31 May 2013

Happy birthday, Chris!

Happy birthday to

the husband of my youth
the keeper of my heart
the taker-out of my trash
the mower of my lawn
the mate of my soul
the griller of my steaks
the provider of my family
the man of my dreams
the father of my child
the love of my life

30 May 2013

29 May 2013

The 97th Indianapolis 500 in videos

It was another amazing race! Perfect weather combined with a competitive field meant we saw a great race with lots of passing and very few accidents. It was the fastest race in history, and Tony Kanaan made his own history by finally winning the race on his 12th attempt!

Since we usually end up taking the same pictures year after year, we decided to go with only videos this year:

National anthem performed by Sandi Patty.

Back Home Again in Indiana performed by Jim Nabors.

One of the parade laps before the start of the race. The pace car was driven by Captain Comeback, Jim Harbaugh.

The start!

Tony Kanaan's victory lap. I was rooting mostly for Dario Franchitti and Ed Carpenter. (Really, I would have been happy with just about anyone except Marco Andretti!) Since my boy didn't win, I'm glad it was Kanaan's turn.
We've already renewed our tickets for next year!

23 May 2013

22 May 2013

The Hicks beat the Knicks!

Chris desperately wanted to go to a Pacers playoff game this year. So he managed to snag very reasonably priced tickets for last Saturday's game 6 versus the Knicks. Not only did we each get to go to our first playoff game, it was against those evil New York Knicks. Bonus!
The evening started with a belated anniversary dinner downtown at P.F. Chang's. We felt so old among all of the high school students who were dining there before heading to prom!

The trend lately seems to be passing out free T-shirts at NBA playoff games. Sure, we'll take a free Pacers shirt! Here are the shirts waiting for the fans to arrive.

We sat right behind these famous banners. Perhaps soon we'll see an NBA championship banner up here?

The tip-off.

Game action.

We stood for a lot of the game. Chris lost his voice a little bit because of all the screaming he did. My hands hurt because I was clapping a lot. That's the way to experience a playoff game!

We were a little nervous when the Knicks made their fourth quarter comeback. But thank goodness the Pacers didn't give up. I'm sure the loud and proud crowd helped them!


The Pacers win! The Pacers win!

Check out the country's largest scoreboard! Maybe not, but it's huge...like watching the game on TV at home, complete with the box score.

Next up is the Miami Heat. The first game is tonight. C'mon, Pacers! Beat the Heat!

21 May 2013

BSF 2012-2013: What I learned this year

Is it just me, or was this a fast BSF year? :o) Here’s a summary of the things I learned in Genesis this year:

What I learned in my personal study
  • God uses sinful, ordinary people to complete His plans on earth. While the patriarchs are great examples of being godly, faithful leaders, they also show us how sinful we all are. But there’s hope! God isn’t looking for perfect, sinless people (because He can’t find any!). Instead, as long as we’re willing to give up everything and follow Him, God will use us to fulfill His purposes on earth. And notice how God records the patriarchs’ failures along with their successes. God wants us to understand that we all make mistakes, but He still can work in and through us – He simply wants us to commit to living our lives for Him.
  • God is absolutely holy and sovereign. He is in control of everything. His plan never can be thwarted. From God’s design for creation and mankind, to calling Abraham to be the father of a chosen people, to sending Joseph to Egypt, God shows His sovereignty in the lives of His people in Genesis. And He still works like this in us today. In the midst of heart wrenching stories like yesterday’s deadly tornado in Oklahoma, the political upheaval in our nation’s capital and last year’s school shooting in Newtown, Conn., we may not understand God’s plan but we can trust that He does have a plan and is in control of everything.
What I learned in the School Program
  • The devil attacks those who serve God, but God provides shelter and hope. Our leadership circle suffered so much opposition from the devil this year – more than I can remember in the past. But God faithfully cared for us and our ministry because we were faithfully doing His work in the lives of the women and children in our class.
  • God has a specific job for everyone. I am so grateful that God has called me to be a part of the staff of the School Program in my class! I love serving Him alongside so many dedicated, godly women who are great mentors to me. It’s amazing to see Him bring us all together for one goal. Next year, we will experience an unusual amount of turnover in our leadership circle. But we know that God’s ministry in our BSF class will continue because it is His work and He is in control.
What Avery learned in the Preschool Program

Here are Avery’s thoughts on another fun year in BSF:

I hope you’ve learned something about God and yourself by reading my posts this year. Do you want to know more about God and the hope He provides through the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ? Please contact me. I want to talk to you!

