Tuesday, January 27, 2009

looking shy on abbie day

img_3722After requesting an "Abbie day" from his Mom for about a week, Amanda broke down and brought the kids over for a half day of fun. Participants included:

Amanda & Tracy - moms; age is totally unnecessary if you ask me.
Stephen - 10 year old
Abbie - 7 year old
Ezra - 3 1/2 year old
Keely - almost 2 year old
Diamonte - almost 2 year old
Azariyah - 8 months
Lila - 6 months


img_3727With this horrendous snowstorm (chuckle, chuckle), and no hot water to shower and bathe (going on 2 days), we couldn't think of anything better to do....

Abbie eats her very first peanut butter and fluff sandwich.

Monday, January 26, 2009

get ready

I rarely recommend a book that I have not read myself.  

But there are always exceptions.  Always.

So here's a plug for my long-time friend, Greg Dutcher's first published work.  Greg was a young believer when I first met him my senior year in high school.  I remember him speaking about his faith so comfortably and confidently and it caught my attention.  I always believed that there was a God out there but it didn't go any deeper than that.  Honestly, I didn't know kids my age had such deep beliefs that changed the way that they lived.  As God would have it, I developed a friendship with Greg and for the next year he patiently answered my questions - many that were just obnoxious!  A friend and I called ourselves the "unconvertibles" because we decided that we would not ever believe and live like our friend Greg or the other Christian friends he introduced us to.  One of those friends was Matt, my husband!  That's another blog entry...

I always knew that Greg would write a book someday.  Although for years I anticipated the title being, Wesley's Nightmare, I'm thrilled with the important subject he chose: idolatry.  

I cannot wait to read this book.  It's not just because I knew the author when he weighed all of 100 lbs and wore really short shorts. The topic of idolatry touches all of us and reveals what our hearts long for and adore more than Christ.  

Go to amazon and pre-order your copy now!

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Yes...I know I am not a middle-schooler but with all the buzz about the book, I wanted to check it out for myself.  

It was an enjoyable read:  exciting, intriguing, with well developed characters.  Never read about vampires before so that definitely made it different from my typical novel choices.  

Would I let my middle schooler read the book?  Nope.  I would strongly discourage it.  Although the main characters do not go beyond a few kisses, there is a lot of sensuality and longing.  There is a lot of appeal and desire expressed through the senses and for these reasons, I would be concerned that it would prematurely awaken such desires in my kids.  It's hard enough to hold fast to purity.  Why commit to 400 pages that could only make that more difficult?

Tim Challies has an excellent and extensive book review that is worth checking out if you are interested in the specifics of the book.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

a week in pics

my beautiful girl

my tender son

diamonte feeding his baby...looking devious

stephen & miss. amy at her 30th bday party

a showdown







































Friday, January 16, 2009

turkey burger anyone?

img_3663Here's a little recipe I made up since I didn't have the proper ingredients to make them the way my Mom makes them.

Mix the following ingredients together, form the patties, and cook in a pan that is sprayed lightly with Pam.  They are delicious and there is next to no grease left in the pan.  I like mine with spicy brown mustard....

1 pound of fresh ground turkey

1 handful of a chopped green pepper

1 egg

1/4 cup of parmesan cheese

1/4 to a 1/2 cup of French's french fried onions, finely crushed

dash of garlic salt

dash of black pepper

Monday, January 12, 2009

and then there was one....

dscf6002My last entry told the tale of the vicious stomach virus monster.  In that short time, the monster attacked new victims.

Fourth victim:  Allyson, a faithful friend and amazing help to our family.  She came to my home on Friday night to help me with the sick kids since Matt had a late night with Cross Current, assured that she would not get sick.  She lasted just 4 hours before the monster attacked, sending her home in a rush, yak bag in hand.

Fifth victim: Me - the Mom and former caretaker of other victims.  

Sixth victim: Matt.  After heroically caring for his sick wife and 4 kids, while trying to prepare for the sunday sermon, and then preaching on Sunday, he was finally able to slow down last night.  But by 1:00am this morning, the vicious virus monster began its attack on my husband.

So in the middle of the night, when the house is actually dead silent, I snuck downstairs to make him a sick bed on the sofa.  Abbie's pink trashcan is now his comrade.

Sole Survivor:  Stephen Aleksandr Smith, 10 year old Mac-junkie, who has been pumping germ-x on his hands about 20 times a day since last week.

Friday, January 9, 2009

in case you were wondering....

...how I was able to read a book with three kids sick, just ask me!  :)

a timely book

Since Tuesday morning the vicious stomach virus monster has attacked our home.  

