Thursday, December 20, 2007

So, I'm a little behind.

Okay folks, so I'm a holiday behind, but I do have pictures to prove we took a roadtrip up to Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving. Our dear friends, the Gerlts, are there for Chad's Chick-fil-A interim operator job and we had the pleasure of giving thanks alongside them... mainly in our PJ's.
We had a wonderful time. So, we didn't always wear PJ's, but we did stay comfy. We enjoyed Erin's AMAZING Thanksgiving meal (about 3 times) and lots of time playing with the kiddos.Oh, and for the record we not only played with the kids, although we did and it was a blast, but we had some grown-up fun, too. Wii is not just for fifth graders and we also had a much-anticipated round of Blokus with our sweet friends.

Well, I was a bum and didn't get nearly as many pictures to record Melodie's recent visit to Kentucky, but we had a great time. Guess I figured she had an awesome camera and I'd steal her pictures later. And that I did. I stole this picture from her facebook. It rained the entire time she was here, but she loves the rain, so she was a happy camper. And, she got to have a life dream of sorts fulfilled. We toured Churchill Downs and even got to stand in the Winner's Circle as well as see some horses practice. Mel is a big horse lover, so she was thrilled. We also enjoyed lots of soup, church on Sunday, Whassup, a breakfast with the K. Peeks, a rainy visit to Huber's Farm, and some sister time doing a little shopping. We watched a goofy Mr. Bean movie that cost a $1 at McDonald's. Dustin and Mel had lots of laughs... I got sidetracked by writing Christmas cards and Mr. Beans is soooo weird. =) And no offense, Chad Gerlt, but you sort of look like Mr. Beans in that Blokus picture up there, although you are way cooler. Anywho, we love having visitors and it was a blast to have Melodie come for a visit. Thanks, Mel!
Back to packing.
Tomorrow, we leave bright and early to fly to TX to see family (both sides) and maybe a few friends. We usually drive, so it's a nice change. I will also get to attend a dear friend's wedding shower, which is very exciting since I have to miss her wedding in May!
So, there is much to look forward to including... a break from school!! :)
Who is happier at breaks? Students or teachers?
We shared lots of smiles in 5A today!
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Not What I Deserve

Last year, Girl Talk recommended an online story to read to your kids about Christmas. I read it to my kids at school and it led to some great discussion. The idea is that this family has a tradition of starting off Christmas morning getting coal in their stocking to remind them of what they really deserve. The presents then remind them that they are getting what they don't deserve and how Christ gives us what we don't deserve. It was very helpful for sparking Gospel conversation. Go have a look see:
Not What I Deserve
When we did a journal prompt to go with it, I was very encouraged by how the simple story really seemed to "touch" (for lack of better words) the kids. Many were really struck by the fact that they don't deserve anything except for coal and spiritually, death, which we talk about all of the time as we read through the New Testament. And then, many of them concluded praising God for His mercy and what He's given us in Christ. Now, I don't know where all of these kids are spiritually, but this book is a great seed-planter. Hope you find it as helpful as I did. It's really good for 5th graders anyway.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Stunning Quote

I'm listening to some Titus 2 Talks (see my sidebar) while I grade today.

Here's a quote that is sticking with me found in Noel Piper's 1st talk on fear.
"We think we need stillness around us, when really we need stillness in us."

For the fuller context, listen for yourself. I heartily recommend it.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Linkin' Up

I have updated some links in my little link/resource section of my sidebar.

Metro Moms is a site introduced on Carolyn McCulley's site awhile back. I love spending a few minutes browsing their archives from time to time. Very helpful stuff and currently it has some great Christmas ideas.

Christ and Pop Culture is presented by a few guys at my church and a friend of theirs.
Here's their blurb:
Pop Culture is everywhere. We just acknowledge it. Christ and Pop Culture is an attempt to discuss and think rightly about the common knowledge of our age.
They are currently featuring a helpful article about The Golden Compass, the movie that has everyone talking.

Finally, The Organized Home seems to provide a user-friendly resource for the home manager. It's pretty good from what I've seen so far.

Oh, and go here for some great background instrumental music. I think it rotates abuot 4 songs. It is the instrumental version of the cd, “Glory Revealed” which I learned is not for sale at this time. I don't necessarily endorse every thing on the website, but this music is really great! And there are a few items on there that are great, but it's Christmas, so I can't talk about it. =)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Perseverance. It's on my mind today. It's only natural, since I have 8 days of school left before the break. The kids yawn through everything in the morning and are hyper through all of the afternoon work. Can't blame them. There is work to be done, but in the evening, all you want to do is sip hot cocoa, wrap gifts, hang out, sing Christmas songs, bake, go to Christmas parties, etc. Or just non-Christmas pulls - reading a good book, sleeping, being lazy. In the mornings, you are so tired from the evening before, it is challenging to persevere. Or maybe it's just me. This time of the year is an important time for me to reflect on perseverance. So, here are my thoughts, for what they are worth.

Due to the very nature of the word, perseverance is a topic worth considering again and again and again.
What am I to persevere in?
Spiritual Disciplines
Belief in the Gospel
Love for God
Love for others
Excellence in responsibilities

And then, my mind shifts to things I'm not supposed to persevere in:
Sin (covers it all, huh?)

What are your lists?

The Blessing of Perseverance

James 1:25
But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

James 5:11
As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Whassup Recipe and Whassup Melodie!

We've hosted 2 get-togethers lately that both included WASSAIL. I got 2 recipes from my friend Erin, tweaked them a little by combining some ingredients of each of the 2 and made it in my crockpot. It's super easy and apparently a big crowd-pleaser. And my concoction has its own name now. At David and Leslie's Baby Shower/Game Night, one guest had never heard of it and thought we were saying Whassup. It was funny. So, that's its name now. I hope we always call it that.

At the second party, "Christmas Guys' Night/Blokus Night II," (great guy friends of Dustin's he met when he was living in the dorm) one of our dear friends Jeremy was a HUGE fan of our newly-declared "Whassup" (more like "Wassuhhh") and asked if I could put the recipe on my blog.

This recipe is from Sweet Doneise Gerlt, plus an addition (OJ) gleaned from an online recipe and changed the name - ha! Thanks, Erin's Mom!
We make this in the crockpot for company, but you can cook it stovetop of course. I think it can be stored in the frig for up to a week and you can reheat individual servings in mugs in the microwave.

1 gallon apple cider (but depending on your crockpot, you may use a little less)
2-3 sticks cinnamon
12 whole cloves
2 tsp. allspice (whole)
1/2 (or more ;P) cup of brown sugar
about 1/3 of a can of frozen OJ concentrate

Stir often and heat thoroughly.
Serve with red hots in a little bowl next to it and you can put a spoonful in each cup before you put the hot cider in. (Good idea, Erin!) However, your guests may prefer to chomp on the red hots all by themselves. :)

**Note to Louisville people - I had to find some of these ingredients at Kroger. The Neighborhood Wal-Mart wasn't very wassail-friendly (on some of the spices), but the Wal-Mart does have cider by the organic fruit section.

OK, Jeremy. Hope it turns out great! Maybe your mom will make it for you over the break, huh?

And Melodie, my middle sister I always called Merdie, is headed here tomorrow evening! We look forward to a great weekend with plenty of Whassup.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I couldn't wait.

Our neighbor David, of David Blair Photography, kindly took our picture (on the right) for our Christmas cards. I couldn't wait to go ahead and put one on the blog. Thanks again, David! He's super good at what he does.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Good Marriage Quote

This is from Challies... Mrs. Challies (his mom) actually. Read it carefully...

I pray for you, my children, that you will all see with the eyes of eternity—that through the trials and tribulations of life—specifically marriage—you will never have the shade of a doubt that, from all eternity, God planned for you to be with the one you have pledged to be faithful to. Guard your hearts and never allow the slightest strain of, “Well, maybe”, or “What if”, to enter your minds. Your unconditional commitment to your marriage, based on a total conviction of God’s sovereignty in bringing you together, is its greatest strength!

