Saturday, October 4, 2008

Field Trip: Western Michigan

A couple of weekends ago we had the privilege of spending all day Friday in South Haven, Michigan with our dear friends the Abazis. We met the Abazi's five years ago in Stevenson Ranch, California. We were attending the same church and learned that we lived in the same condominium complex. We shared dinner together and the rest is history...they grew to be our very dear friends, we shared several holidays together, many game nights, and a plethora of rich memories. Darien finished his seminary training in California and the Abazi's welcomed their first child, Tommy, around that time we both knew we were called in different direction. Each of our families hoped and prayed that we would remain in touch and that one family would not be left behind in California for too long without the other. Well, in God's providence we each relocated within a few weeks of one another. The Abazi's are in Detroit, Michigan now and welcomed their second child, Sarah, a day after Noelle's third birthday.
Since our move to Racine, we have been able to see the Abazi's on three occassions. Even though the amount of time we get to spend together pales in comparison to our California days, they are the type of friends we pick right up with where we last left off. We thank God for them and can't wait until our next time together!

A Fresh Start to the Year (Academic Year)

September 2nd kicked off our official start to the academic year. My post is a month past due but better late than never.

After much thoughtful and prayerful consideration, we decided to keep Luke at home for school this year. Last year Darien encouraged me to trial "school" with Luke to see if we could establish a pattern to build on in a more formal manner this year. After establishing routines and "house rules" for our school time we aim together to remain diligent and faithful to exercising our minds and gaining practical wisdom. I am really thankful for Darien's forethought and wisdom in encouraging me to work with Luke last year; it has really made the transition to more formal education easy.

Luke commenced kindergarten this year (actually he is doing a combine first grade and kindergarten program). Luke really enjoys learning and has demonstrated a strong capacity to retain knowledge; like his dad. Luke's favorite subject is math and it rivals closely with recess.

Noelle too is starting a program that teaches phonics/reading/writing and a math book. Somedays Noelle enjoys sitting in on Luke's science, history, music, and art; she never misses recess though.

One of the true benefits and blessings of schooling the kids at home this year has been the weekly opportunity to build in life skills like visiting an elderly person, writing notes to our friends, cooking meals together and doing special baking projects, holding educational playdates (we learned about our skeleton last month with some friends), learning/singing a new song each week, memorizing theological truths (catechisms), and being able to pick up and go visit friends in another state during the week.

I never, never imagined five years ago that I would be schooling the kids at home. However, for this season the Lord has led us in this direction and it is a true gift.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Goodbye Chicken Pox!

Over the past month our two girls experienced bouts of chicken pox; we elected not to give the girls vaccinations for the pox but allow them time to get it on their own and ensure life-long immunity. We are glad they both got the pox at a young age; in fact, young enough that they both may not even remember it.

Luke was vaccinated at his first birthday and ended up not getting it; he did well encouraging his sisters and hanging in there with our house bound routine. We were particularly thankful that the timing of the pox came when we had several out of town family visitors in our home; Aunt Erlina and Grandma and Grandpa Bowers were here for seperate visits during our pox outbreaks.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Foolishness vs. Wisdom

I don't need to teach my children to open their mouths and reveal the grotesque nature of food half chewed, become acquainted with bodily noises and use them to gain their peers attention, or use harsh words or even fists to win a fight with a sibling. God's Word reminds us that "foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child..."; in other words it will be our childrens natural inclination to chase after silly, foolish things. God's Word also remind us of the seriousness of this inherent desire to run hard after foolishness: Proverbs 16:25 says that "There is a way that seems right to man, but its end is the way of death."

In our home we are running hard after wisdom! God promises to give wisdom when we ask for it; like a father delights in giving good gifts to his son. Where on earth can we find this type of wisdom that rebukes the folly of the soul left to itself? God's Word give us a narrow road for acquiring such wisdom; it starts with fearing the Lord (Psalm 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever). Reading God's Word, meditating on it, memorizing it and applying it to every day life through the power of the Holy Spirit cultivates such wisdom (Psalm 119). Thirdly, God help us to be righteous parents who walk in integrity so that our children may see a godly example (Prov. 20:7).

Some may say, let kids be kids; these are normal stages they all go through. I agree with only half of that; these are normal stages of sin manifesting itself early unbridled by social norms and mores and devoid of God's Spirit in their lives. It is never too early to input godly wisdom that debunks the cultural low expectations for children. Proverbs 20:11 reminds us "Even a child is known by his deeds, whether what he does is pure and right." By God's grace and mercy may Luke, Noelle and Taryn follow hard after God's wisdom at an early age.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Happy 5th Birthday Luke!

Luke turned five on July 29th! Wow, it seems like just yesterday he came into our lives and yet the years between have been filled with many memories. Five seems like a pivitol age in many respects. The toddler and preschool years are left behind as one embarks on the school age years. Our time with Luke under our roof is God willing already a fourth of the way past. We rejoice in the fullness of these past five years and wait expectantly on the Lord to see how He matures Little Luke into a man who fears Him.

On the evening of Luke's birthday, Darien led our family in a devotional from the passage below:

Proverbs 2:1-10 "My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul"

As Luke's parents our sincere desire is that he would grow into a boy who loves the Lord and looks to God's Word for instruction in all knowledge and wisdom.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

God's Good Gifts

" Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped.
Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong." Job 1:20-22
These are Job's words after losing his livelihood and all his children and grandchildren.

Last week in Sunday School Darien taught a "biblical one-liner" on Job 1:20-22. The past week afforded many opportunities to reflect in renewed and abundant thankfulness for the many good, unmerited gifts God has given. When each of us were born we "popped out" (Noelle's terms) with nothing on and devoid of any possessions. Within moments of our entry we were lavished with love and affection from our parents, given gifts such as toys, clothing, and other infant paraphenalia. Nourishment and a place to call home came without our earning it or deserving it and God has kept on giving for these many, many years.

The more compelling thing I was challenged with in looking at Job's example of many losses and his God honoring response was how he responded to the wonderful, abundant God-given gifts being taken away. Are the gift that God has given mine to keep? How tightly do I grip these gifts? If our dwelling place burnt down, our child was diagnosed with terminal illness or injury, my physical or mental capacities were crippled, or Darien was called home to glory...what would my response be? Would I, like Job, grieve and in my grief worship God for His immutable goodness? Would my heart turn to seeing these wonderful gifts as returning to their Author and Provider.

Below are some pictures of God's good gifts from the past couple months (sorry I fell off the face of blogspot for a while):