Sunday, September 28, 2008

On the Presidential Debates & Forums

We didn't watch them... and while we are quite passionate about politics, they frustrate us and they aren't the Gospel-- they won't save America or anyone, so we don't spend scads of time on them. My brother-in-law & sister-in-law-to-be (in two weeks, yay!) pointed me in this direction. Feel free to read through the transcripts and tell me what you think!

Happy Birthday Videos

These will make ANY day happy, actually! :) Last night we watched them at my Fondue Night birthday celebration, and all 12 present were just about rolling on the floor. So, have a happy Christina's birthday, just for me. :) It's my present to you!

It doesn't hurt that this little laugher looks like our friends Glen & Bethany's little boy!

And this one is HILARIOUS! I just wanna know-- where did he LEARN that!? :)

And everybody's favorite...

wow... some people are REALLY into this.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Eve: What Lies Did She Believe, and What Grace Did She Receive?

I meant to say this when I started writing last... but that post turned into more background and big-picture Biblical Theology. I also wanted to share one of the particular stories that I've been chewing on this week. We took two weeks to look at Eve...since, after all... she WAS the first woman... ever. :) Pretty monumental. The first week we looked at her as God intended her to be-- an image of Himself, a little mirror reflecting His glory as she helped Adam & others, cared for Creation, and brought beauty & order into God's Kingdom. This past week, we tackled the Fall. For some reason that is just a facsinating story for every child to whom I've ever told it. I guess because we can all identify with it. We fall every day, and we long for something better. That story tells us why, and what we are longing for without even knowing it!

In teaching, I wanted to ask "what exactly was Eve believing when she bit that fruit?" There's a lot of sermons and songs and poetry out there on this topic, most of them far more profound and poetic than what I'm about to say, but nevertheless here is what I've observed:

Three lies:
1. "You will not surely die." (Gen. 3:4)-- Sin won't hurt me. Whoah! How many times is this Satan's first attack on MY defenses, too? This extra cookie won't hurt me (gluttony). This exaggeration won't hurt me (lying). One more minute won't hurt me (laziness). Etc.

2. "God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened”(Gen 3:5)-- God is holding out on you! What made the Garden of Eden paradise wasn't just the absence of pain or death. It wasn't the perfect climate, ultimate safety & comfort, nor harmony within all Creation. Those all came out of mankind being properly ordered under God. Eden was Paradise because man walked with God! Adam & Eve got to BE WITH GOD! They knew Him perfectly! As Michael Card sings so rightly, "to know Him is paradise." So what's the heart of this lie? There is something better than being in fellowship with God. And that IS a lie: nothing is better than God.

3. "You will be like God, knowing good and evil" (Gen 3:5)-- You should be the Boss. Oh yeah, see this one so blatently in my kids... and... in... myself. What's the #1 reason I sin? Because I'm trying to control a situation I don't like. Reason # 2? Because I'm frustrated that I'm NOT controlling the situation I'm not liking. The first leads to sins like lying, manipulation, pouting, scheming, gossip; the second to sins like expressions of temper, short unkind words, hatred, over-eating. What's the root of all these sins? Pride. Idolatry of self. There's a reason God started off His Moral Law, which shows us our sin (Rom 7:7), with "You shall not have any gods besides Me." (Exodus 20:3) We all have at least one built-in idol: the unholy trinity of me, myself & I.

And a "duh" moment that is so powerful to me: Satan ALWAYS lies!

So those, dear friends, are the fundamental Lies. Arm yourselves against them! How? By putting on the Armor of God, which is actively knowing Christ.

What Grace did Eve receive amidst all her sin? God held out the promise of Truth-- of the Word Incarnate-- amidst the shambles of her lies. He clothed his figleaf-clad children in the skin of an animal; the first death in that young world, and a picture of our Passover Lamb: Jesus Christ.
"I will put enmity between you (Satan) and the woman, and between your Offspring and hers; He will crush your head, and you will strike His heel.” (Gen 3:15- the Protoevangelion) God promises here to establish a faithful line, always at war with the line, the family, of Satan, the Evil One. Here God promises a Faithful One who will come of that line, and save that line. That Promised One was Jesus.

I urge you, dear friends, take refuge from the lies of our Enemy the Devil in the Promised One, Jesus. He has crushed the Serpent's head and made atonement for all the times we believed the lies. He has come to be the Truth, the Way back to Paradise-- back to our Father.

