Saturday, July 30, 2011

Empty Spaces in the Carpet and Towers of Books

Drew and I have been very busy preparing for our move. This past week we sold our dresser, futon, 2 bed side tables, a coffee table, side table, and our TV stand. We also sold Drew's '94 honda accord which is a miracle! Ok, we didn't sell it, but our friend Dave did! The car would not pass inspection so we had to sell it is as is. Our friend Dave LOVES to sell cars on craigslist and is apparently good at it because it sold within three days of being posted. This morning Drew and I were praying together at the table and asking the Lord to provide a buyer for the car as well as praising him that all of our other furniture sold. As we finished praying my cell phone rang and Dave called to tell us that he sold it to the perfect buyer! PRAISE THE LORD!!! We are now a one car family.

As I watched the furniture that we sold leave our house I felt a little bit of sadness with each piece and with each new empty space in the carpet. Side note, without fail Mia (our cat) loves to lay in the new empty carpet space...she is so weird! I felt sad to watch the coffee table leave this morning since it was one of the first pieces of furniture that we bought when we were married. I know it's necessary for it to go and there will be plenty more coffee tables in my life, but I think I am having moments of sadness as all this change is taking place. We continue to trust in God as he leads us to this next phase! God has also graciously provided all the money that we need to move!

We currently have stacks of books piled in the living room in order to make a spreadsheet so we can know what books are in what boxes over these next two years. Are we nerds?? I think so!

Oh, and I was able to take a peek at the upcoming class offerings at Covenant for next year and I definitely looked at all the books for each class to see which ones are new. For the ones that I haven't read I added them to my Amazon Wish List. I am a nerd! I might have to have Drew buy me new pencils at the end of August even though I won't be going back to school. BIC #2 0.5mm mechanical of course! :)


Monday, July 18, 2011

Our Christian Beliefs

A quote by D.A. Carson from his book How Long, O Lord. This is an excellent book on the struggle to understand suffering and evil in the world. This quote, in particular, reflects how our Christian beliefs should transform us. I find much encouragement and challenge from these words.

"It is to say that, in addition to holding that Christian beliefs are true and consistent, the Christian, to find comfort in them, must learn how to use them. Christian beliefs are not to be stacked in the warehouse of the mind; they are to be handled and applied to the challenges of life and discipleship. Otherwise they are incapable of bringing comfort and stability, godliness and courage, humility and joy, holiness and faith."


Pools, Friends, and Iced Animal Cookies

I still smell like sunscreen from my day at the pool and it is delightful. Today was the first day of the summer that I have spent an extended amount of time at the pool, so long that I reapplied sunscreen like three times.

I went with a dear friend and her adorable two kids. Apparently, I am pretty cool since her daughter wanted me to catch her when she jumped off the side of the pool rather then her momma! Katie and I did a hand stand competition, but her son picked his momma over me. I just don't get it, I was sure I was way better then her. :) It was so refreshing to catch up with Katie and enjoy the sun. Katie and I have been friends for like forever. It's such a blessing to hang out with a friend who you don't have to start at the know, they just know you!

We treated ourselves to the Archway iced animal cookies with sprinkles. They like melt in your mouth and you can't help but eating and eating them. There is NOTHING good for you in them, but OH man are they good!

Ahhh, Summer!


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Graduation Celebration

Our graduation weekend was such a blast so I thought I would share with you what we did and some picture collages. We had such a wonderful time celebrating all the work that we accomplished in seminary! Being the planner that I am I spent a lot of time putting together plans for many family and friends to arrive to celebrate with us. I may or may not have printed off itineraries for everyone. I wanted to make sure that everyone felt comfortable and welcomed into our life even though we were not able to host everyone in our home. Thankfully, we had 2 different family friends who opened up their home and hosted most of Drew's family and my family. We had many fun St. Louis events planned like the zoo, city museum, and lunch in the loop.

Drew and I had the privilege of giving our testimony at the baccalaureate service on Thursday night, and it was such a blessing to be able to testify with our friends and before our friends about God's faithfulness in our lives throughout seminary! Here are some pics from the evening of baccalaureate. Oh yeah, the after party was at the Scottish Arms for some delicious drinks!

Graduation evening was so much fun! Though I laugh at the fact that I spent so much time looking for a graduation dress for the special occasion and it didn't matter because I was in my robes the whole time...oh well! And WOW are those robes hot! It was so fun to be able to walk across the stage twice. I was really nervous the first time, but felt much more at ease when it came time for the second walk. Drew and I were able to walk together and be hooded together for the counseling degree, and I loved being able to cheer for my husband as he received his Mdiv. It was awesome to look over and see Drew's brothers standing up and cheering for us and waving light sabers as our names were called. It made us both feel very special!

On Saturday we had a HUGE open house party and again we felt so loved by all the people that came to celebrate with us and showered us with love and gifts. We also made ice cream out of liquid nitrogen. Oh, we know how to party! After the party we went out to Schlafly Bottleworks for dinner.

Most of our friends and family left on Sunday, but Drew's brother Kip and his wife Beth and our niece Lucy were able to stay for three extra days. We had such a blast with them exploring St. Louis, playing games, laughing, and talking about life! It was so much fun to hang out with Lucy and get to know her better. I would say we have the cutest niece in the world!

It was a wonderful graduation celebration and we felt so loved and celebrated the whole weekend!

I will leave you with Drew's favorite picture from the weekend. I think it represents well our success in seminary. Let's be honest I did get better grades then him! :)


Dating again...but still each other!

