Tuesday, July 27, 2010

From Him, Through Him, To Him

votwm_book As I blogged here, I am reading Voices of the True Woman Movement to review for Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.  Today I will discuss chapter 2, “From Him, Through Him, To Him,” by Nancy.

This chapter was fantastic, and my heart is still overflowing from the truths it reveals.  Though it is nothing new to me, I needed to be reminded of many things, and God gave it to me at just the right time!  I marked so many things in my book that I cannot share all of them with you, but I will do my best to highlight the theme. 

This chapter follows well on the heels of John Piper’s introductory chapter entitled The Ultimate Meaning of True Womanhood.  For in chapter two, Nancy describes the ultimate purpose of true womanhood as finding God’s purpose.  She says on page that “everything finds its true meaning and purpose in God’s meaning and purpose.”  How true that is!

The Scriptural basis for this chapter is Romans 11.  The Apostle Paul finishes this chapter by describing the depth of God’s riches, wisdom, and understanding; the unsearchableness of God’s judgements; and the scope of God’s ways (vs.33).  The last verse in chapter 11 says, “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.”  This provides the title of Nancy’s chapter, as well as the main points for her discussion of true womanhood.  Nancy refers to this as “a fixed reference point for our hearts.”

Oh the depth…” teaches us that we cannot fathom the scope of God and Who He is.  No matter what is swirling in our lives, or how low we think we have fallen, we can rest assured that the eternal God is still there, and He is unchanged.  “The true woman know that deeper than her own limitations and problems, is the the bedrock of God’s riches, wisdom, and knowledge.”  That is such an amazing statement to me!  Sometimes I feel in despair when I, like Peter on the Sea of Galilee, rest my eyes on the swirling waters and hissing winds, instead of fixing my gaze on Jesus who walks on water.  But even in those times, I can fix my life on the Rock.  He is ever sovereign and ever in control. 

Nancy next looks at the depth of the riches of God.  Let me preface her statement on this subject with a little personal note.  We have recently moved to Brooklyn, NY.  Here the cost of living is much higher and Ben’s paycheck is much smaller.  The ends of our budget do not meet in the middle.  I often try to find the solution to this problem in myself and my own efforts rather than looking to God who has promised to meet our needs.  This statement ministered to my heart.  Nancy said,

“His always-available provision for your needs will neither strain nor drain the budget of the Most High.  Rather, it will continue pouring from His hand into your life, utterly free and fathomless, from His bottomless resources.”

God also has depth of wisdom and knowledge.  He designed a way for sinners to be made righteous at the expense of the life of His Son, and he has wisdom for every situation that we may face.

Another challenge to me was Nancy’s statement on how God’s ways are beyond our ability to understand.  “We simply cannot know all that He is doing or why He does what He does.”  I like to have things planned and know what is coming at me, but I cannot go to God and demand that He explain His Will or why He has allowed certain situations in my life.  He does not answer to me, but He always does what is best for me.  I may not understand now, and maybe not even understand completely in the future (looking back).  But in glory I will be able to see what He did in my life.  Nancy quotes Pastor John Piper,

“In every situation and circumstance of your life, God is always doing a thousand different things that you cannot see and you do not know.”

Nancy discusses the unsearchable and inscrutable ways of God, and how our saintly sisters of the Old and New Testament faced things that they did not understand or over which they had no control, yet they trusted God.  And then Nancy explains that we also stand with Jesus, for whom God’s will meant bearing the cup of suffering and death on the cross of Calvary.  If Jesus, God in the flesh, could submit to the design of God, then I can  submit to God’s design for my life.

Realizing that all things are from Him, through Him, and to Him, lets “true women find a refuge for their hearts. It gives comfort, courage, and conviction in the calling to be a true woman. The response to these truths comes in three areas: 1) A true woman lives a God-centered life, 2) A true woman trusts God, and 3) A true woman says, “Yes, Lord.” 

This was a fantastic chapter, and the price of the book would be worth it just for the wealth of instruction contained in chapter two. 

