Sunday, April 30, 2006

Bubba's birthday

Today is Christopher's third birthday. Very exciting! I can't believe that my baby is already 3 years old! How can that be??? Here's a picture of this little bugger taken last summer. I absolutely love it! He's just the sweetest little guy you'd ever want to know, and I'm so glad that he's my son! We celebrated last night with Jason's parents and Megan, Justin & Lydia. It was a really nice evening, and I'm glad we were able to spend some time with family. Right now, he's outside shooting water guns and blowing bubbles with his siblings. Deborah really should be doing homework right now, but it's such a nice day, I hate to make her come inside. We'll get to it tonight, I suppose!

Next Saturday, we're going to be having the worship team brunch. I'm pretty excited about it. We're going to be looking at Matt Redman's book The Unquenchable Worshipper and just doing some general discussion about worship in our own lives and together as the team at Tree of Life. I think it's going to be a good time. I trust that God is going to meet us as we earnestly seek Him in this season.

Today we used a loop for the first time in worship. We used it with Chris Tomlin's new song "Glorious" from Passion's Everything Glorious. The song went really well. We were able to stay with the loop the whole time -- only lagged a little after the bridge where we dropped it way down. I was very encouraged. I know that Jason is really interested in adding more technology in music, so it's exciting to see some of that being realized. We also talked to Rich a little bit about adding (at some point) more multi-media stuff. I know it's a ways off, but it's very cool to even talk about it. I know that Rich wants to see creativity flowing out of the people, and I know there's creativity to be shared, so it's going to be fun to see how God develops it!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

What's new with us

Sorry for the long time without blogging. Life has been a bit crazy around here, and sitting and organizing my thoughts has been low on the priority list.

The van was unable to be fixed when we had it up there. They have to order a whole new system. So I drove Keek's Envoy back down here. Man, for as much gas as that thing sucks, it has no space. Ugh. I much prefer my minivan. I know it's a bit of a gas hog as well, but at least I can haul all of my crap in it! We couldn't fit but 2 car seats in it, so James has to go without. Not fun. As soon as the van is fixed, my mom will drive it down and we'll trade cars. I'm looking forward to it!

Jason had a blast at BeepCon. Got to meet some wonderful folks, hung out with bwack a bit, learned some new ways to use Reason, and just had a good time. I missed him something awful while he was gone. Normally when he's out of the house, we can still talk on the phone or IM a little, but because of the brutal schedule of the con and because we don't have a national call plan, we ended up talking for five minutes here and there once a day. It was terrible! So needless to say, I've been very glad to have him back at home!

Piano lessons are going well -- I hope to have some more students starting in the next few weeks. Hooray! We can definitely use the extra money, and I really do enjoy doing it. It's good having that love for music fire stoked again. It's been pretty dormant since the BFC thing (I'll blog that another time when I'm feeling stronger. It's a wound that's a lot deeper than I realized!). Good to feel passion about that again!

Rich had an awesome sermon on Sunday about creativity. Really awesome. Now for the understanding that one's creativity isn't necessarily about drawing attention to themselves...

Okay, I know there's got to be more, but I'm still running a little behind my life right now, so I'm outta' here for now.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Fixing the van

I guess it's been a couple of months at this point since the van sound system started giving us trouble. Anyway, I'm finally going up to PA tomorrow to get it fixed! Woohoo! It will be nice to be able to listen to music in the car again. I hope that they're able to get it fixed by Saturday (yeah, I know!) so I can drive it back home. Otherwise, I'll be driving Gram & Keek's CRV back, and that's not really all that friendly to the copious number of car seats we have!

Since Jason will be heading out around 2AM tomorrow, I have to load the kids up to take Deborah to school, so we're just going to head out right from there. I've been doing laundry like a mad-woman today, but I think I have everything pretty much ready to go. And it will be nice to come home to a (more or less) chore-free home for the weekend.

Bubba is really having a rough time right now. I wonder if we're not dealing with some speech development stuff. He's been a lot more tantrum-y than he normally is, and I know with the other kids, that usually precipitated a big language push (frustration at not being able to say what he's feeling). I'm hoping it's the same for him. Most of the time when he's upset he just says that he wants to go to bed, which makes me pretty sure that he just doesn't know how to give words to his emotions. I'm working on that with him, but we're not quite there yet.

Hmmm... that's about it. Nothing profound going on. Tonight is our busy night, and it's a little more so because of the trips, but I think we'll be fine. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


I haven't posted much about BeepCon because I've been waiting for information about something else that is going on. That info came in today, so now I can write about it!

