Psalm 45:10-11, 13-15

Listen to me, O royal daughter; take heart to what I say. Forget your people and your homeland far away. For your royal husband delights in your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord. [...] The bride, a princess, waits within her chambers, dressed in a gown woven with gold. In her beautiful robes, she is led to the king, accompanied by her bridesmaids. What a joyful, enthusiastic procession as they enter the king's palace!



Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A week from today...Election Day

In honor of the upcoming elections, I thought I'd post a few videos that have been passed my way. Sad, but true and they definitely hit the entertaining mark.

MSNBC published an article this morning on rumors and the election: Rumors increase in last days of campaigns





This one is just plain interesting. Is Obama a natural born citizen? Oh, and a judge already ruled this case (see here).

Monday, October 27, 2008

Feeding the Homeless

"There are thousands of people dying for a piece of bread. There are thousands upon thousands who die for a little bit of love, for a little bit of acknowledgment."
Mother Teresa


Last night was our monthly trek downtown with the college kids to Horizon Urban Ministries where we serve and minister to the homeless. This was our fourth time down and each time gets better and better, and I think as a group we are continually growing. There's not as much apprehension, even though you never know what will happen or who you'll meet or what they'll say.

We are more eager to get out and have conversations with people rather than simply serve them. All in all, we're becoming involved in their lives. Getting to know them by name, their stories, their families, their likes and dislikes--after all, they're not just homeless, they're people too.

(L-R: Coy, Bryan, Pastor Joe, Jace)

Our ministry has expanded over the last few months. We originally started off fixing a meal and inviting people in the park to come. Now, our time downtown includes preparing a meal, decorating: set-up tables/drinks/cutlery, going out to the park praying for and inviting people to come for dinner, foot washing and handing out new socks (homeless people love clean socks), praying for them, worship, and we even have a chiropractor come down and do adjustments for people!


This was probably my last trip downtown for at least a couple of months. I'd like to continue going after Joey is born, but we'll have to see how that will pan out. I wanted to take some pictures to show you guys, they're not the best (due to lighting and I didn't want to just snap pictures of unsuspecting people).


I'll miss going down seeing the people and serving them. Coming home last night what it felt like, for me, was when Jesus sent his disciples to go get lunch and he ended up talking with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4). When the disciples returned Jesus said,
"My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work."

That phrase kept going through my mind and even though I was tired and a little bit hungry, I felt satisfied.

Friday, October 17, 2008

You know you're pregnant when...

  • you can't see your feet.
  • tying your shoes becomes part of your workout.
  • you know where all the bathrooms are in the stores where you shop.
  • you've considered that it just might be easier to sleep in the bathroom.
  • your belly becomes a resting place.
  • you need a catapult to get out of a chair, car, bed, etc.
  • you dread speed bumps and remind your husband to go slow over them.
  • no one will let you lift a finger because they are afraid it will somehow induce labor.
I'm sure I'll think of more later, but I just thought I'd share that with you. Now...it's off to work on Christmas presents!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

(This is as big as I can get the layout without making it blurry.
If you click on the picture it should enlarge it for you.)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Can you believe it? 4 weeks to go!

We're at 36 weeks already! The first half of my pregnancy seemed to go by so slowly, but since July it's like, "Where has the time gone?" Summer's over. We moved. I quit work. It's September. Still hot. It's October. Occasionally hot with cooling temperatures.

I mean, we're half way through October already! What's up with this? November 10th will be here in no time at all. Our prenatal appointments have moved from every two weeks to every week now (on Thursday's). Did my final blood work last week. I still have the bruises to prove it. (They're not bad at it. I just have incredibly deep veins that you can't really see, so I usually get poked two or three times before anyone can get a steady stream of blood. It's like this every time I've had by blood drawn.)

I asked the midwife, yet again, if she could get a more exact confirmation on my due date for my parents. Since they're planning a trip this way they actually want to be able to see the baby--not too early, not too late. So she performed the exam and since my cervix is already softened, she figures I won't go much past the November 10th due date. Considering that most first time mom's usually go past their due date, I'm taking this as good news.

