Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Announcing...

Elias Paton McCartney



Birthday: August 24, 2012
Time: 5:06 pm (Moscow Time)
Weight: 8 lbs. 15 oz. (4050 grams)
Length: 21 in. (54 cm)




Does this remind you of anything?  That first picture?  This is a famous Russian chocolate.  Matt and I just laughed as we were looking through our pictures.  So now, we've nicknamed the above photos, babushka, the Matryoshka swaddle and Alyonka. Ha!  Welcome to the world baby brother, Elias!

The long awaited name...

Elias Paton McCartney

So how did we finally come up with this name?!  In our country, the meaning of names are very important and a question that we get every time we talk about Harper's name.  We knew that we wanted our son's name to lead to good news conversations about what is most important to us.  We also knew that we wanted a name that would easily translate into other languages.  It is funny how you begin thinking about these things when you live in another country.

So what's the meaning of Elias?  Elias means: the Lord is my God or Yahweh is my God.  In English,  it is pronounced ee-LYE-us and is a biblical name of the Greek form of Elijah.  In Russian, it is Ilya.  We do hope his name will lead to many interesting conversations.

Where did Paton come from?  Paton is the last name of John G. Paton a "sent out" one to the Cannibals.  He is basically our hero here in the McCartney household, and his father, James Paton, is a role model for Matt.  You can listen to John Piper's "Lessons from the Life of John G. Paton."  We hope you will take time to learn more about this amazing saints life.  It will greatly challenge and encourage you.

We love his name!  We are thankful we finally agreed on a name and one that has significance to us as well!  Although, his name will not be official until we get his birth certificate and passport, it is official to us! ;)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Stuck in a Rut

Friends, do you ever get stuck in a rut?  Why do we like to wallow in self-pity?  I can find excuses galore as to why I just laid in bed for half the day, or why I just spent my daughter's entire nap time on the Internet, but the truth is, it's just plain 'ole ugly sin.  The sin of selfishness.  I can call it escaping, culture shock, cultural stress, being 9 months pregnant and hormones raging, or I can just call it what it is, SIN!

I sit here, convicted, as I reflect on how much of my attitude as a wife and mom effects the state of our home.  If I am lazy, my family suffers.  If I am unmotivated, unscheduled, and unplanned my family pays the price.  To tell you the truth, the past two months have been hard.  We have been traveling, living in new places, and preparing for our second child.  Our routine and schedule has been interrupted every 3 months since we moved in January.  Well, to tell you the truth, we have been living like gypsies for over a year now, and it has been hard to keep up with.  It is exhausting.  How do you plan activities with a toddler when you can only travel with the bare bone necessities?  She only has a few toys and activities that she can bring with her.  How do you stick to a routine and schedule when you have to learn a new city and transportation system, and it takes at least 2, but probably 3 hours to go grocery shopping?  How much of what I feel that I need to do as a wife and mom is biblical and how much is still hanging on from a cultural "American" influence? Or from comparison? These are all questions that I am working through right now.  So far, the only thing I've got is to go back to the basics.  Keep it simple.  I was encouraged by this post over at  Passionate Homemaking on Keeping Your Soul Refreshed as a Mother.

As I sit here, listening to some worship music, I am reminded how amazing it is that we can cry out to our Father, to come and MOVE, to illumine our hearts and minds, and that HE WILL meet us right where we are.  Praise God for His love and the blessings of grace and mercy that he has freely poured out for us in Christ.  Praise God for forgiveness and for renewing our hearts and spirits.

Well, here I am crying out for more of YOU, Lord come and move in my life today, in my midst and in the lives of my brothers and sisters all across the world.  Come and move in the lives of those who have never heard of you before.  Use us Lord.  

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Waiting Game

It's Sunday here.  I woke up at 6:00 this morning, thinking, hoping, praying and wishing that this slight uncomfortable feeling might be labor.  We will just have to wait out the rest of the day and see.  That has been the new theme in our lives for the past two months.  We are in a season of waiting.  Our family has been in a holding pattern.  We have greatly been anticipating the arrival of this new baby, as well as, waiting on God to show us our next steps.  Often, in times like these, I am reminded of how impatient I am and how easy it is to lose that "eternal perspective" that I so desperately need.  I too often get lost in my circumstances that I miss the ONE who controls those circumstances.  It is so easy to want the pleasures of this world; comfort, ease, security, stability, answers, etc.  Is that what I am supposed to be living for?  Sadly, too often, that is what I find attractive when I should find my Savior more attractive; which likely means, the loss of comforts that I once knew, the loss of ease, and the loss of security and stability in a worldly sense.  But, have I really lost anything?  Or did I just gain the whole world?   I have been reminded afresh these past 8 months of living overseas what true contentment means and looks like.  I have been reading "Calm My Anxious Heart" by Linda Dillow and learning so much about contentment.

