Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Raise Your Hand if You're Sure

I'm "borrowing" (with permission) these words from the author of another blog I've been reading recently. Rick Lawrenson is the pastor of Nags Head Church in North Carolina.

Following a recent memorial service the following observation was made (not to me directly, but it was relayed to me):
"One thing about you guys - you really seem confident in what you believe and that you can know for sure about heaven. I belong to the ________________ Church, and you don't get that kind of confidence there."

He's right. I had no problem telling the crowd assembled that day that the one we were saying goodbye to was in heaven.

Here's what I said, "And it would be real easy for someone to think that [she] is in heaven today because she was such an incredibly good wife, mother, friend. But we can’t do that, either, because although she was all that and more, that’s not why she’s in heaven today. She was a saint, but not because she was so good. She was a saint because was given the goodness of Christ."

There's the catch. Most religious people and frankly, many, if not most churches teach that heaven is a place where good people go. If that were true, no one would be there but Jesus. It's not goodness that God's looking for, it's perfection. And Jesus was the only one qualified.

The Good News is that He provided a means for us - and none of us are that good - to receive eternal life. But it's not by being religious or even obeying the Big Ten or keeping some list of "holy" acts. We can be religious, but we can't perfectly keep those ten, can we? And the means God provided was His Son Jesus, who lived a perfect life, then was put to death by people who didn't understand who He was or what He came to do. Then 3 days later He rose from the dead to prove He was qualified.

The simplicity of it is its beauty. All that is required of us to get in on His gift of eternal life is for us to believe that Jesus was who He said He was and that His sacrifice did everything necessary for us to acquire His life.

Amazingly simple. That's why it is so roundly rejected. We want to think that there must be something we can do. But we can't. Think about it, why do you think "Fat Tuesday" precedes "Ash Wednesday"? It's the idea that today I can live like hell, but over the next 40 days I can somehow fix it. It doesn't work that way.

However, if we believe - that means to trust completely - in Jesus and Him alone, we can be confident in our eternal status. It's not self-confidence. It's confidence in a promise God made.

Here's what the Bible says - These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life... (1 Jn. 5:13) That word "know" is huge, isn't it.

God doesn't want us guessing; wondering; worried that maybe we are and maybe we aren't. He wants us to know.

"By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life." Proverbs 22:4

Friday, February 22, 2008


Yesterday Colton finished his First Grade math book. He is pictured here with his 2nd grade book.
It amazes me that I have to pull teeth some days to get them to do their work when we are getting to the end of a grade level, and their workbooks are all dog eared and ratty looking. When they are promoted to the next grade level and get brand new shiny workbooks, they can't wait to get started and do extra math every day!

Not bad for a six year old, huh?

"I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge and discretion." Proverbs 8:12

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Rite of Passage

Today was the day Katie discovered that the refrigerator light does in fact turn off when the door is closed. I just found her intently sticking her nose in the fridge, opening and closing until she saw the little turn-off lever at the top. She had her "aha!" moment, then smiled, closed the door, and walked away.

"The light of the righteous rejoices, but the lamp of the wicked will be put out." Proverbs 13:9

Basketball Pictures

It occurred to me that I hadn't posted the boys' basketball pictures from this season, so here they are. It was a crazy season with lots of cancellations and reschedules due to weather. Toward the end of the season there just weren't any free dates to reschedule, so unfortunately a few games just had to be canceled.

Alex started on the JV Freshman team. He played primarily low post. He improved dramatically throughout the season. As he continues to lift weights and grow, he will become a big presence on the court. Alex did a great job on defense, shutting down his opponent's scorers. He is fast, and hustles down the court every time.

Jackson also excels at defense. He's got a wing span that exceeds most seventh graders', giving him an advantage. He is a good rebounder, and can get the ball in the basket when he needs to. He is also surprisingly quick, and accumulated many steals throughout the season. Jack suffered a turned ankle toward the end of the season, so unfortunately had some limited playing time for a couple games.

Although we ran around crazy during the season getting Jackson to practice in the afternoons and traveling to many, many games, we really miss watching the boys play. One thing I don't miss is the damage to my home. This seasons' casualties included two pictures, a clock, and a table lamp which were all broken as the boys practiced in the living room. Can you guess who the ringleader in these impromptu matches was?

Chase is still playing in his G-R Extreme traveling team on the weekends. He's having a great season as well. This is his first year playing league ball, and he has improved a lot with his extended playing time. He gives 100% all the time, and likes to make the game a little more physical than it was meant to be.

Bryce should be starting the city league within the next few weeks. We haven't heard any definite dates yet.

