December 30, 2009

Mmmm, Pumpkin Bread

I got this recipe from Jeramy's Aunt Janice Jenkins. It's easy and great! Part of a complete breakfast. :-)

3 cups sugar
1 cup oil (vegetable is best)
2 cups pumpkin (15 oz can)
4 eggs
3/4 cup water
3 1/3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Mix all ingredients together in an extra large bowl. Bake in 3 greased loaf pans for one hour at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Baking tips: Mix together the wet ingredients first, then add the spices, then the flour last, mixing well between each ingredient added. You want the dough mixture to be as smooth (no lumps or clumps) as possible. Greasing the pans with butter adds more flavor but non-stick spray is easier and less time consuming. You will know the bread is fully done when a knife or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

December 29, 2009

Celtic Fiddle on Tuesday

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Ms. Bonnie Rideout

With lovely pictures of autumn.

December 27, 2009

Multitude Monday

holy experience

I'm thankful for
161. An automatic dishwasher.
162. Being able to stay home and watch my baby's first steps.
163. New books!
164. Quiet holidays celebrating with family.
165. Nice, seasoned pork ribs!
166. Stewed tomatoes, like my Grandma used to make.
167. After Christmas sales.
168. Participating in leading worship.
169. All God's plans for me work out for my good.
170. Another day without real nausea.

December 25, 2009

Funny Friday: Christmas Lyrics

The Little Drummer Boy . . .
A kid banging on a drum in a stable with a newborn baby and a brand new mother who just trekked pregnant out in the cold and endured labor and delivery while still a virgin?

"Hey! Keep it down! I'm trying to rest over here!" :-)


Do You Hear What I Hear?
Said the Shepherd boy to the mighty King,
"Do you know what I know?
In your palace warm, mighty King,
Do you know what I know?
A child, a child, shivers in the cold
let us bring Him silver and gold."

Okay, silver and gold might buy a nice heated blanket and hot cocoa. But on Christmas . . . most of the stores will probably be closed. :-)

December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Josh Stringer designed our Christmas Photo Card and did an awesome job. Thanks.

All I Want for My Birthday

I know that Christmas is coming and it's only a few short days away, but this was on my mind today as I was dashing off, here and there and all around the square, trying to get everything done in just 24 hours. Because my birthday is in February, I usually always ask for gifts I really wanted for Christmas and didn't receive. Anyway, I didn't hint for this at all, but I'll just make it known. All I want for my birthday is a REAL day, maybe just one day, of vacation.

A day with
no cooking,
no dishes,
no sweeping,
no mopping,
no laundry,
no diaper changes,
no potty runs,
no time constraints,
no errands to run,
no other obligations,
and no compulsory cleaning.

A day full of quiet moments at home
where I can rest,
or sleep,
or read,
or sew,
or practice,
or go shopping,
or go run in the park,
or gaze out the window,
or call old friends and catch up.

Just a quiet, leisurely day.

It would be nice to have a day off.

December 22, 2009

Violin on Tuesday

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Pinchas Zukerman

Allegro con molto from Summer, Vivaldi's Four Seasons

December 21, 2009

Multitude Monday

holy experience

We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks,
For Your name is near;
Men declare Your wondrous works.
Psalm 75:1

141. Fresh, homemade pumpkin bread.
142. Crisp, bright sunny winter days.
143. Remembering the excitement and wonder of a snow-covered morning.
144. Watching children play.
145. A cozy, spacious house.
146. A hunger satisfied.
147. Moriah's initiative to poo in the potty.
148. Laundry detergent.
149. Afternoon naps.
150. The Prince of Peace who reconciles me with a Just and Righteous God.
151. Close shopping.
152. The joy of baking for loved ones.
153. Homemade gifts and sweet treats.
154. The wonder of a new life created.
155. A day without "morning" sickness.
156. Waking up feeling rested.
157. Clothes on my back.
158. Shoes for my feet.
159. A reliable vehicle.
160. An unrevealed Christmas surprise.

December 20, 2009

In Recent News . . .

We just found out that we're expecting our third baby in August 2010!

