Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Last Day of School

I just returned from our walk to meet the boys after their last day of the 2008-2009 school year. It was a half day. Smart thinking. The last day is pretty much a fun day, and now it’s over for my boys for this school year. M is now a rising third grader and J is now a rising fifth grader.

How did the end of May get here so fast? Aside from a week of day camp at the YMCA (both boys – one The Lord of the Rings theme and one golf theme), VBS coming up in a couple of weeks (evening, however) and one week of spend the night camp for J, I sort of forgot to plan for summer break. And here we are. I hope we don’t drive each other crazy for the next couple of months.

I’m going to really miss going to the beach with my friends like we did last summer. That was fun. No beach here. But we do have a nice swimming pool at our apartment complex, so I’m sure we’ll be visiting it often. And the boys will be riding their bikes – a lot! Oh yes, indeed.

Best laid plans: TV will be kept to a minimum and we’ll be practicing serving each other by keeping the house neater than we usually do in the summer time. Just working to keep Mommy sane.

Time is just flying by.

What's On My Nightstand - May 2009, Updated at Bottom




Well, I’m a day late to the carnival, but I just couldn’t get to the blog yesterday. So, I’m writing my post today. You can see other nightstand posts at the host blog, 5 Minutes for Books.

Just fininshed:

Nonfiction:


Unmasking the New Age by Douglas R. Groothuis. Drew was in the church library a few weeks ago and there was a box marked as free books. I guess they were cleaning out the shelves to make room for new things, and Drew found some interesting titles in the mix. This was one of them. I found it intriguing and just a bit disturbing. And I also found it still very, very current considering it was published in 1986. In fact, the trends he discusses have only become more mainstream in the intervening years, not less. What is very disturbing to me is how much of the kind of thinking that characterizes the very eclectic and broad New Age movement is become mainstreamed right into the evangelical movement with some thin veneer of Christian language. This was an eye-opening book if you are able to read it and think about a lot of catch phrases and mindsets we’re seeing among many Christian groups today. I found it disturbing.

Fiction:


But We Are Not of Earth by Jean E. Karl. I know, this one seems a little surprising, probably, but I really like science fiction, but I have to be careful with it because much of it is written from a basically atheistic or even New Age type of worldview. I use ‘New Age’ loosely, because I’m finding that there are a huge number of eclectic things that can be classified as such, but they all have certain hallmarks in common. I can’t get into all that in this short post, but, well, you’ll see from my currently reading why I added that little note. Anyway, I still like science fiction, and this book was a fun read about a futuristic group of children who are the children of planetary explorers who have disappeared and who are not allowed to go back to Earth because of some mysterious happening there in the future past. This was a book I read as a kid – in fact, it’s one that I repeatedly checked out from the local library because I liked it so much. Over the past several years and moves, I’ve been looking for it in the library because I wanted to read it again since I remembered liking it so much. I have not been able to find it anywhere. It turns out that it is no longer in print, but I found it on Amazon and purchased a copy. I liked it again, and my 10-year-old son kept pestering me to read it after he read the back cover. I told him he could after me. So it’s in his room now on his nightstand.

Currently reading:

Nonfiction:


Understanding the New Age by Russell Chandler. Another of Drew’s free books from the library give-away box. This one was written by a religion journalist from the Los Angeles Times and published in 1991. In the Preface to the book, Mr. Chandler shares that he took an eight-month leave of absence from his beat at the Los Angeles Times to research and write this book. And I am glad he did. Again, though the book is now over 15 years old, I am finding that the trends he discusses are even more mainstream, not less. And, again, it is frightening how much of the New Age worldview seems to be influencing parts of the evangelical movement – experience trumping the written word, relative truth verses absolute truth, contemplative spirituality and searching for experiences rather than running all experiences through the grid of scripture, searching within for the divine, feminism and goddess worship, yoga, doing what seems right to you, reinventing spirituality in whatever image you feel comfortable with, it’s all very disturbing. Maybe I’ll attempt a blog post sometime if I can get my mind wrapped around it all. Then again, that may be a daunting task.

