Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Needless to say, I am a bit delinquent in my blogging. I'm sure it's mostly due to laziness, but I'm entitled to shift a little of the blame to pregnancy, right? As I say (frequently) to my husband, "You know, they say pregnancy can cause women to _______ " (fill in the blank here with just about anything - e.g., take all the pillows at night, require 3/4 of the bed space, have more boogers, etc.). In this case, pregnancy has "caused" me to neglect blogging :)

So, I'm attempting to make a come-back, although there is a bit of pressure to pick back up with something really entertaining and interesting. Unfortunately, I would probably never write on the blog again if I waited for something really good to write about. So, I figure I'll just pick up where I left off with a quick update on life in the Ainsworth family since we found out we are having a baby boy.

We had a great Thanksgiving trip to Florida about a week after we had the ultrasound showing us our little boy. We got to meet our sweet new nephew Caleb, who was born on November 17th. I may be a little biased, but isn't he amazingly cute...I mean like baby-model cute?

This is actually him, by the way. Like I said, baby-model cute, eh?

We headed to the beach to see my family during the second half of Thanksgiving week, and much to our delight, we wore shorts and flip-flops and actually got a bit of a tan while there. (Almost every visit to Florida makes me question why we live in Kentucky). My extended family threw a surprise baby shower brunch for us, although dad spilled the beans a couple hours before the shower.

It's pretty much inevitable that if there is a surprise in the works, dad will inadvertenly spoil it. He is basically incapable of lying in any form or fashion (even the good kind involved in suprising someone). His inability to even tell a "white lie" was incredibly frustrating to me as an adolescent when a boy, that I did not like, would call the house and dad would pick up the phone. I would look wild-eyed at him, frantically waving my arms and shaking my head in an "I'm not here, please tell him I'm not here" kind of way. Dad would get a little panicky and then blurt out, "Hold on a minute, she's right here." I would glare in angry disbelief at dad, who would just sort of shake his head as if he had no other option, and then begrudingly take the phone and talk to the unlucky suitor. This was a recurring event in my young life.

By the way, did I mention that my dad answered the phone by saying, "Keating family, Tom speaking." This has nothing to do with his being unable to lie. It was just plain embarrasing.

Back to the update... we left Florida for Kentucky with a car full of baby stuff. I think it was a bit overwhelming to Dave, who has since seen our spare room/office be taken over by little blue outfits, stuffed animals, diapers, bottles, etc. He has been a good sport though and I can tell he is getting more and more excited for baby boy Ainsworth to be here.

December was a busy month. Dave wrapped up his semester well and, just to brag a little, made an A in Elementary Hebrew! The Lord has given him such a great mind, and he worked very diligently studying Hebrew this semester. Needless to say, I am a proud wife.

We headed to Florida again for the Christmas break. It was a lot of driving within the span of a month, but we figured that this may be our last opportunity to get to Florida for awhile (with a baby coming in April and a move to Houston at some unknown date). Time with Dave's family was a blessing. For the first time in a number of years, every member of his extended family was in one place together, and it was a treat to catch up with everyone.

Dave's mom threw me a surprise baby shower on the 22nd and since my dad had no part in it, it truly was a surprise! We had just come back from dinner with Dave's cousins and I was making a bee-line into the house to go to the bathroom, when the lights were suddenly flipped on and "Suprise" was yelled by 20 or so people. I stopped in my tracks, my face grew hot and bright red, and I turned to Dave and asked, "Is this for me?" Obviously, it was for me, and it was a really special time. We came away with quite a loot and felt very blessed and loved by family and friends in Keystone.

We left Dave's parents' for Tampa on Christmas Eve and had a great visit with my parents. As always, we ate lots of good Ybor City food (probably more than we should have). For those of you who aren't familiar with Ybor City, it basically has the best concentration of delicious food of anywhere I've ever been. Within a few blocks you can find authentic Greek, Cuban, Mexican, and Italian cuisine (just to name a few). It's pretty awesome.

So, that is the past month and a half (in a nutshell) at the Ainsworth abode. I will do my best to be more dilligent to update the blog before another month and a half rolls around.

Friday, November 14, 2008

We're Having a....


We had the privilege of seeing our sweet baby boy today on the ultrasound screen, and it was indeed a blessing. He weighs about 9 oz. now and seems to be very healthy. He was moving around the whole time and we even caught him sucking his little thumb!

We are very thankful for our son...and now begins the difficult task of naming him...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Floyd Street Halloween Party

Here are some pictures for the viewing pleasure of those of you who couldn't make it to the Ainsworth/Perrine Floyd Street Halloween Party. Enjoy!

Our first marital Jack-O-Lantern. We had a little help from our neighbors and their pumpkin carving kit, but I was pretty pleased with our effort nevertheless.

Matt and Glenna as Al and Peg Bundy (from Married with Children). They were a pretty believable pair.

