Alyssa is a-changin’

November 26, 2008

It seems like everytime the girls and I leave Daddy, one of the girls does something new. (Sorry Daddy!) Alyssa is now at that stage where it seems like she changes everyday. I don’t want to take my eyes off of her for fear I’ll miss something.

Alyssa loves to watch her hands. She looks at them and rolls her fingers from pinky to pointer finger. It’s so cute. On Sunday, my mom and I were getting Alyssa out of the tub and I waved at her and said, “Hi!” She’s been repeating that and saying something that sounds like “Hi”, but this time she lifted her hand and rolled her fingers as she said it. ADORABLE!! We’ve gotten her to do it several times since then, so – no, it’s not a fluke!!

Today she reached out for me and Uncle Jeff. I love that – it makes me feel so wanted and loved by her!! And, at ANY minute she’s going to start crawling.

Poor Daddy. Fortunately we’ll see him in STL on Friday. He can see all the new things she’s learned at Minima and Bapa’s house before we go to KC and she learns more there! 🙂

24 Season 7

November 25, 2008

If you’re not a 24 fan, you ought to check it out. Carrie and I have watched 24 through its 6 seasons. And Jack is back for season 7.

Take a look…and see why we’re hooked.

On the Road Again!

November 24, 2008

The girls and I are back in the Midwest. Since Alyssa was born in April, we’ve made 5 trips to the IL/MO/KS area. Wow. It’s a lot of work – packing, managing the girls in the airport and on the plane, getting them to sleep in new places, being away from Daddy – but we have fun (except the being away from Daddy part). Good times, with good friends and family!

Yesterday morning Matt dropped us off at the airport and we flew to STL. We were able to meet up with Kate and Ryan at Sweet Tomatoes for lunch and see their new house in Affton. After a few potty breaks along the way, we arrived in Pawnee.

Grace has been excited to come. She’s been talking about everyone she’ll get to see. Riding a blue airplane. And, seeing Minima and Bapa’s Christmas tree!!!

It finally feels like the holiday season to me. Christmas decorations are surrounding me and the temperature outside is freaking cold!!! After bundeling the girls up just to run inside Mickey D’s for a bathroom stop, I was quickly reminded why I love living in a warmer climate!! A brief taste of the cold weather is a nice change of pace, but I’m already missing the 70 degree weather that Matt is enjoying this week! Last night I sat in the recliner, snuggling with a heated blanket, and eating soup just trying to get warm. It’s amazing how quickly your blood thins!

I’ll try to give updates these next two week on our travels. I have to apologize for no pictures, but I’ll post them when we return home.

Holiness Coming Down in Grace

November 22, 2008

“Biblical holiness begins with the Holy. But the holy, by its very nature, can be approached only when we come as sinners. He is never accessible to us as consumers. We come in sackcloth and ashes, not as buyers. Indeed, we cannot approach the Holy at all on our own terms. We must see that the Holy has first approached us in Christ and, through him, reconciled us to himself.

The revelation of the Holy would be unbearable were we to see it in any other way than from within Christ. In Christ, what we are seeing is God’s holiness in its action on our sin. Without Christ we would have to bear that judgment in ourselves What we see instead is holiness coming down in grace and, in Christ, going forth against our sin in triumph.”

– David F. Wells, The Courage to be Protestant (Grand Rapids, Mi.: Eerdmans, 2008), 240.

The Vague Sense of Blah…

November 19, 2008

More and more, my goal through posts on this blog is to share some deep enriching biblical I am learning right now in my life. Many of you might know, but I am part of a discipleship group of men that feel called to teach at our church, The Austin Stone. It has shaken my faith in Jesus Christ more than any other season of my life. And this is all good!

The group is filled with very smart men – men that have a passion for the Word of God. We are studying some very rich ways to study the bible and it has challenged me more than any of my college classes ever did. At times, I have felt extremely encouraged by this group. At other times, I have felt extremely unworthy to take part.

This post by John Piper resonated with me today. At times, during this group, I have felt crummy feelings of not being good enough or smart enough to read the word of God on an intense level. Those feelings lead into this “vague sense of blah,” as I like to call it, where it paralyzes me from taking any further steps toward the word of God because I feel unworthy to even approach it. But like Piper points out, there are some areas of sin in my life I still need to pray about areas that I must claim Christ has overcome.

When I pray and repent of those sins, “Prayer feels possible and right and powerful again,” as Piper said. Even more, I believe approaching the word of God feels right and powerful again.

Austin News

November 14, 2008

So forget about the McDonald’s effect on name recognition for young children!  You know how kids usually notice the Golden Arches at a very young age and persuade their parents to stop for a happy meal?  Well, Grace went one step beyond.  
She officially proved this morning that she also watches lots of TV (contrary to what mommy says).  
So, I received a new bag for a computer at work. I set it down on the ground this morning, and immediately, Grace came up and said “Austin News”
Carrie and I could not stop laughing.  Yes, she’s watched daddy a few times on TV.
So, to end this story, we leave you with a sign-off.

