Welcome....Here's a glimpse of our happenings!

The verses that have REALLY spoken to me (Sarah) lately....

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock." Matthew 7:24-25

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. I Peter 5:8-9

From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being. As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.' Acts 17:26-28

May the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock, and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14

So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. Walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess. Deuteronomy 5:32-33

God, our God, will take care of the hidden things but the revealed things are our business. It's up to us and our children to attend to all the terms in this Revelation. Deuteronomy 29:29 (The Message)

About the Friesen's....

We are Marc, Sarah, Luke, and Kate Friesen. We were married June 5, 2004. We have one son, born July 21, 2008, named Luke Andrew -- now 4 years old. We also have a daughter named Kate Christine -- born June 6, 2012. Marc is working at Cessna as a Senior Accountant, and Sarah stays home full-time with Luke. Sarah also gets to work very part-time at home for Graber Backhoe -- an excavation company AND VERY part-time at our church. We LOVE being a part of Grace Community Church here in Newton, KS. We lead a Community Life Group of other wonderful couples. Marc thoroughly enjoys long-distance running and Taekwondo. Sarah thoroughly enjoys walking -- especially when the weather is nice to take Luke and/or out in the stroller. Thanks for reading our blog!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Big 3 - 3....

Tomorrow (March 1) is my birthday. Yep, I'll be the big 33! I'm not making this blog post because I feel I need "gobs" of attention. I just want to visibly show Thanks to God for my life.

In most of my adult life, I haven't been overly excited about birthdays -- not because I didn't care but because I felt like it was just another day.

I don't know if it's motherhood that's changed that attitude or God working in my life or both. But I now know and understand that celebrating the day that I first took a breath of oxygen outside of my mother's womb is worth celebrating!

Am I fulfilling God's purpose for me on this earth? Each day, I hope to be working more and more toward fulfilling that purpose. What can I do to further His kingdom? That is my prayer for my birthday.

Sing to the lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise His name; proclaim His salvation day after day. Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all peoples. Psalm 96:1-3

This evening, I went out with some wonderful women -- Lisa, Sarah, Sam, & Laura. It was a birthday celebration for Lisa and me (Lisa's birthday was actually back in January). Shame on me for not taking photos. We went to eat at "On the Border" (you can't go wrong with Mexican food) and then, we hung out at "Barnes & Noble." What a fun girls' night out! We need to do it more often, ladies.

While I don't have an official photo for this post, here are 25 random facts about me -- just for fun. I hope you learn something interesting about me. These are not in order of importance; however, #s 9, 23, and 25 would definitely be most important.

1. I was born at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, KS
2. I weighed 6 lb. 5 oz. at birth.
3. If my mom’s due date was correct, I was born exactly one month early.
4. I have one brother, Joel, who is just over two years and one month younger than me.
5. I have a sister-in-law, Amber – Joel’s wife.
6. I have two nieces, Grace (3) and Natalie (1).
7. I was very fortunate in that I had four grandparents until I was almost 25 years old. I currently only have one grandparent left. She lives about ½ hour from me.
8. People who know me as well as my parents tell me that I’m a good mixture of my parents – in personalities. Most people tell me, when it comes to appearances, I look more like my dad.
9. My husband, Marc, is my best friend.
10. Besides the USA, I have been in Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas, Ireland, France, the very edge of Italy, and Monaco.
11. Marc and I have a world map, on my office wall, with markers of various places we want to visit in our lifetime. Some of those places include, but are not limited to, Argentina, South Africa, Australia, and Japan.
12. I was in the same school system from kindergarten through 12th grade.
13. I never went to preschool.
14. I have completed running 5 half-marathons. My goal is to eventually run a full marathon – yep, Marc rubs off on me a bit.
15. My childhood pet was a dog named “Simon.”
16. My mom says that I was quiet until my freshman year in high school. She claims I haven’t stopped talking since.
17. Up until I got married, I had ZERO interest in cooking. Now, I really enjoy doing it. I just don’t like to clean up.
18. My favorite sitcom is “Seinfeld,” though I can’t quote it nearly as well as Marc.
19. I enjoy sleeping, and that’s been the biggest challenge so far to me as a parent – not as much sleep (I know there are more challenges to come).
20. I have been in Monterrey, Mexico, five times on mission trips, coordinating vacation Bible schools in neighborhoods without any sort of Christian influence. I would say that those five trips definitely have shaped some of who I am.
21. I met Marc on a blind date. We were “fixed up” by my good friend Alissa. Marc was on the Young Alumni committee with her for Bethel College, and she thought we’d be a good match. We’re very grateful to her.
22. I feel very fortunate to have a mom and dad who will be married 37 years on March 25.
23. My priorities in life are, in order, 1) God 2) Marc 3) Luke and any future children 4) Other Family…
24. My favorite season is fall.
25. I am a Christian, and I’m proud to profess that.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Supper, Birthday, and Christ-Like Example....

