Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Monday, December 29, 2008

Devotions for 2009

Kristin and I are enticed by Tabletalk's plan for devotional readings in 2009 and plan to follow along. They'll be going through the Apostle Paul's first and last epistles (Galatians, 1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus).

Since this is also the 500th anniversary of John Calvin's birth we plan to spend some time in his writings, using this book.

Good Audio

Mars Hill Audio's latest edition looks interesting. Here’s a quick rundown:

Maggie Jackson (Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age), on how attentiveness is central to human flourishing and why it’s getting harder to be attentive

Mark Bauerlein (The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future), on how the social experience of young people renders the larger contexts of culture and history increasingly irrelevant

Tim Clydesdale (The First Year Out: Understanding American Teens after High School), on how teens spend the first year of college learning to become efficient managers of their lives (and thereby ignore the content of classrooms)

Andy Crouch (Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling), on the material aspects of human culture and why theories of culture aren’t enough

Jeremy Begbie (Resounding Truth: Christian Wisdom in the World of Music), on how our understanding of music can grow so that music can become a way of understanding the world and its Maker

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Images from Christmas Day

It was a fun day! Stockings were opened at 7 am; presents at 9 am once the grandparents arrived. This is the first year the children also gave presents, which made for some hilarious moments. For an example, Isaiah's gift to me was a sponge for cleaning the bathroom (sweet).

Faith and DahDah using her new art set
Zeke and Faith playing hoops
A wild bunch

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Nativity Story

A film we enjoy watching this time each year.

Christmas stories

The wonder of Christmas has dawned on Faith this year. Last Sunday she was still saying "Happy Birthday" to people when we delivered gifts to them. But she is starting to adjust to this new reason for giving and receiving gifts.

Yesterday at the commissary she was excited to see the employees wearing what she called "Merry Christmas hats", and she clearly wanted one of her own. Why not?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The storm before the calm

We all know the line from the children's Christmas story, "Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring not even a mouse."

But what was it like the day before?

Monday, December 22, 2008

An awful subject, but necessary

I had lunch on Friday with a small group of co-workers who poke fun at all sorts of things, and this time, they made fun of religious people, especially those who believe in Hell. What I should have said to them (but didn't) was to ask for their advice. What should a person do who believes that the Bible is true in its teaching on Hell; wouldn't it be unloving not to warn someone? I'm sure many do this in unloving ways, but isn't there a right way to discuss an awful, but necessary subject?

In this video (found on many blogs), an atheist makes a similar point.

Friday, December 19, 2008

"Tickle for a Nickel"

Times are tough; the economy is in the tank. But, it's Christmas, and the family needs presents. To raise a little bit of money for stocking stuffers Isaiah and I have entered into a business arrangement. Tickle for a Nickel! 5 seconds for 5 cents! Step right up!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I was 24 years old and being re-assigned from Texas to New Jersey. Kristin and I convoyed our two cars, coordinating our stops over a cheap set of walkie-talkies. She struggled with drowsiness along the endless miles of interstate, but we thought nothing of it. We finally reached "The Garden State" and within a couple of days discovered we were expecting our first child.

We have vivid memories of the delivery; it didn't go well. I was jarred into the realization that Kristin might not make it through labor. Suddenly, the medical staff whisked her away into an operating room and by the time I was prepped for entry the c-section was almost complete.

Hard to believe that was 11 years ago. It's harder still to believe that it will be another 10 years before our youngest child gets to this point!

Kristin's parents joined us tonight (after a week in freezing Alamosa, CO) to watch Eli open birthday presents. The big hit was the lava lamp! Somehow its slow motion action kept the older children mesmerized the rest of the evening.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


We've hit a big milestone in teaching the children the shorter catechism. Grace was the first to memorize the first 50 answers! The list of questions she can handle is below. Eli is right with her at 49, Isaiah is coming on strong at 37, Faith is off to a good start with the First Catechism, and Zeke enjoys answering the questions in "tongues". (As soon as we find an interpreter for him we'll let you know how many he knows.)

