Friday, December 23, 2011

One Year

It is so hard to believe, but one year ago today my Gigi stepped into eternity with her Savior. This quote is ever so true for me....

"There is something keeping for you, which is worth the having.
Less of you resides out of Heaven now." Samuel Rutherford

"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." Revelation 21:4

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Break

When JD was asked by the sweet mom of one of his little friends if she could have a Christmas hug, he promptly replied "no".  When she asked why he couldn't give her a Christmas hug he stated.... "I am on Christmas break!"  We got a good laugh from that one!

(A photo from last of my favorite's)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Time Away

A few weekends ago Chad and I had the opportunity to get away for a few days and what a sweet time it was!  I “surprised” him (it started as a surprise plan but he found out about it before we left) with a trip to Boise to watch a BSU football game on the Boise State “smurf turf”.  We flew out early on a Friday and came home on a Monday.   We really love the Boise area and it was fun to revisit some special places from our dating era. What an experience we had at the game!  We loved walking around and taking in all the tailgating parties, these are some very loyal BSU fans!  The children had a blast at their respective homes for the weekend.  Mitchell and JD enjoyed some time at the E’s, the middle three had a blast at the Beld’s for a couple nights, then sweet Maddie girl took care of them all here at home for the last night.  What a treasure trove of dear friends we have! It was a very special and much needed time away together. It was so good just to relax, refresh and regroup alone as a couple as we start this new season of family life without Papa and Gigi.  Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

On the plane

The sea of tailgaters

WOW...the back of one of the tailgaters vans!

Mitchell's future truck... :-)

Now that is a BBQ!

A new friend.... yikes!

Chad's new friends....big YIKES!

The view from our seats....they were great!

Sitting on our favorite bench....actually where we shared our first kiss....shhhhh!

The view from the bench, a beautiful valley.

Standing just about where we met 19 years ago :-)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks

…for His abundant blessings. The Hope of Heaven, a living God, a loving Savior, the Gospel free and clear, precious memories, a faithful husband, inquisitive children I get to spend my days with, family, dear friends, nummy good food, Bible time around the dinner table, a warm fireplace, toasty feet at night, hymns playing in my kitchen and a delicious Thanksgiving meal!

I am trying a couple new recipes this year and I am excited to see how it all goes!  We are having Cranberry-Orange Roasted Turkey, slow cooker mashed potatoes, Sourdough Stuffing (no mushrooms and lots of sausage & bacon added instead), Sweet Potato Casserole, Swiss Vegetable Medley and rolls.  For dessert the classic pumpkin pie, pecan pie and a new one…. Yummy Crunchy Caramel Apple Pie.  I have been experimenting with pie crust using the lard from our freshly butchered 1/2 pig.  The kids named him "Jimmy Dean"...  and he has been delicious!  I have never made pie crust (or anything else) with true lard for that matter.  I will echo every praise I have heard over the years about using true lard.  It is amazingly flaky, light and delicious…I have never tasted a crust quite like it!

Happy Thanksgiving

Here are a couple of the recipes from this year….

Cranberry-Orange Roasted Turkey

Prep time: 30 minutes

Bake: 3 hours + standing

Yield: 28 servings (3 ½ cups sauce)

3 tsp. garlic powder

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

1 turkey (14 lbs.)

1 medium orange

1 can (14 oz) whole-berry cranberry sauce

¾ cup teriyaki sauce

½ cup honey

½ cup orange marmalade

2 T. soy sauce

4 sprigs fresh herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, parsley and sage

2 medium onions, cut into wedges

1.        Combine garlic powder, salt and pepper.  With fingers, carefully loosen skin from the turkey breast; spread half of garlic powder mixture under the skin.  Sprinkle skin with remaining mixture. 

2.       Juice the orange, reserving the rind.  In a large bowl, combine the cranberry sauce, teriyaki sauce, honey, marmalade, soy sauce and the juice from the orange.  Cover and refrigerate 3 ½ cups of the mixture for sauce.

3.       Rub remaining orange juice mixture under the skin.  Secure skin to underside of breast with toothpicks.  Place herb sprigs and reserved orange rind in turkey cavity. 