I think it's an important quote. When sinners say I do (yes, I realize I stole the phrase from the book), you see your sin multiplied in a million ways. People always told me that, but I didn't get it. Not that you can't see your sin clearly before or without marriage, but just that your selfishness comes out (not always, but more often than you might guess) in a scary, new way and selfish thoughts uncorrected produce selfish actions. I MUST keep a close watch over my thoughts, desires, and would-be complaints... I must keep a grateful heart. I must have an unwavering conviction that what Mrs. Challies says is so incredibly true:
Your unconditional commitment to your marriage, based on a total conviction of God’s sovereignty in bringing you together, is its greatest strength!

I have a wonderful and godly husband, my best friend, and so I must say this quote is admittedly easier for me to apply than for people who are married to jerks. My husband is amazing and loves me, for reasons hard for me to understand, with a tremendous love. However, we both know ourselves, more clearly now that we are married, to be sinners. I know myself to be a sinner constantly and have to guard, really guard my thoughts and die to myself, learning to lovingly put Dustin's needs before mine. Learning to be content in all circumstances (I'm not like Paul, I haven't "learned" it yet).

Learning these lessons and a zillion more. But there is great grace. And this quote is one to hold on to, even if your marriage is currently incredible, or if it's not, because there are and will be those days. Days when your conviction may be tempted to waver, even if just a tiny, little bit. Even if you don't give into the temptation, you must resolve to guard your thoughts with deep conviction in the truth of God's sovereignty. How kind of God, from all eternity, to so wisely and sovereignly hand-pick His mates for us, if that be His will, and how we must keep that in our minds. Won't it change our thoughts? Actions? Tone? And the overall aroma of our homes?

P.S. For any singles, this principle seems to apply, too, or it would have to me not too very long ago. This part specifically, Guard your hearts and never allow the slightest strain of, “Well, maybe”, or “What if”, to enter your minds. God is sovereignly hand-picking all of your days as well!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Seminary Finals

This is Dustin's last week of his 4th semester here at SBTS! I'm so excited for him that he gets a nice, long break soon and very soon. He has a test in just a few hours and one more paper on Friday and he's done until late January! Yippee!

Pray for him as finishes up this semester, that he would persevere in the remaining tasks before him and that he would remember and apply what he has gained from this semester.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Quick Thanksgiving Post

Due to the lack of time, this won't be much of a thoughtful post, but I am surely thankful! Where would I begin if I had the time? I am grateful (although admittedly far less thankful than I should be) for the Gospel, my loving husband, our church, our family, sanctification, dear friends, my kiddos at school and in my Sunday School class, our new pastor and his family, health, hope... and a much-needed break from teaching/seminary craziness.

This morning, Dustin and I both have to book it!

It's a half day with the kids, and while they are doing literature circles and a quiz, I have to finish up lesson planning for next week (getting closer)! Dustin will spend the morning finishing up a 15 page paper! Then, at noonish, Dustin and I are hopping in the car with our good friend Dan who is dropping us off at the Gerlts' new place on his way to visit his family who lives close also in Pennsylvania! Road trip! We'll be there until Saturday (I'm glad we'll be back in time to hear our pastor preach his 2nd sermon with us). The Thanksgiving plan is to be thankful, wear comfy clothes, rest, play with the kiddos, eat lots of food, have good conversations with our wonderful friends and play lots of Blokus while drinking lots of warm drinks like cocoa and coffee. And can we have free Chick-Fil-A, Mr. Gerlt?

Although we will miss seeing family (and other friends) too, we are thrilled about seeing Erin, Chad, Max, Anna Kate and Jake. I always feel like Christmas comes SO FAST after Thanksgiving, so we'll get to see everyone else soon when we fly home to Texas! We're dying to squeeze our growing nephews. Oh, and Melodie's coming to visit US really soon! And there you have a quick Butts' update.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

P.S. Egypt is not for the faint of heart.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Healthy Habits

This was in my inbox this morning from GetOrganizedNow. I didn't know they had my e-mail address. I don't even remember stopping by the site, although I probably should. (It's probably a sign.) It doesn't even seem like an article on organization, but hey, I need it anyway. I sometimes catch myself thinking, "I don't have time to work out" or "Eating super healthy is expensive" or things like that. Anyway, a quick skim made me think this was worth passing on with a quick copy and paste. Some of it's a little over the top, but hey... it's worth gleaning a few tips from, and for the record, I am officially a dork, because I now bring my tennis shoes and power walk laps around the playground at recess. It's a start.

Think It's Too Hard to Be Healthy? Think Again!

If you've been fretting that it's just too difficult to be health conscious, these tips are sure to change your mind. With a simple attitude adjustment and the application of even a few of these tips, you'll be on the more-healthy path in no time.

1. Clear out your kitchen cabinets, pantry, and refrigerator of all unhealthy snacks. Forget how much they cost. Just toss them. It's a lot less expensive to toss unhealthy snacks, than to deal with the costs of getting seriously ill.

2. Do most of your shopping in the fruit and vegetable aisle in your supermarket.

3. Cut up the veggies when you get home from shopping and put them into the refrigerator for snacking. In fact, pack up some little packets to bring to work with you for morning and afternoon snacks to eliminate those trips to the vending machines.

4. Plan out menus for healthy cooking on the weekend. When you go grocery shopping, just get the ingredients to make those meals--rather than buying randomly.

5. Plan on eating five to six smaller meals during the day. In addition to your regular meals, have one in the mid morning and one in the mid-afternoon. Do not eat after eight at night. Pretend you are going to have a blood test each morning and that you have to fast.

6. Chew sugarless gum. It keeps your mouth busy and satisfied. Keep a bottle of unsalted almonds in your desk to satisfy an emergency snack craving.

7. If you like crunchy snacks, almonds, celery, sugar snap peas and carrots are great choices.

8. Love ice cream? Treat yourself once or twice each week to a half cup serving. Or, try out some of the lower calorie frozen treats on the market.

9. Avoid eating cake at each and every celebration at work. Those can add up to unnecessary pounds on your body. Keep healthy snacks in your desk so you can enjoy the celebrations on a full stomach.

10. Drink lots of water during the day--six to eight glasses is recommended. This will fill you up and keep you hydrated.

11. Precook some of your entrees on the weekend so you just have the veggies to steam and the salad to prepare. Steaming is a good way of retaining nutrients and vitamins. Make a double portion of dinner so you can freeze it for another dinner when busy--or make a large roast and use it for a few meals.

12. Not enough vegetables in the fridge? Drink a vegetable drink, like V-8. Limit your starches and white flour and sugar.

13. Check the sodium content on packages. Use fresh foods (not the prepackaged prepared foods) whenever possible. Lots of sodium, fat and such isn't good for high blood pressure. Check fat and sugar content and note that a lot of these are hidden ingredients. (By the way, it only takes a few minutes to grill chicken, turkey or fish-- and you can do it on an indoor grill! No excuses for not using fresh foods!)

14. Rice cakes are tasty replacements for bread. Some are sweet, some are salty.

15. Sugar-free Jell-O is another snack that is healthy for you and can satisfy that sweet tooth. With a little light Cool Whip, you actually may feel like you are cheating.

16. One of the easiest ways to loose weight is walking. Loose weight, strengthen your lungs and think about your goals--all at the same time.

17. Have an active get together with friends, rather than always meeting at a restaurant. Meet to bike or walk together. You can catch up on all that has been going on in your lives, while burning calories.

18. Swimming is another excellent way to exercise. Join the local Y or health club.

19. Keep walking shoes at work. Eat a light lunch and then head outdoors to do some power walking. You can get a break from work and come back refreshed and ready to tackle the afternoon.

20. Plan activities with your hands to keep busy, so you don't reach for the snacks. Play games with the kids, read a book, go outside and walk around the block as a family. If you are crafty, start a project to complete. Start dancing. Take an art class.

21. Get at least 8 hours of sleep each night. You'll feel more energetic in the morning.

22. Last but not least, YOU are the only one who can change any unhealthy habits and it all starts with your attitude-- the time to start getting healthier is NOW! Do yourself a favor and make that wonderful decision for yourself today.
(Okay, that last one's kind of cheesy if you read this far! Ha!)

Friday, November 16, 2007

On Self Esteem

From a parent of one of my kiddos:

We would not want her self esteem compromised.

