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30 and Fabulous

I’m 30!! I really can not believe it. The night before my birthday I spent time just thinking about the fact that it was my last night of my twenties – and then being grateful!

True to form, my husband made certain the I had a fabulous birthday. He started on the Monday prior to my birthday with “birthday week.” Birthday week was kind of a tradition growing up as my one and only sister’s birthday is 4 days before mine. Each day Mike gave me a small gift and a clever card with a clue about what that day’s gift would be. On day one of birthday week I received a close line ( I have been drying the clothes on the line to save money and I really enjoy it). Day two, he got us a fan for our room, day three was a sunflower plant, and day four a gift cert for a pedi.

On my actual birthday he sent me out with my sister and Janet for a day of shopping and pedicures while he and my Dad watched the boys. I was gone from the house for 5 hours!!! When we returned a dinner of steak, hairy corn ( deserves a post all to itself) and salad was in the works. Following dinner we played with the kids for a while before putting them to bed. This was wise as Elliot’s birthday is the day after mine and opening presents might have caused quite a melt down for the little guy.

For dessert we had chocolate raspberry cake made by our Pastor’s wife – as always – fabulous! My gifts this included various amounts of money from our family’s that totaled enough for me to get my long awaited new floors for the kitchen!!! (currently we have white vinyl with holes in it)

And just when I though the day was over – having already been one of the best days of my life – Mike pulls out the guitar.
Now here is the thing – to be honest last time I heard him play – he was not that great. To my sweet surprise he started strumming like a pro. I could tell he was nervous, but did not know why. He proceeded to serenade me with the following words to the tune of Tim Mcgraw’s “Next Thirty Years”

I think I’ll take a moment to celebrate your age
The ending of an era, and the turning of a page
Now its time to focus on where to go from here
God have mercy on your next 30 years.

In your next 30 years we’re gonna have some fun.
Try to forget about all the crazy things you’ve done
Maybe now you’ve conquered all you adolescent fears
You’ll do it better in your next 30 years.

Your next 30 years the minivan’ll be your ride.
Taking kids to ballgames and all their gear packed up inside.
They’ll be embarrassed but they’ll remember all your cheers.
Mak-ing memories in your next 30 years.

In you next 30 years, our kids will grow up tall,
Pray they turn our Ok and love Jesus most of all.
When pain and sorrow come they’ll run to you to dry their tears.
You’ll be the worlds best Mom, in the next 30 years.
( I am balling by this point !)

Your next 30 years will be the best years of you life
Raise a little family and be a Pastor’s wife
Spending precious moments with the ones that you hold dear
What great times there will be in your next 30 years

I think I’ll take a moment to celebrate my wife
The most amazing women and best thing in my life
So much I don’t deserve that it drives me to tears
(Now really balling)
May God pour out his blessings on, on your next 30 years

Thank you sweet heart – You are the most amazing husband I could have ever dreamed of and the love of my life. I am so thankful to God for you. I can not wait to continue to our lives together and pray that God gives us 30 more years to serve Him.

Only what’s done for Christ will last

Thank goodness He is not finished with me yet. I recently read two books, “Don’t Waste Your Life” by John Piper and “A Chance to Die” by Elisabeth Elliot. First of all. I highly reccommend both of these books. I also think it is so cool when God uses multiple ways to teach me the same lesson.
Don’t Waste Your Life is about exactly that – not wasting it. In short “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil 1:21) or as a poem states that I have started reciting daily – Only one life, will soon be past, Only what’s done, for Christ will last. I find that if I apply this concept to everything from changing diapers to doing ministry my perspective is much better. Piper expounds on this topic by talking about sacrificial living, sacrificial giving, boasting only in the Cross, missions to neighbors and abroad, and more. I can honestly say that while reading the book I was often nauseated with conviction and for that, I am thankful.
“A Chance to Die” is a fantastic tail of the life of Amy Carmichael. Amy spent her life (44 years with out furlough) rescuing children in India from horrific lives working in Hindu temples. Her life is the archetype of a life not wasted and I was inspired to live for Christ as she did.
So what? Let’s just say, He is not finished with us yet. Mike and I have been on crazy ride of determining what all this looks like practically. We are earnestly seeking God’s will in our lives. I am sure we will experience growing pains, but I am looking forward to it. I am really starting to understand that suffering is a blessing, and that honestly if “life is good” as our culture states, that you/I are probably not living the abundant life God calls us too. Don’t misunderstand, I am not going to go out and create hardships and I will also be joyful and thankful for blessed easy times. However, I am learning that if we enter into the life God has truly called us too – suffering will follow.
For the first time in my life I can say I that I long for Christ’s return. In that past I thought it would be neat if I was around, and I looked forward to being in heaven, but this is different. I am starting to feel like a stranger in this world. It seems that daily I am bombarded with heart breaking news, marriages struggling, sick children, people in bondage to sin, and so many lost people. This drives me to me knees in prayer for revival for our country. It creates the burning desire for Christ to come and make all things new. I am flawed and my need for continued sanctification is evident, but I am so thankful for what God has been teaching me.

