Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tid Bits

Just 3 "tid-bits"...but I am excited enough about all of them to share the news with you too!:)


Sovereign Grace has put out another kid's CD just in time for summer! "Walking with the Wise" takes all of it's songs out of the book of Proverbs...and, if it's anything like all their other kid's CDs...it will quickly become a family favorite! It's on sale right now for $12 at Sovereign Grace Ministries.


My sister-in-law Kimiko and her sister Sumiko have just started a blog called "Near to Nothing". I'll let their own words give you a taste of what you'll see if you head over there (and I will be visiting their site regularly...I need all the tips I can get!)...

Welcome to Near to Nothing! We are two stay-at-home moms who enjoy the challenge of cooking nutritious and tasty meals on a tight budget. We have been asked to share our kitchen "secrets" on numerous occasions and realized that these are skills people want to learn, but there really isn't a forum from which people can learn. Therefore Near to Nothing was born! We will not only be sharing how we prepare affordable meals, but we'll also be sharing recipes, time-saving tips, information on kitchen gadgets, food preparation tips, and so much more!

Based on different family preferences and needs, we each have our own approach to affordable cooking and hope that, between the two of us, you will be able to find a method that suits your family's needs. We are passionate about what we do, and we're excited to share it with you. Our hope is that you will benefit from our experiences and that you, too, will be able to enjoy preparing healthy, delicious, and affordable meals at home!


The last thing is a bit more personal...but I am SO excited!!! After hours of editing, quirks and other hang-ups...I finally got my 2009 blog posts published!!! 270 pages later...I am really pleased with the results from blurb.com. Don't get me wrong, it definitely was a project...but one that, Lord willing, will be read by my children, grand-children, great-grandchildren...you get the idea!:) Truthfully, I can't wait to sit down myself and read and be reminded of all the things the Lord has taught me that I have already been quick to forget and all the ways He has been so very faithful!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Special Encouragement


Micah received a very special email yesterday...I wish you could have seen the grin on his face! His email came from someone that he looks up to, roots for and did his best to imitate this past baseball season...it came from one of the pitchers of the Kansas City Royals...Brian Bannister.

Micah-

This is Brian Bannister with the "other" Royals...I just wanted to wish you a huge congratulations on all your accomplishments this season. My favorite years of baseball were when I was 10-12 and I had so much fun. God has a wonderful plan for you and your life. Develop the gifts that He gave you and let Him work through you. Always put God first and make sure that in everything you do He is glorified. It doesn't matter if it is in baseball or something else, always work hard and love others, and you will end up in God's Hall of Fame one day!

To God Be The Glory.

Sincerely,

Brian


Hopefully Brian will not mind that I posted his email here :)...but we were all so blessed by it...and, as parents, it brings big smiles to our faces to see our son want to be like a man who loves Jesus so very much and encourages Micah to put God first and give Him the glory!

Plus...I figured it was a great opportunity to encourage you all to become "Brian Bannister" fans and cheer him on as we head into the midway point of baseball!:) tee-hee

Speaking of sports and cheering and playing...Micah and I are in the midst of reading a short book (Bryan already finished it!) called, "Game Day for the Glory of God: A Guide for Athletes, Fans, & Wannabes" by Stephen Altrogge. It's written for adults (but simple enough for Micah to get it!) and it really is GREAT! I have never read a book devoted to the topic of sports and, considering how big sports are in our day and age, I think it is not only timely but full of lots of wonderful truths and encouragements! It's put out by Crossway Publishing and recommended by CJ Mahaney...and the Pichura Family would join in a hearty recommendation too!:) I'll leave you with a few thoughts from the book:

"Our athletic abilities were given to us by God as gifts for the purpose of glorifying Him. We haven't done anything to earn or deserve them. How can we boast about an undeserved gift?...God is great, we are not, and He has created us so that we might show Him to be exceedingly great. We should desire that people would be amazed at God, not at us."

"We can glorify God through the pursuit of excellence, and excellence only comes through hard work. God isn't glorified by halfhearted, mediocre efforts. So work hard in practice, not for your own honor and praise, but for the glory of God...when you are watching sports and see an athlete make a play that brings your hands up and your jaw down, let that direct your thoughts to God. Take a moment to praise Him for the gifts that He's given to men, and praise Him for His superior excellence."

Monday, June 28, 2010

Why every woman should have a rocker chair in her room...