First victim, 22 month Diamonte.  Cribs and vomit are not a good mix.  

Second victim, 8 month old Azariyah.  Infants and vomit are not a good mix either.  

Third victim, 7 year old Abigail.  Talk about a trooper.  Our little girl has her very own pink trashcan turned yak-bucket that she embraces at necessary times, and she thanks whoever is the lucky dog that ends up rinsing it out and returning it to her fresh and ready to go.  

I have not even been attacked by the vicious stomach virus monster, yet this morning, after a sleepless night with a sick and crying baby, I felt like I was the greatest victim of all.  

Fourth victim: poor stay-at-home mom who has to care for sick kids and forego a day of homeschooling.  

It sounds ridiculous now, but this morning as Matt was getting ready to leave for the rest of the evening, I was feeling sorry for myself.  

I was really put in my place, though unintentionally, when I took some time to continue reading from Elie Wiesel's book, "Night."  For those that may not know, Mr. Wiesel was just a teenager when he and his family were taken from their home in 1944 and delivered to Auschwitz concentration camp.  His book is not lengthy, and I'm somewhat grateful for that.  After all, each page is filled with horrifying details of his personal account of life under unimaginable suffering and evil.  

The New York Times said the book was:  "A slim volume of terrifying power."  Yep.  I would agree.

So I've got three sick kids. 

But we are in a warm, comfortable home.  We have nice clothes.  We have soft blankets.  We have medicine. We have bathrooms.  We are not living in terror.  And the only smoke that is in our sight is the burning of our Yankee candle.  I have nothing - absolutely nothing to complain about.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

our week in pics

An interesting dinner

A needle for the baby

A lost tooth

A baby in a basket

A first attempt to create a promo video for Daddy








































Wednesday, January 7, 2009

i'm no tim challies

familydrivenfaithI just finished my second book of 2009.  And no, I am not a speed-reader.  I was already on Chapter 4 in 2008 so I didn't have too much more to read. 

While talking to Matt about some of my initial thoughts, he  mentioned that someone from Nine Marks provided an excellent, well-balanced review.   You can check that out here.  And while I recognize that I'm no Tim Challies, I wanted to offer my reveiw of this book.

As much as I enjoyed the provoking nature of  "Family Driven Faith", I felt along the way that something was just a little "off".  I'm a parent who desires to disciple my children, yet I felt all the more encouraged to take hold of this God-given responsibility.  Mr. Baucham comes alongside the reader, offering great suggestions and practical ways to put new habits into practice. 

Perhaps I missed something, but what seemed to be lacking was a gospel connection between my failures as a parent and the hope for change.  Mr. Baucham was extremely humble in sharing his weaknesses and failings as a parent in discipling his children -  and it seemed that over time  he developed convictions about the role of family, changed his priorities, and implemented a plan for change.  This is commendable and I am sure his family is reaping much fruit as a result of his obedience.  As a reader and more importantly, as a Christian parent, I just didn't see the gospel connection that calls us to change and gives us hope for change, amidst the exhortations.  The motive for change seemed to be for the sake of the family. 

I am sure that this was not the intent of Mr. Baucham and I attempted to read this book through a gospel lens.  If not careful, it would be very possible as the reader to put stock in my obedience as a parent as opposed to trusting only in the unmerited grace of God.  

My other concern, and once again, I do not think this was Mr. Bauchman's intent at all -  was that the book seemed a bit too "family-centric".  It left me feeling that the family was top dog as opposed to the glory of God.  I know this is a huge sweeping statement, but when I read the last page and closed the book, I was not left with a greater picture of our God.  In fairness, the book is about the importance of family and perhaps it's because I am spoiled with the writings of John Piper, but the connective tissue between the glory of God and the puspose of family just wasn't strong enough in my opinion. 

Would I recommend the book?  Absolutely!  I have a list of items that by the grace of God, I hope to apply to our family life.  Dr. Baucham challenged me, encouraged me, stirred my faith, and offered extremely practical ways to implement change.  I am thankful I read this book and would commend it to others with the encouragement to read it with a gospel lens.

ezra 7, acts 7...ezra & stephen

This morning's quiet time led me to a great little time of prayer for the next generation of godly men.  

It's no secret that we named our son Stephen after the first Christian martyr in the New Testament.  I was always captivated with Acts 6 & 7 as a young believer and knew then that if I ever had a son, Stephen would be his chosen name.  