Dave and me ca. 2058. I think we're pretty good looking for being in our mid-70s.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

No more Nosebleeds in Heaven

As someone who is prone to getting nosebleeds, especially in the dry winter season, you can imagine my dismay upon learning that nosebleeds are more common during pregnancy (something about increased blood supply putting pressure on delicate blood vessels...). Add to this the fact that my pregnancy will largely be during the coldest, driest time of year and you basically have a recipe for disaster.

Sounds a little dramatic, I know - and I would've thought the same thing, until this week. The "disaster" referenced above struck at 7:00am on Tuesday morning, in quite possibly the worst place it could've - the pool. I jumped out as quickly as possible and raced into the locker room, where I stood pinching the bridge of my nose for the next half hour, dripping with pool water and blood (gross, I know) until the faucet that was my nose decided to stop gushing blood.

Needless to say, it was a pretty eventful morning.

I had plenty of time to think while I tried to get my nose under control, and while most of my thoughts went something like this, "I hate this. Why won't my stupid nose stop bleeding? I hope no one walks in here right now," I did have one thought that brought comfort to me:

There will be no more nosebleeds in Heaven. Praise God!

A small reason to hope for heaven - I know. But standing in a dripping wet bathing suit pinching my nose, this was a pretty exciting realization.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Showering Sarah

This Sunday, 4 other women and I had the privilege of hosting a shower for our dear friend, Sarah, who is expecting her first baby in less than 6 weeks! It was a sweet time filled with lots of yummy food, fun games, showering Sarah (and baby Eliza, of course) with gifts, and praying over this sweet new life. I have posted some pictures of the event for those of you love Sarah (there are many) but couldn't be there.

We had quite the gourmet spread between Bethan's chocolate covered strawberries and Lindsey's trifle. Of course, with a shower full of women, more than one of them being pregnant, the table looked quite a bit different 2 hours later :)

This is Bethan's diaper cake masterpiece. Yes, it is a "cake" made out of rolled up disposable newborn diapers...pretty impressive, huh? And, the best part about it is that Sarah gets to use all 52 of these diapers. Pretty and useful!

Kim made these yummy cupcakes. This one with Elizabeth Joy Ganger's initials is my favorite. I can't wait to put a sweet little face to this beautiful name!

Sarah got lots of fun gifts. Baby girl stuff is so incredibly cute - butterflies, flowers, and all things pink... what's not to love?

All the guests piling in for a group photo. Everyone was gracious with me as I fumbled around with the self-timing feature on our camera. I finally got it around take number 4.

We can't wait to meet you, little Eliza!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Would You Rather?

If you know me well, you know that I love "Would you rather?" questions. Since childhood, one of my favorite activities has been to ask people these ridiculous questions and demand that they answer, no matter how much they dislike their options (much to the dismay of my parents). Of course, my questions almost always involve something gross, gory, or just bizarre, and I must say, that with my many years of practice I have gotten pretty good.

So... to spice things up a bit on this blog, I am going to open up the "would you rather?" game to my readers. I will start with one and you have to provide your answer as well as a whole new question.

I'll start off with an easy one. Let the (PG-13 rated) fun begin...

Would you rather eat a 16-oz. jar of mayonnaise within a 2 hour period, OR not be able to use any condiments on anything for 6 months?

* Things to note: You have to eat the mayonnaise by itself with a spoon. And, condiments include ketchup, mustard, mayo, bbq sauce, salad dressing, etc.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Romans 13 and Politics

The sermon series we've been working through at Sojourn for the past couple weeks has been on politics. At first, I was a little wary of this series, entitled "Christ for President", knowing the divisive nature of politics, but I have been really impressed with how Daniel Montgomery (the preaching elder at Sojourn) has handled this subject.

It was also very fitting that we've worked through Romans chapters 1-12 over the past several months and landed on chapter 13 in the heat of the political season. Romans 13 speaks to the fact that God establishes governing authorities and that we are to submit to them. For this reason, we are to pay taxes and acknowledge the governing authorities as servants of God. This is a good reminder.

In yesterday's sermon, while exhorting the church to remember their untiy in Christ and seek to avoid dividing the family of God into political tribes, Daniel encouraged us to ask ourselves the following questions:

1) Do I criticize and condemn others in my political talk without looking at my own heart?

2) Do I demonize politicians, political parties and policies I oppose?

3) Am I quick to confront others in my political talk?

4) Is there rudeness, harshness, bitterness or a rush of hateful words in my political talk?

Even though I've never really been one to thrive on arguing politics with others, these questions are a helpful tool for me, as a Christian, to think about my own heart as it relates to politics. I look forward to seeing the fruit that will result from other believers at Sojourn taking the time to think through these questions and to desire unity in the church body above their desire to win an argument or cram a political agenda down another's throat.

If you would like to listen to these two sermons in the "Christ for President" series, follow this link to the Sojourn webpage.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Christian Contentment, Part 1

In preparation for the many changes (having a baby and moving to a new state - to name a few) that are facing us in the coming year, Dave suggested that we read up on the topic of contentment in order to prepare our hearts for all this change.