Praise the Lord!

In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
John 1:1-3

December 18, 2009

A Biblical Reaction to Betrayal

It hits you like a sledge-hammer and it can be so heart-wrenching! Family and friends that you trust and love - people for whom you would do anything within your ability financially, physically, spiritually - these same people that you thought would do the same for you, suddenly, without any warning, notion or premonition betray you. Trust is broken. And you discover that perhaps, all along, you have been deceived into believing that these people loved you and truly cared about you, only to find out the opposite: they hate you. You would have never considered them your enemies and now you begin to understand that they have made you one of theirs. Perhaps you had been all along.

I don't know what's more devastating: the betrayal itself, how suddenly it seems to come from no where, the deception of love or the consequences of whatever hateful actions/words are taken. In addition to this there may be financial obligations should such people take legal action against you. Betrayal can occur on so many levels.

For believers in Christ, betrayal hits us deeply. Whereas non-Christians may seek revenge after mourning the broken relationship and respond in hatred and bitterness, seeking revenge. Believers are called to love our enemies, pray for them and bless them. We need to run to God's Word for encouragement and instruction during this difficult time which leads so easily to honest prayer time. We can pray for the salvation of the betrayers if they are not believers, and conviction from the Holy Spirit and repentance if they are. For ourselves, we can pray for wisdom to handle the situation with grace, righteousness and justice, seeking from God the right course of action. We can also pray for the healing of our hearts as the love and trust has been broken, that we might not turn to hatred and bitterness.

We are called to live peaceably with all people, so much as it depends on us and not to repay evil for evil. We are reminded of passages that tell us that vindication belongs to the Lord and the grace to patiently trust Him for whenever that vindication comes, whether or not we are present to see it. We must trust that God is the righteous Judge and He will defend the cause of the weak and oppressed.

In some cases, it may be appropriate to take legal action against individuals who committed a wrong against you, if they are unbelievers. Perhaps some of these should be handled on a case-by-case basis using the Word of God as a guide for when this should be done and when it should be handled within the context of church government. But whatever action we take, we must always trust in the final authority of God as Judge, trusting in His timing and perfect justice.

And lastly but definitely not least we should look to Jesus example when He was betrayed. His circumstances were much different: He chose and knew who would betray Him, when and why, and He was in complete control the entire time. In this we can trust in God's sovereignty and remember that He has our best interest at heart - sanctification which leads to greater and greater holiness.

When Christ was betrayed, He restrained Himself and did not retaliate and seek His own vengeance. He waited patiently and trusted His retribution to come from God the Father in perfect timing. He submitted to God's will and kept it in view and knew the ultimate victory that would occur to the Father's glory. He knew that God's justice would prevail in the end.

Christ understood the real Enemy. From Adam, Satan had deceived the hearts of men and women, keeping them captive to a dead, sinful nature. He prayed for His enemies and still, in the moment of betrayal, called Judas, "Friend." Previous to this, He spoke in love truthfully and warned about the imminent judgment of his motives and actions, desiring their repentance.

Christ cried out to God the Father and He didn't put on a mask.

The betrayal Christ experienced is the worst that could ever be experienced by any person. When we are betrayed, we could still find some fault for which we must take responsibility. We have not behaved perfectly toward everyone that has ever come across our path. We are not infallible. But Christ was the sinless Son of God in whom is perfect righteousness, holiness, love, justice and truth. By His atoning sacrifice, which would not have occurred apart from God's will without the betrayal by Judas, our filthy-rags human righteousness is exchanged for true divine, Law-fulfilling righteousness by grace through faith. His grace is sufficient for us to accept the sovereignty of God by which the betrayal has occurred and to heal from it.

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 1:2-4

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2::5-11

December 17, 2009

Birthday Card Awards

There were several cards from the girls' birthday party that I wanted to highlight. There were a lot of homemade, personal cards that I loved (all of them, really :-) and a couple of cool, glittery colorful store bought cards. So, without further adieu . . .

Ladies and Gentlemen,
The First Annual Birthday Card Awards!

The Award for Most Adorable Relief Textured Card goes to . . .

