race in the Olympics, but that probably won't be until she's a year old.

Just thought I'd brag a little- again.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

dying leaves
turning crimson hues
making death seem beautiful

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Unity of Mother and Child

The beauty of the bond between a mother's heart and those of her children is well known. Many a songwriter and poet have filled pages writing on this unique unity. But what is not as well known is the bond between the bladders of mother and child. Yes, it's true, as soon as the mother feels she can no longer go on ignoring the longings and urgings for relief, one, or all, of her children also feel those same urgings of their own.

Such is the timeless tale of the mother: Quietly does she make her move toward the bathroom and silently does she close the door, hoping only to relieve the strain of her poor bladder- the same organ, we must remember, that was so cruelly abused by bearing these children in the first place- when, in that same instant she hears from the other side of the door a sweet little voice chiming: "Mommy, I have to go potty."

Ah, the beauty of the mother- child bond.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Malachi's Birthday

We had Malachi's Spider-Man birthday party on Saturday. My little three-year-old adds such- er, pizazz to my life. Between his love of pushing buttons of any kind, his imaginary motorcycles and his just plain boyishness, life with Malachi is never boring. And I wouldn't have it any other way. (Though someone may need to remind me of that the next time I'm cleaning up something else that he's broken.)

Now I ask you: have you ever seen such a cute Spider-man and Spider-girl?

This is Malachi with his new roller-skating gear. Or maybe I should have him wear this all the time. You know, for the next time he falls down, jumps down the stairs, does a Spider-man jump off the furniture, crashes with his "motorcycle", tackles Lily, falls of his swing, runs into the wall....

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

John Piper: What I Said at My Granddaughter's Funeral

What I Said at My Granddaughter's Funeral

I found this very moving. I greatly admire John Piper as he is a man who has sacrificed his entire life to God. I appreciated seeing how he deals with grief, both in the death of his father and granddaughter, in a very Godly manner.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Things You Don't Want to Hear #2

"I wiped it on your bed."
(This one was especially bad since the preceding sentence had something to do with boogers.)

Remember, you don't have to be a mom or around little kids to add your own "Things you don't want to hear."

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Ugliness and the Soccer Mom

This is a post I've been wanting to write for a while and when James left his comment on a previous post I thought maybe I should finally try to write my thoughts out.

The movie "The Second Chance" is a Christian movie about two pastors- one from a big, rich, flashy church and the other from a small inner-city church. The movie made several good points, but I'll just mention one. The pastor from the inner-city church had a bad habit of swearing. His language wasn't "R-rated," but it still was not lovely, appropriate or God-honoring. I think there are a few reasons why this character had this flaw, but the reason that stuck out to me was the fact that he had been affected by his surroundings. He was pastor of a church right in the middle of everything that is ugly. The church ministered to drug-dealers and prostitutes and hearing gunshots in their neighborhood was an everyday occurrence. So this pastor was faced with the ugliness every day of his life and as a result the language of the people around him seeped in and he started talking like they did.

Each Christian has been called to serve wherever God has placed them and no matter where you live there is the danger of the ugliness of the world seeping into you and your family and changing you. If you live in an urban area perhaps the temptation will be to dress similarly to your neighbors since you feel weird in your "good Christian clothes." Or maybe the hopelessness of the people around you will affect you or even the violence you are faced with everyday. Maybe you'll be tempted to let down your guard and stop fighting quite so hard and maybe some of the ugliness will be let in.

My family has been called to serve God in middle class suburbia. Our neighborhood is relatively safe and I don't think I've ever heard a gunshot nor seen a drug deal take place. But this neighborhood is still full of an ugliness all its' own and a danger that can be hard to fight against. It's the danger of wealth and worldliness, of relying on my possessions for happiness and trying to impress the Joneses.

