Monthly Archives: August 2007

The Lord is My Shepherd

Watch this – it will make your day. 🙂

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Feeling a Little Off-Kilter

It’s been a weird couple of days, for at least a couple of reasons. For one thing, sleep has become more and more elusive. For the past several nights I’ve found myself waking up in the middle of the night and finding great difficulty in falling back asleep. Sometimes it’s due to sheer discomfort…sometimes it’s due to Beeper’s kicks…sometimes it’s due to thunder rattling the windows…sometimes it’s a combination of factors…sometimes it’s for no apparent reason at all! I am convinced that God is preparing me for the life of a newborn’s mother — but at the same time it is extra challenging, especially since I can’t yet reap the rewards of at least having a precious little cutie to hold in my arms, reminding me it’s all worthwhile. (Soon enough, I know… :)). Yesterday I really began to feel the lack of sleep taking it’s toll…I was tired and “out-of-it” virtually all day.

Then, last night I was sleeping quite soundly when I was awakened to the sound of thunder, the persistent flickering of lightning, and my husband telling me that the power had just gone out. Upon a quick look out the window, where we saw the wind bending our front shrubbery around, we determined that although there were no sirens that we could hear, it might be best to head downstairs for a few minutes, just until things died down outside. We’re sure glad we did! When we awoke this morning, the power was still out, and our neighborhood was a disaster! Leaves and branches everywhere, and some large trees fallen – some even uprooted! Thankfully our trees managed to remain intact, other than a few clusters of leaves that fell to the ground. And we discovered a large reason our power and phone were out – it was probably due to the large tree that had fallen on the power and phone lines one block over! Yikes! The power remained out all day…I finally called Xcel at around 2:00 this afternoon, and was told not to expect power until 3:00 tomorrow afternoon! Double yikes!

No power + lack of sleep + pregnancy = a girl who feels a little off-kilter. And who has bad hair (I couldn’t blow dry or straighten it. I know, I know…boo-hoo… :)).

The bright spot of today was that I got to spend the day with my friend Bethany, who was visiting from Nashville. We ate at Noodles (there are no Noodles in Nashville 😦 ), came back to our house and chatted for a couple hours in the dark (and warm – no AC!) living room, went out to eat at Snuffy’s diner, stopped by Northwestern Books and then Caribou (no Caribou’s in Nashville, either!). It was a fun time – here are a couple pictures from the day.

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The extra happy ending to the story: when Mark & I returned from dropping Bethany off tonight, the power was back on! It was a Christmas miracle!!! 🙂

As you can see, I’m still a little off-kilter…I think I’ll head in the direction of my bed. 🙂

Reflections on Pregnancy

Now that I am in the home-stretch of my first pregnancy, I thought I’d share some random observations I’ve made over the course of the last several months:

• Bella Bands (www.bellabands.com) are one of the greatest inventions ever.

• Many people seem to have no problem with openly staring at a pregnant woman, as though they’ve never before seen such an odd creature. And if they are not the staring type, alot of people you pass will at least let their gaze fall from your face, to your belly, back to your face.

• Swimming — even on the chillier of days — is one of the best activities ever! Yay for weightlessness!

• When swimming while pregnant, you find yourself more easily annoyed when people hang on/around the ladder – your only means for climbing in/out of the pool. Combine this mild annoyance with pregnancy hormones, and you’ve got a problem.

• When you’re pregnant, the tears really do flow a little more freely.

• Feeling a baby move around inside of you is one of the coolest things ever.

• You notice (and appreciate) alot more about little kids when you’re expecting one of your own.

• One comment that should never, ever be made to a pregnant woman: “So…there’s just one in in there?!”

• Many complete strangers are really nice to you when you’re pregnant.

• Sometimes complete strangers are able to predict, with accuracy, the sex of your child, based solely on the way you are “carrying”. This can be a little creepy. (For example: “Oh, I see you’re pregnant! And it’s a boy, right?”)

