Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Happy Birthday Morgan

This past weekend, Heather and I headed down to Indianola to celebrate our niece Morgan's 3rd birthday! She was super excited to be turning 3 and we were just as excited to celebrate with a pizza party!
My dad and Morgan get the party started by playing with some toys!
My Grandpa Lew came over from Omaha to join in the celebration. Piper isn't too sure about the Nebraska Cornhusker jacket that he is wearing...
Morgan and I are all smiles as we are checking out the pizza!
Upside down for the birthday girl!
Heather and I are all smiles but Morgan seems to have a sad face on...as her little sister Piper said as she stares at Morgan "It's her birthday and she can cry if she wants too"...
...but those frowns quickly turn to smiles as the whole family dishes up some pizza!
Even bigger smiles once the birthday cake is brought out.
...and Morgan is overcome with joy as we sing "Happy Birthday to you..."
After some cake...bring on the presents!
We had a lot of fun in Indianola hanging out with my family and celebrating Morgan. She got a lot of cool presents but the one that really caught her eye was from Grandma and Grandpa Marchant, her very own microphone with stand that plays music to sing along with and even claps for you...it's awesome! Happy Birthday Morgan!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Book Review: In Constant Prayer

I just finished reading In Constant Prayer by Robert Benson and I thought this book was fantastic. This is one of the 8 books in the Ancient Practices series and in this installment, Robert Benson unpacks a structure for our lives where we can live in continued awareness of God's presence.
Benson does a great job of unpacking the daily office. Personally, I wasn't too familiar with the daily office, but I am now! The daily office, in simplest of terms, is a regular pattern and order for formal worship and prayer that is offered to God at specific times throughout the course of the day. Each set of prayers, known as an office, is made up of psalms, scriptures and prayers.
Not only does Benson unpack the structure of the daily office, he also unpacks the importance of the office. It is humbling to think that people have been praying these prayers at fixed hours of the day for thousands of years and we have the opportunity to take part in this great tradition. He really drives home the point that we can talk about prayer and break down the structure of prayer but at some point, high-minded discussion about our life of prayer has to work its way into the dailiness of our lives. At some point, we need to move from talking about prayer to saying our prayers so that the divine moments will be possible and have a chance to appear.
I also love how Benson clear states that there will be some divine moments in our prayer lives when we come face to face with God, but in order to get to those divine encounters there will be a lot of moments when we don't hear from God...and that is normal. He stresses that in order to be a person of prayer...you have to start praying and what better way to implement prayer than to start praying!
Benson also points out, and I am guilty of this, that most of our prayers are for us. We spend a great deal of time and energy telling God all of the things that God already knows and is already working on in our behalf, in ways far better than we can desire or pray for, those prayers are for us, the prayer of the office is for God.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book. Robert Benson did a great job of opening my eyes to a world of prayer that I was not aware of...and this world of prayer has been going on for thousands of years. This is one ancient practice that I plan on starting in my own life!
I recieved this book for free through BookSneeze.com blogger program. I was not required to write a raving review, the opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Cone of Shame

Last week Thursday was d-day for Riley. We finally got her into Brett the Vet to get her cherry eye fixed. We woke early Thursday morning to be in Pella by 7:30am, Riley was calm and cool for the entire car ride until she spotted DQ on the corner across from the Vet's office and it was down hill from there. She busted out the cries and the claws. It was awful...I hope our kids don't cry when we leave them places...I'll be a mess. We left Riley in good hands and Seth and I got to enjoy a day in Pella hanging with family and friends. When we returned to the vet to gather our sweet little pooch and were excited to see that yes indeed the cone of shame would be sleeping at our house. Riley's eye looks much better and is healing slowly but she really hates wearing the "lamp shade." She'll run it into our legs to remind us of her sufferings...needless to say Seth and I have some nice scratches on our legs but it's all worth it to not see that nasty cherry in her eye anymore.
Aren't they so cute!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Book Review: Run with the Horses

"So, Jeremiah, if you're worn out in this footrace with men, what makes you think you can race against horses?" - Jeremiah 12:5
I just finished reading Eugene Peterson's book, Run with the Horses, and I think it was fantastic! In this revised edition, Peterson uses his own version of the Bible, The Message, when he quotes scripture. Surprisingly, not about running or about horses, Eugene Peterson takes a look at the life of Jeremiah the prophet and reflects on what it truly means to be fully and genuinely human. This book is packed with humor and self-revelation that helps us set the course in our quest for life at it's best.

Peterson does a great job of unpacking Jeremiah's life and highlighting the big events that took place that shaped Jeremiah into the prophet. I ended up learning a lot about the history and context of Jerusalem and the issues the Israelites faced. I also learned more about the different kings that ruled during the time of Jeremiah and about the Recabite community!.

One idea that was emphasized in this book that has really stuck with me it that we are all created for a purpose! There is a set-apart place that only I can fill. No one can substitute for me, no one can replace me. Before I was good for anything, God decided that I was good for what he was doing. I think that is a great daily reminder, especially in our culture that is centered around performance, it is good to take the time and remember that God has given each of us a purpose that only we can fulfill! God has called us to a life of purpose far beyond what we think ourselves capable of living and promised us adequate strength to fulfill that purpose.

Another lesson from Jeremiah that has stuck with me even after I have finished the book is to be patient and determination. Jeremiah didn't wake up one day and "boom" he was a prophet. He spent years and years praying to God and studying the word of God. He spent 23 years preaching it to God's people without them listening or changing their ways, but Jeremiah didn't give up. Every morning, he would wake up and spend time with God and everyday he would share with his community God's word.

All in all, I thought this was a great book. I really enjoyed getting to know the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah and there are a lot of lessons to be learned from his life that can be applied to my life!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Google Doodle

Have you ever notice how amazingly cleaver Google is and how many different ways they can display their own name in their banner? It seems like for every holiday they come up with a different ways to show their name...It is simply awesome! Good job you guys, I want to give you a big high five.
Sometimes it is a simple change, other times it is interactive and other times it changes as you watch! Today, I found Google Doodle site where they have listed the Holiday and Events going back to 1998, Google Style!

Here are a few fun ones I found on the first page!
This one was for the 50th anniversary of JFK's inauguration.
This one was for Bruce Lee's 70th Birthday

This one was for Thanksgiving:

...and this one was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Flintstones
Good work Google!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Groundhog Day

February 2 marks Groundhogs Day, celebrated in the United States and Canada. According to folklore, if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, it will leave the burrow, signifying that winter will soon end! If on the other hand, it is sunny, the groundhog will see its shadow and retreat back into its burrow and winter will continue for 6 more weeks. I know this year, I am hoping for an early spring!

Groundhog Day is celebrated all over the country, but the biggest party is held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, with crowds as large as 40,000 come to celebrate this little creatures weather predictions!

How do you celebrate Groundhog Day?