Monday, December 20, 2010

the rest of the post

If you read my post below, I hope you didn't get the idea that I was complaining. I actually like doing and folding laundry. That post was just a little snapshot from a day that I took the time to notice how much laundry actually happens in this house. And I had a great quote to go with the pictures so.....

And from Saturday, here's an update: in 1 load of sheets, 1 load of towels, 2 loads of light laundry, 2 loads of dark laundry, and the 1 last load of the day because I hate to have laundry in the baskets on the Lord's Day, I folded 67 pairs of socks with 1 stray left over!! That's about 11 pairs of socks per person in less than a week.

Ok, someone with 5-13 children (more than us), come on, tell us how many loads you do a day and how many pairs of socks you've folded recently. Jump in with comments. We know you guys do laundry...!

I'm off to wash everyone's clothes from today's racking job.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

recently and repeatedly...

...over and over and over again. It never grows weary of piling...

(this was eight loads of laundry waiting to be folded, recently. Everything from sheets and towels to 2-3 loads of lights and darks, each. And I've probably folded 5 times that much since these pictures were taken. Off to fold some right now.)

And this is a quote to wade through the laundry with...
"...faithfulness means something precisely because it isn't glamorous. When we don't see the grandeur of God's working, but keep walking close to Him anyway, that's faith. So when you look at the next pile of laundry, look up and rejoice that something so utterly earthly can be taken up into the wonderful story of His saving His world from sin and death. In the light of eternity, you will see how it was so."
~Pastor Ben Miller

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Get the Gospel Into Your Empty Cisterns

This is a quote by THomas Watson that Lily and I adapted for modern times. We're a rich people! Enjoy.

"Get books into your houses; [get sermons into your ipod], when you have not the spring near you, then get water into your cisterns; so when you have not that wholesome preaching that you desire, good books are cisterns that hold the water of life in them to refresh you; [Sermon Audio is the site that holds the Gospel of life preached inits refreshing power to your weary soul]....get those good books that may acquaint you with such truths as may warm and affect your hearts, [and those sermons that may minister Christ to your starving heart when such nourishment is lacking in your own pulpit]." ~Thomas Watson, adapted by Sarah Blair and Lily Freeman

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

September 8th ~ September 29th

Ah! finally! The New York Trip post.

Caution: This is very long and I'm not even telling the half.

Before I say anything else I need to say that if you do not understand how much I love and have grown through Pastor Miller's ministry on Sermon Audio you will not understand why this trip was so exciting, looked-forward-to, and carefully documented. If you talk to me for more than 10 minutes you'll most likely hear me mention a Pastor Miller sermon and if that doesn't make sense to you, feel free to stop reading right here. You will not hurt my feelings at all. We'll have to talk sometime :)

First of all, I need to apologize for the lateness of this post. I actually started this post a long time ago, but then thought it best to ask the Millers if it was ok to post pictures of the kids on the internet. And then, when I got the answer to that question I was in the middle of helping a good friend of mine get ready for her wedding (and being in the wedding myself made the past month, or so, very, but busy). But, the wedding was on Saturday (pictures later, perhaps) and we are leaving for Thanksgiving Week tomorrow, so I thought today might be the day for the New York Post.

Secondly, I need to apologize for the fact that I do not have a family picture of the Millers. I don't even have a picture of Mrs. Miller. I know....pitiful. But my reason is this: I was going to take family pictures right before I left and I didn't because a huge tub of Legos spilled on the bathroom floor, I was half-way through unloading the dishwasher (some help, I know!), we were in the middle of a craft and.... well, I decided against the kodak moment.

I am also not intending to give you blow-by-blow, everything that happened in those three weeks. That would take a very long time. If you really want all those details come over and visit and I'll read you my journal (complete with train tickets and all the rest). To give you a taste of how awesome those three weeks were: I have never journaled in my whole life. In fact, writing is like torture for me (writing this post is killing me!), but I journaled those three weeks because there was so much I didn't want to forget. That's how great it was!

