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Sunday, January 29, 2012


Today Pastor Brian shared from Psalm 119.  He gave several reasons why we should read the Bible.  Although there were many great points shared, I want to highlight two.  First, "the point of reading the Bible is to know it and obey it."  Brian pointed out that some times as he has read he'll realize he has sinned unknowingly and will then repent.  But, most of the time as he reads, the Bible convicts him of sin he already knew was sin.  So why read if you know there will be conviction?  Brian pointed out that there is great comfort and joy in repentance.  I can share personally that the time between me realizing I am sinning and the time I repent is ugly, dark, and filled with pain.  But, repentance is cleansing.  It isn't always a "I'm now fresh, clean, and ready to take on the world", but there is a deep comfort in repentance.

The second point I want to highlight is we should read the Bible, "because it can encourage us."  He quoted Psalm 119:25-28, which you can read by clicking on the underlined words.  Brian talked about many verses from Psalm 119, but the one I want to focus on is verse 18,

"Open my eyes, that I may see
Wondrous things from Your law."

At the end of this week we got word that our friends' 22 year old daughter passed away from a blood clot that when through her heart and into her lungs.  They had no idea that Grace had this blood clot.  The time between realizing there was a problem, and Grace going unconscious was very brief.  As I sat in church today, I wondered how they were handling hearing that the Bible can bring them comfort.  I wondered if it brought comfort or if those words stung.  Please pray that as this family grieves, God will open their eyes as they read the word.  Pray that He will bring them comfort as only He can.

I talked with Ruth, Grace's mom, after church and she was amazed at how the body of Christ had brought them comfort.  As a need has arisen, someone has quickly filled it.  She is seeing God move through this heart breaking time.

You can listen to Brian's sermon here.  The link isn't up yet today, but it should be up later this week.  Look for the title Reading and Obeying God's Word and today's date 1-29-12.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Oh, Now I See

I couldn't figure out this week why Eliana has been crabby, had unusual diapers, and her eating habits have been a bit ... irritating.  Tonight Kyle and I worked together with a flash light to check on Eliana's teeth.  Low and behold, her top two canine teeth have poked through.  OH!  Now I understand all of her recent behavior including waking up before my alarm nearly all week.

Anita, I don't know if you remember, but this is the Bible you got Eliana.  We read one to three stories, depending upon if Eliana is crabby or quiet, every night.  She loves it!  She finds her Bible, which she calls her "Bi bi", and enjoys "reading" it to herself.  

Kyle starts his two seminary classes on Monday.  I'm praying (and I could use all the prayers I can get) to be a supportive and encouraging wife while Kyle is taking online classes through Golden Gate Seminary.  His two classes are Christian Theology and Foundations of Ministry. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Adventures with Rachel

Rachel and I went around town last Saturday just to take pictures.  We had a blast!  Enjoy!

These numbers remind me of New York.  Maybe it is because I could picture them in Disney's version of Rhapsody in Blue, an all time favorite piece of mine.

Rachel and I were both wishing we could go inside and take pictures of the stained glass, but since a funeral was going on we decided against it.

Eliana is 19 Months Old!!!

 Earlier this month my parents stopped by on their way back from the mountains.  Eliana thought is was so funny when Nanny was teaching her how to kick a ball.  I don't know if she was more thrilled with Nanny moving her leg or that the ball would go flying.

 GramE came to visit for a few days!  We enjoyed spending time with her.  Plus, it gave Rachel and Ruli a reason to come over three nights in a row!  Yeah for family fun!!!  We played games, watched Courageous (which I highly recommend with a box of tissues), and even introduced Sherry to Lynda, Drew, and Dawson who turn out to be 4th cousins to Sherry.  We found that out when Kyle joked with Rachel saying that her behavior was because of their grandpa's side.  In using the last name, Lynda said she had a Grandma with the same last name.  A bit of research on Aunt Marcie, Aunt Dacra, and Rachel's part found that we're related.  Who knew that we've been hanging out with our cousins for four years and didn't even know it.

Eliana was practicing the location of head, nose, and eyes with GramE.

Eliana is continuing to learn to share.  She enjoyed taking this seed pod apart and giving GramE all of the parts until she was left with just the stick.

