Monday, August 31, 2009

Rock on!

After our basement waterproofing project, our lovely yard looks like this. It's by far the beauty of our street. I think we'll win the landscaping of the year award...or not.Our plan is to lay down grass seed in the yard in 2 weeks. The only problem is that when they fixed our basement, they dug a ditch around the house and filled it with 4 to 5 feet of crushed gravel rocks. That's not really the problem. The problem is that A LOT of gravel ended up all over our yard / dirt. Before we lay down the grass seed, we need to pick up the rocks. So we're spending some good family time out in the yard / dirt.Emery is somewhat helpful when she's not playing with something else. She filled that much of the bucket in about an hour!The boys and girl get 25 cents for every bucket of rocks. Andrew picks up a good amount of rocks since he is beginning to understand the value of money. However, Matt doesn't seem to understand the work for pay idea. As he was walking away with a bucket filled, he mumbled under his breath, "sla-ver-y" in his most pained voice.We also found a frog while we were working today. The girl was so brave and held it!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Topeka Zoo

Yesterday, we went to the Topeka Zoo for the first time. It was really fun! I know the boys look like they're being tortured, but that was only when we had to take a family picture. The rest of the time they loved it...except for one thing...
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I don't know what kind of bird that was, but he sure liked the boys and girl. The feelings were not mutual, at least for Matt. But this zoo really let you get close to the animals. And we even saw a few animals that we've never seen before.
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It really was a big bat. I think Sandy was impressed.

Friday, August 28, 2009

What a day!

It started out with some Bible time with the boys and girl.
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We had a few issues. And somehow the singing is a lot less passionate when the camera is on, but you get the idea.Then I worked like a dog putting in another raised bed, removing a tree root and other yard work. The sad thing is that I have another raised bed to do tomorrow and about 5 more tree roots.And as I write, the ladies are out at their Bible study so I'm watching Luke and Addison too. 5 kids to 1 dad, not a good ratio. Thank God for videos! Can you tell which kids are mine?!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Proverbs 12:22

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight.
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I'm not sure why her hands are around her face either. video
Emphasis on "His de-light!"
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Andrew's taking a little break from our family verses to catch up in his Awana Spark's book. We're about to start a new year of Awana (for the first time here at our church) so he's going to be doing Spark's verses probably for a bit.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Soccer

Andrew started his 2nd year of soccer. I'm not exactly sure how to gauge his soccer skill as I've never played soccer, hardly ever watched soccer, and pretty much know nothing about soccer. But I think he's having fun.He knows how to do the pre-game huddle.He looks confident playing defense next to his coach.
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I like his tenacity on defense!
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Now don't blink on this one. I was sleeping behind the camera and caught Andrew's goal just as it was going in. So this is Andrew's post-goal celebration - running off to the right!

And on a separate note, we had quite the funny dinner conversation yesterday:
  • Andrew: When I go to college will I live at home?
  • Peter: Well, if you go to Emporia State or Flint Hills Technical college you will live at home, but if you go to Kansas University then you will have to live there.
(We got two responses immediately.)
  • Andrew: Woo hoo! I'm going to KU!
  • Matt: I'm going to Emporia State. I want to stay here.
  • Emery: Had to think for a moment and then said, "mmmm....I think I'll go to KU"
(Peter asked if she was sure she wanted to do that because then she'd have to live somewhere else.)
  • Emery: Yup, KU.
(We ate for a little bit and then Andrew had a thought.)
  • Andrew: Will they feed me breakfast?! Or will I have to take my own milk and box of cereal? Because I could do that.
(He wasn't worried about the other two meals of the day but he was very concerned about getting a breakfast there.)
  • Peter: Yes, I'm going to pay for your breakfast, lunch and dinner in college but if you want snacks you're going to have to get a job.
  • Andrew: I know what I'll do for a job. I'll take care of peoples' plants. Mom can teach me how.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Love That Lasts

I recently finished Love That Lasts by Gary & Betsy Ricucci. While Sandy and I are not marriage veterans, we're not exactly newlyweds either (going on 12 years). We came into our marriage knowing most of the foundational truths of a biblical marriage and being familiar with most of the biblical passages that talk about marriage. But God, by His grace, showed us that knowing a few things is a far cry from being those things.