...okay, so maybe not every woman...but here are my reasons for having a chair in my room (these past 5 months) for the first time since being married:

1)No matter how old your kids get, they can still be rocked!:)

2)No matter how old you get, or how empty your lap may be, it still feels good to "rock"!

3)It's nice to have a place that "yours" in the midst of a house that often feels "taken over" by everyone else!

4)It's a great place to pray and spend time reading and meditating on the Word.

5)It's a great place to pray with and cuddle with your kids.

6)It's a great place to catch up with family and friends over the phone.

7)It's one of my favorite places to have my heart "be still and know that He is God" even while my leg keeps tapping the floor and the rest of my body sways in unison! (It's as close to "still" as my body gets!)

8)It's a great spot to shepherd the heart of your kid as they sit on the bed and you sit in your chair. It creates space as you work through issues and creates warmth as you draw them into your lap to go before the Lord together as the issue is resolved.

9)My chair has lots of padding and it's just about as comfortable as they come!

10)It's a whole lot better of a spot than trying to get some "space" by sitting on the toilet!:)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sitting on the Bleachers


"For this I toil struggling with all His energy that He powerfully works in me."
Colossians 1:29


Micah's baseball game last week got me thinking about something...and, since I am still "chewing on it" I figured I might as well share!:) As the game began I couldn't help but think...the outcome has already been determined for this game in eternity past. The winner of this championship game was determined long before it was even a glimmer of a possibility in our minds. Knowing that truth could have made it easy for me to just sit quietly...to cheer very little or not at all....why use up my energy on something that has already been determined...something that all the cheering in the world cannot change?!

But oh, what fun I would have missed out on if that had been my mindset! It was SO exciting, so fun, and so rewarding to scream my head off, to wave my sign high up in the air, to give my all to supporting and encouraging the boys...to doing "my part". It made the victory that much sweeter...I had been apart of it...I had joined in!

I think, just maybe, we do that sometimes with our relationship with God and with those around us. Oh well, if we forget to pray...God's going to do what He's going to do anyway, right? Someone else can do that...I just don't want to be bothered right now...after all, if God wants it done, He will use someone in the end. Boy, that project that our church as got going on sounds so neat. I can't wait to see how God will use it to glorify Himself and save others...but I just can't give right now...I'd have to dip into our vacation fund and, well, come on...everyone needs a vacation! If God's going to accomplish this goal, He'll do it with or without me. Everything belongs to Him!

Don't for a minute think that these examples come from other people around me...they come straight from my own heart! These are the lies I sometimes believe...the lies that keep me "sitting on the bleachers quietly" instead of "cheering my heart out"!I use God's sovereignty as a "crutch" instead of as the motivation that fuels everything I do.

As believers, we know that the victory is already WON!!! God wins EVERYTIME!!! And, what is even more amazing is that He uses US to accomplish His purposes! Job says in Job 23:13-14, "But He is unchangeable and who can turn Him back? What He desires, that He does. For He will complete what He appoints for me, and many such things are in His mind." We have been created for good works! We have been appointed to do things for the glory of God...to be apart of God's sovereign plan...to do many things which "no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him"(1 Cor. 2:9)

God has chosen to accomplish His purposes through our participation...through our obedience...through our prayers. Regarding prayer, Sam Storms says, "We must never presume that God will grant us apart from prayer what he has ordained to grant us only by the means of prayer". And I love what JC Ryle says in his book "Duties of Parents" regarding parenting (but I think you can apply it to all areas of life):
"I know that you cannot convert your child. I know well that they who are born again are born, not of the will of man, but of God. But I know also that God says expressly, "Train up a child in the way he should go," and that He never laid a command on man which He would not give man grace to perform. And I know, too, that our duty is not to stand still and dispute, but to go forward and obey. It is just in the going forward that God will meet us. The path of obedience is the way in which He gives the blessing. We have only to do as the servants were commanded at the marriage feast in Cana, to fill the water-pots with water, and we may safely leave it to the Lord to turn that water into wine."

The path of obedience is the way in which He gives blessing...what a great thought to ponder!

I guess what I am trying to say is that we have been enlisted in God's Army...we have been given the privilege of fighting in a battle that we know has already been won! My prayer is that you will join me in living a life full of hope knowing that God will accomplish all that He has planned and that you and I will not sit quietly on the side lines but will joyfully, exuberantly, prayerfully, and faithfully toil! How sweet the toil will be!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Joy?


