Wednesday, October 31, 2012

choosing hunger for God

For a little while now I've been thinking that I really need to find the book Hunger for God, by John Piper.  Somehow I've just had it in my mind that that book would hit the spot for me in this season.

Here's a selection from the blurb about it on Amazon:


There is an appetite for God. And it can be awakened. I invite you to turn from the dulling effects of food and the dangers of idolatry, and to say with some simple fast: "This much, O God, I want you."


And then I found this invitation:  a seminar to be given this week (with live streaming for us to join in!) at Bethlehem on this very topic, and a link to text of the book to read online for free.


One quote from the introduction, a bit that has sealed my expectations of great pleasure as I pursue arousing a greater hunger for God:


Christian fasting is not only the spontaneous effect of a superior satisfaction in God; it is also a chosen weapon against every force in the world that would take that satisfaction away.

The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie.  It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but the endless nibbling at the table of the world.  It is not the X-rated video, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we drink in every night....  The greatest adversary of love to God is not his enemies but his gifts.  And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil but for the simple pleasures of earth.  For when these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolarty is scarcely recognizable, and almost incurable.  

This week I know as plain and clear as day that I need fierce weapons against my own unrighteous anger and gross impatience and selfishness of every kind.  I'll take whatever true weapon of the Spirit I can find!  And this...  that I could use this ancient, glittering sword of honor and even joy?  That I could fast and pray and be drenched in the Word!?   What a grace to be given...

I'm eager to press hard into more of him by means of these graces....  I'm sure we can find the seminars ("A Hunger for God") from Nov 2 and 3, 2012 online after they're given too....  I'd love for you to join me and share with me your thoughts from the book or seminar, dear friends!  Let me know if you can take it in too!



Oh God, may You be most highly praised!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Baldwin {for runners and readers}

Runners...
In just about two weeks Matt and I will take off at the starting line in the Baldwin Park races (him a half marathon and me a 5k).  We're excited and also fairly confident that we just weren't built to be runners.  The joy in this for us right now is getting all our morning practice runs and the race on Nov 11 here in Central Florida: absolutely beautiful, mild fall.    The moon was glowing fantastically and there were stars shining over me at 7am this morning!  Such a privilege to run in this beauty!

Plus, add the great joy and honor of running for Premila and having this running as a lesson compelling me to wear myself out well.   We're still raising money for  As Our Own with this run.   If you'd like to donate for Premila, the 14 year-old girl we're pledging our run-funds towards, please check here.  There will be no more mentioning this fundraiser here at the blog....  this is your last reminder, friends!  :)

In our city home in China, we rarely ever see a star.  This time to be in creation, to think, to pray, to take in spiritual nourishment (the moonlight, magnificent creation, or a sermon on the ipod) is such a gift.  We are so grateful.  Come January, I'll be back to my silly exercises with the kiddos in the living room (and there's a heap of joy in that too.)

Readers...
From Ambleside Online, I came across the Baldwin Project, whose slogan is "Bringing Yesterday's Classics to Today's Children."  We've loved the reading primer by Harriet Treadwell (came in super handy when the Veritas Press primers I ordered were several grade levels above what I expected!)  and also the fantastic stories (read with a tiny bit of mama censoring) in In Story-land.  This site is another fantastic find for readers overseas and everyone interesested in classic literature.  I'm so excited about this resource for our family!    

Lest You Be Hardened


More exquisite, penetrating poetry from John Piper..... posted just days ago here.  

"Lest You Be Hardened"
Hebrews 3:13
Your thoughts, your words, your ways
     Are high,
So far above my place
     That I
Sometimes perceive your broad
     Daylight—
Your brilliant blue, your sun—
    As night.
You love me with some shock,
     A threat.
Am I then in the dock,
    In debt?
You answer, "No, you're blest.
     It's my
Alert, my kindness, lest
     You die."
I see. Then, Lord, invoke
     Your Dove.
Cause me to feel this stroke
     As love.
Come, teach my heart in this
     To rest,
To savor and to kiss
     This “lest.”

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Reds

When we arrived in Columbia Saturday afternoon Uncle Greg and Eli were out at the street to greet us.   Heather stepped out onto the front porch and greeted us "Hey... I feel like we're normal people, getting to see family twice in a month."  So cute, so tough, so true...

We had so much fun together in our  (approximately) 42.377 hours with this crew.  What a joy they are!  Sadly, my camera just seemed to out of reach for a few of our fun things (probably related to my mini-breakdown Sunday morning about how many things we've left scattered across the states we've passed through, how many of my needed possessions I'm missing, and how far we are from any normal routine for our family life!).  At last I got out the Nikon in time for our last park run...


(I'm pretty sure this kiss would pass for both "unforeseen" and "sloppy wet".... what a silly song!
 Thanks for educating us, Greg. )
we love this beautiful family... and in our eyes there are four to love
sweet sillies

Auntie Heather and Da Boys

In the middle of such joy and silly laughter and good food and fantastic story read alouds, Heather and I  got to look through the beautiful album and memory chest she made for Maelee, their firstborn, the treasured daughter that died at 38 weeks gestation.  This month was my first time to see Grether since Maelee went to be with Jesus and right when I laid eyes on them, just as I was meeting Eli for the first time, I missed her.  She should have been there.  Heather was carrying Maelee inside her last time we were together.

The grief still strikes deep.

