Friday, September 30, 2011

"Rest time is not lost time."

This one sentence resonated with me this morning because in the course of my normal life, I find it hard to rest and sit still, to let my mind and my heart rest.  My thoughts whirl around family, life, church, my goals and desires, all that needs to be done.  If I go somewhere, or have people in my home, I am able to sit and just be, and it is refreshing.  We all need this time. 

"Rest time is not lost time; rest time is what gives meaning to the rest of time."
- Ann Voskamp

Thursday, September 29, 2011

James is 2!

Oh, my goodness! It's an early birthday video! Happy birthday a couple of days early, dear James.

Hanging On

Do you mamas out there ever feel like watching your children grow up is painful?  The passing of time that can never be gotten back is making my heart clinch-up each time I look at one of my children.

I held a newborn Tuesday night, and those sweet days of holding my newborns seemed so long ago.  And you can't go back.  The reality is that two years ago, and five years ago, aren't that many years, but those years bring about so much change in children.

My "baby" will be two on Saturday and is acting more like a big boy every day.  It's taken me by surprise.  

My girl is energetic, intelligent, and oh-so-sweet and expressive.  I want to pull her out of school and hold on to her and keep every expression cemented in my brain.  But I can't stop her from growing, and I don't want to really.  I want to be a good mother and gradually let her gain her independence and see her live a fruitful, productive life, but it also makes me want to cry.

Mothers are just so emotionally connected to our children.  They may push us to our limits and make us feel crazy sometimes, but at any moment we would do anything in the world for them.  

Children serve as impossible-to-ignore, in your face
timepieces, marking the relentless march of one's life
through what otherwise might seem an infinite sea of 
minutes, hours, days, and years.
 - John Grogan, Marley and Me

I do feel more aware of the passing of time than previously, more aware of how each moment and season is precious, because you only get it once.  I'm trying to hold on to the moments, even they're the most demanding (and therefore the most rewarding) of my life.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Faith and Culture

It's time for another excerpt from The Liberated Imagination!

"In its broadest reaches, this is a book about culture.  My focus will be on art, music, and literature, but what I say about these particular cultural manifestations usually applies to culture more generally...

How can Christians relate human culture to their faith?  This is obviously a task of integration...  I have no doubt that such an integration is both possible and necessary for every thoughtful Christian; it may even be the most pressing issue facing the Christian church in the immediate future.  If Christians are to be a force in shaping the contours of their society and evangelizing people in it, they will have to come to grips with the culture in which they inevitably live and move and have their being...

The question that has perennially engaged Christians is not whether culture requires their attention, but how it does.  Christian thinking on the question has moved between the poles of total rejection and total affirmation of culture...neither extreme does justice to the biblical data...

To think Christianly about culture and the arts means to look at them through the 'lens' of biblical doctrine."

* * *

I'm in a season of life where I'm not interacting with the lost world around me quite as much, but in the interactions I do have, it is so easy to connect with strangers over books, music, movies, or television.  Wouldn't you agree?  Everyone is impacted by these mediums (unless they cut themselves off entirely), and knowing what is shaping a person's life gives you a better understanding of them as you begin to speak truth into their lives.  

Here's a little post I wrote last year after reading the popular
series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians.  I think it illustrates
one way of reading while looking through the "lens of biblical doctrine."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fall Days

We've been enjoying fall daisies.

Who knew there was such a thing?
I didn't, but they sure are full and pretty on our front porch.
James likes to help water the flowers.

We've been enjoying cooler temperatures in the back yard.
The hammock swing is always a hit.

We've been running down hills

and climbing up hills.

We went to a junior high school football game.

Oh, wait.  Please don't remember my new hair cut this way.
That is the wavy, frizzy, out in the humidity look.

Here is the smooth and sleek look...

only in this picture, you should ignore that crazy fake smile.
That stems from this being my fourth try getting the camera aimed just right
with a too-long lens for the job.  
Question:  Why didn't I just ask KJ to take a picture of my new look?
Answer:  I don't know.  
But despite my facial expression, I like my hair.

That was a real digression from our fall activities.

James practiced his football-tough face.
Or maybe that's his, "PLEASE can I run out on the field, Mommy?" face.

