Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Pics




We picked up some one dollar swords at Target and thrilled Isaiah to the depths of his heart. He battled every male that walked through the door last week and some of the battles got pretty bloody. Uncle Greg lost an arm and Uncle Chris even lost his head... but they continued to battle, die-hard warriors they are. Very inspiring to our boy.


We were so glad the newlyweds were able to make it all the way to Wyoming to be with us for Christmas. Auntie Amy, you are a precious friend and sister! And it was a great treat to be able to get to know Andrew more over the course of the week. We're so glad you two are together!


Auntie Heather, we love that beautiful bump on you! Can't wait to meet your April baby girl! I love the above shot of you and Lilli.
Lilliana got a hair styling kit for Christmas and was willing to share with Marian so the girls could give Grandma a makeover together.
Who found this PJ set for Chris in the first place? The women in the family have had to squeeze tight when he puts it on and adorns the front yard with his gracefulness and class.

Uncle Curt was instantly in for Isaiah... hardly an introduction was needed before Isaiah was convinced this guy is the real deal. One more super cool uncle.

Auntie Barb, you're a favorite to all of us! Thanks for being so cool and having such a great family that we get to be connected with because you're Grandma's sister. We love you.
(sorry for the goofy underlining- I can't get it off!)


So fun to get more time with you, dear Mrs. M! Thanks for coming all this way with your hubby and thanks for loving on our kids :)


Thanks for the superman flight-time, Garrett! It was great to get to hear from you, and for the brothers to Risk-battle you too!
Hungry Hippos is Isaiah's favorite game to play.... besides a sword battle of course. So fun to play with you, cousin Emily! Please come visit us Emily :)

The girls enjoyed pushing their strollers through the stocking-bags.
Grandpa and John, figuring out that John's head is waaaay to large for this cutesy little hat.
There you are "Big Boy John", (as Isaiah called you when he prayed for you last night) holding our baby boy John. We were so glad to get to play with you too!

The kids have also enjoyed some fantastic tea parties with grandma in the past week or so.... and it's so special to have their cousin Lilliana in on the sweets too.
But watch out... there's a lion in these parts. Grandma got really scared when she was roared at!

Our big little guy is decently into his mushy "solids"... no Christmas cookies this year.

from Titus

Christians, let us...

be hospitable,
love what is good,
be self-controlled,
upright,
holy and disciplined....
let us hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught,
so that we can encourage others by sound doctrine
and refute those who oppose it.

...Jesus Christ gave himself for us
to redeem us from all wickedness and
to purify for himself a people that are his very own,
eager (zealous- ESV) to do what is good.

Titus 1:8-9, 2:14

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Dear Friends,

We wish you joy in this season: fullness in the only lasting, all-surpassing joy of Christ. We really enjoy hearing about you and seeing your photos this time of year. If you could email us, (or if you have a card, you could send it to Matt's parents this year) we'd love to hear from you!

This has been a full year for us. Finishing language study late spring/summer, welcoming our third precious little one, packing up our home and traveling the states all fall until now. This has been a remarkably blessed and joyful season for us, and only God can be credited for keeping us sane, let alone so glad! We've visited dozens of friends and stayed in 20 homes in the past 4 months, with three kiddos 3.75 and under. God has made it a season of rich growth, needed heart lessons (see future posts for more on this), and lots of laughter and fun for all of us.

We're so grateful to get to enjoy time with family for Christmas and New Years this year. And we're really hoping scheduling will work out to meet some special family members not far from here too. Then we'll make one more stop to visit friends before we head back to our home in Asia.

We are so eager to be back there, to find a new home in the new city we'll be in. Sometimes life is hard there but every second of it is dearly worthwhile. We are glad to get to be there, to live purposefully there, and for ourselves to treasure and to raise our kids to treasure the light of Christ together.

May 2010 bring you more of the knowledge of the goodness of Christ- beyond comprehension, beyond comparison.

We send lots of love to you friends, at Christmas this year.

The Ks


Here's a few more pictures from our Christmas photo shoot in my aunt's living room. Isaiah, eager to be 4, Marian proud to be 2, and John at the half year mark.

To close, we want to share one of our favorite songs with you... it's a wonderful telling of the Christmas story. Enjoy...

"In the First Light"... from Todd Agnew's CD "Do you see what I see?"

In the first light of a new day, no one knew he had arrived.
Things continued as they had been while a newborn softly cried.
But the heavens, rapt in wonder knew the meaning of his birth.
In the weakness of a baby, they knew God had come to earth.

As his mother held him closely, it was hard to understand...
that her baby, not yet speaking was the Word of God to man.
He would tell them of his kingdom, but their hearts would not believe.
They would hate him and in anger, they would nail him to a tree.

But the sadness would be broken as the Son of life arose.
And the firstborn of creation would ascend and take his throne.
He had left it to redeem us but before his life began,
he knew he'd come back not as a baby but as the Lord of every man.

