Friday, March 30, 2012

a baby for AB

I have to tell you all about my friend Anna Beth and the blog that was just started to help her family fund raise the $10,000 they need for IVF. I will share with you the blurb about her I wrote for the blog...

As a close friend and former roomate of Anna Beth's, I have seen just about every side of her and even at her worst and in the most difficult places, she manages to find hope and choose joy. Having Anna Beth in my life has changed me - it is what she does - she lives her life in such a purposeful way that lives are impacted merely by her presence. While Anna Beth has made some radical choices (living alone in a dangerous neighborhood so that there is a safe place for children to come, leading a team of college students to Turkey for the summer, after graduating - choosing to live with 7 college students in order to invest in their lives, and the list could go on...) she would not see herself as a radical person. She would simply see herself as an image bearer of Christ. While AB doesn't recognize these things as remarkable, she possesses a remarkable attitude of grace and joy. I have never seen anyone endure as much as she has while maintaining an attitude of hopeful anticipation. It seemed like the harder things got, the more determined Anna Beth was to choose to trust the goodness of God and accept what He chose to give her whether it was joy or pain. That doesn't mean she didn't hurt... that is another amazing thing about Anna Beth, she isn't afraid to be real and admit when things are hard or hurt. But even as she pours out her pain and heartbreak she has a determined grasp on God's love and provision for her. This whole journey of adding to their family has been so painfully personal to Anna Beth as her lifelong dream has been being a mother. And she is, she is a fantastic mom to Jace, and I know a long list of people who have been 'mothered' by her presence in their lives. Knowing Anna Beth, as hard as this journey has been and as much as she wants to have a baby - I don't think she would change any of it. She might not have chosen for things to be this hard, but she has fully embraced that the fulfillment of her dream will come from God in one way or another. IVF is the next step of this journey of faith, hope and trust for the Morgans and I'm so grateful to be a part of what God is doing in their lives through helping them make this dream a reality. My life and my family have been forever impacted by the Morgans and I can't think of a better response than to invest in their family by giving financially to help cover the costs of IVF. If I have learned anything from Anna Beth it is that God is so good... all the time, even when it hurts.

Go check out their blog and be inspired by the story of this amazing family and then get involved!!!

I am believing God for a miracle for them and I totally believe this $10,000 is nothing compared to the greatness of God. It is so cool to be a part of what God is doing through their family by giving financially as a step of faith. So, come on! Join me in being a part of God's blessing to them.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

baby projects

I've been making lots of gifts for the recent baby boom of friends having children. It's been so fun. I love making something special for my friends to show them how excited I am about their new arrival. Here are some of the recent projects and links to tutorials I used (cause who needs original ideas anymore? .... thanks pinterest)

This was a blanket I made for a friend of Jeff's from work. I got this idea from a gift that one of my friends gave me when H was born. That blanket is his favorite and he takes it with him to daycare everyday. It is actually a really easy project. It only requires a yard of flannel and a yard of the soft, bumpy fabric. I've made a few of these but this was my first attempt to embroider...I used this book to learn the stitches, but I totally free handed it, so that was not the best idea.

Since I have a boy, it is really fun to get to buy/make girl things. I've been wanting to make a tutu for a while and found a great tutorial on you tube that I used. The best part is there is absolutely no sewing involved! So when I found out my friend was having a girl I immediately ordered some spools of tool on Amazon. Just an FYI it is much easier to use spools than to get a yard from a fabric store.

My next project was a onesie for my nephew Bryce. I had my sister's friends all make her or buy her a special onesie for Bryce that symbolized them. I saw this one on etsy a while ago and knew I had to make it. Since there wasn't a pattern this was my first time drafting my own pattern and figuring it out myself. I ended up making two of these in different sizes and on one I left the edges raw and on one I pressed all the edges. The one with the pressed edges turned out better.

Finally, I saw this adorable tutorial over at Lil' Blue Boo (I totally have a blog crush on her) for a sock bunny and decided to make one for H for Easter. It turned out so cute! I don't have a good picture of the one I made for H, but here is his holding it at the Easter egg hunt today.

