Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Rock of My Salvation

The Lord liveth; and blessed be my rock; and exalted
be the God of the rock of my salvation.
2 Samuel 22:47

No graver danger threatens the believer than that of forgetting that he was redeemed - forgetting even in the joy of realized life what our salvation cost, and what is the rock foundation of our faith. To meet this need our Savior pictures Himself not merely as the Rock of Ages, and our Strong Rock of Refuge, but the Rock of our Salvation. Here, in Him and upon His merit and atoning grace, we were saved from among the lost. Let us glory in this precious name and never forget that He was "wounded for our transgressions" and "that he bore our sins in his own body on the tree."

A couple years ago our Adult Bible Fellowship (ABF) studied Ray Comfort's Revival's Golden Key. Comfort's point was that the modern church is missing the mark on evangelizing by promising peace, joy and a happy life. He contended that the key in evangelizing is to focus on the fact that people need salvation and stop promising things that may or may not happen after accepting Christ. I look at the apostle Paul and would argue that it wasn't a happy life that kept him "fighting the good fight." However, Comfort's approach is a little on the "fire and brimstone" extreme (ironic that a man with the name Comfort could be labeled as someone who scares people into Christianity...I digress) and I do think there is room for the "softer" side of evangelism in some cases. Sean actually just read a book called They Like Jesus But Not the Church (I don't know the author) that contradicted Comfort's approach and argued that people in our generation are turned off from the church because of the judgment they think exists - kind of hard to make people believe they need to be saved if we don't tell them why they deserve hell, which gets interpreted as passing judgment. Disclaimer: I have not actually read this book and am writing based on discussions I had with Sean. Maybe he will post a comment with a better summary. I think it's an interesting dichotomy of views and I'm not quite sure where I stand on either one. I would be interested in hearing what other people think and/or personal experience with one approach over the other. My second disclaimer is that the comments about the books above are meant to point out the extreme nature that both of these approaches can take and don't necessarily represent the complete thoughts of the authors (that's why they wrote books instead of white papers...to expand on their positions).

Chester Cheetah

No, we didn't invest in Cheetos. We've got the pox. More specifically, Wesley has the pox all over. Here's the full story: We noticed some funny bumps on Jack about two weeks ago and brought him to the doctor where we were told that they were bug bites and they should go away. This past Sunday (two weeks after we noticed the bumps on Jack...funny, two weeks is the incubation period for chicken pox) Wesley woke up with a few bumps that looked just like the ones Jack had. We were at the cabin so we thought they were also just bug bites. But after he developed more and more "bug bites" and there was no bug to be seen, we knew they definitely weren't bug bites. Since they looked just like Jack's and we were told Jack didn't have chicken pox, I brought Wesley to the doctor thinking they were going to diagnose him with some rare, potentially fatal skin condition. Nope, "definitely chicken pox" said the same doctor that told us that Jack didn't have chicken pox two weeks ago. Grrr...

Wesley is actually managing pretty well. He has had a low grade fever, but not many other symptoms besides the blisters. He doesn't seem to be too itchy either, except on his head and face. Below are a couple pictures of our spotty baby.

By the way, I would like to apologize to anyone we may have infected (or their parents). WebMD has some good tips on how to manage the symptoms of chicken pox. In our defense, we were told they were "bug bites." Also, if anyone has some good suggestions for managing symptoms that aren't available on WebMD, please post them here. And I would also like to know what you've heard about the symptoms of chicken pox because what is listed on WebMD is exactly opposite from what the doctor told me. Hmm...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Just Like a Real Fireman

Saturday we visited the Medicine Lake Fire Department. Wesley stayed with some friends (thank you very much, Laura, Justin & Myles) while Jack, Sean and I headed out for the adventure. When we arrived, the garage doors were open revealing two fire engines with flashing lights and open doors just waiting for a little boy to climb in. We checked out all the doors and compartments.

We saw where the firefighters ride on their way to an emergency and where all the gear is stored.

The whole time Jack kept saying "I want to dwive." After he'd had enough looking, Jack and I climbed up in the cab (Sean had to sit in the back seat) and we got to go for a ride around a couple blocks. Jack pushed some buttons that made the siren go. When we returned to the fire station, Jack finally got to sit behind the wheel of the big red engine and "drive."