And so, we are together working our way through The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by the Puritan author Jeremiah Burroughs.

Although it was written close to 350 years ago, the truth contained in this book is still so relevant to life in the 21st century. Discontentment is a problem of the human heart, whether the heart is grumbling about a neighbor having more cattle or a nicer car.

Looking to the Apostle Paul's teaching on contentment (Phil. 4:11 -13 and 1 Tim. 6:6-10) Burroughs offers this helpful description of contentment in the first chapter:

"Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God's wise and fatherly disposal in every condition."

He then goes on to discuss each aspect of this definition, beginning with "sweet, inward," saying,

"Not only must the tongue hold its peace; the soul must be silent. Many may sit silently, refraining from discontented expressions, yet inwardly they are bursting with discontented expressions, yet inwardly they are bursting with discontent.

This shows a complicated disorder and great perversity in their hearts. And notwithstanding their outward silence, God hears the peevish, fretful language of their souls. A shoe may be smooth and neat outside, while inside it pinches the flesh. Outwardly there may be great calmness and stillness, yet within amazing confusion, bitterness, disturbance and vexation."

This passage really resonated with me and made me to see just how often my expression of discontentment is an inward and silent one. Often, I may know better than to grumble to Dave (mostly because I know he will correct me, as he should), but this does not stop me from complaining and fretting in my heart.

And, what a perfect example of a beautiful, yet pinching shoe! I experienced this just last week with a new pair of shoes, and although my shoes were totally cute (if I do say so myself), inside my shoe, my foot was in a state of "confusion, bitterness, disturbance, and vexation" as my heel transformed into a mess of pinched red skin. My angry feet inside cute shoes are a picture of what is going on inside my heart when I am "inwardly bursting with discontent."

Hopefully, there will be more to come as we read on in this book. Stay tuned...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Names that Make You Feel Weird

Dave and I came across this list while flipping through a baby name book we were given. After reading it, Dave remarked that it would make good blogging content. And he was right.

Read on and feel weird.

(*this post is in no way meant to offend those who like, and are therefore not made to feel weird, by the following names)

Names that Make You Feel Weird



(taken from 50,001 Best Baby Names by Diane Stafford)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Baby Ainsworth's First Picture

We had our first ultrasound yesterday. We got to hear the heartbeat and even saw the little guy (or gal) move a little! It was such a special experience, and we are so thankful to the Lord for how He is knitting this little one together to be a healthy baby.

Even though the baby is still very alien-like you can see the little arms and legs beginning to form in the picture above. Dave thinks it looks like the baby is doing a little jig...maybe we'll have a dancer on our hands :)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Due Time

I can assure you, readers, that the lack of activity on this blog is not indicative of a lack of activity in the Ainsworth family. Far from it, to be sure.

In fact, Dave and I have been so "active" that we are now expecting our first child!

That's right folks, we're pregnant!!

I am about 8 weeks pregnant now and due April 19th (or somewhere around there). We are very thankful to the Lord for this wonderful blessing, and are excited to share it with all of you.

We covet your prayers for the health of this baby and pregnancy. I hope to keep you all updated and post more regularly on what is going on with our growing family.

"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!" ~ Psalm 127:3-5

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The TRUE Dollar Theater

A few months back, Dave and I discovered (with the help of some friends) a real-live dollar theater just across the river in Clarksville, Indiana.

We're not talking about one of those discount theaters that masquerades as a "dollar theater" while charging $3-4 per ticket.

No, my friends, this is a TRUE dollar theater. As in, tickets cost $1.00.

It is an indescribably satisfying feeling to go to see a movie that you've been eagerly anticipating seeing and only pay one dollar. AND, as if that wasn't enough...on Mondays, if you go with 3 or more people, you only pay $.50 per ticket! Just last night, Dave and I, along with our friends Josh and Erin, took advantage of this and saw Ironman. It was an fun, entertaining movie, but I would've settled for just-enough-to-keep-me-awake for $.50!

People, if you live in the Louisville area, you seriously need to get on the Green Tree Mall Cinemark bandwagon.

You won't regret it.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

New Job

I have a new job. Well, sort of.

As of last Tuesday, I accepted a new job on Southern Seminary's campus. I will no longer be working as Student Life Secretary for Boyce College, but will instead be the Secretary to the Senior Associate Dean of the School of Theology. It's quite a long title, although I assure you that length does not translate into importance.

I will officially make the switch to the new job early next week as I wrap up things at Boyce and finish training my replacement. The Lord was so gracious to provide a replacement for me within a matter of days, and she is going to do a wonderful job. God knew what both of these offices needed and He provided for them both perfectly.

The decision for me to accept this new position was not an easy one. I have loved my time at Boyce, getting to know my co-workers and the students, and enjoying the variety the job offered. I learned new skills, made new friends, and never once dreaded going to work. This job was a gift from the Lord.