• Painting your toenails – or really any summertime foot maintenance at all – becomes sort of a lost cause when you’re pregnant. Too much work to bend over that belly.

• TLC (The Learning Channel) airs several “baby reality shows” each weekday – from 8-10 and then again from 1-3.

• Sleep becomes more elusive…yet more needed. Still trying to figure out how this works.

• It’s a pretty amazing experience!

What a Guy

Yesterday afternoon I came home from my 1/2 day of work to find that my wonderful husband had accomplished the following tasks:

•mowed the lawn

•washed the dishes

•swept and mopped the floors (the entire main level of ur house!)

•unloaded/reloaded the dishwasher

• cleaned the bathroom

• cleaned the laundryroom

•cleaned the basement

• did all the laundry – including folding it!

We had company last night, and he knew I’ve not been feeling the greatest and just wanted to make sure I didn’t have to worry about doing too much when I got home.

Have I got a great husband or what?!

Fun Times

I’m sitting here at the dining room table reflecting on a fun and full week. Here’s the rundown:

LAST WEEKEND: Mark & I traveled to Ames to celebrate his cousin Courtney’s wedding. We stayed with his brother and family, and enjoyed a fun and relaxing weekend, culminating with the wedding on Saturday. My sister-in-law is always such a fantastic hostess…she never seems to tire of allowing guests to stay with their family (though I’m sure she must!) and our stay with them is always full of good food, laughs and conversation.

TUESDAY: My friend Stacie and her two adorable kiddos came over for lunch, and we had some good conversation – plus, her kids got to put some of our baby toys to use, which was fun to see. 🙂

Then, that night we headed down to the Dakota County fair to see my friend Ashley sing with her choir, “Special Delivery”. It was fun to see them perform, and I was so proud of her for being a part of it. It was also just fun to get to go to the fair! I’d never been to this one before. It’s essentially a mini-State Fair (tons of food, a little midway, games, animals, barns, etc.) And considering the condition I’ll likely be in by the time the REAL State Fair rolls around this year, probably the closest I’ll get to it for the season! 😦

WEDNESDAY we had a midwife appointment, which went well – Praise God! Never having been pregnant before, appointments are always a little bit nervewracking, as I have no idea if what I’m experiencing is a normal pregnancy, or if bedrest is on my horizon. You just never know! We were also quietly worried that the baby was sitting in a sideways position, and were afraid that at this point in the pregnancy, such a thing would not be good. In fact, Tuesday night I spent some time in the “Inverted Position” (i.e. sitting upside down – knees on the couch, forearms resting on a pillow on the floor). We’d heard this was a great technique for getting the baby to turn, so we thought we’d give it a shot. It looked quite comical, no-doubt, and was definitely somewhat uncomfortable, but it may have worked…? By the time of our appointment, our midwife was quite sure baby’s head was down, and that even if it wasn’t, we have nothing to worry about at this point.

We followed up our appointment with an impromptu visit to the Stone Arch bridge, followed by a drive to the campus of the U, to observe some of the wreckage from the collapse. It was very sobering, to say the least, to drive across the 4th street overpass, which lies almost directly over — well, just to the north — of the beginnings of the portion of 35 that is now rubble. Having traveled this stretch of road countless times myself (and Mark having lived BLOCKS from this spot in college), I was stunned. Who would have ever pictured this happening?

Wednesday night I stopped over at the Bloomington pool, as has become a nearly daily ritual. With the heat index so high this summer, that place has been my refuge!!! I never realized just how good it would feel on this pregnant bod to swim! Not once have I had any difficulty adjusting to the sometimes frigid temperatures of the pool water. It’s great, and I’m already mourning the fact that it will close for the season on August 19! Hopefully, by then, the temperatures will be on their way down…

THURSDAY my mom, sisters and I took a little road trip to the Medford Outlet mall. We spent the afternoon perusing all the different shops and getting some great deals in the process. I got some great stuff for baby (and me :)) at the Gap, Carters, and Old Navy outlets – including an outfit for baby to come home from the hospital in! Mostly, it was just a fun “girls day” – the kind of thing we don’t do too often (but hope we do again!).