I've got a few more baby gifts to make, but don't think I'll be able to get much done until after my comprehensive exam on April 25th. So, please don't come early babies!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Cross

Around Easter, especially during lent, I try to spend daily time meditating on the person of Jesus and on the consequences of the cross. You won't find pretty, ornate crosses in my house because I try to see the cross for what it was - an instrument of death and torture. Particularly in America, it seems that we are often in a hurry to jump to Easter, the 'happy ending' as it were, and skip over the anguished death of Jesus and the hope of the world dashed to pieces. I don't know how I can truly say God's grace to me was not without effect(1 Corinthians 15:10) unless I am willing to descend into the depths of hell with Him when he bore the sins of the world for the sake of the glory of God. The cross isn't just about nails and pain and the price for MY sin... the cross is so much greater than that. You know that song, the one about how 'He took the nails for me' - that is so far from the whole truth about Jesus. To get to the heart of the cross, we have to get to the heart of God - primarily the deep love of God to manifest His glory among the nations.
Even in the Old Testament, God chose to use individuals, but it was for the greater purpose of manifesting His glory to the watching world, both in righteous anger and awesome acts of mercy. He didn't take the nails for me, for you, or for Christianity. Jesus chose to endure suffering death on the cross so that all men could come to God and God would be made glorious. Somewhere along the way the message of Easter became personal salvation rather than the great mercy of the Father toward his children for all eternity. He is made great, not me.
The recent martyrdom of Jeremiah Small hit me very hard - not because we were close, but because it woke me up. Having lived in the very city he was living in, among the very people whom he loved and gave his life for... it reminded me what is real. Jeremiah was not controlled by the world, but by the love and will of God - that is what led him to Iraq several years ago. When we decided to move overseas it was because we wanted to be obedient and felt compelled to respond to the love of God. But, my experience there and since returning to the States has taught me that living a life controlled by the love and will of God has much more to do with what is inside your heart than your physical, geographical location. I have been a fairly ineffective vessel of God in that I have allowed myself to be controlled by many things and Jesus said it best when he said that "You cannot serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other." Matthew 6:24, Luke 6:13 Jesus didn't give us a lot of room here to love him and love everything else too. In fact, he was very black and white about it being love and hate. I don't think this means we hate in the sense that we express hatred toward everything worldly, that is surely not how Jesus lived on the earth. I think it means we hold in our hearts a single, all consuming passion for only one thing.... and whatever we choose will be the thing through which we filter everything else. If we choose Jesus, than it will be Jesus who inspires us to love those around us, Jesus who inspires us to appreciate the beauty and joy to be had in the world, Jesus who brings us to submission out of his overwhelming kindness towards us.
Jesus died. Jeremiah died. I don't want my life to be unaffected by either of these things. The story of the cross is full of torment and I think it should be. It is good for my soul to meditate on the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and in turn respond with overflowing gratitude for all that was purchased on my behalf. Easter is certainly a celebration, without Easter there would be no Christmas. I've always loved the verse where Paul says "And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world." 1 Corinthians 15:19. Jesus made a way, through the cross for us to have a lasting hope - a hope for all eternity. I pray God's grace in my life will continue to be 'not without effect"

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

meet Bryce

It has been so wonderful being with my sister and bro in law and their precious newborn Bryce. He was born on March 2nd. Here are some pics of the adorable little guy

New Daddy

New Mommy after his first bath

Proud Aunt!

Welcome to the world Bryce, we are SO excited that you're here!

Friday, March 2, 2012

I apologize for the lack of updating and update only to say that there will probably not be a good update for another couple weeks. My heart is heavy today...My sister is in labor right now and it feels so wrong to not get to be with her. Next Friday can't come fast enough, I can't wait to meet my nephew! Also, an American man we met during our time in Iraq was killed yesterday by one of his Kurdish students. I'm saddened for our friends there and for his family but hopeful in reading articles and facebook posts about him - he has made such a significant global impact on others through the testimony of his life. As Jim Elliot said before he was martyred in the jungle, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot loose". Will you join me in praying for the students at Jeremiah's school and the Kurdish community there?
Baby Bealer pictures to come soon!