With that said, I trust that this new job is also a gift from the Lord. To remind myself of this gift and thank God specifically, I have listed (below) just a few of the good things about this job...

1. Financial Provision

Just a few days before I was offered this new position, Dave prayed that the Lord would continue to provide for us financially and meet all of our upcoming financial needs. And this is just what He did!
Sometimes it's easier to attribute God's financial provision to those one-time, surprise gifts in the form of a check from Grandma or the IRS, but God also provides (and probably more often) through employment. That is what He did this time, and we can thank Him for it. He knows our needs and is faithful to provide for them.

2. Location

Even though I am only "up the hill" from my old job, this means that Dave can easily visit me while he is on campus for class. This might seem minor, but in the heat of summer and the freezing cold of winter Dave won't have to trek outside to visit me, as he did while I was in my previous job. So, really, Dave will be the primary beneficiary of this perk of the job!

3. New Relationships

A new job provides opportunities to make new relationships. I am thankful for this, and pray that I will be faithful to pursue these relationships as well as maintain existing ones formed while in my old job.

I am so thankful for this new job and the Lord's provision of it. Praise Him, who is the giver of good gifts! Now...may I be equally thankful on Monday when I am humbled by all that I have to learn to do my new job well!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Back to Life, Back to Reality

Well, we've been back in Louisville now and back to normal life for 4 days now. I guess I lied when I said "more updates to come" in my previous post on our vacation. Sorry.

The end of a vacation is always bittersweet. I am usually a little sad to leave wherever we are or whoever we're visiting and return to normal life, but there is also a twinge of relief to be back home in my own bed. I'm thankful for this feeling of relief (however small it may be) because it reminds me why life should not just be "one big vacation". It is good to love my home and want to return to it. It is also good to have work and responsibility to return to. By God's grace, I was actually looking forward to returning to work and being productive. Rest and vacation are wonderful things - gifts from God - but all of life is not meant to be spent in recreation.

The Bible speaks to this in Proverbs 21:25, which says, "The sluggard's craving will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work."

Proverbs 12:11: "Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense."

There are plenty of other places in the book of Proverbs as well as the rest of Scripture that attest to the Lord's good design for people to work.

Now, obviously, work looks different for different people. I am not speaking here of only the "conventional" definition of work. Dave's 84 year-old grandma is a beautiful example of one who fills her days with "work" without bringing in a paycheck. She spends her days volunteering at various non-profit organizations and functions at her church, as well as knitting scarfs, baby blankets and other items for her great-grandchildren and people in her church. She is always on-the-go and is incredibly committed to all her various activities. It is so encouraging to me to witness her use the gifts God has given her to be productive and to benefit others when she could just as easily (and understandably) spend her days resting her aged body. As a side note, she is also the healthiest 84-year-old I have ever known, and I'm sure this is due in large part to her days spent in productive activity all her life.

I am thankful for the way the Lord uses vacation time to remind me of His goodness in normal life. I am reminding myself of this even now as I anticipate going home from work and having to finish unpacking our suitcases (from 4 days ago!), pay bills, and attend to dishes and everyday work.

I can thank God for sweet and restful vacation time, but I can also agree with the author of Proverbs that it is good for my hands to work!

Oh, and just for fun, here's a little video - inspired by the title of this post - for your viewing pleasure:

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Vacation Update

Well, we are on the last leg of our trip. We have two more days here in Tampa with my parents before we head home to Louisville on Sunday. We have had a great time so far - both in Texas, with our friends the Gangers and Davis' and in Keystone Heights with Dave's family.

Here are a few pictures from our Texas adventures:

This is us with our dear friends, Daniel and Joy Davis (in the middle) with their sweet kids Reid and Annelise, and Tim and Sarah Ganger (on the end). We all had a great time catching up, since the Davis' moved from Louisville to Texas a couple months ago.

Dave and I had fun loving on Reid and Annelise Davis.

Aren't they amazingly cute kids! I thought about sending out our next Christmas card with this picture in it, but that might be a little weird...

We left Temple, TX where Daniel and Joy are living, on Saturday morning and headed into Houston. Here is a picture of the Houston skyline:

It is quite a spectacle (even from inside the car).

We drove straight into Pearland, TX, which is about 15 miles south of the city of Houston. (This is the area where we are looking to plant a church.) There we met a local youth pastor at a hole-in-the-wall BBQ joint and had some delicious Texas BBQ. Dave was quite impressed - which is a big deal. He's a bit of a BBQ snob.

This pastor, Jason, then gave us a really informative tour of Pearland. He was extremely knowledgeable and helpful and is very excited about what we are hoping to do in Pearland. The Lord was very kind to provide him and we are very thankful for a like-minded minister in the area. After this the six of us (Gangers, Davis', and Ainsworths) drove into the city of Houston for Part 1 of our tour (since Dave and I had never been to Houston before). We drove through downtown, straining our necks to see everything that was being pointed out to us. We stopped off at a Jamba Juice in Rice Village, and Dave and I experienced the wonder that is the Strawberry Surfrider smoothie. We can now join in on the Jamba Juice ravings with our native Texan friends. We ended the evening at Sarah's parents' home in North Houston and stayed the night there. They were wonderful hosts - providing all sorts of refreshments and snacks and a very welcoming and gracious home. Dave was just so thankful for their abundant supply of diet coke.

