Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Dr. Who?

Much of my life has been spent desiring not to stay in one place, not to be committed to any one thing for too long, not to be predictable...(David speaking) but what I have found about myself is that this drive has been commanded by my pride and selfishness. Many of the lessons and Bible studies I have completed in the last two years have shown that pride is the pinultimate root of much of my sin. Up to this point, I have people joking (but honestly) by saying "Now who was that doctor who was nice, tall, had a beard, and would do our pre-orthodontic extractions? Hey Alene, do you remember the name of..." I could go into some of the places where I previously worked and most would not remember me by name. In fact if I was a betting man, I could win a large sum of money by proving myself right. I have become the nameless doctor, except the next patient who didn't forget my name. Just kidding, Photoshopped.
Now the quandry changes faces. Will I be staying in one place so that people will know me by name, or will I just be the next nice guy with a goatie, tall, and reddish hair. I think many of us ask this question, desiring to make impacts on those that cross our paths, but many will hit us head on and we still won't remember their names. My challenge both to myself and to you is to remember 80 percent of the names of the people you meet this week. Write them down, do crazy associations, ask again before you stop talking to them. None of us want to be greeted by, "Oh yeah, I met you last week and I can't remember your name" In other words "Oh yeah, I was making conversation last week just to pretend to be nice and I don't give a rip about you, because I can't call you by name" Memory is no excuse, if you can memorize hundreds of movies and their actors, the number of shoes in your closet and what outfit they match, all the lines in Napoleon Dynamite or Raising Arizona, or any number of absolutely worthless things, you can memorize the people's names you come in contact with.
Just as I don't want to be known as Dr. Who, so does everyone that you meet.
"I have called you by name; You are mine" Isaiah 43:1

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Homelessness Begins Now

Tomorrow we begin our journey. The movers arrive at 0800 and will be packing most of our possessions. The container arrives Tuesday at 1000...and everything we own including our car will be whisked to port and cross the ocean...hopefully arriving in Atlanta unharmed the beginning of November. It is a daunting task to prepare for this move. I have made sure about 50 times that our passports are in a room that won't be packed up. I keep telling myself that anything I forget and need in the next 6 weeks can be purchased...except important documents like passports and car titles, etc.

Anyway, there won't be any pictures for a while. Possibly a LONG while, and there might not be many posts either. We will be staying in a hotel on post until the 29th. I look forward to watching American TV and having someone else make my bed and clean my bathroom. Yes!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

She's Wearing Pink

First, these are some family pictures that were taken by our dear friend Jessica last month. We took them at Burg Lichtenburg, which is 4km down the road from our house. As I said...who gets to take family pictures at a castle? Sweet!

Onto other news Hadleigh had her 6 month appointment today and weighed in at 6kg and is 67cm long. From my calculation that is about 13 pounds and 26.5 inches. She is now more average in her height, but still dainty in weight. She is at 3% for weight. I was assured that she is fine and healtht and not to worry about her weight being low. She is still gaining, so I figure all is right with the world.

After her appointment I went over to Patient Liason to pick up translated records from Hadleigh's birth. This is the part where you will sscratch your head. I have Hadleigh dressed in blue jeans, a pink shirt and a pink sweater. OK, it was not hot pink, but it wasn't pastel either, it was obvious that she was wearing pink. In the 5 minutes that I had to wait for the records 2 German women asked if she was a boy or a girl, and one German man just called her a boy.

Now there are lots of times when I have Hadleigh in green or blue and I am totally fine with someone asking me if she is a boy or a girl when she is wearing a neutral color. But when she is obviously wearing pink...I don't understand. So, my conclusion is, that since only Germans seem to not know whether she is a boy or girl, Germans must dress their boys in pink sometimes. There is no other explanation.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Thoughts on Becoming Thirty

One of my good friends has a theory on thirty. When she turned 30 she claimed that she had not entered her 30s, she was just on the brink of them. When she turned 31, she said that she had not yet entered her 30s because 30s denotes more than 1 and since she was only 31, she wasn’t really in her 30s. This year when she turned 32 she gave up. She asked me if I was going to follow in her theory and I kindly declined. I feel good to be entering this new decade. My 20s were interesting but I think that I will enjoy my 30s even more. Onward and upward.

I thought that in honor of this occasion I would jot down some milestones of these past 10 years…good, bad and ugly.

Graduated college

Worked a regular job for 7 years (meaning 40+ hours a week)
Reach Out Ministries- 1 year
World Relief, with refugees- 1 year
Mission to the World, with 2 year missionaries- 4 years
Army Education Center- 1 year

Spoke in Chapel at Asbury
Taught a seminar at PWOC Annual Training Conference
Had an article published

Lived in 3 different states, and 1 different country
Beginning with post-college years, my first move was to Atlanta. Since that move I have moved 8 more times (not including the upcoming one back to Atlanta), 3 of those moves were with Dave.

Visited 41 states (in my whole life I have only missed 3, Alaska, Vermont and Oklahoma)
Traveled in 23 Countries

Owned a VW, Mercedes-Benz and BMW…I have purposely excluded the years of these cars.