I pray I see you there one day!

Friday, September 26, 2008

On Stories & Storying the Bible... to See Jesus

My Middle School Girls Bible Study meets every Wednesday at my house, from 4-5. So far it's been fairly well attended, with girls from the neighborhood and families connected somehow to our church attending. Only one is from a stable, two-parent believing family. Wow! What an opportunity to present the Gospel to unsown young fields! Please pray with me that the harvest will be plentiful!

I had no idea what to teach, but the Lord kept laying this age group on my heart. Several things have led me to an ever-deeper understanding to the story of the Bible; while the Bible contains all genres of writing, the vast majority of it is stories, all of them a part of One Story. In His divine wisdom, God gave us stories, not mere commandments, nor formulaic prayers, nor pithy sayings, nor dry historical records. The Bible contains all those things- Law (Leviticus), instruction (NT Epistles), prayers/songs (Psalms), proverbs (Proverbs), and lists of begats- but all of them are set within contexts of real life situations. As Pastor Ryan here at IBC is so fond of saying, in the Book of John we see Jesus giving a teaching, and BOOM there's a real-life story to illustrate it (ex. I am the Light of the World- Jesus heals a man born blind). Teaching pre-school has really immersed me in the narrative of Scripture. So has studying Biblical Theology, and one of my favorite books, The Horse & His Boy (if you don't know how it ties in, feel free to ask me & I'll GLADLY explain). In a church Muslim Evangelism training session, we were taught about "storying" the Bible, which is a highly effective and attractive teaching method, used especially in pre-literate or Eastern cultures. Basically, you tell various stories of the Bible in a logical order, where they build on each other-- starting in Creation, moving through the Fall, all the way to Christ. I love it because it's so natural. It's how little kids naturally learn stuff; they either live out a story or they hear one. We remember stories. We learn who people are by the stories of their lives.

All that to say that I'm teaching a series of stories about women in the Bible-- we're calling it "Women Known By God," and each week, I tell the story of a different woman (or women) in the Bible. But the Bible is all about Jesus, as He reveals the Triune, All-Glorious, worth-knowing God. "Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets (that's all those other stories), but in these last days He has spoken to us by his Son, whom He appointed the heir of all things, through whom also He created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, and He upholds the universe by the word of His power." Heb. 1: 1-3 As we told our Sunday School class a few weeks back, if God looked in the mirror, He'd see Jesus. So as I tell the stories about these very real, very sinful, very ordinary women, the last thing I want to do is focus on the women themselves. The stories are their stories, yes, but the One more visible with each story is God-- is Jesus the Christ. Each week, then, we answer 3 questions after I tell the story: 1. Who is God? 2. What is He like? 3. How does He expect me to act towards Him? Of course our little chart grows with each story, and I pray and hope the girls' visions of God grow too, until He is absolutely irrisistible and wonderful to them.

Pray with me and for me, please! And I challenge you to read the Bible as a story, one in which the main Character is God the One and Only.


p.s. Books like The Jesus Story Book Bible (Sally Lloyd-Jones/Jago), or The Big Picture Story Bible (David Helm/Gail Schoonmaker) have helped me immensly-- I'd highly reccomend adult discipleship programs with them as their basis! A good book like those for adults (minus the awesome pictures...) is God's Big Picture, by Vaughan Roberts.

Saturday, September 20, 2008's back!

YAY! At 7:51 this morning, our ceiling fan began turning in our bedroom, and Ryan & I realized the power was BACK! We positively giggled with joy... and turned over to snuggle a little longer. :) Anyway, I sure enjoyed cooking (& even cleaning up!) after dinner with more than just candle light, and was delighted to see our porch light shining cheerily at me when I came back from a girls' nite at Coco's Chocolate Cafe!

We were a little worried that we'd just never get our power back on. I mean, given that many of our neighbors don't exactly PAY their power bills regularly... we knew we weren't high on the priority list...nevertheless, we DO have it back!! :)

Pictures of the day to come... Ryan & I enjoying the Science Museum, and several girl friends & I enjoying Coco's this evening! (it was my friend Sina's birthday)...