There are times when I like to be really open and honest on my blog and other times where I do so with a bit of trepidation. Will what I want to share come out right? Will it bless the reader or cause them to question what I have written? Will it encourage and build up or will it leave me "looking bad"? But, in the end, I have learned that I already look "bad"...I am just a cracked pot after all! And, in the end, it's not about me, but Christ working through me. So, my goal has been and continues to be honesty and authenticity as I seek to glorify God in my life, thoughts, words and actions!

With that said...I have been struggling to "rejoice always" and "give thanks in all circumstances". I have felt tired, weary and overwhelmed with how much there is to do each day! Things that were joyfully done in the past have required much more prayer and repenting as I find my joy slipping. It's as though all the stress and strain and change and adjustments from this past year have caught up with me and left me looking for the nearest "hole" to crawl into!:) Honestly, I haven't been able to find the right words for it (besides just plain ol' sin!) until I read an article in WORLD a few days ago that hit it on the head for me.

"Some of us can do it all, for awhile, but I come to the end of this season limp, drained of my capacity for joy at just the moment when there is most to enjoy. What I end up with in a time of perpetual feasting feels more like a persistent fast. I gnaw at a vast cluster of bones but miss the choicest pieces of marrow...."
(You can read the whole article here!)

That was it....I have felt drained of my capacity for joy at just the moment when there is most to enjoy! I know where my joy comes from...it comes from the Lord.In fact, Nehemiah 8:10 says that the JOY OF THE LORD is my strength. Joy comes from being satisfied in HIM above all. It comes from recognizing that apart from Him I have no good thing. That IN HIM there is fullness of joy, at His right hand are pleasures forevermore! It does not matter what my circumstances are like (and, to be honest, my circumstances are absolutely amazing and beautiful!)...it matters where my eyes are fixed and whether or not I am taking my thoughts captive and renewing them through the Word of God.

Pastor Rob preached this past Sunday on what is needed for revival (joy) in our hearts (based on Nehemiah 7-8). It begins with God-centerdness...everything we do should overflow out of a love for God and a desire to glorify Him (everything I do can and should be an act of worship!). It continues with having a love for the Word of God. His Word should fill up my senses. It should be what I read, study, meditate on and preach to myself. That should overflow in joyful responses, in joyful obedience...in a joyful heart!

I have been reading Psalm 119 this week and it has been such a beautiful "echo" of the message I heard on Sunday. If you ever have a day where you find yourself thinking that it's not such a big deal to miss being in the Word of God...go read Psalm 119. Through His Word we find delight, freedom, greater reverence for God, understanding, wisdom, strength, the way that is pure, confidence, a thankful heart, wonderful things that we did not know before, counsel, an enlarged heart, a recognition that God is our portion, a light to our path, the joy of our heart and we find that the goal of affliction is to draw us to read, study and meditate on the Word of God...to know and love Him more!

So, I conclude that, while my feelings (or lack of feelings!) have been very real and have caused me much sadness and even confusion...the answer is the Word of God. The answer is getting swallowed up in Who God is and who I am IN HIM! All of life should drive us to and point us to the Gospel...to God and His Word!

And, as I seek God through His Word and meditate on His truth and not the lies I am so quick to listen to..I find my heart begin to soar, my perspective change, and my soul crying out with Asaph in Psalm 73:25-26:

"Whom have I in Heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Picking at the Strawberry Patch


Yesterday we were invited to go strawberry picking with some friends from church! What fun it was and what a great job my kiddos did at picking the "right" strawberries! They also enjoyed the petting zoo and a yummy shake (thanks Grandma Millard!).


I have to be honest, as I picked, I couldn't help but get excited at having extra strawberries in my freezer to make this new, yummy fruit salsa that we had for Father's Day. I got the recipe off of Girltalk...but here it is (trust me, you will want to print this off and "wow" your own family and friends!I can't tell you just how yummy it is!):

Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips

3 kiwis, peeled and diced
2 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and diced
12 ounces raspberries
1 pound strawberries
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons fruit preserves, any flavor

10 (10 inch) flour tortillas
Melted butter
1 2/3 cups cinnamon sugar (1 1/3 cups sugar and 1/3 cup cinnamon)