4.       Arrange onions in a shallow roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Place turkey over onions.  Bake, uncovered at 325 degrees for 3 – 3 ½ hours or until a meat thermometer reads 180 degrees.  (Cover loosely with foil if turkey browns too quickly.) Cover and let stand for 15 minutes before carving. 

5.       Discard herb sprigs and orange rind before slicing the turkey. 

6.       Place reserved sauce in a large saucepan; heat through. Serve with the turkey. 


Yummy Crunchy Caramel Apple Pie 

Prep time: 15 minutes

Total time: 1 hr. 10 min.

Serves: 8

 -Pastry for a single crust pie


-1/2 cup sugar

3 T flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

Dash of salt

6 cups thinly sliced peeled apples (I am using Granny Smith)

Crumb topping:

1 cup packed brown sugar

½ cup flour

½ cup quick-cooking oats

½ cup butter

Final topping:

¼ cup caramel ice cream topping

½ cup chopped pecans


1.        Prepare pastry for a single-crust pie, being careful not to stretch the dough too much

2.       Place in a pie plate and trim and crimp the edge.

3.       In a large mixing bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt.

4.       Add apple slices and gently toss until they are coated well

5.       Transfer mixture to pie plate

6.       FOR CRUMB TOPPING: Stir together brown sugar, flour and oats.

7.       Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until topping resembles course crumbs.

8.       Sprinkle over apple mixture in pie.

9.       To prevent over-browning while baking, cover edge of pie with foil.

10.   Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.

11.   Remove foil and bake 25-30 minutes more until the top is golden.

12.   Remove from oven.

13.   Drizzle top with caramel topping; sprinkle with pecans.

14.   Cool on wire rack and serve!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Much Love and Many Thanks …. Again

I know it has been a while since I last posted.  Things are so very different here; I am not sure how to put it all into words.  Some days are so much better and some days are very, very hard.  We decided to go ahead and make changes to “Papa and Gigi’s” part of our home.  I wrestled with moving too quickly but at the same time I could not handle going in there multiple times a day and have it all look the same…smells, stuff….everything. We packed things up, painted and made it into a family/school room and it is functioning quite well.  Still, so many visions pop into my mind every single time I go in and out of that room.  It is especially hard at night to have it so dark and hear nothing.  No quiet breathing or music playing, just silence. To leave and not kiss Papa goodbye, to back out of the driveway with his windows dark, to come home to an empty house…  so incredibly hard.   We all miss having Carren , our Hospice nurse, and her sweet self here every Wednesday. We miss our dear Ramona terribly. She loved Papa and Gigi and it showed in her tender care of them  over the years.  We did have her here for her birthday dinner last month and we love the fact that she has stopped by unexpectedly a couple times for a visit.  We miss her, she is part of our family and from her lips, we are part of hers.  
Once again we were overwhelmed with the love and care of those near and far as my Papa went home to be with the Lord. These words of gratitude are almost verbatim of what I wrote when Gigi passed away.  We have been abundantly fed in all areas….. physically, emotionally and spiritually. We have been so blessed by the words of love, sympathy and encouragement that came in the form of cards and letters from near and far… almost daily.   It has been a blessing to hear from people deeply impacted by my grandfather’s life.    

We were astounded again at the outpouring of love and service from our precious church family. The meals again came like crazy, children cared for, our family and extended family blessed by meals brought while they were here and an amazing meal served at the church after the memorial….genuine love in word and deed. Many details of the actual memorial service… programs, the fellowship and food afterwards, clean up….all of it diligently taken care of by our dear, sweet church family. Words cannot express how thankful we are to have Spring Creek Bible Church be where God has planted us for these last 11 years. We are especially thankful for our Pastor(s) and Elders and their example of loving and serving others in many practical ways. We thought we had known and experienced love at the hands of the body before, but again these last few weeks have far surpassed anything we could have imagined. What an encouragement it has been to our family as we are reminded how important it is to minister to others in their time of need or sorrow. Our church family is a beautiful gift from the hand of the Lord.

We are tremendously blessed. We know it, are grateful for it, and don’t take it for granted...thank you. We look forward to the opportunities to love others as we have been loved.

