Monday, July 21, 2014

Ordinary Days

My little laundry helper

Rose (almost 100 years old) and Rosie (1 year old)

Nectarine popsicle on the Highline

This was Rosie's entertainment while I was shopping :)

Baptistry set up in the Buntings' kitchen

Hummus hair

Thursday, June 19, 2014

(More) Reflections on Marriage

After one year of marriage, I wrote these reflections. And now after four years, I have a few more things to add.

I have continued to learn so much from my dear husband:

He has shown me how to be a joyful servant—at 2 AM (and 3 and 4 and 5…) when our little one is crying and restless; at the dinner table when that same little one is covered head to toe in bright green avocado; at the kitchen sink where dishes have piled high even when more enjoyable work is left undone.

He has shown me how to struggle in prayer—all the times he didn’t know I was watching, but I knew he was on his knees praying. In the early morning, in the night, in the middle of the day. Without ceasing. And yet always trying to do better, to make his prayers more focused and more meaningful. He has lists that put mine to shame, and he has a commitment to prayer that is the precious fruit of a steady faith.

And he has shown me the amazing work of God, the transforming power of His grace. No, my husband is not perfect. Not even close! And neither am I. But isn’t that the wonder of the gospel—the way God can take broken humans beings and sanctify them for His purpose? His power is made perfect in our weakness. And I’ve seen that played out in the years I’ve been married to Jady. God has worked in his heart and in his life to put the old man to death, and to put on the spirit of Christ. This might be my favorite part of marriage: the ability to witness God’s daily working in the life of someone else, and to rejoice in the glorious transformation that brings.

Thank you, Jady, for being better to me than I deserve and for choosing me as your wife. 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

There's a Monster in the Mirror: Self-Indulgence

Time to resurrect this series. Let's talk about self-indulgence.

One of the most striking aspects (at least in my opinion) of our society is its love of self, its promotion of the individual, and its total fascination with personal comfort and convenience. Awhile ago, I was feeding Rosie in a room where MTV's Cribs was playing, and I was amazed (though not too surprised) at the lavish mansions where people live: their own gyms, their own movie theater, refrigerators for every adult in the house, etc.

One of the most fundamental aspects of following in the steps of our crucified Savior is the principle of sacrifice. He said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me"(Luke 9:23). Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Gal. 5:24). When Paul gives instructions to Timothy about who the church should be helping, he explains in 1 Timothy 5:6 that the widow "who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives."

Are we sometimes like the rich man in Luke's account who is pictured as feasting sumptuously every day while turning a blind eye to the hungry Lazarus at his gate?

We are to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Jesus. A grand thought, but what does that look like for us today? Perhaps denying ourselves some treat, or even a meal. Perhaps denying ourselves sleep for the sake of more time in prayer. Perhaps it's spending more time encouraging our brethren and less time pursuing our own hobbies. Perhaps it's denying ourselves the luxury of daydreaming about (unmarried) romantic relationships. Perhaps it's simply turning off the TV or the computer to spend time developing real relationships with others, even if that proves to be a difficult work laden with disappointment and sacrifice. Perhaps it's finding brethren in need to share our money with, instead of saving it up for something we want. Perhaps it's just simple, small distasteful duties done with a cheerful attitude, as unto the Lord.

There are many good things to enjoy this side of Heaven, but none worth pursuing to the point of distraction or obsession. Don't let food, or friendships, or Facebook, or any good yet earthly thing take the place of God in your heart and in your life. Is there temporary pleasure and gratification in these things? Yes, but only as a pale shadow of the joy we find in following Christ. We can find true and deep satisfaction as we invest in our relationship with God and His people. My favorite verse to meditate on recently, Proverbs 19:23: "The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied."

Our goal is not poverty, or starvation, or a life devoid of enjoyments. Rather, our goal is this: the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Playing Favorites

Had I no little feet to guide
Along life's toilsome way, 
My own more frequently might slide,
More often go astray. 
But when I meet my baby's eyes, 
At God's own bar I stand, 
And angels draw me t'ward the skies 
While baby holds my hand. 

Even though God calls us to maturity as Christians, and urges us to grow and feast on the meat of the Word and not just the milk, there is simultaneously the encouragement in Scripture to become like little children (Matt. 18:3). I am touched by Rosie’s innocence and humility, and thankful for this little child in my life as a daily reminder of these virtues.

For example, I’ve been studying the book of James the past few months and trying to apply his hard teachings on partiality. And lately, Rosie’s been outdoing me. J

Rosie is friendly to just about everyone we meet; it doesn’t matter if it’s the delivery guy in the elevator who doesn’t speak our language, or the man on the train who smells funny, or our lesbian neighbor, or a mentally challenged visitor at church. She sees all people alike. And though I can easily convince myself that I’ve mastered the temptation to show favoritism, I can see in Rosie so clearly where I need to be—at least in this area.