The context is not to be shared, but this quote (above) has me troubled. The self esteem movement disturbs me greatly. Thoughts? Mohler has some. (quoted below)

"The Christian worldview completely reverses this cycle. The Christian finds satisfaction, not in a sense of self-worth, but in knowing the one true and living God. Human beings are indeed made in God's image, and every single human life is thus worthy of respect and dignity. Nevertheless, the gospel makes clear that the Christian's identity is found in Christ--not in the self."
- Dr. Albert Mohler

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

New Link

There's a new resource link on my side bar. It's for the ladies.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Apathy Stinks!

In your jobs, whether at home or at a workplace, are you like me? Tempted to be stressed? Worried? Anxious? Overwhelmed? Apathetic? Discontent? Hopeless? Impatient for the next season? Impatient for the holidays? Impatient for Saturday?

Join the "fallen humanity club" (as Dr. Piper says)...

I'm just going to focus on APATHY for this little post.

I'm slowly working on adding a couple of verses to my little Scripture Memory Review System.

One has come to my mind numerous times since recently treasuring it in my heart, convicting me like crazy. I pray that the Lord will help me apply it, so I might not sin against Him.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,
knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward,
you are serving the Lord Christ.
Colossians 3:23-24

So, if you are wanting to pray for Mrs. Butts and her pile of papers or your friend who is a busy mom or a stressed student you know drowning in college finals or your pastor (or seminary husband) and his pile of books...
PRAY that in whatever they do, they would work heartily, not for men, but for the Lord. Pray that they would remember (and you can remind them, too!) that it is the Lord they are serving, and although I want to study this part more, it is from Him they will receive the inheritance as their reward.

In short, it matters. Apathy stinks. Work heartily.

P.S. Oh, and for the record, you can NOT do this alone. Apart from Him you can't work heartily. Apart from Him you can do nothing. So, in all of your striving and hearty work, do not forget to beg for more and more grace to dependently obey.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Max and More

This picture cracked me up! The other kiddos have equally amazing costumes, but I want to send you to Gerlt House to see the rest!

I just had to put a huge Max Robot on my blog for your viewing pleasure and mine. Ha!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Scripture Memory System

Why Memorize Scripture is a sermon of John Piper that is helpful indeed. Head here to check it out. However, I think the problem I have is not only the need to be convinced, truly convinced, why this discipline is important, but also of the HOW to memorize and keep it in my head, in my heart and on my lips.

If you take out the period of my life called GA's, Private School and especially Camp Buckner Summers, you will find that Scripture Memorization has sadly been a basically neglected discipline.

Well, long story short, for the sake of your time and mine, I'll get right to it instead of blab too much about how excited I am about purposefully planning to memorize God's Word again. My dear friend Erin found a wonderful, and quite unique, hands-on review system to share with me awhile back and actually SHOW me at our recent retreat together. She made me one for my birthday. A great gift.

You can read all about the details HERE.

Here's one blurb:
By spending just five or ten minutes a day, you and your children can learn and retain hundreds of verses.
She found this in her research with homeschooling, but she's made herself a box as well as the kiddos. We are going to individually hone in on verses or passages that specifically deal with sins we wrestle with, for one thing.

I just had to share, because I hadn't seen anything like it. We both felt like, "Why didn't I think of this years ago?"

I just think it's a very useful review system. And if you don't review, like me, you sure don't remember your verses from GA's or Camp Buckner. I'm looking forward to getting started. Thanks, Erin!

P.S. If you'd rather focus on memorizing whole chapters and books of the Bible, there are different strategies that would be more helpful in some ways. This approach is for individual verses or short passages, in my opinion. Let me know if you need a link to those. I can track down the one they showed us at camp.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Come up for air...

Portions of the fuller definition of RETREAT from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

The term retreat has several related meanings, all of which have in common the notion of safety or temporarily removing oneself from one's usual environment. A retreat can be taken for reasons related to spirituality, stress, health, lifestyle, etc.

A retreat can either be a time of solitude or a community experience. Some retreats are held in silence, and on others there may be a great deal of conversation, depending on the understanding and accepted practices of the host facility and/or the participant(s).

Spiritual retreats allow time for reflection, prayer, or meditation.

There are probably better definitions, but I think the idea is to plan to get away for some purposeful alone time, but with a Godward motive not just me-time. And it's different than just a fun vacation. Hopefully, you will come back refreshed, and encouraged and by God's grace changed (and more organized!) and in this way your husband, children, family, friends (believers and unbelievers alike), workplace and church will even be blessed by the retreat.

More on this later, perhaps, but I had no idea how easy it was to plan a retreat within my crazy schedule. It wasn't too hard at all. After reading Shopping for Time, I was determined to make this a priority, because I caught the author's excitement for how valuable it had been, in her life and countless others. Donald Whitney of SBTS says the same thing.

Mrs. Mahaney counseled through her book, to grab your calendar and plan a date and so, a dear friend and I decided to do just that. I am not writing this to brag about my upcoming getaway, but to perhaps inspire you to do the same. Are you busy? No time to even think? Prioritize? Take a personal day. Plan waaaaay ahead if you need to (like me). Take a weekend or even just a few hours. Examine your life, goals, beliefs, habits, schedule, family, etc. It's not too hard. Grab a calendar, friend, obtain a babysitter and maybe a few bucks and take a weekend or just a few hours at Starbucks or the local park. Get away. Seek time to reflect, read, pray, visit, etc. I think it's a great idea. I've almost sold the idea on Dustin, too. I think maybe everyone could be helped (although it's not mandatory, of course) by temporarily removing oneself from one's usual environment. More on this later... perhaps.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Daily Nourishment

Yesterday, Carolyn McCulley discussed this article on her blog. Day 2 of the series on The Resurgence Blog ended with this reminder:
The Ideal Christian Woman realizes that having begun her walk of faith through the Spirit, she is still utterly dependent upon God for any hope of future obedience. She gets her nourishment for daily living from the Vine in light of the gospel and not from any false sense of personal ability--for apart from Him, she can do nothing.

Monday, October 29, 2007

On Serving

Really great quotes seem to ring in your ears for awhile. Would you agree? Phenomenal ones may echo in your memory for a lifetime. This quote on serving, by Donald Whitney, is truly great in my opinion, and parts of it are phenomonal.

Time will not currently permit me to share all of the reasons I say this, so I will bold the parts that are currently echoing in my mind.

Although Christ's summons to service is the most spiritually grand and noble way to live a life, it is typically as pedestrian as washing someone's feet. Richard Foster puts it starkly: 'In some ways we would prefer to hear Jesus' call to deny father and mother, houses and land for the sake fo the gospel, than His word to wash feet. Radical self-denial gives the feel of adventure. If we forsake all, we even have the chance of glorious martyrdom. But in service we are banished to the mundane, the ordinary, the trivial.'

The ministry of serving may be as public as preaching or teaching, but more often it will be as sequestered as nursery duty. It may be as visible as singing a solo, but usually it will be as unnoticed as operating the sound equipment to amplify the solo. Serving may be appreciated as a good testimony in a worship service, but typically it's as thankless as washing dishes after a church social. Most service, even that which seems the most glamorous, is like an iceberg. Only the eye of God ever sees the larger, hidden part of it.

Beyond the church walls, serving is baby-sitting for neighbors, taking meals to families in flux, running errands for the homebound, providing transportation for the one whose car breaks down, feeding pets and watering plants for vacationers, and - hardest of all - having a servant's heart in the home.

Serving is as commonplace as the practical needs it seeks to meet. That's why serving must become a Spiritual Discipline. The flesh connives against its hiddenness and sameness. Two of the deadliest of our sins-sloth and pride-loathe serving. They paint glazes on our eyes and put chains on our hands and feet so that we don't serve as we know we should or even as we want to. If we don't discipline ourselves to serve for the sake of Christ and His Kingdom (and for the purpose of Godliness), we'll 'serve' only occasionally or when it's convenient or self-serving. The result will be a quantity and quality of service we'll regret when the Day of Accountability for our service comes.

Friday, October 26, 2007


1. Happy
2. Stinkin'
3. Friday!

I'm out. Have a great weekend!!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Name That Birthday Gift!