This blog post is multi-facted...Yep, three different parts to it. It could get potentially long, so enjoy the reading and photo viewing.

Luke had an "off night" tonight. We've had several of those lately. I'm fairly sure it's his teeth because he is gnawing, gnawing, and then, gnawing some more on his toys. So, by the time Marc got home, I did not have supper ready at all. In fact, I hadn't even started it. So, we resorted to an old trick that our friends Mark and Lisa Siebert taught us -- popcorn and Orange Julius. Thanks Mark and Lisa. We love it!

A little trivial nugget for you all: The actual brand "Orange Julius" is owned by International Dairy Queen -- the very company I used to work for. Know that what I'm talking about here tonight is not the "official" product. I don't want any of my former coworkers coming after me for trademark violations on this blog :)

For the popcorn and Orange Julius dinner, you merely need two appliances -- a microwave and a blender.

You need the following ingredients:

PLUS...a bag of microwave popcorn (or, if you prefer, an air popper, etc.)

During the 2007 Kansas State Fair, we discovered this awesome Chili Cheese spice blend that is GREAT on popcorn. If you'd like to order some, go here...www.oldewestportspice.com

Voila! With a little blending and a little microwaving, you have a meal. NOTE: If any dieticians or health food addicts are reading this, know that this is not a full, nutritionally sound meal. It does have some good qualities, however -- orange juice, milk, etc.

The real beauty of this meal is that clean-up is SUPER EASY! In no time flat, I had this -- a CLEAN kitchen with very few dishes to get it that way.

Here's the recipe -- I hope you don't mind, Lisa, if I put this on here.

Orange Julius

1/2 can orange juice
1/2 C. Sugar
1 C. Water
1 C. Milk
1 tsp. vanilla
12 ice cubes

Blend all ingredients in a blender.

Now, another subject...

My grandmother, Elizabeth Koehn, turned 85 today! Sadly, she is my only grandparent left. She doesn't live too far from here. She just lost her husband of 67 years in January. I hope she had a great day! Here's a photo of her back in August, the first time she met Luke -- her first Great Grandson.

And finally....

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things. Philippians 4:8

That verse has been stuck in my head today. At my job at DQ, I work with some employees who like to talk about things that are definitely not worth repeating. It's very tempting sometimes to get "involved" in their discussions. However, that verse always comes into my mind, and I simply walk away. I want the light of Christ to shine through me. One way is to talk about better things than what is often being discussed. Today, a 55 year-old employee said to me, "You know Sarah, I respect you too much to talk really bad around you."

I appreciated that. I hope to continue to let this employee (and others) to hopefully see Christ through me. I don't think many of them know Christ at this job.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

So Long, Farewell....

Some of you (especially our small group guys and Young Married Sunday School class guys) might be a bit sad if you come over here.

Our pop fridge in our garage is no longer working. Nope, it's definitely beyond repair. And, at least for right now, we're not going to purchase a new one. We believe that there is better use of our money.

No more ice cold Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, and bottled water on a whim.