Romans 12:9-21

"Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Precious Memories

I know memorials can be a time to idolize a person, to forget all their faults and make them sound like saints, but that is not the case with my grandfather.  Everything I desire to share with you is not exaggerated or changed to make him sound better or to protect my rose colored thoughts of who he was.  This is who he was, at the core of his being.  There is no way to sufficiently describe the depth of who my grandfather was.  I could spend countless hours telling you about him but I could not do justice to his kindnesses, gentleness, patience and humility. 

He never needed to be the center of attention, never wanted to be first, did not have to have his way.  He was  always content to simply be with you, to talk with you, to sit and listen.  He was not one to often offer an opinion, but instead gave words of wisdom at just the appropriate time.  He had no expectations.  He gave everything and expected nothing in return. Who does that and how does someone live like that??  I believe if papa were here today he would tell you in death what he told us in life, it is because of his personal relationship with Jesus Christ. 

There are two passages of scripture that most often the Lord brought to my mind as I have considered what I would say at his memorial. Two passages that I feel speak the most truth about Papa and share something that my own words cannot adequately express. 

 The first passage shares the first and second greatest commandment…
Matthew 22:37-39... He said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

The second passage shares the fruit of the life of a believer....
Galatians 5:22-23 ... But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Because Papa loved the Lord his God with all of his heart, mind and soul he was able to love others as himself and exhibit great spiritual fruit in his life.  I feel I can say honestly that he did exhibit each fruit the scriptures talk about. He gave intense love; he was perpetually joyful, showed great peace in trusting his Savior with every circumstance in life.  He practiced kindness, shared goodness, was continually faithful, he was overtly gentle and humbly self-controlled. Of course he was not perfect, no one is. What he was though, was a man who had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and lived the truth and fullness of that relationship each and every day. 

I am so thankful for the opportunity to have traveled and lived with Papa and Gigi throughout my life.  I love the memory of going to Chuck E Cheese, Chubby Chicken and Godfathers Pizza all in one day, just because I asked my Papa.  Being “spanked” with a fly swatter…it doesn’t hurt in the least.  Learning to play poker with popcorn kernels, watching Murder She Wrote, eating cheese, crackers and pepperoni together.  Having running races with him on the sidewalks and holding his hand as we walked down the street, even as a grown woman. Hearing his voice sing the hymns he loved, sitting between Papa and Gigi and being “kitzeled” in church as a little and not so little girl. Sunday afternoon hospitality with other families, going out for pie after Sunday evening service… the memories could be recounted for hours.

There are so many everyday things I miss about Papa. I miss terribly the gentleness in his face, the kindness in his eyes and the softness of his hands.  I miss his wit, humor and fantastic stories. I miss his gracious and plentiful compliments at mealtimes, his multitudes of “thank you’s” in every situation, each and every day.   I miss caring for him, kissing his forehead and cheek, the smell of his skin, receiving kisses, holding his hand, and simply sitting with him.  I will miss most hearing “I love you precious girl, more than you will ever know" from his lips.

I am eternally grateful that God sovereignly chose for me to be the granddaughter of Edmond Richard Panici.  That He allowed me to be so greatly and intimately impacted by the life of Papa and his heart. I am infinitely thankful that he allowed Papa to be in essence an earthly father and grandfather to me. I am indebted to him for his love for my husband Chad and the influence he had on him as a husband, father and friend.   To have been the recipient of such a personal and great love from a human man gives me a tiny glimpse of the great love our Heavenly Father must have for us.  Papa’s love for us is just a snippet of the Greatest Love of all, the love of a Heavenly Father willing to sacrifice His Son for the lives of sinful man.  It gives me great comfort and joy to know that in death Papa is receiving, to the Greatest Degree, the fullness of the love he freely gave in life.    

Monday, October 10, 2011

Edmond Richard Panici

Edmond Richard Panici, beloved husband, loving father, devoted grandfather and great-grandfather, our “Papa” had his faith become sight as he stepped into eternity with his Savior on Sunday, October 2, 2011.  He entered this world on May 26, 1918 as the oldest son of Joseph and Frances Lehmann Panici in Chicago Heights, Ill.

