Summer Fun Bucket List 2016

I made one of these lists last year for E and now I have two kiddos to have fun with this summer. I’m brainstorming things I want to do with them this season.

  1. Splash pad playdate at city park
  2. Water park day
  3. go camping
  4. get a sandbox for our back yard
  5. visit a park we’ve never been to
  6. summer reading program
  7. go to a fair
  8. plant potted flowers
  9. plant some vegetables and herbs
  10. watch fireworks
  11. visit the zoo
  12. berry picking
  13. Go to our favorite swimming spots and play on the ‘beach’
  14. go on a road trip to visit cousins
  15. go for a nature walk
  16. find some where to do sidewalk chalk (we don’t have a paved driveway)
  17. face paint
  18. go see a kids movie at the theatre
  19. make your own pizza night
  20. pillow fight
  21. star gazing
  22. read stories outside
  23. host a bbq for friends
  24. make cool aid play dough
  25. learn to swim, take swimming lessons
  26. t shirt decorating
  27. bake cookies
  28. grow a sunflower
  29. make homemade popsicles
  30. bake a cake

Let us press on to know the Lord

Hosea 6:3 “Then shall we know know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.”


I’m reading through a book right now called Grace Goals by Leah Adams. In it she asks the reader to take some time and write out their main goals in life and then to a topical scripture study to see what the Bible says about each of those goals.

As a Christian I know my focus in life, and what I was created for is to know the LORD. I know I am hardwired by my Creator to have all my deepest longings fulfilled by being in His presence.

In all honesty how much of my life revolves around knowing the Lord, learning his word? Is the first 30 minutes of my day dedicated to Him and the rest of the day I’m trying to find joy else where?

What would it look like if I ran with all my might, with all earnestness with this single goal of wanting to know the Lord?

What if my thoughts focused on His sovereignty instead of my circumstances? What if I meditated on His Word rather than past hurst and mistakes? What if I looked for approval in Him instead of other people and what what if I delighted in His presence instead of delighting in things that I think will make me happy but ultimately won’t deliver?

Here are a few verses I’m meditating on this morning and that I need to come back to time and again to be reminded that God’s longing is for me to know Him and worship Him and talk to Him as my nearest friend. These verses remind me of what life is all about when I feel overwhelmed and pulled in many different directions.

Press on with me to know our loving, faithful, just, righteous, God Who is our Savior, Friend, King, Creator, Father, and so much more!

And remember this promise, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” (James 4:8)


Philippians 3:10 – That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

Jeremiah 9:23-24 – Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise [man] glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty [man] glory in his might, let not the rich [man] glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgement, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.

Romans 12:2 – And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

1 John 4:6-7 – We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that liveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

John 17:3 – And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

John 17:1-26 – These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

2 Peter 3:18 – But grow in grace, and [in] the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him [be] glory both now and for ever. Amen.

2 Timothy 3:16 – All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

James 4:7 – Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Psalms 119:105 – Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

1 Peter 3:18 – For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

Proverbs 8:17 – I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.

Notice that last verse, Psalm 8:17 “I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.” What a precious promise! God is not hard to be found. He calls me to love him and seek Him and promises that my search will be rewarded with His presence. God created me for friendship and fellowship with Him. My responsibility is to seek him early, earnestly, with my whole heart, my whole mind and all my strength. I can love Him, not through my own power but because He first loved me.



My heart is pregnant and heavy with you, as I was the night I labored with you, for you.

My soul in the travail of labor

Until I get to hold you, finally,  on the other side

Each day a more intense contraction

The ticking clock a crescendo of anticipation

Under me I feel the damp rocky clay as I stand bare foot at your grave.

Holy ground.

It’s cool and the soft rain makes it even colder.

Startled, my bowed head jerks upward. I hold my breath.

I shake violently as adrenaline begins to course through my body.


That was unmistakable. I fall to my knees and hands raised shout, “Hallelujah!”

The notes I have been waiting for tear through the atmosphere, filling the sky, louder, purer, higher than any earthly noise

The earth under me begins to shake and with the terrifying strength of Jehovah splits open wide.


