Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Elmo Red!

Well, I'm thankful today for Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. I am pleased to announce that it takes red crayon off of walls and doors.

Boo knows her colors by Sesame Street character. Elmo red, Big Bird yellow, Cookie Blue, etc. In fact, the other day we were in her room and she kept saying, "Zoe book! Zoe book!" We have a series of books with Elmo and friends and I kept pulling out books that had Zoe in them and she kept throwing them down and insisting that I get the "Zoe book." I finally figured out that she wanted an orange Winnie the Pooh book on a whole different shelf. Learning to speak two-year-old is interesting.

So, anyway, earlier today I was working on the computer and she was happily saying, "Elmo red!" and pointing to the living room. I wasn't sure what red thing she meant so I kind of forgot about it. Until I went into the living room. My little muralist to be had taken a red crayon to the front door and dining room wall.

Enter Magic Eraser. It worked. Whew. Nothing like trying to keep a house ready to show when you've got a little graffiti artist in residence.

Now, if the Mr. Clean wizards would just come up with something that would take crayon off the sofa and the carpet as easily........

A certain two-year-old in our house has lost crayon privileges for a while, by the way.

Sin is Not Small

As I’ve been studying Genesis with Community Bible Study for the past few weeks, I thought I’d share a few thoughts I’ve been pondering.

One thing I’ve been really thinking about is that there is no such thing as a ‘small sin.’ Sin is sin. Disobeying God is a big thing, no matter how hard we might try to justify things in our own mind by thinking or saying that something is not so bad. Think about it, Adam and Eve bit a piece of fruit. But the fruit they bit was the one fruit God said not to eat. It was not a mistake, it was not an error in judgment, it was not a character flaw, it was not an addiction. None of those nice-sounding words we use to try to make sin sound like it is not what it is can cover over the fact that it is rebellion against God. And as a result of their rebellion, sin and death entered the world. We all reap the consequences. Every sin has consequences. Even the ones we try to excuse away as small things or not all that bad or not as bad as something else.

And though God in His mercy and grace provided a covering for them and promised a Redeemer, there are still heavy consequences here on earth. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. The pardon He grants for even ‘small’ sins was very costly indeed.

What I’ve been thinking about is how often I am not serious enough about sin and not serious enough about recognizing it for what it is – rebellion. I’m prone to excuse away a bad attitude or an outburst of temper by blaming it on hormones or on what is going on around me, when the proper response is to agree with God that my attitude and my words have not been glorifying to Him and to confess and repent. That is much more productive than excusing ‘small sins’ away and not recognizing them for what they are.

Those small sins are every bit as much in need of forgiveness, mercy and grace as the ones we would call big sins. To forgive my so-called small failings and small sins cost Jesus His blood every bit as much as murder and stealing and adultery. I am as guilty of breaking His law with a rotten attitude or lack of love as if I had murdered someone. There are no small sins. Nothing less than the precious blood of Christ has made me whole and clean and reconciled to God.

And I have been thinking about how God promised that we would not be tempted beyond what we are able to endure, but that with the temptation would be a way of escape. How often I don’t even look for the escape, especially when it comes to my attitude and how I handle frustration. How often I let worry cloud my thinking, when He has said to be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let my requests be made known to God. That’s something I want to remember. When thinking about how serious every sin is, instead of buying into the kind of thinking that has us flirting with the line and thinking about how like the world I can be with my words and actions, how close to the line I can live, because of a faulty understanding of what freedom means, I’d rather be thinking about how like Jesus I can be - holy, because true Christian freedom means the freedom not to sin.

Praise Him, Hallelujah! What a Savior. That He would look on Christ Jesus and count me as righteous. May I look at sin with proper eyes and not overlook things in my life that dishonor my Lord. By the power of the Holy Spirit in me may I learn to lay aside every weight that so easily entangles and learn to take Him at His word and obey what He has said out of gratitude and love for such a gracious Savior.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Spell Check, Please?

Here's one more reason we aren't crying too terribly much about leaving the Lowcountry. Below is a sign we saw this morning in front of a local middle school. When I saw it and pointed it out to Drew, who was driving, he started laughing and said, "Oh, you have to blog about that!"

And they wonder why kids can't read. Guess they were optimistic about their spelling ability, too.....

Movie Recommendation

Drew and I went to see this movie this afternoon:


If you have the opportunity to go see this movie, GO SEE IT. It is excellent, with excellent message.

Bring Kleenex.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hello, I Do Still Have a Blog...

You find out a lot about yourself when you go through one of the big life events – moving being right up there in the top ten of those big life events, according to the ubiquitous “they” who say these things. Anyway, I’m finding out a lot about myself with this move, truth be told. Some of it isn’t all that pretty.