Edmond spent his formative years in Chicago Heights and had many adventures in his childhood and young adult life.  He joined the Navy during WWII and it was at Norfolk Naval Air Station that he met the love of his life, Ilene.  After meeting in January 1946 and having only 2 dates, they were married on April 14, 1946.  Their life together included living in a few different places but the bulk of the years were spend in La Verne, CA, Anchorage, AK, Yerington, NV and finally Bellingham and Lynden, WA.  A highlight for Edmond were the years he spent driving truck and working on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, hauling pipe from Fairbanks up to Prudhoe Bay and down to Valdez. Some of our best family memories include listening to the many stories of his vast life experiences.  After retirement, they traveled many years in their 5th wheel and together experienced all 50 states in the Union. They lived a devoted 64 years together until Ilene went home to the Lord in Dec. 2010.  Their marriage was a shining example to many.  Edmond was a gentle, kind and precious man.  He loved unconditionally, generously and deeply and knew not a stranger.    

Edmond was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Ilene; brother Ray Panici and sister Ethel Shane; he will be greatly missed by brother Ken (Patti) Panici of California; sons Rick (Lura) Panici of Yerington, NV;  Ken Panici of Kalama, WA; and daughter Jo Anne (Mitch) Alden of Kalama, WA.  He will also be greatly missed by his granddaughter Chessa (Chad) Honey of Lynden and their children Mitchell, Isabelle, William, Shelley and JD, who have taken loving care of their Papa (and Gigi) for the last 12 years; and grandsons, Sam Panici of Okinawa, Japan; Nick Panici of Houston, TX and Michael (Mackenzie) Panici and their children Eddie, Eric, Elethyia, Kelly, Brayden, Rebekah and Toby of Victorville, CA. 

A memorial service will be held at Spring Creek Bible Church, 567 E Kellogg Road, Bellingham on Sunday, October 23 at 2pm.  In honor of Edmond, memorials may be given to Wycliffe Bible Translators ( or the Lighthouse Mission.  You may share your thoughts and memories of Edmond here or at

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


... from the body, my precious Papa is present with his Lord and Savior. I can hardly write what I know to be true. On Sunday, October 2 at 5:15 am my dearest Papa stepped into eternity. His faith has become sight, he sorrows no more.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Crazy Amazing

I really don’t know what else to say…. the results of my LASIK are crazy amazing! I am praising and thanking my Heavenly Father for this precious gift of “sight”. 
PCLI and their staff are phenomenal. The pre-op process and actual surgery went extremely smooth and the post–op recovery has been much better than I expected. I do believe I have had an excellent experience. I know that others have may have had valid complications but I have had none, truly not one. At my one week appointment yesterday my right eye was 20/20 and my left eye …which was formerly legally blind… 20/25! This is just short of a week out and according to PCLI and my optometrist I can expect possible improvement in my vision over the next 6 months! The best part of the surgery... outside of my vision of course… was when the surgeon stated that he likes to pray before his surgeries and asked if I would mind if he prayed with me! In my research of the different LASIK facilities I was drawn to PCLI because of their depth of experience with LASIK and Cataract surgeries and what seemed to be an “underpromise/overdeliver” feel from their website. I was also drawn when I read the comments from patients and what seemed to be a thread of thankfulness for the humble, kind attitudes of the surgeons.In quite a few notes it was also mentioned that many were prayed with prior to surgery. What a blessing it was to have the nurse holding my hand telling me about the missions trip they were going to be doing soon to take this surgery to a third world country and perform it where it is greatly needed and then to have the surgeon pray with me… crazy amazing! As for the actual surgery…well, hard to describe in a blog post but I can say it was quick and truly not as scary or uncomfortable as I thought it would be... not at all. The actual laser time was 3-4 seconds on my right eye and 7-8 seconds on my left. The entire actual surgery time... from start to finish... less than 10 minutes!!!!
 It is still hard for my brain to comprehend that I don’t need to put in my contacts in the morning or slip on my glasses at night! Waking up in the middle of the night and being able to see everything including the alarm clock...crazy amazing! I cannot wait to go swimming with the children and be actually able to go underwater and see when I pop back up...crazy amazing! There are so many “oh wow…I can see that” moments throughout the day …it truly is a whole new world and I am lovin’ it!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Whole New World

I am so very excited to go from this ... 

to this ...

without the need for these ...

or these ...

