Maine Vacation 2012

It’s been a slow-blogging summer, but as summer comes to an end, I thought I’d post some photos from our summer vacation in York Beach, Maine.

Back in July, we returned to the same place as last year. Our time there was very relaxing, and the weather was great. It was hot the day we arrived and the day we left, but in between, we couldn’t have asked for better weather.

Ever since our trip to Maine last year, the kids occasionally talked about it and looked forward to returning again this year. In addition to the beach, the kids enjoyed climbing on the rocks at the cottage and along the rocky coast of Maine. Mommy and Daddy enjoyed eating seafood; the kids, not so much.

Ethan Goes to Kindergarten!

We have reached another big milestone in our family’s journey. Today, Ethan began Kindergarten!

Technically, tomorrow is the first day of school here, but Kindergartners went today for a half-day. They’ll be off tomorrow and then Ethan will go back Thursday for the whole day, and have Friday off (half of the Kindergartners will go Thursday and the other half on Friday). Next Tuesday, they’ll begin their regular, all-day routine!

In just the few years we’ve had Ethan, we’ve hit some important milestones. Today was a big one!

We all walked Ethan to his bus stop this morning. As Ethan boarded the bus, Sarah said, “Bye, best buddy!” As the three of us began walking home, Sarah added, “I’m gonna miss my best buddy!”

This will be an adjustment for all of us, of course, especially Sarah, who loses significant time with her playmate. But this is also a big year for Sarah as she goes to preschool next week!

Here are some photos from the morning …

Biblical Aspirations

Recently, I’ve read certain verses of scripture and thought, I want that to be a description of me. Here are a few statements I want to describe me …

Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.” (Luke 5.16, NLT)

God’s description of David: “… a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.” (Acts 13.22, NLT)

He (Abraham) was fully convinced that God was able to do what he promised.” (Romans 4.21, CEB)

He (Abraham) went out without knowing where he was going.” (Hebrews 11.8, CEB)

He (Moses) chose to be mistreated with God’s people instead of having the temporary pleasures of sin.” (Hebrews 11.25, CEB)

People of faith who died in faith seeing the promises without having received them: “They confessed that they were strangers and immigrants on earth.” (Hebrews 11.13, CEB)

I’m sure there are many other great aspirations in the Bible. If there’s a particular one you’d like to add to the list, please leave a comment below.

Songs for the Valley

I love listening to music, especially worship music. Songs have always played an important role in my journey. See Songs for Leaders.

More recently, as I’ve been trying to manage stress better, some songs have been ministering to me.

The first song is “Steady My Heart” by Kari Jobe. Of course, the song has a practical application for me because I’ve had trouble over the last several weeks with an increased heart rate. But it’s certainly a great song, spiritually.

“Steady My Heart” begins …

Wish it could be easy. Why is life so messy. Why is pain a part of us? There are days I feel like nothing ever goes right. Sometimes it just hurts so much. But you’re here, you’re real. I know I can trust you, even when it hurts, even when it’s hard, even when it all just falls apart. I will run to you, cause I know that you are lover of my soul, healer of my scars. You steady my heart. You steady my heart.

The song ends …

I’m not gonna worry. I know that you got me right inside the palm of your hand.

It’s a great reminder!

Another song that’s been on my heart and mind lately is “This Is the Day” by Phil Wickham. The song speaks of a new beginning …

This is the day when the lost are found. This is the day for a new beginning. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound. Oh, can you hear? All the angels are singing, this is the day, the day when life begins.

I’ve long said every follower of Jesus needs to know “Blessed Be Your Name” by Matt Redman. All of the words are good, but this part has been on my mind most of late …

Every blessing you pour out, I’ll turn back to praise. When the darkness closes in, Lord, still I will say, Blessed be the name of the Lord. Blessed be your name. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Blessed be your glorious name.

The song also asserts …

You give and take away. You give and take away. My heart will choose to say, Lord, blessed be your name.

One other song I’ve been listening to a lot lately is “All I Am” by Phil Wickham. It’s a song of surrender, and surrender in especially important in dark valleys. Again, all of the words are good, but I especially love the opening lines …

Take these hands, I know they’re empty, but with you they can be used for beauty in your perfect plan. All I am is yours. Take these feet, I know they stumble, but you use the weak. You use the humble, so please use me. All I am is Yours.

The chorus adds …

I give you all my life, I’m letting it go. A living sacrifice, no longer my own. All I am is yours. All I am is yours.

Thank God for music that inspires and encourages!

What songs encourage and challenge you in your walk with God?