Among other things, my sweet husband surprised me with this terrific birthday present that was highly recommended from a friend. We played 3 games last night. I'm already a huge fan. This will provide many cheap date nights/company entertainment in the days to come. You should try it soon. Seriously. Great for the whole family. Has anyone who is reading this played this besides the Gerlts? What do you think?

Oh, and another great birthday gift was receiving GOOD NEWS from afar. Congrats!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Sure Hope

My friend Lisa has such an encouraging blog. She is purposely providing such consistent and rich reminders of God's faithfulness in suffering of all kinds, with her own life as additional testimony to the trustworthiness of such claims. Each post is rooted in Scripture, themed around the sure hope we have in Christ.

Head to to enjoy wonderful encouragement from Lisa!


I've been tagged

I was tagged by KARI to write 7 funny/strange/crazy things about myself. Scroll down to see if you were tagged. Here ya go:

1- Once married, we discovered I grind my teeth. I have to wear a nightguard now. I pretty much hate it!

2- Don't tickle me. Not a fan.

3- I HATE the word curdled (ask Travis Dawson). And I hate when people ask you to smell the milk to see if it's still good!?! And I hate it when you can hear tick-tock clocks. Seriously.

4- Unlike most people, I love going to see the dentist and I always have. Why? He's my uncle!

5- I once was the tallest munchkin in a local theater's Wizard of Oz production. I was the coroner. Lame. I wanted to be Dorothy.

6- I once was Mother Earth in a weird Earth Day play.

7- About 2 weeks ago, I had to save a sweet, screaming staff kid with his stuck foot in the closing eletronic bleachers that some goofball middle school basketball player came in and closed without permission. Ah, the adventures of Staff Care. My adrenaline was pumping and I went into Mom mode! I could barely sleep all that night I was so shaken up. Grateful the Lord kept all safe.

I tag Leslie B. and Mary M.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Lappers and The Scoopers.

Downsizing of Gideon's Army
Judges 6

This is a neat picture of Joey (my sister) and Company at the site where Gideon chose his army. God told him to downsize the army (in a most peculiar way) to a ridiculously small number so that God would receive all of the glory for the victory. I found this picture particularly enjoyable since I just taught this story in preschool Sunday School last month. AND, I just read it recently in my morning devotions. I just love it that she is there and getting to see these amazing places we read about in our Bibles. She has other such wonderful (and many fun!) pictures and great insights over at her site. Stop by! Oh, and I think Joey is a lapper, but she looked a little hesitant to commit if you ask me. And what's the bald guy doing? I don't think there was a third option...

Pray for Dr. Cook

Dr. Cook, the president of DBU (the college I attended), has been a wonderful friend to my family for years now. He has Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) that is requiring immediate and urgent treatment. Please pray for him and his family during this time. You can read updates here. Dr. Cook was also recently recognized by the seminary here so some of you seminarians may have heard his name. Thanks for your prayers!

Update Time

Dustin is loving his classes this semester. He is taking Systematic 2, New Testament 1 and History of Christian Missions. Yesterday, he had a whopper of a test that included memorizing Mark 1:1-15, hundreds of tricky identification questions (ex: What chapters in Matthew and/or Mark do you find the story of the faith of the centurioun?) and essays over all that has been covered so far. I'm sure he did great. He has 3 papers coming up in the next 6 or so days and then a huge one pretty soon after the 3 smaller ones are knocked out, so pray for him. It has really been a blessing to see him study this semester. Due to the nature of our jobs, he is able (and so graciously choosing) to strive to get the bulk of his work/reading done while I'm at school so as to leave very little for when I'm home in the evenings so we can spend some more time together. The discipline and sacrifice has been encouraging.

With a tad more time together in the evenings than previous semesters, we've picked up a new interest and created a new verb. PUZZLING. We love to puzzle. We bought a huge 1,000 piece puzzle at Wal-Mart and set it up on our folding table in the living room. We work a little most nights after dinner before book studies, church, various activities, cleaning, grading, etc. It just helps us unwind a bit, and we get to visit while we work on it. It's basically a bunch of small, similarly-colored flowers and leaves, so it's a challenging puzzle.

Another favorite activity as of late is hanging out with our neighbors. We still do the dinner swap and we also love stopping by each other's places for quick hellos. Baby Boy Neighbor is due in mid-February. The Blairs are introducing us to the art of sushi-eating. Also, David and Leslie helped us confirm, with some analyzing of our routines, that Dustin and I are truly old souls. We like to go to bed really early, get up really early, do puzzles, go on walks, sit on the couch and listen to music, read books in bed, etc. I think it's hilarious. I've been an old soul at heart for a long time now, I think. Dustin thinks he has, too. Nothing against the elderly; we love them. In fact, we miss our grandparents a lot. My Nana is the funniest person in my life.

I'm going through Acts with my kids at school and now in my own studies as well. I'm also studying through Judges, which can be challenging indeed. Thankfully, a sermon we had by R.C. Sproul has really helped me understand the context behind the gory scenes in the pages of Judges. I've been listening to it on the way to work.

We're enjoying the cooler weather and trying to bring it in with foods like chili or soup. For example, this week, Dustin helped me choose some meals. We decided on Kristy's TX Chili and 2 new hearty soups from my soup cookbooks. Furthermore, our church is having Chili Night tonight at Family Supper before the business meeting. The funny thing is I don't think we'll get sick of chilis or soups anytime soon. We are big fans.

Joey's still in Israel, and Melodie's starting her clinicals for her nursing program. We miss our little nephews, (and all of our families), back in TX. They are growing like crazy and we're ready to see them again. We'll see them at Christmas when we fly home. For Thanksgiving, we're headed up to Pennsylvania to see the Gerlt fam. We can't wait, and the leaves should be gorgeous on the drive!

Travis, my dear cousin, is engaged. So are Jenn and Kathlyn, sweet college friends of mine. I don't know if/how I'm going to make it to all of these TX weddings, but we're working on it.

Dustin's having a lot of fun with keeping secrets since my birthday is coming up. He goes on secret missions and has secret phone calls and drops weird, unconnected (probably untrue) hints to throw me off. :) Sigh. I'm not good with surprises, though I love them.

This weekend, we're headed to Huber's Farm with some friends for some pumpkin-picking, cider-drinking and yummy-food-eating fun!

One key thing I'm learning with the kids at school is how to be an encourager to them in their school work. My words make a big impact, for better or worse. Even in disciplining or discussing LOW Math grades, it is my responsibility to be kind and speak truth in a loving, careful way. It's hard sometimes.

Simplicity has been the key around our home this semester. It helps so much. I read portions of a book called Simple Hospitality. Although some of the stuff I won't use, much of it reminded me that things don't have to be fancy or difficult. You can share sandwiches or say a prayer for someone or eat leftovers or use Clorox Wipes for quick cleaning and create a really happy home without too much fuss.

My co-workers and I will be going to a workshop in Lexington soon and while I'm not thrilled about that, I do hope to get a lunch break to go to Abuelo's to get some REAL Mexican food.

Random, random. We love and miss you!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

On Sale

I've mentioned this book before. I love it. My friend Erin read it, and she loved it. Sarah Bebee's reading it, and she's loving it.

If you want to love it too, now's your chance. It's on sale.

On other news, we finished up our first quarter of the school year! The kids had a half day and I'm wrapping up a quick lunch break. Off to staff care, and then I get to finish up grading. And it's a jeans day! Good day!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Carolyn Mahaney

Just have a second, but I wanted to send the ladies here. I have been trying to do better about using my commute, where my mind is usually just on mush-mode. I've been popping in some of these talks by Carolyn Mahaney.

They have been so incredibly timely and encouraging. Do you have an Ipod or MP3 player? Is there some way you could get them to your car or computer? They are really helpful and the focus is godward. Be encouraged.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Jerry Bridges, an author I respect and appreciate, has a new book out called Respectable Sins.

Just to meditate on THAT is probably helpful... refined sins.

This quote makes me want to go grab the book right now. And the second paragraph of this quote is just as important as the first.

The motivation for this book stems from a growing conviction that those of us whom I call conservative evangelicals may have become so preoccupied with some of the major sins of society around us that we have lost sight of the need to deal with our own more “refined” or subtle sins.

