Friday, December 19, 2008

No School and Grace that's still amazing...

Dustin and his sister have the best tradition ever! My sister-in-law is also a teacher, and for many years now, whether they were students in college, seminary or in teaching themselves, they would/will call each other before big breaks and yell, "No Schooooool"! I think kids have no idea that their teachers get just as excited. I'm yelling it in my heart and as wiggly as my boys! I can't really describe how good it feels when you enter the last grade for the quarter, hug the last kid, pop a coke open (That's Dr. Pepper in Texan, Lisa Morel!) and start cleaning your room, humming Christmas songs and running on pure adrenaline, since it's been nuts!

I do love teaching and Dustin loves seminary, but the breaks are very necessary. We are MOST excited about going to Texas tomorrow. It will be so fun to see our parents, sisters and brother-in-laws. It will be great to play with our growing nephews. We can't wait to eat GOOD Mexican, MOM food, Boba Tea, Panda Express, Aunt Debbie's fudge, etc. We look forward to re-connecting with any friends we should happen to see or drop by (We have to make them come to us usually, because we don't want to share too much family time, since it's so limited... so come by! Mindy? Betsy?). We'll love seeing Nana, Ninnel and Papaw. Love cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. We'll love considering that little baby, God-in-flesh, who came to die. This little baby came, the "dawn of redeeming grace", to shed blood for sinners like me. To take my place when I should have died. He came to glorify the Father and reconcile dead sinners to Him. A baby who came to die. But death's grip wasn't strong enough. God purposed Him to die, and God purposed Him to rise again. It is finished, was the Victory cry!

I'm trying to more carefully consider the manger all the way to the empty tomb. I have thought about "God with us" before at this special time of year. Or how Christ was the Messiah people had been longing for, hoping for, praying for... But this year, I just keep thinking... we can't stop at the manger. We must "Go, tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born" and also tell WHY!!

I may write some 2008 reflections later. For now, I'll just say it's been a sweet year of marriage, my favorite so far. It's been a sweet year at Third Avenue Baptist. It's been a sweet year of re-learning lessons from stewardship to contentment to waiting on the Lord to evangelism and recalling the depths of my sin and the depths of His grace, lavished, LAVISHED on us. Unworthy us. All glory be to God. He is at work in our lives and in this world. Oh for grace to trust Him more!

So... happy NO SCHOOOOOL and Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Friday Catch Up


We had a wonderful Thanksgiving and you can check out pictures at Kristin's website. (My pies hopefully tasted better than they looked, but they were fun to make.) The best part is truly hearing what everyone is thankful for. Although we love the full bellies at Thanksgiving, the full hearts are really what it's all about! God has been so kind to us in Christ Jesus.

I wanted to pass it on that the fun "I love my husband" and "I love my wife" shirts are on sell for $10 here for a limited time. They make good wedding gifts, too! (Those shirts are the main shirts of theirs I like, but I also love their Glory Revealed CD!)

Tonight, we are headed to Kari's for the (1st annual?) TX Ugly Sweater Christmas and Dollar Store Gift Exchange Party. We have some hideous sweaters, and it should be pretty hilarious. Tomorrow, the ladies at my church are having a Gift Exchange/Fellowship, and I am actually doing a short talk about evangelism and being purposeful, specifically at this time of year. My focus, I think, will be on "Show and Tell"-ing the Gospel at Christmas and always also with a focus on how Christ came into this world not to be served, but to serve, and give His life as a ransom for many. I don't think I have ever done a talk like this to ladies, only kiddos and teens, so please pray for wisdom, humility and grace in preparing. I'd really appreciate your prayers.

Dustin is wrapping up his semester. He has one more to go!! I'm so proud of his hard work and thankful for what God is teaching him.

We are really looking forward to going to TX soon! Yippee!

I'll leave you with a picture, the only other one I have downloaded from Mel's wedding. I am thankful for my sisters and look forward to seeing them soon.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Depth of Mercy!

by Charles Mercy

*Go here for the Sovereign Grace version that has become one of my favorites. I had no idea how many verses were in the original. Both the orginal and the "remix" are really good!

Depth of mercy! Can there be
Mercy still reserved for me?
Can my God His wrath forbear,
Me, the chief of sinners, spare?

I have long withstood His grace,
Long provoked Him to His face,
Would not hearken to His calls,
Grieved Him by a thousand falls.

I have spilt His precious blood,
Trampled on the Son of God,
Filled with pangs unspeakable,
I, who yet am not in hell!

I my Master have denied,
I afresh have crucified,
And profaned His hallowed Name,
Put Him to an open shame.

Whence to me this waste of love?
Ask my Advocate above!
See the cause in Jesus' face,
Now before the throne of grace.

Jesus, answer from above,
Is not all Thy nature love?
Wilt Thou not the wrong forget,
Permit me to kiss Thy feet?

If I rightly read Thy heart,
If Thou all compassion art,
Bow Thine ear, in mercy bow,
Pardon and accept me now.

Jesus speaks, and pleads His blood!
He disarms the wrath of God;
Now my Father's mercies move,
Justice lingers into love.

Kindled His relentings are,
Me He now delights to spare,
Cries, 'How shall I give thee up?'
Lets the lifted thunder drop.

Lo! I still walk on the ground:
Lo! an Advocate is found:
'Hasten not to cut Him down,
Let this barren soul alone.'

There for me the Savior stands,
Shows His wounds and spreads His hands.
God is love! I know, I feel;
Jesus weeps and loves me still.

Pity from Thine eye let fall,
By a look my soul recall;
Now the stone to flesh convert,
Cast a look, and break my heart.

Now incline me to repent,
Let me now my sins lament,
Now my foul revolt deplore,
Weep, believe, and sin no more.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cincy - Take 3!

We took our 3rd getaway trip to Cincinnati this past weekend. It's wonderful to take a break from the hustle and bustle of this season. And I love extended time with my sweet husband. My little sister gave us a weekend at a hotel for a birthday gift. (She works at LaQuinta!) It was so thoughtful! We had a great time chatting there and back, resting, eating at PFChang's on a gift card and hitting up some great stores and sales for some Christmas shopping. We even found a Bath and Body Works Outlet, and Dustin was nice enough to spend quite some time there while I browsed. It had everything normal for about 1/4 of the price! Our favorite find was... Tea and Bowl! Tea and Bowl is a Boba Tea place near the University of Cincinnati! We went twice. :) I have lots of pictures, but it may be awhile to upload. Thanks again, Joey!!

2 weeks ago, we also had a visit from my dear friend Yu Towery. She was one of my best friends from DBU, and she's my sweet Japanese friend. It was such a blast hanging out.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner! We are spending time with the TX crew here in Louisville. I'm making Chocolate Meringue Pie and preparing a veggie tray. There is so much to be thankful for... I love Thanksgiving!

Then... on December 20, we'll head out for Texas to see our families and celebrate Christmas!

Other things on the agenda too - one being a TX Ugly Sweater Party hosted by our friends Kari and Kristin. Sounds hilarious to me!

We've had 2 light snows.

That's a very quick and random update for blogland... until next time!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gospel Encouragement Through Song

Step 1: Go here.
Step 2: Click on the top right icon with the little headphones that say Sovereign Grace Radio.
Step 3: Listen to songs like Out of the Depths and Glorious and Mighty.

Often when I grade, although not nearly enough, I listen to sermons or music.

I think one of the things I am really thankful for this year is Christ-centered music. I love songs based on God's Word. So many times at church or in the car or grading papers, I've been humbled by my sin and then overwhelmed by my Father's grace as I sing about or listen to what God has done for sinners like me, pouring out His wrath on His Son. That wrath should have been poured out on me. Praising God for mercy, the recent attribute my kids studied.

