Wednesday, December 23, 2009

DPP: Day 23


The carnage from Stephen's target practice with snowballs.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

DPP: Day 22


Stephen helped shovel snow this past weekend.

Monday, December 21, 2009

DPP: Day 21


The power was out for a while Friday evening

Sunday, December 20, 2009

DPP: Day 20


Another from Friday's snow. This is looking up the street from our house.

We will be visiting my inlaws this week, so I don't know if I'll keep up with DPP or not, but it was certainly fun.

EDIT: I'm posting a few in advance that will show up as the days go along.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The 80s Are Back

Or at least they are in a museum in Sydney

Ah, the movies, the ghetto blaster, the fluorescent colors.

DPP: Day 19


From yesterday's snow


Stephen thought it would be fun to hit himself in the face with a snowball. This is his reaction.

Friday, December 18, 2009

DPP: Day 18


This is a little stretch of road I drive through every day going to and from work. It's near the main entrance to campus. I love it for the year-round green and the view of the rocks, which tend to be covered in ice in the winter.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

DPP: Day 17 - A Very Special DPP

Yesterday, there was a fire in Hoey auditorium, which is right across the street from my building. Here you can see the smoke:


Trucks from three fire departments responded. Thankfully no one appears to have been injured.

I grabbed a new camera we have in my office that makes panoramic images. Here is the result from the scene (click on it for the larger version):

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

DPP: Day 16


This is a bit fuzzy, but you can see the large stack of books that is on the orange bin. Lydia did that all by herself!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

DPP: Day 15


Speedwell Baptist Church, Established 1902. It's about a mile from our house and I think it has an interesting look. It's about 100 yards from Cullowhee Valley Baptist church (one way) and Speedwell Methodist (the other way). (I've mentioned these three churches previously.)

Also: whoo hoo! 200th post on our blog!

Monday, December 14, 2009

DPP: Day 14


Stephen took this picture of Lydia while we were in the car.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

DPP: Day 13


I stood in the same spot as Day 10, just different angle.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

DPP: Day 12


Stephen's Kindermusic concert was last night in Dillsboro. (He's the third from the left in the back row). One big part he played was to do the finger cymbals - he was the only one to play them. He did very well of course.

Friday, December 11, 2009

DPP: Day 11


The stockings were hung on the...hutch with care.

And no, Stephen's is not bigger, they're both from Land's End. The angle just looks that way.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

DPP: Day 10


View this morning from the front yard.

Pastoral Thoughts on Twilight

I confess I haven't read any of these books, but this post has some very interesting thoughts about them. Agree or disagree, I think this needs to be dealt with when considering whether or not to have them in your house.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

DPP: Day 9


Stephen in the tub

DPP: Day 8


Lydia getting ready for bed

Monday, December 07, 2009

DPP: Day 7


Lydia and her gingerbread house creation (actually graham crackers, but hey, who's keeping track). Note the icing on her face from eating part of her building materials.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

DPP: Day 6


Some of Stephen (and his daddy's) Lego creations

Saturday, December 05, 2009

DPP: Day 5


When it rains hard, this little rill and waterfall appear across the street.

Friday, December 04, 2009

DPP: Day 4


My currently insanely messy office at work.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

DPP: Day 3


Stephen is in charge of arranging our Nativity scene. He thinks that all the people should be crowded around looking at Jesus rather than the spread out scene you see more often.

He's got some good theology there.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

DPP: Day 1

A friend of mine participates in the December Photo Project. Basically, you post an interesting photo to your blog every day for the first 25 days of December. We'll see if I actually keep up with it.

Here's today's picture.


I'm slightly cheating since this is from our drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway a few weeks ago.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Stephen's Personality

As a parent, it is so much fun to watch the kids grow and develop. With Stephen being 5 now, there are a number of traits about him that seem fairly stable. I'm recording this for fun now and posterity later to see how he develops later in life.

