Saturday, February 28, 2009

Six Parker Birthday's

Last night we drove up to Athens to see David & Caroline, Sharon, Grandma & Grandpa Farthing, Danny & Beckie, and Blake. We were celebrating the six birthdays that occur during the months of February and March. It was a great time enjoyed by, it seemed, almost everyone! Caroline had prepared some Tapas that smelled delicious, and then a homemade cake with lemon filling and homemade icing with fresh coconut. Yes, I ate coconut and it was scrumptious! Here are a few of the highlights:







Monday, February 23, 2009

February Catch-Up

So what has happened since the last update.

We spent an evening at the Georgia Aquarium for Georgia Tech night at the Aquarium. There were a TON of people there, but we did get a couple of cool shots of the fishes!






That night, around 10:00pm, out of the blue, I got a severe pain in my lower right abdomen. Well, after it wouldn’t subside after 4 hours, we went to Piedmont Hospital. They admitted me right away and ran CT scans, blood work, and all this other stuff. Luckily, they ruled out appendicitis. Most likely the diagnosis was a ruptured cyst. Should be fully healed in a week or so!




Friday evening was the beginning of the Biblical Counseling Conference. Although I was still drugged from being in the hospital and had to go to bed and missed half of it, what I heard was really good! We are learning so much and anticipate amazing growth from this in our own relationship as well as our relationships with friends and families.


Now we are to Neal’s semester midterm. He’s got about 3 tests this week and 3 tests next week. He is spending all his time preparing for them and that causes him to be quite tired each day. Please pray that he would be able to recall all of this studying at each test and that the outcomes would be satisfactory!


Neal had 2 interviews middle of last week. One with a local energy consulting group and the other was with GE Energy. He should hear something back by the end of this week.


This Friday we are heading up to Athens to spend the evening with David & Caroline & little Dmitri along with Sharon & Andres, Danny & Beckie, and Grandma & Grandpa Farthing. We are celebrating the 6 family birthdays in the months of February and March! Can’t wait, it’ll be fun!


I think that’s all for now! Hopefully I’ll remember to update before the end of March!

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Birthday Week

The birthday week has come to an end. It was a great week of celebration with friends and family!

Tuesday was my (Deborah’s) birthday. A wonderfully simple evening with chocolate, a movie, Chinese takeout and no dishes! Oh the simple joys in life!


Wednesday was not such a good day. Neal unfortunately was in yet another small fender bender. Nothing major and no one was hurt thankfully, but the car does need some more work. He came home afterward to chocolate cake with chocolate icing and fresh amazingly good strawberries, so that kind of helped with the bummed-out attitude!


Thursday was Neal’s birthday! After a full day of working and school, we met up with Neal’s parents, sister, brother and sister-in-law. We ate at P.F. Chang’s and had a good time with all of them. We are headed up to Athens in two weeks to meet with almost everyone on Neal’s side of the family so that we can all celebrate the 6 birthday’s in February and March. Should be fun!


Friday I had plans to surprise Neal. Yes, I kept the secret for about an entire month!! I didn’t cave until Friday at lunch! I had booked a suite at the Marriott Marquis...on the 29th floor!! Amazing views of Atlanta! Then, that evening, we walked a block and a half down to Agatha’s: Atlanta’s original comedy, murder mystery dinner theater. The show was Mayberry R.I.P. It was HILARIOUS! I think we laughed the entire night! Everyone in the audience has a part, Neal was Jud Clumpett, a hillbilly and I was Doodle, one of the ‘Fun Gals’.


Saturday we were able to relax and enjoy the day. Neal had a lunch meeting with a friend, and I was able to do some shopping with my mom!



On Sunday, Neal told our Pastor that he had decided to join the mission team that will be going to Croatia in April. We have been praying about this for several weeks now and believe that this is the right timing for him to make this trip! It is during his “dead week”, the week before his finals. He has been able to move several of them around so that he will not miss anything important while he is out of the country.



On Tuesday I got a call from my mom telling me that my on Sunday the 1st and Monday the 2nd, my grandpa had two minor heart attacks. He was able to get to the hospital immediately, the second one actually happened in at my grandmother's doctor's appointment. The doctors were able to go into his veins and arteries and find two separate blockages. One of them they were able to leave alone because the blood was able to find a different route of sorts. The second one they cleaned and removed the block as well as put in a small stint. The doctors were very positive after both surgeries and expect him to fully recover. Tuesday the 2nd was his 80th birthday. Please keep him and my grandmother in your prayers as they make some adjustments and start to recover.