Thanks to this ...

at this excellent facility.... this Thursday!

(all photos courtesy of Google images and

Friday, August 26, 2011

Motherhood Is Application

I have been immensely encouraged, challenged and blessed by these writings of Rachel Jankovic.  This most recent post just came out yesterday and I can't help but share it. I thought it would be good to include the previous two posts also so I have done that below.

These words in particular really spoke to and shored up my heart this morning.... 

"Do not use your own mistakes as an excuse to wallow about what a bad mother you are. Repent, seek forgiveness, get it right, and move on. Believe. Be forgiven. Extend that forgiveness, that belief, that joy, to your children."

I trust the Lord will use these posts to be a source of refreshment for many sweet and faithful mom's today.


Rachel writes ......

If I had to pick one word to describe motherhood, I think that word would be “transforming.”
The days of a busy mother are made up of millions of transformations. Dirty children become clean, the hungry child fed, the tired child sleeping. Almost every task a mother performs in the course of a normal day could be considered a transformation. Disorder to order, dirty clothes to clean, unhappy children to peaceful, empty fridge to full. Every day we fight against disorder, filth, starvation, and lawlessness, and some days we might almost succeed. And then, while we sleep, everything unravels and we start again in the morning — transforming.

Days of these little cycles add up and suddenly you see a big transformation. A nursing infant has become a boy on a bicycle, a baby bump has grown into a toddler, and children have been changed into brothers and sisters.

Then there is the kind of transformations that we do — not because we work at it, but because we were created to do it. You eat your lunch, and your body transforms it into nourishment for a baby. Taking something too big for an infant, and still finding a way to feed them with it — with the goal of growing them up to do it themselves.

Pregnancy and nursing are only a small part of a child’s life though — and this cycle is clearly not only a physical one. It is the spiritual cycle of food that is so much more important, and so much less talked about. Christian mothering is a constant cycle of nourishment — both physical and spiritual.

We Apply What We Believe

In the same way we take the food we eat and make it into something the baby can eat (and our bodies simply do this without us willing them to), so we take what we believe about God and the gospel and faith and life, and we apply it in the places that seem too little for it.

Imagine yourself in your kitchen trying to make dinner for a group of little kids who are tired and should have eaten a half hour ago. Imagine that things are going wrong beyond that — maybe you are out of something you assumed you had, children are fussing with one another, and maybe your littlest is still at the age where they come stand on your feet and pull on your pant leg. Bonus points if you are wearing maternity pants and this little person is actually capable of pulling your pants down. You are hot, you are tired, and you are sick of it.

This is no time for a gospel presentation. There isn’t time. There isn’t anyone to lead the discussion around the felt board, because you are still scrambling to figure out dinner. This isn’t a time for a gospel presentation because it is a time for gospel application. This is a time to take the grace that God has extended to you, and feed your children with it. Apply what you believe about God’s mercy and kindness and long suffering towards us, and pour it out to them — in a form they can believe in. Unrest like this is just like a baby crying for a bottle — only what they need is spiritual milk. They need you to feed them, not with a lecture, but with application.

You Have Everything You Need

Mothering is a job that is full of difficult moments. Diapers blow out in stores when you have too much in your cart to just walk out. Sudden carsickness can leave you pulled over on the side of the road wondering just how much can be done with half a bag of wet wipes. You need to take what you believe and apply it to these difficult moments. Does the Bible teach us that God is disgusted by our frailty? That he doesn’t want to carry our burdens? That he doesn’t have the energy to deal with us?

The good news is, you don’t need to have been through some elite mother’s training camp to apply the gospel in your life. You need to believe. Trust God, give thanks. Laugh. Believe — and that will feed your children. Rest in God, and your children will learn to. Extend God’s kindness to you, to them. Forgive them the way God forgave you. You have everything you need to spiritually nourish your children, because you have Christ.

The gospel is not just something to talk about Sunday morning while you are in clean clothes and the kids are looking orderly. It is not limited to quiet times and reflective moods. It is something to apply while you are in a difficult position in the back of the car trying to buckle a child up who is playing the kazoo and needs their nose wiped.