Merciful - God is kind to undeserving sinners...

**Just a side note, I'm not a HUGE fan of the Sovereign Grace music that is fast. I just can't get into it. However, I like almost ALL of their slow music. Wonder if I'm alone in that? At any rate, I'm so grateful for their ministry from books to sermons and music... God has used it in my life.

Goodbye, Gorgeous Fall Leaves! I'll miss you!

Our sweet friend, Kristin Booth, captured excellent pictures such as the one above that you can see on Cara's blog.

Honestly, it is hard for me to say hello to winter and goodbye to fall. (FYI, I know it's not technically winter yet, but it's starting to feel like it around here. And most of those pretty leaves are now on the ground.) I'm a wimp. Having winter just around the corner is pretty daunting to me: figuring out how to dress for cold, needing 5 more layers of clothes to brave recess, going to school when it snows, not being able to feel toes, trying to save money so not using too much heat, less sunshine, etc.

But... there are many things to be thankful for during winter. Well, there are always many things to be thankful for! That will remain for another post, another day...

Open House today! 13 hours at school. Hopefully it will be a very productive day of grading. Speaking of...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My Youth Minister

I am one of the few who have the youth group experience where you have the SAME youth minister throughout your entire youth group experience.

Every 11/18, I think of Mike on his birthday. And this verse always pops quickly in my mind.

Hebrews 13:7-8 – Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever.

I wish I had pictures up here at school for you. I have known Mike since I was in 2nd grade! He was my youth minister from 7th grade to 12th grade. I saw him become a dad and babysat for the 3 kids as they grew up. He was always a listening ear and guiding voice in my life. He spoke truth, even when it wasn't popular. He is passionate about the Lord, really knowing the Lord, and he loves people very well. He loves God's Word and God's people and he loves the lost... all around the world. While parents are usually and rightfully the central role models in a kid's life, and I deeply appreciate my parents, it's also terrific when a kid can see other adults who are also living out the Gospel. I suppose it confirms the truthfulness of what the parents are saying about God. So, Mike spoke the word of God to us. Sometimes, there were 70 of us. His "way of life" has been an example. His faith has been a testimony. I want to remember him today and consider the outcome of his way of life... such joy, a wonderful family, a deep desire to worship God with his life... I want to imitate him in several ways.

And the Jesus Mike loved and served way back when we were in the same state and local church is the same Jesus I serve today and Mike still serves in Louisiana.

Love you, Norms! Soooo thankful for you! Happy Birthday!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Black Friday!

No... I'm not depressed today. :) Just thinking ahead to the day after Thanksgiving...
Now, I am not usually a big shopper. And, I hate hitting malls when I know there will be crowds. But I like a good deal, especially this year when we have been budgeting carefully to finish Dustin's school. So, when I was sent this link, I thought maybe I should be brave and head out early on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Sarah and Becky Peek scored amazing deals last year. Maybe, I think, just maybe I could get all of my Christmas shopping done before 10:00am and buy a few cheap birthday gifts ahead or something. This is how I think. So unreasonable... 10:00am! Yea right! :)

So, you seasoned shoppers, what do you think? Should I do it? OH, and are certain grocery items also on sale on this day? Like can you buy amazingly cheap canned pumpkin or turkey or something? Just curious!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Husby and Wiffey

This is an old picture, from August. But I like it! I guess because it's kind of quirky, like us. And I'm smitten by Dustin's sweet smile that captures his personality so well! And because I don't think we've taken many pictures this year. Not sure we have any of just us from the last few months. Sad, huh? Dustin is such a terrific husband. I am so thankful for him. (Thanks, Blake, for the picture I found on your Flikr!)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Election Musings

Several people have asked me about working the polls yesterday...

A few thoughts, on being a poll worker, and on the 2008 elction in general -

1. I didn't work with senior adults, although Laura Cozart and I really like them. =) The other poll workers were about my mom's age or a tad older (which is mighty young, Mom). And one was a grandmother of my student... small world.

2. Old Louisville is eclectic. We mainly had U of L voters, so it was fun to see lots of students who confessed, "I have no clue how to vote. Please tell me what to do!" The brand new voters were so great... it was fun to see their enthusiasm and involvement. Other than that, we had all sorts of fun people. It's an interesting place to live which makes it an interesting precinct!

3. Working the polls helps you see your neighborhood. You literally see a good chunk of the people who live within easy walking distance.

4. Working the polls taught me a lot about the election process. It was a good experience, and I would encourage others to try it next time!

5. Being a poll worker means sharing a long time out of one day, but if you have the day off, I think it's well worth it. I will get $120 for the training and election day, which is only about 8 an hour, but it comes at a good time, with Christmas right around the corner.

6. Other aspects about the election (hearing conversations all around me there, talking about it with co-workers, overhearing kids, reading blogs, etc) keep me coming back to a 2-word reminder in my head - DON'T PANIC. There were pros and cons of both canidates and important moral issues are rightly on the forefront of the minds of most Christians. However, we know that God is on His throne. He is Sovereign over the affairs of men. We can pray for president-elect Obama, not in despair, but with hope. God does all things well.

7. Proposition 8 passed! :)

8. I wanted to say THANKS to fellow church member Matt Wireman for posting a helpful answer to a popular question these days. Is it okay to abort if the woman was raped? This is something people really discuss, my neighbors included, and Christians need to think deeply about the issues. This is only one of many questions surrounding the abortion issue, but this one strikes me as unique in that you often hear people on both sides of the issue wonder about this one.
Matt said, Doug Wilson has written a good post on this issue. Here’s the gist of such a view of justice:

So here is the answer to the “rape and incest” objection. When a woman conceives as the result of a rape, there are three parties involved. There is the rapist, there is the woman, and there is the child. Two of these parties are innocent, and one of them is guilty. What kind of sense does it make to execute one of the innocent parties for the crime of his father?

I don't think this answer would necessarily help anyone who was very pro-choice. I am not saying that it will change minds or hearts just by spouting it off to friends who disagree... only God can. But I think it's helpful. I think it's good. I realize these are emotional issues that often divide. I won't be getting into politics very often on here, but I do think Christians should respect and pray for Obama earnestly, praying to the King on His throne, and that we should be thinking very deeply about the issues that have and will continue to affect our nation and live by the Word of Truth.

9. Oh yea, I was on the news! I was told that I was working hard, which relieved me, because I only remember the media's cameras surprising me when I was just starting on my burger Dustin brought me from Sonic! Glad they didn't show that clip!

10. I do agree with Carolyn McCulley completely and she worded it so much better than I could -

Though I disagree with many of President-elect Obama's policies (and will be praying for change), I still appreciate the tremendous moment facing us with the election of our nation's first African-American president. Read more here.

11. Go here for a prayer to pray for Obama.

Friday, October 31, 2008

I'm alive... I promise!

An update! But not a long one... just some random thoughts.

