Hannah’s First Month!

I know I haven’t been good at throwing up some pictures heree, so here are some for your viewing pleasure.

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Take that Home Depot!

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Micah loves giving Hannah kisses.  Here, he’s modeling his new undies!

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That’s my boy!!!  Batman shirt, football in hand.

When is God Funny?

I was reading Josh Harris’ blog and he posted a music video by Regina Spektor awhile ago entitled “Laughing With”.  Here are the lyrics and then the video.  Its pretty self-explanatory.

No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one’s laughing at God when they’re starving or freezing or so very poor

No one laughs at God when the doctor calls after some routine tests
No one’s laughing at God when it’s gotten real late and their kid’s not back from that party yet

No one laughs at God when their airplane starts to uncontrollably shake
No one’s laughing at God when they see the one they love hand in hand with someone else and they hope that they’re mistaken
No one laughs at God when the cops knock on their door and they say “We’ve got some bad new, sir,”
No one’s laughing at God when there’s a famine, fire or flood

But God can be funny
At a cocktail party while listening to a good God-themed joke or
Or when the crazies say he hates us and they get so red in the head you think that they’re about to choke

God can be funny
When told he’ll give you money if you just pray the right way
And when presented like a genie
Who does magic like Houdini
Or grants wishes like Jiminy Cricket and Santa Claus

God can be so hilarious
Ha ha
Ha ha

No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one’s laughing at God when they’ve lost all they got and they don’t know what for

No one laughs at God on the day they realize that the last sight they’ll ever see is a pair of hateful eyes
No one’s laughing at God when they’re saying their goodbyes

But God can be funny
At a cocktail party while listening to a good God-themed joke or
Or when the crazies say he hates us and they get so red in the head you think that they’re about to choke

God can be funny
When told he’ll give you money if you just pray the right way
And when presented like a genie
Who does magic like Houdini
Or grants wishes like Jiminy Cricket and Santa Claus

God can be so hilarious

No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war

No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war

No one’s laughing at God in a hospital
No one’s laughing at God in a war

No one’s laughing at God when they’re starving or freezing or so very poor

No one’s laughing at God
No one’s laughing at God
No one’s laughing at God
We’re all laughing with God

Laughing With by Regina Spektor from the album Far

Is the Church a Laboratory?

Yesterday, I got the new CBD “Pastor’s Resources” catalogue in the mail.  In it, they have a few quotes from Pastors like John MacArthur and Rick Warren, and the Warren quote stuck out to me in an interesting way.  Let me know what you think:

“I started Saddleback Valley Community Church in Orange County, California, in 1980, and spent the next 15 years testing, applying, and refining the principles, processes, and practices in Purpose-Driven Church.  Like a research and development center, we’ve experimented with all kinds of approaches to reaching, teaching, training, and sending out God’s people.  Saddelback has served as a labratory for everything written in the book.  The results have been very gratifying and, I believe, brought glory to God.  I am continually humbled by God’s power to use ordinary people in extraordinary ways.”

So what do you think?  Anything in that statement jump out at you?

Prevention Of Sexual Immorality

This summer I’ve had the priviledge of helping out at the youth group for my church.  We’ve been teaching through the book of Proverbs, dealing with subjects that the writers emphasized.  We’ve taught through the subjects of laziness, friendship, and materialism/personal wealth so far, and I’m in the middle of a section on sexual immorality.   I have greatly enjoyed my time in Proverbs so far and have rediscovered much of the wealth that it contains.  I really recommend reading all the way through Proverbs and compiling a list of verses that deal with issues you struggle with.  It is highly enlightening to see how the book as a whole deals with all of these various issues.

One reason I have enjoyed the present study so much is that I see so many instances where we (not just teens, but especially teens) seek to find entertainment in some form of sexual immorality.  Like every other sin, we look around at extreme examples of sexual immorality, declare that we don’t have that problem, and go on with life.  “Well, I’m not sleeping around” so we relax our standards and allow too much opportunity for temptation.