Here, then, are the highlights (and if there are any Millers reading this, well, here are the highlights from my point-of-view):

First of all, the getting ready to leave pictures:

These are the blankets and burp-rags I made for Baby Brieyn months before I left :) And if you take special note, I managed to get a book by Calvin (Sermons on Ephesians) and a book by Owen (Communion With God) into the pictures. Yes, that was very intentional :)

These are the The Day Before I Left pictures. A little packing tid-bit you should know: I chose to fly JetBlue because they are one of the few airlines that will still allow you to bring 1 checked bag and 2 carry-on items for free. Sweet! So, I was determined that I was NOT going to pay anything extra to bring my things with me. So I basically taunted the airline people. My checked bag had to be under 50 pounds. It was 47.5 pounds :) Poor Pastor Miller had to carry that bag from, I think it must have been the parking spot farthest from the terminal!! (Wouldn't you agree, Pastor Miller?) And, I put my purse in one of my 2 backpacks so I had the packing space of 2 backpacks but actually managed to get 3 carry-on items on the airplane. It all fit into the measuring guidelines it was just all very heavy! So, here are some pictures of the packing process:

And the Ruffle Outfit. My dear buddy, Gabby and I, picked that out together. I won't tell you how many months in advance we picked that out. Let's just say it was before the appropriate time of year to wear linen in 2010 :)

So I left our home at 7:20 on Wednesday, September 8th and got to the airport at 8:20. I have flown twice in my whole life and NEVER by myself. So Daddy helped me figure out what to do and where to go and then I was all by myself. The airport's a crazy place, folks. You just never know what kind of people you're going to meet in there! But it was all fine. I got to the gate and waited for a little while. I listened to Pastor Miller's sermon Resting in God the Father (one of my all-time favorite sermons. I'm not kidding, I think I've listened to it 30 times. It's one of those where I can quote huge sections of it). I didn't get to finish it, though, because my plane actually left early!! I was so excited! I got on the plane and read some of Owen (Communion With God). I actually still have my ticket as a bookmark where I was reading on the plane. I could probably get rid of that, now, huh?

Did I mention that Pastor Miller said it was rather chilly in New York, in September. It was not! I was wearing my ruffle shirt with the ruffle jean jacket. I had a backpack on my front and one on my back, I was lugging this 47.5 pound suitcase from the baggage claim to the door where Mrs. Miller was going to pick me up and I was sweating. Just a humorous moment :) Thankfully in all those 47.5 pounds I managed to pack my collection of sweaters AND t-shirts :)

So fast-forward a couple of hours: I've been at the Millers for probably 2 hours (most of that time was going to the grocery store and eating lunch) and Pastor Miller asks if I want to read a book with him? Who would pass that up? The next morning he came downstairs with 1) a Bavink article on Common Grace and 2) a stack of book suggestions. Unfortunately I didn't have much time to just sit and read so we didn't end up really reading it together but the idea was a highlight and I've been sending in my questions/thoughts since I've been home. By the way, "we" read God's Way of Holiness by Bonar. And this is only Day One.

Everything was a highlight. Can that be? I mean, just being there was a highlight. But I'll fast forward. Some food things that apparently are must-eats when you visit Long Island are: 1) Italian Ice (sorry, no picture. I ate it before I got back to the camera. But my flavor choice was Chocolate Mousse Chip, and Pastor Miller's comment was "Wow! You really are serious about chocolate.") 2) pizza from Umberto's 3) Long Island bagels. 4) chopped salad (the salad and chocolate dessert pictures are from the night Auntie Beka (Mrs. Miller's sister) and Auntie Sara (Mrs. Miller's cousin) and I went into the city. 5) eating at King Umberto's Italian Restaurant. I'm told it's way better than Little Italy. And it was really good! I don't have a picture of the lazagna I had, but the pictures of the desserts and fruits are from dinner there.

Ok, enough of the food, you want to see pictures of the kids, don't you? I would too if I were you. They're so cute! Every time I look at these pictures I miss them so much. And I'm sure Brieyn looks totally different now, but these pictures are precious, so enjoy....

I'll start with Katie. She's 7 years old and this is the only picture I have of here by herself.

Andrew is 6 years old and I think the only picture I have of him is with Katie when we were at the beach.

Kenton is 4 years old and he is SO cute! I wish you could hear him talk :) But, since you can't, here's a cute pictures.

And Baby Brieyn. Obviously, I have the most pictures of here....obviously.

(my favorite picture from the whole trip :)

Worship at Franklin Square OPC was awesome!! And the last Sunday I was there Pastor Miller actually preached at a church in The City. I was at first a little disappointed and then it hit me that he would preach an old sermon....which, of course, I've heard. It was the David and Goliath sermon! I love that sermon! Of course, it was modified to the time and place so it wasn't quite like it was when he first preached it, but I've heard it so many times I can supply my own favorite ending. The best part of that sermon is at the end, actually right before the Lord's Supper: "Christ bagged the head of that serpent. Bottoms up, saints of God!"

Going into The City with Pastor Shishko was so much fun. It was a little wet, but it was fun. I'm telling you, coming up out of Penn Station for the first time is very overwhelming. It's just huge. Everything's huge. I thought Charlotte was a big city. When I was flying home and I saw Charlotte compared to New York looks so cute :) Here are some pictures from different times in the city: in Penn Station; our tour of The King's College (in the basement of the Empire State Building. How cool is that?); Macy's; the train we took into The City; riding in a taxi in The City (that's an experience); driving over the Brooklyn Bridge (it's the best shot I could get from the back seat of a mini van.

