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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I Love My Girls

God has given me a good gift in my girls. He has given me two very good gifts, indeed. My wife and my daughter are beautifully sweet means of God's grace to me. I am increasingly aware of these things as our time together increases.

As I love and spend time with my wife, God often reminds me of His marital, covenant love toward His people through Christ Jesus. And as we love and spend time with our daughter, God often reminds us of His fatherly love toward His people through Christ Jesus. How beautiful is His love in Christ indeed!

God created the family to show forth His glory because it fundamentally shows who He is, and I am humbled to even be a part of His family and to be placed as a husband and father into ours. I have not deserved any of it, but God has been incredibly gracious to me.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Tuesday Tip - Managing Your Household

I have been reading the book Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother by Carolyn Mahaney and it has been wonderful! I have really enjoyed how she is very Biblical in her exhortations, but she is also very practical. At the end of the chapter you don't sit there and wonder, "Well, that was a lot of good truths, but how does that work out in my life?" She's so clear and encouraging and makes being a woman of God look so enticing. Which it is. I was reading the chapter titled "The Honor of Working at Home" and it completely changed the way I view my job. Instead of seeing my housework as something to get done as quickly as possible so I can move on to something more important, she showed me that there is honor and value in doing these things. That I am creating a home that is safe and loving for my family - a haven for them to want to come to. And more importantly, I'm creating a home where God is honored by my management.

To encourage you today, I'm copying a portion of that chapter here. It's a little long, but I really feel like you will be blessed by what she has to say. Here it is:

"Martin Luther, the man who sparked the Protestant Reformation, once quipped about his wife: 'In domestic affairs I defer to Katie. Otherwise I am led by the Holy Ghost.' While facetious, Luther's comment holds biblical credibility. As wives, we are to be in charge of domestic affairs.

The command in Titus 2 to be 'working at home' is further illuminated by 1 Timothy 5:14 where Paul says: 'So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander.'

In the Greek, the phrase 'manage their households' carries a strong connotation. It literally means to be the ruler, despot, or master of the house. So we see that 'working at home' means we are to function as the home manager - taking full ownership for all the domestic duties of the household.

Once again the woman in Proverbs 31 is our example. she presided over the entire range of responsibilities in her home. She helped her husband; cared for her children; completed chores; supervised servants; oversaw land; invested money; bought, sold, and traded goods (just to name a few duties!). The Provers 31 wife maintained a broad sphere of rule in her household.

Imitating this woman's model, Sarah Edwards, the wife of the eighteenth-century preacher Jonathan Edwards, managed her household with careful and thorough diligence. One day Dr. Edwards emerged from his studies and asked his wife: 'Isn't it about time for the hay to be cut?' To which Sarah was able to respond, 'It's been in the barn for two weeks.'

Sarah created a world where her husband could fulfill his God-given duties without being concerned for the domestic tasks of the home. We should aspire to do likewise.

Now with the command to 'rule' in our homes, I must provide two cautions. First of all, this is not license to usurp our husband's authority. Our management in the home must be carried out in complete support of his leadership and direction.

But this mandate also precludes the currently popular 'co-responsibility' approach to homemaking. As wives, it is our job to manage our homes, and we should not expect our husbands to contribute equally to this task.

This is not to say that our husbands shouldn't help around the house. There are times when we legitimately need their assistance, and this is especially true for moms with small children. The point is not to excuse our husbands from service in the home, but rather to solidify our role as manager of the home. God has given that assignment to us.

And in case the magnitude of this assignment makes you feel as if a load of bricks has just been deposited on your back, cheer up! This calling from God is not intended to be a burden, but rather a source of great fulfillment and joy. Even if we do not think of ourselves as administrators, as organized or capable of managing anything, and although we might not be as gifted as Sarah Edwards or the woman in Proverbs 31, God has equipped each of us with the skills we need to efficiently manage our homes.

For in truth, we are unable to rule effectively in our own strength. It is God who supplies all the time, energy, and ability we need to glorify Him as home managers."
-Carolyn Mahaney, Feminine Appeal, p 107-108

AMEN!! Hope you enjoyed that as much as I did!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Funny ...

My cousin sent this to me and it made me laugh. Hope you enjoy!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Snowy Fun

Amazingly, it snowed today! And it stuck! Last year it snowed on the day Charissa was born, but she hasn't seen any since, so today was very exciting for her. We went outside and stood in the snow and watched it collect on our jackets and hair and faces. Then we made a snowman! We were going to make a snow-woman, but we couldn't figure out how to make hair. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of Charissa in the snow because I was holding her and couldn't take a picture at the same time. But I did go out later and take a picture of our snowman. Here he is:

I think this picture is a little misleading because he looks really big, but in reality he's only about 8 inches tall and he's stationed on the trunk of my car.

Another fun activity of the day was the creation of a St. Valentine's Day wreath. I painted different size and shaped hearts and then mod-podged various scriptures about love onto them. It was a fun activity that I really enjoyed. Here's my wreath:

It only took about two hours to create, and it only took that long because I spent forever trying to decide which scriptures to put on it. To find out which ones I chose you'll have to come over and read it.

Hope everyone had a fun and warm day!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Learning From Mama

Today Charissa did two hysterical things. We were playing in the morning and Charissa had her little toy phone in front of her. She picked up the receiver, put it to her ear and said, "hi!" Then she hung up the phone (she literally put it back on the base properly), picked it up and repeated this process like twenty times. I think she's practicing to be a receptionist.

The second funny thing she did this morning, was that she chauffeured her baby around the living room. She put the baby on her little school bus and then pushed her all around the room. Here's some pictures:

The baby gets a nice seat in the front of the bus ...

