Saturday, July 30, 2011

Book Review: Enemies of the Heart

Guilt.  Anger.  Greed.  Jealousy.

These are emotional credit cards.  Charging on these adds up to a lot of debt.  Do you recognize them in your life?  Just like a visa card, this kind of debt controls your life.  Paying it off isn't as easy as writing a check, and the debt keeps racking up.  So what do you do?  How do you break free?

Enemies of the Heart, by Andy Stanley, is a reprint of the book It Came from Within.  In it, Andy unpacks each of these four emotions, first defining them and how they ruin your life.  Then he takes on the task of giving you tools to overcome these emotions.  Underlying every single tool is the power of the Gospel.

This book is published by Multnomah, one of my favorite publishers.  I had been waiting for weeks for something "interesting" to come onto my radar.  To be honest, I wanted a fiction novel.  But I downloaded the first chapter for free onto my kindle app, and was hooked.  (Don't have kindle?  You can read it online here.)

Personally I had a bit to work through of my own emotional baggage as I read this book.  I sort of expected that.  I also felt defensive at times (Andy anticipated that, and hit the nail on the head at one point).  I felt tempted to skim over certain parts and write them off as not applying to *me*.  So I will say right from the beginning that you should pray as you read and ask God to illuminate the areas of your heart that He is working on.  If you will allow the truths to sink in, the tools here WILL work and WILL be useful in helping you overcome negative emotions.

Just like the book Managing God's Money by Randy Alcorn, this book includes a section at the end directed towards parents.  Your children may not be old enough to get a credit card, but even at 2 years old your child is old enough to start charging up emotional debt.  When I look at my children and see negative behaviors and attitudes, it feels like I am looking into a mirror at times.  I see MY negative attitude and MY poor behaviors and MY emotional outbursts.  It breaks my heart!  I now have doubled my reason to change--for the sake of my own emotional health AND for my children.  Andy outlines some exercises for monitoring our children's heart health.  I have already put these into action with some very good results!

Enemies of the Heart is a great book and I recommend it.  The Gospel message presented is solid and Biblical truth is illuminated.  It is not an all-encompassing book.  Life's issues can never be broken down into 4 simple emotions and equally simple exercises for overcoming them.  But it is a great tool for sharpening your faith. 

I was given a complimentary copy of this book for review from Waterbrook Multnomah.  I was not required to write a positive review.  My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Please rate my review so I can continue to get great books to review from Multnomah!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tears Giving Way to Joy

I know there were tears on our end this morning, but that it will give way to joy this evening.  Kathi's flight lands in Germany at around 11:30 p.m. our time, which is 6:30 a.m. their time.  Oh what a happy reunion it will be! 

 We got up at 6 am and left the house at 7 am, which was a bit early for everyone to be out.  Several kids fell asleep on the way to the airport.  There was an accident on 494 that caused a bit of traffic, but thankfully we were able to jump on a different freeway and avoid it.  We arrived with plenty of time to spare!

 I think Kathi only had to wait in line a few minutes.  

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Kathi's Goodbye Party

We have been SO busy these past few weeks, that I don't think the reality of what tomorrow brings has had time to sink in.  Kathi flies home to Germany tomorrow.  Tonight we celebrated a wonderful exchange year surrounded by many friends Kathi has made this year.  It was hot, and it was crowded at times, but it was so much fun.  I'm thankful for all the people who came out to see Kathi one more time before she heads home!

 Ok, really, cake bought from Sam's Club does taste better than the cake I make at home.  Also, it's a lot of fun to eat someone's picture!  :)  I sure wish we could send some of the leftovers home with Kathi.  :)

 Mitch got this cool picture frame for people to sign.  

 Lori, a good friend of ours is holding Obadiah...she is listening very intently to someone else.  :)

 Hehe...I love the look on George's face!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Bible

I always want to do this while I'm reading a book, but I seldom do.  Currently I have 4 books in my hands for review.  This is sooooo much fun!!! goes...the quote that just hit me:

"God created the whole vast universe with a dozen words, and then put 800,000 more words into our hands.  Each word was chosen for a reason....As we look more closely at the beauty of the poetry, the precision of the laws, the passion of the prophets and much more, it is my prayer that our all-powerful God would reveal himself to us and work powerfully in us, so that we can live to please him in every way."  --Krish Kandiah, Route 66: A crash course in navigating life with the Bible
Whoohoo!!  Another road trip!!!

The Lindquists are Adopting!