And in closing, here are some pictures of 1) the complete works of Owen (Pastor Shishko and Pastor Miller both have all of Owen). Can you tell I'm an Owen fan? I had to take a picture because Pastor Miller's preaching (quotes in his preaching) are what got me reading Owen and it's some of the best stuff I've ever read...ever! 2) Costco, from out trip to Costco in New York! And yes, I wore my Costco hat, and no, I'm not embarrassed. 3) the day at the beach. That was so much fun. Except, because it was SUPPOSED to be cold, I didn't bring my beach attire, so I went in jeans and a t-shirt, which was so cool because then I looked like that cute family on the front of Training Hearts, Teaching Minds. Check it out. It was also a great day because I love the beach, but also thinking of that quote by O. Palmer Robertson at the end of the Resting in God the Father sermon (I told you I had parts of it memorized) "' a child on the seashore trying to gather the bottomless depths into her shallow pool.' Dig the trench, brethren. Stand there on the shore of the love God and say, 'Come and fill my shallow pool, infinite love of God...'" 5) Pastor Miller in the cave where all the work happens 6) the Miller's home and the box where I got more mail while I was there than they did 7) one more sweet picture of Baby Brieyn and 8) a picture of the plane because Ethan wanted a picture of the plane :)

(the waves were gorgeous!)

There are so many pictures I didn't share; so many things we did (not least of which was school every day) that I didn't mention; so many memories and precious conversations that I hold dear in my memory (and journal) that I did not record here. I feel, very much, the inadequacy of this post in sharing with you all that went on in those three weeks. But perhaps for now this will give you a small glimpse into my life (and theirs) in September of 2010.

Monday, November 8, 2010

November 9th

Today, Sarah is 19! Her last year as a teenager! A chapter of life is coming to a close, and I am glad to have shared so many of our preparatory years together. From little girls playing "mother", to assisting real mothers in their daily tasks, to acquiring skills in home economics, to finishing high-school, to teaching piano, to sermon listening, to book clubbing, to driving!, to our summer visits, weekly phone calls, and emails, and everything else we were busy about, having a like-minded friend to share in the growing is a gift from God. Whether we were in the kitchen together cooking lemony goodness, or talking about the issues, we've enjoyed the unity that we have as believers. One thing that I really admire in Sarah is her sunny disposition. She always strives to look on the bright side and she is constantly about serving others joyfully and cheerfully. I want to be like her when I grow up! :) If you are thankful for Sarah and the gifts God has given her, take some time today and let her know!

Happy Birthday Sarah!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

This Morning

"Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered."
Psalm 40:5

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Fall Family Fellowship 2010

It's that time of year again and I'm making my traditional recipe. I'm waiting for the chocolate to cool so I don't scramble the eggs :). Indelible Grace is giving me something to sing to and I think the chocolate it cooled, so I'm off! Here's the recipe. Enjoy!

Caramel Pecan Fudge Brownies
Fine Cooking recipe: November 2008

For the Brownies:
6 oz. (12 Tbs.) unsalted butter, cut into half-inch pieces; more softened for the pan
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 large eggs
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. table salt
3 3/8 oz. (3/4 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 oz. (1/4 cup) natural cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped (OPTIONAL ;)

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9x13-inch baking pan.
Put the butter and chocolate in a medium heavy-duty saucepan over low heat and stir constantly until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs until well blended. Gradually whisk in the sugar and then whisk vigorously until well blended. Whisk in the melted chocolate mixture, vanilla extract, and salt. Whisk in the flour and cocoa powder until blended. Stir in the pecans and then scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing it into an even layer with a spatula.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it, 20-22 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and, if necessary, gently press down and puffed areas with a spatula to make the top level. Let cool about 5 minutes.

For the Topping:
Make the caramel first:
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water

Fill a cup measure halfway with water and put a pastry brush in it; this will be used for washing down the sides of the pan to prevent crystallization.
In a heavy-duty 2-quart saucepan, stir the sugar, lemon juice, and 1/4 cup cold water. Brush down the sides of the pan with water to wash away any sugar crystals. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, occasionally brushing down the sides of the pan, until the mixture starts to color around the edges, 5-8 minutes. Gently swirl the pan once to even out the color and prevent the sugar from burning in isolated spots. Continue to cook until the sugar turns medium amber, about 30 seconds more. (Once the mixture begins to color, it will darken very quickly, so keep an eye on it.)

Remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the cream -- the mixture will bubble up furiously. Once the bubbling has subsided, add the butter and gently whisk until completely melted. Whisk in teh vanilla extract and salt. Pour the caramel topping over the brownies, using a spatula to spread it evenly over the entire top Let the brownies cool on the rack for 45 minutes and then refridgerate until the caramel topping is set, at least 1 hour.

For the Garnish:
5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 Tbs. heavy cream
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

Combine the chocolate and heavy cream in a small saucepan over low heat and stir constantly until melted and smooth. Pour the chocolate unto a small piping bag fitted with a 1/8-inch plain tip. (Or put it in a small zip-lock bag and seal the bag. Using scissors, snip off a corner of the bag to make a small hole.) Drizzle the chocolate over the brownies in a zig-zag pattern. Sprinkle the choppedd pecans over the top. Refridgerate until the chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.

Served chilled or at room temperature. (Well-covered brownies will keep at room temperature for up to 2 days and in the refridgerator for up to 5 days.)


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Poem

I just finished reading this on another blog and had to post it. It gets better and better as you read it. May it prove a blessing to you today, whatever your trials and perplexities. He is gracious even in the waiting.

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate . . .
And the Master so gently said,"Wait."

"Wait? You say wait?" my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!"
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I'm claiming your Word.

My future and all to which I relate,
Hangs in the balance, and you tell me to Wait?"
I'm needing a 'yes,' a go-ahead sign.
Or even a 'no,' to which I'll resign.

You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
Lord, I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply.

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate,
As my Master replied again, "Wait."
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,
And grumbled to God, "So, I'm waiting . . . for what?"

He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes met with mine . . .
And He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run.

I could give all you seek and pleased you would be.
You'd have what you want, but you wouldn't know Me.
You'd not know the depth of My love for each saint.
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint.

You'd not learn to see through clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there.
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me,
When darkness and silence are all you can see.

You'd never experience the fullness of love,
When the peace of My spirit descends like a dove.
You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.

The glow of My comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that's beyond getting just what you ask,
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.

You'd never know should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that My grace is sufficient for thee.
Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true,
But oh, the loss if I lost what I'm doing in you.

So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see,
That the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.
And though oft My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still "WAIT".

~Russel Kelfer

Monday, October 25, 2010

Spurgeon, Pour Our Tea

I just read this on another blog and was encouraged so much by it. So, allow Spurgeon to pour you a cup of tea this evening. He's from Britain, after all, it's bound to be a good cup, right? The Gospel is even better!

"Give us help from trouble." Psalm 60:11

When we come before God in the hour of trouble, remembering His great goodness to us in the past and therefore thanking Him, we should have faith enough to believe that the present trouble about which we are praying is sent in love. You will win with God in prayer if you can look at your trials in this light: "Lord I have this thorn in the flesh. I beg You, deliver me from it, but for now I bless You for it; for although I do not understand, I am persuaded there is love within it. Therefore, while I ask You to remove it, as it seems evil to me, yet it may to Your better knowledge be for my good. I bless you for it, and I am content to endure it as long as You see fit." Is not that a sweet way of praying? "Lord, I am in want: Be pleased to supply me; but meanwhile if you do not, I believe it is better for me to be in need, and so I praise You for my necessity while I ask You to supply it. I glory in my infirmity even while I ask You to overcome it. I triumph before You in my affliction and bless You for it even while I ask You to help me in it and rescue me out of it."

Monday, October 18, 2010


Good evening,

Just a note: I started a post on my trip to New York but am waiting to complete it because I need to get permission from Mrs. Miller to post pictures of her cute kids on the internet. Depending on her answer, I will finish the post with or without tons of Brieyn pictures.

In the mean time, go enjoy the crisp fall air, lovely changing leaves, and traffic that really does sound different.

Blessings to you in Christ Jesus,


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Summer Highlights

Good Evening,

Before I left for New York I fully intended to leave you with a slide show of our week together in July/August. Unfortunately, after letting the video upload all night, I woke up on the morning I was leaving for New York and discovered that for some reason (probably my lack of techno-savviness) the upload was unsuccessful. And now, 3 months later, I'm not feeling the urge to upload every picture (aren't you glad?), like I always do right after the fact. So, here are some highlights from...

My Graduation Party

(look! socializing)

Our Time At the Freeman's House

(it was so good to finally meet you, Anna Leigh!)

(The Knit Whits from Geneva OPC)

(freshly picked and arranged flowers and cups of coffee and tea made for a very fun afternoon. This was the highlight of the whole week for me.)

(playing Bananagrams and drinking tea)

Our Annual Photo Shoot 2010

Next up....the New York trip. I'm trying to catch up on my blogging :)