Monday, December 31, 2007

Christmas 2007

We have been so blessed this year by all of our family on my side and Audrea's! Here are few of the pictures. You can view the whole album here.


Sunday, December 30, 2007

Deer Video

Here is the video I put together of the deer we've been watching in the backyard. In the bleakest time of year, God still provides for their needs. How much more great is the Father's love for us!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

There and Back Again

We're here in the Wisconsin Rapids area celebrating Christmas and New Years with Audrea's parents and her brother and his wife, Jared and Stephannie. Yesterday we gave each other our gifts and were overwhelmed by each other's generosity! One of my very special gifts was from Audrea--she gave me special edition hardcovers of The Hobbit and the whole Rings trilogy.

Today Jared, Tom, and I went out to get a new batch of firewood and stacked it up for hours more of enjoyment! They always get a great deal on some aged oak at a price I wish I could get in the Twin Cities--$50 per face cord.

I remembered to pack boots, hats, and gloves but then I forgot to pack snowpants. When we were in Danville, Tom and Bev got about 14 inches of snow dumped on them. Then yesterday we got at least a couple more! So on our way to Green Bay to pick up Jared and Stephannie from the airport we swung by the consignment shops to pick up some snowpants to keep here at grandma's. Savannah was able to go out and and enjoy the snow along with the family of deer that I caught hanging out by the back window. Then she enjoyed a long snowmobile ride with her grandpa and Jared and Stephannie.

Unfortunately I have not been able to put up pictures of all these festivities because I forgot to bring a USB cable to suck the pictures off my camera and my laptop does not have an SD slot. Maybe I'll figure something out in the next couple days...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

There

We're here! We got in yesterday just in time to sit down and eat with almost all of my brothers and sisters (Karen and Ricky were unable to come because Ricky's a workaholic and doesn't like us.) (Those of you who don't know the Fullers very well need to know that the previous parenthesis was a blatant lie and very typical of Fuller facetiousness--we love Ricky and wished he could be here but know that he will buy us all of kinds of presents to make up for it next year!) And though the wives agreed to not get presents for all the kidlets, some of them changed their minds at the last minute and blessed us with an abundance of fun stuff to keep all of them busy for the next week!

This morning we worshiped at First Baptist and were blessed to see many of the friends from growing up. Tonight we're going to Calvary to hopefully see many other great friends!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Half-way There

Well, we made it half-way to Danville...

Audrea and I stayed up till 2am last night wrapping presents and preparing for our vacation. Then about 8am we heard exclamations of joy and then a little 3 year old came down the stairs and right up to the bed and said, "Daddy! There's a stocking in my bed!"

After spending a relaxing morning opening presents and enjoying breakfast together and a nap to get in an extra hour of sleep, we piled into the van and hit the road. We drove from Maple Grove to Madison through very thick fog and after 2 hours of errands and bad traffic in the Twin Cities and 5 hours on the road, we settled into our hotel room.

We'll sleep in till about 8am tomorrow and then head down to Danville. Megan was going to be flying into Indy tonight but got held up in Atlanta so she won't be in till tomorrow. Pray for her flight and that our van would not act up tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Trust Promises, Not Providences

Jon Bloom, the director of Desiring God ministries, had this excellent word today. It is especially relevant to my family and to many of you who read our blog, especially to my friends, Devin and Shane.

Sent to you by fuller_paul via Google Reader:

via Desiring God Blog on 12/18/07

(Author: Jon Bloom)

This morning my assistant, Bryan DeWire, found out his father, who 24 hours ago seemed in fine health, didn't make it through emergency heart surgery. This afternoon, my wife called me in tears to update me on a very difficult day trying to raise and teach 5 young children. Very different, yet real and painful experiences of God's providential reign in lives of Christians I love.

Also this morning I read this sentence in a pamphlet titled, "Honey Out of the Rock," by Puritan Thomas Wilcox,

"Judge not Christ's love by providences, but by promises."

Experiences are very powerful. They often feel more powerful than promises. So it's tempting to interpret prosperity and ease as God's blessing and tribulation as God's displeasure. And sometimes they are. But often they are not.

Actually, what we see all the way through the Bible is the Lord training his disciples to trust his promises more than providences. Think of Abraham and Sarah waiting for Isaac, or Jacob losing Rachel, or Joseph in slavery and prison, or Job's suffering, or David running from Saul. Think of Lazarus and the heartbreak of his death and the constant tribulations of Paul. And of course Jesus set the ultimate example by looking to the joy set before him as he endured the cross (Heb 12:2).

Strange, isn't it? In the Bible pain is often the path to unspeakable joy and prosperity is often an obstacle to it. What's going on?

Simply, God wants us to treasure what we can't see more than what we can.

"For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." (2 Cor. 4:18).

And we find out that it's pain more than prosperity that makes us look for what our eyes can't see, and long for a satisfaction that doesn't exist in this world.

So Thomas Wilcox's advice is worth heeding. For those of us who are experiencing a bitter providence, Wilcox goes on to say,

Bless God for shaking off false foundations, for any way whereby He keeps the soul awakened and looking after Christ; better sickness and temptations, than security and superficiality.


Things you can do from here:

Friday, December 14, 2007

Logan's theology lesson

My friend Jim posted this on his blog, and I thought I would share with everyone else.

 
 

Sent to you by fuller_paul via Google Reader:

 
 

via Cold Fusion Guy by Jim Peet on 12/13/07


Logan is a 13 year-old boy who lives on a ranch in a very small town in Nebraska. Logan listens to Christian Radio station 89.3FM KSBJ which broadcasts from Houston, TX. Logan called the radio station distraught because he had to take down a calf . His words have wisdom beyond his years.



Doug Wise, Pastor of Airport Road Baptist, Aurora Colorado, sent this to me.

Thought you would like it!


 
 

Things you can do from here:

 
 

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Lost My Comcast FTP Folder

Some of you may be wondering what the heck "FTP Folder" is, but if you tried in the last 18 hours or so to look at my blog you would've noticed, like Kim did, that the pictures of the kids were gone. This is because yesterday, the place on the internet where I store a lot of files including some images and more importantly, papers and notes I've written in seminary, was completely deleted. Here is the nice note I received from the dear people at Comcast:

We apologize for the inconvenience you've experienced and we do understand how frustrating that can be. However, we would like to inform you that we have no backup servers for those issue. Once those pictures are deleted, you can't
retreive those anymore.

Oh well, in the next couple of weeks, I will relocate all of my files to a different location that actually backs up their servers and then I should be able to potentially publish an index of the papers and notes I've written.

In the meantime, I put the pictures onto Photobucket and updated yesterday's post.

Thanks for your patience!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

God's Blessing of Children



I haven't posted very many pictures lately of the kids, especially Will who is just 5 months but is wearing size 12mos! Audrea and I are just overwhelmed at the amazing blessing of God in giving us these beautiful children!
























