Lily’s Seventh Month

My favorite picture of you ever! Sitting in the HUGE chair at Nervous Nellie’s. I thought a picture of you in a larger-than-life chair would be fitting for your 7th month picture.

SEVEN MONTHS! Woah girl, s-l-o-w d-o-w-n!

Firsts: lake trip to Lay Lake; swing in a hammock; 4th of July; playing cards; outdoor concert; meeting Aunt Rena and John; short trip to Auburn; stay at a hotel; 1800 mile road trip for the Wright family beach trip to Fort Myers, FL; feet in the sand and ocean; beach sunset; sitting in a high chair at a restaurant; apple juice out of a sippy cup; nap by the pool; day trip to Sanibel/Captiva Islands

News Headlines: oil spill stopped

Favorite Toy: your Elmo opposites book and anything you can put in your mouth

Mommy and Daddy’s Favorite: the way you wrinkle your nose when smile; watching you watch your Praise Baby DVD’s; your fake laughs and your gurgles

: scooting and doing the army crawl…you can’t crawl yet but you sure can squirm anywhere to get what you are after; can sit up as long as you don’t reach for a toy (you are always reaching for something, so you don’t sit up very long); size 2 diaper but I see a size 3 in your very near future; 6-9 month clothes; learning to hold and drink from a sippy cup

: You don’t have to go back to the doctor until 9 months! I suppose you are around 17 pounds and 26 inches long.

Like Mommy
: You sleep better with the fan on.

UNLike Daddy
: You LOVE bananas!

Best Memory
: Your 2 1/2 hour nap with Mommy at the beach in a “big girl” bed. Dancing with you after a bath…you LOVE anything that involves music and it always grabs your attention and calms you down.

Biggest Challenge: Baths at the beach. Mommy didn’t bring your tub, so baths were either in the sink or in your Bumbo seat in the tub and without a doubt you hated bath time every night! I’ve never heard you scream so loud!

How We Spend the Day: You are up at 6:30, but you play in your crib while Mommy gets a few more ZZZ’s. You are up and eating a bottle, cereal, and fruit by 7:15. You play in your exersaucer or roll/scoot all over the floor until 8:30 and you take a 30-45 min. nap. You play some more, then eat lunch around 11:00…usually a bottle and either a fruit or veggie. Around 12:30 you take a 2-3 hour nap. You take a bottle around 3:00 and play all afternoon until Daddy gets home from work. You eat one more bottle and a fruit or veggie around the time that we eat dinner. Daddy plays with you while Mommy cleans the kitchen. You are usually sleepy around 7:30, so we get you into your PJ’s, read you a story, and Daddy rocks you to sleep.

Funniest Moment
: You have a new “talent” that we call your fake laugh. We call it that because, well, that’s just what it sounds like. You don’t smile, you just open your mouth and let out a fake laugh. One of the nights we were at the beach, you were fussy so I rocked you to sleep and laid you in your bed. The family sat down to eat a late dinner and you woke up, talking and gurgling. It was obvious you weren’t all that tired and you weren’t going back to sleep anytime soon, so I brought you into the kitchen to eat with the family. You sat in your high chair and fake laughed through the whole meal and you cracked us up!

New Explorations
: You grab everything, but your newest obsession is grabbing and scratching at fabric. If a t-shirt, couch, etc. has a print on it, you try your best to make it come off so you can play with it. You like to scratch things with texture like your car seat or pack n play. I think you like the sound it makes. You also love to kick your legs in rhythm in the car seat. On our way to the beach the only time you were not kicking your feet was when you were asleep…literally.

Food: You have liked everything I have put in your mouth. You are such a good eater. It usually takes you a little longer to warm up to a veggie that is not sweet (green beans or carrots), but you will eat them once you know what’s going into your mouth. You are no longer sticking your thumb in your mouth after every bite! But feeding you is still pretty messy because you take a nose dive into every bite. You have had sweet potatoes, bananas, pears, apples, green beans, and carrots.

