Usually, I am not a big hot tea drinker. Kris is because of his time in England. He is very considerate and will occasionally offer me a cup of Earl Grey, but hot tea is something I could take or leave. Until this.
This tea, as the title states, is a honey butter biscuit in liquid form. When you take the first sip, your brain needs a moment to sort through the mixed signals because at first it goes "Yea! A honey butter biscuit!" But then it goes "Wait a minute! I'm not chewing anything, I'm drinking hot tea! What the heck is going on?" It is so delicious and we have our good friend Pez to thank for introducing us to so great a hot tea.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Sunday, December 24, 2006
THE GREAT BIRTHDAY
There is no reason upon earth beyond that of ecclesiastical custom why the 25th of December should be regarded as the birthday of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ any more than any other day from the first of January to the last day of the year; and yet some persons regard Christmas with far deeper reverence that the Lord's-day. You will often hear it asserted that "The Bible and the Bible alone is the religion of Protestants," but it is not so. There are Protestants who have absorbed a great deal besides the Bible into their religion, and among other things they have accepted the authority of what they call "the Church," and by that door all sorts of superstitions have entered. There is no authority whatever in the word of God for the keeping of Christmas at all, and no reason for keeping it just now except that the most superstitious section of Christendom [he means Catholics] has made a rule that December 25th shall be observed as the birthday of the Lord, and the church by law established in this land (the Church of England] has agreed to follow in the same track. You are under no bondage whatever to regard the regulation. We owe no allegiance to the ecclesiastical powers which have made a decree on this matter, for we belong to an old-fashioned church which does not dare to make laws, but is content to obey them. At the same time the day is no worse than another, and if you choose to observe it, and observe it unto the Lord, I doubt not he will accept your devotion: while if you do not observe it, but unto the Lord observe it not, for fear of encouraging superstition and will-worship, I doubt not but what you shall be as accepted in the non-observance as you could have been in the observance of it. Still, as the thoughts of a great many Christian people will run at this time towards the birth of Christ, and as this cannot be wrong, I judged it meet to avail ourselves of the prevailing current, and float down the stream of thought. Our minds will run that way, because so many around us are following customs suggestive of it, therefore let us get what good we can out of the occasion. There can be no reason why we should not, and it may be helpful that we should, now consider the birth of our Lord Jesus. We will do that voluntarily which we would refuse to do as a matter of obligation: we will do that simply for convenience sake which we should not think of doing because enjoined by authority or demanded by superstition.
[He then offers a lengthy exposition of Luke 2:10: "The angel said unto them, 'Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.'" He follows that with a stinging rebuke against the London's holy day merriment: "I slander not our countrymen when I say that drunkenness seems to be one of the principal items of their Christmastide delight." He ends with an encouragement for Christians to "keep the day."]
. . . You may keep his birthday all the year round, for it were better to say he was born every day of the year than on any one, for truly in a spiritual sense he is born every day of every year in some men's hearts, and that to us is a far weightier point than the observation of holy days. Express your faith first, as the angels did, by public ministry. Some of us are called to speak to the many. Let us in the clearest and most earnest tones proclaim the Savior and his power to rescue man. Others of you cannot PREACH, but you can SING. Sing then your anthems, and praise God with all your hearts. Do not be slack in the devout use of your tongues, which are the glory of your frames, but again and again and again lift up your joyful hymns unto the new-born King. Others of you can neither preach nor sing. Well, then, you must do what the shepherds did, and what did they? You are told twice that they SPREAD THE NEWS. As soon as they had seen the babe they made known abroad the saying that was told them, and as they went home they glorified God. This is one of the most practical ways of showing your joy. Holy conversation is as acceptable as sermons and anthems. There was also one who said little, but thought the more: "Mary PONDERED all these things in her heart." Quiet, Happy spirit, weigh in thy heart the grand truth that Jesus was born at Bethlehem. Immanuel, God with us;—weigh it if you can; look at it again and again, examine the varied facets of this priceless brilliant, and bless, and adore, and love, and wonder, and yet adore again this matchless miracle of love.
. . . Come and worship God manifest in the flesh, and be filled with his light and sweetness by the power of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
——Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892). "The Great Birthday" from TWELVE CHRISTMAS SERMONS DELIVERED AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1976, p. 91, 101. ISBN 0-8010-8081-9.
lovingly crafted by Jamie at 4:02 PM
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Overcoming Sin and Temptation by John Owen. It is his original work but cleaned up a little (not that Owen was lacking; the shortcoming is obviously ours.)
It is not abridged or paraphrased, but the editors (Kelly Kapic and Justin Taylor) have cleaned up the punctuation, made the outline format a little more logical to a modern-day reader, translated the Latin he constantly throws in, and provided a glossary for out-of-date or uncommon words. I've only attempted to read pre-masticated Owen in the past (letting someone else do the hard work,) so reading the text as he wrote it, has been good. The editors went to great lengths to make Owen more accessible to believers today. Owen states that he wrote these volumes because in his day, even in the best professors, he observed a serious lack of seeing the necessity of constantly waging war against and mortifying the sin that remains within. Not much has changed. I see the absence of it in my own life to a discouraging degree.