Monday, December 10, 2007

Bible Reading Plan: Southern Seminary Style

This post by Tony Kummer at Southern Seminary is a fantastic idea!

via Said At Southern Seminary by Tony Kummer on 12/9/07


Who is up for a challenge over winter break?

My favorite Seminary isn't offering any classes I need this January, so I've been looking for a study project. It occurred to me that I could read the entire Bible in a month if I maintained the Southern Seminary reading pace over the winter break. I like to think of it as Bible Reading Southern Seminary Style.

I took the page numbers from my ESV Reference Bible and the time required from my Max McLean ESV audio Bible. You can modify these numbers for your favorite Bible translation.

  • NT 18 hours (1,080 minutes)– ESV 279 pages
  • OT 57 hours (3,420 minutes) – ESV 968 pages
  • January has 31 days
  • December 10th – January 31st has 53 days

Read Through the Entire Bible in January

  • Read 35 minutes or 9 pages of NT per day
  • Read 111 minutes or 32 pages of OT per day
  • So, by spending only 2 hours and 26 minutes per day, 41 pages, you can read through the entire ESV Bible in January.

Start Now and Read It All by January 31st

  • You can add 22 days if you start on December 10th for a total of 53 days.
  • Read 21 minutes or 5 ½ pages of NT per day
  • Read 54 ½ minutes or 18 ½ pages of OT per day
  • So, by spending only 1 hour and 16 minutes per day, 24 pages, you can read through the entire ESV Bible between now and February.
  • Just over 1 hour a day!

So what do you think? Are you up for the challenge?

  • You can do the Old Testament, New Testament or both
  • Leave a comment on this post to make it public
  • I'll create a forum post, linked from the top menu, for people to note their progress each week.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.


Friday, December 07, 2007

Why He Ordains Those Hard Moments

(What follows is a second edited email that I sent to those same friends who were frustrated in the difficult process of parenting a toddler.)

There are many, many days when Audrea calls me and the sound of her voice makes me want to leave work right then and go rescue her. Yet, to "rescue" her from that trial would not truly "rescue" her since what God wants for her at that moment is to see that 1) her current treasure is not God Himself, but removal from the pain of the moment and 2) the point of the pain of the moment is to perfect her. Of course, for the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Instead, you must count Christ as your treasure, my friends, when you meet trials of the toddler-kind, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. This is exactly what the author of Hebrews means when he says, "For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith [i.e. everyone in chapter 11 and following] and preserve their souls."

We are with those of Hebrews 11 who have not fully received the promises. Jesus has secured the purchase of our salvation, yet everyone's salvation and the redemption/restoration of all that sin has cursed will be culminated in that great day when Christ returns and rules with the rod of iron. We see Christ more clearly than they did, but yet we still long for That Day. And That Day is what we strive towards. It is the longing to be with Christ and see Him restore all things that our hearts should cry out for when our children will not be consoled or when our children resist discipline to the point of grieving us. But in that moment when life is so difficult, we need to see with eyes of faith. This is what it means to "preserve your soul": to endure the hard times by faith believing that the God of all grace has secured your salvation and will continue to change the desires of your heart towards seeing and savoring Him above all else. He is your great reward.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Living by Grace in the Here and Now

(What follows below is an email I edited from Audrea to one our friends who was recently sharing with Audrea some hard parenting struggles she was going through. It was such an encouragement to me, I know that some of you who read my blog would be encouraged by it also.)

Many parents often talk about the challenges of the "terrible 2's." Angry and unconsolable children who can only be left to cry in their cribs are definite examples of why it seems at times that you may be going crazy! As Audrea listened to her friend, it sounded like what she has been encountering is so very normal for us. But for her, she seemed to think these behaviors of her child weren't normal or perhaps thought that she was doing something wrong because otherwise this behavior wouldn't be happening.

Why do we tend to think that if our day goes "against the plan", we feel like we've failed and our kids are monsters? There are two realities we must remind ourselves of in these moments. First, sin has damaged us, our children, and the whole child rearing process; fighting against this curse is not easy--in a sense we both are monsters. Second, and the harder pill to swallow, is that it is our calling to go through this process and God doesn't call us to something His grace won't enable us to do.

In these situations, what we need most is the Grace of Wisdom the Grace that covers our failures, and the Grace to carry on. This grace of wisdom is the wisdom to know what to do and when to do it and when to stop doing it, the sensitivity to hearing His voice, and wisdom again for the next task. In addition to the Grace of Wisdom, you must cling to God who has given you both the grace that pardons your sin, who does not treat you as your sin deserves, and rewards you when you don't deserve it. Know that His grace covers over your parenting failures!! That is such a comfort to us! We can't screw up our children so far that we remove them from His plan for their life or ours! Trust in the grace that He's extended to you. Really take it to home so that when you lay on your pillow at night you are praising Him for His grace today not flogging yourself for your perceived failures. Tomorrow, when you're in a rested mood, THEN look back on today and ask His counsel in learning from it, but from the full assurance of His grace. THEN you're in a mindset to please Him with that grace, not trample on it and go the other way. Revel in God's grace that abounds so richly!

And even though you may totally botch it, the grace to carry on is that enabling power to persevere that He has promised to give us. He planned it and chose that circumstance purposely for all of His creation at that time--because you don't know who or how it will effect in the future, but He wanted it there. So you can't really say, "Oh! I should have chosen ________ yesterday!" because He ordained you choose it yesterday for "your joy and for His own glory," as we're teaching the kids. Pray earnestly for His wisdom so that when a moment comes up, you'll know what pleases Him for that moment. And again, trust His grace when you've gone and done it and wished you would have followed different advice! Praise Him for the grace of tomorrow, and if not, the joy of His eternal glory instead! Hey--it's a no lose situation!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

What I'm Thankful For

We're spending Thanksgiving with Audrea's parents, Tom and Bev, in Nekoosa, Wisconsin, and having such a wonderful time! At our dinner this afternoon, we went around the table telling each other what we were thankful for. I started off by telling everyone that though I really want our house to sell, I'm actually thankful that it hasn't sold yet for many reasons. God has brought so many blessings our way since February. Blessings that are often disguised as difficult trials that shape and mold us, but blessings of grace indeed.

Then later we got around to Savannah. After she told us what she was thankful for, I was fighting the tears back and realized that I was also so very thankful for a wonderful daughter like her. Instead of me telling you what she said, I'm going to let her post it here herself:

I am thankful for that my parents have not divorced, and both of them have Jesus Christ as their Savior, and that I have two little sisters that have a great imagination and that I have a baby brother,and that my daddy loves me, Sabrina and Elayna,and of course baby William,And since he loves me he helps me to become a better Christian.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Everybody Hurts

Recently, listening to REM's new live CD brought back a lot of great memories with my dear friend Kenn Rudolph! Staying up all night, going to Taco Bell, singing "Shiny Happy People" along with Michael Stipe--life was so care free back then.

