Archive for January, 2011

Monday, January 31st, 2011

More books to give away

A couple of days ago I gave you the good news that I had 5 copies to give away of Reclaiming Adoption: Missional Living Through the Rediscovery of Abba Father, by Dan Cruver.

Well, here’s even better news. Dan is donating 5 additional copies, so now 10 of you will win a copy, not just 5.

Follow the original instructions to be eligible.

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Saturday, January 29th, 2011

On a frosty day, he died

I read what my husband wrote today about Robert Frost. Today is the anniversary of his death in 1963. That inspired me to post a favorite Frost poem. Now it’s an hour later and, oh my goodness, where do I begin?

My parents gave me a fat collection of Frost’s poetry for Christmas my senior year in high school. I didn’t know yet that I liked Frost–or even poetry. But by the time I was in college Oral Intepretation classes, I think he must have been my most quoted author.

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall. . . . Good fences make good neighbors.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood . . . I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.

“Home is the place where, when you have to go there, They have to take you in.” “I should have called it Something you somehow haven’t to deserve.”

The buzz-saw snarled and rattled in the yard . . . Little—less—nothing! and that ended it.

As I went out a Crow in a low voice said . . .

When I see birches bend to left and right . . . One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

I’m going out to clean the pasture spring. . . I shan’t be gone long.–You come too.

When a friend calls to me from the road. . . I don’t stand still and look around on all the hills I haven’t hoed.

His poems are stories. They fit my heart and my tongue.

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Saturday, January 29th, 2011

Win a copy of Reclaiming Adoption

(Update: I realize not everyone is in the habit of subscribing to blogs. I explained one time why I find subscriptions to be a great timesaver and included directions my son wrote about how to subscribe to favorite websites.)


I’m giving away 5 copies of Reclaiming Adoption: Missional Living Through the Rediscovery of Abba Father, by Dan Cruver.

Dan and Melissa Cruver are parents of a multi-ethnic family of three children. Dan is cofounder and director of Together for Adoption, an organization that provides gospel-centered resources to mobilize the church for global orphan care.

At the Desiring God Conference for Pastors this coming week, Dan will lead one of the breakout sessions: Reclaiming Adoption: A Praying Life Through the Rediscovery of Abba Father. If you are attending the conference, I hope you will seriously consider taking part in this session.

To be eligible for the drawing to win a copy of Reclaiming Adoption, follow these steps:

  1. Subscribe to the Together for Adoption blog if you aren’t already subscribed there. (If you’re not sure how to do this, here are instructions my son wrote at his wife’s blog.)
  2. If you are a tweeter, post the following, shrinking the link however you usually do it: Win a copy of Reclaiming Adoption by Dan Cruver:
  3. Comment below to let me know you have done both of these things.

Deadline is midnight this Tuesday, February 2.

Please enter only once.

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Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Happy birthday, Wolfgang

Today is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s birthday. I’m celebrating by enjoying 99 Essential Mozart Masterpieces, which may be downloaded for just $5.00.

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Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Two little peas in a pod

Talitha with twinsHave I mentioned that we’ve been blessed with grandtwins? And that they live only about a 10-minute walk from our house?

Now that they’re scooting and rolling, I can’t put them to nap on my bed anymore. But my good old thrift-shop portable crib is looking about half adequate.

What I’m thinking about is a couple of sleep tents called peapods, which will keep each baby in place for sleeping, but will be easy to stash away when they’re not here.

Their 2-year old brother still sleeps in his sometimes. It’s so much more convenient than schlepping a crib around. I really like it.

One of the pleasures of being grandmama: getting to play with the new baby stuff invented after my babies’ day.

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Monday, January 24th, 2011

Prolife DVD

Talitha recommended Sarah’s Choice to us this weekend honoring the sanctity of human life.

We were glad we watched. You can see the trailerfor a taste of the story.

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Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

She should have been dead

Yesterday was the sad anniversary of the Roe vs Wade decision to legalize abortion.

Gianna Jessen was born alive during the legal 3rd-trimester saline abortion meant to end her existence.

Watch her telling her story to the Australian Parliament in 2008. She is bold and glad as she points to God as the source of her life, both here and eternally.

There are 2 parts, but together the two videos amount to only about 12 minutes. In Part 2 she gives wholehearted glory to God for his work through suffering.

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Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Collected wisdom

shower invitation

Last night there was a bridal shower. The women who attended were friends of the bride’s mother.

