>The kiddos and I have been flying solo this week as Brian has been in CA on business since Sunday (he returns tomorrow evening… yippie!). As is often the case, our little ones tend to test me a bit more when Daddy is out of town. This week has been no exception. I have been tested much, particularly in having patience. I am thankful to God for much growth in this area of my life, but was freshly reminded this week of the growth that still needs to take place! The biggest challenge for me this week has been bedtime. Instead of taking the typical 10-15 min. to have all the kiddos settled into bed it has been taking between 30-90 min.

Although the girls have had their challenges at bedtime (Sydney seems to think that when Daddy goes away it’s suddenly ok to get out of bed 5 times every night and Hailey enjoys asking me every possible question she can think of right at bedtime) … Justin has been the kiddo to consistently and thoroughly exhaust me. He seems to have a problem (he is a sinner in desperate need of a Savior!) with communicating what it is exactly that he would like … for instance, one minute he wants the blankets to cover him, and the next he wants them off of him … one minute he wants kisses, then when I go to give him goodnight kisses, he decides he doesn’t want kisses (only to protest that he wants them again right as I get ready to leave his room). In moments like these (after the 6th trip back to his bedroom to have him attempt going to bed with a happy heart and without protesting) I am tempted towards impatience. Yet in moments like these, I know that God is being faithful to grow me in tenderly, lovingly and patiently training my children for His glory.

I love what Piper says in the chapter on battling impatience in his book Battling Unbelief.

Impatience is a form of unbelief. It’s what we begin to feel when we start to doubt the wisdom of God’s guidance. It springs up in our hearts when our plan is interrupted or shattered. The opposite of impatience is not a glib denial of loss. It’s a deepening, ripening, peaceful willingness to wait for God in the unplanned place of obedience, and to walk with God at the unplanned pace of obedience – to wait in his place, and go at his pace. And the key is faith in future grace. … the strength of patience hangs on our capacity to believe that God is up on something good for us in all our delays and detours. This requires great faith in future grace, because the evidence is seldom evident.

May God grant me much faith in future grace!

In other happenings this week while Daddy has been away we managed to have a fairly calm week so far … other than Sydney getting the van door shut on her hand and Hailey falling in the creek out back (that’s nothing compared to Justin busting his lip and losing a toenail/breaking a toe during Brian’s last trip!). One evening some girls from church came over to scrapbook with me, and it was a blast having my Mom (and Matt) here with us yesterday to celebrate Hailey’s 5th birthday! We enjoyed some yummy cinnamon rolls for a mid-morning snack in honor of the birthday girl! Then we actually made applesauce for a good portion of the day (we did over 80 quart) … not for me since I already have 55 qt. in my freezer, but for my Mom (who will be sharing with my brother’s and their families). Then later we enjoyed Hailey’s birthday dinner (she requested stuffed shells) together. I picked up a little ice cream cake so that she could have some candles to blow out on her actual birthday, even though the rest of our families aren’t coming until Sunday to actually celebrate! Here are some applesauce (I remebered to take some pics this time!) and birthday girl pics …

My birthday girl … what a big helper!
My shirtless applesauce boy (he got it wet and muddy outside)
Cranking away …
Hailey Joy … 5 years old!
My girly girl … she blew the candles out one at a time!


>A Great Little Book …

>I recently read a great little book called Shopping for Time: How to Do It All and NOT Be Overwhelmed. This book was written by the girltalkers, which include Carolyn Mahaney along with her three married daughters. Although much of the material covered in this helpful little book has been discussed over on their blog, I’ve still benefited much from reading this book and being reminded of the principles they lay out in it. It’s an easy, fun and quick read, filled with biblical and practical advice to help us use our time wisely. Here’s a brief summary of the little book …
In the book they state:
“We can accomplish everything God has ordained for us to do in this life. (Hint: it’s probably not half of what’s to do on your to-do list.) And we can do it in a peaceful, joyful manner and get sufficient rest besides.”
The Mahaney girls have written this book to answer how!
As women, we know that a good day of shopping begins with proper planning. However, the way we spend our lives often reflects poor planning in how we use our time.
The theme of the book comes from the verse Ephesians 5:15-16, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”
The rest of the book covers five tips they give to serve women in every season of life to make the best use of their time…
1. Rise early
~Discusses the importance and benefits of rising early before the rest of our family to make meeting with God a priority and as well to serve our family.
2. Sit still
~Discusses and encourages the importance of having a regular quiet time, and gives practical advice on what this looks like.
3. Sit and plan
~Discusses the importance of having a personal retreat at least once a year, and as well lays out a foundation for what this looks like in different seasons of life.
4. Consider people
~Discusses the importance of considering our relationships, and gives practical advice for the kinds of relationships we should have outside of family.
5. Plan to depend
~Discusses the importance of our need to depend on God’s grace each and every day.
And lastly in conclusion:
“In the end, our highest goal each day is not flawless execution of our plans or increased productivity. It’s our relationship with God, walking in dependence upon Him throughout the day. We should not be more consumed with the completion of our to-do list than pleasing and glorifying the Savior. Whether we’re sitting down to map out our day, simplifying our to-do list, or receiving an interruption as a “sovereign delivery,” we must, above all, plan to depend.”

