Friday, July 28, 2006

A new addition to the Ellis family??

No this is not a baby we are talking about... and for those of you who know our family really well (including the Ellis family who no longer live at home) will probably find this very humorous and very shocking.

You know we have one of these:

Yes this is the hungry one. Ever since he was diagnosed with Cushings disease 2 years ago he has an insatiable appetite...He's also going blind and deaf. The only senses that still work are taste and smell...we think ;)

And we also have one of these...

Webster AKA Webby:
Those of you who know webster know that he is the little dog who thinks he's big. Some of you have even been attacked by our little friend (ehem...all the in-laws in the Ellis family). He is very territorial and aggressive towards outsiders, but very sweet to those in our family

So could we really be getting another one of these (!)...

Meet Tiny!
Yes, friends this is Tiny. She is one year old and the soon to be member of the Ellis household Surprise! She is a min pin like Webby, and she is not afraid of him at all! In fact she beats him up. For the time being Webby just sits in the corner and pouts because he is not the center of attention anymore. Tiny belongs to a family friend who unfortunately is moving and cannot take her with them. We are watching her for the weekend just to make sure she adjusts well to the other dogs, and if all goes well she will be ours this Sunday. She is a lot of fun and has already made herself very comfortable in her new surroundings ;)

She came fully loaded with her "lil' cupid T-shirt, Barbie rain coat, and fur winter coat. She is such a girly girl


Webby and Tiny trying to escape...

All 3 dogs together...Webby still thinks he's king of the hill

More beach fun...

Here they are finally, most of the remaining photos from our trip ;) I will start with some random shots:

Lew and I on one of our early mornings

Smiley Isaiah with Auntie Laura

Every year my Dad brings a puzzle (not a wimpy puzzle but usually one over 1000 pieces) and always finishes it before the end of the week. Here is a picture of his finished work.

These pictures are all from a night my family went out to dinner. We went to a place called Mackys which had bay side seating. We had a really good time, the tables were on the sand and literally our table was 4-5 feet away from the water

Isaiah with Grandpa and Grandma

Group picture: Hannah, Enoch, Lew, Me

My sister Charissa with her boyfriend Patrick

Lew and I

Isaiah with Mom (happy in the sand)

Another shot of our cute little buddy

Mother and son ;) (My sister Hannah with Isaiah)

Cute ducks we saw during dinner

These pictures are from when Lew and I walked up to the very end of the boardwalk where you can see the bay. It was beautiful because the water was really peaceful and there were lots of people fishing which was fun to watch. If you look closely in the first picture you can see our "rosy" sunburned faces ;)

Yup, burnt to a crisp ;)

We are happy to be back...and now that we're done with one trip we're planning for our next one...yes that's right our honeymoon. It hasn't been easy as a lot of options we had wanted are booked up, but this has been a good process especially for me! I am learning to be content with what God provides. He has been so faithful, my sister in law Priscila and brother Sam are giving us their timeshare for a week for our honeymoon. We have booked a resort in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic and were able to get all of the options we wanted. It was a long process, but God is so good ;) It's so funny how God knows our idols so specifically and uses times like this to reveal them. I am so grateful God has given me a patient man like Lew who can help me to "simma" in the midst of these anxiety inducing times ;) In fact the reason you haven't seen Lew posting this week is because it's been a super busy week for him. Between trying to catch up on his 107 emails at work after vacation and trying to make decisions for the honeymoon, he's wiped out! But no worries he'll be back soon!
Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The sky above proclaims His handiwork

These are just a few of the amazing views that Lew and I have gotten to see in the last week. The sunset and rainbow are from here, and the sunrises are from the beach. There is something about standing in front of the vast ocean and watching the sun come up that makes you feel so finite. It never ceases to amaze me how our glorious Creator has intricately designed all of His creation to bring Him glory. I hope you enjoy these pictures....I won't say much else, but I will leave you with some verses that these images made me think of:

Psalm 19:1-6

The heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above proclaims His handiwork. Day to day pours out speech and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor are there words whose voice is not heard. Their measuring line goes out and their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and like a strong man runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.

The amazing thing about the sun is that it is really just a display of our powerful Creator. If the sun in all its splendor is so powerful, how much more is our God?

