Neighborhood, with a capital “N”

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When my parents were married, May 24, 1986, they began to build a house. It was completed in October of that same year and by the time I came along in May 1988, they were well settled. From the day they brought me home from the hosiptal, until August 19th 2006, that is the only house I ever called home. Not many people can say that, at least not anymore. But from August 2006 to today, I have moved 11 times. Most of these were very small moves across campus from one dorm to another, but they still involved packing up everything I owned and relocating. Now that I am married, I want to settle and be able to provide Micah with the kind of stable childhood I had. But I don’t know if that will ever happen.

I find myself reluctant to get involved or build relationships because I don’t know how long we will be living here. And the weird thing is, I have no reason to feel this way. One, we have no plans to move, and two, this is the same community that I myself grew up in, so you would think it would be easy for me to fit in, get involved and get to know people. But, for some reason, I just don’t feel settled. Maybe it’s a result of renting, or perhaps it is God’s way of telling me that He has something else planned for us, I don’t know. What I do know is that I want to get involved, build relationships and “settle down” at least for now.

One way I am trying to start doing this is by starting a babysitting co-op. I want to develop the kind of friendships that make a neighborhood, a Neighborhood, full of people who really know and care for each other and hopefully provide a safe and lovingI environment for Micah to grow up in with close friends and other adults we can trust. After all it takes a village…

Serving God, running, diapers, ipads and rolling over

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So, here is an eclectic post about recent happenings in the White household.

Serving God:

Christian and I have been really convicted recently about our lacsidaisical prayer life. We have never really made a point to pray together on a regular basis and lately, neither of us have been praying much on our own either. We have been feeling rather lost for a while; searching for purpose and trying to figure out where God is calling our family to serve. In other words, we feel like we are just existing and not doing anything to make a difference. Two Sundays ago we attended Stony Hill Baptist Church for the first time and loved it! I was comfortable leaving Micah in the nursery (really big deal!), the people were friendly and welcoming and we both felt the Sunday School lesson and sermon were written just for us. (Joshua 1 and Ecclesiastes 1) After that I attended a ladies bible study, which I wrote about and again, I felt welcomed and comfortable. The book and discussion were very relevent in my life and only served to convict me more about my lack of relationship with God. I feel that I have gotten into a rut of performing and not worshiping. Obedience is more than just not sinning…a lot more.

So, Christian and I have started doing a devotional together: “A Call to Die” by David Nasser. It is gritty and asks some tough questions while leaving you no room for excuses. We are also making a point to pray together at least once a day and I have started praying over Micah, out loud, when I put him to bed.  I am also doing an Inductive Bible study by Kay Arthur studying the pentateuch. Christian is going through “Solo” a one year long devotional which uses The Message. I already have noticed some subtle changes in how we are relating to one another. Since we are going through “A Call to Die” together and discussing all of the questions  out loud it has opened up some doors of communication that we needed to open. The book asks some very personal questions which has required us to really confess our sins and weaknesses to each other and God; a humbling and bonding experience.

We have spent a long time saying, “What does God want from our family?” We have tossed around ideas of graduate school, military service, seminary, serving over-seas, adoption/fostering and many others, some of which we have seriously persued, only to come up short either because of finances, God not opening the door or lack of serious interest. So we go through the daily grind, doing the same-old-same old and not committing to anything. I still don’t know what the big picture is for our family, but I do know that if we serve Him and make Him the focus of our little, everyday decisions, we will be serving Him. It is stupid of us to sit around waiting for a booming voice from Heaven to tell us to move to Africa, enlist or enroll. We have His Word right in front of us, why not just do what it says and wait and see how He decides to use us?

Running:

Starting this week, Christian and I are training to run a Half Marathon. However, I am the laziest person ever and seriously lack motivation, so we are starting by training for a 5k, then a 10k, then the half. I have a nicely typed out spreadsheet with all of our workouts planned for the next 20 weeks (!). Today was day 4 and, surprisingly enough, I’m really excited with how things are going! My goal is simply to finish the distance and (hopefully) lose 20-30lbs of baby weight in the process.

