Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Works in the Life of a Christian

(This was the basis of a paper for graduate school.)

Works are not needed for salvation. Salvation can only come through faith in Jesus Christ and the saving grace his death and resurrection provide.  But what do works mean for a Christian?  It is said that “faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:17).  What is the purpose of these works for a Christian?

Matthew 5 might be the most important reason for good works given in the Bible. Its summary is here: “Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven” (Matt 5:16, The Message).    What we have here is servant evangelism.  It is not some new, modern way of doing evangelism.  This is what Jesus taught.  Investing in people’s lives allows the non-believers to “meet” Jesus in a completely loving way.  Today, perhaps more than ever, this is an especially important part of being a Christian.  Doing good works for others may give you the opportunity to share the gospel with someone who is untrusting or dissatisfied with religion.  Showing that you truly care opens their hearts to hearing the truth.  By investing in others, you are potentially growing the Kingdom.

Encourage BelieversHebrews 10:24 tells us that we are to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”  Another reason for works is to encourage fellow believers.  By raking the leaves of an elderly widow, bringing dinner to a grieving family, watching a sick friend’s children…by doing this things you are reminding them in a tangible way that Jesus is with them.  While it may be your body that is doing these works , it is Jesus within you that spurs you to compassion, to put love in action.

Future Reward
In 1 Timothy 6, Paul is telling better to instruct the believers to do good works. “Command them do do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share” (1 Tim 6:18). Paul continues that good works are important because in doing them they are laying up “treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age” (1 Tim 6:19).

A by-product of good works is a future, heavenly reward. Luke 6:35 says, “Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.”   In Mark 9:41, we are told that if we give “a cup of water in (Jesus’) name” because we “belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.”  Matthew 6 also tells us that we will receive rewards for giving to the needy, praying for others, and fasting.  These treasures will be bestowed in heaven.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I’ve Been Reading

I have been a reading machine lately.  I guess that is what happens when you finish the term up a week ahead of schedule. So instead of just a one week Fall Break, mine is two!  Yeah for me!! 

One of my 100x40 goals is to read 100 books.  Here’s my progress so far:
  1. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien – Started way before my birthday, but finished after. So it counts.  At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it, but I did.  It is interesting to pick up little bits of things that go along with LOTR.  I still have no idea how they plan on stretching this book into three movies.  But the first trailer looks pretty good.
  2. Seven by Jen Hatmaker – You’ll be hearing more about this one. A lot more.
  3. My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife by Sara Horn – I liked it in that, to me, it read like a novel. I didn’t like it in that I was expecting it to be more of a “How to Be" book.  But it was interesting to look someone else’s take on the whole Proverbs 31 girl.
  4. Almost Amish by Nancy Sleeth - Let me tell you a little bit about that last one.  Don’t you just love this cover??  It just screams, “Pick me up and read me!”
almost amish
Almost Amish is the true-story of how one Christian family took inspiration from how the Amish community lives and applied these principles in their own family. This book covers everything from technology and family to money and faith.  Nancy Sleeth shares how her family adopted practices from the Amish into their modern, “English” lives.
The main idea behind the book was Nancy’s quest for a simpler, slower life.  This led the family to downsizing their home, planting a garden, buying locally, and embracing their community.  There wasn’t one thing that I didn’t like about this book.  It actually left me wanting to be Nancy’s neighbor. 
I want to fully embrace the principles in this book.  While reading, my mind often wandered to the life I had dreamed about for myself in high school.   What I once wanted and what I now want are two completely different lives.  I once wanted a busy, glamorous life.  Now I crave an Almost Amish life.  17-year-old me never would have dreamed that I would be canning homegrown food in my 30s.  Especially not when I should have been racing with my briefcase to my next meeting on Capitol Hill.  High school me would never believe that my first sewing project was a quilt that I completed all by myself.  Not only that, but I want to learn to make actual clothes. 
Almost Amish is not about trading in your SUV for a horse and buggy (although with these gas prices, one might consider it).  It is not about unplugging completely from the grid.  It is about balancing our dependency on technology so we can engage more fully with our families and communities.  It is about taking better care of our environment.  It is about putting God in the center of our world and putting our faith into everything we do.  I encourage you to read it.  It will make you think and question and, quite possible, make some changes in the way you live.
(Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.)

Monday, September 24, 2012

32 Goals Wrap-Up

Times up on the 32 goals! Completed goals are in purple. Those with progress made are in red. Here’s how I finished:

My 32nd Year Goals
1. Save $1000 – I have the $. I just need to go and open a savings account.
2. Donate blood – Got my donor card in the mail the other day.
3. Read the entire Bible – Didn’t happen. Definitely on the next list.
4. Weigh 150 lbs. – LOL
5. Dress more girly – I think I am doing this. Most days I’m even wearing a little mascara & eyeliner.
6. Finish my bedroom – Didn’t happen. But I’ve written a list of things needed to be done to complete this.
7. Finish Oh! Shoot class – Nope
8. Finish Portraits class -  Nope
9. Visit a new state – Nope, though we did entertain the idea of going to Delaware…until we found that there is not much to really do in Delaware.
10. Make a pumpkin pie – Sure did!
11. Take 10,000 pictures –  I don’t have all my pictures upload from the camera. But I think I got close to 3/4 done.
12. Learn song on my guitar – Guitar string still broke : (
13. Fix supper 2x a week – I’ve been doing some cooking here lately. Made some pork chops last week and Chicken Parmesan tonight.  Did up the chicken for chicken enchiladas later in the week.  Progress, people : )
14. Finish Emmy’s 2nd year book – Done
15. Do Daily December book – Got plans together for this year’s book.
16. Start Project Life – Done!
17. Read 20 books – Almost finished with The Hobbit. It’s been a much easier read than the LOTR.

