Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Giving Thanks

It's past that time, but oh well. I want to give thanks for the amazing couple of days we spent with our families. I had special permission from my doctor to travel with the understanding that I would "relax and let everyone else take care of me." Sure, I think I can handle that...that was the amazing part. Our families are always taking care of us, 9 months pregnant or not!





I'm thankful for our Taylor Joy, who blessed so many people just by being there. She certainly brings so much joy to our families. She actually initiated the prayer on Thanksgiving and the holding of hands. It blesses my heart to see that she understands and enjoys all the things that our taught in our home.



"You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." Deut. 11:18-19


This verse from Deuteronomy sticks out in my head about a million times a day when I feel frustrated that Taylor Joy isn't getting it and need some encouragement. But then in the moments when she does, it is a sweet blessing indeed. I see that the Lord is working in ways that are beyond my vision.

I'm thankful that the Lord has blessed my womb once again and is knitting together a precious baby boy in there as I type. I know He loves that baby way more than I possibly could and I know that His plans for Beckett are perfect. For that I am thankful.

I'm amazingly blessed to have the husband I have. He has always led me, protected me and cared for me, but seeing him as a father has made my love for him grow deeper than imaginable. He spends time with me and Taylor that he doesn't have. He will drop studying the second Taylor comes over and asks him to read. He will drop practically anything to help me get things done around the house. He is especially thoughtful now that I need all the rest I can get, watching Taylor while I lay down for a nap. I don't know the "ways" of other husbands, but I am pretty sure Allen surpasses them. It's guaranteed that Allen will lead our family in "Family Worship" everyday. It's my favorite time of the day. He's investing in the spiritual growth of his family. For that and for him, I am truly thankful.



I'm thankful to the Lord, of course, who has blessed me with all these things. But most importantly, and thinking about the songs we sang at church this weekend, I'm thankful that...

"into His marvelous light I'm running
out of darkness
out of shame
by the cross
you are the truth

you are the life

you are the way"



Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Check this out!

My friend Misti just sent this to me with her family in it and I just had to do it for ours. This is HILARIOUS! Please, do it for your family and then send it to me, or post it in the comments. The first time I saw it I nearly peed my pants! Taylor Joy's head just bobs around on that big body! SO FUNNY!


Elf Yourself

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Happy Half Birthday, Taylor Joy!


Here's wishing our little pumpkin a Happy Half Birthday! One and a half years old!

In a sense it seems like it's been longer than that and I can't remember life without her, but in another sense it has all flashed before my eyes and I feel like I gave birth to that little redhead just months ago.

I am cherishing every moment, realizing in the of an blink of an eye she will be talking in full sentences, reading books, ready for kindergarten, into her teenage years and then walking down the aisle.

I want every moment to last.

I want every day to count.

I love this precious girl more than words could say. It is a joy and honor to be her mother.

Happy 1 1/2 years, Taylor Joy! You are so incredibly loved!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Bible Says So



During our "Family Worship" times we have been singing a hymn and also "Jesus Loves Me" as Taylor Joy's hymn. Although she used to just sing, "Jesus Jesus Jesus" lately she has been singing, "Bible says so" although I have no idea where she got "says" since we always sing "Bible tells me so." Anyway, here is a random moment with her singing her "hymn." Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Heaven


I have *finally* finished the book Heaven by Randy Alcorn. I was really pumped about reading it in the beginning, but about halfway through I felt like I was reading just to check it off the list. It is extremely comprehensive (500 pages comprehensive...) and touches on things like:

"What will our bodies be like?"

"Will we eat and drink on the New Earth?"

"What will our daily lives be like?"

"How will we relate to each other?"

"Will Heaven ever be boring?"

and on and on and on...

I must admit it was definitely on the long-winded side.

Nonetheless, I appreciate his desire to educate on the subject of Heaven. Almost no other books are out there on the subject and he did much research and study of the scriptures to come to his conclusions.

The first thing he MUST address is "Can you know if you're going to Heaven?" Of course this is essential. If we believe the things that Jesus did, confess and repent of our sins, the Bible says "he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). It's not about anything that we DO, it cannot be attained, it's all about Christ's sacrifice (Ephesians 2:8-9).

He also talks about the difference between heaven now and the New Earth. For instance, the person who dies today goes to what Alcorn refers to as the "intermediate heaven" and after Christ returns He will restore the New Earth, which is the place where all of His people will reside eternally. I knew that Revelation talked about the new heavens and the new earth and us residing on it, but I had never really put two and two together that those with Christ now are at "temporary" heaven, awaiting the day when Jesus will return to Earth and restore it with His own people.

It helped me to read what he had to say about restoration in general and in the context of the New Earth. God made Adam, Eve and this entire world and said that it was "very good." What makes us think the the New Earth (Heaven) will be a place of floating around on clouds and playing harps? That is the silliest imagery and yet it is what many people continue to picture in their heads when they think of Heaven. If He talks about creating a NEW earth (see above scripture), why would it be all that different than what He created from the get go when there was no sin in this world? A quote from Albert Wolters sums it up well:

"Redemption means restoration - that is, the return to goodness of an originally unscathed creation and not merely the addition of something supracreational...The restoration affects the whole of creational life and not merely some limited area within it."