I know that this has been a long review, that I have shared a lot of quotes.  Nancy stated things so well that I felt it was best to give her words on the topic.  For those of you have read this to the end, I hope that your hearts have been blessed and challenged, as was mine.

My Piano Playin’ Girl

Elaine has developed a fascination with the piano…following in Mommy’s footsteps!  She loves to stand on the bench and plunk around, and she even turns the pages in the hymnbook now and then!

Elaine 8 months playing piano

Elaine 8 months playing piano
I think we will designate this hymnbook as Elaine’s.  It is getting very wrinkled!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Home Improvements

We have shutter-style doors between our master bedroom and Elaine’s bedroom/the living room.  They haven’t quite hung properly or closed completely or locked since we moved in.  Ben said that it would involve a lot of work to fix, so we just lived with it. 

However, last night Ben was motivated to work on a home improvement project.  He really wanted the doors to be able to lock for visitors and convenience.  So…the doors came off the hinges and the tool bag came out of the closet.

The first door was fixed relatively easy, but in order to get the doors to close Ben had to get out the saw and shave some edge off of the second door.  It was more involved than planned, but he did a good job!

pict0101

Elaine was ever so curious about the whole thing, and it was my difficult job to keep her on the other end of the house and away from sharp and dangerous tools.

Elaine 8 months helping Ben with home improvementAs you can see, I was not quite successful!  I was very pre-occupied working on my Diaper Blog.pict0083At one point I put the doll cradle in front of the doorway to act as a barrier.  Elaine crawled-fell-tumbled right over the top!

Somehow Ben managed to finish the project anyway. Good work!

Ladies and Gentlemen, Your Attention Please!

I would like you all to bear witness with me to this auspicious day in history.  On this the 26th day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, Elaine’s best friend (commonly known as “Bunny”) received a bath!

Elaine 8 months washing bunny
Elaine rarely lets Bunny out of her sight.  In fact, recently she has started crawling back into a room to retrieve him and drag him along with her.  It is very difficult to get Bunny for a cycle in the washer.  But, alas, after being dropped on the sidewalk and in train stations, and a rough week of Summer Adventure Club, it was inevitable – Bunny needed a bath!

Elaine 8 months washing bunny

A little less significant, but worth mentioning none the less, is that today Ben and I have been married for 33 months today.  And on Saturday, we passed the 1000 days of marriage mark.  I meant to write a blog for that, but I forgot!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Birthday Celebrations

Ben's 25th Birthday

Ben’s birthday was on Thursday, but we were busy this week with Summer Adventure Club at our church.  I gave some of the kids party hats to wear to game time on Thursday (Ben directed the games), and we sang to him in the closing.

Ben's 25th birthday at SAC

Ben's 25th Birthday


Today I made a triple-layer chocolate cake with chocolate icing – Ben’s forever favorite in the cake category.  I tried a recipe from Mom, and it was the first cake I made without a box mix!  Not as moist as I would like, but not bad!  The frosting was to die for…

 

Ben's 25th Birthday 

We had our neighbors up for cake and ice cream, and we are getting Brooklyn pizza for dinner.  We also took a family afternoon nap – that was a treat!  Ben isn’t much on gifts, but he likes to spend time together so I think he enjoyed his day.  He is putting all of his money toward a Rosetta Stone Spanish program.

Ben's 25th Birthday

Ben's 25th Birthday

Ben's 25th BirthdayElaine wasn’t so thrilled with the party hat – she doesn’t like things on her head! Ben's 25th Birthday

Friday, July 23, 2010

It’s Official!

pict0031 I’m in business!  Well, I’ve been in business as an Independent Beauty Consultant for Mary Kay.  But this week Ben & I ventured out in a new direction.  We are starting an online retail store for cloth diapers! We filed for our sales tax license on Monday.  We are still waiting for it to be approved before we can purchase our inventory and start selling.

On Tuesday Elaine & I went downtown to the County Clerk’s office and registered the business.  Yesterday I purchased the domain name, and I have a web designer and host already picked out too.

