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...