So, another year older and we can’t wait to see what adventures and opportunities are going to come up in this next year of life!

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Quest for Character Pt. 4 (final)

The Triumph of Love

“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”

~1 Corinthians 13:4-8

LOVE

“Without love, whatever we say is just so much noise. Without love, whatever other gifts we may have amount to nothing. Without love, all good works are without merit.”


...SUFFERS LONG


“Love’s longsuffering is expressed in a patient willingness to bear any inconvenience or sacrifice for the sake of our loved one without becoming upset or angry.”


…IS KIND


“…kindness is an active goodwill. It’s not merely a ‘feeling’ of generosity; it is a dynamic, sacrificial, unselfish liberality that actually gives of oneself to others.”


…DOES NOT ENVY

“…the jealousy of envy…is a selfish and sinful resentment when others are blessed. True love is delighted, never grudging, when the object of love receives blessing.”


…DOES NOT PARADE ITSELF

“…love is never ostentatious or vainglorious.”

“Authentic love is incompatible with a self-aggrandizing love for public recognition.”


…IS NOT PUFFED UP

“It is a picturesque, fitting description for a particularly sinister kind of arrogance or bigheadedness…true love is bighearted but never bigheaded.”


…DOES NOT BEHAVE RUDELY

“…the epitome of bad manners is a failure to show proper honor to others. This is sometimes a sin of omission, sometimes a sin of commission. Either way, it stems from a loveless fixation with oneself.”


…DOES NOT SEEK ITS OWN

“…selfless sacrifice and concern for the needs of others is the very essence of authentic love.”


…IS NOT PROVOKED

“Outbursts of anger can be like nuclear bombs; even if short and sudden, they can do tremendous damage. Such anger is rooted in a deficient love, and the conscious, deliberate cultivation of Christlike love is the only cure.”


…THINKS NO EVIL

“This has little to do with thinking about evil things in general. It’s about imputing evil motives to others and keeping a tally of wrongs suffered.”


…DOES NOT REJOICE IN INIQUITY

“Love finds no satisfaction in sin-whether our own sin or the sins of others. To rejoice in iniquity is to turn virtue and truth on their heads.”

“Often we hear people try to justify a sin like fornication by using ‘love’ as an excuse: ‘We just fell in love and couldn’t resist.’ That’s not authentic love. Real love does not rejoice in iniquity. The purity of love is one of the things that makes it the highest of virtues. Real love never delights in evil.”


…REJOICES IN THE TRUTH

“…here truth is a broad concept that embraces righteous thinking, holy living, the revealed truth of Scripture, and even Christ, who is the embodiment of truth.”


…BEARS ALL THINGS

“Although love does not countenance or rejoice in sin, love does make us eager to protect the sinner and uphold mercy and compassion.”


…BELIEVES ALL THINGS

“Love assumes the best motives. Love assumes innocence until guilt is proven. Love engenders trust.”


…HOPES ALL THINGS

“Even when love’s trust is shattered, love still hopes. If love’s faith is betrayed, it still clings to hope. Love refuses to see failure as final.”


…ENDURES ALL THINGS AND NEVER FAILS

“Love holds fast to its object. It withstands every storm and every type of opposition. It refuses to lose faith, falter in its perseverance, or stop hoping. Thus it never stops loving.”



“…love will stand as the only eternal virtue, because ‘Love never fails’.”

The Quest for Character Pt. 3

The Fruit of the Spirit

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”

~Galatians 5:22-23


LOVE

“All imitations of the Spirit’s fruit are inadequate and ultimately bad-tasting.”

“From the fact that this is the Holy Spirit’s fruit, we know it belongs only to those in whom He dwells. Fruit comes from a rooted, abiding, living presence. You’ll never get fruit from cut flower in a vase. You won’t see fruit sprout from a fencepost. Fruit is the product of life.”


JOY

“Real joy is not a shallow, giddy, fleeting sort of glee, but a deep-down, abiding sense of well-being that stems from the satisfaction a true believer finds in God.”

“Joy is one of the true delights of God’s kingdom, a greater bliss than any earthly pleasure.”


PEACE

“…peace is the tranquility of a soul who finds rest in Him.”

“…in order to be a peacemaker, a person must himself know peace with God.”


LONGSUFFERING

“The Greek term translated ‘longsuffering’… contains the ideas of patience, tolerance, forbearance, and restraint.”

“Longsuffering is a particular kind of patient, gentle, persevering self-control that especially comes into play in our dealings with people who deliberately try to provoke us.”


