December 23, 2012

Sunday Meditation

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
 “Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!

Luke 2:11-14 

Merry Christmas friends!!

December 21, 2012

Jaden is 10!!

Wow!  Do you you know how old that makes me feel?

I was a mere 12.5 when Jaden arrived in our family, and I thought I was so grown up.  Pssh, what was I thinking?

Anyway, this post is not about me, but about my darling baby brother, who just crossed over into the double-digits.  Sheesh!

Things that I remember about his birthday:

  • It wasn't cold.  Even though he was born 6 days before Christmas, it was a balmy, humid late fall day and I was raking leaves with my siblings, at one of the boys' lawn customers.  
  • Grandpa and Grandma Kautt came up from Dallas to hang out with the five Kautt kids.  We went to Chic-fil-a and had their classic chicken sandwiches and waffle fries, we played on their indoor playground (yes I was still that small), and then we went to Albertson's to pick up flowers for Mom.
  • On the way home from the grocery store, Grandpa was so excited about having a new grandson, that he drove past our street in his excitement.  He had to back up to our road. 
  • I gave Jaden his first bath and got to dress him, because I had won a guessing game we had as a family, about what day he would be born, how much he would weigh, and how long he would be.  I guessed Dec. 17th.  I don't remember the other guesses.
  • I was wearing my Hello Kitty overalls and my sparkly pink heart shirt.  
  • Dad gingerly brought a fresh Jaden out to meet his siblings a few short minutes after his arrival.  I was beyond excited to meet my newest sibling!! 
  • I almost attended his birth, but Mom later told me that she was glad I hadn't due to some complications with Jaden's delivery.  That would have been a fun experience. :) 
  • It was late in the evening (he was born at 8:37 p.m.)
  • I remember how long and skinny he looked.  He was 23'' in length, and weighed 9lbs. 5 oz.  The biggest Kautt baby. 
The rest is a blur.  I was too excited to remember much.  Thank God we took pictures that night.  


Jaden has grown and matured so much this year.  He is now 56'' tall, which is more than 2/3 my height... oh dear. I think he'll be a tall guy. 

A few things I love about Jaden: 

- His caring ways and love for his family
- How he has such an active, creative mind teeming with ideas
- His soft heart and willingness to be corrected
- His smile cheesy and huge and how it makes my heart smile
- His ambition and drive
- His faithfulness
- His energy and spirit
- His willingness to learn
- His potential to do great things

There are WAY too many aspects of Jaden I could write about, these are just a few.  I know that Jesus has great things for his life, and has set out a course that He will direct Jaden on.

I love you Jaden and I am so very thankful for your life.  Keep looking to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith buddy! 

"I am nodding my head an emphatic yes to all that You have for me"

There have been many times over the last 6 months since Dad resigned his position as pastor of a local congregation, that I have felt a certain longing for old, familiar things.  For that certain safety that came with Dad having a regular job, a monthly pay-check, and a hundred other things that come with "normal life."

That restlessness, that discontent, that niggling fear are all what I call "a longing for the melons of Egypt" backward glance.  That glance can be so dangerous to my soul, when I most need to be look upwards - Jesus-wards.  It can build in me such anger and hostility to where I am right now, and why He has me here.

I was complaining to my journal the other day, about how it seems some people are more blessed then others, and how I was so ready for our burdens to be lifted, and for our family to be blessed again.  But then I had to do a reality check, and remind myself just how blessed I am.

And it reminded me to pray.

Prayer has a way of lifting us up out of our situation, and bringing one into close harmony with Jesus, as we pour out our very soul to Him, in praise and petition, in confession and thanksgiving.  I always experience a longing for Heaven after I've prayed. Especially when I am lifting up those dear ones in my life who are experiencing trials and tests, whether physical, emotional or spiritual.  Because, they are suffering.  They feel as if there's no way out, but back "to Egypt" - and at that moment of weakness, they need to be lifted up in prayer.  So as to feel a closeness to their Father's heart, and He can whisper "I will never leave you, nor forsake you."

When all around my soul gives way
He then is all my hope and stay
On Christ the Solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand

There is no turning back for me.  I am safely on my way to Caanan, and my soul finds peace in knowing that Jesus is on the journey with me.  I have His Spirit dwelling inside me, to guide me into all Truth, and I have His precious Words - words of life, words that convict and comfort, that take me out of my safe place and into His reality.

And I am not alone.

And I am blessed.

And I am His child.

When I drew that line in the sand, and said "I am Yours Jesus, do with me as You will" I was making a statement to myself, to the world, to Satan, that I have decided, in my will, to follow Jesus wherever He takes me.  That is a dangerous thing to say, and should not be said lightly, I didn't say it lightly.  I said it as the Spirit moved me to a place where I needed to be, a place where I was basking in His grace and saw the path that He has laid for me, clearly.  And I took that step of faith, into what I saw was thin air, but His hand caught me and I have continued to walk, with Him.

