Thursday, September 27, 2007

One-on-one with Mrs. Mohler

Hey, blog friends. Check out the interview I did with Mary Mohler for our Pendergraph Women's Ministry Blog! You can read part 1 of 3 here. ***Edit: Part 2 is up! Read it here.
Part 3 can be found here.

Mrs. Mohler is the wife of Dr. Albert Mohler, the President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. I have been privileged to get to know Mrs. Mohler through the class I am currently taking in the Seminary Wives Institute, "Embracing Femininity". For more on my thoughts about Mrs. Mohler, and how she has impacted my life, you can read this old post.

Monday, September 24, 2007

My Sister Moms

I am not a mom -- yet. Lord, willing, someday I'll share in that blessing. But these days I'm overjoyed for my sister moms who are enjoying that special blessing in their lives. In my last post, I mentioned my sis-in-law, Kari, who is the mom of our first nephew (the first grandchild, on that side of the family), Max. Kari's sister, Melissa, is also expecting a little one in February (can't wait to find out if it's a boy or a girl!). Our dear friends David and Sharon just became parents yesterday -- it was a precious, long awaited boy! (see pictures here.) I am so happy for these friends. I share in their joy.

I was thinking happily about these new moms today -- as well as my sister-in-law Janet, who is the mother of my darling neicelet Schmader-cakes. I was praying for them to glorify the Lord for their blessings, and to see those little ones as a reflection of the good Giver who gives all things. I am thankful that God's grace has enabled me to be content without children, and to be able to ask myself the right kind of questions about being a mother when I am tempted to slip into self-pity. Motherhood is certainly not a right -- it's a privilege. It is a good thing, but it is not the best thing -- in other words, it can become an idol just like anything else. It's amazingly the same as idolizing marriage, which was something I struggled with in my single life. I'm glad to see that the lesson of contentment is pretty much the same as life goes on -- and I can learn it better and better all the time. I learn it more gladly, too, as I know the Controller of my destiny better and better.

Check out this great article by Mary Mohler. I hope it is an encouragement to all my sister moms out there!

Friday, September 21, 2007


I'm sorry I haven't been blogging for a few days. This has been a crazy week! I wanted to bring some updates, though . . .

1. Max is here!! Kari gave birth to a healthy little guy Tuesday, the 18th. I could not be more happy about his birthday. It is the same day as my dad's and that means I will never forget it! Ha ha!!! Click here to see a picture of the happy family. Kari seemed to be in good spirits when I talked to her not long after he was born. She didn't have any horror stories about labor, even though she said it was harder than she thought it would be. We are so happy for them! ***Edit: Wouldn't you agree that this little face is just to die for? What a cute nephew I have!! Just wait until he gets big enough for his wolf suit and goes out to make mischief!***

2. In case you didn't find it, my dear friend Jill has a blog now! Many of you who know her have discovered it, but I also want to point out that Jewel and Johanna do as well! These 3 sisters were my pastor's daughters growing up. I love the way the blogging world can keep us all up to date! Please stop by and tell them hello, if you have the chance.

3. I am putting together a list of resources for a friend who is looking for books that build character. Specifically, she wants to find books for her little girl that aren't just fluff and princessyness -- especially as she gets older. I do have a bunch of ideas, but I thought I'd throw it out there to see if you all have recommendations for me. They don't have to be for a girl, or for any particular age. Thanks!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Mostly Being About Books

"What are you reading?" Don't you just love being asked that question? Essentially, that's why I started this blog, so I could talk about the books in my life, and encourage my friends and readers to do the same. A couple years ago, I decided to be intentional about my reading choices, developing a plan and themes to guide me. I make lists and plan.

I was so happy to find what my favorite Bibliophile had to say on the subject. This article by Dr. Mohler prompted me to evaluate my own reading goals and patterns. (Please check it out -- this article is gold!).

Here are a few musings from Gretchen Reads 24/7 on how to approach reading in a life that is too full already!

~Read on your lunch break. This is huge for me. Of course it's tempting to make phone calls, check your blog or shop online. It is so much more rewarding to read! I feel like my lunch hour was rested and efficient when I've spent at least half of it reading. This is also a good time to choose to read a more challenging book, or a book assigned for class, because your mind is clicking away from being at work.