God is not above these moments. He is teaching us, and leading us, and refining us, in them. He wants to see our faith in action. He wants to see us feeding our children with the grace that he has given to us.

Mimic the Gospel

Of course, this side of heaven we will not do perfectly. Harsh words will be spoken, patience will wear thin. Frazzled mothers will act frazzled. And when this happens, our own sinfulness does not detract from the power of the gospel, it illustrates why we need it. Do not use your own mistakes as an excuse to wallow about what a bad mother you are. Repent, seek forgiveness, get it right, and move on. Believe. Be forgiven. Extend that forgiveness, that belief, that joy, to your children.

As you go about your daily transformations, set your heart on the truth. Mimic the gospel in what you do. Bring peace, bring order, bring joy, bring laughter. Bring it because it was brought to you. Give, because it was given to you. The gospel is not too big to fit into little situations. It is too big not to.

Rachel Jankovic is a wife, homemaker, and mother. She is the author of "Loving the Little Years" and blogs at Femina. Her husband is Luke, and they have five children: Evangeline (5), Daphne (4), Chloe (2), Titus (2), and Blaire (5 months).

This article was copied in it's entirety from John Piper's Blog .... Desiring God

Motherhood Is a Calling

.... (And Where Your Children Rank)

A few years ago, when I just had four children and when the oldest was still three, I loaded them all up to go on a walk. After the final sippy cup had found a place and we were ready to go, my two-year-old turned to me and said, “Wow! You have your hands full!”

She could have just as well said, “Don’t you know what causes that?” or “Are they all yours?!”

Everywhere you go, people want to talk about your children. Why you shouldn’t have had them, how you could have prevented them, and why they would never do what you have done. They want to make sure you know that you won’t be smiling anymore when they are teenagers. All this at the grocery store, in line, while your children listen.

A Rock-Bottom Job?

The truth is that years ago, before this generation of mothers was even born, our society decided where children rank in the list of important things. When abortion was legalized, we wrote it into law.

Children rank way below college. Below world travel for sure. Below the ability to go out at night at your leisure. Below honing your body at the gym. Below any job you may have or hope to get. In fact, children rate below your desire to sit around and pick your toes, if that is what you want to do. Below everything. Children are the last thing you should ever spend your time doing.

If you grew up in this culture, it is very hard to get a biblical perspective on motherhood, to think like a free Christian woman about your life, your children. How much have we listened to partial truths and half lies? Do we believe that we want children because there is some biological urge, or the phantom “baby itch”? Are we really in this because of cute little clothes and photo opportunities? Is motherhood a rock-bottom job for those who can’t do more, or those who are satisfied with drudgery? If so, what were we thinking?

It's Not a Hobby

Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.

Christian mothers carry their children in hostile territory. When you are in public with them, you are standing with, and defending, the objects of cultural dislike. You are publicly testifying that you value what God values, and that you refuse to value what the world values. You stand with the defenseless and in front of the needy. You represent everything that our culture hates, because you represent laying down your life for another—and laying down your life for another represents the gospel.

Our culture is simply afraid of death. Laying down your own life, in any way, is terrifying. Strangely, it is that fear that drives the abortion industry: fear that your dreams will die, that your future will die, that your freedom will die—and trying to escape that death by running into the arms of death.

Run to the Cross

But a Christian should have a different paradigm. We should run to to the cross. To death. So lay down your hopes. Lay down your future. Lay down your petty annoyances. Lay down your desire to be recognized. Lay down your fussiness at your children. Lay down your perfectly clean house. Lay down your grievances about the life you are living. Lay down the imaginary life you could have had by yourself. Let it go.

Death to yourself is not the end of the story. We, of all people, ought to know what follows death. The Christian life is resurrection life, life that cannot be contained by death, the kind of life that is only possible when you have been to the cross and back.

The Bible is clear about the value of children. Jesus loved them, and we are commanded to love them, to bring them up in the nurture of the Lord. We are to imitate God and take pleasure in our children.

The Question Is How

The question here is not whether you are representing the gospel, it is how you are representing it. Have you given your life to your children resentfully? Do you tally every thing you do for them like a loan shark tallies debts? Or do you give them life the way God gave it to us—freely?