Hear the angels as they're singing on the morning of his birth,
but how much greater will our song be when he comes again.... to rule the earth!

Click here to listen to the song.

Mary's song

Here's what we're celebrating.


May the all-surpassing joy of Christ be yours in abundance as we celebrate him in this Holy Day, Christmas.

"Praise the Almighty God; He's done great things for us...." He's come.

Music: from Todd Agnew's CD "Do you see what I see", the song is Mary's Magnificant, sung by Christy Nockels
Video: Clips from The Nativity Story, edited by Crossroads Mulitmedia

Christmas Treats

Hazels Pretzel Turtles:

Small knot style pretzels
1 bag of Rolos- the chocolate candy with carmel inside
Pecan pieces

Lay the pretzels on a baking sheet and cover each one with a Rolo (unwrapped of course) and top it with the pecan pieces. Bake for about 2 minutes at 300 degrees. Really quick!

It's such a yummy treat for kids to be involved in making and it hits the spot for this salty-sweet combo lover. The first time I enjoyed these were from Hazel, of Hazel's Corner Cafe, in Buffalo ND.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

out-takes






Here are some of the goofier shots from our Christmas photo shoot today... hopefully the final Christmas photo will be just right of everyone. (Tis the season to hope for the incredible, right?)

Thanks for the shirts for the boys, Aunt Julie!

Messiah ~ a poem from Isaiah 53

Our Christmas message, then, this year,
Is not a clean and cute and cheer-
ful story. It is dirty, deep:
A bloody Lamb saved hell-bound sheep.

So may your happiness have weight,
For blood and love met sin and hate.
And it was your Messiah’s death
That gave you now your Christmas breath.

May your happiness have great weight this year- weight rooted in and bearing fruit of God's magnificent love to send us his Son, Jesus!

I hope that you will click over to see the rest of this excellent poem from David Gunner Gunderson. It is wonderful!

Christmas Lights

Last night we got to enjoy the Christmas lights at the Denver Botanic Gardens with my family in Denver. Yes- we nearly froze, but it was a fun time still. The lights had some special tricks to them so they spelled "Happy Holidays" or looked like fat snowmen if you looked at them with 3-D glasses. Very clever and very well done!

Cousin Aiden actually doesn't have spikes in his hair- that's the plan behind him. Cool punk look though!

The light show included some spectacular ice sculptures.

We're so glad to get to be here with family!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thankful for...

The Gospel. Although it is so often misunderstood and misrepresented, it is still good- unbeatably good- news. The message is Jesus coming to rescue his people from their own death of sin and sickness and sorrow. The message is true. Our sins are forgiven. Our lives are given to another- to One who is worthy and enduring.... unlike anything else in this world. Hope. Joy. Pardon. Peace. Love. Passion. Christ has saved me when I could never save myself. He has saved me completely and it is well with my soul because of Him.


Our Family. I love these people so much. Matthew, Isaiah, Marian, and John are my favorite people on earth. I can't believe I get to be Matthew's wife and the mom to this bunch. Recently, I feel like I've fallen even more in love with my man as we've been able to share some new things together. I never would have thought that was possible. I've got such a great husband! "And you thought you were going to be an old maid," a friend recently reminded me. I am so blessed. And on top of the delight each of these four are to me, we have a sweet extended family on both sides of our tree. So, so blessed. Some real lives of character and virtue- fruit of the Spirit- in our heritage that we will be glad to tell our children about.... and other stories to make us marvel again at the wacky goodness and sovereignty of God to arrange our family lives as he has! Still, the tales of God's care for us through hard times and circumstances are never to be forgotten.


Health. So easy to overlook when you're feeling good. But oh to be more mindful daily of the grace it is to feel good and have strength. Thank you Lord!


Friends. Just like Rachel Barkey said, I feel like I have done this one thing well: I've picked great friends. It's incredible to me that I am so privileged to know some of the people I do... Too many of you to name, but each of you so precious. Friends since toddler years, high school, college prayer groups and grad school roommates & classmates, a "blind blog meet,"... sweet singing, praying, running, painting, baking, teaching friends. I am a rich, rich woman to know all of you!


Fun Together. I'm so grateful to not only know these people but to get to be with many of you in this season... even to have our kids together too. "Make new memories. Don't just let your friendships fade as you only live off old experiences together," we were advised. I am grateful for those new memories created in this season.


And thankful for hand-me-downs and spare seats on airplanes, parks and playgrounds with swings, fresh salads and Chipotle, a dishwasher, and a big blue sky over an open field right out our front door. For good music and good books, excellent sermons to download and an ipod to listen on. A cool truck to drive and roll-down-the-windows weather to enjoy. For the Word of God: more to be desired than gold, sweeter than honey, promises rock solid, hope to live fully, joy to live well.

