Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pear and her "big girl" bed

We have made the transition! Pear is officially a big girl. She has moved into her very own big girl bed! We set it up Monday and after doing our normal routine, reading several books, rocking and singing songs, I laid her down on her big girl bed and explained how big she was just like Aunt Libbi. She was excited, pulled the sheets up to her chin and seemed satisfied. Well, about 5 minutes later, she climbed off the bed and crawled out to find me. I took her back, laid her down again and explained about the big girl bed again. This routine went on for about an hour and then she was asleep in her new bed until 6 am the next morning! Success? The next night, we did the same thing only she didn't crawl out. After about 15 minutes of silence, I went in to check on her and see if she went straight to sleep, only to find her sitting in the rocking chair reading a book. We went through our routine again and it only took about 30 minutes. Last night we were down to about 15 minutes! Hurray! We have transitioned. Now it's time to get the crib ready for baby Jovie.

Monday, July 28, 2008

A day in Seattle

Stephen and I celebrated our 4th anniversary over the weekend. Our actual anniversary isn't until Thursday, July 31st. I can't believe it's been 4 years! And, at the same time, it seems like forever. I am so thankful to have such a wonderful husband. I grow to love him more and more every day.

My parents offered to watch Pear over the weekend so that we could get away and have some alone time. This was the first time we've ever done that! It was so nice. We started off by going to Cafe Besalu in the Ballard district of Seattle, (the best bakery around,) for pastries and coffee. I enjoyed a pain du chocolat and cocoa. Stephen enjoyed a pain du chocolat, an apricot pastry with cream and a cappuccino. We ate leisurely and enjoyed watching people and the master chef in the back perform his work of art in forming more fresh pastries. It was so delightful.
While in Ballard, we walked around and browsed through a few shops. I found that I really enjoy the Ballard area. It is my new favorite spot. There are all sorts of boutiques, restaurants, art shops, coffee shops and a little bit of anything else you can think of. It was great fun!
Ray's Boathouse is right there in the Ballard area as well and we found that to be a lovely spot for lunch. We were impressed with their food and service. I chose to have Ling Cod & Chips and Stephen had the Sable Fish. Yum!
I have been wanting to explore the Fremont area of Seattle, so this was our next stop. I found it to be nice but I don't like it as much as Ballard. There are more eccentric shops and a lot of vintage shops in this area.

We had dinner reservations at 5:30 at Crush; a restaurant that has great reviews and is supposed to be a nice, romantic spot. We were not disappointed. The food was amazing! A bit expensive but amazing. I had Lobster Tails with Gnocchi as an appetizer. Stephen chose Octopus with Pork Belly. Both were delicious. For our entrees, I chose Rare Seared Scallops with an aged cheese risotto. Stephen chose Lamb Rib eye with Lamb Belly and Mashed Potatoes. Again both dishes were delightful. We shared a Light Corn Cake with Fresh Ice Cream and Blueberry Sauce for dessert. Oh, what great food. This meal was one of the best I've ever experienced!

What a day! This was a true celebration. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, was very refreshed and missed Pear by the end of it. We didn't pick her up until the following morning though as we got in too late. Praise the Lord and thank you Stephen for 4 wonderful years of marriage!

Friday, July 25, 2008

And she's off!

Pear began taking her first steps on Tuesday and she is getting more confident and comfortable each new day! It is so much fun to watch her. She is really having fun with it. Here is a little video of her little steps.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fun with "The Girls!"

Stephen was away on a hike this past weekend so Pear and I decided to keep busy and have fun with the girls in the family.

Thursday Pear had a special day with "the girls." There are so many ways to describe "the girls"; they are my sisters, Pear's aunts, silly, fun, adorable, energetic- Taffi, Libbi and Aspen, but to Pear, they are "the girls." We started out by going to the craft store and buying a canvas for each of the girls to paint. We then went and picked out a movie from Blockbuster to watch later in the day. We splurged and got a real treat by going to McDonald's for lunch and each of them got a Happy Meal which we took to the park and ate and then played on the playground.

We went home and each of the girls got to make their own individual pudding topped off with as many or few toppings as they chose. We put those in the refrigerator to chill as we went outside to paint our canvases. I put aprons on the little girls and let them go at it with the paint. I didn't get a chance to take pictures of this as I was a little preoccupied trying to keep Pear out of the paint and helping the other girls keep the paint off of themselves. After we finished the canvases, we set them out to dry and went inside to enjoy our pudding while watching a movie. After this, it was time to go home. My mom picked them up and I would say we had a fun day well spent!