One of my favorite ballads of theirs is "Everybody Hurts" (from Automatic for the People--listen to it here) and is sung live on the CD. The band's frontman, Michael Stipe, often has deep insight into the human condition. On this particular song, the message of human hopelessness comes out loud and strong to me, though I really don't think that was his intention. He, along with the rest of the world, find their hopes in and draw their strength from things that may bring temporary relief, but typically are shortlived:

When the day is long and the night, the night is yours alone,
When you're sure you've had enough of this life, well hang on
Don't let yourself go,
'cause everybody cries and everybody hurts sometimes

Sometimes everything is wrong. Now it's time to sing along
When your day is night alone, (hold on, hold on)
If you feel like letting go, (hold on)
When you think you've had too much of this life, well hang on

'Cause everybody hurts. Take comfort in your friends
Everybody hurts. Don't throw your hand.
Oh, no. Don't throw your hand
If you feel like you're alone, no, no, no, you are not alone

If you're on your own in this life, the days and nights are long,
When you think you've had too much of this life to hang on

Well, everybody hurts sometimes,
Everybody cries. And everybody hurts sometimes
And everybody hurts sometimes. So, hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on
Everybody hurts. You are not alone.

If misery breeds company, and I think it does, then what hope does Michael Stipe, and the rest of the world with him, when they say that when you feel like giving up hold on because your friends are there for you? This is the best the world has to offer (much better than turning to substances, activities, etc.)--to cling to your friends when life is hard. Yet this is only the best they can offer. Taking comfort in the fact alone that everybody hurts, is no hope at all. It is true that everybody hurts and knowing that your circumstance is not uncommon to man (1 Cor. 10:13) is a deep help yet the basis for encouragement in 1 Cor. 10:13 is not found in the fact that others have gone through it. The deep encouragement is from the faith given to them by God Himself through His grace which enabled them to persevere through the difficult depression. The faith is sourced in God Himself as the Ultimate Treasure. He is the Supreme Being who is the only person who is worth putting hope and trust in.

But what is the place of people in our lives, particularly, believers? I think the common thought in the evangelical church today (regardless of your particular denominational flavor, strictness or liberality) is that "fellowship" itself is simply doing things with each other, particularly, hanging out and/or eating. That is the very shallow view of fellowship. In that sense, those outside the Faith, experience the same thing. I think this is a great example of why in the church we must define "fellowship" much more clearly. In "Everybody Hurts" we see a glimpse of one aspect of fellowship (but obviously lacking the Foundation)--the fellowship of suffering, the common condition. However, in the Church fellowship is a multifaceted diamond with the core being the Cross.

While I would love to take the time, to delve into defining fellowship's many facets (and I probably will over time on this blog), a good place to start is what John Loftness has to say about it in the book, Why Small Groups. Take some time to read chapter 2 for free to get a better grasp of what I'm talking about.

Good Children's Bible Story Books

Dr. Al Mohler's blog today talks about two excellent children's books. The second one, The Big Picture Story Bible, I went through with the girls earlier this year after my best friend, Dr. Jeff Rich, recommended it to me. I am currently reading through the first one, The Jesus Storybook Bible, with the kids. Both are excellent and I highly recommend them. Of course, Mohler's recommendation holds a lot more weight!! But for a more personal reflection on the book, my friend Gretchen posted this summer and actually received feedback from the author, Sally Lloyd Jones.



Friday, November 09, 2007

Brandon's Memory

Dave Elias is a friend of mine from work who I've gotten to know over the last couple of years. The last year and a half has been an incredible journey of difficulty for them. Dave and his wife Kari had a little boy over a year ago born to them with a genetic issue called Zellweger's Syndrome. You can read his whole story on their website for him.

Last night on our local Fox station, they aired a story on Dave & Kari and another couple with a similar story. They are raising money presently to help dedicate a room at Faith's Lodge in memory of Brandon. The lodge is a place for families facing the serious illness or death of a child to retreat to for strength and encouragement.

This Saturday, we'll be taking the whole family to the fundraiser and showing our support for Dave & Kari. Take some time to view the Fox story, read about Brandon, and then consider helping them financially towards this memory of Brandon which would bless many other families in the future.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Worship Playlist Added

I've added a new sidebar item today--Sunday's Worship Songs. Clicking on this link will allow you to listen to the songs we will be singing in the coming Sunday at our church for our Gathered Worship time. The worship leader at our church, David Ward, does a fantastic job of bringing our hearts before the throne of God every Sunday. I know I have been blessed tremendously by getting a fresh glimpse of God's splendor Sunday after Sunday and getting the privilege of praising and worshipping alongside our brothers and sisters.

David runs a website you should check out sometime that is aimed at blending the rich history of Reformed hymnody with modern music: ReformedPraise.org.

The playlist on the sidebar uses Rhapsody. If you don't have a Rhapsody subscription, you can get one for free and it will give you 25 songs free per month.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Have Been Perfected, Are Being Perfected.

A friend posted the other day the following excellent question:


How do you handle it when you find yourself sinning in this area? I can relate very well to your words here and I tend to get very discouraged and guilt ridden with the anger I sense within myself...the unexpressed anger even...that I know is there but like you said, by the Grace of God He is keeping me from sinning against others and Him with. Do you ever get discouraged because of it? Is it hard for you as it is me, to believe the Gospel is for yourself in those moments and times where you fail?


This is a real question. This is the kind of question I wish people would just come out and ask. If you're a true believer, these are the kinds of questions you should be asking. This is the kind of transparency that we as believers should have with one another: Admitting to one another that we struggle with sin and that it is so pervasive throughout our inner being, that even when I feel outwardly I am growing in grace, inwardly I face a battle minute-by-minute.

I hope my statement "if you're a true believer" makes you wonder how I can get off saying that. Well, here's how: "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." (1 Jn 1:8) John is saying much here.

First, saying that we've got it together is a real crock. The implication is not hidden--we do sin. And telling ourselves we don't isn't getting us anywhere. In fact, it is further underscoring the fact that we are rebels against a Holy God and it is exalting myself above the God who made me and Who brings down the proud.


To do its worst, evil needs to look its best. Evil has to spend a lot on makeup. Hypocrites have to spend time polishing their act and polishing their image. "Hypocrisy is an homage that vice pays to virtue." Vices have to masquerade as virtues--lust as love, thinly veiled sadism as military discipline, envy as righteous indignation, domestic tyranny as parental concern. And this is so whether the masquerade takes the form of putting on an act or making up a cover story. Either way, deceivers learn how to present something falsely, and they exert themselves to make the presentation credible. From Not the Way It's Supposed to Be by Cornelius Plantinga Jr.


Second, John is not just stating a tautology: "if you lie, then the truth is not in you." I think John is saying something much deeper. Who is the Truth? Maybe this will ring a bell: "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." If we are not able to say the same thing with our mouths that God says about us (i.e. confess), then the natural inference is that we have not believed in our hearts what God says about us--that we are sinners. Christ is not in us and we are not in Him if we cannot confess that we are sinners.

But John doesn't leave us to draw these inferences. He puts it more bluntly: "If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." (1 Jn 1:10) We are calling God a liar and His Word ("in the beginning was the Word") is not in us.

