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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Last Days... (serious post without pics)

Unfortunately, the events of recent days in my life have brought an increased awareness of how we are living in the last days...

11And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. Matthew 24:11-13

I always knew that this world wasn't a "safe" place for those who would follow hard after God. But I am such an idealist who "believes the best" about everyone (to a fault at times and the wisdom of the years has helped me to be more discerning) and so I naively believed that those that have been my good friends would stay "true" to Him. In the recent knowledge that a good friend has turned away from Christ, I have been reflecting a lot on these days in which we live and the phrase from the above passage the love of many will grow cold has struck a deep chord within me.

How does our love grow cold? This passage begins by warning of false prophets who arise and lead many astray...But, is it because they are led astray that their love grows cold, or is it the other way around? I have to believe that love slowly grows colder from its white hot "on fire" state and then we open ourself up to a wayward heart and in thus losing the clarity of the Voice of the Great Shepherd we are prey to wolves.

There is also the suggestion of lawlessness and the same question arises: Does lawlessness cause love to grow cold or does love (slowly) growing cold(er) breed lawlessness? Again, I believe it is the latter especially when one considers how Christ declared the greatest commandment to be "to LOVE the Lord Our God with all of our hearts, minds, souls and strength...". So, letting love grow cold takes all meaning out of the law of God given out of His great love for us as He faithfully parents us as we are strangers and aliens in this world.

And so how do we avoid our love growing cold? While the disciplines of relationship (such as a marriage) are such an element of it, just as a marriage isn't bound by its disciplines, neither is our love for God. We surrender ourselves to the God supremely displayed in Christ and purpose to keep Him who walked in this perilous world and faced it head on to redeem every last bit of us-- ever before us. We take long looks at a Saviour whose love for us is not an infinite pile of wishful thinking, but rather, God in all his holiness coming to us and being sufficient for every broken place both within us and displayed around us. We ask Him to shine the light on every dark place knowing that His power and love are greater than a darkness that cannot understand Him and that he will take our darkness and make it wholly His and holy indeed. We gaze upon Him ever more and allow His voice to speak clearly above the inundating noise of this world. We also allow Him to be God and to hold for Heaven mysteries that we aren't meant to understand here and now, but simply trust...

It is my deepest prayer as I walk these days, for all I have loved and known a sweet fellowship in Christ with, that you would "endure to the end" as you gaze ever upon Him.

Memorial Day Memories

James' first turn with a croquet mallet...he was a natural and didn't threaten the lives of others right away (wink, wink)

I hadn't played croquet in years and it is a happy family memory when my siblings and I used to be all together and we'd spend days like this was very fun!

JJ took his first ride in a bike trailer. It was our neighbor Mike's and his son Mikey wanted to ride in it with JJ. JJ was "chillin'" as usual and he and Mikey were buddies in there. How cute!

JJ loves doggies and this was a big one...maybe SOMEDAY (far away) we'll have a dog...we'll see.

Jared, JJ and I went for a walk at the Perkiomen Trail and I ran into an old high school friend that I hadn't seen in 15 years!!! How cool is that?? was so nice to snap some shots afterwards with JJ!

James was given neighbor Mikey's old bike and now they are eyeing each other up in the bikes... "Hey, wanna drag race??"

We tried on this loppy beach hat and thought JJ looked SO CUTE in it!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Lots o' pics from Saturday's picnic

So many pics...we just couldn't stop taking pictures of our adorable baby boy with family...

His first graham cracker...we think he likes them!
Joseph likes to PUSH!
Tio Jason and cousin James in the hammock... a definite favorite!
JJ loves his Tia Maribel and giving her eskimo kisses...HOW SWEET!
JJ's first roasted marshmallow...well, almost...we let him get close, but not eat yet
Happy Hammock Boy!!
I was so afraid it would tip and he would fall so I'm hangin' on!

Look Dad!!! JJ already likes John Deere tractors!!

Tio Jason taking JJ down the slide...
Daddy's "sac o' potatoes" hold...always a winner!
WWWoooaaahhhhh horsie!!

Our "joy of life" BABY BOY!!

Make new friends, but keep the old...

one is silver and the other's GOLD!
We had a great time as a family visiting with old friends of the Allemans from years's so neat how "in the Lord" we can pick up where we left off and enjoy great fellowship, even after years of not seeing each there any greater riches than relationships??