While seeking to address these “respectable” sins, however, I also want this to be a book of hope. We are never to wallow hopelessly in our sins. Rather, we are to believe the gospel through which God has dealt with both the guilt of our sin and its dominion over us.

Healthy Competition

You've seen box tops before, right?
They look like this:
Our school collects them. Dustin and I find them on our cheap muffin mix, pancake box, kleenex boxes, TP, etc.

Last year, my class got creamed in the grade-wide contest. I mean, we lost big time. It was a sad day.

And besides winning, of course, the idea is to raise money for your school.

So, will you help us out? It's super easy, and we're getting competitive as it looks like we might have a chance this year. :)

Just keep them in a ziplock bag. Then, say mid-Spring of next year, just stick them in an envelope and mail them to me. Just look up Southern's address online and address it to Dustin and Jamie Butts. It will get to me. And you will receive... a fun thank-you note from a bunch of neat 5th graders. You have my word.

Oh, and here's a recipe that looks yummy from their website!

Thanks. Oh, and I know this blog is lacking thoughtful posts of any real significance. Maybe soon...

Are you in?

Monday, October 01, 2007

A Plug for our Neighbor :)

Need a photographer?

Know someone in the 'Ville who is getting hitched?

Our neighbor, David, is GOOD at what he does. And he and his wife are growing to be dear friends of ours. We have a dinner swap going now (We switch off cooking on Monday nights! She's a great cook, too!) and we love right-up-the-stairs-neighbors that you can really borrow that proverbial cup of sugar from!

I know a lot of you guys and gals like photography (Mrs. Gerlt, Vivian, Cozarts, etc) so have fun checking out his site. (Find the Hot Air Balloon Pics, which are terrific!)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Sing while you work... FREE DOWNLOAD!

Head over to Solo Feminity to read about (and be directed to) a free song download (All I Really Need).

I am listening to it while I work during my conference period.

Thanks, Carolyn McCulley and Sovereign Grace!

Some may place their hope in feeble man,
I can't do that again,
For only You are strong.
I will pray to God who lifts my head,
To You who came and shed,
Your blood for all my wrongs,
For when I am weak,
I find that You are strong
And all I really need is Your grace,
All I need to know is You are near me.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Professional Face

It's that time of year again... parent-teacher conferences. And when you work at a school where the parent pays, the parents show up and usually have a lot to say and ask. It is usually a good and sanctifying experience for me, where I have to learn to fight the tendency to people-please or flatter, and I have to learn how to speak the truth in love. There are also ways to encourage the parents in their support of the child at home. It is really tricky sometimes, so I would definitely appreciate your prayer today (just ask for wisdom). I have had a few really great conferences so far this morning, so we're off to a great start. I definitely get kind of nervous, and I have to remind myself to speak slowly and not say "like" too much (they already think I'm young), and listen carefully. Some of these parents are BRIGHT, and some are very well-versed or well-opinionated in their educational philosophies of choice. ("This test was completely unreasonable, because of this, this and this...")

Anyway, I have about 12 more today, but here's the good news. The kids are gone, so that leaves a few gaps to work on grading and catch up. AND... Noah's Mom brought me this amazing HUGE piece of BUTTERSCOTCH PIE. Yummy. If I can scrounge up 50 cents to go grab a Dr. Pepper, my day just got much brighter.

I think that this is always a good experience for me overall. It just feels weird. You have your high heels (okay, not really... still have my flats on), and your professional garb, and you feel like such a career woman. It feels out of character for simple me (whose heart is homebound). I fit in with the kids much better... (probably even better at a camp or babysitting setting, then a school one) oh well.

Back to the pie...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Good Dialogue

(From our church's blog, emphasis mine)

The part I made bold is the part I wanted to pass on, but the broader context is helpful. I've been made to think lately about seeing the needs of your church and other similar thoughts. This discussion was helpful. I hope it will encourage you today, whatever church you may belong to...

A distinctive of the kingdom-mustard
By Keith GoadSeptember 24, 2007

Greg gave a very clear and accurate exposition of the mustard seed parable. The kingdom may look small now, but it will be awesome and finally victorious. One need not be anxious about the kingdom or the microcosm of the kingdom–the church–appearing small or insignificant. Some seem to be afraid of the smallness of the church and try to change aspects of the church’s culture in order to grow it so it looks successful by worldly standards.
I think a principle we should gather from the parable of the mustard seed is that kingdom growth is not always easily measurable. The kingdom of God expands as God desires and the grand appearance of its largeness, greatness, awesomeness will not arrive until Christ establishes his kingdom on earth. One’s church need not look great and mighty today to be an active agent in the kingdom. We do not need to change the culture of the church to make it great, we simply need to proclaim the Word so that members live like citizens of the kingdom. What if God is not growing you numerically now, he is simply building up the body so that it can be mature enough to care for new converts when he decides to bless you with them. How does one measure kingdom growth? I think Greg’s first sermon on the Kingdom Life gives a pretty good starting point. Is your church humble, loving, merciful, peaceful, etc? These changes take great pain and time.Third Avenue, we should not pat ourselves on the backs for being small because that is not the point. We should consider how well our life together reflects the kingdom. Are you committed to the growth of our little body by being committed to Christ and his kingdom? Are you more concerned with how committed people are to you rather than how you are committed to them?
RE: Living the Kingdom
By Greg GilbertSeptember 25, 2007

It would not be right to let this sentence languish in the middle of Keith’s post without being plucked out and put on display. It’s one of those questions that cuts to one’s heart and deserves to be meditated on at length:

“Are you more concerned about how committed people are to you, than about how committed you are to them?”

There’s a sermon for you to preach to yourself. I recognize that being and feeling loved are important needs for any human being. That’s how we’re made. But it’s worth noticing that the Bible’s command is to “love one another,” not “to be loved by one another.” The language is active, not passive.

That ought to set our priorities, and our expectations. It seems to me that the default position of too many Christians, when it comes to love, is passive rather than active. The switch is set on “intake” rather than “output,” meaning that people spend alot more time analyzing whether they feel cared for, than they do strategizing about how they can care for others. You can see the problem with that: If every switch in the church is set on “intake,” most everyone starts to feel like they’re “not being cared for.” But flip all those switches to “output”—change the priority from “being cared for” to “caring”—and see what happens: Love abounds.
I hope and pray that kind of active love is, or perhaps increasingly becomes, one of Third Avenue’s distinctives.

Monday, September 24, 2007


I've been meditating on this passage today because I read it this morning. Love it.
Happy Monday.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Happy Saturday!

It's great when both spouses are teachers. Dustin and I are perfectly content spending Saturday mornings or Sunday afternoons, or even date nights, getting some grading out of the way. This morning takes us to an Old Louisville Coffee Shop, where we are grading, grading, and grading some more. We are also having not a few laughs as we use our red pens.

For example, I'm grading Bible Tests, as we continue our study through Acts/Life of Paul. Some of my kids clearly didn't study, but tried to come up with answers from memory.

1. What were the men called who were chosen to care for the needy?
Some of the wrong answers: deatons, demons, dicoons
2. Who was the man guarding the coats, giving approval to Stephen's death?
Saul of Tartar, Saul of Turtle, Saul of Tar


Friday, September 21, 2007


As I said in my last post, I'm totally re-vamping my sidebar. It gets on my nerves, and I've already stated my rationale. However, in case I forget where you are or others are really wanting to drop by, I am going to save this link on my sidebar.

  • Our Church

  • 5A Website

  • Preach the Gospel to Yourself

  • Bebees

  • Blake

  • Mr. Cozart

  • Mrs. Cozart

  • Dawsons

  • Mrs. Dodson

  • Gerlts

  • Jay Scott

  • Joey in Israel

  • Mindy Loo

  • My Husband

  • Pastor Phillip

  • Peeks

  • More Peeks

  • Mr. Plevan

  • Mrs. Plevan

  • Rebekah

  • Mr. Stone

  • Mrs. Stone

  • Trav

  • Will and Vanessa

  • Vivian Risse

  • Helwigs

  • Jewels

  • Solo Femininity

  • Girl Talk

  • Mary McCulloch

  • Samantha Bartlett

  • My Symphony

  • Purple Cellar

  • Something Booked

  • Vincents
  • Can't sleep

    ...and when you can't sleep, sometimes you do weird things. I'm going to take 5 minutes to clean my sidebar. That's about the last thing ever on any kind of list of priorities, but it's mindless.