Directions
In a large bowl, thoroughly mix kiwis, Granny Smith apples, raspberries, strawberries, white sugar, brown sugar and fruit preserves. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Brush one side of each flour tortilla with melted butter. Sprinkle buttered side with cinnamon sugar mixture. Then cut into wedges (with pizza cutter) and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet.
Bake in the preheated oven 10 minutes. Repeat with any remaining tortilla wedges. Allow to cool approximately 15 minutes. Serve with chilled fruit mixture.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A "Winner" of a Day


The forecast called for rain this morning...but the Lord gave us sunshine (and, boy, have we been missing the sunshine!). We wasted no time heading out to the park and beach! The kids and Bryan started with a game of whiffle ball in the park (complete with the "strike zone chair" and pitching rules!), we had a picnic lunch and then we walked the couple of blocks to the beach.



The tide was out...and so were the little crabs! The kids spent a good chunk of time turning over rocks and any other place they thought the crabs might be hiding!
Then, we headed out for a walk. At times we had to wade knee deep (for the kids) but the water had already been warmed by the sun and it felt great!Thankfully, that is the only thing we felt because, after we had been walking for a while, I spotted a jelly fish "swimming" in the seaweed! It was beautiful...and such a neat blessing to see such an amazing, intricate creation of God right there in front of your feet! But I am so glad that none of our feet stepped on any of them! I guess it's off to buy some water shoes if we want to do that again!:)
And, of course, we can't forget about the shells. Our dear Faith has always been a collector...and her collection of shells is growing! This time around, she and Bryan found a couple of big ones!

But, I am guessing that is not the news you have been waiting to hear!:)

MICAH AND HIS TEAM WON THE CHAMPIONSHIP!!!!!!!!!!

What a game! It was just as intense as Wednesday night's game! The other team started off the game with a run and we tied it up. A couple innings later they scored 3 more and just like that we were down 4-1. Micah started pitching in the 5th (only 11 pitches!) and the Royals held them. They came back in the bottom of the 5th and scored 4 runs!!! Micah's hit brought in the go ahead run! Micah came back to pitch the final inning (he said he was so nervous he was shaking, poor kid)....and between his pitching (he did great!) and the Royals making some amazing plays they came out champions! Yep...the whole thing was even "tears in the eyes" worthy!!! What a night! What a gift from God!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

It was a nail biter for sure!


THE ROYALS WON!!! THEY ARE GOING TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME!!! Boy, was it a nail biter! The score was 1-1 in the 6th (they only play 6 innings)and the Cardinals were the home team. We didn't make any runs in the top of the 6th...so we had to hold them! First batter up made it to first base and we thought that was it...but the boys held their ground and we got the final out leaving a guy on third base!!!!

Into an extra inning we went...and scored 3 runs that were not returned....ROYALS WON 4-1!!!!

I know it's "just" Little League but it might as well be the World Series to me. I cheered like a crazy person holding up a big "GO ROYALS" sign that I had made the night before. I used my loud "Parker" voice and was heard all across the ball fields (yep, really...ask our friends that came to the game to watch! I guess the good news is that I know they really are friends because they still sat by me!)The kids made up signs but didn't seem as enthusiastic about using them and Bryan thought that simply being willing to sit next to his crazy wife was enough support!:)

We had a great night and we are excited to head back to the ball field on Friday for the last game of the season...the championships!:)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Semi Finals....Here We Come!!!!


Had to share our excitement with you...as well as some great pictures my Dad took of Micah!(Our landlord put together the poster above!)

Micah's team has advanced to the semi-finals and they play tonight at 6 pm against the Cardinals!
It has been so fun to watch him play...to see his pitching grow (Bannister and Micah's records look pretty similar, I think!:) Go Brian!), his character grow and to see how he interacts with his teammates and those around him (he even witnessed to one of his teammates, got him a Bible, and encouraged him to read Genesis and the book of John!).

Though it made life busier and sometimes even a bit hectic, we are all going to miss taking the walk to the ballpark, sitting in the stands and cheering on Micah and the Royals! We love baseball season and we love the sweet memories that are made each year at the ball field! I guess now we will have a little bit more time to follow our Red Sox on the TV Screen!:) But, for tonight, it's all about the Royals!
One of my kids favorite lines from "Facing the Giants" is: "If we win, we praise Him and if we lose we praise Him". So, whatever happens tonight, the Pichura Family will be praising the Lord for His goodness, His plan and for baseball!:)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Convicting Chuckle


I really will get to sharing about our time with my family and the birthday celebrations that took place in the Pichura Home the last couple of weeks...but, until then, I thought I would share with you my prayer for my husband today...a prayer that I probably wouldn't have prayed had it not been for the fact that it was already written down in "The Prayers of and Excellent Wife" (see blog post from yesterday).

