Wednesday, February 27, 2008
The thought of beginning this process where I left off was rather daunting, so I thought I'd begin with photos from Hannah's birth and fill up the albums until I was caught up to the present. I quickly filled up 4 1/2 albums (each album holds 300 4x6 photos), so that's approximately 1300+ photos taken in the first 11 months of Hannah's life. Last night I backtracked and started filling a new set of albums beginning with Sarah's birth (11/20/04) going forward until Hannah was born. I filled 5 albums but still have a year's worth of pictures left until Hannah's birth date. And there's a pretty sizable stack of photos from that year! Needless to say, I'm a little overwhelmed.
What overwhelms me even more is then backtracking to the year and 1/2 before Sarah was born. Christopher, who was our firstborn child and the first grandchild on both sides of our family, saw his fair share of camera flashes as a baby. You remember me kidding about my mom being a "Chinese tourist", true to the cultural stereotype? Well, I have tangible PROOF that she cannot enjoy life without a camera in her hand! Every time she would fly down to Texas or we would come to Pennsylvania for a visit, she would take a gazillion pictures and always give us the duplicates. Last night as I was going through pictures from Sarah's babyhood, I picked up a LARGE stack and showed it to John saying, "See this stack of photos? These were taken over the span of 4 days...ALL by my mom." And that was after Sarah was born. Before Sarah was born, we traveled to PA and my mom traveled down here more frequently. We also went to Maine with my mom and her sister as well as to Vancouver TWICE with my mom and all of our Chinese relatives. You can only imagine how many times we posed for group pictures...
So I have filled up 9 1/2 albums (that's nearly 3000 photos) and I'm still swimming in a sea of photographs stored in boxes...but I am determined to press on. Another thing that I find amusing is that I believed the myth that switching from film to digital photography would lessen the load of pictures we actually develop since you "only develop the really good ones." The problem with digital photography is that you end up taking a gazillion MORE photos than you would with film and a good fraction of that gazillion is considered a 'keeper.' Plus, even if some pictures don't turn out perfectly, there's always photo software to edit your not-so-perfect prints.
Now that I've ranted and raved about this overwhelming task, I must say that I've really enjoyed seeing all of these pictures again! It's so nice to get them out of boxes and display them in such a way that we'll actually get to see them. My kids have thoroughly enjoyed flipping through the albums as well...something I would NOT let them do with pictures just shoved in a box. Where to store these giant albums when I'm finished is going to be another task for another day...
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Sunday, February 17, 2008
This is why I can't have any productive 'computer time' while Hannah is awake. I can surround her with the appropriate baby toys, but she plows right through them to turn the printer on and off and then get all tangled up in the electrical cords.
Forget the little toy keyboards...THIS is what I'm talkin' about!
Saturday, February 16, 2008
The quality of his preaching was but a reflection of the quality of the man himself. And there can be little doubt that the man himself was largely made in the early morning hours which he devoted to private prayer and devotional study of the Scriptures. … Such costly self-discipline made the preacher. That was primary. The making of the sermon was secondary and derivative. (Preach the Word, 152)
Friday, February 15, 2008
Let me report on a conversation between Christopher and Mindy this morning:
"Mommy, Adam and Eve tried to hide from God...and we try to hide from God when we have black hearts."
"But we can't hide from God because God is everywhere, right mommy?"
"Yes, that's right Christopher."
I'll let Mindy share the story of what Christopher said tonight about Saul/Paul.
"Mommy, why did Saul change his name to Paul?"
"Well, he changed his name after God changed his heart. God gave him a new heart and new eyes, so he gave himself a new name."
"Did he still have the same face?"
"Yes, he was the same person. It's just that God changed his heart when Jesus met him on the road to Damascus."
"Where is Damascus?"
"Well... it's near Israel."
"Well Mommy, it's the capital of Syria."
"Ye-es...How do you know that???"