On Sunday morning we headed back into Pearland to attend Sovereign Grace Church. Dave, Tim, and Daniel had met the pastor of this church at the Together For the Gospel conference in April, and they had been able to keep in touch with him and let him know we would be there. We very much enjoyed worshipping with this body of believers in Pearland, and they were all incredibly loving and welcoming to us. Grady, the pastor, had us all over for lunch after church - which was no easy feat considering his wife was out of town and he was cooking for the 6 of us, one other couple from the church, and his 6 kids! He pulled it off quite well though and the time with him and his family in his home was refreshing to us all. He is a very wise man who has pastored for more than 20 years. If the Lord has us in Pearland to start a church, I know this man will be a wonderful source of godly wisdom and guidance.

The rest of Sunday included tour of Houston: Part 2, including the Galleria area and dinner at Chuy's a local Mexican restaurant. The food was delicious.

Sunday night was spent mostly savoring our last evening all together. We prayed for the city of Pearland and Houston and for the Lord to lead us in the coming year to accomplish all the He desires. It was a sweet time and we were all sad to part the next morning.

We all headed our separate ways on Monday morning: the Davis' to a family vacation in Colorado, the Gangers back to Louisville, and Dave and me to Florida to visit family.

We have had a wonderful time with family, and it's not over yet. More updates to come...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Chipmunks, Bunnies & Squirrels, Oh My!

Here's a light-hearted post for your reading enjoyment:

It never fails that I see at least one bunny and a few chipmunks each day outside my window at work. And whenever I do see them, I am compelled to exclaim, like a little child, the name of the animal. Just this morning I walked right past a chipmunk on my way to the office and before I know it, I hear myself exclaim "chipmunk!" a little louder than is socially acceptable. This can prove somewhat awkward when others are around. Yet this does not seem to deter me, and I will continue, day after day, to joyfully exclaim the names of all my little creature friends at work.

I included a picture of a chipmunk for your viewing pleasure. I have decided that chipmunks are amazingly cute animals and surprisingly un-gross for being so rodent-like. Basically, I am delighted with them and would be very open to having one as a pet. I would make him a little sweater and teach him to sing and he would travel the world getting into all sorts of skirmishes... oh wait, that's already been done... in the form of a cartoon - an excellent cartoon, I might add.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Texas Bound

In 3 days, Dave and I will be making our first trip ever to the Lone Star state. As many of you know, we are prayerfully considering moving there (specifically to Houston) in a year to assist with a church plant. As this will be the first time either of us has ever set foot in Texas (aside from the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport), we are not entirely sure what to expect. We do, however, know to expect heat. And more heat. But then, we lived for 20+ years in Florida, so this is nothing new. Unfortunately, my being accustomed to being hot does not equate with enjoying the heat. In fact, being hot often stirs my comfort-loving heart to complaining and discontentment. When I grumble at the heat and my subsequent discomfort, I am grumbling against the Lord.

It is as if I am saying, "Lord, I don't believe that this heat and discomfort is for my good. I have the right to be comfortable at all times. I am entitled to live in a place where the climate suits my desires perfectly and to complain when it doesn't. In fact, my comfort is of utmost importance. It is more important than being hot for the sake of the gospel of Christ."

Ugh. Just writing that is shameful.

There are many preparations left to make before we leave on Friday. The obvious ones include washing and packing clothes, and carefully packing our carry-ons free of liquids or nail files or suspiscious items (for fear of being manhandled and interogated by the TSA). But there are also spiritual preparations to be made in my heart. As I seek to prepare my heart, I am looking to Philippians 2:14-15:

"Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world..."

Would you pray this for me as well? That I would do all things, included visit Texas, without grumbling, that I might shine as a light in this crooked world. Houston, TX is part of this crooked world that needs lights to shine with the truth of the gospel. Hot people in Texas need Christ. I pray I will remember this even as my sweat-soaked back and humidity-frizzed hair tempt me to grumble and question.

Would you also pray for wisdom and discernment for Dave and me as we seek to determine if indeed the Lord would have us move to Houston in a year? Your prayers on our behalf are much appreciated.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

We Have Dominion

On his blog today, Dr. Albert Mohler commented on a New York Times article featuring the late Leona Helmsley, a woman who made billions in New York real estate and was infamous for material excess. Ms. Helmsley made the headlines last year after her death when it became public knowledge that she left millions to be used for the care of her own dog. This time, she is making news as it seems she desired for her entire trust, somewhere between $5 and $8 billion be used towards the welfare of dogs in general.