Let me type it up for you and then I'll explain:

"O Lord God of heaven,

The great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him and keep His commandments, let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, to hear the prayer of Your servant that I know pray before you day and night for my husband. Grant him continual patience and forbearance to live with me, a wicked wife. For I have sinned against You; I have acted very corruptly against You by forsaking my duty to help my husband lead our home in righteousness and the fear of You; I have not kept Your commandments, Your statues, or the rules that You commanded Your servant Moses.

Give him boldness and wisdom to rebuke and exhort me when I am unfaithful to Your Word, when I neglect prayer, fail to redeem the time, speak carelessly, walk foolishly, fail to hope in You, seek great things for myself, become anxious about tomorrow. Do not let him cease praying for me when I am beset with the fear of man, the cares of the world, or the love of money. May he never lose confidence that , in spite of my many iniquities and shortcomings, I am Your servant whom You have redeemed by Your great power and by Your strong hand.

O Lord, let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayers of my husband who delights to fear Your name, and give success to him today, and grant him mercy." (Nehemiah 1)

Okay, so here is where the convicting chuckle came into play...here I am reading a prayer, praying for my husband...and I hear myself calling myself and "wicked wife". Praying that my husband will be given "patience and forbearance to live with me" because of my sin! Praying that God will give my husband "boldness and wisdom to rebuke me"!!!! Don't get me wrong...I know that I am a sinner...but, if I am being honest, many of my prayers in the past for my husband have been prayers asking the Lord to help me love him in spite of HIS sin...and change HIS heart on certain issues. My husband is an amazing wonderful man! He loves Jesus with all of his heart and is passionate about that love relationship...but that passion is still encased by a body of sin, just like the rest of us. Problem is, I am often quick to put the responsibility of change on HIM...instead of humbling myself and recognizing that I am a great sinner, sinning against Bryan in one way or another every day, and just as much in need of his forgiveness and forbearance, his rebuke and exhortation, his wisdom and his prayers!

I want him to lead me in the way of truth and the path of righteousness and I need to be praying that God would give him the strength, joy and patience to do that! I truly can be a stinker and a bit stubborn....sinful really!

So, I was thankful for the reminder that I need to pray just as much for my husband's responses to me...because He has to live with me...a wicked wife!:)

My husband is an amazing wonderful man! He loves Jesus with all of His heart and is passionate about that love relationship!

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Resource Worth Getting!


Okay...so my most exciting new purchase is a book called, "The Prayers of an Excellent Wife" by Andrew Case. It was recommended by women that I trust and I am so thrilled to have it. Basically, it's a book full of prayers (taken from verses in the Bible) to pray for your husband. What greater gift can we give our husbands than to pray for them?!!!

Not only that, Andrew Case has written a book of prayers for husbands to pray for their wives and he just released a book of prayers for parents to pray for their kids!!!!

And it that were not enough just knowing that there are good books like that out there waiting to be purchased by us...you can purchase them for 1/2 price....they are on sale for $5!!!! Head over there and picks some up...and, while you are at it, pick up some for those around you, too!

I read a verse a couple of weeks ago that really made an imprint on my heart and brought much conviction. Samuel was talking to the nation of Israel and he said:

"Moreover, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you..."


That should be the conviction of my heart in regards to those the Lord has placed in my life...especially my husband and children! And Andrew has given us some precious tools and aids as we seek to follow God's command in praying without ceasing! What a privilege and responsibility we have in bringing our husbands and kids before the Throne of Grace each and every day! I don't know about you, but I need all the reminders and encouragement I can get so I am very thankful that God laid it on Andrew Case's heart to help us all as we seek to not sin against those we love in not doing the only thing that matters the most...praying for them!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

How sweet it is....


This week "Girltalk" gave some advice to brides...but the advice was so precious, so true and such a sweet reminder that I couldn't help but echo it and share it here:

"Several weeks before each of her daughters got married, Mom took us away for a mother-daughter overnight. She wanted to have one final conversation before giving us away to our husbands.

