Resurrection

So, in light of Easter, I have decided to try and resurrect this blog.  Granted a blog resurrection is not nearly as miraculous as Jesus’ victory over sin and death. Nonetheless, our little family has changed quite a bit in the past year and a half…it has seriously been that long!

Looking down at my last post on here, I can’t help but smirk at my naivety.  Oh, Bethan of 2010, you had no idea what was around the corner 🙂

Let  me try to catch you up.  We moved to Philly in August of 2010 without a home and without a job, but with a very great God.  We lived with some sweet friends (that we know a lot more now than we did when we moved in!) from August until December.  During that time, God gave Brandon a job that he enjoys and people that he enjoys to work with.  In December, we moved into a little apartment in another suburb of Philly.  We have been so blessed to have neighbors that we love and some lovely little parks close by!  We spent our first Christmas here in Philly, in our new little home, in our new little community…it was sweet.  At the end of December, we traveled back to Louisville for our friends’ wedding.  Brandon was marrying the couple–a first for him–and it was amazing to see our great God use my husband to explain the rich significance and beauty of marriage.  What a beautiful wedding!  Also on the trip, we found out I was pregnant with baby #2!  Crazy.

So, nine months of life in Philly; a beautiful spring; the addition of our dear friends to our little apartment community; the launch of our church plant; and we  arrived at our one year anniversary of our Philly relocation.

We had Jane’s second birthday celebration dinner on September 9th, and the next day we celebrated the birth of her younger brother, Owen!  I will have to write another post detailing Owen’s birth story (while not extraordinary, it is still miraculous!) and documenting his development over the last seven months…I have a lot of catching up to do!  We are so thankful for our big little boy.  He is such a joy!  Jane is a gentle big sister too, such a sweet heart!

Oh, and one more final update: we are packing up our little apartment because we are buying a house!  While I am so excited for all of the obvious reasons to be moving into a house (e.g. a backyard!), I am overjoyed about what buying a house means…this is our home.  We have moved at least six times since we have been married and have lived in three different states.  I am so excited that we are putting roots down and calling Philly home!

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In recent Rogers news

Here is a quick picture update of our life and happenings since we moved to Philly.  If you would like to read about our life since we moved to Philly, check out the previous post…there are also some pictures of Jane’s first birthday party at the end of it.

Let’s start with our trip to Texas for Dalton’s wedding.  It is always so good to see the Rogers.

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Lots of family and lots of kiddos. We love Oma and Opa!

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Luke’s big boy cowboy boots! Adorable!!

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Grampa and Luke.

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The post-reception-clean-up dance party!

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We went to Gruene for an afternoon/evening…I could have spent much longer in that little town!

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Grammy and Jane

We also had my mom, dad, and brother in town to celebrate Jane’s birthday.  Time with family has been especially comforting, seeing as our social circle has shrunk considerably since the move.  It was fun to explore Philly with the Rekerdres!

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We found a legit Texas BBQ restaurant in Philly…Dad and David approved.

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cheers.

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nice.

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…about as close as we can get to Jane eating vegetables at the moment.

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My brother is a sweetheart.
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So is my dad.

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G-pa and Mum Gu

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My mum loves being a grandmother.

And, a few pictures of life in Philly.

We went to the park.

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Checking her blind spot.
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We visited another Acts 29 church plant in New Jersey, and drove by Princeton University on the way.

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A new scene

I have completely abandoned trying to play catch-up on my blog.

So, Jane is now a year, and she is wonderful.  Also, we have moved to Philadelphia, and (while there is still a lot of adjusting to do) it is pretty wonderful too.

We will start with Jane.  She is crawling and cruising everywhere, and I am trying to make sure she doesn’t seriously injure herself with her latest discovery.  Speaking of latest discoveries, here are a few:

-Ascending and descending stairs.  The house in which we have been staying since we moved has several staircases.  Jane is much better at ascending than descending…so she keeps me on my toes!

-A plethora of new food.  Her favorites are strawberries, grapes, peaches, pancakes, eggs, applesauce, yogurt, and graham crackers.  Her eyes also lit up when I gave a piece of chocolate chip cookie the other day…that’s my girl.

– Cats.  The couple we are staying with have a cat.  Jane would chase him to the ends of the earth…and then poke him in the face.  So far, the cat has been abundantly patient, but I  am trying to limit their engagement.

-Her Teddy.  Jane’s first word, besides “Mama” and “Dada” was “Teddin.”  Absolutely adorable!!  When she sees her teddy, she cries, “Teddin!” in a high-pitched, cutie-patootie voice, then crawls over and tackles him.

-Giving kisses.  Dad and Mom enjoy her kisses, and so do her favorite story characters, and Teddin, of course.

-Talking.  I am not at all surprised that a baby girl of mine is talkative..at all.  So far, amidst the copious jibber-jabber, she is saying Mom, Dada, Teddin, no, oh no, wow, okay, hi, amen, kitty, and meow.  I think that is it.  She likes to take any object and put it up to her ear and say, “Hi!” like she is talking on the phone.  So cute!

