Thursday, July 30, 2009

1 Thessalonians 5:11

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In case you can't understand him - "Therefore, encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing." And sorry about the crop top. Apparently, he's outgrown those PJ's!
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5:18? 5:11? It's all in the same chapter. She's 3 years-old. It's close enough.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Lazy days of summer

Well, it's lazy to 3/5 of us in this family! But after 4 weeks of swimming lessons, this is what we have to show for it:
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Matt made huge progress. He went from clinging to my arm like a blood sucking leech that was never letting go to "swimming" with the comfort of 3 floaties no less.
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Technically, Emery didn't have swimming lessons, but she was present when they were given. She must have picked something up.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The End

Or is it the beginning of the next project? The scenery around our house constantly changes. We finished the basement project, but one of the unfortunate side effects of it all was that we lost our lawn.Front and side and part of the back even are all lovely, beautiful dirt. But if the basement no longer leaks, it was all worth it!Plus Matt got to play on mounds of dirt for a week. That might have been worth it in and of itself...at least for him.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Knockout

My wife is one. And so are these roses - this family of roses is called Knockout. We've also planted some hydrangeas. Not too many flowers this year, but hopefully they will bloom with a vengeance next year! We are enjoying the opportunity to landscape our backyard.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Lake Melvern

Last weekend, we discovered Lake Melvern. They had a real nice beach at the lake and the boys and girl had a blast. We went with some friends - the Marshalls.Emery loves getting buried.How many floaties can Matt use? He really wants to be safe.Andrew was explaining the physics of sand castle building to Luke...and trying to convince Luke not to destroy his castle.Emery and Addison share a moment...can you imagine Matt ruining this moment in a devious way in a few years?!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Fear of God

I just finished preaching a 2 part series on the Fear of God. It was humbling and a great joy to preach these past 2 Sundays. I learned a ton about the greatness, holiness and love of God. I also learned that I do fear men a lot more than I thought I did. If you have free time, please let me know what you think. You can listen to them online at our church website.

I had no idea, but apparently Andrew has some desire to preach and teach too.
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I did not ask him to do that! They decided to play movie and when the camera started rolling, this is what he did. Let's see what Matt can do...
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And no service would be complete without a hymn.
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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Construction Zone

Our basement has been leaking for the past year (and probably for years before that too). After some investigation, research, modest attempts to repair, cost analysis, and prayer, we've decided to go all in and get it fixed.It started out pretty impressively.The kids were in awe, especially Andrew. Can his jaw drop any lower? And in case you were wondering about Matt's goggles, the man running the machine was wearing safety goggles.And after a half day's worth of digging, we had quite a bit of dirt piled up.
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It looked like fun. I was tempted to go for a ride and try it out.After 2 days, our house has 2 major machines, tons of dirt, a dump truck, and now a whole load of gravel out front too. What will tomorrow bring? Our house is quite the neighborhood show because people keep stopping and walking over for a closer look.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Proverbs 29:11

"A fool always loses his temper, but a wise man holds it back."
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Emery nailed it.
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Matt, however, didn't exactly nail it.
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But he almost got there.
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Third time's the charm.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Emery

I too am hanging on to our little baby girl. Can she really be 3?
She has so many facets to her personality...here's sleepy.
IntrospectivePopularChicFeminineCarefreeShe has a tough job, but with 2 older brothers, she has to be the pretty one. Can she stay my baby forever!?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Happy Birthday Emery!

Well, it had to happen sometime. Our baby girl is growing up. I've never been so depressed at a 3 year old's party! Even though I'm sad to be losing my baby, we managed to have a good time at her "splash" party. Thank you to all who came to celebrate God's gracious gift to our family...Emery.
The hit of the party was a mini water slide we borrowed from our friends and neighbors, the Seidls.
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At the end of the day, Matt kept asking Emery:
Matt: Emery, did you love your party?
Emery: Silence as she's fiddling with one of her presents.
Matt: Emery, did you love your party?
Dad: Emery, Matt's asking you a question.
Emery: Yes.
Matt: Good, cause I did too.

I hope he always loves his little sister.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Baptize!

Yesterday I noticed that Emery and Matt changed their clothes shortly before bed time. I asked them why the change of clothing and Matt said, "Because our other clothes were all wet." Scared to ask, but I did, "Why?" Emery jumped in and said, "Because we were playing Jesus Christ and were baptizing!" Oh...

Then today as Emery and Matt were undressing and getting ready for their bath...
Emery says: Matt! I have a good idea!
Matthew: What?
Emery: Let's play baptize!
Matthew made a comment after that implying that they should keep their clothes on in the tub since that's how they do it in the baptismal at church. At that point I intervened and made sure they went into the tub without their clothes on.

