Tuesday, December 30, 2008

In the Beginning

"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."

Isn't this an amazing verse? I've started my new Bible reading plan for the year and began yesterday with Genesis 1:1. I like that the Bible starts with "In the beginning." Such a great story is to follow those words. And of course, to think about the whole idea of the heavens and the earth being created is mind boggling and awe inspiring. How does one create the earth?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Privileged

Last night (Wednesday) I saw the news of a massive winter storm headed our direction. It could bring a foot of snow, plus an inch of ice, along with temperatures way below freezing. I may experience my first "ice storm." Yikes! Then this morning I received an email that the construction crew next to our apartment complex had broken a gas line, cutting off gas to our apartment. That means no hot water and no heat. I arrived home from work to an apartment moving steadily toward 60 degrees and below. I fretted a bit about how cold it could get if the heat was not turned back on, and just how high the dishes could stack of we didn't get hot water. As I drove to the store this afternoon I saw at least 5 trucks and some heavy equipment parked around a big hole in the ground and a bunch of men working hard. Then, tonight at 4:30 the gas line was fixed and our apartment began to heat up around 6:00pm.

As I sit here in my toasty (72 degree) apartment and look forward to watching the snow fall in front of a nearby floodlight, I remember again how privileged I am. I never worry about heating my house or feeding my children or having clean water. When a gas line breaks, a dozen men are dispatched to fix it and I barely even have to deal with a twinge of worry. My life is so different than that of many millions of men, women, and children this Christmas season. To have a house as warm as I want it, to have an endless supply of clean and hot water, to have food for my children. Compared to most of the world, and most people in human history, I live a very strange and privileged life.

You may be like me, living this strange, sheltered life where the fears, so common to most people, never even cross our mind. You may be like me, and when you pray "Give us this day our daily bread," you spiritualize it, rather than thinking about real bread. You may be like me and be surrounded by strange people who think this kind of life is normal. Maybe not. Whatever the case, I am reminded today that I should be more grateful, and more humble. I am reminded of the single moms who don't know how they will pay their gas bill and buy Christmas presents this year. I am reminded of the dad who was already two months behind on his mortgage and just got layed off. And looking a little further, I am reminded of the child whose parents aren't there to protect her, and of the mom who cannot find clean water, let alone hot water. I am reminded of all this, and I want to be different. I don't want the comfortable illusion of American wealth to make me think I can protect and provide for myself. I don't want to forget God. I want to pray dependent prayers and show my girls what it means to live by faith in a God who is near to us and cares for His people. I want to be a man who cares, who remembers, and who gives. I want to be a dad who sacrifices, not only for my wife and children, but also for someone elses's children. I know this is all hard to do. Jesus said something about it being difficult for rich people (I suppose that even applies to rich people who don't seem too rich in a wealthy place like America).

I am reminded tonight that being privileged doesn't always equal being blessed. I suppose that is part of why Jesus said "it is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35).

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What's Been Goin on Lately

I don't have much time to type lately! We are doing well and learning how to have 2 kids. It is more work than one, for sure. It feels full, and there are no dull moments. Some days I get absolutely nothing done except for taking care of Hope and Anna. But I'm learning to be okay with that. Anna continues to be a sweet little baby. Sometimes she doesn't go back to sleep after she eats in the middle of the night, but thankfully those times are less than the times she does go back to sleep. She stares intensely at our faces and I'm looking forward to seeing her sweet smile back to me sometime in the next weeks! She turned 1 month on Sunday. Hope still loves her sister, and is learning to adjust to our new way of living. Poor thing came down with a cold today though. Her stuffy head is a sad thing to witness.

We've had snow on the ground for the last few weeks. It has been snowing for most of today, which means we stayed home from a Christmas party tonight. The snow really is pretty. I would like it a lot if I knew it would only be here for 2 more months rather than 5! We're looking forward to having Mark's parents here on Saturday for Christmas. Fun times!
Here are a few more pictures. Apparently I really like the sister shots.
Matching Christmas dresses from Grammy and Pappy.
I love them.