  1. I Still Believe by Jeremy Camp (which I read completely on my birthday)
  2. Middle School Ministry Made Easy (for school)
  3. Courageous
  4. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  5. 7 Practices of Effective Ministry by Andy Stanley (for school)
  6. The Castle in the Attic (read w/ my 4th graders)
  7. The Hunger Games
  8. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
  9. Among the Hidden (read w/ my 4th graders)
  10. The Help
  11. The Search Committee
  12. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  13. The Lucky One
  14. The Vow
  15. Among the Hidden (read w/ my 4th graders)
  16. Catching Fire
  17. Jane Eyre
  18. Mockingjay
  19. Stand By Me (a House of Hope book)
  20. That’s Why I’m Here by Chris Spielman
  21. The Last Song
  22. Safe Haven
  23. Roadside Assistance
  24. Among the Imposters (to read w/ my 4th graders this year)
  25. A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning (1 of the kids said I had to try it.)
  26. Mrs. Kennedy and Me
18. Watch 20 movies – Done!
  1. The Grace Card
  2. Madea’s Big Happy Family
  3. Little Fockers
  4. 12 Dates of Christmas
  5. Something Borrowed
  6. Flypaper
  7. Water for Elephants
  8. Courageous
  9. Miracle of the Cards
  10. Crazy Stupid Love
  11. Breaking Dawn
  12. Abduction
  13. The Smurfs
  14. National Treasure: Book of Secrets
  15. She’s the Man
  16. Alice in Wonderland
  17. The Hangover
  18. In Time
  19. Hunger Games
  20. The Help
  21. The Way
  22. Footloose (2011 version)
  23. The Muppets
  24. Like Crazy
  25. A Warrior’s Heart
  26. Jane Eyre
  27. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
  28. The Vow
  29. Footloose (the Kevin Bacon version)
  30. Soul Surfer
  31. Good Deeds
  32. New Year’s Eve
  33. The Lucky One
  34. Mirror, Mirror
  35. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
19. Complete 5/K – Going to start training
20. Try 12 new recipes – Done!
  1. Loaded Baked Potato Soup
  2. Homemade bread – failed
  3. Apple Pie
  4. Pumpkin Pie
  5. Pumpkin Fudge – failed
  6. Buckeyes
  7. Homemade Pop Tarts – for Christmas Eve brunch
  8. Green Monster Spinach Smoothie (it actually is not as bad as it sounds)
  9. Hawaiian Sweet Roll Ham Sandwiches – for the Super Bowl
  10. Mexicorn Dip – for the Super Bowl
  11. Wendy’s Chili – tasted just like Wendy’s chili
  12. Corn & Potato Chowder – it was ok. I guess I’m not a chowder girl.
  13. Crockpot Pork Chops
  14. Chicken Parmesan
21. Daily prayer time – Got my prayer book ready
22. Go camping – Went camping with the Fords at Dillon a couple weekends ago. We had a great time!
23. Make an apple pie – Got apples to make another one with Emmy this weekend…yum!
24. Sew a skirt – got the material to make a few, actually.
25. Build craft armoire
26. Make 10 crafty things – Ok, so I had to stretch to make this goal complete. In my defense, 32 was an extremely busy year for me.  A new job. Grad school was tough, especially five classes squeezed into 14 weeks this summer…I still can’t believe I survived that!
  1. Christmas quilt for Maggie
  2. Christmas quilt for Cooper
  3. Christmas quilt for Emmy
  4. Baby blanket for Peyton
  5. Pigeon T-shirt for Emmy’s birthday
  6. Glitter Christmas ornaments
  7. Quilt top (that’s counting, ok…don’t judge me)
  8. Emmy’s 2nd year book (yep, I’m counting it on this list twice)
  9. Ohio State-M*ch*gan book 2.0
  10. Made a card for Scott for Father’s Day (so counts…I had to upload the picture)
  11. Mini Moo Cards
27. Do 10 things I’ve never done before – What I’ve found I love about this goal is when my sister reminds me that something could be added to this list. It makes me happy that she helps me with this.
  1. Be a gym teacher & music teacher (I filled in a class each)
  2. Cooked pumpkins and then froze the meat.
  3. Went to a midnight movie premiere…The Hunger Games with Nick & the Schaumleffels.
  4. Hair professionally colored.
  5. Climbed a lighthouse.
  6. Gave blood (so counts for 2 goals!)
  7. Went and saw Danette finish Pelotonia ‘12
  8. Purchased season ticket for high school football (brother is playing)
  9. Ate at Tlaquepaque.
  10. Ate asparagus that I planted myself the year before.
  11. Cut nearly 10” of hair off and donated it to Pantene’s wig program.
28. Mani &/or pedi – nope : (
29. Start living room makeover – Painted the walls is as far as I got. But I’ve totally written down a plan to get this done.
30. Be intentional with my time – This I think I’ve done better with.  I think my overwhelming summer helped me see how important time is.
31. Clean/organize the basement – Bean got a little bit done. Hoping we can work together and get this done.
32. Clean out the garage – haven’t done anything since it was discussed.
I completed 14 and made some progress on 7 others. I’m happy with it. I think that was great for the crazy busy year I ended up having. And look at the book list…what I did there was not easy. The Lord of the Rings trilogy was difficult and then I also read Jane Eyre. Bonus points?  Those that didn’t get done have been moved over to my new list. And I’m so excited about sharing my next set of goals! 