The birthday boy has also been practicing his crying skills at night.
The goal?
You win if you cry so long and hard your mommy 
gets you out of bed and lets you watch cartoons.

He won.

But in my defense, I don't get to snuggle a one-year-old much longer.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Getting Ready

One of my first thoughts this morning?

Two weeks from today

I  will walk the streets of London.

My next thought?

It's birthday week for this guy:

Both of these events will keep me pretty busy this week.  I need to make a birthday dvd and plan a little party, and I have a myriad of lists to make for my mother and mother-in-law.  Lists such as, How to Work the TV, What will James eat?, What will Ella eat?, What does Ella wear to school?, When does James' nap?, What kind of homework does Ella have?, When is bedtime?, Where is the doctor's office?, Where is your mixer located?  You know, stuff like that.

I am so extremely thankful to our parents for taking care of our children for two whole weeks.  Sometimes I freak out a little bit about the reality of leaving the kids for that long, but I know they'll be great.  They will be having their own little adventure and irreplaceable time making memories with their grandparents.  I think that is a good thing.

As for KJ and I, we are just receiving this trip as such a gift of grace.  To have such a large amount of focused time together in such wonderful locations is a HUGE gift to us.  We haven't been alone together in 5 years (besides those precious couple of hours when the kids are in bed), nor had a week-long trip since our honeymoon.  I'm expecting to have a really wonderful and refreshing time, and I'm very thankful for it.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Birthday Day

Today marks the birthdays of my sister-in-law, Nicole, AND my niece, Claire.

We are thankful for them both today.

I'm so glad Nicole married my brother.

And this sequence of pictures always makes me smile.
I think it captures "two" very well.

Oh, look, an apple!

It's not so bad for something Uncle KJ already ate.

Oh, mom...

Friday, September 23, 2011

On Reading

This girl is awesome.

She really is.

She is thriving at school.
You should listen to her read.

It would probably sound like ordinary Kindergarten reading to someone else,
but to the one who has been with her since her first coo,
it is amazing to my ears.

Now that she's learning to read, I think I might actually have a "T.V. time limit"
during the day.  I don't want her to miss out on what I had as a child.
If she wants to, she can have many adventures in the land of imagination.

By the looks of this book, could you hazard a guess at how many times
my mom and I have read it since 1989?  
I love that my grandmother gave me nice copies of the classics.
It was a Christmas tradition, and those books are treasured friends.

One of my favorite inscriptions

It's never too early to buy a child you know a classic.
I was just 7 Christmas of 1989 when my mom started reading
Anne of Green Gables aloud to me...and then she stayed up late at night
and finished it without me.  It was so unfair.
But now I'm the mom, and I get to stay up late at night, so it all comes around, I guess.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Today's the day!

This is NOT an announcement that Michelle is in labor for those of you that know her.
This is just an announcement that today is her due date.

I have received permission to post pictures of little L. because I'm going to be helping her take care of him when she has to go back to work.  I'm excited about having a baby in the house that I get to send home at night.  He is going to be precious.

So this is L.'s first appearance on my blog.

Your mommy would love for you to come soon, little boy.
We can't wait to meet you.


Do you ever click on pictures on my blog?  Now, with just one little click, the pictures come up all nice and pretty on a translucent black background.  It's perfect if you want a closer look.

Yesterday's Activities and Conversations

I spent 4 hours at the salon yesterday and came out with fresh highlights and minus 10 inches of hair.  I really like my hair cut.  It's amazing how having short hair makes me feel younger.  Maybe because the last time my hair was this short I was 18?  I can't believe how long ago 18 was.

KJ and I have now made the decision to drive up into Scotland.  Shorter hair made me realize I was planning our trip with my Mom-brain, the brain that operates under the assumption that everything takes longer than you think and requires lots of stops for whining, eating, and breaks at kid-friendly places.  But guess what!  No kids on this trip!  We can do whatever we want whenever we want.  We can drive the length of the country in a day if we so desire.  Now we have no commitments except to spend the last two days in London so we can have time to see the major sites and catch our plane home.  We are in awe at the happiness before us.

"This is going to be the best anniversary trip EVER."

KJ laughs.  "I took you to...Birmingham once."  