I encourage you to read Dr. Mohler's response to this, as he makes many insightful comments from a Christian worldview. Of course, I cannot come close to responding as thoroughly as him, but I do have a few thoughts to share on this topic:

I think it is rather fitting that this is my very next post after that announcing our cat's death. And for those of you who did not gather this from my previous post - the cat was put down (which is a nice way of saying that we chose for her to be euthanized because she was sick). Although it was a very sad decision for Dave and me to have to make, and we love animals just as much as the next American, it was a rational decision in light of the fact that it was a cat.

Sometimes, Dave and I would jokingly tell Gloria that we have dominion over her. It was kind of like when your mom or dad would tell you to do something "because I said so." So, we would tell Gloria to do things (or rather, not do things - like jump on the table) "because we have dominion over you." This was always said in jest, but it was nontheless true. God gave humans dominion over animals (Gen. 1:28).

Even non-Christians who are unfamiliar with the creation account in Genesis recognize this to be true. And this is a small part of why it is so unfathomable to people, as demonstrated in the writing of this NY Times article, how Leona Helmsley can leave billions of dollars to care for dogs over against people.

Rather than simply gawk at how "crazy" it is to leave billions of dollars to dogs (which I have done my fair share of), we should be moved to sadness at how very wrong Ms. Helmsley's priorities were.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Tribute to Gloria Estefan (the cat)

Many of you know our cat, Gloria Estefan Ainsworth. (Yes, her namesake is a latin pop singer.)

Well, this past week it became very clear to us that Gloria is sick (which we had suspected for some time). It had become a frequent occurence for her to lose all control of her bodily functions on various pieces of our furniture (I won't say which for fear some of you may never sit down in our house again). We always knew that Gloria was old, but she seemed to double in age just over the past week. After much emotional discussion and deliberation, we decided we could not keep her any longer. And so, Gloria is no longer with us.

Gloria came to our doorstep almost 3 years ago and won our hearts. We fed her tuna because she was hungry and alone. We never intended to keep her, but then we didn't really have a choice in the matter once she weaved in and out of our legs, purring sweetly.

Gloria was a great cat. These are some of the things I liked most about her:

1. Gloria was a pretty cat. If a cat can be feminine, Gloria was.

2. Gloria was de-clawed, which is nice for the obvious reason, but also because it meant that she had what we called "oven mitts" for paws. When she wanted you to pet her, she would "pet" you with her oven mitt paws until you decided to pet her. Sometimes we would purposely not pet her so that she would be required to sweetly tap us with her paw. It was very cute.

3. Gloria was the most unathletic cat I ever knew. She rarely played, and when she did you got the sense that it was out of obligation. We would dangle a string or poke her with a feather for a good 2 minutes before she would reluctantly and half-heartedly bat at it with her oven mitt paws. It was as though she was "too cool" to play.

4. On the other hand, in her younger days, we would often wake up to the sound of her wrestling with a plastic bag or tissue paper (her favorite sleeping surface). Upon one of us entering the room where this was happening she would do her best to look nonchalant, as if she was not really playing but merely looking at the plastic bag (which was difficult to believe since her body was half inside the plastic bag). We decided that she was a self-conscious player, probably embarrassed by her unathleticism.

5. Gloria only drank water out of a glass on my bedside table. If the glass was not at least 2/3 full she would meow at you until you filled it up. Although it sounds annoying, it was actually rather cute (but maybe that's just hindsight bias...)

6. Gloria would lay on anyone's lap, although her favorite lap was Dave's.

7. Gloria did not like to walk on uneven surfaces. Every time she had to cross our bed, which is covered by a fluffy down comforter, she would have to psyche herself up and then would cautiously feel around with her paw before every step. By the look of it, you would have thought she was crossing a perilous rope bridge over a ravine.

8. Gloria liked for her belly to be pet. And she had the softest and furriest belly.

9. Most of all, Gloria was a sweet companion. Whenever I was home alone at night, Gloria was a comforting presence to me.

Gloria, you will be missed. You were a great cat.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Happy Anniversary to Us!

On June 25, 2005, exactly 3 years ago, I married the most wonderful man. At the time, I couldn't have imagined it was possible to love him more - but it is - and I do.

Before we got married, many people warned us that the first year was the hardest. By God's grace, it wasn't hard for us. It was much more natural than dating, and the Lord was kind to enable us to be gracious with one another as we learned to be married. At the close of our first year of marriage I began bracing myself for the second year. My rationale was that since we somehow escaped the difficulty of that "dreaded first year" we were probably due for a tough second year of marriage. Again, my expectations were not met. Our second year of marriage was just as good as the first, and in many ways better, as we grew in understanding each other and in maturity.

As I now look back on our third year of marriage, I am beginning to see a trend. Every year of marriage is better than the previous! How very kind of our Heavenly Father to design marriage to not only make us more like Christ but also to give us much joy and pleasure in this life!