Isaiah 40:12,15,25-26

Who has measured the waters in the hollows of His hands and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in the scales and the hills in a balance...Behold the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold He takes up coastlands like fine dust... To whom will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes and see who created these. He who brings our their host by number calling them all by name by the greatness of His might, and because He is strong in power not one is missing.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Sleepy heads and Sand sculptures

To begin our trip we all arrived...well exhausted! In order to beat the traffic we left our house at 5:30 am and voyaged out on our 3 hour drive which ended up being a little longer because of an accident. Then when we arrived we had about 2 hours to kill before we could get into the condo. Either way when we finally arrived inside we were all ready to relax a little....some more than others! It was quite a long drive for our little buddy and he fell fast asleep in great grandmas arms.. too cute.

We had a pretty good first day in the sun, but Lew and I both got some pretty bad sun burn, this was a bummer for the first few days but it made us use creativity in keeping busy. Which basically meant a lot of walking and A LOT of eating! We generally had no guilt about what we ate because we walked so far to get it we felt like we'd already worked it off.

One of the really neat things was when we got to the end of the boardwalk we got to see the sand art which is there every year. The art is done by a Christian man who actually went to high school with my mom, small world. Either way I always enjoy it so much because he does new scenes from scripture every year and always has tracts and bibles right by the sculptures for people to take. I posted my favorite picture above of Christ on the cross with the words "Thank You Jesus". Even though the sculpture was slightly damaged from the rain it still looked outstanding!

I have many more pictures to come and will post them throughout the week... The next will include some pretty sunrises on the beach. For some strange reason neither Lew nor I could sleep in so we were able to see the sunrise almost every day! We only paid for it by finding ourselves feeling really sleepy towards the afternoon, but it was definitely worth it ;)
More to come...

Sunday, July 23, 2006

We're Back!

Hello all!
We are back from our trip, we had a very good time! We had a few "fun" surprises on our trip from Lew getting very sunburned (me too!) to goofy lifeguards, lots of rip currents, and swimming with the jelly fish ...but over all it was a very good time!

Over the next week I will be posting pictures from our trip and a recap of our vacation.

Until then....

Friday, July 14, 2006


We won't be any posting on here for the next few days. We'll both be gone on vacation in Ocean City, MD with Laura's fam.

Before we say goodbye for the week we wanted to invite everyone to feel free to comment.

Specifically we are kind of curious about who reads this blog. If you are a regular reader or just happened to stumble across, feel free to say hi and let us know how you discovered our blog.

We love feedback so any criticism you may have or things that you would love to see inthe future would be much appreciated as well!

Have a grace filled week and we will see y'all when we get back!

Lew and Laura

Scripture Memorization conviction

"Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You." (psalm 119:11).

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about a conviction about prayer. My latest conviction has been about Scripture memorization. I was talking to my accountability partner about wanting to memorize Scripture more consistently. A couple of days later, providentially, I read a statement about how many Christians know truth because it was taught to them but can't quote a specific Scripture. Unfortunately, I fall into the category. I can often times paraphrase a passage or tell someone I know something is in Scripture, but not be quite positive about the location or the exact phrasing.

I want to hide God's word in my heart and be able to meditate on it daily. When asked about Christ deity, God's sovereignty or anything about Scripture I want to know immediately where to go in Scripture, whether it's opening up the Bible or speaking from parts of the Bible I have memorized. I want my thoughts to be constantly on God's word and cultivate my mind as a garden for His truth.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Wonderful Cross

Yesterday when I posted about the cross I couldn't help but to think about a quote from F.F. Bruce on the peace that comes from Christ that states:

"'Peace (shalom) be with you' was (and is) the usual Jewish greeting when friends met and parted. Jesus' farewell word of peace was different from that wich was current in the world. What he called 'my peace' was something deeper and more lasting, peace at heart which would banish anxiety and fear. Paul speaks to the same effect of the 'peace of Christ' which arbitrates in the hearts of his people, maintaining harmony among them (Col. 3:15), and of the 'peace of God' which stands sentry over their hearts and minds, preventing anxiety from gaining an entrace (Phil. 4:7). In these farewell discourses Jesus not only imparts to the disciples 'my peace' but also 'my love' (15:9, 10) and 'my joy' (15:11). When we recall that love, joy and peace are the first three graces in the fruit of the Spirit in Gal. 5:22, we may wonder if these three did not form a triad in primitive Christian thought comparable to faith, hope and love."

As I pondered the fruits of the Spirit and the privilege of the cross I realized how important the cross is in my relationship with Laura. Because I’ve been made free to love God by the cross I am now a recipient of love, joy and peace. What is the overflow of the reality of love, joy and peace, but the fruits of the spirit. Longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are all things that Christ manifested on the cross and they are all made possible in my life by the spirit working through me.