Fiction:


Inkspell by Cornelia Funke. I seem to be stuck for the moment reading kid fiction, but I am liking this second book in the Inkheart trilogy. So far it seems a bit darker than the first, but still an interesting read. Well, I guess the first had some dark moments, too, come to think of it. It was a little different from the movie – especially at the end. But that’s all I’m saying. Don’t want to spoil it if you haven’t read it yet and want to.

Soon to read:

Nonfiction:

If Mama Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy! Making the Choice to Rejoice by Lindsey O'Connor. This is a book study we'll be doing this summer with our MOPS group. I'm looking forward to it.

Fiction:

Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix (who also wrote the Shadow Children series that I mentioned here.) J got this one from a book order and I want to read it, too. It looks interesting. In fact, I read somewhere that when the movie The Village came out that there was some concern about how similar it was to this book. Don’t quote me on that, I just remember reading something along those lines somewhere, but I don’t remember where. I’ll have to see when I read it, I guess. Anyway, looks like I’m not getting away from juvenile fiction yet.

I’d still like to read the King Raven Trilogy by Stephen Lawhead, too. That’s still on my mental list of ‘to be read.’

Don’t forget to look at other nightstand reads at 5 Minutes for Books!

Updated: I forgot to add what I'm reading with the kids. We've been reading The Fellowship of the Ring for forever it seems. As of a few nights ago we're taking a break from it because it's just hard to read it out loud and I needed a break for something easier for my guys to listen to. Now we're reading Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. This is at the request of my 8-year-old son who had started reading it himself and wanted me to read it out loud when I said we needed something else to read. I told him I would, reluctantly, but if this thing ends sad, well, he answers to me. Kidding! Sort of kidding. It's a story about a boy and a dog. Any takers on whether it ends happy? Anyone? Most dog books end with the death of the beloved dog. We've had several that we've read together that I had to read through tears at the end (Old Yeller, A Dog Named Kitty). True confession, I skipped to the end and skimmed the last page. I think the dog is still alive there. We'll see......

We are also reading through the book of Exodus after having finished Genesis a couple of weeks ago. I love it that they still ask every morning if we'll be reading the Bible together that day. I love it that they are wanting to know what happens next as we continue reading through Exodus. Love it!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Our pastor asked Drew, as a uniformed member of the military, to give a testimony in church yesterday. He said some really good things about how thankful he is for a church where God's word is honored and, while we appreciate our nation, we do not worship it, but we keep our eyes on the main thing, honoring God and His word. He also talked a little about how God has used things in our history and through things the military has been involved in to open doors for the gospel to be shared around the world. He talked about a chaplain he worked with in Iraq who is praying that the small acts of kindness he is able to do now will one day make a way for people to more fully share God's love through Jesus Christ to the people he meets.

He's so handsome in his uniform. I don't get to see him wear it very often. We have a ball coming up in June and I have to buy a dress, but that's a really different post....

Anyway, here's a picture of Drew speaking at church yesterday. It came out kind of dark. After church we met a man who had been there on the beach at D-Day. It was amazing to hear his story as he shared a little with Drew.



Afterward, we tried to get a picture of Boo in her little red,white, and blue dress with her daddy, but she wasn't in a picture taking mood, so she wasn't very cooperative.





Today we remember those who have sacrificed so much through so many years so that our country can be free. Remember the veterans when you are free to go to work and school and play without fearing a suicide bomber around every corner, remember the veterans when you realize we are still free to gather to worship and our pastors are free to open God's word publicly. Pray for those who serve in our military - but even more importantly, pray for true revival, that we will repent and turn to God through Christ Jesus, who is the only name given among men by which we may be saved. He alone is the way, the truth and the life. Only in Jesus is there reconciliation and peace with God, and only in Christ can we hope to live in holiness.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Seems Right Doesn't Always Mean Right

Proverbs 14:12
“There is a way that seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.”

God’s word is the final authority for what is right, not what I think, what I feel, what seems good or pleasing. If what I think, what I feel, what seems good or pleasing is in violation of God’s word, it is not right. We do not worship at the altar of our feelings, but we worship in spirit and in truth. God’s word is truth. Therefore, I must spend time in His word and in prayer, asking Him to grant me the wisdom to understand His word and rightly apply it. And also therefore, I must judge everything anyone attributes to God by what His word says. Personally, I'm glad I don't have to trust my feelings. I'd be in big trouble if that was my guide.