I don't know my neighbors. Sure, I could name most of them and if I ran into them on the street we'd say hi and chat about the weather a bit, but we all hide behind our masks. We drive our shiny cars into our spacious driveways and prune our hedges. We smile at each other and if we fight with our spouses we try to keep it quiet so no one else hears. And I find myself quite content with how things are because it's so easy and things feel right.

And yet, my neighborhood is just as dark and ugly as the place where the drug dealers live and gang members kill each other. Sin is just as present here as in the ghetto. And we need to be fighting it here or it will overtake us as well. Only it won't come out as swearing or violence, rather it will look like a well-kept lawn and a nice minivan. A smiling face as I take my kids to soccer practice, ballet, tuba lessons, swim meets, etc. My husband will go to work and I'll run the kids about and make sure our house stays clean. We'll pay the bills on time and even have some money left over for a nice vacation. I'll smile at my neighbors and they'll smile back and life will feel right.

Now, I'm not saying that all these things are wrong by themselves, but what is this average American lifestyle? Is it serving God and denying ourselves or is it just getting comfortable here in this world? Maybe that lifestyle makes sense if that's all you're hoping for, but I'm waiting for something better- heaven. And I want my neighbors to be there, too.
So should we give into the pretty-looking ugliness and live like everyone else around us? Or do we fight it and, by God's almighty grace bring some light and hope into this dark place?

Don't think that just because you live in a nice neighborhood with pretty houses you aren't called to be a missionary there or that it's not dangerous. The danger to become like the world is very present in nice neighborhoods- it's just harder to see. Which makes it harder to fight.

May God give us wisdom and courage to fight and serve where He has placed us.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

My Beloved

Yesterday the kids and I were sick so Joshua graciously stayed home from work to take care of us. Joshua even washed dishes and did laundry in between wiping kids' noses and caring for a cranky wife. As a result, some dishes were put away in the wrong places and some bits of clothes and towels were folded and put away differently than I like to do it and so things are a little less organized than I generally like. I suppose I could complain about the inconvenience that causes me today, but I'm finding that as I'm going about my duties and I come upon a "mistake" that Joshua made it only serves to remind me of how much my husband loves me. Not only did he stay home from work (and therefore run the risk of being backlogged today) and take care of all of us, but he also made sure the house kept running smoothly so that I didn't have to worry about it.

I've said it before and I know I'll say it again: I'm married to a truly loving, thoughtful and serving man. There's just no way I can figure that I deserve him.

Thank you, my dear husband, for loving me. And thank You, my Father, for this undeserved gift.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Things You Don't Want to Hear

Coming From the Bathroom:
"It won't go down!"

In the middle of the night:
"My bed is messy!"

(Crash!) "Look what Malachi did!"

Feel free to add your own "Things You Don't Want to Hear."

Sunday, September 09, 2007

I'll Share Jesus with You- Just Don't Touch Me

We recently received a newsletter from the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation. These people are really trying to save lives by changing the way our country views unborn children and I applaud their efforts. That newsletter got me thinking, though. I’ve been an active “Pro-Lifer” since I was young. Much of that was due to the fact that my mom, in her job, worked with unwed mothers and helped them make the decision to keep their babies and not have abortions. So I would proudly wear the footprint pin and the T-shirts and march downtown with a poster-sized sign. These were very good things to do, but how come I never wore a T-shirt that said drugs were wrong or picketed a strip club? Why was I so outspoken against abortion and not any of these other sins? Could it be that part of the reason there are so many loud “Pro-Lifers” is because unwanted pregnancies and abortions aren’t things that we struggle with? Would we be so outspoken about sins that we are tempted by? And what if that sin was "extra bad" and not talked about?

Harvest USA is a ministry that reaches out to people that struggle with sexual sins. They provide counseling and teaching for the guy who can’t get enough porn, the girl who thinks she might be lesbian, and the husband who cheats on his wife. These are the “yucky” sins that we church folks don’t want to talk about. We’ll go to hear a great speaker talk about the horrors of abortion, but if there’s a lecture about homosexuality then we’re out of there. The brave people who work with Harvest USA aren't afraid to be associated with the unpleasantness of certain sins.