So all this to say, if you have wanted to read Owen, but felt overwhelmed like I did, this is an excellent way to have the best of both worlds: easier to understand, yet Owen in his own words.
(I feel like LeVar Burton on Reading Rainbow)
lovingly crafted by Jamie at 12:38 PM
Friday, December 15, 2006
This will be our second Christmas that we have been married and yet again, we do not have a tree. I'd like to say it is because I have really strong Puritan convictions and refuse to celebrate the holiday because of lack of biblical warrant. However, it's really just because it seems like a big hassle. So I put some garland on my mantle and a bowl of red and green M&Ms out and called it a day.
I'm sure next year we'll have a tree to plop poor Asher in front of (in some teetering-on-the-edge-of-feminine Christmas sweater) to take his picture, but until then, I'll just burn a fir scented candle and pretend.
lovingly crafted by Jamie at 11:36 AM
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
I am not Solomon, nor have I been commissioned to add anything to Proverbs, nor do I want to, but if I were to write my own proverb, I would borrow from the "Go to the Ant, O sluggard" proverb in chapter 6 and write "Go to the elephant, O pregnant woman!" Here's why:
I watched a show on the National Geographic Channel the other evening about animals in the womb. It was so fascinating to see the growing process of the dolphins and puppies and elephants in utero. Did you know that an elephant's gestation period is TWO YEARS!!! And before it is born, that poor mama elephant has a 300 lb. baby inside her, kicking around with those big feet! So my 40 weeks of having a little single-digit (Lord willing!) pound baby in me seems very managable, to say the least! So that is my advice for all of you who have been, are, or will be pregnant...Go to the elephant!
And now for an Asher update...We went to the doctor yesterday and everything is looking good, we are thankful to report! I am 26 weeks today, but measuring 27 1/2 weeks, so either somebody has their dates wrong or this baby is a big 'un. I lean towards the latter. His heartbeat was nice and strong at 151 bpm and he continues to wiggle and squirm, much to my delight, because that lets me know he's OK! He can keep me up as much as he wants to.
lovingly crafted by Jamie at 11:27 AM
Thursday, December 7, 2006
Congrats to Russ and Bethany on the arrival of their baby boy, Tye Maddox Leatherman! I don't have a picture to put on here (yet) but I want to share the good news and say how excited Kris and I are for our good friends!
A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon.
1 Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
2 It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.
3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children  of one's youth.
5 Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
lovingly crafted by Jamie at 12:57 PM
Friday, December 1, 2006
Let me preface this by saying, I love being pregnant. All the changes and discomforts are more than worth it, but I have reached a point where I would not dream of leaving home without a bottle of these little beauties in my purse.
But overall, I could not be happier. I am half way through my 24th week and Asher is growing and wiggling and making sure we know he's there! I love feeling him move around. It kind of feels like a big fish flipping around. Not quite as picturesque as the "butterfly flutter" that people say baby movement feels like, but way more accurate in my opinion.
More later...I need to go have some Tums!
lovingly crafted by Jamie at 11:05 PM
Friday, November 24, 2006
I have looked forward to the day when I could decorate my porch with some mums and pumpkins for Fall. I have had these on display since October and have thoroughly enjoyed the aesthetic pleasure they have brought. But now, we are approaching the Winter months and their moment has passed. So now I think I will transition to a tasteful wreath hanging on the front door. Unlike my neighbors, I subscribe to the "less is more" school of thought. My neighbors are more of the "how many inflatable, lit-up, santa-reindeer-snowman monstrocities can I fit in my yard" persuasion. To each his own.
So to close out the fall decorating season, here is one more picture of my first porch pumpkin.
lovingly crafted by Jamie at 10:53 AM
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
I still feel 13 most of the time. I am amazed that I am allowed to be married and have a job and own a home and have a baby because, inside, I so do not feel like a grown-up. Should I be worried? I mean, I am turning 27 in 3 days, but it feels like I am really just fooling everybody. Ha! You just think I am a grown-up! I'm really still in junior high worried about what people think of me and looking forward to the day that I can drive a car (It still amazes me that I have a license sometimes...just to show you the depths of my inner struggles.)