Tonight I am on my own, as Mark is at a friends house to celebrate the upcoming wedding of his dear friend, Josh. Josh – and his fiance, Allie – are such cool people. They are both on staff with Campus Crusade, ministering on college campuses. Tonight’s “bachelor party” sounds like a neat time of fun activities planned to bless them in lots of ways, and Mark is excited to be a part of it – especially as we are so sad that we won’t be able to be a part of their wedding (it’s in Chicago and just 12 days before our due date — too close to travel 😦 ). So…I spent the evening getting random activities done. Made a stop at my old store…made a Target run to finish picking up all the essentials I’ll need for my hospital bag…stopped at Blockbuster to drop off some movies and rented a decidedly mindless chick flick (“Must Love Dogs”…I’ve heard it’s good, and it has one of my favorite actors in it – John Cusack – so it can’t be all bad…??). 🙂 So, if you don’t mind, I think I’m going to go jump into some comfy jammies, crack open my box of Sweettarts, and settle in front of the TV to watch what could potentially be a pretty dumb movie. 🙂 Goodnight & happy weekend!!

From the Desiring God Blog

Putting My Daughter to Bed Two Hours After the Bridge Collapsed

August 1, 2007  |  By: John Piper
Category: Written Posts by John Piper, Current Events

At about 6 PM tonight the bridge of Interstate 35W over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis collapsed. I am writing this about three hours after the bridge fell. The bridge is located within sight of Bethlehem Baptist Church. Most of us who minister at the church cross this bridge several times a week. At this point I don’t know if any staff was on the bridge. Desiring God offices are about a mile from the bridge.

There are no firm facts at this point about the total number of injuries and fatalities. When we crossed the bridge Tuesday on our way out of town, there was extensive repair work happening on the surface of the bridge with single lane traffic. One speculates about the unusual stresses on the bridge with jackhammers and other surface replacement equipment. This was the fortieth anniversary of the bridge.

Tonight for our family devotions our appointed reading was Luke 13:1-9. It was not my choice. This is surely no coincidence. O that all of the Twin Cities, in shock at this major calamity, would hear what Jesus has to say about it from Luke 13:1-5. People came to Jesus with heart-wrenching news about the slaughter of worshipers by Pilate. Here is what he said.

There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

Jesus implies that those who brought him this news thought he would say that those who died, deserved to die, and that those who didn’t die did not deserve to die. That is not what he said. He said, everyone deserves to die. And if you and I don’t repent, we too will perish. This is a stunning response. It only makes sense from a view of reality that is radically oriented on God.

All of us have sinned against God, not just against man. This is an outrage ten thousand times worse than the collapse of the 35W bridge. That any human is breathing at this minute on this planet is sheer mercy from God. God makes the sun rise and the rain fall on those who do not treasure him above all else. He causes the heart to beat and the lungs to work for millions of people who deserve his wrath. This a view of reality that desperately needs to be taught in our churches, so that we are prepared for the calamities of the world.

The meaning of the collapse of this bridge is that John Piper is a sinner and should repent or forfeit his life forever. That means I should turn from the silly preoccupations of my life and focus my mind’s attention and my heart’s affection on God and embrace Jesus Christ as my only hope for the forgiveness of my sins and for the hope of eternal life. That is God’s message in the collapse of this bridge. That is his most merciful message: there is still time to turn from sin and unbelief and destruction for those of us who live. If we could see the eternal calamity from which he is offering escape we would hear this as the most precious message in the world.