We are Doable Diapers, and we will carry (hopefully):

  • bumGenius!
  • FuzziBunz
  • Kissaluvs
  • GroVia (from the Natural Baby Company)
  • Rumparooz
  • Planet Wise wet bags
  • Prefolds
  • Thirsties covers
  • Flip covers

We’ll start with those and see where it goes!  I do have my blog up and running, but I still have a little tweaking to do.  It is www.doablediapers.blogspot.com, and there you can read a little about our name and why we choose cloth diapers.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Next Beethoven?

And yes, I did catch her before she fell!

…at least the floor is clean

Elaine totally doesn’t understand the concept of dishes.  She is pretty smart, but not quite that smart.  I put the Cheerios in a bowl, and she dumps them out so that she can play with the bowl.  So I put the Cheerios on a plate (now that she is playing with the bowl) but she still turns the plate upside down.  Oh well…at least the floor is pretty clean.  Because she is crawling all over, I do try to keep the floors really clean.  And Elaine usually ends up eating her breakfast off the floor!

Elaine 8 months dumped cheeriosI love it when Mommy takes my picture! 

Elaine 8 months dumped cheerios
What happened to all of my Cheerios?

Elaine 8 months dumped cheerios Oh, here they are!

Happy 25th to My Ben!

Today my hubby is turning 25!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  (That’s 25 exclamation marks in case you were wondering).

Birth of Elaine Cristin HamiltonA little about Ben…he is patient, loving, and easy going.  He loves adventure and bumps along the way don’t upset him.  He was born on July 22, 1985, and born again at the age of four.  He became a husband on October 26, 2007, and a daddy on November 5, 2009. 

Ben is the best husband – he de-stresses me and teases me to death.  He is a great daddy and prides himself on being able to get Elaine to do things that I can’t.   Elaine is happy every time Daddy comes home – even if she has had a fussy day.

Elaine 8 months Owls Head Park & PierBen is a student of God’s Word, and I think I love that about him the best.  He has followed God’s call to the pastoral ministry, and we have started the last phase of our training.  It’s getting exciting!  I would describe Ben as the New Testament Bereans – he doesn’t just take someone’s word for it, but he searches the Scriptures to see whether those things are so.

PICT0190My preacher – in front of a Bible passage written in Greek & Hebrew, in Israel (2009) 

Ben loves baseball, wood working, and just being with people.  He’s always up for a game of Monopoly, but don’t play with him unless you want to lose!  His favorite color is blue, and he loves anything chocolate.   He is a frugal tightwad and that helps to balance me out (because I do like to shop!).  Ben is an ice-cream-aholic (if there is such a thing).

Founder's Day

Happy Birthday Ben…

I love you!

Easter Family Picture blog header

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Just to make you smile…

You’ve heard of peeping toms?  How about this:

Elaine 8 months playing in shower curtain 
I caught Elaine trying to spy on Daddy in the shower!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sewing Projects

Sewing Projects

I have had a couple of sewing projects on my list for a while, and today I finally decided to scratch them off.  First, I wanted to make a skirt for the crib.  Because of the way Ben constructed it, I wasn’t able to use my store-bought skirt.  I really liked the way the crib looked without the skirt.  However, with our lack of closet space in Brooklyn we are storing the baby clothes underneath the crib, and I wanted to cover them up.  I used an old twin sheet from Ben’s college days.  I just ran a gathering stitch and then used velcro to fasten it to the bottom side of the board that supports the mattress.  I was pleased with the results! 

Elaine 8 months in crib 
Elaine was helping me to model the finished projects.  I know I’m her mommy and all, but I can’t help myself – isn’t she just the cutest?

Elaine 8 months in crib
She is really happy here because while we were taking pictures the kitty from downstairs came up for a visit.  Elaine loves Rocky, but Rocky doesn’t really like Elaine! 

Elaine 8 months in crib 
So, Rocky has really been annoying me all day today by hanging around in my house, sleeping on my bed, and putting his claws on my couch.  I have “thrown” him back downstairs so many times!  But when I put him in the crib with Elaine he couldn’t get out of there fast enough!

