miles to go…

snippets from the zellner family

American Girl Fashion Show March 30, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 9:43 pm

     Grammy gave Emma tickets to the American Girl Fashion Show for her birthday.  We have been excited all month about getting to have a girls’ afternoon and celebrate our love for reading!  Emma and Olivia packed up their “Just Like Me” dolls and we headed to Decatur for the show.

  My sister gave Emma a matching set of outfits for her and her doll.  Emma didn’t know how great that was until the day of the fashion show.  She LOVED being dressed like her doll.  Inside the girls spent birthday money to get their nails done at the nail salon. 🙂


The tickets came with lunch in the cutest boxes!  The show began with children dressed as the American girl doll that was being described.  It was so fun for the girls to see the characters come to life and be on stage in their costumes.  The commentators told the history that was associated with each girl and how her clothes reflected that history.  After a short break, the show returned and included lots of the outfits that you can buy for your “Just Like Me” doll- pajamas, dressy outfits, summer clothes.  My girls really enjoyed the show, especially running into some of their friends from school!

We all went home with goody bags and treats.  And we got their picture made with Molly, their favorite! 

It made me so excited about all the future things I will get to do with my girls 🙂 Thanks Mom for the tickets!


Pursue Community

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 12:11 am

The second chapter for our March bookstudy of Broken Down House by Paul David Tripp was “Pursue Community”.  How do we live in this house that is impacted by sin, our sin, others’ sin, the fall?  We pursue community. We are used to the idea of being “free, independent and accountable to no one.”  We must admit that “the way we think about our faith has been significantly shaped by the individualism of the surrounding culture.”  He goes on to say that the way we are used to living “encourages isolation and privatism, which one dictionary defines as ‘being noncommittal to or uninvolved with anything other than one’s own immediate interests and lifestyle.’…We live in interwoven networks of terminally casual relationships. We live with the delusion that we know one another, but we really don’t.” (152) 

This chapter is my very heart.  Living in the world we live in today has influenced how we view church and its people.  We would much prefer to meet and greet at church and keep our relationship with Christ personal- no one should intrude in our lives- in what we do or how we do it and if they do they are meddling.  But if we look at God’s Word we see such different instruction.  Tripp reminds us that God called a people to himself- When God made a covenant with Abraham, God was calling Abraham to be part of a “people”.  Tripp challenges when he says,”Individuals collect at a gate to catch a plane on Tuesday.  But it is a people who gather to worship God on Sunday.” (154)

Community was vital before the fall-It was not good for Adam to be alone, and the Trinity itself reflects relationship.  Tripp points out that it is so difficult to remember who we are in this world- a sinner and a child of grace- that we need community, people, to tell us the truth when we stray in either direction.  We can forget we are a sinner and think we are justified in living and doing whatever we want, however we want, and we need the people of God to call us back and remind us what it true.  And we can forget how loved we are and that we are no longer under God’s condemnation, and while we are beating ourselves up or holding on to shame, we need God’s people to remind us what is true.  Tripp says that if we are left alone to our own vision of ourselves we will become more and more deceived.  “It is time that we humbly admit that our view of ourselves is blurred by the distorted lens of our own sin and the assortment of faulty mirrors we encounter daily in the culture.”(157)

Another book I read recently pointed out that we live backwards in this world.  We put out to everyone whatever we want- TV shows, youtube, facebook- and go completely public with whatever we want to share- and yet we want no one to respond to what we have laid bare.  We want to be public about very personal things and want no one to comment.  And yet the Bible calls us to be private about what is personal, yet have someone or a few someones who have the right to speak to what they see in our lives- who actually intrude into your space.  How different than how our culture sees it.

We are called to live in an “intentionally intrusive, Christ-centered, grace-driven, and redemptive” community. Does that make you nervous?  Intentionally inviting someone in your private life so that he or she can help us see ourselves with biblical accuracy; while he or she points you to the goal of grasping God’s grace in your life- not someone who is catching you in something you shouldn’t be doing, but someone who loves you enough to risk the difficult conversations and ask the difficult questions because he or she wants you to be more like Christ. 

