Friday, September 26, 2008


What God has been teaching me this past month and a half at PC. Brace yourself, it's a long one! (if you make it through the whole thing I'll give you a cookie):

I spent the afternoon with Kim on Friday. What a doll, that one. (love ya girl!) When she left, my heart began a typical sinful conversation with my head:

What did Kim think of me? She probably thought nice things, she's a sweetheart.

But my hair was so blah today and I forgot to put on make-up. I look ew. Did she think that? No. She's probably didn't even notice and if she did, she doesn't care.

Did she think I served her? I talked a lot...again... I wasn't a good friend. Emily, why do you always do that?! Oh, and I forgot to point her to the Gospel in our time together. I'm the worst friend!

She was so thoughtful and genuine. She's gonna make a great pastor's wife. I'm no where near as others-centered as sweet Kim. It's going to be a long road for me. Poor Adam. Someday I'll be a better wife for him.

When am I going to feel qualified for this future job as a pastor's wife? I'm so very selfish. And I'm often content to stay like that. I don't draw others out well in conversation and I don't pray enough. Did I pray today? God must be tired of me and my many sins. I'm tired. My neck hurts. Sigh.

Had enough? : )
Don't our deceitful hearts hide away God's good works of grace from our eyes? I don't know how often these kinds of conversations pop up in my head each day. It all flashes by in a second or two and all of a sudden the Gospel has disappeared from view. (ooh a rhyme) Where is tender Jesus in my conversation? He's up there interceding once again for my pitiful soul.

How comforting 'thoughts of Savior' are! How good to know that though my mind is filled with thoughts of Emily, His mouth is filled with merciful prayers for me! How sweet is His grace towards me! When storms of thoughts like this barrage my mind, it's a blessed thing to know that I'm forgiven and that God is working through my sinfulness making me ever more like HIM! Hooray! I'm going to be changed! It's promised! Maybe not tomorrow, but why not? I'll look for someone to serve and I'll rest in the Spirit's working through me and it's not dependant on how much I can accomplish. (yay)

These past few weeks at PC have already been life-changing. People coming back from here always say that the Gospel was "made more alive to them," or "the Gospel has changed their perspective on everything" and all I have to say is IT IS and IT DOES! No, PC isn't a magic sanctification factory where you put in "dud" people and out come grand-spankin'-holy ones, but I will echo those who've gone before and say that God has begun a beautifully freeing and joyful work in me - because of His Gospel.

I used to think (and I often still do... see above) very legalisticly. Sanctification was something I did, not the Spirit. I was in charge of my continuing holiness and therefore I had much work to do! How very graceless, proud and not to mention exhausting it was! (and is when i slide back into it) In those moments of self-inflicted condemnation I remember Besty's words from the ladies meeting, "My weakness and inadequacy qualify me for grace." and I recall from "Divine Mercies"in the Valley of Vision:

"Thou wilt not cast me off, for Jesus brings me near.
thou wilt not condemn me, for he died in my stead,
thou wilt not mark my mountains of sin, for he leveled all,
and his beauty covers my deformities."

That is Truth. Also true is that it doesn't matter whether I think I'm qualified for any duty God presents to me - being a good wife for Adam or a good friend to Kim, becoming a pastor's wife. When I feel qualified, I feel adequate and operate in my own abilities and strength. When I feel weak, incapable, or overwhelmed- when I know I can't do it, then the answer is simple. God must do it! And what a better job He does! Me working out my own sanctification is pathetic and proud - not to mention fruitless. God's Spirit working in me is effective, merciful, and joy-bringing!
"Every new duty calls for more grace than I now possess,
but not more than is found in thee,
the divine treasury in whom all fullness dwells."
-Valley of Vision

For those of you who know me at all, you know I'm lively and generally joyful at least in countenance. But under the surface I have been a very joy-less person. Unbelief, self-effort, and condemnation have been my cuddled pets, nurtured and fed by self-centeredness. But God is wonderfully opening my eyes and heart to see the beauty of His freeing Gospel and the sweetness of resting in liberating weakness. Yes, I'm sinful, but God is powerful! I'm forgiven and He's at work. I can't make myself holy, only He can. I've been trying, but He has been succeeding. Praise Him for His mercy and transforming grace!

These days everything looks different. God is bigger. My sin is still great, but it is not my identity. I'm found in Christ! I look like Him before my Father. (sweet, huh?) When I feel weak, I praise God, because I know then that I'm feeling dependant. In my sinfulness I've been 'wanting to not need' Him. But oh how much I do! Now, when I see my sin, I take a deep breath of grace and reach up for help to the One who is called Mighty.

Psalms 32:1
Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

I used to sigh a lot. I often felt tired, overwhelmed, weak, and depressed. Then God began to show me my ungrateful heart in these moments and so I quit with the sighs and went to trying to recite the good deeds of the Lord. (Example: Eva is screaming because her gums are sore. I feel depressed that I cannot do anything for her. I want to sigh and feel sorry for myself. Instead the Lord enables me to express gratitude for how good He's been to my little girl. She's healthy, she's generally cheerful, she's sleeping through the night, etc.) But lately I've taken up sighing again. This is time though, I sigh with contentedness. Sigh, He's so good to me. Sigh, I'm so blessed. Sigh, how wonderful to know He's working in me! You get the picture.