It may sound like I'm not addressing the question my friend asked. But I am. I am not only saying that people who are unable to confess this way are unbelievers, but the enthymeme should have been obvious: those who are able to confess this way are likely believers. In fact, when I feel this way, to me, it is an assurance of salvation itself. God uses warnings like these in the Bible to persevere me in my faith.

So what do we do when we feel this way. I don't just stay and wallow in that. That's what Satan wants you to do. That old serpent doesn't have any new tricks in his bag. He tries to do what he did at the very beginning--that is, he wants you to not believe the Gospel: that God is good and true and righteous. But that is exactly what John wants the believer to know in his epistle to the believers. He wants them to know that, yes, you will still sin and that sin may be sins completely in the heart (but that's where they all start anyway). But he tells us what to do when we sin. He says that we must believe the Gospel. "But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world." (1 Jn 2:1b-2) John tells us what we must do when we know that we have sinned: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 Jn 1:9)

So is it hard for you as it is me, to believe the Gospel is for yourself in those moments and times where you fail? It is hard in the sense that my pride wants me to think that I am so bad that the Gospel can't be enough. That's a lie. Sometimes it is hard in the sense that in my pride I want to think that I am not that bad. That's a horrible lie and I must flee from that because that is a huge warning sign (see above). It is hard in the sense that I am often overwhelmed at the fact that though I am justified completely, I have not been thoroughly sanctified. It is hard when I think about how this battle with sin will go on and on until Christ returns or calls me home. Inwardly we groan as the creation, longing for our ultimate redemption, longing to be saved from this. (Rom 8:22) Our ultimate reward is salvation and we long for it deeply through our very bones. But it is precisely in these moments that we must believe the Gospel. We must believe that:


When Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. (Hebrews 10:12-14)

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Golden Compass -- Not a Movie for the Kids

I wish I had more time to sit and write thought-provoking insights about so many things... one example would be this new movie coming out, The Golden Compass. But since others have written about it, I'll let the reader's mind engage the issues while reading the following articles:

Putting aside the strong desire to comment on several things I read in these, I will simply give you two good questions to ask yourself when attempting to distinguish "safe" fantasy from "dangerous" fantasy:

  1. Does the fiction cause the me to root for the good guys or the bad guys? If you find yourself cheering on the villains, you know that the plot itself is subversive.
  2. Similar question, but phrased slightly different: Can you actually distinguish who are the good guys and the bad guys? Satan does a masterful job in the Garden of Eden attempting to make God look like the bad guy and he still goes about today blurring the lines.

For a well articulated exploration of fantasy from a Christian worldview, read Dr. Kevin Bauder's 7-part series:

Okay, so I can't get by without asking one more question: If the author says his books are about killing God, is it logical at all to say that his books are not overtly anti-Christian? Ummm... maybe this question should go under the category of "What year was the Battle of 1812?"-questions!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Anger Tends To Murder

Proverbs 25:28 says, "A man without self-controlis like a city broken into and left without walls."

I know what it's like to be ruled by anger. All I have to do is go into the homes in Danville that I grew up in, and find walls with holes in them--some of them of from my own fist. It shames me incredibly. And ask any of my closest friends, especially Audrea. When I used to get angry, I was embarrassing to be around. I was an angry man.

Since I've had children, God has grown me in this area. Audrea pointed it out to me a few years ago. Big mistake. Because then pride went to my head and it got real fat like a zit ready to be popped. Yeah, I know, but I had to come up with something appropriately disgusting! That's how God views my sin--with abhorrence and complete disgust. And what I've learned is that though He has granted me some small measure of self-control, my heart still radiates with anger at times. And when I read a verse like Proverbs 25:28, I'm reminded that were it not for the amazing grace of God, my life would completely fall apart around me. The city of my life with its walls of seeming protection would be thoroughly defenseless, in a shambles because apart from the enabling Spirit of God granting me any measures of self-control, left to myself, I would destroy those around me and myself. I still am an angry man.

You don't believe me. You say, "Oh Paul, you're not a bad guy." Well, Charles Bridges summarizes well what happens to the human heart when left to itself:


28 He that hath no rule ocer his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and wiikvut walls A former proverb declared him that had rule over his spirit to be a mighty conqueror And certainly the noblest conquests are gained or lost over ourselves For he that tal t no ride over his own spirit is an easy prey to the invading foe Any one may irritate and torment him and spoil him of his comfort 4 He yields himself to the first assault of his ungoverned passion offering no resistance like a city broken down and without walls the object of pity and contempt Thus having no discipline over himself every temptation becomes the occasion of sin and hurries him on to fearful lengths that he had not contemplated The first outbreaking of anger tends to murder 3 Unwatchfulness over lust plunges into adultery 7 The mightiest natural strength is utter feebleness in the great conflict 3 How should such an object excite our tenderest compassion

(From An Exposition of the Book of Proverbs By Charles Bridges)

The human heart left to itself will wreak havoc and destruction. James tells us that:

4:1 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.

Praise be to God, though, for the adversative "BUT". Verse 6 of James 4 gives me much hope and exhortation at the same time--"BUT he gives more grace." He promises that whoever draws near to Him in humility, He will draw unto Himself:

6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.


God, grant me the grace to be a man of self-control, a man of patience and humility. Be my Rock and Fortress.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Reaping

When Audrea goes away for a couple days with her mom, I tend to take the time to do stuff that all my girls would not enjoy: eating sushi and any other seafood I can find, working late, not shaving, and watching scary movies. Last time it was The Exorcism of Emily Rose. This week I watched The Reaping. The previews had piqued my interest for quite a while and this website convinced me it wouldn't be a movie that I would regret or have to turn off half-way through.

I don't want to take the time to write a review, but if you're in the mood for something fairly scary and thought-provoking, this one is a sure bet. Near the end, the plot takes a twist I didn't see coming at all which at first I found a little corny, but still 3 days later, I'm not sure I've figured it all out!

The plot of the movie is about a town that seems to be experiencing the plagues of Egypt but being carried out by the hand of Satan instead. The main actor is a former ordained minister-turned-atheistic science professor who makes it her life ambition to prove so-called miracles as natural occurences. This particular town in Louisiana (interesting trivia: the film was made in Louisiana right during the middle of Katrina) has a science teacher who has asked her to come down and doing her typical job of proving them wrong. That's all I'll give you...

I do recommend watching the brief liberal documentary on the extras menu. The point of the documentary is to present natural explanations for the plagues instead of the supernatural intervention of God Himself. The first half spends its time giving a "scientific" explanation for each plague. Then at the half-way point, the narrator underscores that this would all be speculation unless one could show that there is a basis for the explanations actually found in the text of the book of Exodus itself. Which is very true. However, it takes the standard attack mode against the Inspiration of the Bible and brings in Terrence Fretheim (an early open theist from here in town) to explain the "evolution" of the books of Moses. While he does not go into detail explaining the JEDP theory (which undergirds the comments), there is a broad statement that "no scholars today think counter to this" which is essentially an insult to many members of the Evangelical Theological Society who would not hold to that theory.