Stephen is incredibly creative. He can pretend all sorts of things, making up new names for whatever new invention he made. Many are based on the last cartoon he watched or book he read, but not completely - they always have his own twist to them. Same for his Lego toys - he gets me to build to the directions, but then goes off and builds whatever he fancies. I really hope he keeps this trait and that his engineer and scientist parents don't teach it out of him. Example: We bought our Christmas tree on Friday and I brought it in that evening. We didn't decorate it until Saturday afternoon. Stephen, not wanting to wait, set up a "tree" upstairs (the old green desk chair) and decorated it with various toys.

Stephen is outgoing and social. He's rarely shy - sometimes and usually in a completely new situation. But he warms up quickly, finds kids (or adults) that will talk to him, and proceeds to entertain them. He's often the ringleader in whatever is going on. He also wants to play WITH people. He does play by himself some, but much prefers to have someone active with him. Sitting on the couch and watching is not sufficient, as I have learned. Lydia adores him, so she often plays along, or at least imitates him.

Stephen is rambunctious. He needs movement and noise. It's interesting sitting next to him at the dinner table because he'll often be leaning over on me, playing with my placemat, or just plain out of his seat standing between my chair and his. He likes to have a toy to fiddle with while eating - the noisier the better. He's often humming or talking while we eat or driving in the car. Oddly enough, he's used to being (fairly) good in church. He also loves to be outside, no matter how hot or cold, just so he can run and play more wildly than inside.

Stephen loves media. He likes watching shows on the computer or TV and really likes computer games (much like his daddy). But, he also likes being read to and I think he's excited about learning to read.

Stephen is giving and compassionate. He enjoys helping (when he pays attention long enough to do so). He very much wants to take care of his little sister. If one of us is sick, he wants to come and pat us till we feel better. I suspect that giving/compassion/hospitality may be his spiritual gifts.

Stephen reacts strongly to discipline. When we confront him with something he did wrong, he is usually very penitent. I think it upsets him that he did something to make mommy or daddy upset or disappointed. Assurance that we love him is an important part of discipline for him.

Stephen loves to learn. He loved looking through a book about rocks with me not long ago, and had me tell him the names of all the rocks in there. The other day he told me about how worms move through "soil." He's really brilliant, sponges up information, and generally makes logical conclusions.

To sum up, Stephen is a lot of fun now and I look forward to seeing him grow more over time.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thoughts for Parents with Children in Worship

I found this blog post by Doug Wilson not long ago and have re-read it several times. It is very encouraging about having your children in worship with you.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Reformation Day Humor

For those who like a little theological humor for Reformation Day:


Yes, the animation is bad, but it's still funny.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Homemade Movie

Kristy was gone to a sale in Greenville (got some good stuff) so I was home yesterday (Saturday) with the kids. Stephen's creativity always amazes me, so I decided to work on a creative outlet to encourage that.

We made a movie.

Here it is in all it's glory. We got through our creative differences, various production issues, and managed our low budget. We did all the set design and video shooting while Lydia had her nap and I finished editing it later that evening.

The title was Stephen's idea.

video

It's silly, but it sure was lots of fun.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Nickles Life this Fall...

Summer is over, and we're settling into our routine. We have fun things going already and lined up...

Stephen started school (Pre-K at a nearby church in partnership with a Christian school) on August 17. His teachers have been very sweet, and he enjoys it as usual. He has one good friend from whom he is always being separated. Boys... He goes MWF, 9-12. I work MW, so I have Friday mornings with just Lydia.

I'm also doing some "school" things at home to supplement pre-school and to transition into homeschooling next year. So far, we're working on reading, writing, math and science. Science mainly consists of library books on topics in which Stephen shows interest; the current book is on rocks and minerals. The boy loves rocks!

Both kids are in Kindermusik this semester. I've learned that the teacher loves to barter, so I've been doing various things for her in exchange for Kindermusik time! Lydia will enjoy her class more once she gets over shyness; she's pretty typical in that she does many of the motions, etc at home but not in class. Stephen has just moved up to the Young Child level, and he'll be working on the glockenspiel by the end of the semester.