Diapers:

I just received an order of 16 Kiwaii cloth diapers and I am super exicted about them! The price was excellent and the reviews were encouraging, now I just have to finish pre-washing them so I try them out for myself. 🙂

iPads:

We bought one.

Rolling Over:

Micah rolled from his back to his belly for the first time this morning. He has done it twice today, but he wasn’t very happy about it. 🙂

Reflections on Psalm 37:4

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Yesterday, I met with some awesome ladies from Stony Hill Baptist Church. We met to discuss a book we have been reading titled: “What Happens When Women Say, “Yes” to God” by Lysa TerKeurst. The book is about radical obedience and always being willing to say “yes” to God, no matter what he is asking you do to do. However, one of the topics discussed is how do we discern what God is saying to us? How do we know if this is really God asking me to do something, or just a product of my over-active imagination? This discussion made me think of Psalm 37:4

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

I used to have this verse on a big poster in my bedroom as a teenager. At the time, I saw it more along the lines of a prosperity gospel, I do what God wants, he gives me what I want. It took me a long time to realize, that what it’s really saying is that if you “delight yourself” in him, then your desires and his desires will be the same.

There is an old song that the contemporary Christian music group, DC Talk, recorded titled, “My Will.” One of the verses says:

 I’m learning to give up the rights to myself

The bits and the peices I’ve gathered as wealth

Could never compare to the joy that you bring me

The peace that you show me is the strength that I need

The chorus then goes on to say:

It’s my will, and I’m not moving

Cause if it’s your will, then nothing can shake me

It’s my will to bow and praise you

I now have the will to praise my God

 If we are immersing ourselves daily in God’s word and actively pursuing him through prayer, we will come to desire what he desires. And he will give us the desires of our heart.

Waste Not, Want Not

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I have recently been convicted about how much waste (trash) our family produces. We have a pretty small trashcan in our kitchen and it is always overflowing. I keep finding myself thinking, “I wish we had a bigger trashcan,” when really, a better solution is to simply not produce as much trash. We don’t use very many paper products, but lately I have been trying to cut back even more. I LOVE cloth diapering (that’ll be a whole ‘nother post!), so we don’t produce waste there, either. The majority of our trash comes from unwanted, unsolicted newpapers and junk mail. So, I have been brainstorming ways to either reduce or repurpose our trash. All suggestions are welcome! Here are some of the ideas I have come up with so far:

1. use only cloth towels and napkins (no paper)

2. use cloth sanitary napkins

3. use cloth wipes instead of toilet paper (I do this for Micah, why not for us too?)

4. shred newspapers, junk mail…any paper, really. Use to make homemade paper or add to compost pile

5. use my own bags when shopping

What are some ways that your family uses to reduce waste?

“Put good in, get good out.”

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“Put good in, get good out.” I just read this on the back of a package of Minute Maid fruit juice. At first it struck me as being very ironic, since the juice is “peach flavored” and only contains about 10% fruit juice, and that juice isn’t from peaches. I bought it, so I much not think it is too terrible, but it is not what I would put into the “good for you” category. However, the phrase then reminded me of the verse in James (which I didn’t stop to look up) which says, “from the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Put good in, get good out.

Two months and counting…

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Micah was two months old yesterday. He is so big now, it is hard to believe that he ever fit inside me. I know everyone says “they grow up too fast” or “my, how the time flies,” but it really seems like a lot more than two months has passed since he was born, not because the days drag by, but because it seems like he has always been a part of our family. Christian and I were talking about this the other day. He said that he feels like the family dynamic didn’t really change that much, though of course it has, but he fit so seamlessly into our lives it is hard to point to a single moment when things really changed.