The Frick family!
Congratulations Sherri, Leah, Abby, Maggie, Joe, Sam and John!
It's so cute; I love it!

The Award for Most Crayon Coverage goes to . . .

The Siyam family!
Congratulations Sarah and Sofia!
Great job! Smiles all around!

The Award for Best Drawing on Cardstock goes to . . .

The Carter family!
Congratulations Rebekah and Will!
I love the balloon, flowers and smiley sun!

The next Award for Most Original Pop-up Card goes to . . .

Maggie Frick!
This is the coolest card ever! It's awesome!

The Awards for Most Colorful Paper and Most Signatures
goes to . . .

The Jordan Family!
Congratulations Nehemiah, Mordecai, Hadassah, Deborah, Barnabas, Jeremiah and Priscilla!
Smiles abound!

The Awards for Most Elaborate Well Wishes and Unique Characters goes to . . .

Hannah Rose!
You did a super awesome job! I love the monkey and bunny rabbit! It brought lots of smiles to a wonderful day!

Each card was such a joy to open and read!
This awards posting is in appreciation for all the time you wonderful guests put into creating or searching for such wonderful cards! I couldn't let it pass without recognition. :-D
Thank all of you so much for attending our celebration!

December 16, 2009

The Rod of Discipline

The rod and reproof give wisdom,
But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.
Proverbs 29:15

Some are not fans of corporeal punishment for the discipline of their children. It can be very unpopular to take your screaming child out of Toys R Us and spank them in the bathroom (or even pull their pants down and do it right in the aisle!). If we have strong-willed and difficult children after a while, we begin to feel like we give more spankings than hugs and kisses - more unapproving, angry frowns than smiles and laughter. Then we begin to ask ourselves if it's really worth it? "I should be enjoying my children and this brief time in their lives. I'm exhausted from all the correction."

Do not hold back discipline from the child,
Although you strike him with the rod, he will not die.
Proverbs 23:13

The most difficult thing for me, as a parent is to remain consistent in the discipline of my children. It's easy to come through with any threats of discipline I might give, "If you do that ONE more time . . . " It is hard to repeat twice the command given, "Don't climb onto the bed," or, "Don't throw your toys," and then remain faithful to reprimand every time after that in which she disobeys. I give her two warnings then the third time and afterwards (within the same hour, mostly) I give spankings or time-outs. The time outs seem to be more effective since they are 5 minutes of sitting and being quiet with no stimulation whereas spankings only last a moment.

Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child;
The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.
Proverbs 22:15

My friend Jennifer over at A Bug and a Bird has written some words of encouragement about parent/child discipline that she gained from John Piper. In Piper's article, it talks about the eternal significance of remaining faithful to discipline your unregenerate children (whether corporeally or otherwise). By receiving regular, consistent discipline our children learn of the justice of God. They learn that their actions and attitudes have real consequences. If we, as parents, don't remain faithful to discipline them, they will miss out on internalizing this attribute of God in relation to taking responsibility for their own sin, understanding the consequences due it. We hinder the Gospel communicated effectively to our babies when we don't discipline them!
Requiring obedience from children in conformity with God’s will confronts them with the meaning of sin in relation to God, the nature of their own depravity, and their need for inner transformation by the power of grace through the gospel of Christ.
He also includes a great list of things Christian parents should practice:
  • Let there be much spontaneous celebration verbally of every hopeful sign of life and goodness in our children.
  • Let us forgive them often and be longsuffering.
  • Let us serve them and not use them.
  • Let us lavish them with joyful participation in their interests.
  • Let us model for them the joy of knowing and submitting to the Lord Jesus.
  • Let us apologize often when we fall short of our own Father’s requirements.
  • Let us pray for them without ceasing.
  • Let us saturate them with the word of God from the moment they are in the womb (the uterus is not sound proof).
  • Let us involve them in happy ministry experiences and show them it is more blessed to give than to receive.
  • Let them see us sing to the King.
  • Let us teach them relentlessly the meaning of the gospel in the hope that God will open their eyes and make them alive. It happens through the gospel (1 Peter 1:22-25).