Things Eliana is up to:
*She is trying out more and more words.  Here are a few that come to mind: Ray Ray (Rachel), Ru (Ruli), Pop Pop, Nan (Nanny) which can also be mistaken for nana (banana), bir (bird), cat, do (dog), whoa whoa (thank you Ruli), no (which she says while shaking her head no), peas (please), pie pie (pine cone), fsh (fish) oes (shoes), ocks (socks), we practiced saying Grandpa Brad when my dad visited and she has some way of identifying him, but I don't remember it off the top of my head, Tay Tay (Aunt Taylor), k (okay) which she started saying today after she falls (Her GramE thought this was because she'd ask, "Are you okay?" and Eliana responded, "K."), bye bye, hi, car (often done while signing car), ot si (outside), poo (poop... maybe potty training is around the corner), Nate Nate (Nathan)...

*You can ask her a lot of things, and she understands and says, "No."  So far, she doesn't yell it.  She says it softly several times in a row while shaking her head no.  She can nod yes too, but that doesn't happen as often.

*Eliana enjoys going to Bible Study Fellowship.  She initially was nervous at the beginning of the year, but two weeks ago she leaned from me into her teacher's arms.  This week she let go of my hand and walked over to her teacher and grabbed her hand.

*Eliana continues to love books.  We read 1-3 Bible stories from her Bible at night, pray, and then her dad tucks her in.

*She continues to love helping.  Today she took a piece of silverware at a time and handed it to me so that I could put it in the drawer.  When she is done eating (even if we think she still needs to eat a little more), she takes off her bib and puts it on the table.  Then she hands us her plate.  After we take it, she signs "all done".

*We love our little girl.  We pray that she will grow to love and serve God.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

What is a yoke? a Bible and Art Club story

This year I am going through the book of Matthew with my Bible and Art Club students.  You may remember that I started the club up last March at the school I used to teach at before Eliana came.  I really, really, REALLY missed teaching, and this provided for that outlet.  I'd teach art, my favorite subject as a child.  Plus, I'd be able to share with them what I wasn't able to openly do for the five years I taught.
I initially thought we'd cover a chapter a week, but I realized a chapter was too much.  So, I choose part of a chapter, print it, have the kids take turns reading parts of it, and we discuss it as we go along.  This past week we read Matthew 11:25-30.

Jesus Gives True Rest

25 At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. 26 Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. 27 All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. 28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

The week before I'd tried to cover about 31 verses, and since I didn't feel we got to deeply understand what we were talking about I went for fewer verses with deeper understanding.  I also realized that I was 99.9% sure the kids would have no reference to oxen and yoke.  So, I brought in an object to help get the point across.  Now, when you think of an old school teacher, what object comes to mind?  Yard stick anyone?  Well, since I'm not in the classroom currently, I borrowed one from a good friend.  We read verse 28 and 29 and then I asked if anyone knew what a yoke was.  "It's part of an egg" said one student.  Yes, she was right, and then I explained that it was a multiple meaning word.  I asked if they'd ever since a picture of two cows or oxen or even horses stuck together and pulling a wagon or farm equipment.  A few nodded their heads.  I then asked for two volunteers.  I had the two girls stand facing the same direction with the yard stick spanning the distance between their shoulders.  I then asked them to try and walk together.  The yard stick fell immediately.  I asked the kids what they thought was the problem, and they explained that one girl was much taller than the other.  I gave them a few more tries, and they were able to get a few feet before the yardstick fell.  I asked what the difference was.    They told me that the girls were looking at each other and talking to each other so that they would step with the same foot at the same time.  I had two boys come up who were close in height, but after several tries they didn't make it a step.  Then I had two girls of similar height come, and I had them wrap their arms around the yard stick as they walked.  I explained that this like the relationship between us and Jesus.  The more we pray and talk to Him, the easier it is to walk with Him.  Although the initial reaction to the kids (particularly the two boy volunteers) was that it wasn't fair that these girls got to use their arms, the point was clearly made.  I then had the kids write in their journals at least one way that they can make their communication with God better.

It has been four days since our last meeting, and I got around to responding to the kids journals.  Part way through, I got quite teary eyed as I read, "You can ask God to come into your heart."  You have to understand, most of these kids don't go to church on a regular basis.  I'm not sure that all of them have ever been to church.  Some times I walk away from our meeting wondering if they kids learned anything about Jesus.  Two Wednesdays ago, I left so discouraged that Kyle asked me over and over again if I was okay that night.  There are many weeks that I question if I am even getting through to these kids.  Reading this journal today reminds me, that I am just the messenger, and the Holy Spirit is the one who draws people to Himself.  It is God who does the work with in these students, and I am privledged to be vessel of it. 