I have avoided mentioning this for a long time, but I just have to mention this in context with the chapter in Proverbs I read yesterday because it keeps on coming up in my circle of friends and acquaintances, so I know it must be coming up in a lot of groups, and I just need to get it out of my system and then I’ll move on. There is a book going around Christian circles that a lot of people are saying I just have to read and that it will give me such a better understanding of God and grace. That book is called The Shack. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard it mentioned favorably and quoted from and etc. I cannot tell you how many people, surprising people, have told me I just have to read this book.

Friends, be wary. I don’t care how much ‘good’ stuff might be in that book, there is also a lot that some very biblically wise men and women are saying is not biblical and is actually heretical. If what is being presented fictionally as something God would say doesn’t line up with what He has actually said in His word, run away. Personally, I’ve decided not to waste my time reading it. I’ve heard enough about it from sources I trust that I just don’t want to fill my mind with something I have to wade through to find some snippet among many other thoughts that aren’t right. Here are a couple of reviews I read or listened to that are worth pondering if you have read or are being encouraged to read that book: From Al Mohler and from Tim Challies.

Something I am becoming increasingly aware of in my journey through life is that just because something is in the Christian bookstore or has a Christian label or is on Christian TV or is presented as being Christian, doesn’t mean that it is necessarily theologically sound. Be careful, is all I’m saying.

And one more little pet peeve I just have to get off my chest. I am getting so tired of people saying I need to read a fiction book to gain a better understanding of who God is. Is what He has said in His word and shown us in Christ not enough? Rather I fill my mind with His word than someone’s speculations.

Because there is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. How I feel about something cannot and must not be the ground of my determining its soundness. God’s word must be the final authority.

Friday Photos

Because I haven't blogged anything in, like, forever, and because it's the easiest way to share pictures with my family, here's some recent pictures. These are three good-looking kids, if I do say so myself. No bias here, though....


This was Boo's Easter dress, but she wants to wear her "princess dress" to church every week now. She's so funny waiting on the stairs for the rest of to be ready.

All dressed up and ready for church.

First student in Sunday School that day. By the way, I love it that the teacher for her 2&3-year-old Sunday School class has her BIBLE open in preparation for the day.

Boo is one child who will never have to be reminded to take time to stop and smell the roses, I think. Taking a walk with her is painfully slow, because we have to pick many, many flowers along the way and smell every one we pass. She loves flowers.


Drew took the boys to their first Cardinals game last month. They LOVED it. They're going again tomorrow afternoon.

And of course no baseball game is complete without a hot dog, you know.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

And Now I Present.....The Broccoli Dance

The other night after church, Boo was finishing her dinner when she spontaneously introduced us to just another of her crazy and funny "Boo-isms." She got a little gleam in her eye, picked up a piece of broccoli and said, "I do the broccoli dance!" And then she started dancing around with her broccoli. It was sooooo funny. You probably had to be here to fully appreciate her spontaneity (and our falling on the floor laughing with her), but Drew grabbed the camera, and this is what he was able to capture.

video


She really likes broccoli, can you tell?

It's hard to believe someone so cute and funny could be as stubborn and prone to meltdowns in the most public of places, making things like grocery shopping a truly interesting, frightening, unpredictable experience, isn't it? But when she's cute, she's so very, very cute.

There is never a dull moment around here.

Monday, May 04, 2009

'In Over His Pay Grade,' Indeed.

My dad sent me a link to this article in Christianity Today.

See if the second paragraph doesn't leave you a little bit breathless - like when you get punched in the stomach and can't breathe for a second. And people wonder why so many of us have so little regard for the 'reporting' of the main stream media if this is really their idea of expertise on the subject. "Startling ignorance" just about says it right. No wonder we have so many people who are confused about when life begins and about the sanctity of human life if this is the best that the 'best and brightest' politicians can do. I wasn't a Rhodes Scholar, but I did take a biology class or two along the way through school. DUH.

And then see if the last paragraph on the first page doesn't make you scratch your head and say, "Huh?????" Ummmmmm, I just really am speechless here....

And then see if you aren't nodding along with the last two paragraphs of the article and thinking, "You said it."

Well, that was sort of my response, anyway.

Thanks, Dad, for the link. You're right. It was interesting.