I look at my husband (and I look at my belly!) and I realize that, regardless of how it feels, growing up actually happened to me, but for some reason, it doesn't feel the way that I thought it would. I'm not sure what I was anticipating. Maybe that's part of the problem. Maybe I was thinking that you change from "you" to a completely different person when you grow up and so when I stayed "me," I got confused. I'm just an older, taller, slightly more informed version of me at 13. Scarlily the same, scarily different.
lovingly crafted by Jamie at 12:29 PM
Monday, November 13, 2006
This is me right now. If you have ever read the book Miss Nelson is Missing!, then you probably recognize this character. And if you ever hear a teacher (probably of the elementary kind) say that "Viola Swamp" had to show up today, this is to whom they are referring. In the book, Miss Nelson has had it with her class full of unruly and disrespectful children, so she "leaves" and Miss Swamp is her substitute. Of course, Miss Swamp is Miss Nelson in costume, but the kids don't catch on and go on a frantic search for their real teacher because Miss Swamp is mean and takes away their recess and makes school no fun at all. After a few days, Miss Nelson is able to "return." The children are so happy to see her and their behavior is 100% better.
So for now, Mrs. Rives is gone and Miss Swamp is taking over for a few days. Hopefully, I will be able to return soon.
lovingly crafted by Jamie at 7:40 AM
Monday, November 6, 2006
Although it has only been 16 months, it feels like forever ago that we got married. Our good friend Ari took our pictures. I've added her website to my list of links. She does beautiful work and I would highly recommend her to anyone who is looking for an awesome photographer!
lovingly crafted by Jamie at 3:12 PM
Thursday, November 2, 2006
I am officially at the half way mark. I have been feeling Asher move a lot lately so this has been a really neat time for us. He still isn't moving enough to have that weird "Alien" experience where you see your stomach moving and other people can actually feel it, but it is good to know that he is making his presence known, even though it is just to me right now.
And as long as we are on the subject of babies, I again will go on the record and say that Dirk and Kathy are having a girl...and that will be confirmed when they get their ultrasound next week.
One more thing, yesterday, November 1, was the beginning of birthday month. I do not feel that one day is an adequate amount of time in which to celebrate fully, so I begin the festivities when the month begins. So we are on the coutdown to November 18, when I will turn...27! It is sort of like Hannukah, but without the menorah. I would like to receive a present each of the 18 days. Sometimes, I accomplish this by purchasing my own gift, and I am fine with that. I'm not talking major giftage--just a gesture...some candy, a tasty beverage of some sort, a magazine. Then, on the big day (again, November 18,) we culminate and I release all restrictions on size and cost. So feel free to jump on in and participate...I don't mind at all.
lovingly crafted by Jamie at 11:06 AM
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
There are things that run across my mind, things that prompt me to think, "I gotta do that someday!" I'm unfortunately not a very ambitious or driven person. Not that I am a sluggard...I get to work on time, I completed my degree in 4 years, I rarely ever spray Febreeze on my jeans so that I can wear them one more time before having to wash them, but I do have a fairly laid back approach to life. I may not be consumed with acheiving greatness, but I'm not a slacker either.
So long-term to-do lists are really not my things. I like to wait and see what occurs and then tell people I totally meant for that to happen. But there are lots of things I would like to do in this lifetime so I thought I would jot them down...just to see what happens.
1. Learn to play the mandolin.
2. Have a daughter named Elinor.
3. Take up photography and get really good at it.
4. Become completely fluent in Spanish.
5. Learn how to sew.
6. Ride the 10 biggest roller caosters in the country.
7. Memorize Romans.
8. Actually read all of the books I own.
9. Celebrate my 50 year wedding anniversary.
10. Develop a green thumb and grow flowers (and fruits and vegetables that I will use to make soup for my neighbors.)
One day, there will be many checkmarks next to these items. Then maybe I will add more goals...or maybe not.
On a completely unrelated note, scroll down to the picture of Asher's legs and um...boy...and tell me if you don't see a picture of a cat. His legs look like paws and those two light spots look like eyes. Weird, right?
lovingly crafted by Jamie at 12:16 PM
Friday, October 13, 2006
Robin seemed to be a little hurt that I dedicated a whole post to John Mayer and Sheryl Crow. I even had the nerve to post a picture of them. My excuse was that Robin does not have stock photos on Google Images so I could not possibly have posted one of her. She retorted (that's right--retorted) that I probably never bothered to Google her to find out. She's right. I have not. So I decided to. Please copy and paste (I tried to link--it didn't work) this address to view a picture of Robin Stephenson.
This isn't really the Robin I know, but it is a picture of a Robin Stephenson. It's the best I can do until Google gets on the ball.
lovingly crafted by Jamie at 10:08 AM
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
No mistaking that! We were thrilled to discover today that our little miracle is a boy! His name is Asher Owen Rives and he is right on track. The ultrasound showed that he is growing and healthy and we could not be more grateful. I was SO nervous going in! They didn't let Kris go back with me at first so I was laying on the table as the technician began the process of measuring him. She asked me if I was OK and I told her that I was just really scared that something went wrong and that I've had some problems with previous pregnancies. So she turned the screen for a minute and let me see his little heart beating away! I just started crying--I was so relieved! After about 15 minutes of measuring, she went and got Kris and then let us see the screen. She pointed out all of his little parts. He was facing my spine the whole time. She tried so hard to get him to turn around so we could see his face, but he was apparently not in the mood. So we have some great profile and back shots, but none of his face. Here is one of his whole body and of his sweet little legs!