Stephen is having a good time in general. It is interesting to see him be imaginative (ideas, songs, games, etc) and give the credit to his imaginary friend, Friend Octopus. Today, Lydia and I were test subjects for his new invention, which was supposed to "take our dreams out of our minds and put them into the books" that were next to our heads. It took him a while to test since the 'generator' appeared to be having issues. He's a lot of fun!

Lydia is moving forward in the world of communication. She is definitely in the echo-itis stage of talking. She calls Stephen, "See-see," and herself, "Ya." She makes the cutest animal sounds and makes a decent attempt at any word I ask her to repeat. She loves to cuddle, which her parents don't object to at all. One thing that gives me 'concern' is that she loves to try to do exactly what Stephen does. :)

Of course, our fall will be quite different than I had planned after the loss of Silas. Lydia has no clue what's gone on, and I've seen how abstract this experience is for a 4-year-old through Stephen's processing. We tried to be clear with him all along but would realize after various comments from Stephen that we hadn't been clear enough. I think he understands now, but just doesn't have the experience to "feel" it the way we do or to mourn someone he's never met. For me, I am on an overall, upward trend with the occasional dip. I know so many have been praying - thank you!

Sorry for the length of this post, for those who are still reading! Maybe I'll be a regular poster - some day...




Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Thankful

There are so many things, big and small, to be thankful for in life. I just want to publicly list a few that come to mind this evening.

  • Kristy - she's an awesome wife, the most rational woman I know, and she takes good care of me
  • Stephen and Lydia - they're a handful and I love them dearly
  • My time at Clemson - so many friends and memories
  • My friends here - they've loved on us so much lately
  • Papa Johns - they opened here on campus yesterday and I brought home an extra large sausage pizza (the only kind they were making). I even had to ask for the garlic sauce. But it was sooo good and made me think of all the pizza I ate my freshman year
  • The tent equipment some friends gave us - Stephen and Lydia have loved having it
  • The Incredibles - a great, fun, thoughtful movie that's had a lot of play in the house lately
  • Elders that care - enough to come see you in the hospital in the next county
  • The Psalms - they speak to emotional highs and lows and return your focus to God
  • Revelation - summary: Jesus wins.
  • A job - one that I enjoy, even during the long days I've had lately trying to stay caught up
  • The Blue Ridge Parkway - it is so great being close to this and just getting on and stopping as you please. It's also close to...
  • Barber's Orchard - they have the best pies and apple turnovers - made by hand by grandmothers!
There's so much more, but God has blessed me and our family so much, and for this I am truly thankful to Him for providing joy and delight.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Memorial Service

The memorial service for Silas was this afternoon. We just had a few family come visit for it - a small group. Our pastor had a brief but profound worship service for us. I am thankful to reflect on God's purposes, which are higher than mine, for all my children. Silas is busy praising our Lord now, which is a great and high calling. And, he never had to go through all the pain and trouble of this life.

Yet I certainly still grieve at his death. There is a particular kind of pain in burying your own child.

I can't thank our friends and family enough for all the love expressed in various ways. I pray God would reward you because I am not adequate to do so.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Silas George Nickles

(This is mostly for friends that follow this blog and are not on Facebook)
Silas George Nickles was born at 1:57 pm on August 28. He weighed 1 lb. exactly. The doctor believed he passed away at least a week beforehand. We were about 20 weeks into the pregnancy.

I am thankful for friends and family that have been so helpful and gracious to us at this time.

The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A worship experience (or three)


While in Savannah, GA last weekend (10th anniversary! Yay!), we had three very interesting worship experiences. I apologize for the length of this post in advance.

The first was morning worship at Independent Presbyterian Church. Getting beyond the oddity of an "independent" presbyterian church (all TE's are in the PCA), the worship was extraordinary. I must commend them in so many ways. They ask visitors to wear a gold sticker and once we had them we were greeted warmly. They are very particular about their worship and they do it well. The service music was "traditional" with psalms and hymns, an organ, and a choir. The service made it very clear that the church is focused on God's word. They read it, sang it, prayed it, preached it. I was extraordinarily uplifted, convicted, and blessed by this time. I'm not sure I recall experiencing that before in such a traditional style service. It encouraged me that such a style, similar in many ways to what we do at Emmanuel, can be done so well.