Bundled up to go outside in the oh so very cold.

We hosted a little shower here last night for a friend. It was fun and all I had to do was get the apt ready and make this fancy snowman. (Idea from Chef Pam at Southern).

Little Anna in a sweet Christmasy outfit from Aunt Julie! Isn't she getting long?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Family

One of hardest parts about living away from family is that they don't get to see Hope and Anna enough. It would be great if they could witness all the growth and changes with us, and get to enjoy spending time with the girls. I'm glad we live in an age of airplanes, e-mail, digital cameras and skype so that they can get a good amount of glimpses of what's going on here in Deerfield. I think we've all learned how to make the best of it, and enjoy every minute when we're together.

We are so thankful to our family that were able to come out in the past few weeks. Mom and Dad were able to be here for Anna's birth and took care of Hope while we were in the hospital. Mark's dear Mom flew in on the day my parents left and took care of everything while we were adjusting to being at home. And Robin (Auntie Rah-Rah) was able to be here for Thanksgiving. We know it costs you in money and days off, but we REALLY appreciated getting to spend the time with you all and introducing you to Anna. Thanks for all of your help in cooking, cleaning and taking care of Hope. She really loves you!


Grammy and Anna.



Pappy and Hope the night before Anna's arrival.



Pappy and Anna (not sure why this one is so small)



Nannie and the girls.



Nannie and Hope spent lots of time at the table doing arts and crafts while mommy rested and daddy worked.



We managed to throw together a decent Thanksgiving dinner with Robin.



Auntie Rah-Rah and the girls.

In the Jungle

I know this is a strange title for a post about our sweet little bundle of joy, but our girl sure can make some wild noises! It often sounds as if there is a jungle in her bassinet. It is quite humorous at times hearing the grunts, squeaks, and growls. We love it! We are thankful that she continues to grow, sleep and eat well. At her check-up on Monday, she was 7 pds and 15 oz, 21 inches. She's long and lean, a trait that didn't come from my side of the family :) We are on our own now, without family, and we're surviving well. I am learning to let a lot of house cleaning and such go. We are super thankful to have had meals the last 2 weeks and for the next 2 weeks - what a huge help and kindness this is to our family! Thank you to our Care Group and friends here. Here are some recent pictures. Sorry I am such a bad picture taker - I really need to take a class or something.
Sisters

Thinking hard while sleeping. (Notice her very long fingers - We have high aspirations for her being a piano player)

Mark's favorite things to do: read and hold a daughter.

Cheesy Hope smile on Christmas tree decorating night.


This is how Anna spent Christmas decorating night :)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

What a Sweetheart!

We are in love with this new little girl! Anna continues to amaze us with her contentment! She rarely cries, is a stellar eater and sleeper, has gained back her birth weight and more, and is so very sweet. We have learned that we are much more laid back with her as well, so that probably helps her to be laid back. We wonder if things will change when she wakes from her newborn slumber, but for now we are amazed. Here are a few pictures from the last week and a half:

The first time Hopey got to hold Anna. She loves her!
We went out to Chicago style pizza with Mark's mom for Anna's 1 week birthday. She had so much fun she slept through the whole thing.

Daddy and his girls.

While everyone was at church this morning, Anna had a photo shoot.


More from the photo shoot.

I told you it wouldn't take long...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Anna Charlotte Rogers

Anna Charlotte Rogers

The Rogers Girls

Anna Charlotte Rogers was born at 8:26 this morning, November 14. She is 6 lbs 14 ounces and 19 1/2 inches inches long. She is beautiful. We are so thankful for our second, beautiful little girl. She is a gift from God. Both Anna and her Mom are doing great. Stephanie is so tough and did so well. She is such an amazing Mom. Hope is a very excited, very proud, big sister.

