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Archive for October, 2009

Snowed In!

And loving it.

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The boys helping Daddy shovel the driveway on Wednesday afternoon (we got LOTS more snow after that!)

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A kiddo-initiated snowball fight...

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... that Jonah clearly lost (lesson learned: never start a snowball fight against a guy four times your size... and holding a shovel. Bad idea. Bad, bad idea). 🙂

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Bode up to his hips in snow on Thursday afternoon

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Taking in the beautiful view up our snow-packed street at dusk

And the weather folks tell us it’s going to be back in the 60’s next week.  Gotta love Denver in October.  🙂

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Passion and Justice

jus⋅tice [juhs-tis] –noun
1. the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness: to uphold the justice of a cause.
2. rightfulness or lawfulness, as of a claim or title; justness of ground or reason: to complain with justice.
3. the moral principle determining just conduct.
4. conformity to this principle, as manifested in conduct; just conduct, dealing, or treatment.
5. the administering of deserved punishment or reward.
http://www.dictionary.com

I am a very passionate person.

“Very”, perhaps, is a bit of an understatement (or so says my husband, who guffawed rather loudly over my shoulder when he read the above sentence).

And when I’m passionate about something, I tend to put on blinkers and… well, you can see where this is going.

One of my greatest passions, something I have been innately instilled with a sense of for as long as I can remember, is JUSTICE.  When I take the Myers-Briggs personality test, there’s no middle ground on that point for me.  “J” all the way, baby.  The world, everything I see and don’t see, is black and white.  Good and evil.  Right and wrong.  Period.

I’m pretty convinced that this passion, this innate sense of justice, is what led me to the practice of law in the first place.  (Contrary to popular belief, it was NOT my ability or tendency to argue.)  In the law, there was fact and consequence, a definite “right side” to fight for and alongside, ultimate justice to be determined by the wisest of men… or at least I thought so before I entered the practice.  Boy was I wrong.  But that’s not what this post is about…

Couple that passion with a highly developed sense of empathy, and you’ve got trouble.

You see, I know how it is to feel passionate about justice, to desire it so much and feel as if you are entitled to witness it handed out in a timely and appropriate manner… simply because of who you are and where you’ve been.  To desire that so deeply it hurts… so much so that sometimes it almost consumes.

And I forget.

I forget that in seeking justice so fiercely, I accuse myself.

Accuse myself of a million wrongs a day… wrongs that demand resolution.  That demand retribution.  That demand punishment.

Ugh.  (hiding self under chair)

Why did God put this intense passion in me?  Why is it so deep a part of me?  It has taken me almost 34 years to find the answer to these questions.

And here’s the answer: So that I can know and understand just how much I warrant death and eternal separation from God.

“…the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23)

It’s what I deserve, because of my sin.  My ugly, nasty, black, wrong, evil sin.

That’s REAL justice. Not me seeking fairness, or kind treatment, or retribution for wrongs I feel have been done to me or to others in the past.  It’s what’s demanded for wrongs done by me.  Done by me yesterday, today… and I’m sure tomorrow.

Before the throne of God.  He has a front row seat to my wretchedness, my complete and total depravity.  Every horrible, terrible part of it.

Ugh.

But there’s a “but”.

“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this:  That while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

Thank you Lord, that there’s a “but”.

I finally understand, at least in part, why I so long for justice:  So that I may more deeply, more fully, more completely understand just how amazing is the mercy of my God.  Just how great the sacrifice had to be to justify me before the Lord.  Just how horrible, how painful, how agonizing — and how necessary — was the cross of Christ.  Because justice demanded a penalty for my sin.  I was, and am, and will be, guilty.  And then Jesus stepped in.  And He took that penalty, my penalty, on Himself.  He paid it in full.

“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me…”

Thank you, Lord Jesus.

How Deep the Father’s Love for Us

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory
Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished
I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

-N

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SFASR 2009

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“What the future holds
will certainly come

And come again
in a moment…”

Robert Bruce

What, you ask?

You heard me.  Er, I guess you read me.

S-F-A-S-R.  A few of you out there know what it means… and now you all can share in the knowledge.  Don’t you feel special?  🙂

It was — drum roll please — the third annual “Starr Family Annual Strategic Retreat”.  It took a lot of time and a bunch of variations (some not pleasant to the tongue, believe you me) for Hubby and I to come up with a workable acronym.  But there you have it.

