Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Changing Years, Unchanging God

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For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed;but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee. Isaiah 54:10

"The pillars of the earth may be moved out of their places, but the kindness & the covenant of our merciful Jehovah never depart from his people. How happy my soul feels in a firm belief of this inspired declaration! The year is almost over and the years of my life are growing few but time does not change my Lord. New lamps are taking the place of the old, perpetual change is on all things; but our Lord is the same. Force overturns the hills, but no conceivable power can affect the eternal God. Nothing in the past, present, or the future can cause Jehovah to be unkind to me." Spurgeon Dec 27th Cheque Book of the Bank of Faith


It has been a year of change and a year of more change is in our future. After so many surprises I've learned not to speculate on what this upcoming year will exactly hold. And when I do speculate I am often left anxious and fretting. So I've resigned myself to say, I do not know. But I do know this, that my God never changes and more than ever I'm clinging to that truth. I can expect him to be faithful again and again in the upcoming year just as He has been every year prior.

"..In Christ Jesus the glorious God has pledged himself to thee to be thy God, and to hold thee as one of his people. Kindness and covenant- dwell on these words as sure and lasting things which eternity itself shall not take from thee!"

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas in Pictures

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Taylor won the "Best Expressions" award while opening presents...


she got some really cute shoes...


and learned how to play Em


Rylee got her very own bike- it's already quite the envy of the other girls on the block. Hot pink, black, silver...



Oh and we also learned that there was a new super-hero on our block!


just let us know if you need to borrow him :)

Thanks Daukas & Jones family for such wonderful Christmas celebrations!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Beginning But Not The End

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The message that comes to us from Bethlehem is a very decided one. It is not a finished one; it was only finished at the cross; but, so far as it goes, it is quite explicit; quite unambiguous. It means love, peace, pardon, eternal life. The lesson taught us at Bethlehem is the lesson of grace; the grace of God, the grace of the Father and of the Son. We may learn much, indeed, as to the way of life, from Bethlehem. It must not, indeed, stand alone; you must associate it with Jerusalem; you must bring the cradle and the cross together. But still it teaches us the first part of the great lesson of peace. It says, though not so fully as Golgotha, that God is love. The beginning is not the end– but still it is the beginning. The dawn is not the noon– but still it is the dawn. Bethlehem is not Jerusalem– but still it is Bethlehem. And the Prince of peace is there. The God of salvation is there. The manifested life is there. Horatius Bonar

May the two not be separated today in our hearts as we rejoice in Christ's birth. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Awaiting Christmas

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It's almost here! Time to finish wrapping, baking and begin rejoicing in God becoming flesh!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Card Picture

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It hasn't been easy trying to get a picture of the three kids. Actually I'm not sure I've gotten a real good one of the three of them ever.

wait don't leave...


she left...


show some love... maybe a little less :)



And the winner:



What a great gift for Mom!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Stomach Bug & Recitals

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This week has had quite the pattern. Starting Sunday night it went stomach bug for Taylor, Monday night recital, Tuesday night stomach bug for Chris, Wednesday night recital and last night stomach bug Trevor. Being that there's no recital tonight I'm hopeful that will kill the pattern :)

Moving on, this past semester I've taught Taylor and my friend Stacey's two kids piano. It's been a lot of fun to see the kids love for music grow. We had a little recital at our house Weds. night and it went great. My dad got this video of Taylor:

video

I can't tell you how proud I was of her. She showed a lot of maturity in how she responded to not getting that note right. This is a real struggle for Taylor- she can do most things well and fairly quickly and she doesn't always have the best attitude when she messes up. But that night she persevered and although you couldn't see her face she smiled at me and just keep trying. I told her that I was more proud of her for trusting God in making a mistake then I would've been if she had played everything perfectly!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Recital

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Taylor had her first ballet & tap performance with the studio we put her in early fall. It was so fun to see her dance and perform. She told us "at first I was nervous, but then I thought this is fun, so I smiled a lot." So cute. She's definitely a natural at ballet, tap is a little harder for her but she loves it!