Near the end of the documentary, they point out that through the book of Exodus, the author is leading to the Passover. They say that because the Passover is the main point the author is trying to get across, there is latitude for embellishing the truth. Fretheim says, "The concern is not as sort of historiographer, or some modern university professor seeking to find exactly what happened in some ancient time. The concern is to convey to every new Israelite audiences the religious importance of these events--that God has been involved on behalf of the Israelites in leading them out of Egypt."

I however have a real problem with this and you should too. If faith is a hope based on an objective reality, then the evidence which reveals the source of your faith should be completely reliable otherwise it's not worth putting faith into it. So if I read a text that says God is sovereign, omnipotent, holy, omniscient, righteous, wrathful, just, and loving, wouldn't I want that text to be wholly true. If, as this seminary professor says, the details of the text are basically made up, then the whole shooting match should be scrapped. It's not worth it.

But I, however, believe:


in God, the Father Almighty,
the Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
The third day He arose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,
whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.
Amen.
Keep this in mind always, but especially if you watch this movie!

Summer 07 Highlights

Recent Portraits

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

back to the drawing board...

Well, it's time to wait for another offer to come in on our house. I spoke with our realtor yesterday and he informed me that the buyer changed her mind about purchasing any home and has decided to stay with her parents for the time being.

I personally think this was a wise decision on her part. Even though I know very little about her situation, I do know that she was borderline on getting her financing and according to our information, if she was to purchase the home even at our competitive price she would have been stretching herself. Even though it's her own decision, I wouldn't feel comfortable selling our home to someone who is the epitome of the kinds of buyers that have brought this market to this place it's at now.

For those of you who prayed along with us for her--thank you. Please continue praying for us though that we would soon receive an offer that would be solid and reasonable. I know that nothing we pray is too large for our God. This morning, in Transforming Grace, I read the following encouraging hymn by John Newton:

Come, my soul, thy suit prepare:
Jesus loves to answer prayer;
He himself has bid thee pray,
Therefore will not say thee nay.

Thou art coming to a King,
Large petitions with thee bring;
For his grace and power are such,
None can ever ask too much.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Cuties

I wish I could've caught this with a sharper image but I didn't realize the blurriness until I downloaded it... at any rate, I caught the prince and princesses watching a movie together tonight:


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Offer Update

Something Audrea and I have consistently done in our real estate transactions is to pray for the people on the other side of the table and for the other parties involved (lenders, realtors, attorneys). Our realtor just called me and said that though the offer is still on the table, the buyer is really unsure about buying at this price range. The reality is that the difference between our offer and their offer is a difference of $70 per month. For many people that is not a huge difference, but it may be for this potential buyer. Please pray that God would grant them grace to have good wisdom in this decision.

Monday, October 15, 2007

offer update

Just a quick update... the offer we received on Saturday was absurd and even asinine. That's what happens when buyers think that because it's a "buyer's market" they can do whatever they want. Of course, it never hurts to ask and they did.

We responded with a counteroffer coming down only a little bit (we're already listing the home at a price less than what we paid for it 3 years ago). Their realtor said we wouldn't hear from them until at least Monday. When we hear more, we'll let everyone know.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

finally... an offer

It's 7:25 pm and in about a half-hour our realtor will be showing up at our door with the first offer we have received on this home. There are two things I really appreciate our realtor, David Cohen: 1) He works very hard as a realtor by thinking way outside the box in terms of marketing and 2) He is so even-keeled. He called me this afternoon and said in his usual flat tone, "Well, they're going to fax us an offer today." The reason I appreciate that is because he wants us to be realistic about everything. He warned me before he saw the offer to not be surprised if these buyers low-ball us unbelievably. Like 8K to 15K below our asking price. Keep in mind, our current list price is $100 less than what we paid for the home in 2004.

Yet we have resigned ourselves to losing money on this. We know that we really want to move to Louisville and have been trusting and waiting on God all along. So please pray for us that we will have wisdom tonight and over the next couple of days. It also sounds like if this offer is accepted they will want a fast closing. We're not sure what that means, but David did say to prepare your family for much stress.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Tripp: "Why I Hate To Wait"

I am so with this guy... Paul David Tripp on his blog has this poem about waiting:

"Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." (Psalm 27:14)

I hate to wait,
I have places to go
I have people to see
I have things to do.
I love me
and I have a wonderful plan
for my life.
I hate to wait.
I don't like obstacles
in my way
or people that disagree
or processes that take too long.
I hate to wait.
I don't like lines
or traffic
or delayed appointments
or tardy people.
I hate to wait.
I wake up everyday
with an agenda.
I know
what I want to accomplish.
I know
how I want it done.
I know
where I want it done.
I know
when I want it done.
I know
who I want to do it.
I know
why it has to be done this way.
I hate to wait
because
I am the one having to wait.
I don't mind
that you have to wait
but I don't want to have to
wait with you.
I hate to wait
because
I tend to put myself
in the one place
I am never supposed to be
and
I tend to want to be
the one thing
I should never crave to be.
I hate to wait because
I want to be
in the center of my universe
and I want to be
my own sovereign.
When I forget your plan
When I lose sight of your will
When I begin to think
that my life belongs to me
When I fall prey to
the delusion
that I am wiser than you
and
my way is better than yours
Then I hate to wait
and
I curse the obstacles in my way.
But you are sovereign
and you are
Good
and loving
and gracious
and kind
and mighty,
filled with compassion
overflowing with mercy.
You bought me
with the price of your Son.
You forgave me
and the cost was his death.
For all my attempts
at independent wisdom
and
self-sovereignty
the truth is
that my life does not belong to me.
So
once more I fall to my knees.
Once more I open my hands
and
give my life back to you
and say
"You do in, with, and through me
what you think is best
and
I will follow
and when
your wisdom and grace
require it,
I will be willing
to wait.

View article...

Friday, September 28, 2007

Your Salvation Is Secure Because of the Infinite Dignity of Christ

The other day a dear friend was describing a very intense spiritual battle he went through after going to bed the other night. Horrible thoughts and lies were assaulting his mind and simply would not stop whatever he did. He prayed earnestly for grace, he worked hard at battling, he recognized it all as sin and was calling it what it was. Yet in spite of all of that battling against the temptations, Satan came to him and told him the worst lie of all: "You're not a believer. If you truly were a believer, these temptations from the flesh would have left you by now. You must not hate your sin--you must actually be cherishing your sin. And since that is true, you must not be believing the Gospel. In fact, your sins aren't even covered since you're not a believer. The death of Christ was not applied to you because the elect will persevere in their faith--and what kind of perseverance is this when your mind is swirling?"