After that we went to the back of the building and got to spray water through a real fire hose. Jack was a little timid at first, but he warmed up. Sean had a really good time, though.

Jack was more interested in getting back up into the cab and driving again.

We think Jack was overwhelmed by the whole experience because he didn't smile that much, but we're pretty sure he had a good time. What is there for a little boy not to like? fire engines...flashing lights...sirens...ladders...hoses...water...

Our adventure ended after a few more photos (okay, a lot of photos, but hey, how often do you get a fire station and three engines to yourself? it needed to be well documented) and some very grateful goodbyes to Captain Halvorsen (our coworker who generously provided this experience).

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Look at me again!

I think we're going to have a lot of posts titled like this in the next few weeks. This morning when I heard Wesley babbling in his room I walked in and found him like this:

I didn't sit him up and I know he didn't sleep sitting up so he must have sat up on his own.

Monday night he pulled himself from sitting to standing (in the bathroom, of course, the safest of all places for someone with bad balance and wobbly legs). And last night he took a few steps while holding on to the ottomans in the family room. He's going to be running around the house before we know it.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Did we need to go to the zoo for this?

We spent the morning at the zoo with Shannon, Adelyn and Alyse. We checked out the new exhibit: Russia's Grizzly Coast. We saw the grizzly bears swimming right up by the glass. The first time we went through the otters were nowhere to be found, but we caught a glimpse of them on our way back through. The biggest hit for Jack was, of course, the sand box. There were woolly mammoth "bones" buried in it that he had fun digging up. Below are some pictures of some of the fun things the kids did while we were there. Really, we were at the zoo.

What else, but digging in the sand?
Do you see a trend?

Adelyn chased Jack through the new fountain outside of Russia's Grizzly Coast.

Jack stood under the tall sprinklers commenting on how it was like a shower.

I think they had the most fun in this fountain...the one outside of the main entrance to the zoo...the one that you don't have to pay for...kids.

By the way, Wesley was there too. It's just that pictures of a baby sitting in a stroller really aren't that interesting. He's at the age now where he is aware of the animals and finds them a little bit interesting, but he has to sit in the stroller because he's too big to hold and too little to walk. So I'm one of the obnoxious moms who is trying to push a double stroller up to the exhibits so her baby can see, blocking the view of other children who will appreciate the animals much more and ramming ankles along the way.

Tylenol is my Best Friend

Mr. Crabby Pants

Ooh...what's this?

Ahh...much better

A tooth has appeared in Wesley's little mouth - poor baby. He's been pretty fussy lately and has adopted quite the attitude. Now I know why and I am much more sympathetic. It's almost all the way through so we shouldn't have too many more days of Mr. Crabby Pants. By the way, he isn't really drinking the Tylenol in the photo above.

Daddy's Home!!

Sean returned home from a week in Germany yesterday afternoon and we were all very happy to see him. He brought toys for the boys: a helicopter for Wesley and a garbage truck for Jack. Both toys are a hit. Thanks, Daddy!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Look at me!

After several minutes of struggling to pull himself up to this position, I had mercy on my poor child and helped him up - he just couldn't get his feet planted right. He stood here on his own playing with Jack for about 30 minutes. That's a long time for those little legs. He was not happy when he fell down and I wouldn't help him back up. Watch out, Jack. Here comes Wesley!

Small Wonders

I sometimes forget how much my children have to learn and experience before I send them off into the world on their own. A few weeks ago we visited a park near our house that has a fountain in it (it's really the main attraction). Each time we drive by in the summer Jack says, "The fountain is working today," and each time we drive by in the winter Jack says "The fountain isn't working today." Same conversation on average three times each week. I digress. There were some pretty peonies blooming and since I can still make Wesley do basically whatever I want him to, I thought I'd take some pictures of him by the flowers. Now I'm not naive enough to think that he was just going to sit there, smile and not touch the flowers. I just didn't think that he would want to devour the flowers the second I set him on the bench. I managed to get a couple good pictures, but more importantly, realized in the process that the smallest things (peonies blooming in the spring) are brand new and amazing to my little guys.


