Monday, October 31, 2011

"Where is God in Tragedy?"

Pain is the soil where the deepest kind of faith in God grows. Pain is the context for maturing our love for God, so we can love God foremost. As offensive as that seems from the vantage point of fear, it squares with the logic of faith.

But still, our complaints spew up. Still we feel so angry about the people who are suffering unjustly. Why doesn't God just make things better?

Strikingly, no one seems to complain that God has set before us many opportunities to idolize ourselves. I have never heard anyone saying how irksome it is to be given the freedom to indulge the self in pleasure and self-exaltation - to overeat, to boast, to gossip, to get drunk. Nobody shouts at God for allowing them to sin in their favorite ways.

Hypocricially, however, we do complain sorely at the top of our lungs about the sins and evil of others who are hurting us. Thus, we question God's character right when we are thinking of ourselves.

Relevant Magazine, Fall 2011 issue
Where is God in Tragedy?
Sarah Sumner

Friday, October 21, 2011

6 Month Mark

Thoughts and things to remember from this stage in my prego journey . . .

* I miss my eating habits of two months ago. Then I didn't even want to think about eating something sweet. Now I can't seem to get enough. In the morning I think to myself: "Today is going to be a no-sweet day." But then, by 10 o'clock a.m., either someone brings in a cake at work for a birthday or there are left-over donuts in the kitchen or I find a cookie in my snack-stash-drawer or I walk by the lady who always has chocolate at her desk . . . and I can't help myself. It just sounds and tastes so good!

* This little man is a mover. I love it when I can feel his body leaning against me. I thought for sure I felt a leg the other day (but I could be imaging it). About two weeks ago I was laying in bed and just watching my belly jump. It was this amazing moment of realizing that there's a little alive human being inside of me. Hardly can wrap my mind around it sometimes.

* My wardrobe options are quickly diminishing. Just about every week I could take a load up to the attic of things that no longer fit. So I'm waiting for the next 50% off day at Goodwill to fill in the gaps. Can you believe that this baby is only about a pound right now? How in the world is a 6, 7, or 8 pound baby going to fit in there?

* The #1 question I get asked is: "Do you know if it's a boy or a girl?" And I grin and say "BOY!" One of the cleaning guys at work asked me the other day. (We always say hi to each other when he empties the trashcan at my desk.) When I told him it was a boy, he smiled and said: "Good job!"

* The #2 question I get asked is: "Do you know the name yet?" To which I say: "Yes.....but it's a secret!" Some people cannot stand this ( siblings.....) but it's usually those who have children already who can relate. We need to keep something a surprise! So please don't try to drag it out of me. I'm determined not to slip.

* Probably the #3 question is about the nursery. The room will still be a guest bedroom and future children will share, so we're not doing anything fancy. Just freshening everything up and things are coming along nicely.  Chris (my dear friend who gave up an entire Saturday for me) helped paint last weekend - the bedroom and the laundry room. We put in about 9 hours . . . which made for two very sore people the next day. New bright white trim and gray walls makes me so happy! Can't wait to start layering in all of the fun bedcover, curtains, art for the walls, baby things, new fabric for the bench, etc.

* Speaking of working on the house, I'm in full-fledged nesting mode (watch out, Bryce). You should see my house/project list. Sometimes I feel like I'm juggling a lot of little things but the truth is I really enjoy it. Especially now that I have the "umph" to actually tackle the things that are on my list. What does the next few months hold? To name a few things: finishing the nursery, new storage for the living room, hopefully starting the revamp of the kitchen, spray-painting projects galore, finding & hanging new art plus all of the other things to do like registering for baby stuff, refinancing our home, setting up a will, doing a bit of job searching, reading parenting/mothering books, childbirth classes, etc. Let the craziness continue.

PS: 6 month pictures are coming!

Friday, October 14, 2011

A-Z About Me

I saw this idea on one of the blogs I regularly read: Dream Book Design.
A little bit about me . . .

A. age :: twenty.five

B. bed size :: queen

C. chore you hate :: emptying the dishwasher

D. dogs :: Parson, a pit bull/boxer mix

E. essential start to your day :: workout, breakfast, and shower (in that order)

F. favorite color :: teal

G. gold or silver :: gold & silver

H. height :: five feet, two inches (and three quarters)

I. instruments you play :: piano and electric bass

J. job title :: executive assistant and legal secretary

K. kids :: first is on the way!

L. live :: Indiana

M. maiden name :: Eberly

N. nicknames :: Jans, J-Lex, Jana-Banana (when I was growing up)

O. overnight hospital stays :: none

P. pet peeve :: faded lines on the road

Q. quote :: "The world around me was still full of riddles for which my little mind had not been given answers… Nor could I know what the future held. But the fundamental doubt was for me silenced. I knew now: God is. I had found my center, my point of reference. Everything else I needed to know would follow." Catherine Marshall

R. righty or lefty :: right

S. siblings :: 3 younger: Jason, Jessica and Jordan (and 11 siblings-in-law!)

T. time you wake up :: between 6-7am usually

U. university attended :: Bethel College (Mishawaka, IN)

V. vegetables you dislike: cucumber

W. what makes you run late :: getting ready (I always misjudge how long it will take me)

X. x-rays you’ve had :: too many to count for my back last year

Y. yummy food :: chips and salsa, cookies, cereal, breads, etc. etc. etc.

Z. zoo animal favorite :: giraffes

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Right Order

There is something in my life that I've felt lately I need to be praying for more. However, I haven't felt a great deal of "burden" about it (which I definitely should). I was wondering/worrying about it the other day, wishing I felt more of a "weight" or concern so that I would pray more.