Friends, this is where the rubber meets the road. When the Deceiver comes and tells you that Christ was not enough, you must fight back with Scripture. And when God speaks, the Truth will destroy the lie. You must remember that Christ was a Sufficient Saviour. Hebrews 5:4-9 makes this very clear that Jesus made our salvation eternal because of His Infinite Worth: v9 "And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him"

God required a death that would satisfy His Just Wrath. A simple man would/could not be enough because his life was worth only one and his punishment would only have temporary effect. My sin against an infinite God takes on infinite consequences. So Christ the Messiah Saviour needed to be a man of infinite worth--which He was: at the incarnation God became man without unbecoming God. He became fully God fully man. This produced a Man who would be of Infinite Worth--of a dignity higher than any man, any priest, any High Priest. The death that He died was worth a greater value than the combined blood of all the bulls and goats ever sacrificed or ever could be. This is why Paul says in Romans 8, that no one can condemn ("Who is to condemn?") because "Christ Jesus is the one who died." No one was worth enough except the One God-Man who lived the perfect life and was perfection in Himself. He died and eliminated all condemnation for all who are elect in Christ Jesus (Romans 5:1).

I've faced that spiritual battle my friend has, and believe me it is scary. And trust me, it won't be the last time that Satan tries to tell me that lie again. It will happen again. And guess what? It will happen to you, if it hasn't already. I've been listening to Piper's Hebrews series on my daily drive. Today I was blown away by a comment he made mid-way through: "All hell is gonna break lose on you one of these days..." Listen to that link. He underscores what I'm trying to say here: Your salvation is secured because of the Infinite Dignity of our High Priest--Jesus Christ. Fight the unbelief with the power of God--the Word of His Power.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The folly of the fool and the Idol Factory

It has been a very crazy month for us and I want to post an update of pictures and things we've been doing but in the meantime I want to share this little incident from my life...
 
Yesterday on my drive to and from work, I listened to the C.J. Mahaney "Idols Factory" message from the NA conference. What a blessing! I thought to myself how I can tweak one my own messages called "Feeding On Ashes" to incorporate some of the things he talked about. I thought about my friend who is experiencing the devastation on his marriage that he brought upon himself through adultery and how I could further encourage and exhort him with that sermon. And I thought about my children.
 
The pathetic thing is, I didn't think much about myself. Today I had one of those well-deserved smack-down-from-the-Holy-Spirit moments that helped bring home the message to my heart...
 
So when I got into work today and logged in, I tried to start Rhapsody (subscription music service) to enjoy listening to some tunes while hammering out some new code. When it wouldn't let me login because of some error, I started an online chat with the Rhapsody support. What ensued appeared to me to be a perfect example of incompetency in customer service and technical support. 
 
Essentially, my account credentials got messed up, the help desk guy reset the password, that didn't work, and then he suggested that I just wait for a little bit and then maybe it would work. I got "frustrated" with him and said some really cocky, sarcastic comments and then left him feedback indicating I was unsatisfied. It seemed to me he didn't know what he was doing and as a last ditch effort told me, "Just wait and it may fix itself."
 
The interesting thing is that I copied the text of the chat session because I was intent upon contacting the Rhapsody customer service to report an unhelpful employee and then to demand that I get some immediate technical help. About a half-hour after the chat session, I tried logging in with the new password and it did work. Then it hit me--I was worshipping something. I read back over the text of the chat and had these observations:

  • Listening to Rhapsody while I work (oftentimes Sovereign Grace music!) is a good thing--it's a blessing/gift from God to enjoy.
  • Wanting things to go smoothly is not a bad desire either.
  • However, I elevated that desire to an idol.
  • I acted upon the idolatry of my heart and reacted angrily (euphemizing it initially in my mind as "sarcasm" and "frustration") with him.
  • I assumed he was an idiot and had planned on making his job even more miserable by contacting Rhapsody again.
...
 
What a fool! No patience, no gentleness, no self-control, no kindness, and clearly no humility. What a self-righteous Pharisee! Another deep irony was that I had just listened to a sermon the previous morning by R.W. Glenn about hypocrisy and love. Well, maybe it wasn't such a deep irony: God used both sermons to expose the sin of my heart. God providentially arranged that I would listen to those sermons which would prepare my heart and give me new eyes to see the sin more clearly.


Make your little one a shining star! Shine on!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Babysitting Bachelor

After only 3 weeks of having 4 children including 1 newborn, Audrea couldn't take it anymore and left me... okay, so she took the kids too. I've been a bachelor since last Monday (the 23rd) and it has been a very lonely time. Okay, again, so I'm still not telling you the whole story...

Audrea's brother Jared and his wife Stephanie were moving to Phoenix and decided to come up to Wisconsin 2 weekends ago to visit one more time before the move. Audrea had already planned on heading over to Wisconsin during the middle of the following week to go on a trip with her parents and the kids. So we figured it would be foolish for her to make two trips over there so she might as well just stay 4 more days. So we've been apart for 9 days.

While I've been able to catch up on a ton of reading, it has been a very lonely and quiet time. I've been able to spend a lot of time in the Word and reflecting on God's goodness to me. Being alone for such a long time is not a good thing for a guy. Myself, I am prone to stay up late, overwork, overeat, watch movies that would not build up my faith, and the list could go on. So this time I made some resolutions that so far I have stuck to. One of the toughest has been to not crack open the TV armoire. After spending several hours reading and studying on Saturday and Sunday, my brain was kind of on overload. I couldn't handle much more. I reeeallly longed to just sit down in the easy chair and watch the Discovery channel. But I prayed for grace and (no, I'm not saying watching TV and etc. is sinning, this is about me fleeing temptations--temptation to be lazy, to watch violent movies, or to lust) God was faithful... The funny thing is, sometimes the Holy Spirit just speaks common sense to you. This weekend it was, "Just take a nap, you big dummy!"

Anyway, you may wonder about the "babysitting" part in the title of this post. My mission while Audrea was gone was to keep Savannah's hamster, Jesse (so does that make Savannah "Jessie's Girl"?), and her flowers alive. The hamster was going to be a piece of cake (not these hamsters), but the flowers were going to be another story. Twice this summer our flowers on the porch have suffered severe neglect. As a matter of fact, we were worried at that time that Audrea and I may be arraigned on child abandonment charges over those poor suffering flowers.

However, I resolved as well this week to make sure those plants got all the water they could handle. And amazingly those little things are on the mend. While one of the types looks like it is past its season, the snapdragons and little blue things and little yellow things and little maroon thingys (note my vast knowledge of horticulture) have made a turnaround. And just today, I noticed a little bud growing on the geraniums (see I know one more!).

Audrea took the cameras with her on the trip so the only thing I have left to use is my Razr, but that's better than nothing... Here they are reflecting God's glory:






Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Paul David Tripp on Forgiveness

The content of the Bible is the worst of news (you're a sinner) and the best of news (God is willing to forgive). It's only when you're ready to admit the worst that you then open yourself up to what's best. All of this means that you and I don't have to live in denial and avoidance. We don't have to play self-excusing logic games with ourselves. We don't have to give ourselves to systems of penance and self-atonement. We don't have to point the finger of blame at others. We don't have to perform our way into God's favor. No, we can come to him again and again just as we are, flawed, broken, and unclean and know that he'll never turn away anyone who comes to him and says, "I have sinned, won't you in your grace forgive?"