This picture probably needs some interpretation. On Jack's head is a fire chief hat that my dad picked up at a garage sale. On the bottom, printed in black permanent marker, is the name "Jessie" (my only assumption is that this was the original owner). Jack wears it proudly, but he always wears it backwards, hence the necessary explanation because you can't see the fire chief symbol on the front. The "shoes" on his feet are actually my dad's enormous (well, enormous for a 2-year-old) slippers that Jack calls his "fire shoes." Apparently he can only put out fires while wearing these shoes (at least that was the story this particular day).

So now that you fully understand the picture, I'll get to the real subject of the post. I will go out on a limb (hopefully I don't have to eat my words) and say that Jack is finally potty trained...whew! WARNING: For readers that do not have children and/or are not comfortable openly discussing the bodily functions of children, stop reading now. Everyone else...read on. He mastered peeing on the potty long ago, but would only poop in his underwear or on the off chance that the stars aligned, Jupiter was 100 light years to the west of Saturn while the sun was shining here on Earth and we caught him almost in the act and forced him to sit on the potty, crying the whole time (Jack, I mean. ...although there were times I could have joined in). We tried everything. Toys, candy, bribes, threats, you name it. Then one day Sean came home and told me that his coworker, who happens to be a volunteer fire fighter, said we could bring Jack to the fire station sometime and he could climb up in to a real fire engine. Of course I couldn't just let this be a fun privilege for Jack. Nope, he had to earn it. And how would he earn it? By pooping on the potty all the time, just like real fire men do. So over the course of several weeks we talked frequently about how real fire men only poop on the potty, never in their underpants and didn't Jack want to be just like a real fire man. I'm not sure if it was the incentive or just that it was the right time, but he finally has it mastered. In fact, he went from pooping every two or three days to pooping almost every time he goes to the bathroom. By the way, if Jack was older I'm sure he would be incredibly embarrassed that I'm sharing this, however, because he's two he is VERY proud every time he poops or pees on the potty and will announce it to anyone who will listen so, "share on," I say. And by the time he's old enough to be embarrassed, this post will be long gone.

So back to the picture, which doesn't really have anything to do with the post, but is a great representation of Jack's accomplishment. The smile on his face, which mirrors the smile on my face, is there every time he is successful on the potty. Jack has finally earned his reward and we can make our trip to the fire station. He sure can bring the hat along, but I think he'll need to leave the shoes at home.

The Meat (Meal) Offering

And when any will offer a meat offering unto the Lord,
his offering shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil
upon it, and put frankincense thereon.
Leviticus 2:1

Perfect communion with our God as shown in the "Meat Offering" was in many senses the highest pattern which our Savior set for men. Shall we not make it the chiefest plan of every day to have a time when we enter into such worship with Him that we may truly say, "There is nothing between Thee and me, dear Lord," and then carry the sweetness of that deep communion unmarred and uninterrupted through all the hours. Most Holy Meal Offering, El Elyon, as Thou didst pour upon the fine meal of Thy perfect life the Holy Oil of Thy most Holy Spirit, and the frankincense of Thy perfect adoration, and offer all for me, so I, accepting Thine which only hallows mine, pour forth my soul, my blood-cleansed soul, in worship. Holy! Holy! Holy! is the Lord. Amen.

Daily communion. Bread that feeds us, blood that saves us. Doesn't God deserve our daily worship and adoration? He is willing to feed us each day (when we seek Him) and He saves us each day. But He doesn't want our leftovers. He wants - deserves - the finest we have to offer. In return, think of the relationship that could be, a place where you could honestly say "There is nothing between Thee and me, dear Lord," anytime of the day or night.

With Sean out of town, I definitely miss our daily "communion." We talk on the phone once a day and we can email for the short time we're both working (time zone difference), but it isn't the same as having him here acutely involved in the details of daily life. The same is true of my relationship with the Lord: I can talk to Him once a day, send quick prayers/thoughts while I'm doing something else, but it isn't the same as having Him acutely involved in the details of my daily life. For me, this depth of relationship only comes through uninterrupted daily time with God. I admit that it has been hard for me to make time for this and it's something I struggle with every week.

I would love to hear how other people experience daily quiet time with the Lord. I would especially like to hear from other moms and dads who manage to schedule kids and other household responsibilities around their daily "communion."