~Read in the morning, read at night. To go along with Dr. Mohler's tip "read for enjoyment" I recommend having a light read on hand to put yourself to sleep with (especially if you need to be up at 5, and have a hard time falling asleep early). Choose to read your Bible and a devotional book in the morning. This is obviously not a hard and fast rule! But I see the advantage of making it a pattern.

~Read the whole book. Unless you are going through Calvin's Institutes or The Civil War 3 volume set by Shelby Foote, choose wisely and then give the book the benefit of the doubt and get through it. Donette recently shared how she decided to shelf When I Don't Desire God by John Piper because she felt like what she was reading didn't apply to her at this phase of life. In that circumstance I think it was wise for her to spend her reading time elsewhere. I do know, however, my own tendency to say "ooooh! I want to read that!" and then flit from book to book like an intellectual butterfly never really landing and sucking up the juices. Sometimes the book might not be the greatest. But at least you will definitively know that!

~Don't make too many reading "rules". If you love the book and you want to keep going, and not set it aside to read a bit of another, keep on reading it! Sometimes you are just "in the zone" with a book, and you hate to lay it aside to save for another day. Just go with it. You will read much more this way.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

It's a Small World

Imagine the music from that ride at Disney World begins to play (but don't picture the creepy little figures on the ride jerkily dancing about -- that'll give you nightmares. . . but I digress. . . ). Josh and I were pondering some of the connections we've made when meeting people here at the Seminary. I know I'll forget someone and some connection, but in case this sort of thing is of interest to you, here you have it. ***Edit: I meant to add that these connections are ironic since I did not grow up Southern Baptist, and here we are at a Southern Baptist Seminary!***

From our former church, Calvary in Danville, we were told to look out for friends from my high school youth group: Cassie Paddock and Jaimie Zaijek. I bump into Cassie all the time, and we enjoy a laugh over deep theological issues like the policies at the Covington pool, etc. I don't see Jaimie very often, but Josh had a class with her husband last semester, and the few times I have seen Jaimie and her cute little girl have been a delight!

From Maranatha, where we both spent our college days, we met up with Kevin McFadden last fall when we came t
o visit the school. Kevin told us that his roommate, Jason Erb (one Shooter to Carey!) was also a student, and was getting ready to get married. Who would he marry? My dear friend Andrea Nash! I had lost touch with her after college, but now we both take the same SWI class, and I really had this unbelievable deja vu thing the other night during class as we whispered something admiring about our professor. I am so thrilled to have Andrea back in my life. We go to church with Andrea, Jason and Kevin at Clifton Baptist.

Speaking of Clifton, the first night we visited (which was a Wednesday), the preaching pastor Tom Schreiner gave a greeting to Josh Waltz. He said he was glad to see him back visiting. I nudged Josh "I think I know him!" I hissed. When the service was over, my suspicions were confirmed. It was indeed the Josh Waltz I knew from MBBC, who was actually "Mr. Waltz" to me -- he was my English Composition instructor my freshman year. Side note: check out his blog, Waltzian Heresie
s. I guess it makes sense that a comp instructor ought to be a good writer!

One night after church, we were getting to know the couple sitting behind us, Tim and Jamie Gray. Josh said h
e was from northern Ohio (which is usually when people say "near Cedar Point? Cool!" and leave it at that, because there really isn't much else to know about northern Ohio!). Tim and Jamie said "where?!" They are also from northern Ohio and it turns out that the pastor's wife at Calvary in Tiffin (Josh's church where he grew up) was Jamie's volleyball coach and small group mentor in high school. The word I'd use to describe Tim and Jamie is faithful. Tim has multiple medical problems, but the richness of their communion with God is evident to the rest of the church body.

One morning during Sunday school I whispered to Josh "let's invite those new people to go out to eat with us". The new people were Jeremy and Rachel Kimble who just moved to L-ville from Wisconsin. We shortly discovered that our connection would not be Wisconsin, but Ohio. Jeremy had just finished up his M-div at the same school where our brother-in-law Lukas is a student. Josh asked "do you know Lukas Hafeli?" and in fact, Jeremy was the T.A. in a class Lukas was taking right then! Incredible.