- In-service day today here at school. Off on Monday and Tuesday, which is pretty exciting. I'm working the election on Tuesday. People keep laughing at me, saying I'll be working with senior adults. I like senior adults. I'll just be thrilled if I can put together the voting machines (we poll workers do that, you know) and take care of all of the voters. I'd better look over my manual again...
- We wanted to get somewhat out of the bubble, and boy, have we. God has been gracious to answer that prayer. We have made new friends around Old Louisville. I have a friend who is pro-choice and a strong feminist. I have a neighbor who smokes weed. The house next to us is practically a frat house. We are constantly invited to go "tailgating" with another neighbor. Dustin's basketball buddies got in a huge brawl last night; he had to kindly kick them out of the gym since he runs the ministry. Our new Thursday night dinner guest (a basketball buddy) had never heard of Abraham or Moses or taco soup. And the list goes on... it's great for my spinning thoughts. I always knew the world didn't all think and smell and believe just like me. But now we're experiencing it. I have a lot of questions about how to interact. When to be bold and press. When to listen and win trust. How to share the Gospel. I need more love for them. I find myself tempted to be like the pharisee in this story, but I must not. I can't think like that or pray like that. I need love for these people and it doesn't always come easily, to be honest. So, new items for prayer...
- My 14 boys are doing just swell, but another gal is moving, which will bring our population of women to a whopping 5. Crazy!
- It's been really cold for the fall. But that means it's time to make lots of yummy soups, chilis and stews!
- Well, I want to get out of here, so I'm going to wrap this up. More the next time...


Friday, October 10, 2008

I heart Chinese food and friends!

Steve and Casey are friends we met outside of church on our walk home one Sunday. Last weekend, Casey taught us how to make scrumptious Jiaozi, a special Chinese dish! (Thanks for helping me figure out how to spell it, Mary!) They are so yummy and somewhat of a labor of love to prepare. Casey really did all of the hard work, but Mary and I were eager to learn and had fun with our attempts to make our jiaozi like Casey showed us. =) They taste kind of like empanadas and there is something similar at PF Changs, but I think these were much better! This was such a fun night, and don't even ask how many we ate. Thanks for hosting, Adam and Mary!

Finally... pictures!

We finally set up our computer in our new home (not the laptop), despite no internet, to have access to our pictures. So, I was able to put pics on my cruzer from the computer and the camera. I won't have time to put them all on at once, or even today, but I'll post some here and there, now that I have them at school.

The first 2 are from our Back To School TX/San Angelo/CB Party at our new casa! It was in August, so that tells you how behind I am in organizing pictures!

Monday, October 06, 2008

What's New

Howdy folks. It's been awhile since I updated the blog, so here we go...

It's been an interesting school year for both of us where the words discipline, endurance, waiting, trusting, prioritizing, budgeting, grace, encouragement, confession and a dozen other words are heard in our home and in our prayers more often than perhaps years past.

Thankfully, things have made us smile lately as well (the 1st paragraph seemed so serious). We love the fall, and apparently THE way to initiate the fall in Old Louisville is the St. James Art Fair. We live right across the street from this mega annual event that brings in a quarter of a million people, which means we had to park at the church all week. This meant that we went on a lot of walks to and from the casa this weekend. I like to go on walks. I don't get outdoors much these days. Interestingly, we only had time to visit a few booths (out of hundreds) at the art fair, but it seemed like a good time was had by all. One day, we were able to babysit some kiddos from church whose parents were working at the art fair as volunteers. Dustin and I each took a stroller and joined some friends for a picnic at the park. It was a nice time with the little kiddos, outdoors on a beatiful day - refreshing. We also played some games with some friends on Friday night. Oh, and we also went to our friends' house to enjoy making and eating a special Chinese dish on Saturday. Steve and Casey are our new friends that we met in Old Louisville, new believers full of questions and joy. I just wish I already had my picture of the food on my computer. It was terrific, but I can't spell it. :) The fellowship was really sweet.

I also have a new job. :) I'm going to be a poll worker this year for the election, which is pretty exciting, because it will be nice to help with Christmas gifts. I love meeting new people, too, so it should be fun. I have training tomorrow night. I am also slightly addicted to National Public Radio these days, and I wonder, "Who am I?"

We'll add another ordinance to the list of things that make me cry these days. The Lord's Supper was such a sweet time last night. Dustin taught the devotion about the hope of heaven, and it was so encouraging. I am learning how much I need to be meditating on the Gospel constantly - to avoid legalism, self-righteousness, despair, complaining, mind-in-the-muck, me-focus, etc. Oh for grace to trust Him more!

We are looking to the future, things beyond Dustin's graduation, May 2009. We appreciate your prayers not only for those future things, but for the present. Pray for the strength to finish strong - for Dustin, at seminary and for me, here at CAL. It's weird to think about finishing, but I know how time flies!

Our church re-grouped home groups with new members and whatnot, so we start up home group again tonight. We're looking forward to it!

Hope you all are doing well. Lots of love from us to you!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sprint Loves Seminary

Conference Day! 8 down, 10 to go.

Just remembered this... we recently discovered that Sprint gives a 13% monthly discount to Southern Seminary families. Although we wish we would have known before, we are happy to know now. Thought I'd spread the love.

Thanks, Sprint.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Wedding Weekend

Congrats, Melodie and Marcel! (I'm covering up the groom in this picture. Sorry! It's the only one I have so far.)

Thursday, September 18, 2008


-As you might have heard, Hurricane Ike sent 75-80 mph winds to the Ville. With thousands of homes out of power, we were surprised to have ours on. It was nice, because we were able to help some others out and have a lighted place to use the days off of school (Monday/Tuesday-me, all week-Dustin) to work. And of course, we are very thankful to be safe and it reminded us to think soberly about the storms, instead of just rejoicing in days off of work.
Proverbs 17:5
Whoever mocks the poor insults his Maker;he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.
So, we had power and we were thinking...
-But... the power went off last night. So, we're probably looking at the same schedule as everyone else... could be a week or two. Not sure what happened... someone trying to move a fallen tree maybe hit a line or something. At any rate, we're joining the candle club.
-Not THAT big of a deal however, so far, because we're going to TX tomorrow. My middle sister is getting married to her long-time boyfriend, a nice young man who hails from the Canary Islands of Spain. We're looking forward to seeing both sides of our families, nephews and all!
-But... our Ninnel, Dustin's grandmother, is very, very ill. We are praying for her, and we would love it if you would, too. Dustin will fly from Dallas to his home in Lampasas as soon as we get to TX, while I need to stay to help with wedding preparations and rehearsal dinner. He'll join us back for the wedding, and then we may head back to Lampasas, depending on Ninnel's health.
-I need to get back to planning for subs (Friday/Monday).
-As you can tell, it's a little wild around here. The Lord is reminding us to put our trust in Him. And... the Lord uses trials. One great post on how to think through Ike is found at husband and wife team here and here. Also, my friends, the Cooks, have a great post here. Those encouraged me to think about others during this time and find lots of reasons to thank the Father.
-Better jet. Until next time...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

How To Encourage Your Working Wife - Updated

UPDATE: Thanks for your comments, Sarah and Kristy. My sweet husband saw the post and thanked me for the encouragement/compliment, but politely asked if I didn't make a series of it. This is the humble man that he is... so, I won't tell how it's so helpful that he thanks me, helps around the house, points me to joy, takes me on date nights, encourages simple meals, reminds me I'm not Carolyn Mahaney, etc. :) To my Dustin, thanks for all of the things that the blog may never see that you do to help me during this unique season. You have done an exceptional job of leading and loving in the last few weeks and the growth I constantly see in you spurs me on, and I am undeserving. I could not ask for a dearer friend to call my husband. May each season be precious to us and not be wasted.

(original post) First off, I'm not looking to start a conversation about women working outside of the home. I'm going to just go from the assumption that there may be a season where a woman finds herself employed (at least part-time) outside of the home, with her husband's approval and with a heart that strives to not neglect, in fact to keep the priority on the home and family. One such season is often the seminary one...

My objective in these is to speak as a wife, who is well-loved by a husband who has consistently grown in serving me so I can serve him and fulfill the roles that are hard to balance at this time. I don't want to brag on our marriage. (Just ask me if you want to hear how sinful I am and how much we have to learn!) I do want to encourage seminary husbands, or any husband who has a Christian wife who works outside of the home, even a little bit.