Monday, December 15, 2008

Photo Sessions

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We had a very busy weekend. A concert Chris and I played at friday night, two photo sessions for me saturday night, sunday morning Chris preached and sunday evening he lead our singles group Christmas banquet. The last one for us :( Oh and then Taylor got sick sunday night just as we were falling asleep. First time one of my children hasn't made it to the toilet in time, fun, fun. Poor thing. It was a short bout of sickness thankfully and I'm hoping it won't make it's way down to the rest of the family!

I wanted to post some photo's from this weekend. I meet Kristeen at Barnes and Noble a few weeks ago and after a some e-mailing back and forth we set up a time for me to take some pictures of her kids for their Christmas card. I was honored to have the job! What sweet children they were!

I used the red chairs for our Christmas card and it worked well to keep the kids in one place! Although I like this background a lot better.




This little one was hard to catch, she reminded me of an older rylee. But once I did...


and the one they ended up using for their Christmas card and my personal fav too:


After their pictures I took some of my brother's family with the remaining sunshine we had left.




So glad I got these done on Saturday as we haven't had sunshine since :-) Thanks to both families for the opportunity!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Heart Attitudes

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We've been talking a lot in our family about choosing to obey or have joyful hearts even if we don't want to. Grumbling and complaining seems to run in the family.

Well the other day Trevor was having a bad attitude or sinful heart as we refer to it and I said something to the effect of "Son make a good choice please. Change your attitude."

He walked away and came back exclaiming- "I did it mom! I flipped my heart!"

Gotta love the flipping :-)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Woot!

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Woot- One Day, One Deal. The deal is available all day, or until it sells out, and changes at 11:59pm central time. Chris and I have found some amazing deals on this site. Today it's a iRobot Roomba bundle for $149.99. That's a great woot deal!

But husbands be careful what you get your wives for Christmas... unless she specifically asks a vacuum, it may not be a good choice. You could end up here.



Ok, so in reality I don't agree with the commercial but as a joke Chris and I laughed our heads off! I wouldn't mind a nice vacuum for Christmas either :-) Back to woot- the deals this week are supposed to be amazing!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Faith in the Unseen

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A friend sent this to me this week to encourage me in my fight for faith for my future:

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

The ESV note: "assurance, also translated confidence.... by defining faith as assurance and conviction, the author indicates that biblical faith is not a vague hope grounded in imaginary, wishful thinking. Instead faith is a settled confidence that something in the future--something that is not yet seen but has been promised by God-- will actually come to pass because God will bring it about. Thus biblical faith is not vain trust in the face of contrary evidence, not an unknowable leap in the dark, rather, biblical faith is a confident trust in the eternal God who is all-powerful, infinitely wise, eternally trustworthy-- the God who has revealed himself in his word and in the person of Jesus Christ, whose promises have proven true from generation to generation and who will never leave nor forsake his own. Such faith in the unseen realities of God is emphasized throughout ch. 11 and has provided confidence and assurance to all who receive christ as their lord and savior.

I can often feel that our upcoming church planting adventure is a "unknowable leap in the dark". In reading this I grew confident that my fight is not for the unseen that may never come to pass but rather for the unseen that will come to pass because God has promised it to. I will not find a promise of God guaranteeing us success, as measured by the world, as church planters, or a nice comfortable life in Peoria. No there are no such promises like that. But he has promised to never leave, he has promised His grace to be sufficent for each and every day, he has promised to work all things together for my good and he has promised that "all light and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison" (2 Corth 4). So as I fight for faith I can know that my fight is to believe real promises of God. For those will all come to pass.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Friends

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It's good to have friends. Jon and Lory have been dear friends to us over the past four years. We met them while at the P.C. in Maryland and immeditaely hit it off. After the mice killing of course. We didn't know at the time our friendship was building that we would end up serving together in AZ. What a joy it's been too. Anyway, here's some of the family photos I took for them last week. Oh and don't tell anyone but I think Trevor has a crush on Ellie. The arrangement details are still in the works.