The first 50 questions from the Westminster Shorter Catechism
What is the chief end of man?
What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?
What do the scriptures principally teach?
What is God?
Are there more Gods than one?
How many persons are there in the Godhead?
What are the decrees of God?
How doth God execute his decrees?
What is the work of creation?
How did God create man?
What are God's works of providence?
What special act of providence did God exercise toward man in the estate wherein he was created?
Did our first parents continue in the estate wherein they were created?
What is sin?
What was the sin whereby our first parents fell from the estate wherein they were created?
Did all mankind fall in Adam's first transgression?
Into what estate did the fall bring mankind?
Wherein consists the sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell?
What is the misery of that estate whereinto man fell?
Did God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?
Who is the Redeemer of God's elect?
How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?
What offices doth Christ execute as our Redeemer?
How doth Christ execute the office of a prophet?
How doth Christ execute the office of a priest?
How doth Christ execute the office of a king?
Wherein did Christ's humiliation consist?
Wherein consisteth Christ's exaltation?
How are we made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ?
How doth the Spirit apply to us the redemption purchased by Christ?
What is effectual calling?
What benefits do they that are effectually called partake of in this life?
What is justification?
What is adoption?
What is sanctification?
What are the benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification?
What benefits do believers receive from Christ at death?
What benefits do believers receive from Christ at the resurrection?
What is the duty which God requireth of man?
What did God at first reveal to man for the rule of his obedience?
Where is the moral law summarily comprehended
What is the sum of the ten commandments?
What is the preface to the ten commandments?
What doth the preface to the ten commandments teach us?
Which is the first commandment?
What is required in the first commandment?
What is forbidden in the first commandment?
What are specially taught by these words [before me] in the first commandment?
Which is the second commandment?
What is required in the second commandment?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Backstage at the Nutcracker

Grace enjoyed her performances at the Nutcracker; thanks to many of you for coming out to watch the show. Here are some backstage pictures.

What Faith said

"I have my Elmos on the table."

"Faith, those are called elbows," instructed Grace.

The object of life

CNN.com posted a commentary by Chuck Colson today about the Illinois governor and corruption. Colson presented his Christian testimony clearly and included this great quote which was new to me:

"Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who wrote from the gulag, 'Bless you, prison, bless you for being in my life, for there, lying on the rotting prison straw, I came to realize that the object of life is not prosperity, as we are made to believe, but the maturing of the human soul.'"

What a great perspective! Live not for prosperity but for the maturing of the human soul! Kudos to CNN for posting this.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

How to have a good day

I got to hold a one-day old baby today. No matter how rough a day you were having before that, everything is great with a newborn son of the covenant in your arms.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

A Remarkable Discovery

One of the great joys of having a mess of young kids is the daily variety show of budding personalities being expressed and the interactions with other young personalities in the house. Sometimes this is painful, sometimes it's hilarious, but sometimes it's also very helpful.

Lately, we're enjoying Zeke's budding charisma. He's quite the cut-up. But our pediatrician has been a little concerned about his lack of speech development; we recently had an initial appointment with some specialists to look into this.

Last night, however, Nana made a remarkable discovery. She found a way to make the boy talk. Zeke can now pretty much say anything you want him to. The trick?


The way to get Zeke to talk is simple. You ask Faith to ask Zeke to say it. He has enough respect (fear? anxiety?) for his big sister to do whatever she says. Before this trick was discovered all Zeke would say were a few mumbled syllables, but last night, under big Sis's beck and call, he would say as clear as a bell whatever we asked (through Faith).

Saturday, December 06, 2008

When I look at your heavens

I spent one night this week outdoors in the unspoiled Oscura mountains of New Mexico. I was there to witness some tests for work, but what I was really doing was gazing into a vibrant starfield and working on my Scripture memory for this week, which was Psalm 8. Talk about a memory aid! Imagine standing at the edge of a mountain cliff after nightfall looking over the basin floor stretching out for miles below and an endless starfield above and letting these words etch themselves into your memory:

O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouth of babes and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
to still the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?

Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

More friends adopting

We're excited for the Nielsens (a family from Grace and Isaiah's school) that leave tomorrow to pick up their new daughter. Also, we learned today of another family from the same school that has been matched and leaves this week to pick up a new son. These are both Christian families, meaning we have some new kingdom kids. Both families are adopting from the same agency in Alabama that placed Faith and Zeke with us. There's a great need for more families to open their homes to these little homeless ones.