Saturday, February 24, 2007
We looked around and couldn’t find a comparable set. So, we set out to find something unfinished and finish it ourselves. We found a great deal on a hardwood table and four chairs (with cushions) on sale for less than $600 at our favorite unfinished furniture store, which was starting a “going out of business” sale the day we came in. We bought ourselves some black paint and varnish and the ever talented Rich produced the beautiful results you see in the photo below. We even had some leftover black and cream toile fabric from when the kitchen Roman blinds were made many years ago, so we recovered the seats to match. Is that cute or what?
This story has a somewhat sad ending, as getting this new table means saying goodbye to our old rickety heirloom table and chairs that were from my grandparents. My grandma gave me the set when she moved to an assisted living residence about 12 years ago. She said she specifically wanted me to have it because as a small child I had always admired it. My grandfather had acquired it from a client years ago – I believe he traded new, unfinished furniture to a man in exchange for this set. I know my grandmother prized it. I estimate it is about 75+ years old, I know my dad ate off of it as a child, and he is in his mid-60’s. Our family gave it a good amount of use, and now it is in great need of T.L.C. It will go into the garage rafters until I can find it a good home. As much as I hate to ask Rich to store it in “his” garage, I’m just too sentimental about it to drop it off at the Goodwill.
Friday, February 23, 2007
As far as the title, she is my little little sister because she is younger, and also, she is little. I'm only 5'4" and tower over her!
Let me start by saying that no one could have a better sister than me. She is definitely my best friend (besides Rich, of course) and I am eternally grateful that God has bestowed on us both the gift of salvation, making us sisters in Christ. The bond we have as sisters is truly unique. We both marvel at that and feel very undeserving of such blessing.
My sister is very dear to me. We share a very special and close relationship. It is one where each of us always thinks the best of the other. There is no competition between us where one of us tries to be better than the other. We know each other so well and there is hardly anything we don’t tell each other. I think this is because we do think a lot alike and hold similar views on most topics. For one, we totally agree on which See’s candies are the best and which are trash (we have a bad habit of mutilating a mixed box). And we both use only Best Foods mayonnaise. (When you have that in common, everything else falls right into place in the compatibility area!)
We know each other’s weaknesses, strengths, as well as our quirky habits (well, I know her quirky habits). We understand each other very well and love each other unconditionally in spite of each other’s faults. I think it is true to say that we have never gotten into an argument – probably because I could never get mad at her! I take great comfort in knowing that my sister will always love me, help me, support me, care for me, want the best for me, and always forgive me when I do wrong her. She has an inherent way of always knowing the unique way to meet my needs and encourage me. She is always demonstrating her love in her acts of kindness and thoughtfulness towards me. Whenever she helps me, she never acts burdened and serves with great joy. She has served me in countless ways, to the point that many times I have wondered what I would have done without her. We always have a great time together, no matter what we’re doing. We have been through so much together, sharing many of the joys and sorrows of life together. She is a precious gift of God, mercifully bestowed on me.
In closing, I would just like to say that what I greatly admire about my sister most is the fact she is devoted to God, her husband and her family. When given the gift of three sons, she immediately rallied to be the “boy mom.” She lives to serve them, and loves to participate with them in all the boy things they do. Just today she was ordering some more motorcycle gear for herself so she could be a part of the boys’ fun. And while she is such a fun, easy going person, she is a woman of great biblical conviction and lives her life in light of what God’s Word says. And even though she lives in an all boy household, she is very feminine and beautiful. She is the heart of her home and all her boys are the recipients of her great love and care. In summary, she is the woman I admire most in the whole wide world.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Where's Waldo? Can you find Rich, Drew and Emma in this photo?
The four of us had the immense privilege of attending the 3rd annual Resolved Conference in Long Beach this past 3-day weekend. The theme of the conference was The Gospel and the messages were delivered by John MacArthur, C.J. Mahaney, Steve Lawson, John Piper and Rick Holland. What a lineup! On top of that, we were led in phenomenal worship times by the Resolved Band (a.k.a. Crossroads band from Grace). It was a wonderful weekend of soaking in truth and expressing thankfulness to God through the worshipful music.