Josh had gotten to know these super nice guys in our hallway, Kevin and Will. They have Greek together (2 semesters in a row), and we see them at Clifton pretty often as well. When Josh introduced me to them, he said "Will just came back from Kazakhstan -- he knows the Konings!" I don't know about you, but Kazakhstan is not the country you hear most about, so it was ironic no matter what that Will had been in Kazakhstan, but even more incredible that he knew the dear Konings, who have been missionary friends I've known since high school (I remember their oldest son as a baby). We'd just seen Otto a few days before we moved to L-ville because he was in the states recruiting at Urbana and then speaking at Calvary's mission conference. Amazingly enough, Will and Kevin were not familiar with the Pineapple Story, written by Otto Koning Sr. I am planning to have storytime with them in the future, after I get my book out of storage.

Is it a small world? In a sense, no. It is very big and diverse and only God knows all the people. But in another sense, the whole Christian community is just separated by a few degrees, and it should be that way. People who have ties to some of the people you knew here, ministered with there, prayed for during this, are people who have continued in the Christian faith. They have not fallen away. Connections like these should be cause for us not to consider ourselves in pride ("Well, I've been around,") but to humbly thank the Lord for His grace in our perseverance.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Waiting for Max

Josh and I spent this weekend with his family in northern Ohio, waiting to see if Kari (his sister) would give birth to our nephew, Max. Poor little Kari is about ready to pop! Josh comes from a very small family, and his sisters are all just 5 foot or so, but married to tall, tall guys!

I was full of ideas about how I'd help Kari move things along a bit. I made her sit on the exercise ball all the time. I kept suggesting spicy food. On Saturday, we went for a nice long walk (the pace I kept about killed her!). The poor girl kept having contractions in the midst of whatever we were doing -- several in WalMart, where we all really got our hopes up, because she nearly keeled over in the middle of the isle ("Don't stare at me!" she hissed "fake like you're all just talking"). We had a delightful outing on Saturday where we all (Josh's mom, sisters Kari and Melissa and I) got pedicures at a place the next town over, enjoying the green massage chairs, foot massage and a good girl time together (Lo, we missed you! We'll make it a tradition before everyone has their babies, so you can come in a few months before Melissa has hers).

Well, maybe you can tell by the way I speak of this weekend in past tense, but there was no arrival of the long-awaited little one. Things certainly seemed to be progressing -- Kari was much changed from when we arrived to when we left -- but apparently, they need to be progressing even more! We had all prayed that the time would come while we were already there, but that clearly was not the plans God had for us, or baby Max.

It is interesting how waiting for the arrival of a baby makes you ponder God's sovereignty. We are powerless to do a thing to hurry up His plan. At the end of the day, after trying what we knew might encourage things along a bit, all we can do is stamp our feet and say "Okay! We're ready now!" But it doesn't matter. God holds it all in His hands, and our feeble attempts to help him move it along are just truly silly. But isn't this true in all of life? Do we really wield control over any events? We just feel like we do, because sometimes things work out the way we planned them. Other times, we attribute the success or failure of our plans to the actions of another person -- which, though out of our control, still not within God's. People jokingly would say "Max will come out when he wants to!" or "You've got a rebellious nephew there! He won't obey already!" I realize that is a joke, but it speaks volumes as to who we really think holds the power! It's really funny to consider that this tiny baby is actually plotting to make us all wait -- rather than automatically realizing that our big God has a perfect plan in which we must wait.

Kari and I talked about how she is learning patience during these final weeks during our long walk. How precious to see the character that God is building in our lives! Our perso
nal growth and godliness is high on God's agenda for His children. He desires to make Kari more like His Son -- and waiting for Max is working that out in her life. Imagine if we were able to set a date for the baby, like a wedding date, and then there was no question mark at all. Think of what we'd lose! An absolute dependence on God, patience for Him to bring about the right time, perseverance to keep chugging even though our bodies are wanting to quit! Dear friends -- God has us just where He wants us: in the midst of His great plan. Whether you are waiting for a job, a spouse, a child, a change in a relationship, an engagement, you'd do well to realize what I did. I cannot make it happen. Which is really such a good thing.

Hang on, Kari! God's got it all in control, hon!

"Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind, or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother's womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things." Ecclesiastes 11:5

Friday, September 07, 2007

Mother of All the Living

Last night in my class, we had a guest speaker, Dr. Bruce Ware, who is one of Theology professors on staff here at the Seminary. He is a gifted speaker and theologian whose primary area of focus is the study of God Himself. He is also my Sunday School teacher! Obviously, I'd been looking forward to hearing his lecture on "Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and the Created Order."

