Saturday, November 23, 2013

In All Circumstances

She Reads Truth: Give Thanks, Day 6

The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in His way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand.  I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.  He is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing. 

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."  So we can confidently say, "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?"

Gracious God,

Thank you that you are the provider of my every need. Even though we may, from time to time, experience a tightness in our finances, you still bless us abundantly. We have never lacked. We can give generously. There is no physical thing that we are in need of. And even the non-physical: friendships, guidance, love, health, these too, you provide. 

You have always been faithful in the past and I can trust you to be faithful in the future. You are a faithful God. 

Lord, help me to store up evidence of your grace and goodness now for the days when I am struggling to trust you. Help me to remember to be thankful in all my circumstances because you never leave me nor forsake me. And therefore, I should not be afraid. 

Oh Lord, you care for all the earth
The flowers and the birds
You provide their daily bread
How much more you have cared for me
You met my greatest need
When Christ hung on the tree
So I know that you'll provide for me

So God, I trust in you
I trust in you, I trust in you
In whatever I must face,
I will trust your sovereign grace
I will always trust in you

Oh Lord, when all my hopes and plans
Are taken from my hands
And I cannot see the way
I will rest in your sovereign plan
And bless your gracious hand
I know your promise stands
That I'll see your goodness in this land

So God, I trust in you
I trust in you, I trust in you
In whatever I must face
I will trust your sovereign grace
I will always trust in you
~Stephen Altrogee

Friday, November 22, 2013

There's a Fountain

She Reads Truth: Give Thanks, Day 5

Think how much grace one saint requires, so much that nothing but the Infinite could supply him for one day; and yet the Lord spreads his table, not for one, but many saints, not for one day, but for many years; not for many years only, but for generation after generation.”
–C.H. Spurgeon, Morning & Evening

The Lord who Provides for us, and provides in abundance. I never lack anything. Not food, nor shelter, nor health, nor family. Not grace, nor strength, nor the Holy Spirit's presence. In Christ, in Jesus, I have access to a limitless, inexhaustible, never ending fountain that flows and flows and flows over me. 

Thank you, God, that your love never fails, that you are an unending source I can draw and draw and draw upon and you never run dry. The cattle on a thousand hills are yours and you own the hills too. Your riches are uncountable, your greatness is unfathomable, your grace is inexhaustible, your mercy is unfailing, your love is limitless, your glory is matchless, your word is true, your promises are unchanging. You never falter, you never fail, you never run dry, you never end. And you invite me, call me, command me, to come and drink my fill, to know you, to lean on you, to trust you, to hold you, to love you, to take of you, and give myself to you. 

Lord Jesus you have offered me a treasure trove of soul satisfying in knowing you and being called by your name. You have stripped away all the sin and born away all the punishment that would keep me from you. Holy Spirit you have opened up my eyes, and changed my taste, to see you, to hunger after you, to love you and run ever onward, following my God. Abba Father, you are all I want and all I need and you offer yourself to me freely. You are beautiful and glorious and wonderful and powerful and soul satisfying and rich and all I want is all of you.

There's a treasure great in beauty far surpassing earth's great wealth
He is Jesus, prince of glory, source of all grace, peace and health
There's a fountain ever flowing, satisfying all who drink
He is Jesus, spring of joy to all who hail him as their king

There's a power, holy power, breaking bonds of captive men
He is Jesus, mighty Jesus, holy warrior and sinners friend
There's a savior rich in mercy, quick to pardon all my sin
He is Jesus, great redeemer, reconciling God and men

There's a glorious Lord returning and all will bow to him alone
He is Jesus, king of nations reigning from his gracious throne
There is one to whom our praises will through every age ascend
He is Jesus, king forever, whose wonderous rule will never end
~Stephen Altrogee 

Thursday, November 21, 2013


She Reads Truth: Give Thanks, Day 4

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

... The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


 [pees] noun, :: freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction, anxiety, anobsession, etc.; tranquillity; serenity.

Abba Father,

You are the giver of peace, the freedom of all anxiety and worry. You call for trust and the cessation of my war with the universe. 

I am finite in everything, my strength, my knowledge, my future, my family, all that I am in contact with is massively overwhelmingly bigger than me. I am at war with time, with sickness, with my child, with other people, with money, with my to do list, with politics, everything around me takes all of me and consumes my mind. And I am anxious over many things. 

But The Lord, my Lord, is at hand. 

Against all my strife and anxiety and worry and above all the areas that I am finite, Jesus stands infinite. You are all strength, all knowledge, all knowing and all seeing; you are The Lord of History and king of ages. You work all things for good. You hold me. You love me. You promise hope and joy and salvation. And you offer me peace. 

"Cast your burdens, Daughter. Cast them on me. I can carry them all." 
"But what about my son, my husband, my health, my future, my family, my to do list, my safety, my ... "
"Hannah, Hannah, you are worried and anxious over many things. But only one thing is necessary." 

One thing: I have peace with God because Jesus stopped all hostility, paid all my debts, satisfied all of God's wrath, and begot restoration. And because I have peace with God, I can have the peace of God. I can cast all my burdens, all my worries, all my anxieties, on Him, because He cares for me. 

You care for me, Lord. You give me peace. And I can cast all, everything I have and don't have and worry about and fight for and fight with, I can cast all on You. With thanksgiving! Thanksgiving! With joy! With the delight of a free woman! No more chains, no more weights on my soul, no more fears holding me down. You have given me peace. It is well with my soul. 