All of the things I am suggesting to husbands are coming from the things I find I need, the things Dustin has done well, the things that help our home tick during this time, or the things I believe honor God during a weird season. So, I will make this a tribute to my humble husband, who has especially done well in all of these things so far this year, which is proving to be the toughest of all. I think this is a series I could actually continue (for once), because I already have about 8 things in my head. The suggestions will range from simple to more in-depth and commonplace to more spiritual.

Husbands, you comment on tips for me for how to encourage my seminary husband. I have a few stored up, but I would love to hear the guys' point of view.

Take It From The Butts #1 (first and last): To brighten your working wife's day, send her text messages, e-mails or notes in her lunchbox that thank her for her hard work, point her to Jesus or include a verse or a reminder of your love for her. Dustin has done this often, and it has been edifying beyond words. Husbands, the simple gestures go a long way to brighten your wife's day...

Prayers I Need to Pray

Teach me the happy art of attending to things temporal with a mind intent on things eternal.
(from Christlikeness, a prayer from The Valley of Vision, a collection of puritan prayers)

Every new duty calls for more grace than I now possess, but not more than is found in thee, the divine treasury in whom all fullness dwells.
(from Grace Active, a prayer from The Valley of Vision, a collection of puritan prayers)

Monday, September 08, 2008

This World Is Not My Home.

Today's been one of those days. We all get them. Blah. But I forced myself to think of yesterday at church. In one day, we got to witness 2 baptisms and take the Lord's Supper. (I think I have about decided that I always cry at baptisms and godly weddings. It's a given.)

The ordinances yesterday served to remind me of God's faithfulness. It is a trustworthy saying, deserving of full acceptance, Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.

So, I'm trying to get my head and mind out of the muck and set my mind on things above. To walk humbly. To pray without ceasing. To learn to be content. To grade papers and plan lessons and work on visual tools, to fold laundry and scrub dishes and go grocery shopping, to make calls and return e-mails and teach kiddos, to love and encourage Dustin, packing his lunch or listening about his day, keeping in mind that even these small things offer opportunities to magnify God as worthy of glory in all things or rob God of the honor He is due. My flesh wants to pout. But I must lift my eyes up to the hills, from where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord! Maker of heaven and earth...

And one day, His children, saved by amazing grace, won't need ordinances to draw our gaze upward, because we will behold Jesus Christ face to face!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

1st Picture in Ages

Between a new school year and not having the Internet at home, it's been hard to post pictures. But I received a fun one in my inbox from Alicia that I thought I'd pass along. It's the only picture of our new home that I've posted, although it's a much better shot of my friends than my living room. It was a fun get-together with about 13 people from either San Angelo, Camp Buckner, spouses or mutual friends. It's amazing how many people come to seminary from Texas and specifically from ASU, my husband's college. It was a fun reunion.

Other than that, it's just been pretty busy. Good, but busy! There hasn't even been time to run in over a week, and I was actually starting to enjoy it (shocking), I'd been at it so long. :) Now, I'm sure I'll be turtle slow if/when (ha) I start up again...

Well, my to-do list calls... I'd better be going.

Until it slows down a little...

(Happy Wednesday!)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Well, I'll be...

There is a water main shut down. This creates... um... pretty gross problems at our school, but the good news is... we get to go home early!

Dustin says we'll head to Sunergos, a favorite coffee shop of ours, for an afternoon studying/reading on this rainy day. No school, rain, coffee, time to catch up on school, time to make phone calls and do those dishes, husby... this is not a bad deal.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Some New Frugal/Healthy Tips

As a seminary family, you quickly find a weird pleasure in saving money. While some tips take a lot of time, these are a few we've discovered can really help out. These are our favorites from the summer:

1. Buy off-brand coffee and then put cinnamon in it (in the filter). With some creamer and sugar, it's great and much cheaper.
2. Go to Q-Doba (if you have one) for a date. Split a burrito, get water with lemon and split an order of bottomless chips. $8 and a full and happy stomach... At Panera, you can get the price about that low. We sometimes order just sandwiches to go and then eat chips at home.
3. Carpool!!
4. Check the unit prices on things.
5. Once (or twice) a week, go vegetarian. I recently checked out a 5-ingredient Simple Vegetarian Cookbook.
6. Try to eat less. It's usually healthier and you save money.
7. Save the extra portions for leftovers before you even start. (Even at restaurants!)
8. Ask for a Sams/Costco card for your birthday or go in with a friend!
9. Eat dessert at home. Make your own. Or buy it at the grocery store.
10. Watch your cell phone minutes and turn off the lights.
11. Eat at places where you don't have to tip.
12. Have the "envelope system" at least for dinners out. Stick with it!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Happy Day 1, Dustin!

Where do you start with 3 minutes? Just another simple update, I guess.

-Dustin started class today. 1st day of the second to last semester here. Hard to believe he graduates in May. As counseled, and for various reasons, he is treating it as a job. I drop him off at 7:15 and he works (in class or in the library studying) until I pick him up around 4:45 (along with exercise and quiet time and occasional lunches with friends or chapel). Pray for mucho discipline.

-I started teaching Foundation and Frameworks. Looks as if I'll be learning mucho discipline right along with my hubby. It will require constant "time on task" (a favorite teacher term) and extra hours of reading at home each night to prepare to teach small groups each day. At least we'll both be reading!

-God is answering so many prayers, and our faith has been encouraged and strengthened as a result. I should not be so surprised when a big God answers big prayers for His glory! Between an amazing opportunity for our church to partner with U of L's Campus Crusade for Christ (never before so intertwined with local churches) and Dustin's Basketball guys opening up and coming over to interesting situations with new neighbors being resolved beyond our imagination, the Lord is encouraging our hearts. Now... do I believe and pray like I believe that God can save lost sinners? Do I depend on Him and not my words or actions? Pray for this kind of faith.

-I'm digging hummus these days. Do you?

-Welcome to Louisville, Peter and Kathlyn, Kristin, Jason and Cara...

-5A, the newest new class, is doing really well so far.

Friday, August 08, 2008

14 boys, running, and God's Long Nose

It's Back to School Day, folks. I met most of my 21 kids and their parents and gave the annual speech about missing papers, sign-up sheets, dress code, you name it. I have 14 boys and 7 girls. I had 3 parents tell me that they were praying for me with all of those boys, 1 mom tell me that it is hilarious that my name is Butts and I have all the guys who will laugh about it, and 1 dad tell me how this group is so athletic and yet so humble (weird remark, I thought, here's hoping) and one boy tell me that he is very smart. Not sure what to think, but with 3 girls not showing today, it felt like I taught at an all-boy school. There were siblings everywhere, too. I felt sweaty and probably said "um" too much, but hey, what do you do? I just try to catch as many names as I can of parents, learn the kids' names and faces and try to come across as a with-it professional, young though I am, capable of handling "all those boys". Shew. I know that I'm incapable, but the Lord is gracious. I like teaching boys; I don't have a preference. I'm just used to about 9, not 2/3! :)

At any rate, my classroom is squeaky clean and back to a peaceful quiet. There is much to be done with planning, especially with my new curriculum for reading.

