Saturday, March 21, 2009

Good day DeAngelis Family! It is a beautiful Spring Day in Wheaton.
Have fun watching Dom in the Variety Show. I had the pleasure of seeing the show on Thursday with Joe and Claire.

Oh, and don't forget to bring the video camera. Perhaps you can post the video on YouTube?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Abundant Life

Yesterday Ethan stayed home from school. He awoke with a fever and a sore throat; an hour later, it was gone. We had a sweet day, another unexpected gift this week. In the morning we played Yahtzee, read together and talked. I treasure this precious time with my son, on the brink of turning 11, a stone's throw away from adolescence.
These are the sweetest of times. I see glimpses now of the young man he is becoming, a young man who is so different than I was at almost 11, and then he frowns or smiles and I see flashes of my younger self in him. He is his father's son in many ways, good ways, like his servant's heart and his easygoing demeanor. God has wired him to be detail-oriented and logical. How many times has he said to me, "Mom, why don't you do it THIS way?" And I think, wow, that IS a better way! I see God shoring him up in the confidence that he is deeply loved and created by God, for God, with a great purpose in life.
Thank you, Lord, for blessing me with two amazing sons and an amazing husband. You are good. You are faithful. You are the giver of abundant like today.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Let the Games Begin

Ethan's home today...hanging out with Shiloh.

The Making of March Madness Picks...

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Extraordinary One

God is THE Extraordinary. This Monday morning, I toggled back and forth between praising the One and Only and then falling down in my flesh all over again. Back and forth we went, but The Victorious One pulled me up again, giving me the sweet glorious victory over my negativity, over my pride, giving me the ability to humble myself and apologize to my beloved. He gives us abundant life. The kids and I had a rough morning; we have a family meeting after school. We need a new game plan for the morning and new attitudes in our hearts. Words that uplift, not tear down. John told us this morning that "grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ"; we pray Jesus permeates our beings in the morning, just as the morning sun blazes joy into our hearts, the day suddenly hopeful and full of promise.
Then my One and Only gave me a gift. Here's how it went. I glanced at my calendar this morning and realized that I was helping out with the ESL families this a.m. Christian loves interacting with these precious children from all over the world. His heart of delight and compassion for these kids is contagious.
I quickly settled into a conversation with a woman from Iraq, her 4-yr-old clinging to her leg. They've been here five months. The conversation started with the trivial. Then silence. Then more trivial stuff. More silence. Then the trivial turned coincidental as we discovered we lived near each other, her older attends our old school, her son in our old class! Oh, and she's part Armenian, and I know an Armenian connection in that particular class.
She asked a question about the upcoming fundraiser for the school, and I stupidly asked her if she had played golf (the fundraiser involves golf) in Iraq. She looked at me kindly and patiently explained that when you live in a country of constant war, when you fear for your life, when you cannot send your child to school for fear they will be kidnapped, you think little about fun; it's all about survival. But, yes, she would love to try golf, whatever that is, someday. There are many things to do for fun in America, and she's looking forward to trying them all.
As I probed her about her previous life, she told of the persecution of Christians in Iraq. She told me that she fears for the family she left behind there. Last time she talked to them, they told her of a Christian girl who was burned to death. The Christians have to pretend they are Muslim in public, or they will be killed. Children are kidnapped from families, and the ransom is a thousand dollars, or they are killed. They escaped one night with only the clothes they had on their back and fled to Syria. The two years they spent there were pleasant, with many Christians around them. They filed papers with the UN and were relocated here five months ago.
It's a new life, she said, with many new things to experience. She is grateful that her son attends a good school, he's adjusting well. She's grateful that they do not remember Iraq. The only good thing about Iraq, she said, was the food, but that is all. Her husband started a job today. Her eyes are bright with hope.
I told her I would take her to the park. I can't wait. Thank you, Lord, for opening my eyes and teaching me more about your heart. As my friend agreed, the Lord provided a way for their family to escape; He is their Victorious One too.

Friday, March 13, 2009

In the Dawn of Spring

Today the sun shines, darting in and out of clouds as I write. I can tell spring is upon us. As the birds chirp and the clock rolls forward, I adjust to a new season slowly.
As I rise and head for the coffee pot, it feels too early. I've been a crab all week, not a cheery thought before 10 a.m. The time change? Hormones? Or something deeper? As I sit in the presence of God each morning, as His Word probes my soul and speaks to me in these dark hours of the early dawn, truth is revealed and the road to healing begins. From healing flows new life and growth.

Now it's Friday and the sun shines. I look over at my husband and smile. I listen to the constant drum of a basketball and boys' chatter outside my window. As the dormant ground prepares for tiny shoots of rebirth, my heart softens towards my family and a renewed sense of blessing takes root.

