Monday, August 28, 2006

Jonathan Edwards is my homeboy.

"Young, restless, reformed: Calvinism is making a comeback and shaking up the church."
The cover of this months Christianity Today.

moving...part 1

This week begins part one of our two part moving escapades. We are moving to my parents this week/weekend until our move to Kentucky in November or December. Moving twice in the next four months! At least I will not have to pack as much the second time around since we will be storing most of our stuff until we get to Kentucky.
Pray for us this week, in these upcoming months. I admit my nervousness about moving to Kentucky is increasing daily. I want to be 100% supportive to our decision, to Justin's job choice for the next four years, to all the changes. But I also know that it is going to be hard to move away from our families, all our friends, but I want all to know there is an open invitation to our place anytime! I have only heard good things about the Lexington area so I am excited about that, and it is only 8 hours back to Madison, 6 to Chicago, not too far away but far enough for me for now. I am also excited to meet new people, and hopefully we can find a great church home. Overall I am more excited than apprehensive, but just pray that we might be able to make a smooth transition to Kentucky, find a great first home, find a great church, get connected, and most of all continue to trust Christ.

Friday, August 25, 2006

for Bethany...

"In you, LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness. Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge,
a strong fortress to save me. Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Keep me free from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, LORD, my faithful God. I hate those who cling to worthless idols; as for me, I trust in the LORD. I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. You have not given me into the hands of the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place. Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief. My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak... But I trust in you, LORD;I say, "You are my God." My times are in your hands; deliver me from the hands of my enemies, from those who pursue me. Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love. Let me not be put to shame, LORD, for I have cried out to you; but let the wicked be put to shame and be silent in the realm of the dead.
Let their lying lips be silenced,for with pride and contempt they speak arrogantly against the righteous. How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of all on those who take refuge in you. In the shelter of your presence you hide them from all human intrigues; you keep them safe in your dwelling from accusing tongues. Praise be to the LORD, for he showed me the wonders of his love when I was in a city under siege. In my alarm I said, "I am cut off from your sight!" Yet you heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help. Love the LORD, all his faithful people! The LORD preserves those who are true to him, but the proud he pays back in full.
Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD. "- Psalm 31

Bethany, although I do not fully understand your pain, know that today in particular you
are in my thoughts and prayers. Although I have known you for a short time, your love for Christ and your family amazes me. A strong woman who loves her Savior! You have a lot of people who love you and are praying for you and we cannot wait to see what God has in store for you, Aaron, Seth, and Jude.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

storm stories...

There were some crazy storms last night. I
was honestly a little scared. We were up late,
as usual, we are total night owls. It was about
2 am, and I was in bed with Evan when I began
to hear hail and very strong winds against our
windows. Our bedroom is at the north end of
our house and the winds were beating hard.
I was so scared I grabbed Evan and as I was
heading out saw Justin dart into Maxwells
room to grab him. He was a little nervous too.
I seriously thought our windows were going to
blow in. There is no basement in our place
but we did head downstairs. Ten minutes later
the winds died down and it was calm for awhile.
All through the night though, wind, hail, thunder,
and lighting dominated our corner of the world.
I told Justin to put Max in our bed, I just wanted
us all to be together. Total cornball move.
It was nuts, and needless to say I did not sleep
Evan and Max however...they had the most
peaceful nights sleep ever!

Monday, August 21, 2006

this is the life...

Talking to People Rather than About Them

Talking to People Rather Than about Them
What I Left Out of the Sermon on August 6
August 9, 2006