We know that it is God alone who has sustained this heartbeat and knit together this little body. We are so grateful that He was pleased to allow this life to begin and continue. Yet another example of how the Lord has truly lavished us with grace upon grace. Soli Deo gloria!
lovingly crafted by Jamie at 8:22 PM
Thursday, October 5, 2006
Monday, October 2, 2006
We were over at the Vogels last night and Rachel and I were discussing motherhood and all that it entails. She said something really powerful that I had never thought about before. She told me to think about the kind of child I want to raise and the person that I want my child to become...and then to become that myself. I have to be whatever it is I expect of my children. If I want them to be lovers of God's Word, I have to love it. If I want them to be tender-hearted and forgiving, I have to be that first. It may sound really obvious or simple, but I was totally humbled as I realized that my children will be little walking reflections of me. And if I am not reflecting the character of Christ, I cannot think that all the training and teaching and discipling will make up for the lack of godliness in my own life. So it's not that I want to have all these Christ-like characteristics merely so I can pass them on to my children; I want to have them because my love for God requires nothing less. But it is helpful to have the perspective that recognizes I can only lead my children as far as I have been. I have a long way to go.
lovingly crafted by Jamie at 11:17 AM
Friday, September 29, 2006
Ok--I thought this was really funny...my students are learning about common nouns. Yesterday, they did a worksheet where they had to cut out different words and classify them as person, place, or thing. Well, I was grading them today and I noticed that one of my African-American boys had taken the word "cracker" and glued it under the "person" column. Nice, right? So do I count that wrong? I'm giving him points for thinking outside the box!
lovingly crafted by Jamie at 2:24 PM
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Hearing my baby's heartbeat is the most reassuring sound in the world right now. We had our monthly check-up today and the nurse found the heartbeat right away. It was really strong--at first I thought it was my heartbeat! Usually they have to search and press down really hard, but I guess since he/she is bigger now, it is more easily heard.
They always check my blood pressure first thing and it is always really high because I'm so nervous about hearing, or not hearing, the heartbeat. So when she checked it it was 150/90! Ummmm....little high, ya think? She didn't say anything to me. She just got out the little heartbeat finder thing and we listed to it pump away. At that point, my blood pressure decreased dramatically. The doctor took it after she finished examining me and it was back down to normal. They should know by now just to wait until I know everything is still good.
I have my ultrasound in 2 weeks. I'm so excited! I know people lived for thousands and thousands of years without having the ability to find out what they are having, but they didn't know what they were missing. Now that we have the option, I want to find out at the earliest possible opportunity. If I had to guess, I would say the baby is a boy. That, however, is completely based on an old wives' tale that says if you are carrying higher, then it is a boy, or if you carry lower, it's a girl. But old wives' tales are pretty much crap. So we'll just wait 14 more days and find out for sure. So Asher Owen or Adelaide Hope will finally be referred to with the correct pronoun.
lovingly crafted by Jamie at 11:51 AM
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
And I don't mean that in the "I've never been to jail for insider trading" way. I mean that in the "My craft projects never turn out the way they should" way.
So I had these striped couched. Actually, Kris had them when we got married. A family that he knew when he lived in Abylon, I mean Abilene, gave them to him. They were comfortable, but really low to the ground and long. They were tan, red, navy, and hunter green striped---picture patio furniture material. But hey, I'm not one to turn my nose up at free stuff, so I figured I could make these couches work.
So with some of our gift cards to Bed, Bath, and Beyond, we purchased red slip covers and they worked out just fine. I spent the better part of my day tucking and re-tucking them in and I got very anxious when someone sat on them after I had finally got them straight, but other than that, it was great.
So then we buy a house and I decide that these couches won't work. The scale was wrong for the room. And, Kris' brother and his wife were getting rid of their old couches. They were older and a little lumpy, but they were a little bigger so I thought the slipcovers would fit them better. I was wrong. They looked worse on these couches than they did on the Abilene patio furniture ones--super sloppy and wrinkled--the very reason I didn't like the way the covers fit the old couches. But we had already given the other ones away to Goodwill.
So I get the bright idea to cut the slipcovers apart, with the help of my friend, Vanessa, who knows how to sew, and sew and staple the covers to the couches piece by piece to acheive that really custom look that stapling always affords.
We went after it! We cut and stapled and sewed and tacked away. Vanessa went to town making covers for the seat cushions and we nipped and tucked for hours. There was actually one point where I thought, "This may turn out to look really good." But the problem with stapling and tying is that it doesn't lend itself to the tailored look that I was going for.
So I ended up pretty much as bad off as I had started out which leads me to confess, "I am not Martha Stewart." Probably only a shock to me. I thought maybe I had a few Martha tendencies. As it turns out, I don't.
