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Psalm 78
. . . we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. .
so the next generation would know them . . . and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lovely Lydia

We'd like to introduce our new daughter, Lydia Jean. She weighed in at 7 lbs. 10 oz. and measures 20 1/4 inches long. From the very first in the operating room she had open eyes and a quiet spirit. We'll see how long that lasts! :)




We've had a good day of recovery and getting to know one another, with visits from Aunt Jennifer, Grandma and Grandpa Edwards, Grandma and Grandpa Shimer, and our four older children.




May our Lydia open her heart to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and live her life to His glory, just as Lydia of Philippi did after Paul told her about Jesus.
On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. "If you consider me a believer in the Lord," she said, "come and stay at my house." And she persuaded us.
Acts 16:13-15

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bible Trivia

I occasionally check SiteMeter for info on my blog's (meager) traffic. Today I noticed a hit from someone searching in Google as follows:

Who in the Bible said what is veritas?

Do you know the answer for this reader? See John 18:37-38.
Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world--to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice." Pilate said to him, "What is truth?"

Oddly, another searcher hit the blog after Googling,

who said i am a champion of owls in the bible.

I'm guessing they meant "companion of owls," which would be Job, in Job 30:29, here quoted in NIV:
I have become a brother of jackals,
a companion of owls.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Trading Places at the Edwards

Hope and Sydney have moved out of their Madeline room, exchanging this room that has been theirs for seven years for their new basement bedroom.

Seven years back, when the girls were three, I decorated their room by painting Madeline and Pepito the Bad Hat behind the door...

... putting vines around their window and Genevieve and her puppies below...


...and a charming clock, all of which can be found in the illustrations of Ludwig Bemelmans' Madeline books. We also framed several of the full-color pages from the original Madeline, which feature Paris scenes.


The vacated room is now the new baby's room, but we are waiting to make a decision about new paint until we know if we have a new daughter or son. If we have a daughter, I'll keep these illustrations,  freshen up the rest of the room's paint, and introduce a new Edwards to the "twelve little girls in two straight lines."


Mr. Edwards and the boys took down the girls' bunk beds and re-assembled them as twin beds in their new basement room.



It is a cozy room, but they love it.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

File Under "Nothing is as Simple as it Seems"

Following the earthquake in Haiti, massive amounts of aid flooded the island nation. Compassion for hurting people brought food and immediate medical care to the people of Haiti, filling the gap left by the destruction.

Foreign aid has a downside, however, which this article in the Miami Herald reveals. Because of the influx of free medical care in the aftermath of the earthquake, Haitian hospitals are losing money and forced to lay-off staff to stay afloat. Their potential customers are receiving care from free, charitable clinics and the hospitals are losing the revenue they need to pay their bills and stay afloat.

This reminded me of the mosquito-net example given by Dambisa Moyo, the author of Dead Aid, in a Wall Street Journal article from March 2009:
Even what may appear as a benign intervention on the surface can have damning consequences. Say there is a mosquito-net maker in small-town Africa. Say he employs 10 people who together manufacture 500 nets a week. Typically, these 10 employees support upward of 15 relatives each. A Western government-inspired program generously supplies the affected region with 100,000 free mosquito nets. This promptly puts the mosquito net manufacturer out of business, and now his 10 employees can no longer support their 150 dependents. In a couple of years, most of the donated nets will be torn and useless, but now there is no mosquito net maker to go to. They'll have to get more aid.
The issue of Aid with a capital-A (Ms. Moyo is largely discussing foreign government aid on the macro level rather than the micro level) is far more complex that one first imagines.

Compassion for individuals compels us to do something, and yet our impulses often end up worsening the situation for those individuals in the long term.

It is a vexing problem without a neat and tidy solution but my take-away principle is this: Whenever possible use local supply-lines to provide aid to people in developing nations. In other words, provide the  nets, but buy them there.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Equip Academy meets Veritas at Home, Part III

Have you had a lamb roast dinner? We have roast beef pretty regularly, and pork roast on occasion, but never lamb roast. It is far more common in Australia, and our guests Jeff and Sharon made a delicious lamb roast for us on Monday night. Since I had fallen asleep on the couch when they made the final preparations, I failed to get a picture of the beautifully cooked leg of lamb, but here you can see our family eating the savory dinner.

