Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I'm so behind...

I really do have good intentions when it comes to updating this blog.  It just doesn't seem to happen very often.  So here are some recent pictures of the family...

Nathan's glad that he's almost outgrown the doll stroller


Micah at his last soccer game


Seth and Micah at their end of season soccer party


What its like at our house when I want
a picture of everyone (except me, of course)


I crack up when I see these pictures of Keith.  Well, full
disclosure here...I generally crack up when I see Keith at all.


Oh the joy of taking pictures at 9.30
at night instead of letting everyone sleep...


Abby's just as cute as she can be

Monday, November 9, 2009

Videos and pictures

We've been going through "Training Hearts, Teaching Minds" in our family devotion time, and Question 4 asks, "What is God?"  The answer follows: "God is a spirit, Whose being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth are infinite, eternal, and unchangeable."  Keith reads the question, and we repeat it back so we can memorize it.  Bethany, who just turned two a couple of weeks before this clip, got in on it, too.

video

Abby spent some time outside, investigating bushes.


Bethany was given a doll's double stroller over the summer.  She decided that she wanted to ride in it instead of her dolls, but found that getting herself in and out isn't as easy as putting her dolls in it.


We recently went to a fall party, hosted by some friends.  Abby, Micah, Seth, and I went while the babies stayed home with their daddy to sleep.






Saturday, October 10, 2009

Worship Music

Our Worship Leader, Tom, has introduced us to some incredible music. God has blessed our little church with Tom, who points us to Christ every Sunday. I can honestly say that I’ve never been part of such worship on a continual basis. And it’s just Tom and his guitar – no one else leading with him. The songs that we sing are not bubble-gum Christianity. They are deep, thought-provoking songs that lead us to worship because of the picture they paint of God.

Tom loaned Keith some of his CDs, and they were all incredible. They were all deeply rooted in the character of God. How I wish that we American Christians would drink from such a well of nourishing water that leads us to really think on Christ, whether it is the music we listen to or the books we read.

With that said, let me introduce you to Sojourn Music. The CD we have is Over The Grave, songs inspired by and adapted from the hymns of Isaac Watts.

You can listen to some of their music on their MySpace page.

You will not be sorry that you checked them out!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

All About Nathan

Nathan is 1!

Saturday was Nathan's first birthday. I can't believe that my little baby is a year old. I've been through this 5 times, and each time, its hard to believe. In about a 2 day period, he went from not crawling, not rolling, and only occasionally pulling up to crawling, moving, going...

We were at my parent's home last week, and we had a small party for Nathan. My aunt made him his own cake.


He was a little apprehensive at first - what do I do with this?
Then he realized what he could do with it!
Then he just enjoyed it...
By the time he was done, he was pretty gross, but he had a great time with his cake!

I love you, Nathan!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Thought I'd Say 'Hi'

It's been a while since I've blogged...its been a busy month. The kids came home two weeks ago today and we started school two days later. We just finished our second week, and it has gone really well. God has really blessed our time in that both babies are napping in the afternoon and we are able to have plenty of quiet time to work fairly uninterupted.

Our first day, I decided to have a last minute field trip. Literally. We went to take pictures with the sunflowers in a field. It would have been nice to have everyone smiling and happy, but since we don't fake much around here, having 5 children looking happy all at the same time would look pretty contrived. Or photoshopped.

I tried to get all 5 of them in one picture, but Bethany knows that you can see the picture if you stand by Mommy and look at the tv on the camera. What she hasn't figured out yet is that Mommy actually has to take the picture first. So when I get the camera out, she runs to see the picture that I haven't taken yet. Which is why she is not in this picture. Oh, and Abby started to have a meltdown. And Nathan thought the grass was cool.

My sweet, happy boys.

Abby was still melting down. I did get Bethany in front of the camera, though!

My favorite Seth in the whole world...

Followed by my favorite Micah...who only winks at his momma.

Abby finally relaxed enough to smile a little. By then, she was too hot to be too happy.
Bethany had her own meltdown, but it was literal.
And my precious Nathan, who rarely complains about anything.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Michael Jackson

When I was little, my mom had a Christmas decoration that she would get out every year. It seems like it was a little house with a "pond" in front where little ceramic couples would skate around while music played. It took me a while to catch on that there was a magnet moving the figures under the mirror.

I don't mean to jump on the MJ bandwagon, but when I saw this clip, I thought it was too cool. He reminds me of those figurines that moved around with the aid of a magnet. Watch and you'll see what I mean!


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009

Adventures in Facebook

Have you ever done something that you knew wasn't a good idea? Keith and I have joked that we've got to be the only Americans under 80 who have never seen the movie Titanic. We decided not too long ago that we would hold out on Facebook, too. On Tuesday, I gave in. I wanted to search for something and the only way I could do it was to join.