Her counsel was simple: give yourself freely, passionately, completely to your husband.

The essence of our conversation is included in Mom’s book, Feminine Appeal:

“Marital sex is the pinnacle of human bonding. It is the highest form of the communication of love—a language that expresses love without words. It calls for the deepest, most powerful emotions. It creates intimacy within marriage like nothing else. In fact, as we give and receive the gift of lovemaking, this intimacy will grow stronger and more precious as the years go by. Each encounter will lead us to a deeper ‘knowing’ of the one we love.”

Sex “creates intimacy like nothing else.” All the shared joys and trials, all the deep and meaningful communication, certainly contribute to marital intimacy, but no experience can match the deep, inexplicable closeness that comes from a loving physical union within the confines of marriage.

“It’s a mystery,” I remember Mom saying. And so it is. This intimacy, this "knowing" that results from the physical relationship is beyond my ability to describe in words (although Solomon do so eloquently in his Song).

What I do know is that while I share fellowship and labors, joys and trials with many others, sex is something I share only with my husband. It’s our own little world, closed to all. Not even the dearest friend or family member can enter. We are on a journey, the two of us. An exclusive journey. A journey of love. We are creating memories known only to us. Secrets only we share.

The further we go on this journey, the bond between us grows more powerful and intense. The "knowing" grows deeper. The love grows sweeter.

Ten years after that conversation, I have to say--Mom, you were right."

Bryan picked a rose off of our rose bush and put it in a vase above the sink. A great spot as I seem to be there a lot each day!:) As I watched the rose bloom and open up more and more each day I couldn't help but think of the Girltalk post and how much marriage is like a rose. A rose is beautiful...even when it is closed and not yet bloomed. But, as it begins to open up more and more, it's beauty grows and it's fragrance is released. Marriage is beautiful from day one...but, there is much about it that is still "closed"...because there is much about us that is still uncertain, yes...even selfish and that is still learning to trust and open up fully to the one we have promised our lives too.
With each passing year, by the grace of God and only if we have eyes fixed on HIM and are putting Him first, our marriages become sweeter...they become more open, honest, selfless...they begin to release a fragrance that makes the first day pale in comparison to day 4,530! Is it still, at times, hard? YES! Does it still take a LOT of work? YES! Do we have to work at even liking each other sometimes? YES! Is it worth it? A THOUSAND TIMES YES! What plan of God was ever NOT worth it?!!!

As with anything...we must keep sowing seeds of the fruits of the Spirit as we renew our minds with God's Word, stretching our marriage muscles through reading godly books on marriage and listening to godly preachers,praying for and with each other, preaching to ourselves when we want to listen to ourselves and complain...and, trust that we WILL reap a harvest if we do not give up!

And just in case you need a point in the right direction for "material"...here are some of our favorites :):
1)When Sinners Say I Do by David Harvey (number one pick!!!)
2)Sweethearts for a Lifetime by Wayne and Carol Mack
3)The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace
4)The Exemplary Husband by Stuart Scott
5)Tying the Knot Tighter by Martha Peace and John Crotts (starting this one Monday!)

I'll share my excitement about one more resource on prayer in a separate blog. It's too good to go at the end of this post! Stayed tuned...and, above all, stay in HIS presence...for in His presence there is FULLNESS OF JOY and at His right hand are PLEASURES FOREVERMORE...into eternity and,right now, in our marriages,too!!!!

If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were lov'd by wife, then thee.
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye women, if you can.

-Anne Bradstreet

Friday, June 11, 2010

Bicycle Built for Two

Some friends from church made this video and Samuel had the fun of being apart of it...and that means we have the joy of sharing it with you! It's just precious and our friends voices are just beautiful!

Bicycle Built For Two... from chris montgomery on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Still Alive!

I know it is not like me to go over a week without a post...but life has picked up speed in such a way that has not given me much time for the computer (unless I am doing placement tests with the kids, trying to figure out how to make a monkey cake, looking up what a composite number is, trying to find a recipe in my "allrecipes account"...okay...you are getting the idea!:)). Needless to say, my email has been neglected to...so please forgive me if you have sent me an email that has still not been responded to!

