Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Celebrating Allison

I figured it was time to post about Alli, since I have been posting so many pictures of Elijah! Here she is with her loving Grandpa W., and as always, fingers in mouth! She cut her first tooth on Elijah's birthday, when she was just over 7 months old.
She loves to be in her saucer, although she is starting to appreciate the Jonny Jump-Up that I use only occasionally upstairs. Now that she has mastered jumping, she really goes to town!

After a lesson in crawling from her dad, she takes a rest on our bedroom floor. It makes me laugh when everyone is so excited for her to learn to crawl. I'm the one who will be chasing her all day and blocking the whole family in with gates on all the stairs! And the plants . . . I'm not looking forward to fighting that one again! But I know it will come soon enough!

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Eaglet

This isn't really a book review, I just wanted to inform you about a great tool to introduce children to Christ. "The Eaglet" is a small book written by Jim Elliff that I just received from my friend, Debbie. Jim came to our church last fall and I highly recommend his books as well as his articles that are on his ministry website Christian Communicators Worldwide.

"The Eaglet" tells the story of a newborn eagle who desperately wants to fly, but knows the warning of his father about dying if he does so too soon. It presents a great picture of God as our father and the saving work of Christ. The story is only 10 pages long (half of which are pictures) and then the book goes into a clear presentation of the gospel. Jim is very Reformed in his presentation, so don't worry about getting a "say a little prayer and you're in" gospel.

I have a lot of respect for the ministry of Jim Elliff. He publishes his own books and sells them at cost to him. His goal is not to make a profit from his writing, (in fact, most of his articles are free to download on the website) but to get the message into as many hands as possible.

At a later time I hope to write some posts regarding other books of Jim's that I have read. Until then, spend the $3.00 to get this one, and if you hope to combine shipping, ask me for those recommendations!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Motorcycle Man

This was, by far, Elijah's favorite birthday present. It is a bicycle with training wheels meant to look like a Harley. Appropriate, since we live in Wisconsin, don't you think?
We completed the look of a tough, motorcycle man with his sunglasses and a bandana on his head. He can ride the bike in a circle around our dining room table. We are allowing it now, since the bike hasn't seen the outdoors yet. But once spring is here and the tires touch asphalt, it will stay outside!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Happy Birthday, Elijah!

Exactly 3 years ago, my little man was born. After 17 hours of labor, 2 epidurals and finally a C-Section, all 10 ½ lbs. of him entered our world! I cannot believe how fast 3 years has gone, and I mean that. Yes, I know everyone says it, and I’m sure I’ve said it before, but NEVER before have 3 years gone so fast! And the changes that have transpired in that time! It is no trite expression to say that each life is truly a miracle.

We haven’t made a big deal about today being his birthday, since we celebrated with both of his grandparents last weekend. In his mind, he has been 3 for a few days now. We won’t be able to do this for many years before he catches on, but I am trying to avoid the predicament that Dan’s relatives have with their son who is convinced he is 2 years older because of multiple birthday parties in one year. Anyhow, it worked for this birthday.

He is such a big, little man these days. Still loves to cuddle and needs to be carried down the stairs after a nap, but fiercely independent in choosing his underwear every morning and in other such important areas. He has finally learned to put on his own shoes, which helps us out immensely! He loves to play cars and trucks and “little tractors” as well as pretend to be Superman. He is an amazing big brother. Sometimes I can’t believe he is actually part of me. Sometimes I can’t imagine loving him anymore than I already do.

Happy 3rd Birthday, buddy! I love you tons!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

First Book Review

One of my 2007 resolutions is to read more. Now granted, I will not be able to match Gretchen's record, and I'm not even going to try. I just want to budget my time better and to take advantage of those moments when both kids are sleeping and I don't know what to do with myself!

I asked for a couple of books for Christmas, and my sis-in-law, Jennifer, gave me both. I chose first to read "Humility, True Greatness" by C.J. Mahaney, because it looked like a quick read! Granted, it probably would have been if not for all the interruptions that we mothers routinely experience. It is only 170 (little) pages, but packed with great truths.

First, Mahaney makes the case for humility. Jumping off from the text of Isaiah 66:2, which says, "This is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word", he makes the case that true humility gets God's attention.

He then gives practical advice on how to develop humility, focusing on the greatness of God and His work for us on the cross to show us how deeply dependant we are.
I don't want to take away from you reading the book yourself, so I will highlight two aspects that really stuck out to me and one small disagreement.