Happy Parenting!

December 15, 2009

Studio News

I have been very excited to resume private teaching after two years' break for marriage and babies in rural Register, Georgia. (Note the Anderson Music Studio: Studio Handbook at the top right sidebar.) This has been great. I have already been teaching one new student since October and she is progressing wonderfully. There has also been a significant increase among prospective students and this is, of course, very exciting. :-) I have always really enjoyed teaching and I hope to continue to do so as long as the Lord allows. My only regret is that I didn't learn to play guitar from my Dad or buy a viola when I had the financial ability to do so.

There is one very important note that I must make concerning a change to the Studio Handbook. I am no longer offering music instruction outside of my home.

Previously I offered to drive to another location for a small fee per lesson for vehicular maintenance and time. However, after much consideration of the Proverbs 31 Woman making a successful enterprise within the context of her home, my husband and I decided that it would be best to keep my small business as such. Although my previous service was very beneficial for my prospective students and their families, I also have to keep the care of my family a top priority. This decision was reached by especially considering the potential thriving business this could become and the time away from my primary vocation this could present in the future. I am not an evangelical feminist. Being a wife and mother is my primary role, not financial provision. This is the reason for the change. This decision was arrived by much thought, discussion and meditation on the Word and we feel confident that this will honor and glorify God.

I appreciate your interest in receiving musical instruction from my Studio. If you must drive a considerable distance (which length will be soon decided and updated in the Handbook) then I may (or may not - I've not yet decided) offer a reduction in my hourly rates. If the removal of this service causes you to consider other studios and music academies, etc. closer to your residence, I pray you have a good experience wherever you may go. You may always ask for advice on specific string issues for which I charge no fee. :-)

If you have any other questions, please, feel free to comment, call or email me.

Grace to you.

Violin on Tuesday

Ladies and Gents . . .

Ms. Regina Carter

December 14, 2009

Multitude Monday

holy experience

Oh give thanks to the LORD, call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples.
1 Chronicles 16:8

121. The air in my lungs.
122. The beauty in Lily's brown eyes.
123. Moriah's laughter.
124. Unexpected affirmation.
125. Slow-simmered spaghetti sauce.
126. Toilet paper.
127. A thoughtful husband.
128. A hard-working husband.
129. A financially wise husband.
130. An affectionate husband.
131. A considerate husband.
132. A teaching husband.
133. A trustworthy husband.
134. A woodworking husband.
135. A compassionate husband.
136. A patient husband.
137. The sanctification within marriage.
138. The purity, beauty and righteousness of a marriage bed.
139. The fruit of life that arises out of God's blessing of a marriage bed.
140. By the work of Christ, and not my own, I am no longer guilty of my sins.

December 12, 2009

Sewing Station

My Dad worked with wood as a hobby and made stools, furniture, decorative pieces and other little things with excellent craftsmanship. The sound of saws and the smell of sawdust is one of the fond memories of comfort that I get again with Jeramy. He is becoming a master builder too. :-) He made me these two sewing tables! One is for sitting at the machines to sew or serge and the other is for measuring and cutting. They are very solid and sturdy and will last the rest of my life and probably the girls' too. :-)

And for my first real project, besides covering the tables, is to make a real cover for the fireplace hearth. Currently we are using PODS moving blankets so that the girls don't injure themselves.

December 11, 2009

Lily at 11 Months

Lily turned 11 months on December 4th and she is looking more and more like a little girl rather than a baby! Here she is with her Grand Daddy Dennis at Thanksgiving. Her disposition has definitely changed from that of a contented infant to a discontent toddler. :-) Although she remains the easiest to please out of the four of us. :-D

Another tooth, the eighth, has finally poked out through the bottom of her gums but there are no molars yet. Her favorite words are, "Ma Ma," (although she only says it while crying) and, "Ba Ba." She totally missed the "Da da" and Jeramy feels a little slighted as a result, but I think it's funny. :-)