Dustin is gearing up for another semester at Southern. He'll be taking 15 hours, which is a LOT in seminary. He has over a dozen books on his desk, and he hasn't even bought them all yet! And... he's taking Hebrew II. So, out come the flashcards and Jamie's giggles as he sounds like he's coughing up hairballs pronouncing those ridiculous-sounding words. One thing Dustin learned in Hebrew was that when the Bible says that God is slow to anger, it really says "God has a long nose." To have a long nose was an idiom for being patient. So, I decided I'm super thankful that God has a long nose. :)

Inspired by my friends Becky and Robin, Dustin and I have taken up running again. I checked out a book from the library put out by Runner's World. I read it over our anniversary trip and was further motivated. They put you on a basic plan where M, W, F and S, you jog/walk 30 minutes, with certain amounts of time for each. On T/Th, you just walk for 30 minutes. Sunday, you are off. I'm up to "alternate jogging for 4 minutes and walking for 2 minutes for 30 minutes" now, which is much harder than it may sound. Next week I graduate to alternating 5 minutes jogging/2 minutes walking. (Dustin can run the whole time. He cheers me along on my plan.) A few of us friends here in town want to run in Southern's Missions Fundraiser 5K in October. For extra incentive, Dustin and I decided when we have 20 days of running in our exercise logs, we will go and buy new running shoes! I can't say that I love running, because I don't. But, I like it. I like that it motivates me to eat healthier. I like the 30 minutes of no talking, no doing, where you just think or pray or look at squirrels or people. I like that it makes me crave water instead of Dr. Pepper. And, I like it that it really does make you think of all the running analogies in the Bible, just like Becky said it would!

I have a quote about marriage that I want to share soon. I think it applies to so many other things, too. The pattern of my life is shooting REALLY high with goals and then crashing and burning and starting over. This summer was no different. You think you will do this and that and this and that... yet you only do this and you don't even quite finish this. Sigh. Yup. This is my life. BUT then... you have verses and friends and books and wisdom and TRUTH that comes in and reminds you that you are not righteous. Not saved by works. Not slaves to legalism. And you start thinking that maybe you should think realistically about that old quote that ONLY God finishes His to-do list. Summer was yet another reminder for me that I am not God. Another reminder to trust and love Him and think through realistic goals, balance, grace. But this is a post for another time...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Summer 'O8

Checking in from the local library, which we love by the way. It's massive.

Long time, no post. It's been a terrific summer, and we have really enjoyed our new place. It's definitely refreshing to do things that are harder to do in the school year. And to have guests, make calls, see friends, go on a few road trips, babysit, read, etc. It's been full, but in a good way. A refreshing way. And that's a good thing because the calendar tells me that after Dustin and I go away for a few days to Chicago (2nd anniversary) and then my parents and Nana come in town (yippee) and then we go to our friends' wedding, then it will be about that time. Time to put on the work clothes, set the alarm, get out the red grading pen, put up bulletin boards, plan lessons and meet 21 new 5th graders that call me Mrs. Butts.

So, I'm thankful for this much-needed break. And I'm okay with going back to school soon, but I'm glad it's not over just yet. =)

Hope everyone is doing well in blogland!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

No Internet

Well, I guess I won't be posting as much as I originally thought. We've opted not to add Internet at the new casa, and save the $40 a month it would have cost. Mainly, because we have access through the seminary and through my work. We can part with having Internet at home for the summer.

That said, I'll just check when I can. I'm not sure what that will look like, because I'd rather not fork out $5 at the coffee shop every day just to check e-mail and a few blogs. That would not be helpful to any growing addictions (to caffeine or computers). Maybe sometimes though. :)

Tuesdays are my self-designated "school days" this summer, so I'll get to check a little then. Some "school days" will be spent working from home though. I just spent a few hours working on an F&F unit, which is a term you may start to hear a lot if you hang out with me much. More about the program can be found here. If you lose touch with me next year, I'll blame it on that. J/K, but it is pretty involved. Hopefully, I can get ahead somewhat with summer Tuesdays carved out for school.

On that note, I'm ready to get back home! I'm digging the weather and more time with my husband and at home, among other things.

I'm currently reading a book by Mark Dever - The Gospel and Personal Evangelism. It's short and helpful. Go grab a copy today.

Wish I could talk more about the book, but I seriously need to get out of my classroom. It's stinkin' June! :)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Summer Refreshment for Weary Souls

Jesus Christ is the refreshing center of summer. He is preeminent in all things (Colossians 1:18), including vacations and picnics and softball and long walks and cookouts. He invites us in the summer: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). This is serious summer refreshment.

Do we want it? That is the question. Christ gives himself to us in proportion to how much we want his refreshment. “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 11:12). One of the reasons to give the Lord special attention in the summer is to say to him “We want all your refreshment. We really want it.”

(from John Piper)

(More from this article here.)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Things I'm Learning

* how to parallel park in tight spaces in 1-2 tries rather than a half dozen
* to wash dishes after EVERY meal... our new sink is really shallow... there's not much grace
* that I'm just like my kids at school - I wiggle, giggle, doodle, yawn and need to use the restroom during lectures (Don't worry; I'm listening.)
* Some weeks you just need lots of Dr. Pepper!
* calling an old friend out of the blue is a really fun thing to do with 30 minutes
* I need personal retreats.
* I need summers.
* churches almost always need SS teachers and nursery workers... get plugged in today
* Open mic night at the local coffee shop is really peculiar... ordinary people will get up and tell stories, read poems, and sing songs... even if no one is there besides the people who work there (and me at the computer)... must be therapeutic, but I don't think I'll try it. :)
* Decaf coffee tastes just like regular coffee. I didn't know that for a long time.
* to take time to read good books
* to consider carefully which people to invest in as you get plugged into a church, a job, a neighborhood, etc. It's better to think through this carefully than to try to be close friends with lots of people.

That's it. My random thoughts and poor grammar...
One more day of training to go! Maybe we'll post some pics of our new place soon!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


So, since I've written last,
-I finished up that last afternoon of wrapping things up for another school year
-We cleaned the old apartment and moved to the new one across town, with help from sweet friends
-We brought a livable amount of order to the living room, bedroom, bathroom and kitchen, but there is much to be done
-We walked to church for the first time and even made some new friends on the way back home... U of L students from China who are brand-new Christians and looking for a church that's not as far away as the chinese church they have been attending... exciting
-We have met most of our neighbors, but we don't know them very well yet.
-Dustin started Hebrew, and he's diving in. He has flashcards, DVDs and homework... oh my! He's also started working 3 hours an afternoon at the seminary information booth. Feel free to call the school between 3-6 and prank call him. :)
-I started my Foundation and Frameworks training, and we're on day 3 of the 10 days. It's getting really overwhelming, but hopefully we'll survive. It's incredibly detailed "blueprints" (instead of lesson plans) that involve teaching, learning and assessment all in one. You create your own rubrics and long story short... it's very different and potentially very time-consuming. We're all trying to stay positive though!
-Laura and Shaunna both had their babies... yippee
-Our ladies' book study started a new book for the summer... Disciplines of a Godly Family... I recommend it already!
-Still have white legs that haven't seen much sun (which is probably good because of allergies), but I'm counting down the days until there is a true break! Ha!
-Speaking of, I'm going on another retreat soon to regroup and plan out the summer. Should be helpful! I'm looking forward to a day at a coffee shop or somewhere to think, plan, read, etc.

Gotta get back to class!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Summer!!! (Almost...)

Well, despite my puffy red eyes and sanctifying snotty nose that causes sleepless nights, a tired Mrs. Butts is a happy Jamie today. I can take off my teacher hat for a few months. There is a 2 week training for the teachers starting on Monday, but I think it won't be that bad. I am sad to say goodbye to another class, but excited for them. It's neat to see them get a hard-earned summer and head on to middle school. Hopefully, we have prepared them as much as we can!

