By now most of our friends and family know that we are expecting our first baby. Such joy this baby is already bringing to us and our families. God is gracious.
I'm now getting to the end of my 16th week of pregnancy, and baby Evans is due in mid February. It's easy to take for granted the miracle that is transpiring in my womb. Learning about the intricacies of a baby's creation is mind boggling. Around week 7 we thought we were going to loose the baby, so a new gratitude has grown in our hearts; however, we forget, and so we must remember to be grateful each day for this baby. In two weeks I will have my 18th week ultrasound and we will (hopefully) be able to know if baby is a boy or a girl. (We've already got a boy and a girl name picked out).
God calls children a blessing, and we are so thankful for the blessing of baby Evans. As we pray for our child, we desire more than anything that He or She would know Christ and love Him with their whole heart, mind, soul and strength and bring much glory to God with their life. I'm looking forward to retiring from full-time work outside the home to nurture and raise this child (and others should God give them to us) and be a support to Shawn.
I'll leave you with a picture of my growing baby bump.
Shawn and I were listening to a sermon yesterday that referenced the sad state of Israel just one generation after they had taken possession of the Promised Land:
"After Joshua had dismissed the Israelites, they went to take possession of the land, each to his own inheritance. The people served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the LORD had done for Israel. Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of a hundred and ten. 9 And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Heres in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals."
As we listened to this, we reflected on how easy it is for us to forget the great, and even miraculous, things God has done in our lives. Therefore, we must be diligent to remember these things, to write them down if necessary, so that we can one day tell our children what God has done for us. This is one reason why I like to keep a blog - to chronicle the awesome deeds of God in our lives.
Reflecting on this topic, we are filled with gratitude to our Lord for his faithfulness to us these past 2 years. It was just 2 years ago that we packed all my belonging and our wedding gifts into an SUV and made the 4 day journey from Texas to Calgary - with just enough to live on for a few weeks ("few" maybe stretching it, it was more like 1 or 2!). God provided work for Shawn that first summer, and I was blessed with a summer to give full-time service to my husband and our new home. What a blessing to have that time as new bride. I'm convinced it helped to lay a wonderful foundation for our marriage, and it was a wonderful opportunity for me to see the beautiful fruit of devoting full-time attention to the home. Then there was the amazingness (not a real word, I know) of my permanent residency coming in in record time (4 months) so that I could work (outside the home for pay) and Shawn could go back to school. Withing weeks of this news, God provided the perfect job for me, withing walking distance from our house, that would provide more than enough for Shawn and I to live on and pay for school. 2 years later Shawn finished his degree with zero student loans to go with it, and 5 weeks after graduating, he was selected out of 30 - 40 candidates for a job as District Manager at St. John's Music.
And aside from the wonderful physical provision of these past 2 years, the spiritual ones far outweigh the former. Shawn and I have grown in many ways - mostly in our treasuring more of Christ and His precious gospel and seeing our dire need for Him day by day. We are so grateful for the provision of a wonderful church and a church family who spur us on to want to know and treasure Christ more and more. We are grateful for the spiritual nourishment that we receive there, seeing that God's Word is sufficient for all of life.
Thank you God for all you give, but mostly for giving yourself to us each day. May you always be our pearl of greatest worth.
I don't drink enough water, so I found a way to get me to drink it a bit more. Add a few slices of cucumber and mint leaves to your water. Chill it for an hour or more, and enjoy a light and refreshing twist on that H20.
"An oracle is within my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked: There is no fear of God before his eyes. For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin." (Psalm 36:1-2 )
We don't get sin rightly. We don't see it like God sees it. We don't grieve over it like God grieves over it. To some degree, yes the Christian has had their eyes opened to sin or he/she wouldn't be a Christian. Yet our sinful nature still clouds in our heart the tragic realities about sin.
When we say, think, do, imagine anything that is not in perfect conformity to the law and mind of God, we sin. This grave moral disease includes doing things that we ought not to do, as well as leaving undone things we ought to do. We flatter our moral egos by comparing ourselves with others who sin more than us or don't do as much "good stuff" as us, instead of comparing ourselves to the character and law of God. When this right comparison is made, we can't help but run to Christ and treasure the gospel more deeply.
Let us pray like the psalmist: "Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults." Psalm 19:12 and let us treasure the one who knew no sin, but was made sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Today we thank and give glory to God for two sweet year of marriage. It's so sweet to walk with Christ alongside the love of your life, spurring one another toward love and good deeds. My husband has far exceeded anything I could have desired in a husband, and to God be the glory, because I see Him shaping Shawn's character and love for me each day.
A servant leader you are my love - continually learning from the greatest servant leader of all, the Lord Jesus Christ himself. It's a joy to be your wife, to be under your loving leadership and protection. Thank you for loving me as Christ loves his Church.
We recently had the pleasure of hosting my mom in Calgary for the first time since we moved here almost 2 years ago. She experienced some truly Calgarian weather - everything from "let's wear shorts" to" it's snowing again"...aaah, that's Calgary I've learned.