From now on, if you come over here and want a cold beverage, you'll have to warn us first. If you just show up unannounced, you might have to settle for a room temperature beverage.

Here's a photo of "Sad Marc," standing beside our non-functioning beverage cooler.

**Please Note: I just couldn't think of a Bible verse to go along with this post :) Somehow, I don't think the words "pop," "Soda," or "Pepsi" are actually used in the Bible. If they are in there, please post a comment with the address of the verse.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

It's That Time of Year Again and Sitting Up....

Yep, it's that time of year again. It's time to complete the appropriate forms and file the....TAXES -- both federal and state. Some of you may be procrastinators. You know the type, scrambling at the very end to get them completed and then rushing to the post office late on April 15.

Marc's not one to do that (procrastinate). This past weekend, he completed both our federal and state income taxes. They were filed online last night. DONE!!!! Ah...while we don't like to pay taxes and filing income taxes each year is a bit of a pain, we do it because we obey our government.

Here's a photo of Marc diligently working on our income tax returns.

Income tax filing time is when many Americans are tempted to and often give into cheat. While, in some cases, it would be easy to do and very tempting if it would be in one's favor, it is incrediblydishonest.

Not that I would remotely imply that any of you reading this blog post would cheat, but I would like to post these following two verses. Hopefully, these will help somebody out there.

The Lord detests lying lips, but He delights in men who are truthful. Proverbs 12:22

He whose walk is upright fears the Lord, but he whose ways are devious despises Him. Proverbs 14:2

On a different note, a Luke note, he has recently (within the last couple of days) gotten to where he can sit up on his own without support. While he still is a bit wobbly and occasionally still does some face plants, he is doing very well. Here's a photo of him from this evening, red cheeks and all (he tends to get red cheeks when he's tired). Pardon the bib -- I forgot to take it off of him.

Until next time....

Monday, February 23, 2009

Happy Birthday Reynold....

Most of you "local" people who know us will not know about the person in this post. I, however, encourage you to read on anyways. Let me introduce you to a good friend of our's.

I've mentioned my good friend Tammy several times on this blog, in previous posts. Reynold is Tammy's husband. Therefore, he is a good friend of our's as well.

I first met Reynold in 2002, way up in northern Indiana. I was up there because Tammy was graduating with her Master's Degree. At that time, Tammy & Reynold were merely dating. A couple of months after that, I traveled up to Ontario to volunteer at a camp, Silver Lake Mennonite Camp. Reynold was then director of that camp. Tammy was head cook. So then, I got to know Reynold better.

Reynold is originally from Manitoba. When Tammy & Reynold met, he was living in Ontario. Since then, they have gotten married, moved back to Manitoba, and have had two wonderful boys.

Fun Memories or Facts on Reynold:

1) Reynold is the biggest fan of the group U-2 that I have ever met.
2) Reynold eats more toast than anybody I've ever met.
3) Reynold has completed running a 1/2 Marathon.
4) Reynold enjoys and takes pride in making fun of our Kansan accents. Next time they visit us, perhaps Reynold will imitate our accents.
5) Reynold gave Marc and me a great tour of the city of Winnipeg. He knows it well. He took Tammy and me around the city to find Marc at various points when Marc ran the Manitoba Marathon in 2006.
6) Reynold is a Youth and Young Adult Pastor at Bethel Mennonite Church in Winnipeg.
7) Reynold is a wonderful husband to Tammy and a wonderful father to Caleb and Jesse.
8) Reynold happens to also be a Friesen.

Reynold may not particularly want this photo on our blog, but I really like the photo. This was taken in June, 2006, when we were up there visiting. We spent an afternoon at Lake Winnipeg -- a very large lake compared to Kansas lakes. It was a fun day.

Here's a photo of Marc and Reynold. During that same trip, we also visited a mint -- you know, where they make money. It actually was a very interesting tour.

Reynold -- you're getting a little bit too close to 40 this year! Perhaps we'll have to make a winter trip up to Winnipeg in a couple of years to celebrate the big one! Have a wonderful birthday!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Community Life....

