Monday, December 15, 2008

Joy to the World!

The Christmas season is upon us...and there is truly much to be joyful about.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how excited I was to be with the people of GCC because they are people who find their passion and joy in Christ. And how wonderful it has been to experience it over these last few weeks.

The kids & I have been here now for 3 weeks...spending quality time with Grandpa & Grandma (lots of wrestling and story-time), reconnecting with friends & family, and enjoying some R & R. We have also been able to worship with our church family at GCC and even hang out with the women at our brunch last weekend. (What a blast!)

In each of these situations, I have been overwhelmed by the joy that permeates the lives of these people. And that prayerfully should overflow in mine as well...

Check out the quote by Oswald Chambers over on the left...that speaks about the joy of Jesus being "self-surrender and self-sacrifice".

He goes on to say that "The full flood of my life is not in bodily health, not in external happenings, not in seeing God's work succeed, but in the perfect understanding of God, and in the communion with Him that Jesus Himself had."

During this season of "joy", there is much sorrow as well. We are surrounded by children in abusive families, disintegrating marriages and selfish disrespect in our youth...not to mention fatal attacks on Christians worldwide, continued terrorist aggression and people everywhere who have no hope. You know the issues in our world, and you have probably experienced some form of suffering firsthand.

How can we speak of joy?

About a month ago, I was privileged to hear Sono Harris (wife of Greg Harris, of HOFCC in Gresham), share a short exhortation on joy. She provided some good reference points for how we find our joy...

"Rejoice always." 1 Thes. 5:16

"Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord." Phil. 3:1

"Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven..." Luke 6:22-23

"...but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." Luke 10:20

"Ask and you will receive that your joy may be full." John 16:24

"But now I am coming to you and these things I speak in the world that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves." John 17:13

And as John Piper states in his book What Jesus Demand from the World...

"Jesus does command the feelings. He demands that our emotions be one way and not another...the demand that we be happy is not marginal or superfluous. It is a shocking wake-up call to people who are finding their happiness in all the wrong places. God's saving presence and sovereign reign are so valuable that when people see them for what they really are--treasure hidden in the field--they count everything as nothing compared to the vast fortune of being part of that reign." (pgs 52, 84)

And finally...

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls." 1 Peter 1:3-9

And so, I would encourage you with joy that, as a redeemed people, who have been saved from eternal death and hell...this element of God-given, life-permeating, Christ-centered joy should define us.

Not fake or drummed up. For many of you know that it is almost impossible to "act" joyful in the midst of pain and suffering. You have been there. And prayerfully, you have experienced the comfort in knowing that our sovereign God is in control and nothing can separate us from His love. The joy may not be smiling faces or happy words. But it is a joy that is deeply rooted and through tears can say "Great is the Lord and worthy to be praised".

So, this is the joy I am seeking and praying for in these times of good. In these moments of R & R, I am trying to fill my mind with the truths of His word. Because, I know that there will be times when joy is hard to find. And I pray that it would be these promises and truths that would fill my mind as I seek God in the midst of pain.

Let this be a season of joy in your homes...for Christ has come, and will return... that is a reason for joy.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

I love these pictures...

Just wanted to post some more of the pics taken by Miss Jocelyn.
She does such a wonderful job...enjoy!

(remember, if you need a photographer...look her up here.)

I will post something in the next couple days as much has transpired since my last note.

We have been in Wenatchee for a week, I returned to work at the hospital (after 5 mos. off), Josh has been gone all week and will be going back to P-town for finals week tomorrow, and we just had a great time at our GCC women's gathering this morning!

Stay tuned...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Moving Day (well, sort of...)

Well tonight I am wrapping up a week-long packing effort. We are going to Wenatchee tomorrow for the Thanksgiving holiday...and Christmas...and New Year's. In other words, I have been packing for me and the children to live in Leavenworth for 6 weeks.

Yup, you heard me right, 6 whole weeks. Whoa! I have not been back to that beloved valley since August 19th or so. And the thought of driving the 6 hr trek with our children 4 times in a month (for both holidays), did not seem incredibly ideal.

So we decided, after the gracious offer of Mom & Dad (Josh's parents), to have me & the kids just stay in Leavenworth through the holidays. It will be wonderful...once we get there. :o)

And I am pumped. The reasons are numerous...

I cannot wait to see friends and family (don't have room to list them all here!) whom I have missed so very much.

I cannot wait to enjoy the crisp, dry cold of the Wenatchee Valley fall & winter.

I cannot wait to visit Knitabili-Tea downtown to have Bombay Chai tea with my friends.

