Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Whirlwind-- literally

Ok, so we are back from our week-long vacation to see Allan and Christine. We had a great time and Iain thought his Aunt and Uncle were great. After we got home we spent the weekend visiting with Susan since she is leaving for college this Thursday, then I had my wisdom teeth out Monday and now we are having a hurricane. Ok, a tropical storm. Thank God it doesn't seem like it is going to be bad. We're getting some of the first bands as I type. Hopefully the power will stay on. And we only have 24 days until we leave the country! Yes, these are busy times.

Iain did great on our vacation. He barely cried on the plane at all, and managed to continue sleeping through the night most nights despite schedule disruptions. I was surprised by the heat. Nashville is even hotter than Fort Lauderdale! I was burning up because I don't have a lot of summer clothes that fit properly. All the new clothes that fit me now I bought with England in mind. We had a very laid-back vacation: we went swimming, saw a baseball game, went to a Shakespeare festival, visited some parks, and just hung out together. It was so good to see Allan and Christine again. We've really missed them since they moved away from Ft. Lauderdale.

I've been kind of bummed and stressed lately. I really hate goodbyes even as exciting as it is to move to England. So many things are changing right now-- even if we weren't moving, things are going to be very different around here. So many of our close friends have already moved or will be moving in the next few years, our church has a new pastor, we're finished at Knox, our house is being sold. I've struggled with wanting to cling to each moment before it slips away forever. But you can make yourself crazy thinking like that. So I'm trying to enjoy each day and to be content whatever my circumstances, thanking God for the blessings that He has given when I'm tempted to mourn their passing. Still, it is hard. Lately I've taken especial comfort in Isaac Watts' hymn Our God Our Help in Ages Past. We actually got to see some of his antique hymnals while we were in Nashville, which was very cool. It was another one of those little blessings from God that He uses to remind you that He is watching over you.

Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.

Under the shadow of Thy throne
Thy saints have dwelt secure;
Sufficient is Thine arm alone,
And our defense is sure.

Before the hills in order stood,
Or earth received her frame,
From everlasting Thou art God,
To endless years the same.

The busy tribes of flesh and blood,
With all their lives and cares,
Are carried downwards by the flood,
And lost in following years.

Time, like an ever rolling stream,
Bears all its sons away;
They fly, forgotten, as a dream
Dies at the opening day.

Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be Thou our guard while troubles last,
And our eternal home.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Much to do

As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people. Psalm 125:2

It is now officially less than one month until we leave for England and there is so much that must happen in order for things to go smoothly. I must confess that I don't have a lot of peace about this right now. Please pray for me friends. I am clinging to the promises of the Lord's protection and goodness. Specifically we need prayer that:

1. Our visas will be approved and arrive in good time.
2. We will be able to find the most economical way to ship our belongings.
3. That God will protect our hearts from fear and apprehension and help us to trust Him.

ForI know that the Lord is great,and that the Lord is above all gods. Psalm 135:5

Friday, August 18, 2006

An interesting read

I'm currently perusing "Reading Lolita in Tehran" by Azar Nafisi. (My sidebar is hopelessly out of date-- perhaps someday I will update it.) She is quite a competent literary critic and I've enjoyed her insights so far, though some of what she writes is over my head. She understands the transformative power of fiction. The books you read shape your soul.

But why is that? The question is bothering me. Why does fiction-- something made up, change who you are? How does fiction fit into a Christian worldview? Many Christians have condemned fiction as wicked or at the very least a waste of time. Yet it is a means of education that God Himself uses. As I ponder this, I think perhaps that the power of fiction is that it transports us into an alternate reality, or as Nafasi puts it, a new world is created. And there is such a thing as an alternate reality. This world is not our home. Perhaps there is something in our souls that tells us that this is not all there is, so we read fiction to satisfy our hunger for a new world. Nafaisi writes:

"Nabokov calls every great novel a fairy tale, I said. Well, I would agree. First, let me remind you that fairy tales abound with frightening witches who eat children and wicked stepmothers who poision their beautiful stepdaughters and weak fathers who leave their children behind in forests. But the magic comes from the power of good, that force which tells us that we need not give in to the limitations and restrictions imposed on us by McFate, as Nabokov called it. Every fairy tale offers the potential to surpass present limits, so in a sense that fairy tale offers you the freedoms that reality denies."

And that has echoes of the gospel in it, doesn't it? We are beset by sin and the devil, trapped in hopelessness and wickedness. But Christ supernaturally frees us from the bondage of sin and death and we are given access into a new reality.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Rest for the Weary

I have wonderful news! Iain is sleeping through the night! Last night he slept for 7 1/2 hours and the night before that he slept for 8! It's a miracle! Praise God. He is such a good boy. I've been trying to encourage him to sleep at night (feeding him a lot during the day, letting him settle himself back to sleep at night, putting him down for naps awake, swaddling & white noise) but really he did it on his own. What a big boy!

I just wanted to share that with you all-- I've been pestering everyone I know for advice on how to get him to sleep. Thanks! Here are some relatively recent pictures.

Iain with Tigger-- he thinks it is a good game when Tigger kisses him on the nose!

Also, Iain in his church clothes-- what a cutie!

And lastly, a smile while he's playing in his bouncy seat. I have to run, the baby is hungry again!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Road Trippin'-- or Some Kind of Trippin' Anyway

Well, last week we took our first mini vacation since Iain was born. We went to Tampa, which is normally a 4 hour ride, but with baby in tow, it morphed into a nearly 7 hour expedition! Needless to say, Mommy and Daddy were forced to cancel their overly ambitious extension of the trip to Gainesville. We were supposed to continue on to see some dear friends there, but that's a babyless 6 hour ride from home and we decided that it really wasn't feasible with the short amount of time we had. I am SO GLAD that we aren't driving to Tennessee when we take that trip! I guess these are the things you learn as a new parent! I'm thankful to have these trips to practice before the big move to England.

We saw Brian's beloved Tigers ("the best team in baseball", he'll proudly inform you) play two games in Tampa. Iain is already a devoted fan with a Tigers hat and a Tigers outfit sent to him from Brian's aunt in Detroit.

We also visited the Tampa Aquarium which was really nice. I thought Iain would sleep through it all, but he woke and saw the fish! I can't wait until he gets a little older and we get to see him interact with his environment more often.