Saturday, June 28, 2008

Let's go to the park!

We've been enjoying the wonderful summer weather so much. And we love the park system in our city! Even after living here for a year, we are still discovering new parks to explore! Here are some of our latest outdoor adventures . . .

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Father's Day fun!

Here's Daddy with his children on Father's Day!

We love you so much Daddy!

Jaden says, "I love you, you're special and you're precious!"

Lael says, "There isn't a better daddy in the whole wide world than you!"

Brent, you are such a wonderful daddy to our children. I thought I knew what loving you was all about when we got married, but seeing you as a father showed me parts of you I would have never known any other way. Thanks for being committed to our family, for lovingly leading us in the ways of the Lord. I thank God for you!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Just what have we been up to?

Great question! I feel like the past few weeks have been uncharacteristically busy for us, probably because they have been! But it's been good stuff and we've been having fun! Here's my attempt to play "catch up" . . .

  • June 1st was Children's Sunday at church with an "around-the-world" theme. Lael dressed up like a Spanish senorita, while Jaden wore his hat from Africa and carried an ethnic instrument. The congregation surprised us with a "welcome back" cake -- as we begin our second year of ministry at our wonderful church home!

  • We had an AWESOME Community Fun Day at our church on June 8th! Despite the 95 degree temperatures, we had almost 300 people from the community come out to participate in a day of food, fun and ministry. About 20 people gave their lives to the Lord, and several have been attending our church since then!

  • We had fun blessing Daddy for Father's Day -- he received a new cordless drill (which he really wanted)! The kids also helped me design photo collages of each of them with Daddy along with special messages in their own words -- for him to take to his office. We're anxiously awaiting the arrival of the third part of his gift . . . a DVD of The Barefoot Executive (we love old Disney movies here)!

  • In school this month we've been working on our insect unit as well as finishing up what I wanted to complete for this year. Of course, learning is always happening, whether we're officially "doing school" or not, but we're planning to take the month of July off for some visiting with friends, trips to the pool, summer camp and time with grandparents.

  • We love the park system in our city! We could literally go to a different park every day of the week and not visit the same one twice! So park trips and picnics have been some of our favorite family fun activities lately. (Check back for park and fish hatchery photos soon!)
Even though our days have been busy, we've been trying to take time to just be a family . . . to enjoy these precious days while our children are still young because we know that time passes all too quickly. Our best times are definitely TOGETHER times, no matter what we are doing!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Reflections on discipleship

I've been very contemplative lately . . . it amazes me how quickly time is passing. My children are growing up right before my eyes, and if I'm not careful, I'll miss it. It's so easy to have misplaced priorities, placing importance on things that, in light of eternity, don't matter at all.
I've been challenged about the importance of discipleship -- my pastor-husband has been preaching about it at church the past two weeks and a conference I attended in May had discipleship as its main thrust.
In the midst of all that, the Holy Spirit reminded me that my primary disciples are the little ones that live under my roof, that I need to be PURPOSEFUL (there's that word again) in how I mentor them and help them to grow to follow Jesus. They need to be able to follow my example as I follow the example of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).
Like my husband said in his message yesterday, discipleship is often inconvenient. It is time-intensive and requires sacrifice. It isn't a one-time event or a class. It's not simply reading my kids a Bible story and making sure we pray before we eat. It's a lifestyle of pouring into them what God has poured into me.
It happens while we're sitting on the couch cuddling, driving in the car, grocery shopping, playing at the park . . . just going about life. As I PURPOSE to invest into them, my prayer is that they will be continually transformed by the power of God at work in their little lives. And as one of the conference speakers reminded me, transformed people will leave behind transformed places!
I read this poem today and it touched me -- probably because of all that God is speaking to me right now about the importance of really investing into my children. That happens by purposing to connect with them, valuing what's important to them and taking the time to really listen.
If I had my child to raise all over again,
I'd finger-paint more, and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I'd take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I would care to know less, and know to care more.
Id take more hikes and fly more kites.
I'd stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I'd do more hugging and less tugging.
I'd build self-esteem first, and the new house later.
I would be firm less often, and affirm much more.
I'd teach less about the love of power, and more about the power of love.
~~Diane Loomans