Thursday, December 01, 2016

One Star, One Child, One Night

In all of history, there has never been a star like the star. 
When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 
Matthew 2:10
In all of the billions of babies born, there has never been born the Son of God.
 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 
I John 5:20 
Except this one night. 
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2:11
This night in history, a star appeared. And a baby was born, the one child, on this one night.

I am in awe.

I painted these canvases to give as gifts last year with this saying on them. I hope that they are received as what they are - not a work of art, but a reminder to worship the One True God who gave His Only Son on this one night in history.

Merry Christmas from the Rhodes Family

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Old Salem

In early October, we made it to Old Salem, NC for a short trip to play in the field and eat way too much junk food. Some traditions are too good to stop. Every girl needs a serious game of kickball every now and then. We missed Rachel and Adrian's family with us.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Happy Fifth Birthday, Abigail!

Five years ago, God showed us great mercy in delivering to us this child. Abigail was born while Ray's daddy was suffering cruelly with cancer, we were getting ready for Rachel and Adrian's wedding, and  Sarah was on almost complete bed rest due to concussions. As I look bad at those days, I wonder how we survived. The presence of God's hand on us was never more real than at that time in our lives. We are so thankful to God that He chose this little princess to to be born to our family.

We got some new pieces for the playground because it's in need of an update. Adrian gave everyone a ride on the swing inside. The next day I came in and she had made a "car-sled" out of the pieces. The swing set may never get the update...

Abigail and Susannah love Frozen and play princess a lot!

Friday, November 04, 2016

It's a Birthday Party at the Rhodes House

Ray turned fifty-five in October and we did a lot of cooking. He likes lots of options on the table so for his birthday, that's what he got - fried chicken, fried eggplant, potato casserole, roasted cauliflower and zucchini, and crusty bread. Dessert was a pound cake with strawberries and homemade whipped cream. He usually likes healthy eating, but he didn't get that.

An activity he really likes is something we've been calling the read a line game. Everyone in the house gets a book that they've been reading lately and reads a line, a paragraph or a page from it. I'm always impressed by what the girls find meaningful that they want to share. I wish we did it more often.

I love that the little ones wanted to read books that they have memorized. Their sweet little voices have already gotten the hang of the sing-song rhythm of reading aloud. Josiah chose Little Blue Truck, Susannah read If You Give a Pig a Pancake, and Abi read The Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear.

This is the first time Rachel and Adrian played with us and we couldn't get her to stop reading. We should probably come up with a few rules like-
  • pick your portion before anyone starts
  • no reading silently while others are reading aloud
  • have a question or comment about each person's reading
  • there should probably be a time limit too
It's a good thing to enjoy books and reading!

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Ten Ways To Destroy the Imagination of Your Child

It has been a long time since I've read a book that has challenged me so. I don't know who Anthony Esolen is but I suspect our theology is a bit different. For several reasons, his book on parenting has kept me awake recently.

The style- 

I'm sure there is a literary term for the style of the book, but I don't know what it is, however, the title kind of gives it away. It is written in the opposite of what would actually be helpful to training a child. So when the author says to keep your child indoors all of the time, he actually means to keep them outside. Having so many things written in the negative, I have to stay on guard while I'm reading, asking myself, "Is this what he thinks parents should or should not do?"

The subject-

The author deals with serious pieces of literature, works of art, many languages, random types of government, and scientific methods. He gives a complete run down on how a car works using words like - cylinders, differential, universal joint. He introduces Greek gods and obscure characters in literature like they are well known friends. He discusses poetry of every genre, Augustine, and Scripture alongside Chopin and Beethoven. He makes a fine argument against organized sports and programs, but for gangs of kids playing in the streets. My brain is stretched! 

The guilt- 

I should have been doing some of this all along. Sometimes I mourn for the older girls' losses because of my lack of wisdom. As a parent, I didn't know what I was supposed to be doing. I know that God takes us where we are and uses us in His own plan, but I do wish I hadn't been so ignorant when Rachel was born. I nearly starved the poor child and then gave her straight apple juice out of a bottle. God's grace and mercy to us is so obvious through those days. Now, I haven't near the wisdom that I need to continue parenting, but at least I know that I don't know what I'm doing.

*Don't worry, I'm not about to sit Abigail out the back door and make her stay for twelve hours on her own, nor am I removing her from her formal music lessons. I can't throw all safety to the wind but I am trying to consciously build her imagination.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Daytona Beach - Summer 2015

I've been cleaning up my blog posts and came across this. I don't know why it was never posted, but I can't wait to get back to the beach! It will be interesting to see how the beach looks after the hurricane.
A most familiar, but loved view for our family.
Abigail and Lydia
Sarah, always ready with a camera.
Sitting in the waves with this sweetie was absolute joy!