The only way to rectify this situation is to purchase a new couch . (It's name is the Sierra for those of you who follow the link.) And that's what we did. It is a micro-fiber, mocha-colored, soft, non-slipcovered couch that will, Lord willing, be delivered to our home on Knob Hill Lake Lane (that's right--4 words) on Saturday. We figured we better make any large purchases now, because as soon as Little Asher or Adelaide Rives makes his or her appearance, the days of Kris and Jamie Rives buying anything non-essential will draw to a close. Pretty sweet trade-off, I think :)
lovingly crafted by Jamie at 12:29 PM
Friday, September 8, 2006
That seems to be a word that gets tossed around a lot among the people that I talk to most often. We are always trying to figure out what it should look like for the Church to truly be in community with one another. How do we break out of the "American" frame of mind that we all suffer from that prides itself on its independence and doesn't think it needs anything from anyone. How do we bear one another burdens, and so, fulfill the law of Christ? These types of questions continue to haunt us because we're not sure what the answers are? Or maybe we're afraid to figure out what the answers are? That could get messy...
So I found this post on another blog. I might be breaking some law here, so in attempt to make sure no one thinks I am trying to pass this off as my own HERE is where you can read the article in its entirety. She defines community by the "via negativa" (be impressed...that's Latin.) In other words, here is one person's take on what community "is not."
"Community is not a group of faceless strangers in the same building on a Sunday morning.
Community is not playing it safe.
Community is not living for “the next big thing.”
Community is not afraid of silence, or tears, or anger, or pain.
Community is not exposing oneself without first establishing trust.
Community is not a one-way street.
Community is not a place where someone does not feel loved.
Community is not a place where complacency or earthly perfection is celebrated.
Community is not impatient while God works.
Community is not a place where the work is ever “done.”
Community is not afraid to say “no” when a “no” is needed.
Community is not ungrateful.
Community is not absent of struggle.
Community is not in the business of letting its members continue struggling without fighting for their freedom.
Community is not an option…it is the model Christ set for us."
I thought this was pretty good. One disclaimer: She ends the full article with a quote from The Message. Other than that, I like what she has to say.
I find myself at a loss when I try to verbalize what I think we are missing as a body and what I want to change within myself. I feel maimed and I'm pretty certain I've done some maiming. I'm trying to operate without the rest of the body that I so desparately need, but don't always want. That has to change.
lovingly crafted by Jamie at 11:10 AM
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Here are 10 things that I am grateful for this Thursday...
1. Hearing our baby's heartbeat at the doctor's office yesterday.
2. The really nice weather that we have enjoyed the past few mornings.
3. Not having "THE" class this year...the one that everyone who sees them comments "Ugh...how do you do it?" My class is actually pretty good.
4. My Bella Band !
5. Labor Day...or in my case...Non-labor Day
6. My husband's love
7. That Kathy and I are finally pregnant at the same time!
8. The faithfulness of the persecuted members of The Church.
9. Health insurance
10. Working fingers that could type this list
This list hardly covers it all, but it does remind me that God has been better to me than I deserve.
What are you thankful for?
lovingly crafted by Jamie at 11:58 AM
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Has anyone read the book "When I Don't Desire God" by John Piper? (I know book titles should be underlined, but I don't know how to do that) I pull that book off the shelf often because I find myself in a place like that more often than I would care to admit. What is worse than know ing you should pray, but being unable to even get one sentence out or sitting with your Bible on your lap and thinking, "Why don't I hunger for this like I ought to?"
One thing I have to remind myself of often is that my feelings cannot be the standard by which I measure my standing before God. There are so many times that I don't feel a darn thing. There is no warmth, no tangible reassurance, no spiritual consolation to rest on. I don't "feel" Him near me. I don't sense that I am even His. I hate times like that. But they are part of my exsistence. Sometimes God allows those who are His to have a palpable sense that He is near and to feel a real embrace of assurance of salvation and other times He withholds that. And during those times, I am called to trust. I am called to preach to my own soul and bring to mind all of the truth that He has sown in me. I am called to rest in His Word, not my emotions.
But I like to feel that assurance--the assurance that He is in me and I am in Him, the assurance that I am numbered among His own. He doesn't always grant that though.
So here's the deal (whether it "feels" like it or not): Christ does dwell within me. My comfort is found in His mighty grip on me, not my feeble grip on Him. There is more mercy in God than sin within me. He is with me. Simple truths like this are so easily forgotten. I need to hear the gospel preached to my wretched soul daily to remind me of what seems to slip out of my consciousness. I need to have my gaze lifted upward and off of myself and I what I feel or think or believe. I need to meditate on what God feels and thinks and believes as He has revealed it in His word.