To prepare the lamb for roasting, Sharon and Jeff cut small slits across the meat and inserted slices of garlic and sprigs of fresh rosemary. They served roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and onions with the meat. All of the kids loved it, especially the lamb.



Jeff and Sharon brought a beautiful book on Australia, filled with color photographs and organized by state. Lane and Toby in particular loved looking through the book and listening to Jeff tell stories about the various places.

Jeff also had stories of living as a teen on an atoll in the Pacific. He told us amazing tales of playing on the coral reef, finding debris from World War II on the beach and around the reef, and surviving a small cut from coral that poisoned him.



This prompted Lane to spend some time exploring the area via Google Maps. He looked over the atoll and then searched several Australian cities, such as Darwin and Sydney, zooming in and looking at street views. Lane could spend hours on Google Maps if I didn't limit him.



On Wednesday the girls and I prepared a traditional Thanksgiving meal for our Aussie friends. Several months ago, as we planned their visit, they mentioned they would like to have an American Thanksgiving meal since they don't have the same tradition in Australia. Hope and Sydney helped me make the stuffing (Sydney is shown here chopping celery--I didn't get the camera in time to snap a picture of Hope chopping onions and bread cubes).


We cooked a 13 pound turkey, my family's traditional stuffing recipe, the American classic green bean casserole, along with cranberry sauce and turkey gravy. We skipped some of the other dishes we usually make, such as jello salad, a green salad, and rolls, but for a Wednesday night before AWANA it was quite a feast.






And what Thanksgiving meal is complete without pumpkin and pumpkin-pecan pie?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Equip Academy meets Veritas at Home, Part II

We took a day trip to Tallgrass Prairie Preserve yesterday and met up with another blogging friend, Kellie, of Blue House Academy.


The prairie grass had just been burnt off in a controlled burn, but even a few days later the green shoots were coming up already. The roots on the prairie grass go deep underground, up to 12 or 14 feet.



On Monday, Sharon and I went to BSF together. You can really tell in this picture that I'll be having a baby soon!


While Sharon, the kids, and I were at Tallgrass, Mr. Edwards took Jeff to a range where they shot sporting clays. They went along with Mr. Edwards' dad (shown in the picture below as Jeff fires away).


Mr. Edwards is shown below, taking a shot at a clay pigeon.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Equip Academy meets Veritas at Home

We are having a marvelous time with my dear blogging friend Sharon and her husband Jeff. Sharon and Jeff are here for a vacation to the U.S. from their home in Australia. They are part way through a driving tour of the western United States that most Americans would dream of taking.

I'm so grateful they made the time to swing by Kansas and visit our family. It is a blessing from God to meet this dear sister in Christ face to face! Our blogging comments and emails have been replaced with lively conversation for the week.


With less than two weeks to go before our baby is expected, there wasn't any way that we could meet up with them out West, but it has really been wonderful to have them in our home.


On their first evening here, they had Australian gifts for each of us, but the family gift of a didgeridoo is probably the kids' favorite!


On Saturday we ventured out to the lake for a boat ride and picnic. This was just the second time we've had my dad's boat out this season and the first time for putting up the awning. 



Spring is just arriving here and April weather can be unpredictable. The day began a bit chilly and windy, but after we made it out to a quiet cove and beached the boat, we basked in the sun for about three hours, picnicking on chicken salad sandwiches. Our kids happily ran up and down the sand bar, kicking and splashing their feet in the water, searching for shells, building sand crocodiles and castles, and having a carefree time.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Great Awakening

Last night Toby (four years old) and I were alone in the house, eating ice cream. He asked me, "Mom, why does water fill things up?"

I looked at him, puzzled at first, then gave a lame, inadequate answer: "It is a liquid, Toby. Liquids fill up cups and bowls and buckets."

"Well, what is ice? Ice is in ice cream."

The first question seemed easy. "Ice is frozen water, Toby. You know, we fill the ice cube trays with water and put them in the freezer..."

"No! I mean i-i-i-ice! What is it?"