Has my experience this year piqued your interest about studying God’s Word? Are you looking for answers to your questions about Christianity? Check out BSFFind a class near you and commit to learning about God through the our study of the book of Matthew next year. Or find a Bible study at your local church, ask a friend to study with you and hold you accountable or start studying on your own. God will reveal amazing things to you and will change you from the inside out when you commit to studying His Word.

See you in September when we begin our study of Matthew!

20 May 2013

16 May 2013

15 May 2013

A new racing fan

Yesterday, Grandma and Grandpa took Avery for her first visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (Grandpa was the person who introduced me to racing and who first took me to IMS, too!) They enjoyed a few hours of practice as teams are getting ready for Pole Day this weekend.

Here she is behind Takuma Sato's pit box. Sato is the series points leader heading into the 500.

She thought she was pretty cool to be able to wear Mommy and Daddy's scanner headsets.

This is victory lane.

And they took this picture just for me. My favorite driver is going for his fourth 500 victory, putting him next to A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr. and Rick Mears on the Mount Rushmore of Indy 500 winners.

Avery wanted to eat popcorn, but they couldn't find any. So they enjoyed an elephant ear instead.

And of course she fell asleep in the car on the way home. I hope she will be a race fan just like her mommy!

Just about a week and a half until race day!

14 May 2013

BSF 2012-2013: Genesis 50

Here we are at the end of the book of Genesis. This final lesson focuses on fear. Joseph faced the fear and grief of losing his father. And Joseph’s brothers feared retaliation from Joseph after Jacob died.

After Jacob dies, Joseph weeps. Then Joseph orders his physicians to embalm Jacob’s body, not for religious purposes but for practical purposes. This allows Jacob’s body to be transported to Canaan for his burial. Throughout Egypt, Jacob was mourned for 70 days, two days short of the mourning period for a pharaoh.

At the end of the mourning, Joseph asks Pharaoh for permission to bury Jacob in Canaan. Joseph wants to keep his oath to his father. Joseph also promises Pharaoh that he will return to Egypt.

A large funeral procession travels several hundred miles to bury Jacob’s body in Canaan. Pharaoh has such respect and admiration for Joseph that he sends all of his official as well as members of his military to accompany Joseph and his family. After arriving in Canaan, this group observes seven days of mourning before burying Jacob’s body. Then everyone returns to Egypt as Joseph promised.

Joseph faced Jacob’s death in the same way he faced every trial in his life. Joseph focused on God’s promises and had faith that he one day would see Jacob in heaven. Joseph mourned, grieved and cried, but then he returned to his life and his responsibilities.

After Jacob’s death, Joseph’s brothers are afraid he will hold a grudge and retaliate against them. Why would they think this? Joseph clearly had forgiven them and didn’t hold a grudge! The brothers send a message to Joseph, telling him that Jacob instructed Joseph to forgive them. This probably was a lie. The brothers may have had some guilt and may never have forgiven themselves.

Joseph’s first response is to weep. He can’t understand why they wouldn’t trust him. Then Joseph reminds them – what they meant for harm, God meant for good in order to save the lives of many people (50:20). God can turn human wickedness for good in order to serve His purpose. This also applies to Jesus’ death. What Jesus’ enemies meant for harm, God meant for good to save many people! Without Jesus’ death, there would be no salvation, no hope, no personal relationship with God.

Once again, Joseph is a godly example. He had a positive attitude and focused on God. I also must look for the good in all situations, even if it’s only my own spiritual growth or something that I won’t see until eternity.

Joseph lives 110 years. On his deathbed, Joseph reassures his brothers that God will be with them and will bring them to the Promised Land. Joseph also asks them to take his bones with them to the Promised Land. Joseph lived in Egypt for 93 years, but by faith he lived in Canaan, the land promised to him and his family. He wanted to be buried there. Christians also must look beyond our physical lives to the eternal promises of God.

Joseph lived and died with confidence in God and His promises. Do I trust God with everything that happens in my life because He is sovereign?

While this is the end of Joseph’s life on earth, it is the beginning of God working through the nation of Israel.

What fear am I holding on to? This really struck me today because I suddenly have a very real fear in my life. A neighbor’s house was broken into yesterday while Avery and I were at home. I had no idea this happened until much later last night. Since then, I’ve let my mind go crazy with “what if ” scenarios. Instead of fearing this situation, I must focus on God’s sovereignty and trust His character (that He is good, righteous, just, loving, etc.). I don’t need to fear anything. When I do, my life tends to spin out of control. I must grasp God’s truth, not fear.

We saw a lot of beginnings in Genesis – the beginning of the universe at creation, the beginning of the history of man, the beginning of sin, the beginning of God’s promise of a Savior, the beginning of God’s plan for a nation through whom He gave His word.