Last night, our church's Community Life Leaders (small group leaders) gathered together. It was an evening of encouragement, fellowship, food (of course), learning, and prayer. It was held in a barn which is owned by a couple in our church (Thanks Dan & Marjean). This, however, was no ordinary barn. This was a great barn for a great gathering, complete with clean cement floors, a bathroom/shower, and heat.

The Young Married community life groups were well represented --

Us (Marc and Sarah)
Joel and Kendall
Jon and Lori
Kelsey and Tammy
Adam and Jill

Joel and Jess -- we missed you last night. It was SO VERY NICE to see you both this morning. We hope you and your families were able to enjoy some leftover BBQ.

Being on the Community Life Council now, I had the wonderful opportunity to order the food and help set it up. We ate catered BBQ from none other than....Like my shadow in the photo?

Soon after the food arrived, other leaders started to arrive. At first, it was mere mingling.

Then, Adam said prayer and the buffet line began. Nobody hesitated on that one.

We were entertained by a great men's group -- all nine of them. The group is called "Hearts for Him." The nine men originally started this group at another church in town. They have since made a couple of different CDs. I would call it "Southern Gospel" type music. Though I'm generally not a fan of that type of music, I did enjoy this group. They did announce at the end that they would be performing at Grace Community Church sometime in April. Marc and I look forward to that Sunday.

Adam then led a bit of an "ice breaker." A nominated person from each table (our table chose Marc) went to the front. They were asked to come up with a noise of their choosing. When all of the noises were put together in a rhythmic fashion, we had a "human appliance." Short, but very entertaining, nonetheless.

At the end, Adam gave a brief devotional and challenge to us all after reading some scripture from Ephesians 2. We then spent time in prayer with others at our table. We had the privilege of eating, laughing together, and praying with Jon/Lori and Joel/Kendall.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another -- and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:24-25

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Seven Months....

Today, Luke is seven months old. Wow -- How Time Flies!

So, we took the usual photo of him in our chair for comparison.

As a recap....Here's Luke at one month (end of August)

Here's little Luker at three months (end of October)

At five months (just before Christmas)

And.......today, at seven months. We even got a great smile out of him this morning.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Prayer and Pizza....

Does the title of this blog post pique your interest? Marc would say that prayer and pizza probably go together :) He would probably love nothing more than to have a men's night of prayer with pizza!


I've recently borrowed a book from my friend, Andrea. It's a book that she and Collin went through with their Community Life Group -- led by none other than Jon and Lori. The book is called "Respectable Sins," written by Jerry Bridges. For a quick synopsis, it basically addresses the subtle sins that we all have probably committed -- ungodliness, anxiety/frustration, discontentment, etc. I've only just begun reading it, but already, I really have enjoyed (and been challenged) reading it. I think I'm into it because I know that I have been a bit guilty -- guilty of ignoring these subtle sins and acting more righteous than those who commit more blatant sins.

Here's what touched me last night during my reading.

We have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.

Colossians 1:9b-10

This was written in Paul's letter to the Colossians. The author of this book (Jerry Bridges) talks about how God-Centered this prayer was. Often times, my prayers are much more of a "to do list," asking God to intervene in my everyday problems. Bridges suggests that, "while it's not bad to ask God to intervene in problems (that shows our dependence on Him), our prayers often don't reflect a concern for God's will and God's glory to be shown in our lives."

I've been thinking a lot about that today. What is my ultimate purpose here on earth? I know my ultimate purpose is to grow God's kingdom by spreading the fantastic news of Jesus Christ's life on earth and ultimate death for our sins and resurrection (see Matthew 28:19-20). Also, my purpose is to let God be glorified through me. Do I pray for that? Admittedly, I don't pray that everyday. My daily prayers are often ONLY lists of what I need intervention from God.

What are your prayers like? Does Paul's letter to the Colossians challenge you as much as it does me?

On to another subject...