Friday, The Backholm and Corrigan girls came up along with Jia Tai and made a delicious salmon dinner with yummy risotto and a cherry pie for dessert. They all spent the night and we had a great time. Chase's wife, Rebecca, and my sister, Piper, joined us in the morning and met us at The Bread Peddler for pastries and coffee. My nonfat latte and few bites of coffee cake were quite tasty. We then headed to Hot Toddy, (one of my favorite shops in Olympia,) where I found a cute dress that fits me perfectly while pregnant! I was so excited. And to top it of, it was 75% off! Of course, I purchased it. Then we browsed around for a bit, some of the group went to the Farmer's Market and others went back to the house to get ready for lunch. We had some fresh veggies from the market, a baguette and some meat for lunch. Then we picked, cleaned and pitted cherries. We got enough for 6 pies. So each family got to keep some. Claire and Candice went to Lattin's Farms and purchased fresh donuts for us all to enjoy as a late afternoon snack. And then we pretty much called it a day! Everyone departed shortly after that and Pear and I were on our own again for a little while.

Sunday morning we went to my mothers to spend the day with them, (my dad and Hutton were on the hike with Stephen as well.) We went to a lily farm near Westport and the girls had fun putting on their aprons and picking flowers. Libbi seemed to think the dandelions were some of the prettiest ones out there! Then we went back to the house to enjoy the sunshine and play in the swimming pools. We made yummy french dip sandwiches for dinner, ate a bunch of watermelon and headed home to wait for Stephen to come home. He made it home safely shortly after midnight and unfortunately, after my busy weekend I was so tired, I fell asleep before his arrival. Pear and I are so glad to have him back though. No matter how busy we try to keep, nothing replaces his presence.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

My thoughts on the subject of Birth Control...

Prior to getting married, I thought it important to research different contraceptives and birth control options as Stephen was studying at Western Washington University and I was required to work to help support us. We debated whether to wait to get married until after he was finished with schooling and decided that we could better serve God and each other by getting married sooner even though we would not be living our ideal life, (me being able to stay at home and fulfill my calling as a wife, mother and homemaker, Stephen being able to work full time and be the bread winner, and Stephen having time in the day to devote to myself and our growing family rather than to his studies.) It worked out wonderfully. God blessed us. We grew in many areas and don't regret our decision. God continues to bless us as we are now living our ideal life. All of this to say, we felt it important to abstain from having children until we were ready and able to raise them as we feel God wants us to, with myself, as the mother, devoting my time and energy at home to train and nurture each blessing God gives us.

1. From my research, I came to the conclusion that Abortion is clearly wrong. I believe that life begins at conception. God knows us BEFORE we are formed in the womb. God grows us IN our mother's womb. It was a BABY that leaped in his mother's womb upon being greeted by Mary the mother of Jesus. Need you be further convinced? Do you know when a baby's fingernails develop? Have you heard the heart-beat of a ten week old baby in the womb? Have you felt a baby hiccup at 16 weeks in the womb? Have you seen an ultrasound image of a 20 week old baby? Talk to me if you need further convincing.

Psalm 139:13 For You formed my inward parts;You wove me in my mother's womb.

Jeremiah 1:5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,And [Is 49:1, 5; Luke 1:15] before you were born I consecrated you;I have appointed you a prophet to the nations."

Isaiah 46:3 "Listen to Me, O house of Jacob,And all the remnant of the house of Israel,You who have been borne by Me from birth And have been carried from the womb;

Luke 1:41 When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 1:15 But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother's womb and called me through His grace, was pleased

2. From my research, I came to the personal decision that a birth control pill or oral contraceptive was not for me. I will not place judgement if you choose to use this method however I will challenge you to seek God, pray and fast and research and make sure you're not making any decisions or choices without being informed. There are two ways that the pill can stop conception and, are therefore, in my opinion, contraceptive and one way that I consider and abortifacient. First, the pill acts to inhibit ovulation. Second, the pill changes the cervical mucus which increases difficulty for sperm to travel to the egg. Third, the pill thins and shrivels the lining of the uterus so that it is unable or less able to facilitate the implantation of the newly fertilized egg. As I believe life begins at conception, which to me is when an egg is fertilized, I personally cannot justify taking a pill with even a slight chance of raising difficulty for a fertilized egg to implant in the uterus. Aside from these items, I personally feel that my body is a temple of God and I should treat it as such. I believe that God created our bodies to work in certain ways and when you chemically mess with that, it may or will have side effects which I don't want. But this is simply a personal choice and opinion.

