Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Kitchen Helper

Chloe enjoys being my kitchen helper.  Here are some pictures I took while she helped me mix bread dough the other day.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Bathroom Update #4

My brother Matt had a great idea for a temporary shower as Drew works
on his checklist. I am looking forward to my first in home shower
since Dec. 2009!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bathroom Update #3

Last night Drew told me, "you may not be able to see the progress I made tonight, but I did get two things checked off my list." He is so faithfully pounding away in their! One set back on the shower being done may be #1 a shelf between the door and shower. #2 a light to illuminate aforesaid shelf. I don't know if you can tell in the picture but there is a space behind the shower wall. Drew proposed putting in some shelving there. I am excited at the prospect of more
storage space.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sand Box Fun

Ah!  Welcome Spring!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bathroom Update #2

Drew continues to faithfully plug away at the bathroom every available spare moment!

This is the new surround sitting in the hall way awaiting installation.  The white is covered with a protective blue plastic that will get pealed off at some point.

Drew put many boards that will serve to brace the tub surround when he installs it.  I thought it was really interesting to see what the bathroom must have looked like when the previous owners started their bathroom project.  They built a false wall out a bit from the original to fit it to the tub.  Drew plans to build some shelves into this little nook!  Won't the extra storage be great!

Drew has also gotten underneath the far corners of the tub, where water would collect during showers, and pounded them up so the water will run back into the tub.  He put supports under them to assure they don't somehow get pushed back down.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bathroom Update

Before things get better they often get worse.  Such is the case with Drew's bathroom project.  What began as a - let's get rid of some mold turned into. . . Wow, there is a lot more mold than I thought.  Which turned into a torn up floor.  About a month ago, then, while fixing the floor, Drew glanced over and noticed the toilet leaking.  He spent the next week trying to track down the toilet leak.  When his dad called from Menards one day to tell Drew there was an American Standard toilet for sale for $50 Drew was ecstatic!  Now with the new toilet installed he began focusing on the shower plastic replacement.  You must remember, tax season is in full swing.  The man is leading his family in morning prayer, and nightly family time. His plan was to remove a small portion of the plastic and replace it.  He had the plastic cut and ready to go when I suggested replacing the whole surround.  He decided, as long as he was putting this much effort into the project it should be done right.  That night he tore off the plastic surround panel (which was cobbled on by the previous owner) to see what he had to work with behind it.  The next day we met out at Menards to pick out a new surround!  Below are some pictures of what he discovered behind the old plastic molding.

Facing the hall way

In this picture he has already reinforced the shower head side with boards. You can see the old plaster on the adjacent wall.  Some of the lath boarding at the bottom is missing so he told me he will need to reinforce this before putting up the new surround.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Beth's Birthday Celebrations

I have had a wonderful week full of Birthday Celebrations!  As a kid I used to run around screaming at the top of my voice box, "January, February, March eighteenth!"  It is no wonder so many people remember my special day ;-)  

My Celebration actually started the night before at bible study when Heidi fixed scrumptious chocolate pudding type cup cakes.  They were so good.  Everyone sang Happy Birthday to me.

My b-day morning dawned fair, unseasonably beautiful for the eighteenth of March.  Drew charged us up with Psalm 18 before heading off to work.  After a bit a school and an early lunch we met Drew at Menards to pick out wainscoting for above the tub surround in the bathroom.   The boys and Chloe took naps when we got home.  While they were asleep I put my cheesecake in the oven, instructed Mary E. on when to turn the oven from 450 to 250 and headed out with Jacob for his hair cut.  Then, when Drew came home, we went up to a nearby park for supper sandwiches on home made buns, sliced red, yellow and orange peppers and baby carrots.  I played Tickle Monster with the kids while Drew fixed the sandwiches.  He played tag with them after we ate.  We came home and ate the delicious cheesecake Mary had successfully removed from the oven while Cob and I were gone.  Oh man was it yummy!