Adoption is near and dear to my heart.  I am so excited for a family in our church, the Lindquists, who have decided to adopt a little boy with Down's Syndrome.  They have created a video that I want to share with you:

Lindquist Family Slideshow from Caleb Lococo on Vimeo.

Please visit their blog, Obeying God's Call, to follow their story and see how YOU can get involved!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

It is only for a moment...

The song that is on my lips this morning.  "Find Your Wings" by Mark Harris

It's only for a moment you are mine to hold
The plans that heaven has for you
Will all too soon unfold
So many different prayers I'll pray
For all that you might do
But most of all I'll want to know
You're walking in the truth
And If I never told you
I want you to know
As I watch you grow

I pray that God would fill your heart with dreams
And that faith gives you the courage
To dare to do great things
I'm here for you whatever this life brings
So let my love give you roots
And help you find your wings

May passion be the wind

That leads you through your days
And may conviction keep you strong
Guide you on your way
May there be many moments
That make your life so sweet
Oh, but more than memories


It's not living if you don't reach for the sky
I'll have tears as you take off
But I'll cheer as you fly


Saturday, July 23, 2011

An Amazing Week

I already posted pictures of our trip to the lake on Thursday evening. Here is how the rest of the week went down...

Patrick & family actually flew to San Francisco back in June. They rented a motor home/RV from Cruise America, and set out to explore the west. It was funny because they were in Yellowstone National Park and at Mount Rushmore just a few days after us. Last Saturday they were expected to arrive here late in the evening. That worked great--we were going to the wedding of friends of ours in the afternoon, but would be home in time. We got home right around 5 pm. Within 1/2 an hour we got a call from Patrick saying they were at the mall, he was going to get a hair cut, then they would be over (if that was ok--ha!). :) We quickly finished last minute cleaning.

The kids waited patiently by the windows watching to see the motor home drive up. They began screaming as soon as someone spotted it. They were out of control. Mitch told them to sit quietly on the couch and wait patiently. I saw Patrick run across the driveway, skip up the front step, and as soon as the door cracked open I looked at the kids sitting on the couch and said, "Ok, now you can go." They erupted into shouts and screams of PURE JOY as they ran and met Patrick on the steps, nearly knocking him backwards. I don't think I have ever been eye-witness to such a happy reunion.

On Sunday we all went to church together, which was awesome.  On Sunday afternoon we had a cookout/open house for Patrick.  I counted 50 people here!

 {Michaela--Patrick's mom--and Obadiah}

 {Patrick and Micah throwing down a game of Kuub}

 Michaela says of Obadiah, "He's SO big!"

 Patrick and some of his friends--Caleb, "Spoden", Molly, Elle

 The day was SO hot.  After the open house was over, a small shower rolled through and left behind a double rainbow.

 Mitch invited Markus and Michaela to play a game of Blokus.  He wanted me to play too, but I bribed Laura, Patrick's younger sister, into playing instead.  I told her I would give her $10 if she beat Mitch.  ;)  I don't like playing the game because he always wins.  In the end, they tied. 

On Monday we went to Munsinger Gardens.  Later in the afternoon Mitch and I took Patrick and his family out to St. John's University.  There Paul gave us a tour of the campus and showed us what he does (running the computer servers).

 {Tirzah and Laura}

On Monday evening a few of us went out shopping.  This was so much fun for the teen girls that we decided Tuesday we must make a trip to the Albertville Outlet Mall.  We headed out as early as we could, but it was still late morning.  Micah stayed at home with Zeke and Josh, who don't really have interest in shopping for hours on end.  And we did some shopping.  Whew--that was a long day!  We got home in time to go out to Paul and Marilyn's for a very relaxing evening and great food.

 {Malachi and Tirzah at the water table}

 {Michaela takes a turn shooting the arrows}

 {Papa and Obadiah}

 {Relaxing after a tour of the gardens--Josh, Eden, Obi, Michaela, and Tirzah}

Wednesday morning I decided it was finally time for haircuts.  Micah, Mitch, and Josh all signed up.  Micah and Josh both had curls they were glad to cut off.  Thankfully Zeke is willing to hang on to his a bit longer.

 {Micah before his haircut--I keep forgetting to get an "after" shot.}

Wednesday morning some of us went out to do MORE shopping.  In the afternoon we split into three groups--Patrick and family went to a friend's house to go swimming and have dinner.  Mitch took some of our kids to swim at another friend's house.  I stayed at home with Tirzah and Obadiah.  Oh, and Josh went to the Emerson's house to play all day (with a special trip to McDonald's for ice cream).  Hope brought baby Tristan to visit us!