I think the blogging break may be coming to a close, if I can come up with posting ideas. I’ve spent the past week organizing, cleaning, and getting rid of stuff, and now the house is as clutter-free, clean and neat as I can manage. It is also officially on the market.

Here is a random status report following my quite productive break:

I probably should have stayed on break rather than writing the last post. I meant it to be light and funny, but when I re-read it later, it sounded kind of snippy. I didn't mean it to.

My idea of “deep cleaning” and the actual execution of such by the professional maids who came yesterday didn’t completely align themselves. They did an adequate job of giving me the base clean I needed so I can maintain the clean, though, so I’m not disappointed enough to complain. The cleaning the house received yesterday was about as good as I could have done, but I was a little disappointed in that I kind of wanted it better than I could have done. Notable exception: the shower in my bathroom. A-plus job on that! But the rest, I find myself today going back and redoing things and finding things that I would have liked done just a bit better. Now, if I had kept up with things around here in the first place we wouldn’t have needed to call in the maids at all, but I kind of went into a little funk after Boo was born that I am now two years out of and ready to get back on track again with the cleaning. I have found that if I rotate one major chore each day instead of leaving everything for the weekend and trying to catch up all the chores at once the house never gets too terribly out of whack.

Now that things are de-cluttered, I find that I cannot stop myself from going from room to room over and over again and picking up every little thing that is out of place. And I can’t sit down until everything is put away and neat. There is seriously something wrong with me. I’m turning into Monk, I think. But I function sooooo much better in a neat and tidy environment. It even helps me fight the blues when the house is picked up and orderly. Drew and I have already decided that J’s room must never be allowed to get into the state of chaos it developed over the past year. Every evening before bed we help the boys pick up and put away and it helps a lot. Even J says he can breathe better in his room now. I know what he means.

I’m really glad I listened to Drew and decided to stay with CBS this semester even though I won’t be here for the last half. Genesis is a good study and I’m praying for open eyes and heart to learn to have a greater understanding of our God.

I’m praying I will not drive my family crazy in the months before this move. I have this need to keep the house tidy, but I don’t want the kids to feel like they can’t live here, either. Balance, Beck, balance.

Now that I’m helping out in AWANA on Sunday nights, I feel really, really guilty for not helping M and J more with their books last spring. Some of the kids come in with notes from their moms or dads telling us what they worked on all week and what they’re ready to recite. My poor kids were doing well to remember to bring their book at all last year. I didn’t get with it too well. Now that I understand the program a little better, we’re using their books in the evenings along with the devotional book we’re going through and helping the boys with their memorizing. I wish I’d paid more attention last year, but we’re getting with it better this time around.

Boo has finally come to understand that naps are a good thing. Go girl! Now at about 12:15 or so she’ll bring her blankie to me and act all snuggly and I’ll take her in her room and rock her a bit and she goes right down when I put her to bed. This is a new thing for my little former ‘no nap wonder.’ We’re thinking she’s also probably ready to transition to a big girl bed. We had talked about not wanting to move the crib this time and just making that transition over the move, but then we rethought that. It would be awful to get there without the crib and find that she wouldn’t sleep in the bed – too many changes all at once. So, we’re going to be starting that process in the next couple of weeks. My little baby is growing too fast. Wah.

I was really surprised how sad I felt when our realtor came by yesterday and put the sign up in the yard. Anyone who has read this blog over the past two years probably remembers that struggle I have had because I haven’t really liked living here as much as I wish I could have liked it. For the first four years I didn’t think I’d ever feel settled here, but this past year, since we started going to our current church and I found CBS, I have finally started to settle in. Then Drew got that out-of-the-blue call that changed everything and I find myself emotionally pulling away, even though I don’t mean to. But it still feels really weird to see that sign out there in the front yard. We brought Boo home to this house. And we really thought that we’d be here for a while – on through the boys’ high school at least. But God brought something else along and surprised us with an exciting adventure ahead.

Enough rambling for now. Maybe the break will be ending. I hope to get back to posting and reading again now that the whirlwind is slowing for a bit.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Question of the Week - Updated

Just how many Legos do two boys need before it is plain ridiculous?

Answer: I'm pretty sure we crossed that line a loooooong time ago. Two and half days of sorting Legos into boxes by color and the headache I've had for the same two and a half days, and I'm ready to throw them all away. But, except for a few minor things I need to take care of this afternoon, J's room is officially organized and neat. Three and half days, two very large and very full garbage bags and two boxes of giveaway items it has taken, but I finally can see his shelves and floor. Can someone please explain to me why he keeps pages and pages and pages that he cuts out of Lego magazines? And did you know that every pile of paper and trash that I tossed was covering even more scattered Legos? And all that mess under his bed? All trash. And more Legos. Lots of tiny little multi-colored Legos. I am having nightmares about Legos. I have come to hate Legos. Houston, we have a problem.......