Friday Drew and I had a date and he took me shoe shopping after a delicious salad at Village Inn and b-day club free one scoop at Cold Stones.  We went into the shoe store to get a pair of Birkenstocks for me.  Drew had purchased a pair for me at Christmas that I had to return because they were the wrong size.  So we were really Christmas shopping.  We came out with a pair of Birkenstocks (Christmas) PLUS a pair of tennis shoes (Birthday) AND leather uppers for Drew and Birkies for Mary Elisabeth.  We took advantage of the buy one second pair half off, or did it take advantage of us!!

Saturday I opened my package from my sister Dawnie.  She said a huge box with goodies for the kids.  They opened theirs Friday night, but I saved mine for Saturday.

Sunday we had long time friend from DeKalb come for Church, lunch and great fellowship in the Lord!

Monday we headed to Uncle Ron and Aunt Kari's to keep the celebration alive!  Kari very sweetly made chocolate brownie/peanut butter dessert.  The weather was great and the kids had a blast on Ron and Kari's acreage.  The bonus of the day was meeting the newest cousin, Caroline Ruth.

Birthday Booty

Gifts from Aunt Dawnie

More from Aunt Dawnie

Katie stitching

Cob, Sean and Bella

Ruthie enjoyed the poultry

I enjoy Caroline

Gifts for Baby

Grandma holds the living doll

Anna, Andria, Chloe, Abi and Mary (Grandpa Ron was holding Caroline)

Cob holds his new Cousin

Mary and Anna

Abi hold Caroline

Ah, Mary get's a turn to hold her new cousin

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Baruch's Obsessions

Baruch absolutely, positively LOVES everything that flies.  It is a bit of an obsession with him.  He goes to sleep at night talking about building an airplane.  He wakes up talking about building an airplane.  He asks on occasion, "What do you think I should build, Mom, a boat, an airplane or a car?"  No matter what answer I give, he goes back to airplane designs.  He draws plans during the day for his building of the airplane.  He carries the plans around and shows anyone who will listen to him during the day.  He builds paper airplanes throughout the day.  The house is littered with scraps.  Scissors, tape and the stapler are in high demand and continuous use.  I am so enjoying this stage of life with my precious Baruch!

One of Yesterday's Planes

Models based on some planes he got for his birthday

Sunday, March 14, 2010

We meet Jane Marie

My friend Laura and her lovely girls paid us a visit on Friday.  Mary spent the most time with their latest family addition, a beautiful baby girl: Jane Marie born February 15th!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

What's the Difference?

Drew and I are delighted to be a part of a small group bible study called What's the Difference? Manhood and Womanhood Defined According to the Bible, put out by Desiring God Ministries.  The biggest blessing of the study is the two other couples involved, which is another post altogether.  Each week has basic study questions and then another section called Further Up and Further In, for deeper reflection (and conviction:-)).  This weeks Further Up and Further In had me reading a sermon by John Piper entitled The Beautiful Faith of Fearless Submission.  It is hugely impacting my thinking.  Here it is:

"The Beautiful Faith of Fearless Submission :: Desiring God Christian Resource Library" 

By John PiperApril 15, 2007 
The Beautiful Faith of Fearless Submission  
1 Peter 3:1-7 
Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. 5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. We continue in our series on marriage, and today we focus on what it means for a wife to be submissive to her husband. I am very eager that men and women, single and married, old and you (including children) hear this as a call to something strong and noble and beautiful and dignified and worthy of a woman's highest spiritual and moral efforts. 

To set the stage for that impact, notice two phrases in 1 Peter 3:1: 
"Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands." Notice the word own in "your own husbands." That means that there is a uniquely fitting submission to your own husband that is not fitting in relation to other men. You are not called to submit to all men the way you do to your husband. Then notice the phrase at the beginning: "Likewise, wives." This means that the call for a wife's submission is part of a wives." larger call for submission from all Christians in different ways. 

First Peter 2:13-3:12 
In 1 Peter 2:13-17, Peter admonishes us all to be subject, for the Lord's sake, to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as set by him. In other words, keep the speed limits, pay your taxes, and be respectful toward policemen and senators. 