The only thing about that is the closest full moon is November 13th and with the full moons in August and September we busy days in the birth center--5 births with each full moon! So later we were joking that she, our midwife Jude, has another busy moon ahead of her. Joe's predicting that the little one comes the weekend before. We'll see.

Other than that preparations are going well and close to being completed. On Saturday we put the car seat and stroller in the car. (Although, I forgot to take a picture of the car seat in the car, but it's there.) Here are pictures of our "travel system." We got it for free from a friend who was given two strollers. I like it. It has lots of pockets, zippers, and cupholders!






Friday, October 10, 2008

The Burden of Revival & Healing of a Nation


I've been doing a bible study with a group of women at church called Living Beyond Yourself: Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit by Beth Moore. We just finished week 2 of the study, which has been a look through Galatians building a foundation of understanding how the Holy Spirit works in our lives and studying the context for which those famous verses are based.

In the study the other day Beth spoke on something that connected with me in relation to TheCall and all that is happening here in recent months and weeks. This is what she said (talking about the "natural man" or man of flesh),

"We should not be surprised at the depravity that surrounds us. I am somewhat puzzled by a common attitude in today's church. We believe that abortion clinics, godless school districts, pornographers and the like are the hindrances to revival in our land."

At this point I went, 'Oh, boy. I know where she's going with this.'

She then posed the question: Who does the burden of revival and the healing of a nation fall upon (2 Chron. 7:14)? It falls upon the people of God.

"...and if My people who are called by My name humble themselves
and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways,
then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

She continues, "God expects unredeemed people to sin. Revival has nothing to do with unsaved people. If God's people would humble themselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from their wicked ways, then this nation would be healed in spite of every bar, every gambling hill, every gang, and every crack house."

It's up to us. We do not battle against flesh and blood, "but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Eph. 6:12), and this type of battle will only be won in repentance and prayer.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Santa and Christmas


Since we're now approaching the "parenting years," there's a whole new slew of questions for Joe and I to answer. Pertaining to Christmas (which is fast approaching) is the question, Will we introduce the idea of Santa Clause to our children?

Our decision has been no. We aren't going to actively introduce (or promote) the idea of Santa to our children nor will we join the camp of anti-Santa activists either. After reading Treasuring God in Our Traditions, Noel Piper made some points that were quite interesting on the subject of Santa, Christmas, and children.

She listed some reasons the Piper family chose not to include Santa in their Christmas stories and decorations:

"First, fairy tales are fun, but we don't ask our children to believe them."

"Second, celebrating with Santa and manger will postpone a child's clear understanding of what the real truth of God is."

Noel expounds on her second point by saying, "It's very difficult for a young child to pick through a marble cake of part truth and part imagination to find the crumbs of reality. We want our children to understand God as fully as they're able, at whatever age they are. So we try to avoid anything that would inhibit or distort that understanding."

"Third, think how confusing it must be to a literal-thinking, uncritical preschooler. Santa is so much like what we're trying all year to teach our children about God. Look at the "attributes" of Santa:
  • He's omniscient--he sees everything you do.
  • He rewards you if you're good.
  • He's omnipresent--at least, he can be everywhere in one night.
  • He gives you good gifts.
  • He's the most famous "old man in the sky" figure.
Noel goes on to say that there is a deeper level that young children can't yet comprehend that Santa is not at all like God, most importantly that God gave the gift of His Son when we weren't good at all (Ro. 5:8). "He gave his gift to us to make us good, not because we had proved ourselves good enough."

It makes sense to me. Why, when we're trying to teach our children who God is and His purpose for sending Jesus, mix it with folklore when we should be feeding them the truth?

Do I think introducing Santa in children will inhibit them from knowing God? No. But it could inhibit them from knowing and understanding God in a meaningful way from an early age. Isn't that, as Christian parents, what we want for our children?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Treasuring God in our Traditions

I finally finished reading Noel Piper's Treasuring God in our Traditions. I thought I would have gotten through it much faster than I did. It is only 105 pages long and I started reading it in the beginning of the year. Nevertheless, I have finished it.