BeepCon is happening this weekend in Waco, TX. It's from the forum started by Bwack of DC*B. The purpose of the convention is to share ideas about technology in music. Jason and I had planned on going, but with the new van, we just weren't able to save enough back from our tax return to attend. Bummer, but such is life.

Jason had a lot more desire to go than me (I mostly wanted to go to be near Austin to meet some good friends of mine in person after talking online for 10 years!), so we looked and looked to figure out how we could get him there. He got a raise at work, and we thought that might cover it, but sadly, no. Then, out of the blue, another forum member offered to cover Jason's air fare to TX! The schedule for the flight is kind of wiggy, so we ended up finding some people with whom we've never spoken, and who don't know us at all to house him for two nights in Austin. And my friends who I mentioned before are going out of town this weekend and have offered Jason the use of their vehicle! It's all been an amazing God thing, all the way through.

And that's not even the big news! Jason entered the song I mentioned in a prior post (see "Elwood's Myspace Site" on the right to hear it) into a contest for a compilation cd that they are giving away at the convention and he made it! So his music will be "out there" in hard copy for folks to enjoy. I'm just so stinkin' proud of him!

I'm not thrilled about having my hubby gone clear to TX where we probably won't be able to talk for 5 days, but I'm just so excited for this opportunity. I pray God will use this as a door for him to pursue his dreams.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Back in the groove

Since Deborah was home since last Tuesday and then all of the craziness of the holiday, things have gotten a bit lax around here. Today we need to get back in the swing of things, especially since Jason is going to be gone again this weekend.

First thing I need to do is clean out my fridge. I didn't do it last Tuesday, and it's getting a little grimey in there. I also need to round up the 4000 Easter eggs that are all over my living room and get the candy sorted out of them and put into the kids' jars that Marie bought for them. Lots of other little things, but those are the two most pressing ones.

The kids have been giving us fits at bedtime. I know that we run into some sleep issues after the time change, but this year it seems to be much worse. We'll put the kids down between 7:30 and 8 but they won't go to sleep until 9PM or even as late as 10PM! That's gotta' change soon! I'm going absolutely insane with them being up all hours of the night. Faith is by far the worst (she's always been my most difficult child at bedtime), but James and Deborah aren't much better. Unfortunately, when they're up so late, they're so much more difficult to deal with during the day.

I also have to get some kind of plan in place for this summer. With Deborah home this past week, I realized that we're going to have to have something to do or I'm going to go insane. I need to get visiting some websites and figure out some kind of schedule for the summer.

Okay, now to get on that refrigerator thing! I want to get this done so I can go outside with the kidlets this afternoon and enjoy the nice spring weather!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Blessed Easter!

I don't know if I'll have a chance to post tomorrow, so I wanted to make sure I wished anyone who signed on to read my blog, Happy Easter! May you know the joy of the Resurrection!

And here's my favorite Easter hymn. (Additional lyrics can be found here):

I know that my Redeemer lives;
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, He lives, who once was dead;
He lives, my ever living Head.

He lives triumphant from the grave,
He lives eternally to save,
He lives all glorious in the sky,
He lives exalted there on high.

He lives to silence all my fears,
He lives to wipe away my tears
He lives to calm my troubled heart,
He lives all blessings to impart.

He lives, my kind, wise, heavenly Friend,
He lives and loves me to the end;
He lives, and while He lives, I’ll sing;
He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King.

He lives, all glory to His Name!
He lives, my Jesus, still the same.
Oh, the sweet joy this sentence gives,
I know that my Redeemer lives!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Good Friday

I don't think I have anything new to say about Good Friday. May we each remember the tragedy and the tenderness of the cross.

The following is one of my favorite hymns. Written by Isaac Watts, I've also included the tag that was written by Chris Tomlin. May we each revel in the beauty of the cross.

Thank you Jesus, for your great sacrifice. May it be a constant reminder of your unfathomable love for me. I love you, Jesus!

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o’er His body on the tree;
Then I am dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

O the wonderful cross!
O the wonderful cross!
Bids me come and die and find that I may truly live.
O the wonderful cross!
O the wonderful cross!
All who gather here by grace draw near and bless your name!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

"The Otherness of God"

Last night Jason and I watched Louie Giglio's sermon on "The Otherness of God."


Basically he talked about how God is so different from us that we can't even begin to comprehend His greatness. We can only compare Him to things that we know and that are wonderful, but He doesn't even come close to those things. We are only like Him to the degree that we allow Him to conform us to His image and that can only be an infinitesimal amount compared to His perfection.

