Monday, October 29, 2012

justified by faith

Our pastor is teaching through the book of Romans this year in church.  Thank goodness because there is a lot to learn from the book of Romans.

One thing he articulated while teaching through Romans 4 (an explanation of how Abraham was justified by faith alone) last weekend that I've been thinking about all week is this:

There is credible historical evidence for the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  And we could debate that and discuss it if you'd like.  But once you've examined the evidence, you'd see the proof for those events.  And believing the proof for that isn't really faith.  However, I can't prove to you that what God says about Jesus' death & resurrection - that God accepts Jesus' blood as payment for your sin and it covers the debt completely and God therefore declares you righteous - I can't prove that part to you is true.  That part, you have to believe by faith.

faith-filled (and excited for Romans 5),

p.s. click here to link to the page where you can listen to or download the sermons from the series so far

Sunday, October 28, 2012

stories from the classroom

Kindergartener (with very concerned, slightly agitated tone): "Mrs. Cook, why is your tummy getting so much bigger?"
Me: "because there's a baby inside and it's getting bigger."
 [background - all kindergartners in the room comment on how their mommies all just had a baby or are currently having a baby.] 
 Still concerned kindergartener: "well, when is it coming out?"
Me: January
kindergartener: "how?"
me: okay boys and girls, show me how you find your seats.

So I'm sitting at a table in the hall on the night of parent teacher conferences and this sweet 2nd grader comes up to the table with her parents. She waves shyly at me and then leans down under the table and waves (presumably to my baby in my stomach)?  :)


So I'm wearing a belt with an outfit somewhat like this
 looking, of course, much more pregnant than the skinny lady in this picture.  and this kid raises his hand & asks, "uh, mrs. cook. why are you wearing a belt all the way up there?"  and before I can answer, another kid responds "it's to hold her baby in."
i just left it at that.


2nd grade music class.  we do the same 3 activities at the beginning of every class:
practice a rhythm pattern on the board
the kids echo patterns i sing with solfege (you know, do-re-mi... i just make up different little tunes and they sing them back with the solfege.) 
then we sing a scale.

they love echoing back the patterns as they get trickier and trickier and they love singing the scale.  (I play this accompaniment on the piano... not sure why it's so enjoyable but they always want to sing it just one more time.)

anyway, yesterday in 2nd grade we learned our last solfege note in the major scale - ti. 
(order going up: do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-ti-do).
so up until now we have been singing a "5 note scale" where they sing do-re-mi-fa-sol and then go backwards.
well yesterday we practiced lots of patterns with "ti" and then I sang for them [drum-roll please] the major scale.  And they were so excited. and we sang it 5 times. and then just one more because they begged. and after the sixth time, a girl raised her hand.  when I called on her she said, "I don't know if anyone has already told you this but you have the most beautiful singing voice in the whole world."  and after i said "thank you," all the kids chimed in agreeably.
sometimes these kiddos are just too sweet.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

more shower pictures :)

i posted about a baby shower a little while ago and i forgot to include these pictures! :) 


love these beautiful friends!!

and these ones!

trying to take a picture

having more success

let's take one where we're all touching the bump...

I babysat this sweet girl from the time she was about 1 or 2 and she was the flower girl in our wedding a couple years ago.  can't believe how grown up she is!

so so so blessed :)

saturday morning links

For whatever reason, I woke up at 5 am on this fine saturday morning.
So, it is 8:30 and I have read the Bible, eaten 2 breakfasts, sent my husband off to take the GRE, chatted with my mother-in-law, read some of this book that I'm loving, stalked my 3 month old niece on facebook and browsed the world wide web.  happy saturday to me :)

a couple semi-fun things to click on:

Fun for a party
pretty & unique shower theme
different advent calendar
bad advice

and a quote i stumbled on...

“How sweet the name of Jesus…the rock on which I build, my shield and hiding place, my never failing treasury, filled with boundless stores of grace.” ~John Newton

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

links & shower

I haven't been reading too much on the internet these days, but here are a couple links worth heading to.

A good answer
Feeling out of place.

In other news, I went to Chicago for a baby shower this weekend.  My mom and 2 of my dearest friends hosted.  It was beautiful - full of fun & love.

Fall/ Pumpkin theme - my favorite! (can you see those awesome decoupaged pumpkins!?)

A diaper cake :) 

My mom made SO many mini pumpkin loaves - favors!

Cute welcome sign!

MIL and mom

people were so generous! we were certainly 'showered' with gifts 

my dear friend Rachael

Mom (Grandma Cathy) made baby a "very hungry caterpillar" quilt!! 

