Sunday, September 25, 2011

New Heaven and New Earth

God tells us the Bible is His Word to us, where He speaks and directs and leads His children into His love for them and reveals His character to them. I have been ministered to by Scripture innumerable times in the last few months. And God has proven over and over that He brings healing through His Word. 

It is in the Bible I hear from God directly, there He lays out His plans and purposes. He tells me of His children's past and of His plans for the future. It's true that God does not tell us everything we want to know. But He does tells us everything we need know know, and withholds enough to give room for faith. 

All summer I've been reading the book of Isaiah in the Bible. It's so, so beautiful and hard and hopeful and honest, all mixed into one. It holds so many promises for us. Many were fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ, many have not yet been fulfilled. We are still waiting. I often get impatient, wanting things to go the way I think they should go NOW. But the story in Scripture is not primarily about us, it's about God. So I have to trust in His timing, not my own. 

When I remember that this life is all about God weaving His glorious story of love, I have hope for the future. A future that may not come to fruition in this lifetime, but will certainly come none the less. A more perfect and beautiful future. Where tears are wiped away and justice is done and everything is made right. Oh, how my soul aches for that day! Come, Jesus, come, in all your Glory and Grace!!

"For behold, I create new heavens
and a new earth,
and the former things shall not be remembered 
or come into mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever  
in that which I create;

for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy,  
 and her people to be a gladness. 
I will rejoice in Jerusalem
  and be glad in my people; 

no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping
   and the cry of distress.
No more shall there be in it  
an infant who lives but a few days,   
or an old man who does not fill out his days,

for the young man shall die a hundred years old,   
and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed. 
They shall build houses and inhabit them;   
they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 
They shall not build and another inhabit;   
they shall not plant and another eat; 
for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,   
and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.

They shall not labor in vain    
or bear children for calamity,
for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the LORD,   
and their descendants with them.
Before they call I will answer;   
while they are yet speaking I will hear.

The wolf and the lamb shall graze together;   
the lion shall eat straw like the ox,   
and dust shall be the serpent’s food.
They shall not hurt or destroy   
in all my holy mountain,"         
says the LORD.

Isaiah 65:17-25 (emphasis mine)

Friday, September 23, 2011

In HIS Arms

Every now and then I get a picture stuck in my head. A vision, if you will. I know I've written about it in the past, Sunday I had the blessing of another one.

I was having all these memories of December 28th flashing back into my mind while at church. The ultrasound, our pastor coming to pray with us, delivering my child knowing it was already too late...

In my mind's eye I see myself in the hospital bed, Mark at my right side helping me get ready to push. On the other side of my bed stands Jesus. In his arms, he is holding Jairus, all snuggled up and perfectly content and peaceful and beautifully alive. Jesus seems at once grateful for the beautiful baby in His arms, and broken, he is watching Mark and I and He has tears streaming down His cheeks.

We were so confused, so broken, so scared. Hope for our child was dashed and we couldn't even comprehend what we were experiencing. I was about to deliver. But not my child. Only his earthly body. My son was already in the arms of his Savior. His perfect, eternal, glorious life with Jesus had already begun. And we were being watched, cared for and comforted by the One who knows the depths of suffering and the joy of Resurrection. Jesus is our fellow mourner. He is also our comfort and our hope. He holds our child because we cannot. His love is deep and pure and healing. And for it I am eternally grateful.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

You've Got the Love

The band at our church played this song on Sunday. Loved it. It spoke right to my heart, as I sat in the pew having flashbacks of the last 8 1/2 months of my life, I know with certainty that God alone is enough to get us through our darkest days. Every time I want to just give up, go to bed and not get out again, He is present. Whispering His love to me, His purposes for me. And it is enough for me, to not only get by, but to flourish and be filled with a deep, deep joy. Even in my sorrow, there is joy. And more and more, there is also happiness. All we really have to cling to in this life, is Him. And He has everything I need. He is love.

Florence And The Machine
 "You've Got The Love"

Sometimes I feel like throwing my hands up in the air
I know I can count on you
Sometimes I feel like saying "Lord I just don't care"
But you've got the love I need To see me through

Sometimes it seems that the going is just too rough
And things go wrong no matter what I do
Now and then it seems that life is just too much
But you've got the love I need to see me through

When food is gone you are my daily need
When friends are gone I know my savior's love is real
You know it's real

You got the love

Time after time I think "Oh Lord what's the use?"
Time after time I think it's just no good
Sooner or later in life, the things you love you lose
But you've got the love I need to see me through

You got the love

Sometimes I feel like throwing my hands up in the air
I know I can count on you
Sometimes I feel like saying "Lord I just don't care"
But you've got the love I need to see me through

Hear it if you like...

Friday, September 16, 2011

Building Memories

Last week we had the blessing of going to Florida for a week! We stayed with Mark's twin brother and his family and had such a WONDERFUL time relaxing, swimming in the ocean, hanging out with nieces and nephews and, of course, taking in Disney World!!

Here are a bunch of pictures from our time there...

 Neither child had any memory of seeing an ocean (Emma was 5 months old last time we were at one) and it was such a joy to see them playing in the waves! They weren't quite sure what to make of salt water...Emma said the water "tastes like a lollipop", Hazen thought the "sugar in the water [was] yucky"...