He gives specific ways that we can dwell upon our need for God. One he mentions is sleep. What a great picture of our dependence on God. He states it this way:

"Many of us have never considered our sleep from God's perspective, though we profess to love and serve Him; our practice and perspective regarding sleep are no different from that of non-Christians. This needs to change.

"A Christian, informed and inspired by Scripture, views the cessation of work each day, the limitation God places upon work each day, and the laying down to sleep each night, as altogether a gift from God. A gift so graciously provided in His lavish generosity. And those who neglect this gift will inevitably suffer consequences. . .

"The fact is, God could have created us without a need for sleep. But He chose to build this need within us, and there's a spiritual purpose for it. Each night, as I confront my need again for sleep, I'm reminded that I'm a dependent creature. I am not self-sufficient. I am not the Creator. There is only One who "will neither slumber or sleep" (Psalm 121:4), and I am not that One."

As I read that passage one night before turning off the light to sleep, I thanked God for His gift of sleep and cherished it's rejuvenating effects.

He also highlights the necessity of "identifying evidences of grace" in others. What an act of humility to stop looking at ourselves and to give God the glory for how He is working in others. Mahaney uses the example of Paul, writing to the church in Corinth, and how he could have blasted them from here to eternity for the sin in their midst. Now he did deal with it, but only after he says, "I give thanks to my God always for you . . . because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus." (I Corinthians 1:4) When I fail to see God's work in another believer's life, and I only consistently see what they need to change, then I fail to be humble. Plain and simple.

I needed that point. It hit a little too close to home.

As a caveat, I do want to point out one small disagreement that I have with a point he makes. While speaking about responding humbly to trials, the author uses Habakkuk as an illustration of one who questions God and then learns to trust Him, even during a major trial. He then states,

"What promise has gone unfulfilled in your life so far? Marriage? Pregnancy? Healing? A particular promotion or position? Salvation for a loved one? Will you, like Habakkuk, quietly and humbly wait for God's fulfillment of His promise?" (p.145)

The application he makes is great. We should wait quietly and humbly before God for everything, but God never promises to give us a marriage, a child, or a job promotion. I just don't agree with the comparison of God's promises to Habakkuk and our desires for those things. That's all I could find to disagree with, so take it with a grain of salt. The book is still great and humility is something we all could cultivate more.

On a side note, Mahaney's writing style is very simple and conversational. So if you've struggled through an intensely deep and difficult book and want to know if it will be the same with this one, rest assured that it is truly an easy, yet important read.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Tagged 2x

I was tagged to take this survey by two of my fellow bloggers, both Rachel and Morning Rose. So here are my inspiring answers:

Donette's ABC's
A-available or single? No, happily married for 7 years!
B-best friend? Who else but my husband? I also have some very good girlfriends.
C-cake or pie? Usually pie, lemon and anything chocolate!
D-drink of choice? Coffee and Diet Coke are in a dead heat.
E-essential item I use everyday? besides the shower and toothbrush, probably my ceramic hair straightener and the internet.
F-favorite color? Red.
G-gummy bears or gummy worms? sour worms or bears. They just have to be sour.
H-hometown? Born in Normal, IL.
I-indulgence? The rare occasion that I get to spend some $ at Starbucks.
J-January or February? January, a month of rest after the busy holidays.
K-kids and names? Elijah 3, and Allison, 7 months.
L-life is incomplete without? God and family.
M-marriage date? August 14, 1999.
N-number of siblings? 2 - Kevin, my 37 year old brother and Erik, my 33 year old bro. In October we are all going to be in our 30's! AAAAHHHH!
O-oranges or apples? Apples, especially granny smiths.
P-phobias or fears? Centipedes and bats.
Q-favorite quote? “80% of statistics are made up." Mark Twain
R-reasons to smile? my kids!
S-season? Fall - all the warm-fuzzies.
T-tag 3 or 4 people: Everyone I know has done this already!
U-unknown fact about me? 29 years without a cavity.
V-vegetable you don't like? Peas.
W-worst habit? shameful to admit, but probably overeating.
X-extra special pet? Sadie our dog.
Y-your favorite food? Anything chocolate, and for a healthy answer, strawberries and raspberries.
Z-zodiac sign? scorpio, but does anyone care anymore?

Well, there you have it. 26 interesting tidbits about me. What about you?

Monday, January 15, 2007


How often have you described yourself as "blessed" or described America as "blessed by God"? How often do we pray God's "blessing"on so-and-so? This is a topic that came up in church yesterday, and the discussion blew my mind. It was one of those moments that made me take everything I believed about a topic and throw it out the window and start to look at what the Bible really teaches about being blessed and how I have (once again) been guilty of forming my theology from what I think instead of what the Bible says.

