Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Old Furniture... New Life

My mother-in-law gave this furniture to us. It originally belonged to Derek's great-grandmother. When we got it the fabric was a mint-green color and looking pretty worn. My dad used to work with a guy who is amazing at recovering old furniture. He works with inmates at a nearby prison, teaching them how to do this so they will have a craft once they're out. He actually does the work for free because the prison system pays his salary! He did an absolutely beautiful job with this loveseat, and now he's working on a matching chair. Now, I'm on the hunt for more old furniture I can get recovered for free. Check it out:


Thank heaven for little boys...

Here's a little picture update of our sweet baby boy. Enjoy!

I just love this picture.. he looks so mischevious!!

One of his favorite things... getting his hair dried. Lately, bath time has been going much better. He doesn't even mind getting his hair wet anymore, but it's still fun to dry all that hair!

My mom and Benjamin. We are having a lot of fun sharing these months with my parents. And they love having Benjamin around!

Benjamin's first Halloween... apparently he wanted to be Superman, and I dressed him as a pea pod instead. Next year... Superman.

He looks like he's taking his first Halloween very seriously!

He has daily conversations with this horse from his bouncy seat.

Sometimes you need two sets of hands. Laundry needed doing, but the baby also needed carrying. This was the compromise.

Benjamin's first garage sale. The customers loved him!


Friday, November 6, 2009

Priorities... Gospel First

Thought out over several nap times... now I really need a shower...

I believe the most important thing in my life should be the gospel. So, I've been trying to figure out what that looks like in everyday life. I've been praying that God would help me understand this better. Then, yesterday, I was reading in Titus 2 and found some verses that helped me. I'm blogging about it because doing so helps me get it straight in my mind, but also because maybe it will help someone else out there. Note that I'm using the ESV Study Bible, and many of these thoughts come from the commentary contained within.

In Titus 2:1, Paul states that we are to teach what accords with sound doctrine. He goes on to describe the type of living that corresponds with the gospel and affirms rather than denies our claim to know God. Gospel living keeps Christians from providing any legitimate grounds for the Word of God to be reviled (v. 5). This kind of living adorns the gospel (v. 10). I love the picture of us adorning the gospel, highlighting the attractiveness of it! It also proves the gospel, because we are powerless to live godly lives apart from the work of Christ in our hearts.

Paul describes older men as that of Christian dignity and a sound, vibrant faith. Older women should have a reverent freedom in Christ and should train younger women to be godly wives and mothers. The Greek word for train means "to give instruction in wise behavior and good judgement".

Younger women are to love their husbands and children, submit to their husbands, be self-controlled, pure, working at home, and kind. This doesn't leave out single younger women! You may not have a husband or children, but there is still good instruction here! In general, women love to tend to the home... decorating to create an environment of warmth and welcomness. You don't have to be married to invite people over for a meal and show love and hospitality.

Even before I got married, I loved having people into my home. My roommate, Melissa, was a fabulous cook, and she was especially good at serving large numbers of people. (still is, I'm sure!)I was usually in charge of bread and dessert (my favorite!). We would have the "20-Somethings" over for games or to watch football or for dinner. Or the interns from Sky Ranch would come over for a rare home-cooked meal. There were so many opportunities to love on people and to be "busy at home" even with having to work outside the home, as well.

Younger men are to be self-controlled, teaching in a way that shows integrity and sound knowledge. And, the chapter goes on to even describe the behavior of Christian slaves. This doesn't justify slavery. "What Jesus endorses is the kind of inner freedom and love that is willing to go the extra mile in service, even when the demand is unjust." (from Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood)

Then, verses 11-14 tie it all together:

"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works."

So, I look for ways to serve and love my husband and submit to his authority not because God will love me more. I do it because God first loved me and died for me. I take Benjamin on walks and enjoy talking to him not just because it's good for my health and his development. I do it because God has given me freedom in Christ to enjoy doing these things. I stop and let my heart rate drop a little when the elderly woman wants to look at the baby not just because it's the kind thing to do. I do it because it will bless her and remind me of how good God is to send His Son to die for me and then on top of that to give me a son.

So, I'm challenging myself to continue thinking this way... to look for the gospel in everyday life. It doesn't make God love me more when I do good things. But I should be zealous for good works because Jesus gave Himself to redeem me and because of the hope I have in waiting for his glorious appearing.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hall Family Update

We've been in Texarkana for a little over two weeks now. Derek has been substitute teaching some and starts a job with Lifeway in December. He is staying busy running errands... getting the car inspected, rotating tires, doing paperwork for seminary, and getting things out of storage that we realize we need. The last trip he took, he found bleach had spilled over our end table. He ruined a sweatshirt wiping it up. I cried when he told me because I started to worry that all of our things would be broken or stained by the time they're finally moved out of storage and onto Louisville. Derek assures me they won't be, and anyway it's all just stuff. It's not eternal.

I've stayed busy taking care of Benjamin. When he naps, I usually read or blog or clean or attempt to keep up with friends or workout (7# to go to get back to my pre-pregnant weight). Benjamin is almost three months old now! He is a really sweet baby, especially now that his reflux is under control. Prilosec is doing the trick (thank you, Lord!). He is starting to love to play. His new favorite thing is 'air-plane'. That never fails to bring out the smiles. He loves to be held and talked to. He sucks on his fist like it's candy. He loves to have his hair dried after bath time. He hates being dressed as a pea pod. (I'm still going to post pictures, though.)

Benjamin loves his Gramma and Granddad, and they love that he is living with them right now. My mom has started getting ready for bed early so she can spend the rest of the night holding him! He sleeps great at night, but that's because he sleeps right next to me. He'll fall asleep nursing, wake up for a diaper change, then fall back asleep nursing on the other side. That's our routine. I'm fine with it for now, because that way I get some good sleep, too!

I'm feeling very blessed these days. My parents have welcomed us with open arms. I have a husband who loves me well and seeks to love me even better. We have a beautiful son who is totally a gift from God. We are looking forward to this adventure in Louisville. The Lord has provided for us in many ways through some very generous friends back in Austin. We even made $700 at a garage sale the weekend after moving! I've never heard of anyone making that much at a garage sale!

It is sort of a scary time for us, too. Our house in Austin has not rented yet. Derek doesn't have a job in Louisville yet. We aren't sure where we'll be living once in Louisville yet. Yet! Somehow those things are not freaking me out. God has shown us that this is His plan and not ours. We are walking in obedience, and I have faith that God will provide all we need.