I will (hopefully) update more, as she seems to be learning new skills everyday!  She really is such a sweetheart, and we are so thankful for her.  I am praying all of the time for wisdom as she grows more independent and willful.  You all can pray for me too, okay?

Now for the Philly transition.  We moved here August 1st, and have been staying with a newly married couple that have a house in the suburbs.  We are overwhelmingly blessed to be staying here.  I mean overwhelmed.  We have been staying here two months, and they irrationally generous and gracious.  They have shown us hospitality that images so beautifully what we are called to do as Christians.  My heart fills with joy and thankfulness when I think about how God has provided for us through their generous hearts.

Also, Brandon has a job!!  God has been faithful…so faithful in His care and provision for us.  Brandon really enjoys his job.  I mean, he loves who he works for, he enjoys his coworkers, and he is thankful that he can support our family.  We are in the process of looking for a place to live, and that is something that you can all be in prayer about for us.  It has been an unexpectedly tedious process, but I do believe that God will continue to provide for us (has he ever failed us?!…no.).

So, the transition continues, and we will try to keep you updated.  We have been meeting weekly with the other families that have moved here with us, and we have a couple of local additions, which is great!  I feel like life is beginning to take shape a bit, which makes me feel less crazy, and I am beginning to feel some sense of community here…which is so good for my heart.

Now, I could end this here and make you all think that I am stellar, and so faithful and sinless…but I would be a big liar.  This move and transition process has brought more sin to the surface than I knew was in me…which in itself is kind of amazing.  I had no idea the amount of idolatry in my heart, the discontent, the envy, the bitterness, the faithlessness, the anxiety, the anger…I mean, I could keep going.  The Lord has been using some relatively difficult situations to expose loads of sin in my life…and that is depressing and irritating and embarrassing.  But it is good.  And I am so thankful that God relentlessly pursues me and doesn’t let sin settle.  He is still working on me.  I am still wrestling with selfishness and discontent.  I am still acting like a child pretty often…which is pretty ridiculous.  However, I am thankful that God faithfully brings me to the end of my strivings and leads me to repentance.  And, I am thankful that Brandon has been given a lot of patience to deal with some of my craziness.  He is a good man, and I love him.

On a much happier note,  let’s end with some pictures of Jane’s first birthday.

While I wanted it to look like something out of a Martha Stewart magazine…we just couldn’t afford it.  <Insert, “Bethan throws several tantrums”>  So, after some sit down talks with Brandon and a lot of prayer and repentance, we decided to do a pancake birthday party.  And, I can honestly say that I had a really wonderful time planning and throwing the party for our little girl!!

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The Happy-Face-Birthday-Pancake

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Jane loved the whipped cream.

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My non-functional pinwheel center piece.

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The pancake buffet. Brandon made a bunch of pancakes, and then we had strawberries, blueberries, bananas, caramelized peaches, and chocolate chips to top it…and of course, syrup and whipped cream.

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She was a fan.

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Birthday banner!

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The guys.

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Precious Oliver.

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The family, and Jane’s first birthday onesie!…complete with a few strawberry stains!

A sheepish return to the blogosphere: recap of month six and seven

How long has it been?…months?

It is really quite ridiculous.

And, while I would like to give a lengthy and thorough defense and apology…I just don’t have time! So, here is a recap of what has been happening in our lives since Jane was five months.  I’ll make this post cover her sixth and seventh months.

Let’s begin in March. Jane turned half a year old. She cut her two bottom teeth (adorable!), she mastered sitting up, started some solid veggies and fruits, and had a visit from her Mumgu and Aunt Patty. My mum did so well sharing her with Patty, and Jane loved the copious cuddles.

She also started her quest towards mobility by launching herself onto all fours! Here are some videos:


Jane doing the “floppy legs”


First solid food experience…sweet potatoes


Mumgu and Aunt Patty reading to her from the Big Picture Story Bible.
Disclaimer: This vidoe is over three minutes…brace yourself.

Also, Aunt Patty taught her how to click her tongue…so cute!

As far as solid foods go, here’s the run down of her favorites:
sweet potatoes
butternut squash
peas
applesauce
bananas

On to month seven.
April was quite busy, in a wonderful way. We had family in town almost every week! To start the month, Jane’s Auntie Gwen came in from New York. We had so much fun, the weather was wonderful, and we were able to celebrate Easter with her!

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Jane, having eaten avocado.

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A picnic at Cherokee park.

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Jane with Auntie Gwen.

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In her Easter outfit that Alex gave her…I have been waiting and waiting for her to be able to wear this. Hooray!

Next, Uncle Bret, Auntie Rachel, and cousin Luke came to visit. It was such a great time, and Luke and Jane played so well together!

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Bret, Rachel, and Luke

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the kiddos

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The brothers

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The sisters (in-law)…there was a more composed picture of us, but I liked this one better!