I cannot wait to see fresh snow on the mountains...and in our backyard!

I cannot wait to savor moments by the fire with my husband (since he won't have any homework...)

I cannot wait to be HOME.

I cannot wait to worship together with our church family at Grace Covenant.

This last one is probably close to the top of the Sundays have been the most difficult time during our season of life here.

Sounds funny to say, "Sundays the worst?". Well not worst...let me explain. First of all, it has been truly enjoyable in many ways as the kids & I have been able to worship with Carey & Tarah and the wonderful people at HOFCC Gresham. And Carey & Tarah have really made it possible for me to take the children to church, as single-mom church training can be difficult.

However, my husband and I and the children have only worshiped together 3 times during this season (since August). And that has been difficult. But stretching and growth-inducing as well.

I am challenged every Sunday with the examining of my heart: Is Christ really my first love? Do I go to church just because my husband is the pastor? If he's not here, do I still seek after my Savior daily and lead my children in worship to Him on the Sabbath? If someone were to ask me what is best about my life, would I say Jesus...or Joshua?

I know who my husband would vote for...and so do you. It must be Jesus. He must be more precious to me than my own children or even my husband. He must be my true joy.

And so that is the heart I pray for...that the Lord would give me the passion to serve Him, love Him and lean on Him alone. Whether my husband is here or not.

So, I am excited to be with the people of GCC (my husband included) over the next couple of weeks. To experience what the Lord is doing see it first hand. To be with people whose passion and joy is found in Christ alone. And to fellowship with them and be able to ask them what is best about their life...and know what their answer will be.


So, the excitement grows as we pack tonight...dollies and pj's, Bibles and toothbrushes, bills and presents. And the reasons are endless...and to our Wenatchee & East, Cashmere, Malaga, Dryden, Leavenworth, Pateros (who did I forget?) friends and family...

We're coming home!

One final note:
To all the wonderful family and friends here in Portland...YES, I will miss you all very much, don't even doubt it. But we will return to P-town in January excited to see what the Lord has for the next "season" of our lives. For we know it will be good.

Ok, second final note:
The new pic on the blog is the wonderful work of a Godly young woman we met at HOFCC. Her desire is to use her camera for the glory of God...and she does it very well.

A delight to work with, she captured some moments with our little family last week. This is just the first we've seen, so I'll post more when we get them. If you need a photographer...use (her website is under construction). We highly recommend her.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Some deep thoughts...(well, for me they are)

I have recently been challenged, from many reputable sources, to make sure that my life is being lived as intentional. Not half-hazard, chaotic or dependent on my circumstances. Not purpose-filled in one season and pity-filled the next.

No, I have been challenged, that in everything I do, that it would be truly pleasing, glorifying and edifying to the Lord. That no matter what circumstances, challenges or joys come into my life, that my solid hope and direction in life would be found in Christ.

Not that my life up to this point has been lived out as pointless. But that I would not waste the time I have...whatever amount that may be.

Maybe it was the discussions I had with some (not all) of the young women on my volleyball team...whose life revolves around things like boys, music, dates and even grades. Their vision of the future and concept of "important" spans only to tomorrow's test or this weekend's outings.

Or maybe it was the insight of the Godly women whose teaching I enjoyed last Thursday evening at the HOFCC women's gathering. Women who are steeped in the Word and wise beyond their years....whose lives and households radiate the testimony of living with intention, conviction and a desire for Christ to be glorified.

Or maybe it was the impacting blog posted by my brother-in-law, calling us to use the gifts given to us and the technology of our day to further the kingdom of God. (Read it in it's entirety here)

It was a convicting message to not merely fill up my blog with fun facts or silly thoughts about ME, albeit interesting and humorous at times, but to use this tool as an avenue to encourage and challenge others to grow as we pursue Christ.

So challenged I have been as of be a woman of God's word, to keep my home a place of order and to be about the kingdom work of bringing glory to God and others to Christ. Such simple things, I know...but ones I must constantly be working on, by God's grace.

And I just wanted to share those thoughts...not that I won't still post cute pics of my children, for they are blessings in my life from the Lord. But I pray that there would be substance and encouragement for you as well as we let Christ rule in our hearts, homes and purpose.

"And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,
teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom,
singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do,
in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him."
Colossians 3:15-17

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

We won!

Making tough decisions...

Coach Grant's biggest (little) fan...

Let's go ladies!

Yes, sports fans, we finished with a win. Friday night was a tough one. The girls played hard, but lost in 4 games.