She hasn't started walking yet. She's still learning to get her feet square underneath her body; most of the time her feet are so far apart they resemble a surfer. She will stand for a few seconds on her own and tonight she took the first step for a split second before falling to her knees! I'm not too sure if she will be walking by the time her birthday comes - I'll be taking bets on that later. :-)

Since she's moved in with her sister her sleeping has been much longer and more consistent! Jeramy and I are so thankful. Moriah gets less sleep, but they make up for it with two naps (when they are running Mommy errands) during the day. Getting Lily out of Mommy and Daddy's bedroom has been the best thing for most of us! :-D

Lily's growth is much more rapid than Moriah's. They both can wear some of the same size clothing (18 months). On Lily it's a little long and it just fits Moriah perfectly on the length, although I am clothing Mo with 24 month and 2T items. In just a little while longer, they will be sharing all of the same clothes in the exact same size - I can take bets on that too. :-)

December 9, 2009

The Pastor's Example

On my previous post, What to Write?, I received the following question from a friend of mine:

Do you think the duties of the wife of a professional minister and the wife of a regular guy differ? It seems that there is a lot of pressure on pastors wife's to be more and do more. I'd be interested in your opinion. Sherri

Have you noticed that Pastors and their families are different? They conduct themselves in a markedly gracious, reserved, temperate manner that completely separates them from Joe Schmoe who, with his family, attend church every Sunday and find time to volunteer their services in this or that ministry of their choosing. Besides the similarities regarding male and female responsibilities within marriage and family life, there is a vast difference between these two such couples. The pressures and responsibilities of making church ministry your sole vocation are much different than working for some secular company outside the church to pay the bills.

In some ways, this is Biblical. Paul said that it is a noble thing to desire to be an elder/pastor/overseer for a local body of believers (1 Tim 3), but it carries a great weight with it (James 3:1). He didn't say this about factory work or computer programming. Those are very important jobs for the post-modern time we live in, but it's much different than making the care of souls a vocation. Souls have an eternal weight to them. These shepherds of the flock will be judged more severely than a layman in the church with no significant position. God will hold them responsible for the things they teach, formally and informally, and for the care given to the flock (counseling, prayer, etc.)

However, in another way, it appears to be unBiblical that there is such a marked difference between the layman's family and that of the pastor's. The descriptions given for these men and women in the pastoral epistles are character qualities that all believers should be striving to possess and practice. The same way that a pastor gives true Biblically founded counseling (void of secular humanist psychology) should be the same worldview to which all believers should give allegiance. But not every believer abandons the evolution, man-centered atheistic theology they were indoctrinated into by public schools or simply from a life a paganism. This is the truly devastating part. Because of this, the Church at large has lost much of its credibility with the lost world; it has become impotent to addressing many of the real issues that non-believers use to reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I think that it is because of this that Pastor's families tend to stand out as examples of holiness, grace, discipline, love, boldness and hospitality. They realize that much more than the Word they preach, their lives must also be aligned to what they are teaching. You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?! That's why the pastor's family lives inside a fishbowl - everything they say and do is examined heavily, scrutinized and deeply considered by other people, within and from without their congregations. Everywhere they go people are watching.

I do not envy the pastor's family. When lay people make a mistake, sometimes it can get by without anyone really noticing. We can still live a transparent lifestyle in that we do not hide our sin in pride, but humbly confess our sin and ask for prayer and accountability when needed. But in the same breath I will say that I do desire after their habitual practice of slow speaking, slow tempers, quickness to listen, contentment, and grace with others who are weak in faith, especially when they don't agree on particular issues, whether they are major theological ones or minor preferences. Yes, we see differences between pastor's families and other believing families. I don't agree that differences should exist, but it cannot be denied either.

Thanks for your interest Sherri. :-)

December 8, 2009

Cheddar Sausage Balls

I received this recipe from one of my friends from Seminary who is currently living in China, Kelly.

1 lb. fresh, ground spicy pork sausage
16 oz. pkg shredded Cheddar cheese
2-3 cups baking mix

1. Blend all ingredients together and shape mixture into walnut-sized balls.
2. Place on a sprayed, foil-lined cookie sheet.
3. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Serve hot.