So, this past month and a half at PC has been filled with God's mercy and my spirit has discovered true lasting joy and peace. Adam shared at Care Group the other week that his highlight so far has been watching me grow. My mom told me just recently that Dad said he thinks I've become more beautiful than he's ever seen me in this new season of life.

All I have to say is: Praise God for His love in sending His Son to die for my sinful soul! I didn't seek Him, He sought me and continues to do so. Thank you Lord for your Gospel. I love you more than ever because of it!

"My hope lives not because I am not a sinner, but because I am a sinner for whom Christ died; my trust is not that I am holy, but that in being unholy, He is my righteousness. My faith rests not upon what I am, or shall be, or feel, or know, but in what Christ is, in what He has done, and in what He is now doing for me. On the lion of justice the fair maid of hope rides like a queen." - C.H. Spurgeon

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Update: Coming Clean (and fresh)

Thanks to all my marvelous blogging and blog-reading buddies, I have discovered solutions for my house-wifery problems! Remember those stinky towels? Well, I bought some bleach alternative (thanks Naomi), washed them with less detergent (thanks Lora), and double-rinsed them (thanks Marge), and.... wha la! Fresh towels! Hooray!

And remember that filmy residue on all my baby bottles? Well, thanks to Jane and Becky and their rinse-aid idea, we have had less film and more shine. (nothing beats hand-washing tho!)

(don't you just love this picture with the shiny dishes? naturally, that gorgeous woman represents me in every sense. yes, i do wash my dishes in my Sunday-best and full make-up, my husband is always distracted from his work by my gloriously shiny dishes and giant apron bow, and of course my waist is smaller than my hair-do!)

Thanks again to all my helpful friends out there in the Blogosphere. My home-maker duties are lighter with all the good advise from you!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

New Developments: Eva on the Move

New this last week:

you've gotta love the super-chubbiness in the intro ...and of course Daddy's background cameo.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Guess Who's 4 Months!

Yep, another happy month with Ms. E has come and gone. She's grown and developed a whole new bunch of personality including tantrum! (we try not to laugh at her naughtiness) She's been doing some teething (we suspect) and so nothing passes through her hands without first getting a good chomping. (look-out Daddy's arm!) And then there's the drooling and general crankies. We didn't know why she was so dissatisfied with everything, than Amanda and Tiffany reassured me that she was being a normal baby - just teething!

She's working on her push-ups when she plays on the floor and has been trying to figure out this rolling over thing. Right now it's a lot of trying and then getting bored and just lying to the side. (like in the video) But she sure can scoot! She uses her heels. If I leave her to play on her back, she can inch her way across the floor and before I know it, she's gone 3 feet!

I don't know how she didn't run into one of the mobile legs!
Another bit of Eva news: it looks like she's got some hair coming in! And guess what color it is?? Well, it looks like Miss Eva will keep her red hair after all. (Hmm. That will go nicely with tantrum, no? Just kidding!)

Sorry there aren't more pictures. My photo software has crashed miserably (it's 10 years old), so I can't edit and save any of my photos! I know, it's the end of the world as we know it. (sing with me Taylor...and I feel fine!)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Word for Mothers

1 Thes. 5:14
And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.

“I am so amazed that God has altered me that I can never despair of anybody.” — Oswald Chambers

“Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.” — Thomas a Kempis

"Labor to help others, and especially strive to encourage them. Talk cheerily to the young and anxious inquirer, lovingly try to remove stumbling-blocks out of his way. When you find a spark of grace in the heart, kneel down and blow it into a flame. Leave the young believer to discover the roughness of the road by degrees, but tell him of the strength which dwells in God, of the sureness of the promise, and of the charms of communion with Christ. " - Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Paintings by Mary Cassatt

Monday, September 8, 2008

Bargeory's Beloved

Thank you, Bryan Adams, for helping to complete this beautiful moment.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Help Wanted :Coming Clean (and fresh!)

Ladies, I need your help. I have two home-maker questions, well, problems really, that I'd love your help in solving:

First, my darker colored towels won't come out smelling clean. I remove them promptly from the washer when they're done, so they don't have a chance to sour there. And I added baking soda to the wash once, and I may do that again, but I'm out of ideas otherwise. What do you all think?

And second, why do some of my dishes come out of the wash cloudy or slimy? Especially on the top rack. The water gets very hot, so I don't think it's that. Do I need to switch detergents? Does it have to do with water hardness? Should I use less/more detergent? I hope somebody has an idea for this one, because my hands are getting pretty dried out from hand-washing! (I know, I'm a wimp.)

dishwasher vrs. hand-washing

Thank you, my darling friends and fellow house-wives. I look forward to your ideas and suggestions. I love you all much.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Tasty New Adventure and Hypnosis

(You'll note in the video that we call her "Shady" and "Shades." It's a family thing... like Bargeory. And yes, Adam started it. Don't ask. Oh, and please excuse my rather loud laughter. She's just so funny.)

A Trip to Occoquan (for our 2nd Anniversary)

40 minutes away to nearly 400 years of history.

Pretty town homes on the river.
Occoquan, VA (meaning "at the end of the water") is a small old town on the Occoquan River. Mom used to take me and my friends here each fall, for several years, for my birthday. There are little shops and beautiful old streets and houses. Also, you can cross the river and walk right up to the miniature "Falls." It was beautiful.
Mommy and E cross the river.
One of the beautiful old homes along the river.

An un-impressed Eva

Occoquan Falls


Praise God for 2 wonderful years of marriage!