Then in 2:18-25, Peter addresses the household servants (oiketai) in the church and admonishes them to be submissive to their masters with all respect, both to the kind and to the overbearing. Then, in 3:1-6, Peter instructs the wives to be submissive to their husbands, including the husbands who are unbelieving. This is the part we are focusing on as part of our series on marriage. Then, in verse 7, he instructs husbands to live considerately with their wives as fellow heirs of the grace of life. Finally, in 3:8-12, Peter tells the whole church to have unity and sympathy and love and tenderheartedness and humility toward one another, and not to return evil for evil. In other words, submit to each other and serve each other. So, as we saw in Ephesians 5, submission is a wider Christian virtue for all of us to pursue, and it has its unique and fitting expressions in various relationships. Today we are focusing on the relationship of a wife to her husband. What does submission look like there? 

Before I describe what submission isn't and what it is, let's gaze for a few minutes and the powerful portrait of womanhood that Peter paints for us in these words. What we see is deep strong roots of womanhood 
underneath the fruit of submission. It's the roots that make submission the strong and beautiful thing that it is. Start with verse 5: "This is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands." The Deepest Root of Womanhood: Hope in God The deepest root of Christian womanhood mentioned in this text is hope in God. "Holy women who hoped in God." A Christian woman hope in God. "Holy women who hoped in God." A Christian woman does not put her hope in her husband, or in getting a husband. She does not put her hope in her looks. She puts her hope in the promises of God. She is described in Proverbs 31:25: "Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come." She laughs at everything the future will bring and might bring, because she hopes in God. 

She looks away from the troubles and miseries and obstacles of life that seem to make the future bleak, and she focuses her attention on the sovereign power and love of God who rules in heaven and does on earth whatever he pleases. She knows her Bible, and she knows her theology of the sovereignty of God, and she knows his promise that he will be with her and help her strengthen her no matter what. This is the deep, unshakable root of Christian womanhood. And Peter makes it explicit in verse 5. He is not talking about just any women. He is talking about women with unshakable biblical roots in the sovereign goodness of God—holy women who hope in God. 

The next thing to see about Christian womanhood after hope in God is the fearlessness that it produces in these women. So verse 5 said that the holy women of old hoped in God. And then verse 6 gives Sarah, Abraham's wife, as an example and then refers to all other Christian women as her daughters. Verse 6b: "And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening."

So this portrait of Christian womanhood is marked first by hope in God and then what grows out of that hope, namely, fearlessness. She does not fear the future; she laughs at the future. The presence of hope in the invincible sovereignty of God drives out fear. Or to say it more carefully and realistically, the daughters of Sarah fight the anxiety that rises in their hearts. They wage war on fear, and they defeat it with hope in the promises of God. Mature Christian women know that following Christ will mean suffering. But they believe the promises like 1 Peter 3:14, "But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled," and 1 Peter 4:19, "Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful 
Creator while doing good."

That is what Christian women do: They entrust their souls to a faithful Creator. They hope in God. And they triumph over fear. 

A Focus on Internal Adornment 
And this leads to a third feature of Peter's portrait of womanhood, a focus on internal adornment, rather than external. First Peter 3:5 begins, "This is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves." This adornment refers back to what is described in verses 3-4: Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear —but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. We know this does not mean that all jewelry and all hair styling is excluded because then all clothing would be excluded as well, because it says, "Don't let your adorning be external . . . the clothing you wear." What he means is: Don't focus your main attention and effort on how you look on the outside; focus it on the beauty that is inside. Exert more effort and be more concerned with inner beauty than outer beauty. And he is specific in verse 4. When a woman puts her hope in God and not her husband and not in her looks, and when she overcomes fear by the promises of God, this will have an effect on her heart: It will give her an inner tranquility. That's what Peter means in verse 4 by "the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious." 

A Unique Kind of Submissiveness 
That leaves one more feature of this portrait of womanhood to see. First, there was hope in God. That leads then to fearlessness in the face of whatever the future may bring. Then that leads to an inner tranquility and meekness. And, finally, that spirit expresses itself in a unique kind of submissiveness to her husband. Verse 1: "Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands." Verse 5: "This is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands."