But, the problem is contained now in color-coded plastic boxes -and one "people parts" box filled with little amputated Lego legs and disembodied heads and headless bodies - all stacked neatly under J's bed. And it better stay that way. Otherwise, the Legos will be meeting the trash can. This mommy is tired of Legos.

Back to the blogging break, but I'm seeing some light at the end of it....

Update: Mrs. H at Standing Firm in Quicksand has a Mind-Wandering Monday linky going, so I've linked this post to it. Check it out!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I'm taking a short blogging break so I can focus on some things that have to be done around here. I hope to be back next week!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Thoughts for This Sunday Morning

Psalm 67

1 God be merciful to us and bless us,
And cause His face to shine upon us,
2 That Your way may be known on earth,
Your salvation among all nations.

3 Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
4 Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy!
For You shall judge the people righteously,
And govern the nations on earth.

5 Let all peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
6 Then the earth shall yield her increase;
God, our own God shall bless us.
7 God shall bless us,
And all the ends of the earth shall fear Him.

What mercy He has shown us in the cross. He who knew no sin was made sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. I can never read these verses without a sense of awe that He would extend His grace to even the Gentiles! I am so amazed by His grace that I could be reconciled to God and made ready to sing the praise of Jesus my Lord. May I never cease to lift praise to Him and to live humbly and righteously before Him, whose face has shone on us in mercy and grace.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

My Dog May Not Survive the Next Three Months

This is what Oliver looks like a lot of the time these days:

He sleeps. A lot. He’s getting old, what can I say?

However. When is not sleeping, he is becoming Annoying. With a capital “A.” It is raining outside right now. He just came in from the backyard where it is raining. He wants to go back out, but he does not want to be in the rain. This all equals hyper dog who keeps running through the house, jumping and leaping and rubbing his nasty wet doggy body all over my pants trying to dry off and convince me that I should be doing something to make the rain stop so he can play outside. He’s driving me crazy. Hence the bloggy break from cleaning my closet to vent. By the way, I’m making progress. I went to the first CBS meeting this morning, too, which was postponed from last week due to Hanna, which ended up doing nothing here. Last night I mentioned to my husband that maybe I should drop out and open up my spot for someone on the waiting list since I won’t be able to complete the study this year, but he said that I shouldn’t do that. He said I need that and need to stay connected. So, being the excellent wife that I am (ha!) I listened, and ya’ll, I’m sad I won’t be doing this whole study. We’re studying Genesis this time. But I digress.

So, this morning the dog pottied and pooped on the living room floor before I could get out of the shower and let him out to do his business. Most days he lies around on the sofa until oh, 11AM or so, not budging when I plead and beg and cajole to get him to go out before I have to leave the house to run errands in the morning. Today, however, he was up before dawn and pooping in the floor before I could do anything about it. So, I retched and barely held myself together while I cleaned up his mess this morning. One thing I have a very hard time with is dog waste products of any kind. My stomach is very weak on that point. Then he had the nerve to beg for a doggy treat when I let him back in. Think again, dog.

Oliver better be really glad this afternoon that the man does not come to clean the carpet until tomorrow afternoon. Otherwise, I might have been tempted to just leave him outside for the next three months until we get this move accomplished. I’m still thinking about it. He’s on probation at the moment.

Sigh. Back to my closet now.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Obsessive Am I

I am pretty sure I do not want to know what it says about me that I spent this morning cleaning my house before Merry Maids came this afternoon to give us an estimate of what it will cost to have the house thoroughly cleaned so we can start showing it. They also gave me a quote for weekly cleaning, but somehow it just seems wrong to have someone else clean my house every week when I am home all day. Besides that, I know myself well enough to know that I would probably spend the day before the weekly maid service cleaning the house because it's too embarrassing to have strangers see the worst of our mess. I am pretty sure that I do not want to know what it says about what a pathetic job I do at the more challenging of the chores involved in keeping the house clean (windows, baseboards, anyone?) that I was very, very tempted by the weekly cleaning offer, either. And I am very sure I do not want to know what it says about me that I felt a strong need to keep on apologizing to the woman who came for the estimate about the state of M’s and J’s rooms. I did not get to the nightmare that is my sons’ rooms yet, but they and my closet are next on my agenda for what must be done. As soon as I finish avoiding it by blogging about it that is. I’ve got to purge the mess because I can’t think of anything much sillier than having the movers box up junk we will just throw out once we unpack it, so, it is time to stop blogging and get back to work.

Pray for me. This chore of organizing my sons’ stuff and my closet has been put off too long. One of the pluses and minuses of moving all rolled into one – getting rid of the clutter that a houseful of packrats accumulates.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Guess What?