Monday, June 18, 2012

the one where I climb a lighthouse

The first time I went to the Outer Banks in September 2001, I fell in love with the Hatteras Lighthouse. I’ve since been to the Bodie Island Lighthouse and one in Florida (Sanibel perhaps?). But I have never went inside one. That changed today.

We are in Virginia Beach this week. I had never been to the Cape Henry Lighthouse.  We decided today to go and check it out. Emmy was too short to go up so Todd stayed behind with her. There is actually two lighthouses.  The old one – which is the first lighthouse that the US built – and the new one across the street that still lights the way to the entrance of the Chesapeake Bay.
        2012 Jun 18_7151Bean in the doorway to the lighthouse. 
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Bean after seeing the stairs – what did we get ourselves into???
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We made it to the top!
Now here’s how to get back down.  First go down this small set of spiral stairs:
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Then you have this crazy ladder:
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Stop to take a picture in the window.
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Proceed down this crazy spiral staircase that never seems to end.
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Take a second to cool off. The breeze through this window is so nice.
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Here’s another look at the staircase that made you a little dizzy going up. It is so much fun to have to pass someone on these steps.  The trip back down is so much easier.
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We made it back down!
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Well, who would have guessed? There was a sign on the way up that Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock and I think John Jay & Thomas Jefferson also were volunteer firefighters.
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Bean, Emmy & Todd with the New & Old Cape Henry Lighthouses.

Here’s two things I learned today: 1. Even though they allow it, you probably shouldn’t wear flip flops while climbing up the wrought iron stairs of a lighthouse that is over 200 years old.  2. If you or anyone with you is wearing an Ohio State shirt, everyone will talk to you. And I mean everyone – from the military police checking your car for weapons (the lighthouses are on Fort Story) to the people you meet at the top of the lighthouse to that ladies sitting on the bench at the beach front playground to the people in the elevator.  Bean said that everyone seems to have an Ohio connection.  Well, duh – we are the heart of it all!  LOL

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

just a couple completed projects

I spray painted some flower pots last summer, but never planted anything in them.  They were just your basic terra cotta pots in varying sizes.  Some are this pretty turquoise and some are a basic black.  Emmy helped me plant a few of them Memorial Day weekend. I like the punch of color these give the front porch.

2012 May 28_6917

My step-cousin had a baby boy a couple months ago and I finally mailed out this blanket I made Baby Peyton. I’ve had it done for well over a month…oops. Hopefully, he’ll get to enjoy it for a little bit.  It has been pretty cold here.  This was the first blanket I have ever made and I was very intimidated by it.  But I think it turned out pretty good. I followed this tutorial.

Emmy wanted to help me out. She had just gotten up.

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I got this fabric at I thought it was pretty cute for a baby boy.
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The backside has this light brown flannel.  I love how the dark brown stitching pops on it.
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Friday, February 17, 2012

Lord, I Lift Your Name on High

This praise song was in my head one morning last week as I got ready for work. It got me thinking about the scripture behind this chorus. So I looked some up.  Sometimes I think we just get used to the words and don’t think about what they are really saying.

Lord, I lift your name on high
Hallelujah! You who serve God, praise God! Just to speak his name is praise!  - Psalm 113:1-3
Lord, I love to sing your praises
Come, let's shout praises to God, raise the roof for the Rock who saved us! Let's march into his presence singing praises, lifting the rafters with our hymns!  - Psalm 95:1-3
I'm so glad you are in my life
The God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this very day… - Genesis 48:11
I'm so glad you came to save us.
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. – Titus 3:4-7
You came from heaven to earth, to show the way
I came down from heaven not to follow my own whim but to accomplish the will of the One who sent me. – John 6:36
From the earth to the cross, my debt to pay
Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we're a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth. – Ephesians 1:7-10
From the cross to the grave, from the grave to the sky
After his death, he presented himself alive to them in many different settings over a period of forty days. In face-to-face meetings, he talked to them about things concerning the kingdom of God…As they watched, he was taken up and disappeared in a cloud. They stood there, staring into the empty sky. – Acts 1
Lord I lift your name on high.
I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. – Psalm 63:4