In my first sermon after being away five months, I left something out. It was in the notes, but didn’t seem to flow with the main focus when I got to it. So I skipped it. But I really wanted to say it. So here it is.
You recall that in Luke 18:9, Luke introduces the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector like this: “He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt.” It may seem minor at first, but notice that it says that Jesus told this parable TO some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous. It does not say he spoke this parable ABOUT them. Jesus was looking the Pharisees in the eye and telling them a parable that implied that they were self-righteous. He was not talking about them but to them.
Though it may seem minor, it contains a lesson that is huge for the health of our church. Let’s be like this. Let’s not talk to others about people’s faults. Let’s talk to them about their faults. It is easy—and far too tasty on the tongue of our sinful souls—to talk about people. But it is hard—and often tastes bitter—to talk to them. When you are talking about them, they can’t correct you or turn the tables and make you the problem. But if you talk to them about a problem, it can be very painful. So it feels safer to talk about people rather than talking to them.
But Jesus does not call us to make safe choices. He calls us to make loving choices. In the short run, love is often more painful than self-protecting conflict-avoidance. But in the long run, our consciences condemn us for this easy path and we do little good for others. So let’s be more like Jesus in this case and not talk about people, but talk to them, both with words of encouragement, because of the evidences of grace we see in their lives, and with words of caution or warning or correction or even rebuke. Paul urged us to use the full range of words for the full range of needs: “Admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all” (1 Thessalonians 5:14).
I don’t mean you can’t criticize President Bush without calling him on the phone first. And I don’t mean you can’t discuss my sermon, both negatively and positively, without coming to me. Public figures put themselves on the line and understand that eve ryone will have an opinion about what they say. That’s okay. What I mean is when you know a brother or a sister is in the grip of some sinful attitude or behavior, take the log out of your eye, and then go to them and try to help them with humble biblical counsel.
Perhaps tell them a parable. That’s what Jesus did in Luke 18:9-14. And it’s what Nathan did for David, after his sin with Bathsheba and toward Uriah (2 Samuel 12:1-4). But you don’t have to be that creative. Caring about the person you confront matters more than creativity.
My longing for our church is that we be free from gossip. Let’s be forthright and honest and courageous and humble. Jesus was amazingly blunt at times. Love sometimes sounds like that. He could have easily been accused of callousness or lovelessness. But we know he was the most loving person who ever lived. So let’s follow him in this matter. He died for us so that all the logs and specks in our eyes may be forgiven. That should give us both courage and care in dealing with others. Especially when we realize that the faults of our brothers and sisters have also been forgiven by Jesus.
What an amazing standing place we have for relationships. A forgiven, justified, Spirit-indwelt community of people who love to grow in grace. Thank you for loving to trust and follow Jesus in the way of talking to each other rather than about each other.
Glad to be back,
Pastor John

copyright Desiring God Ministries

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Party Pictures

Thanks to Grandpa & Grandma Swanson for hosting!

outside fun

the birthday boy

Mongolian boots from Aunt Julia and Uncle Carl.
I love them!

pin the tail on the nose?

a bit apprehensive about all the attention

Daddy helps out...

opening one of his MANY gifts.


playing with Aunt Jaimee

Maxwell had a wonderful birthday.
Lots of attention.
LOTS of gifts.
Thanks to G&G Wojo,
G&G Swanson, G.G. &G.G.
Swanson, Jared, Joelle, Julia, Jaimee,
Jordan, Carl, Peter, Alec, Tami &
Andy, Caleb, Joshua, Sammie,
Sonja & Cain who all celebrated with us!
Maxwell is very blessed.
Very Loved.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Happy 2nd Birthday Maxwell

being silly...

enjoying some of his very favorite things to do.

Maxwell and Evan

Two years ago this evening you came into this world with your dark hair, round face, and weighed in at 10lbs. 1 0z. The Doctors and Nurses commented that you should be walking already you were such a big healthy boy!
Now at just 2 years of age it is already clear to see that you are more wonderful, more amazing person, than I could have ever imagined in my life. These past two years watching your personality develop; a great sense of humor, and a perfect amount of tenderness.
So far, you're an outstanding brother and have enriched your brother's life as much as ours. I pray that the Lord will make you the closest of friends. My

two boys. You have brought so much joy into our lives.
We love you Maxwell Jared, our first born.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Excuse me...