In an excerpt from her book, she says, "The apostle Paul makes an amazing statement in the book of Philippians.  I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:11-13)." "Paul lived an extremely difficult life.  He was beaten almost to death, constantly misunderstood, deserted by friends--Paul's life was anything but perfect and controlled; yet he said, "I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am."  Incredible!  This means you and I can learn to be content.  Paul followed his extraordinary declaration about having learned to be content in all circumstances with the secret of how (Philippians 4:13).  This often-quoted verse is translated literally from the Greek as, "I am able to face anything by the one who makes me able [to do it]."  Have you ever wondered why this verse immediately follows Paul's bold statements about contentment?  Paul recognized that the source and strength of all Christian contentment is God Himself."    

This is so encouraging to me because too often I am looking for some formula or some way to make myself feel content, when all I really need to do is look to God, the ONE who is in control.  Do I practice this perfectly? NO, not even close!  But, do I need to remind myself everyday of what it means to look to the Controller of all things?  YES!  What seems so uncertain to me is not uncertain to HIM at all.  I need to be reminded of a fresh and eternal perspective, God's perspective.

Although, there are some things we can remind ourselves of when we are tempted to not be content.  Dillow speaks of her friend, Ella, in her book.  She writes out Ella's prescription for contentment; or we could call it Ella's perspective adjustment:

*Never allow yourself to complain about anything--not even the weather.
*Never picture yourself in any other circumstances or someplace else.
*Never compare your lot with another's.
*Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise.
*Never dwell on tomorrow--remember that [tomorrow] is God's not ours.

Wow, Ella's prescription humbles me.  I need this perspective adjustment everyday.  These are some good points to remember and remind us of WHO is in Control.   Are you looking for contentment in your circumstances or are you looking to the ONE who controls those circumstances, to find your peace, comfort, joy and satisfaction?

So here I am, being reminded afresh that God has already numbered this baby's days.  He already knows how many hairs will be on his head, and therefore, he for sure knows when he is going to be born.  His birthday has already been decided.  God will give me the strength to make it another day carrying this precious gift.  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Twenty-Nine

The number right before the big 30 and the age I turned this past Sunday.   

My hope for this next year of my life: to display Christ and His righteousness.  Here is a verse from the song "All I have is Christ" by Sovereign Grace that I want to exemplify this next year of my life:


Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone

And live so all might see
The strength to follow Your commands
Could never come from me.
Oh Father, use my ransomed life
In any way You choose.

And let my song forever be
My only boast is You.


I sort of like aging (all except the physical part of it).  Strange as it may be, it allows me to see how I have changed, and hopefully matured.  Although, I still see areas where I need to "grow up." haha.  It is weird to think that I am now 29.  How did I get here?!  It seems just like yesterday that I was entering college and learning to live on my own.  Now, as I sit here, I am a wife and a mom.  I can only imagine how fast the time will pass between now and when my kiddos will be going off to college.  



My prayer is that God would use my ransomed life in any way He chooses, and that I would be thankful for all the blessings along the way, all the opportunities to share life with those around me and to share Christ and his love with my family, friends and neighbors.  

We have been in our new country's capital awaiting the arrival of baby brother (whose name will be announced soon) for about a month now.  This city is HUGE!!! But, I knew that I wanted to get out and do something fun for my birthday, even at 39 weeks pregnant.  My family loved me well.  Hubs surprised me with some beautiful flowers to start out the morning.

We then had a time of worship together singing, reading and praying.  For lunch we traveled to a cafe we had spotted about 3 weeks ago that looked interesting.  It turned out to be the best food we have had since we arrived here.  The food was fresh and the flavor was amazing and very different from anything you would expect to find in this country.  The cafe even gave me a free piece of cake for being pregnant.  They didn't even know it was my birthday.  How generous!  



This is the Burger Girl.  It was a crab cake and fish burger with all the greens, pesto and yummy goodness.  It was amazing.  FYI:  The cafe is called "Cup & Cake"

We had already planned to go to Pinkberry after lunch.  We couldn't disappoint Harper, so we still decided to go even after the free slice of cake.  I got the salty caramel with lots of yummy toppings.  Two desserts and good food while being surrounded by the people I love most=a great birthday.