Let me quote some Scripture first:
Ephesians 1:3-6
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (emphasis mine)

Do you see what it says? We are blessed, past tense. We have already been blessed with every spiritual blessing that we need for life and godliness. So why do we pray for someone to be blessed more? They already have all the blessings they need!

I believe it is because we think possessions are blessings. Or peace and comfort. Ponder the starving believers in South Africa, or the persecuted church in China. We think we're blessed compared to them. We aren't suffering persecution or wondering where we will get our next meal. But does this mean we are more "blessed" than they are? Does God love us more than them?

Actually, we are blessed with the same spiritual blessings. My money and ease of life perpetually tempts me to trust myself or my husband's career instead of trusting God. Their lack of money perpetually tempts them to question "Where are you, God?" Really, which is more sinful?

In fact, our growth group leader was sharing about a book he read on the persecuted church in China (I wish I could tell you the name, I will if I find out!). It seems that the true church in China consistently prays for the American church. They perceive us to be infatuated with money and possessions and wonder how it is we can claim the name of Christ while loving our money. So we pray that they might have an easier life and they pray that we wouldn't have such an easy life. Ironic, isn't it?

Stop and take a moment to thank God for giving us all spiritual blessings and then stop and think next time before you pray that someone would be "blessed." Dwell on how blessed we are in Christ, instead of in our possessions.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Kitchen Gadgets

Any of my friends who know me well can attest to my love of kitchen gadgets. A Pampered Chef kitchen party is like Christmas to me. There is always some kitchen aid that I think I need to make my life of cooking easier, (see this post) and my favorite channel on TV is the Food Network. If ever challenged by my hubby on how many gadgets I need, my customary answer is "These are my tools, just like you have tools in your workshop. No, I don't use them everyday, but when I am doing a specific job, they make it easier." So all of that to say, I just got 2 new tools for my kitchen!
I had some gift certificates from Christmas for Kohl's and I finally bought myself an electric can opener! Since I have started doing the "once a month cooking" thing (which reminds me, I must write a post about that!) I end up opening dozens of cans and quite often get quite the hand cramp from it! It probably doesn't sound like that much of a specialty tool, but I've never had one and I am really excited about it!
My other kitchen tool was quite the find. I was at Sam's Club and found a beautiful Cuisinart coffee grinder that stores the beans before it grinds them. Normally a $50 appliance, Sam's Club had it for only $30! I couldn't pass it up and have been enjoying the even grinding of my favorite coffee every morning since.
I thought all you "kitchen geeks" would enjoy hearing about my purchases!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

New Pictures

Alli is getting better at sitting up, but seconds after this was shot, she toppled over! It amazes me that the girl is ALWAYS smiling, but the second you put a camera in her face, she gets very serious. I'm sure one day she'll figure out how to be a ham!

New Year's Eve at Grandma and Grandpa's house in MN. Just home from church and serious once again!
You'd think I bought Elijah the IPod as much as he wants to listen to it. Don't worry, the volume is very low! His favorite song to listen to is Veggie Tales singing "Joshua fought the battle of Jericho." When he asks to listen to "Jericho" is sounds strangely like "Cherry Coke."

Elijah is playing in the shell of what will become his toybox.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Candy Cane idea

I saw this idea on a morning show around Christmas, (can't remember which one) and I tried it this morning with great results!
If you have leftover candy canes, grind them up in your cleaned coffee grinder. It will make a powder-like substance that flavors your coffee or tea wonderfully! I put some in my morning coffee and absolutely loved it! I don't drink tea, so I can only assume it would be as good there. But either way, it is a great way to use up all those candy canes from Christmas!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

15 Minutes (or seconds)

In the world of blogging, it is always a cool thing when someone else links to a post you have written. I do it all the time to other blogs, but since mine is relatively unread, I don't ever expect anyone to notice anything I write. I doubt most other blogs really care that I mention them, either. But Pyromaniacs made my day on Sunday when I checked out their site and discovered that I had been blogspotted by them! Since thousands of people read Pyro, it was definately a boost to my blogging self-esteem. This probably only means that, if I'm lucky, a few Pyro readers will stop by to see what I said in the post mentioned, then forget they ever even visited here, since pictures of our kids aren't that interesting to anyone who doesn't know us. Either way, I count this as my 15 minutes, or more likely seconds, of fame.