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Monday, February 11, 2008
Let me show you a before and after picture. ;-)
Here is what I looked like before:
And here is what I look like now:
Sunday, February 10, 2008
I am also really bummed because we were supposed to get together with our good friends, Jake & Jaya + their 3 kids this afternoon. They are here from upstate NJ as one of our missionaries (yes, NJ is a mission field!). The last time we were in PA, our planned reunion with them was thwarted by a nasty stomach bug that made the rounds through our family. At least we did get to see them on Friday night and Saturday a bit.
Well, Christopher has not moved from my bed and it looks like he has fallen back asleep. Poor guy. I guess I better check and see what kind of mischief Sarah and Hannah have gotten into.
Saturday, February 9, 2008
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
p.s. - Ok, Huckabee did much better than I thought he would. Good for him! I'll put up my post-election thoughts soon - and answer some of those comments I got! :)
Monday, February 4, 2008
Well, tomorrow will most likely mark the end of the Mike Huckabee for President campaign. Let me share some things that I really liked about Mike and then some things that gave me pause for concern along the way. The first thing I loved about Mike was his winsome, gracious attitude and the excellent way in which I thought he represented the pro-life position. "I'm a conservative but I'm not mad at anybody." I loved it. I loved the fact that he was willing from the start to go on shows like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. And when on these shows, I felt like he spoke for my moral convictions without embarrassing me. So many of the Christian representatives they put on TV say ridiculous things that make me cringe. Second thing. I love the fact that even though he was strongly pro-life, he also had an appreciation for the working class, the arts, education and expanded health care coverage and a moderate stance on immigration. He was not a libertarian Republican that saw no role for the government whatsoever save national defense. I appreciate this. Many have accused him of being economically liberal. I don't know. Perhaps he is more so than, say, a Phil Graham of Texas. But to me that's not necessarily a bad thing. Every year since 2000, our family has made the drive from Dallas to Philly and back again. We drive through Arkansas. We saw first hand the terrible conditions of the roads there. Under Gov. Huckabee, a tax bill was passed and they fixed the roads. Driving from Memphis to Little Rock now is not a high anxiety affair with constant rattling, bumping, and disconcerting road noise. So I believe that the tax increase to fix those roads was a legitimate function of state government. As you can tell, I'm a social conservative, but more moderate on economic issues. I think that a libertarian approach to government (no role except defense/police) underestimates the power of social sin and the need to have a state that acts as a restraint against the natural corruption of the free market system. Who wouldn't, for example, want a government that doesn't regulate lead paint and food safety so that multinational corporations don't cut safety corners to maximize profit? When you start thinking about it, you begin to realize that there are plenty of legitimate exercises of government function in society beyond merely defending us from Jihadism or the next big red threat.
There have been some things over time that have given me pause concerning Mike. First, the fact that he routinely preaches in churches on Sunday morning blurs a line for me. The church should be the church, with a prophetic voice to society and government. And those in politics should listen to the voice of the church proclaim God's Word and seek to establish justice in the land. But I don't think our politicians should become our preachers. It's better if these roles are kept distinct. I would prefer Mike to not preach from pulpits on Sunday morning. Second thing. I didn't necessarily buy the "he's too inexperienced" argument since he was a governor of a state when Obama was merely a state legislator in Springfield. Huckabee would have more experience under his belt entering the Oval office than Reagan. He would be about on par with Bill Clinton in this regard. So that hasn't concerned me too much, though some make the point that in this age of Jihadism, you need a President with lots of foreign policy experience. Perhaps. Reagan didn't have any foreign policy experience, but he knew intuitively how to deal with the Soviets. And that was a pretty big deal back then. But here's my concern: as the political debate wore on, I just didn't get enough substance from Huckabee. The fair tax idea is novel and attention-getting, so it served its political purpose for him. But no doubt it's a pie in the sky proposal without any chance of enactment. And so I was waiting for more policy to be fleshed out. It never came. I began to doubt whether there was substance behind the style I appreciated so much. And for those two reasons, I began to have doubts about Huckabee.
