Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Good Labor Quote

"Our Lamaze instructor… assured our class…that our cervix muscles would become 'naturally numb' as they swelled and stretched, and deep breathing would turn the final explosions of pain into 'manageable discomfort.' This description turned out to be as accurate as, say, a steward advising passengers aboard the Titanic to prepare for a brisk but bracing swim.

—Mary Kay Blakely in American Mom "

Sunday, January 28, 2007

A Sabbath Prayer

Love Lustres at Calvary

My Father,
Enlarge my heart, warm my affections, open my lips,
supply words that proclaim ‘Love lustres at Calvary.’
There grace removes my burdens and heaps them on thy Son,
made a transgressor , a curse, and sin for me;
There the sword of thy justice smote the man, thy fellow;
There thy infinite attributes were magnified,
and infinite atonement was made;
There infinite punishment was due,
and infinite punishment was endured.
Christ was all anguish that I might be all joy,
cast off that I might be brought in,
trodden down as an enemy that I might be welcomed as a friend,
surrendered to hell's worst that I might attain heaven's best,
stripped that I might be clothed,
wounded that I might be healed,
athirst that I might drink,
tormented that I might be comforted,
made a shame that I might inherit glory,
entered darkness that I might have eternal light.

My Saviour wept that all tears might be wiped from my eyes,
groaned that I might have endless song,
endured all pain that I might have unfading health,
bore a thorned crown that I might have a glory-diadem,
bowed his head that I might uplift mine,
experienced reproach that I might receive welcome,
closed his eyes in death that I might gaze on unclouded brightness,
expired that I might for ever live.

O Father, who spared not thine only Son that thou mightest spare me,
All this transfer thy love designed and accomplished;
Help me to adore thee by lips and life.
O that my every breath might be ecstatic praise,
my every step buoyant with delight, as I see
my enemies crushed,
Satan baffled, defeated, destroyed,
sin buried in the ocean of reconciling blood,
hell's gates closed, heaven's portal open.

Go forth, O conquering God, and show me the cross,
mighty to subdue, comfort and save.

---from The Valley of Vision

Friday, January 26, 2007

Happy Birthday to My Pastor

My dad’s birthday is on the 28th. I’ll be doing this birthday post a little differently by writing about my pastor instead of my dad (of course, it’s impossible for me to completely separate the two.) I’m also doing this a few days in advance, partly so it actually gets done and also to give you folks a chance to leave any comments for him since many of you have had him as pastor at some point. I know he checks this blog regularly, though you could never tell it by the number of comments he leaves :o).

So, where shall I begin? My dad has been my pastor and shepherd of my soul since before I even knew I had a soul that needed shepherding. As far back as I can remember it’s been my dad that I’ve heard preaching as I've sat in my pew. In all that time, as should be expected, he has changed as a pastor. He’s gone from preaching slightly stoic, but theologically correct sermons to being able to preach passionately from a heart that deeply loves his Lord and the people that he has been ordained to lead. And that love is so obvious. There is an intensity in his sermons as if he is pleading with our very souls, urging and exhorting his flock to abandon our sinful desires and serve more fully our true Master.

My pastor doesn’t just preach from a pulpit once a week and leave it at that, but he regularly meets with various members of the church to disciple them on a one-on-one basis. I like watching him talk with people after worship on Sundays. My dad is not a naturally social person, but there he is talking to this person about a job interview, inquiring after that person’s health, setting up a time to visit this other person. Our pastor loves us and it shows in how he cares for us.

More times than I can recall, I’ve thanked God for giving me such a pastor. I thank Him once again, knowing that in providing for me a godly man to guide and instruct me my God has shown how much He loves me.

I pray that God would bless my dad and pastor in this new year of his life.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

No Surrender

Sometimes some random memories of my mom will pop up in my mind. I remember one thing she used to do if she was working on a project and it wasn’t going right or if she was fiddling with something and having trouble with it she would say, “I yield!” in an exasperated tone of voice. It would drive me crazy when she did that and I would just chalk it up as another one of my crazy mother’s annoying habits. But I understand now why my mom would say it.

This past while has been really difficult for me and whether it’s a project I’m working on that’s not going right or my body is aching and cramping or one of the kids just spilled a whole bowl full of cereal and milk on my freshly mopped floor, I find myself often saying those same words, “I yield! That’s it. I give up. I tried my hardest and failed. I’m done.” But I then I try to think back to those times when my mom would say it and I can’t remember her just throwing the project down, giving up and storming away in a huff. Instead, she would try again. She didn’t really surrender even though she was saying she was. She kept at it until she got it right- even when it seemed a hopeless situation.