Apparently, I shouldn't be given the ability to join social networks. It was immediately taking up my time! It was fun to talk with old high school friends, but now my account is deleted, and honestly, I'm relieved! Keith and I talked about it last night and I realized just how easy it is for me to sink time that I don't have into something that is pretty non-productive. This is one reason why we ditched cable and don't have a converter box - too time consuming. It was too easy for me to veg on the couch at night, and it would have been too easy for me to chat with people all day long.

How often do we find ourselves doing something that we know we shouldn't do, for whatever reason, and we secretly long for someone to point it out to us? I think I've done this several times since being a teenager, and I'm always glad that someone else has the strength and/or resolve that I don't.

So thank you, Keith, for loving me enough to protect me from my own foolishness!

Now if someone could just tell me to put down the chocolate...

Monday, July 6, 2009

Update

Rachel, who spoke about how death is not dying, went to her Lord on July 2. You can read more by clicking here.

Monday, June 22, 2009

My In-laws In The Paper!

When I read this article that was on the front page of Keith's home town's newspaper, I thought it would be good to post here:

Son gets to mourn father buried in France

BY VANESSA C. DEGGINS AMERICAN PRESS


When Edwin Ellis Blessing tells his story, he tells it slowly, pausing for two or three seconds between each sentence. Sometimes, he pauses midsentence.

He doesn’t do this because he is forgetful. He tells the story slowly because he is talking about his father.

When Blessing was 5, his father, Edwin Lawrence Blessing, died fighting with the U.S. Army’s 714th Tank Battalion in Germany in World War II.

Blessing grew up with a shadow of his father, and had only fleeting memories of him — like the time he was home on furlough or when he first left home to learn how to operate a Sherman tank.

Blessing, the oldest of three boys, learned about his father from photographs and through anecdotes told by his mother. “All my life, she spoke of him, and that’s the only way I could really know him,” Blessing said.

But the pictures and the stories and even his father’s medals and commemorative flag could only do so much.

Fast forward to March 2000. Blessing, retired from Citgo, was working as a security guard in an office building downtown.

As he tells this part of the story, Blessing still seems a little surprised at the whole situation.

One quiet Saturday, stockbroker and former state Rep. Bob Jones entered the building. He had a French quickstudy book under his arm.

After a greeting, Blessing asked about the book, and Jones told him that he was brushing up on his French because his daughter lives in France and he planned to see her in July.

Blessing, always one to make conversation, told Jones his father was buried in France during World War II. Jones asked where, but Blessing said he wasn’t sure, that it happened 55 years ago.

Jones took down the basic information and said he would check up on it. A month or so later Jones told Blessing he had found the cemetery — Lorraine Cemetery in Saint-Avold, France — and asked if he would like him to go during his trip.

At this point in the story, Blessing pauses for longer than three seconds.

Near the end of July, Jones returned and gave Blessing a package of pictures.

There were photos of the sprawling cemetery — the largest U.S. military burial ground in Europe — and of his father’s grave, with a wreath Jones had ordered for it.

“I must have looked through those pictures 40 times,” Blessing said.

A week later, Jones told Blessing that he had bought some stock and that if it went up to $50 a share, he would send Blessing and his wife, Peggy, to France.

Blessing protested, telling Jones he really didn’t have to do that. Jones said he wanted to.

In late August, the stock hit $50 a share and Jones asked Blessing when he wanted to leave for France.

Blessing picked September. After an 11-hour flight, Blessing and his wife spent the first day touring Paris.

Jones’ son-in-law’s brother, Benoit, then drove them the five hours to Saint-Avold to the cemetery.

As he tells the rest of the story, Ed’s voice is barely above a whisper, and he talks about everything in specific detail.

The walk from the visitor’s center to the grave was almost a quarter-mile. Blessing walked up behind the grave, so he could not tell it was his father’s grave at first.

Jones, who was in Australia attending the Olympics, had called and ordered another wreath.

When cemetery workers know someone is coming to visit a grave, they put black sand in the name on the marker to make it stand out more.

And when Blessing walked around and saw his father’s name, Edwin Lawrence Blessing, he stopped and stared and his knees felt weak.

He says he still can’t describe the feeling. But it’s safe to assume he gets it when he tells his story or when he looks at the photos.

“So this is where you’ve been my whole life,” he said aloud to the grave.

At this point in his story, Blessing relaxes, and his voice returns to its normal volume. The zen-like gaze he maintained during the telling is gone.

