Thursday, November 29, 2007

Say Cheese!

Here is sweet baby girl's 6 month picture. I started a trend with the first child - getting a 3-month picture, a 6-month picture, a 9-month picture and a 12-month picture. I wanted to frame them together to see how Coleman had changed in that first year. Well, I still haven't framed them yet...

And well, I got Emmie's pictures done too ... and they are still sitting in my closet...

And, I got Calvin's too - because I couldn't shortchange him could I?

And I am feeling the pressure now to make sure Ellerie gets hers done. And maybe I'll get them framed before she goes to college.

So ... we went yesterday to do her 6-month pictures although my 5-year old informed me that these are 'actually' her 7-month pictures since she turned 7-months on Saturday. But you know how it goes. I did try really hard to get them done in that 6th month, but remember how the last couple of weeks have been?

We even tried to get them done in GA last week but that didn't work out so well either. I like a certain chain studio up here in VA and I saw that they have a new studio down in Valdosta. Perfect! I can get her pictures done while we're there! Wishful thinking!

I called them to make an appointment and they had one the next day, which was the day before Thanksgiving. She informed me that they would take some Christmas pictures first and then move on to different backgrounds. I told her that I didn't want Christmas pictures because I was just going to do a simple 6 month picture. She informed me that I had to start with the Christmas background. I asked to speak to the manager to see if I could skip that part...

Manager: Yes Ma'am, is there a problem?

Me: Well, not really. I just don't want to get a Christmas picture. I just want to do a 6-month picture on a regular background.

Mgr: Well, we are doing Christmas pictures right now because it's the holiday season.

(I'm thinking that I can't help when her 6 month anniversary falls).

Me: Can I just skip that part so I don't waste her smiles since I know I don't want to buy any Christmas pictures?

Mgr: Well, I guess so but then you'll have to wait a long time for the other room without the Christmas decorations. We usually do the Christmas pose in one room and then take some more shots in the other room.

(I'm not really understanding because it seems to me that I have to wait for that 2nd room regardless - so I ask a few more questions about that and then she says...)

Mgr: Look - maybe we're not the studio for you. We're really busy this time of year anyway.

Me: Well, I use this same studio all the time back in VA and we've always had a great experience.

(And if you're so busy then why did you give me an appointment?)

Mgr: Well, I just don't understand why you're not going to get any Christmas pictures.

(I think to myself that it's none of her business why ...)

Me: Well, I have 4 kids and I don't want to do Christmas pictures of just one of them.

(Not to mention that it's easier to take my own and cheaper to get them done online...)

Mgr: Well, why don't you just dress them all up and bring them in for a Christmas picture...

(I thought she was busy ...)

Me: because I just want to get the baby's 6 month picture done. Are you going to just give me a hard time about this and continue to be rude to me?

Mgr: I'm not being rude, I have called you 'Ma'am' several times.

(Oh - okay!)

Me: I think I'll just wait until we get back to Virginia. Thank you anyway.

(So much for Southern hospitality! I tried sooo hard to be patient and kind... sometimes that is so hard in situations like this.)

So we finally got them done - and we weren't forced to do a Christmas picture!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Where Have I Been?

I can't believe it's been so long since I've posted. Well, here's what we've been doing... the 2 weeks before Thanksgiving, we had a stomach bug that SLOWLY passed its way through all of us. It took several days for someone to get it - so by the time we thought it was gone, someone else would go down for the count. Even little Ellerie got it! Poor baby - she was so pitiful and then she couldn't eat normally for a week. We even pushed back our trip to GA to make sure we were all healthy. No one had been sick for 4 days so we loaded up and headed down to GA. I snuggled in for a nap and after I finally fell asleep, I woke to the van being jerked to the side of the road - and you guessed it ... Brian was sick!

We called my Mom to tell her we were going to turn around because we didn't want my younger brother and his family to get it. She called back a few minutes later to see if we had turned around yet (and we hadn't since Brian was still hanging out in the Cracker Barrel parking lot). She said my brother and family were going to leave that evening so we could still come if we wanted! So sweet - they wanted us sickness and all.

So we finally made it to GA after turning an 11-hour trip into a 13 1/2-hour trip. Emmie got sick the next day and then my poor Dad got sick on Thursday! Finally - the end of the never-ending virus!

So, that's where we've been and what we've been doing ... exciting I know. I hope to post some pics later ... don't worry, not of the virus but of the rest of the trip!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sustaining Grace

Sustaining Grace as defined by John Piper:

Not grace to bar what is not bliss,
Nor flight from all distress, but this:
The grace that orders our trouble and pain,
And then, in the darkness, is there to sustain.

Click here to read the entire sermon.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Mark Dever and The Church

The Church Matters blog posted these quotes from Mark Dever found in a Baptist Press article. (Make sure you read the entire article).

"I would like to suggest that the most fundamental problem in the church is not that we are not relevant enough in relation to the world, but that the church is not distinct enough from the world. Our churches must reflect the character of God," said Dever.

"Church leaders should channel their energy toward maintaining purity in the church instead of spending great amounts of time and ministry on relating to the culture," Dever said.

"The problem with the seeker-sensitive model, emerging church model and even the traditional model that say, 'Get as many people into a room as possible and share the Gospel with them,' is that they view success in light of visible fruit," he said. "All three of these approaches say, 'Change your techniques and let's get some numbers.'