Of course children are not the standard for virtuous living. In fact, they are very far from it! But any good we see in them is simply Christ in them. He is our standard, our perfect picture of righteous living, our image of the invisible God. And there is no partiality with Him (Eph 6:9). God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34).

What about you? 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Where did the first year go?

Happy first birthday, Rosie!

We love being your parents and are so glad you're our daughter.

God has taught us many things through your little life already, and we look forward to watching you continue to blossom.

Thanks for bringing us so much joy simply by being your sweet, funny, crazy little self.

I gave myself the deadline of having Rosie's birth story written out by her first birthday, and it is done. I am not including it here on the main site to spare any squeamish male readers the gruesome details (that's you, Ben!) but anyone is welcome to read it by clicking on the tab at the top of my blog. If you are wondering how unplanned home births happen, now you know!

Friday, February 14, 2014

A Rare Night (in which I actually remember I have a blog!)

My how the time flies by. 

Since our last post, we've made trips to Florida and Kentucky for the holidays, and Rosie learned to crawl, got her first tooth, said her first word (bubble!), and had her first cold. She graduated from the mini crib to the pack n play, and from the sink to the shower.

In one word, I would describe Rosie as delightful. She has become such a happy girl now that she has mastered being mobile. (Well, at least she thinks she has!) She loves shrieking with delight and waving her arms around in the air. She has several funny faces she's working on as well as lots of noises--like growling and gasping. 

Rosie loves people so much (unless they try to hold her!). Several times a day when she sits in her highchair, she turns around to smile at the faces on the oatmeal canisters behind her. It is great being in the elevator, grocery store, etc. with her because those piercing blue eyes of hers are enough to make even some jaded New Yorkers strike up a conversation with her. 

This is one of those rare nights when my work is finally done, Rosie is finally asleep, and my husband is sick and in bed, too. And I am anxiously waiting up for my mom to arrive! I'm very proud of her: she's taking a midnight shuttle bus from Newark to our apartment (and she found a coupon to use, ha) after her original flight was canceled due to snow.

Yes, we've had lots of that. But I'm sure you have, too, if you live anywhere besides the Bahamas! I was pushing Rosie's stroller today over mounds of snow and through giant puddles of melted snow as we took a little walk through the park. Our favorite dog-watching bench (a favorite pastime of Rosie's) is covered in several feet of snow, so we will have to find some new indoor activities... like doing laundry with Rosie strapped to my back!

Not much else to report. Life is busy these days yet dragging by in an end-of-winter kind of way. We love each other and the brethren here, so our home is happy even in dreary old February! We are grateful for Jesus, and the hope of Heaven we have through Him. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Adventures in Motherhood

This is the bus I used to take to work in the mornings.
Now my job is taking care of HER, and I am so glad!!

When Jady and I started dating 6 years ago, I would never have imagined that we'd be raising our first child in NYC. 

I think some people have the impression that we are constantly shielding Rosie from gang activity or something, but that is not quite the case--thankfully!

A friend recently asked, "What's it like raising a baby in New York?!" to which I mumbled a few things about sidewalks and laundry rooms and mini cribs. But when I think about that question now, I realize how so much of parenting--the nurturing, feeding, holding, playing, kissing, loving--is the same no matter where you are. Rosie might swing in the park instead of a backyard, and ride in a stroller instead of a carseat, and learn to crawl on a floor that's seen the feet of 30 previous tenants, but those are all becoming as normal to her as McDonald's PlayPlaces are to the suburbs.

Now that we've survived the first few months with a newborn, we're learning to swing through this concrete jungle with a little monkey on our back! Having a tiny friend to accompany me on errands and watching her discover the brand new world around her are privileges to thank God for. I love how cozy we are in our apartment here. Rosie is nearly always in my sight no matter which "room" I'm working in. And I love that all we need seems to be just a few blocks away.

On a more serious note, though, one thing that has surprised me about having a baby here is the negative attitude some people have toward children. When Rosie was just a couple months old, we were returning to our apartment and got into the elevator with one of our neighbors--not the friendliest man in the world. Rosie was crying, and I was juggling her and the stroller and my own sanity, and he said, "Oh, I'm just so glad I don't have one of those." What was I to say? We live in the abortion capital of the country, a city obsessed with following its dreams even at the expense of innocent little lives. I tried to smile at him and responded, "She brings us so much joy!" even though I doubt he could possibly understand how a fussing, needy little baby could be someone's definition of joy. 

But in laying down our lives each day and picking up our own crosses, we feel a blessed assurance that we are walking where our Savior did. We are aiming to please a Father who has given more to His children than we could ever give to Rosie. What a wonderful example we can look to and learn from--the One who parents us with perfect patience (1 Tim. 1:16) and loves us more than we can comprehend.