We did one day at Downtown Disney and rode on the monorail. 

Then we spent one power charged day at the Magic Kingdom. My brother and sister in law are experts at the Disney thing, we had SO MUCH FUN and got to go on every ride in the park as well as meeting a few characters! And, as anyone who knows her would guess, Emma was totally in her element with all the dress up and princesses everywhere!

I asked Hazen what his favorite part of the trip was, he kept repeating that, where ever we went during the week, it was his cousins :) Thanks Josie, Jake, Gabby and Luke for making their trip so memorable!

Throughout the wonderful vacation, someone was missing. He should have been sitting in the waves, trying to eat sand. Napping in the Moby wrap while his brother and sister enjoyed rides at Disney, gotten hugs from fairies and pictures with superheroes. I wish he could have had a meltdown while we ate and wet through his cute outfits while we were out and about. I would have loved to worry about sunburned skin and diaper rash this year. No matter where we go, we miss you baby Jairus. Our trip was great, but not complete because you weren't there to share it with us. And I missed you in Florida.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Making a Delicious Switch

Within the last month, we made a big change at our house...we decided to switch to an organic diet.

Since then, I've been going through all my food in the cupboards and using up all our groceries bought at my comfortably traditional and inexpensive grocery store. As I replace food, I'm committed to replacing those with organic goodies instead.

This has been a long time coming for me, we were trying to make the switch a few years ago, but then we moved and had to take sometime to re-adapt to a new budget structure. Then we were going to make the switch but Jairus died and I could barely make it the 3 blocks to our regular grocery store, much less think about reading labels or driving across town to a coop. Now that my mind is finally clearing and Mark and I have gotten more educated about how conventional food in America is produced, we're committed to making it work.

Its kinda tough.

We were really happy with the low grocery bills I had when shopping at Aldi. And it was truthfully  a wonderful place for our family to shop. We always had lots of produce and whole foods from there, we made the best of it. But I was growing tired of eating things that I didn't recognize the names of as being edible, tired of months of runny noses and having a single ingredient dominate every pre-made food item we ingested. Now I'm trying to make the same grocery budget s-t-r-e-t-c-h as far as possible by eating organically grown produce. I'm learning about buying in bulk to save pennies, buying from local farmers, reading labels meticulously, baking my own bread, canning and growing as much of my own food as possible. We found a local farmer by my parents house with very reasonably priced chicken and eggs, and I'm going to save my pennies to buy bulk beef in the future. We're eating smaller (healthier) portions to make the good stuff last too.


Well, many reasons. Below are some of the many places I gathered information from before making the final decision but personally it was through the testimony of friends who eat organically that Mark and I were convinced. Hearing from families who are making it work and seeing the health of their families benefit as a result. What it really came down to for me is my desire to give my family the best I can, to care for the bodies that God gave us as stewards, doing what we can to honor God through our choices and get closer to the original way He designed our bodies to intake food and nutrients. We want to continue learning to work with the bodies He made for us, rather than working against them.

Its a decision we've taken a long time to come to. We're excited and nervous and definitely having some sticker shock. But I am so looking forward to having more energy, to being healthier and to establishing healthy habits in all of us for the long term. We only get a short time to live this life. We want to honor God in everything, even how we treat our bodies. And we definitely want to enjoy some Delicious food in the process!

Whatever you eat, whatever you drink, whatever you it all for the Glory of God.
 ~ 1 Corinthians 10:31

My own resources:
Can Faith Be 'Green'? (Audio sermon, free download)
Food Rules by Michael Pollan (book checked out at library)
Food Inc. (movie free on Netflix)

Is there a difference? (Natural vs Organic)
Differences at a glance chart
The Dirty Dozen
Forgiveness Farming

I'd love to hear your thoughts on healthy eating! What works for your family?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Hazen Josiah

3 years ago today, we joyfully welcomed Hazen into the world! He was so excited to arrive, he came when I was 37 weeks pregnant and so weighed in at a tiny 5lb 1.8oz. His enthusiasm and passion for life has continued everyday of his short life thus far, and we love watching him growing up!

We had no idea how much Hazen would teach us about love, laughter, patience, perseverance and fun!
His belly laugh could get anyone smiling and he plays fantastically with his big sister Emma. His favorite toys are his Cars and he loves to wrestle and ride his tricycle in the driveway. He's catching up to Emma size-wise and is excited to start gymnastics with her this fall too. He keeps us on our toes while he's off on adventures and letting you know what he's got in mind.

Big sister Emma (18 months older) is his best friend and constant companion. Their close age has made them playmates from the very beginning, and we hope to see their bond continue to grow as they do.

His little brother looked exactly like him at birth, except Hazen arrived with a shock of blond hair and a piercing scream ;) Today his big smile and sneaky giggle are totally contagious, and I'm grateful to see him as a window into what Jairus may have looked like as he grew too.

Everyone says it as their children grow, but its too true to avoid...I can't believe he's growing up so fast!!

 Hazen Raisen, we love you more than you could possibly know right now. I hope you never doubt that.
Watching you grow into the man God has meant for you to be has been and will continue to be a wonderful adventure! I am so honored to be your Mommy. Thank you for your endless hugs and giggles. Thank you for teaching me at least as much as I have tried to teach you. You are a treasure to us.