Last night, Marc was holding Luke before bed. Luke had his hand inside Marc's. It just looked so awesome -- a son's hand in his father's. I ran to get the camera, and then, Luke refused to open up his hand like he had it. Oh well! Child photos are not always how you want them. I just like this photo of Marc's and Luke's hands, and I wanted to share it with all of you.

AND, one more thing -- definitely light-hearted....

For a Valentine's Day gift, Marc wanted a pizza night. This pizza night was not to be our Valentine's Day meal. It was the gift he wanted. He decided last night that he wanted tonight (Friday) to be his pizza night, the redeeming of the Valentine's Day gift. I figured he'd want Pizza Hut with A LOT of meat and cheese on the pizza. Nope, he chose Papa Murphy's -- the kind you bake yourself. We also have recently learned of the cinnamon wheel from there. So, we got one of those as well.

Here's our freshly baked, yummy, yet simple pizza. PEPPERONI -- Marc's favorite.

For those of you who know Marc, this will not surprise you. Marc always has not one, but TWO Pepsis when we have pizza. Tonight was no exception. So, on our messy table (remember, keeping it real), here is Marc's pizza and two Pepsis. And no, he did not just have two pizzas. More pizza eating came after these two pieces were gone.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I'm a Little Late to Jump on the Bandwagon....

I've finally added the pink button to this blog. Most of you know this, but if not, here's what it's for....

Click on it to shop for very awesome products. 100% of the proceeds from the purchases of these products will go to help build the Cora Playground.

This playground will be built to honor the life of Cora McClenahan, the daughter of Joel and Jessica who recently went to be with Jesus after a brief battle with cancer.

Joel and Jessica as well as the rest of us will miss Cora dearly!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Yesterday and Today....

Yesterday (Tuesday, the 17th), I traveled to Topeka for the day. It was a work related trip. Apparently, even though I left my full-time "travel" job to be home with Luke, I still occasionally am away. This trip was not overnight, however. These trips will not happen often at all. In fact, this may be one of the only ones. It was a "Dairy Queen" meeting in Topeka. I was asked to facilitate and lead a break-out group (which I had two different sessions).

It was ultimately a very LONG, but good day. I left home at 5:30 in the morning. I didn't get home until around 9:45 or so. Yes, I was very tired last night.

I did experience a "first" from this trip. It was one of those hard firsts that most mothers go through at some point. It was the first time since Luke's birth that I was away from him for a full 24-hour period. I didn't see him awake from Monday evening around 8:00 P.M. until this morning (Wednesday) around 8:00 A.M.

I admit I had a little bit of worry. I wasn't worried about Marc's abilities to get him up, fed, and off to Andrea's. I wasn't worried about the care he'd receive at Andrea's. I was worried, since he's been a bit cranky with teething lately, that he'd cause commotion and be cranky all day long, especially with his schedule being off.

I think I need to reread, recite, and memorize the verses in Phillipians about "not being anxious about anything." It all turned out to be a fine day for everybody involved. Andrea said he was happy, but his normal sleeping habits were a bit off. Marc had not a problem with him.

Here's a cute photo of Luke as a reminder....He sure does love his toes right now.

On to another topic....

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you wil receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24

I'm very new to this whole "stay at home during the day with your child" thing. Admittedly, it's something I didn't think I'd ever do. Marc and I had always planned that I'd keep working full-time after children. We're not totally sure what we were thinking on that one. God has ultimately taught us and shown us through various people and circumstances in our lives that it would be best for our family it I was home. Right now, I'm working very part-time. Our ultimate goal is for me to stay home full-time eventually.

In this process, I sometimes have days where I think I'm not contributing enough -- not just to the finances of our family but to society as a whole. The verses above from Colossians remind me that there is honor in whatever work you do. All honest professions are equally honorable (taken from "Crown" financial study). Whatever I am doing, it should be glorifying to God.

Here's an example....I really do NOT enjoy making the bed. It's just not one of my favorite things to do. I LOVE how it looks when it's made. I LOVE to crawl into a made bed at night (Marc actually prefers it unmade when he crawls into bed at night). I also know that a made bed certainly makes the bedroom look a lot neater.