If you read this and are my friend (and even if you're not,) pray for me. Not that I would "feel" the way I think a believer should, but that if God never grants another moment of assurance, that I would never cease to hope in Him.
lovingly crafted by Jamie at 10:42 PM
Wednesday, August 2, 2006
We got to see our baby's heartbeat at our appointment on Monday. We were looking at the screen and I didn't see it at first so I had a brief freak-out moment. But then Liza, the nurse practitioner, pointed it out and I felt much better. The baby is measuring one week behind what the stupid, non-scientific, one-size-fits-all due date calculating wheel says but that is fairly common. Liza is going to let me come back next Tuesday and do another ultrasound...just to make sure the baby is growing properly.
So mid March is when we are expecting Baby Rives to make his or her debut. People have asked me if I want a boy or a girl. My standard response is "I just want a baby!" I will be thrilled either way!
Have I mentioned how much I love my husband? I truly do. More than I ever have. He is wonderful and I realize more and more how perfect he is for me. Just wanted to mention that :)
lovingly crafted by Jamie at 9:20 PM
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Thanks to several really good friends and family members, we are now in our new house. It's crazy. It feels like we are house-sitting. I'm sure that will change when we make our first mortgage payment!
Everything is pretty disorganized right now. Boxes and bags and stacks of random things are everywhere. The kitchen is really the only room that is close to being organized (thanks to Bethany the Organizer.) But the rest of the house is a work-in-progress. It'll all get done...I hope :)
lovingly crafted by Jamie at 2:53 PM
Monday, July 17, 2006
We found out about a week and a half ago that I'm pregnant. It's wonderful news and we are so thankful, but this is Baby #3. With 2 previous miscarriages, you sort of experience a "cautious" joy--you really want to be excited, but you know that you are possibly going to experience real heartbreak if things do not go well again.
Because I'm pretty sure that the last 2 babies were lost due to a progesterone shortage, I have been on a supplement since last Monday. I did blood work every other day last week and each time, my hcg levels more than doubled--which is good. Now, I just wait to see the nurse practitioner (my dr. is on maternity leave until mid-August.) Hopefully, I will be able to get in some time this week.
I have to remind myself that my hope, is not in progesterone or doctors or any other means that God may use, but in God HImself. He gives life and He takes it according to the pleasure of His will. As I've stated before, He will do the right thing and He will glorify Himself through this. I know God has used the loss of the other babies to teach us and grow us. We know what it means to trust even when our hearts are breaking. The words to the song "Held" ring so true for me...
This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what means to be loved
And to know that the promise was when everything fell
We'd be held.
He created each of these little lives and He will do what He pleases with them. We would love to meet this baby and get to hold and talk to and raise this little one to fear and trust the one, true, Living God. I can't wait for the time that our child asks Kris and I the question, "Why do we worship God?" we will begin as millions of other believing parents have--"When we were slaves, YHWH brought us out with a mighty hand..." The gospel is the same today as it has been for years upon years--how encouraging! Our prayer is that He will grant us the opportunity, but even more than that, that His will would be done.
That being said, if you know me, you know that I have had kid's names picked out since I was about 4. My favorite name, when I was in preschool, was Vivian. There was a little asian girl that went to my preschool names Vivian and I thought she was really cute so I decided I liked that name.
Then for a while it was Maris Grace. But then Grace became the default middle name--the "Times New Roman" of the naming world. Please don't misunderstand, it is a beautiful name, but by now, it's pretty much the "Jennifer" of the 21st century.
So now my favorite name is Elinor. My husband doesn't feel the same way. When we were dating, I told him how most girls have names for their kids picked out way before they are married and he asked me if I had mine picked out. I said, "Of course!" Then he asked me what they were and, at first, I refused to tell him. I figured that if I told him, and he didn't love them as much as I did, that I would get really frustrated. And it just seemed dumb to be mad at him for that, especially since we weren't even engaged. So I said I wouldn't tell him to avoid any unfortunate incidents. He did finally get it out of me, and, just as I feared, he failed to see the elegant, simple beauty that is the name Elinor. Crushing. One day, I'm sure he'll see it my way ;)
So the name debate continues...
lovingly crafted by Jamie at 6:14 PM
Friday, July 14, 2006
So yesterday I was sitting at the new house on Knob Hill Lake Lane with my mother as the inspector was checking everything out. My phone rings and I answer. It's Kris. I say, "How are you?" He says, "I've been better." That's not really what I like to hear so I asked him what was going on. He proceeded to inform me that a guy from our mortgage company called and told him that we did not qualify for the home buying program that we were using to purchase the house. And since we are a week away from closing, the news came as somewhat of a shock.
The program we were going to use was an FHA Teacher Bond which offers a below-market interest rate and 5% of the cost of your home given back to you as a grant. We were told that we qualified for the program (i.e. we made less than the maximum income, which was $71,000.) So we begin the process, get them every piece of information they request, and were confident that this was a done deal.