One thing that Linds and I are learning right now is that as life takes on different degrees of hustle and bustle it is important to be able to appropriately match it with varying degrees of intentional time together. For example, while deep in the quagmire of a busy school year, I could be at job #1 from 5-12:30 AM, at class from 1-2:30 PM, and at job #2 from 3-6:30 PM, and then grab a redbox movie and some flowers and consider the bleary-eyed evening our date-night. At the time, it worked, well it kind of had to work. Being intentional about our time is an easy thing to do if it is a necessity, but it seems to get so much more difficult to master when the days are not all piling on top of each other. Now that we are liberated from the necessity of that kind of crazy schedule one of the things that we are wrestling with is how to still invest in each other appropriately.

As the summer has kicked in we have found that we are still tending to pack the weeks full of all kinds of things, still thinking that a half-asleep late-night movie will cut it as a way to keep the romance alive. The fun events we go to we go to with others, and when we go out to dinners we are often doubling up with friends. This is not enough.

Yesterday, we changed things up a bit. It wasn't anything too fancy, our budget doesn't allow for too much of that, but it was fun and it was nice and it was just the two of us. We went out to a nice dinner (thank you, graduation gift cards!), took a long walk through a new park we found, and then went out to a simple movie. It was pretty awesome, and it was just what we needed. I am happy to be learning this lesson, and I am excited to be able to keep practicing over the next weeks, months, and years.

- Drew

Monday, July 11, 2011

Why "Cultivating Life?"

The inspiration for this little ol' blog came from the book "Culture Making" by Andy Crouch. Did you know that you are involved in making culture everyday?

"Culture is what we make of the world. Culture is, first of all the name for our relentless, restless, human effort to take the world as it's given to us and make something else (pg. 23)," and "The only way to change culture is to make more of it" (pg. 67).

I think a great example of this right now is the Slow Food Movement. A culture of fast and convenient food was created, and as a response to this fast food, the slow food movement was introduced. More people have jumped on the band wagon of shopping at local markets and eating at restaurants that cook with only local foods. A group of people looked at a piece of the culture and with relentless effort have worked to change this.

Adam and Eve made culture. They were placed in the garden and given the creation around them to make something of it.

Genesis 2:15
"The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it."

We have to use our imagination for this and dream about what Adam did with the materials that God had given him. The same is true for us today. Everyday you walk into your kitchen, look in your refrigerator, and create something for dinner. You then set the table, pour the wine, and maybe light a candle or two. You, my friend, are creating culture. You are displaying to those around you what you value, love, and adore.

Drew and I have felt challenged by these ideas. Crouch uses the word "cultivate" many times in his book and I really like this word. It reflects being active and makes me think of tilling the soil in a garden. This is what we want our life and ministry to look like. A constant tilling of the soil that is in front of us; seeing the creation that God has put before us, and engaging the process of making something with it. How Drew and I interact as husband and wife, the kind of foods that we buy, how we take care of our bodies, the way we read books and reflect on how they change us, the way we view our emotional health, the way we treat our neighbors. This is our life and the creation around us is God's gift to us. We want to cultivate it well. The reality of this life is that because of mankind's sin, there are weeds in the soil. We want to cultivate the healthy life offered by Christ in the soil that is before us by helping to bring redemption to all things - i.e. creating a culture!

Crouch says in speaking about Adam and Eve, "Without this gracious carving out of space, they would never be able to fulfill their destiny as divine image-bearers; without the gift of a garden protected from the full wild wonder of the teeming earth and waters, they would be overwhelmed. God's first and best gift to humanity is culture, the realm in which human beings themselves will be the cultivators and creators, ultimately contributing to the cosmic purposes of the Cultivator and Creator of the natural world" (pg. 110).

So, again we invite you to join us as we document our adventures of cultivating and creating this life before us and doing it all to the glory and honor of the Great Cultivator and Creator!

- Lindsey

P.S. One final irresistible quote!
"In the kingdom of God a new kinds of life and a new kind of culture becomes possible - not by abandoning the old but by transforming it. Even the cross, the worst that culture can do, is transformed into a sign of the kingdom of God - the realm of forgiveness, mercy, love and indestructible life" (pg. 146).

Saturday, July 9, 2011

And We're Back!

And we're off! We've finished out one major life stage with our education at Covenant Theological Seminary, and we are pretty excited to be able to embark on the next stages as well. With the start of the summer has come many things for us from cramming in final meetings with good friends to figuring out plans for Drew to get through the ordination process. One of the big things that we've had on our lists is to put together a little bit more of a vision of what we want to do with this blog. Clearly we've slacked off a little bit with the close of the semester and the craziness of opening the summer, but it's time to get back on track.

For starters, since we are going to be doing a large amount of support team building as we come on with Mission to the World, we want this to be a place where friends, family, and supporters can keep up with us and stay informed of what we are doing, where we are going, and what different events are happening with our ministry. We'll still be sending out regular updates through email and other mediums, but we'd like this to be kind of the mortar between the bricks of our communications.

Second, since what we'll be doing with working with students within missionary families around the globe, we want to explore and reflect on the multifarious cultures that we engage, but especially the one culture that is common amongst us all, the good ol' US of A. We would love the privilege of hearing your voices chime in on these as well.

Thirdly, we want to stay actively engaged in finding and engaging resources that further the work of bringing the truth of the story of Christianity to bear in everyday life. We're hoping to post some of our musings, questions, reflections, and even reviews about different books, tools, and programs we come across so that we can trade thoughts with all of you as well!

Finally, this is our life, and as the title of this blog states, we are working hard to cultivate it well. We are excited to use this as a journal of who we are and the adventures God brings us through. We'll be uploading pictures, recording our joys, mourning our sorrows, and simply offering one more way that the rest of you can peek into the madness that is the family of Drew & Lindsey Wilkins.

We appreciate all of you and would love for you to follow our blog on a regular basis! We covet your prayers as we begin this new stage of life!

Drew and Lindsey