I’m not saying that we should stop be outspoken about protecting a babies life or that it’s wrong to be Pro-Life. On the contrary, I’m eager for the day when I can donate some of my time and energy to help fight abortion here in Erie. What I’m saying is, we can’t ignore the other sins that don’t get talked about.

If someone in your church got pregnant out of marriage then you’d probably know about it, but what if a Christian sister were struggling with alcoholism or a brother were struggling with sexual addiction? Would you even want to know? And if you did, how would you minister to him?

I don’t care how socially unacceptable some sins are. We Christians need to stop being so prissy and get our hands dirty! If we are too good or too “polite” to talk about these sins then who will bring these poor, battered souls to Jesus? Jesus Himself hung out with thieves and prostitutes. Do you think He didn’t know what that prostitute was doing the night before? Do you think He shrank away from her? If the Holy Son of the Almighty Creator could stoop to love and save these filthy sinners, then who are we to think they aren’t our problem?

After all, are we any less sinful?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Monday, September 03, 2007

I Think I'm in Love

Today Joshua and I took our first motorcycle ride together. As soon as we hit the open road and the wind took my breath away I knew there was nowhere else on earth that I'd rather be than riding with my man.

Riding a motorcycle is a unique experience. Feeling the power of the machine you're sitting on, seeing the landscape flying by with amazing clarity, having the wind make your eyes water, and feeling the tiny pinpricks on your face where the kamikaze insects crash, all combine to make an exciting, fun and extremely relaxing experience.

Now that I've had a taste, I'm hooked. I can't wait to ride again. Now to find a babysitter....

Thursday, August 30, 2007


A few weeks ago I was at a yard sale and as I was perusing the various bits and pieces of stuff my eyes fell on this robot arm thingy. I suddenly remembered that my brothers had owned one of these a long time ago and I was struck with nostalgia. I excitedly showed it to Joshua and paid all of one dollar for it. It still works and it's just as cool as I remember.

There's just something about controlling a robot arm thingy that makes even the most dignified adult feel like a kid. Even my dad started playing with it when I showed it to him. ;)

My Name is- What?

I've decided that the "K" and "L" keys on this keyboard are far too close. I've misspelled my name as "Adiek" so many times I'm contemplating having my name legally changed just so I can stop hitting backspace all the time. Of course, with my typing skills I guess backspace will always be my best friend.

Yours truly,

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Quote

"The grandeur of the arch of heaven would be spoiled if the sky were supported by a single visible column, and your faith would lose its glory if it rested on anything discernible by the carnal eye."

-----Charles H. Spurgeon

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Bouncing Baby Blog

I've started a new blog, A Dash of This, A Smidgeon of That. There I'll be posting various and sundry helpful stuff for other homemakers. Check it out!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Bath Time

The only thing better than chubby baby rolls is chubby baby rolls covered with suds.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Happy Birthday, Joshua!

Today is my beloved husband’s birthday. One thing I like so much about birthdays is they give us a chance to publicly honor someone. And if anyone deserves to be honored it’s Joshua. I mean, if he can live with me day in and day out for five years, put up with three cranky kids, fix our old house, (and refix and fix again...) do yard work, change diapers, clean up vomit, and get me chocolate when I need it, then he’s just about what I’d call the perfect husband.

Joshua, it’s been an adventure being married to you. I think I have you figured out and then you go and do something that surprises and amazes me. I’m so grateful for you.
I love you. Happy Birthday.

“Lead me and I’ll follow you
Anywhere, anytime
When the love is right
The path is bright

From the Father of lights you came
And I know I’ll never be the same

When the Love is Right

Monday, August 20, 2007

All Hail The Queen

We Gardners have a bit of a reputation when it comes to salad dressing. We have a lot of it. I've even been called the Salad Dressing Queen. Joshua brings home various dressings and sauces from work so we have quite a variety of dressings to serve when people come over for dinner. We bring dressings when we are invited to someone else's house. We even give it away as gifts.