The basic premise is that our traditions can help the next generation (focusing on our children and family) treasure God and give them a taste of His amazing worth. Noel Piper goes about describing how we can do this in our family through everyday traditions in the family, such as mealtime prayers and reading to our children, and the "especially" traditions of birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, Easter, Christmas, and even funerals. There are many great ideas for making our traditions not only meaningful, but have an eternal significance.

The question in Treasuring God in our Traditions is, how do we demonstrate that God is at the heart of every celebration? Noel says, "Through him we have birth and life and every thing and every person in our lives. So God is the reason we have anything to celebrate. He is the ultimate source of any of our celebrations."

Ultimately, our traditions should have God at the center. Noel sums up the book with these points three points,

"Let's just remind ourselves of what we're after:
  • Remembering what God did for his people, for us, and
  • giving glory to God for what he's done,
  • so our children and their children will know him."

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

8 months



Sunday at church I was sitting next to an older couple I'd never met before. To tell you the truth I was a little nervous, well...not so much nervous as 'I wonder what they're thinking about me.' I'm very obviously pregnant, no rings (they were on my necklace though), and no husband (Joe was home sick). I doubt they thought ill of me, but those things cross your mind.

During the welcome part of the service the wife turned to introduce herself to me. Her name is Heather and her husband is Herb. Then you reached on the inside of her jacket and pulled out this little pin. Then I noticed she was also wearing this pin on her lapel. She asked me how far along I was. 35 weeks.

Then she said, "Always remember that your baby, is it a boy or a girl? (Boy.) What's his name going to be? (Joseph.) That's a good name. Your baby's feet were this big at 10 weeks and by 15 days he already had a heartbeat. And by 15 weeks he had all the parts he needed to live, they just had to grow. Remember that."

A little bit later she turned to me and said that her and her husband do pro-life work. Then during worship, she leaned over to me and admonished me to pray for my son that he would be like the Joseph of the Old Testament and Jesus' stepfather. That he would be a wise and faithful man.

It was a moment.

Friday, October 03, 2008

“As California goes, so goes the nation.”


Click here for an extended, more thorough version of this post.


Beginning on September 24th many Christians and churches across California entered a season of 40 days of prayer and fasting. Why? Because these are desperate times.

The Issue

On March 7, 2000, 61% of Californians voted that marriage is defined as between one man and one woman. However May 15, 2008 four activist judges overturned this vote deeming it in violation of the equal protection clause of the California Constitution. No one thought that this election year God would be moving the Church to take a stand for the truth in such a way. Now, Prop 8 is on the ballot. Prop 8 seeks to amend the California Constitution to include the phrase, “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”


The Heart & Focus of TheCall

During these 40 days, Christians are joining with TheCall in prayer and fasting for the Church and the nation.


Ramifications of a no vote on Prop 8

There is much at stake on the November ballot. The redefinition of marriage will not only affect California, as TheCall so poignantly puts it “As California goes, so goes the nation.” The redefining of marriage will have sweeping consequences. We have already seen this in countries and states that have redefined marriage. Pastors have been imprisoned for preaching their biblical views on homosexuality, Christian adoption agencies have shut their doors rather than compromise their beliefs, parents have been denied the right for parental notification to opt their child out when homosexual viewpoints are being taught in school, and the list goes on. This will not only affect California, but the whole country.


Here are five consequences is the vote fails, as noted by WhatisProp8.com:

  1. Children in public schools will have to be taught that same-sex marriage is just as good as traditional marriage.

  2. Churches may be sued over their tax exempt status if they refuse to allow same-sex marriage ceremonies in their religious buildings open to the public.

  3. Religious adoption agencies will be challenged by government agencies to give up their long-held right to place children only in homes with both a mother and a father.

  4. Religions that sponsor private schools with married student housing may be required to provide housing for same-sex couples, even if counter to church doctrine, or risk lawsuits over tax exemptions and related benefits.