    I just have to have a shorter sidebar list. It's out of control. And only half-way joking, I really don't want to be in charge of adding to anyone else's blog-addictions. It's fun to check up on people, but I don't want to be a one-stop-shopping place helping you spend hours each day on the Internet. I'd like to limit my time online more as it is.

    I cut you out, IF...
    *you are not immediate family
    *you are not a resource link of some sort

    Don't lose any sleep over it. I'll still be stopping by to visit many of you often. All of the original links are, in fact, still there. Go to LOTS OF LINKS.

    Tuesday, September 18, 2007

    Guess Who?

    Girl Talk is doing another wonderful interview. I really love biographies. So, I guess that's why I always enjoy their interviews so much. I am always curious about people's stories. I have been to this woman's house two times and can attest to the fact that she is a wise, godly, down-to-earth woman who is a caring wife, careful homemaker and gracious hostess, among other things (sports-savvy?)...

    I was actually going to hear her talk tonight on the topic of WORRY, but I'm recovering from being sick. (Such is the teacher's life, I think.) If you are close by, you should try to head over to campus tonight.

    Surely you know who she is by now...

    Anyway, head here for more of her story.

    Sunday, September 16, 2007

    Pumpkin Pancakes

    Following our wedding in July of 06, our first stop on our honeymoon was a wonderful Bed and Breakfast in Waco. We enjoyed the Pumpkin Pancakes at breakfast so much that I asked for the recipe from the friendly lady who ran the place. I decided to make them a tradition in our new family and want to make them each Christmas Eve Breakfast (started last Christmas). While it's only September, Fall is fast upon us and pumpkin-tasting anything is pretty fun. Enjoy!


    2 cups flour
    2 tablespoons brown sugar
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
    1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
    1 and 1/2 cup milk
    1/2 cup cooked pumpkin (I think I just used can pumpkin and it was great)
    1 large egg
    2 tablespoons vegetable oil

    In large bowl, combine dry ingredients. In small bowl, combine milk, pumpkin, egg and oil. Stir liquid mixture into flour mixture until dry ingredients are moistened. Batter will be thick. For each pancake, pour 1/4 cup batter onto hot griddle; using a spatula, spread the batter into a 4 inch circle before mixture sets. Cook until surface appears dry. Turn; cook another 2-3 minutes.

    Tuesday, September 11, 2007

    Food for Thought: Work Heartily

    While women are to be primarily workers at home, we may find ourselves in a season where we are working outside of the home as well. Here's a quote that I think is a good reminder for a woman in that season as well (preaching to myself here)as well as women working hard at home. (Obviously, it's good for men too!)

    Work heartily, not lazily. Proverbs 6:6-11 tells us that most ants are more productive than most people! Every time a Christian is lazy in his work, every time he is not pursuing excellence, he becomes a thief. Does God really mean, “Thou shalt not steal?” Yes. Stealing in laziness is just as offensive as a pickpocket. Laziness in your vocation is stealing from those who are paying you for your labor, and it brings a reproach to God. If God commands us to pursue excellence, if he commands us to work heartily, if he commands us to serve Christ, less than this would be sin.

    Always remember that to pursue excellence in your work, is to rely on the grace of God’s hand in all you do. Prayer is an important part of pursing excellence – you cannot do it on your own. Excellence cannot be achieved by personal merit, but only through divine grace. His divine power has granted this to us, but we must come to Him in prayer.

    HT: A Puritan's Mind

    Sunday, September 09, 2007


    A friend sent this to me today. I was happy. Go to the site and get free food.

    Saturday, September 08, 2007

    Third Avenue Going Away Party

    While this isn't the entire group, this is most of our church family. Being at a church that is so transitional, with many students (both seminary and U of L), there are a lot of goodbyes in store. How exciting, though, that the Lord is raising up godly men (and families) from our church to be sent out to places like Florida, Oregon, China, Indonesia. But, it is never easy to say goodbye.

    Josh, Cari, Benjamin, and the little one on the way will soon be headed to Clewiston, Florida, where Josh will be an associate pastor of a baptist church. They were some of the 1st people we met at Third. I remember Dustin and I meeting Josh on a Wednesday night. He was extremely welcoming, and he talked as fast as I did. He and his wife had a quick engagement story, like we do, and they just seemed really great. Likely, their love towards us as visitors was part of what kept us coming back. What an evident love for God and for people! Our church will miss them, but we send them really looking forward to what God has in store for them.

    Cari was part of our women's book study. She led the first one. Our first study was through Feminine Appeal, and I was so encouraged by how Cari would facilitate the group in her gentle, humble way that spoke volumes of her deep desires to love her husband and son more that the Gospel might be adorned.
    Here's a picture of Ben and Josh and one of Cari and me.

    While I haven't been at Third THAT long, I am very grateful to have known the Vincents.

    Thanks for all you taught us in book study, Cari, and for teaching me how to prepare guacamole and helping me save the Mexican Rice. :) Remember that? Dustin and I love you guys!

    As for me, I'm just really bad at this getting attached to people and then moving thing, but this seems to be a big part of life. How nice to know that God ordains such sweet seasons and gives you such rich memories... and that this life is just a vapor and one day there will be no goodbyes. :)

    And thank you to the Rambos for inviting the entire church over to their house. Wow!

    Thursday, September 06, 2007

    Meet SOME of My Women's Group

    We had a small women's group due to Labor Day. We usually have about 9. So, after taking this picture, we headed to Java and had coffee and hung out there. Next time, we'll pick up where we left off in The Disciplines of Grace by Jerry Bridges. These (and the ones not showing) are a few of the local Titus 2 women in my life (although there are certainly others). I praise God for providing these sweet friendships here in Louisville.

    Meet 5A... The New Class

    Sister, Sister...

    I just have a minute, but I wanted to tell you a little about what my sisters are up to these days and give you a plug for Joey's Blog. Joey will be in Israel for the entire semester, taking Masters College classes, learning a ton about the Bible and WALKING where much of it took place!

    I highly recommend that you pop over to her site and keep up with her journeys. I think she plans on posting once a week. She writes in such a way that will let you share in what she's learning and see some of what she's seeing. It won't be a time- waster, but it should be really informative and interesting. Dustin and I were fascinated as she was telling us all about the wonderful IBEX program through her college. Go here or here.

    I'm proud of her, too. She's learning things like this:
    If Medo-Persia had not become powerful enough to overtake Babylon, or if it had not had the ideology and policies that it did, Cyrus would have never issued the decree in 538 B.C. allowing the Jews to come back to Israel from captivity. They'd still be scattered all over the world, and I would not be here today.
    (I had to read that a few times to get it... ha!)

    Needless to say, she's really excited to be there. It's a full load, but she should have a great time learning Hebrew (while reviewing her Greek, Spanish, Italian, etc) and learning about Biblical History. Most of all, she aims to grow closer to the Lord with unshakable joy. She's learning a lot about women's roles, and praying through her desires to possibly assist in Scripture translation, if God wills.

    Mel update (with a longer one later):
    Merdie is now in nursing school.
    (Merdie is her nicknamed earned by how fast I said Melodie as a child... Don't worry, I talk really slowly now. :P)
    She's doing great. She aces her classes, and she loves to learn about the human body, medicine, and how to help people! She recently went to Spain to see Marcel (her novio) and then he came to the USA to visit her. Mel works at Lowe's and loves to find great recipes for meatless meals. She loves her dog MANCHITA. We're trying to get her up here for Derby. While we can't afford tickets to take her, she would have fun being in town for the festivities. Hurry up, Melodie. Come to Louisville for a visit.

    Love you, sisters.

