Thursday, April 30, 2009

God's provision

this is my 100th post, so i feel pressure to say something profound. instead i am just going to tell you what has been going on in our lives lately. i know i said as recently as my last post 1 week ago that we would probably not buy a house until after residency. well, just kidding! in an amazing turn of events, it looks like we will be buying one after all. we are waiting to finalize the contract, but if all works out, this will be God's abundant provision for our family.

if you know us, you know we have rented in the downtown area of our city for the last five years. this neighborhood is a mixture of folk we like to call "urban hippies" (you know, ride your bike to work, save the earth one organic vegetable at a time, world peace type folk),urban poor, and a few concerned more with the historic preservation of the buildings and such than the actual people who live here. sometimes we have no idea what we are doing here besides loving and knowing our neighbors and seeking to reflect Christ in our marriage and family. however, we do not feel like God has released us from living here. we have been tempted to leave anyway on many occasions as we have had children and felt the challenges of raising a family in this type of environment. we discovered lead paint in our apartment-lots of it peeling all over-and we have covered the dangerous spots with packing tape. our ceiling is sagging over our stairs and may collapse in the near future. we park on the street and fear the dangers of getting two babies to the car safely. we have to walk to the various green spaces for marit to safely play and we long for a little bit of yard for her to enjoy.

we have gone through seasons of discontentment/unrest about our living situation and have been unable to determine what we were to do. any better renting situation has not become available. the houses that have come on and off the market were either too expensive or in need of major renovation and adam certainly will not have the time to do it during residency. and yet we feel called to this neighborhood. adam has said many, many times "we are not buying a house and if we do, it will not be in our neighborhood." and so we have just been waiting and watching to see what next steps we were to take.

there has been an amazing change that has occurred in adam's heart in the last week or so through a homeless man, c, with poor health. he befriended adam and has been coming around for food on occasion. we had a little problem with him banging on our door while i was home alone (breaking the agreement adam and c had to not come to our house unless he knew adam was home until we got to know him better). adam had a confrontational conversation with c that was not gentle or careful and c left. adam came inside and was filled with remorse for not treating c with dignity and respect that every human deserves, so he went to find him and apologize. c was dumbfounded and quick to forgive and kept saying "you came looking for me?". adam was able to share some of the Gospel with him as his own eyes were opened to how God views people and cares for the homeless, sick, hungry just as deeply as for the upright, graduating medical student, and father. all that to say, adam has been re-energized to live in the city and we both want our children to grow up seeing people like c and brokenness and to know that God's redemptive grace heals these people and he wants us to participate in that process of redemption. i don't know if that all makes sense or not. i'm not trying to take a moral highground or anything. i'm talking about what is right for our family. these kind of things look different from family to family and brokenness is just as prevalent in wealthy neighborhoods...just covered up a little better.

anyway, as adam's heart has been changed some, other things have been happening on the housing front. we discovered that residents can actually get really good mortgages that do not require a down-payment or private mortgage insurance (i guess banks think we will one day buy a $600,000 house...yeah right). that has always been our struggle when we consider buying a house...we just don't have a bunch of up-front cash right now and want to be careful not to get in over our heads with mortgages and such. also, the government is giving $8000 to first-time home buyers right now. so, we have learned that buying a house is not really that unrealistic for us, but good grief do we want to own a 100yr old house?

yes we do! especially since it has already been renovated completely. there is no lead paint because nearly all the old plaster has been removed except for a square above the fireplace. this is one of the first houses that we have looked at in our neighborhood that is actually in our price-range and our payments will be about the same as our rent has been (most likely because the street it is on has not gentrified yet...more opportunities for ministry if you will). it sits on an enormous lot (a rarity here as well) and the yard just needs landscaping, but has so much potential. God is so gracious to provide (assuming the contract is finalized...they have verbally accepted our offer) a roof over our heads, but He did not have to also include an awesome kitchen with new appliances (!!) and 2400 sq feet of space for our family to grow into. did i mention that this house is across the street from one dear family from our church and the backyard backs up to the yard of another one? if it really happens, we may not ever move. His provision really is so abundant.

i know, it is 100yrs old and we are certain to find problems over time. we are not unrealistic, but right now we are just busy being overwhelmed and excited! pray that if this is God's best for us, the process will continue to go smoothly. i'll keep you posted as the contract is finalized and the inspections take place...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

excerpt from the "wives panel"

i was asked to be on this panel of medical wives today. it was a wonderfully encouraging time and i figured i may as well post the thoughts i had leading up to it as we were given the questions ahead of time. maybe later i will post some thoughts on the wisdom i gleaned from the "real adult wives/moms" that were there...we shall see...