It isn’t enough to pretend. You might fool a few people. That person in line at the store might believe you when you plaster on a fake smile, but your children won’t. They know exactly where they stand with you. They know the things that you rate above them. They know everything you resent and hold against them. They know that you faked a cheerful answer to that lady, only to whisper threats or bark at them in the car.

Children know the difference between a mother who is saving face to a stranger and a mother who defends their life and their worth with her smile, her love, and her absolute loyalty.

Hands Full of Good Things

When my little girl told me, “Your hands are full!” I was so thankful that she already knew what my answer would be. It was the same one that I always gave: “Yes they are—full of good things!”

Live the gospel in the things that no one sees. Sacrifice for your children in places that only they will know about. Put their value ahead of yours. Grow them up in the clean air of gospel living. Your testimony to the gospel in the little details of your life is more valuable to them than you can imagine. If you tell them the gospel, but live to yourself, they will never believe it. Give your life for theirs every day, joyfully. Lay down pettiness. Lay down fussiness. Lay down resentment about the dishes, about the laundry, about how no one knows how hard you work.

Stop clinging to yourself and cling to the cross. There is more joy and more life and more laughter on the other side of death than you can possibly carry alone.

Rachel Jankovic is a wife, homemaker, and mother. She is the author of "Loving the Little Years" and blogs at Femina. Her husband is Luke, and they have five children: Evangeline (5), Daphne (4), Chloe (2), Titus (2), and Blaire (5 months).

This article was copied in it's entirety from John Piper's Blog ... Desiring God

Motherhood as a Mission Field

There is a good old saying, perhaps only said by my Grandfather, that distance adds intrigue. It is certainly true — just think back to anything that has ever been distant from you that is now near. Your driver’s license. Marriage. Children. Things that used to seem so fascinating, but as they draw near become less mystical and more, well, real.

This same principle certainly applies to mission fields too. The closer you get to home, the less intriguing the work of sacrifice seems. As someone once said, “Everyone wants to save the world, but no one wants to help Mom with the dishes.” When you are a mother at home with your children, the church is not clamoring for monthly ministry updates. When you talk to other believers, there is not any kind of awe about what you are sacrificing for the gospel. People are not pressing you for needs you might have, how they can pray for you. It does not feel intriguing, or glamorous. Your work is normal, because it is as close to home as you can possibly be. You have actually gone so far as to become home.

Home: The Headwaters of Mission

If you are a Christian woman who loves the Lord, the gospel is important to you. It is easy to become discouraged, thinking that the work you are doing does not matter much. If you were really doing something for Christ you would be out there, somewhere else, doing it. Even if you have a great perspective on your role in the kingdom, it is easy to lose sight of it in the mismatched socks, in the morning sickness, in the dirty dishes. It is easy to confuse intrigue with value, and begin viewing yourself as the least valuable part of the Church.

There are a number of ways in which mothers need to study their own roles, and begin to see them, not as boring and inconsequential, but as home, the headwaters of missions.

At the very heart of the gospel is sacrifice, and there is perhaps no occupation in the world so intrinsically sacrificial as motherhood. Motherhood is a wonderful opportunity to live the gospel. Jim Elliot famously said, “He is no fool who gives up that which he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” Motherhood provides you with an opportunity to lay down the things that you cannot keep on behalf of the people that you cannot lose. They are eternal souls, they are your children, they are your mission field.
Faith Makes the Small Offering Great

If you are like me, then you may be thinking “What did I ever give up for them? A desk job? Time at the gym? Extra spending money? My twenty- year- old figure? Some sleep?” Doesn’t seem like much when you put it next to the work of some of the great missionaries, people who gave their lives for the gospel.

Think about the feeding of the five thousand when the disciples went out and rounded up the food that was available. It wasn’t much. Some loaves. Some fish. Think of some woman pulling her fish out and handing it to one of the disciples. That had to have felt like a small offering. But the important thing about those loaves and those fishes was not how big they were when they were given, it was about whose hands they were given into. In the hands of the Lord, that offering was sufficient. It was more than sufficient. There were leftovers. Given in faith, even a small offering becomes great.

Look at your children in faith, and see how many people will be ministered to by your ministering to them. How many people will your children know in their lives? How many grandchildren are represented in the faces around your table now?