When People Are Big and God Is Small

I recently finished this book by Ed Welch, and it was very eye opening. Very. I have never thought of myself as one who is overly afraid of people. Sure, I get embarrassed and I want people to like me. But for the most part, I think I typically make decisions without worrying about what other people think. In fact, I may tend to swing too far in that direction!

So I never thought of myself as fearing men or succumbing to peer pressure or being co-dependent which I guess is the more prevalent term these days. But this book, in a way that a book hasn't done in a long time, opened my eyes to a way of thinking and a self-evaluation that I was completely unaware of. I do fear men.

Welch defines fear as being afraid of someone but extending beyond to "holding someone in awe, being controlled or mastered by people, worshipping other people, putting your trust in other people, or needing people." He goes on to ask a series of probing questions to ask yourself to see if you do in fact, fear men.
  • Have you ever struggled with peer pressure? Peer pressure is just a euphemism for the fear of men.
  • Are you overcommitted? Do you find that it is hard to say no even when wisdom indicates that you should?
  • Do you "need" something from your spouse? Do you "need" your spouse to listen to you? Respect you? Think carefully here...
  • Is self-esteem a critical concern for you? If self-esteem is a recurring theme for you, chances are that your life revolves around what others think. You reverence or fear their opinions. You need them to buttress your sense of well-being and identity. You need them to fill you up.
  • Do you ever feel that you might be exposed as an impostor?
  • Are you always second-guessing decisions based on what other people might think?
  • Do you feel empty or meaningless?
  • Do you get easily embarrassed?
  • Do you ever lie, especially the little white lies?
  • Are you jealous of other people?
  • Do other people often make you angry or depressed? If so, they are probably the controlling center of your life.
  • Do you avoid people?
  • Does this list not include you yet? If not, consider just one word: evangelism.
Ouch! I was feeling pretty good until I hit that list on page 14. And then that last one, just sunk me. I never knew that I had a fear of man problem. "Fear of man is such a part of our human fabric that we should check for a pulse if someone denies it."

So I fear men a little, what's the big deal? Welch goes on to say, "Since there is no room in our hearts to worship both God and people, whenever people are big, God is not." And that is why this is an important issue. God is great. God is glorious. God is incredible. But when people are big, we reduce God in our hearts to far less than He deserves. That is a BIG problem. Isaiah 48:11 says, "For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; For how can My name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another."

Welch spends the first part of the book explaining how and why we fear others. It was very enlightening. In the second part, he explains how to overcome the fear of others. In the process, he exposes many lies of psychology and its debilitating influence.

I highly recommend this book, not just for those who are overtly concerned about what others think, but for all of us. Here's one last thought on the blessing of fearing God and not man. "The person who fears God fears nothing else...This is one of the great blessings of the fear of the Lord. We think less often about ourselves. When a heart is being filled with the greatness of God, there is less room for the question, 'What are people going to think of me?'"

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

For the birds

I thought babies hatched in the spring. Maybe things got delayed a bit this year.These little ones have been walking around our backyard for a while now.And we've been watching momma bird feed these guys for a few weeks.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy 1 Year

By the grace of God, we have just passed our 1 year anniversary of moving here to KS. It's amazing that it's already been 1 year while at the same time, it feels like a million things have happened. Here are just a few of the highlights for our family of the last year:
  • We planted our first garden, cut down trees, and assembled our swingset
  • Andrew learned to ride a bike, swim, finished 1st grade, played on a soccer team and basketball team
  • We made our first snowman
  • Matt started playing some baseball
  • We took our first vacation to Branson, MO
  • Everyone visited the doctor and took more medicine than ever before
  • I preached and taught the Bible more than ever before
  • Emery was potty trained
  • We saw more cattle, animals in general, and got bit by more insects than ever before
  • The kids memorized dozens of Bible verses
  • Sandy and I read dozens of books
It's been a great year for our family. God has blessed us tremendously. And who said small town life is slow? For us, it was quite busy. In fact, it made us dizzy at times...
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Friday, July 3, 2009

Swimming lessons

After 3 years of lessons, Andrew can swim. Not great, but I'm pretty confident he can survive in a pool...I think. But it's time to focus on Matt. He started swimming lessons this week.He doesn't appear to want the attention.But thanks to a great teacher, he's starting to have some fun and learn the basics.Emery was oblivious to it all...the water feels great!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Harvest time!

For the first time in our 12 years of marriage, we own dirt. We thought of using it for mud pies, but thought vegetables might be more tasty and nutritious.So we started from seed and planted some zucchini, cucumbers, and bush beans.Then, by the grace of God, they grew. Kansas dirt must be extra fertile if WE can grow anything. Our thumbs have been very, very black up to this point.Wa-hoo! We harvested our first zucchini today. We grilled them up and boy were they tasty!