When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like seabillows roll
Whatever my lot, you have taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul

Though Satan should buffet, though trial should come
Let this blest assurance control
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate
And He shed His own blood for my soul

You have made it well with my soul
To this blissful trust I will hold
You looked upon my helplessness
My dispondant state, my circumstance
And you have made it well with my soul

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought,
My sin, not the part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more
Praise The Lord! Praise The Lord Oh my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight
The clouds be rolled back like a scroll
The trumpet shall sound, and my Lord shall descend
Even so it is well with my soul!

You have made it well with my soul
To this blissful trust I will hold
You looked upon my helplessness,
My despondent state, my circumstance
And you have made it well with my soul
With my soul!

~by Horatio Spafford, add'l words by Chris Flannigan

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Never Cast Out

She Reads Truth: Give Thanks, Day 2

Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."  ~John6:35-40

Lord God,

You have so many reasons to cast me out. So many times I have spurned your grace. So many times I have transgressed your law. So many times I have said "Never again!" only to do it again. So many times I have turned away from you. So many times I have failed to do what you command. So many times I have grieved the Spirit, and put anything and everything ahead of you. 

And yet. 

Here stands Jesus, arms outstretched, hands wounded with my sin, saying "I will never you cast out!" 

Lord Jesus, I come to you, full of filth and misery. I come weak. I come with little faith and much sin. I come willing now to follow you, but with little expectation of my heart remaining in the right place. But I come with a promise that you will rescue and save and keep and sustain me and on the last day you will raise me up. 

Please forgive me of my sin, make me righteous in your eyes.

From whence this fear and unbelief?
Hath not the Father put to grief
His spotless Son for me?
And could the righteous Judge of men
Condemn me for a debt of sin,
Which, Lord, was charged to thee?

Complete atonement Thou hath made
And to the utmost farthing paid
The debt Thy people owed. 
No more can wrath on me take place,
When sheltered in Thy righteousness
And sprinkled with Thy blood. 

Turn then, my soul, and know this peace:
The merits of thy Great High Priest
Have bought thee liberty!
Trust in His effecacious blood,
And fear no banishment from God,
For Jesus set me free!

Jesus, all my trust is in You, Lord!
Jesus, You ransomed us through Your great love!

How sweet the sound of saving grace
How sweet the sound of saving grace
Christ died for me! 
How sweet the sound of saving grace
How sweet the sound of saving grace
Christ died for me!

Jesus, all my trust is in You, Lord
Jesus, You ransomed us through Your great love! 

~original verses by Agustus Toplady, add'l words by Doug Plank

Monday, November 18, 2013

I Will Give Thanks

Ok, trying to get back into a daily habit of reading the Word. I'm really liking the SheReadsTruth plans, because they start a new cycle every couple of weeks. So even if I get so horribly behind I can't quite catch up, I can start afresh and keep going. This time,instead of writing out my own thoughts, I am going to be posting my prayers in response to the scriptures and devotionals that SRT posts. I'll be hyperlinking to the original posts and reference the scriptures as I go. So we start with...

SheReadsTruth: Give Thanks Day 1

(Psalm 30 & Luke17:11-19)

SheReadsTruth: Give Thanks Day 1

Father God,

Oh Lord, I confess that I have the heart of one of the nine cleansed lepers, who were rescued from much misery, but did not turn to thank you. You are the source of all blessing, the one who rescues, the one who restores, the one who loves, the one who pours out undeserved riches. And I am an ungrateful sinner who takes and takes and rarely says thank you. 

Change my heart to match that of the Samaritan leper. Let me see all the goodness you have done for me and pour out my thanksgiving and my gratitude. Not that you need it, though you deserve it. But let it come from a heart that is truly thankful for all you've done. 

Thank you for saving me
What can I say?
You are my everything 
And I will sing your praise
You shed your blood for me
What can I say?
You took my sin and shame 
A sinner called by name!

Great is The Lord
Great is The Lord
For we know your truth has set us free
You've set your hope in me

Mercy and grace are mine
Forgiven is my sin
Jesus, my only hope
The savior of the world
Great is The Lord we cry
God let your kingdom come
Your word has let me see
Thank you for saving me!

Great is The Lord
Great is The Lord
For we know your truth has set us free
You've set your hope in me. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Show No Partiality

My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, "You sit here in a good place," while you say to the poor man, "You stand over there," or, "Sit down at my feet," have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?

I read these verses and think "What's the big deal about riches? Why are they so evil?" Especially when most of the Old Testament shows riches and material blessing being the rewards of obedience, and the New Testament shows over and over again God promising rewards to those who follow hard after him.  But there I think is the crux of the matter. God pours out blessing on us when we pursue Him for His own sake. But when we turn and pursue God's gifts or pursue God for his gifts sake, is that not sin? 

Money is not evil in itself, but the pursuit of it leads to all kinds of evils.  Placing faith in material things to save me is idolatry. Accumulating wealth will not protect my health or my family or my life; it will not make me happy or satisfy my soul, because I was made for something greater than things. I was made to be a pursuer of God. 

So money could be a stand in for a whole host of things that I try to put in place of God when I am in difficulty. I seek comfort in my husband, my family, my friends, food, quiet, rest, games, coffee, leisure, people's good opinion of me...

Ah, is this what James is driving at? Showing partiality is another form of idolatry. Either because we place certain people up on pedastles to be admired or because we want something from them (ie, my opinion/worship becomes a kind of currency: I bestow it on you and you thank me with some kind of favor).  So it would make sense that we would be partial to the rich versus the poor; the mighty versus the weak, the beautiful versus the ugly; the influential versus the reserved. In any group of people, bestowing my attention on one to the exclusion of others either makes them god to me or makes them a source of good to me.  And both places are places that God alone will have, must have, in my life! 