Happy Anniversary, my sweet Dave! You are my highest earthly treasure, and I look forward with eager anticipation to what the Lord has planned for us.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Word on Christian Education

I came across this quote while reading Wisdom & Eloquence: A Christian Paradigm for Classical Learning:

"Christian education, properly considered, always includes the goal that students will use their schooling to impact the world around them. Not only do we expect [graduates of Christian schools] to exercise discernment over their own lives and lifestyles, but we also expect them to be able to persuasively articulate a better way of life to those around them."

"We have to be careful, as we educate our students to live "Christianly" in this world, to do more than just teach them how to be a good example to others, should anyone care to look over their suburban privacy fences. Teaching them to think, to discern, and to behave wisely should be coupled with instilling in them a sense of obligation to contend for those same values throughout society. If we believe that Christian living is the fulfillment in this life of what God intends for human beings -- if being a Christian is, in fact, "good for us" -- then we can legitametly conclude that living in a Christ-influenced society can be good for anyone, even those who do not profess the faith personally. A gracious, articulate citizen who has learned to consider and to communicate within the whole range of human concerns will find it much easier to influence those living in the modern world than will those who have missed this set of skills in their education."

I found this to be a thought-provoking and helpful illustration of the benefit of thorough Christian education both for the individual child as well as for society. Although somewhat premature (seeing as how we have no children yet), this inspires me to strive to teach my children in such a way that they first embrace Christ themselves, and then are equipped to persuade others of the truth and beauty of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

What a high calling! And what grace must be given by God to fulfill this high calling.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

34 Years and Counting...

Thirty-four years ago today my parents were married in a small lakeside ceremony. They were 23 years old and smitten with each other, and I can happily say that they are still very much in love today at the age of 56.

I am so thankful to the Lord for gifting me with parents who love each other. Throughout my childhood, it was a regular occurrence for my sister and me to turn to one another and exclaim, "gross!" after witnessing mom and dad affectionately cuddle or kiss each another. However grossed out I might have been, I knew that mom and dad loved each other and my life was safe and secure as a result.

Now that I am a married woman, I can more fully appreciate the influence my parents' relationship had on me. It is so natural for me to express affection for my husband because I witnessed my mom's affection for my dad. I naturally desire to serve my husband through cooking him meals, washing his clothes, and keeping track of the details of our lives' because I watched my mom tirelessly do these same things for my dad.

I thank the Lord for my parents and their 34 years of marriage, and I pray for many more years to witness them grow in love for one another. I pray that Dave and I would continue to learn from them and model the same warmth and affection in the way we love one another.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

An American Childhood

I just finished reading this memoir by Annie Dillard. She is an excellent observer and communicator of life, and her gifts are put to good use in this book.

Here is an excerpt of her describing an experience of her's as a small child:

"I lay alone and was almost asleep when the damned thing entered the room by flattening itself against the open door and sliding in. It was a transparent, luminous oblong. I could see the door whiten at its touch; I could see the blue wall turn pale where it raced over it... It was a swift spirit; it was an awareness. It made noise. It had two joined parts, a head and a tail, like a Chinese dragon. It found the door, wall, and headboar; and it swiped them, charging them with its luminous glance. After its fleet, searching passing, things looked the same, but weren't.

I dared not blink or breathe; I tried to hush my whooping blood. If it found another awareness, it would destroy it. Every night before it got me it gave up. It hit my wall's corner and couldn't get past. It shrank completely into itself and vanished like a cobra down a hole. I heard the rising roar it made when it died or left. I still couldn't breathe. I knew--it was the worst fact I knew, a very hard fact--that it could return again alive that same night...."

Curious to know what she's refering to? Read on...

"It was a passing car whose windshield reflected the corner streetlight outside. I figured it out one night."

Amazing. What's even more amzaing is that she does this throughout the book--totally sucking you in with her vivid descriptions. It's almost exhausting for your mind, but you are compelled to read on. I would encourage this book and this author highly.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Sad Reality of Childhood Obesity in America

* Please Note: This post is not intended to be an indictment of any overweight person or child. I am aware that there are many causes of obesity - including those that cannot be controlled or changed. Please read my thoughts with this in mind.

My heart was heavy after reading this Time magazine article: "How America's Children Packed on the Pounds." Here are some statistics from the article to give you a glimpse of the pervasiveness of obesity among children:

"In 1971 only 4% of 6-to-11-year-old kids were obese; by 2004, the figure had leaped to 18.8%. In the same period, the number rose from 6.1% to 17.4% in the 12-to-19-year-old group, and from 5% to 13.9% among kids ages just 2 to 5. And as with adults, that's just obesity. Include all overweight kids, and a whopping 32% of all American children now carry more pounds than they should."
Speaking of the rise of Type II Diabetes, hypertension, and other diseases (normally associated with people over the age of 40) among children, the article states:

"It's hardly a secret how American children have come to this sickly pass. In the era of the 64-oz. soda, the 1,200-calorie burger and the 700-calorie Frappuccino, food companies now produce enough each day for every American to consume a belt-popping 3,800 calories per day, never mind that even an adult needs only 2,350 to survive. Not only are adults and kids alike consuming far more calories than they can possibly use, but they're also doing less and less with them. The transformation of American homes into high-def, Web-enabled, TiVo-equipped entertainment centers means that children who come home after a largely sedentary day at a school desk spend an average of three more sedentary hours in front of some kind of screen. "

The scene described here is a worrisome one - not only because it inevitably leads to poor physical health, but more importantly because it is a recipe for poor spiritual health. Children who grow up learning to satisfy their every desire with food and mindless entertainment grow up to become adults who do the same. They find their comfort from food and lull their hearts to sleep with entertainment. "Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things (Phil. 3:19)."