And in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, there you are being raised whole before me,

I weep tears of thanksgiving and rejoice as I meet you in the air with the Overcomer of the grave.

I can finally rest from my labour. You are finally delivered.

And so am I.


I finished this poem near midnight, 5 years to the hour that my water broke with my first born child Titus Bristow.

Today on his birthday I remember that our great God is not the God of the dead but of the living. I used to not know what that phrase meant. When Titus was laid to rest during a severe thunderstorm, Tanner’s grandpa keep shouting to make himself heard over the sound of the thunder and the rain, “God is the God of the living!” “God is the God of the living!” I understood then that it means we never die. Today, Titus is living a full exciting life in the presence of the Lord and one day all things will be restored and his body will be resurrected. I don’t know if I will sleep in Christ or meet him at his second coming but either way, I’m full of hope, looking forward to that blessed day.

“In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began”

Titus 1:2



Samuel Rutherford on childloss

I recently read this letter written in 1628 by Samuel Rutherford, a Scottish Presbyterian Pastor. It is addressed to a woman who had recently lost her daughter and who it sounds from the letter had also lost other children. It’s wording is a little archaic because it was written 388 years ago, but it contains a lot of truth that is applicable and encouraging today.


I want to note that I read an abridged version of this letter that changed ‘O blessed Second’ to ‘O blessed Savior.” I don’t think the reference of ‘blessed Second’ is to mean Christ was second to God, it sounds to me that it is a reference to Christ as the Second Adam. 1 Corinthians 15:45-47  “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterwards that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthly; the second man is the Lord from heaven.”


My favorite lines from this are, “for you daughter was a part of yourself; and therefore nature in you, being, as it were , cut and halved, will indeed be grieved; but you have to rejoice, that when a part of you is on earth, a great part of you is glorified in heaven.”

“Go through all fires to your rest,; and now remember, that the eye of God is upon the burning bush, and it is not consumed; and he is gladly content that such a weak woman as you should send Satan away, frustrated of his design. Now honor God, and shame the roaring lion, when you seem weakest.”


“Lift up your head; you do not know how near your redemption doth draw.”



To A Christian Gentlewoman
[on the death of a daughter]

Anwoth, 23 April 1628


My love in Christ remembered to you. I was indeed sorrowful at my departure from you, especially since you were in such heaviness after your daughter’s death; yet I do persuade myself, you know that the weightiest end of the cross of Christ that is laid upon you, lieth upon your strong Saviour. For Isaiah saith that in all your afflictions he is afflicted [63.9]. O blessed Second, who suffereth with you! and glad may your soul be, even to walk in the fiery furnace, with one like unto the Son of man, who is also the Son of God. Courage up your heart; when you tire, he will bear both you and your burden [Psalm 55.22]. Yet a little while, and you shall see the salvation of God.

Remember of what age your daughter was, and that just so long was your lease of her. If she were eighteen, nineteen, or twenty years old, I know not, but sure I am, seeing her term was come, and your lease run out, you can no more justly quarrel against your great Superior for taking his own, at his just term-day, than a poor farmer can complain, that his master taketh a portion of his own land to himself, when his lease is expired. Good mistress, if you would not be content that Christ

would hold from you the heavenly inheritance, which is made yours by his death, will not that same Christ think hardly of you, if you refuse to give him your daughter willingly, who is part of his inheritance and conquest? I pray the Lord to give you all your own, and to grace you with patience to give God his also. He is an ill debtor who payeth that which he hath borrowed with a grudge.

Indeed that long loan of such a good daughter, an heir of grace, a member of Christ (as I believe) deserveth more thanks at your creditor’s hand, than that you should murmur, when he craveth but his own. I believe you would judge them to be but thankless neighbours who would pay you a sum of money after this manner.