Sewing ProjectsI also had some fabric remnants that I had purchased to make a throw pillow for the couch.  The fabric was red, white, and blue in keeping with our Americana theme in the living room.  I found a pillow form at the discount store on 5th Avenue, so today I put it all together. 

Elaine 8 months on couch

That’s my girl.  And her bunny.  Her constant friend. She was so happy today.  So into everything!  I feel like my title has been changed from “Mommy” to “mess-picker-upper”.  She took all the cloth diapers off the changing table, opened my nightstand drawer and threw everything out, played with the forks, leaving a trail across the kitchen floor.  She spread piano books all over the living room, along with her Cheerios.  I turned my back for a second and she crawled across to her bedroom, through my bedroom, out the hallway, and into the bathroom.  There she opened the cupboard and got out the Lysol wipes.  Guess it’s time to install those baby locks! 

But alas, I digress.  This post was supposed to be about sewing projects!  So I guess that’s all.  I love being a wifey and a stay-at-home mom!

A Few Random Issues

Here is a conglomeration of randomness that has happened in our lives recently.  On Tuesday night we went to Central Park for a free concert put on by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, with the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra as guests.  We heard Tchaikovsky, Ravel, “Bolero”, “West Side Story”, and “Rhapsody in Blue” to name a few!  The park was very crowded (I am still getting used to the masses of people everywhere I go) despite the ominous clouds that threatened rain.  There was a very long intermission while the orchestra’s switched, but we stayed for the whole concert.  WeNY Philharmonic concert in Central Park ended up on the dirt part of the baseball diamond.  Good thing we brought our blanket!  Elaine was very good.  Towards the end she was wanting to sleep, but fighting it hard.  I stood to rock her, and then I leaned on the stroller because my back was hurting.  Before I knew what was happening, I had sunk down into the stroller.  We looked very funny apparently, because Ben (who doesn’t take pictures) searched for the camera to capture the moment!  The rain began just as the final note sounded, so we made a mad dash to the subway (as much of a “dash” as is possible in a crowd of thousands!).

I was supposed to give a Mary Kay facial on Wednesday, but the person didn’t show up.  I had everything set up in the living room to demonstrate the products.  I was on the computer when I heard noises, and upon investigation I discovered Elaine having her own Mary Kay party!  Elaine 8 months Mary Kay baby

Now Elaine has decided that she doesn’t want Mommy or Daddy to put any food in her mouth.  And she has decided that she doesn’t like anything but Cheerios.  But last night we had a…sort of…a breakthrough…for now.  Elaine likes yogurt, and she managed to get a little bit into her mouth…with her own spoon…all by herself!  And, she even let Mommy help a little bit too.  Then she proceeded to “finger paint” in the yogurt that remained on her tray, and she also “painted” the back of her head.  Hmmmm…maybe we need to go back to a daily bath!

Elaine 8 months messy yogurt eat Elaine 8 months messy yogurt eat One thing is for sure – there is never a dull day around here: first because Elaine lives with us, and second because we live in New York City!

It’s Dad-Grampa-Jim’s birthday!

35183_136893479672734_100000562483748_284620_1992162_n

Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday dear Dad-Grampa-Jim,

Happy birthday to you!

And many more…

Elaine Day 7 First three generations
Dad, Ben, & Elaine

PICT0079 
Sissy & Jim on the Sea of Galilee in Israel

I wish I could tell you how hold he is…but I don’t know!

We love you,

Ben, Andrea, & Elaine

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Owl’s Head Park

Elaine 8 months Owls Head Park & Pier Last night we decided to explore another area of our neighborhood – the park.  Owl’s Head Park is about 10 blocks away, so we did decide to drive since it was later in the evening.  We discovered a lovely hilly area, covered in trees and benches and perfect for a picnic!  (The grass is a little brown & patchy from the heat we’ve been having).  The park was complete with basketball courts and playground.  Elaine enjoyed the swings again…until Daddy pushed her too high!  We tried the slide, but it was wet, and Elaine was super-distracted by all of the other kids running around.