Hearing him pronounce the long-i several times got me on the right track. Suddenly he wasn't asking about physical science anymore; he was asking me about phonics. Except that we've only learned short vowels, so I knew the answer would be confusing. He's been learning "i" as "i-i-indian" with the Phonics Museum song.

Toby is, to borrow a phrase from Annie Dillard, waking up to the world around him. He is waking up "in bits, like all children, piecemeal over the years." Dillard said of herself, "I discovered myself and the world, and forgot them, and discovered them again." He's discovering the world--its language, its laws of nature, its machines and its nature.

The conversation reminded me of the other day when the kids were playing with my hands. Hope pushed on the veins that criss-cross over my hands and watched them pop up again. She traced the path of the bluish tubes that snake from my forearm onto my fingers.

"They look like worms under your skin, Mom." Those worms are bigger than usual, thanks to my pregnancy, but my hands are still covered in creases, veins, and increasingly crepe-like skin. As Hope and Toby analyzed the skin on my hands, I thought again of Annie Dillard's description of a similar moment from her childhood:
"Mother let me play with one of her hands. She laid it flat on a living-room end table beside her chair. I picked up a transverse pinch of skin over the knuckle of her index finger and let it drop. The pinch didn't snap back; it lay dead across her knuckle in a yellowish ridge. I poked it; it slid over intact. I left it there as an experiment and shifted to another finger...I refashioned the ridge on her index-finger knuckle; I made the ridge as long as I could, using both my hands. Moving quickly, I made parallel ridges on her other fingers--a real mountain chain, the Alleghenies; Indians crept along just below the ridgetops, eyeing the frozen lakes below them through the trees."
"Children ten years old wake up and find themselves here, discover themselves to have been here all along; is this sad? They wake like sleepwalkers, in full stride; they wake like people brought back from cardiac arrest or from drowning: in medias res, surrounded by familiar people and objects, equipped with a hundred skills. They know the neighborhood, they can read and write English, they are old hands at the common place mysteries, and yet they feel themselves to have just stepped off the boat, just converged with their bodies, just flown down from a trance, to lodge in an eerily familiar life already well under way."
One of the best things about motherhood is witnessing our children awakening to the world that God has placed them in--and being there to help them make sense of it.

(Quotes from Annie Dillard's An American Childhood, 1987, Harper and Row.)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Bible Quizzing '10

On Saturday Hope and Sydney competed in the Awana Bible Quizzing competition. Hope did this last year, but it was Sydney's first year to participate. Both girls were extremely nervous about the competition, particularly the paddle quiz portion in which the kids sit in front of the audience and hold up their answer paddle in response to oral questions.


Before the competition my mom, their council time teacher, gave a devotion to the team about David and Goliath and facing fear in the power of the Lord.



Hope told me later that she was shaking throughout the entire paddle quiz. She said that she kept telling herself, "Relax," but couldn't get a breath! Sydney also said she was very nervous up there and at the end of the ten paddle questions I saw her take a very deep breath and finally her tenseness melted away. We proudly watched them get all ten questions correct!

Bible Quizzing questions are taken from their Awana book and cover any of the verses, definitions, or Bible readings that are in the first two-thirds of the book. The multiple choice questions are sometimes tricky. Some gave a portion of a verse and asked for a reference. Others gave a reference and asked what the verse had to say. Others asked what a Bible reading passage was about, giving only the reference.
After the paddle quiz portion they were off to take a ten question written test. We didn't get to see this part and had no idea how they scored.



When their team wasn't called up for fourth, third, or second place we figured that they missed out on the team awards, but were surprised that quite the contrary--their team took first place in the Book Two division.



As the awards were called for High Honors in the written test, both Hope and Sydney were called up to be awarded for a perfect score. Since they also received High Honors in the paddle quiz, they were given "Quiz Champion" ribbons along with nine other kids (Hope and Sydney are in the front row, third and fourth from the left).



We're so proud of their achievement, but more importantly, we are glad for what it represents: hiding God's word in their heart and worshiping Him by competing. The night before as I prayed over each of them, we talked about loving God with all your heart, soul, and mind. Studying to compete in Bible Quizzing is a way for them to worship and love God with their minds. No matter what their performance would be, I told them they would honor God in competing.