Genesis also has lots of endings – the end of walking with God in the Garden of Eden due to man’s sin, the end of peace and harmony in the world, the end of life because man is condemned to die for sin, physical deaths, the end of the patriarchs.

But I love this final principle from our study this year – With every ending comes the opportunity to trust God with a new beginning. What new beginning does God have for me? And will I trust God with that new beginning?

Next week, I’ll share the things I learned in BSF this year.

Here is Avery’s final memory verse, and it’s a good one!

You intended to harm me,
but God intended it for good.
Genesis 50:20 NIV

13 May 2013

10 May 2013

Allrecipe's Skyline Chili

A few weeks ago, Chris and I both had a hankering for chili dogs. But we were ready for a new chili topping recipe because we just hadn't found one we liked. So we did a quick Google search and found this copy cat recipe for Skyline Chili. It was spot on! This now will be our go-to recipe for chili dogs. Next we'll try it on spaghetti, the Skyline way!

1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
8 oz. tomato sauce
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
1 pinch ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 pinch cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation Instructions
Brown beef and onion in a large skillet over medium high heat. Drain. Place meat mixture in a large pot and stir in the remaining ingredients. Simmer, uncovered, over low heat for 1 1/2 hours. Add additional amounts of garlic, Worcestershire sauce, cinnamon, chili powder and cayenne pepper according to your preferences.

09 May 2013

07 May 2013

BSF 2012-2013: Genesis 49

It's hard to believe that we're almost done with our year in Genesis! Just two more weeks left.

This week, we see Jacob giving his final instructions to his sons when he is just breaths away from death. These are prophecies from God. They were nothing Jacob could predict on his own, and each was fulfilled exactly as God predicted. These specific prophecies were meant for Jacob's sons and their descendants, but in each son's prophecy there are applications for us today. Let's look at each one individually:

Reuben: As the firstborn son, Reuben should have received a double portion of land and wealth and should have been designated as the leader of the family. But instead, his sin and double-mindedness caused him to lose this special role among Jacob's family. No kings, prophets, judges or other leaders came from Reuben's tribe. How are my own desires or the pull of the world greater than my pursuit of God?

Simeon and Levi: These tribes will be scattered. But the Levites eventually repent and are given a special service as priests for the Israelites (Exodus 32). We deserve nothing, but in His grace God chooses to give us salvation and countless other blessings. Where do I see God's grace in my life?

Judah: Judah was repentant and had a changed heart. This was evident in his changed actions when he stepped up to lead his brothers when they met Joseph in Egypt. Many rulers came from this line, including Jesus the Messiah. Through the blessing of Christ, Judah blessed all people. How am I using my blessings to help others?

Zebulun: Zebulun was prophesied to live by the seashore. This tribe's land was located on a trade route from the sea. These people were a haven to travelers. Am I a haven or a safe place for others?

Issachar: Instead of defending their land from their enemies, Issachar's tribe gave in to slavery. Where do I compromise with the world because it's easier than taking a stand for God? Where am I enslaved with the world? Don't be spiritually lazy.

Dan: Many powerful judges came from the tribe of Dan. But this tribe is well known for pulling the Israelites into idolatry. When do my actions lead others away from God?

Gad: When the Israelites return to the Promised Land, the tribe of Gad settles for the second best land. But the Gadites were known for being fierce fighters. When do I settle for second best instead of God's best? Who needs me to fight with them?

Asher: The tribe of Asher settled for the happiness of wealth and had no spiritual depth. How has God blessed me financially and physically? Am I sharing my wealth with others and also holding on to it loosely because I know there is no true happiness in wealth and physical possessions?

Naphtali: This tribe represents freedom. God wants to release His blessings on us. Do I let myself remain trapped in a situation, or do I let God free me?

Joseph: Joseph pointed everyone to God and was a leader in his sufferings. How spiritually fruitful am I?

Benjamin: This tribe was called a ravenous wolf. Two well known members of this tribe were Paul and King Saul. They both were strong and zealous, but they show the value of harnessing that power for God (Paul) instead of being zealous for self (King Saul). What does God need to harness in my life?

I love that God gave these prophecies to Jacob, and then Jacob obediently passed them along to his sons (without changing anything!). God may have punished some of the sons for their attitudes and behaviors, but He never took away their privilege of belong to Abraham's family. He blessed and cursed them appropriately. He also blesses us appropriately according to His grace and His sovereign purpose.

Jacob's sons also show us that our influences now and rewards for eternity are determined by our actions and choices today. What did I do today to make an impact on eternity? What will I do tomorrow to create a spiritual legacy?

Here is Avery's memory verse from last week's lesson:

“I am God...
Do not be afraid.”
Genesis 46:3 NIV

02 May 2013