Saturday, January 27, 2007

Free Worship Song

Sovereign Grace music is a favorite in our family these days. Their songs are rich and filled with beautiful God-glorifying lyrics. They sure beat the average fare one finds on the radio these days.

Why do I mention this? Well, from now until February 9, you can download a free worship song from Sovereign Grace titled "I Bow Down."

To get it, just add the song to your shopping cart and enter the promotional code FREEDOWNLOAD when you check out.

If you like what you hear, we'd be happy to let you borrow one of our Sovereign Grace CDs -- so feel free to ask!

Amazing Grace: The Movie

Christina and I, along with some good friends, recently had the opportunity to see a pre-release screening of the movie Amazing Grace. Although this movie won't be officially released in theatres until February 23, you can view the trailer now.

Though not without its shortcomings, the movie is well worth seeing and we heartily recommend it. Whether or not you already know the story of William Wilberforce, we think you'll find the film entertaining, educational, and inspirational. But if you have young children, we'd suggest getting a sitter as the images of the slave trade might be a bit intense for them.

The movie's account of Wilberforce's life and convictions only goes so far. For the rest of the story, try this free book by John Piper.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Of Anniversaries: Thirty-Four Years

It was thirty-four years ago today that the Supreme Court of the United States of America concluded that a woman has the right to have an abortion and that no state can take that right from her. Since then, women have legally hired "doctors" to destroy the gifts from God that grew inside them. Millions and millions and millions of lives have been lost because of this "right" given to women by our nation.

It is easy for me to become enraged about this fact, and I believe that I should be angry about abortion. Yet, my anger must be tempered with humility and acknowledgement of my own grievous sins against our God. Indeed, even with my horror at these murders sanctioned by our government, I must remember the words of our Savior in Matthew 5: 21-22.

"You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.' But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, 'Raca!' shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, 'You fool!' shall be in danger of hell fire."

We must admit that none of us deserve anything more than Hell ... that only the blood of Jesus is capable of redeeming us before our Holy God.

But with our humble acknowledgements, we must also continue to fight, even when it seems hopeless, for these innocent lives. Proverbs 24: 11-12 says,

Deliver those who are being taken away to death, And those who are staggering to slaughter, Oh hold them back. If you say, "See, we did not know this," Does He not consider it who weighs the hearts? And does He not know it who keeps your soul? And will He not render to man according to his work?

As Christians, we must cry out to God to give us wisdom and discretion in this battle. We must pray for the souls of the abortion doctors and women who have deceived themselves into believing that "legal" means "right". And eagerly, we look forward to the day in which there is no more death.

Of Anniversaries: To my beloved

Dearest David,

It was seven years ago this morning that I was standing at the registration table of the pro-life conference sponsored by the L.A. Archdiocese, waiting for my name tag, when I heard someone address me from behind: "How are you, Christina?" I was turning with my typical, "I'm good, how are you?", when I realized that the person had actually said, "Hi, are you Christina?" -- so, the first time I looked into your eyes, I was already fumbling for the right words!

A few minutes later, as I was talking to my friend Barbara who already knew you, she said, "You should date David. He's a Christian." I rolled my eyes and responded, "I don't need to date a guy just because he's a Christian." I couldn't have imagined that seven years later, I would be your wife, spending the day with our three precious children.

I love you, David. I thank God for the seven years that He has given us so far. His gifts to us have been so sweet.

David, you continually amaze me. You're an unmerited gift from a generous, loving God. You're my fatted calf. Your integrity, love, and faithfulness continue to spur me on to be the woman, wife, and mother that God has called me to be. In my dreams, I couldn't have imagined a better husband... or a better father for my children. Your love for us is a sweet, though imperfect, reflection of Christ's love for His bride and the Father's love for His children. You are my hero. I love you.


Saturday, January 20, 2007

Win Free Entertainment

One way to trim your entertainment/leisure costs is to win free tickets to events rather than paying for them.

You could spend your time trying to win national contests for trips to Hawaii, etc., but the best way to improve your odds of actually winning something is to find local web sites that give away free tickets to events in your city. Over the last few years, I've used this strategy to successfully win tickets to several local plays and concerts in Sacramento.

For those of you who live in Sacramento, I'd suggest checking out the contests available on these two web sites every month or so. Please leave a comment if I'm missing any sites that you would recommend:

Capitol Public Radio Ticket Giveaways

Disclaimer: Please use discernment. By no means should this post be construed as an endorsement of any of the events advertised on these sites.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Spare the Rod?

I generally don't plan to delve into politics on this blog. After all, I get more than my share of it each day at work. But this story is just too crazy to let by without comment.

Media outlets are reporting that California Assemblywoman Sally Lieber will soon introduce legislation making it a crime to spank a child younger than three years old. The chances of her bill passing are pretty slim, but keep in mind that the California Legislature has previously approved measures to establish gay marriage and provide drivers licenses to illegal immigrants (both vetoed by the Governor). One never really knows for sure what they will come up with next...

Ms. Lieber's bill should be a good reminder to all of us of the necessity of grounding our thinking on God's Word, lest we become futile in our speculations.

Consider Proverbs 13:24: He who withholds his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently.

... and Proverbs 3:11-12: My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD or loathe His reproof, for whom the LORD loves He reproves, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.

These verses demonstrate that love and discipline go hand in hand. We're called to lovingly discipline (not abuse) our kids and to humbly accept God's loving discipline in our lives.

