Friday, May 28, 2010

First Catechism Q52 "What kind of life did Christ live on earth?"

A - " A life of obedience, service, and suffering."

So went our family worship this morning.

We read our current Psalm, Psalm 34,continued our work in memorizing Philippians, worked through some catechisms, and ended with "Amazing Grace." But this catechism struck me.

So we pondered.

What will be said of us? How will our epitaph read?

"She lived a life of willfulness, and did everything possible to make her life comfortable." -or- "She lived a life of obedience, service, and suffering like her Savior."

It's obvious which I resemble more. It's obvious which is easier. It's also obvious that no disciple wants to settle for less than the second option.

Maybe we should live our lives with our epitaph in mind more often. "Loving wife and mother" is good, but we're striving for excellence here, and that is just the beginning. Those may be the printed words, but please God, let the legacy beneath them cry out obedience, service, and suffering for the glory of Christ.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Dove Fledglings in the Birdbath

They hang out on my deck waiting for their parents to come feed them. Then it's a jumble of four doves as they try to outdo each other in the food fight.

At the Gardens With Mama

Last Thursday, before everyone got sick, we wemt to a small botancial garden. It was so beautiful and teeming with life. There must have been thousands of tadpoles. We saw a baby turtle, lot so of interesting bugs, water lilies, a large fountain, geese with goslings, and lots of other things that weren't there at our last visit two months ago.

Oh, and as the children documented the day in their nature journals, it became the first day of our next school year, making it Rosie's first official day of kindergarten, thus the wide grin in the picture below. Although with her, it may be the first day of first grade. She's beginning to spell phonetically, can write upper and lowercase letters from dictation, can read a little, is getting to be quite good at addition - oh, and she can recite the categories in the classification system too. We'll see how far the summer takes us. :^)

baby turtle

Mother's Day

I hate getting behind because then I don't know where to start to catch up.

My mother came to spend three weeks with us. It's so nice to have her here! We've enjoyed hanging out at home watching all of the bird families in the backyard, as well as having some adventures elswhere.

We had Mother's Day plans of church and picnic and downtown arts festival, but Rosie and Ethan got sick last Friday while we were at a birthday party. Saturday Rose was feeling better, but still running a fever. Ethan took a more off and on approach to feeling better. We decided to stay home Sunday morning. We had donuts for breakfast, then hung out and ate lunch at home too. But by the afternoon, we decided to try a short trip to a nearby lake - it was such a beautiful day, it was hard to resist. We all thoroughly enjoyed it. Bella couldn't get enough of the geese, and the children enjoyed wading too. I enjoyed taking pictures of them enjoying it. :^) Then we stopped for ice cream, which proved to be a bit too much for Ethan, but he was still glad we went.

shrimp cocktail, veggies and dip, crackers and cheese

chocolate chip cookie crust, cheesecake, chocolate cream pie filling,

and whipped topping

wiggling those pigtails with her shadow

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Rosie's baptism

Sorry about the sound. It was at an open air service for our rather large church, and I was in front of the speakers. There were fifteen baptisms last Sunday. The song is Chris Tomlin's "Jesus, Messiah".

As I went through the baptism booklet in preparation for her baptism, I asked Rosie when she first believed. She said, "When I was, when I was one." That pretty much sums it up for her. Some children believe from a very young age. We've never focused on a single defining event with our kids. We focus on their hearts and whether they believe right now, and if their life reflects that truth. Some children will have a very defined moment of salvation, others will not remember ever not believing. Rosie knows that she was born a sinner and every sin deserves the wrath and curse of God. She also knows that Jesus died for sinners and that His blood washes sin away. And she believes this with all her heart.

Oh, and a funny for you. Near the end of Rose's baptism booklet my mom asked Rose, "And what is sin"? To which Rose replied, "Sin is the bad things that you don't want to do because if you do them, you get a spanking!"

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Ministering with young children

I think what I would like to work on is ministering within the home. Being okay with everything not being perfect and balancing that with having a home that is welcoming. Then having people come in that might be forgotten. My mother says, "Charity starts at home." It needs to start at helping our parents care for our grandparents, and visiting and honoring great-grandparents. Then looking after elderly members of the family that do not have direct descendants (or don't have any actively assisting them.)

Our focus during this season of life should be on how to minister to the people around us rather than trying so hard to go out to minister. It is difficult to get out with little children! This can be done occasionally, but time and resources would be better spent learning to minister from within the home, then this can become more of an outward movement as the children get older. It's taken me a while to get this. I had the best daydreams of weekly trips to the nursing home, and for some people that might be what they are led to do, but I think we need to focus on what we can do from here for the most part.

It's about being able and willing to set aside my schedule and convenience to help other people, but not forgetting that happy babies in a household hoping to remain somewhat peaceful can't regularly miss their naps! Balance. I want to be flexible, but also intentional. I'd like to start putting ministry or visiting appointments in my calendar. It might not always happen, I might have to reschedule, but at least it will stay on my radar and not get lost in the busyness of life.

Some practical ideas:

  1. Throwing a tea party or simply baking a birthday cake for an elderly neighbor or relative. We quickly baked a cake and decorated the table for an impromptu birthday tea for an elderly relative and she could not stop talking about it. It is a huge thing to them, and really pretty simple for you to do.
  2. Taking in the laundry from someone who is sick.
  3. Putting together a sick baskets of soup and cookies and a book and delivering it to someone that is sick. You would be amazed at how big a deal this is to people! Have soup stock and ingredients on hand for this. Keep a small stash of inexpensive gift items and perfect condition books from the thrift store on hand.
  4. Picking up an inexpensive bunch of flowers at the grocery store and delivering them on the way home.
  5. Working together to raise money or deciding what to do without in order to sponsor a missionary or child in a foreign country. We were talking this morning about a lemonade stand since a water park is opening just down the street from us this summer.
  6. Having a yard sale or bake sale to raise money for a missionary ministering in the area of a crisis (such as the earthquake in Haiti).
  7. Inviting neighborhood children into your family activities and sharing your home and the gospel.
  8. Doing Christmas boxes for Operation Christmas Child.

Some of these are things I've done and some are things I'd like to do, or do more of, in the future.