Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Good Times

From Halloween '08

You know your kids are getting old when you go further than your own street for trick-or-treat. We had a great time tonight. Caleb LOVED his camouflaged face. Matt was hilarious saying, "All day!" (What Adrian Peterson from the Vikings says.) Ben was the hit of the neighborhood with his LEGO costume. And Molly was super sweet in her cowgirl costume. She sure didn't want that hat on though. Shube handed out candy and Amanda and I got to take the kids all out. Halloween is one of the only times that we get to see some of our neighbors. The older folks really like to see the kids too. You can check out all of the photos here.

Halloween at Shube's Office

Amanda schlepped the kids all over town today. This morning was at Home School Co-op. Then lunch with Grandma Shube and then to my office for more treats. I asked her if she was tired. She said, "No," and even smiled. She's a saint.

The Office: Halloween

Amanda and I love the show The Office. Last night on the show they talked about dressing up for Halloween at the office. Well, today I am living it. Everyone in my office dressed up as either classes or programs that we offered. We have the horticulturalist, law enforcement, Socrates from the philosophy department and me. I'm the psych class "Adulthood, Aging and Death". The boys got quite a kick out of my costume this morning. The kids are supposed to stop by the office this afternoon for some trick-or-treating. I'll post photos later.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

One more of Molly

Can you even believe how sweet she looks? This is another Ben Arendt photo. If you are looking for someone to do some really great pics of your family and you live in the West Michigan area, give Ben a call.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Welcome Samuel Michael Gammons

Samuel Michael Gammons entered the world today at 12:27 (CST). He was 8 lbs 1 oz. Congratulations to Joe and Carrie and Drew! We love you guys and look so forward to meeting Sam. Pictures to come.

Hymn of the Week--In My Heart There Rings a Melody

This song is not full of theological significance. It is simply a song of a changed life. We heard it played on the radio yesterday and knew it needed to be our hymn of the week. Amanda has been listening to a Christian radio station on AM. They call themselves "The Bible Station". That is the only place that you would be able to find this song on the radio.

Hymn of the Week
In My Heart There Rings a Melody
Words and Music by Elton M. Roth

I have a song that Jesus gave me,
It was sent from Heaven above;
There never was a sweeter melody,
'Tis a melody of love.

In my heart there rings a melody.
There rings a melody with heaven's harmony;
In my heart there rings a melody;
There rings a melody of love!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Who is this kid?

Caleb is an interesting character. He loves to ham it up, that is as long as no one is paying too much attention. The second that we ask him to "Do it again!", the show's over. He's hilariously funny. You just have to be on your toes to catch it.

October Birthdays

October 25: Tricia
October 26: Dave
October 27: Mom
October 31: Joni

These are four of the most important people in our lives and we get to celebrate them all for three consecutive days in October. Over the years that Amanda and I have been married (and even before that) this has led to some phone calls, cards and gifts falling through the cracks. This year, we did manage to get cards or phone calls out to each. One of my favorites was when we called Mom today and sang both verses of Happy Birthday. The second verse is of course about living in a zoo, looking like a monkey, etc. The boys love that one.

Happy birthday to each of you this week. I hope that you've all had a good week.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

lego minifegre cleshien (Lego Minifigure Collection)

caleb and i bllut all the mini figures today. (there's a picture of them below the post.) it was really fun. i am writing this blog post and daddy is helping me. i wrote the the title and the first few words by myself, but then I wanted some help.

Benny :)

pecsheer (picture) by benny

Friday, October 24, 2008

Daddy's girl

Ben Arendt took this photo of Molly and me. It sure was fun to have her alone in Washington.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Suffering and the sovereignty of God

Romans 8:22-23
2 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

A little girl gets Leukemia; a sister loses a baby; another struggles for her own; four kids at our church are in a terrible car accident; a friend's father dies; loved ones struggle with loneliness; the economy tanks: this is just a short list of the suffering that we have seen in the lives around us. These are the things that I have been thinking about lately. I don't know much, but there are some things that I believe. I'll throw them out there. Tell me what you think.
  1. God is in complete control of all things.
  2. God is completely good and completely for those that trust in Him.
  3. There is sin and pain in the world.
  4. God uses pain and sin in the lives of those He loves to draw them into greater likeness to His son.
I have been trying to quickly pull some references together for these. If pushed, I could take the time to do that. But for time's sake, I'll leave those off. What do you think? Where do God's sovereignty and the world's pain coalesce?

New Poll

What's your favorite type of posts here at 2ABC2M? Tell us over at the side.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Happy Birthday Brad and Sarah!

Today is Sarah's birthday. Brad's was a few weeks ago. We have really enjoyed living near the Brad Nagel family. We were over at their house last weekend to celebrate Sarah's birthday. Unfortunately, due to some plumbing issues Brad and I spent much of the evening with Cody the plumber. I hope everything is all better and you're enjoying your birthday.

Hymn of the Week--Jesus Saves!