Elaine 8 months Owls Head Park & Pier

Not so thrilled with the slide 

The nice thing about this park is the water park.  They have a little track that has different obstacles on it, all spewing water to cool the little kiddies in the summer.  There was a bridge, a curly-swirly thing with water coming from all directions, horses spitting water, and an arch that sent out a lovely shower.  Ben took Elaine through the arch but she wasn’t very pleased! 

Elaine 8 months Owls Head Park & Pier 

Then on our walk back to the car we stepped out onto the pier.  There were a lot of fishermen, but they were only catching trash from what we could see!  It was a hazy overcast night, but Lady Liberty was clearly seen at the edge of Manhattan.

Elaine 8 months Owls Head Park & PierElaine & Ben on the pier – Manhattan in the background 
Can you see the dark mark under Elaine’s left eye?  She fell at church on Sunday and had a small black eye!

Elaine 8 months Owls Head Park & PierStatue of Liberty on left and Manhattan & East River on right

Friday, July 9, 2010

I’m Obsessed…with cloth diapers!

The Today Show with cloth diapers I know.  It’s weird.  But I am.  Obsessed I mean.  With cloth diapers.  Want me to prove it? 

Today Elaine & I arrived at the subway station at 5:05 a.m. (yes…that is 5 in the morning) headed for Manhattan.  We were joining Jenn from Cotton Babies and a group of cloth diapering mommies convening on Rockefeller Plaza during NBC’s The Today Show.  Jenn is the creator of the bumGenius! cloth diaper line, so all The Today Show with cloth diapersof our babies were wearing bumGenius! diapers.  To say thanks for showing up and supporting cloth diapers, Jenn gave each one of us a 
t-shirt and the all new 4.0 bumGenius! diaper with snaps.  This was very exciting to me for several reasons.  First, I love free stuff, especially cloth diapers!  This diaper is not yet available for purchase, so I get to try it first.  I have not been a huge bumGenius! fan in the past because they have only had velcro closures on their diapers.  I prefer snaps, so I am very glad that bumGenius! has included this feature in the new diaper.

 The Today Show with cloth diapersI also met up with Bryana Guckin from Diaper Junction.  This was my local cloth diapering store in Virginia Beach.  Bryana and her staff explained the modern cloth diapering options to me when I was pregnant with Elaine and inspired me to set up a registry.  Since then Diaper Junction has closed their retail store and become online only.  Bryana drove from Virginia Beach to take part in this morning’s activities.  

The Today Show with cloth diapersElaine & I with Bryana’s sister & her 10 week old Lydia 

Elaine and I didn’t make it on TV, but we had a blast anyway!  The biggest cluster of cloth diapering moms were featured during one of the camera shots around the plaza.  The camera panned the audience a couple of times and came close to us, but alas it wasn’tThe Today Show with cloth diapers meant to be!  However, one of the anchors for the Today Show, Ann Curry, came out to greet the crowd during a commercial break.  Elaine just reached her arms out and gave Ann a big hug!  It really surprised me!  Elaine was mesmerized by the balloon of the person next to us.  She tried to steal it so many times that the nice lady finally gave it Elaine! 

When the crowd began dissipated we also headed for home.  I was grateful for some very kind gentlemen who helped me with the stroller up and down the subway steps.  It was a lovely morning.

The Today Show with cloth diapersElaine & I at The Today Show 

Kevin Douglas Meader And…since I’m on the cloth diaper subject, I would be remiss not to mention this:  Our good friends Donny & Erika Meader welcomed their son, Kevin Douglas into this world on Tuesday!  Kevin was 8 pounds 5 ounces, and 21 inches long!

You are probably thinking, “What does that have to do with cloth diapers?”  Well…when I announced that I was going to use cloth diapers with Elaine, Erika’s response was something like, “What are you, crazy?”  And now…yup…you guessed it.  Baby Kevin has a stash of cloth diapers waiting to be used.  Congrats to Donny & Erika!