This is how my morning started -- a messy, unmade bed with sheets that needed to be washed.

Voila! With a change in attitude and a reminder that all work is honorable and just be glorifying to God, clean sheets and a made bed appear!

The lesson in all of this to me and hopefully to some of my readers of this blog is "don't get 'bored' with what you're doing." Don't let it seem mundane. If you're doing it for the glory of God, it's all honorable.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


I haven't made a blog post in awhile. I was having some "technical" difficulties that I really don't understand. We'll see how this goes.

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:16-18

I decided that I do not thank God enough for the many blessings He has provided to Marc, Luke, and me. Here are the top 7 things (ranked in order) that I am personally thankful for.

1) God: I truly serve a mighty God -- a God I'm working to draw closer to each day of my life. I honestly don't know how I'd make it through my life day to day without Him.

2) A country (the USA) where we have the freedom to worship and serve God openly: I think that, here in the USA, we take it or granted that we can openly worship and serve God. I need to worship and serve God even more openly than I do.

3) Marc, my husband: I feel undeserving, yet privileged, to be Marc's wife. He's the husband for me and me alone. He's the man I most respect and love. He's the leader of our household and provider for our household. He's the earthly father of our son, Luke. He loves God, and each and every day, he works to become an even stronger Godly husband and father. This photo of Marc was taken in August, 2007, in Seaside, OR. It was in a hotel swimming pool. The funny thing was that right above this pool were windows overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean. The Pacific Ocean up there is cold. So, we resorted to the pool.

4) Luke: Luke is our son whom we love and cherish. We're thankful for him. We too are excited and feel privileged that God has entrusted him to our care. Our prayer for him is that he one day accepts Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior. We also pray that he too will become a Godly husband and father, if that is in God's plan for him. Here's a photo of him on his tummy, taken just last week.

5) Friends: I'm thankful for the many friends that we have. We have so many that there is absolutely no way I could post photos of them all. So, I'll start out with this photo of my friend Tammy, her son Caleb (at eight months old -- he's now over 2 years old), and me. This photo was taken on a visit to Minneapolis, MN, nearly two years ago.

6) Jobs: I'm thankful for Marc's job at Cessna. He goes there each day, hoping that he can use his job to glorify God. I'm also thankful for my job at a DQ in Wichita as well as my job with Graber Backhoe. I really never planned to work part-time (notice I said, "I never planned" -- God plans other things for my life). Now, I'd have it no other way. I can't imagine working full-time at this point in my life. Our goal is to eventually have me stay home full-time. We're working toward that goal.

7) Our home: Our house just isn't any house. It's our home. It's where memories are made. It's the place we look forward to being at with family each day. It's the place where we want our children to feel like they can come to anytime -- well into adulthood (as long as they do get their own place as adults). There's a line in the movie, "French Kiss," spoken by Meg Ryan...."I want to plant some roots and watch them grow." That pretty much sums up my feelings toward our home.....

I'm so very thankful for many more things, but the blog post is already long enough. Take time to thank God for the many things you are grateful for.

Finally, this weekend was Valentine's Day. Our original Valentine's Day plans did fall through, but you know what....We didn't let that get us down. We still enjoyed a nice, relaxing weekend together. Luke's teething right now and a bit "not himself." So, it's probably better that we were home a little bit more.

Valentine's Day is a secular holiday. However, our pastor, Dave Reimer, wrote a great article in our church's monthly newsletter. He said that even though Valentine's Day is a secular holiday, we as Christians can claim it because "God IS love, and we are His, and we live eternally because of that love."

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers." I John 3:16

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Finally, A Blog Post....

I haven’t made a blog post in quite awhile because I’ve been doing some prayerful and careful consideration for how I wanted to make my next post. Most of you reading this definitely know that little Cora McClenahan is now with Jesus. Cora passed away early in the morning on Sunday, February 8, 2009. The “Celebration of Cora’s Life” was held today at our church. A memorial has been established to construct the “Cora Playground” – an extension of the children’s ministries at Grace Community Church. If you’d like to contribute to this memorial, please visit the “Cora Paige” link on the left side of this page.