Thank you for sharing your life and your joy and even your grief with us, Grether.  It is truly, radically amazing to see you grow and grieve and give to others the HOPE you have because of Christ and the comfort you have recieved from him even in the midst of such sorrow.  I hate grief, but its our reality in this fallen, will-be-redeemed world, and it felt so healthy to get to grieve with you.  Thank you.

What a good visit with you guys.  We love you so terribly, incredibly, wonderfully much!



To read more about Maelee, you can check posts from our blog in April (through summer) 2010 or at www.gretherfamily.blogspot.com .

swingers







( mama gasped too many times... it was pretty high for this little guy!)

We had another wonderful visit in N Georgia with the Millers.  What a gift that these friends have opened their home as a retreat/ bed-n-breakfast place for overseas workers to come to be refreshed.  We Were!

And too, our kids have been swinging really well lately with all the changes that keep flying at them.  We have had some minor tummy troubles and definite (mama) grumpiness that I'm blaming our crazy changing life for, but the hardest of our moving season is coming to an end.  We get to stay with two more dear friends in the next 2.5 weeks- some truly spectacular people that we love dearly-  and then we'll be in just 4 more places for the last 2 months in the states.  In the end it will be 22 moves in 5 months.  Oi!....  I don't think we'll be doing this quite the same again but the Lord is giving us grace to make it.... and it has been sweet.

Thank you Lord!  Thank you again dear Millers!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

thankful (our southern tour)

We are thankful beyond words for the past seven weeks or so that we've been in the states.  Each stop has been fantastically sweet and travels smooth.  Crazy grace.  We've reconnected with most of our favorite Americans now and we've loved being in the multi-colored outdoors.  Our family has moved thirteen times and that's made us all pretty weary but we're all So. Incredibly. Glad. to have these friends and these great places to enjoy with them.

I'm at a total loss to figure out how to adequately thank the friends who have given us a van to drive and a home in the woods for a week, the brother who took off work- the precious Grether clan splurging to create joy of every kind with us, the friends who drove days to be with us in the mountains, the friends who hosted us just 6 weeks after their 6th baby joined them.  We are crazy blessed by the Lord's gift to us of YOU.

such a fun group of kiddo friends (and their cool moms and dads) joined us in NC!
yarn diving sock puppets off the top indoor balcony made for hours of fun for this little crew






almost the ten of them... the littlest was still in mama's sling
Today we're in a new place, enjoying a swing made of dreams and 30ft of rope and the kids are flying on it through the trees.... and have I mentioned the leaves have been changing their colors while they've followed us around the country?  We started together in North Dakota, then down to South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennesse and now in north Georgia.    In each place we've arrived, we've seen more greens and yellow and by the time we've gone....  Such Beauty!



I wrote this 4-5 days ago but I never could get pictures to load so now I'm posting it back to that date.... The real "Today" has us enjoying South Carolina again with Grether- our favorite uncle Greg, Auntie Heather, and sweet little cousin Eli.   With two photo loving mamas here there's bound to be another crazy photo post for you soon, Grandma!  




Tuesday, October 9, 2012

filled

The past few weeks have been packed full of joy and full of changes, moving and traveling.  There's been a good mix of weariness with our gladness.   Isaiah especially has had a hard time with all the different beds he's slept in and all the change that marks every new day.  I've been physically worn down and I've battled a bit with the same thing as my boy:  I would love to just stay put for more than a handful of days please!

Despite the bit of weariness, these days have been deeply marked with joy.  This week I'm writing from the most beautiful woody mountain scene I could imagine.... North Carolina at it's early autumn best.    This home to share with friends and family and to fill up with warmth and good food and puppet shows and hide and seek and tromps through the wet grass Joy....  Such joy
 
There's really too much to record from the past few weeks....  precious visits with friends, The Four Family Reunion, meeting Great Grandparents (3 in ND!),  reconnecting with treasured friends in Orlando, meeting Eli.....  and I'll try to pick up there with a few pictures (mostly for you Grandma!  Here you go....).

the boys at the elephants (for Eli!) 

at the zoo in Columbia... we love the bird cage!
the giraffes were so fun to feed... (I think this was the most interest Vivi showed the giraffes but they were May's favorite by far!)
a meal together in this beautiful mountain home








the man loves grass


and he loves his kids


and they love him

and he loves me... and I Could Not Be More Glad or Grateful to the Lord for my best friend!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Well Worthy.... Would you please give?

I've never posted anything like this before, but I must share this opportunity with you..... even though I only have a minute and it'll be a brief sweet post today!  (More to the story and more photos soon...)

Matt and I are going to run on November 11 (a 5k for me and a half marathon for him)  as a fundraiser for As Our Own.  This organization works in India to provide rescue, aftercare and preventive care for young girls who are vulnerable to abuse and trafficking in India's sex industry.  The way they love and demonstrate the Gospel of Christ is *Beautiful*.

If you're interested... will you please visit my race page at As Our Own to read about Premila, the sweet 14 year-old girl we're running for, and consider donating to our fundraising effort? 

Here's the link friends!

You can give right there.    I haven't raised anything yet....  sigh.... but man, I'd be so grateful to start making my way towards our fundraising goal of $750 with your help!  (Of course, we'll be donating to it too but we haven't even done that yet!)  The money donated goes 100% to As Our Own for their efforts of love and serve these precious, needy girls.

Thanks friends!  We're so grateful to get to do this together with you for these precious girls and for the Lord!