I am completely healed from the C-section and have recently started exercising again on a regular basis. I am starting slow and aiming for at least 30 mins of cardio every other day, in the form of running or riding my bike. On the other days I do yoga, go for a walk and/or do strength exercises like crunches, push-ups, etc. I am curently about 12lbs heavier than my pre-pregnancy weight and 20-25lbs heavier than my “ideal” weight. Having never been overweight before, I feel surprisingly energetic and spry. I guess I just assumed that if I was 20 lbs overweight I would feel really yucky, but I have always had a pretty healthy self-image and I still feel good about myself. So, I’m not stressing over trying to lose weight, I just want to be healthy.

As for Micah, he is doing great. At his last Dr. appointment, he weighed 10lbs even and was 23 inches long. That puts him in the 35th percentile for height and the 20th for weight. I find that rather amusing since Christian was in the 90th percentile for height and the 75th for weight. But both my dad and my father-in-law are a little shorter than average, so perhaps Micah will take after his grandfathers instead of his father. I don’t care either way as long as he is healthy, which he is. 🙂

The night before last (Tuesday night) Micah slept from 10pm-4:30am, the longest he has slept at one stretch. He is a good sleeper (at night anyways) and normally goes to bed somewhere between 9 and 10. He wakes up to eat every 3 or 4 hrs but always goes right back to sleep, so it really isn’t bad and I get plenty of rest since I have the luxery of sleeping in with him until 8 or 9 most mornings. But, when he slept 6 hours straight I got all excited thinking that maybe he was going to start weaning himself off of some of his nighttime feedings. I was quickly disabused of this notion last night when he woke up at 1:30am, 3am, 4:30, 6 and 7. Clearly, he doesn’t really NEED to eat that often but I nursed him each time because I knew that he would go right back to sleep if I did. However, I can see this leading to some bad habits developing if he wakes up to nurse for comfort and not because he is hungry. I am going to wait until he is three months old, and if he hasn’t begun to wean himself from his nighttime feedings, I probably will make some effort to do so. At least to space them out more. If he can sleep from 10-4 one night, there is no reason he can’t do it every night.

Other exciting things happening in our lives: we sold Christian’s car two weeks ago with the intention of purchasing something bigger, automatic, with decent gas mileage. He had a 2003 Ford Focus ZX3 (2 door, hatchback) which was manual. I am capable of driving a manual if I have to, but I don’t have much experience or confidence and would rather not if I can avoid it. My car is old and very beat up (not my fault!), though reliable so we wanted something a little newer that is big enough for a car sear or two that I can drive and Christian can drive my poor old car to work. We sold his car within 12 hrs of posting it on Craigslist, but two weeks later we have yet to purchase anything else. Which means that either a) Christian rides his bike to work so that I can use the car or b) Christian drives to work and I am stuck at the house all day. This really hasn’t been too bad because Christian can ride his bike, but if he closes, then he doesn’t get home until 9 or later and I don’t want him driving up and down Capitol on his bike in the dark. So, he takes the car on days when he has to close and I stay at home with Micah, but this means that I can’t go look at any othe cars, which is the main reason we haven’t purchased anything. So, to summarize: we need to buy a car so that I have something to drive while Christian is at work, but I can’t go buy a car becuase I don’t have anything to drive while Christian is at work. 🙂

On Monday we had a Five Generation photo shoot, below are some of the pictures from that, courtesy of Bekah Morton.

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The quest for modesty…a journey of the heart

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Modesty means a lot of different things to different people. Most people think of clothing when we talk about modesty and the culture in which you were raised will have a great influence on your definition of “modest clothing.”  For example, a friend of mine was raised in Argentina. The cultural standard of modesty is MUCH different than even the mainstream US culture so her definition of “modest” was a lot different than mine. But, when I talk about modesty, I’m not talking about clothes, at least not just clothes. The Biblical standard for modesty starts with the heart.

“For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God….Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. “

1 Peter 2:15-16, 3:1-4

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in viewof God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Romans 12:1-2

“Therefore let us stop passing judgement on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way…Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification.”