And you know what?  He hasn't dropped me yet.  I have at times, thought about jumping from the safety and difficulty of being a part of The Way, back onto the path labeled Another Way, which Satan touts as being so easy, and so full of pleasure and absorbed with self, and the path to happiness and fortune, and health.  But, whose fiery end is just out of sight, but always looming over the heads of those who take this path - this Other Way.

So I have chosen the Path of Righteousness and remind myself that the "Lord is My Shepherd, I shall not want" - but what is it that I am in need of, if I have Jesus?

There is a whole wall in my room where I have placed pieces of paper containing my favorite quotes, scripture passages, wise sayings.  One of them says: If I lose everything but have Jesus, I in fact have everything that I truly need.  Jesus + Nothing = Everything.

And in those moments when I am looking backward (or downward) and catch myself "longing for Egypt" I have to stop and say "Thank You Jesus, for all that You are."  Because Him simply being, is enough to jolt me awake, and chide myself for the lack of faith, and for allowing fear to come in and steal my Joy.

He is there 
He is not silent 

That is enough for me.

"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love.  Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith - the salvation of your souls."  
 I Peter 1:6-9

I will open my hands, will open my heart, I am nodding my head an emphatic 'yes' to all that You have for me 


December 18, 2012

My life is not boring

I think sometimes that I wish my life had a little more excitement.  Or that perhaps, I had more friends with whom I could do fun activities, or have adventures with, on a more regular basis.  But all that is, is my heart expressing ingratitude, restlessness.  

Certainly, from an observers perspective, I probably do live a more "sedate" lifestyle than most 20-somethings, but I'm not comparing myself with them.  I am glad I stopped doing that a while ago.  It's depressing trying to "be like the Jones'." 

In the last two weeks I have: Helped a friend move - he went from being homeless, living in his vehicle, to getting a good job, a nice large apartment, all in the matter of a few days.  It was a blessing to assist him over a couple of days, move into a new place, hopefully for a long while, and seeing how it was a relief for him, not having to brave another night in his car.  The sunset that Friday night was beautiful (see picture above), and the interesting tree made for a perfect photo opportunity as I was taking a short break from hauling boxes up a flight of stairs.  

Skipped Ultimate Frisbee, which has become a Monday evening 'ritual' that my siblings and I look forward to the whole week.  Because it was so cold that Monday night, we decided to go Christmas shopping instead, and enjoyed a nice variety of places, including North Haven Gardens, which is quite impressive in their selection of plants, and other garden things.  Right now, they have it beautifully decorated for the Holidays, inside and out.  We had a fun evening together, shopping and driving around, enjoying the lights and other Holiday decor on the way.  

That Monday night (a week ago yesterday), we stopped in at Whole Foods, and I had Johanna take a look at their Toms selection, and pick out a pair, which I plan on buying for her 15th birthday, in February.  I think we found "the pair" and had fun in the process, all of us seeing which style and color we'd buy, if we had the money, har har. ;)  

Thursday night, my sisters and I had the joy of meeting up with old friends for coffee and a nice chat at a Starbucks in Grapevine.  The time went by so fast, and we left when they closed, but just to go and sit out in the van to continue our conversation until late that night.  When you only get together every two years or so, the precious few hours spent together, are just that precious, and few.  But, oh so enjoyable and worth every last second.  Hopefully, a similar outing will take place in January. 

Jaden looks forward to his 10th birthday, which we will celebrate this weekend.  Joel bought him the bow and arrow set you see above, as an early birthday present.  It's hard for Jaden, because his birthday is in close proximity to Christmas, some years we just buy him one gift, for both days. :P  This year, who knows.  He is most looking forward to Caleb coming down to spend the day -- all day, Friday.  He really misses Caleb not living with us at present.   

He's been practicing every day since he got his gift, and is really quite accurate.  It's nice to see him out there, being diligent at learning a new skill which could be handy one day. :)  He's such a manly little guy (said in a distinctly Jaden voice), and wants to do everything the "big kids" do. 

Saturday I completed my Christmas shopping, and wrapped up all of the gifts - yay!  I love being able to do that all in one day. :)  Jaden really wanted to accompany me on my outing, but I told him that I would be picking up his gift, so he was content to stay home.  He knows what it is... but I have maintained that I bought him an over-sized Tootsie Roll (it's the long, silver package nearest the blue package in the picture above).  I went to three stores, all within a nice easy drive of each other.  Blessing right there, that I didn't have to drive far, and was able to pick up everyone's gift, except Caleb's... hmmm. 