There's no sin too great, there's no act too heinous, and there's no person beyond hope. The offer is open and free. There's no requirement of age, gender, ethnicity, location, or position. God welcomes you to come. He only asks that you admit your sin and you seek what can only be found in him, forgiveness. He is able, he is willing, and with grace that we will maybe never be able to fully grasp, he says, "Come."

View Article ...

Friday, July 06, 2007

God's Blessings!

Here are some updated pics in honor of William's one-week birthday.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Will's Birthday Slideshow

In case you hadn't taken a look at his photobucket... here's a compendium of his first day:

Friday, June 29, 2007

God Has Blessed Us With a New Baby!

William Thomas Fuller was born on Thursday morning at 9:42 after a long night of labor. He weighed a whopping 9 pounds 7 oz. and measured a long 22 inches! He has lots of strawberry-blond hair. He came out already sucking his fingers and with a man's appetite!
Baby's first name has a double-reference. The first reference is in honor of his great-grandfather, William Fuller. I didn't know my dad's father very well, but what I do remember of him is worthy of respect: he was a loving father and a very hard worker. He basically worked his whole life at General Motors in Tilton, IL and outside of his job, he was always spending time with his children or wife. I remember he and grandma and my dad working in the large gardens in their backyard for hours--they just seemed to love working the ground and making it produce all kinds of wonderful things! I know that this man was the reason for why my father had such a strong work ethic and sense of his responsibility to provide for us. Both my grandfather and father (Carl) have passed away and so this makes our William, a very special Fuller to carry on this name.
The second reference is to William Wilberforce. Wilberforce has an amazing story and for those of you who haven't yet read or learned much about him, you should make an effort to see the movie, Amazing Grace, when it comes out on video at the end of this year. Through God's sovereign hand, Wilberforce trusted in Jesus Christ as his only hope of salvation and became a Christian. This strong faith came as an adult partially through the influence of John Newton, the author of the hymn, Amazing Grace. Wilberforce is most notable for his efforts to abolish slavery in England. Take some time to learn about him when you can!
The middle name is in honor of Audrea's father, Tom Walther. We love Dad so much and have been greatly blessed by his wisdom and care. He is a man who loves God with all his heart and provides a beautiful example for our little son to look to.
For those who are interested, the full story of our little Will's birth is below. If you're just interested in pictures, take a look at the little guy's photobucket.


The Full Delivery Story


Over the last 2 weeks Audrea has been having what I previously called "slow labor." The first due date given to us (Saturday, June 23rd) came and went with no event. I worked from home on Monday (the most frequently referenced due date) thinking that baby would come any minute and then I would be right there to take Audrea to the hospital. Audrea's mom came over Monday morning as well to spend the week with us so that she could help us in the delivery room (she works as an OB nurse in Wisconsin). Monday came and went. Tuesday morning came and we thought for sure that would be the day especially after discovering Da Delivery Code. I worked from home again on Tuesday with high anticipation, but alas, the Essenes proved to be a bunch of quacks and nothing happened Tuesday.
On Wednesday I went to work hoping that Murphy's Law would kick into gear. Late in the afternoon, Audrea called her doctor's office to see if would be possible to schedule an induction for this week. The office looked at the doctor's schedule and said the doctor could do it either the next day or would have to wait for the next week. Audrea was elated with the possibility of a baby in less than 24 hours, so of course she chose Thursday! She called me and told me the good news. Then I called our friend Kathy and let her know the good news. Then after I got off the phone with her, Audrea called me back and told me that the doctor's office had failed to first check with the hospital to see if they had any available rooms for a scheduled induction on Thursday--the first thing they had available was not until the following Monday.
This thoughtlessness on the part of the doctor's office sent Audrea's emotions plummeting. She had ramped up her hopes only to have them dashed. She had had so many fitting words from God that day, though, that she knew God was teaching her patience and some things about worship. She had just had a shepherding moment with our girls talking about being content with the things God has given us and to not complain when we don't get what we want. She had read in Proverbs just that morning, "...who can withstand the destruction of jealousy." So after supper, a vigorous walk, a good cry in the bathroom, and a little wrestling with God, she settled down to watch a movie with all of us.
About half-way through the movie, she started having contractions. She pulled out her laptop and started using the contraction timer. After the movie was over, we noticed that the contractions were serious and very regular. The contractions didn't stop. Our dear friend, Kathy Gilder, came and spent the night with the girls, and our first friends in Minnesota, Dave and Glorianne Levy, agreed to come over and pick up the girls in the morning. Around midnight we left for North Memorial.


A Little Background on Delivering Babies in Minneapolis


Minneapolis is a big place, and the logistics of helping babies be born at North Memorial helped us realize that even Appleton, Wisconsin, is still a "small town"! When you arrive at the birthing center at the hospital, they first send you to an assessment room (a triage room of sorts). Here they determine whether you are in active labor enough that birth is imminent. If you're not, they send you home from there. During our tour we took earlier in the month, they told us to anticipate being in that room for an hour. Once they have confirmed that you are in labor, they admit you to the hospital and send you to the labor and delivery room. You stay in that room until the baby is born. We were told to anticipate being in that room for about an hour or so after the baby is born and then they would move us to a recovery room where we could stay for 48 hours.


Back to the Story


When we first got to the assessment room, the nurse checked Audrea, and though she had been having regular contractions, there had been very little change in the cervix since Monday morning's doctor visit. She said that we'll wait for about an hour and see if there's been any change. An hour later there was no change. Another hour later there was no change. The contractions kept coming but no progress was apparent. By that time, the nurse began suggesting that in times like these they would typically send the patient home and give them some medicine to help them sleep through this "early phase of labor." We expressed to her that that would be kind of difficult for us to travel 25 minutes back home and make all new arrangements for child care. She didn't press the issue. 3:30 came and went and no change. At 4:30, Audrea was exhausted. She had not slept since the night before and was now completely worn out. We both began to think that we might as well go home because she needed the sleep. We discussed it with the professional (Audrea's mom J) and her opinion was that that was a bad idea; each of the departments (assessment, delivery, and recovery) had their own staff and the assessment staff didn't have anything else to do! She suggested asking if we could take the medicine here and sleep.
A little before 5am we asked the nurse if we could take the medicine and rest here until there was enough progress. She said, "Well, let's just check one more time and see if there has been any progress." She checked Audrea and the dilation had added 1cm (to 4) and 10% to effacement (now 80). To the nurse, that seemed like enough to indicate there was some forward momentum occurring. She contacted the doctor on call and the doctor agreed and said to admit Audrea.