>Home again!

>Brian and I got home from Louisville, KY where we were attending New Attitude Tuesday night. We had a great time and were excited for the opportunity to attend this conference once again (neither of us had been there since getting married). Each session was filled with wonderful (and undistracted … something that rarely happens these days!) times of worship and outstanding preaching of the Word. I’d highly recommend listening to all 8 messages … you can head on over to Sovereign Grace Ministries where they are available to download for FREE! The theme this year revolved around Humble Orthodoxy and we heard preaching on how to use discernment in our lives. The speakers included Josh Harris, Mark Dever, Al Mohler, C.J. Mahaney, Eric Simmons and John Piper. The messages include:
~Discernment (Josh Harris)
~Discern Your Doctrine (Mark Dever)
~Discern Your Culture (Al Mohler)
~Discern Your Heart (C.J. Mahaney)
~Discern the Gray Matters (Eric Simmons)
~Discern What Pleases God: Himself (John Piper)
~Discern What Pleases God: Personal Obedience (John Piper)
~Discern How to Apply (C.J. Mahaney)
Piper’s second message on personal obedience was a highlight for both Brian and I. Piper has a way of putting things in a completely different perspective while preaching the word of God in classic Piper style. We have both returned with a greater awareness of what the gospel looks like being lived out in our every day lives.

“O to grace, how great a debtor, daily I’m constrained to be!” We are excited to listen to the messages again in the days to come as we seek to daily apply what we have learned by not only being hearers, but also doers of the Word.

Thanks Dad, Mom and Derek! We are so grateful for your willingness to serve us by having all 3 kiddos while we were away. They had a blast with you (Ok, so Sydney didn’t actually tell me that!) and have been telling me stories about everything they did! They especially liked picking strawberries … probably so that they can eat them! Thanks for sharing your garden with us!

It’s been nice getting back into the normal swing of things … although will definitely take a little more time! But thankfully our busy traveling schedule for the month of May is coming to an end (after Brian gets home from Michigan that is … he found out yesterday that he needed to fly there today)!

By the way, we finally got the pictures from the laptop loaded onto our computer last night … so be on the lookout for an OBX post with lots of pics coming up at some point today!

>Fearless Submission

>I came across this message given by John Piper on his blog. Titled The Beautiful Faith of Fearless Submission, he does a great job at explaining what scripture (his text is First Peter 3) has to say about submission, and as well focusing on what submission is not and what submission is.

I’d encourage you to head on over to his blog to check out his most recent sermon (you can read it or listen to it).

Here are some of his main points from the message that stood out to me …

Hope in God
The deepest root of Christian womanhood mentioned in this text is hope in God. “Holy women who hoped in God.” A Christian woman does not put her hope in her husband, or in getting a husband. She does not put her hope in her looks. She puts her hope in the promises of God. She is described in Proverbs 31:25: “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.” She laughs at everything the future will bring and might bring, because she hopes in God. She looks away from the troubles and miseries and obstacles of life that seem to make the future bleak, and she focuses her attention on the sovereign power and love of God who rules in heaven and does on earth whatever he pleases. She knows her Bible, and she knows her theology of the sovereignty of God, and she knows his promise that he will be with her and help her strengthen her no matter what. This is the deep, unshakable root of Christian womanhood. And Peter makes it explicit in verse 5. He is not talking about just any women. He is talking about women with unshakable biblical roots in the sovereign goodness of God—holy women who hope in God.

Mature Christian women know that following Christ will mean suffering. But they believe the promises like 1 Peter 3:14, “But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled,” and 1 Peter 4:19, “Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.”
That is what Christian women do: They entrust their souls to a faithful Creator. They hope in God. And they triumph over fear.

Internal Adornment
When a woman puts her hope in God and not her husband and not in her looks, and when she overcomes fear by the promises of God, this will have an effect on her heart: It will give her an inner tranquility. That’s what Peter means in verse 4 by “the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”

A Unique Kind of Submissiveness
That is a brief look at the portrait of the kind of woman Peter has in mind when he calls a woman to be submissive to her husband. Unshakeable hope in God. Courage and fearlessness in the face any future. Quiet tranquility of soul. Humble submission to her husband’s leadership.

The Goal: Everlasting Holy Joy
If our marriages are going to tell the truth about Christ and his church, we cannot be indifferent to the meaning of headship and submission. And let it not go without saying that God’s purpose for the church—and for the Christian wife who represents it—is her everlasting holy joy. Christ died for them to bring that about.