Later Saturday afternoon and into the evening, our dear friends the G. family came over for a visit.  My Uncle Abe was in town for the day, and they wanted to see him before he left.  They brought their Uncle Eddie, which was nice. :)  We enjoyed homemade pizza and salad, and encouraging conversation, and play-time with the kiddos in the backyard. There's never a dull moment when Tristan and Lizzy come to play! 

Joel made yummy coffee Sunday morning, and although I don't usually drink coffee, the kind he was brewing, is just so good.  Caleb came down and our family worshiped together.  We enjoyed a lot of Christmas carols, until I was breathless and hoarse.  Then we opened up the Word and discussed evangelism and the Gospel.  It was deep and intense and good and necessary.  Lunch was a family affair, and then we discussed dreams of a family business and gardening.  

Caleb went back to Mck., and the rest of us kids decided to go on a bike ride, as it had been a while since our last Sunday evening/night ride.  We drove to Campion Trail, and instead of heading towards Irving, we went West, in the direction of Valley Ranch.  

It was certainly colder then we had expected, but when one is riding near water, it's going to be cool riding.  Once we made it on top of the levee type thing, we noticed a 10 degree difference in temperature - warmer.  

One of the crazy things we did as we were biking back through Valley Ranch, was stop under this bridge, and Phoebe climbed up onto this one-foot ledge, to see what it would be like to sleep there, as homeless people sometimes do.  It can be done, although I'd be afraid I would roll off during the night, and break my neck.  

We took a different route back to where we had parked, a much warmer one. :)  It took us along the top of the levee thing (sorry, not exactly sure what it's called), overlooking the lake, and the pretty houses, and the moon was shining down upon us brightly.  

Yesterday, Joel found a free source for mulch here in Dallas.  Preservation Tree company is a locally owned and operated business, which has so much business that they gladly offer free mulch pick-up by people like us.  All you have to do is stop by and get it.  That's exactly what Joel, Phoebe and I did yesterday afternoon.  We started out hand loading it into the wheel barrow, but a few minutes into that process, one of the men who works for Preservation Tree services, came out and offered to load us up using their Bobcat.  It went much faster and we were so grateful for his help!  

So, if you live in the DFW metroplex and need mulch, or tree services of any kind, we recommend Preservation Tree services to you! 

Whew... I'm exhausted after writing that all down. 

Have a lovely week, and don't be bored! ;)

December 16, 2012

Sunday Meditation

"Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all— that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly,  not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins."
Acts 10: 34-43

December 7, 2012

Currently Reading

Because the church has embraced this age-segregated philosophy, we have created groups for everyone, but community for no one; meetings for all, but discipleship for few.  Age segregation has replaced the older mentoring the younger.  Church programs have displaced family discipleship.  (p. 43)
Author and Pastor Scott Brown asks the pointed question: Are modern youth groups the result of a problem? or are they the cause?

We see a three-step cycle happening in our churches, which Brown believes is a contributing factor to the large numbers of young people leaving the church upon graduation from high school.

  1. Apostasy in the church
  2. Age-segregated youth groups leading to the
  3. Destruction of young peoples souls, and a lack of a solid foundation
Building a new foundation based exclusively on God’s Word will require diligent labor.  Our mission is to show how it can be built on the right foundation.  This is the heart and soul of all reformations in Scripture.  (pgs. 45-46)
A return to the “old paths” can occur.
Thus says the Lord:
“Stand in the ways and see,
And ask for the old paths, where the good way is,
And walk in it;
Then you will find rest for your souls.
But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’

Jeremiah 6:16

Jurisdictional crisis has led to many problems in our society.  Whether it is the government grasping for power that is not biblical theirs, or the church usurping the authority of parents, or families in a state of chaos, because the male-headship has been abdicated.  We see that there is now not much difference between “Christians” and the “world” when it comes to fundamental issues such as marriage, character of children, honesty and fidelity.
As Scott Brown points out:
An otherwise legitimate action can be sinful when someone who has not been given the authority by God to perform it.  It is God who properly orders society: “There is no authority except from God and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” (Romans 13:1)
I will be sharing more as I continue to read this fascinating book.

A related resource, is the film Divided, which came out last year and sparked controversy over its content.

December 2, 2012

Sunday Meditation

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you.
And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.

II Corinthians 4:7-15 

December 1, 2012

Some questions to ponder

A while back, a friend and I were discussing how we felt concerning the biblical idea of a man "leaving and cleaving" and what exactly did that mean, or how should it be applied in relationships today.

So, I have a question for the guys in our midst:

What is your understanding of the concept "leaving and cleaving?" How far would you move in order to marry someone? Is it always necessary for the guy to move out of state, in order to fulfill the dictum, or just to move out of his parents house? Should the girl ever "leave and cleave" i.e. move out of state, etc., in order to marry? What about sons and daughters who desire to live near their parents in order to carry out a multi-generational homestead, etc.?

And, gals, you are more than welcome to weigh in as well.