Yesterday, I had a very meaningful conversation with a Christian woman (whom I definitely call a friend) who is a great person to talk to about God (Thanks Cathy). She always has great insight into what God has taught her over the years. Like all of you reading this, I’m trying to grasp why God answered our prayers in the way He did. These are not her original words, but she quoted me something that she has written in her Bible. “I know beyond a doubt that God is too wise to make a mistake, and too loving to be unkind.” God did ultimately answer our prayers. Cora’s cancer is gone. It’s healed. She’s free from it. However, He did not heal her cancer by keeping her on earth with us. So now, her parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends are not only left to mourn her loss BUT also to celebrate her life.

“But my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater. So, it is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:8-11

According to those verses, only God has the reason why He took Cora’s earthly life from all of us. I can’t answer why Cora is no longer with us here.

I’ve been listening to some CDs of praise choruses A LOT in the last few days. These CDs contain a collection of choruses that Joel and Jess played for Cora while she was in the hospital. They were put together by Adam, our worship pastor at church. My new favorite praise song is “Mighty to Save.” Today, at the Celebration for Cora’s life, we sang, as a body, three different praise choruses. I’m told that Joel and Jess requested this music because Cora really enjoyed music. I was so very pleased that we sang this song. It’s a GREAT reminder that God is God. He can move mountains. His Son conquered the grave. He conquered the grave so that we all could be forgiven for our sins we commit.

Everyone needs compassion
A love that’s never failing
Let mercy fall on me

Everyone needs forgiveness
The kindness of a Savior
The hope of nations

He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save
He is mighty to save
Author of Salvation
He rose & conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave

So take me as You find me
All my fears & failures
Fill my life again

I give my life to follow
Everything I believe in
Now I surrender

(Chorus Again)

Shine Your light and
Let the whole world see
We’re singing
For the glory
Of the Risen King

Wow! What wonderful lyrics!!!!!

When I was a child, I, many times said, “That’s not fair” – probably mostly referring to something my brother got that I didn’t. My dad used to respond, “Nope, life’s not fair.” I failed to fully realize until adulthood that life’s not fair because we live in a very fallen world. Sin is everywhere. We’re born that way. Sin goes way back to Adam and Eve. So no, life’s not fair, but God is just. We still must trust God that He knows what he’s doing – even in this situation.

Joel and Jess – if you’re reading this – we know you’re deeply grieving the loss of Cora, your daughter. Your family is also grieving this great loss. Please know that we, your brothers and sisters in Christ, are also grieving with you. You are definitely not alone.

Isn’t it fantastic to know that we all can see Cora once again someday if we have Jesus in our hearts? We’ve already told Luke that even though he’s too young to remember Cora, he too can meet her in heaven someday. He just needs to choose Jesus when he’s older and understands that.

Like Joel and Jess as parents, we, as parents, are also praying that Luke follows Jesus someday. What a lonely life it would be to not have Jesus in our hearts.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

What a Beautiful Day!

I first want to start out this blog post to remind everybody to continually pray for Cora and her parents, Joel and Jessica (see "The Macs" blog -- the link is on the left side of this page). It is very hard for all of us to see Joel, Jess, and especially little Cora go through this ordeal. However, we know we have a good and just God who taking care of the situation with His perfect planning.

Not knowing how to make an easy transition from that, here it goes....

Don't you just love it when you have an absolutely perfect gorgeous day in February? For those of our readers who don't live here in Kansas, today was one of those days -- nearly 70 degrees and calm winds.

I took Luke this afternoon (along with a couple of other moms from our Sunday School class and their kids) to the park. This was Luke's very first trip to the park. Luke does very well sitting now -- still with a little bit of support, however. I put him in the baby swing, and as you can see, he did enjoy it!