As our marriage has grown, again by His grace, God has transformed us individually and as a couple. Of course, I thought Sandy was a great woman, but deep in my heart, I used to think that as a husband, I was God's gift to Sandy. Now I realize, that she is truly God's gift to me. The more you know me, the more you will realize what a great woman and wife Sandy is to me.

But this book was one of the most balanced marriage books I have read. It not only explains what the Bible teaches about marriage - the role of husbands and wives, God's design for marriage, the picture of the cross in marriage - it also takes these Scriptural truths and puts them in the context of a real marriage between 2 sinners fraught with communication problems and conflict in life, romance and sexual intimacy.

It is a basic book in that it explains the foundations of marriage in a way that is easy to understand. In other sense, it is solid as it is not just for newlyweds but has principles and applications that are both reminders and insightful new thoughts for the more seasoned couple.

Here are a few random quotes:
  • ...when you understand the nature of the human heart and God's way to promote holiness, you see that encouragement and correction are inseparable. None of us ever matures beyond the need for encouragement (because we are still becoming more holy) or correction (because we still sin)...we all have a desperate need for people who can help us see what we can't or won't see on our own. That's the privilege of correction in marriage: we have someone who intimately knows us, helping us to see more clearly in the very areas we most need to see.
  • Follow-up. At some point after every conflict there should be a humble, peaceful discussion about what happened. The goal is to identify the necessary areas of ongoing repentance, the turning from old ways to pursue a new course of action and thinking...if we approach conflict resolution not just as the welcome end to a problem or unpleasant experience but as an opportunity to grow - which is God's intention - we will plan steps of repentance and change.
  • Here again is the overarching perspective to keep in mind before, during, and after conflict: it is meant for our good...so many couples spend their lives avoiding conflict. They choose a superficial 'peace at any price' - a price much higher than they realize.
  • The goal of marriage is to train your attractions, affections, and desires to fit only one person.
  • Men are taught by the secular culture to equate romance with lust, and women are taught to equate romance with feelings. Both approaches sell a lot of movies and novels, but neither helps romance blossom.
  • Busyness that regularly crowds out romance is a type of selfishness, a failure of priority. Busyness is loving something more than God or my spouse...The issue is one of priorities and choices. What do you see as essential - really, truly essential? In the final analysis we always do what we do because of a desire...either a desire to get something or to avoid something. In either case, what we do reveals what we most want.
  • ...your sexual relationship will tend to reflect your emotional relationship...
The last one is something Sandy and I have noticed about ourselves and other couples. The frequency and quality of a couple's sex life is often a barometer of the health of that couple's marriage. Unfortunately, that is a topic that I don't feel comfortable bringing up in almost any discussion!

If you're looking for a marriage book, I definitely recommend this one.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Matthew, the demon barber of Emporia


It was bound to happen at some point I suppose but it's still shocking when it happens. Unbeknown to me he managed to give Emery a "haircut" when I wasn't looking. He also cut his own hair but not as much. She was "doing her business" on the potty and he came in and started cutting. She was defenseless. When she called me to come and wipe her, I walked into the bathroom to find hair all over the floor. "WHAT HAPPENED?!" She replied very non nonchalantly that Matthew had cut her hair. When I asked Matt if that was true, he answer "Yes!" very proudly and enthusiastically with a big smile on his face. All we can do now is wait for it to grow out...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hutchinson

We went away for the last couple of days with some friends to a town called Hutchinson where a lot of their family live. It was a great couple of days and filled with fun and new experiences!The kids rode a Harley!Andrew almost rode a dune buggy, but it had mechanical problems so we just pretended. Can you believe this is someone's backyard? If the dune buggy had worked, you would have seen a big plume of smoke and dust in the picture too.This is the same place. I think Andrew and Kylie could have played here all day.Sandy and the little ones went on a jet ski.We got to ride on a boat on the lake for the first time as a family and went tubing.Andrew got into it.I was surprised that the little ones were brave enough to go for a ride too!Was she posing or is it just natural?
Even mom got in on the action. Here she is with Kylie. Wa-hoo!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Better

Emery appears to be doing much better. Her hives have disappeared and the only noticeable difference now is that she is unusually hyper (probably due to some of her medication).
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She's good enough to say Proverbs 22:15 - Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, The rod of discipline will remove it...far from him.
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Matt and Emery now have 12 verses. It's pretty exciting. I don't think I had this many verses until I was 18.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Hives!