But then on Saturday night, our final hooray...we pulled it out. I was so proud of them.

I had a big fan section. My mom & dad; my sister, her husband and their 4 kids; Carey & Tarah; Dave & Julie Rasmussen and their girls, Laelie & Tirien; Olivia Pothoff and her girls, Tenley & Caselynn. Very fun...oh, and of course, my better half with Levi & Ella cheering the loudest of all.

And so, we are finally done with the season. Our final time together will be this next Saturday for an evening of dessert, team awards & memories. The other assistant coach and myself get to plan the evening. (Yes, a creative outlet!)

I have been debating about what to give the girls for an end of the season gift. Not a monogrammed towel or a signed volleyball...but something with some more substance. And I think I have decided on a book.

But which one? Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper or Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney? Biblical Womanhood by Nancy Leigh DeMoss or Amazing Women and Their Extraordinary God by Noel Piper? Choices...choices...choices.

I am still deciding, but would take some input if you want to share it! :o)

I just want to leave them something that has some lasting value...since there is more to life than volleyball.

For this, I am truly thankful.

Like son.
(Josh is standing in the exact spot he was when
he saw me for the first time...10 years ago...on the floor behind him...what memories!)

Super Fans!
(Carey & Tarah, Levi, Olivia & Tenley Pothoff, Josh & Ella,
Dave & Laelie, and Julie with Tirien in front)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Happy Birthday Levi...


First bite

Early morning with Dad

Everything is a weapon

My two men

Well, today is the big number 2 for our son...exactly 2 years ago, Levi Gregory McPherson was born. And what a fun kid he is growing up to be.

He is full of energy, but loves to snuggle up for a good book. He likes to run around in circles, but will stop to pick up "dolly" for his sister. He likes to listen to sister sing, but he also lies in bed at night and sings "Amazing Grace" at the top of his little lungs. He loves to climb on anything and jump off of matter what is below.

His favorite food is apple juice, followed closely by "waffools with nana's yam". He is constantly "hot" and would wear only his diaper outside, if I would let him.

He loves cars, trucks, puzzles and most of all, his puppy. And he loves to wear his baseball cap backwards like his daddy.

He is a blast and in the 2 short years of his life, he is proved to be a wonderful blessing. We are so excited to see how he and Ella grow in their relationship as siblings.

Here's some pics of him just living life (in his diaper) and during his little birthday celebration we had with my family last weekend.

2 wonderful years...we are praying he will grow into a Godly young man, passionate for His Savior and earnest to live for His glory. May the Lord grant us wisdom as we guide him in that way...

Happy Birthday Son...we love you.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


This is without a doubt one of my all time favorite pictures...

Today, I wanted to talk about 2 very wonderful people. If I would have had my blog going back in October, I would've talked about them then. They are called Nana & Papa in our house, but are otherwise known as Earl & Nadeen Carey.

In October, they celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary...a rare and wonderful thing these days. And I was wanting others to know about this truly amazing couple.

Many of you know them, but I still feel the need to brag on them a little. They are the epitome of what a grandpa and grandma should be. They are some of the most hard-working, generous, loving, servant-hearted people I know.

They are serving the Lord and leaving a legacy to the generations that are following them. One of those generations is my children...and I cherish every moment my children spend with them.

Although, I have no formal reason for blogging about them today, I saw this picture and thought again how much I miss them while we are apart.

I miss talking with Nana about everything from gardening to cooking to Christmas. I miss seeing Papa get down on the floor (even though he's 80) to play with my kids. I miss sitting at their kitchen table eating a meal together, probably one that Nana just threw together because I showed up unannounced, enjoying the company and chatting about the day.

So that's all.

Today is just officially "we all miss Nana & Papa day". (especially me)

So Nana & Papa, thank you for being Godly parents who raised Candy, who married Greg, who raised Joshua, who married me and is now the father of my children...I am benefiting from your hard work and vision and your relationship with the Lord, which you have passed down to the next generation. May we continue the legacy you have so graciously passed to us...

We love you and miss you. Can't wait to see you soon...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Cute kid pictures...

Picnic in the canopy

Favorite Park

Happy girl

Loves sister's apron


Monday, November 3, 2008

Coaching days are numbered...

Well, this is my final week of volleyball practice. We have our last 2 games this weekend, both at home. Friday night is University of Puget Sound. Number 2 in the league...a formidable opponent. And Saturday is Willamette. Not number 2 in the league, but someone we lost to last time around.