Most of us are not crazy about shower games. So instead, we went around the circle and answered two questions: How did you become friends with the family and what one bit of wisdom would you like to offer the bride?

Of course, there’s lots more that could be said, but here are the impromptu responses:

  • When there’s trouble, it’s not because there’s something wrong with you or with him or something wrong with your family or his–it’s because God made you different than each other.
  • Marriage is for sanctification.
  • Remember no one will love him like you do.
  • Read the Bible together every day.
  • Pray together.
  • Hold onto Jesus.
  • Remember that all marriages are cross-cultural.
  • Laugh a whole lot, especially when things are crummy.
  • Never criticize him in front of other people.
  • Let your behavior be respectful even when you don’t feel like it. Politeness like “please” and “thank you” can help clear the air.
  • Be patient.
  • Do things together, and time alone is important too.
  • Appreciate each day. Don’t let things hang over from the past and don’t worry about the future.
  • If you’re not feeling well, let him comfort you, and don’t go hide under the covers.
  • Keep pursuing each other and learning each other.
  • Make room for silliness.
  • Stay friends.
  • Learn how to celebrate together. You live close to your families, but make your own celebrations too for Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc.
  • Be as crazy as you can at home, then when sober times come, you can be sober. I hope you’ll have more than 62 years like we have.
  • Let him be head of your house, and Jesus be head over all.
  • Know every day about God’s sufficiency–not just in hard times, but all the time. I pray that God will lavish future grace on you.
  • Go on the mission field. That will put everything to the test.
  • Pray. Hug. Laugh.
  • I wasted too much time wanting my husband to be what he wasn’t. Your husband is who you’ll know best from here on out. Enjoy who he is.
  • Read out loud together.
  • Launch out and be your own family, but remember you can call your mother anytime–and any of these friends too.
  • A threefold cord is not easily broken. Please keep Jesus as the third strand in the cord of your life together.

We showered our bride with tangible gifts that should last a few years. But this love that showered from clouds of experience is good for a lifetime.

pink gift bows

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Monday, January 17th, 2011

Beads, braids, and baseball

On this birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, here’s a true story from early in our years of being a multiracial family.

I spread a shabby, faded quilt on the grass beside the baseball diamond, waiting for our son’s game to begin.  One-and-a-half-year-old Talitha and I were in jeans and jackets because the day was cool and windy.  She was wearing her big brother’s baseball cap and it kept slipping down over her eyes.

When Talitha spotted three little blond girls nearby – about four or five years old – she toddled toward them, hopefully holding out her big purple ball, an invitation to play.  They glanced at her, and turned back to their make-believe, ignoring her.

I sat still, puzzled.  I had never seen anything like this happen to Talitha.  Little girls usually would try to get her attention and beg her to play with them.  She hovered near these girls, too young to realize she was being snubbed, and enjoyed watching them play.  They continued as if she weren’t there.

What does a parent think when her child is rejected?  Talitha might be oblivious now, but that wouldn’t last many more months.  Why did those girls treat her as if she were invisible?  Only a few possibilities came to my mind.  “Is it because they’re good friends with each other and don’t know how to let a new person into their circle?  Is it because she’s so much younger and doesn’t know how to play their game?  Or is it because she’s black?

After about ten minutes, a gust of wind cleared away my fog of perplexity when it blew off her oversized baseball cap, uncovering her beads and braids.  I heard one of the children squeal, “She’s a girl!”  Another picked up the big purple ball from the ground and they began to play a rolling game with her.

Later, as I watched them teaching her how to somersault, I realized that the cold spring breeze had uncovered something besides a little girl’s hairdo – it had revealed my inclination to sift the actions and attitudes of other people through the sieve of my own sensitivity and expectations.  I was so tuned to find racial prejudice that I thought I’d found it.  How else, I had thought, could I explain their treatment of Talitha?  The real “prejudice” of those little girls – against little boys – had never occurred to me.

In the first months after we adopted Talitha into our white family, my radar for detecting reactions around us was extremely sensitive.  I remember some times when people watched us intently, and I thought I read disapproval of our mixed-race family.  But then they might say, “What a beautiful baby!”  And I would turn off my radar and realize that sometimes I myself stare at families, enjoying the sight of their beautiful babies.

The 19th-century English preacher, Charles Spurgeon, said, “Avoid with your whole soul that spirit of suspicion which sours some men’s lives, and to all things from which you might harshly draw an unkind inference turn a blind eye and a deaf ear” (Lectures to My Students, Zondervan Publishers, p. 325).  If my antenna is always circling to detect prejudice in the way people treat my family, my radar screen will be covered with blips.