We prayed during our family devotions. Talitha (11 years old) and Noel and I prayed earnestly for the families affected by the calamity and for the others in our city. Talitha prayed “Please don’t let anyone blame God for this but give thanks that they were saved.” When I sat on her bed and tucked her in and blessed her and sang over her a few minutes ago, I said, “You know, Talitha, that was a good prayer, because when people ‘blame’ God for something, they are angry with him, and they are saying that he has done something wrong. That’s what “blame” means: accuse somebody of wrongdoing. But you and I know that God did not do anything wrong. God always does what is wise. And you and I know that God could have held up that bridge with one hand.” Talitha said, “With his pinky.” “Yes,” I said, “with his pinky. Which means that God had a purpose for not holding up that bridge, knowing all that would happen, and he is infinitely wise in all that he wills.”

Talitha said, “Maybe he let it fall because he wanted all the people of Minneapolis to fear him.” “Yes, Talitha,” I said, “I am sure that is one of the reasons God let the bridge fall.”

I sang to her the song I always sing,

Come rest your head and nestle gently
And do not fear the dark of night.
Almighty God keeps watch intently,
And guards your life with all his might.
Doubt not his love, nor power to keep,
He never fails, nor does he sleep.

I said, “You know, Talitha, that is true whether you die in a bridge collapse, or in a car accident, or from cancer, or terrorism, or old age. God always keeps you, even when you die. So you don’t need to be afraid, do you.” “No,” she shook her head. I leaned down and kissed her. “Good night. I love you.”

Tonight across the Twin Cities families are wondering if they will ever kiss a loved one good night again. Some will not. I am praying that they will find Jesus Christ to be their Rock and Refuge in these agonizing hours of uncertainty and even loss.

The word “bridge” does not occur in the Bible. There may be two reasons. One is that God doesn’t build bridges, he divides seas. The other is that usually his people must pass through the deadly currents of suffering and death, not simply ride over them. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you” (Isaiah 43:2). They may drown you. But I will be with you in life and death.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life . . . will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Killed all day long. But not separated from Christ. We go through the river. Not over it. He went before us, crucified. He came out on the other side. He knows the way through. With him we will make it. That is the message we have for the precious sinners in the Twin Cities. He died for your sins. He rose again. He saves all who trust him. We die, but because of him, we do not die.

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.”

Talitha is sleeping now. But one day she will die. I teach her this. I will not always be there to bless her. But Jesus is alive and is the same yesterday today and forever. He will be with her because she trusts him. And she will make it through the river.

Weeping with those who weep, and those who should,

Pastor John

Psalm 71:20 You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again.

Bridge Collapse

It seems a bit ironic that my follow-up post to my post on “fear vs. safety” would be related to a horrific tragedy that hit just a little too close to home.

First of all, for the record, we are safe, as are our immediate families (and everyone else we know, as far as we know – although I did just receive an email that a dear friend of mine was sitting in traffic just a few short blocks from the bridge when it collapsed – if she would have left work 5 minutes earlier, she would have been on the bridge when it fell). Mark & I were at a restaurant in Prior Lake, finishing up a lovely meal with Mark’s parents & grandparents when the waitress came to our table and quickly directed our attention to the TV in the corner of the restaurant. We could not believe what we saw. We had both used that bridge dozens upon dozens (hundreds?) of times. Mark lived just up the street from there in college. I, in recent years, have traveled it many, many times, as well – just last Tuesday, in fact. It was very familiar ground and not at all the kind of road I would have ever thought twice about traveling (and I’m a safety freak!). I spent much of the night haunted, picturing myself on that bridge. It could have been me…could have been anyone, really.

It’s funny how these types of events serve as real “perspective-checkers”, isn’t it. You’re just living life as usual – complaining about petty things, focusing on the minute and mundane – until something like this happens, and WHAM! Suddenly your priorities are slammed back into place. Suddenly you realize just how precious your family and friends are…how fragile life is…how crucial every moment is in sharing Christ with others.

I’m praying that you and your loved ones are all safe…