I was trying to figure out how this came about - how does a church get to the point where a worship experience like that happens. One part, I would guess, is that the session and congregation have worked hard to make it so. For example, the congregation really sang, not just letting the choir do the work. For at least two hymns, the organ dropped out on the last verse or two so the singing was a capella. You could tell the organ was gone, but the volume seemed about the same. Of course, they also have long tradition and a beautiful building on their side. They also had a few hundred people there - so you'll get a higher number of people with various spiritual gifts (hospitality, etc.). At any rate, they take worship very seriously and it shows.

I also have to say that I was wearing just a button-up shirt and khakis (no tie) and I felt under dressed. It was glorious - I'm much more a fan of dressing up for the occasion of worship. I also have to mention that we walked to it from our hotel - that was actually quite fun and it is a nice advantage of living in a city (I wouldn't know about such things otherwise).

The second was the evening service by Independent. We saw in their bulletin in the morning that they had an evening service with a meal, so we decided to go. It was the most organized/formal evening service I've seen. The dress was less formal, and they held it at their campground (a church with their own campground!) a few minutes from the city. They did a few contemporary songs (guitar accompaniment) before the service actually started, and then had singing from the old Trinity hymnal with piano during. There was a full sermon and many other typical worship elements. When done, the meal was great - they had the best cheese grits I think I've ever had. And, a couple came and chatted with us (also had 2 kids plus one on the way) and were very hospitable. What a great way to have an evening service!

One of the more interesting events from that day was to talk to another lady as we were finishing dinner. Her son was in college in Atlanta and had been looking for a good PCA church. However, he was disappointed to find they all had very contemporary style music. He was so used to and fed by the more traditional hymns and psalms at IPC that he couldn't worship in those, and so found a church further out from the city. I usually hear things the other way around, in that students find contemporary worship extraordinary and the traditional way boring. It may be anecdotal, but at least this case shows IPC has some extraordinary worship.

Finally, we saw a banner on Christ Church (on the walk back from IPC in the morning) advertising their Compline service at 9pm. Aside: Christ Church is the "mother church" of Georgia. They're part of the conservative Anglican Church in North America, and had John Wesley and George Whitfield as rectors. Anyway, the service was unusual to this presbyterian. The sanctuary was dark except a few candles at the front. At 9pm sharp the singers marched up to the choir loft (in the back of the balcony) and began. There was someone reading some lines (I presume from their Prayer Book) and the group would sing - mostly scripture and creeds. Around the middle, a gentlemen walked to the front and gave a brief homily. Then, more signing.

The singers/choir (not sure what they prefer) was very, very skilled. It was a pleasant, scripture filled set of music. They were all in Gregorian chant style (according to the advertisement) and it is a beautiful style. However, it was odd - I wasn't sure if it was a performance or a worship service. The audience/worshippers didn't do anything but listen the whole time. The reader would say something that I thought I was supposed to respond to, but the choir/singers only responded. I wonder if this was close to what a medieval peasant experienced in worship - though perhaps understaning even less if the service were in Latin.

All in all, an interesting day of worship.

Image credit:

Monday, August 03, 2009

10 Reasons The Past Few Days Were A Disaster

  1. Kristy has been feeling awful
  2. Lee caught the nasty fever/ache sickness
  3. Stephen also got the nasty fever/ache/throwup sickness
  4. We discovered the throwup part while in the car
  5. Lee skidded into a ditch while trying to assist with the throwup part
  6. No adult felt up to cleaning up the car until a day later
  7. We missed the first day of Stephen's soccer camp today (he probably wasn't up for it anyway)
  8. Lee neglected to purchase everything needed for our planned supper
  9. Kristy didn't figure that out until after starting dinner
  10. Lee broke our pyrex measuring cup while trying to fix something else
The moral of the story: sometimes you have to give up, laugh, and go to Subway

Friday, July 10, 2009

Parental Responsibility

Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
-Prov. 22:6

Contrast with this:
http://www.eschoolnews.com/news/top-news/index.cfm?i=59055

The article is about a middle-school student that made a lewd parody site about her principal. The main point is whether or not the school district can punish her.