When Josh came home to find everyone else gone swimming, he was SO sad.  I consented to blow up our pool and put at the bottom of the slide.  They thought this was the BEST.  Our neighbor came over to swim, too.  When my kids came home from swimming, they went straight back into the pool at home.  I thought that was great.

Thursday we planned to go to Duluth.  As we talked on Wednesday evening and tried to figure out the logistics, we decided it would be easier, more relaxing, and just as much fun to stay at home.  So that's what we did!  We had all kinds of fun just being TOGETHER.  Which is what this vacation was really about.  I also got to babysit baby Bo Allison, Mitch's second cousin, in the afternoon.  She is a couple months older than Obi and SO stinkin' cute.  Thursday evening we went to the lake...and those pictures are on a different post.

We stayed up very, very late Thursday night decorating and baking for Sabrina's birthday on Friday.  (Sabrina is Patrick's older sister).  Their tradition is to decorate after everyone goes to bed.  Which is very late these days!  Then they celebrate and have cake in the morning at breakfast.  It was a very, very fun surprise for our kids!

 {Michaela did such an amazing job of decorating...the rest of us just tried to help wherever we could...Mitch also did a great job of hanging streamers.}

 {Markus frosted the cake and cupcakes, Eden put sprinkles on the cupcakes, and Michaela did sprinkles on the cake}

 {Sabrina is beautiful!}

 {After our breakfast, Sabrina was able to skype with Oma and Opa and Martin back home in Germany.}

 Friday evening we planned a special dinner at Michael's restaurant in St. Cloud, which serves German food.  It was a good time.

Saturday is the day to say goodbye.  :(  Their flight was not until 5 pm, so we planned to return the motor home, check luggage at the airport, then head to the Mall of America and Ikea.

 {Legos!  The kids and I kept ourselves busy while waiting for the rest of the crew to arrive from checking luggage at the airport}

This was a VERY special event.  We are not sure when--if ever--we will be together again with our "whole" family.  We love Patrick and Kathi so much, as much as if they were our own children.  They will ALWAYS be part of our family.  This was an incredible feeling to have everyone together in one place.  So of course we had to wear our pink shirts one more time.

 01 Mitch--Aragorn, 02 Steph--Arwen, 03 Micah--Gimli, 04 Eden--Éowyn, 05 Caleb--Éomer, 06 Zeke--Pippin, 07 Josh--Frodo, 08 Malachi--Merry, 09 Tirzah--Rosie Cotton, 10 Patrick--Legolas, 11 Kathi--Goldberry, and 12 Obadiah--Samwise (numerical order is by the order each person entered our family, not necessarily birth order)

With just about 2.5 hours left together, we split into groups again.  Michaela and I took Tirzah and Obi and headed for Ikea.  Can you believe I have never been there?  I wish I could remember how many different countries Michaela has visited Ikea in.  But this was her FIRST time visiting one in USA.  Me too!  :)  It was SO much fun.  A little overwhelming.  It was very crowded.  I can't wait to bring Mitch here...maybe we will come without kids.

{One of the MANY things I love about Patrick's mom is that she loves to have fun with the little kids.  She is sooooo good at this.  Now I am no longer surprised that Patrick is who he is.  Since I know both his parents, it is easy to see both of them in Patrick.}

At 4 pm we dropped off Patrick, Michaela, Markus, and Laura at the airport.  We hugged goodbye and shed some tears.  Maybe even more tears because they are saying goodbye to Sabrina as well--she is staying with us for 2 weeks, then flying to New York to meet a friend.  They will begin a world-wide tour that will take until next April to complete!  It wasn't quite so hard saying goodbye to Patrick this time as it was last year.  It was more like "See you later."  And I trust that I will see him later.  

Now I look forward to returning our lives to a more normal schedule.  Maybe.  We have had lots of very late nights this week, and almost no meals eaten at normal times for any of us (except maybe Obadiah, who eats whenever he wants).  And maybe I will get less exercise in the future weeks since I won't be walking around as much.  (This crazy month has certainly helped me shed some of my baby weight!)  

We have lived and laughed and loved and learned together this week.  It has been amazing.  We have been blessed a hundred times over from Patrick's family!  We thank God for them, for bringing us together and for teaching us through them.  Who wants to go back to "normal" after an experience like this??  I think I need a new normal.  ;)