KINDNESS

“The idea of gentleness and tenderness involved in this expression has nothing to do with weakness or feebleness.”

“True kindness is actually a gracious strength. It presupposes a steadfast tenacity that sees a relationship through trials and hardship.”


GOODNESS

“It speaks of decency and good character in general.”

“It means goodness as opposed to badness. It also implies the idea of active goodness-an attitude that seeks to do good, as opposed to just being passively benign and agreeable.”


FAITHFULNESS

“…faith has built right into it a principle that engenders the quality of faithfulness-which is a steadfast devotion to the truth.”

“We are justified by faith, not faithfulness, and it’s vital to understand the distinction.”


GENTLENESS

“So what this term describes is a tender, considerate, patient, humble spirit of compassion when dealing with others’ offenses and failures.”


SELF-CONTROL

“…all the virtues we have discussed imply the necessity of self-control.”

“…[it] is the exercise of godly restraint upon our human appetites and passions.”



Up next: “The Triumph of Love”

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Quest for Character Pt. 2

The Progress of Faith

"Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue,
to virtue knowledge,
to knowledge self-control,
to self-control perseverance,
to perseverance godliness,
to godliness brotherly kindness,
and to brotherly kindness love.

For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."

~ 2 Peter 1:5-8


FAITH

"...faith is the starting point of the Christian life, as well as the foundation of true character."

"...faith in Christ is the necessary underpinning for every other virtue of godly character."

"His death pays in full the penalty of our sin, and His life provides all the righteousness we need for a perfect standing before the judgment throne of God."



VIRTUE

" ...faith is the one essential quality without which it is impossible to please god, while 'good works' never earn us any merit with God."

"So while we understand and stress that faith in Christ alone is the sole instrument by which we lay hold of forgiveness and full justification, we are not to imagine that true godly character consists in faith by itself apart from other virtues."

"Virtue doesn't come naturally. It isn't something that happens to passive people. It requires diligence."

"...a catalog of qualities that define the multifaceted concept of 'virtue': truth, nobility, justice, purity, beauty, and everything good. That would cover everything honorable-from good manners and hospitality in our dealings with others, to righteous thoughts and contentment in the privacy of our own minds."



KNOWLEDGE

" Now, it's true that knowledge apart from love tends to make a person arrogant. But sinful self-centeredness- not knowledge, per se- is the evil behind that kind of pride."

"There is certainly no inherent value or virtue in ignorance. Ignorance is the currency of fools."

"Innocence, on the other hand, is indeed a virtue."

"In the common perception, 'spirituality' is suppose to be a state of pseudo consciousness where the intellect is disengaged and the feelings rule. That is not a biblical perspective."



SELF-CONTROL

"Life isn't a fun-run...it's a real competition, where you have to run to win. The prize is an eternal reward."

"Self-control involves the mind. If your thought life is not under control, evil thinking will quickly erode character, rob you of spiritual victory, and eventually ruin your life. 'As he thinks in his heart, so is he'."



PERSEVERANCE

"... our perseverance, although guaranteed by God in the ultimate sense, nonetheless involves our participation."

"Jesus made perseverance the test of true discipleship."



GODLINESS

"It speaks of conduct, belief, and speech that is harmonious with the character of God and honoring to Him."

"Godliness describes the nature of one's vertical relationship with God."

"... there is a difference between reverence and godly fear. Occasionally you'll hear someone suggest that the proper fear of God is merely a kind of quiet reverence, or a sacred awe- not really anything as unsettling as fear. In fact, terror at the thought of God's righteousness is actually a necessary aspect of true reverence and holy awe. But there's a positive side to godliness also. It involves not only a genuine fear of God, but also a deep passion for Him. Authentic godliness is inseparable from the fear of God."



BROTHERLY KINDNESS

"...love for other Christians is such a natural expression of true saving faith that the apostle John cites it as one of the main evidences of an authentic conversion."

"...'brotherly kindness' is a very broad concept, and it includes the kindness we are to show to our non-Christian neighbors, too."

"Jesus' point was that whoever comes across your path is your neighbor, and you ought to show brotherly kindness to that person when the opportunity arises.



LOVE

"All the virtues are infused with and empowered by love, and that is exactly how faith works."

"...knowledge together with love makes a powerful recipe for wisdom."

"Love is not a separate quality, distinct from the other virtues...rather, it's best to think of love as a perfect expression of all of them combined."




Still to come:
"The Fruits of the Spirit"!