"submitting to their own husbands." 
That is a brief look at the portrait of the kind of woman Peter has in mind when he calls a woman to be submissive to her husband. Unshakable hope in God. Courage and fearlessness in the face of any future. Quiet tranquility of soul. Humble submission to her husband's leadership. It is a great sadness that in our modern society—even in the church— the different and complementary roles of biblical headship for the husband and biblical submission for the wife are despised or simply passed over. Some people just write them off as sub-Christian cultural leftovers from the first century. Others distort and misuse them—I actually sat in my office once with a husband who believed that submission meant his wife should not go from one room to the other in the house without asking his permission. That kind of pathological distortion makes it easier for people to dispense with texts like these in the Bible. But the truth of headship and submission is really here and really beautiful. When you see it lived out with the mark of Christ's majesty on it—the mutuality of servanthood without cancelling the reality of headship and submission—it is a wonderful and deeply satisfying drama. So let's ponder from this text first what submission is not, and then what it is. 

What Submission Is Not 
Here are six things it is not based on 1 Peter 3:1-6. 
1. Submission does not mean agreeing with everything your husband says. You can see that in verse one: she is a Christian and he is not. He has one set of ideas about ultimate reality. She has another. Peter calls her to be submissive while assuming she will not submit to his view of the most important thing in the world—God. So submission can't mean submitting to agree with all her husband thinks. 
2. Submission does not mean leaving your brain or your will at the wedding altar. It is not the inability or the unwillingness to think for yourself. Here is a woman who heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. She thought about it. She assessed the truth claims of Jesus. She apprehended in her heart the beauty and worth of Christ and his 
work, and she chose him. Her husband heard it also. Otherwise, Peter probably wouldn't say he "disobeyed the word." He has heard theprobably wouldn't say he "disobeyed the word." He has heard the word, and he has thought about it. And he has not chosen Christ. She thought for herself and she acted. And Peter does not tell her to retreat from that commitment. 
3. Submission does not mean avoiding every effort to change a husband. The whole point of this text is to tell a wife how to "win" her husband. Verse 1 says, "Be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives." If you didn't care about the Bible you might say, "Submission has to mean taking a husband the way he is and not trying to change him." But if you believe what the Bible says, you conclude that submission, paradoxically, is sometimes a strategy for changing him. 
4. Submission does not mean putting the will of the husband before the will of Christ. The text clearly teaches that the wife is a follower of Jesus before and above being a follower of her husband. Submission to Jesus relativizes submission to husbands—and governments and employers and parents. When Sarah called Abraham "lord" in verse 6, it was lord with a lowercase l. It's like "sir" or "m'lord." And the obedience she rendered is qualified obedience because her supreme allegiance is to the Lord with a capital L.
5. Submission does not mean that a wife gets her personal, spiritual strength primarily through her husband. A good husband should indeed strengthen and build up and sustain his wife. He should be a source of strength. But what this text shows is that when a husband's 
spiritual leadership is lacking, a Christian wife is not bereft of strength. Submission does not mean she is dependent on him to supply her strength of faith and virtue and character. The text, in fact, assumes just the opposite. She is summoned to develop depth and strength and character not from her husband but for her husband. Verse five says that her hope is in God in the hope that her husband will join her there. 
6. Finally submission does not mean that a wife is to act out of fear. Verse 6b says, "You are her [Sarah's] children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening." In other words, submission is free, not coerced by fear. The Christian woman is a free woman. When she submits to her husband—whether he is a believer or unbeliever— she does it in freedom, not out of fear.

What Submission Is 
If that's what submission is not, then what is it? I suggested a couple weeks ago from Ephesians 5 what is true here as well: Submission is the divine calling of a wife to honor and affirm her husband's leadership and help carry it through according to her gifts. It's the disposition to follow a husband's authority and an inclination to yield to his leadership. It is an attitude that says, "I delight for you to take the initiative in our family. I am glad when you take responsibility for things and lead with love. I don't flourish in the relationship when you are passive and I have to make sure the family works." But submission does not follow a husband into sin. What then does submission say in such a situation? It says, "It grieves me when you venture into sinful acts and want to take me with you. You know I 
can't do that. I have no desire to resist you. On the contrary, I flourish most when I can respond joyfully to your lead; but I can't follow you into sin, as much as I love to honor your leadership in our marriage. Christ is my King." 