Would he make a good VP pick for McCain? I think so. I'd personally love it. Some have argued that he'll be attacked on creation/evolution issues and that McCain doesn't want to have to spend time answering those questions. Perhaps. But I think the positives for McCain will outweigh those potential political risks. Huckabee could definitely help McCain unite the Republicans. And I think the exposure of being a VP will round out Huckabee's experience, and put him in a great position to be a future presidential candidate. That would be great.
Meanwhile, as the GOP closes the deal with McCain tomorrow (please spare us from Romney!), the Democrats will probably not seal the deal tomorrow. If they know what's good for them, they'll go with Obama. I think he would be very strong in a general election. I think America is yearning for a post-partisan president. Either McCain or Obama have a shot at that, but Obama connects in a way that McCain probably can't any more. If this were 8 years ago for McCain, it might be different. Mindy and I are reading McCain's book "Faith of My Fathers" right now and it is pretty remarkable. You have to respect the man. And that is the GOP's best hope now of retaining the White House in 2008.
So my own personal SuperBowl season continues! Yes, I watched about the last 20 minutes of the Giants beating the Patriots last night. For me, a non-football watcher, that's quite an accomplishment. But the excitement of those last 20 minutes pales in comparison to the exciting, turbulent process of picking our next president. So tomorrow night - Super Duper Tuesday - will be my personal SuperBowl. My predictions: the GOP breaks tomorrow slightly for McCain and the Dems break for Obama by a surprising margin. Not enough to knock Hillary out, but enough to mortally wound her candidacy and let Obama finish her off in Ohio or Pennsylvania.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
All of that rambling is to say that I am caught off guard every time (however infrequent) I am moved to tears. The other night, John, the kids and I were having family worship and I was responsible for reading the Bible story to the kids. We read from a few different 'choice' story Bibles and that night we were at the story of the crucifixion as told in The Jesus Storybook Bible, by Sally Lloyd-Jones.
Right in the middle of reading about the soldiers and crowds mocking Jesus and how He willingly endured it all, my eyes began to well-up with tears. The story is retold so beautifully that I'm going to share portions of it here:
"You say you've come to rescue us!" people shouted. "But you can't even rescue yourself!"
But they were wrong. Jesus could have rescued Himself. A legion of angels would have flown to His side - if He'd called.
"If you were really the Son of God, you could just climb down off that cross!" they said.
And of course they were right. Jesus could have just climbed down. Actually, He could have just said a word and made it all stop...
But Jesus stayed.
You see, they didn't understand. It wasn't the nails that kept Jesus there. It was love.
"Papa? Jesus cried, frantically searching the sky. "Papa? Where are you? Don't leave me!"
And for the first time - and the last - when He spoke, nothing happened. Just a horrible, endless silence. God didn't answer. He turned away from His Boy.
Tears rolled down Jesus' face. The face of the One who would wipe away every tear from every eye...
The full force of the storm of God's fierce anger at sin was coming down. On His own Son. Instead of His people. It was the only way God could destroy sin, and not destroy His children whose hearts were filled with sin.
I think it's sadly common for our hearts to grow cold and hardened to gospel story after years of living the Christian life. This could be a result of many different reasons (i.e. lack of time in the Word, prayer or simply meditating on God's grace in salvation; forgetting how sinful we are and therefore our desperate need for salvation; Bible study becoming purely an academic exercise; lack of true fellowship in the Body of Christ/the Church; etc.) So I was deeply thankful that a fresh and simple retelling of the gospel by a children's story Bible would move me. In reading it aloud, I was forced to listen in a new way to what my sin deserved and yet how much I am loved by God in the Cross of Christ.
For those of you who attend Trinity, this and other story Bibles are available for purchase in our church's bookstore. For those of you who don't, you can order The Jesus Storybook Bible (and other great books) from the Westminster Bookstore by clicking here. I hope that you find it profitable for your children as well as renewing the joy of your salvation.