Thankfully, EVERYTHING is basically done here, except a few small things, and I can leave at 3! Then... we're starting our move tonight. We'll just be moving the un-boxed items tonight and going out to eat to celebrate the end of the year.

Our plan is that next year will be my last year of teaching (at least any time soon). I'm thankful to work at a great school.
Okay... enough sappy stuff. I'm not going to lie... I'm pretty happy to say goodbye to the children. :) I love them and all, but seriously... it's time!

(This is an old picture and a little fuzzy, but this was my crew from this year. Yes... someone gave me bunny ears.)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Trusting God With Allergies (or other trials of various kinds)

I have had allergies all my life. As a child, it was actually nosebleeds. Really bad-take you out of church or school-carry kleenex (or toilet paper) with you at all times-sitting there with your head up (or is it down) for hours. Then, my nosebleeds evolved into allergies. Go to weird Dr. ________ (I'll protect his name)-get tested with the pokes on your back-find out your allergic to a page-long list of things from certain weeds to certain trees-the top-ranking grasses being the ones that were in our yard-take shots-feel nerdy-blow your nose a hundred times a day-allergies. We never had a real Christmas tree. My sister's are worse than mine! They were bad at Camp. They were bad in Texas. They are bad here. They are just kind of part of life. Moving across the country hasn't really made things much better. It ends up that the Ohio River Valley gives basically everyone allergies, not just the extreme sneezers like me. It's actually a topic of conversation around here, would you believe it? We talk about things like the pollen count at recess. I learned that Louisville is the 12th worst city to live in in the US for allergy-sufferers. I am now taking eye drops, nose spray, Wal-Mart-brand Zyrtec, plan on trying the whole "local honey" (people swear by it) thing, and I'm making a summer appointment with an allergist (hopefully not so weird).

The good news is they are basically seasonal. The bad news is... they are a pain. And, boy, they come right at the busiest times. And, I love going outside in the spring. I love Field Day! Why now, I'm tempted to ask, even about something as small as allergies.

But isn't that something of what is meant by these "trials of various kinds" that James mentions in James 1:2. Or, Peter, again reminding us that we rejoice, "though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your fatih-more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire-may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." Hmm... I need to get this through my thick skull. Josh Harris has this link on his blog called, "Trusting God With a Migraine" and I just like the title, although I've barely visited the blog. I don't face any persecution right now. I don't have a disease that is life-altering or cancer threatening to take my life. I don't even have my mom's horrific migraines. I have other various trials. Allergies. PMS. (Ha!) But they are not insignificant. And, as John Piper might say, they aren't to be wasted. I'm sitting here not able to sleep, frustrated and yet something feels WRONG about being frustrated. I long to trust God with the small stuff. Embrace my lot, if you will. Of course, I long to trust God with the big trials of life, but the little ones are OH so easy to complain about.
Scripture has answers for it all. Do everything without complaining. Trust God... with sleepless nights, migraines, allergies, PMS, finances, marriage, singleness, etc. Trust God. Show the watching world that He is trustworthy. Why was Joni's biography so encouraging to me when I read it recently? She did just that. I think... surely, I can trust God with allergies.

But it's hard, isn't it? It's hard to trust God in the little things just like it is in the big things, because it takes a supernatural work of God to change what we naturally feel and how we naturally think, act, respond...

Oh, that I could get the truths I know in my head to pierce my heart and transform my thinking. Thank God for the Holy Spirit who works in His children. He can change me and my thinking and my perspective. His Word can renew my thoughts. His Spirit can cause me to trust him with allergies.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Happy Simple Week!

Well, folks, we are getting our move on. My grading is done (but don't tell the kids... they still have 1 and a half more days) and MOST of our boxes are packed. I'm thankful. We declared this week "simple week" and have enjoyed gourmet meals (taquitos, fruit, lean pockets, pizza, etc) on fine china (paper plates and paper cups) to celebrate (help us survive) the move and end of the school year. We get the keys for the new place on Friday night and pick up our moving truck early Saturday morning. We should have plenty of help, and we are getting an e-mail out to local friends and church family with the clever subject line of "Move Your Butts." I made it up myself, but I still keep laughing. I really love our name.

I'm wrapping things up at school. I'm making the kids the promised cookies right now and finishing jotting my letters to them in their writing journals. This is the time of the year as a teacher where you are tempted to wallow in your misery of all of the things you should have or could have done differently... but you just have to trust in the Lord and then gear up to make appropriate changes and be MORE encouraging, prepared, intentional, etc next year. It is nice to have fresh starts. I see growth each year I teach, but I also see SO MUCH room for growth! It's not really the time to analyze though (too frazzled to be helpful)... I just have to know that the Lord can use me in spite of me, if that makes sense. Kids at school make me have a glimpse into the life of a mother... they really see your kindness and love as well as your bad days when you are short, unorganized or distracted. I have to apologize to the little guys often (and probably not enough), and that is humbling, people!

Well, I'd better get back to work. Next up... student profiles for their files.

I guess I'll write again sometime after we get our move on! =)

Happy "Simple Week" from the Butts! By the way, I highly recommend planning simple menus when you know a week is going to be extra-CRAZY!!!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Pray for Steven Curtis Chapman's Family

Any death is hard. Any tragedy is hard. This one especially tugs at all of your emotions and compassion. I have always been a fan of Steven Curtis Chapman's music, especially when I was a little younger. One of my favorite songs of his is A Miracle of Mercy.

Their family is really hurting right now
with the tragic death of one of their adopted daughters. (I don't mean tragic like tragic as if it caught God by surprise (it didn't), but how we feel about it on this side of heaven. Tragic. Hard.) I do pray that the Scripture-informed songs on this very topic bring comfort to their hearts. Lyric like Grieve with hope or Only God is God.

These sobering reminders are wake-up calls that life is short... so fleeting.
Pray for them and fix your eyes even more firmly upon Christ, your hope and strong comfort in the storms of this life. One day, all the tears of God's children will be wiped away.

Pray for the big brother.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My Once Dead Poet

My wonderful husband said he posted today! You should comment, so he'll be encouraged to keep it up.

We both hope to post about once a week in the summer and occasionally to the Booked Blog. We both really like to read, and so we might as well be challenged to reflect and share about our books.

My goal at this point is NOT to post. Not until after we move and my grades are turned in...

Newsy Stuff

Shaunna and Laura are having their babies THIS WEEK, Lord willing. I'm thrilled out of my mind, as my friend Erin says. We're praying for you, Cozarts and Dawsons!

This is me and my friend Deana at Huber's Farm last October. She has been one of my dearest friends here, and I'm incredibly thankful for her. Her family moves next week. I get real sad when people move. And I can miss people... a LOT. But then I remember that God can use them in other places like He used them here. I have so many friends and family scattered abroad (some across the globe), and I have to trust that God will bless others through knowing them like he blessed me through knowing them. That's exciting!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Happy Friday Link!

I'm incredibly glad it's (finally) Friday. How about you?

A quick link for you...

My friend Vivian Risse organized this blog for her church. She considers herself a "blessed church member" - which I think is really great. She wanted me to pass on the link, and I'm happy to do so! If you head on over here, she has posted some book reviews and sermon summaries from her church. They look really great, so check them out.

Happy Friday!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Modesty Matters!

Here is a link that is important for all women... fathers, too. It is a sneak-preview chapter from C.J. Mahaney's upcoming book, Worldliness, on the topic of modesty. The picture is courtesy of Girl Talk, the Mahaney ladies' blog. The Girl Talk Blog also does a great job of discussing an important and daily-relevant topic. I've enjoyed reading this chapter of his new book.
(See the post below for some good news! Two posts in one day... wow!)