The Wrights have four children from age 14 to age 21 months! Here is the baby, Joseph, who is just a couple months younger than James. The little John Deere tractor push/ride toy was quite a hit and quite difficult to share! Notice James' haircut! He looks so old!!

Blessed by the Bells

On Friday evening, Jared, JJ and I had the awesome privilege of spending an evening with our dear friends the Bells. I actually first knew Julie when she roomed with my older sister, Kristen, their freshman year of college (20 years ago!!). Then Jared knew them as Jeremy was the Youth Pastor at our church when Jared was in college and after college as Jared came home and volunteered with the youth. Jeremy officiated at our wedding and did our pre-marital counseling. Incidentally, they were instrumental in connecting us with the ministry in Hungary through Campus Crusade. It was Jeremy who asked Zach & Julie to come to the youth group at our church. They have four beautiful children that we adore: Eli, Ethan, Rachel and Micah. They are such a great family. We had so much fun laughing and picking Jeremy and Julie's brains about balancing ministry and family life...they are a treasure to us. We love you all!!

JJ "livin' it up" with the women (l-r Eli, Rachel and Julie)
Ethan making JJ laugh!! (we tried to get a video of it, but he didn't laugh:-/)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Close cousins

My sister, Kristen, gave her Sit-n-stand stroller to my brother-in-law, Jason and his wife, Maribel who are expecting their second. JJ, James, Jared and I tested it out on the beautiful day that was my birthday...It seems like I'm keeping my camera really close these days because each of these times is so precious...

Ever-the-ham, James wanted to wear JJ's hat (which used to be his, does he remember??) and just stuck that tongue out as I was taking the picture.

OKAY, even the impartial eye says, "SO CUTE!!"

Just one of many sweet moments between these two during this walk. JJ adores his big cousin and we think it's mutual as James would lean down and kiss JJ and we would find JJ gazing up at James...we hope that they grow up feeling more like brothers than cousins...

Bible Study friends

One of so many treasures on this support-raising journey is the sweet Bible Study group that I have been blessed to be a part of...I have learned so much from and grown through these friendships!! I hope we can rendezvous in Florida soon!

JJ and his buddy Joel were getting re-aquainted.
Leah and Aidan (sorry for the sideways), two Bible Study kids, running around together

Classic moment of getting four of us(we are missing Rebecca) with the kids, ALL past their bedtime!! Somehow I managed to look at the camera...

Singing "today (actually yesterday) is your birthday!!!"...

WELL IT'S MY BIRTHDAY TOO!!! How many of you can sing that song to someone you truly loved and who has shared every birthday with you?? Wow, well I'm sure not many, if any, because it's definitely the song for TWINS!!! My very first blessing that each birthday brings, here are some others:

  • the joy of reflecting on another year of God's faithfulness
  • the awesome privilege of a sweet, beautiful husband to greet me on my birthday morning with a heartfelt card that almost brought me to tears
  • the amazing service of a mother and father-in-law who would work together to make me a special "birthday dinner"
  • a BABY BOY to share a birthday with! (he turned 9 months!!)
  • the sweet shower of "HAPPY BIRTHDAYS" from friends near and far...
and the list goes on and blessed that I almost forgot that I turned 34!! Who turns 34? and is still considered "young"...well, I sure hope that's me:-)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Video of JJ giggling (again, but it's new!)

JJ was cracking all of us up tonight as he was cracking up at "Mom Mom" (or more recently named, MiMi). She was playing peek-a-boo, but before she could even get herself down below the chair arm to "hide", he would already start cracking up. It was sooo funny!!

Pictures galore...

A sampling of the past few days in random order...

Jared with his beautiful, tiny niece, Layna (I can see him with a daughter, can you?)
Singing "The Wise Man builds his house upon the rock..." with nephew turned into a blessed memory of family devotions that we intend to weave into our little family.
My beautiful baby boy sleeping...always priceless
JJ with dear friend Jess' baby girl...already going after the older women, just like his daddy:-)
Can we say "ADORABLE"???
Chillin' with PopPop Keener...but not for long!
Jason and family at our birthday dinner to celebrate Mom A's birthday!
From our trip to New Jersey this weekend!!!
The twins: Layna (left) and Judah (right) on their 2 month birthday!!!
Mom Mom feeding JJ
Looks like Mom Mom's aim is a little off!
Cami eating strawberries like her Mom did in her "um berrs" days...
another sweet sleeping picture...
Here's JJ with two older women!
Hayley and Brynne--Jess' two daughters. I have to say he has GREAT taste!!