 My mother in law (Grammy) made a beautiful crib quilt.


 Guest appearance - this guy has guts walking into a house of ladies.  He was picking up Mary and I got to meet their new baby girl, Alyssa :)

Kristen led a sweet devotion about parenting and motherhood.  Now this is a girl who loves Jesus! 

A bow hanger from Rachael :) 

and the award for most fun wrapping goes to...

We opened gifts on and off throughout the event

I can't quite articulate all I was feeling-
overwhelmed by seeing almost every single person I love all in one place at one time.
very loved and blessed.
very grateful for people's generosity.
so excited to see 3 friends who came in from out of town just for this! :)
thankful this baby girl is going to be surrounded by people who love her. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

On pregnancy

Perhaps it's a side effect of pregnancy brain, or just a growing season of life, but there are so many thoughts swimming around in my head these days, it's hard to know how to put them in writing.

Truth? I'm becoming more prone to sitting on the couch with a cup of coffee and sharing them with the Lord because he knows the deepest thoughts of my heart better than I know myself - He doesn't need me to articulate clearly, and he can reveal to me the innermost parts of my own soul. 

I can't quite explain this - maybe every pregnant woman goes through it - but there's been a change in how I am excited to meet this baby.  In the last week or 2, the level of connection has changed - as if all of the sudden, I "get it." 

She is in there... my precious daughter.  Growing until she's ready to make her debut and then, for about 20-ish years, she is entrusted to Ben and me to raise and train and teach.  Woah. 

She can hear me.  When I pray for this baby, she's real.  Not just a figment of my imagination or a 'someday' baby anymore.  She's there.  She's coming.

12 weeks (plus or minus a few days) is not that far away.

I am SO glad I have seen someone give birth.  I thought it would be weird and gross but it was beautiful and amazing and it was like the real-version of reading the books that tell you what's coming... much quicker and easier to just see it :)

This baby girl is already so loved.  Not just by me but by all these other people.  People have been showering us with love, gifts and prayers.  At times I am so overwhelmed by the way God blesses us through others - it's all I can do not to just weep and sing His praises all the live long day.  [Keep in mind I'm more prone to tears these days anyway.]

Thinking, waiting, hoping, praying,

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I heard something sad today.


I've been doing more teaching and less blogging lately, but this is something I wanted to get in writing so I can look back and be reminded on the days when I forget what this life is all about.

I heard something sad today.

I was on the phone with the parent of a student who is... difficult, to say the least.  This 5th grader acts defiantly, slacks off although he's smart, thinks he's in charge, and on and on.  The thing is, those characteristics (especially the issues with defiance and authority) are generally (key word, generally) seen in children who lack positive parental authority and influence. 

Truth- all of us are born with a will and a sinful nature. 
Truth - parents are the God-given structure and authority meant to rear their children.
Truth - having the school be the primary teachers to children about authority and roles is not ideal.

But, this 5th grader has seemingly loving and involved parents.  (Granted, you never know what goes on at home.)  They are supportive of the teachers, involved in his education.  They seem to follow through.  They expect him to listen and obey authority.  They have consequences when he doesn't.  Seemingly, they're doing the best they can.  In fact, I called this student's mom last week after an issue in music class, and because her son continued to be defiant and refuse to change his attitude/ actions, she immediately stopped what she was doing and drove up to the school.  Now that's commitment.

Today, I talked to this 5th grader's dad on the phone.  Towards the end of our conversation, I said "Thank you for your support.  We'll get him on the right track."

And the dad replied: "Well, I just don't know.  It's like, I think we're doing the right thing.  We're trying our best and it just feels like we're failing.  I guess we'll have to change our methods."

His tone was so sad, so defeated.  [After a weekend of no privileges for issues in school last week, the kid beat another student up today and got suspended.]

When we hung up, I thought to myself, that family just needs Jesus.  The ultimate solution.  Complete and perfect wisdom and love found in Jesus Chris.
And it's really as simple, and as complicated, as that.
These kids I see day in and day out - whether mom and dad are on drugs or at home working stable jobs, whether they are homeless or have a house to call home, whether they are in foster care or with their biological parents - each of them desperately needs the deep deep love of our wonderful Savior.

Yes, learning to be successful in school will serve them well.
Yes, a great teacher and education can be a temporary, but life-altering, influence.  That's why I teach.
But when I hear somebody sound that defeated, that frustrated... it's sad.  I hung up the phone with that student's father and said a prayer.  Because I believe that prayer can change things.  Prayer changes people.

Trying to keep in the forefront of my mind - see these children how God sees them, shine a light, pray often, love always.

Saturday, October 6, 2012