But what! do you think her lost, when she is but sleeping in the bosom of the Almighty? Think her not absent who is in such a friend’s house. Is she lost to you who is found to Christ? If she were with a dear friend, although you should never see her again, your care for her would be but small. Oh now, is she not with a dear friend, and gone higher, upon a certain hope that you shall in the resurrection see her again, when (be you sure) she shall neither be hectic nor consumed in body! You would be sorry either to be, or be esteemed an atheist; and yet not I, but the apostle [I Thess. 4.13] thinketh those to be hopeless atheists who mourn excessively for the dead. But this is not a challenge on my part; I speak this, only fearing your weakness; for your daughter was a part of yourself; and therefore nature in you, being, as it were, cut and halved, will indeed be grieved; but you have to rejoice, that when a part of you is on earth, a great part of you is glorified in heaven.

Follow her, but envy her not; for indeed it is self-love in us that maketh us mourn for them that die in the Lord. Why? because for them we cannot mourn, since they are never happy till they be dead; therefore we mourn on our own private account. Take heed then, that in showing your affection in mourning for your daughter, you be not, out of self-affection, mourning for yourself.

Consider what the Lord is doing in it; your daughter is plucked out of the fire, and she resteth from her labours; and your Lord in that is trying you, and casting you in the fire. Go through all fires to your rest; and now remember, that the eye of God is upon the burning bush, and it is not consumed; and he is gladly content that such a weak woman as you should send Satan away, frustrated of his design. Now honour God, and shame the strong roaring lion, when you seem weakest.

Should such an one as you faint in the day of adversity? Call to mind the days of old; the Lord yet liveth; trust in him, although he should slay you. Faith is exceedingly charitable, and believeth no evil of God. Now is the Lord laying, in the one scale of the balance, your making conscience of submission to his gracious will; and in the other, your affection and love to your daughter. Which of the two will you then choose to satisfy? Be wise then; and, as I trust you love Christ better than a sinful woman, pass by your daughter, and kiss the Lord’s rod. Men lop the branches off their trees round about, to the end they may grow up high and tall. The Lord hath this way lopped your branch in taking from you many children, to the end you should grow upward, like one of the Lord’s cedars, setting your heart above, where Christ is at the right hand of the Father. What is next, but that your Lord cut down the stock, after he hath cut the branches?

Prepare yourself; you are nearer your daughter this day than you were yesterday. While you prodigally spend time in mourning for her, you are speedily posting after her. Run your race with patience; let God have his own, and ask of him, instead of your daughter, whom he hath taken from you, the daughter of faith, which is patience; and in patience possess your soul. Lift up your head; you do not know how near your redemption doth draw. Thus, recommending you to the Lord, who is able to establish you, I rest.

Your loving and affectionate friend in the Lord Jesus,


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Aunt Martha’s Poem (Tributes To Titus)

When Mother’s Arms are empty,

Then God’s arms can hold you tight.

When Daddy’s arms cannot protect,

Then God’s arms become your strength.

When words cannot touch the sorrow piercing deep in broken hearts,

Then the Heavenly Father whispers I am here, I can heal.

When the tears that fall between you, land in the Father’s hands,

Then He waters the seeds of hope buried in the soil of pain.

Then in His time and perfect plan,

The garden of love blooms again.

-Aunt Martha

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Rachel’s Tribute (Tributes To Titus Continued)

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God knows our every thought and desire. He works in ways that we cannot, as created beings, even begin to understand. But we know God, in His faithfulness, will never abandon us. For God said, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.”

God, in His goodness, gives Tanner and Megan strength. He continues to pour out His spirit upon them, giving them joy for whatever He has planned for them in the future. God knows fully how to bless His children. “But let all those that put their trust in Thee rejoice; let them ever shout for joy, because Thou defendest them; let them also that love thy name be joyful in Thee.” (Psalm 5:11)”Thou wilt show me the path of life: in Thy presence is fullness of joy: at Thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)

God, in His love, has taken this baby and loves him so much more than any of us could even begin to. He has placed Titus Bristow under the shadow of His loving wings. Caring for him as even a mother with the most gentle hands could do. “How excellent is Thy loving kindness oh God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Thy wings.” (Psalm 36:7)

God, in his grace, sent His only begotten Son to suffer and die in our place so that even though we deserve to die as transgressors of the law, we, through Jesus’ blood, can be at peace with our Creator. “In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace;” (Ephesians 1:7)

“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness: that thy might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.” (Isaiah 6:3)

-Aunt Rachel