"And I will give them one heart and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them. Then they will be My people and I shall be their God."
Ezekiel 11:19-20

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Life Without Sports

Our life without sports is...well, let me back up. Our three-week hiatus from sports began last night. Ethan is already missing his swim workouts and so he ran almost 2 miles on the treadmill instead and then went to his last basketball practice of the season. Today he ran a little over two miles. Other than that burst of activity, that was it, but it got his energy out and he was ready to tackle homework fairly quickly. The problem is, we have WAY TOO MUCH TIME on our hands. Christian came home from practice last night sweaty and tired -- just the way I like him. Today he wandered around the house rather aimlessly while I reminded him 27 times to get going on his homework. We quibbled over details of homework, apologized to each other for this and that. I nagged. He cried. He wanted to play in the kitchen sink. I kept shooing him out of the kitchen.
See, when we have a practice of some sort in the evening, oh, we are so on task! Things get done! Dinner gets made! Oh, speaking of dinner, I made the most yummy potatoes from The Pioneer Woman. Hot Crash Potatoes are easy and oh-so-tasty! Even Christian, who will be a phenomenal eater someday, loved them!
Anyway, life without sports is challenging. But tomorrow is another day, and extra time is always a gift. I think.

Throne of Grace

As I continue to walk with the Lord through the life of Moses, He shows me His holiness. He shows me that in the OT, the area around His presence (Tent of Meeting) had to be absolutely clean, pure, undefiled. He made it painstakingly clear to the Israelites that He was a holy, pure God. I am amazed by Moses and his boldness with God. He interceded constantly for the rebellious nation, but sometimes he expressed his frustration with the people too. He had an amazing love for His fellow Hebrews, but above all he cared for God's reputation more than he cared about his own life. He staked his life and the lives of the people on the truth of God's character. And God never disappoints us with lapses of character. He is always the same, always true to who He is. I love that we can trust Him completely.
Today I was in Numbers 18 and 19. And then, refreshingly, in Hebrews. Today God gave me a vivid picture of how the priesthood was, and how Jesus is our High Priest today. We stand before God blameless, faultless, His presence undefiled and pure, all because of the cleansing, atoning, redemptive blood of Jesus. We now stand before Him or lean on His throne and call God our Father, our Friend, and also the Holy Most High. And He's okay with us being there. He delights in our presence, as we delight in His. The atonement for our sin has been made once and for all time. Jesus's blood continually cleanses us, and He continually intercedes for us to the Father. It's all a bit much to grasp. And He doesn't stop there!
The Holy Spirit guides us and teaches us and walks us through the valleys and peaks of life, gives us comfort and strength. He changes our hearts, gives us victory over our sin, teaches us to pray so that the lives of others are forever changed. What a God of mercy! He delights to show us mercy! His love is faithful and true and everlasting! I praise You, Lord, for your living and active Word, illuminating my heart this morning.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Pictures, Etc.

The experimental picture taking continues! I'm anxious for my photography class to start so that I actually know what I'm doing. But until then...
First, dinner last night. Once again, a yummy recipe from 101 Cookbooks. Spinach-Rice Gratin is a dish I've made a couple times. The first time I used feta, my favorite, the second time I used Gruyere. As a side, I tossed broccoli with olive oil, salt, red pepper flakes and garlic and roasted it(410 convection) for 10 minutes. I think I could eat this twice a week at least!

Another weekend picture...
This rainy Saturday our day was brightened by basketball. The boys each played a game (here's one of Ethan's shots), and then we headed over to Wheaton College for the Div. III playoffs. Wheaton barely pulled it off in overtime -- very suspenseful!

Here's a great picture of Christian. We were waiting for our flight to Chicago, and I was playing around with my camera. This is my favorite shot of the day, although it's a bit overexposed.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

God's Teaching Me!

This weekend we headed up to Canada for skiing and snowboarding. We had an adventurous time on the slopes and also got to experience snowshoeing and swimming outside! surrounded by snow. What was most pleasant about the weekend, though, was the company. Our hosts were gracious, fun, and seemed to truly enjoy entertaining. I never felt for a minute that we were imposing, because to them we weren't. No doubt the weekend was a huge sacrifice on their part, the cooking, scheduling of activities, and having guests in their home, but I could see that when Margaret said she enjoyed it, she really did. What a wonderful picture of true hospitality!
I love how the Lord teaches me about servanthood. I was grateful to be on the receiving end this weekend, and now I have a clearer picture of the heart of someone who truly enjoys serving people. Several times Mario and Margaret put their own agendas aside to serve us, like teaching Ethan snowboarding or watching the boys while we went snowshoeing. They didn't have to do any of that, but they chose to because they are people who put others before themselves. So in the end, skiing sure is fun, but being around selfless people? Very refreshing.

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