If I am to glorify God in my relationship with Laura and seek to serve her I need to daily be crying out for help because on my own I cannot walk by the fruits of the Spirit. I need to constantly be directing my gaze to the cross where Savior bled and died for me so that I can see the fruits of the spirit lived out to the fullest extent. I need to die with Him, so that I can live with Him and walk as He walked according to the Spirit. If I try to live on my own strength then it will be according to my flesh and denying the fruits that come from the cross.

He was longsuffering on the cross as He died for a people that didn’t show Him immediate praise and adoration.
He was kind on the cross as He didn’t treat those that crucified Him as they deserved.
He was good to us on the cross by giving up His life so that we can have life and have it to the full.
He was faithful to us on the cross by making the Lord’s mercy visible and providing atonement for our sin.
He was gentle to us on the cross by appeasing the Father’s wrath.
He used self control on the cross by not satisfying His flesh and coming down from the torture He faced on our behalf.

I need to daily come before the cross so that I can live more like my Savior everyday. At Calvary I meet the love, joy and peace that I was intended to have so that I can live the life I was made for.

“O the wonderful cross, O the wonderful cross
Bids me come and die and find
that I may truly live”

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Cross: Where idols go to die and joy finds life.

"But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Galatians 6:14).

“That which the average roman citizen regarded as an object of shame, disgrace and even disgust was for Paul his pride, boasting and glory…There is no exact equivalent in the English language to kauchaomai. It means to boast in, glory in, trust in, rejoice in, revel in, live for. The object of our boast or ‘glory’ fills our horizons, engrosses our attention, and absorbs our time and energy. In a word, our ‘glory’ is our obsession."
The above quote is from the Cross of Christ by John Stott. As I think about the work that God has been doing in my heart in the last couple of years, it is ultimately aiming to make me glory in and make my life about the cross. I've understood this idea in theory, but I am finally learning what it means in practice. The cross used to be something secondary to me. What I was living for and trusting in was a relationship that I would one day be able to rejoice and revel in to feel like I was finally complete and had all of the blessing that God intended for me. When I was in school what I gloried in more then all else was the hope of a good job, yes the cross was nice, but I was more like to boast in my internship at the Hall of Fame instead of what God has done in my life.

There was about a three month period between when Laura and I met and when we first started courting. People often times ask me why I waited so long, and honestly, it wasn't fear of rejection, but I was finally starting to realize I need to be satisfied in God first or ultimately I will be unsatisfied in a relationship. Being famaliar with the sinfulness of my own heart, I wanted to make sure Christ was firmly planted on the throne before there was the possibility of a rival idol.

John Calvin has aptly described our hears as factories that are constantly producing idols. We are created to worship God, but because of our natural sinful tendencies we often times seek to worship others or often times self. Identifying idols now in this period of engagement is important because if I am not worshipping God then my hope will be placed where it can never be fulfilled and I will be illprepared to lead and love Laura. A downcast and disquieted soul is one that can find no contentment (Psalm 42 and Philippians 4:11) and not only that, but also missing out on Christ purpose for us. Christ came so that we may have love, joy and peace (John 14-16).

Our freedom from idols and foundation for all love, joy and peace is in the cross. Apart from the cross we cannot know love because only at the cross is love truly personified. Without the cross there is no peace because sin puts us at war with God as well as with one another. A life lived before the cross in light of God's grace and mercy is the life defined by joy, all other pursuits in life will rob us of joy because they require our work whereas at the cross God has already done all the work for us. Boasting in the cross isn't boasting for the sake of boasting, but instead, it's boasting because countless blessings flow from it. A boasting outside of the cross leads to endless futile efforts, but boasting in the cross is living for what we were made.

And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. (Romans 5:11)

I was created for God and for Him alone. The cross, where I have been reconciled to Him, is my primary source of joy because it has reconciled me to my hearts true longing. Everything else, from jobs to relationships, is a means to glorify Him, but not the end for which my heart was made to delight in.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Steadfast under trial

This is my very special friend Gayle. Gayle is the mother of a good friend of mine, I also work for her 2 evenings a week. But, I must say working for Gayle has gone far beyond just business, she has become a dear friend and a gift from God.
You see, Gayle has MS (multiple sclerosis) a debilitating disease, that has resulted in her being bed ridden and unable to care for herself. She must rely on others to do all the things that we can do so easily, the things we often do even without thinking. Beyond Gayles physical suffering she has also endured an even more painful form of suffering recently, and that was the sudden loss of her husband. Her husband took such good care of her, stuck by her side through all the years and all the trials-- He in many ways was a source of strength and encouragement for her. So if you can only imagine how hard it was to lose him. But something neat that Gayle and I like to talk about is heaven. We like to talk about the day she will get to see Randy again, and the day she will also get to meet her Savior face to face. We talk about the day Jesus returns and we are all given our new bodies, it's so hard to fathom how spectacular that day will be. Gayle and I have come to a conclusion, that our suffering makes us ready to go to heaven. Joni Ereckson Tada, who is paralyzed from the neck down, says in her book A Step Further:

"One day when Jesus comes back, God is going to throw open heaven's shutters. And there's not a doubt in my mind that I'll be fantastically more excited and ready for it than if I were on my feet. You see, suffering gets us ready for heaven. How does it get us ready? It makes us want to go there. Broken necks, broken arms, broken homes, broken hearts- these things crush our illusions that earth can "keep its promises". When we come to know that the hopes we cherished will never come true, that our dead loved one is gone from this life forever, that we will never be as pretty, popular, successfully, or famous as we had once imagined, it lifts our sights. It moves our eyes from this world, which God knows could never satisfy us anyway, and sets them on the life to come. Heaven becomes our passion."

So needless to say for someone like Gayle, who has endured such great suffering, heaven has become her passion. And I have the kind blessing of sharing in that passion with her. It is truly a gift to care for Gayle and learn from her. And something precious to think about when we are suffering is God's promise to us:

"Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him." - James 1:12

This makes me excited to meet Gayle in heaven one day, and see the amazingly beautiful crown that will be on her head.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Kitchen Tips...

Once again... a smooth kitchen experience!! Yay..2 recipes going smoothly without a catch is a very unusual trend for me, but I'll take it!
So here's the latest:

Fanciful Chicken Salad
(NOTE: the original recipe was from a cookbook and called for some different ingredients, I didn't have some of them at the time so I altered the recipe. The original recipe is really yummy, but I like the altered one even more. So I will include the ingredients I used, but in parenthesis I will show what the original recipe called for.)
2 cups cooked diced chicken
1 cup finely chopped apple with skin (or 1/2 cup halved seedless grapes)
1/4 chopped green onion (or 1/2 cup chopped celery)
3/4 cup dairy sour cream
2 T lemon juice
1 teas. Dijon mustard (or plain yellow mustard)
1 teas. sugar
1/2 teas. salt
Dash of pepper
1/4 cup crushed walnuts (or 1/4 cup slivered almonds)
Combine chicken, apple, walnuts, and celery in large bowl. Blend sour cream, lemon juice, mustard, sugar, salt, and pepper. Pour over chicken mixture and toss lightly to blend. Chill 1-2 hours to allow flavors to blend. This chicken salad is really good in a wrap or on a salad.

So there it is, and this recipe has now become my favorite chicken salad recipe! It's pretty simple and the sour cream mixed with mustard instead of mayonnaise makes it really tasty ;) It's a great summer recipe.
Enjoy and happy cooking!

Friday, July 07, 2006


Most of the blogs I read I have subscribed to through bloglines. One such blog, "Pure Church," I forget how I heard of it or how I subscribed, but I would occasionally read inside the bloglines window and rarely went to the actual site. Today I went to the site and to my surprise discovered that it is by the same guy who preached this Sunday at CLC. His name is Thabiti Anyabwile and he is a pastor at Mark Dever's church. He brought a very encouraging message on Ephesians 2 about our lost state and God's mercy. I would highly encourage anyone who hasn't heard it to go to the CLC website and listen to it.

Thabiti had on his blog today a post from Thomas Kempis that I absolutely loved that states: "I had rather be poor for Thy sake, than rich without Thee. I choose rather to be a pilgrim upon the earth with Thee than without Thee to possess heaven. Where Thou art, there is heaven; and where Thou are not, behold there death and hell." That reminds me of one of my favorite Jonathan Edwards sermons, "God, the best portion of the Christian." Something I have to fight for everyday is the unsurpassing greatness of the cross and how great it will be to see and know my Savior in Heaven. Everything else is loss compared to the hope of being with Him one day.

It's interesting, I used to have a countdown going to our wedding day. People would ask me when it was and I would tell them exactly how many days. Being the sinner that I am, I soon realized that I was placing my hope in that instead of the love of God that been poured out into my heart (Romans 5:5). My prayer is that the state that I desire most wouldn't be the institution of marriage, parenthood or financial freedom but that my desire I will live my life for the sake of Christ alone with the hope of praising Him in Heaven when my pilgrmage finally leads me home.

Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee (Psalm 73:25).