Poor Emzy! You can't really see it well in the picture, but Emery started getting hives a few days ago. Every day, they have spread further up her body and today they reached her face and covered her body. So we went to the doctor and she received a 5 day prescription for Prednisone. Thankfully, they haven't bothered her too much. But please pray for her!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Jogging

The 2 young ones decided to go jogging together, indoors. These are their official jogging outfits. Of course, it's not how fast you run, but how "good" you look when you run.
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Friday, August 7, 2009

Gum

Emery loves gum. I was chewing some yesterday and she had her eye on it the whole time. She asked me why I was chewing gum and I told her that I needed it because my breath didn't smell that good.

So this morning, she asks me (fully intent on getting a piece of gum), "How does the air inside my mouth smell?"After a long, hard day working out in the 96 degree heat, we all came inside for a bath. Why is it so hard to take a normal picture? I tried 4 times and this is the best I could get.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Dying Thoughts

No, I'm not depressed and feeling suicidal. But I just finished this book by Richard Baxter. For those of you who don't know, Richard Baxter is a puritan who's most famous book is probably The Reformed Pastor which I have not read. Here's a picture of him.Dying Thoughts is about Phil 1:23 and the desire to leave this life to be with Christ. I have thought about this topic much as Phil 1:21-23 have always been verses dear to my heart. Baxter truly has a heavenly perspective about this world. This book can help you let go of the desires of this temporary life and long for the better joys of heaven with Christ.

This is the 2nd book of Baxter's that I have read and though both are filled with great ideas and thoughts, I have to admit, they are somewhat hard for me to follow. His writing style is not that difficult to read but his thoughts seem very random and not very linear. So in the style of Baxter here are a few random quotes:
  • The life to come depends on this present life...Heaven is won or lost on earth; the possession is there but the preparation is here. Christ will judge all men in another state, as their works have been in this.
  • It is His work for which thou livest. Thou hast no other business in the world...If God will add any more days, serve Him with double alacrity. The prize is almost within sight. Time is swift and short.
  • [In regards to death and the loss of our fleshly body] It is but a separation from a troublesome companion, and putting off a shoe that pinched me...And further to depart from such a body is but to be separated from an accidental enemy, and one of our greatest and most hurtful enemies; not indeed, as the work of our Creator, but as the effect of sin. What could Satan, or any other enemy of our souls, have done against us without our flesh? What is it but the interest of this body that stands in competition with the interest of God and our souls?...What steals away men's hearts from the heavenly pleasures of faith, hope, and love, but the pleasures of this flesh?
  • [In regards to being with Christ] And wilt thou not willing go, when such infinite love calls thee? Art thou not desirous of His presence? Art thou afraid to go to Him, who is the only cure of thy fears?...Not to the riches and honours of this world, or the pleasures of the flesh, but chose thee in Christ to an inheritance in glory? If God chose thee to blessedness, refuse it not thyself, nor behave like a refuser.
  • Without thy glory, earth is but earth; and without Thy grace, earth would be a hell. O, rather deny me the light of the sun, than the light of Thy countenance!...Without Thine and my Saviour's help, I can do nothing. I could not pray or learn without Thee; I never could conquer a temptation without Thee; and can I die, or be prepared to die, without Thee?
  • Hope anticipates salvation, as fear does evil. It is the hypocrite's hope that perishes; and all who hope for durable happiness on earth must be deceived. But 'Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God, which made heaven and earth, which keepeth truth for ever.' Woe to me if in this life only I had hope. But the righteous hath hope in his death. And hope maketh not ashamed. 'Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord and whose hope is in the Lord.'
These are some dying thoughts to live by.

Monday, August 3, 2009

1 John 4:20-21

Not to be outdone, Andrew has got his verse done too. 1 John 4:20 If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.
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I'm proud of how he worked his way through this verse. And that he looks so cool in shades.