Elliot Turns 1!

Time…It doesn’t seem like a whole year has passed since Elliot was born. I could have sworn that we were just driving up to Georgia from Florida. It doesn’t seem like an entire year ago. But then again…so much has happened in the past year. I can’t believe all the things Elliot has done, the places he has gone, the milestones he has achieved. It is amazing. Seeing Elliot grow gives me a small–but not insignificant–insight into our great God and how he has made us. It is truly incredible!
We had a great little get together tonight. Elliot enjoyed every minute of it, and he especially liked the cake. He liked squishing the cake between his fingers more than he liked eating it, but it was his cake and he could do with it whatever he wanted!
Here are some pictures from his special day:

Elliot's 1st Birthday

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Elliot Walks!

I’m going to skip the usual apology and excuses about not posting in a while–although we are sorry–because this video is just far too exciting! These are not his first steps, but they are the first ones caught on tape! Everyone says that our world is about to change now that he can walk. Thankfully he’s not running quite yet, but we don’t think that is far away. He is improving his balance every day!

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A Much Needed Break

Stephanie, Elliot, and I got some much needed time away today. We’ve been very busy lately and just haven’t had time to connect. A very gracious family from our church (thank you Umsteads!) allowed us to hang out at their lake house today. We left home just after Elliot’s breakfast and got home in time to put him in his crib. It was a great day to relax, enjoy the sunshine and the lake, and enjoy just being with each other and not having anything to do or worry about. It was a great day. Here are pictures of our day and an album with some recent pictures of Elliot. I had no idea, but apparently he likes doing the laundry. How cute.

Wednesday at the Lake
2009_05

The time is drawing near…

Three and a half hours.

That is how long I have before the most dreaded experience of my life. (Forgive me for being a little overdramatic…) For those of you who don’t know, I will be examined tonight and tomorrow morning. If all goes well, ordination is looming around the corner.
These last couple of weeks have been…hard, tough, long, exhausting. I really don’t know how to finish that statement. All the words just seem so void of any real meaning. Very simply, it has been a lot.
And not just for me. Yes, I’ve been studying just about every free moment. I’ve been going to bed late and waking up early. I’ve been doing flashcards when I drive and listening to Q&A’s from the Westminster Shorter Catechism. But I honestly believe that my beautiful bride is the one going through the most. She’s stepped up so much in the last few weeks. She’s taken over many of the things that I normally do, and she has done it with grace. She is amazing. Those of you who know her well know that this is just par for the course for her. She is an amazing wife to me and spectacular mother to our son. I can’t wait for this all to be over, mostly for her sake. She deserves a spa weekend.
Its at moment like these, I thank God that He is sovereign. If he wasn’t, I don’t think I could go through with all of this. But I feel this calling in my life, and if he calls me to it, he will guide me through it. This examination is less about me and more about him displaying himself through me.
Thank you for your many words of encouragement and prayers. I have felt them, especially today.
I’ll let you know how it all goes!

Finally…Some Videos

For those of you who have been wondering if I would ever post any more videos of Elliot, I have finally gotten to it. Every once in a while, I’ve needed to take a break from burying my head in theology as I am studying for ordination. This has been a good release, and thankfully has been very easy. Check out the Video link at the top of the page, or if you’re kind of lazy, you can just click here.
The videos are a couple of months old at this point. He is just an amazing crawler right now. I can hardly believe it. He is just amazing.
Speaking of amazing, I thought I’d throw in this picture for fun!