Oh Father God, 
Please keep my heart free from idols. I was created and saved to worship you and you alone, not money r fame or power or people or even the good things you have given me.  Thank you for the gifts you have graciously given: home, family, safety, health, financial stability, a husband who works hard and serves my family, a healthy and happy baby boy, a strong church where the Word is preached, a free nation where we can worship unafraid....these and many many more are all things that I do not deserve. But I am grateful for them. 
Please help me maintain a heart of gratitude, not one of idolatry or entitlement. And keep me from elavating certain friends over others for what they can do for me.  Help me to live on the level ground at the foot of the Cross. 

Be a Doer Who Acts!

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. 
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

All of last week, I did my lessons on the book of James, on the truth that God uses adversity to make us dig into Christ, with the result being that we become like him.  And all of last week, I was going through a trial of struggling to feed my little boy.  S had decided that he wanted to eat with bottles, not nurse as he had been, and I was fighting him to feed him my way, not his way.  Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday we made progress to the point that Sunday he nursed well all day with little to no fussing afterward. Then, that evening, J and I left him with my mum so we could go to a Chris Tomlin concert.  Mum gave S got a bottle, as per my instructions, and all my hard work came crashing down.  Yesterday and today were battles with my little boy, trying to get him to eat what is best for him, not what is easy for him. And it all culminated in my crying On the couch in frustration, calling my husband and mum in angry tears, complaining of my furiousness at S and my despair at ever being able to nurse him ever again.  

And when I finally snagged a moment to catch up on She Reads Truth, here comes dear brother James. "[Be] slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness that God requires. Therefore put away all filthiness [...] and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.  But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, [...] But the one who looks into the perfect law, [...] and perseveres, [...] he will be blessed in his doing. If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless." 

Did my anger produce any fruit in my son or my self? No, my anger produced more anger, frustration, rage and then guilt that I was angry at a three month old little boy who does not know better,  
Did I receive God's word with meekness? No, my heart was filled with the pride that I knew what was best, that trials should not last this long, that I had already learned this, God, why am I still having to fight this war? 
Was I a doer of the word I had been studying? No, my faith was not reaching towards God in his promises.  My faith was in myself, my strength, my ideas, and my will to power over my son.
Had I bridled my tongue? No, no, no.  My tongue was running on an anger fueled, rage induced, streak of madness; yelling at my husband, bitter at my mum, furious at my child, and not doing anything. 

I read these verses and my heart grew heavy with conviction.  S needed a patient mommy to help him learn and I was being anything but.  

Please help me to bridle my tongue, to act on the promises of your word, and to put away my anger and frustration.  Let me receive with meekness your imparted gospel, which is able to save my soul.  

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Remain Steadfast

"Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits. (v.9-11)"

God is all about upending our worldly notions.  "For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God." (1Cor1:26-29) So it is little wonder that God would exalt the lowly and then call the lowly to boast in the source of his exaltation (namely, God). But why call the rich to boast in humiliation? We usually don't like being humiliated, it hurts our inflated notions of self worth. V.11 says that the rich man will fade away IN THE MIDST OF HIS PURSUITS. ie, pursue riches that fade away and you will also fade away.  But to give up that worldly richness, to be humbled in the eyes of the world, that is worth boasting in, because you then gain true riches.  "Thus says the LORD: "Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD." (Jer9:23-24)" Even those who are not rich, me included, still have the temptation to follow hard after those things that do not last, that do not satisfy, and that will ultimately fade.  So how do you not fade?

"Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (v12-15)" 

"Remaining steadfast under trial" seems to be James's recurring theme here.  Verse 5 was a trial of need.  Verses 6-8 was a trial of doubting. Verse 9 was a trial of poverty. Verses 10-11 was a trial of riches. Verses 13-15 are trials of sin and temptation sandwiched on both sides with the doctrine of God's promises. Verse 12 is a glorious reminder that for those who endure, who remain, there is a crown of life! God promises great reward to those who faithfully cling to Him. Just look at the Beatitudes of Matthew 5: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (v.3-12)" Blessing on top of blessing, promise on top of promise, reward on top of reward awaits for those who endure in the faith.  

And this is a good reminder, for here comes the biggest, longest, ongoing trial of the Christian life: temptation to sin.  Other trials, (need, doubt, poverty, riches) are usually brief and, in and of themselves, not necessarily bad or crippling things.  But add to them the pervasive effects of sin, and you've got yourself a bang-up trial.  We cannot blame sin on anyone but us.  God does not lure us into sin. God does not command us into sin. God does not create sin in us. And God even actively works to eradicate sin FROM us.  Our insidious sin nature breeds more sin and sin breeds more death and we would be forever caught in this death spiral were it not for the kind intervention of God.  

"Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. (v.16-18)" 

The last verse shows how God stops our sin from killing us.  By the word of truth (the Gospel), God calls us His firstfruits, which is the offering holy unto The Lord.  God uses the gospel to pull us out of the death spiral of sin. He uses the gospel to cleanse us. He uses the gospel to keep us. He uses the gospel to help us endure. In Jesus, the trials that would have once destroyed us, now refine us. Saving faith in Jesus Christ removes the penalty of our sin, covers us in the righteousness that makes us acceptable to God, brings us back into relationship with God, and enables all the promises of God (even the ones that were conditional on our righteous deeds) to be Yes! and Amen!  Faith digs deep into Jesus and draws up:
  • Access to God's Fatherly heart to meet our earthly needs
  • Assurance that we are fully and completely saved and will never be cast out to fight our doubts. 
  • A promise of inheritance that overshadows the wealth of this world so we can be content with very little
  • A call to drown the fading treasures of this life in the endless ocean of the soul-satisfying joy of having Jesus
  • Freedom from the tyrannical slavery of sin 
  • Hope of eternal life that kills the fear of death
  • Fellowship with the Father of Lights, who does not change
And a thousand thousand more promises of grace! This is our fuel for endurance.  This is what strengthens our faith.  This is what God offers us in the midst of trial. This is why trials become joys and why we are content with sufferings.  

"Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ (Phil3:8)"

Friday, October 18, 2013

Roots & Waves

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Verse 5 is a continuation of James's first thoughts on faith.  Faith is the deep root that reaches into the inexhaustible river of Christ for life, nourishment, hope, peace, and ultimately changes us into His likeness.  James encourages us to go to Jesus that we may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.  

But what happens if we do lack something? We go to God, and James gives an example of what that looks like.  Say you lack wisdom (we all do), where do you turn? Who is the best person to give wisdom but the all-knowing, all-sovereign, source? All of proverbs can be summed up in one sentence: wisdom comes from God.  And King Solomon is a living example of the benefits of going to the source.  Solomon also illustrates the second point James makes: God is a generous giver.  Solomon asked for wisdom to rule Israel, God made him the wisest man who ever walked the earth.  When we come with our little buckets to The Lord's unending river, God opens up his floodgates.  

Whenever Jesus spoke of prayer to his disciples, he always hammered home the point that God is a generous giver. God is generous to the point of extravagance. And moreover, Jesus places no limits on what we can ask of God.  He calls, commands, explains, and woos us to ask and ask and ask of God.  
  • "Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him." (Matt6:8)
  • "And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith." (Matt21:22) 
  • "And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" (Luke11:9-13)
  • "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. (John14:12-14) 
But there is a caveat, the asking must be done in faith.  Faith, those deep roots that seek the river of Christ, must be present. Our faith doesn't have to be big (Luke17:6) but it does have to be there and it does have to be firmly fixed on God.  

So James turns and addresses the person who does not have faith. The doubter, the one who is not firmly fixed on and trusting in the promises of God, is like a storm tossed wave.  No stability, no peace, no calm, no trust; with nothing to be anchored to, this person is fraught with anxiety. And more, because he does not believe the promises, and does not expect God to fulfill them, he receives nothing from God. He is "unstable in all his ways", the ultimate contrast of the Christian in v2-4. 

So what can I do to increase my faith?
1) Ask.  (Mark9:24) God is a generous giver and will work to increase my faith. 
2) Read. Use the Word of God to mine the promises of God. 
3) Preach. Repeate the promises of God to yourself throughout the day. 
4) Practice. Is God your go-to when life happens? Retrain yourself to got to God first. Do so over and over again until it is your first reaction.  

Train your roots down into the riverbed of Christ. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Deep Roots

Note: yesterday I started the James reading plan from She Reads Truth. I'm intending to post my notes/thoughts/reactions/prayers here for personal accountability. I have a bad habit of starting a plan and then dropping it pretty soon afterwards.  My hope is that in putting it up on my blog, I will be more diligent in studying God's Word.  The following is today's post:

James 1:2-4
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Also: 2 Cor 12:9-10; Heb 12:7-11; Rom 8:35-39

White carnations placed in colored water will draw the color up into their petals, changing the white petals to match the color of the water they are placed it. This is the picture that comes to mind when I read the description of steadfastness means deeply rooted. Not necessarily an Oak Tree that can withstand a hurricane because of its massive root network, but a Willow Tree that sinks deep into the riverbank to draw up as much water as it can. And, like the carnation, the water changes the tree. 

Trials test our faith, James says. And faith, when tested runs to its object for strength and endurance and hope. Financial crises test out faith in money. Health crises test out faith in doctors. Crisis of the soul (ie: every single thing that happens to us) tests out faith in God. Faith runs to God. Various trials make us run to God for various solutions and various needs and we see that God is more than able to meet those needs. Our willow tree has found a deep and wide life-giving River and will dig its roots down deeper and deeper with every flood and drought. This is steadfastness. 

But what does it produce? Being perfect and lacking nothing, James says. Possessing Christ by continually drawing on Him is to possess everything we need. We lack nothing when Christ is all. And moreover, like the carnation, drawing Christ into us changes us into His likeness so that we are perfect. Paul says in 2 Cor 12:9-10 that Christ's power dwells in us when trials make us weak. Hebrews 12:7-11 tell of God's Love for us that is displayed in discipline. He sends the drought so we reach deeper into the river. And Romans 8:35-39 proclaims the surety of the object of our faith. Nothing can cut our roots in Christ. Nothing can stop His love for us. 

Jesus draws our faith towards Himself, no matter how weak and small it is, and rewards us with more and more and more of Himself, changing us so we are perfect as He is, and filling us so we lack nothing. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Guilt and the Gospel

Last night, something happened to me on the way home from a women's study on Marriage.  It was something I prided myself on never having happened to me before.  It was something that will affect just about everything I do for the next few months.

I got a speeding ticket.

Like, a 19 mph over the limit speeding ticket.

Like, I'm going to have to appear before a judge in traffic court speeding ticket.

It was not a fun experience.  <--understatement of the century.

I was going down the hill, turning the corner, and using the momentum of the downward slope to help get me up to speed on the other side.  I was rushing to get home.  I wasn't paying attention to the speed change.  And I got pulled.  I saw the police car pull out behind me and thought "$@%#% I'm going to get pulled."  And sure enough, blue lights flashed on, I pulled over, and the officer, who was as polite and business like as ever, handed me the speeding citation.  I was expecting a fine and points on my drivers license.