"Instead of being directed by [visible] success, we should be directed by faithfulness. We should say, 'If the Lord doesn't like our product, we will change the product.' We shouldn't take the idea that if we don't have X number of conversions in our church, then we must be doing something wrong. I am glad Jeremiah didn't think that. And I am glad that Jesus Christ didn't think that. Let us remember that we are following the One who was crucified as a revolutionary."

Monday, November 05, 2007

Ministry Testimony

Wow! This post from a couple of weeks ago has generated many encouraging comments and emails. I kind of thought that might happen. I have been begging Brian to start a blog because he's just got so much good stuff to share. God enlightens Brian as he studies the Word and he has a special gift communicating the Truth. His story of ministry is inspiring so I'd like to share a little of it here (hope that's ok honey)! He is probably going to kill me for this but I think it's a neat testimony of God's grace in our lives.

When I met Brian 10 years ago, we were both serving as counselors for Centrifuge. I recognized right away that he was a special person. Everyone liked him and he had a genuine love for the Lord, and for serving the Lord in such a selfless and humble way.

We were married by the end of that same year and were living in Virginia. I remember talking to Brian about whether he felt 'called' to the ministry and whether or not he needed to go to seminary. At that time, he didn't feel a specific 'call' (the term often used in Southern Baptist circles) to go and preach - he just felt led to be a part of the Body and serve there. So he served as a Youth Minister of a small church for several years.

When our first child came along, it was just too much to continue and we walked away from ministry for a while, needing time to recover and be refreshed.

Then through some neighbors, we started attending another fellowship in the area. After joining that church, Brian was asked to lead an Adult Sunday School class. He served there 3 years, 'shepherding' those people and discipling them. It was incredible to see how God continued to affirm the special gift of teaching in Brian.

Two years ago we were privileged to help start a Reformed church plant in the area. Brian is so blessed to be able to serve God and this body in so many ways. He leads worship each week and is now preaching once a month. His passion for spreading the Gospel and for pointing towards the glory of Christ is evident in all that he does.

Through this 10-year journey, I periodically ask Brian, "are you sure you shouldn't be going to seminary? Are you sure you're not called to preach? Everyone who hears you and everyone who sits under your teaching sure thinks you're called to something!" He always just answers with something like, "I have answered His call - I am serving the body."

Growing up in Southern Baptist circles, everyone always said, 'just pray and God will show you His will for your life'. The focus was more on finding the 'plan' God had for you instead of just living for His glory each day, wherever you were. (How many hours I wasted looking for that silly plan!) In those same circles, it was often taught that you had to hear a specific 'call from God to preach' - then go to seminary - then go to a small church - then a bigger church - then a really big church, etc. But now I know better.

A couple of weeks ago, I was listening to a recorded conversation between John Piper and John MacArthur. They talked about the fact that often times, circumstances are what confirms a call on someone's life. John Piper went on to explain that he teaches the youth at his church that gifts are verified within the community of the Body. That makes so much sense doesn't it? Just obediently serve within the Body and God will wither confirm or deny those gifts of ministry.

Through Brian's life, I have seen so many lives changed because of his faithfulness to teach God's Word - and the glory doesn't go to Brian, it goes to Christ, for using a broken vessel to help spread the Gospel! I do see that Brian is 'called' - he is 'anointed' - and he is being 'faithful' and for that I am thankful!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Fall Festival

On Wednesday we had the opportunity to go with PawPaw and Granny to the Fall Festival at their church. We waited until the last minute to decide so we found a firman's coat and went with the dress-up items we had at the house for everyone else. Here are all 4 of the kids together.
What's up with that eyepatch?

Hey - it's Captain Feathersword .. with the eyepatch still in the middle of his face!

Here is fireman Coleman.

Sweet Ellerie is a little cow. Bless her heart - this is the expression she had on her face all night. She had gotten her 6-month shots earlier in the day and she just didn't seem to feel good. Poor baby! But she's cute though!

Emmie wanted to be Belle. (like she does every other day of the week)

Here is PawPaw with Belle and Captain Feathersword.

Here is Coleman getting ready to slide...

Coleman, how did you get upside down? Kind of looks like Emmie may have pushed you a little!

Alright Emmie ... be careful. Remember you're a princess and you have a dress on...


After the Fall Festival, Granny wanted to take the bigger kids to a few of her neighbors homes. Here is a picture of us at one of the houses. Oh how I wish the camera was clicking just a few seconds later. You see, my 2 oldest are scared-to-death of dogs. I mean, petrified! And Calvin - well he loves dogs so much and hugs on them so tightly that most dogs are scared of him. Soooo, all the way up this driveway, Coleman and Emmie kept asking, "is there a dog here, are you sure?" We reassured them that there wasn't. Well, 2 seconds after this picture was snapped, everything changed! The door opened and we were greeted by a very excitable dog. So Calvin is trying to go inside and get the dog, while Emmie leaps off of the stairs onto Granny (who is holding the camera) and grips her legs and arms around Granny all the while trying to climb Granny like she's a tree (but not a very tall tree). I am trying to get a hold of Calvin who is trying to get a hold of the dog and Coleman loses a shoe trying to climb up my back(which upsets him even more - because you can't run without your 'fast' shoes). I just start laughing, because well, what else can you do? Finally, the older gentleman takes the dog away and I get the candy for everyone ... and the kids were ready to call it a night!