3. From my research and study of scripture, I don't find it to be a sin to use a non-abortive contraceptive so long as you have sought the Lord in making your decision and are not using contraceptives simply for selfish reasons. I will challenge you once again to seek God in your decision, especially when considering permanent contraceptives as they are very hard to reverse and many people change their minds after making a decision too hastily and have a very hard time conceiving and receiving the gifts which God delights in blessing us with. Stephen and I hope to have several children. We currently feel that we have the ability and desire to do that. So, if God is willing, he will continue to provide and bless us with several children. If for some reason, I have further liver complications and pregnancy puts my body's health on a downward spiral, we have discussed our best option may be adoption and a non-abortive contraceptive may be a blessing to keep me healthy enough to raise these children.

I listened to this talk by Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church on birth control and found it to be very accurate from what I had personally researched. I would encourage all of you men and women of childbearing age who are married or thinking of marriage soon, to listen to it and come up with your own convictions on the subject as a vast majority or our culture is doing things without knowledge of what they are actually doing.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Missional Church

I came across this website and it's a good reminder of why I want to be a part of the church (meaning the body of believers) and gather with other believers.

Check it out.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A day at Lake Quinault

Last Saturday Stephen's family was camping at Lake Quinault. Stephen, Pear and I decided to drive out there first thing Saturday morning to spend a beautiful day in the rain forest. Here's what Pear looks like with bed head after a long drive:

It was gorgeous out there. Not a cloud in the sky and 85 degrees. We had a great time eating food, playing cards, swimming and visiting. Pear loved the kayak. She enjoyed navigating while on the shore. Stephen tried to take her out but she wasn't as crazy about it when it was rocking in the water. She did however enjoy wading in the water.

Stephen made a delicious Greek platter for an afternoon snack. This included a wonderful cucumber, tomato and feta cheese salad, grilled skirt steak, tzatziki and hummus dip. All made completely from scratch of course. I unfortunately couldn't partake in any of this Greek goodness as I am on a low fat diet and nothing there was anywhere near low fat. It looked great and Stephen thoroughly enjoyed both preparing and eating it so I was completely satisfied.

By the end of the day, Pear was filthy. Head to toe covered in dirt! You can probably come close to imagining her filth by thinking of a baby who loves getting into things, crawls everywhere, eats food by the handfuls and all of this on a dirt ground campsite.

Summer Fun

We have had such nice weather over the last couple of weeks. Although being outside is much dirtier than remaining indoors, it is also much more fun. Pear loves to play in the dirt, pull out our newly planted plants, throw rocks, and splash in her swimming pool. Among other things, Pear and I have a daily ritual of getting out the lawn chairs and eating a snack outside. Here is a picture of Pear enjoying an orange creamsicle.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

On Church and the Gathering of Believers

I have been thinking a lot lately on the subject of "church". What should it be? As we all probably agree, the church is the body of believers; we, followers of Christ, make up the church. But, why then, do we say "we're going to church," on Sunday morning? I personally have decided to begin calling it something besides church. I want my kids to grow up understanding that we go to gather with believers but WE are the church. I tell Pear as we leave the house, on Sunday morning or evening, we're going to go see friends or we're going to fellowship or we're going to gather with Christians.

Is "church" meant for believers or unbelievers? Let me restate this, is the gathering of the followers of Christ meant for believers or unbelievers? I believe that the gathering of believers is meant for believers.

Acts 20:7 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight.

Acts 2:42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

Romans 1:11-12 For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established; that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other's faith, both yours and mine.

1 Thessalonians 5:11-22 Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another. We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.

The gathering is meant for spurring one another on in faith. It is meant for eating together, building community and encouraging one another. It is meant to be a place where we can break bread and share in communion in remembrance of Him. I am not saying that if someone comes to the gathering that does not know Christ we send them out and say find Christ before you come to our gathering. But, I am saying that we as Christians should be reaching out to the lost by inviting them into our homes; eating, playing games, going on walks and doing things that EVERYONE in the world does, is the way to reach unbelievers. In order to do this you must first make friends. Talk with co-workers, say "hello" to the person standing next to you in the grocery store, get involved with different people that share a common interest. We can't simply go to "church" and attend youth church and have our bible study. In order to be Christ to the world, we must take part in the world.

Corporate church is something I have titled a church that has a too much staff, a big building with a matching mortgage and/or leadership that thinks like a business owner. Why does a church need a secretary? Why does a church need a big building? Why can't we meet in areas such as a school or a building that isn't normally used on Sundays? Can the body of believers pitch in and take turns providing bread and juice for communion? Can the body of believers pitch in to set up tables and chairs? Does a church really even need a full time paid pastor? Why couldn't the men and elders of a community of believers take turns sharing their faith and scriptures. Would people with the gift of teaching and preaching naturally step up to the plate? If the gathering is doing what I believe it is intended to do, a lot of "corporate church" jobs would not be needed. If we were truly building community and friendships with one another then couldn't we, the body, answer questions people may have otherwise called the church office for? Couldn't we, faithful friends pray for one another, lay hands on the sick and encourage those in need. I do believe that everyone has their own gift(s) given by God and that these are powerful. I believe that there are people that have been granted the gift of preaching, teaching, healing, prophesying, etc. Maybe there are many men with the gift of preaching that do need to be supported (with money, food, housing,) by the believers. Has the modern church taken this too far? Is pastoring supposed to be a career path that one chooses to got to college, get a degree and therefore they are qualified?