I was not expecting a barrage of guilt.

How could you be so stupid? How are we going to pay for this ticket? How are we going to afford the jump in insurance? How are you going to face your husband? How could you? How could you? How could you?

All the way home, and on the couch, explaining what happened to J, the guilt kept coming.  And not just for that incident, but every time I've ever sped, every stop sign I've rolled through, every yellow-to-red light I've run, and every single time I have ever gotten angry at a motorist in front of me who was obeying the speed limit and not driving as fast as I want them to drive.  All my infractions kept mounting before me and I kept listing in my head all the problems that are caused by this one little ticket.

Guilt, my dear friends, can be a wonderful tool in the hands of God because it drives us to the cross.  Guilt makes us know just how far we have fallen short, how much we deserve this punishment, how greatly we have sinned.  And when guilt is followed quickly by the Gospel, it can turn into gratitude. But guilt can also be used by Satan to accuse us, to condemn us, to make us doubt God's mercy and blood-bought acceptance.  Guilt, when allowed to fester, can turn into condemnation.

So as I laid down on the heating pad on the couch (oh the joys of being 7 months pregnant), and J and I formed a plan of what to do at my court hearing in two months, I let guilt begin to fester in my heart.  I did not preach the Gospel to my self because I thought "This is a state matter, I did not break the law of God so the Grace of God cannot fix this.  I have to live under the shame of my wrong doing for the next two months until I can go to the courthouse and fix it myself."  Exhausted and ashamed, I went to bed.

Morning brought the alarm clock and the first thought that popped into my head was "SPEEDING TICKET" and in rushed the shame and condemnation, the accusing thoughts, and the guilt of what I had done.  But it was different this time, because what followed at the heels of the ticket was not a litany of traffic violations, but one of all the times I had transgressed before God.  Every time in the last two to three days I had been angry or proud or selfish or lustful; evil thoughts, hurtful words, unkindness, judgmental attitudes, all piled up before me and I saw with more clarity than I ever have before that all rule breaking is a sin against God.

But it is a sin that was paid for.

Jesus died for my traffic ticket.  Do you know how revolutionary that is? I do not have to suffer a weight of condemnation because of what I had done.  Jesus died for that.  And every time I have ever broken a rule and DIDN'T get caught, Jesus died for that too.  Every evil thought, every petty crime, every instance that I was not punished by the laws of men, I would have to stand guilty and condemned for that before the Father, the great Judge of all the Erth.  But I had a Savior who stood in my place, who took that shame, that punishment, that wrath, so I could escape.

And there is therefore now NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 5:1

This is the beauty of the Gospel.  Whatever punishment or fines or trouble I have to endure because of this ticket are so minor in the face of what Jesus did for me they are almost laughable.  I have escaped from an eternal weight of wrath and into an eternal weight of glory and nothing I can do can drag me out from under the Grace of God.  I am free.  No more guilt.  No more condemnation.  No more punishment.  Jesus paid it all.  Oh how my heart sings!

My guilt has turned to gratitude.  That is the power of the gospel.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Daylight Savings Time

For those who know me, this will not come as much of a shock: I HATE Daylight Savings Time.  Like, with a passion.  I understand that there was a point in time when adjusting the working clock to enable factory employees daylight hours to garden seemed like a sensible thing to do.  But that time has LONG passed.  A majority of Americans don't need that extra time, or they work from home, or their working schedule is flexible.  The time change lasts a period of 8 months (Mid-March to Mid-November), much longer than the seasonal light and the traditional vernal to autumnal equinox period.  Energy is wasted cooling houses (especially in the south) for longer evening hours in the summer and for lighting dark rooms in the spring and fall mornings.  There are even studies out that show a dramatic increase in accidents the Monday following the time loss with no correlating increase in safety after the time gain.  I could go on and on and on about damaging effects that happen on other people.  For me personally, though, it's really hard to adjust my sleep schedule and takes me about a full week each time we have to do the DST change. 
I don't like it at all.
And don't start on the "I bet you love gaining an hour in the fall" bit.  'Cause I don't.  It messes up my sleep schedule for another full week and leaves me feeling in the lurch. 
Terrible, thanks for asking.
This vile loathing was made worse this morning by the fact that my iPod alarm clock for whatever reason set itself forward ANOTHER HOUR last night after it had already set itself forward an hour Saturday night.  So when my alarm went off this morning at 6:30 and I showered, dressed, got breakfast made and lunch packed, I looked up at the kitchen clock (an old manual one I had already changed over Sunday morning) and realized that my alarm really went off at 5:30 this morning. 
I had lost ANOTHER hour of sleep. 
And this morning I was dragging.  Work was lurchy.  I was hungry all day.  I couldn't think straight.  It was terrible. 
And it's really hard to be thankful for a computer glitch that caused me to lose an hour of sleep after the US Congress already made me lose an hour of sleep. 
But on the radio this morning, KLOVE started playing this:
It's Chris Tomlin's new song "I need You"
Lord I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You're the one that guides my heart

Lord, I need You, oh I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Where sin runs deep, Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are Lord I am free
Holiness is Christ in me
Yes where You are Lord I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

So teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I'll fall on You
Jesus You're my hope and stay
And when I cannot stand I'll fall on You
Jesus You're my hope and stay

Lord, I need You, oh I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

And I was so overwhelmed by my weakness and my dependency on God and His Strength.  I need Him every hour, but I really need Him today.  When I am tired and weary and bitter towards my circumstances, I need Him. 