Anna's first name comes from Luke 2:36-38. Anna was a prophetess who lived her life to worship God. She recognized Jesus when Mary and Joseph brought Him into the temple as a baby. The Bible says that when she saw the Lord Jesus "she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem." Our prayer is that Anna will recognize Jesus Christ for who He is, the Savior of the world, and that she will spend her life telling others about the salvation He has brought.

Her middle name, Charlotte, is that of a Southern Baptist missionary, Charlotte Digges "Lottie" Moon (1840-1912). Lottie Moon spent thirty nine years teaching school children, proclaiming the gospel, and serving the hungry in China. If you go to a Southern Baptist church, you hear about her every December. If not, you can read a little about her here.

By the way . . . I am a very blessed and proud husband and daddy!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

For the Last 2 Years and 3 Months...


its been just me and Hope. I've learned some basics of motherhood and she's learned pretty much everything. Baby Anna is scheduled to be here in a few short days which will bring about a change in our little lives - a very good change. I can't help but be sentimental though about this special time I've had with just Hope. I'm pretty sure God gave us in her one of the sweetest creatures he has ever made.

A couple of weeks ago Hope and I went on a special breakfast date to Panera. She sat across from me in our booth, with no booster seat, and ate a bagel and chocolate milk. She said hi with a smile to everyone who passed by. We then went to the "Baby Store" (Babies R Us) and did some looking for baby sister Anna. It was a special little date.

She turned 2 in August and it seems like the change since then has been exponential. She's gone from diapers to panties, a crib to a toddler bed, from somewhat shy to outgoing, from short statements to sentences, from little imagination to a big imagination, and from short curls to longer curls. Right now she's "reading" There's a Wocket in my Pocket on the couch. She loves spending time with people and would enjoy it if we spent every moment playing babies with her or zoo with her. Lately she enjoys walking around babbling from her little Gideons Bible. She talks about Baby Jesus (and Baby Jude, but we try to tell her there's no baby Jude in the Bible). We love her so much.

She's excited for Anna's arrival and can tell its coming up. She points at my belly and says "Baby Anna so cute!" She loves to imitate our friends with babies. I'm sure she will sit and nurse her dolls as I nurse Anna. She's going to be a great big sister. The love in our house will soon grow leaps and bounds. We are happy and ready.

Thanks for letting me be a little sentimental.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!


A beautiful butterfly emerges...


Hope and her pumpkin friend.


Mark and Hope carving her little pumpkin (pre-costume).

Hope and her dino friend.

Examining the goods.


She LOVED trick or treating. She was timid at the first house, but after she found out she got candy, she walked very briskly from house to house. (and in between each apartment she would say "more candy, more candy").


The fam.


Hopey and Daddy. We had a great night. Hope is so much fun!

Monday, October 20, 2008

True Woman Conference

I'm a delayed blogger, but I had a great time at the True Woman conference last weekend! I'm thankful that I got to go. It was a rigorous schedule, so I was pretty tired, but I'm glad I went. I have never been to anything quite like it: 6,000 like-minded women and teenagers singing to God and desiring to hear from Him. I appreciate all of the work and prayer that went into the conference and the carefully chosen speakers. All of the sessions are online to listen to for free. I would really recommend taking the time to listen to them all, but a few of my favorites were:

*John Piper - He is always able to give a clear big picture of God and the issue at hand. Why does womanhood and manhood matter? He answers this.

*Mary Kassian - besides the fact that she's a very good speaker, she was able to trace feminism from the 1950's to present day, and show how what has happend historically has greatly influenced how women see their role in the world today. She went from June Cleaver to Sex in the City. It was eye opening.

*Janet Parshall - She broke down I Samuel 1-2, Hannah's story of being barren and then giving her Son to God. She did this in a very vivid way, and in a way that pointed to Hannah's love for and trust in her God. It was a good challenge to give our children to the Lord.

*Joni Earekson Tada - She had to cancel at the last minute due to horrible pain, but managed to record her message. I have heard her once before and she is always a humbling example of joy in the midst of all things, and of a heart that desires nothing more than to live fully for her Savior, even with the great trials that God has placed in her life.