1 Corinthians 12:27-31 27Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. 29Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues[d]? Do all interpret? 31But eagerly desire[e] the greater gifts.

Ephesians 4 7-13 7But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8This is why it[a] says:
"When he ascended on high,
he led captives in his train
and gave gifts to men."[b] 9(What does "he ascended" mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions[c]? 10He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

I believe both of these scriptures are very true but are we often times missing the boat? Are we using these gifts in the ways intended? Because one is called to be a pastor, does this mean that he is to work full time at a church and get paid a full time wage? Or does this mean that his gifting is preaching and he is to use this gift as God guides him. We are all in full time ministry, we simply have different gifts. Because I am called to serve the community, does that mean that "the church" should pay my wage to serve the community? Or maybe I have the gift of prophecy, does this mean that the church should pay per prophetic word given? I may be too legalistic about this, and I may be completely wrong. I am simply trying to figure out what is right. Is the role of a pastor in a church too large? Have we, the body of believers slacked off a little and stopped doing our jobs and therefore given the responsibility to pray for, counsel, prophecy, teach, etc. all to the pastor of a church? What was the role intended to be?

On the subject of children's care and nurseries...why? If the gathering was meant to be encouraging one another, breaking bread and fellowship, why do we need child care? Yes, we may need to train our children a little better, and yes some people may need to loosen their wigs a little but as a mother of a baby who is not the "angel baby" I don't see why the childcare needs to be provided. I do think that mothers of young children need breaks and I hope that they are blessed with grandparents and people in their lives that offer those breaks but I do not agree that the gathering is the time for a babysitter. It seems churches are constantly in need of servants to watch children during service and that indicates to me that either people aren't sharing the burden and are taking a little more than giving which to me indicates that it may not be a great plan. If all parents who desire the childcare want to take turns to watch the children, great! Maybe it does help them be encouraged but if the burden is not shared than it's purpose is being defeated because a servant becomes worn out by watching kids too many Sundays out of the month. I personally strongly feel that if God blesses me with a child, it is my responsibility to train this child in the ways of the Lord. To honor, respect and obey both God and myself as a mother. I also personally feel that until my child is trained to honor, respect and obey God, myself and those around him or her, she is to remain with me during outings and gatherings so that I can teach and train him or her. Each child is different, some may be trained earlier than others but I know that me 17 month old is not trained well enough yet. Sunday school should not be the primary place that our children are learning about Christ. The home is where our children need to be trained and taught the scripture. I am not saying that they can't be encouraged or taught anywhere else but if we use sunday school as our source than we are missing the boat.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go,Even when he is old he will not depart from it.

What do you think? This is an open discussion. This is what we're supposed to do as Christians right? We're supposed to question our faith and figure out what we believe and why? Are my thoughts different than what the scripture says?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Picking Strawberries can be fun

Well, Pear and I decided we'd go to Spooner Farms strawberry patch just a couple miles down the road this morning. I put Pear in some play clothes and figured she'd get a little dirty and would have a lot of fun. Well, we got there and the first 5 minutes were great. She helped me pick some strawberries and then things started to go downhill. She started eating the strawberries. No big deal right? Well, she decided she would pick one, take a bite out of it and go on to the next. I didn't really want a box full of half eaten strawberries so I put a stop to this action. This made what was once a fun outing of strawberry picking, a not so fun outing of strawberry picking. Pear was covered in dirt by the time we were done. I stripped her down to her diaper, headed home and she went straight into the tub. Notice the ring of dirt around her mouth in the picture? Yeah, maybe that's why she would only eat a bite and then try the next one. She probably managed to eat as much dirt as she did strawberries. Overall, it was a fun memory but next time I might wait for Daddy to come too.

Independence Day Celebration

We had a wonderful day of celebrating on the 4th of July. We went out to my parents' house and made a wonderful skirt steak taco feast for lunch. Then we headed out to Stephen's parents' house for a bit before going out to some good friends of ours for great food and games. Both of our families joined us here. Pear was almost in heaven as all of her wonderful aunts and uncles, grandmas and grandpas and friends were there to fight over entertaining her. It was great fun! We enjoyed a competitive game of golfing with giant marshmallows. I caught some funny videos of this and have added them to this post. Unfortunately, Pear didn't like the fireworks. We, therefore, headed home before the spectacular show began.