Got married
Became an Aunt
Had a baby

Been involved in 4 different churches:
EVFree, Newbury Park, CA
First Alliance, Lexington, KY
Intown Community Church, Atlanta, Georgia
Good Samaritan 0930 Protestant Chapel Service, Baumholder, Germany

Mixed into all those things have been lots of difficult experiences. Over the last 10 years I have grown up and am beginning to see the many flaws in my personality. I see my daily struggle with sin, things I have done and things I have left undone. I have hurt people with my words and actions and my lack of compassion. I see that often I desire control more than peace. I like things my way and want to be right at all times.

I hope these next 10 years will be filled with many more adventures, but also a lot of growing up. I hope that I will diligently seek the Lord, and that He will refine those areas in my life that are in desperate need of work. I hope that I will learn how to show compassion to those in need, and maybe even to those that I don’t think are deserving of compassion. I hope that during these next 10 years I will grow in my awareness of my own sin and my need daily for the saving work of Christ.

Yes, Ja, Si, Oui

I am so confused. In the last 8 days I have tried to operate in 4 different languages. Of course when we were in Spain I could only understand what folks were saying after they had walked away. Dave kept telling me I was useless and asked why he had brought me along. We return from Spain to Germany, where I can't even begin to claim that I understand a thing that they say.

Of course, while we are in Germany, we still operate a lot in "America" aka Baumholder Army Post. So I still use my English all the time.

This past weekend Dave whisked me off to Luxembourg City for dinner where we ate at fabulous Italian-French retaurant. They speak French in Luxembourg, and I know that...it is my favorite city, but Dave had to keep correcting me because I kept responding with si, instead of oui.

Now, back in Germany I am at it again. I ran to the little flower shop, which I will have to say is the best thing in down-town Baumholder and picked up a beautiful bouquet of flowers for our neighbor who is ill. I paid 12e for it, and if I had been in the states it would have cost me about $30. Anyway, she asked me about Hadleigh and instead of saying Ja, I said Si. I then tried to show off my German by telling them that Hadleigh was 6 months old...then she asked me another question to which I responded...again...with the dreaded si.

I don't think I won any points today, but I think Hadleigh's smile smoothed it over for me.

Monday, September 11, 2006


Yesterday was my 30th birthday. I will write more later on some thoughts about turning 30, but I wanted to post this sweet picture of my family. We took this yesterday after my Fiesta party.

He Does All Things Well

Yesterday our Chaplain did it again. He delivered a wonderful gospel-filled sermon. It was beautiful, and just what I needed to hear. His spoke out of Mark 7.31-37 when some friends brought Jesus a man who was deaf and mute. Jesus healed the man and the crowd proclaims “He does all things well.” He focused on this sentence and noted that this can be applied past, present and future. I can look back on my life and see that he does all things well. I can look at my life presently and rejoice that he does all things well and I can trust him that he does all things well in the future. It was such a wonderful reminder to me, as we are in the midst of this huge transition, that I can trust Him. He is faithful. Just as He has provided for me in the past and presently He will provide for me tomorrow, and the next day and next week and next month. It is wonderful to relax in that.

Dave sang a duet during the offeratory, which was wonderful because it was “Come Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy” but it was Indelible Grace’s redone version. One of the lines is “If we tarry ‘til we are better we won’t ever come at all”. The Chaplain tied in the song with his sermon, noting that we cannot do all things well, only He can and if we wait to come to him until we have things under control, or until we have our act together, we won’t ever come to him. Jesus came to save sinners, He came to save me, not because I was so good, but because He is so merciful.

Young, Restless and Reformed

We just saw the September edition of Christianity Today whose cover story is "Young, Restless and Reformed". It also has a picture of a T-shirt that says "Jonathan Edwards is my Homeboy."

It is a pretty fascinating article, covering what they say is a new rise, and renewed interest in Reformed theology. It is interesting as it covers this rise more in the Baptist circles, than to the "normal" denominations that people generally attribute this theology. Actually the Baptist church has strong roots in this theology, especially with Charles Spurgeon.

The article talked about how the Emergent Church tends to get a lot of press these days, but that this move back to the scriptures and the sovereignty of God is bigger than the EC movement. I was interested to read that. We aren't very familiar with the EC movement since we have been in Europe for several years, but from what I have read, there are a couple things that sound interesting, but I am not a fan of it altogether. I think that it is important for us to come together and worship and celebrate the sacraments together (communion and baptism). Honestly, I like church, and I really don't think that we have to water things down or take things out for other people to see Jesus and be moved by the Holy Spirit.

Anyway, the CT article isn't posted on teh web yet, but I do have a link to an article that was printed in By Faith mag last year. The article is entitled
"A Growing Hunger for Honesty and Authenticity"

It actually talks about a church in Decatur, Georgia that Intown helped plant. Happy reading.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Term of the Week

Once a week I receive an email with a theological term. At one point I used to receive an email with a word of the day, that gave some obscure word and its definition. That helped me expand my vocabulary, but this helps expand my understanding not only of theological terms, but also of scripture. The term not only comes with a brief explanation, but also an extensive article citing its scriptural backing.