Nov pics








This has been a great month for us. We've really enjoyed being in Orlando, where our home church is, and having enough time to see friends more than once. We've felt a bit more regular with our own routine and we have loved creation and the climate here now.

It's been really sweet to see Isaiah and Marian deepening in friendship with each other. Most of the day Isaiah finds something to advise or invite Marian to.... "Follow me!" "Let's throw our shoes down!" And most of the time, Marian complies.

But then every evening recently they pray for each other. The prayers go something like this:

M: "Thank you God, pray for I- yay-ya..."
I: "No, don't pray for me!"
M: "and pray for I- yay-ya again..."

And then Isaiah prays for her and she offers the same protest. We're working on it.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thank you Mrs. Elliot

These are wise words, from a wise woman, and I think they apply as much to moms today as they do to dads.

It is sad to read that the average father nowadays spends three minutes per week with each child. Home, frankly, is just “not his scene.” He’d rather be elsewhere. What does he do with the rest of this time? Is it a relentless frantic scramble to earn money five or six days a week, with a frantic scramble on weekends to “relax” and enjoy himself, often in expensive and sometimes dangerous ways? Can this really be what God wants for Christian families? If there were the willingness to be content with less money, fewer activities which eat into the budget and take the family away from home, fewer possessions; if there were the willingness to “be content with such things as you have,” would we not sooner find the truth of God’s Word, “A man’s real life in no way depends upon the number of his possessions” (Luke 12:15, Phillips translation)? The willingness to be and to have just what God wants us to be and to have, nothing more, nothing less, and nothing else, would set our hearts at rest, and we would discover that hte simpler the life, the greater the peace.

In Thomas Merton’s autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, he describes as among the most remarkable people he ever knew a French peasant family with whom he ad his father boarded for a time. M. Privat was a short man, broad, of great strength. He wore a black broad-rimmed hat which “gave his face an added solemnity when his sober and judicious eyes looked at you peacefully... His little wife was more like a bird, thin, serious, earnest, quick, but also full of that peacefulness and impassiveness which, as I now know, came from a living close to God.” Merton was only a boy, and forgot most of the details about this couple, but remembered


their kindness and goodness to me, and their peacefulness and their utter simplicity... They were saints in that most effective and telling way: sanctified by leading ordinary lives in a completely supernatural manner, sanctified by obscurity, by usual skills, by common tasks, by routine, but skills, tasks, routine which received a supernatural form from grace within, and from the habitual union of their souls with God in deep faith and charity.

Their farm, their family, and their Church were all that occupied these good souls; and their lives were full.

This selection is from Elisabeth Elliot's book, The Shaping of a Christian Family.


Lord, give us wisdom to see what you call a full life and to live that, to live for you well and to the full. Please make our lives full with your kind of richness in hope and contentment and joy.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Death is not Dying

At Bible study this evening (man, it is sweet to be back at our home church for this month!) I was reminded of a talk I listened to recently~ for the 3rd or 4th time.

This is Rachel Barkey: a 37 year-old mom of two young kids who in March of this year addressed women in her church with the most important things in life. At that time, she had just been given 6- 18 weeks before cancer would take her life. Her talk is titled "Death is not Dying: a Faith that Saves".

This is Excellent. Outstanding. Every word here is worth worshipping God for with tears- lots of them- and joy and wonder and humilty and marvelling praise. I love this talk and I most eagerly commend it to you.

Her talk is deeply impacting for me and has left me with Rachel's life mission statement etched deeply on my own heart as well: to serve with joy. Not a small task. A life purpose that only Christ can accomplish in and through us. Oh may I- may we- live and die and proclaim Christ as clearly and sweetly as this dear sister.

Go to her home page (www.deathisnotdying.com) and then look for the tab to Media in the bottom left to download the audio or to watch the video. (I've also added this as one of our favorite sites, on the right hand side list on our blog.)

Friday, October 23, 2009

no more Mr. Nice Guy


No more? No way... just this one shot. Actually, this boy is super sweet and enjoyable. We are absolutely spoiled to have such an easy, delightful baby. What a gracious gift from God for this traveling season for our family... and far beyond that. Children are such a great blessing from God.





Recently, I've been reading a bit and thinking over and discussing with some godly friends the topic of children.... and specifically, having lots of them. I don't know how many we'll end up aiming to have, but I know that each one of them is a privilege to know, to train, to raise up to know and love the Lord.

So often I think it's easy to think of "blessings" from God as being all the easy comfy things of this world, but God has said these little treasures are straight from him and are good gifts.... We glady agree,
with a tired, but still joyful "Amen!"

Thank you Lord for these three blessings in our lives.

more Georgia





bubbles in Georgia






We so enjoyed a few days of R & R in the woods with D & K M.
Isaiah and Marian LOVED these bubble sessions with you guys. Thank you friends!