The title of Resolved is based on the 70 Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards, the 3rd president of Princeton University and the man known as one of American’s greatest theologians ever. Edwards’ Resolutions , though written from 1722-1723, continue to deeply affect modern Christians. This is due largely to his commitment and high view of the Word of God. Here is one of the resolutions that I am choosing to meditate on:
8. Resolved, to act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God.
This, combined with C.J. Mahaney’s teaching on Isaiah 53 and 1 Corinthians 4:6-13 had a profound effect on me. In Isaiah 53, we were reminded of the harsh reality that my sin is what put Jesus on the cross. MY SIN. God gave up His only Son to redeem ME. The way in which C.J. presented the message was life changing even to me who has been in Christ for 23 years! We need to stop and ponder this more often, to understand God’s great love for us. And, then in 1 Corinthians, Paul asks the church in Corinth “What do you have that you did not receive?” From this, C.J. presented us with the overwhelming reminder of God’s grace. He pointed out that we would all be great sinners had it not been for God’s grace on us. C.J. quoted Gordon Fee: "This is an invitation to experience one of those rare, unguarded moments of total honesty, where in the presence of the eternal God one recognizes that everything--absolutely everything--that one 'has' is a gift." Essentially, nothing we have is not a gift from God, which is an expression of God’s amazing grace towards us. What a marvelous thought and heart lifter!
This reality struck me as we were walking on the street during one of the break times. There happened to be some kind of Bob Marley festival/concert at the center next to Resolved. I observed the attendees for that event (just look for the dredlocks), in contrast to the people going to the Resolved conference. Here I was, an attendee of Resolved, sitting under the teaching of God’s word, while the others were worshipping some false religion and movement. It was one of those moments when you wonder why God chose you – and not them – to be the recipients of His undeserved grace and favor. I am no different than them at the very core – an undeserving sinner. Truly humbling. Truly blessed.
I am truly thankful for the opportunity we had to go to Resolved. I am especially thankful that Drew and Emma could experience such excellence in music and preaching. We will be forever changed by what we experienced. We are definitely RESOLVED to go next year!
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
...or maybe even better...
...or mabe just the really old-fashioned way...
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
Combine the flour, soda, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
Allow the cookies to cool 15 minutes on cookie sheet, then transfer to cooling rack.
It’s finally calming down
When it’s over
When it’s over
Revealing grace’s final call
And another one --
Overwhelm me with your love
Overwhelm me with your love
I have my hope in the beauty of your majesty
Life for death
Overwhelm me with your love
Overwhelm me with your love
I know you hear me every time I whisper to the throne
Just listing the words don't do the songs justice. You need to hear them. If you have Windows Media you can listen to a little clip of each here: When it's over Overwhelm
If you haven't heard this debut album by Adie, I recommend you listen to it on itunes. She is a wonderful artist, and her words are so God-glorifying. She has a neat rendition of Turn, Turn, Turn on her album as well. Yes, she is Jeremy Camp's wife. We love his music as well and have all his CD's.
I thank God for the ministry music is to us and that it helps us focus on eternal life!
Have a heavenly minded day!
"...fix your hope completely on the grace
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
Austin, the oldest, constantly reminds me of Brady. Must be first born tendencies mixed with genetics. He is bright, goofy and aloof, creative, can entertain himself endlessly, and loves justice (mostly for everyone else). He is very affectionate and sweet and wouldn’t hurt a fly. To read more about his antics click here. Being quite verbal, there are many funny things he has said in his 9 1/2 years. Two are especially memorable. The first was when he was about 3, and it was his daddy’s birthday. He and Luke were staying with me for a few days while Suzanne and Dave were painting their new home. The boys helped me decorate a cake and thought we’d pay his daddy a short visit. Austin was going through this little “contradiction” stage, which was most disobedient. As we were driving to their house, I was briefing Austin. I told him, “It’s your daddy’s birthday today, and when you see him, say HAPPY BIRTHDAY DADDY!!” to which he quickly and grumpily replied, “No, I say SAD birthday.” That line has remained in our family since then. And along the same lines, one time when he was in the process of potty training, I tried to take him to the bathroom. He started whining that he didn’t have to go. I said to him, “Austin, you are going to try. You do not have to whine.” To which he replied, “Yes, I DO have to whine!!” I guess those were words of wisdom from a 3 year old….sometimes you just have to whine!
