This Abundant Life

This Abundant Life
"I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." - John 10:10

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

whatever is true...whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely...--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.

I was in the middle of spending, yet, another evening filling my time, and depleting my mental energy, with web searches for used twin beds, new recipes, grocery and household coupon codes, and information on how much formaldehyde is in which brand of mattress...when I realized what I really need.

I need my brain to be filled up with those things that are GOOD...things that are LOVELY...the things that make my life PRETTY...the things that make me giggle and cry tears of joy...the things that make me dorkier...but way more fun to be around.

I need JESUS. I need visible, tangible examples that remind me of the way I felt when I met Him years ago and realized how HE felt about ME.

I, obviously, didn't want to work too I clicked on a link to Noel Piper's I have subscribed to for months, but rarely ever go to (not because it's not interesting...but because it somehow feels easier to trot along in meaningless life-living).

I am thankful to the Lord for His faithfulness. He does not ignore me when I am pitiful. His spirit leads me to encouragement from another of His loved ones and I get to enjoy the way He works.

Check out Noel's comment on her husband, John Piper's, upcoming Sabbatical from his Church work...and be encouraged by Piper's Letter to his congregation on the same regard.
I have copied his comments, below:

John Piper's Upcoming Leave

By John Piper March 28, 2010

As you may have already heard in the sermon from March 27-28, the elders graciously approved on March 22 a leave of absence that will take me away from Bethlehem from May 1 through December 31, 2010. We thought it might be helpful to put an explanation in a letter to go along with the sermon.

I asked the elders to consider this leave because of a growing sense that my soul, my marriage, my family, and my ministry-pattern need a reality check from the Holy Spirit. On the one hand, I love my Lord, my wife, my five children and their families first and foremost; and I love my work of preaching and writing and leading Bethlehem. I hope the Lord gives me at least five more years as the pastor for preaching and vision at Bethlehem.

But on the other hand, I see several species of pride in my soul that, while they may not rise to the level of disqualifying me for ministry, grieve me, and have taken a toll on my relationship with Noël and others who are dear to me. How do I apologize to you, not for a specific deed, but for ongoing character flaws, and their effects on everybody? I’ll say it now, and no doubt will say it again, I’m sorry. Since I don’t have just one deed to point to, I simply ask for a spirit of forgiveness; and I give you as much assurance as I can that I am not making peace, but war, with my own sins.

Noël and I are rock solid in our commitment to each other, and there is no whiff of unfaithfulness on either side. But, as I told the elders, “rock solid” is not always an emotionally satisfying metaphor, especially to a woman. A rock is not the best image of a woman’s tender companion. In other words, the precious garden of my home needs tending. I want to say to Noël that she is precious to me in a way that, at this point in our 41-year pilgrimage, can be said best by stepping back for a season from virtually all public commitments.

No marriage is an island. For us this is true in two senses. One is that Noël and I are known inside-out by a few friends at Bethlehem—most closely by our long-time colleagues and friends David and Karin Livingston, and then by a cluster of trusted women with Noël and men with me. We are accountable, known, counseled, and prayed for. I am deeply thankful for a gracious culture of transparency and trust among the leadership at Bethlehem.

The other way that our marriage is not an island is that its strengths and defects have consequences for others. No one in the orbit of our family and friends remains unaffected by our flaws. My prayer is that this leave will prove to be healing from the inside of my soul, through Noël’s heart, and out to our children and their families, and beyond to anyone who may have been hurt by my failures.

The difference between this leave and the sabbatical I took four years ago is that I wrote a book on that sabbatical (What Jesus Demands from the World). In 30 years, I have never let go of the passion for public productivity. In this leave, I intend to let go of all of it. No book-writing. No sermon preparation or preaching. No blogging. No Twitter. No articles. No reports. No papers. And no speaking engagements. There is one stateside exception—the weekend devoted to the Desiring God National Conference combined with the inaugural convocation of Bethlehem College and Seminary in October. Noël thought I should keep three international commitments. Our reasoning is that if she could go along, and if we plan it right, these could be very special times of refreshment together.

