Resurrection Sunday 2017

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“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.” ~Acts 2:22-24 (ESV)

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Watching History

This morning, we watched the Inauguration of the 45th President of the United States.

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As we do every 4 years, we watched history being made.

I have watched every Presidential Inauguration of my adult life (in addition to several before I was of legal voting age). And, since becoming a mom, my children have watched with me.

I am not proud to be an American. I am thankful. And, I want to my children to understand the blessing of the freedoms we have been given, and to be grateful for the privilege that it is to grow up in this country.

Over the years, I have watched the Inauguration of Presidents that I have voted for, agreed with, or was happy to see take office. I have also watched the inauguration of Presidents that I disagreed with, did not vote for, and did not want in office.

But, I have never once feared a violent, militaristic, governmental take over. I have never once feared a total disregard for the transfer of power. I have never feared a brutal and unjust tyrannical regime.

Maybe I should. But, I haven’t.

We have been blessed with peace, with security, and with freedoms unknown in most of the world. Regardless of who our President has been. Regardless of whether or not we deserved it.

The majority of the campaign season, through election night, and even up to the inauguration itself, has been frustrating, disappointing, and divisive, on so many levels.

But, today was a day of ceremony, tradition, and patriotism. We once again witnessed a respectful, peaceful transfer of power. From one political party to another. We heard lofty promises, and were painted a picture of an administration that would be vastly different from the one preceding it.  And yet, we witnessed several of our country’s past leaders, of differing convictions and political affiliations, sit side by side, to witness the inauguration of this country’s newest leader.

President Trump may not have been your choice. (He wasn’t mine.) But, as the President, he deserves our respect.

But, even more than that, he needs our prayers.

After the Inauguration Ceremony concluded, we took some time to pray for our country, and its leaders. We prayed that the Lord would graciously grant wisdom, discernment, integrity, and humility to President Trump and Vice President Pence, as they seek to lead a deeply divided country. We prayed for their protection. We prayed for the men and women they have chosen, and surrounded themselves with, who will advise, counsel, and help to lead this country. But, most of all, we prayed that their hearts that would be softened to the truth of Scripture, and for genuine repentance and salvation.

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. (Romans 13:1-5)

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2017 Reading Goals

Last year, I posted a list of 12 books that I wanted to read over the course of 2016. Twelve. There was a time, in the not too distant past, when I could have easily read 12 books in a single month. But, at the beginning of last year, the challenge of reading just one book a month seemed like a major undertaking.

Here I am a year later, and while I didn’t complete my self-imposed assignment, I definitely read more books last year than I did in the past 4 years combined! So, I’ll still call it a win.

The books I read in 2016:

  • The Pastor’s Wife, by Gloria Furman
  • Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full, by Gloria Furman
  • Missional Motherhood, by Gloria Furman (Um, yeah. I like her.)
  • A Path Through Suffering, by Elisabeth Elliot
  • The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, by Rosaria Butterfield
  • Modesty, by Martha Peace and Kent Keller
  • The Busy Homeschooling Mom’s Guide to Daylight, by Heidi St. John
  • The Pastor’s Kid, by Barnabas Piper

If you compare, you’ll notice that some of these books were on my list last year. Some of them were not. When it comes to books, I’m kind of like that dog in Disney/Pixar’s “Up.” Books are my “Squirrel!” I frequently pick up new books to read long before I am anywhere close to finishing (or, starting!) the ones I already have.

Being the start of a new year, I have a new list of books that I would like to read in 2017. But, like last year, I am sure I will find more titles to add to the list before the year’s end. So, next January, my list of completed books might bear very little resemblance to this one:

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Counseling the Hard Cases, by Stuart Scott and Heath Lambert – I recently told someone that I would make a terrible counselor. And, I really would. But, that is exactly why I am reading this. I have had many opportunities to see the need for solid, biblical counseling in the church. And, as the Lord gives me opportunities to invest in women, whether through casual conversation or formal counseling, I want to be equipped to help them, and to point them to the hope offered in God’s Word.

On Guard, by Deepak Reju – Probably my biggest fear is that of something terrible happening to my children. I have seen too, too many stories of child abuse, at the hands of professing believers…church members. And, in addition to the fear of something happening to my own children is the fear of something happening to one of the little ones in our church family. No, these things should not happen. But, they do. Churches are easy targets. Frankly, this is the book I don’t want to read. But, at the same time, I desperately want to do everything I humanly can to protect these little ones. And, should the unthinkable happen, I want our church to be prepared, and equipped to deal with it correctly.

Women in the Church, by Andreas Kostenberger and Thomas Schreiner – This is an increasingly fuzzy area in the church today. It shouldn’t be. But, it is. As the issue continually comes up for debate, and the “job description” of what women can and cannot do is frequently revised and adjusted to fit modern (and post-modern) sensibilities, I want to be faithful to what God’s Word says on the issue. This is the third edition of this book. It has been updated to address current issues, and to add some new voices to the conversation.