Thank you to their verse leader, Miss Marcia, for taking all these great pictures.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Growing in Grace

Last week I shadowed our girls through Awana for "Parent Night."


Their Awana night opens with the flag ceremony and some singing. Following that they transition to the game time. I was so proud to watch them enthusiastically playing the games, remembering that just a few years ago (okay, so kindergarten was a while ago now) one of them refused to participate in the games for the whole year!


My mother teaches the Council Time for the Truth and Training kids at Awana. She has always been modeling for me what it is to teach God's word to kids and it is very special to me that she is now teaching our daughters. My parents live within a mile of us and my sister and her family are just a few miles away, but it wasn't always the case. I'm grateful that God has given them a ministry not just on our continent, but in the same city, so that our kids can know both of their sets of grandparents (Mr. Edwards' parents are also in our town.)



Hope and Sydney were thrilled to receive awards the night I was there. Sydney was awarded for finishing Book 2; Hope received an award for two "Discoveries." She completed Book 2 that very night.


Awana depends on godly people serving Jesus in many different ways. It needs good leadership, but the "face" of Awana to the kids is often their verse leader. Miss Marcia has been such a loving encouragement to Hope and Sydney all year. She faithfully sends postcards each week with reminders about what is coming up next along with an encouragement to keep studying their verses. In the picture above, Hope presents her diorama of Paul and Silas in jail, after the earthquake. She was telling Miss Marcia what happened in order to pass that "Discovery."




Sydney finished her book the week before, but worked on a "Silver" section, which is a bit like an extra credit. Both Sydney and Hope are preparing to compete in Awana's Bible Quizzing competition this coming weekend.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The LORD's Doing

"This is the LORD's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes."

Last night at the Passover service our church held, the presenter gave away the mystery that my third grade Sunday School class is working all year to solve. That is, "Who killed Jesus and why?"

We begin the year on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24) with the resurrected Jesus and two disciples. A sad, tragic event has happened.

What? Jesus was killed.
When? Passover week.
Where? In Jerusalem.
Who did it?
Why?

The kids come up with the usual suspects (and admittedly, we don't steer them to the correct answer): Who?

Judas! The Priests! Pilate! The Jewish crowd! The soldiers! We did because of our sin!
No. They and we are not the culprits.

Why?
To die for my sins!

(They get a little closer here, thankfully.)


We go back to the beginning of Scripture to look for clues all year.

Adam was God's image bearer.
Sin is punished with death.
Abraham is one man blessing the world.
Isaac is one loved son of the promise.
Jacob is the father of the nation of Israel.
The scepter will not depart from Judah.
David's everlasting throne.
A virgin will be with child: God with us.
A king on a donkey.

We find more than 30 clues.

With just a few weeks left in the school year, we are now solving our clues and very close to solving the entire mystery of "Who killed Jesus?"

But last night, for astute third graders listening, the presenter of the Passover seder program gave it all away.

He said "Who did this to the Messiah? It wasn't Caiaphas. It wasn't Pilate. It wasn't the crowd. It wasn't the soldiers."

"This is the LORD's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."




The LORD did this. The LORD planned from the beginning to send His Son, Jesus, as our Messiah. His purposes in sending His Son are "hidden" all throughout the Old Testament Scriptures.

As Jews complete their Passover seder with a song from Psalm 118, part of the "Great Hallel," they sing these words from Psalm 118. The answer to the mystery is hidden right there in a Psalm, but one in which Jesus later said was about Himself (Matt. 21:42).

Yes, Jesus died for our sins. But no, we didn't put Him on that cross. We don't deserve His salvation. We can't require it.

"The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the LORD's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes."

Note: Our third grade Sunday School class teaches the curriculum "In the Beginning...Jesus" from Children Desiring God. If you are the parent of one of my students, now is a good time to be asking them what all these Old Testament stories they've been studying have to do with Jesus!


The photos show our playdough tomb project. Today, Good Friday, we will read of Christ's crucifixion and place our figure for Jesus on the cross. The tomb has not yet been filled; soldiers are casting lots for his clothing and people stand around grieving or mocking.
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