The elders have appointed a group to stay in touch and keep me accountable for this leave. They are David Mathis, Jon Bloom, Tom Steller, Sam Crabtree, Jon Grano, Tim Held, Tony Campagna, and Kurt Elting-Ballard. Five of these have walked with Noël and me over the last two months, helping us discern the wisdom, scope, and nature of this leave. They brought the final recommendation to the elders on March 22.

I asked the elders not to pay me for this leave. I don’t feel it is owed to me. I know I am causing more work for others, and I apologize to the staff for that. Not only that, others could use similar time away. Most working men and women do not have the freedom to step back like this. The elders did not agree with my request. Noël and I are profoundly grateful for this kind of affection. We will seek the Lord for how much of your financial support to give back to the church, to perhaps bear some of the load.

Personally, I view these months as a kind of relaunch of what I hope will be the most humble, happy, fruitful five years of our 35 years at Bethlehem and 46 years of marriage. Would you pray with me to that end? And would you stand by your church with all your might? May God make these eight months the best Bethlehem has ever known. It would be just like God to do the greatest things when I am not there. “Neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:7).

I love you and promise to pray for you every day.

Pastor John

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website:

Saturday, March 27, 2010

We Love Our Da-ddy

April 15th may be a dreaded day for many people...but for us it's the most fun day EVER. It's when we get our Daddy back! We miss you, Daddy...hurry home!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spring Cleaning Update

Okay, We've been hard at work over here. And, by WE, I mean ME. Of course, my husband is working 15hr days, so he's off the hook. But, Gwendolyn and Dave the Dog are total liabilities...

I am so happy this cleaning is getting done, but I gotta say, I am NOT having fun. I keep finding myself thinking, "WHY am I doing this. Is it REALLY better that the tops of the cabinets are clean?"

I am a little behind in schedule, but that's totally okay. Things are moving along.

Here's what I've completed so far:
Microwave, dust furniture/fixtures/blinds, windows, scrub surfaces

Master Bathroom

Here's my revised schedule:

March 18 - Kitchen floors
March 19 - Living room Windows/blinds, carpet spot treat, baseboards, vacuum
March 20 - Office
March 23 - Hall Bath
March 24 - My Friend Jenni and her little Madelyn are visiting!
March 25 - Master Bedroom
March 26 ('til infinity) - Garage

Refrigerator: Maybe Never

I took some pictures of my work...
At first I thought, why would anyone want to see pictures of my kitchen. But, then I remembered...this is my Blog and I can do whatever I want! And, I do have a lovely kitchen, so I figured you would want to rejoice in my blessing with me!

Here's the pantry...but, interestingly enough, no matter how much time you spend on a still looks like a closet with a bunch of things stuffed in it.This little one has been my nemesis all week, but, yesterday, she took a moment to help...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

21 Weeks for Our Little Guy

I TOTALLY believe, and tell all my friends, that you can be disciplined and healthy during your pregnancy...that you can DEFINITELY exercise and eat well...and that you don't have to become some bagel-eating bum just because you are pregnant.

In my defense, I never said that this is what I AM doing...only that it's what Can be done.

Unfortunately, it appears that the fact that chicken sounds (and tastes) discussing and I want waffles and syrup for breakfast every morning seems to be enough reason for me to just go for it :(.

ANYWAY! Here's myself and my baby boy!

Things with the pregnancy are going very well and I thank the Lord for such an uneventful experience...I have been very blessed! I'm getting more excited every day about meeting our Guy.

I, sometimes, feel a little worried about depression and breastfeeding issues (after he joins us). But, these thoughts always seem to be quickly followed by the understanding that whatever comes, we'll totally get through it...and, honestly, how much worse than Gwendolyn can it get?!

So, I am incredibly hopeful. I actually spend more time wondering if I will survive the crying, screaming and constant whining of my toddler...without permanently losing my mind!