But about 2 weeks ago, they send us an affidavit to sign stating, among other things, that I make X amount and Kris makes $0. Granted, we are not rollin' in the dough, but Kris does bring in a salary above $0. Since we had disclosed our tax returns, social security numbers, and bank statements, we assumed they were fully aware of what we made. And we didn't give it a second thought because we knew it was below the max. income. So when they wanted us to sign the affidavit stating Kris made nothing, Kris called our realtor to question that. She told us that if we sign it, we would be committing fraud. Nice.
So we call the company and tell them we cannot sign this until they fix that item. They say that they will take care of it and a few days later. we receive another affidavit. But it still says Kris makes $0. At this point, we're a little aggrivated. We call and they tell us to sign it anyway. What do they care? They won't be the ones in prison after the audit. We say we will not sign until the error is corrected. So then they ask for Kris' check stubs (for the first time, I might add.)
After they receive the stubs, the mortgage company calls and says that we make too much money and no longer qualify because, although the max income for a 3 person family is $71,000, the max for a 2 person family is $61,000(apparently in-utero children do not qualify.) That would have been incredibly helpful information to have 2 months ago! But they wait until the week prior to closing to share that.
All that to say, we end yesterday not sure of what would happen. We did know, however, that God is soveriegn and that nothing occurs apart from His will. So we knew this was part of His will.
The drama ended by the mortgage company assuming responsility--whether they think they are responsible is another matter, but regardless, they did. They bought us a lower interest rate, only about 2/10 of a point higher than what we would have got with the teacher bond so our payment is only about $10 dollars higher than what we thought it would be. The real reason I believed God arranged it this way is because now, we are not obilgated to live in that home 7 years, as we would have been under the other program. We didn't know that was one of the conditions and we are very grateful that we now have the freesom to move when ever we feel it is time, not when they feel it's time.
So Lord willing, we will be in our new temporary dwelling after our closing this Friday. I say "temporary," because home is heaven...not Knob Hill Lake Lane (that's right--4 words.)
lovingly crafted by Jamie at 9:00 PM
Monday, July 3, 2006
I thought that when I started this, that I would be really good about keeping up with it. But that would be pretty out of character for me, so I'm not really sure why I thought that. So here is a brief summary of what has been going on...
1. The House. Our new house on Knob Hill Lake Lane (that's right--4 words) will hopefully be completed by the second or third week of July. We haven't got our official closing date, but we are told that everything is on schedule.
2. The Summer. I love being a teacher--not so much the shaping young minds or investing in the future part...more the sleeping in and getting paychecks while not actually at work part. (Is that bad?) Seriously, it has been very refreshing and makes me feel that I will be (almost) ready to begin the new school year in a few weeks.
3. The Church. I love my church. I guess I'm a Baptist now...who knew? Never would have thought it, but you marry a Baptist, you become one. No gathering is perfect or has everything together, but I truly believe that each member of my church is committed to loving God more and knowing Him better. Are there things that I might change...probably. But I'm grateful that none of those changes are "first tier" issues, but rather peripheral matters that do not infringe on orthodoxy.
4. The Workout. I have discovered Pilates. And by "discovered," I mean I pulled out the Winsor Pilates DVDs I ordered off an infomercial about 4 years ago and actually started doing them. I am surprised what a difference they have made. It is challenging, but I have already seen benefits and improvements in my overall strength and flexibility. I do the body-sculpting workout every other day and I try to walk for about 40-45 minutes each day. Oh...and I started this diet called "The Stop Eating So Freaking Much Diet." It quite simple. Here's what you do: Whatever you normally eat, don't eat so freaking much of it. So hopefully, all of these elements will work in tandem to make me a healthier person.
5. The Fertility Issue. TMI, right? But here's the deal--I am convinced now more than ever, that only God can open the womb. We have done everything "right"... charts and basal thermometers and ovulation predictor kits and baby asprin, and yet, no more babies. So we pray and we cry out and we ask the Lord, just as Sarah and Rebekah and Hannah and countless others have, to grant us a child. The Bible says that the Lord "remembered" them...remember us, Lord. We know that He does what is right and good 100% of the time and we are trusting that, by withholding, He is demonstrating His faithfulness and love towards us. It doesn't always feel that way, but we don't rely on what we "feel," but rather, what we know to be true. He is wise and loving and we wait on Him.
6. My Pinky Toe. Nice transition, huh? I am having major pinky toe issues. Probably in the top ten least respected body parts, but I have gained a fresh appreciation for this little piggy--cuz I can't walk without it hurting. My New Balance running shoes jacked it up so now I have started to wear my Target cheapies that I bought in San Antonio because we were going to Fiesta Texas and I forgot to bring non-flip-flop shoes so we ran in and bought the cheapest shoes we could find. The $14.99 shoes feel way better, but my toe will not heal. My loving husband as been acting as my trainer and he has wrapped and bandaged and Vaselined (thank you, Dirk) my pinky toe, but nothing helps--still blistered and sore. So now, my pinky toes have moved way up on my list of things to be grateful for.