After laying the foundation, he goes on to the second part of the book, which to me was the most interesting... "Questions and Answers about Heaven."

This is the section that went in into fairly detailed accounts of what heaven (the New Earth) may be like. Since there aren't too many scriptures about heaven, he used other scriptures to basically draw conclusions from. I understand why he had to do that, but I am also having to take what he said (especially in this section) with a grain of salt since they are just conclusions made by a human being (and he makes this statement too). Some things I found interesting:

- Will we all appear the same age? Since the prime age is our 20's we should all be 20 somethings in heaven, right? Will there be no children? He uses Isaiah 11:6-9 (which is likely referring to the New Earth) to say children may well grow up on the New Earth into their prime age. He also suggests that in heaven we'll be ageless. So, we'll see people as we remember them. I'll see my parents as older and they will see me as younger, etc.

- Will we drink coffee in heaven? Alcorn writes, "God made coffee. Coffee grows on Earth, which God made for mankind, put under our management and filled with resources for our use...realizing that caffeine addiction or anything else unhealthy simply won't exist on the New Earth - why wouldn't it be part of the resurrected Earth?" He also uses 1 Tim. 6:17 and 1 Tim. 4:4-5 to base his assumption on. This is great news, although I'm not so sure we will actually need it or remember it there.

- Will we know everything? "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known" (1 Cor. 13:12). That's not to say we will know everything and be omniscient as only God is, but that we will understand without error or misconception and know in a deeper way than we did before.

The third section just summed up (a bit repetitively I must say) the book and how we should live in light of what we know.

I feel like I now have a better grasp on what to expect in Heaven and certainly more to look forward to! I am excited to see all the things we will experience and know that our limited imagination can't possibly contain all the Lord has for us for eternity! How exciting!

Lord, help me to live in light of eternity. Constantly focus my heart and mind on eternal things and help me to spur others to do the same.

Here's my recommendation: don't read the whole thing. Look over the 46 chapter titles and pick and choose the topics that you need help understanding and/or think are interesting. You will certainly overcommit yourself if you decide to read the whole thing.

Here are some questions readers asked after reading the book and his answers.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Tummy Time!



Well, here's the newest tummy pic. As I mentioned in the last post, I have really "blossomed" lately, as you can tell! Even though I haven't gained as much and my tummy isn't as big as with Taylor Joy, I really feel HUGE! This baby is heavy and he's really a mover and shaker. Plus, I have Taylor Joy, who bless her heart, wants to be crawling on top of me and "up" as she says with me holding her 24/7. She's going to have to learn how to share mommy *very* soon!

At the last appointment as they were checking Beckett's fluids she casually mentioned seeing a "scrotum". OKAY! Thanks! That's very good to know. All last week Allen and I were trying to come up with a girl name just in case.

He was about 5 1/2 lbs. last week, so if you do the math, this baby could end up being a 10 pounder! Oh my!

On another note, Beckett's amniotic fluid is very low, like on the minimum of what is acceptable, so please pray for that to increase. Otherwise, they may have to induce before the due date, which we really don't care to do. I would just like him to come in his natural timing rather than force him out!

We saw his sweet face and his mouth was opening and closing, probably swallowing all the fluids! He is really precious, I can just tell!

I can't wait to meet you my sweet baby boy!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Celebration of 40,000 Visitors!

After blogging for about a year now, we have hit 40,000! Wow! That seems really incredible to me! With the exception of my husband, who doesn't read the blog, the rest of the Duty's are glad to have served you with (hopefully) interesting writings, updates, pictures, videos and the like to make you want to come back and visit!

I would like to hear which things you like best...and then I can cater to our audience better. Not that I will actually have time in about 6 weeks (Beckett), but I will certainly try.

A Beckett update will be coming shortly. I want to take a picture of my ridiculously growing belly so you can see it as well. I feel like I have really "blossomed" lately!

Anyhow, just wanted to thank everyone who is dedicated to the Duty Chronicles and let you know we love to share our family and life with the rest of the blogging world. Keep on reading!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Trunk or Treat



Last night was Trunk or Treat and our little Raggedy Ann ran us ragged! She had so much fun running around from booth to booth and she kept a running inventory on her "goodies," constantly looking in her bag. She played the bean bag toss, football toss, duck pond, cake walk, you name it! Allen and I were a last minute 70's guy and doctor!

Taylor Joy refused to wear her hat, which was really cute, but she didn't really need it so much because of her red hair. She looked precious anyway!



Our wonderful youth were working the booths and helping Taylor Joy to win their games. She and Daddy played many games together, too!



"Chelle" and "Jayee" helped Taylor Joy around and Michelle, of course, fed the girl cupcakes. No wonder she loves her so much!



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