Tuesday, January 31, 2006

"straining toward what is ahead"

As a women's Bible Study leader, one of my responsibilities is to prepare one devotional for the passage we are studying. You would not believe the stress and anxiety this has caused me the last 5 months as I anticipated my turn. I really did not feel up to the task, yet I had no choice. Last week I wrote some ideas down, and then my mom came over and gave me a hand. Here is the final result for Philippians 3:12-4:1. (Also, today is settlement on the new house!!)

"…forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 3: 13,14)

We are in the process of moving from one house to another. There is so much to be done, like preparing our house to sell, packing up the boxes, preparing our new house to live in, and the actual move itself. In the past weeks I have found myself looking eagerly towards the "finish line" of our moving date. However, as I pack all those boxes and begin to say good-bye to our home, I find the process bittersweet. God has given us many wonderful days and years here, and I relive those memories as I empty the rooms of all traces of the life we have lived here. Though I know the Lord will bless us in the new house, I find myself holding tightly to this house. In that moment I forget my goal. Isn’t it true that we can be so attached to our lives here on earth that heaven seems like a distant reality, we lose our focus and forget the purpose for which Christ Jesus has taken hold of us? Far too often we live as Paul has said: our minds are too focused on "earthly things".

Therefore Paul calls us to a mature faith that forgets what is behind and strains toward what is ahead. What are the earthly things that keep us from moving forward in our faith? These can be blessings and accomplishments as well as sins and failures. Although they are important aspects of our lives, these things do not define us. We can not let ourselves be weighed down by the present things of this world that we forget that our citizenship is in heaven. Being found in Christ and his righteousness defines who we are and where we are headed.

Even as we eagerly anticipate the blessings we will have in our new home, it is not our final Home. I am confident that Jesus will continue the good work that he has begun in us until brings us to our Real Home.

LET US GO HENCE- Amy Carmichael

The world is bright:
A room set all alight,
As if the House-Lord did employ
All that He had to give us joy.
The world is bright.

And life is good;
Who doubted never stood
A happy lover in the room
Glowing with flowers of love abloom.
Yea, life is good.

Though it be true
Who loveth suffereth too
Do not love’s unimagined gains
Far more than balance all life’s pains?
They do! They do!

Let us go hence;
Dost apprehend a sense
Of something moving thee away,
Something that stirrith thee to say,
"Let us go hence"?

Not here thy rest;
Thou art a passing guest.
But if life’s lower rooms appear
So dear to thee, how much more dear
Thine own true rest.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Our Birthday Girl

After what seems to be like forever to E, she is now the big 5. She has been looking forward to this birthday a long time, especially after one of her friends turned 5, and she was left behind in the babyish 4 ("Mommy, I want to be five because it is a big girl number. Four is for babies"). We celebrated with a princess party with 5 of her friends on Saturday. Although the party was all that she had wished for- making of wands and crowns, a pinata, princess cake, gifts, etc., there were a few tears shed on her part when things didn't go exactly as she wanted them to. She experienced some disappointment when she didn't get the exact color flower to put on her wand that she wanted, and when she only got 2 pieces of candy from the pinata. But opening presents did cheer her up and the day ended on the plus side after all was said and done.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

A boy and his boots...not easily parted

boots I bought a pair of snow boots for N that I thought he would wear about 3 times this winter, for a total of 30 minutes. After the first snow, he fell in love with the boots and now wears them constantly. They are the first thing he puts on when he wakes up in the morning (sometimes over his footy pajamas) and the last thing he takes off at bedtime. I actually have to struggle to put on any other kind of shoe because he insists on wearing his "boop"s. If I try to take them off, he cries and tugs at them, saying, "Mine! Mine!". Also, he can put them on himself, so if we refuse, he just puts them on the floor and holds onto something else so that he can slide his feet in. I tried hiding them in the closet, but he found them, and now knows where to look for them. I hope he finds a new obsession when summertime comes!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Dental Woes

Last week E had her 6 month dental checkup and Dr. Patel found a cavity in the pit of her back molar. She said that E's oral hygiene was great, but she has deep grooves, and with little kids their enamel is thin, so the combination gave her a cavity. We were then given a name of a pediatric dentist that would be able to take care of her in a child -friendly way. Well, we went this morning, and after taking x-rays of her teeth, Dr. Neil found not one, but 6- and possibly 8- cavities. WHAT??

The waves of guilt, and regret and feeling sorry for what she will have to go through in the next month and a half swept over me and Ed. She will have to have 4 visits, one a week, where they will take care of the cavities. It will be about $1200- $1500 worth of work. Yikes! Dr. Neil did say that there was really nothing we could have done to prevent this, except floss. But we never even thought to floss her teeth, I mean, who flosses a preschooler's mouth?

Well, I then had a dentist appointment later in the morning and was telling them the result of Ellie's visit. They looked at my records and interestingly enough I had 6 cavities at her age, in the same teeth. Weird, huh? So the poor girl has inherited my teeth, and not her father's.

Here is an appropriate article that I got in my email today. Strange coincidence.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

house news

Ok, now that things have calmed down around here, I may be able to get back to regular posting.

We finished work on our house around midnight Jan 2nd. The day had been spent cleaning, clearing out, and setting up. It was an 18 hour marathon. The next day, the realtors came through to ckeck out the house, and the photographer took pictures for the website. Then on Thursday it listed, and we had our first showing Friday. We had 3 more on Saturday, 2 more on Sunday (including a repeat), one on Monday, and two yesterday. We got a full price bid on Monday night, that we accepted and signed the papers for last night!! Thank the Lord that it was quick!! Do you know how hard it is to keep the house clean with little children around, plus getting them out the door wilthout pulling out all the pieces to all the puzzles and games the last 5 minutes? Let me tell you, the TV was such a help-- "No, you can not play with your toys. Get back up on the couch and watch the tv!" Seriously, I found myself saying those words.

But now I don't have to keep the house as neat as a pin any longer (although I have to admit it was nice living without all the clutter and mess). Settlement on the new house is Jan 31, settlement on this house is Feb 28, which gives us one month to rip out carpets, clean duct work, clean, paint, pack and move. So I will take this calm spot the next few weeks and savor it, before we are caught up once again in activity and craziness.

See our house at its sparkliest!