Good News!

Today seemed like a good day to share the news... we're moving!

On June 1, we will be moving to an Old Louisville home that has been made into a 5-plex. We'll have one of the bottom 2 units - a 2 bedroom apartment that is just perfect for us! We're so thankful. Some of the neat things about this apartment include its massive closets, a kitchen that is a galley with a small breakfast room and the original china cabinets. It has a huge brick fireplace mantle. It also has a column entry small foyer-type area. It has lots of windows and the inside has a touch of the wonderful victorian "Old Louisville" feel that we love! The Master Bedroom is huge and the 2nd bedroom is so cute and cozy with great windows, perfect to be a guest room or Lord willing, one day perhaps double as a nursery! :) Also, the laundry is down in the basement instead of in another building. Still no dishwasher, but I'm used to that.

The amazing landlady is recarpeting, repainting, getting us a new frig, tiling the "foyer" area, etc. In short, she is spoiling us tremendously. Her excellent reputation preceded her as we heard about her from some church friends. This is a steal of an apartment, being only $25 more than what we would pay at our current apartment and potentially lower utilities, evening it out to what we pay now, because she has weather-proofed it so well. Most Old Louisville homes are a pain to keep warm in the winter.

But the main thing we are excited about is the location! Beautiful trees and quaint, historic homes, but that's not the main thing. It has been wonderful, and convenient to live on campus, but we are itching to be in a neighborhood close to church, and boy are we! We are 2 blocks away from church; we'll be able to walk. Dustin can also walk in the other direction about 2 blocks to go to the Basketball/Bible Study he leads on Thursday nights. We'll be right close to U of L and hopefully get to know some college students from church and ones not from church.

You have to remember that I went to a Christian middle school, high school, college and then moved to a seminary campus. I am really excited about this move! All of our neighbors in our building, from what we know, are not believers and the potential for hospitality to them and Dustin's Basketball guys is really great, as well as our church family. It's just such a blessing, especially considering that it's often really difficult to get into an Old Louisville home. In one sense, it just "fell in our lap" - coming together in a matter of a week, but we know the Lord was and is behind it all, orchestrating the details. We don't want to purchase a home at this point, because we still don't know exactly what the Lord has for us post-seminary... missions, moving, staying in Louisville, etc.

So, for now, this is a great way to spend our time that we know we will be here. I hope it doesn't sound like we're bragging about this place or saying it's better than living on campus. It just fits our desires for this season. I'm sure it has its quirks (longer commute to school, for one) as well. Any home does, but we are mainly excited about the location and the opportunities it will have to branch out a little and share the best Good News with new neighbors and friends who don't know Christ!

And other good news... 12 and a half more days of school. Well, and then, a 2 week summer teacher training for some new curriculum, but still... it's exciting to wrap things up for another year. Pray for perseverance to finish strong and have time to pack and move! AND... it's Friday AND a Marble Jar Party day. My kids have had testing all week, so they deserve it!

Long post - thanks for reading...

(That is not a picture of the home, but the only one from the area I could find that I liked.)

P.S. We'll miss you Leslie, David and Jameson.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Welcome, Isaiah!

I had the privilege of meeting Baby Isaiah, the newest little baby in our church family. He's so fun. I got to hold him for about 40 minutes... such a treat.
Congrats to the Bartletts!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Offended? Angry? Using the Silent Treatment?

This is my summary of what mainly stuck out to me from church yesterday. Hope it's as helpful to you as it is to me.

When we are angry, it is usually because we feel we deserved better. Therefore, we are crushed, disappointed, bitter... hoppin' mad. Anger can also be seen in giving someone the oh-so-ugly silent treatment or acting one way on the outside while steaming on the inside... it's an issue of the heart, and when unchecked, it can and will lead all the way to murderous hate, like Cain. Do not be like Cain. Remember, you deserve death. Those last 2 sentences are what I hope and pray I'll remember the next time I'm tempted to huff and puff over my so-called rights being violated... I deserve death.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I Go Back To This Quote So Often

"Only God completes His to-do list. We are not God. We are finite creatures with serious limitations. Therefore we need to humble ourselves by accepting our limitations and draw upon God’s strength to simply do what we can." - C.J. Mahaney

(More helpful stuff for your busy season here...)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Some Friends Here

In this picture post, you will see Jameson's first visit to the Butts' home (since his exodus from the womb, that is), the Menikoff family (dear friends who will soon be moving... so we're trying to soak up as much time with them as we can), Tim and Maegan (our engaged friends who are so smiley and fun) and Kevin, Chris and me at Trav's wedding (friends from high school who also currently reside in the 'Ville).

Bert and Ernie

If you'll look closely, you'll notice that Ernie has a new friend. A little girl from school brought me a cupcake with a little yellow duck that looked like a good Rubber Ducky for Ernie. We know it's cheesy, but it's funny to us.

Anyhow, they are both growing really well! (Maybe it's because I have a cheater stick thing that I poke in that tells me if they are dry or not... a guaranteed green thumb.)

Friday, April 25, 2008

How Beautiful!!

I don't have a lot of time for thoughtful posts these days. My brain is pretty fried by Friday anyhow. However, a very old song was a great encouragement last night as I popped in some old cds and worked on my dishes, drained from another busy work week. Great encouragement surprised me through this song.
(Not having a dishwasher can sometimes prove to be a good thing... as it provides some much-needed time to think, reflect, etc. :P)

I won't copy the whole song, but here are some lines that stuck out:
(At the bottom, I will list a few thoughts that came to mind while reflecting on those verses.)

How beautiful the heart that bled
that took all my sin
and bore it instead.
How beautiful the tender eyes
that chose to forgive
and never despise.
How beautiful
how beautiful

how beautiful is the body of Christ.

And as He laid down His life
we offer this sacrifice
that we will live just as he died:
willing to pay the price
willing to pay the price.

How beautiful the radiant Bride
who waits for her Groom
with His light in her eyes.
How beautiful when humble hearts give
the fruit of pure lives
so that others may live.
How beautiful
how beautiful

how beautiful is the body of Christ.

How beautiful the feet that bring
the sound of good news
and the love of the King.
How beautiful the hands that serve

the wine and the bread
and the sons of the earth.
How beautiful
how beautiful

how beautiful is the body of Christ.

1. I thought of my sweet friends, Kevin and Becky Peek, whose feet are beautiful as they prepare to bring the sound of good news overseas!
2. I thought of local laborers, who share the love of the King at homeless shelters, coffee shops, in gyms after playing Basketball, over the phone with family members, etc.
3. I thought of Christ, who chose to forgive me, taking on all my sin. Surely, I can and must forgive others who sin against me... He has forgiven me so much! And surely, I should live my life in humble gratefulness.
4. I thought of Christians I know, at my current church, in my life, in my past... beautiful pictures of the Body of Christ... with its many parts working together as one.
5. This is not our home! Oh... how beautiful to partake in the privilege of a sure hope... that our Groom is coming again for His Bride!! May His Church be found waiting, eager and with humble hearts, serving hands and beautiful feet.
How Beautiful is the Body of Christ!

Just thought I'd share... everyone needs a pick-me-up TRUTH on Fridays!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

That Happy Meeting Place

I first heard this song on Sandra MacCracken's CD (The Builder and the Architect). You can hear this whole song by going to that website. I don't know who wrote the original hymn, but I will try to find out. The words came to mind this week and provided renewed encouragement to carve out time with the Lord. Oh "how precious are the lessons" learned there! My "drooping soul He cheers"! I hope this encourages you today!

