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 busy....fun, 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 City....it 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) "'...like 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