He ends with the application questions are you “still hiding because there are struggles you can’t seem to get consistently under control? Are you still holding on to the belief that you really do know yourself better than anyone else? Are you still imagining that you are wiser, more sanctified, and spiritually stronger than you actually are?  It is time to face the fact that your walk with God is a community project.”(161)

This has been the area of growth I have most had to change in.  I did buy in to the idea that my life and my habits were my deal and no one else’s.  I still stuggle to always believe that the best thing to do will be to admit something is hard for me, rather than just work on it in private.  But in the past couple of years, I have benefitted from having people in my life who are willing to be a sounding board, willing to take the risk to tell me hard things, and willing to remind me of what is true.  I am so thankful for them and pray that I will be able to make it easier for them to do so.  It feels contrary to our nature (our fallen nature), and yet it is God’s amazing way of reminding us we need His people. And He uses those very people to point us to Him.


Resurrection eggs March 28, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 9:21 pm

At a recent Women’s Craft Night at our church, we put together Resurrection Eggs- with a slight twist.  You take 12 plastic eggs and place a small item in each one that helps your family celebrate Easter.  They come pre-made at Christian book stores and usually start with a palm to teach about palm Sunday.   We decided to back up a little to hear the promises that God gave as early as the Garden. So we had to be a little creative about what to put in each of our eggs.

So far our family has done Eggs#1,2,3,and 4.   We opened egg#1 Wednesday-   

It contained a snake sticker and an apple seed.  We read the children the account of the fall in Genesis and highlighted God’s curse on the serpent in Genesis 3:15.  I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel.    God promises that a seed of the woman (Christ) will come and will crush the serpent (Satan). 

We opened egg#2 Thursday.  It contained a thicket- can’t you tell? 🙂

We read Genesis 22 where God asks Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac.  Abraham goes in full faith that God will keep all His promises that He has made to Abraham- and right before Abraham kills Isaac, God stops him.  Genesis 22:13 and 14 say And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns.  And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son.  So Abraham called the name of that place,”The Lord will Provide.”; as it is said to this day.”On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.  God provides the sacrifice that is needed- not man- and Abraham’s son was substituted with a ram provided by the Lord.  This points us to a future sacrifice that God will provide- Christ on the cross at Calvary.

Eggs #3 and #4 go together.  On Friday, we opened egg#3.  

It contained a cottonball.  We read Exodus 12 to our children.  This account tells of God’s people being kept in Egypt.  Pharoah has refused to let them go and there have been plagues on Egypt because of his unwillingness.  Nine have taken place already, but the tenth and last one will be the worst.  God instructs His people to take a lamb-without blemish, a male a year old- and kill it. 

On Saturday we opened egg#4 and it had a wooden door frame with red across it. 

Exodus 12 continues the insturction of what to do with the Passover lamb.  God tells his people to take the blood of the Passover lamb and put it on their door posts.  That night, God would go through and execute judgment in Egypt and kill all the firstborn, except those who are covered by the blood of the Passover Lamb.  Exodus 12:12 and 13 record God saying, “For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn of the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD.  The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are.  And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.”  Our children were able to see that it took the blood of the lamb to cover God’s people that night and that it takes the blood of the Lamb (Christ) now to cover God’s people. 

Each night we review what they have already opened- I can see already that they are seeing God’s pictures in Scripture that point to Jesus.  I can’t wait for egg #5 tonight.


March Bookstudy (Part 1) March 27, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 11:45 am

It will definitely take two posts to cover March’s book study on Broken Down House by Paul David Tripp.  The premise is that since sin has ravaged the world that God has made, the world functions as if it is a broken down house.  There is damage, broken parts, pain, and a building groaning for restortation and we have to live in it as it is.

The first chapter that we looked at was “Reject Passivity”.  One of the things that Tripp calls us to do is to be active in this world.  He sympathizes with us that we can easily be overwhelmed by all that we see and begin to feel like,”What’s the use?”- that could be a response to our life or the environment we live in.  He looks at several arguments we make to remain uninvolved- One is “I’m too small.”  But Tripp reminds us that God, the Great Restorer, never “calls us to what we cannot accomplish in him, but he always calls us to what we could never accomplish without him.”  He states that,”Passivity is simply rooted in poor theology.  When you begin to embrace the theology of God’s presence, promises and power, passivity no longer makes any sense.” (141)