Big laughs from me.  "Yes, our last anniversary trip was an overnight in Birmingham when I WAS 5 MONTHS PREGNANT.  Um, this trip is going to be a lot better."

"Yes. I'll give you 2 days vacation for every year of marriage."

I will definitely take it and gladly go vacation-less another 7 years if he will take me back someday.  

In other news, here is the other thing I did yesterday:

It was my first time to design a card without using a template.  I won't take total credit.  Katie requested flowers and ladybugs, and I think the ladybugs definitely made the invitation complete.  I think I could be a fan of digital scrap-booking.  It's all the fun with none of the mess.

Also in other news, I think I've finally adjusted to our new school schedule.  I told KJ last night that this week has felt so strange because I haven't been stressed, and I finally figured out that I think it's because we hit our groove.  Homework is done without trouble and on time, Bible verses have been memorized perfectly before they are due, and going to church and coming home for bed have been seamless.  I am grateful.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Culture of Repentance

KJ and I watched the newest film version of Jane Eyre Saturday night.  When it was over I got the book down to check something I thought they changed at the end of the movie, and once I started reading, remembered just how good the end of that book is.  I love the witty and rich dialogue.  I miss it when it gets left out of movies, but that's why we have books.  

In movies, you miss things like Mr. Rochester's repentance:

"Jane! you think me, I daresay, an irreligious dog:  but my heart swells with gratitude to the beneficent God of this earth just now.  He sees not as man sees, but far clearer:  judges not as man judges, but far more wisely.  I did wrong...I, in my stiff-necked rebellion, almost cursed the dispensation:  instead of bending to the decree, I defied it.  Divine justice pursued its course; disasters came thick on me:  I was forced to pass through the valley of the shadow of death.  His chastisements are mighty; and one smote me which has humbled me for ever."

"I thank my Maker, that in the midst of judgment he has remembered mercy.  I humbly entreat my Redeemer to give me strength to lead henceforth a purer life than I have done hitherto!"

After reading that I was reminded of just how many novels from this time period end with repentance of some vice.  Since I've also been reading about how art reflects cultural worldviews I thought this was interesting.  Here were some examples I thought of:

Sydney Carton in A Tale of Two Cities, "As its silent track in the water disappeared, the prayer that had broken up out of his heart for a merciful consideration of all his poor blindnesses and errors, ended in the words, 'I am the resurrection and the life.'"  

It's one small, little sentence, not a grand speech, but it's there, and I notice it every time.  Sydney Carton is an unsung hero; if you haven't read Dickens' book, you definitely should.  And then you have to re-read it to really get at the depths.  It would also be really nice if someone appropriate would make this into the major epic film it deserves.

This is the most modern make I've seen.
It was pretty good, but I'd like to see something more.

Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, "I have been a selfish being all my life, in practice, though not in principle.  As a child, I was taught what was right; but I was not taught to correct my temper.  I was given good principles, but left to follow them in pride and conceit."

Speaking of Austen characters, even the cad Willoughby repents of his folly!

Robinson Crusoe, "...I found my heart more deeply and sincerely affected with the wickedness of my past life...I was earnestly begging of God to give me repentance...deliverance from sin [is] a much greater blessing than deliverance from affliction."

I'm sure there are many more examples from the 19th century, but those are the three that came to mind first.  I'll have to think about more modern books I've read to see if repentance is a common motif.  Hmmm...
It's always nice to start the morning off with a smile.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Bible, Books, Music, and Movies

I just finished this book.  It was really good.  I enjoyed it so much that I think I may skim/read through it again, posting quotes on my blog, because that's how passionate I am about this subject.  How did I even find this book published in 1989, you ask?  It was required reading for the Christianity and the Arts Ph.D. program at Southern Seminary.  KJ was thinking about applying at one time and bought it.  So, here are a few lines from the Preface.  (You don't normally read the preface in books?  You should.)

The arts belong to the Christian life.  We sometimes think of them as an extraneous luxury, but they have a strange way of asserting themselves in the most threatening of circumstances.  When our humanity is in danger, the artistic spirit suddenly lives.  The arts give us something indispensable to life.

