Yesterday, on Valentine's Day, in front of our church on Sunday morning, Keith and I, and a handful of other couples in our church renewed our marriage vows.
Our kiddos were there, well Ruth ended up in the nursery, but even Camerin was able to join us and our mom's with there too. And our church family was there. It meant a lot to me to have our community in the church there for it for all they've meant to me over the last several years since we've joined our church.
I was closer to crying yesterday at this than I was at our wedding. Our love has grown and is so much deeper and we have a greater understanding of what it takes, what it means for us, our family, and we've grown in our faith too in the almost 6.5 years we've been married.
I love you more now than the day we wed; and I expect to love you more in another 6.5 years. Thank you for all that you are to me, our family, and our community. You are awesome.
We currently have a shoe rack inside our front door to keep the shoes on. It's cheap and not well made. It commonly falls apart and sits in shambles because I get frustrated putting it back together all the time. I'd held off on buying one hinting heaving that I'd like a new one for Christmas last December. Christmas came, and Keith had one under the tree for me! However, it broke during assembly. Apparently a well made shoe rack is hard to find.
So Keith decided he was going to build me a shoe rack out of pallets.
He got a couple pallets from my parents and a week or so ago spent some time cutting it apart into boards. Yesterday, with the help of Caden and Caleb, they built me a shoe rack! Caden and Caleb did a lot of the sanding on it.
Last night it was all assembled and ready to be seen in the basement. He wants to stain it yet before use, so it isn't 100% done, but it looks like a shoe rack! He took the girls and I down to see it, and Elinore was SO EXCITED. She spent a little big of time down there with Keith during construction and while Keith and I were down there talking and cleaning up a bit, she ran up and down the stairs bringing all her and her sisters shoes downstairs and putting them on the shoe rack. She told us all about it too and how the shoes would fill the shelf and where she could put her book on it and everything. I did make her bring her and Ruth's shoes for Monday upstairs with us and she wasn't so happy about that. Who wants to run downstairs to find shoes on a Monday morning though?
When we got up stairs and were talking about it still we found out she thought it was going to be her rack in her bedroom. She wasn't so happy when she found out it was going in the living room!
Last week I finished reading Judges. Judges was a tough book to tackle for me. I think to start with it was the book I've read so far that I knew the least about going into. I wasn't as familiar with its stories and specifics. I only knew the big picture of what Judges told. As I've been reading through the Bible book by book, this is the first I've though, I should re-read or do a devotional on to really grasp it well. But, on to my notes!
Judah fights Canaanites
Caleb gave his daughter as wife to a man who captured the city for them
Canaanites were pushed out or became slaves and some continued to live with them
An angel of the Lord told them the others in their land would be enemies because they made an agreement with them and didn't destroy their alters
The next generation didn't know God and what was right and wrong so they worshipped other idols; their enemies became robbers and defeated them because the Lord wasn't with them
God sent Judges to save them from their enemies - They still didn't obey and were stubborn
Lord was angry over broken agreement and disobedience
Left others in their land to teach them lessons
Israelites began to intermarry with them and worship their gods
Moab conquered Jericho and ruled them
Judge Ehud came to lead them over Moab and he stuck his sword all the way into their fat king killing him so they could again rule over Moab
Shamgar was their next judge; he killed Philistines
Ehud died, they did wrong, Canaan defeated Israel
They were ruled for 20 years, then they cried for help
Deborah was the judge of Israel; she sat under a palm tree and people came to her to settle arguments
Deborah had Barak gather 10,000 men to defeat Sisera
Barak agreed only if Deborah went
She got credit for leading them to victory; the Lord confused Sisera
Sisera ran on foot and hid in Jael's tent
Jael (a woman!) put a tent peg through his head while he was sleeping
Kings fought too
Then there was 40 years of peace
Israelites did what was wrong again and Midianites took over for 7 years; they took all their livestock and grain and left them nothing to eat; the Israelites were poor
In poverty they cried out to God so he sent a prophet
Prophet reminded them of the good help God provided and his request to obey, but the Israelites didn't
An angel of the Lord appears to Gideon while he is separating some wheat and directs him to lead the conquer of the Midianites
Gideon took down Baal's alter at night and built an alter for God
Men complained, but they were going to "let Baal fight against him"
Gideon asked God to show him with dew that he was the lead Israel, God did
Gideon had too many men; God didn't want them to take credit themselves for their victory but for God to have the credit
God had Gideon send home all who were afraid and then separated by how they drank water and sent more home
Gideon kept 300 men of thousands!