How We Celebrated Your 7th Month: Daddy had to go to Memphis, TN for work, so it’s just you and Mommy! You helped Mommy in her classroom at school.

Here are some pics from your seventh month:

First time to try something other than a formula or cereal…sweet potatoes!

Asleep on the porch at the lake

With your strange Uncle Ben and TBone who rarely act normal in a picture.

Being lazy at the lake πŸ™‚

Playing cards, which at your age means putting them in your mouth.

Love the expression on your face!

Swinging in the hammock with Mommy at the lake!

Again, Uncle Ben and your Daddy who can’t seem to look normal in a picture. Look closely, Daddy is crossing his eyes.

Playing your piano!

With Hayden at Richard’s BBQ. You really enjoyed his company!

You and Gracie

You and “Gunkle Us”

THE book…I make sure it goes everywhere with us because when all else fails, this book always satisfies you!

Granny Rosie playing on the floor with you at her house one afternoon!

At Uncle Ben’s concert at Starbuck’s

You and Aunt Rena…she is Mom’s (grandmother mom) sister.

Girl, you better get some clothes on!

Waking up from a nap in the car. We stopped in Auburn to eat at Nihon Express for dinner on our way down to the beach.

Your first hotel stay…Sleep Inn in Valdosta, GA on our way to the beach!

You were SO excited about the king size bed!
Wrestling with Daddy!

I’ve never seen you have so much fun! You rolled and rolled and rolled all over the bed. We need to get a bigger mattress at home!

Helping Daddy drive to the beach! Actually, we are stopped in Tampa for lunch.

First time to see the ocean and put your feet in the water…

…and you did NOT like it at all!
Let Mommy make it all better 😦 The house in the middle, right behind Mommy’s hair is the house we stayed in.

First time to drink juice out of a sippy cup…still working on that skill! You hold the cup really well, but haven’t realized that you have to either tilt your head back or tilt the cup up to get the juice to come out.

Poolside nap…you did this almost every morning.

In your float!

Swimming with Daddy!

On the beach in your Bumbo! I think the Bumbo seat was the best thing ever invented for babies!

Anytime Uncle Ben and TH had you, this is where we found you…on the sofa bed watching them play old games on the Super Nintendo.

Playing with TH

Another poolside nap

You and Aunt Leslie (Mommy’s cousin)
Family pic πŸ™‚

Stealing kisses πŸ™‚

Funny faces πŸ™‚

On Sanibel Island, walking to the lighthouse

You, Nana No Name, Aunt Leslie, Granny Rosie

Probably wondering why in the world I have you out in this heat!

Picture with Mommy!

Cool shades πŸ™‚

At The Bubble Room…first time to sit in a high chair at a restaurant!

After dinner with Nana No Name

Prettiest girl on the beach!

Listening to Granny Rosie sing you to sleep!

At the pier, listening to a band outside of Nervous Nellie’s.

Funny family faces…

Nap at the beach in Mommy’s bed. You look so grown up!

Playing cards again…

The Cost of Discipleship

“For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him.” Philippians 3:8b-9a

Rubbish . Worthless, unwanted material that is rejected or thrown out; in a round about way, rubbish in Greek is “dung”.

I’ve racked my brain for what things we’re supposed to count as rubbish and here’s my list so far: money, career, clothes, houses, cars, iPhones, vacations, expensive dinners, jewelry, HDTV, pedicures, a physically fit body, a manicured lawn, family traditions, a boat, baseball scholarship for your kids, a dream job, a new camera, a darker tan, seeing the latest movies, Chef Boyardee Beef Ravioli (haha, just saw a commercial for it), Twilight, sorority/fraternity, etc.

My point is that everything on this side of heaven should be counted as rubbish compared to knowing Christ, and if you read on in Philippians 3:10 knowing him isn’t just a knowledge of him, it’s sharing in his suffering and death. None of the above things (or anything else you can think of) are bad. But more often than not these things just plain stand in the way. They consume our thoughts, our time, our attitude, our daily routine, our plans. And after all that consuming, there’s no room for any amount of consuming by the One who matters above all else.