It's been a great week of family, birthday parties and baseball...but it is also full of school wrap up, review (which is taking a LOT more time than I thought due to things FORGOTTEN!), ongoing lesson work for Samuel and Micah as well as trying to figure out what I am going to do in September (I think it's "Switched on Schoolhouse...Here We Come!). It's been full of refocusing in my own life as I battle my flesh and the sin of impatience in my schooling, as I continue to seek God's role for me in this precious church that He has so graciously placed us in and as I continue to seek to love (and also like) my kids and see them as precious gifts! So often, the lens that I look through gets out of focus as I take my eyes of Christ and put them on situations, people and circumstances and it all becomes fuzzy and unclear. The more I look to the cross and see my sin for what it is and my Savior for Who He is...the focus becomes clearer and there is much to repent of and much to rejoice in!

Prayerfully, in the next couple of weeks I will be able to share some more of what God has been teaching me and some pictures of the blessings He has given and the precious time we had with my family...but, right now, "berbere spaghetti" (spaghetti with the Ethiopian spice berbere sprinkled in it!) is next on my agenda. It's what our birthday boy, Caleb, requested for his birthday dinner (I can't believe he is 5!). That and a monkey cake (which looks more like a bear...I am almost embarrassed to post it!:)). So, time to get ready to celebrate! Just wanted you all to know that we really are still alive!:)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I am in labor!


I never thought I would have the words "I am in labor" come out of my mouth again. Those words bring back memories of my labor pains for each of my children.

With Garett, it started with my water breaking (like a flood!) in my in-law's car and then down their driveway as I quickly jumped out of the car!

Micah's came at 33 weeks and I ended up in the hospital and then on bed rest. On October 2nd, we had gone out to celebrate Garett's home-going to Heaven and contractions started coming regularly while we were at the theater watching "Remember the Titans". (Yep...we finished the movie before heading to the hospital!)

Grace was induced, as was Faith. Titus ended up being a c-section after a night of labor.

With each, the labor was different. All involved pain to one degree or another. Garett's brought as much pain to my heart as it did to my body...knowing each contraction was one minute closer to his death. There was a tinge of uncertainty and "unknown" in my delivery of Micah. There was still the possibility that he was Down Syndrome...a possibility that was not laid to rest till after he was born. Grace's delivery was relatively calm...I enjoyed my epidural immensely. Of course, the fact that she was born such a peanut (6 lb. 3 oz.) was helpful as well. Faith's arrival into the world was the most pain I had ever felt in my life and it brought tears, groans and an intense desire to do whatever it took to GET HER OUT (all 8 lbs. 11 oz.)! I even cut her umbilical cord myself!:) Titus brought a night full of pain but no progress...and I had more pain after his birth as I recovered from a c-section. Samuel and Caleb...their "birth" into our family was brought on after much "heart labor"...they were truly the longest labor of all!

And I think that Samuel and Caleb's "labor" is a bit more along the lines of what Paul had in mind when he penned Galatians 4:19 and reminded me that I am STILL in labor:

"My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you..."

What a verse for mommies to treasure and ponder in their heart, huh?! We know the pain of labor...the ebb and flow...the times of pressure and the times of pain so intense it makes us see spots...to have something take over our body that we have absolutely no control over and must trust God's plan (the work He is doing) amidst the pain... knowing that the pain is producing something so beautiful and precious...a little one to hold in our arms!

How true when it comes to the salvation of our children's souls?! Salvation is a work of the Lord...yet we are called to teach, to train, to admonish, to correct, to spank...to use the Word of God in our everyday talk in such a way that our conversations point our kids to Him and lift His name on high! It's a season of labor...the pain of our kids sinful choices is real to our own hearts and I know that we have all lifted up words that sound more like groans to the Throne of God on behalf of our children. How often my kids point me to Jesus...the One who is in control of all things...when their actions and attitudes seem to be spinning out of control and the only thing that I can do is trust the promises of God...His plan...and faithfully fulfill the role He has called me to in their lives...all the while praying that part of His plan is the salvation of their souls...that Christ would be formed in them...and that they would be a lover of Christ above all else!

So, ladies, we are still in labor...let's not forget it! May the days of pain point us to our Savior and may our "breathing technique" be one of continual breaths of prayer to our Lord. As we begin to realize more and more that, ultimately, our lives and our families are "out of our control", may we remember that NOTHING is out of the control of our Sovereign God. And when the labor pains are bringing us to the point of exhaustion may our strength be renewed by the inter-venous flow, not of drugs, but of the Word of God!

"Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary." Galatians 6:9

"Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face continually." Psalms 105:4