Colton is playing in the city league on Saturday mornings. This, too, is his first time playing basketball. He is having a great time, and has only made two girls cry.

"A man's steps are of the Lord; How then can a man understand his own way?" Proverbs 20:24

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

We're Free

The snow plow came by late this morning and cleared the way for us to leave our home. The kids were amazed at the big snow drifts that Daddy had to climb through to get home last night.

This afternoon we loaded everyone up and went into town to get some groceries. Alex, Chase and Bryce got some new jeans and swishy pants, and the little ones got cheapo toys. It was nice to be able to get out of the house for awhile. Our entire family hadn't been together since midday on Friday.

This is a picture I took this morning of the trees to the east of our house. They were covered with ice and the sun was reflecting off of them. Very pretty. Again, my camera did not do them justice.

Maybe I need to start lobbying for a new camera...

"But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day." Proverbs 4:18

Hide and Seek

The girls' favorite place to hide when playing hide and seek is in the television cabinet in the family room. Of course, the diapers and wipees they take out of the cabinets and throw on the floor are a dead giveaway of their whereabouts.

"I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently will find me." Proverbs 8:17

Monkeying Around

This is Jackson's monkey impersonation. I'm hoping by publishing this he will never get a girlfriend--or at least not for several years.

"The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge." Proverbs 18:15

Monday, February 18, 2008


Katie and Naomi loving each other

Hudson in his snowman pajamas

Last week Katie and Naomi fell asleep in the cedar chest we use to store blankets and pillows

"When you lie down, you will not be afraid; Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet." Proverbs 3:24

I'll Huff and I'll Puff

We finally got Naomi's birthday cake baked, cooled and frosted.

Chase put candles on it that relight after being blown out. I wish we would have had the video camera out! She was hilarious.

Naomi blew and blew and blew, but just could not get those candles all blown out at the same time without one relighting.

She sure did give it a good effort, though.
Happy, Happy Birthday, Naomi.
We all love you sooooo much!

"She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her." Proverbs 3:15

Daddy's Home!

Shannon called me at 5:50pm to tell me Rob had dropped him off and he was on his way up the road. We waited anxiously by the front windows watching for him. By 6:15pm I was getting nervous, so I decided to drive the van down to the end of the lane and see if I could see him coming. Once outside I found that the garage door was frozen shut and stuck to the floor.

I walked down to the end of the driveway, but couldn't see him coming. It was VERY cold. The wind had picked up quite a bit. My thermometer said it was 3 degrees. I went back to the house and debated how to try to get the garage door open. Soon I saw Shannon coming up the road. It was 6:25pm. The first picture did not turn out well because of all of the blowing snow, but right in the middle of the picture is Shannon trudging along with a big orange bag over his shoulder.
We were all very grateful to see him! He says it wasn't too cold, but he fell 3-4 times along the side of the road. His choices were to either walk where the snow was shallow but icy, or go through the deep snow where it wasn't so slippery. Some of the drifts were over his head.
Hopefully the snow plows will get through tomorrow and we'll be free to come and go as we please.

He says the smiles, hugs and kisses from his girls were worth the trip and he would do it all over again if he had to.

Not only did Shannon have to walk through snow, ice, cold and wind to get home, but he had to do it carrying a gallon of milk, a dozen eggs, a loaf of bread, a quart of ice cream, and two birthday presents for Naomi. Next year we'll plan ahead a little better.

"The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe." Proverbs 18:10

Moving Snow

Because Shannon was out of town this weekend, I had the honor of removing the snow from our driveway in anticipation of they're arrival home. I headed out around 4:00 Sunday afternoon. There wasn't a lot of snow, but it had drifted fairly high is some areas.

The snow was very wet and heavy. I found out quickly that it was necessary to hop off the tractor every 5-6 feet in some areas and clear out the blower. This involves turning off the auger (very important step!), climbing off the tractor, reaming out the blower, climbing back on, then starting everything up again. I lost count of how many times I had to do this, but it was upwards of 75 times. It was actually very nice outside, with temps in the low 30's and very little wind.
The sky was very pretty as I was finishing up, although these photos don't do the sunset justice.

I'll volunteer to move snow more often if I can be guaranteed mild weather doing it!

"Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge." Proverbs 22:17

Birthday Girl!

Today is Naomi's 3rd Birthday. She's getting her wish come true...her Daddy is coming home!

Shannon, Alex and Jackson have been gone since Friday to Winter Meltdown at IRBC in Clear Lake. The winter weather advisories didn't allow them to come home as scheduled yesterday. They spent an additional night at camp to wait out the storm. Shannon told me it has been his dream since fourth grade to be stranded at camp...but somehow it wasn't exactly as he had expected, being responsible for 16 teenagers. We're thankful they all made it home safely this morning. One of the vehicles in their group slid into the ditch at one point along the way, and they saw over fifty other vehicles stranded.