... then gets to go head-first into the wall ...
... then gets dumped on the floor...
...the baby gets back on the bus, but then Charissa does what no parent is supposed to do - leave your child alone in a car. Oh well - I guess we have time to teach her those rules.

It was just one of those days that made me realize how fun my "job" is.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Apparent You're a Parent

The other night I spent about 15 minutes carefully scrubbing the ears of a stuffed bunny. I had to be really careful how I cleaned it because in the bunny's head is a music box and it can't get wet or it won't work anymore. After I carefully scrubbed "Bunni-friend's" ears, I wrapped her head up in a towel, put her in a garment bag, and put her in the dryer on "gentle." There was a lot of effort put into insuring the bunny's safety.

But it was all worth it. When I gave her Bunni-friend back, Charissa eagerly grabbed her and pulled her in for a hug and then rested her head on Bunni-friend's head. I guess this is just one thing in a long series of things I will do to make my daughter happy.

Parenting is such a great picture of God's nature. I would give any good thing to Charissa happily and delight to sacrifice for her. And it doesn't matter what she does, or how she acts, or even if she ever says "thank you." I do it because she is mine. God gives because we are His and it is His delight to lavish good gifts on us. We don't deserve them, we can't earn them, and we'll never be able to repay Him. But we should say "thank you" - and often!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Sewing Machine

The BIG gift that I got from my parents this year Christmas was a Singer Ingenuity Sewing Machine. It's ridiculous. It's fully electronic and probably one of the easiest machines I've ever used (and I'm not just talking about sewing machines). I love it! You just push some buttons and the sewing machine automatically changes to the settings it needs. It's amazing. And I've already finished two projects! I was finally brave enough to take it out of the box on Friday and I read the whole manual (which I don't think I've ever done). On Friday I made a door-blocker-thingy to go in front of our front door so that it doesn't leak the cold and heat. And then on Saturday I made Charissa a dress! While there are LOTS of mistakes, I think it looks pretty good. Here's a few pictures:

In this picture Charissa is proving her true modeling capabilities. It's the "something-interesting-is-going-on-far-off-behind-the-camera" pose.

This is just a bonus picture because she's making her new strange face. She breaths rapidly through her nose and scrunches up her face. It's really funny.
I don't think I'll be making a lot of clothes for Charissa, but at least I know I can. If anyone has need for a sewing machine, you know my number!

Monday, January 14, 2008

A Good Read

I love to read. And I'm generally not to picky about what I read. Not that I read trash, but I'll read all genres and styles and generally enjoy them. The public library is a good friend of mine. It's like shopping! Only it's free! Unless you keep the book hostage until you finish it thus causing it to be overdue and then you owe the library money. But that's not very often.

When I was in high school I was required to read Alexandre Dumas' novels The Three Muskateers, The Man in the Iron Mask, and The Count of Monte Cristo. I don't remember much about them except that I didn't really enjoy The Three Muskateers, but again I don't remember why. I have all three novels at my parents' house, and over Christmas Britt picked up The Count of Monte Cristo and started reading it and brought it home with us. One day I was desperate for some reading, so I picked it up and absolutely devoured it! I LOVED it! I was so surprised. And it's so easy to read! It's not like one of those books where you can't understand what the author is saying because he uses a lot of useless descriptions (Dickens), but it was thoroughly enjoyable.

I am currently reading The Man in the Iron Mask and while it's not as good as Monte Cristo, I am still enjoying it. So if you are looking for a good book to read, look into Alexandre Dumas.

"But you don't have to take my word for it ..."

**For those of you who know and understand that quote, I hope you found it funny. I just couldn't resist using it! :)**

Thursday, January 10, 2008

More Pictures!

Here's some more pictures ...

My sister-in-law's sister Laura got married on the 29th of December so my family all got together to attend. And Charissa took her first steps during the service!! My brother Rusty and sister-in-law Kathryn were both in the wedding and looking quite glamorous.

The very happy couple, Gabe and Laura, dancing together.

There is a picture of me when I'm about Charissa's age wearing a sash in front of a Christmas tree that says "1984" that I wore that New Year's Eve. I was trying to recreate it with CJ, but she wouldn't sit still! We tried for a very long time, so Britt finally just held her in front of the tree. Oh well. She's still pretty cute!

What happens when Charissa is unsupervised with the file box.
Good thing these were empty!

Pictoral Update!

Well it's been about a month and a half since we've posted on here so I guess it's about time we put some new pictures up. Here's a glance at our holiday season:

I made a tu-tu for Charissa for Christmas and she's trying it on for me. I think she was more confused than enjoying it. Oh well.
Friends gave us tickets to an NC State basketball game so we all went. Charissa is wearing a shirt that says "Wolfpack Baby." And it's also way too big.
Charissa loved the game! She watched most of the time and made TONS of friends. She clapped and cheered (shrieked and babbled at least) and had a lot of fun. It was a great family outing.
Charissa in her very pretty Christmas dress.
Her dress was so poofy that it exploded out the back when she sat in the nursery's highchair. She didn't care though - her only concern was getting food.

CJ and I sat together on the way down to Britt's mom's house so we took some pictures together. Charissa thought it was really fun.
Her first Christmas! And she's playing with two presents at once!
Charissa was so excited about her new cup that she tried to drink out of as soon as she got it. The only thing in it was a piece of paper explaining how to use the cup. Which I'm not sure why we need.
We did stockings with just the three of us in between visits to family. I don't remember what was so funny, but CJ and I thought the plane was really funny.