Here is something that just fascinated me -- and perhaps you've already seen this and it won't be new to you -- Adam named Eve after the fall. Up to that point, she was merely called "the woman" which is what Adam named her right after her creation. Immediately after God curses Adam and Eve because of their sin -- telling them they will die -- Adam "called his wife's name Eve because she was the mother of all the living". She was named mother of all the living even though at that moment she began dying.

Why is that significant? It's obviously an amazing contradiction of terms! Dr. Ware pointed out that you can see the mercy of God in the very center of the curse (Gen 3:15): "I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and her offspring, he shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel." This great verse which promises redemption is often referred to as the first time Christ is specifically pointed to in the Bible, which is a beautiful promise all mankind may cling to.

Here is the part that I never really considered before: Adam knew it too. He got it! He heard the promise and his newly-fallen mind was somehow able to grasp a bit of its weight, and therefore, he turned to his wife and named her "Mother of all the living". Through her had come the curse (even though Adam was held responsible and bore the heavier punishment), and through her would come the One who breaks the curse!

Isn't that beautiful? Is not our God merciful? Rejoice in that today and worship Him!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Time and Money Saver

Do you dislike grocery shopping? It is one of the tasks that we all share in -- man, woman, single, married. We have to eat. We have to go to the grocery store.

For whatever reason, I have always loved grocery shopping. Maybe it's because I grew up with my dad in the grocery business -- stopping at grocery stores on our vacations, admiring polaroids of displays my dad had made back when he was a store manager before we came along, attending "buyers fairs" where the nice food vendors lavished freebies on us because we were kids. I also love food. So pretty much, I like grocery shopping too much. I want that task to have a priority, a night off, so I can enjoy my freedom wandering the isles. And I always spend way too much. Despite the list, despite the shopping on a full stomach rule -- I just can't help it, I see things and it gives me ideas.

So -- here's my tip! Go shopping early in the morning. This morning I was there before 6, and even though it was dark out, it was perfectly safe, because the only people out that early are too old to mug you! I was also not awake enough to think past my list. I had no big ideas while in the produce section. I actually only bought what was on my list (and I didn't forget anything, so methodical was my shopping). Mrs. Mohler would be proud.

How does that save you time? Well, the drive is quicker (which, unless you live next door to your grocery store always plays a factor) because there are no other cars out! Also, since I was so dependent on my list, I just walked down each isle once, and I had virtually no other shoppers to deal with. Finally, only the self checkouts were open, so I could take my time bagging everything just the way I wanted. I like fitting everything into 4-5 bags so I can carry it all in at once. (Clearly this is impossible for you if you shop for a brood!).

So there you have it! I'm sold on my early morning shopping. Try it out, and maybe you'll see the Starbucks light on while driving home (like I did!).

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Up for Some Fun. . .

This morning in church I saw the back of a little girl's head and for a split second thought it was Anna McCurdy (a dear child friend of mine from our old church). Obviously, I realized I was mistaken right away, and yet the longing to see those kids brought tears to my eyes. I silently told the Lord how much I missed those kids and how I wished to have some really good fun kid time with the kids at my church here.

Thank you, Jesus! I had my answer tonight at Clifton's Labor Day picnic. I got to play games, walk a trail (including a visit to a large group of ducks and a very old graveyard) and play tag to my hearts content with the fabulous kids who I am growing to love more and more. This is one of the biggest blessings in my life. It is a crowning moment for me to have such a reward from God. I am refreshed and blessed in ways I can't explain.

In light of that, I thought I'd go through some of my older pictures and put up some fun and funny ones of kids. To keep it safe, I'm not posting the kids' names (don't freak if you see your child here!).This one cracks me up because it looks like Josh and I are trying to throw the kids off the bridge.

What is the deal with my teacher face? I crack myself up! I love how Miss Janice is mimicking me without knowing it! The kids are slightly in disbelief, though obviously taking me seriously!

Obviously a place you need to try everything on.

I'm good at scary faces, and I must teach the next generation.

Turban contest (reading Narnia).

What I love about this picture is that the child in front of me is somehow unbelievably unhappy even though she is wearing MY t-shirt and TWO of my necklaces (color day at VBS)! When I looked closely I was like "WHY does she have BOTH of my turquoise necklaces on??"

Do you think this child gets kissed much? Heh, heh. . .

Well, that's just CUTE.

Best for last! AUGH HA HA HA! Smoooooooth.