Does anyone think that what she did wasn't wrong? Anyone?

There's argument over free speech. I still ask: does anyone think that what she did wasn't wrong?

Why does the parent care so much about the time lost at school? She admits that this was wrong - good I say. Where is the public apology on the student's part?

This may be bad journalism in not following up on what consequences there were for the student outside the school. This may be bad parenting in lack of discipline. This is certainly a sinful child who needs (and I hope receives) good correction.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Screaming Bullet

Stephen and I have been working on a little project. Here's the setup: the wobbly leg on our TV stand finally gave out, so the TV is now on the footlocker for a while and the old stand/table was in our bedroom until we could decide what to do with it. Around this time, Stephen was watching some TaleSpin episodes (which he likes as much as the Rescue Rangers). He would then go in to our room, sit at the old table, and pretend he was flying an airplane. Well, I wondered if there was a toy cockpit out there somewhere and then realized it would be much more fun to make our own.

So, at the craft store, we purchased:
  • A bag of thin wooden pieces in various shapes (squares, circles, etc.)
  • Some paint
  • Wooden toy wheels
  • The wooden face for a clock
  • Lots of stickers
Then, at Lowe's we bought:
  • A plastic playground steering wheel (the most expensive item of all this at around $8)
  • A long wood dowel
Over a few evenings we painted our control buttons, removed or nailed down the table legs, glued on the buttons, drilled a hole for the dowel, and glued on the clock face. Stephen and I both enjoyed the project and had some good father-son time.

I wanted this to be a general-purpose cockpit, so I avoided making permanent wings. That way, it could be a race car, boat, space ship, etc. at some point. But, Stephen was very interested in just having an airplane. So, we (meaning I) cut up a diaper box into wings and a propeller. A little duck tape, and they're attached.

Stephen and I then worked on a name for it. After going through various names, he combined a few things I suggested into the "Screaming Bullet" which I thought was a great idea. We made the logo together and Stephen glued it on the wings.

Here's Stephen playing with it:


Here you can see the shaft we made with the dowel that lets him turn the wheel and...


..."spin" the propeller, which is the clock face glued to the end of the dowel and the cardboard propeller attached to it.


Even if you can buy a kid-size cockpit, this was much more fun to make ourselves.

My one regret is not figuring out how to make a throttle of some sort. I couldn't think how to make a lever with some resistance so it would stay in position. Any thoughts on this would be welcome - preferably something for less than $8.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Split vs. Reform

I've been following events in the PCUSA, particularly related to what marital/sexual standards are required of ministerial candidates (mostly through the GA Junkie blog). The amendment to remove restrictions on candidates has been defeated, but by a more narrow margin than similar actions in previous years (handy summary and comparison chart).

While this issue is of interest, I have to wonder: why doesn't the dissenting group just leave? Presbyterians have split over plenty of issues, why not this? The conservative position have generally been the majority and remains so with this vote. Why wouldn't the clearly sizable group in the minority that disagrees just leave?

I have perused the websites of both sides on this PCUSA issue to gain some perspective. One thing I noted from those that wished to remove the restriction: I tend to find them focused on the concept of equality, treating this as an issue of not accepting people equally. I also found that this vote was generally portrayed as a victory in that the balance of votes has shifted more to their side as opposed to previous efforts to overturn the restriction. Further, there was no sense of giving up - but rather that this issue will be challenged again and again through the workings of the church until they achieve the change they desire.

Let me add as an aside that when a church body is split 60-40 (or so) on some issue of significance, no matter what the issue, there is a major problem.

My reading of the minority groups (that wish to remove the restrictions) makes me assume that they are not interested at all in splitting, but their ultimate goal is reform of the PCUSA according to their design. My theory about this is that since this is framed as an equality issue, almost (or perhaps entirely) like a civil rights issue, that very much influences the desired goal. I would assume that the interest in that case is to have a church body that you're comfortable in and can believe and act as you see fit, but that could be achieved by a split. The more important goal is to reform any and every organizational structure that does not practice the desired equality. It would be unfair to make a comment like "well, why aren't they working on X much more conservative denomination?" becuase that's not where they are. I understand feeling the responsibility to bring about change where you are right now, rather than worrying (immediately) about elsewhere.