Gideon heard a dream of a Midianite that foretold the Lord's victory over them
Gideon and 300 men blew their trumpets and the Midianites turned on each other
Gideon and his men chase after 2 kings and captured them
Succoth refused bread when Gideon was chasing kings so he came back and punished their leaders and killed the kings and tore down the tower in Peniel as they too refused aid
With gold taken from their victories, Gideon built a vest, but the Israelites turned on God and worshipped it
Gideon and sons refused to be their leader claiming God is leader
Peace was there as long as Gideon was alive
Gideon died and they became unfaithful
Abimelech becomes king and murders his 70 brothers
One brother hid and escaped (Jotham)
Jotham cried in justice at the people who let Abimelech become king
Abimelech ruled 3 years, then an evil spirit came (punishment from God) turned Shechem against Abimelech
Shechem and Abimelech fight
Abimelech won and destroyed the place
Abimelech tried to take another town but a woman dropped a stone on his head as he tried to he told a man to kill him by sword
Israelites went home
Tola was the next judge for 23 years
Jair was the next judge for 22 years
Israelites worshipped others, were taken over, then cried out to God
God said he wouldn't save them again, but they pleaded and threw out their idols, so God stepped in
Jephtham is their next leader; they came for him to lead after they'd sent him away because his mother was a prostitute
Jephtham speaks with Ammonite king; arguing over the land
Jephtham lead them to victory
According to Jephtham's promise to God, if victorious he had to offer a burnt offering, his daughter
Jeptham takes on Ephraim
Jeptham was judge for 6 years
Ibzan next judge for 7 years
Elon next judge for 10 years
Abdon next judge for 8 years
Israelites turned away again and were ruled by the Philistines for 40 years
Manoah's wife couldn't have children, but the angel of the Lord appeared and told her not to drink wine/beer or eat anything unclean for she will have a child - the child was Samson
Samson asked his parents for a Philistine bride
On journey to seek wife, he tore apart a lion with is bare hands with the holy spirit's guidance
On his trip to marry her he found honey in the dead lion
Samson gives a riddle during the 7 day wedding feats; they can't get it and his bride cries until he tells her
Samson leaves angry, wife is given away to the best man
Samson destroyed Philistine crops and killed their people; he ruled for 20 years
Samson goes to Gaza and visits a prostitute
Samson fell in love with Delilah
Delilah tried to get the secret to Samson's strength; he lied 3 times before the truth came out and she betrayed him and cut his hair
Samson was captured, his eyes tore out and he ground grain in prison
Samson sought God's strength one more time to kill the Philistines during the celebration he had to perform for
He pushed the pillars killing more Philistines with his death than when he was alive
Micah returns the silver he took from his mother; some is made into an idol for Micah's house
A Levite is looking for a place to live when he comes to Micah's
Michal asks him to be his priest
The people of Dan were looking for a land and found one near Micah; they took his idols and priest, conquered the peaceful people and rebuilt their land
A Levite living in the mountians journeyed back to Bethlehem to find his slave woman who had left him and returned there
He stayed in her father's house there several days
On their return journey a man in Gibean (an Israelite town) invited them in for the night
Wicked men came for sexual relations with him; the homeowner gave them his slave girl instead
Israel gathered and selected men to go to Gibean
Benjaminites in Gibeah came to fight
Benjaminites & Israelites fight; for 2 days the Benjaminites kill many Israelites and the Israelites cry to the Lord if they should continue; day 3 the Israelites plan an attack to lure them away and conquer
Killed those from a town where no one came to the meeting of the Israelites, but they kept the young unmarried women as wives for the men of Benjamin since that tribe had no women left
They didn't want a tribe of Israel to die out
Needed more wives to the men stole a wife from a dance so each man had a wife
There is a theme or cycle that repeats itself throughout Judges. A judge leads, they obey, the Judge dies, they do wrong, then they cry for help and God sends a new judge.
As I read through judges, I also thought the marriage of Samson was odd. I somewhat understand that the culture was different and marriage wasn't necessarily for love, but for other things. Yet the Bible still instructs on trust and that one leaves his father and mother and becomes family with his wife. But Samson doesn't approach his marriage that way, but to lead her people into poverty. And she also doesn't approach it that was fighting for her people before her marriage. Yet she was a non-believer most likely as a Philistine. There didn't seem to be any mutual trust or respect in the arrangement. Yet Samson ultimately conquered the Philistines; everything works out in God's plan.
I also though it unusual that the Bible called the Benjaminites brave, but they killed not only those fighting, but those running away too.
Keith and I caught Ruth in the kitchen the other night picking up her shoes and her sister's shoes that they wear everyday and throwing them in the trash can. I had to reach in the kitchen trash and pull them back out! I was fortunate in that I'd recently taken out the trash and it was nearly empty. We could have had a yucky encounter to get those out!
Last fall Caleb was heavily interested in taking some karate lessons. We agreed that after Caden's soccer season ended, we could look into that as an activity for the boys. It's been a journey finding the right place and program for us. We're on our third one now, but it's finally one we seem to be comfortable with and enjoy, the kids and us as parents. They are now enrolled for 6 months in a Tae Kwon Do program.
The school now has been great for all of us! The locations is alright, the price is reasonable and the kids are enjoying and doing well in it. I think the structure, curriculum and practice of this is good for them. On their second night they broke their first boards! They have them displayed in their bedrooms now.
I'm looking forward to watching them grow and develop in the program and it's great seeing them find something they enjoy!
I haven't written anything here in awhile, but there have been some things in my head I have wanted to write about, so this morning I told myself I'd put some words on the screen and document some of the happenings of our family.
I seem to be going to stretches of time not thinking about writing here and not missing it, but today, the urge struck and I have many ideas!
I want to remember things about the kids, and there's so much, I can't remember it all. I hope to have some of my words here jog my memory for future reminiscing and sharing with the kids when they're older.
At the end of every year for the last several years I've printed this blog into a book of the year of my posts and I keep them as journals in my room to look back on some day. I hope that they make us laugh some day and bring back memories for us. I hope that some day my kids learn more about us as people and a family from my writings.
Whether I write a little or a lot, I know I have this outlet and this memory to look back on.