So today I felt inspired to find out exactly how many bottles of dressings, dips, sauces, syrups, and marinades that we currently have in our home. The final count is... 49.
And that's not counting the four dressing-sized bottles of cooking wine that Joshua brought home or the bottle of salted Tequila (yes, that is an ingrediant in some marinades.)

I sometimes wonder what sort of impact this will have on our children as they grow up.
"Daddy, Sarah's family only had two bottles of dressing with dinner! Isn't that silly?"
"Mommy, why don't my friends eat their dressing by the spoonful like we do?"

Ah, well, we've never been normal in any other part of life- why should our condiments be any different?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sabbath Quote

"Lord, evermore Thy face we seek:
Tempted we are, and poor, and weak;
Keep us with lowly hearts, and meek.
Let us not fall. Let us not fall."

----Charles H. Spurgeon

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Just a Neat Picture

I took this picture right before the praying mantis jumped on my camera. I guess he didn't like being photographed.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Conversion Story

I had taken these pictures a while ago and I stumbled upon them as I was sorting through some old photographs. I really enjoyed this project (though my models may have felt differently) and I wanted to share it with you. If the quality isn't that great it's because I took pictures of the pictures with my camera since I don't have a scanner.

Conversion Story

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Friday, August 10, 2007

Photographic Proof

A Great Quote

An optimist sees the glass as half full...
The pessimist sees it as half empty...
The realist sees it as just one more thing to wash.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

A Bragging Post

I realize that I am seeing this through the biased eyes of a proud mommy, but I'll still brag about it.
Evangeline is only 5 1/2 months old and today she pulled herself up to a standing position and, with some interesting maneuvering, got a toy out of the toy box. Isn't my little girl something? She's always been strong so at this rate she'll be bench pressing her brother by the time she's a year old. My theory is that she's pushing herself to excel in mobility just so she can run away from Lily when she gets in her mothering moods.
I'm so proud of my baby.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Stress Diet

This was one of those forwarded emails, but it gave me a chuckle so I thought I'd pass it on.

This is a specially formulated diet designed to help women cope with the stress that builds during the day.


1 grapefruit

1 slice whole wheat toast

1 cup skim milk


1 small portion lean, steamed chicken

1 cup spinach

1 cup herbal tea

1 Hershey's kiss

Afternoon Tea

The rest of the Hershey kisses in the bag

1 tub of Hagen-Daaz ice cream with chocolate chips


4 glasses of wine (red or white)

2 loaves garlic bread

1 family size supreme pizza

3 Snickers Bars

Late Night Snack

1 whole Sarah Lee cheesecake (eaten directly from the freezer)

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Happy Birthday, Seth!

Today is my oldest brother's birthday. He is turning 30 today! I could make some sort of obnoxious comment about how old he is, but I'm afraid that, in his senility, he wouldn't get any jokes I make. You know how old people can be.

Seth, thank you for being my big brother. For teaching me the joy of being a gamer, for letting me follow you around at school saying, "Hi, Big Guy!", for babysitting me when I was a brat, for reading Hitchhiker's Guide to me and most of all, for growing up to be my friend.
I love you, Big Guy.

Happy Birthday!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Questions I Wish I Didn't Have to Ask

"Where are your underpants?"

"Whose poopy is that?"

"What are you eating?!"

Helmet Art

Joshua and I have combined our talents to make his motorcycle helmet a work of art. I designed and drew the pattern then Joshua did the meticulous work of cutting out the stencil from masking tape. Then he put the tape stencil on the helmet (NOT as easy as it sounds! You try putting a flat thing on a round thing and see how well it goes.), taped off the rest of the helmet and spray painted it. Because of the camera flash the paint may look white in the pictures, but it's actually silver.