Tomorrow we will be attending our last Reformation Night. Once a month for the last 9 month, several folks from the Chapel community who are Reformed in theology have gotten together to share a meal and have a lively discussion on differing topics. We listen to a discussion on CD and then discuss the issues they have brought up. Though we all generally hold to the Reformed theology and the doctrines of grace, we all come from differing backgrounds and so it is always fun to agree and disagree while seeking to understand what scripture is saying. We have discussed things like, justification, imputation, original sin, law vs. grace. It is so fun. I love Reformation Night. Tomorrow our topic is “Who Saves Whom? What About Free Will”. SO, in light of our topic I have decided to post the brief definition of “Free Will” I received via email. If you want the see the article with the scriptural backing, you can visit the White Horse Inn and look for an article with the above mentioned title.

Big Religious Term: "Free Will"

The essence of free will is choosing according to our desires. The will is free to choose whatever it desires. With regard to salvation, the question then becomes, what do fallen human beings desire? Jonathan Edwards said that as fallen human beings we retain our "natural freedom" (the power to act according to our desires), but lose our "moral freedom" (the disposition, inclination, and desire of the soul for righteousness). In the Fall, we lost all desire for God. But because we can still choose according to our desires, we choose to sin and are accountable to the judgment of God. In this sense, the freedom of our will is a curse. All human beings desire to flee from God unless and until the Holy Spirit performs a work of regeneration. That regeneration changes our desires so that we will freely repent and be saved.

This understanding of human free will is not deterministic because determinism teaches that our actions are completely controlled by something external to us, making us do what we don't want to do. This is coercion and is opposed to freedom. How can our choices be determined but not coerced? Because they are determined by something within -- by what we are and by what we desire. They are determined by ourselves. This is self-determination, which is the very essence of freedom.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

6 Months

Today Hadleigh is 6 months old. On the eve of her 6 month birthday she cut her first tooth. Her daddy was very proud.

She has her 6 month check-up next week, so I do not have her stats.

She is sitting up with some help. It is a little hard for her to practice because all of our floors are hardwood and tile. But she is doing a fair job at sitting.

She is on her third day of her brown rice cereal and it is going better. She isn't making the funny face anymore and is taking more to idea of a spoon in her mouth. She does like to chew on the spoon.

She is very responsive, giggles, sings, babbles, screams, and generally interacts with people. She is also saying ma-ma, though there doesn't seem to be a correlation between the word and me. But it is fun to hear.

She is rolling around everywhere and scooting on her belly to get things that she wants. She can scoot 360 degrees to see her mama.

She still enjoys her swing, and playmat and she is exploring her play saucer-thingy. She only has 10 more days of playing on them before they are packed up for 6 weeks.

We are halfway through reading Anne of Green Gables. She especially liked the part Anne had to apologize to Rachel Lynde. She also seems to enjoy any book we put in front her and LOVES to turn the pages.

She seems to be allergic to formula, so onward and upward with nursing.

She is still a champ of a sleeper, but had two weeks in there where she was eating every 3 hours through day and night. I thought I would die, but she has chilled out and now back on a 4 hour schedule and sleeping from 6pm-6am with a 4am feeding.

She has logged 10 countries under her belt, and has put her feet into the North Sea, the Mediterranean, and the Adriatic. Once we arrive in America she is going to work on seeing all 50 states. She is a super traveler, enjoying planes, trains, boats, buses, cars, and gondolas.

That is about it.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Miss Hadleigh Claire Eats

The anticipation has been building for quite a while. After weeks of reading, planning and preparing, we fed Hadleigh her first meal tonight. Yummy, yummy, rice cereal.

Several months ago we decided to take on the adventure of making our own baby food. I read a couple books and it isn't difficult, and it is better for her and cheaper. So I thought I would give it a try. Today I bought brown rice and I ground it up and boiled it. 10 minutes later we had several servings of baby cereal.

She has been very interested in food recently, so I knew she would be thrilled when the spoon was finally headed in her direction. But as she ate, she became very confused and unsure about this new substance. Part of this was my fault...being a novice baby food maker, I failed to grind the rice fine enough, so I think there was too much texture for her. Tomorrow we will try again, with finer ground rice.

Her facial expressions were hilarious...you can get a glimpse of them in the pictures.

Last Trip

This past weekend we went on our "last" European vacation. I have last in quotations, because I hope it is just the last for now, and not our last forever.

We headed down to Spain and had a wonderful 5 days of summer. Our camera was on the fritz, so unfortunately we don't have any pictures, but you can just picture in your minds us sitting on the beach and that almost completely sums it up. I'll let Dave elaborate on the trip as I know he needs to write something for the blog.

We had a great time, and on the 3rd day Hadleigh enjoyed dipping her feet into the Mediterranean.

Now we are switching gears, so I don't have time to feel melancholy about our last trip. Two weeks from today our home will be invaded with movers and in 4 weeks we will be headed to Knoxville for Hadleigh's first visit with her grandparents, great-grandma, cousins and Aunt Angie. I think this next month is going to be a major trip.