Although Stephen is not mentioned elsewhere in the NT, Acts 6 tells us quite a bit about his character and these are the very things I pray for my Stephen.  In addition to being a servant leader, caring for the needs of widows (which is pure religion), we are also told that he was:
v.5 - a man full of faith and full of the Holy Spirit

v.8 - full of grace and power

v.10 - full of wisdom and the Spirit of God; when he spoke his words could not be withstood

All that we learn about Stephen in Acts 6 is on full display in Acts 7 when he boldly preaches the gospel before the Sanhedrin.  I believe this is the longest gospel discourse recorded in Scripture.  

Side note:  this is a great portion of Scripture to read to renew yourself in the gospel, as Stephen preaches through much of the OT, exalting Christ.  

Speaking with such boldness when your life is on the line is evidence that he was a man full of faith, grace, power and the Holy Spirit.  

Upon reading these verses, I took time to pray for my son and for his future.  But it didn't stop there because I also read Ezra 7 and learned a bit about this godly priest.  Ezra was:
v. 6 - a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses and the hand of the Lord was on him

v. 10 - a man who set his heart to study the Law of the Lord and to do it and to teach it to others

v. 25 - chosen to appoint magistrates and judges to judge the people; whoever did not know the laws of God, he was to teach them

So...my time of prayer extended to the little Ezra in my world, Ezra Price.  I prayed that he too would be a young man that would set his heart on studying the Word of God and that he would obey the Word himself and that he would be equipped to teach others.  I prayed that the Lord's hand would be upon him and that He would use Ezra in mighty ways to bring Him glory.  

Not all of my quiet times are as exciting as this one was, but I am thankful that God met me and led me to pray for a generation yet to come.  My faith was stirred as I thought and dreamed about the future of these two boys.  :-)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

matt's counsel

As 2009 was approaching, I sat down with Matt and asked him what books he thought I should include on my reading list for the year.  There is no human being that is more aware of  my weaknesses and sin and at the same time, has faith in God that I will grow and change.  

One overall suggestion he made was that amidst my quest to read more, that I should:

1- keep my quiet times in the Word of God a priority

2- always be reading a book that deals primarily with the truths of the Gospel.  

I'm grateful for his wisdom and wanted to pass it onto others.  

For about a month I experienced a season of dryness and coldness/numbness to the things of God.  I was slothful and self-sufficient and miserable!  Looking back, I can clearly see what I have told others and heard preached many times:  We do not naturally drift towards the gospel.  Left to ourselves, we drift away.  

I was drifting and I am so thankful to God that in His patience, kindness, and mercy, he has drawn my heart back to His.  

Taking Matt's counsel to heart, the gospel oriented book I will be reading this year is Sinclair Ferguson's "In Christ Alone".

Monday, January 5, 2009

a preview to the review

First off, I am really enjoying  "Out of the Depths."  It is unlike other autobiographies I've read in that Newton spends a great deal of time writing about his life before he was converted.  I am more than halfway finished reading and although I already know how he becomes a Christian (through Piper's Swan Series), I am excitingly awaiting to hear it in Newton's own words .  Each chapter seems to lay a greater degree than the previous chapter  of his total rebellion and rejection of the Savior his mother taught Him about when he was just a young boy.  

Most autobiographies I've read cover the writer's conversion in chapter one or two and the rest of the book is dedicated to sharing how their life was changed and how they served the Lord until their death.  "Out of the Depths" is truly different in that regard.  

Yet, it makes sense considering what I've previously read and noted in my journal about Newton through my summer read of "Roots of Endurance" by John Piper:
"Even at the end of his life he was still marveling that he was saved and called to preach the gospel of grace.  This was one of the deepest roots of his habitual tenderness.  He could not get over the wonder of his own rescue by sheer, triumphant grace."  

At age 72, Newton said the following:  "Such a wretch should not only be spared and pardoned, but reserved to the honor of preaching thy Gospel, which he had blasphemed and renounced...this is wonderful indeed!  The more Thou hast exalted me, the more I ought to abase myself."  

I hope and pray that if I am still alive at 72, that I am still amazed by grace like Newton!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

first book of 2009

img_35791This will be my first read of 2009.  After seeing it on Michele's bookshelf, I mentioned to Matt how much I would love it.  He remembered and got it for me as a Christmas gift.  

"Out of the Depths" is John Newton's autobiography.  From the back cover:  The most widely known and immediately recognized Christian song remains the classic hymn "Amazing Grace."  Behind its simple lyrics and expressive melody, however, stands the dramatic, real-life story of a person miraculously changed by God's mercy.  Author John Newton, saved from a life of moral depravity and slave trading, never forgot the depths from which he was pulled by God's incomprehensible grace.  

What will be the first book you read in the New Year?