I don’t need to convince anyone of the sexualized society that we live in.  Sexuality is pressed into almost everything our culture does, and what should be abhorred is often pursued in the name of entertainment.  This is especially true for the world of the teenager.  Whether it is television shows, movies, music, clothing, or just the conversation of friends and acquaintences, immoral sexuality is hard to avoid.  So how does a teenager survive in this world?

One way is to be reclusive.  Don’t allow a teenager to be in the world, so as to preserve them from the world.  Unfortunately, not only does this not work, it sets a horrible precedent for how to deal with temptation in the future.  Teenagers who are hidden and sheltered from the world never learn how to discern between good and evil or how to stand in the midst of temptation.  (Disclaimer: I’m not saying that you put yourself into situations where you will be constantly tempted to act in a way that would grieve your Savior.  There are obviously situations where it would not only be unwise to put ourselves into, but sinfully ignorant.)

One of the most interesting things that I have seen in my study is that before Solomon speaks of sexual immorality, he speaks to the topic that we are to treasure the Word of God.  In chapter 2, before he mentions avoiding the adulteress in verse 16, he uses the first 15 verses to proclaim the wonders of the Word of God and to plead with his son to love instruction.  In chapter 6, Solomon instruct his son to keep the commandments, bind them, tie them, and embrace them before he mentions the adulteress.  Then in chapter 7, where i planted my study, he spends the first 5 verses throwing out a list of commands for how he desires his son to deal with the Word.

  • keep them and live
  • keep them as the apple of your eye
  • bind them on your fingers
  • write them on your heart
  • say to wisdom, “you are my sister”
  • declare insight to be your intimate friend

And what is the purpose of this?  verse 5 says that they will keep you from the forbidden woman and the adulteress with her smooth words.  The promise given in chapter 6 is “When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you.”

The promise given in 2:11-12 is that “discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you, delivering you from teh way of evil, from men of perverted speech.”

I don’t think it is a coincidence that Solomon links the Word of God with sexual immorality in such a way.  It is unavoidable that the way to protect yourself from sexual immorality is through the study and love of the Word of God.  I would encourage you to read through those passages and see the language that Solomon uses.  See the rich imagery of how we are to treasure wisdom and instruction.

It is when we commit ourselves to wisdom and instruction that we have the strength to stand under temptation, to abhor sexual immorality, to seek further instruction and wisdom and to yearn for holiness.

Getting Used to Two

They say that the second baby is the biggest adjustment.  When you bring your first into the world, obviously it is a big adjustment, but you are still a very portable family, and you presumably have two people to focus on one child.  Each stage offers its own difficulties, and the second one presents it’s own.

1. You forget what its like to have a totally unresponsive child.  I got used to having Micah, who can now communicate fairly clearly.  He can tell you what is wrong, what he wants, and how he is feeling.  I know how Micah is going to react to certain things, what makes him happy, how he likes to be held, what he likes to eat, and more.  I realized pretty quickly that I have to learn those things all over again.  The first time it didn’t feel like a big deal, because everything was new to us.  But now you realize how far you’ve come in the last couple of years.

2. Micah is getting more adjusted.  He likes holding her and poking her and saying “Boop!” when he pokes her.  He is being a good helping with changing her and likes taking care of his own baby girl, which he so creatively named “hannah”.  No confusion there.

3. She’s gained all of her weight back and her eyes are in a holding pattern.  We had to take her to the doctor’s for her eyes, thinking she had conjunctivitus.  But we’ve been giving her the drops they gave us, but it hasn’t gotten a lot better.  Thinking it may be a clogged tear duct.

4. Hannah is much more docile than Micah was.  She sleeps great, doesn’t cry, and isn’t bothered by noise.  The only thing is that she takes awhile to eat.  She’s still young, though, so we’re hoping that improves greatly soon.

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Now Batting… Hannah Grace Costine!!!

