Our journey

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Selah and her Exersaucer

Special thanks to Uncle Bill and Aunt Mindy for the Exersaucer gift for Selah. We have had it for a while, but just recently we decided that she was ready to give it a try. She is holding her head up pretty well and is kicking her legs a lot. Besides, Selah's friend Tye certainly enjoys his Exersaucer to the fullest.

Instead of being engaged by the various learning toys on the unit, Selah really enjoyed just leaning over and licking and sucking on the fabric the chair part was made of. Furthermore, she seemed to be befuddled as to why we thought this was funny. Have a look and let me know what you think.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Counting all things as loss for His sake

I believe God gave me a great sense of perspective this morning as I worked through my Bible study lesson. We are studying the fruit of the spirit via a Beth Moore study called "Living Beyond Yourself" and are examining gentleness.

I read and reflected on Acts 9:1-16. Beth asked some insightful questions--the answers to which are relevant to our lives as we prepare to move overseas. In verses 1 & 4, we first see that Christ's attitude toward Christians being persecuted is that anything done to a Christian is done to Jesus. Thus, Jesus was/is intensely involved in situations concerning persecution of Christians. In verse 16, Jesus tells Paul that He is going to show Paul how much he must suffer for Christ's sake. I don't know exactly how Jesus showed Paul this, but we see evidence throughout the new testament that Paul was willing to suffer for His name's sake. As I looked at 2 Cor 6:4-5 and 11:24-28, I was reminded of how much Paul suffered: through beatings, imprisonment, hunger, sleeplessness, dangers of all kinds, shipwrecked 3 times, exposed to cold, 5 times he received 39 lashes, 3 times he was beaten with rods, once he was stoned and eventually beheaded by Nero (we think). Wow, what a list!

Then, I read Philippians 3:3-11 and thought about how Paul considered all his losses and sufferings as gain because knowing Jesus was/is worth it (my paraphrase). He wanted the world to know Jesus so badly that he submitted to sufferings because "the end justified the means"--the "end" is all the world knowing Jesus. Paul counted everything that could have been to his own gain as rubbish so that "he may gain Christ and my be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead." (verses 7-11)

Would I have heard the Gospel had Paul not been willing to submit to God's will? God, in His sovereignty, would have accomplished His will regardless of Paul's obedience, but scripture shows me that Paul was more than blessed to be used as God used him, despite his sufferings.

I want to love Jesus like Paul loved Him. I want to be willing to submit to anything God calls me to submit to so that others may know Him. I want to understand the depth of our need for a Redeemer like Paul understood it. I have a long way to go in "counting all things as loss for the sake of Christ." It would be a good start for me to count some things as loss for the sake of Christ. I am encouraged that the God of Paul is also my God and that Paul's Savior is also my Savior.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Selah's Dedication

Ryan and I committed to raise Selah in a Godly home this weekend at her dedication. It was the first baby dedication in our approximately 1.5 year-old church. We were honored to have my parents, Ryan's parents, Granny, and my best friend Stacie and her husband, Kenny, attend. Our pastor, Paul, preached a great sermon on the importance of training our kids in the way they should go. He reminded us that we are teaching our kids and we should be careful not to teach them to sin.

The commitment:

"We desire that Selah grows up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We both agree to teach Selah the Word of God and to do all we can to prepare her to personally enter into a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ."

As our paster discussed the commitment with us before the service, his words penetrated my heart. He reminded me that when we dedicate Selah to the Lord, we are seeking that He use her to bring glory to His name. This means that if she decides to do something someday that we think is absolutely crazy, but she feels convicted that the Lord has called her to do, we must remember that we tried to raise her to listen to God's call on her life and release her to His will. As I thought about the implication of our surrender to the Lord, I was reminded that both sets of our parents are currently living out the hard part of the commitment--letting us move far away to be in the center of God's will for our lives. May He strengthen them and give them perfect peace.

Friday, March 23, 2007

A Chapter Closes

After almost 2 years at Emigra as an Immigration Consultant, I resigned. My time in the Houston office was enjoyable and I learned a great deal. I will miss all of you crazy kids. See our Flickr link on the left for more pics of my last day.

Real Laughter

This was the first time we've ever heard Selah laugh so much. She's made some noises here and there that could be considered laughing. But this morning, I was lucky to have the camera handy to capture this. I'm not sure what activities I'm going to push my kids into, but everyone of them better excel at laughing! enjoy.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Almost 3 months

Selah continues to strengthen her influence over us with her power of cuteness. Here she is as a happy Aggie girl. She is also starting to push up when we lay her on her stomach. She is holding her head up better everyday, and she can support herself with her legs (sort of stand up) as we steady her. She will be 3 months old on Monday. How time flies. I'm sure she'll be driving and dating soon. (!)


Saturday, March 10, 2007

Letting go is never easy.

Last week I went up to the high school where I used to teach to introduce Selah to a few of my classes and to say good-bye. I spent a lot of time thinking about if/when I should go and what I should say to these precious kids. In do so, I realized how much I really cared about each of those students and how they had impacted me more than I knew. As I thought about the students, I kept seeing faces and remembered small phrases of conversations I had with them during the first semester.

I wish I could have spent the rest of the year with them so that I could have had more opportunities to share Jesus with them. Additionally, I love the end of the school year because it provides me with a glimpse at their successes and I get to see them mature just a bit.

The students asked lots of questions about the baby and where we are moving. Some of them had very insightful questions like, "What is the government like there?" or "Where will Selah go to school?" Some also asked if I would be able to teach in the city where we are moving. I told them that I plan on teaching again someday, after Selah is a little older and that I anticipate that I will be able to find a job at an international school or a local school (if I can get a good handle on the language).

I realized just a few days ago that my visit to Splendora High School really provided me with much needed closure to that chapter of my life. I no longer find myself worrying about the kids or hoping they are still learning. Though I do hope they are learning, I've let go of my feelings of personal responsibility in the matter. I gave them my email address and blog address, but haven't heard from any of them yet.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Our Schedule

The next several months are going to be very busy for us. We're moving to Central Asia this summer. Several people have inquired about our schedule/availability in the near future. I don't think I've written every event down anywhere yet so here goes--for your benefit and ours.

Appointment Week - Memphis, TN
March 17-22

Ryan Backpacking with Scott - Trinity Alps Wilderness Area, CA
March 31-Apr 7

Laura and Selah visiting family - Amarillo, TX
March 31-Apr 11
(Ryan joins in Amarillo on the 7th)

Lakehouse weekend with family (tentative) - Livingston, TX
April 13-15

Lakehouse weekend with friends - Livingston, TX
April 20-22

Ryan preaches AM service at Woodridge Fall Creek - Houston, TX
April 29

Ryan's Ordination - Woodridge Baptist Kingwood, TX
6.00 pm, April 29
You are invited!

May 3 - June 30

Laura's brother's wedding - Nashville, TN
May 25-27

Finish up packing and say goodbyes - Kingwood, TX
July 1-7 (tentative dates)

Fly to new home
July 7 (tentative date)

Please pray for stability during this time of travel and transition, and that Selah will be adaptable and able to sleep in many different places!


Selah Waking Up

Selah's happiest time is when she wakes up. Here's some proof. I was trying to edit this down to make it shorter, but I just couldn't cut anything b/c Selah is just cute non-stop!

Selah Playing with my Ear

Selah is growing so much! Last night we looked pics of her from when he was 4 weeks old. She looked so small! Of course she was, and really, she still is, but she has been gaining weight and learning to do new things, like smile and roll over on her side. Here's some good footage. She is 2 1/2 months old now.