I recently heard David Platt speak at Student Life camp with our youth group. I’ve heard him speak before so I was expected nothing short of an amazing series of sermons. Although God taught me many things that I pray are permanently on my heart, I want to share with you the most important.

ABC’s of Salvation. Ever heard of that? A-Admit, B-Believe, C-Confess. At what point do you become a Christian? When you say that special prayer and invite Jesus into your heart. At least that’s how we’ve been taught. You say the prayer and done deal…ticket to Heaven…and you are back to living the way you always have. Let me tell you that when you become a Christian, it is impossible to live the way you always have. Did you read that right? Impossible. The Holy Spirit resides in you and He imparts in you desires that are not of this world, desires that move you to act in such a way to show you have fruit (Galations 5:22, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control). There is no longer any room for the world (Galations 5: 19, sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies). That doesn’t mean that you stop doing things of the world forever. It means that when you do things like the world, the Holy Spirit convicts you and you repent.

Repent. A turn from sin and a turn from yourself.

Get out your bible or go here and look at 2 verses, Matthew 4:17 and Luke 13:3. Does Jesus say, “Say a prayer, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”? Contrary to what many of us have heard in our American churches, saying a prayer is not what God requires of us to follow Him. He requires us to repent. To turn away from what we want and run hard after what He wants. To say to him, “My life is yours and I renounce my will, my plan, my desires, my needs, my attitude, my words, my thoughts in exchange for Yours.” Don’t misunderstand me. Repentance occurs in a prayer to God. A prayer still happens when someone becomes a Christian. My fear is that many people, especially in America, have been led in a prayer without understanding the meaning of repentance or the cost of discipleship and they never experienced a true conversion, yet believe they are saved because they said the prayer.

What does it look like to give up what you want and embrace what God wants? It looks like this…two families whom I know personally that were living a comfortable life reaching for the American dream and God gave them a different desire and they are following in obedience. They leave this month for Papua New Guinea to live among tribes of people who have never heard the Gospel. Read their biographies here and here.

Renounce. I like that word. It means to give up. For a follower of Christ, it means to give up your life. Get your bible again and read Luke 14: 27 and 33, “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple…So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” The term disciple is not limited to the 12 followers of Jesus…it translates in today’s terms as any follower of Christ, any Christian. Back in Bible times, if someone was carrying a cross, they were walking to their death. When we carry our cross we are walking to a death to self and a life in Christ. Giving up our lives for the sake of Jesus and His glory.

I think most American Christians are not clear on what the cost of discipleship is. Platt had a missionary on stage with him one night to help bring some reality to what it really means to be a Christian. And to be honest, I don’t like the term Christian because to me it gives off a religious vibe, not a relationship vibe. I’d rather say follower of Christ because I feel that in America many people claim to be Christians but only a few are followers of Christ. Anyway…back to the missionary. He told a story of a man he met out in the middle of nowhere Asia that was running really fast. The missionary stopped him and asked him why he was running and he explained that he had just heard the good news and he was going to tell the next tribe of people. Immediate obedience. The Asian man became a follower of Christ and immediately left to go tell someone else. I’ve been a Christian since I was 5 and I can count on one and a half hands the people I have verbally told about Christ. Sure, I have served others and been an example of Christ, but very little have I actually told someone the Good News. This guy did it immediately, and here I am 20 years after becoming a Christian and I’ve never run with urgency to tell anyone. The Great Commission (Matthew 28: 19-20) was a call for EVERY follower of Christ, not just people with the gift of evangelism.