We're both really pleased with how it came out. We're probably going to paint something on the sides and when we do I'll post more pictures.
So what do you think? Not bad for our first helmet painting. Now we have to figure out what we'll do on my helmet.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


Throughout the five years that Joshua and I have been married we've discovered our opinions are not always identical when it comes to books, movies, music, etc. But one thing we've always had in common is our love of Blindside's music. Here are a few of my favorites.
(As always feel free to ignore the videos and just listen to the music.)

All of Us
Shekina I really like this one. If it seems like you can't understand what he's saying at certain points it's because he sings part of the song in Swedish. How cool is that?
After You're Gone This video is actually for some sort of wrestling thing, but this song is so good I thought I'd post it anyway.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Embarrassing Jonathan

I thought long and hard about whether I should post this picture. In the end, as you can see, I decided that it was too good to keep to myself. Not only did I snap this picture of my brother sucking his thumb, but I also managed to show off his increasing baldness.

Jonathan, despite my little sister meanness I really enjoyed seeing you a few weeks ago. I liked having you around to just hang out with and I liked hearing you laugh. I guess the only thing I didn't like about your visit is it reminded me of how much I miss having my brothers and sisters nearby. I love you, Jonathan.
(There, did that mushy part make up for the embarrassing picture?)

A Playground Sunset

Sunday, July 22, 2007

My Beautiful Family

Sabbath Quote

"The day is brighter here with You
The night is lighter than its hue
Would lead me to believe
Which leads me to believe

You make everything glorious
You make everything glorious
You make everything glorious
And I am Yours
What does that make me?"

---"Everything Glorious" by David Crowder Band
(You can hear the song here.)

Friday, July 20, 2007

My Peaceful Neighborhood

I'm feeling down. I'm having trouble exactly pinpointing why I'm feeling so bummed out, but I do know one thing that is contributing to this. Last night a man killed himself at the high school right behind our house. He called the police and when they got there he shot himself. (You can read the story here.)
The high school parking lot is like a second back yard to us. It's an ideal place to teach little people to ride bikes or rollerskate.

But now it is stained with blood.

I realize that this isn't a big deal compared to what happens in inner city areas everyday or even compared to the violence that has taken place at other high schools. But this happened in my back yard. And the next time we go for a relaxing Sunday afternoon walk we will walk on sidewalk that witnessed death.

And consider this: Where is that man now? Is he even now begging to be allowed to return to this life, which now seems a pleasant place when compared to the fury of hell? Or was he my brother in Christ that lost hope?

This used to be a peaceful neighborhood where nothing ever happened- or so I thought. I guess this is really the neighborhood I live in- a place where people hurt so much that death is a gift to them. So does this change who we need to be here? How are we to be Christians here? How do we shine in this dark place?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

They Win

Well, I've finally conceded the match. My kids have me beat. I reached this conclusion after discovering that little, adorable 5-month-old Evangeline is fully mobile. She does this goofy belly flop thing that can move her across the floor at a shocking speed. So now I have a baby that can get into everything, a 4-year-old with a mouth and imagination running on overdrive and an almost 3-year-old that likes to eat light bulbs and thinks he's Spider-man.
So you see, it's hopeless. My daily life looks something like a circus. I could try to fight my children for my sanity or maybe I should just hang on and enjoy the ride.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Hey, Good Lookin'

Take a gander at my niece Olympia. She's a cutie, eh? She takes ballet (hence the tutu) and she was over here today for a photo shoot. I'm quite pleased with how the pictures turned out and whether their success was due to the photographer or the subject matter I couldn't say, but it 's a close call. ;o)

Saturday, July 07, 2007

May I Introduce...

Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is with great pleasure that I introduce to you the newest addition to our household- a motorcycle!

This is a purely practical second vehicle for our family. Never mind the look of jubilant glee on Joshua's face and the very comfy second seat for yours truly. We got this bike for practical reasons only. Yep, that's right, no fun factor here at all. (And if you believe that I'll tell you another one...)