In light of the assumptions that the church has an equality issue (allowing the ordained to have various views and practices on sexuality outside marriage) and that it must be changed to enable that equality, it makes sense to keep pushing a particular issue until you achieve the desired result. Splitting is really not an option - you could only be forced out.

There certainly may be other reasons those in the minority stay, including but not necessarily limited to:

1) A high view of church unity. Perhaps this group desires to see the various calls to unity in Scripture truly lived out, even when serious divisions exist.

2) A love/commitment for the PCUSA. In this case, perhaps someone grew up in the church, has long been a part, and strongly wants to stay in the same institution (whether denominational or local church).

I'm not there and I really don't know anyone's heart - this is just a collection of theories. It is interesting (to me) to contrast this with the PCA which split from a body that eventually became the PCUSA. There, according to the histories I have read, the denomination leadership was pushing toward more liberal positions. In response, some worked against this, eventually decided they would not succeed, and split to form the PCA. In that case, I would assume that the purity of the church was the issue - that the mother church was increasingly not practicing and enforcing the marks of the true church (true preaching of the Word, right administration of the sacrements, and church discipline).

Given that perspective - that the purity of the church is to be pursued, a split is a more likely option. The conclusion that the mother church is too compromised to be brought back and that you're clearly a minority that will not succeed can pretty much only lead to a split.

I also wonder about the issue of submission to the authority of the church. When there is a controversy in a denomination and that denomination rules in a particular way, I do wonder why the minority would bring that issue up repeatedly. I would say that shows a lack of submission to the body. Even if you disagree and are in the minority, you should listen to the wisdom of the other brothers. Remember you're human and might be wrong. And if you're right, perhaps it is better to look to other denominations to join rather than continue to stir up a controversy when you are in the minority.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Office Wars

For those who might not have seen it...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Micro-Denominations

Ok, some more thoughts on church unity.

I'm not familiar enough with other general strands of protestantism to know how prevalent (or not) this is, but there seems to be a strong tendency in Presbyterianism to divide. I point you to a diagram of Presbyterian splits and merges just in the United States.

Does anyone really think that diagram looks like unity? Looks more like spaghetti to me.

I won't claim to know or understand what all the reasons were for the splits and recombinations. I know the PCA and OPC split off from their respective branches over doctrine. The Civil War was also a factor in that diagram. You can see that we also carried over some differences from homelands. At any rate, this splitting results in what I have seen called "micro-denominations." I haven't seen a definition for that term (though doing a Google search on it was interesting) but it certainly implies a small denomination that holds certain distinctives very dear. I would say there are a few in NAPARC.

Of course, this is something of a matter of perspective. Any Christian denomination in, say, the Middle East would likely be a micro-denomination. And let me be clear, I believe it is one thing for a family to decide where to go to church and a very different thing for a church to decide what denomination they will be a part of. I'm talking about the latter decision.

My main point is to wonder why a micro-denomination (at least of Presbyterians) would exist in the United States. We have Presbyterian denominations of decent size from liberal to conservative and on many other dimensions. Besides those in NAPARC, there is the mainline PCUSA, the Cumberland Presbyterians, and the EPC. A church has lots of choices already - why pick (or start) a tiny one? I suppose I would particularly wonder that in light of the Church being called to unity. It also seems a huge practical expense to maintain a denominational structure when you are tiny. Do you have a educational materials office or just use another denomination's materials? How do you have presbytery meetings when pastors are spread over hundreds of miles across multiple states? Do you develop your own set of polices from scratch?

I think a denomination's very existence says: "we are correct and everyone else is wrong on this slate of important issues/doctrines/practices." And those micro-denominations hold some thing or things very dear that simply do not overlap with other, larger bodies. If a church is convinced that certain things are non-negotiable, that there is no debate to be had on them, then I'll admit, I don't see much choice for them. If you are convinced from scripture that you are to hold worship services on Sunday morning from day break to noon and everyone is supposed to stand the whole time (see Nehemiah 8), then I can see a church having a problem with a denomination that doesn't support that requirement. But then, surely you have to wonder if you're the tiny minority, are you the faithful Remnant pursuing holiness before God, or are you wrong and sinfully hurting the unity of the body?