My One Defense, My Righteousness, Oh God, how I need YOU!

Thursday, March 7, 2013


As a kid, my favorite category on Jeopardy was always Potpourri.  It was the stick-all-the-random-questions-here category, the junk drawer of Jeopardy, and it was inevitably the hardest category because the questions could range from cookies to cowboys to chemistry.  It was fun.  It was random.  It was a general collection of useless information.  And for someone who generally collects useless information, it was always my favorite. 

Think of this blog post as the potpourri of the last few days.  We're gonna go through some random stuff...

1) Today I have been pregnant for six months.  I am not as huge as I thought I could be at this point.  But my pants are getting uncomfortable and my shirts need to be longer.  So not quite tiny, but not quite huge.  Pretty good, size wise. 
2) Baby R is a KICKER!!!  If my waistband is too tight: kickkickkick.  If I'm leaning forward for too long: kickkickkick.  If I roll over to a different position at night: kickkickkick.  If I balance ANYTHING on my tummy: KICKKICKKICK. And ESPECIALLY when I have a full bladder and am on the phone at work and there's no possible way I'm getting to the bathroom anytime soon, kickkickkickkickkickkickkickkick.  If I don't see soccer scholarships in about 18 years, there will be retribution, is all I'm sayin'.
3) I realized that, because the baby is growing, I needed to increase my calcium intake and should probably be getting more fruit and vegetables in my diet.  I didn't help that Kroger had strawberries on sale 2 packs for $4.  Bright fresh sweet summer fruit in the middle of gloomy rainy windy February/March?  Yes and please
4) Thanks to Goldberry's Seven Day Smoothie Challenge Blog Post Series, I started drinking smoothies with lunch at work.  I did this instead of at breakfast for two reasons: 1) I need my morning coffee and having two drinks for breakfast would just not work and 2) it keeps me fuller longer if I have a smoothie in the middle of the day. 
5) Strawberry Banana Smoothies are delicious.  If pink could have a flavor, it would be strawberrybanana.  Yum.
6) I now own a green tumbler from the WalMarts.  Isn't it pretty?

7) I also bought a small electric heating pad for my back because six-month-old Baby R is giving me back pain and sciatica.  The little dear.
8) Sciatica is NO FUN and I really am empathizing with all the people who have to suffer with it daily, rather than it being brought on and limited to the duration of a pregnancy.
9)  I ordered some fabric from and am super pleased with how quick and easy it was to order from them. And their prices are fabu!  So so so so much cheaper than Jo-Anns (even with coupons) and by combining orders for three different projects, I got free shipping.  Awesomesauce
10) Those projects are:

This Maxi Skirt

Some form of this A-Line Skirt

A cover for our entry way bench modeled after the above (just no bunnies)
11) I have no idea when I'm going to find time to do these projects, but hopefully long before the baby arrives because I really want to wear those skirts and they would be soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo comfy as maternity skirts.
12) J and I are going to plant blueberry bushes this weekend. 
13) We are also celebrating my Grandma Dot's 87th Birthday.

Isn't she the cutest grandma ever?
Happy Birthday Grandma!
And on that note, we shall end Potpourri. 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

DIY Sandals (Made from Cheap Flip Flops)

So one of the biggest challenges facing me with this pregnancy is what to wear to work while I'm getting more rotund and less comfortable.  While the winter months have meshed well with my nonexistent and then slight baby bump, summer offers skirts and empire-waisted dresses to cover the growing swell.  But shoes become a problem.  My current fave shoes are dansko clogs; big, comfy, clumpy shoes that do a great job giving me foot support and a lousy job looking cute.  And they will NOT work with summer dresses.  Ballet flats, while looking great with skirts, are not so very nice to my swelling feet and ankles and, lets be honest here, summer = open toed shoes.  I need sandals.  

But sandals have three major problems: height, flip-floppeing and price.  Because the high shoes, while offering enough cushion to help my lower back, are not good for my balancing abilities.  The thinner shoes, on the other hand, offer no cushion at all.  Cushy sandals of a good height are inevitably flip flops (a HUGE no-no for the office).  And the perfect combination of low heel, cushy, non-flip-floppy sandal are usually $60-80+.  Not that I'm faulting the designer or shoe store, they gotta make a living too, but I am not plunking down that kinda moolah on a few strips of faux leather.  
And with the vast creative design of Pinterest at my fingertips, I went forth on a quest to find a way to make a cheap pair of nice looking sandals.  The results: zip. At least, zip for what I'm looking for.  All the ones I found involved wrapping ribbon or leather straps around the existing foot strap, making a pretty flip flop, but a flip flop none the less.  Further searching led me to this picture and hope!

This is what I wanted! A convertible sandal that has the basic sole of a flip flop but can be tied in such a way that the footwear neither flips nor flops.  But, alas, my hope was short lived.  The Pin led me not to a tutorial, but an Etsy site.  And these pretty sandals are 1) discontinued and 2) EXPENSIVE!!!!! (Granted, they are hand made out of beautiful leather and organic cotton straps and if you want a beautiful pair of flat sandals and are worried about your Eco-impact, please support the seller and buy here.) 
So here is my attempt to recreate these beautiful shoes using el-cheapo parts of the Wal-Mart variety.  
(First, please let me apologize for the crappy quality of these pictures and how dark it is.  It wasn't until I was done that I realized a black cord on a black flip flop on an espresso couch in low light would not make the best tutorial pictures.  If I ever repeat this process with lighter flipflops, I solemnly swear to post better looking pictures) 
You will need: 

  • An exacto knife
  • Scissors
  • Yarn or tapestry needle
  • Pliers
  • Super glue
  • Marker that will show up on the sole of your flip flop (silver in my case)
  • Something thin (but not necessarily sharp) for poking
  • 3 yards of double fold bias tape PER SANDAL (6 yards total)
  • 70 inches of thin cord.  I found a pack of waxed shoelaces, each was 27" long and I used 2.5 of them.  The point is, you need a thin, strong cord that can be threaded through your needle and will stand up to walking around all day.  
  • You also need flip-flops.  