It's missions focus week at church this week. I remember many a missions focus week at Waterford Community Church where missionaries would return from Africa with cool things like machetes and drums. Those evenings planted seeds in my heart that are still growing. It is our prayer that God will plant seeds like this in the hearts of our kids.

This week's hymn is a great one for missions focus. It works great with the boys too. If they can't get all the words, they can at least sing "Jesus saves! Jesus save!"

Hymn of the Week
Jesus Saves

Words by Priscilla J. Owens
Music by William J. Kirkpatrick

We have heard the joyful sound: Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Spread the tidings all around: Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Bear the news to every land, climb the mountains, cross the waves;
Onward! ’tis our Lord’s command; Jesus saves! Jesus saves!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Death of Starbucks

This coming Friday, October 24, 2008, my local Starbucks will close its doors forever. From then on, my coffee will have to be purchased at the Starbucks in the grocery store on my way to work. It just won't be the same. Are you feeling the effects of the closing of 600 Starbucks in the U.S.? Alex and Allison, what's the word from corporate?

Celebrate: Amanda

When we were in Seattle for Ken's wedding they had a time of sharing after the rehearsal dinner. I told Ken what I had said to him as he was contemplating asking Andrea to marry him. It was something like this.

"I have never experienced more of God's grace and mercy than through my relationship with Amanda. She has graciously accepted my flaws and faults while justly pushing me and encouraging me to pursue more of Christ's holiness. I never experience anything like this before I was married.

KIDS. The other amazing reason to get married. My kids give me more joy than anything in my life outside of Amanda. They are a gift from God and one that I would highly recommend you look into.

Marriage is the hardest thing I've ever done. It is the area in my life that I fall most short and where my sin is most obvious. It is also where God shows me how much I need Him. It is a God ordained union to show us about His son and the church."

I reiterated these things here because I have lately been amazed at how much God has used Amanda in my life in the past two years or so. It seems that almost every spiritual growth area in my life has been initiated by Amanda's example. I see Amanda reading her Bible; I want to read my Bible. I see Amanda worshiping; I want to pursue Christ more. I see Amanda leading the boys spiritually; I want to lead my family.

One of the things that I have been most proud of her lately is her instruction of the kids in their spiritual formation. I have been listening to the White Horse Inn podcast for a while. Their slogan is "Know what you believe and why you believe it." To that end, I thought it would be a good idea to begin to catechize (teach) the kids about our faith. I printed off the Apostles' Creed and the Catechism for Young Children. Amanda didn't jump right on board with this. But a few weeks later, I came home and she said that every morning they were reading a psalm and beginning to memorize the creed. Now both Ben and Caleb have the creed memorized and have moved on to the catechism. It is so great to hear the boys, even Matthew, reply to the questions, "Who made you?"


"What else did God make?"

"God made all things."

"Why did God make you and all things?"

"For his own glory."

Amanda and I have very different gifts. When Amanda gets on board with something, that's IT. She is a determined action taker. I am learning from this that words mean nothing if they are not grounded and proved in action. It is pretty obvious why God gave me Amanda. Isn't it?!

Friday, October 17, 2008

How do you talk about your kids without bragging?

When I was growing up, I always remember getting Christmas cards from family and friends where it seemed like their children had either invented a cure for cancer or won yet another Nobel prize. You know what I'm talking about. I remember Tricia telling stories about how when she was teaching, parents would come in and talk as if their children's poop didn't stink. Amanda and I have tried to not be proud about who are kids are. Understanding our shortcomings and depravity makes this an easier task. I can certainly say that our kids are amazing through God's grace, in spite of me.

This is also how I have tried to write our blog. On one hand I want to share things that we are excited about for our kids while trying to be humble. I have also tried to appropriately share frustrations that we face. But no one wants to read someone else's whining.

How do you share things that you're excited about and proud about, without bragging? If you have kids or even if you don't, how do you tell others about successes in your life?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Great weekend

We had a great weekend in the mountains of Washington. After leaving Seattle we drove over the mountains to a lodge near Leavenworth, Washington. We stayed at a beautiful rustic lodge with all of the people who were attending the wedding.

The highlights for me were the drive through the mountains, spending time in beautiful scenery, seeing Ben and Brynn Arendt and other friends, and the hospitality of Ken and Andrea and their families. I've been to a number of weddings and this was definitely one of my favorites. It was also so much fun to spend time with just Molly. She doesn't get a lot of alone time with just Mom and Dad so she really liked that. As you can see from the picture below she was definitely the prettiest girl at the wedding (next to her mom.) You can see all our pictures here.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Last night we arrived in Seattle, Washington. We are here for my friend Ken Peer's wedding on Saturday. We flew a day early to hang out in Seattle. I have never been here before and it has been a long time for Amanda. When we told Dave that we were coming out here he said, "I have got the perfect place for you to stay." Boy, was he right. We are at the Inn at the Market, in the midst of Pike Place Market. The image above is the view out our window. (The famous fish market is in the lower left corner.) When we got in last night the guy at the front desk broke the news to us that they "had to upgrade us to a town home room." So last night Molly slept downstairs in the living room and we slept in our huge Tempurpedic bed. (Tricia, by the way, has a great story about her experience with Tempurpedic beds.)