Just after Bret and Rachel left, we had my cousins from England, Paul and Ruth, stay with us. Paul is a pastor in England, and they were attending a conference in Louisville. They were stranded in the U.S. when a volcano in Iceland erupted and covered northern Europe with a cloud of ash. Amazing and ridiculous at the same time.  We had such a wonderful time with my cousins, baking, chatting over tea, and learning about life in the ministry.

 Here’s a video of Jane scooting along while they were with us.

THEN, a few days later, Grammy and Grampa came to visit!  We always love our time with Allen and Kellie.  We are rejuvinated when we spend time with them.  And, of course, they had a good time playing with Jane!  We took a few trips to Quills to get coffee, and we took a day trip to a Shaker village…very interesting.  Here’s a few pictures of their time with us.

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As far as Jane’s development is concerned:

  • She progressed from all fours to ‘scooting’ forwards and backwards…almost there!
  • She tried more solid foods such as avocado, carrots, green beans, and pears
  • She loves to point at everything!…and usually it is with her middle finger, fantastic.
  • She’s chatting all the time with da-da’s, ma-ma’s, ra-ra’s, la-la’s, etc.  She squeals with delight, and (sometimes) screams with frustration!
  • She has mastered her sitting skills, and now she happily sits on the floor and plays with toys, until they roll out of her reach.

Oh, and finally here are few pictures of her that we snagged in our down time.

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probably one of my favorite pictures, ever

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and this one

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We finally shot a family portrait of ourselves…which was tricky with out a tripod!

Recipe additions

Finally, some new recipes.

To “Dinner”, I added my new, go-to chili recipe.  Yum.

To “On the side,” I first amended my taco seasoning recipe, and also posted my hummus recipe.

Oh, and in other news, Jane had her six month check-up yesterday!

Her stats:

-Height:  27″ (90th percentile)

-Weight: 15.8 lbs (50th percentile)

-Head circumference: 44 cm (90th percentile)

The doctor says that she looks great!  We are so thankful for God’s grace in her development thus far.

Now begins our adventure with solid food!  I made a batch of sweet potato baby food yesterday, and we documented her first taste.

…there will be a post soon!

He’s Always Been Faithful

Sara Groves has been a favorite musician of mine for many years. When Brandon and I were first married and in a communication stalemate, he would say, “Go listen to some Sara Groves, please.” We laugh about this now because the Lord has been gracious to grow us a lot since then; but it remains true that much of her music speaks what I am thinking…but better.

So, after some background, here are the lyrics to one of her songs that the Lord has used to produce praise in my heart. Yesterday’s sermon was on praise, and I have been mulling over my heart’s lack luster worship. Dwelling on the words of this song causes me to praise the Lord for his perfect faithfulness.

He’s Always Been Faithful
– Sara Groves

Morning by morning I wake up to find
the power and comfort of God’s hand in mine.
Season by season I watch him amazed, in
awe of the mystery of his perfect ways

CHORUS:
All I have need of his hand will provide.
He’s always been faithful to me

I can’t remember a trial or a pain he did
not recycle to bring me gain. I can’t
remember one single regret in serving
God only and trusting his hand

CHORUS

This is my anthem, this is my song, the
theme of the stories I’ve heard for so long.
God has been faithful, he will be again.
His loving compassion, it knows no end.

CHORUS

As I was listening to this song with Jane earlier, I was struck by the fact that God is only one in my entire life about whom I can say, “He’s always been faithful to me.” It took me repeating it a few times in my head to let it sink in…the only one…ever.  And even when life sucks and I think, “how can God use this for my good?” (e.g.  getting mastitis at least 6 times in under three months and having to stop nursing)…He does.  I can look back now and thank the Lord for every bout of sickness and every heart-wrenching step because I see where He has brought me through it.

This song is a rendition ( in both lyrics and music) of the hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness”…one of my favorite hymns. When we counted Jane’s age in days, and I was up with her every two hours feeding and soothing, I clung to and sung the truth of this song. Specifically, I sung over and over, “Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow.”

I read a little about the (rather intriguing) history of this song, and I discovered that Chisholm was a Kentucky native…how fitting!

Great is Thy Faithfulness
– Thomas Chisholm

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Refrain

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Refrain

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Refrain

My heart is particularly quieted by these lyrics as I look to the next few months and the massive amount of uncertainty that lies therein.   I know nothing of what is ahead for us, but I do know that all I have ever needed His hand has provided.

Lamentations 3: 22-23

22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
23they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

Jane – 5 months

It’s a flood or a famine with my blogging! But, I need to get a five month post in before March. She will be six months in a few weeks. I cannot believe it!

So here are a few pictures, and a video of her laughing. If you want to see the whole five month set, you can click on one of the pictures, and it will take you to our flickr site.

This month has been so much fun, she brings so much joy to our lives. Her favorite activity is jumping in her jumperoo. If I let her (which I don’t), she would happily jump all day. We have also been working on her sitting skills, and I think she likes her developing ability. Oh, and we have started a bit of rice cereal here and there. It’s pretty hilarious, but I think she is getting the hang of it!

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Oh, and did I mention that her hair is starting to come in…fun!!

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She is looking at all of the snow outside

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sassy face.