Personal Notes: For our girls' joint birthday party I doubled the recipe and used 1 lb. spicy and 1 lb. mild sausage. I shredded my own mild cheddar cheese in the food processor (about 1.5 lb.) and added 5 cups of baking mix. It would be best to mix the sausage and cheese together first before adding the baking mix (Bisquick) a little at a time. It took me about 10 to 15 minutes to mix all three ingredients together to get a nice even consistency. The larger you roll the sausage balls, the longer they will take to bake through and they rise upon baking. Jeramy found that they were difficult to remove from the foil after baking.

These were a hit! Enjoy!

December 7, 2009

Happy Birthday, Moriah & Lily!

The girls had such a great time at their joint birthday party. Teddy Bears was the theme. The crowning achievement was originally supposed to be the pull-apart cupcake cake, but it turned out to be the Chicken Cheese Ball pictured above (or Chicken Cheese Bear :-). Click here for the recipe.

Although I must be honest, I'm not sure who enjoyed themselves more, the girls, or me. :-D I really enjoyed having everyone come out to our house, eat our food, play in our yard, and enjoy themselves.

Lily ended up sleeping most of the party until the time for the candle and singing. Once she woke up, all she wanted was some real food. :-) Moriah had such a good time opening gifts, eating sweets and playing with all her friends from church and her cousins. These past two days I have not had to tell her to go play with her toys. :-) She's been mesmerized by the wonderful blinking and singing gifts people were so generous to give. She's also been given a lot of books (one of her favorite things) and asked me to read them. They received the series of books, "If you give a Mouse a cookie," "If you give a Pig a Pancake," and "If you give a Moose a muffin," etc. Those are a lot of fun.

We had about 55 total in attendance! The weather was unusually great and many of the kids went outside to play and climb the trees. Thank you to all our guests who honored us with your presence and our girls with wonderful gifts. There was nothing they received that will not be put to excellent, immediate use. :-) Enjoy the slideshow.

Multitude Monday

holy experience

Surely the righteous will give thanks to Your name;
The upright will dwell in Your presence.
Psalm 140:13

Today, in no particular order, I am thankful for:

101. God's grace to get out of bed.
102. A great 7 a.m. run in brisk, not windy, weather.
103. Saving money on a great big fellowship!
104. Kids climbing my trees in our front yard.
105. Kids safely descending from high limbs on the trees in our front yard.
106. The sweetness of homemade birthday cards. :-D
107. Leftovers from big meals.
108. The bird's song at first daylight.
109. The absence of loud, long barking at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
110. Meatballs at church fellowship meals.
111. That God takes an unrighteous sinner like me and re-creates me to be righteous.
112. That my wicked heart is transformed by God's grace to become upright in His sight.
113. That God changes my desires from things evil, to His holy presence.
114. Any silent moments while reading Scripture.
115. A dishwasher.
116. Enjoying the symphony without bitterness.
117. New violin students.
118. A new vacuum cleaner.
119. A bug-free home.
120. My mother-in-law's chocolate covered pretzel sticks.

What are you thankful for today?

December 5, 2009

A "Never-Was" User's Guide to Enjoying the Symphony

Note that this is no ordinary Symphony performance. This is a professional performance of Handel's Messiah by the Atlanta Symphony. The musicians are of highest quality: the chamber orchestra, chorus, conductor and soloists. And you are attending said performance wearing a splint for carpal tunnel.

First, you must be a believer, redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ. This is very important and the second is likely important: as a woman, you must abandon feminist ideals in every form and turn toward God's Biblical Womanhood as your primary vocation and (** very important**) be content with that! Avoid every thought of bitterness. After these first initial and critical steps, the others remain fairly easy.

Read the program notes and reflect on the Word of God as it is sung, translating if necessary, so that you hear and see which words are emphasized by the duration and ornamentation of the syllable. Messiah is a musical meditation of sorts. Therefore, meditate and worship God-Christ as a human baby-come to fulfill all these prophecies sung so beautifully. Reflect on other texts of Scripture that it calls to memory. Reflect on the attributes of God, His gracious works done for you and the judgement He removed from your head speaking, "Peace," and, "'Comfort ye' saith your God".