Giglio showed slide after slide of vast heavenly bodies. One brilliant, incomprehensible creation after another, each of which God called into existence. And in the last slide, a picture of Christ crucified. Only a God so different from us that He could create the Heavens and hold them in place could give up His only Son to pay the penalty for our sins. Only a God who is so vastly incomprehensible for us would ask His Son to abandon the beauty of Heaven to humble Himself and walk among us. Only a God who is so great that we can never fully behold his splendor could express His love for us in such a tangible, personal way.

How can we stop ourselves from worshiping Him with all of our being? How can we blithely go along and pat ourselves on the back for our accomplishments?

There is no one like You, O my God. Your grace is amazing -- not simply because of the level of sacrifice, but because even in my wretchedness, you could love me. You know the names of each of the stars in the sky and you know my name. May I ever be conformed into the image of your Son. And may I never forget the otherness of YOU. You are I AM and I worship you.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Bad Naked v. Good Naked

I'm a huge Seinfeld fan. I believe that for almost every situation of life, there's a Seinfeld moment that conveys all emotion very succinctly. I can think of very few things that I've heard, even some pretty awful tragedies, where a Seinfeld comment hasn't popped into my brain. It may be as inappropriate as all get out, but there you have it. My deep, dark secret is that if you're talking to me, my brain is probably searching for the perfect comment from Seinfeld. Sorry about that.

All that to say, I've been thinking about good naked and bad naked recently, with regard to worship. Weird? Yeah, but that's just me.

So what's bad naked? Aside from the silly Seinfeld discussion of bad naked, some other examples might be pornography. A person is revealing their nakedness in a manner that is outside of God's intent. The intent is to draw an inappropriate attention to themselves and is completely devoid of intimacy. It gives the illusion of intimacy, but in reality, it's just about self, not about togetherness.

But good naked is awesome! A married couple standing before one another, unashamed. Complete abandon. Total respect. Absolute vulnerability. This is the manner in which we were meant to expose ourselves.

God so wants this from us in our worship of Him! He wants us to strip away the things that draw attention to ourselves. To cast aside the shame and the fear that would cause us to hold something back from Him. To expose all of who we are to Him. Only then can we experience true intimacy with Him. That's the best kind of naked there is!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

First game

Despite feeling a wee bit out of place at the game, I really did have a good time. There were definitely a few "star" players who will probably grow up into really good soccer players, but it didn't seem like there were any real slackers on our team.

And I was so proud of Deborah! At practice, she seemed a little hesitant to get into the fray and really play the game, but when she was on the field today, she really let loose! She kept the ball in bounds when she was kicking it and even had one dribble down the length of the field that looked really nice. She got dirty and played the game for four of the six sessions (about 20 minutes of a 30 minute game). For someone who comes from a family of total non-athletes (I played about a month of basketball in 7th grade and my sister Laura played soccer for one season when she was 9 -- similar stats for Jason's family. He ran track, and I think that's about it for sports for them!), she did surprisingly well. I was sitting with Rich and Sharon and Rich told me that he'd heard that if someone baptized another person, some of the sports anointing can get transferred. ;-D Overall, it was a fun day. (And even though they don't keep score, Deborah's team won by 2 goals. Shhhh...)

The bonus of all the running we've done this week is that I was able to put the kids down to bed early tonight. Despite it being rainy, cloudy and cold all day, it's actually gotten pretty sunny this evening. Nevertheless, the kids are in bed. And they're actually pretty calm about it. I think they're beat from being up late every night since Wednesday. I think the rest tonight will be good for them. I know that I'd like to turn in early myself!

Okay, I'm gonna' go order some Chinese, watch "North Country" and go to bed. Have a blessed evening!

Friday, April 07, 2006

I'm a soccer mom!

Deborah had her first soccer practice last night. I am now officially a soccer mom. Who is about as far away from being a soccer mom as I can be! I was sitting there with the other moms at practice and wow. That is just so not me. Ah well. I have to admit, I'm not all that surprised.

Anyway, it was fun to watch Deborah play. She definitely tends to hold back in the playing of the game. She wasn't one of the kids piling on to get the ball, but was instead on the fringes, kind of watching. I hope as the season progresses she'll get into a little more, but overall, she seemed to have fun. The teams first game is on Saturday. They don't keep score in youth soccer -- I guess they just play for 30 minutes and then go home. I'm still excited to watch them. The coaches seem really nice and seem to have a pretty balanced view of learning how to play soccer and just having a good time. I think this will be a positive experience for her. Given her feelings about running, I don't know that she'll be in soccer forever, but at least she's having a good time now. Hopefully this activity will help her have life-long love of physical activity (unlike her mom!).