When missionary Bruce Hunt was imprisoned, he found relief by composing hymn verses.  During Corrie ten boom's prison experiences, her spirit was revived by such seemingly trivial artistic manifestations as the red wrapping of cookies from home, the beauty of the sky and woods...When kidnapped by Ehtiopian terrorists, missionary Debbie Dortzbach wrote poems in her journal, embroidered Bible verses, and drew plants in her notebook.

My cherished goal is that ministers, Sunday School teachers, Bible study leaders, and Christians in general will come to value the arts as conveyors of truth and examples of beauty.  The arts can enhance both our personal lives and our understanding of our culture. 

The time is ripe for Christians to show an informed interest in the arts.

* * *

Last night we watched Thor, and I found it to be a conveyor of truth.  KJ just finished teaching through the book of Zephaniah in Sunday School yesterday.  You all know this verse, right?

The LORD your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior.
He will exult over you with joy, 
He will be quiet in His love,
He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.
- Zephaniah 3:17 -

Not coincidentally, on the way to church yesterday I was listening to this song by Caedmon's Call.

The LORD is a warrior.
The LORD is mighty in battle.
The LORD is a warrior,
LORD of hosts is He.

God says, "I am going to deal at that time with all your oppressors, I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will turn their shame into praise and renown in all the earth (Zephaniah 3:19). We talked about how Christ defeated our enemies on the cross and how we will see the fulfillment of all these promises on the Great Day of the Lord, and KJ asked the question, "Why do you think we have to wait until the Great Day before God takes away all sin and defeats every enemy?"  People gave various answers, mostly about all that we learn through suffering and hardship.  I agreed with what they said, but to me, it didn't seem logical, because if we were perfect then we wouldn't need to learn all of those lessons; we would know them already.  God would have already made us perfect.  

But then, in the very middle of Thor, it hit me.  I watched Thor, the son of the king, be humbled by exile and through his humility learn wisdom and offer himself in order to save others, and then I remembered:  Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered (Hebrews 5:8).  Jesus was perfect; yet he learned obedience through suffering.  

When you know God's word, you start seeing truth everywhere, even in movies about Marvel comic characters.  

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sweet Family Love

KJ was gone for three days this week and arrived back home last night.  We were all so happy and are so thankful for the sweet family life God allows us to enjoy in Christ.  

Thursday, September 15, 2011

It's a good life.

It's been a good day.

James seemed to grow in leaps and bounds.  He did so many new things and is adding so many new words to his vocabulary.  After all, he will be two in just two weeks.  

  • He identified the red, blue, and yellow car after I went over it with him a few times.  I would ask him to point to a particular color, and he was successful several times.  I don't know if he'll remember tomorrow, but I was so proud of him today.
  • He started singing along when Sponge Bob Square Pants came on today.  This is not a show we watch at our house.  I don't know that there's anything wrong with it per say, but I find Sponge Bob ugly, loud, and obnoxious.  Plus, my kids already watch plenty of television without adding that to the mix.  So James has maybe heard the theme song a couple of times if it comes on after something he does watch.  I usually come and turn it off when I hear the theme music.  Thus, it totally cracked me up today when I heard him get so excited and start yelling...well, I can't really translate exactly what he sounded like, but he was definitely saying some of the right sounds in the right places.  He's the cutest boy I know, and I guess it shouldn't surprise me that he would like a show as loud as Sponge Bob.  James talks very loudly.
  • He sang the numbers 1-10.  I've never heard him say any number other than "two," but today I started singing a numbers song that's on a toy cash register of Ella's, and he chimed right in with 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10.  Amazing.  So we sang that all night to make it stick.
  • When he saw me get out the Bible tonight he ran and climbed in my lap.  He knew it was time to be still.  He didn't stay there long, but it was his initial reaction, and I give him credit for that.
It's so amazing watching kids grow, how you can go tell them something over and over with no sign of recognition, and then all of a sudden you find that they understood everything you were saying, and now it's cemented in their minds.  

When I listen to Ella read I am blown away, partly because I was the one to teach her.  I taught her letters, then their sounds, then we started putting the sounds together, and now she's sounding out words like a champ.  It's been good for her to be in Kindergarten and have it reiterated every day, but I started it.  And it is an incredible feeling that I taught someone to read.  That may be one of my favorite parenting moments yet.  

