Thursday, March 26, 2015

Kids, Chores, and God

Nolan is at the age where he loves to help me with chores, no matter what it is that I am doing. "Daddy, can I help?" is a question I hear almost every day from him. If I had all the time in the world, I would have him help me with everything that I do, not only because I love his natural curiosity and desire to learn, but also because I simply love being with him.

However, when I include Nolan in whatever chore that I am doing (i.e., unloading the dishwasher, sweeping the floor, folding laundry, etc.), it almost always takes much longer than if I just did it myself. Since he is four years old, it takes time to teach him, reteach him, train him, practice with him, watch him, talk him through it, and then once we are finished doing it together, I often need to redo it all myself anyway if I need it done correctly. If I include my son with my work, it always takes longer, and the work is never done perfectly.

This is just like our Father in heaven. I visualize God looking down on us, seeing all the pain in the world and Him working in the lives of the people all across the city. However, the awesome thing about God is that He actually includes us in his work! God doesn't need us to help. He could get His work done a lot sooner if He didn't include us in the work He is doing in our city. We make mistakes when we help Him, but He is patient and talks us through it. Sometimes He just watches us and sees how we do on our own. And most importantly, we can talk to Him through the process. He listens to us and speaks into our lives. God is our Daddy who lets us help Him with His work.

The best part is that Nolan thinks he is actually helping me with my chores! It's hilarious! When I tell him we are finished, I say "thanks so much for helping" and he skips away with a big grin on his face. He is certainly doing his best, but is that really making a difference from my perspective? No way! I just love being with him, and it's the same with God. Am I really making a difference in the work that God is doing? Not at all. He just loves being with me.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Five seconds later = disaster!

Delaney was having a marvelous time on the swing when we went to my grandparents' 65th anniversary party a few weeks ago. She is such a daring, risky 2-year old who already loves heights and adventure! This picture captures it all: her cuteness, her joy, her adventurous spirit, and her independence.

However, we certainly had a parenting fail about 5 seconds after I took this photo. We probably should have given her a warning. What actually happened was that we said, "Time to go!" and immediately took her off the swing. She screamed like it was the end of the world.

It is amazing how one second a beautiful little girl can take a beautiful little photo that is one of my favorites, and then the next second she is out of control, displaying her true selfish desires for the entire world to see. What a cute little bundle of humanity.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

It's A GIRL!!!

We went to have our ultrasound appointment check-up and we found out we are growing a little baby girl!!!

We picked names awhile time ago, but now we can officially call her Eva Joy Riedl. Nolan and Delaney are excited to have a little sister, although Nolan said he wanted a brother. :-) He'll get over it.

God's miracle of life is so amazing, and we feel so blessed that He has given us the responsibility to care for another one of His children. We truly believe that these kids are not ours. They are His, and we are only caring for them for a short time. He has awesome plans for them, and we pray that they would grow up to love Him and love others the way that we try our best to do with our lives.

Eva is due to breathe air for the first time at the end of July!

Moving to Imago Dei's Eastside Campus

We had another gathering tonight for Imago Dei Community's Eastside Campus, which is launching slowly but surely. Pastor Eric Knox is leading us to the Hazelwood Neighborhood in East Portland. We are currently meeting monthly in a lecture hall in David Douglas High School.

God definitely made it clear to Jen and I that we are supposed to move back to East Portland after moving away to go to Ontario, Oregon and then to where we are now in SW Portland in order to find a solid teaching job for me. Now, since I have a secure job teaching at a private school in SW, we have the freedom to move anywhere we want (in other words, SW Portland is too expensive and we need to move somewhere cheaper and with more room for when our new baby is born, and besides, we miss the comforting Friday night sirens in East Portland too much). Lol

In all honesty, we really have a heart for East Portland and all the crap going on over there between it and Gresham. Before Nolan and Delaney existed, we were really enjoying starting the Glenfair Community Garden, which we helped our friends from Glenfair Church build from scratch. It was such an awesome way to get to know our neighbors and build community. We hope to do more of that in the future when we move back, including getting more involved with East Portland Neighborhood Office (EPNO) and whatever neighborhood association corresponds to wherever we end up living.

The leadership team for Imago Dei Eastside has a great heart for really wanting to help those who are already living their lives in East Portland without trying to change them into something they aren't. We want to build relationships and help them discover their assets and use those to their advantage in order to allow them to be successful with their immediate needs, and through that they will receive Jesus' love through us. We are partnering with to learn more about how to build relationships and being WITH them rather than just doing things for them.

As for Sunday services, it is really up in the air right now. We need people to step up and volunteer in order to get a weekly service going. I will be leading the production of audio/video, slides, etc. while Jen will be working with the nursery and preschool kiddos. It is very strange to be in a small church type setting again, even smaller than when we were at Origins in Ontario. We definitely know this is where we want to be, since we want God to stretch us and use us to glorify His name in one of the most diverse, low-income, and neglected areas in the Portland area. God is already doing awesome things. We are just joining in!

Oh yeah... and we also still need to actually move there. Our lease ends in a few months, so, if anyone hears of any inexpensive 3-bedroom  houses or apartments for rent, we're hoping to find a place before our baby pops out in July! Hopefully by the end of June we'll be settling into a new place! Crazy changes ahead!! We are looking forward to where God is leading us. We are up for anything, good or bad... as long as we are loving God and loving others, we know we are on the right path!

Lenten Learning

Jen and I have been thinking about the Easter Bunny and all those crappy traditions that have nothing to do with Jesus, and we decided to do something during Lent that actually means something. 

For us, as adults, the season of Lent is a great time to give up something special to us as a sacrifice in order to spend more time focusing on Jesus. However, for Nolan (4 years old) and Delaney (2 years old), we feel like they are too young to really understand the depth of sacrifice.

We decided to start a tradition called "Lenten Learning", which is a time of teaching our kids about Jesus during the season of Lent in a fun and memorable way, much like the season of Advent. Our Advent calendar was a fun way of counting down the days until Christmas, celebrating Jesus' birthday. This "Lenten Learning" calendar is just something we quickly put together one night, compiling a bunch of stories about Jesus as He grew up from a boy, what He did, things He said, people He healed, eventually leading up to His death and resurrection!

Easter is just as much of a miracle to be anticipated and celebrated as Christmas is, so we are looking forward to talking about one thing each night at the dinner table, writing a quick Post-It note of what we learned, and then compiling all of them on a green cross cut out of construction paper hanging from our dining room wall. We are looking forward to the end when it is all full of colorful Post-Its, when we celebrate Jesus' sacrifice for us on the cross and conquering death by coming back to life!