“We stayed there for two hours, just visiting, you know,” Blessing said. “And we went back the next day to visit the grave, and I said good-bye to him.”

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Literature Has Its Origin in Christ

I'm good at having random thoughts. Yesterday, I read an article about how in the Old Testament, Christ was hidden in types and shadows, but is revealed in the New Testament. So I was washing dishes last night and listening to Skillet and I was thinking about all of the terms that I learned in my junior high English classes about stories - similes, metaphors, foreshadowing, etc. I read Lord of the Flies somewhere around 7th or 8th grade, and Mrs. Jowers, our incredibly intelligent teacher, told us about Simon, the Christ-figure in the story.

It occurred to me that without Christ, there would be no literary elements with which to tell stories. Jesus IS the ultimate foreshadow, type, figure, simile, metaphor, etc. Every story told in every culture exists because of the ultimate story that has been told. God Himself created language to communicate with us, and for us to communicate with each other and He also gave us the gift of the written word. Words are important to God - words convey truth...Jesus IS the Word. This reminds me of the NLC newsletter article I wrote last month:


A couple of months ago, I had a problem with my cell phone, so I called and spoke with a support tech about the issue. We were on the phone for several minutes while I tried to figure out how to retrieve information off of my phone. I apologized to him for taking so long, and he said that he often had to put customers on hold for a while, too, and he then said, “that’s just karma for you!”

I told him that I was a Christian and that the idea of karma was Buddhist and was not a biblical theme. He asked me if I knew the scene from The Matrix where one of the characters says that words don’t really mean anything, so when he said “karma” he really didn't mean anything by it.
I then asked him how can we convey information accurately if words don’t have any meaning. If I ask for a Coke at McDonalds, what’s to keep them from giving me a fish sandwich instead? I told him that words do have meaning, and they must have meaning, otherwise nothing would be true. (I didn’t mention to him the fact that he actually used words to say that words have no meaning.)

After fixing my phone issue, we talked for about 20 more minutes about the Bible and world religions. He was so sure that he was a believer in Christ, yet he embraced everything that the world says is true and nothing that Christ said is true. Sharing the gospel with him was a challenge, to be sure! He agreed with everything I said, then completely disagreed with it the next moment.

Catching you up

Micah graduated from Kindergarten on May 26th! Yes, I am really behind posting this! My mom and aunt came to see him graduate and we had mexican food for lunch and Red Robin for dinner. It was a good day!


I've tried twice to throw this broken dress-up box away. This picture was taken the first time I tried. The girls decided it was the perfect place to have a snack and watch a movie.



Nathan was just lying on the floor, minding his own business, when Bethany went to lay on him. He immediately grabbed her hair and held on to it while I went to get the camera. Bethany's face was priceless. She hated having her hair pulled, but by golly she wasn't taking her head off of his stomach! He finally let go and all was right in the world again.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Dear Dad,

Happy birthday! I bet you can't believe that you are 66 today. I can't. When I was young, you and mom were always older than my friend's parents, which made you "old," but now that I'm 32, a person in their 60's isn't old anymore. I guess age brings perspective in most cases.

I wish that I could go see you today and kiss you, but this is the next best thing I could do - to tell the world how much I love you.

I'm so thankful to the Lord to be your daughter. He has blessed me!

I love you,
Stephanie
Abby and Gramps at her 1st birthday party

Nana and Gramps, Fall 2006

Gramps and Bethany, August 2007

Stephanie, Gramps, and Bethany (3 weeks old)
Gramps and Nathan, 3 weeks old
video

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Death Is Not Dying

Check out how Rachel knows that death is not dying. This is an incredible talk. Please watch the whole thing. You will not be disappointed.

Rachel is the mom of 2 children and she is dying of cancer. She is funny and engaging and what she has to say will encourage and edify you. This is a moving talk that will leave you thinking about your own life. She says that she is dying. And so are you. We just don't know when. What do you hold on to when life comes to an end?

Friday, May 22, 2009

What We've Been Doing Lately

A friend and I took our boys to the Botanic Gardens last month so they could take a class on flowers. Tulips are my favorite flower...too bad Keith is allergic to flowers. At least my pictures don't make him sick!


Seth loves rocks!
We dedicated Bethany and Nathan to the Lord on our last Sunday at Lakewood.


The boys started baseball recently, and they love to practice!



My sweet Grandma was in the hospital recently, so we got to go visit her. She would probably be appalled to know that she's on my blog, but she's got to be the prettiest lady in the hospital.


Abby had her first recital last week. She did a great job as Cinderella...actually about 5 whole classes of girls played the role of Cinderella! It was a wonderfully done recital and I hope we can do it again in the fall. Isn't she pretty?


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