James 1:19 reminds me that “everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”  If I am quick to listen, perhaps I will hear more clearly what a person really means.  If I am slow to speak, I won’t react instantaneously with wrong assumptions about another person’s intentions.  If I am slow to become angry, I can hear God more clearly when he shows me what is really happening.

As I turned to watch my son step up to the plate, I thanked God that he spoke in the springtime wind.

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Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Happy birthday, dear Johnny

Yes, the title is lifted from the birthday song, but I want to be clear–dear is not a throwaway word. And to be very clear, dear Johnny is nothing like dear John. Exactly the opposite, in fact. I’ve never written Dear John to him, nor have I ever written him a Dear John.

I am very thankful for this day–the 65th anniversary of the birth of John Stephen Piper to William Solomon Hottle Piper and Ruth Eulalia Mohn Piper.

God formed his inward parts and knitted him together in his mother’s womb. I praise God for Johnny is fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. His frame was not hidden from you,  when he was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

My thanks to God includes his writing the days of Johnny’s life so that Johnny’s pages overlapped with mine in 1966 and merged permanently and inseparably with the chapters of my life in 1968.

Your eyes saw his unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for him, when as yet there was none of them.

I am thankful that all of our days are in his hands.

How precious to us are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If we would count them, they are more than the sand. We awake, and we are still with you.

Happy birthday, dear Johnny.

Noel & Johnny

(Scripture quotes adapted from Psalm 139:13-16)

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Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Passion 2011 — Really doing something now

Update, 1/5/11, 9:50 pm cst: Word from Louie Giglio is that the total giving for Passion 2011 Atlanta was $1.1 million. God is awesome–and I really mean that word–AWE toward God.

I’m not sure of the final results at Passion 2011 Atlanta, but here’s Louie Giglio’s Monday night update on goals for worshiping with generosity.

  • Atlanta — 15,140 towels, 72,000 pairs of socks for homeless shelters. Students were asked to bring these things with them because it shouldn’t happen that Atlanta not be blessed by 23,000 Christian people gathering there. As a result of these same kinds of gifts in 2010, this year some of the local homeless men were helping out at Passion 2011 and were doing prayer walks on our behalf.
  • Colombia — Goal: 20,000 bibles goal for unreached people. As of Monday night, 27,427Bibles @$1 each
  • Haiti — Goal:$1 donation per registrant toward college fund for Theresa Leo who has been “adopted” by Passion and will be receiving a prosthetic arm. Her father Ernst has work and a green card. As of Monday night, the college fund was $28,836
  • India — Goal: 15 wells where clean water is a daily question and struggle. As of Monday night, 17 wells were funded
  • Compassion International–Goal: 150 children sponsored. As of Monday night, 300 were sponsored
  • South Africa — Goal: 1000 meals for kids for 1 year. As of Monday, 1408 meals
  • Bolivia — Goal: Freedom for 10 women. As of Monday, 15 women have a future
  • Haiti — Goal: 15 houses @$3600. As of Monday, 22 houses donated
  • Uganda — Goal: $50,000 for  life-saving surgeries for 50 children with hydrocephalia. As of Monday, $87,000
  • Afghanistan — Goal: Funding 200 small business loans. As of Monday, 278 loans
  • Philippines — Goal: Funds for 10 rescue operations which provide freedom for an average of 15 girls each. As of Monday, 17 rescue operations.

Louie Giglio: “It’s awesome when there are people with loads of money, but we don’t have to depend on them. Together we are a force for good. We have set before you a 1/2 million goal in 4 days. Right now on Monday, we are at 3 days and so far you have given 733,700.”

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Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

He’s the God of Rio

Passion 2011 . . . Arena packed to the rafters with 23,000 people, ages 18-26 . . . Music that moves them (literally) . . . Speakers that stir them up with God’s Word . . . Opportunities to reach out to people around the world . . . The energy in the place vibrates.

Here are a few moments that reminded all of us that we are not so much Americans and Brazilians, for example. We are God’s children–brothers and sisters.

Fernandinho (Fernando Jeronimo dos Santos) is a well-known worship leader in Brazil.

Praise the Lord that he is the God of all our cities–Rio de Janeiro and Chicago . . . Sao Paolo and Saint Paul . . . Fortaleza and Fort Worth . . .

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