a hundred and three is forever when you're just a little kid
so cyrus jones lived forever.
- dave matthews

i heard these lyrics this morning and was totally kicked in the pants.

i will die. even if i live "forever" - so long from now it's unfathomable - i will still die. so what am i living for?

todd told me the other day about a pastor who always signs off by saying, "have a good and godly day, because of what eternal consequence is a good day if it is not also godly?"

i think i have been living for the good days - the ones when atticus takes good naps, and when my husband and i connect on a deep level, and when my house is clean, and when i get to connect with friends. i've been living for sleep and staying home with my son and being productive and relaxing and date nights with my husband.

all of these things are good things, don't get me wrong. they're all great gifts from god. but they're not god. and of what eternal consequence are the good things if they're not also godly?

i've been pursuing fulfillment in people and activities. i've been pursuing fulfillment in my passion to see moms stay at home, to be a better wife, to foster relationships, to grocery shop on a tight budget. some seem trivial to others, but these are the things i'm passionate about.

i would not say that i'm passionate about god.

i'm passionate for the things he gives me, even for the things he commands me to do, such as submitting to my husband and focusing my energies on my family.

but i haven't been passionate about him.

and of what eternal consequence will be a clean house or even a good marriage or a well-mannered kid if they don't come as a result of my passion for god? i have been living for such temporal things.

but i can tell you this: even if you have a great marriage and great friends and a great kid (all of which i have), you will be lonely and directionless unless you seek your fulfillment and purpose from the only One who can give you fulfillment and purpose. it is a HUGE lie that once you get married, your spouse will fill that lonely hole, or once you have a kid their dependence on you will fill it. you will be lonely. because we were meant to be missing something...searching for fulfillment...and finding it in god. he will not let you fill it with anything or anyone else.

pouring yourself out for anything other than christ means that someday you will face yourself, your God, or both, and realize that you have poured yourself down a drain. for nothing. i have been pouring myself down a drain. i have been going nowhere and living for things that are nothing without god.

but i'm ready to be committed, to be passionate, to be focused. first and foremost, because i want to know my creator, to find my purpose and direction and meaning in him. to know who he is and who i am in him. but besides that, how can i encourage my husband, or be patient with my child, or raise atticus to know and love the lord if i don't know and love him myself?

please pray for me. i need to be continually broken - and if that's what it takes, that's what i want. it scares me a little, but saying that something is worth fighting for means that it may actually require a fight, right?

spring cleaning and pantry challenge

so, if you know me at all, you could probably guess that i'm a firm believer in spring cleaning. at least for me personally, i love the feeling of living in a freshly deep-cleaned house - it makes me feel almost like we're living somewhere new, but without the ridiculous effort of actually having to move.

that being said, it's not the most fun process.

as i've been cleaning and PURGING (more on that later), i've also been preparing to move some of our stuff into storage starting in august. so we're needing some rubbermaid totes and things like that in order to better organize our stuff to go outside, as well as some other odds-and-ends that come with spring cleaning, such as a machine-washable mop (made a big mistake buying a disposable-headed mop), shelves for the hall closet, etc.

but i didn't want to spend the money.

so i decided, with todd's go-ahead, to do a pantry challenge for the next two weeks. the benefit of buying in bulk is not only that stuff is often times cheaper, but you have stuff on hand. so for the next two weeks, i will be cooking from what we already have. granted, i did spend 18 bucks on stuff like milk, eggs, bread and bananas, plus a huge package of toilet paper, but the rest of our food is already here. (9 bucks a week for groceries isn't too bad in my opinion!)

the rest of the money we had budgeted for groceries can go toward things related to spring cleaning and storage.

not to mention, it also aids the cleaning process by forcing me to weed out those cans of soup, various cuts of frozen chicken, frozen homemade applesauce, and myriad betty crocker potatoes that i bought on ridiculous mark-down but haven't used yet. the result? tons of free space, less to store, less to have to pull out of the cupboards to clean under.

i think we'll be doing a pantry challenge every six months or so; it just seems like a good amount of time to go in between.

stay tuned for updates and potentially disgusting recipes cooked up during the pantry challenge. (tomato soup-pumpkin puree-chicken-rice casserole? anyone?)

baby you can drive my car.

i'm not the only one who got a schmancy new car recently. check out atticus' hot new ride. features include a stick shift, windshield wiper lever (although, he doesn't have actual windshield wipers), a compass, a fan (no A/C for this cool cat), a spoiler, rear turning signals, personalized plates, and (my favorite) baby hydraulics.

he has proven himself to be a really good driver, despite his need for speed and his leadhand when it comes to honking the horn. (honk if you like pureed carrots.)

he still has a lot to learn before hitting the open road, such as keeping both hands on the wheel in a strict but comfortable 10-and-2....

...servicing the engine regularly to keep it running at its maximum potential...

...and abstaining from *ahem* reckless driving behaviors.

once he gets a handle on these lessons, he'll be hitting the highway and cruising the strip like the coolest baby on the block.

chez van voorst

after a week and a half of not taking any nighttime feedings, we've gone back to a single middle-of-the-night feeding. he definitely was not ready for going that long without eating.

other than that, life has been peachy at villa van voorst. the weather is beautiful, garage sales are a-hopping, and atticus is so cute. what could be better?

here's what's been going on at our chateau:

..atticus has learned how to put his own pacifier in. a major milestone.