"Thus saith the Lord, the Lord of hosts: "And once in a little while and I will shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land, all nations."

"But who may abide the day of His coming? And who shall stand when He appeareth? Who shall stand?"

"For He is like a refiner's fire."

"And He shall purify. And He shall purify - the sons of Levi that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness, in righteousness."

Be humbled that as He purifies us, He does so that we might offer unto Him righteous worship. Accept the minor pains of this life understanding that we so easily abandoned our perfect creation in Adam and now must tread through the various rocky and dry terrains of sanctification, lead by our Great Shepherd in order to achieve our original created purpose: to worship God in holy righteousness.

"And He shall lead His flock, like a Shepherd."

Do not be afraid to smile. Don't concern yourself with what others think of your eye-dabbing and head-bobbing. Do not focus on the pomp of the orchestra or the dignity with which the musicians conduct themselves on stage remembering your previous days in which you did the same. Don't consider the years of training, grueling auditions, the high price and quality of their instruments (which you cannot afford) or the grandeur of the decorated music hall (in which you will never play). Listen to the music as a whole work, not just one part (soprano, bass, 2nd violin, etc.).

"For unto us a Child is born. Unto us a Son is given. Unto us a Child is born. And the government shall be, shall be upon His shoulders. And His Name shall be called:

Keep your focus on Christ, the Man who's birth we celebrate not just this season but all year long. Remember that they, just like preachers in our churches, are merely conduits for the message of God's Word. These people are all sinners but God's Word is infallible and inerrant. Let all your attention focus on the text and the music. Allow your emotions to soar in reverence for God and Christ and avoid becoming enamored with or envious of the musicians, more than likely most are not believing worship leaders, just musicians skilled at a particular instrument.

After reflecting on God's gifts of Himself, His Word, prophecy, promise, and hope - how He promised to remove the righteous judgement that loomed over our heads and instead placing it on the Holy Head of His Son that He might comfort us, an afflicted people dead in our sin and enemies of God doomed for the eternal fires of Hell, speaking peace to us. He will accomplish all that concerns His Bride! And all of this for His glory!

"Glory to God! Glory to God in the Highest!
And peace on earth, goodwill to men with whom His favor rests."

And when it's time
for the Hallelujah! Chorus,

Not because you're tired of sitting. Not because it is a tradition. Not because everyone else is standing. But because after all of the wonderful benefits of being a blood bought, born-again believer in Christ, saved from an all-too-certain death and fierce unending wrath of God that we can never bear but remains constantly and increasingly more and more painful than we could ever imagine, we cannot help but to stand and worship God out of reverence and gratitude! We cannot help to sing, without regard for others around us, "Halleljah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Halle- lujah!" Praise the Lord! Do not be afraid to lift up your holy hands! (Wearing a splint or not.)

And do you clap? Yes! Clap! Clap in gratitude for these musicians and the time it took them to prepare for this performance that you so thoroughly enjoyed! Don't clap too much and take your focus off of Christ. When the conductor comes out with the soloists for the third time, they're just "milking it." :-)

Thank you Honey for a wonderful night! I thoroughly, truly enjoyed every minute!

December 4, 2009

Update: Par-Tay!

Tomorrow is the girls' joint birthday party. We're expecting about 55 people of whom about 30 will be 18 or younger! I'm very excited! Today I've been cooking and tomorrow we'll have a flood of people at our new house!

This previous Monday night I hosted about 6 families or so and we had about 32 people, including all the children and babies! This may sound crazy but, I loved having all the kids run around making lots of noise and for all the parents, our friends and church family, enjoying themselves and talking up a storm. Seeing all those kids run around from bedroom to den, back to the bedroom and outside and back in again, definitely brought to light a desire to have a full house all the time. I can't wait to have four, five, ten kids! It'll be great! :-) I also imagine how much more sanctified I'll be after going through all of the trials that may come in that time. Then I really will have a gracious heart. :-)

I'll post some pictures afterwards, I promise. :-)

December 2, 2009

Marital Resolutions

This picture is the Christmas before we married. Jeramy is much thinner in real life. I'm not, now. :-) The Short Version of how we came together:

Jeramy and I met on Sunday, February 19, 2006 in Louisville, Kentucky at a Sunday School Potluck. We began to court on Resurrection Sunday. I met his parents on Mother's Day weekend and he met my parents the following weekend when I graduated from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Jeramy went to Africa for three weeks, then came to Virginia to visit me. He proposed marriage, after receiving my parents' "blessing", on July 10 of the same year. We attended pre-marital counseling and married on March 3, 2007.