So maybe that’s what I need to do, too. Maybe it’s really okay if I feel overwhelmed by my life right now. Maybe it’s to be expected that I feel like laying down arms and surrendering to inevitable failure. Maybe it’s okay if I feel hopeless- just as long as I don’t give up. I pray daily for the strength to live and serve another day. Even when I don’t see any possible way that the oncoming day could be good, I still pray that it would be. If I trusted in my own feeble strength then I would have to surrender, but my Jesus has strength enough for me. It’s His strength that will get me through the day. If my Savior can fight the powers of death and darkness and not give up then surely He can carry me along to my own victory.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Too Sweet For Words

Just Because He's Cute

Do you have any idea how hard it is to get this little boy to sit still for a picture without making goofy faces? I'm amazed that I got these two pictures. He sure is a handsome little man, isn't he?

Happy Birthday, Dad G!

Yesterday was my father-in-law's birthday. Life was a little crazy yesterday so this is a belated birthday post.

One thing that I really appreciate about my father-in-law (a.k.a Dad#2, daddy G. Grandpa Cracker, etc.) is they way he is with his grandkids. He's so gentle with them whether he's holding little Alyssa or horsing around with Malachi or having pretend tea with Lily. And it's plain to see that he's having just as much fun (maybe even more) as they are. And the kids adore him. They are always wondering when they'll get to see their Grampa Gardner next and if they'll get to sleep over at his house (that's the ultimate treat.)

There is quite a lack of good grandpas in this world and I'm so very grateful that my kids get to have a really special one.

Thanks, Daddy G. for being the big part of our lives that you are and for giving my kids your love. Thanks for being Grampa Gardner. You make our family richer just by being you.

Happy Birthday!

A Mother's Dream

I made a baby sling for myself today and with the leftover fabric I made one for Lily. I can't believe how grown-up she looks. She is so nurturing even at three years of age. She will often pat or rub my belly and talk to her baby brother/sister. She tries to be so gentle with me so she doesn't hurt Baby Buddy. I'm really looking forward to seeing how she cares for Baby Buddy after he's born.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Just Plain Silly

Seen on an ad for a prescription sleep aid:

"Side effects may include drowsiness"

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Medium-Well with a Side of Stuffing

Several nights ago my family and I enjoyed the rare treat of eating steaks for dinner. The local supermarket was having a great sale on them so I thought we’d splurge. We cut the kids’ meat up into small pieces and told them to chew their food a lot since steak is very chewy. Malachi only heard that it was “Chewy” (the name of his teddy bear) that we were eating.
“This is Chewy-Bear?” he asked, holding a piece of steak on his fork.
We tried to explain that we weren’t eating Chewy, but that the food was hard to chew.
“It’s Chewy-Bear!” he said happily and eagerly started chomping away at his steak.

Now I ask you, which is worse- the fact that our son was positive that we were eating his teddy bear for dinner or the fact that he seemed to be enjoying it?

Monday, January 15, 2007

A Great Song

This is one of my favorite Keith Green songs. Something I enjoy greatly about Keith Green's music is the raw honesty he showed in his lyrics and in the way he sang them. This is a great song and I cry every time I hear it.

When I Hear the Praises Start

My son, My son, why are you striving,
You can't add one thing to what's been done for you,
I did it all while I was dying,
Rest in your faith, my peace will come to you.

For when I hear the praises start, I want to rain upon you,
Blessings that will fill your heart, I see no stain upon you,
Because you are My child and know me, to Me you're only holy,
Nothing that you've done remains, only what you do for Me.

My child, My child, why are you weeping,
You will not have to wait forever,
That day and that hour is in My keeping,
The day I'll bring you into Heaven.

For when I hear the praises start, my child, I want to rain upon you,
Blessing that will fill your heart, I see no stain upon you,
Because you are My child and you know me, to me you're only holy,
Nothing that you've done remains, only what you do in Me.

My precious bride, the day is nearing,
When I'll take you in My arms and hold you,
I know there are so many things that you've been hearing,
But you just hold on to what I have told you.