So after turning from ourselves, what does God require of you and me? Look at Mark 10: 21, “And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, ‘You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.’ ” This verse can look different in people’s lives. God calls some to sell their homes, to sell their cars, to move to a different country, to change careers, to adopt orphans, to preach the gospel in the most awkward situation, etc. Whatever it looks like in your life, it means the same thing. Store up your treasure in heaven, invest your life in the lives of those who are spiritually poor. The call is clear, the call is radical, and the call is for everyone who desires to be a disciple of Christ. Don’t get comfortable in the hope that it won’t be you that God calls to sell your house or give up your career. God blessed us for a deeper purpose than to live comfortably with a lot of stuff. The point is this, you know that you are supposed to go and sell all that you have and give to the poor. Now, your prayer should be, “What now God?” Earnestly seek His will and how He wants this command to be reality in your life. And while you are seeking, be storing up your treasures in Heaven and keeping your focus on the Kingdom and not on the American Dream (Luke 12: 15).

Reality. How is it reality in our life? I would love to say that we are moving to Africa or we are adopting an orphan. But that’s not the case, at least for now. I was recently convicted that God isn’t going to call me to go do His work in another country if I won’t even go next door and talk to the neighbors. We have lived in the same house for 3 years and have never met our neighbors. There was never a “welcome to the neighborhood” visit or anything, even after we were told by the previous owners of our home that the neighbors were, well, neighborly. They are anything but that. I’m convinced the man next door is a hermit and never leaves his house, never opens the blinds, never turns on the lights. The family on the other side is a couple, probably late 30’s with 3 kids, 1 in high school and 2 in middle school. The only reason I know this is because I see what school bus picks them up. They don’t get along very well because I hear them often yelling and screaming at each other through brick walls. It’s sad and lately God has put the family on both mine and Brent’s heart. It’s obvious we need to share with them. We first saw the need when a couple of Jehovah’s Witness guys were in their house for a long time. I don’t know what was said, but it’s obvious this family is desperate for some hope. How can I sit here and watch them believe in a false gospel? It was made clear while at camp when Brent and I could not get them off our minds. They need Him. We must tell them. Our prayer is for an opportunity. They are hard to catch…they are home when we are gone and vice versa. They also NEVER come outside. Many times we are afraid to share Christ with others because we are afraid to lose a friendship. In this case, since there is no friendship and I don’t even know their names, losing a friendship is not a risk. What I’m afraid of is persecution…which is silly, I know. I’m afraid of this family. I’ve seen who these kids hang out with…rebellious teens that like to throw trash in our backyard and spray paint graffiti on our fence. I’m afraid they might do more of that and worse if they don’t accept what we have to say. Not to mention they have FOUR pit bulls! Ha! Those dogs terrify me! What we need is a relationship with these neighbors. So we are praying for opportunity for a relationship and a chance to share. We covet your prayers.

Remember that missionary that was telling stories with Platt? He also shared a story with us about a lost man he struck up a conversation with while in Asia. The missionary asked him a question, “What do you think happens after this life?” and the man answered,”No one has come to tell us that yet.” Wow. There are thousands of people groups that have never heard the name of Jesus and have no clue about the real hope for eternal life. What that man said just pierced my heart…like he was just waiting for someone to tell him, as if he was saying, “Just tell me the truth and I’ll believe.” My heart is forever changed for the nations.

I apologize if this post is all over the place because I know it is. I’m telling you, Platt is an anointed speaker. God gives him such a simple message and he uses such simple words, but what he has to say is so profound and absolutely true. I don’t say any of this to make you feel judged or condemned by me, but I do hope that the Holy Spirit shows us where we need to change and what we need to renounce. My honest desire is to see a generation of people who truly seek His face and live the way He requires, regardless of how crazy it seems.

So if you are a follower of Christ here is a verse for you, “I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.” John 14:31. Get busy with what we should have been doing the moment we were saved from the pit of hell.

If you are not a follower of Christ or realize that you have been an “American Christian” instead of a disciple of Christ, get on your knees and seek repentance. Start living radically for Him and turn from yourself. There is nothing compared to the greatness of knowing the Lord.

I haven’t read Platt’s book, Radical, but I want to. Then I’ll probably have a lot more to say on this topic!