1) How do you manage expectations regarding quality time with your husband?

when i read this question out loud to adam on sunday, we both burst out laughing as this is one area in which we have a lot of room to grow. even this weekend we had to step back and evaluate our expectations for our time together.

small children season (especially 15 months apart) is just tough with or without med-school. it is tiring, distracting, and sometimes consuming.

thus we have to be realistic with our expectations. we don't go on long or expensive dates because time and money are so limited. but we are able to confine the kids to the car or stroller or backpack so we can have relatively uninterrupted conversation.

we try to make the most of their sleeping time (though this is also when we try to accomplish many other things).

we must continually remind each other to be intentional, to be engaged with one another when we are together.

we can also avoid a lot of hurt feelings if we just resolve with God's help to be more gracious to one another in general-let more things go-be slow to anger, quick to forgive, careful with our words, cut out the criticism. as james 1:19-20 says " know this my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God"
and there are a bunch of scriptures in proverbs about nagging, critical women, so we should not be this way!

whether you have kids or not yet, the principles can still apply: be creative, intentional, realistic. and don't ruin your precious time together with over-sensitivity, quick words, anger, or criticism. rather, let grace abound!

i have also found it to be tremendously helpful to be filling my mind with wisdom from other experts on being a Godly spouse. i have found these books to be wonderfully encouraging as they are easy to read slowly and in short increments of time:
Fearlessly Feminine by Jani Ortlund
Let Me be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot
This Momentary Marriage by John Piper

2) Describe your experience having two children during medical school. How has this affected you, your husband, and your marriage?

Ok, so Marit was born at the beginning of Adam's 3rd year and Graham in the middle of 4th year. if i was to pick one descriptor for the last two would be CRAZY and maybe a little foolish. we did not intentionally have them so close together, but we are thankful for it now and think they will be great playmates. we are also glad that graham will be to a somewhat easier age before residency starts (on a predictable schedule and such).

after laboring intensely over the decision, we decided for me to retire from my nursing job. i had used up a lot of my maternity leave being on bed-rest and the idea of returning to work filled me with dread and stress instead of excitement. we also did not have a great childcare situation. it was a hard, hard decision, but definitely the right one for our family. every family is different though and this scenario plays out differently as the context changes...

however, quitting my job was a great financial sacrifice for us as that left us just with adam's loans to live on. we are learning to be content with a simple lifestyle, we probably won't buy a house until after residency, and we don't really have extra money for anything. we love our sweet family and our simple life though!

i must say that having two kids in school has really worked good things in our hearts (and we are continuing to learn these lessons). we are constantly bumping up against our selfishness and our tendency to be discontent with our circumstances. it has been so great for us to be forced to deal with these sins now as i'm sure they will always be struggles for us.

adam has been really faithful to use his time well so that when he is home (especially during busier months), he can be engaged with us and enjoy us. he hardly ever studies at home (in fact for his step 2 cs, he just studied in the parking lot before the test!).

our marriage has faced challenges for sure with a lot of busy and a little stress, but overall we feel our life is richer with children. dealing with our selfishness as parents makes us better spouses too!

happy month day wiggle worms!

munchkins are 21 and 6 months old today. they grow so fast and are such precious blessings to us. i particularly like the one of marit laying an egg...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

african children's choir

we went to a concert of these amazing children the other night. we sat on the front row and marit clapped and smiled, while graham squirmed with joy. these children have overcome tremendous hardship to act as ambassadors to the western world of the hope that African children have. i pretty much cried during every song thinking about these children (all have lost one or both parents to war, famine, disease) and the lives they lead back in Africa. we have been to Africa (on a short-term medical trip) and it is always good to be reminded that the world is so much bigger than our city, state, country....that there is much greater poverty and hardship that exists than our own. look around at the website: and notice the tour dates and see if you can make it to a concert. don't forget to bring your checkbook like we did! allow your mind and heart to broaden to see and love the whole world.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

after a run in the rain

with my little cheerful and sweet running partner

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter footage

poor adam had to work, but here are a couple shots of our visit to his parent's house without him. we had a wonderful Easter service at church and i was able to sing in the choir with my beautiful sister auntie char helping me with munchkins 1 and 2. praise Jesus for dying and rising that we might know Him and live lives that glorify Him, thus fulfilling the purpose for which we were created.

marit loved her fancy dress (a gift from a sweet friend for her birthday that finally fits her-she's petite), her bunny ears that she shared with graham, her own personal egg hunt, and grandpa's yummy ham and bunny cake.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Arise for Easter

Arise, My Soul, Arise
©1996 Kevin Twit Music. Words: Charles Wesley. Music: Kevin Twit.