Bath Time

Eliana is so excited to see me after I’ve been gone at the office all day. Tasha is also glad to see me because that means that she can get a rest while Eliana and I catch up. Our evening routine involves eating dinner together as a family, then Eliana and I have some play time together, Tasha joins us, and after a while it is time for me to give Eliana a bath.

I have Eliana round up some bath toys while I am filling up the tub with water. She cannot put them all in at once. She must drop each of them into the water individually. She loves to play with the water as it comes out of the faucet. She can hold up a plastic container that holds maybe 5-6 cups of water and let the rushing water fill it up completely before she pours it out and does it again. I am pretty impressed with her strength.

The squirting animals are especially fun to play with. Eliana hands them to me and I put fill them with water. She likes to squeeze the water out of them. She doesn’t quite understand how to point them so that she can squirt something specific. She often will squirt herself by accident and thinks it is funny or gets upset at the toy and pass it back to me. We discovered this week that if we leave a certain amount of air in the sea animals, that we can push them beneath the water and it looks like they are swimming between the bottom of the tub and the surface of the water.

I have learned that there is little argument from her that bath time is over if the water has been drained. I have Eliana pass me the toys while the water is draining. I have been telling her the names of the toys while we play for a couple weeks so that I can now ask for them by name. “Eliana, can you hand me the fish?” She loves the fish because she knows the sign for it (with a flat hand move it left and right like it is a fish swimming through water). She is so smart. She is able to pass me each of these toys when I ask her for them: fish, manta ray, walrus, giraffe, block, ball, sea horse, and pig.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Hide and Go Seek!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have you ever played Hide and Go Seek with an 18 month old before?  It can be quite exciting!  Our version looks different than the traditional game.  The adult is always the one hiding, because Eliana doesn't quite know how to yet.  Eliana comes and finds the adult who then shouts with joy, hugs Eliana, and then runs to a new hiding place.  We can play this game with both Kyle and I or just by myself.  When we all played last week, Kyle was the hiding person.  When he would be found, I'd quickly grab Eliana's hand and we'd run to the living room, run in a circle, and then run back to find Kyle.  Today, I was on my own, so that meant I had to run and hide in a new spot Q-U-I-C-K.  It didn't take long for my heart rate to go up.  We had so much fun, and it helped Eliana to take a good nap.  She has a tendancy lately to sing, play, whine, and cry rather than nap.  After our game, she was tuckered out and went down for a nap much easier.

Things Nanny Didn't Know About Breastfeeding

When I was a new mom, I remember asking Nanny, my mom's mom, if she breastfed.  She explained that at that time formula was thought to be better for the baby.  A lot of research has been done over the last 100 years on breast milk, and here are a few of the highlights that I've learned and been impressed by.

*If someone with a cold comes near a baby or say kisses the baby, when the mom kisses that baby her body begins to make antibodies for the baby to fight off the cold.

*Breast milk is specially made just for the baby's need at that time including volume and what is in it.

*What a new mom eats goes into the baby's milk, so the baby is gets a flavor for how your family eats.  Because the milk changes based on what you eat, he or she is less likely to be a picky eater.

*I saved a chart from our birthing class that compares breast milk and formula.  Formula had 7 ingredients, and breast milk had 48 more ingredients like enzymes that help digest the food, growth factors which stimulate growth, hormones that regulate metabolism, tons of antibacterial factors that protect against infection, antiviral factors to protect against viruses, and things to help protect against parasites and allergies.

*Breastfeeding moms who breastfeed for at least 6 months are less likely to have breast and cervical cancer.

*Breastfeeding is WAY cheaper than formula.

*Breastfeeding helps the mom and baby to bond.

*Breastfeeding helps to take off the pregnancy weight.

Is it easy to breastfeed, well yes and no.  For me there were initial struggles, but once Eliana and I got the hang of things, life was much easier.  A friend gave me great advice before Eliana came.  She said that you have to decide before hand to breastfeed, because there will come a time when it is hard, can be painful, and/or the baby isn't breastfeeding well.  You don't want to decide then if breastfeeding is best.  The first few days I thought I was doing okay and things would be fine.  Somewhere before 2 weeks, I hit that wall of, "Oh man, this is way harder than I thought!"  I was glad Kyle supported me in breastfeeding, and that I had others around me to encourage me.