The reason I say that submission is a disposition and an inclination to follow a husband's lead is because there will be times in a Christian marriage when the most submissive wife, with good reason, will hesitate at a husband's decision. It may look unwise to her. Suppose it's Noël and I. I am about to decide something for the family that looks foolish to her. At that moment, Noël could express her submission like this: "Johnny, I know you've thought a lot about this, and I love it when you take the initiative to plan for us and take the responsibility like this, but I really don't have peace about this decision and I think we need to talk about it some more. Could we? Maybe tonight sometime?" The reason that is a kind of biblical submission is 1) because husbands, unlike Christ, are fallible and ought to admit it; 2) because husbands ought to want their wives to be excited about the family decisions, since Christ wants the church to be excited about following his decisions and not just follow begrudgingly; 3) because the way Noël expressed her misgivings communicated clearly that she endorses my leadership and affirms me in my role as head; and 4) because she has made it clear to me from the beginning of ourmarriage that if, when we have done all the talking we should, we still disagree, she will defer to her husband's decision. 

The Goal: Everlasting Holy Joy So I end with the reminder that marriage is not mainly about staying in love. It's about covenant keeping. And the main reason it is about covenant keeping is that God designed the relationship between a husband and his wife to represent the relationship between Christ and the church. This is the deepest meaning of marriage. And that is why ultimately the roles of headship and submission are so important. If our marriages are going to tell the truth about Christ and his church, we cannot be indifferent to the meaning of headship and submission. And let it not go without saying that God's purpose for the church— and for the Christian wife who represents it—is her everlasting holy joy. Christ died for them to bring that about. 

© Desiring God Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute 
this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God. 
Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org 


Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Congratulation Aubrea!

Some time ago, Aubrea's Mom asked me to pray for Aubrea as she prepared her essay for a contest being put on by The Christian Worldview.   She actually asked me to pray for all the contestants, which really blessed me - so thoughtful.  The contestants were to write a letter to Charles Darwin explaining why they believe biblical creationism is more plausible and reasonable than Darwin's theory of evolution.  I know Aubrea put a lot of time and effort into her essay, and am so thankful she won!  Visit The  Christian Worldview and click on a students' name to read the top 5 contestants' essays. 

Leandra and Aubrea

Friday, March 05, 2010

Start 'Em Readin' Young!

Here's Chloe just jibber jabbering unintelligibly away as she flips through a playmobil magazine!

I love reading aloud to the kids.  I have long advocated reading above their level.  I think it spurs them to want to read for themselves and gives them the desire to read books that challenge their reading level when they do begin to read.  

When I was pregnant with Mary I audited a class on teaching literature.  This revealed to me the importance of reading aloud to children even when they are yet in the womb.     I started up and have been reading aloud ever since.  Some weeks and months more than others.  I recently read an article that motivated me to read aloud more than I have been of late.  My only problem now is - their level exceeds mine!  Nice problem to have I guess.  

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Jam Day

We all had such a blast last week at band practice.  Yes, our fiddle lessons have morphed into band practice as Jacob has taken up, first the guitar and then the banjo.  The last lesson of the month we have a jam session in which each child has a turn on the drums.  We have only had jam day 3 times and this is the first one that I would really consider a good jam session.  It was really awesome to be a part of it.  Baruch and I played guitar together, he on my lap, when the others swapped around with the drumming.  Chloe danced in the midst of it all.  We played through a common chord progression.  All sorts of Psalms came rolling through my mind and I was inspired to put them to these unique tunes that were rumbling there as well.  I hope the kids enjoyed it as much as I did.  

Abram on drums

Chloe takes a shot at the drums.

Baruch on drums

Abi on drums

I missed a photo of Mary on drums.  She, kept a very steady beat.  She seemed like a natural drummer to me.

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