I found mine at Old Navy, which sells two pairs for five dollars. I intend to make two pairs of sandals, one black and one brown, but the tutorial only shows the black.  Okay, got your stuff? Lets begin. 

 Cut the existing straps of the flip flop at the toe and ankle and pull the plugs off the bottom. 

Mark about where you want your loops to be.  We are going to "sew" the cord on either side of these marks, so if you don't mark it perfectly, that's okay, you can adjust.

Thread your cord through the needle and knot the other end.  My waxed shoelace formed a really tight overhand knot, so I really didn't need to do anything fancier.

Push the needle from the bottom up back by the heal.  You will need your pliers to force the needle and thread through the plastic.  This takes a lot of effort.

Go about an inch down the shoe towards the toe and push the needle back through.  You don't need the top loop all that tight.  A little bit of give will help you later when you pass your ribbons through the loops.

Back on the bottom, position your needle about a 1/4" along from where you came down from the top and then push your needle only half way through the plastic.   

Take the exacto knife and cut a shallow incision connecting where the cord comes out and where the needle goes in.
Push the needle all the way through and then use your poky instrument to jam the cord into the slit.  This will protect it from wearing too fast when you walk. 

Repeat steps 5 and 6 until you have four top loops, with the cord ending up on the bottom.  Tie an overhand knot and cut the string.  Repeat down the other side of the shoe.

For the toe anchor: push your needle through the thin rim of plastic that would stop the plug from popping out the top of the shoe.  Make a smallish loop and press the needle back down to have the two tails on the other side.  Overhand knot these two together and then pull the loop up the top, so that the knot is tucked into the existing hole.

Thread your bias tape in the desired manner.*
And you're done!
* I chose to fold my bias tape in half one more time and sew it shut after making this tutorial.  It looks more like ribbon, it's a bit thinner, and I think it'll hold up longer.  This is personal preference.  If you like the wide look or want to use ribbon, that is your choice and it'll still work fine.  

One last thing: I was thinking I needed superglue to fill in the incisions where the cord got tucked in, this is optional.  If you want to, do it.  If not, no worries.  Now, practice ways to lace your new sandals.  

Please ignore my pasty-white, pregnancy-swollen feet.  *You* will look fabulous!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Constant Change is Here to Stay...

Years ago, my Grandma went to England and brought back a charming little saying: "If you don't like the weather, wait 30 minutes, and it'll change."  I am feeling that way now.  Just this week, we have had days of 60F, 20F, Rainy, Sunny, Windy, Sleeting, Calm and everything in between.
But between you, me, and the bunny, I am ready for some summer sunshine, warm (read: HOT) weather, flip-flops, swimming, frappes, and BBQ's.  So to hasten on the changing seasons, I'm updating my template from the cold-snowy-rain-with-a-mountain blog to bright, green, blue and purple, springtime shot.  And maybe, that'll get me through the rest of February (and some of March) before the sun is out and the daisies bloom.

Has it been 30 minutes yet? 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Registering for a Thankful Heart

A long time ago (beginning of January) in a galaxy far, far a place called my In-Laws House, my wonderful, kind, sweet, could-not-ask-for-a-better-one Mother-in-law, K, asked how my baby registry was going.
Insert theme from Psycho here
Baby registry? As in baby STUFF?!? As in, OHEMGEE IM GONNA BE A MOMMY AND ALL I HAVE RIGHT NOW ARE SIX PAIRS OF BABY SOCKS AND A STAR TREK BABY SPOON!!!!!!  This led to me furiously reading countless blogs to try and figure out what, out of the myriad of baby things, I needed for Baby R.  And then I pretty much panicked and went into denial.
Oh a registry? Yes, I suppose that is a good thing....and I'll get around to it..................sometime before June.  I hope.
Fast forward to mid February, me getting horribly throwyuppy sick, staying home and flat on my back for nearly 48 hours and getting cabin fever.  J suggested we at least go out to get one of those big fluffy body pillows (best invention since the mattress) and, since we were out, let's at least look at some baby stuff.  So we went to this store called Buy Buy Baby, which is essentially Bed, Bath, & Beyond, for babies.  The store is laid out exactly the same.  Some of the items are the same.  It was weird and strange and wonderful all at once.  But because it was not located all that centrally or conveniently to, like, anybody, we didn't register there.  But we did look.  And, me oh my, is there a lot of baby crap.  Oy vey!
Since then, I have been cobbling together two registries at Tarjhay and BabiesRThem, trying to stick to the bare necessities.  Washcloths, stroller, car seat, baby towels, changing pad, thermometer, grooming kit, thinking everything else I can thrift or borrow and good grief, new stuff is expensive! And the last thing that I want is to create this big huge list of expensive stuff for a little baby who will use it for a maximum of a year when I can buy gently used items for a tenth of the cost.
And then J got a call from his mum: You don't have enough stuff on the registry.
What do you say to that? I'm sorry, but I don't need your generosity because I'm a self sufficient proud woman who can make due with what she's got? Or, the slightly more humble version: Oh, but we don't want to be a burden on anyone.  Or, I don't want to take advantage of the generosity of my friends and family members by expecting to receive anything.  All of which are truly what ran through my head and what I have been wrestling with the last two days.
The problem with registries is that it can easily turn me into a greedy gimme pig.  And I don't want to be.  I want to be grateful for and content with what I have.  I want people to have the freedom to not buy the baby anything, or buy things that don't come from a predetermined list.
After much angst, J took me aside and said something to the affect of: Creating a registry doesn't mean you're forcing anyone to purchase anything from it and many people find registries helpful.  He also reminded me that this is how his family blesses others and that we don't have to register for super expensive things and that yes we will be grateful for what we receive and not expect to receive anything.
I was caught in a place between my pride and others generosity. I wanted to provide for my baby myself, and only rely on others for a few things. And rather than letting me have my own way only to realize, struggling, how much help I actually need, God gently taught me this by blessing me with abundance, with generous hearts of those around me. For "What do you have that you have not received?" (1 Corinthians 4:7) Nothing. Everything is a gift, a perfectly ordained gift from the hand of my Lavish Father.
And I am so grateful.
I am grateful for how God exposed my sin of self sufficiency and for how He taught me thankfulness.
Today, I am thankful for:
My Baby, kicking up a storm
My blood parents and my love parents, for their giving hearts
My husband, for how he gently leads me
My God, who always knows and always acts for my good.
Oh, how He loves me, oh, oh, how He loves me, how He loves me, oh.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Closets and Organizing and Piles Oh My!