So tonight we had our friends Chad and Nicole over.
They brought us dinner.
Having a new baby in the house always means there will never be an empty fridge.
While enjoying our dinner Chad commented that one of his most funny moments of this year was still fresh in his mind, and he suggested I blog about it.
Maybe you had to be there, but it will be a fun memory for me to look back on in the future.
The incident happened two weeks ago.
We had finished having dinner out for my birthday at PF Changs, and were
sitting on the patio at my favorite after dinner place.
Starbucks. (No I am not ashamed of my love for this corporation)
I am running my mouth, as usual.
Mid- sentence...BUUUURRRRPPPP!
So loud, so rude.
What do I do?
I let it out, and continue on, like it is
a usual event for me.
Now this is common practice
for some, my cousin Josh for example
we expect it from him.
But I am a lady for goodness sake!
Chad, Nicole, and Justin are laughing
so hard they are holding their bellies.
I am wondering what is so funny.
I did not even realize what I had done.
Luckily I was still pregnant at the time.
Blame it on that.
Right... I played that pregnancy card right up.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

one week old





The first week with Evan has been amazing.
When we had Max we were really stressed and
our first week was really difficult, mostly because
we had never done this before.
Evan has been such a wonderful baby so far. I
hope he stays so good! Maxwell has adjusted
really well...he gets a little over excited at times,
wanting attention but he is constantly kissing
his little brother, it is so cute! I love having two
boys, having a new baby again, but I know
how fast it disappears so I am soaking it
all in and loving every minute of it! Well
except maybe the late night feedings !:)

Happy Birthday Dad/Grandpa!

Happy Birthday to my Father-in-law, Justins Dad,
Maxwell and Evans Grandfather, and our Pastor.
We love you very much !

Saturday, August 12, 2006

E.J.'s first hour of life...

8lbs. 8oz.

first meeting...

Evan and Daddy

Evan and Mommy

Dr. Heifner and Evan

Monday August 7th. I went to my Dr. appointment in the morning and had lost 2 lbs. The nurse mentioned that it was a sign of oncoming labor.
I did not get my hopes up.
The rest of Monday was spent with Maxwell...we went for a long walk, had a dance party together in our living room (yes, I said dance was fun for both of us although I am sure I looked utterly ridiculous), and went for a long walk again in the evening with Daddy. At about 11 tht night Just and I were getting ready for bed, I was having some light contractions about every 10 minutes, when I felt this punch in my lower abdomen and headed for the bathroom. Just as I got in my water broke. Shocked me! So we called the hospital to let them know we would be there soon, and called my Mom to come spend the night with Maxwell.
We get to the hospital around 1:30am and my contractions are about 6 minutes apart at this point. We check in and at about 3 am. Dr. Heifner shows up. The nurse came in and said
"Your doctor is here, and he is wearing chinos and a button down!" She thought it was hillarious that he had dressed up so much to come in so early in the morning. It was a good chuckle.
He said they wanted to wait until my contractions were more intenese and closer together to check and see how dialated I was (risk of infection since my water had broken). Justin tried to sleep a little and I tried to as well. About 15 minutes total I got.
Anyway, Dr. Heifner came back a few hours later and my contractions were still about 6 minutes apart. He decided to start some pitocin to get them coming more.
Well it worked.
At about noon on Tuesday they really began coming bad, hard and close. I spent the next few hours laboring and at about 4:30 they checked, I was fully dialated and ready to push. Oh, and I did get an epidural...but it did not work for some reason. So the contractions were really coming HARD because of the darn pitocin. Let me tell you I had an epidural with Max (over 36 hours of labor) and LOVED it, recommended it to all, so feeling it all...was rough to say the least.
So here I am, pushing for what seemed like an eternity, sweating like a wild beast, screaming so loud I am sure the whole floor could hear me. I was suprised that I screamed like I did, I only cried when I was in labor with Max. Closer and closer I was coming to delivering this baby, and more and more people began coming in and more and more equipment kept coming out of the closet. I did not know if I was going to be able to do it. I do think everybody coming in and the equipment coming out helped me know it was almost over. I could feel him coming down and soon they saw his head and asked if I wanted to feel it. I said sure, then thought about it and changed my mind. They kept saying how close I was and I pushed with all I had in me, saying between contractions that I could not do this anymore! Everytime after pushing I could feel him wiggle back in! NO! Wrong way! I was thinking, why can't Dr. Heifner just grab his head and yank him out, I thought he was further out then he was, good thing I did not know that though. Justin said he was even thinking of just telling them to take me to get a c-section , he hated seeing me this way.
With one last final really hard push he came! I could not believe I did it. I was elated! Justin cried, Dr. Heifner came and kissed my forehead he was so excited too! Later Dr. Heifner and the nurses admitted to me that they were not sure if it was going to happen since I was so worn out, but somehow I did. I honestly believe though if Justin, Dr. Heifner and my nurses were not there cheering me on, being so good to me and saying all the right things, I don't know if I could have done it. As I was pushing I bit my lip so hard when it was over I felt how swollen they were, Justin said my lips looked like Angelina Jolies. I cannot believe I did that! But Evan was finally here! He was so small, alright he is no preemie but compared to Max, our little Evan is a peanut. He is such a good baby so far, never really cries and is easy to please. We love him so much! I think the only time we were alone at the hospital was during the night, but we loved all our visitors!!
It was pretty funny because Dr. Heifner told me that another woman had heard my story, (having a v-bac after a c-section) and her Dr. was not willing to try with her so she called, Dr. Heifner!
Maxwell came to the hospital for the first time that night. He was a little nervous clinging to his puppy and kissing it, nevous about how Mommy looked. But he was so cute with Evan once we introduced them. He kept kissing him on the head. It was so sweet! I hope they become good friends!
We came home Thursday afternoon, and are working on getting some order back in our lives and catching up on sleep!
I thank God for this wonderful gift he has given us. We love you Evan.