Lots of running going on right now. The kids have been out late the past two nights, and I think we'll be out late again tonight, but so it goes. They're really being pretty good during the day despite the late nights, and that's the important thing. They've been schlepped all over, but no complaints about their behavior where they've gone, so I'm encouraged about that. That said, I'm really looking forward to things slowing down a little. I'm not entirely sure when that will be, but I'm looking forward to it nevertheless!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Excellence v. Perfection

Ecclesiastes 9:10 -- Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom. (NLT)

Due to stuff going on at church, some past wounds, and just a more introspective frame of mind, I've been forced to look at these two words in a new way.

My first inclination is that they're exactly the same. And to some degree, I guess they are. However, for me, I find that there's a difference in the attitude behind the two.

If I'm trying to be perfect, I absolutely will fail. There's absolutely nothing I can do perfectly. Even if something is "perfect," there is most certainly a flaw in it somewhere. I could have played the piece with a little more dynamic variation. I could have saved an extra $0.25 if I had taken the coupon my mom mailed me. I could have been more gracious with my child. I could have worded something a little more clearly. Even at my absolute best, I cannot be perfect.

And even, if by some miracle, something is perfect, the attitude driving perfection is problematic. If I'm trying to be perfect, I'm almost certainly driven by a desire to have the thing reflect positively on me. When I seek perfection, I'm probably doing it to make myself look better; to heap glory upon my own head. Look at how I rock as a parent or a musician or a housekeeper (well, okay, not that. I will always suck as a housekeeper even on my best day!) or a Christian. If perfect is my aim, it's self-serving.

But excellence -- ah, well that's another matter! In my mind, excellence is all about attitude. Am I really doing this to the best of my ability? Am I truly doing this task in such a way as it brings glory to God? Or am I just doing enough to get by without complaint from others?

I believe that God wants us to do everything with a spirit of excellence. Am I really doing all I can as a mom? Not because I want other people to look at my mothering and say, "Wow, that is the best mom I've ever seen!" but because these kids were entrusted to my care and I owe God nothing but my very best with that job. Am I seeking excellence when I step on the stage to play the piano on Sunday morning? Again, not so people see that I am an awesome pianist, but because I'm playing for the King of the Universe and He deserves my full participation.

Lord, let me be excellent for You, that I may bring glory to Your holy name!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Great weekend!

We had such a good week and weekend here! Despite the massive amount of stuff going on right now, things are going so much better lately.

Even though life was really challenging this week, the kids have been great at sticking to their chores and all that. Their rooms are still in pretty good shape, they haven't destroyed the living room, and they're working together to get stuff done without complaint. I'm just really proud of them!

This weekend was great. On Saturday afternoon, we took all of the kids to see "Ice Age 2: The Meltdown." The kids love the original movie, and after a week of good behavior, it was great to treat them to a day out. It was Bubba's first movie, and he had a really good time. It's crazy expensive to go to the movies with the six of us, but there is something about the big screen that's kind of magical and it's fun to do that with the kids once in a while. I expect we'll make one more trip to the movies this summer to see Pixar's new movie, "Cars." I know that James is very excited to see that one and I think all of the Pixar movies are just wonderful.

Yesterday I took Deborah to get soccer shoes. She has her first practice on Thursday and her first game on Saturday. I admit, I'm pretty excited for her! I know that she's looking forward to it too. She also went to a dance practice at church. We also have to practice the song she's singing this weekend for church. Lots of fun stuff!

While I was gone, Jason cleaned our bedroom. It's so nice when everything is put away and neat! I started to tell Jason that I'd keep our room straightened up when he offered to keep on top of it, but then realized that this is my problem! So the bedroom is just going to be his responsibility. I think that's going to be great for both of us. I'm proud of him for taking the initiative and I'm proud of myself for letting him do what he wants to do to help out!

I really am feeling good about things around here. I know there are lots of places where we still need improvement, but it's great to see all of us working together and growing together as a family. Seeing the bad habits that developed over the last two years being corrected is just all good!
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I'm a wife to an amazing man, and mom to four incredible kids. I'm a Christian woman who sometimes struggles with doubt. I'm a musician and a writer who is sometimes afraid to play and write. I'm trying to be more authentic every day.
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