    Monday, September 03, 2007

    Fun Neighbors, Large Pumpkins, and Answered Prayer

    On Saturday, we got to take a study break with our new neighbors. As I mentioned recently, we are loving having neighbors that we actually chill with. (We are sure the others are wonderful too, and hope to hang out with them soon.) So, my friend Leslie knocks on the door and asks if we want to take a quick break and go look at huge pumpkins. I was watching the 4th of 6 ACSI Christian Philosophy videos for school on a borrowed TV, and Dustin was reading about the Crusades, so we were ready for a break. Off we went, and you can read all about it here. Massive pumpkins. We may go back and buy one, clean off our doorway, hang a Fall wreath and plop the huge pumpkin near our door to welcome in my favorite season. Anyway, we love our new neighbors. We're having Leslie's famous tacos tonight!
    On other news, we are THRILLED and praising God constantly for the gift of a pastor. After much prayer and waiting, God has brought a shepherd to the church we love so very much. We were so encouraged by his sermon and by visiting with him at a social on Saturday evening. He is humble, and he loves the Lord. We are sooooo thankful!!!! You can read about it here. Reflecting on God's provision, our dear friend and elder Aaron said this among other noteworthy things:
    One of the things I’m thankful for most about Third Avenue is the way I’m regularly challenged to share the Gospel and, thinking of a message recently by a dear brother, not just to share the Gospel, but see the lost know God’s Word. There is in Kurt a desire to speak to non-Christians in a matter-of-fact way about the Gospel. I see that and appreciate that in his preaching, and I think that throughout the course of a lifetime of preaching, we can trust that Third Avenue will be a place where non-Christians can be thoughtfully and lovingly provoked to take the claims of Christ seriously.

    Friday, August 31, 2007

    Tuesday, August 28, 2007

    Tuesday Ramblings

    1. Today is Erin Gerlt's birthday. (Insert loud cheering here!) And in the Lord's wisdom, it just so happens that her family is picking up and moving to Pennsylvania for awhile and on their way, they are stopping in Louisville. We get to see her ON her birthday, which is really fun. The "We Know and Love the Gerlts" Kentucky crew, and there are lots of us, will enjoy a yummy dinner at Jason's Deli to celebrate and love on some Gerlts. Wish you could come. If you can't, head by their site and comment a birthday greeting!
    2. We have met all of our neighbors, but our visits are seldom and brief. Sad, huh? Everyone is so busy and working on different schedules. However, we have some new neighbors that we're bonding with quite well. We love David and Leslie from California! Leslie's pregnant, too, so we'll have a baby close by! Check their blog out here. Looking forward to getting to know them (and our other neighbors) more during our time in Louisville.
    3. I feel as if this heavy, complaining attitude prevails in school settings. Kids get whiny and so do teachers. I've been talking a lot with Dustin about how to have joy. Attitudes really are contagious, right? "I'm stressed out" attitudes or "I'm tired" or "That's not fair" or more pointed attacks on authorities over us. It so dishonors God when I praise Him in the mornings or at church and then grumble, even if it's ugly sin that just stays in my heart. Eventually it will come out, right? So, I'm trying to go on the offense and plan how to maintain a Christ-honoring attitude. Yes, teachers are tired, but so are mothers and pastors and the terminally ill and the persecuted. Surely, we can do more than just commiserate with each other. So, pray for me. I need it. I'm selfish. Even on the "great" days, I want to get MY things done, worry about MY class, get on to my home. Pray that I will have patience, an encouraging word for others, a heart of gratitude, etc.
    4. Sweet Dustin had an incredibly high fever yesterday, but he's doing better now. I was a little sick on Friday. Being sick is also a way to be put in our place. We are created. We are human and feeble. Dustin prayed last night at dinner that God would use our weaknesses to make us more dependent on Him. Amen!
    5. Along those lines, I'm learning how to deal patiently and lovingly not only with students, but with parents. In private school settings, parents are paying, so they are very involved. Wonderful, right? Well, yes... but pray for wisdom! I have parents who have concerns that class is too challenging and those who think it's too easy. So many needs, e-mails, phone calls, etc. Pray for me to demonstrate salty, fitting, grace-filled, appropriate answers. Just pray for wisdom overall.
    5. Joey's in Israel!
    6. That's it for now. Until next Tuesday, here's an often-mentioned quote, once given to me by Sarah Dodson.

    "I have a great need for Christ. I have a great Christ for my need."
    - Charles Spurgeon

    Tuesday, August 21, 2007

    What's Up

    Hello from my teeny, tiny but wonderful lunch break. I thought I'd post a quick one.

    1. School is well underway. I'm still getting to know my class. They are great! Some have unique needs, so my work will be cut out for me. It is very stretching for me as a teacher to slow down, assign tasks in managable steps, etc. to ensure that no child is left behind or lost. In MANY ways the school year is going incredibly smoothly compared to prior years. However, it still requires great discipline to get to bed on time, get up on time, keep papers graded, stay organized, etc. Always a sanctifying time. I have to really stay on top of things to manage home and school, spend plenty of time with Dustin, stay involved in church, etc. However, I have a wonderful job and I'm so thankful. It's a unique season, but the Lord is so gracious. Besides, it is neat to remember that taking on this job (during this season) is helpful to my husband. He can have some more time to focus on seminary. He's such a help, too. So many evenings I come home and he has my dinner ingredients laid out, the laundry started, classical music on and a hug waiting for me. He's the best. This is great and allows me to come home and be able to work on dinner and the home and still make it to book study or Wednesday church. Pray for balance and energy for both of us! I'm sure every reader can relate as most people we know are on a tight schedule! May the Lord grant ALL of us perseverance, joy, discipline, etc.

    2. Dustin's classes are going great! He's reading a ton and learning SO much in his new classes. I'll tell you all more about them soon, if he doesn't beat me to it.

    3. Joey came in town this past weekend. What a fun surprise. She called early on in the week explaining that she had a flight planned to visit a friend in Chicago. It fell through, so she was wondering if she could change her ticket to Louisville. OF COURSE. We were thrilled. We had a great weekend and even headed out to Huber's Farm where we ran into the Plevans and had a splendid time. We picked rasberries, blackberries and grapes. Pictures pending... It was sister weekend, because Cara is in town to visit the Bebees, so that was super fun.

    4. I somehow popped my jaw today (talking too much!) and it really hurts when I eat or open my mouth too wide. Any ideas? Laura?

    5. Baby Dr. Peppers are great.

    6. I think I'll only blog on Tuesdays unless something special or profound is worthy to be shared.

    7. I took on a paid position after school called Staff Care. I watch about 50 staff kids in this huge gym. I give them about 30 balls, the studious ones head to the corner and do homework, and I just stand in the middle with a whistle while mass chaos reigns. Not too shabby though.

    Until then!

    Tuesday, August 14, 2007

    Early to bed, early to rise.

    Not as excited about blogging these days for some reason. Hmm. I'll try one as I work on eating my afternoon snack. Yea for green apples (not pink lady though, Erin). School starts tomorrow! I'll finally get to meet my new kids. I've had 4 "old kids" come by and see me which was really fun. Things are going really well at school so far this semester. We finally came to our senses and are attempting team planning, which is delightful. Instead of planning all subjects and getting premature grey hair, I will now just be responsible for 1 or 2. I know! It's thrilling!

    My main subject to plan for the team is Bible and I will assist with S.S. and Science which rotate by semester. There you have it. It's wonderful. And, our Bible curriculum is vague at best, so there's a lot of freedom to tweak. Feeling more efficient and prepared with 1 1/2 years of teaching under my belt now. Send new teacher friends my way, because I have about a dozen major "Why didn't anyone tell me?" things I can share if it could help. Got the new hair cut for the new year; good idea, Mayci. Frugal Idea #301: Go to the local hair design school. Cut/Style for $14 + tip, BUT be prepared to wait awhile and it's somewhat of a gamble. My stylist did a great job, but it's like Priceline, Laura Cozart, you just never know what you're going to get!

    Dustin's helping some guys move their stuff in his truck, and then we'll have tacos. I love tacos. Happy Taco Tuesday, Laura and crew. Okay, so I told you I wasn't really good at "The Blog" these days.

    Pray for a smooth start to school. Should be a great year! Bed time's in a few hours. Farewell, summer.

    Oh, and this is what I'm reading:

    I have no idea how to change my sidebar without my husband.

    Friday, August 10, 2007


    The summer seemed to fly, but don't even let us grumble. Anyway, this is just a quick explanation for the lack of blogging.

