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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.

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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more about "Elliot Walks!", posted with vodpod

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

A Holy Week

Last week was quite eventful here in Augusta. Yes it was Master’s Week, and our little town becomes the focus of the golf world. This town completely changes. Most of the people who live here “get out of Dodge” as they say, while so many other people are flocking in. I was able to go to one of the practice rounds on Monday to see what all the fuss was about. Needless to say, I was extremely impressed and got caught up in the mystique of it all. Ive never seen anything so perfectly manicured as that course is. Granted, I don’t have a whole lot to compare it to, but it was still amazing. The grass in the area that crowds were able to walk on was like carpet. I can’t imagine what the greens were like. And yes, I did get to see Tiger. I got within about 10 feet of him. Pretty cool. (Sorry thaeaster2009t I couldn’t get you tickets Gameech. This opportunity came up on Sunday night.)
Not only was it Masters Week, but more importantly, it was Holy Week. Unfortuntely, the two weeks coincided this year. I’m sure it doestn’ matter anywhere else in the world, but it matters a great deal here. We had a great Maundy Thursday service at our church, but with everyone out of town, we only had about 20 people attend. I honestly am not concerned about numbers at all, but I was just sad that others missed out. It was great to have an intimate service with those who were able to attend, and I was moved by the significance of it all. What really struck Stephanie and I this year is Christ drinking the cup of God’s wrath for us. The physical pain that he suffered was one thing, but having the wrath of God poured out on him is in a totally different category. I can’t even imagine, nor do I want to. Thank you Jesus.
And finally, on Friday, we headed up to Dalton for the weekend to celebrate Easter with part of Steph’s family. We could have just sent Elliot up there, and no one would have noticed a difference. He was such a hit! Everyone really loved him and kept saying how good and happy of a baby he was. He was definitely on his game this weekend. We had a great Easter Celebration at Grammie and Paw Paw’s church on Sunday (He is risen! He is risen indeed!). Oh, that every Sunday was like Easter Sunday!
Now we are back to the grind, and my nose will be in books all week long. My oral examiniation in front of presbytery is now a week away. I will be going before the candidacy committee on the 20th in the evening and then before the floor of presbytery the following day. Please pray for me. I would appreciate it. Please remember Stephanie as well this week. Even though she isn’t the one who is studying, she has to deal with a husband who is always studying and stressed out. Please pray that we both have grace and patience this week! Thanks so much, and I’ll let you know how it goes!

Went in Pieces, Came home whole

This weekend I went with our Senior Pastor’s wife to a conference for Minister’s Wives. I hope I am never the same. This role has been more difficult for me than I anticipated. Actually, it is not so much the role rather the role +. I have a young child at home, I am the wife to an amazing man, I am a part time physician assistant, and also I have all that comes with being the youth pastor’s wife. I needed clarity of God’s call and I got it.
The conference was put on by Beth Moore with help from pastor’s wives. Although Beth is not a Pastor’s wife (which she made very clear), she is a women in ministry and can identify with so many of the difficult things we go through. The conference points were all in 6 word phrases Aggravations followed by Alternatives.
A) Ministry by Default, Life long misfit OR A) Chosen by God, have Holy Fit
A) Seek their Approval, Become their Slave OR A) Seek God’s approval, we find peace.
A) Work with People, Expect Titanic Problems OR A) We Choose to Trust, not to Rust
A) Trade you Bondage, Keep your chains OR A) Don’t Ignore;Get Restored, Then Restore
A) Sow the Flesh, Reap the Dregs OR A) Sow the Spirit, Reap the Life
A) Lose what Counts, Watch Misery Mount OR A) Keep the King, the Thing – JESUS

One thing I was really encouraged to think about was doing a few things well. There is no way I can be give 100% to all the things I have on my plate right now. I kept seeking God’s guidance to see if He was calling me to quit my job – I honestly wanted Him to call me to that, but He did not. For now I felt I needed to continue to work – It is one way that God has truly gifted me to be able to support my husband. I am so thankful that He encouraged me to get my masters before Mike and I met. So I will be a good wife and mother, and a good PA, for now I will have to hold of on doing some of the other things I was doing with the youth group. I hope that someday in the future I will be able to participate in Mike’s ministry in an active/different way, but for now I am called to support him from home.

The thing I keep thinking about is “God did not make a mistake.”  He called us both here for this. I have access to so many lost people that I work with, I see several broken, and hurting patients daily that I have the opportunity to pray for, pray with, and help heal. I am there for a reason. God knows the desire of my heart is to be with Elliot as much a possible, but for now, He has said wait.

The more I encourage my husband, the more he has to pour out on the students.

My six words:

There for him, him for them.

On a funny note, check out this You Tube video to see how Pastor’s wives feel about being used as sermon illustrations.

Elliot’s ‘Holy Water’ Baptism, take 2

[For those of you who already read this, I added a picture video right before the large pictures. Check it out!]

In a small way, Elliot became like Jesus this past weekend: both were baptized with water from the Jordan River. How in the world did that happen, you might ask? Well, 10 years ago, I participated in a program called Facing Your Future. Thirty-five high CRC high school students from around the country and Canada gathered at Calvin Theological Seminary for a month. We spent three weeks at the seminary, engaging in theological and ministry discussions with seminary professors (and having a ton of fun). The final week was spent in Israel, seeing and experiencing Biblical sites. It was one of the most amazing months of my life. While we were in Israel, one out of our group of 35 was baptized in the Jordan River. While that was happening, I thought that it would be neat if I could baptize my children with water from the Jordan. This is kind of a crazy thought for an 18 year old with no prospect of children in the foreseeable future. So I took a large empty bottle of water, and filled it with water from the Jordan. Taking it home was no problem because you could take water on a plane then. The only problem was storing it. My mom had the idea of putting it into jars and pressure sealing the tops, so that is what we did. I now have 3 jars of Jordan River water. The first one was used Sunday for Elliot’s baptism.

Our pastor informed the congregation that Elliot was going to be baptized with water from the Jordan. He used it to make the point that the water of baptism doesn’t actually save us, which is so true. It really doesn’t matter that Elliot was baptized with “holy water” from the Jordan. His baptism is no more special than mine or Stephanie’s or anyone else’s. Elliot’s baptism is special because God’s covenant promises were signified and sealed to him on Sunday. Stephanie and I pray that Elliot will one day claim those covenant promises as his own.

Sunday was a very emotional day for me. Not only was Elliot baptized in front of the whole congregation and 2 full rows of our family who came in from out of town, but I also had the opportunity to preach. I don’t know what I was thinking when I asked Pastor Charlie if I could do that. J Halfway through the sermon, I was using Elliot’s baptism as a illustration to a point I was making, and I almost completely broke down in tears. I had to step back from the pulpit, take a sip of water, apologize, and then continue. What a day.

Thank you to everyone who was able to come out and join us on such a special day. Those of you who could not make it were missed tremendously, and we hope to see you all soon.

Below are some pictures from the baptism. If you would like to see even more, scroll down and click on the album. It will take you to another site where all of the pictures from the weekend are located.
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Elliot's Baptism Weekend