As Christians, we should be concerned about childhood obesity, but not for all the same reasons that the secular world is concerned about it. We can agree with the author of this article that childhood obesity is a sad epidemic, that it is bad for the economy and future of America, and that something must be done about it; however, we must have a more biblically informed understanding of and solution to the problem. Apart from Christ, people (including children) will turn to other gods - in this case food - for comfort. Families and children need more than health education and "self-esteem" improvement (this is a separate topic for discussion altogether) to overcome obesity. They are sinners who need to be saved from their sin. Only then will they find true comfort and peace - in the Savior.

I am reminded that I once walked in this way too - living according to my flesh and satisfying all its desires. But thanks be to God that He has saved me from my body of death . My life is hidden with Christ in God, and I am no longer enslaved to food or any other thing. Praise the Lord for His salvation!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Powlison on the Dangers of Introspection

Over the course of the past two days, I have been listening to a message given by David Powlison at a 2007 Sovereign Grace leadership conference entitled, In the Last Analysis: Look Out for Introspection. As a student of biblical counseling (and therefore of Dr. Powlison), I benefited greatly from listening to this message. In it Powlison highlights the dangers of introspection when we "make self-analysis an end in itself instead of a doorway into grace, obedience, repentance, purpose, joy..." I am guilty of this. More than I would like to admit.

Further, he says, "It's like little children being given matches. We can use this most powerful gift [self-knowledge] in a way that ultimately can turn self-destructive and others-destructive, wholly contrary to the intention in which it was given."

Again, guilty.

We tend to think, Powlison notes, that "If I could only get to the bottom of why I do what I do I would be different." Rather, we must remember that "analysis itself changes nothing and mere analysis is not the goal."

When we fall prey to merely analysing ourselves, we "curve in upon ourselves" as the church fathers put it. Powlison explains this in-curving saying, "We are a vortex into ourselves, and our sins are about ourselves, so what could be a more fascinating way to look at myself than to try and figure out my sins... the world models that you're supposed to be about yourself, the flesh loves being about itself and can't imagine anything different, and Satan the liar who is himself utterly self-absorbed and full of pride and godlessness has a huge stake in lying to us, tempting us, reinforcing that self-centeredness... there's this huge inertia that pulls me down into me (emphasis mine)."

About halfway through the message I found myself asking the question (which you may now be asking): So is all self-introspection bad? In answer to this, Powlison reminds his listeners that "biblical self-knowledge is meant to take us out of ourselves. Accurate self-knowledge is a very good thing... the Bible is about self-knowledge... but it locates that process of knowing yourself in a much wider and deeper context."

For those of you who are familiar with biblical counseling, and specifically the ministry of CCEF, this movement away from introspection and "heart idolatry hunting" might seem strange and even unhelpful, especially from the lips of CCEF's own David Powlison. I had these thoughts. I mean, I can remember how enlightened I was upon first being introduced to the concept of heart idolatry and the depth of my sin. It was as if a light came on, while at the same time darkness swept over me as I saw a glimpse of the tip of the enormous iceberg of my sin. However, at the same time, I have not always used this self-knowledge and awareness of sin for good. Rather than be moved to prayer and repentance, I have become morbidly fascinated with my sin leading to, as Powlison describes, "paralysis of faith, of action, of obedience - because unless I understand everything I can't pray, I can't repent, I can't change, I can't love..." When this happens, introspection has become dangerous and is leading me down a path of sinful self-pity and fearful paralysis.

"Self-analysis is meant to be a doorway of grace. The problem is excessive introspection."

With every look inward, I pray I will also look to the cross and rejoice in Romans 8:1, praising God that "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Amen.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Welcome to the Ainsworth abode

I was long resistant to joining the world o' bloggers. The name "blog" alone was pretty much enough to turn me off. I mean, it sounds like some kind of onomatopoeia for an unpleasant bodily function. But alas, I have been convinced of the benefit of blogging, both for the working out of my thoughts as well as for keeping long-distance friends and family in-the-know.

My hope for this blog then is to do just those things (mentioned above), while at the same time promoting the name of my Lord Jesus Christ and bringing glory to Him. I pray that this blog will edify and encourage you, the reader, and I welcome contributions, correction and comments (and alliteration).