Tonight was so peaceful when I thought it would be stressful, and I received it with such a thankful heart.  We did homework, visited with 2nd cousins, colored, played, laundry, ate cookies, and Ella had her Bible verse memorized quickly.  She has a quiz every Friday at school, and sometimes it takes a long time to get it down, but she was on top of everything tonight.  I held James in my lap on the couch, and she read to us from her reader.  It was so good.

I did something crafty!

I'm not a very crafty person.  I don't really do projects involving paint, glue, or fabric...but I'm not opposed to trying and learning from time to time.  The title of this post is a bit too enthusiastic, because what I did wasn't that big of a deal.  It was just a little out of the ordinary for me. sent me a coupon for a free 11x14 poster, so since it's free, I'm obligated, right?  I decided to get this picture printed:

I was happy with the way it turned out but wasn't satisfied with any frames they had at Wal-Mart.  Nothing worked just right.  They didn't have anything really big that was matted for an 11x14, and I didn't think the picture looked good in a plain black frame with nothing around it; there was too much black.  I had looked around at Target the day before and seen nothing satisfactory, either, and what I was really wishing was that Hobby Lobby could miraculously reappear.  

There was one frame that might have been okay, but it was a little dirty.  After much debating, I had a light-bulb moment.  I bought a plain, cheap, wooden frame for $3 and resolved to paint it.  I wanted something that looked a bit old.  I purchased some "antique white" paint and felt so proud of myself.  

(This looks way more polished in the picture than it did in real life.)

After one coat of paint


We're going to paint the walls another color (soon?) so it will pop much more.
I really, really loved it.

This was one of my favorite pictures taken after the ceremony,
and it's been in a drawer for 7 years.  

I wanted something a little vintage-y, because I had this idea several months back of turning our little house into something that felt like the cottage the Dashwood sisters moved to in Sense and Sensibility, something a little bit like this.  I love that place.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I love the Brits.

I've been researching accommodations in Bath this afternoon.  The more I see of England, the more I love it there and am convinced I'm meant to take up permanent residence there some day.  I can't wait to take pictures of our hotel rooms to show you.  Here was one of my favorite little looks into the Rivers Street Rooms.

Does it get any cuter than that?


Meditations in the Night

I was awakened at 2:45 a.m. by what sounded like screaming/crying coming from James' room.  I jumped out of bed and a deep sleep with the lightning speed belonging to mothers in the night and sprinted to him.  I picked him up and started to rock him, whispering everything was okay.  

Forehead?  Feels normal.  No congestion.  Ears?  He's stopped crying.  What's wrong, little boy?  Bad dreams?  

I've found that sometimes a little something to drink and sitting with mama a minute helps a child get it back together so they can go back to sleep.  I offered him juice.  No, thank you.  He ran in the living room.  "Bu, bu, bu."  Bubble Guppies?  (a newer show on Nickelodeon for preschoolers)  Well, just for a minute.  Maybe this was my mistake.  Maybe turning on the television made him think it was time to get up, but I wanted to give him a minute for whatever was bothering him to stop so we could start the bedtime routine over again.  I was trying to prevent a lot of crying by letting him stay with me a minute instead of putting him right back to bed. 

We sat on the couch for a little while, he drank some juice, and talked in a loud voice.  Then I picked him up to carry him to bed about 3:20.  He fought and cried and carried on when I lay him down.  He got quiet at 3:30 but not for long.  He continued in a cycle of crying every few minutes until 4:17, when I decided I would comfort him one more time and put him right back in bed.  KJ is shaking his head at this, but a mother's heart is hard to hold back, especially at 4:30 in the morning and after listening to her baby cry in the dark of his bedroom for an hour.  I thought that maybe if I could rock him and let him calm down enough to go to sleep it would be easier for him.  I knew he would still cry some, but I was hoping it wouldn't be as much.  