Thursday, July 06, 2006

An upright man dependent on Grace

I remember an occasion several years back when Joe Haack and I went Christmas shopping in Indy and we were talking about marriage. Something that never made sense to me was how a man's relationship to his wife jived with his relationship to God. The question that was always on my mind is if I am supposed to love God with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength, then what part of me is able to love a wife.

Let me tell you, I read an excellent article from the summer 2005 Free Grace Broadcaster (p.4-5) that had an article with a quote that was very insightful about that. The article was entitled, "The nature of an Upright Man," by Richard Steele. Steele quotes Psalm 86:11 and then paraphrases that our hearts and minds should belong to God alone. He goes on to say that although there many desires and responsibilities in our lives they must all intersect and meet in God and God must be our supreme end.

A single Christ is enough for a single heart; hence holy David prayed in Psalm 86:11: “Unite my heart to fear thy name.” That is, “Let me have but one heart and mind, and let that be Thine.”As there are thousands of beams and rays, yet they all meet and center in the sun. So an upright man, though he has a thousand thoughts, yet they all (by his good will) meet in God. He has many subordinate ends—to procure a livelihood, to preserve his credit, to provide for his children—but he has no supreme end but God alone.
This isn't the main point of the article and it's only 2 pages long (actually 4 if you are reading it in print), but packed with so much truth. Steele goes on to talk about the state of the human heart and our desires as they are and as they should be. Although we are fallen, as long we aim for sincerity and purity of heart, then we can be assured that we are God’s.

An upright saint is like an apple with rotten specks, but a hypocrite is like the apple with a rotten core. The sincere Christian has a speck of passion here, there one of worldliness, and there one of pride. But cut him up and anatomize him, and he is sound at heart; there Christ and Christianity live and reign…Though his hand cannot do all that God bids, yet his heart is sincere in all he does. His soul is bent for perfect purity, and so he has his name from that. “Blessed are the pure in heart” (Mat 5:8). In his words he sometimes fails and also in his thoughts and deeds. But open his heart, and there is a love, a desire, a design, and an endeavor after real and absolute purity. He is not legally pure, that is, free from all sin; but he is evangelically pure, free from the reign of all sin.

What great hope I have in the cross! Although I am the greatest sinner I know and have specks of pride, self righteousness and many other sins that nailed the son of God to the cross, I can still come before the cross and see where my savior bled and died for me. On the cross He gave Himself up for me to make me a new creation and give me a new heart where sin no longer reigns so I can be part of His family. I am a goober and utter failure in my desire to serve and love God as I ought, but not only God has given me a love and a desire to do those things, He has imputed Christ righteousness to me. When I fall short of loving God, I have no need to fear on the basis of Christ work and peace I now have with God. When I fall short of loving Laura, I have no need to fear because if His blood can make me right with God then it can also give me grace with Laura.
Happy Birthday to my beautiful sister Hannah!

Today is my sisters birthday, and I am soooo grateful for her. She is an example to me of what it is to be a godly wife and mother, and I pray God will allow me to learn from her example and follow in her footsteps. Hannah thanks for being such a great sister and great friend!

I love you!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Kitchen Tips...

Yes...I have stuck with my cooking challenge! I am a little late posting, but better late then never right?

I am excited to post about this one because I actually had success!!
I got this recipe from my sister-in-law Rachel's blog

Thai curry chicken and pineapple
1 T red curry paste (I used the Thai brand and it's really spicy)
1 can coconut milk (I used the light kind)
Dried basil to taste
3 T fish sauce
2 T brown sugar
1/3 c chicken stock
1 large can of crushed pineapple
Shredded cooked chicken (I used about 3/4 pound of shredded chicken breast and cooked in a skilled with olive oil and salt and pepper)

In large saucepan simmer coconut milk and curry paste for about 5 minutes. Stir in other ingredients. Allow to simmer until hot and serve over rice (I used jasmin rice which was really yummy!)

This recipe was great!! The flavors all together are really yummy and it's so easy to make.
The only thing to note:
* If you use the light coconut milk you need to add corn starch to thicken the recipe.You can do that by mixing about 2 T of corn starch with about 3/4 cup of water (mix well to make sure there are no lumps). Follow all of the steps above for the recipe, but towards the end turn the heat up a little (Med-high) and allow to bubble a little. Then add the corn starch mixture stirring as you pour. Stir continuously for 2-4 minutes until you see mixture thickening- once it looks thick enough it is done and you'll wanna take it off the heat so it doesn't stick!

And that's all folks, there were no cooking disasters this time-- so I would say if your a goober in the kitchen like me (or even if your not) you would probably like this recipe because it's easy to cook and tastes soooo good!

Until next time...