Some History on Our Previous Delivery Experiences


With our first child, Savannah, Audrea had been essentially induced, received an epidural that worked hardly at all, and was on pitocin (a hormone drug designed to speed up the process). Savannah was facing the wrong way for most of the delivery--her little head was pressing on Audrea's spine for most of the time--about 20 hours. The whole thing was very, very difficult for Audrea. Then with Sabrina, we decided to go the all-natural (no drugs of any kind) route and though Sabrina was a week late, she came quickly (about 4 hours after we got to the hospital). With Elayna, Audrea went through to near the end and took just a little pain reliever for the last hour or so. With this baby, we decided, we've tried the different approaches and there is no need to prove anything to ourselves or anyone else. We were going to take the pragmatic route and be open to whatever assistance.


Again, Back to the Story


Once they got Audrea into the labor and delivery room, having already labored for several hours through the night and seeing that we had a long way to go, we told them that an epidural would be much appreciated! They gave her the epidural at 6:45am. While that really alleviated the pain of the contractions, Audrea started to have uncontrollable shivering and teeth-chattering. At about 8am, the new doctor on call, Dr. B.J. Harris, came in to check on Audrea, and to break the bag of waters to speed things up. She said that since Audrea had an epidural, she could just rest until she sensed the urge to push. Essentially this meant, take a nap until things were ready. While that sounded good, the shivering kept Audrea from really doing this. However, once the water was broken, strangely, the shivering stopped. We all were then able to have a much needed nap which took of the edge of exhaustion and prepared us well for what would follow. Audrea just couldn't get over the fact that she was nearly 8 cm dilated and sleeping!
At about 9am, a nurse checked Audrea and said that she was completely ready. At about 9:20, Audrea began sensing that the baby was descending rapidly and said we'd better get the doctor quick. We paged the doctor and found out that she was prepping for a c-section! The nurses were worried that Dr. Harris may not make it up in time and grabbed a family-practice physician who just happened to be out in the hallway for a backup. Thankfully, they were able to get Dr. Harris to come in, although that meant Audrea had to pant through the contractions and not push. (Which only drives a poor laboring woman nuts: "We spend all this time trying to get it out and now you tell me, 'Don't let it out!'"
One of the things on our birth plan was a desire to allow me to help as much as possible in the delivery. I had helped catch Elayna when she was born and there's nothing quite like it. I had completely forgotten that we requested this in the birth plan and figured they wouldn't go for it anyway, and was all setup to video-record the birth when Dr. Harris walked into the room. When she walked in, she said, "Dad, are you going to put some gloves on to?" I hadn't even asked her and she offered to let me suit up and be the catcher! It was such an amazing experience again! It's one of those never-forget-it moments of life.
Audrea may have long labors, but when baby's ready, she gets the job done right away! And this was no exception. Within 10 minutes, little William came out into the world! The nurses and Bev (Audrea's mom) took care of him quickly and within a short time we were ogling over him and taking tons of pictures!
Later in the evening, mom and dad brought over the little girls who were not nearly as disappointed about not having a new sister as we thought they would be! In fact, I think they are going to love doting on him and of course, making him play "house." Savannah has already declared that she will be his Jedi Master and teach him the ways of the Force. And as one of our nurses today pointed out, having three older sisters will surely make this little boy into a sensitive, caring man.
Many people have congratulated me on finally having a boy and as if there is some level of accomplishment that is greater than having the girls. I don't feel that way, though, at all. While it is neat to have a boy, I didn't feel "my life was now fulfilled" now that I had a boy. I'm loving the idea, although it is taking some getting used to saying "he" in reference to someone else in our family! This is quite a thrill and we can't wait to share how this new chapter in our life unfolds.




Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Da Delivery Code

A recent discovery of some ancient Qumranian scrolls in a cave near Elm Creek Park Reserve have revealed some amazing secrets regarding, among other things, a code which gives us insight as to when this baby shall be born.

The first secret contained in the code is the Two-Day Canon. If your eldest child is born on a Wednesday, your second child shall be born on a Friday. A pattern is therefore established that subsequent children shall follow in like suit: your third child shall be born on a Sunday, so clearly one can be certain that your fourth child shall be born two days later on a Tuesday. Today is Tuesday, therefore our 4th child shall be born today.


The second oracle of the code is the Even Day Revelation. If your eldest child has been born on an an even day, there is a great degree of certainty all children shall be born on even days. As our eldest was born on the 8th, our second and third were born on the 22 and 30, respectively. Therefore, we can clearly see that our fourth child shall be born today, on the 26th, an even day.


The next prognostication is the Augury of the Holiday. This one was trickier to ascertain, however, due to the missing words we had to fill in to complete the code. This secret states that if the child's mother was born on a holiday (Veteran's Day) and the child's father was not, in the year of Hare according to Chinese Zodiac, your child will not be born on a holiday (as was the case of our eldest). However, because of extraordinarily high tides and the continuing effects of El Nino, and of course the Augury of the Holiday, our subsequent children have been born on holidays: our second child on Washington's Birthday, and our third on Memorial Day. It is also noted, that because of the absence of red algae in the southern most ponds of the Seychelles islands during the Monsoon season, there is a highier likelihood (as was our case) of patriotic holidays. Today, being Independance Day North, for ex-British Somaliland, currently observed in Somalia, we can clearly see this child will be born today.


Keep watch, everyone, for the scrolls have spoken.

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Epitome of the Nerdy Father

Okay, I'll admit it: I am a complete nerd. Last night at 10:30 pm, Audrea asked me how simple it would be for me to write a computer program that times contractions. I immediately jumped at the opportunity! While I didn't make it sophisticated by any means, I did spend way too much time on it (about 4 hours), but it was fun anyway.

I designed it with the middle-of-the-night in view--so the program takes up your whole screen with a black background and does not require you to use a mouse. When a contraction starts, you simply hit the space bar. When it's done, you hit any other key. If you fall asleep and forget to hit a key to stop timing it, you just hit the space bar on the next contraction. Pretty simple, but is a heck of a lot easier than using a timer that you can't read in the middle of the night and trying to keep track of it in your head or on paper!

I realize that most readers here may not care hoot about it, but if you're interested in seeing it, you can install it on your computer. You must first have the Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 installed. If you don't, the install program will prompt you to do that. To install, click the "Install" button on the following link:
http://home.comcast.net/~fuller_paul/ContractionsTimer/index.htm

(P.S. This is an as-is program... I'm not providing any help if it doesn't work on your computer!)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The answer is still, "no, not yet."

Friday, June 22, 2007

No Baby Yet

As you may notice, the graphic above indicates there is 1 day to go before the technical due-date. However, we have learned from 3 other children, that those dates are hooey. It can be that day plus or minus 2 weeks or more!
That being said, this week Audrea has been going through what I would call "slow labor." In our naïve days pre-Savannah, we would have rushed to the hospital probably 10 times! Some would call it "false labor" but Audrea will tell you, there is nothing "false" about it! The soreness, the lack of sleep, the light-headedness, the irregular contractions, and overall major discomfort indicate that baby's journey to the outside has started but is taking its sweet-but-not-so-sweet-for-Audrea time.
So life goes on and we learn to be patient and wait on God's timing. He's been teaching us that lesson a lot these days since we're still sitting here in Maple Grove with a house to sell! ... We'll keep you posted though as to when this baby comes along!