The next argument is “the Problem is too big.”  We’ve all felt this before- a chaotic life of someone we love, a marriage that seems impossible to fix, a community that does not care about justice or mercy: far too big for any action.  Tripp explores how passivity happens- how the mundane becomes routine. “The character of a life is set in 10,000 little moments, one after another. ”  He compares it to a crack in the house.  You notice the crack, but it doesn’t seem like a big deal and you have so many other things to worry about.  The crack grows and you notice, but there are deadlines; you want to fix it, and you think you will when you have time.  The principle he shows us is,”the problems of life are not usually fixed in free and unscheduled moments.  Problems generally get fixed because someone cares enough to make the time to address and solve them” (145)

The last argument we make for staying inactive is “It’s Not My Problem.”  Tripp knows our lives,”We argue that we have a lot on our plate already and we want to be faithful to what God has given us to do.”  But he challenges us,”Perhaps we take ourselves off the hook too easily.  Perhaps we are too often too happily uninvolved.”  This to me was the most challenging of the arguments.  Of course we should be good stewards of what we are called to do and we have to guard our time with our families, etc.  But I appreciate the question- are we neglecting how God commanded us to live? 

Micah 6:8

He has shown you, O man, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of thee?  But to do justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Tripp states that,”Micah’s call takes us way beyond a ‘me and mine’ way of looking at the call of God.” (143)

I recently read a twitter quote attributed to Tim Keller while he was speaking at an Urban Church Planting conference-“The gospel enables us to love others more, and need others less.”  The more we learn about God’s work on our behalf, we will not be able to “think biblically and adopt a passive lifestyle.”  And Tripp finishes with the question,” Will you live biblically, exercising the character and influence you have been given?’


Scenes from the Magic House March 26, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 11:55 pm

Not only was the zoo free- our mulitple trips to the Magic House were free too! We are members of the Early Works Children Museum here in Huntsville and there is a reciprocal entry to other museums around the country.  The Magic House is one of those- YEA! It has doubled in size since we were there.  I was so thankful to be able to go for a few hours at a time and not feel like I was wasting money if we left because of sad or tired children.


There is a children’s village where the kids can go fishing, work on cars, buy groceries, mail letters, go to the bank, work in a pizza parlor…so many things to pretend.  This was their favorite area to play.

 You can serve ice cream.

One of my favorite new areas is the poetry tree.  They have prompts that help the children compose the poetry, as well as examples that teach them structure.  After you create your own and write it on a leaf, you hang it on the tree.  It was full of children’s poetry! Love it.

There is also a new construction sight. Cord, Olivia and Emma were very busy shoveling rocks, using a loader, laying tiles and constructing a house.


There is a four story bean stalk that the children could climb.

They have added an area where children learn about our government- Olivia loved being a judge and all of them had a turn behind the President’s desk in the Oval Office.


And the final day (we went three different days while we were there), we played in the art studio.  We painted pictures, played with play dough and made fairy wands.


It really is an amazing place.  So many creative things to do- How do they think of them all? The ability to combine learning with such a high interest level is encouraging and makes me want to try harder in our own home to take advantage of these years that they love to learn and love to pretend.  As a mom I need that kind of encouragement- that place that opens up new ideas and awakens that teacher that used to live in me 🙂  I hope you get a chance to go there.


Scenes from St Louis March 25, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 11:39 pm

We had a great time on our Spring Break.  St Louis was our home for 3.5 years and this trip brought back so many wonderful memories.  Cord was sick for most of the trip.  He would get sick and then be ok for two days and then get sick again.  So frustrating.  One of our favorite spots was the zoo.  Free, outdoors, and good for tiring out the whole crew.  It was a little cold on the first day we went there, but the weather did make for good animal sighting.


Every time Lucy saw an animal she would be surprised, wave, and say “hi doggy”.  She is waving to the penguins right now.

 We enjoyed the reptile house a lot- warm and dry!

  One attempt at a family photo.  They are freezing!

  I am so thankful for big sisters who encourage the little ones and help them when they are tired.


best church ever March 22, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 2:25 pm

Can I just say we have the sweetest church ever?! Not only have I been called, checked on, emailed, hugged, encouraged, and prayed for this weekend, but today the doorbell rang and a beautiful arrangement of spring flowers were waiting there.  They are amazing, thoughtful and full of beauty.  What a great picture of hope- on a gloomy day, a bright spot always comes in.  Eric and I thank God for our church.