I rocked him, and he sat still for a little while.  Then he tried to wiggle out of my arms.  "NO, James."  Okay, snuggle in, and I finally felt his body relax, his little hand pat me, and the drool start dripping down my arm.  As I rocked I thought about how I wanted to write down all my memories of life with Ella in Louisville before they were lost forever.  The extreme tiredness of sleeping 4 hours and then being awake for 2 hours in the middle of the night started to hit me, and I remembered the first year with Ella and with James.  I thought about the worst nights ever that I had with James, the desperation, the complete and utter exhaustion, having to face the day not knowing if I'd get a nap or not.  One of his worst nights was the night before my brother-in-law's wedding.  Up all night.  Then a full day of wedding festivities.  

I remembered what it felt like to start the day with nothing to give, but knowing I had to give anyway and having no idea how I would do it.  I remembered the helpless tears and the prayers for rest that it seemed like no one heard.  

And I thought about the friends I have who might one day walk through this season and wondered, What could I say that would be an encouragement?  What good came out of these experiences in my life?  What lessons did I learn that made me more like Christ and that I'm better for having learned?  Honestly, I drew a blank for the span of several rocks.  All I could think about was how absolutely hard it was.  

At this point, it was 4:42, and I lay James back in his crib.  He started screaming again.  I left the room and closed the door and resigned myself to the couch.  I figured I would doze a little bit.  I don't like to go into oblivion in my bedroom, not knowing when he stops crying.  He cried off and on for another hour, and it was then I was able to think of some good that came out of my experiences.

  1. I learned that I am not in control of my day.  I  like to plan out the day, to be productive.  I don't like to lay around, wasting time, waiting for a chance to take a nap. Sometimes it seemed like the worst nights came at the worst possible times, the night before a family wedding for instance, when I wanted to be at my best.
  2. It made me depend on the Lord.  Instead of my being "in control" and enjoying a day, making it all about me, complete exhaustion and the emotional frailty that comes with it made me have to walk in complete dependence on the Spirit, praying with every breath and having no idea how the Lord could possibly get me through a whole day without me falling apart.  I didn't know where the resources would come from but had to have faith and trust that they would come because I knew I was empty.
  3. I learned perseverance.  I suppose we would never learn how to keep walking during hard times if we never had hard times.  This was especially true when James was a baby, and I had Ella at home.  Ella didn't nap for long after James was born, so on the worst days, I had her awake all day and needing her mother, too.  I couldn't snap, cry, speak sharply, or lose my cool.  I had to keep it together for her.  
  4. I learned "to keep a quiet heart," as Elisabeth Elliot says.  When Ella was a baby, I would become so stressed about things not going according to plan.  Our bane with her was Saturday nights, the one night of the week when we needed to sleep and stay on schedule, but every Saturday night she would be up several times, leaving me with the dilemma of waking her to go to church and facing the daunting task of gathering all of the baby necessities while readying her and myself for the long morning away from home.  But, as EE also writes, I learned to "do the next thing."  I learned to live in the moment, take a quiet breath and just do the next thing, to stop worrying about all the unknowns.  And you know what I've noticed, I don't live every moment in dependence on God's grace when I feel good and in control of myself.  When I am weak, I start looking for His grace and strength, and I start finding it.  
So, there's my list, and I don't think it's such a bad one.  And when my friends who haven't made this journey begin it, I'll know their pain.  Sleeplessness is its own form of suffering.  It even made Paul's list!  We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. 4 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5 in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love...

That always encouraged me so much.  Surely it wasn't as bad as beatings, but sleepless nights for 7 months straight are their own kind of suffering.  I'm glad the Apostle Paul agreed.

I suppose James finally fell asleep around 5:45 as did I on the couch, where I was awakened by Ella around 7:00 and had to get up to get her dressed and her lunch packed.  James is still sleeping (of course).  We'll see what the rest of the day holds.  Whatever it is, I'm going to try to live up to my blog's name and be content about it, which reminds me about what Paul said, "I am well content in weaknesses...".  Since God's grace was sufficient for him, he was well content in the weaknesses instead of grumbling about them.  Well, then.  I guess I'll have a happy day after all.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Thoughts on the Mystery of Marriage

I find that going to bed early (otherwise known as on time) doesn't always result in the extra sleep I think it will.  Instead, I simply wake up at 5 a.m.  Good morning.  

I got up and went to the bathroom and might have succeeded in stumbling back to bed and more sleep, but the toilet paper roll was empty.  You gotta love that feeling.  I became a bit more alert after fetching a new roll of toilet paper from the closet across the room and decided to check the clock on the microwave before climbing back in bed.  5:00 on the dot.