In the Secret of His Presence

In the secret of His presence how my soul delights to hide!
Oh, how precious are the lessons which I learn at Jesus’ side!
Earthly cares can never vex me, neither trials lay me low;
For when Satan comes to tempt me, to the secret place I go,
To the secret place I go.
When my soul is faint and thirsty, ’neath the shadow of His wing
There is cool and pleasant shelter, and a fresh and crystal spring;
And my Savior rests beside me, as we hold communion sweet:
If I tried, I could not utter what He says when thus we meet,
What He says when thus we meet.

Only this I know: I tell Him all my doubts, my griefs and fears;
Oh, how patiently He listens! and my drooping soul He cheers:
Do you think He ne’er reproves me? What a false Friend He would be,
If He never, never told me of the sins which He must see,
Of the sins which He must see.

Would you like to know the sweetness of the secret of the Lord?
Go and hide beneath His shadow: this shall then be your reward;
And whene’er you leave the silence of that happy meeting place,
You must mind and bear the image of the Master in your face,
Of the Master in your face.

Friday, April 18, 2008

For You Are Holy!

One more thing for the day...
Dustin got lots of free goodies at the conference. One thing he received was a Song Sampler from Sovereign Grace Music.

There is a song on there with kids from this album. We sing "For You Are Holy" at our church quite often, and it's one of my favorites. This version, including children's voices, is precious indeed. It brought me to tears on the way to school.

My class listened to it with me this morning, as we have been studying God's attributes this year. Check it out! I think you can listen to it on the website I mentioned above. You can also get it here.

Too Weird!

So, I knew Dustin and I were really tired.
He's been at Together for the Gospel this week, so he's kept some late hours. We were both really tired last night after I had to come up to school for a program.
But you would have thought we would have felt an earthquake! Nope. Slept right through it!
I feel left out... all of my co-teachers are talking about the earthquake that happened at 5:30 or so this morning. We had been sleeping in, and we didn't feel a thing. So, it's not that exciting, but WOW. It was a 5.4 on the Richter scale.

Read about it here.

I have been apart of several tornados in my day, but never an earthquake.
Now, I'm guessing my kids will be talking about this non-stop for the first hour of the day. Interesting indeed!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


...the cutest little neighbor baby boy (Lydia being the cutest little neighbor baby girl) around. Well, I've already introduced him. But he's really growing, he's really cute and he's incredibly smart. I mean, he already has his own website. Wow!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Happy Monday!

Well, we're back in place after a nice Spring Break. Going to Cincy was a good call... we really needed that trip. Thankful for it.

Dustin taught on Sunday night at church, and I thought it was really encouraging and great. Of course, as he says, I'm his "wiff" so, of course I say that - but I really thought he did great, not just because of my love for him. Our Gracious Lord creatively gifted Dustin with a down-to-earth-ness that is encouraging (so sincere) and a super-duper Mathematical brain (super logical) to express Biblical truths in such a clear, winsome way. It's a blessing to see him grow in knowledge and passion. He teaches me a lot at the dinner table. :) Now, I wonder how long it is before he sees this post (not a huge blog guy these days) and gets on to the "wiff" for me posting this. =) Praise the Lord for using His Word and speaking through instruments that should have been vessels of wrath, but instead were granted (bought with blood) sweet mercy and forgiveness. I love seeing God teach and grow him.

Almost done with my book. Almost done with a few other projects, too. Now that I'm back to work, I'm really hoping that I can finish those things that I started last week. We'll see!

Here is the book I referred to a few days ago... should read it. Upon finishing tonight (hopefully), I plan to try to read a few classics. I want to branch out a bit in my reading for awhile. I missed out, somehow, on several GREAT books growing up. I'm starting with a girly goodie... Sense and Sensibility. Any other suggestions? Mindy? Sarah? Amy? Seriously? Send me a "You should have read this in high school or college... it was wonderful... every person should read this book before they die" classics list.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Cincy, Part 2

Last Spring Break, my hubby and I snagged a cheap (but nice!) hotel room on and headed to Cincinatti for a few days of relaxing and reading. Like most seminarians, he has plenty to do at this point in the semester, but the few days away provides a different venue for studying. And for me, it is so restful and I can return to teaching with new energy to carry me through until the end. The little getaway last year proved so beneficial that we made a repeat trip this year.

We have a different area and hotel, but we still used Priceline, and we are still chilling in Cincy. On Tuesday, we visited the new Creation Museum. It was really well done, and we both were encouraged by how faithful it was to the Bible and how the Gospel was faithfully shared. From what we can see, it seems very faithful to science as well... and kid-friendly, so families would really enjoy a visit. We highly recommend both and The Creation Museum. :)

Other than that, we have shared a yummy meal at Abeulo's, because we can never get too much real Mexican food when the occasion presents itself. We have also hit up Jungle Jim's (a wacky, huge International Market that has food from just about everywhere) and Ikea. Today was consumed largely in reading and relaxing. I am reading, "My Heart is in His Hands," a biography of Ann Judson written by Sharon James. VERY good. Dustin's reading all sorts of books and preparing for an upcoming Sunday night devotional he will give at our church.

If you know us... you know that we're also hoping to find a Panda Express or a Boba Tea place tonight. And we are out to do some clothes shopping we've had to put off for awhile now. Then, back to the hotel for more reading!

It's good to get away together and enjoy some time to do things and to not do things. :)

That's the update from the Butts!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Sinclair Ferguson on Sin and Grace

Checking in from conference day...

11 conferences down. Thank you, Lord!
Well... at this point of the day, I'm scraping off the rest of my lunch and just chilling for a few minutes.
Surfing online a little bit, I came across some wonderful words from one of my favorite preachers on another favorite preacher's website.

I have to start by saying I LOVE both of these men. Their desire for the Lord is contagious. CJ Mahaney is a huge inspiration in his JOY, and Sinclair's book, The Christian Life: A Doctrinal Introduction, encouraged me greatly during about my sophomore year in college.

So... on that note, I do highly recommend to you CJ's latest interview with Sinclair over here at CJ's View From the Cheap Seats. It's good stuff.

For example:
I think the thing that I am trying to get at here is the correlation between my ability to grasp the grace, grace of grace and my grasping the sin, sin of sin (what Ralph Venning calls the “exceeding sinfulness of sin”). The sin is mine and therefore natural for me to see. It’s grace that isn’t natural to me and therefore difficult to see. Therefore I am going to struggle to bring the sin I am so familiar with to the grace I am unfamiliar with. And therefore I need to find ways given to me in Scripture of discovering the graciousness of God.

Go here for more.

Conference Day

It has become a tradition here at "Embrace Your Lot" to post on Conference Day.
Well... here I am, beginning my 4th Parent-Teacher Conference Day at Christian Academy. Again, I seriously ask for prayer for this day. I meet with 15 sets of parents today, basically back to back, with a few scattered breaks. My stomach is always in knots, and I'm "all out of words" by the end of the day. They take a lot of preparation, and you really need to be "on your game" to remember everything you need to say, speak the truth in love, remain upbeat, positive and professional, stay on schedule, etc. I come home and just stare at a wall for about an hour. :) Pray for wisdom, grace, stamina and anything else you can think of to pray. The Lord is always gracious, and I have always survived them so far, but prayers are invited for sure. Thanks, ya'll!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Mom and Dad Butts' Visit!

We had such a great time with Dustin's parents. I wish I would have taken more pictures. Well, I have this fun one on the bench next to... we still don't know who this guy is. No nice family photo to share... maybe next time.

Recent TX Trip =)

It was great to spend some time with my family on the recent trip to Houston for Trav's wedding. Dad was sporting a mustache! Nana is lovely as always!