Romans 14:13 &19

These are just a few of the scripture passages which have influenced me in my commitment to purity and modesty. As a follower of Jesus Christ, someone who professes to have experienced a life changing salvation, I desire to follow God’s will in any and every way possible. As an imperfect human, I often fail in this endevor.  However, one of the ways in which I try to live a life set apart for God is by closing guarding my body. I believe that my body is not my own, but a gift from God which I should use to bring him praise in whatever way possible. The Bible tells me my body is a temple to God. It also admonishes me to avoid putting a stumbling block in front of a brother (or sister). So, for me, modesty is all about why I do something and not so much what I do.

For example, when I am getting dressed and am tempted to where make up or jewelry, I stop and ask myself, why do I want to do this? Is it because I am self-conscious or embarrassed by the way I look? Or is it in an effort to impress someone? Or is it to honor God? If I am tempted to wear makeup to cover acne, that is vainity and basically I am saying that I don’t like the way God made my body, which is to imply that He somehow made a mistake (impossible!). If I am dressing to impress anyone other than my husband, I am motivated by pride and selfishness, both of which are sins. If I am dressing to impress my husband, great, but I do not feel that I am honoring God or my husband if I come before him dressed and painted to resemble someone or something that I am not. The intimacy shared by husband and wife is a wonderful thing; I should have no qualms about appearing before my husband in my natural and yes, naked, state. A husband and wife who love God first and then each other, who have a Biblical view of marriage and their spouse, will be affirming and uplifting, not degrading or hurtful. And so both partners should be comfortable revealing their naked bodies, without plucking, painting or primping.

So, when I am getting dressed, I try to always ask myself, “Does this honor God?” or “Will this be a tempation to someone?”  In truth, these are the same questions that we should ask ourselves before every action or choice.

When it comes to dress, I don’t have any hard and fast rules that I follow, because that is to be legalistic. It is not about the rules, but where my heart is. I desire to honor God, and my husband and to avoid serving as a temptation to my brothers. God made me a woman and I believe that men and women should have distinctive clothing, as is indicated in the Old Testament, but I don’t think that it is necessarily wrong for women to wear pants, however, I choose to wear long, loose skirts almost exclusively as they are much less revealing than pants and instantly mark me as a woman. This is not true of tight or short skirts, so the issue is not pants vs skirts, but again, a matter of the heart and me desiring to dress in a way that announces to the world I am a woman without showing off the curves of my body.

My favorite tops have elbow length sleeves and a high, scoop-neck. As I am currently nursing, my solution to modest nursing on a budget is to wear a long cami with a built-in shelf bra under a regular shirt. I can then simply pull up my shirt and pull down the top of the cami to nurse without exposing my belly. When at home or just around family, I normally don’t bother with a nursing cover because my shirt can easily be pulled down to cover the tops of my breasts and the baby’s head hides everything else. I do use a nursing cover or a receiving blanket when in public, especially when getting the baby latched on as this is when I am most exposed.

As for hair, I Corinthians chapter 11 addresses this but there has been a lot of debate concerning the correct interpretation. Again, I try not to get caught up on rules and simply try to have a heart devoted to God, and dress in such a way as to reflect my inner committment. I do like to cover my hair, when I have long hair, as I feel this does set me apart from the general population and people will frequently ask me why I dress the way I do, which then give me an opportunity to “give the reason for the hope that I have” (1 Peter 3:15). I prefer long hair on women because I feel it is more feminine. However, I currently have very short hair because I cut all of mine off as a donation for Pantene Beautiful Lengths. I am growing it back out because that is what I like, not because I think women “should” have long hair. I do think that if you are prone to vainity and spending hours in front of the mirror, then perhaps you should not have long hair so as to avoid that temptation.

I do wear some jewelry on special occassions, and pretty much all that wear I received as a gift from my husband, so I know it pleases him to see me wear it. I do not wear makeup because I can’t get past the feeling that it is an act of hubris to assume that  I know better than God what I should look like. I love my “lotions and potions” (as my mother says) and I try to take good care of my skin but I do not in any way alter my appearance with make up or hair-dye.

I hope that my thoughts on this topic will jump-start your own thought process and encourage you to examine why you do what you do. Respectful comments, either agreeing or disagreeing, are welcome.

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”

1 Cor. 6:19-20