Luke's little friend, Ava, wanted to push him. So, her mom (Andrea) and I let her with some supervision :) She did a very good job at pushing Luke -- not too high. Luke was a little more serious in this photo, but he was still enjoying the experience, nonetheless.

Little Ava insisted that I take her picture. So, here's a picture of Ava pushing Luke in the swing.

Luke's friend Ollie (and his mom and baby sister) was also at the park. Ollie's a typical boy who likes to climb. Just before this photo was taken, he was trying to eat something he shouldn't have been eating (not sure what it was). Don't worry Kendall and Joel, Andrea and I stopped him from eating whatever it was.

After the park, I needed to go to the grocery store for a few things. Luke has been to the grocery store many times with me; however, he's always stayed in his carseat. Today, however, he got to sit up in the cart like a big boy. He did very well with it; however, I'm very glad that the shopping carts have seatbelts. He still needs that extra support to avoid falling over to the side.
An older woman approached him right after this photo was taken. He smiled at her and her response was simply, "Oh, they always know when they see a Grandma." Yep, I agreed with her. They always do know.

**As a side note, at the park, I met a woman who also blogs. In fact, I had looked at her blog before. It was nice to meet you, Beki.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Favorite Trip....

I realized I hadn't blogged for awhile, but I was having a hard time thinking up something to blog about this week. Our week hasn't been too exciting -- Marc and I have both had colds. So, I thought I would do a "flashback" of one of our favorite trips that we have taken -- remember, Marc and I LOVE to travel.

A little over two years ago (December, 2006), Marc and I took a "Christmas trip" to New York City. I had been to NYC twice; however, one was in Jr. High, and the other one was my Jr. year in High School. I knew that I would look at the big city different now, and I did....

This was Marc's first trip to NYC.

I have way too many photos to share, so I picked out just a few.

Our hotel was very close to the Empire State Building. So, right after we arrived in the city, we checked into our hotel. Then, we walked to the Empire State Building. It actually was a perfect day to be up there (clear day), but it was a bit cool (remember -- December).

Here's one photo of the city from the Empire State Building.

Our second day in the city, we did A LOT! We did spend some time on Wall Street. Here's the famous New York Stock Exchange Building. Thanks to the events on 9/11, we were unable to get inside the building.

**As a side note, if you've ever been to NYC, you know that you do an ENORMOUS amount of walking. During this trip, I wore a pedometer around to track my steps. On this second day of doing A LOT, I logged nearly 34,000 steps -- yep, around 17 miles. Even Marc's legs were tired by the end of the day.

Also, on the second day, we took the fairy out to see the Statue of Liberty. Here's an awesome photo of us (near the Statue of Liberty) with the NYC skyline behind us. Unfortunately, the Twin Towers weren't there.

Here's a photo of the Statue of Liberty I took while looking nearly straight up at her.

Other things we did included (but this list isn't everything) -- visiting "Fox and Friends" in the morning, both of us running a 10-K race in Central Park (one of the highlights), touring the New York Mercantile Exchange (Marc's contacts at Koch Industries got us actually inside), seeing an opera at the New York Metropolitan Opera, walking the Brooklyn Bridge, seeing the "Bodies" exhibit, eating at "Lombardi's" (the first pizza restaurant in this country), visiting FAO Schwartz toy store, etc....The list could go on and on and on.
It was one of the most exhausting five days of my life, but boy, was it worth it. We both really want to visit the city again someday. We'd like to take our kids there someday -- when they're a bit older to walk. Marc would LOVE to run the NYC Marathon. So, you know we'll be back at least for that.
On a completely different note -- I made a post awhile back about Luke sucking his thumb. Well, he definitely still does that -- especially when he's putting himself to sleep. In the last five days, however, he's REALLY been sucking his thumb. It's as if he's figured out to really console himself when he's upset since he won't take a pacifier.
This photo is from this morning. He was playing with his little "tag toy" (as we call it). He then stuck his thumb in his mouth while holding the toy up to his nose (like a blanket). I know a lot of babies do stuff like that, but when it's your own baby, it's sure CUTE!

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