Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Things They Say

Andrew: Thanks for coming to snuggle me up, Mommy!
Me: Of course, kiddo! Do you know that you were my first baby?
Andrew: Yeah, but I don't want to BE a baby... I want to HAVE a baby.
Me: Well, it's going to be a little bit longer...
Andrew: It's going to be until I'm 14 and I find a Mary and then we have a baby?
Me: You will get marrIED, then have a baby, hopefully. And I'm hoping you'll be in your twenties.
Andrew: But after I get 20 I'll be 1 again! *tears begin to flow* I can't be twenty because I want to HAVE a baby!
Me: *feeling seriously out of my league* Do you want some ICE-CREAM?!?!
Andrew: YEAH!

Whew! I'm not sure where things derailed, but thank goodness for the distractability of the kid.

Andrew: "I don't want my hair to go like Daddy's... like all the hair off"

yeouch! and... HAHAHAHA!

Rusty: "One duck, two...?"
Andrew: "Ducks!"
Rusty: "Good! One goose, two...?"
Andrew: "Geese!"
Rusty: "Very good! One zebra, two...?"
Andrew: "Zebras!"
Rusty: "Perfect! One dog, two...?"
Andrew: "PUPPIES!"

Who needs kindergarten?

Judah: "I'm all the way tired, I need a hug."

Cuter than cute.

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Shutterbug Strikes Again

Andrew took up his photography hobby again yesterday afternoon whenever we were out enjoying the AMAZING spring weather. The pollen is about to kill a girl, but we have so loved this season. Check out Andrew's second round of portfolio quality shots.

a shockingly participatory shot of Judah!

Lookin' good! Right?

Slightly less interested in the photo shoot.

The weeds and clovers the kids call "grass"

Oooo very artsy, Andrew!

Self-portrait. My favorite!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Curse of an Affectionate Nature

My little Andrew is more and more like me every day. Poor thing. Yesterday he told the son of our new neighbor (8 yrs. old) "I love you!". He said it with a sweetness that would make your heart melt. The other little boy said, "uuuummmmmm ok... I guess we're supposed to love everybody, so alright." Ugh. The curse of being the most affectionate of your friends has begun, my sweet boy.

As a twenty-six  year old woman I am still learning the hard lesson that while it's okay that I want to profess my feelings for my friends and family at every possible opportunity, it is equally okay that they maybe don't. Heart-crushing truth. Praying for my Andrew, as he is destined to doubt his relationships' depth when friends don't gush their feelings in every conversation.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Trials for growth?

My faith is taking some blows lately, and I'm trying to struggle through the idea that trials can actually make us stronger, and bring us closer to the Lord. I know that this is true in theory, and I know that I'm as stubborn as they come, but I really really really really wish that God would take a more active role in my life and just go ahead and make me the way that he wants me without my participation. Because it sure seems like for me to get the message I have to get stomped in the mean time.

On one hand I appreciate the freedom of choice, but on the other it doesn't seem like it would be too shabby to be a puppet on a string. I'd make much fewer missteps if God would just go ahead and grab me by the ankles and walk me down the path of righteousness. But my love for Him would be like that of a prisoner for a kind prison guard... that sounds less ideal.

I think that I've convinced myself that my perspective of my surrounding circumstances is accurate and therefore the heat should be turned down, because I've already learned what I need to learn, but God seems to have a different perspective because the hits just keep coming. I want to challenge my thinking that God would not only allow, but possibly cause hurt for the purpose of refinement... I'm not 100% certain this is accurate thinking. While I know that the gift of salvation is so complete, and so undeserved, that any struggles in the meantime shouldn't be viewed as insult, because the war will be won in the end, I can't help but feel like a loving God should protect me from any and all circumstances that could cause any pain, for any amount of time. But then I think of how I parent my own children, and how I have taken inventory of a situation, and decided to let the boys experience suffering in one way or another as long as I think the result won't be death. For example, if my kids decide that they don't want to eat what I've fixed for lunch, I have allowed them to not eat, but I won't feed them again until dinner. They think this is slow cruel torment, and it ruins their little day. I make the calculated decision to let them experience hunger with the purpose of teaching them they need to eat what they're offered. When I have this perspective I can see that a loving creator could allow suffering in our lives, even to the point of death, because our eternity is safe in Him. I want to make the most of our time here, because I want my life to lead to legions of others to join me safe in the arms of God. If what it takes to make me, bull headed Jessica, efficient for the gospel, is some refinement that comes from temporary struggle, shouldn't that be worth it?

Or is that even really the goal? Is that even the purpose of trials, or do trials simply happen without purpose? I think sometimes that we, Christians, can over analyze a situation and find life disappointing because we're looking for significance in events that hold no real value. I think that we sometimes just make life the way we want it. I think that maybe circumstance is neutral and it is what we make it. While my struggle with forgiveness these last few months has led to a deeper understanding of forgiveness the topic, and forgiveness that I've been granted, the struggle could have broken me and turned me away from the Lord. This thought leads me to the fear that God is even less involved than I think, and that life has been set in motion and we just get to deal with it the way that we chose and the end result is the same no matter what call we make.

In the end I suppose that the call to holiness outweighs the underlying reasons behind trials and that the reason, cause, involvement of God, purpose, or whatever is not really ours to know. I believe that God is good. He is holy. He is compassion and love. He is graceful, merciful, just, and good. With that in mind I should praise him through my circumstance even if I feel blindfolded with my ears covered and my feet chained while I stumble through a brier patch, because I trust Him. I'm not there yet... but I'm trying. And I DO believe that I am loved and redeemed. My God is good. Better than I deserve.

"'Tis not that I did choose Thee, For Lord, that could not be; This heart would still refuse Thee, Hadst Thou not chosen me... My heart owns none before Thee, For Thy rich grace I thirst; This knowing, if I love Thee, Thou must have loved me first."

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Starting Spring

Andrew has mastered the iPod Touch. He lands planes, plays memory games, and beats up cats... (Silly Talking Tom)

Love. These. Boys.

My nearly 4 year old.

My mother came to visit and we went to visit Rusty at work! The boys are more interested in the Horse statue out front, but we had a good time anyway.

Friday, March 2, 2012


The connotation of Ebenezer in a bible sense is that it's a marker of how far God has brought a person, or a people group.

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Jeshanah, and named it Ebenezer; for he said, "Thus far the LORD has helped us." So the Philistines were subdued and did not again enter the territory of Israel; the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. The towns that the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron to Gath; and Israel recovered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. There was peace also between Israel and the Amorites. (1 Samuel 7:12-14)

So I'd like to, in my blog, place a timeline kind of Ebenezer. Only a few weeks ago I was consumed with anger and unforgiveness towards a group of people who hurt me and my family. I was not taking the Lord's Supper in church because there was such great unrest between me and these other believers. If you had asked me even just 6 weeks ago if I thought I could ever forgive them, or in good conscience take the Lord's Supper again I would have said, "no".

However, God had bigger plans. Through some heart-rending preaching, and some wise counsel, and homework assignments. God has not only softened my heart to the point where I have forgiven these people (walking it out as best I can), but has allowed me to, in good conscience, take communion with my church body (last Sunday)!!

I learned so very much through this struggle about myself, and about God. I want you, who read this, to understand that God worked single-handedly in my heart to make this change. If it had been up to me I would still be swimming in doubt towards God and hatred for the people who hurt me. God is so so good to me that He changed me.

*click the link below called "forgiveness stuff" if you want to read what I've learned.