Brandi With Sling

This blog is turning into quite a photo journal. Here's another one of Brandi modelling her new sling (Eve's inside of it) that my aunt Dani gave her.

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Being Born

A speeding head, a speeding heart
I'm being born, a bleeding start
The engines roar, blood curling wail
Head first then foot
Then heart sets sail
-- U2, "FEZ-Being Born"


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Welcome, Evangeline Grace

Evangeline Grace Guel was born yesterday, June 24, at 8:20 a.m. The following photo was taken seconds after her birth:

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And here's one of her resting today:

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Track

I spent about 45 minutes last night mowing Brandi a walking track around our field. She loves her morning walks and after the baby comes (she's due on Thursday) she won't be able to venture too far from the house, so a walking track around our property is an ideal thing for her. I actually got the idea from a friend of mine who suggested that our field would make for a great running track. It's a nice, scenic walk too. On the southern side of the property is a huge adjacent field that runs into a wooded area, and on the northern side our neighbor has a bunch of grazing cows. Very relaxing.

Our Walk To The Dairy

There's a dairy in our neighborhood, about two miles from our house. Tonight Nathan and I took a stroll to the dairy. Here are a few photos from our trek.

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Here's a final shot of Nathan with all the dairy cows in the background:
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And here's a bonus shot that Brandi took of me leading the chickens to their tractor (cage) for the night:

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Various Photos From The Farm

Even though we only have ten chickens and a cat, I still think of our place as a farm. We've got big ideas for next year -- a meat cow, a decent size garden, some fruit trees, and maybe even a goat or two. Here are some photos from this afternoon ...

A good friend of mine from our church let me borrow his riding lawn mower. Using one of those things is like being on a go-kart.

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These sunflowers (I guess that's what they are) are all over the place. The bees love them.

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We used to call this "the shed," but now we call it "the barn."

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This is a shot of our house from the street. If you ever come to our place, look for the stone gate. You can't miss it.

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Turn Or Burn?

I posted this on Thinklings the other day, and I thought I'd post it here as well since I haven't posted anything all week. :-)

With a nod from John Calvin, the Geneva city council in 1553 burned Michael Servetus at the stake. Servetus was a heretic who denied the Trinity of persons within the Godhead and denied paedobaptism. While Calvin preferred to give Servetus a quick death via decapitation, he had to compromise with the council who preferred to let Servetus burn to death.

On a related note, a few years earlier, Swiss reformer Ulrich Zwingli, and his council, persecuted Anabaptists by giving them their "third baptism": a death by drowning. Zwingli would later die by the sword, fighting Catholics in neighboring counties.

Sadly, the history of Christianity is rich with bloodshed. Thankfully, these days we don't kill guys like Joel Osteen and whoever the guy is who wrote The Shack, but I think the history of dealing with heresy should teach us that orthodoxy -- right thinking -- really matters. To be sure, I don't condone certain ways the church has dealt with heresies in the past; in fact, I find many of those ways appalling. While I'm not a pacifist, I tend to think that the Anabaptists had a lot of right ideas when it came to their aversion to violence.

Heresy is serious, and an appropriate response to heresy is something the evangelical church needs to grapple with in this age of pluralism, "tolerance," and sweltering anti-Christianity. As far as an appropriate response goes, violence is not the answer.

Nathan's World

Finally -- Fast Internet!

We finally got high speed Internet out at our humble farm. The only choices rural Americans tend to have are dial-up and satellite Internet. We've been using dial-up and it's horrible, so today we finally got our high speed satellite Internet. So far so good. There is a noticable delay once you click on a site (about a second or so), but once it starts transmitting the data it's actually faster than our old high speed provider when we lived in the city.

Men's Ministry

I posted some thoughts on men's ministry here. (Hover your mouse over the "here." It's a link.)

Kids With Birds

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Die Happy

How we deal with death is at least as important as how we deal with life.

-- James T. Kirk

If I were to die today I don't believe I'd have any regrets. To my knowledge I don't have any disputes with anyone. I don't have any unconfessed sins. I don't have deep regrets that haven't already been healed by JESUS. I don't think I have anything that I'm wanting to tell someone. Overall, I think I'm pretty set for death.

For my wife and kids, I hope I can hang on at least a few more years, and I'm really hoping the Lord gives me at least another 50 or 60 years, but if not, oh well.

I don't know why such a weighty matter is on my mind today, but I thought I may as well write about it. Hopefully years from now I can look at this post and say, "I'm just as ready for death as I was back then."

Cook Or Clean?

Here.

Pondering Anabaptists

At work we took an order from an Old Order Amish business, and the Amish (and Anabaptists in general) have been on my mind today ever since. There's something strangely compelling to me about groups of people who eschew technology, military service, and the world in general. I don't want to become one of them, but I do find them compelling, especially when it seems to me like the evangelical church doesn't look much different than the world at times.

My Name Is Eric, And I'm A Calvinist

I didn't have a choice but to lift you up. And sing whatever song you wanted me to.

-- U2, "Magnificient"


Theologically I'm not prepared to defend to death every minor point of Calvinist theology, but I've found recently the more of God's word I read, the more plainly I understand that our salvation is not our own doing. Sure, real Arminians also believe in prevenient grace, but I can't buy the idea that we have anything whatsoever to do with our eternal destination. (And for the record, I don't think Arminianism is a weak position; I simply think Calvinism carries more Biblical weight.)

For me, embracing Calvinism is embracing a paradigm-shifting thought: I'm not in control of jack squat. I can't will to do good. I can't give God a wink and a nod, saying, "Go ahead, do your stuff in me." And I certainly can't work out my own salvation with fear and trembling; it's got to be God working in me, and it is. I'm comforted knowing that what He starts He completes, and He'll perfect His work (both in me and my family) until the day of Christ JESUS (Philippians 1:6). I know that's true. I have no fear of losing salvation because it's not up to me to keep it. He will come through.

In the past I've dipped my toe into the waters of Calvinism, but I've never (I don't think) flat out said I was a Calvinist. I guess that's what I am. The theologically snooty part of me would rather be called a monergist or even an Augustinian, but Calvinist works just fine.