Mom was so sweet to come down and celebrate Shawn's graduation recital, Shawn's graduation, and my 26th birthday. She arrived Wednesday at noon, and after picking her up from the airport, we went out for Vietnamese vermacellie. We then took a nap before putting the last touches on the 5 or so pounds of shredded bbq pork that we were going to feed Shawn's band for dinner (3 batches and 21 hours of crockpotting, we were ready to feed the crew of 20).
So Wednesday afternoon we headed out for the grad recital, which was absolutely fantastic. Shawn recruited and organized all the musicians, transcribed music, arranged hymns, lead rehearsals, and so much more. Months of hard work paid off, as we enjoyed a wonderful performance. Over 90 people showed up to the recital - it was very exciting, and I was so glad my mom was able to be there. I'm so proud of Shawn, and can't wait to see him flourish even more in serving God in music.
Thursday morning my mom and I headed out to the mountains - Canmore than Banff. In Banff we road the gondala up Sulphur Mountain. We enjoyed what view there was left - heavy fog and snow was rolling in. We enjoyed some tea and conversation in the restaurant at the top of the mountain. We headed down for lunch where I introduced my mom to Greek food. We shopped around and headed back to Calgary for dinner time.
This mother-daughter tip couldn't be complete without some shopping, which we did for half a day on Friday. We only got through half of the gigantic new mall outside of Calgary.
Saturday was graduation day. We proudly watched Shawn get his diploma. So proud of my hubby for going back to school and working so hard to get degree. We praise and thank God for the resources he has provided to pay for schooling loan-free! After the graduation ceremony, we continued the celebration at Shawn's parents house where his mom prepared a lovely brunch. After brunch we took my mom for a drive to see some scenery and buffalo. The snow was coming in again, but we made the most of it.
Sunday we went to church - we were excited to introduce my mom to our church family who we love so much. After church Our families and a few of our dear friends enjoyed brunch at Mother Tucker's for my birthday. It was awesome to have my mom there with all my friends and Shawn's family.
Thank you mom for coming to visit. We had a wonderful time with you.
I realized at the beginning of this past year and into the new year that my prayer life was pretty undisciplined. It's just something that comes a little harder for me. I was so grateful to come across two tools that have been such a blessings in spurring on my prayer life. The first is this website - Matthew Henry's Method for Prayer. I, and now my husband too, LOVE using this website. The site goes through various prayer focuses - adoration, confession, petition, thankgiving, intercesion, and more. The prayers are formed directly from passages of scripture, so you are confident that you are indeed praying the will of God! I love it, especially the adoration part where you get to praise God for his attributes - for who HE has revealed himself to be.
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God; Psalm 90:2(ESV) the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8(ESV)
Another tool that I have found helpful in reminding me to consistently pray for family, friends, government, etc is prayer cards. This was my sweet husband's idea that I copied. I have different prayer (index) cards for Mon-Friday, in which I list seven people/things I want to intercede for. I didn't do ones for Sat. and Sun, because knowing me I will get behind on one of the other 5 days, so I appreciate the extra 2 days to catch up.
Hope you can benefit from these tools too, as we seek to confidently approach the throne of God. That we can even approach His holy presence should keep us always in awe.
Shawn and I were blessed with the opportunity to spend two entire weeks visiting family in Houston over Christmas. The weekend after we arrived we were blessed to see my brother marry his college sweetheart Veronica. We enjoyed a beautiful wedding in the company of dozens of family members from Mexico and various parts of the U.S. After Christmas much of the family that had come to join us for the wedding had returned to their homes, which mean that my parent's home went from 20 or so people to 5. A bit of a drastic change to the social atmosphere, but we didn't mind the rest and quiet after we got used to it. And we got to sleep in a bed, now that they were available! So with most family gone and not a whole lot we wanted to do in town, Shawn and I developed an obsession with scrabble (we have to admit that we are still playing it 1 or 2 - or more- times a week!). Pretty soon we had my dad and mom joining the fun. It was also one of the highlites of our New Year's Eve Party- I know, pretty lame.
The two weeks also allowed us to hang out lots with my dear friend Lydia - I even convinced her to come to my family's New Year's Eve party. She is such a good sport. We enjoyed scrabble with her as well, as well as some other weird games (I already forgot the name - I just remember it had something to do with rolling little pig figurines). Toward the end of the trip, we were happy share in my tia's (aunt's) good news that after lots and lots of waiting and visits to fertility specialist, she and her husband are having a baby!! This news came after a few weeks (not sure about the time?) of her mustering up the guts to ask her pastor to pray for God to bless her with a child. There is so much more to this story that make it a sweet miracle - I am not at liberty to share more, but suffice to say that the God's timing was perfect. We were so blessed to have been able to be there when the news was unveiled!
So now we are back home, looking forward to another year of growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are part of a wonderful church family at Calvary Grace Church...We anticipate each Sunday with great gratitude for how we will be equipped through the ministry of God's Word to serve and love Christ.