I understand that there are times when formula is helpful.  I have a friend whose premature son needed the breast milk, because his mom wasn't making enough.  Another friend's son wasn't growing up to par, and so he is supplemented with formula.  I understand that there are reasons for formula.  My purpose in writing is to shed some light on the benefits of breast feeding with the hope that it will encourage new moms to consider breast feeding.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Trisha and Zak

 Dad, Trisha, Zak, and Mom

Trisha and Zak got married on New Year's Eve.  I only used my camera for a short time before the wedding. I then got my mom's (which is a super nice camera) and took more pictures.  Rachel was the photographer for the wedding.  She used her camera for awhile, and then grabbed my mom's too.  You just can't beat a Cannon camera if you are dealing with night photos.  

I guess there is a reason why people thought we were twins growing up.  This week Eliana was looking at an ornament (yes, we just got to putting the tree away for the year) and said, "Mama" while looking at a picture of Trisha and Thomas.

Mom and me

Tanya and me

 Tara and me

Kelly and Taylor

Collin, Torie, and Madison

Rachel, Trisha, and I spent probably close to 36 hours making of Trisha's and the bridesmaids' bouquets.  The broche at the bottom of the bouque was the something borrowed and something old.  It comes from Zak's mom's side of the family.

Awe yes, and this is what Kyle was dealing with while I was at the wedding.  She was eating yogurt, and that was about it.  She got a fever the Thursday before the wedding.  It lasted through the wedding day.  She was crabby for another 3 days or so.  She is better now, and I praise the Lord for that!!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Looking Back at 2011

A friend sent me these questions to ponder over 2011.
1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year? Spending time as a family of three exploring outside.
2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened? I often found myself fearing what others thought of me rather than focusing on what God thought of me.
3. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?  I've learned more about trusting God.  It was hard to trust God while Kyle was in El Salvador last January.  I'm a scardy cat, and being home at night with a 6 month old was hard on the nerves.  I also had to trust God a lot while we were in El Salvador as a family in June.  There were many out of my comfort zone experiences there.  I had to hand over my fears as division between close friends and me caused deep sadness in my life.
4. In what way(s) did you grow physically and/or emotionally? In the summer I finally got a full night's rest as Eliana learned to sleep through the night.  That continues to be amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
5. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?  Spending time on the computer can be such a time zapper for me.  I know that is kind of ironic since I'm currently typing on the computer.
6. With whom were your most valuable relationships?  This questions is good food for thought, but I don't want to list too many or too few and then get people upset with me.  So, I guess you'll just have to ponder this question for yourself.
7. Pick three words to describe 2011.
journaling, exploring, growing

Feel free to answer all or any of these questions in the comment section.

Monday, January 2, 2012


When having a rough day (ie the day Kyle and I had with Eliana feeling like screaming was her new favorite hobbie), it is wise, healthy, and simply a good idea to thank God for the things He has done.  So, here is a list of as many things I can think of in about 5 minutes.  They are in no particular order.

1. hot showers- such a comfort, and the majority of the world probably doesn't get one daily
2. raspberry muffins- Michele showed me a recipe recently, and I made some for my dad for his birthday
3. hot chocolate- Rachel brought some over recently, awe, I am SO THANKFUL for hot chocolate
4. God's Word- I'm reading through Judges.  Yesterday Samson died along with thousands of Philistine leaders. His death is a good reminder to be careful of fleshly desires.  It got him in trouble over and over again.
5. car rides with Rachel- Rachel and I went down for Trisha and Zak's wedding, it was nice to have someone to talk to rather than hearing Eliana scream at us while we drive.
6. weddings- Trisha and Zak are married!  Wahoo!
7. cards- I like writing them and receiving them.  Not everyone has access to paper, pens, stamps, or a reliable mail service.
8. Kyle- He was such a trooper taking care of Eliana this weekend.
9. internet access- not everyone has it
10. Pop Pop- he let me stay at his home on a spur of the moment/everything is suddenly different for my travels for the wedding due to Eliana being sick
11. unexpected blessings- God has given us unexpected blessings in many forms as we journey through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University in an effort to be better stewards of His blessings
12. visits- recently my mom visited.  It is so nice when family comes to see us.

My 5 minutes are up.  Enjoy the day, and thank God for the many blessings both big and small around you.