Oh, and here's my butt...

And, here is my precious little Angel...

Friday, March 05, 2010

Spring Cleaning Schedule

Okay, I am now more motivated than ever to get my cleaning done...because I have two kids' rooms to decorate and I will not allow myself to look at one paint swatch until the cleaning is DONE! The decorating will be my reward.

So, I decided to move up my start date to Friday, March 12th. I have been a little ambitious in my first days of cleaning, in hopes that it will make the process easier..."eat my frog first". Of course, I have a beautiful Angel living with me who's schedule doesn't always mesh with mine. So, things must remain flexible...especially to keep my expectations in check : )!

Here's my schedule, as it stands right now:

March 12 - Pantry and fridge
March 15 - Microwave, dust furniture/fixtures/blinds, windows, scrub surfaces
March 16 - Floors/baseboards

March 17 - Windows/blinds, carpet spot treat, baseboards, vacuum

March 18 - Just Do It!

March 19 - Bath
March 22 - Bedroom

March 23 - Hall Bath
March 24 - My Friend Jenni and her little Madelyn are visiting!

March 25 & 26

Wish me LUCK!


I know these things are hard to see...but what we have a PENIS!!!!!!!!!!!

WOO HOO!!! I can not even express how excited we are! I can't stop smiling. And, even better...our little boy is developing beautifully! Everything checked out awesome!

He was moving around and sucking his thumb...we didn't get a great profile shot, but from what I saw, I wouldn't be surprised if he, also, looked like those other people in my little family...

Wednesday, March 03, 2010


Okay, so the more I use the computer, the more I realize...I don't know how to use the computer. It's really quite sad.

Never-the-less I have created a "page" of Recipes on this blog (at the top, under the big picture), where I plan to post the recipes that I have taken from other people's websites and use often.

I don't like this format and I think there is a better way to do it...but I don't know what that way is, just yet : ).

The recipes that I have come to love and want more of are ones that are affordable, nutritious and EASY. I'll be posting these recipes so that you can enjoy them too. Here are just a couple that I made this week, to start...


Monday, March 01, 2010

Spring Cleaning...Planning

Okay, it's officially MARCH! We're not happy about it...but we are going to CLEAN!

I sat down today and wrote out the items that would be included in my cleaning...and almost cried. Then, I thought that it might actually be more appropriate to laugh...because I had, originally, thought I could get it done in a week's time. HA, HA, HA, HA, HA!!

Anyway, I'm going to begin on March 15th and do a task each day until it's done. My husband works 13-14 hour days in March and on Saturdays, so I'll be utilizing nap time and some evenings to do my cleaning. I have a feeling I will also be using Barney and Veggie Tales!

Soon I will assign actual days to each task...but here is my preliminary list:

windows/sills/curtain rods
carpet spot treat/vacuum
dust furniture and fixtures

wash and dust furniture
scrub surfaces
floors and baseboards
clean and organize pantry
fridge (gross) and microwave
windows/sills/curtain rods
dust fixtures
dust furniture/fixtures
clean desk and store extra material in garage
store some toys

clean out under cabinets

store or dispose of unused clothes
dust (fixtures, furniture)

Too exhausting to list items

The secondary rooms are getting shifted (new nursery and Gwen's big girl room) and painted and decorated...the stuff I LOVE doing and wish I could do in the other rooms, instead of cleaning I'm not including them in the Spring Cleaning.

The Garage is actually not as bad as I think it is...It just needs to get done...but I'm saving it for the end.

So, go ahead and get your lists done (if you are joining me) and let's give each other support through the marvelous World Wide Web. Your timing and tasks can be completely different from mine. Perhaps you will use this "Spring Cleaning" time to catch up on Scrapbooking or organizing photos or organizing closets or doing some serious Menu Planning...or finishing sewing projects...or yard projects...Whatever!

I look forward to being diligent with you and I am counting on those of you who have already agreed to make sure I'm on task!