Milwood – Here we come!

November 11, 2008

Don’t even act surprised…of course the Fleners couldn’t stay in one place for more than a year! 🙂 Wish we could, but God has called us to go. Not from Austin…just from our current rental house.

This has been a hard decision. In fact, when Matt first suggested that we THINK about moving to another part of town, I was totally adamant about staying where we are. I LOVE our house. In fact, there isn’t much that I don’t like about our house – except for lack of trees in the yard and no patio. Otherwise, it’s perfect.

Our church just finished its yearly Vision Series where they spur on the church and share the church’s vision for our purpose. The Austin Stone wants to be a church FOR the city. Not OF the city or IN the city, but FOR the city. Everything we do is FOR the city. We don’t just exist in this city or wish to satisfy our selfish desires – to become glutenous by filling ourselves with the truths of God and holding on to them just for ourselves. We want to learn and share our Jesus with this city.

Our dear friends, Jon & Morgan, live in a neighborhood very close to where our apartment was when we first moved to Austin. When we moved to our current house, we thought, “Oh, 15 minutes away is doable – to still see Jon and Morgan.” Well, unfortunately, life is busy and a 30 minute round-trip commute can seem like eternity when you are always on the go. Our deepest heart’s desire is to live in Biblical community with Jon & Morgan (along with Erika & Micah who live about 5 minutes from Jon & Morgan). We talked about all moving into one house together. While we still (seriously) joke about the idea, the next best thing would be to live within walking distance (or a short drive) from each other.

We set out with our Realtor (and good friend), Kelley, on Sunday to see what was available for the price that we currently pay. Because of great location, the Norris’ neighborhood’s cost-of-living is higher than where we are now, so it wasn’t looking like we’d find what we wanted. We really wanted a house in their neighborhood, for the same price we pay now, with a December 15th move-in date, and to stay until May 31, 2010 (the end of Matt’s contract in Austin). Our Realtor (and us) didn’t think we would find it because the houses are currently vacant and the owners wanted them leased yesterday. But, after finding one we liked, we offered those terms.

To make a long-story a little shorter, we found two houses with the same floor plan on the same street. They were both begging us to rent their houses because we’re a nice family with good credit history. 🙂 Today, after looking at both houses again for the second time, one of the owners came down $100/month from their original price (which brought it down to the amount we are currently paying) and offered the move-in and move-out dates we wanted. SOLD!

All this to say…God is awesome. Literally. I am in AWE to think that while this seemed like it wouldn’t happen, God is bigger than the box we put Him in. He is that powerful. He cares that much about us. He cares about the minor details for our lives and takes care of us.

Thank you, Lord. May we glorify You during this process of moving. May our house be used for Your Kingdom. And may our move allow us to join with the Norris’ and Knox’s to reach the city of Austin for You – MAY YOUR KINGDOM COME!!

After the election

November 8, 2008

“We are people that know politics is important, but not ultimate. We know that politics has its place, an urgent and important place where, in the City of Man, decisions are made that can make the difference between life and death, injustice and justice, mercy and no mercy, commonweal or common disaster.
But we also know that there is in this world at its very best only a hint of the kingdom that is to come, where God’s reign is supreme.
No government will ever be able to say, ‘Every tear has been wiped away.’ No government will ever be able to say, ‘The blind have received sight and the deaf have received hearing and the lame now walk.’…That power is God’s alone.”
—Albert Mohler, “After the Election”

Yes, that’s right. Our sweet little Alyssa turned 7 months old on Tuesday. Crazy. Does time really go that quickly?!

I love the stage she’s in now, although I’m a little anxious for her to start crawling. While I’m enjoying who she is now and looking toward the future, I’m sad to think at how quickly the 7 months have gone. She’s now closer to April 4, 2009 than 2008. Tear.

I’m going to brag a little. What else would you expect?!?

Alyssa is the BEST baby I know. Grace was an easy baby too, but Alyssa is even easier. She’s so laid back and go with the flow.

Just today – she fell asleep in the car. I woke her up as I was getting her out of the car seat. She didn’t cry, scream, or even make a sad face. She smiled with a wide-open mouth. It was amazing.

She’s so good to let Grace poke her, squeeze her, and feed her. She’s obsessed with Grace – can’t get enough of her.

Alyssa watches Grace’s every move and does what she does. Example – this morning Grace was crying because she didn’t want to get her flu shot. Alyssa was watching her and then looked at me, stuck out her bottom lip, and cried. Hilarious.

Cheers to you, Alyssa! Happy 7 month birthday!! I’m so thankful for the 7 months that the Lord has blessed us with having you in our lives. And I’m looking forward to all the months to come.