Adrian, Lydia, Hannah and Sarah spent a lot of time on the boogie boards. 
Abigail and Susannah loved playing together and had a great time!
We take almost all of our food and we LOVE Rachel's homemade cinnamon rolls.
It took Josiah most of the time that he was there but he finally learned to love the beach. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

It's Not Cliche'

Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through him who strengthens me."

My sweet friend Natalie just gave birth to her fifth baby. (The baby is absolutely beautiful, named after Natalie's best friend, Sarah Michelle, who died last year from cancer.)

But the point of this isn't about her newest great joy. It's about my failure to do as God leads me.

During her labor, the verse that I kept thinking of to pray for Natalie was Philippians 4:13. I kept praying that God would give her strength through her faith in Him. I didn't text the verse to her because it seemed so cliche'. Of course, that's what everyone would say. But the thing about it - It's a great verse! 

Recently, I read the passage that was leading up to this verse. It's all about Paul telling the Philippians how he is able to survive all that he went through to share the gospel.  And then he explains how God will give others the strength to do what they need to do.

Philippians 4:19 "And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus."

God gives us the strength that we need to do all of the things that he calls us to do.

Too often our "Pinterest" society takes one verse here and there to use haphazardly.  We don't get to fully enjoy the context because it's thrown around too easily. This is a reminder to me to use the Word of God carefully, but also not to neglect sharing it with others. It's not cliche' to give out God's Word.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Remaining Sin

I get so frustrated with myself because of remaining sin. Why can't I learn? Why do I continue to sin?

In the face of so many wonders and signs, the Israelites still sinned. God rescued them over and over. He provided them with one reason after another to believe in Him. But what did they do?

 "Yet they tested and rebelled against the Most High God and did not keep his testimonies," 
Psalm 78:56

And what do I do?

"In spite of all this, they still sinned; despite his wonders, they did not believe."
Psalm 78:32 

I still sin because I do not believe.

My prayer today and every day must be Mark 9:24, "I do believe, help my unbelief."

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A True Friend

Have you ever noticed in social media that when someone is having a fight with another person, they will post all kinds of stuff about it? Maybe they never post a person's name, but they'll share a meme or articles that relate to the fight. Their comments may or may not be intended to jab at the other person, but they want to make it a public, "in your face" remark. This isn't about that. This is just because I noticed recently that I have some really great friends.

We often discuss the definition of a true friend in our home. Having teenage girls means that friends come and go. I have been so grateful that God has blessed my life with the friends that I have. There are no perfect people in the world, but I may have found one friend who gets it pretty close.

L is someone that I can talk to about anything at all. She wants to discuss deep things about our savior, yet she can be silly too.

She's the lady that I can say anything to. She knows my greatest sins, and doesn't pass judgement in the wrong manner. She isn't shocked about my questions about the faith.

She doesn't let me wallow in sin. Because I know she cares about me, I'm not mad when she confronts me. She isn't going to let me gossip or wallow in self pity.

Her advice is applicable to my life. The day she told me, "if you can't worship God in the chaos that God gave you, you need to question who you worship," was life changing.

I don't have to pick up or clean up anything at all when she comes in to my house. And I don't feel the need to apologize for something that I haven't done. I'm completely comfortable with her. The last time she was at my house, she helped me fold five loads of laundry.

Her friendship isn't one-sided. If I go too long without checking on her, she checks on me. Because L understands the grace of God, she is able to freely extend it to me.

How can you be true friend? Only through a relationship with Christ. The only perfect person on earth was Christ. Proverbs 18:24 - A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Christ is that perfect friend.

L is not named because she is also really humble and would be embarrassed.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

About Friends

A friend sticks closer than a brother...

Proverbs 18:24 A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

There are days when loneliness over whelms me. In a sea of people, we all can feel very lonely at times. What's a girl to do? Remember! God has blessed us with some amazing friends. One of the reasons I love Facebook is because I can somewhat keep up with long time friends easier. If I can't visit with them one on one, I can at least have a tiny glimpse into their lives.

The Jarrards and the Baileys have been our dearest friends over the years. We met the Baileys when they moved onto campus at seminary just over twenty-nine years ago. 

We stopped by to see the Baileys on a trip last Fall. They moved for David to pastor Cottondale Baptist Church in Alabama. David and Dawn are the friends that we can go weeks without talking to and the moment we get together, it's like we were never separated. 
The Jarrards came on to help us start our church eleven years ago and have proven to be faithful friends. The Marines moved Kevin and Kelly and their children to Pennsylvania so we made a fun trip to see them recently. 
This is Kelly and me at the top of a very tall observation tower that Abigail sprinted up at Gettysburg, PA. Abigail wasn't scared or winded, I on the other hand was both.

Dawn and Kelly are godly women whom I have often admired their marriages. They both set a great example of what a wife should be.