Now I think I'd better get off and get ready for the Lord's Day to come! In joyful anticipation of it,

"O Day of Rest & gladness,/ O Day of Joy & Light/ O Balm of care and sadness/ Most beautiful, most bright/ On thee the high & lowly/ Through ages joined in tune/ Sing 'Holy Holy Holy' to the Great God Triune" (O Day of Rest & Gladness, by pastor Christopher Wordsworh-- my favorite Sabbath hymn)

May you enjoy worshipping tomorrow!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Still Camping's day 5 of no power... I'm gettin' lots of use out of my pots & pans, since all I can use is our stove right now. We are SO thankful that in God's providence we have GAS heat, not electric! We're also getting lots of use out of our candle stash. I'm trying to use all the same scent, so we don't have winterberry-cantelope-lime or something wacko like that. I keep thinking about "Heifer Hobbs," the Rebel cook in Rifles for Watie who can cook ANYTHING over a camp fire. ...or Sara, from Leif Enger's Peace Like a River, who grows up cooking amazing stuff in an dutch oven over a wood stove. For a girl whose greatest disappoinment in childhood was having no more American Fronteir, playing pioneer wife is about as good as it gets! So far we've had baked beans, skillet potatoes, omlettes, chicken-noodle-veggie soup (yum!), and most lately I'm stewing a pumpkin from our garden. I'm not sure what I'll do with it once it's cooked. :) Oh yes, and lots of peanut-butter on fruit!

Well, I have been vastly enjoying our book club book this month-- Hannah Coulter, by Wendell Berry (a Kentucky author). I highly reccomend it (at least so far), with lots of great quoteables, and lots of descriptions of lifestyles worthy of imitation. One quote ties in well to me playing pioneer wife...

"She was an old-fashioned housewife: determined and skillfull and saving and sparing. She worked hard, provided much, bought little, and saved everything that might be of use, buttons and buckles and rags and string and paper sacks from the store. She mended leaky pans, patched clothes and darned socks." (~Chapter 2)

And this is the homemaker I want to be!

"I had never known such prettiness as I found at Miss Ora's. Though she was not by any means a wealthy woman and was busy all the time herself, she had a wisdom that spread order and beauty around her. For me, Miss Ora's was a place of rest." (~Chapter 4)

All right, I've taken up enough of the Kings' computer time... we're still alive and doing well. Real well. :) There's something about enforced candlelight, and semi-dark houses that are even more fun when your best friend's around to share it with you!

rejoicing in the goodness of God,

Monday, September 15, 2008

Without Power


We survived Hurricane Ike... no, seriously! We had no idea, but Louisville was slated for HIGH winds yesterday. We walked out of church and were shocked to see leaves flying by, branches snapping everywhere, and whipping tree limbs...all under a beautiful clear blue sky. The weather continued to get wilder, with the sky staying blue! We had planned to have a family over for Sunday lunch- Dennis & Betsy & their two sweet children, Gabby & Nathan. I'd even made yummy spaghetti sauce with tomatoes from our garden, and oatmeal-raisin cookies! So we arrived at home, with the Andersons in tow... and realized we had no power. Forgetting that I could light the gas stove with candles even with the electric starter being out, we debated what we should do... Finally we lugged everything over to their house, in the hopes that THEY'd have power. Betsy laughed "it's like a progressive dinner, except we didn't get to eat anything yet!" The ride over to their apartment was rather wild, with most of the traffic lights on the way being out, and several roads being blocked by fallen trees. We were able to talk to the kids about God's power shown in the wind, and help them take comfort in His goodness. They were understandably a bit freaked out! In God's providence, though, our SSchool lesson had been on God's goodness, so it was easy to remind them of.

The Anderson's apartment complex entrance was blocked by a fallen tree, so after parking far enough so that no trees could crush our cars, we ran for it, somehow balencing cooking pots, children, and Betsy & I managing to stay modest with skirts on. Their power was on, and stayed long enough for us to boil the spaghetti noodles & heat the sauces. The garlic bread wasn't exactly toasted, but it was warm, so who cared? We ended up with a wonderful lunch, and had a great story "of that first time we ate together." They joked that they'd talked about wanting to have us over next time... and now they don't have to! Fun fellowship!