I guess that's it for now...
lovingly crafted by Jamie at 11:41 PM
Sunday, June 18, 2006
Wednesday, June 7, 2006
Here is a picture I took last night of the new house and my charming husband. The other one was an attempt to get us in front of the house, but that didn't really work out. So it's just a really close up shot of our faces.
FYI...FInd out how many days notice you must give to your apartment office in order to move out and not be penalized. Here, at the Fabulous Equinox, we have to give 60 days notice. Now, to me, the logical way of conducting business would be to have your tenants sign a lease for a specified amount of time and then assume that at the end of that specified time, the tenants must move out or give prior notice that they intend to staty longer. But apparently, it's the other way around. They are assuming you stay unless you tell them differently (60 days in advance.) But if we started asking "Why?" now with regards to this place, we would never come to a stopping point.
But it all works out, as usual. We had a deluge of rain that had us giving thanks for the Noahic covenant so that slowed up progress on the house. So our new move-in date is the 2nd week of July, which is fine, because
we are paying for another month here anyway (thank you, Equinox Moving-Out Clause)
lovingly crafted by Jamie at 11:49 AM
Tuesday, June 6, 2006
Thursday, June 1, 2006
Ten things I am thankful for...
1. My amazing husband who I love with all my heart!
2. Being given ears to hear and eyes to see the truth of God's Word
3. A church where the whole counsel of scripture is boldly proclaimed
and getting to hear the gospel each Lord's Day
4. Air conditioning
5. Getting paid during the summer, but not working
6. Supportive parents
7. Knowing how to read
8. Cars that work
9. William Tyndale's commitment to English speakers having the Bible
10. God giving what we need and withholding what we don't
I want to cultivate and attitude of thankfulness. God's goodness is all around me in numerous ways and it is to my shame that I am so lax in returning thanks for it all. I am truly the recipient of "grace upon grace!"
On a totally unrealted note, my new favorite joke...
What did the presbyterian say when he fell down the stairs?
"Glad I got that over with!"
lovingly crafted by Jamie at 3:16 PM
Sunday, May 28, 2006
I don't know what I would do if I had a job that didn't follow a school schedule. Since August of 1985, when I entered Mrs. McLemore's P.M. kindergarten class, I have had a week at Thanksgiving, 2 weeks at Christmas, a week for Spring Break, and the summer months off. I hear that, in most occupations, you have to work all year long! No thank you. Teaching definitely has it draw backs, but they come to my mind less quickly during June and July.
I'm looking forward to this summer. We are, God willing, moving into a new house at the end of June. Our current apartment situation leaves a little to be desired, so we are excited about becoming homeowners. I think we are officially grown-ups now. Kris assures me that this actually happened already, but I still feel 13 most of the time so the fact that we are buying a house really seems weird. It's a cookie-cutter house with zero character, but it will be ours!
lovingly crafted by Jamie at 9:19 PM
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
We only have 2 days of school left. I'm glad. Some people assume that teachers have it so easy because we get 2 1/2 months off during the summer. Well, after 9 months of being in a room with crazy, needy second graders all shouting "MRS RIVES, MRS RIVES!!!," I feel entitled.
This has been a crazy year...truly the best of times and the worst of times. A lot has happened--things that are so easy to be thankful for and things that I know I need to give thanks for, but sometimes I just don't want to. John Newton said that everything is needful that God sends and nothing can be needful that He withholds. Confessing that I "needed" the hard stuff is very humbling. I'm learning to give thanks, as one of my favorite hymns says, "even when my heart is breaking."
lovingly crafted by Jamie at 12:59 PM
Monday, May 22, 2006
Ok--here it is. Not that anyone was waiting with bated breath for this. But I felt I could put it off no longer. It finally overcame me...the lure of checking other blogs to see if they have been updated, the satisfying sensation of eavesdropping with none of the guilt, the winding rabbit trail created by following one link to another, not remembering whose blog you were looking at first, all contribute to the inception of my own.
Modern day ebenezers. The ability to trace where you have been and the outline of God's sovereignty steadfastly highlighting it all. That is what this will be.
So, on with it. This is our last week of school. This week, I am basically a babysitter with a degree. Today is "Pajama, Movie, and Game Day." Can you say "over stimulation?" As I am packing up my classroom, I am struck by how much teacher crap I have. It is amazing the things that are "required" for an elementary classroom. The longer I teach, the more I am sure that my children, should God grant them, will never, as long as He is willing, set foot in a public school. Parents raising their children to fear the Lord and keep His commands--that is what is missing and as long as it remains this way, no amount of testing or tutoring or fancy teacher crap will make it better. So, having said that, I do this job the very best I can, and I end each day grateful that I will not have to relinqish the privilege of educating my own children to the state.
lovingly crafted by Jamie at 9:03 AM