    Back to School Day at CAL (I meet my kids and their parents) - August 13
    Dustin starts 4th semester at SBTS - August 13
    First Day at CAL - August 15

    Please be praying for us as we make this transition, especially for time management.

    More later.

    Tuesday, August 07, 2007

    Shopping for Time

    Just posted a new review... Check it out! Shopping for Time is a great book by the Mahaney women!

    Wednesday, August 01, 2007

    Safeguarding Against Adultery

    I'd like to share a quote from another wonderful Purple Cellar article. Take 2 minutes out of your day to read it. She began her article saying this reminder is for those who are married and those who aren't. That covers all of us, so I hope you are encouraged to read it.

    So how can we guard against adultery? We begin by acknowledging that we--each one of us--is absolutely capable of committing this sin. It takes humility to see that we must—and can—avoid places and people who tempt us. Avoidance prevents advancement. Pretty simply, yes? Simple, but not always easy. We can't go there in imagination or in body, not even to the fringe; not even to situations we can so easily rationalize as harmless.

    Go here to read and consider the article in its entirety.

    Little Update

    Several friends of ours have recently moved in to Louisville for seminary. It's so exciting! Chris and Sarah Peek, Ryan and Sarah Bebee and also some friends of mine from Countryside Bible Church, Richard and Jessalyn Hutto, are all here from TX. It's neat to have some friends here with some history, although we love our new friends as well. Just refreshing and fun. We've been having a blast painting, moving, having friends over, etc. I'm also getting my classroom ready. I need a fun "teacher hair-cut" like Mayci with school rolling around. Getting ready to meet my new class. When I think about it, it's weird to prepare yourself to meet 21 little people that you'll spend about 35+ hours a week with... I need to update my new site a little more, but it's coming...

    That's just a little pictureless update for you. We miss our TX friends who don't live in Louisville as well. Don't feel left out; just come visit us soon (or move). We're ready for you.

    Hmm... other than that, I haven't been reading as much for the Booked Blog lately. Working on some teacher books for an ACSI certification that's required of us. Hmm... I'm trying to get back on a early to bed, early to rise schedule which hasn't worked out too well yet, but maybe next week. :) We're headed to church in a few minutes, so I'll wrap this up.

    Oh, check out Stepping in Faith for my cousin's latest.

    Love to all.

    Monday, July 30, 2007

    Summer Booking

    New book reviews from Mr. Butts and myself over at The Booked Blog! Enjoy.

    Friday, July 27, 2007

    My Teacher Site - Recruiting Advice

    I had many goals for the summer. Projects, if you will. Some were tackled. Pantry organized - check. Oven cleaned - check. You get the picture. Some are still underway and it is yet to be seen if they will be finished by the start of school. Oh well.

    One such project is finding more imporance on my priority list. I wanted to make a class website and nix the old Friday Newsletters required of us by our principal. Besides, she encourages us to use technology. And, Lisa Merryman has a wonderful teacher website. I'm hoping to copy some of her ideas. Thanks, Lisa!

    Anyway, I e-mailed The Tim Challies for advice as well as being inspired by Erin's My Symphony and The Cozart/Helwig blogs, so here I go... another wordpress blog. ;)

    Here's what I need from you. My future 5A families don't know about the classroom site yet. It's brand spankin' new. I won't unveil it until I have it exactly like I want it with good links, edited welcome post, about the teacher section, my philosophies, etc. If you are bored or love editing, please edit and critique what I have so far. I'm not as computer-savvy as some of you, so those who are you can also give pointers on templates, etc. Teachers, you can help by sending wonderful links that parents of 5th graders would enjoy or find beneficial. It being a Christian school, any good links on parenting or family issues would also be helpful.

    Here goes...

    It should change a lot in the next few days!

    Tuesday, July 24, 2007


    At Kari's sweet request, I put our Indy pics on facebook. We got a little camera happy.

    We had a great time. I don't know where to start, but let's just say we enjoyed it tremendously. Indianapolis is a cool town.

    NOTE: If you use Priceline, good for you, but if you get a hotel downtown, be prepared to pay a pretty penny on parking. Don't say we didn't warn you. We actually got it validated, but that's a long story. (If 30 people have a party next to your room, kindly tell the manager. They are usually nice and compensate you. Ha!)

    Other than that, it was great. We tried to be cool like our friends with bikes so we rented them for an hour and had a BLAST cruising around town. I think it was the highlight of the trip. We also went to the NCAA Hall of Champions (forgot to tell you that one, Erin), Indiana State (not the college) Museum (surprisingly really cool), Superheroes Museum, Borders, PF Changs, Jimmy Johns, small Italian joint, and hung out around the cool canal. Before we knew our parking would be validated, we were scared to leave our parking spot (they would have added another day on), so we couldn't go to church or drive anywhere, but we had a great time walking everywhere. Made me think I should get out and walk more. Plus, the weather was amazing. This paragraph has tons of parentheses and run-ons. Sorry.

    Back in place now and school is in full swing. Well, we're not due back until the 9th of August, but I have work to do to prepare! Still enjoying the last few days of summer though. There you have it, Kari friend. Pics and even a little update. :) We had a wonderful time enjoying the weekend with each other. It was a sweet memory.

    A long time ago, my friends Patrick Horner and Mary Row taught me a valuable lesson about recording the "history of God's dealings in your life" so you don't forget like the Israelites. I loved that lesson they both taught and displayed for me. So, I asked Dustin if we could start an anniversary book. We bought a cheapo journal at Borders and started and just recorded a few of the main things from this year. Hope to add to it on each anniversary. I'm kind of sentimental. Who knew? If you don't think it's too cheesy, consider starting something similar no matter what season you are in. Or just journal from time to time. It could be helpful and super encouraging to look at one day down the road, or that's the goal anyway.

    Here are a few pics, but you can go here and here for all of them:

    Friday, July 20, 2007

    Still Profound

    I still find the mystery of marriage profound. On Sunday, we will celebrate our first anniversary! I find the following things to be true:

    -God not only blessed, as the song goes, but kindly ordained the broken road that led me straight to my dear husband. There are plenty of godly guys in the world, but God so wisely designed my husband to complement me - help sanctify my weaknesses and sins, encourage my insecurities, and walk with me through the joys and trials upon our short pilgrimage here. Even in the issue of personalities, God prepared Dustin to "fit" with me so well. God is so good at orchestrating marriages wisely. He's a God to be trusted!

    -I am a selfish sinner and marriage is wonderful, but not at all like the movies. Knowing this beforehand and experiencing it afterwards were two entirely different things. Like any other Christian discipline, self must be killed and grace must reign and Christ must be depended upon and His Word revered and obeyed.

    -Communication is oftentimes difficult, but worth it. As the Tripp's new book's title explains, relationships are messes worth making. I love that title.

    -Marriage is still profound because it is a strange design that God chooses marriage as a way to put the Gospel on display. As Piper says, and hear this, my single friends, marriage is NOT the point, but it is meant only to point to something. The Gospel.

    -Younger women truly do need to be discipled, shown and taught by older women (old may mean season, not just age) how to love their husbands and children, manage their homes, etc. It doesn't just come naturally. God made us to need that training process. The Lord has given me excellent examples, both in TX and KY. If you don't have that, find it, seek it, pray for it.

    Many other lessons come to mind, but how I thank the Lord for my husband. It's incredible to watch him grow in Christ and love for our family, the church, the Word, the lost, etc. And to see God use him to humble and grow me. We have so much fun together and laugh until we cry, we enjoy each other, but we do not have a "perfect" marriage. There is no such thing. We are blessed, but we continue to grow (this seems like an obvious point to me, but one to be made nonetheless). I'm learning to be content with exactly where God currently has us in the process of sanctification. We aren't seasoned yet like John and Noelle or Al and Mary, but we are Dustin and Jamie, sinners and fairly new at this marriage thing, and God is kind to be patient and teach us, use us and grow us.

    That said, we're excited about a weekend getaway (, of course) to Indianapolis. It should be a sweet time, from the Superhero Museum to fun restaurants and just some time with cell phones off to reflect and rejoice. Our first year of marriage was full, fun and God remains faithful. AND... the mystery of marriage remains profound!