As a parent of three kids under three, I know that living out these principles isn't always easy -- and certainly not likely to generate flashy news headlines anytime soon -- but it's still a key way I can faithfully and joyfully honor the Lawmaker who, last time I checked, still outranks Ms. Lieber.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

New Giveaway: Rare Artifacts from our Wedding

These rare collectible dinner glasses (originally purchased at Walmart) are some of the few that have survived the many years since our wedding (back in 2002).

These glasses were actually a key part of the table centerpieces at our outdoor reception. The entire reception was masterfully designed and coordinated by my creative and talented sister-in-law, Charity.

But, alas, space in our house is limited, so even these treasured collectibles must go. There are six tall glasses and eleven short ones. Be the first to leave a comment claiming them and these rare artifacts will be yours.

As Recently Seen on....

Just wanted to take a couple minutes to recommend a few of my favorite movies from the last few months:

Recently released on DVD Lassie: a great story with some impressive scenery!

Curious George: this is the first movie that I've ever seen my husband and daughter laugh at simultaneously. Too cute.

Over the Hedge: Watched this last night -- definitely humorous, especially if you've ever had any experiences with a homeowners association.

And last but certainly not least, The Nativity Story: This is likely the most beautiful, thought-provoking, God-honoring movie I have seen. And with such a classic storyline, too! =)

Tips for saving some serious dough

We are called to store up our treasures in heaven rather than earth (Matthew 6:19-21), but that doesn't mean we shouldn't do our best to be good stewards of the material blessings God has given us. Accordingly, from time to time, we'll be sharing money-saving tips on this blog to give you some ideas of how you might be able to do more with less.

Our hope is that for any of you who might find yourself on a tight budget our tips will help you free up a little more time or money for the things that matter most to you. Maybe you'll feel a little less pressure to take a job that will force you to spend more time away from your family. Maybe you'll just have more to share with your church, friends, or favorite charity.

With all that being said, check back soon for a tip or two that might save you some serious dough.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

$877 for Underwear

After forking over $76 for diapers and an additional $20 for wipes (plus tax) today at Costco, it seemed like an appropriate time to sit down and figure out just how much it costs to keep three kids in diapers.

Assuming 20 cents per diaper and 4 diapers per kid per day, I calculate that we're spending about $2.40 per day on diapers. So that means we're burning through @$73 per month on diapers, not including the wipes, and @$877 per year. Almost enough to make you want to switch to cloth diapers, but I guess we're just not that brave.

Of course, these figures don't even begin to include our added costs for food, clothing, college savings, etc. All this is enough to make it tempting from time to time to get a wee bit anxious about our ability to provide for three kids (and any more God blesses us with in the future).

Isn't it reassuring to know that we serve a good God who promises to provide for all of our needs? Matthew 6:25-34 is a good reminder to seek first God's kingdom and he'll take care of the rest... yep, even those diapers.

One Man's Junk...

We've been doing a little spring cleaning (even though it's not quite spring yet) and thought it might be fun to do some giveaways on our blog to test the truth of the old adage "one man's junk is another man's treasure." Besides, it only seems fitting that you, our dear faithful readers, should get first dibs on our junk.

So here's how it will work. We'll post an item and the first reader to leave a comment claiming it, gets it. Free delivery to Sacramento area residents only. If you live outside the Sacramento area, you'll have to pick up the shipping cost.

Our first giveaway item is the paperback edition of the #1 New York Times Bestseller, Undaunted Courage, by historian Stephen E. Ambrose. Here's an except from the review:

A biography of Meriwether Lewis that relies heavily on the journals of both Lewis and Clark, this book is also backed up by the author's personal travels along Lewis and Clark's route to the Pacific. Ambrose is not content to simply chronicle the events of the "Corps of Discovery" as the explorers called their ventures. He often pauses to assess the military leadership of Lewis and Clark, how they negotiated with various native peoples and what they reported to Jefferson. Though the expedition failed to find Jefferson's hoped for water route to the Pacific, it fired interest among fur traders and other Americans, changing the face of the West forever.

Be the first to leave a comment claiming it and it's yours!

Friday, January 5, 2007

"Just a Suggestion"

Ever since the aforementioned "Rodney" got my husband hooked on blogs and blog readers, David has been doing his utmost to try to share his addiction with me. He has set me up with a blog reader (which I must admit I check regularly) and he regularly adds some random blog that he thinks I might enjoy...all while I adamantly argue that I don't want my blog reader to look like his -- David has many folders with many feeds in each in his blog reader. He seems to have close to 100 unread posts at any given time.

But the blog feed that appeared on my reader this morning was definitely worthy. The accompanying email from my hubby stated: "Girl Talk – This one’s definitely for the girls! C.J. Mahaney’s wife Carolyn, and her three daughters maintain this blog. An excellent and entertaining read for any woman who aspires to Biblical womanhood."

A certain post caught my attention. It's a good reminder to me as I am prone to have "single issues" that I can argue to death!

Happy Friday, dear ones!

Monday, January 1, 2007

Big New Year's Pay Raise for Californian Cheapskates?

Beginning January 1, Californians will get more cash back for their aluminum, glass and plastic beverage containers. Assembly Bill 3056, signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on September 30, raises the amount of California Refund Value (CRV) consumers receive at recycling centers to a nickel for containers less than 24 ounces and a dime for containers 24 ounces and larger. For at least six months, the amount of CRV consumers pay at the store will remain four cents on smaller containers and eight cents on larger ones.

If you're a California resident and not already taking your cans and bottles to a recycling center to get some money for them, make it your New Year's resolution to start doing so. Still too much hassle? You can always feel free to donate them to support your favorite local diaper fund.