I thought, "This is way too early," and went back to bed, but of course I lay there and contemplated.  Would I rather wake up now and have quiet time to myself before everyone else gets up, or would I rather fall into a deep sleep and risk waking up late and having to rush around getting Ella out the door?  

Then I started thinking about a conversation I had with KJ that he said he would like to see turned into a blog post, and then I succumbed to the early morning wake-up call.  I have a feeling I will be very tired by the end of the day.  

And the blog post KJ requested?  I think he just wanted me to tell the world how well-rounded I think he is.  :)  On the way to church Sunday morning we listened to one of my favorite songs.    It has been a favorite for over 10 years, and Sunday, KJ understood.  I vividly remember letting him listen to the same song 8 years ago before we were married, and I think he said something like, "Yeah, that was good," but I could tell he didn't get it.  It didn't create the thoughts and feelings that it created in me, and that was fine, but on Sunday when he looked over at me in the car, and said, "That's a good song.  Let's listen to it again."  I exulted. 

And I reflected once again that I didn't know the good I was getting into when I married KJ Pugh.  There was no way to know when he proposed 8 years ago all the ways God would change us as we became one flesh, how we would start "rounding each other out," so to speak, and how the living and loving together for over 7 years would make us so connected.  I lay in bed this early morning and pondered the mystery of it.  The mystery of it...oh, that sounds familiar.  This is a great mystery; but I speak concerning Christ and the church...

I have often felt overwhelmed when experiencing the intensity of KJ's love for me and thought, "If KJ, a mere man, loves me so sacrificially, what does it mean that Christ loves me like this?  How deep is that love?"  And this morning there were new thoughts and points of comparison.  If marriage connects you so deeply with another person where you really are almost "one," what must this mean for me to be in Christ, a relationship through which I am being changed, not just becoming more well-rounded, but more like Himself.  I suppose "well-rounded" might be a good phrase after all, because isn't Christ perfect in all His attributes?  Perfect in love, perfect in justice, mercy, and wrath?  

So when I laughingly told KJ he seemed more "well-rounded" than in our college days, I think what I was truly trying to express was, he's more like Christ.  In fact, we talked about how we are being changed not just as distinct individuals, but as one. We are changing as we grow together, and it is so good.  There are lots of "growing pains" sometimes, but they're well-worth the oneness they create, "and so it shall be as [He] is recreating [us]."

[Side note]  Our conversation Sunday ended up laughing at phrases like, "Exceeds Expectations," when talking about our marriage.  Ha!  But we agreed that it would be worse to tell the other they were, "Most Improved."

Monday, September 12, 2011

He calls us friend.

My morning began earlier than normal with some reading in  Deuteronomy. Moses wrote:

And I pleaded with the LORD at that time, saying, 'O Lord GOD, you have only
begun to show your servant your greatness and your mighty hand.  For what
god is there in heaven or on earth who can do such works and mighty acts
as yours?  Please let me go over and see the good land beyond the Jordan,
that good hill country and Lebanon.'

I always feel so sorry for Moses at this point.  He put up with that great crowd of ornery people for forty years in the wilderness, yet one moment of disobedience kept him from seeing the Promised Land.  It's so sad.  I don't really understand why God chose for it to be this way, but as my mom pointed out once, Moses did finally make it there!  Jesus took Peter and John up on the mountain, and

behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared
in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish
in Jerusalem.
- Luke 9:30-31 -

I suppose it wasn't quite as exciting to finally set foot in the land God promised after living in a heavenly country for several hundred years.  But since my thoughts had led me to this moment, I started thinking about why God sent Moses and Elijah down to talk to Jesus about His death.  They were obviously in on the plan at this point.  Had the LORD been explaining this great mystery since they entered heaven?  

But what struck me the most this morning was that Jesus was discussing all that was about to happen to Him with these two men, men of faith to be sure, but just men all the same.  I marvel again that He created us to be in fellowship with Him, that He calls us friend.

Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. (Exodus 33:11a)

No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. (John 15:14-15)

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man.  He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God." (Revelation 21:3)