Shannon and the boys were unable to come home because our gravel road has not been cleared yet. Each time the girls talked to Daddy today, they asked him how much longer until he gets home. He heard from several patients today that they were pulling the road graders off of the gravel roads in the attempt to keep the highways clear, so his hopes of coming home today were waning. He then decided that, with the help of Rob from church, he would park the van at Rob's house, Rob would drive him to our gravel road, and Shannon would walk home the 1.3 miles through the snow. He's in the process of doing that right now, so I'll keep you posted on his progress.

He loves his babies so much!

"Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all." Proverbs 31:29

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

Our engagement picture from 1991

Seventeen years ago today Shannon proposed to me. We were both at UNI at the time. He asked me to get all dressed up to go out for a surprise dinner, and he picked me up at my apartment. We took off and drove, and drove, and drove. It soon became clear that we were heading down to Des Moines. He took me to the Crystal Tree restaurant and we had the "Sweetheart Dinner" of prime rib, millionaire potatoes, and dessert.

After dinner we drove around a bit. I'm not that familiar with Des Moines, but Shannon knows his way around because he grew up there. We stopped at a park overlooking the lights of downtown Des Moines. He suggested we get out and walk a bit. It was COLD, so I was reluctant. He finally convinced me, and once we were in a nice, picturesque site, he got down on one knee, and recited the following poem that he had written for me.

It is fitting that this day is the one chosen
For me to express my eternal love for you.
Even though this is a cold winter day
My heart is beating with a fire that cannot be extinguished.
That fire is the love I have for you.
And now I ask you the question which will
Intertwine forever our lives.
Though the question is simple and the answer is brief,
The meaning is sacred and pure.
Jodi, as the stars and God are my witness
I give you this diamond,
A creation which is able to withstand any furious storm.
So it is to represent our love for each other.
I ask you now if I could have your life as mine.
Jodi, will you marry me?

As I tearfully said "Yes!", he slipped the ring onto my finger. On our way back to college that evening, we stopped in Gladbrook at my grandparents house to share our news with them, and then stopped in Reinbeck to share with my parents. Shannon had called them earlier in the day to let them know what his plans were. Rather than officially asking for permission to marry me, he left a message on their answering machine while they were at work.

I love Shannon more every year we are together. He is an awesome husband and father, and I am very proud of the man he has become.

"Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain." Proverbs 31:10-11

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Nothing New

There's not much new going on around here today...I just wanted to bump the "Hillbilly" picture down a bit.

The boys want to go sledding at their favorite big hill in Eldora, but we're afraid there isn't enough snow left. It sounds like we'll be getting more today, so maybe we'll go on Saturday.

The Rebels play in the McLeod Center tonight. We're planning to go to the game.

I've got a bunch of clean laundry to fold and put away...what else is new, huh? I'm thankful we have ample clothing and a washer/dryer to clean them!

Jackson is making lunch today. We have decided to call it "Sticks and Stones". Translation: fish sticks and chicken nuggets. Nutrition at its finest.

"She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household is clothed with scarlet." Proverbs 31:21

Monday, February 4, 2008


I pirated this picture off of another blog I've been reading.

Kind of freaky, huh?

"If a ruler pays attention to lies, all his servants become wicked." Proverbs 29:15

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Naomi's Bling Bling

How old should a little girl be before she begins wearing a toe ring?

"As a ring of gold in a swine's snout, so is a lovely woman who lacks discretion." Proverbs 11:22

Growing Up

Last week the kids decided to get their snow clothes on and go outside to play. Alex was the last to get dressed, so he got the leftover snow pants. This is what happens when you have grown about 6 inches since last winter!

Can anyone say "Steve Urkel?"

"Like one who takes away a garment in cold weather, and like vinegar on soda, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart." Proverbs 25:20

Katie Is 4 Years Old

Katie turned 4 on January 28th. We celebrated the day before with the grandpas and grandma. Katie is all about anything pink and princess. She's growing up so quickly. She can be such a sweet little girly girl, and before you know it, she's making fart sounds in her armpit just like her brothers.

She said to me a few days ago, "Mama, when I grow up, I want to be a mommy, a princess and a cheerleader. Which do you think I should choose first?"

Katie has been incredibly helpful in potty training Naomi. She has done a great job reminding her to go potty, and cheerleading every time Naomi is successful. We haven't had an accident since the first day, and she is now wearing panties full time.

We're proud of you, Katie!

"Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all." Proverbs 31:29