  5. Ministers who preach against same-sex marriages may be sued for hate speech and risk government fines.


What the Church Needs to Know to Respond

  • First, the Church needs to boldly speak the truth.
  • Second, the Church must boldly speak the truth in love.
  • Third, the Church must repent of its own sin.
  • Fourth, the Church must have a correct understanding of sin.

Ways to Get Involved

There are many ways to get involved even if you are not part of the Church in California. You can join us in prayer, repentance, and fasting. You can speak the truth on the biblical perspective of marriage in a loving, Christ-like manner. You can educate others on the issue and its ramifications. You can encourage others to pray, get involved, or vote.


Resources

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Christmas is coming...

the goose is getting fat, Please put a penny in the old man's hat
If you have no penny, then half-a-penny will do
If you have no half-a-penny, then God bless you

Can you believe that Christmas is only 12 weeks away! Twelve weeks! That's 85 days! Like I mentioned yesterday, I've already got a start on some of our homemade Christmas presents. Making presents, for me, is so much more enjoyable than simply going out with a list or picking something off a shelf. You have to know someone to be able to give them a homemade gift--know what they'd like, things they might it enjoy, etc. Yes, it means more time is involved, but for me the time is worth it. And it's always easier to make presents for the ladies, than the menfolk. (I guess it's really no different than shopping for men either...). I guess you could say, we've kind of adopted the Buy Nothing Christmas mentality (aside from buying supplies to make gifts). It's an interesting concept: stray from consumerism, simplify Christmas, and celebrate Christ.

Some other things I'm interested in doing this year (or I've found interesting and may wait until another year):

  • The Jesse Tree - Taking an Old Testament approach to Christmas. The name is derived from Isaiah 11:1: "A shoot will spring forth from the stump of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots."
  • The Twelve Days of Christmas - I found this out recently and thought it was interesting. This song originated as way to teach children the catechism during a time of persecution in 16th century England.
  • Celebrating the Advent Season - While I didn't grow up in liturgical churches, I think there's a lot to be said about church history and meaningful holidays in these traditions. This is one I've been doing the last few years...although many times I've forgotten to light the advent candles. Little things. I really like the meaning, so to speak, around Advent because of it's focus on the anticipation and hope of Christ's first and second coming. And my favorite Christmas song is O Come, O Come Emmanuel, which fits the spirit of Advent so well.
Other Christmas links:

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Because Picasa is weird...a second post


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Pictures as promised...




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Not only is it fall...


but now it's October too! But don't tell the weather here that. We've only been in the high 80's/low 90's for the last few days. Today the forecast says high of 92 and that it's already 85 degrees outside! So much for a nice, crisp fall breeze. Last night we took our nightly walk to the beach to cool off. It was refreshing to get away from this little bit of suburbia. (We took some fun pictures too! I'll post them later.) Even as we got off the freeway coming home and rolled down the windows you could already feel the heat from the road and other cars. No wide open spaces to cool everything off.

Oh, and can you believe only a month and 10 days until this little boy should be knocking on the door! It's going by so quickly! He's definitely getting big and bigger. (By the way, the little baby gaga tracker isn't the most scientific, so if it says "I'm over 5lbs. and yada yada yada" don't take it to the bank. It was just the cutest of the trackers out there. Click here for something a bit more realistic.)

We've been meaning to take weekly belly pictures these last few weeks, but we haven't quite got around to it yet. We did take some at the beach and let me tell you I'm surprised at how big my belly looks! We don't have a full-length mirror anymore (it broke), so I only ever see myself from the shoulders up. But little Joe has definitely been doing his share of moving and grooving these last few days. I'm pretty sure since our prenatal appointment last Thursday he's switched sides. Hopefully with his head still down.

Life here has been going good. I know I haven't really posted much the last month. (What maybe four times? Maybe.) I'm working on that...as always. My husband was home sick the last two days which took the computer away from me, but also pushed me into some much needed sewing. It's been fun. I've got a lot done. I can't show you much though, since they are mostly Christmas presents. I do have a lovely fall table runner that I made.

Pictures to come...I've got to go get ready for MOPS now!