But then it occurred to me: if I prayed more first, most likely then the burden of caring would come. It's a case of getting something in the proper order, I think. (And even if the burden doesn't come, I still need to be doing the praying.)

Psalm 69:13
But I pray to you, O LORD, in the time of your favor;
in your great love, O God, answer me [and my request] with your sure salvation.

Psalm 88:13
But I cry to you for help, O LORD; in the morning my prayer comes before you.

Romans 12:12
Be . . . faithful in prayer.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pep Talk

Personal pep talk.

Deep breaths.
Do not look at your List (for the 64th time today).
Do not panic.
I know you're thinking of a million things you could be doing at home
Instead of sitting at your desk and twiddling your thumbs.
You're stuck for now. This is what is means to have a full-time job.
Everything that needs to be done will get done.
Everything that needs to be purchased will eventually be found.
Everything that truly matters (i.e. family, community, husband-time, resting, Bible study, a job, making dinner)
Must come before the crazy-long-get-done-in-the-next-2-months List (i.e. baby, house, craft, cleaning projects).

Just breathe.

The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made.
The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down [with super long Lists].
The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time.
You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
Psalm 145

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Relaxing at Virginia Beach

When people ask what we did on vacation, I can pretty honestly say, "Just about nothing." And it was perfect.

We left on Saturday, September 10th, and drove about 6 hours to Charleston, West Virginia. We stayed the night in a hotel (cheap - thanks to Hotwire) and then drove the rest of the way on Sunday. We wiled away the drive time listening to "Reason for God" by Timothy Keller and snacking on trail mix - Bryce drove and I crocheted.
View from our hotel balcony
At Virginia Beach we stayed at SpringHill Suites right on the boardwalk. Our room had a balcony overlooking the ocean. They had a free breakfast buffet. Yes - I felt royally spoiled. (We got a really good deal on the hotel, thanks to Bryce's brother's Marriott affiliation - basically scored 4 nights for the price of 1. Yes!)

Virginia Beach can be pretty congested and busy but thanks to the fact that it wasn't peak season, it really wasn't that crazy. The beach wasn't packed. We were joined by mostly retired couples and some younger families.

Four days at the beach. Every day look pretty much like this: get up around 8, stroll down to breakfast, lounge in the room for a little bit, mozy out to the beach for a few hours, shower and walk somewhere for lunch, lay around in the hotel room for the rest of the afternoon and early evening (Bryce working on music and Jana crocheting/watching HGTV or reading), eat dinner in the hotel room (we packed sloppy joes and turkey wraps in order to save money on eating out) and then take a leisurely stroll on the boardwalk or beach before going back up to the room for more relaxing until an early bedtime.

Can it get any better than that?

Bryce bought a beach umbrella (since it was ridiculously expensive to rent them) and we joked that it saved our marriage. I laid in the sun (dug a hole in the sand underneath the beach towel for my little bump) and read. Bryce sat on a chair in the shade. He finds no joy in laying out; I just love basking in the warmth of the sun. So, thank you, Umbrella, for enabling us to enjoy the beach together. We also spent time in the water. Bryce did some body surfing and I tried not to get jostled around too much. The temperature was in the 80's the whole time we were there - some rain in the afternoons but perfect sun & breeze in the mornings.

I was able to "pop" over to Regent University for a quick visit with my dear friend Charity. So glad to be able to experience a little bit of her world!

We checked out of the hotel on Thursday morning and headed west. Bryce's friends, the Condrey's, live in Richmond, Virginia. We stopped there for lunch and fellowship - enjoyed chef salad (Bryce's favorite) and met their horses & goats. After visiting for most of the afternoon, we left for Lexington, Virginia to see my grandparents.
"Deck Mountain"
It was wonderful to spend time on the mountain - visiting, eating delicious food and resting. We ate dinner Thursday night and chatted until bedtime. Saturday morning we drove to an orchard to pick up apples (brought a bunch home with us - delicious!) and stopped for lunch on the way back. I needed a nap in the afternoon and Bryce read out on the deck (he is a mountain man at heart, I tell ya).
My grandparents at the orchard
After dinner, my great-aunt and great-uncle (who also live on the mountain) came up for cake and coffee. We had dessert with this same group three years ago when Bryce and I took a road trip while we were dating, so it was neat to come full circle - this time we have been married for two years and there's a baby on the way.

Saturday found us driving back home, an 8.5 hour trek. Bryce even let me drive for about 2 hours in the afternoon while he dozed (so I must not have been making him too nervous). We are so thankful for God's provision of a wonderful vacation together - our first one since the honeymoon and our last one children-less.