For when I hear the praises start, my bride, I want to rain upon you,
Blessings that will fill your heart, I see no stain upon you,
Because you are My child, and you know Me, to me you're only holy,
Nothing that you've done will remain, only what you do for me.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

A Sabbath Prayer

The Lord's Day

O Lord my Lord,
this is thy day,
the heavenly ordinance of rest,
the open door of worship,
the record of Jesus' resurrection,
the seal of the sabbath to come,
the day when the saints militant and triumphant unite in endless song.
I bless thee for the throne of grace,
that here free favour reigns;
that open access to it is through the blood of Jesus;
that the veil is torn aside and I can enter the holiest
and find thee ready to hear,
waiting to be gracious,
inviting me to pour out my needs,
encouraging my desires,
promising to give more than I ask or think.
But while I bless thee, shame and confusion are mine:
I remember my past misuse of sacred things,
my irreverent worship,
my base ingratitude,
my cold, dull praise.
Sprinkle all my past sabbaths with the cleansing blood of Jesus,
and may this day witness deep improvement in me.
Give me in rich abundance the blessings the Lord's Day was designed to impart;
May my heart be fast bound against worldly thoughts or cares;
Flood my mind with peace beyond understanding;
may my meditations be sweet,
my acts of worship, life, liberty, joy,
my drink the streams that flow from thy throne,
my food the precious Word,
my defence the shield of faith,
and may my heart be more knit to Jesus.

---From The Valley of Vision

Saturday, January 13, 2007

More Beautiful Artwork

Lily wanted to draw a picture of Baby Buddy and I thought I 'd share it with you. She is so excited to meet her newest little sibling. She is convinced that she's getting a little sister where as Malachi is sure Baby Buddy is a boy. Joshua and I keep telling them that God has already decided which gender Baby Buddy is and we’ll just have to wait to find out for ourselves. Lily’s response to that logic: “God decided Baby Buddy is a girl.”

(In case you were wondering about that line coming from Baby Buddy's mouth- I think it was supposed to be his neck, but the artist later declared that it was the umbilical cord. So what if it’s not 100% anatomically correct? He does have an ear in the middle of his forehead, after all.)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Something Like a Haiku

tears mingle with the downpour
does anyone ever know
when you cry in the shower?

Quotables from Today

"My tongue feels soft- I want it to feel sweet."

"Don’t hit it with your banana."

Monday, January 08, 2007

So, You Think You Know What You’re Getting Into?

From time to time I’ll talk to various young couples who are looking forward to the day when they will start a family of their own. They get that dreamy look in their eyes and I can tell they’re imagining how nice it will be when they have a cute, cuddly little baby and then, years later, an adorable well-behaved toddler and so on. I look at these dreamers and laugh to myself, “They have NO IDEA what they’re getting into.

Take this last Saturday evening for example. The kids were in bed and Joshua and I were peacefully doing a few chores downstairs before we were going to settle in to watch a movie. While I was sweeping in the dining room I heard a crash from overhead so I raced up the stairs (as much as a very pregnant woman can race anywhere) to the kids’ room to see what happened. Lily had somehow managed to dive off her bed to tackle the floor lamp, shattering its glass parts to pieces and sending shards of glass flying across the room toward Malachi’s bed (where he was sitting half naked since his favorite pastime is removing his pajamas.) Thankfully, neither child was injured, but we did have to spend the next half hour or so cleaning up glass from all the little nooks and crannies in the kids’ room (and redressing Malachi.)

Now this example of crazy parenthood is from a mother of only TWO kids. What is it going to be like as our home fills up with even more of these little sources of stress and insanity? Do I have any idea what I’m getting into? Of course I don’t and I think that that ignorance is God’s gift to parents. So, I’ll just take what insanity comes my way because I know that even though life here can get crazy our family life is rich and whole because of those little kids. I’m so thankful for my family- broken lamps and all.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

A Good Quote for the Sabbath

These are a few lines from one of the hymns we sang during corporate worship today. I was struck by them and wanted to share their beauty and truth with you folks.

"O worship the King, all glorious above,

O gratefully sing His power and His love;

Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,

Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.

Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,

In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail;

Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end,

Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.

O measureless might! Ineffable love!

While angels delight to hymn Thee above,

The humbler creation, though feeble their lays,

With true adoration shall lisp to Thy praise."

Friday, January 05, 2007

Let the Guessing Begin!

As you can tell from my baby countdown I have a little over a month left until Baby Buddy makes his debut appearance. I’ll now be accepting any guesses you all may have for the date of arrival, gender and any other baby info you can think of.

Here are some facts first:
I’m due to be delivered from my state of largeness on February 7th. I went five days past my due date when I had Lily and ten days with Malachi. Lily weighed 7.4 and Malachi weighed 8.4.

So here’s my guess: February 13th, a girl, 8 lbs. and incredibly cute.