Grandma Wojo and Evan

brothers...Maxwell was very nervous.

Uncle Jordan and Evan

Grandpa Swanson and Evan

Grandma Swanson and Evan

Daddy and E

So precious...

Evan and Mommy

Before you were conceived I wanted you. Before you were born I loved you. Before you were here an hour I would die for you. This is the miracle of life.- Maureen Hawkins


Maxwell & Evan

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Our newest joy!

Evan John Swanson

August 8, 2006
6:40 P.M.
8lbs. 8oz.
Thanks to everyone for your prayers and support.
more to come later... I just wanted to post a picture.

Monday, August 07, 2006

the last days...

Although I am VERY eager to meet our new little one, the
realization that these days are the last with just the three
of us has set in. It is really bittersweet, the birth of a new
baby and the loss of the complete focus of your first born.
Don't get me wrong, I think it is wonderful for kids to have
siblings, but I have to admit I am sad to see Maxwells and my
time together evaporate some as my focus shifts to the
attention this new baby will need.
So this week as I (and others) pray that I would go into labor,
I am enjoying my time with Max, playing games, reading a lot,
spending time outside(now that it has cooled down some it
is much more tolerable) and just being silly together.
He has no idea what is about to enter his little world, but in
the end I know that he will be a great big first born.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Love my cheetos!

In honor of Uncle Jordan's last week at Frito Lay
this summer here is a picture of Maxwell enjoying
his favorite Frito Lay treat. Cheetos.

Cheetos oh Cheetos
your unique shape is neato.
I love to eat your crunchy
self until my bag is finito.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Friday Fact.

Sometimes I swallow my juicy fruit because I love the way it tastes so much.

Spoiled some might say...

Lots of *fun* mail
Dinner with Chad and Nicole Kemp
Starbucks latte and conversation after
Celebrate with our families at
my parents.
A good night. Thanks everybody.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

25...alright give or take a few years. Alright give.

(*picture sent to me from my Aunt Sue)
So this is the year I have decided to for the rest of my life,
or as long as I can get away with it say I am 25 +/- a
few years. I am nervous as I head towards 30, not even
sure why. I have no reason to fear the big 30, I am not
scared to be old or anything like that. I guess maybe I
just feel like everyone longs to be in their 20's forever
and my years are dwindling away.
I do not like to make a big deal about my Birthday...
some people do, and I actually like that people get
so excited about their birthday, but not me.
I like to just see and talk with those I love, lay low,
perhaps go out with my husband for dinner, and
that is good enough for me. This year though I
have a couple requests, one that God would
continue to be the center focus of my life and
that I would spend more and more time with
him daily and rely on his will for me not what I
want. Second, that I would go into labor...and
soon. Pray these things for me.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Max loves watching music videos...
(on a side note: I know my son needs a haircut...
we are eagerly waiting for a device a family friend
has that she uses to cut all 6 of her boys hair.
Hopefully soon! :)