*Nancy Leigh DeMoss - her final talk was challenging and encouraging. She speaks with such grace and humility and strength. I appreciate so much her ability to teach to both married and single ladies with authority. Because she uses the Bible as her authority, she is able to teach on all topics of womanhood. She is all about our hearts being right with God.


Thanks for taking care of Hope and doing all the dishes while I was gone, Mark - you're the best. (Note, we had an unusually large amount of dirty dishes since the water had been turned off and we had to boil all of our water for several days if we were going to consume it. Therefore, no dishes had been done for several days! And no, we don't have a dishwasher.)

Monday, October 06, 2008

Updates, Links and Such

*I am now 33 weeks pregnant for the 3rd time. I had an ultrasound today and little baby Anna is growing big and healthy. She's now about 4 pds, 8 ounces, and has had her hands up by her face in every ultrasound we've had of her. I'm guessing she'll like to be this way when she comes out too. The c-section date is set for November 14th at 8am, 5 1/2 weeks away. That is not very long! I'm running much lower on energy. Here is a preggo picture from this weekend at the pumpkin patch. And this baby will still put on a couple more pounds. We're ready and excited.




*Mark is a published author! Mark's first published book review is in an online journal called Themelios. You can read it here. It's on a book written about the history of giving to the church and how it has changed over the years. On the same note, Mark went to his first academic conference a couple of weeks ago to present his first paper (which basically means he read a somewhat condensed version of his paper to a room full of people who were interested in it).




*I'm going to the True Woman Conference at the end of this week. Mark got me the registration for Mother's Day way back when. It's about a half an hour away from here and I am looking forward to it. It will be a great refresher, encouragement, time to focus on God, and a good time to get to know other ladies in our church. Some of the speakers include, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, John Piper, Joni Erickson Tada, and more.




*Here's a good article I read with a good arguement for those of us who consider ourselves "one issue voters." It was written back during the 2004 elections, but still applies to 2008.


*This month marks one year for Brilliant Bows. We are thankful for how this little endeavor has been a blessing to us. We look forward to seeing how it will grow in the next year. (That is, if I have the energy with the 2 little ones!)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hope's "Jumping" Skills

So, Hope has decided to start trying to jump. Below is a video of her new skills. We think it is really funny. She will continue to try to jump as long as we are in the same room with her. You can also see two other Hopeisms in this video: her cheesy smile for the camera face, and the way she tells us she needs to go pee pee.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Summer Recap #1: Nannie and Papa's Summer Camp

At the end of June, early July, we got to go spend a week in Dunsmuir with Mark's family. This was a special trip because it was the first time all three boys and their families had been together in 3 1/2 years! When we heard that Nannie was planning crafts for the cousins, it was beginning to sound a lot like summer camp, so we collaborated and made the cousins "Nannie and Papa's Summer Camp 2008" shirts. It was a great suprise. And it was like summer camp, complete with crafts, a fort, water guns, a kiddie pool, barbecues, a swingset, rides in a wagon, fireworks, fishing, hiking, an atic full of toys, apple pie, a river, and a porch swing. Needless to say, we had a great time. Here are some pictures:

Mark and Uncle Kevin on the 4th.

The babies. Cousin Andrew and Hope.

Papa, Hope and Andrew - I think they are playing with a firework.


Hope made a princess hat for craft time.


Helping Nannie water the flowers in the mornings.


Fort Rogers guarded by the fierce Noah and Elisha.


Great Grandpa Rogers letting Hope do what Mommy said no way to - it was pretty funny. He is a very funny guy.


Sweet cousins Noah and Elisha.


In my opinion there's nothing much cuter than Hope in a swimsuit. She didn't want to go in the pool, so she "washed" everyone's hands with the water. Here she is washing Great Grandma Franklin's hands.



Little Precious on the porch.




Noah and Hope being silly.


Elisha and Hope - we think they look the most alike.


Auntie Jill and Hope.


The Family - boy is it a trip trying to get everyone to look at the camera at the same time.


The grandkids.