Arise, my soul, arise, shake off your guilty fears;
The bleeding sacrifice, in my behalf appears;
Before the throne my Surety stands,
Before the throne my Surety stands,
My name is written on His hands.
CH: Arise (arise), arise (arise), arise
Arise, my soul, arise.
Arise (arise), arise (arise), arise
Arise, my soul, arise.
Shake off your guilty fears and rise

He ever lives above, for me to intercede;
His all redeeming love, His precious blood, to plead;
His blood atoned for every race,
His blood atoned for every race,
And sprinkles now the throne of grace.

Five bleeding wounds He bears; received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers; they strongly plead for me:
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Nor let that ransomed sinner die!”

The Father hears Him pray, His dear anointed One;
He cannot turn away the presence of His Son;
The Spirit answers to the blood,
The Spirit answers to the blood
And tells me I am born of God.

My God is reconciled; His pardoning voice I hear;
He owns me for His child; I can no longer fear
With confidence I now draw nigh,
With confidence I now draw nigh,
And “Father, Abba, Father,” cry.

will work for food

i just wanted to post a quick list of the odd jobs we have been about lately to make ends meet...we have been blessed to have many opportunities to earn money in the last few weeks, despite our economy.

*adam has been catering with a local business for a few events here and there (they love him because of how precisely he follows directions and how exactly he cuts things...wouldn't you want a doctor preparing your food?). this is a great job because adam gets paid by the job with a check and the leftovers!
*our amazon book business has been fairly profitable...they just paid us $1100, but some of that will be given to those who gave us their books to sell
*we have been dog/house-sitting
*we sold a few items of baby gear on Craig's list
*babysitting (perhaps)
*we got a refund for our kayak storage, since it was stolen earlier this year
*my dad paid adam a "finder's fee" to find my sister a car after she totaled her jetta
*adam has been working 14hr days this week at a local event bussing tables...he texted me earlier to tell me that he "dropped an enormous tray of gourmet chicken in the middle of the dining hall." ah, food service. i was telling someone yesterday how hard it was for adam not to see marit for 5 days straight expecting a little sympathy. alas, my friend is a navy wife and sometimes goes for months to a year without seeing her husband...i know we could have it so much worse!
*i haven't sold any jewelry yet, but i have ideas (if my munchkins ever allow me to have two consecutive thoughts in one sitting...)
*adam replaced a cracking plaster wall with sheet-rock in our dining room for our land-lord. now we just need to repaint the room...any suggestions on color? may as well change the color since we have to buy paint regardless...i'm thinking a shade of vintage red
*we sold our well-loved, very old, not running truck to a junk collector
*we changed some things around in our utilities, cell-phones, insurance bills to cut costs
*adam is mowing grass for one friend
*helping another friend get her house ready to go on the market
*adam will (most likely) drive a moving truck across the country for a class-mate who is moving for residency later in june
*adam applied to umpire little league baseball. who knew this skill he has from middle school days would come in handy again? at least his voice has changed now so he can be more commanding!

i'm sure i will remember other things after i publish this most boring post. we are open to other ideas and have three more months to fill with odd jobs. we are thankful that eventually adam will have one full-time job that will meet our needs instead of a gazillion part-time ones...i can't mentally keep track of all that's going right now, but we are oh, so thankful for God's provision for us

Friday, April 10, 2009

happy Good Friday

Melt My Soul To Love
Taken from the Gadsby Hymnal #951
Words – J. Swain, 1838
Music – Brian T. Murphy and Benj Pocta, 2006.

Hark! From the cross a gracious voice,
Salutes my ravished ears;
Rejoice, thou ransomed souls, rejoice!
And dry those falling tears!
Amazed, I turn, grown strangely bold;
This wondrous thing to see;
And there the dying Lord behold,
Stretched on the bloody tree.
“Sinners”, he cried, “behold the head,
This thorny wreath entwines;
Look on those wounded hands and read
Thy name in crimson lines.”
The power, the sweetness of that voice
My stony heart does move;
Makes me in Christ my Lord rejoice
And melts my soul to love.
© 2007 Red Mountain Music

Thursday, April 2, 2009

thank you

Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God

2Corinthians 9:10-11

this verse was printed inside the envelope that we received in the mail today along with cash (i didn't recognize the return address). i opened it after adam and i had just finished a stressful conversation and it brought tears to my eyes. what a wonderful reminder that God will supply our needs...we must take our eyes off ourselves, even while our car is undergoing another expensive repair (groan) and other stressful areas of life persist. He is good and He will care for us. thank you mysterious person for blessing us.