It is, as they say, bittersweet. I have really enjoyed my time coaching these ladies. And it has confirmed to me that if I wasn't a blessed mother of 2 small children, wife to a visionary and exciting husband, who already enjoys her "day job" (nursing) and if I felt it could be beneficial to my family and the Lord...I would love being a head coach. I just love it.

Coaching is a tremendous opportunity to influence young lives. Not just in volleyball (although many of you know how passionate I am about that), but in their daily lives. I have had conversations with these ladies about everything from marriage to salvation, from children to careers, from family problems to future choices and everything in between.

And I am saddened by some of their stories and humbled at their respect for my counsel. I have had the unique role of being "aunt/big sister/friend" to many of them. And I have really enjoyed every minute of it.

Ok, let's be honest, I really hate the losing part.

But, soon it will all be over.

This season in life for our family has been challenging at times. Mommy gone Friday & Saturday nights...sometimes in Spokane, Seattle, Colorado. Missing dinner every night because of practice and the 50 minute commute.

Truly, we could not have done it if it weren't for our landlords. :o) Carey & Tarah ("Uncle Mac & Auntie" as they're lovingly called), have gone above and beyond in blessing us during this time. If it weren't for them, we couldn't have made it!

They have sacrificed much of their time, energy and alone-time for our family. And we say a public "Thank You". They have been servants with gracious and humble hearts. We love them.

So, I will let you all know how it goes this weekend. And just so you can know the girls and be praying for them, here are their names. Ashley, Jessica, Natalie, Ashleigh, Lani, Jen, Megan, Lindsay, Carly, Sarah, Natali, Kristen, Chelsea, Stephanie, Sara, Ali and Jenna.

Go Bruins.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Seattle Trip...

Just a quick note about Ella, Grandma Candy and I going to Children's yesterday...

For those of you who don't know: Ella Mae has Spina Bifida, a neurological defect of the spine that has resulted in her having no feeling or use of her legs from the mid-thigh/knees down, no bladder control and no bowel control. The prognosis of her being able to walk on her own is still debatable, although I think she will surprise us all. :o) Her challenges include living life with a shunt in her brain, still being in diapers and not being able to run & play like other 3 year old girls. Although this may sound terrible, you would never know such hurdles exist in her little life. She is the most joyful, tender-hearted and sensitive 3 year old I have ever met (a little mommy-bias showing there, sorry). The Lord has truly equipped our daughter with the heart and personality that could impact lives in the days to come. We pray she will grow in inner beauty and have a sensitive heart for her Lord...who has made her this way for a very important reason.

So, yesterday, Grandma Candy, Ella & I headed to "Children's House", as Ella calls it, to have a Urodynamics test and meet with her Urologist, Dr. Joyner. (He is a wonderful doctor who always wears a snazzy bow-tie). The test measures the pressure in Ella's poorly functioning bladder and rectal area...these are indicators of the health of the bladder and kidneys. Although, these muscles will never "wake-up" and "work right", it is still essential that they be kept as healthy as possible. That is done by daily medication, proper and frequent catheterization and her own healthy growth. The test takes 1 1/2-2 hours of laying on a bed while the nurses fill her bladder with xray die and take continuous xrays to monitor the bladder as it expands...twice.

Needless to say, she was an angel. She chatted with the two nurses, asking questions about their grandkids and just making conversation. She read and sat quietly, looking at pictures of her "tummy" up on the screen. She was teary a couple times, but quickly gained composure with a book or funny story from Grandma.

To save you from the medical mumbo-jumbo...all in all, the results were very encouraging. Her bladder is growing well and the shape of it is MUCH improved from 2 years ago (the last time she had the test). It is expanding well and the kidneys have no damage at this time. These are wonderful reports and we were so pleased.

So, we are thankful yet again to our Lord for protecting and providing for our daughter. He has been faithful every step of the way in her little journey of life. And I am confident He will continue to be that...faithful, bringing glory to Himself through her story. I am just happy to be a close observer of His work.

So, there's the "little" (got a little long, huh?) update on Miss EllaMae. She is a joy and a trooper. And man, this momma's heart is very proud of my girl.

And here's a couple pics of Miss Personality...enjoy.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What is in a name?

Ok, so this is the first official post on the "Josh's Better Half" blog. And I would like to start out by saying that my husband named the blog! I am not joking. It was his idea and I submitted. :o)

We decided to create this little site for family and friends back home to check in and see how life is going here! I am going to be doing the updating, but I hope to have some guest appearances by my better half as well. I am excited to share stories & pictures of the kids as well as lessons the Lord is teaching me (sometimes these will go hand in hand!).

And so..."Josh's Better Half", the blog, has begun...