Luke, the middle boy, is about to turn 8. He’s all boy and the physical one. He’s quite intense and plays hard. For sheer hobby's sake, he torments his brothers and thinks nothing of bopping them as hard as possible. Yet, strangely, he is also very tenderhearted and takes to heart his sin. He talks like a little mouse (hasn’t quite gotten the manly voice thing yet)! Sometimes he exhibits funny fears. When Suzanne and I were trying to teach him to swim at my house, he was simply terrified of going in the pool. He even sustained punishment for not getting in the pool. Then, once he was forced in, he would be hold onto you, paralyzed with fear, and screaming bloody murder. Then, one day, he somehow snapped out of it and found that he actually liked the pool. Then, of course, we could not get him to get out! (Don’t even ask about his fear of live crabs!) Here’s a funny story about Luke! Recently, a young married couple were invited to dinner at the DeShongs'. Suzanne suggested the boys make cards for their guests. When Luke showed his card to his mom, she told him that it would be nice if he could include a bible verse with his picture. He happily agreed and went to work and returned with the verse “thou shall not commit adultery” as the caption for his artwork! I guess it was the page his bible opened to!Click here for more about lovable Lukie.
And last but not least, the baby, Vance, a/k/a Bubba, the Bubs, or Vancy Pants. He’s almost 6 and a bundle of silliness. He is the biggest actor and can actually put on a fake tantrum that would convince anyone except the family (we’ve seen it a million times). “NO FAIR!” is his favorite fake tantrum line. He’s still super cuddly (when he wants to be) and can still be found sucking his thumb and snuggling up to you. He’s also very smart and onto everything. He knows exactly where all the candy dishes are in my house and checks them all upon arrival to my house. During the time of his visit, he may ask me 10 times for candy (of course, I always say yes). His trademarks of blond curly head and missing front teeth (for more on that story click here)make him extra charming. I am sad that he is growing up so fast.
I thank God continually for these three special boys and that Suzanne and Dave are raising them in a loving Christian home. It is my diligent prayer that they will grow as our Lord Jesus did “in wisdom and stature, and favor with God and men.” Luke 2:52
Sunday, February 4, 2007
Saturday, February 3, 2007
This is the time of year that I must invest a little extra work in the garden. The roses (all 20 of them) need pruning and feeding, and the fruit trees all need food as well. The roses are so ugly when pruned - it is almost unbelievable that in the spring I will have vases full of spectacular bouquets in white, cream and many shades of pink and orange. I hope to plant some red velvety roses around the front porch when it’s done. Mister Lincoln's are my favorite. They smell like intense lemon and are intoxicating!
We planted all our fruit trees about 4-5 years ago and they are really starting to produce! We have an apricot, two plums, yellow peach, white nectarine, apple, mandarin tangerine, three different types of lemon, and three orange trees (1 for eating, 2 for juicing). During the summer there are a couple weeks when I can much of my stone fruits into jam. I invite my dear friend Lori Britten over and we make apricot-plum, apricot, plum, and peach jams. In addition to that, I always run over to the local strawberry farm in early spring and get berries for our favorite strawberry jam. It is so fun and rewarding to put up jams and I greatly enjoy giving them away as gifts.
I always buy my plants at Sheridan Gardens. You may pay a little more, but they know what they’re talking about. They have a very helpful website too.
Country Living…Shadow Hills!