For dinner last night we were going to go to a little French cafe right below the hotel. Amanda wasn't thrilled with this selection. When we all sat down and looked at the menu she was even less thrilled. So I said, "Let' go." We grabbed our stuff and high-tailed it out of there. Instead we went to Etta's for seafood. I had done a little research and this was one that I remembered. I read that the crab cakes were the best item on the menu, so that is what I went with. Amanda had the king salmon. Both of our meals were great. We had to leave right after we were done with our meals because, as I told the waiter, "one of us has just had an accident in our pants." He said, "To be polite, I won't ask who." He got a kick out of that.

This morning's itinerary is breakfast and then around the corner to the original Starbuck's. We'll hang out in the market and then we're off to Ken's rehearsal dinner. It has been a great 24 hours so far. I love hanging out with my two favorite girls.

See the rest of our pictures here.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Hymn of the Week--Like a River Glorious

This week's hymn was a difficult one to track down. We called Shube and asked her what hymn "Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blessed" was. She couldn't come up with it so we called my mom. She didn't come through either. But while we were on the phone with her, Shube called back with the answer.

Every time that we have sung this, I have thought of Jim and Shelley Colbert and tried to pray this for them.

Hymn of the Week
Like a River Glorious

Words by Frances R. Havergal
Music by Wye Valley, James Mountain

Like a river glorious, is God’s perfect peace,
Over all victorious, in its bright increase;
Perfect, yet it floweth, fuller every day,
Perfect, yet it groweth, deeper all the way.


Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Ben and Caleb's Sarah Palin imitations

Amanda has been joking around with the boys about Sarah Palin. Then one night we walked past the boys' room and they were all doing their best Sarah Palin imitations to each other. We had to get it on video. Enjoy!

Colbert update

I am helping the Colbert family out by posting their blog posts over at their blog. You can keep up with their life and Abbey's progress here. Please continue to pray for Jim, Shelley, Jacob, Micah and especially Abbey.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Oh God!

This morning when I got to work I read an e-mail from Amanda's best friend from high school, Shelley (Vardas) Colbert. They found out yesterday that her daughter Abigail (Abbey) has leukemia. She is a little younger than Caleb. She is in the children's hospital in Cleveland. It is so difficult to understand God's ways and His steps. I trust that He knows much more than we do and loves the Colbert family and especially little Abbey more than we do. Shelley asked for prayer for the following things.

Pray please for Abbey, that she will not have a lot of pain. Pray that she would sleep good at night and not get too homesick (she kept asking us to take her home today). Pray that they would find no cancer in her bone marrow (they already said that they have never seen it not spread there with what her numbers are looking like), but we know God can make there be no cancer there. Pray that it would not be in her spine. Pray that we could be creative in keeping her happy, comfortable and occupied. Pray for lots of good talks with her about God and His care for us. Pray that she would be able to really experience God's love for her. Pray that her little body would handle all of these medications o.k. and that she would be able to bounce back quickly. Pray for strenght for Jim and I ... that Satan would not be attacking our thoughts. Pray for our relationship, that it would be strengthened. Pray for sleep for us at night. Please pray for Jacob and Micah as they will be away from Jim, myself and Abbey a lot. Pray that Micah would switch to formula easily. Pray that we would be a light on this hospital floor. That people would see Jesus through our family. Pray for my mom and step-dad as they are traveling through the night to get home from their vacation. Pray for Jim's parents as they come into town tomorrow. Pray for strengh for our parents as they care for our boys. Please pray for her to completely beat this.

I am praying that God will work Paul's words from Phillipians 4 for Jim, Shelley, Jacob (Ben's age), Abbey and Micah (Molly's age).

Phillipians 4:6-7
6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Why'd you quit your church?

I sometimes read Abraham Piper's (Pastor John's son) blog. It is often a really good question followed by people's responses in the comments. This week he asked the question, "Why'd you quit your church?" I wrote about why we left the church that we had been going to for over a year in this post. As I read through the comments on Abraham's blog they seemed to separate into two categories: the church (teaching, worship, theology) and how I felt in the church (not cared for, lonely, not heard, not included). A couple examples of each follows.

"theology issues and feeling like I was getting a pep talk every Sunday instead of being taught about Jesus."--Morgan

"Our thumbs down came when ‘Deal Or No Deal’ video clips were played for two months prior to the sermon. Also, the messages were 100% topical instead of going through books of the Bible."--WL

"I realized no one noticed when I was gone."--ann

"My wife and I left our old church because it didn’t want us anymore, and they cut out the things that mattered the most for morketing reasons."--Fr. Spike

I know that some of my readers have left churches or are thinking about it. What made you leave? Are there reasons for leaving that are better than others?