Last week, we left beautiful Denver behind to spend some time in even-more-beautiful Breckenridge, Colorado talking about our family, planning for the future, setting goals and evaluating the past year.  Because of the hard work of my amazingly smart, genius-man hubby (as well as the generosity of our dear friends) we were able to stay for an ENTIRE WEEK in a huge home built into the mountainside above Breck.  In years past, we have only been able to afford 2-3 nights away in a small condo or home, so this was a special treat to say the least.

One of the most important (to us, at least) things we accomplished during our week away was to make “official” our family vision, a statement that summarizes what we seek to do and be as a family.  It is our hope and goal that all our behaviors, actions, decisions, and desires align with this vision:

To glorify God and enjoy Him, in our marriage and our family,

developing warriors for Christ who are wise, eloquent, and bold,

who strive for excellence in all things,

who are passionate about authentic, Biblical manhood and womanhood,

and who live in Christian community and shine as lights in the world,

for generations to come.

A mouthful, yes… but wait until you see the “core values” we wrote out that further expand upon and explain all the parts of this vision.  🙂  It’s our intent that whenever family decisions are made, they be made prayerfully and purposefully, examining first how each potential decision lines up with the above vision.  In other words, if it doesn’t fit, we don’t do it.  Now, we know that by our plans we cannot change our children’s hearts for God (or our own, for that matter… see the rest of the poem — from our very gifted thespian friend — I quoted above), but we’re just doing our best to follow God’s commands to us in Scripture to guide and lead them as He would have us do, to plan for the future as we are able.  And as two Type-A personalities, this is how we do it.

We spent the days playing and enjoying the town and surrounding areas, then spent evenings planning and evaluating our kiddos (thinking through where they are now and their goals for the year), reviewing our finances and wills, evaluating our marriage and our personal walks with Christ, brainstorming about where God may be calling us in ministry, and talking through our plans for home improvement projects for the year.

Yep, just call us nerds.  We embrace it.

Here are some highlights from the trip:

Coloring in the dining room... amazing, I know :)

Coloring in the dining room... amazing, I know 🙂

Enjoying the hot tub!

Enjoying the hot tub!

Starr men with big sticks (don't ask)

Starr men with big sticks (don't ask)

S'mores in the backyard firepit

S'mores in the backyard firepit

Mommy in the history museum (of course)... apparently Annie doesn't share my enthusiasm :)

Mommy in the history museum (of course)... apparently Annie doesn't share my enthusiasm 🙂

This one's for Robin, my "bathie" friend... just had to show you the tub!  Wow!!

This one's for Robin, my "bathie" friend... just had to show you the tub! Wow!!

Sweet baby girl laughing during playtime

Sweet baby girl laughing during playtime

Walking through town

Walking through town

Any of you have some “family retreat” stories to share?

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Jonah’s Castle Cake

Jonah wanted a castle cake for his birthday.  His mother is not, I repeat not, a cake artist.  Not even close.  Yet she/I is/am a perfectionist.  Bad combination, folks.  Bad combination.

After baking four cakes, cutting and stacking multiple layers, cursing repeatedly (at the cake and at any and all relatives who happened to glance my way) through what the online video demo called “a simple crumb-coat”… simple, my ?&#, lathering on God-only-knows how much sugar and frosting, rolling and balancing five chocolate sugar cones, and shoving graham crackers under an increasingly tippy and leaning tower, Jonah got his castle cake.

The result:

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A close-up view of the side that was leaning the most… Hubby decided to make it look like I did it on purpose, so he added the “dragon damage”…

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Jonah said he really liked the castle, but “didn’t like the cake too much”… apparently with all the frosting that such a castle requires, the cake ended up a bit too sweet even for the little guy.

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I am definitely NOT missing my calling as a cake artist, that’s for sure.  But I’m also sure that with my luck, my youngest son will ask for a Bob the Builder skyscraper cake for his third birthday in March.  Mark my words…  🙂

-N

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Five Years Ago Today

I was staring a changed life in the face.

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A sweet, adorable, squishy little face.

wide eyed

Today, five years later, that face has changed… but the way he changed our life hasn’t.  I’m thankful for that face, and for the little man to which it belongs.  Oh, so very thankful.

Happy Birthday to Jonah, my baby boy.

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-N

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