Since that time we have grown quite a bit and by God's grace we are still married. :-) Our relationship has deepened over the few years we've known each other. Here are some of the lessons I've learned:

  • It's Biblical and right to be feminine.
  • I was created to be his helper, not vice versa.
  • Nagging tears down. Affirmation builds up.
  • As a woman, I was created to become a mother, therefore I bear the full responsibility to nurture and care for our children, not a nanny and not the government.
  • My joyful and content attitude creates a joyful and content home. This is more important than any decor I hang on the walls.
  • I am responsible to maintain a clean and safe home environment as much as I'm able.
  • I have resolved to always respond positively to my husband's need for intimacy and physical affection. (This works great for both of us. :-)
  • It is better not to mention his shortcomings, but to always be grateful for the efforts willingly volunteered.
  • Trust and allow him to bear the responsibilities of final decision-making, especially in the area of our finances.
  • As much as it's possible, depend on God's grace to refrain from bitterness when I can't seize the same opportunities he can.
  • Submit with joy and contentment when you don't agree.
  • Live happily ever after.

December 1, 2009

What to Write?

I admit that since moving into our new home, I haven't had as much time and motivation to post as regularly as I did before. I love the layout of our ranch in that the basement is where we keep our books and office area. Because it's in a less prominent spot, I tend to forget and therefore spend less time on the computer in general - which is a good thing. But I don't like to keep all of you wonderful people in suspense, so I promise to get better. :-)

There have been many things on my mind lately that I've considered posting on:

  • How feminism deceives women and robs them of contentment and joy;
  • Women in the medical field and the military;
  • Why decidedly having one child creates hardship later;
  • My marital resolutions (although it's only been three years, it would be helpful for me to jot down what I've learned so far); and
  • Encouragement toward joyous contentment.

Soon I will post on some of these things, but right now . . . my toddler has awoken from her nap. What would you like to read on this blog?

November 27, 2009

Moriah Is Two!

I can't believe it. As I was watching her play with her new toys and gifts yesterday, it really hit me that she is not a baby anymore. With this grasp of reality it also occurred to me that growth is like a promise from God. These difficult days of misunderstanding toddler talk, potty training, spankings, defiance, whining and tantrums really will end. I remember getting so frustrated breastfeeding Moriah and she was only 2 months old! Those days are gone. I remember getting frustrated when she would appear to cry and whine for no reason. But now she can say or motion toward the object or person she wants and it's no longer a mystery (well, mostly). In a year or less she will be able to say most any word and will be able to understand the things I tell her. It's amazing.

In a way, I'm very glad that communication and obedience has and will get better over time. :-) But on the other hand, it's sad. She doesn't fit so easily in my arms anymore. She's old enough to push away my embraces for an activity she would rather do. Rarely does she cry when I leave but she will for Daddy or Grandma. I had better enjoy these days because, truly, they are short.

In any event, Moriah seemed to have a wonderful birthday yesterday. The morning was spent cooking and preparing for Thanksgiving Dinner. After dinner she opened presents and then Grandma Wanda brought her an ice cream cake and she blew out her own candle! Last year she cried when we sang, "Happy Birthday" to her and this year she danced. :-) Last year she couldn't open her gifts, but this year she happily tore open the wrappings. Last year she stuck her whole face into the cake! :-D This year just a finger then a spoon.

The Grandparents showered her with gifts: Mr. Potato Head, an erasable magnetic writing pad with a chalkboard on the opposite side, a Bumble Bee Buggy, a bedtime rhymes book, some clothes and snacks.