So here is a Reader’s Digest version of the labor, since most people will skip right through and look at the pictures.  On Monday morning, Leah started getting more serious contractions, and since we already had an appointment with the midwife, we just packed up everything just incase we were going to stay.

After the appointment we went to downtown Milford to walk around the Milford Oval and had contractions every 10 minutes.  After awhile, we headed to our friends Amanda and Beau’s house, which was about twenty minutes away.  We wanted to see if we could get it jump started instead of driving over an hour home.  Alas, it didn’t pick up, so we headed home so Leah could rest.  When we got home, Leah slept from about 7:30-2am.

It was at 2am that she woke up with serious contractions.  So we packed things up again and got to the birth center again at 3am.  On the way there she was contracting every 6-7 minutes, usually for over a minute.

At the birth center we did a lot of different things to help labor progress.  The contractions were much more powerful than Leah had had with Micah at that stage of his labor.  Things weren’t picking up and she was getting really tired, so we went to sleep for a little while.  After waking up, Leah got into the tub and labored the rest of the time in there.

Around noon we got a surprise visit when the doula came and told me Beth was here with lunch.  Beth and Nehemiah brought Tina and I a great Italian sub and me a Mt. Dew.  Just what the doctor ordered for dad!  At 1:31pm, Hannah Grace Costine was born!  Mom and Hannah were able to have time together immediately and she did a great job eating!

After a couple hours, everyone was doing well, so we packed up the van again and headed home.  When we got home we brought Micah in to meet his new sister and he was very excited to see and hold her.  He pointed out her hands, feet, eyes, hat, and ears.

So without further aideu, here are the pictures!

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Babymoon Part Deux

Leah and I took what will probably be our last opportunity to get away together before the next baby was born and spent a day and a half up in North Conway, NH.  It is a beautiful, quaint town in the mountains.  It has a picturesque train station that is still operational, great little restaurants and shops up and down the old down town, most that would satisfy every nature loving hippie in New England.

The backdrop to Conway are the mountains of NH, with two large cliffs to the west.  The hotel we stayed at lies at the foot of one of these cliffs, and has a great view over the valley and all of the peaks in the distance.  Leah and I had been wanting to get to the White Mountain Hotel for some time, and decided that it would be the destination for our time away.  She and her family frequented the hotel in years past, and she always spoke so highly of the place.

They have a heated outdoor pool, which is especially nice in the winter, when you can swim in 96 degree water while its snowing.  They also provide a free breakfast to those staying during the week, and we had delicious Amaretto french toast.

Since we were up there for a short time, we weren’t able to do a ton, but it was still refreshing.  It was actually the first time Leah had been away without Micah, which only took two years to happen.  We brought our new favorite game, Settlers of Catan, and I absolutely routed her.  The next day we went out for a very short hike.  We drove up to the top of Cathedral Ledge, and walked out to the ledge for a gorgeous view of the valley below.  Quite a breathtaking view!

We ended our time by going mini-golfing, which I thoroughly dominated.  I shot 18 holes of even par, routing my pregnant wife by 8 shots.  I was draining ten foot puts, and evading ever imaginable obstacle the course could throw at me.  All in all, it was a fun, but short time for us to spend together.  I can’t believe its taken over two years since we’ve gone away, but that was the life we lived.

Micah had a blast at his grandmother’s house and was not ready for us to pick him up. He didn’t miss us as much as we missed him.

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You can barely see our hotel below.  it is on the right with the red roof.  Actual size of hotel is bigger than appears in the picture.

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A fun part of our time was looking at some odd signs.  While we miss Engrich (Asian establishments with poor attempts at English), NH offers its own kinds of signs. There was one place with a couple of businesses that didn’t seem to totally understand how to clearly communicate what they do in simple terms.  The second one wouldn’t be  funny if it wasn’t right next to the first one.

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The next two pictures are special for Meredith and Gabby.  It cracked us up at what Curves are like in NH.  The first one appears to be in the basement of someone’s house.  The second one just appears to be a had location.  Period.

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