Word-Filled Women’s Ministry, ed. by Gloria Furman and Kathleen Nielson – The theme of women’s issues/ministry was unintentional. But, not entirely surprising. Ministry to women – teaching, counseling, discipling – is something I have been interested in for a long time. So, books addressing these topics always draw me. Right now, my main sphere of ministry is my home, and my children. I am not responsible for heading up the women’s ministry in our church. But, that does not mean that I am exempt from “ministry.” I want to be faithful to do what I can to love, serve, and encourage the women in our church, older and younger alike. I have heard very good things about this book, and I have appreciated the writing of several of the contributors in the past, so I am looking forward to reading it.

J.C. Ryle: Prepared to Stand Alone, by Iain Murray – The writings of J.C. Ryle have long been a favorite in our home. His influence can be seen in the fact that our son’s middle name is Ryle. But, although I’ve read much by J.C. Ryle, I have never read much about him.

The Biblical Counseling Guide for Women, by John & Janie Street – My husband gave me this for Christmas. Other than a new Bible, this was the one thing I wanted for Christmas. I started dropping not-at-all subtle hints that I wanted it back in April when we discovered that it was being published. And, my sweet husband wisely picked up on those “hints,” and I found it under the tree on Christmas Afternoon. It is written by our college professor and pastor, and his wife. With 35 years of biblical counseling experience between them, I can only assume that the wisdom in this book is unparalleled. I’ve cheated a little bit, and started reading it before the new year began. And, so far, it is absolutely every bit as good as I expected.

Spiritual Mothering, by Susan Hunt – In terms of the Titus 2 older/younger woman dynamic, I would probably still be considered by most to be in the “younger woman” category. I have 4 children – one pre-teen, and 3 young children, which might increase the perception, and appearance that I am younger than I actually am. So, it might seem odd that I am reading a book about older women investing in the lives of younger women within the church. But, I have seen the desperate desire for this type of relationship. I have heard so many younger women question where the older, “Titus 2” women are.

Seated With Christ, by Heather Holleman – This book was one that my husband brought home from the Shepherd’s Conference last year. I had never heard of it, or the author, before that. But, the subtitle, “Living Freely in a Culture of Comparison,” was intriguing. And, in an age where everyone’s best moments, cleanest rooms, gourmet meals, and well-behaved children are put on full display, it can be hard not to fall into the trap of comparing our own regular, messy, and imperfect lives.

The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Romance, by Heidi St. John – I have heard Heidi St. John speak at our local homeschooling convention for the past two years. And, I have appreciated her honesty, humor, and passion, as she encourages busy, overwhelmed, homeschooling moms to seek to honor Christ, and to be faithfully in God’s Word, each day. I picked up her book on scheduling and organization a couple of years ago. This past year, I picked up her book on nurturing your marriage. In one of her sessions at this year’s convention, she clearly illustrated the point that the enemy is actively attacking Christian families…and specifically Christian marriages. And, she was absolutely right. I’ve seen it happen. And, for so very many reasons, I do not want to become another casualty of the busyness of homeschooling and ministry.

What are you reading this year?

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Christmas Day

Christmas is my favorite holiday. I took hundreds of pictures. Yes. Hundreds…with an s. But, I won’t subject you to all of them (unless we’re friends on Facebook, then you’ve already seen them all!). Here is just a little glimpse of our day…

img_6041wmBefore…complete with Christmas music and a fire in our TV fireplace.

We started out the morning opening stockings…

Christmas Stockings 2016

Then, after breakfast, we were off to church…

2016_12_251{Aren’t they adorable?!}

I love that Christmas fell on a Sunday this year! I wish it always did. We had a sweet time, worshipping, and celebrating the birth of our Savior together with our church family!

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I know that Christmas isn’t about the presents. But, I just love picking out special gifts for my family, and watching the excitement on my children’s faces as they open their presents! This year, I especially loved seeing them choose gifts for each other, and truly experiencing the joy of giving.

2016_12_253Favorites this year included books (of course!),
Transformers, American Girl accessories, a Minnie Mouse outfit, and a bike!

The kids had some time to enjoy their presents…

img_6258wmTitus explaining his new Transformers.img_6280wmRebekah on her new Minnie Mouse bike!

Then, we continued the celebration into the evening with Grammy and Grampy!

2016_12_255It was a busy, busy day. But, so fun.

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Merry Christmas, from our family to yours!

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Filed under Christmas, Hannah Elisabeth, Just for Fun, Life, Mommyhood, Rachel Susannah, Rebekah Ann, Titus Ryle, Traditions & Celebrations

Christmas Eve

I love letting the kids each open a gift on Christmas Eve…

img_5993wmI love these kids!

img_5996wmEveryone with their Christmas Eve gift. By now, Hannah and Titus have figured out that they’re getting pajamas. But, that’s just part of the fun, in my opinion. This year, Hannah insisted that Daddy needed new Christmas jammies too!

img_6023wmRebekah & Rachel got matching Minnie and Daisy pajamas (they love all things Minnie Mouse!); Hannah got horses (of course!); and Titus got a glow-in-the-dark Triceratops (only because I couldn’t find a T-Rex).

img_6026wmLooking cute and cozy in their new jammies! And, hopefully ready for a good night of rest…

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Filed under Christmas, Life, Mommyhood, Traditions & Celebrations