That's not a bad question to ask about any denomination as long as such entities exist. The PCA, or all of NAPARC put together wouldn't do wrong to ask which one we are. Perhaps I feel insulated from the question because I perceive the PCA as big (and compared to some they are). However, compared to 1 billion Catholics, 300,000 PCA members is rather tiny.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Friday, April 17, 2009

Family Pictures

We went to a Clemson friend's wedding recently that was held at Pretty Place. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful, worshipful wedding. And, we got to take some family pictures while there.

My favorite people:


This family picture turned out quite well. Lydia was slightly shy and cute. Stephen was slightly smirking and holding a stick. A very accurate portrayal.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cute Lydia

That last post was mostly about Stephen, so this one is about Lydia. Here's some random pictures that will likely embarrass her in about 12-15 years.

Lydia likes to get her pink seat and push it close to her keyboard and play music. She sometimes doesn't judge the distance well (either way)


Stephen took this picture in one of his random picture-taking moods, and I thought it was a nice close-up of her (and is better than a crooked picture of a lamp).


It is our tradition that I make pancakes or waffles for breakfast on Saturday morning. Lydia likes my blueberry pancakes.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easter Egg Hunt

Stephen's school had an Easter Egg hunt. That was this past Thursday and I took the day off (mostly to get tires on my car and get the lawnmower fixed), which allowed me to go and take pictures. Everyone in Stephen's Pre-K class was able to go, no matter what days they normally went, so they were a good crowd. Everyone got to take 11 eggs home and they were all filled with goodies. They were all to line up at the fence and then file in the playground in an orderly manner. Ha! Stephen managed to snake through the line when they opened the gate. Ah well. At least we were careful to keep them all to 11 eggs.

Here's the group (Stephen is in about the middle in the green shirt)


Stephen with his basket full of his eggs - and a big grin on his face


Stephen and Patrick went through their stash immediately and compared notes. Stephen got one "dinosaur" egg more than Patrick, and Patrick got one more "clear" (semi-transparent) egg than Stephen. They seemed to think this worked out.


Some of the girls played with Lydia too, so a good time was had by all.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter Pictures

After church, we had a great dinner at home. We pulled out the fine china since we think Stephen is ready to handle that - and it helps make the day special.


Stephen had a great time with our fancy lunch


Lydia also got a salad plate - and seemed suspicious (probably about her brother)


Daddy and the kids

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tadpoles

Some friends of ours found tadpoles in their pond and gave us a jar with a few of them. Stephen really liked having them around and it was fun to talk about how they grow and develop.

Kristy found out that tadpoles eat boiled lettuce, so she made some and we fed them. They seemed fairly happy and were starting to grow their legs. However, the jar was getting cloudy and rather than figure out how to change their water, we decided to release them into the pond at the local park.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Dying Eggs

We just got done dying our Easter eggs. Kristy had us try something different and it worked quite well. She punched out dots and cut strips from mailing labels and stuck them on the eggs before we dyed them. It turned out quite well! I like the polka-dot one myself.

Stephen was a big help this time.


Stephen helping dip an egg.


Stephen mostly paid attention. Amazingly, no dye was spilled in the making of these eggs.


Kristy made letters, one for each of us (D = Daddy and M = Mommy). The Cross one is for Easter, of course. Stephen added the stickers.



Stephen is very proud of his own "S" egg.

Finally - Family Pictures - Snow!

Enough of my babbling posts...back to some family pictures!

We've been highly negligent in this department - partly because our camera battery was dead and we kept forgetting to get a new one. Anyway, these are from the mid-January snow (not the one earlier this week).

Sledding with Lydia (who really liked it)


Stephen being silly


Sledding with Stephen (who really liked it)


Our snowmen


Cute Lydia