Gain What You Cannot Lose in Them

So, if mothers are strategically situated to impact missions so greatly, why do we see so little coming from it? I think the answer to this is quite simple: sin. Discontent, pettiness, selfishness, resentment. Christians often feel like the right thing to do is to be ashamed about what we have. We hear that quote of Jim Elliot’s and think that we ought to sell our homes and move to some place where they need the gospel.

But I’d like to challenge you to look at it differently. Giving up what you cannot keep does not mean giving up your home, or your job so you can go serve somewhere else. It is giving up yourself. Lay yourself down. Sacrifice yourself here, now. Cheerfully wipe the nose for the fiftieth time today. Make dinner again for the people who don’t like the green beans. Laugh when your plans are thwarted by a vomiting child. Lay yourself down for the people here with you, the people who annoy you, the people who get in your way, the people who take up so much of your time that you can’t read anymore. Rejoice in them. Sacrifice for them. Gain that which you cannot lose in them.
It is easy to think you have a heart for orphans on the other side of the world, but if you spend your time at home resenting the imposition your children are on you, you do not. You cannot have a heart for the gospel and a fussiness about your life at the same time. You will never make any difference there if you cannot be at peace here. You cannot have a heart for missions, but not for the people around you. A true love of the gospel overflows and overpowers. It will be in everything you do, however drab, however simple, however repetitive.

God loves the little offerings. Given in faith, that plate of PB&J’s will feed thousands. Given in faith, those presents on Christmas morning will bring delight to more children than you can count. Offered with thankfulness, your work at home is only the beginning. Your laundry pile, selflessly tackled daily, will be used in the hands of God to clothe many. Do not think that your work does not matter. In God’s hands, it will be broken, and broken, and broken again, until all who have need of it have eaten and are satisfied. And even then, there will be leftovers.

Rachel Jankovic is a wife, homemaker, and mother. She is the author of "Loving the Little Years" and blogs at Femina. Her husband is Luke, and they have five children: Evangeline (5), Daphne (4), Chloe (2), Titus (2), and Blaire (5 months).

This article was copied in it's entirety from John Piper's Blog ... Desiring God

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Campout, Fevers and a Birthday….

Another annual church campout has come and gone and once again it was a time of abundant fun, sweet fellowship and new memories made. Mom and my Uncle Ken were able to come and stay with Papa and I know he enjoyed time spent with both of them! Hours of biking, fellowship, swimming, volleyball, badminton, horseback riding, the annual Olympics, fishing, friendship bracelet making, singing around the campfire, a special Sunday service, testimonies, all church campfires, SMORES (with all different kinds of chocolate and candy… my favorite…Reese’s PB cups!), LOTS of coffee and a WHOLE tub of Red Vines! This campout is a highlight of the summer for our family and within our power; we would not miss it for anything! Isabelle also celebrated her 11th birthday on Sunday!  That was the day we arrived home from the campout and it was good to be back and celebrate her special day with Papa, Grandma and Uncle Ken.  Earlier on Sunday JD began running a fever and slept most of that last day of the campout.  Unfortunately, Isabelle joined him later on in the day, a birthday sickness….so sad! Their yuckies lasted till Tuesday.  I think the photo of JD with his bowl of applesauce, children's tylenol and mug of water speaks for how the both of them felt those days! Shelley fell prey to the fever on Monday but thankfully it was short lived.  No more of us have fallen and all are better now…yah! It took a couple days but we were finally able to do her “birthday cake” of choice….key lime pie….nummy! Isabelle’s birthday always signals the beginning of the end of summer for us! We are looking forward to enjoying the last few weeks …of hopefully warm weather….. before school begins! Already….really????

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sweet Summer Days....Away

We recently had a sweet little road trip.  My Mom was able to come stay with Papa so we could have a few days away for a Honey family reunion in Boise.  The weather was soooo HOT and we loved it! Many, many hours were spent in the hotel pool!!  We had a great time with cousins, aunts, uncles and grandma.  A couple highlights....Chad and his brother had a great time jamming together by the pool one night and going to the Blue and Orange Store and stocking up on our BSU gear….GO Broncos!!! The time went way to quickly and we are already anticipating next year’s gathering!