HAPPY 2006! Goodbye 2005, Hello 2006! We are excited to see what 2006 holds for us, there will be a lot of changes in our lives, but we are looking forward to them and we will be sure to keep you posted!
A big Congratulations to my cousin and dear friend Vanessa and her husband Wally. They will be expecting Sam (the name goes for a girl or boy) in early August 2006! Love you both! Cannot wait to meet your firstborn child!
Happy 22nd Birthday to my oldest brother Alec. (He is the one with the red on)We look the most like each other out of all the siblings, and had a blast (good times and bad) growing up together. Love you Al! Love you Guy Smiley! Go Casa de Awesome!
Justin and I have had many conversations about our society and how much we let it influence us sometimes. I can admit it, I am guilty. The problem is the concerns we have with our appearances cannot be blamed in our culture, but our hearts. We are obsessed with all things physical. But the truth of it is that the truth of who we are is in our hearts, not what our outer appearance reflects. This is not a huge revelation, we all know this, but we really do not think about it. Even the most unattractive being you can think of, is not even half as ugly as the sin that is in all of our hearts. There is only one who can give us the most beautiful heart, can create beauty in us, our savior, Jesus.
Romans 1:18-23- " 18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. 21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles."
Worshiping is not something that we do just for fun, it shows who we are. The issue of worship is who/what do we worship? We so easily fall into worshiping worldly things, I mean it is so easy considering what we are surrounded by in our everyday lives. I can honestly say that I struggle with falling into this sin. Probably one of my biggest vices is fashion and style. I get caught up in how our home looks, how I look, how my family looks, and have too much concern for what others think. I feel embarrassed because we have old junky couches because we cannot afford new ones because my husband is in graduate school. Rather I should be content with what I do have. I want to make the point that it is okay to like and even want nice things. But be careful! It can become an obsession. Clothes for me, yikes! I am constantly checking out the latest and greatest in style, never wanting to miss a step. And I think it is fine for me to want to look nice and have nice clothes, BUT I do not need every new style that comes out, and I can utlilize what I already have better. I have a creative mind, I should use it more in my closet! Sounds easier said than done to just place all temptations aside, and say "Forget you world, I do not care." The truth is that it is a reality. We do fight this war of constant judging, people judging us, us judging people. We cannot escape it, but we need to create a healthy balance for ourselves so we do not get too caught up in what our culture deems right. How can we do this? What is our hope? What is our solution? Jesus! He can fill my cup, he can fill my dark evil heart with his glory. He can make me grand! And by this beautiful heart filled with his glory, I can share his mercy with others, that he might consume thier heart with his glory.
As Paul Tripp put it so well, " Think about living as a camper. The sole point of camping is to make you thankful for home. You go out on that first day with visions and rural grandeur. You love tha portable dwelling called a tent. You have pilgrim delusions. You enjoy the first meal cooked over the campfire. You say "Doesn't food cooked over an open fire taste so much better?" You love that first night in the tent, hearing the animal sounds in the distance. But, three days later, you complain about the gritty food and complain your back hurts from sleeping on the hard ground. The tent has taken on sub-human odors. Th cooler once full of ice, is now filled with liquid. Your Campfire roast is now a drowned, soggy, unappetizing, grayish, piece of animal muscle. You long for a srove that turns on with a click. You think that one of God's sweetest gifts is a flush toliet. And you hope someone in your family will say, "Let's go home early." That is how we are supposed to think and live as God's pilgrims in this fallen world. But what have we done with camping in this Western culture? The same thing we have done with the human identity. We now camp in sixty-foot Winnebagos with Satalite dishes, and fifty inch plasma televisions. We want a campsite so luxurious that it is better than home. We have inverted the order."
Isn't that a wonderful analgy? It is so true, and although it is easy to blame culture (others) for our wants for material things, it is really about what is in our heart. What are heart wants is refected in how we live, the things we desire. And Christ is our only hope. We have so much to look forward to on our way home, so keep your eyes on the prize, living in eternity with Jesus. This is the most beautiful thing I can think of.
This song made tears stream down my face. A great song about the connection of the fall in the garden, and the death on the cross.
One choice One tree One fall for humanity One lie One liar One bite is all death required One great regret One squandered chance, and yet One hope One day One name above all other names One bridge between then and now One way to discover how One price One tree One drop of crimson covers me.
Only piano plays in the background while Nichole Nordeman's unique voice sings the words to this beautiful song. Listen to part of it at: http://www.nicholenordeman.com/media.aspx The song is called crimson.
In our marriage, something I love so dearly is our ability to laugh with each other and at each other. We laugh a lot, Just thinks I laugh too much sometimes because I find almost any silly thing funny. We have so much fun when we laugh. I have to share this quick story...
We are lying in bed one night talking about our younger days, and I was talking about the school I went to and my classmates. He began talking about school too, and said,
"Yeah most everyone liked me, except for these two guys, for some reason they did not like me." To which I responded, " Who Jared and Jordan?" (his two brothers)
We laughed for a good twenty minutes.
If you don't know the Swanson children are all homeschooled, so I wondered who it could have been. He then informed me that he went to Judah Christian school where he played basketball during their lunch and study hall times, so he had friends there. Maybe you had to be there, but we got a kick out of it. Good times.
All of the snow from last weeks first snow was melted away, but on this first day of December I awoke to a fresh new blanket of snow on the ground. I could hear the snow plow go by, and I smiled to myself. I was eager to get Maxwell and show him the white that covered the streets. He gave an "oh-ah"following the one I said, and as I set him down he began to walk around chit-chatting to himself. If only I could understand! But it is always fun to listen anyway. Yesterday Max and I hung the stockings, decorated the mantel, set up a nativity, and hung the mistletoe! We danced together to Christmas tunes, I absolutely love Christmas songs, and never get sick of them. It was a wonderful time. This time of year brings so much joy into my heart, as we celebrate our Saviors birth. I love going to the mall and watching people bustling about. Food never tastes better, coffee never so comforting, and people just seem sweeter. What a wonderful time of year!