Our power is still off, meaning we'll probably go to bed with the sun tonight, and eat something I can cook over the stove. The forced simplicity is really fun! I got a lot of work done on school stuff, had time to journal and pray and was a lot less tempted to distraction at the computer. Even now I'm cramming in everything rather efficiently at the Shuey's house. School's been canceled for the WEEK!! Nice break for me. :) I'm probably going to try & help Sina with the kiddos so she isn't going crazy with all 4 of them home all day... maybe we'll go to the Science Museum (if they have power)!

Please pray for my Middle School Girls Bible Study, which will still start on Wednesday! I have 4 girls from the community coming, and hopefully more eventually. I'm really thankful and excited for the opportunity...and a bit nervous! Please pray for wisdom... and diligence in study.
Well, Ryan's here so I'm off!
Rejoicing in God's care for us.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Hungary Pictures!!

So far I've uploaded the ones from Ryan's & my wanderings alone in Budapest (we were there 2 full days), and I'm getting the ones from our week in Szeged, where the conference was, slowly uploaded. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Belated Anniversary Pics

Celebration Numero Uno

These are a few from when my Mom was here the week before our anniversary. We made zucchini-feta gratin (always a favorite), fresh rabanitos (radish salsa, family recipe!) w/ corn chips, and the piece de resistance, a Chardonnay sur Lies, from the Biltmore Estates, Mom's anniversary gift to us. We got a kick of drinking wine out of my old prom glasses. Whoda thunk they'd ever gotten any use out of them!? (good thing I remembered I even had them!)

Belated Anni Pics, Part 2

Celebration Numero Dos
(on August 18th, our actual anniversary)
Year One: Paper Anniversary

We also did a "road map" together of the highlights of our first year (that's the black line in the top of the blue card). I thought Ryan's card to me was so sweet... I loved it.

(Ryan giving me his "what am I supposed to do with these!?" face... right before we both cracked up and the pictures got too blurry to use)

This time the menu was homemade pizza, loaded with garden-fresh veggies (from ours, Mom's & our CSA farmer's) and chicken; raitas (Indian salad of tomato & cucumber in a yogurt sauce); the rest of the Chardonnay, and (drum roll, please).... our cake topper from our wedding! It was a gluten-free crustless cheesecake, and I must say that it froze and thawed very well. A little strawberries & sugar for a topping and WOW! No horrible dried out year old cake for these newlyweds! (Word to the wise: do a cheesecake topper- it freezes well!)

Ryan's gift from me was two tickets to the Louisville Science Center & IMAX theater-- we're trying to go with the whole paper theme. Our gift to ourselves was plane tickets to Hungary, including two nights on our own in a nicer hotel in Budapest.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Happy Birthday, Luke!!

My cousin Luke turned THREE today! Can you tell he LOVES getting presents?? I tell you, he's been plotting this day for the past year... no trouble with low self-esteem there!

Happy Birthday, Lukie, and I wish Ryan & I could be there to squeeze you! Your biggest cousin,


"Train up a child in the Way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

Press on, Robin & Duncan!! You're doing a great job!


We made it back safely, and so far we think in good health. we both felt really ill after the long flight over the Atlantic. 23 hours of traveling, most of it in germ-fests (airports) or re-cirulating, dry-air compartments (airplanes) isn't so good on tired bodies.

Ryan & I spent WAY too much time in planes yesterday and felt so sick afterwards, but after walking around breathing real air and eating real food and drinking lots of water, I think we're better. Ryan seems to have some congestion from the plane, though... I'm dosing us up with Airborne and glyconutrients, as well as with vitamins. :) I forgot them all at home so hopefully it's not too late.

I am desperately praying that I do NOT get sick right off the bat. This school year is already hard enough without starting it off sick! God is faithful, and won't give us more than we can bear, and I trust in that. I must never forget that "casting ALL your cares on Him, because He cares for you" is part of being humble, of admitting that I can't control everything or figure out how to make it work out best. God has and is and will! Amen!!

So... pray for me! I have no idea what I'm teaching the choir kids tomorrow (5-8th grade BOYS, YIKES!), though I've been thinking about it all week... Hopefully something surfaces. :) I've been in such another world for the past week; another continent, another culture, another set of foci and goals. I just can't believe I start teaching tomorrow; the summer is OVER. On the bright side, pre-k is already well-prepared, and I can't wait to meet these new little ones!

*sigh* I'd better go... I'll spend lots of time chronicling our trip in words and pictures, I'm sure.