..he decided he likes bananas, just not the ones from the jar (i don't blame him) friend tara and i have planted her garden and are eagerly awaiting our homegrown nummies.

..i have been reading avidly, and have devoured about 15 gardening books, many free magazines from the library, and am currently reading "tales from the teacher's lounge" (which is mediocre at best; i may not finish it) and "love and respect."

..i've been working on memorizing galations with lisagrace

..atticus was dedicated on saturday night. both todd's parents and mine were able to be there to celebrate with us.

..atticus has started doing this thing where he punches himself in the head over and over, followed by pulling violently on his ears, then scratching the side of his head.

..he has also discovered his fascinating, fascinating hands.

..he bit me so hard the other night with his tiny sharp teeth that i bled.

..he continues to babble nonstop. it's like he was spawned from talkative parents or something.

..his hair is getting blonder and blonder, and his body is filling out.

..he continues to be the absolute cutest kid on the face of the earth. no offense, other mommas.

never in a million years

did i think i'd hear myself saying this sentence to my child:

"gentlemen don't kick ladies in the throat."

$13.41 and done

i was able to collect $13.41 worth of cans. but when i was redeeming them, i ran into a group of men who apparently make their money by picking up cans. it led me to reflect on...

Leviticus 19:9-10 (New International Version)
9 " 'When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God.

so i decided to stop picking up cans, at least making specific can-picking up trips. i will pick up the occassional can along the side of the road or what not, but not go out of my way to collect them for income.

when i came home and told paige about this, she said that she has been thinking that i should consider stopping as well because of the time that it was taking me away from the home.

so God brought the idea to both of us, but seperately. through our communication, we discovered He had told us similar things. so no more can hunting.

God is good.

personal question...s

exhale, junior. i'm not going to be asking personal questions about you. (unless you want me to, in which case, what's the most awkward thing a doctor has ever said to you?)

no, i've been asking personal questions of myself- especially after reading laura's blog about not necessarily being a proverbs 31 woman, and some other girl's blog about setting the atmosphere in her home.

so, i came up with a list of questions to ask myself - and to charge myself with answering brutally honestly.

after asking todd how i can serve him better, i decided to start with a question directly related to his answer:

.how will i become more organized?

.how will i *deliberately* set a more positive tone in our home?

.in what ways do i want to/should i become more disciplined...and how will i do that?

.what can i be doing right now to deliberately share my faith with atticus?

.who in my life needs to hear the gospel and how will i tell them?

.what in my life is excessive/ will i cut out/give up/get rid of these things?

.what is my life lacking and how will i add these things?

.in what areas does my life or character need improvement or even a major overhaul? how will i do this?

.how can i use our home and my giftings to serve other?

.how will i nurture my friends' and family's gifts?

.spiritually, what needs pruning, grafting, or fertilizing?

.what is one new skill i'd like to develop? what are the steps needed to learn this skill?

.what is something (profound or minute) i'd like to become an expert on and how will i do that?

.how do i define/what do i envision to be "strong faith"? how will i rely upon god to get me to this place?

.who is someone i would like to become more like? what about them is worth imitating? how will i learn from them?

.who would i like to be mentored by, and what would i like to learn?

.if god would bring someone into my life to mentor, what would i like to impart?

.what will i read about and what will i read?

.how can i become more helpful for todd? how can i be the best wife for my husband?

.how can i serve atticus better?

.what will be my ministry outside of our family? how will i reach out to the body of believers?

...and any other miscellaneous insights i may happen to stumble upon.

i have some thinking to do.

and, by the way, the most awkward thing our pediatrician has said to me so far was, "you're doing a really great job of taking care of his penis and testicles!!" (in case you wanted to know.)

it's a miracle!

(i like to think of saying the title in a cartoony, fake-italian accent, like you'd say "MARio.")

the tiniest van voorst has been sleeping through the night! ...basically. he's still getting up once or twice and needing to be re-eggrolled to keep his flailing arms from waking him up, and to have his nuk stuck in.

still, if i don't have to be up for 20 minutes at a time doing it, i consider it sleeping through the night.

so, to recap: the lord made his face shine upon us and was gracious to us.

i have been feeling so good lately with all the extra consecutive sleep, i didn't know what to do with myself, so i started gorging myself on puppy chow. we can't feel too good too's a process. i'm planning on weaning myself off the puppy chow, moving on to granola, then hopefully arriving at eating actual meals like sandwiches and chicken. ahh, one can only dream.

the minivan voorsts

so, after mourning the loss of our dearly beloved lil jaime (a wonderfully minty green ford escort), we decided to adopt a new family member to fill his place. world, meet.....


she's a 2002 foresty green ford windstar. ahhh, check out her keyless entry, leather interior, and (my favorite) power sliding doors. and, as the reason for her nickname, she sports a video player with fold-down screen. yes, friends, a video player. not a dvd player. bring on the 10c garage sale vhs tapes. in todd's words, "HOW COOL ARE WE?!?!"

the vidivan and the egg (todd's sporty hyundai) are becoming fast friends, and have even been known to be parking buddies a couple times over the last few days. i think this is the start of a beautiful friendship.

welcome to the family, the vidivan.