Tuesday, I took the day off for a super long 20 week check up.  The afternoon I spent tackling a project that had been messing me up for a while: the closets.  Our little house has one master closet, two bedroom closets, a linen closet, a hall closet, and a utility closet.  J took the closet in the office and reorganized it into bins of my crafting supplies and his paperwork.  The hall closet is being used for long-term food storage (ie: the Hurricane/Ice Storm/Zombie Apocalypse of DOOM is upon us food storage) and is packed to the gills.  The Master closet I cleaned out and organized back over Christmas Break when I was no longer feeling icky-sicky.  And the utility closet will be perfectly organized once my beloved husband moves his mountain of hand tools off the floor.  Which he promises to do.  Any day now.  .............................
This leaves the Linen closet and the closet in the Nursery.
Now, the Nursery has been also the Guest room, the Staging room, the Dumping room, the Guests-are-arriving-in-5-minutes-just-put-it-there-! Room, and its closet completely reflects this sorry state of affairs.  There are boxes that I threw in there from when we moved in. Three years ago.  I know, sad, right? But I didn't have the wherewithal to tackle that closet just yet so I went after the linen closet.
8 pillows, 16 bath towels, 3 bath sheets, 6 hand towels, 10 washcloths, 3 queen sized sheet sets, 1 twin sized sheet set, 8 pillowcases, two duvet covers, 6 shams, 4 curtains, a bin of rags, 5 tubes of wrapping paper, one bag of throw pillows, and one sleeping bag later, we have this:

And I have a closet with room in it.  Yay!
It didn't take so much space as I thought and actually went a lot faster than I was expecting.  Really, the longest part was deciding which shelf to put towels on and which shelf the sheets should go on.  I think I even have room for my box of yarn at the bottom.
Which leads me to the Nursery closet.  This contained Pyrex baking ware, yarn, cloth, picture frames, leftover flooring, curtain rods, the empty boxes my vases and other breakable moved here in, old notebooks from high school and college, some smaller art supplies, and a fondue set.  I would like to know how all this accumulates in one closet.  Is there a random-things-in-closets fairy that runs around mucking up organized domesticity? Or is it my penchant for I'll-deal-with-it-later-itis that leads me to start projects and not finish them.  Speaking of, I did get all that stuff out of the Nursery closet, but finding a home for it all is proving a bit of a challenge.  I kinda lost the urge to find homes for what's left.  So here's the nice empty closet:

And here's what's left:

I think a lot can go in the attic or out in the storage shed.  And I do know what to do with my teacups. And that box of baby decor is going to go up once I 1) clean up this mess and 2) get the furniture moved in here.  So I guess I do know what to do with it all.  It's just getting myself to do it.  Maybe Saturday.
Until then, I will revel in my cleaned linen closet and dream of a tidy little nursery.

20 weeks

So J and I went for my 20 week appt yesterday.  Short story: baby's fine, I'm fine, life is good and wonderful and amazing.
Long story: ultrasounds are probably the coolest thing on the planet.
We go in and the tech, Deana, starts to wand my stomach and there is my little baby, all curled up and wonderful looking.  (We're not finding out the gender, so the "he" I use for the duration of all posts is generic and not to be interpreted as being anything).  Little head with a brain, little spine with ribs, little legs with shin bones, little chest with a heart and kidneys and diaphragm and stomach.  Everything so small and perfect looking, even though it was all grainy shades of grey and black, but still, there was my baby, alive and healthy and growing!
J, I think, had more fun watching Deana manipulate the machine.  But there were several points where he just started going "Wow" and I agree with him completely.  It was a wow moment.  It definitely gives a new meaning to: 
"You formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them." ~ Psalm 139: 13-16
Because there was my baby, being formed inside me, knitted together in a way that I do not understand.  But God does.  God knows.  God sees.  And God is growing a little miracle inside of me.  Definitely a WOW moment.  

We met with my OBGYN afterwards, asked a million and one questions, grabbed Panera for lunch, showed Mom baby pictures and called J's mom to update her. 
Afterwards, we went home, J went to work and I started organizing closets. Which is where I'll end this post and finish later.