We’re moving! To the Midwest. Good-bye “Hurricane Alley” and hello “Tornado Alley.” St. Louis, Missouri to be exact. Surprised? No more than we were this past week.

Here’s the scoop: Drew got a call last Thursday that he couldn’t refuse. Let me explain. Almost five years ago when Drew was finishing up his year in Bosnia with the Army National Guard, he entered his packet for a full-time Army Reserve job. The type of position he was looking at is one that seldom comes open but he submitted the paperwork and continued searching for a civilian job, which brought us here to South Carolina. Well, fast-forward to last week, and we had pretty much forgotten about that packet he submitted. Then, out of the blue, he got an e-mail asking if he was still interested in that kind of position. Turns out that when the position he is being asked to fill came open and they ran the qualifications they were looking for, Drew’s name was right at the top of the list, so they called him and asked if he wanted the job. And here we are.

When he first told me about it and we started looking at the pros and cons, it became apparent that the pros far outweighed the cons. Of course, we’ve been praying about all of this and we really want to make a wise decision. The first thing I did was hit the internet and start researching churches in the area, and found that at first glance there are several seemingly good possibilities (anyone know firsthand?). First of all, this will be a 9-5 kind of job, no more weekend drills and no deployment for the next 6 or so years. He will finally be able to be home with the kids and me on a much more regular basis. This one thing alone weighed very heavily in our decision. The boys are really needing Dad to be around more, and this will make that possible. Secondly, it is a job he would love doing, and the pay and benefits are excellent. Third, it is not here! We get to move off ‘the island’! Fourth, the schools, housing market and community have much more to offer than the little town where we have had such a hard time feeling like it is home for the past almost five years though we tried so hard to settle here. Fifth, seasons! Snow! There are other things that have gone into our decision, too.

The downsides, however, are that they need him ASAP. That means we’re looking at moving over the Christmas break. Moving to a snowy place in the middle of winter. And we have no real winter clothes appropriate for a Midwest kind of winter. Looks like I’ll be doing some shopping. We also will have to relocate the kids’ school in the middle of the school year. Not fun. That is one time it would be good to be homeschooling, but we aren’t, so we’ll have to work all that out. Another is that we will be moving even further from my parents and moving away from Drew’s parents, though they are going to be moving into our house here and renting it from us until we can sell it. Also, on Thursday when Drew first started telling me about this opportunity, he told me there was a rather large catch. The move to St. Louis is only for a year and a half. The whole office will be relocating to the Louisville, Kentucky area in a year and a half. I looked at him for a moment and said, “I can do that.” He looked surprised, and said, “Really? I thought you would have a hard time with that.” Well, it isn’t easy. Have I mentioned before how difficult change is for me? But to have him home regularly? No question but that we can do this. And Louisville is nice, too.

So, we’re excited and nervous and busy and a lot of other things I haven’t had time yet to process. The kids are thrilled about the idea of snow this winter and sad about having to say good-bye to friends here. I’m nervous about moving in the middle of the school year (and winter at that!) and selling our house and saying good-bye, too. But we’re all amazed at the providential way this all came about.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Status Report....Sort Of

Practicing patience: Grocery shopping with a two-year-old. It isn’t all that fun walking back through all the aisles you’ve just finished shopping to find the hat that the princess decided it would be fun to throw out of the cart and then cry out over and over in varying forms of distress, “Hat! Hat!” until you find it again where it landed, not in obvious sight on the floor, oh, no, but on a shelf. And then her sandals flew out of the cart, too. Next time she’s going barefoot with no accessories.

Wondering: Why is it that when we have a major decision to make and we’re as sure as we can be that the decision we are making is the right one, it is still really scary to make that final decision? Today my stomach is in knots and I can’t eat. Even when the change is good change, I have a hard time with it. Would you kindly pray for us? I will be able to share more later, I am sure…..

Forgot: Drew’s dad’s birthday on Saturday. It’s okay, that we forgot, though, because I am 99% sure Drew’s mom may have forgotten it, too, because we even had them over to help us eat leftover shrimp (yuck, yuck, yuck) that evening and not one word was said about it being his birthday, and usually Drew’s mom would be pretty quick to let us know we’d forgotten something like that. We invited them over for dinner tonight – steaks and cheesy potatoes and salad (much more appetizing than shrimp, in my opinion). However, when we made those plans I forgot that it was M’s open house at school tonight. Guess we’ll be late for it and maybe just I will go.

Scatter-brained: How I’ve been feeling for the past several days. See the previous two paragraphs.

In need of light-hearted blog fodder: I think my last several posts have been pretty heavy. Maybe I’ll try to come up with something a little less ponderous when I get past my butterflied stomach and scatter-brained mind.

Sipping: Hazelnut cream coffee with Splenda and more hazelnut creamer. Yum.

Next on today's agenda: Since I've finished cleaning the bathrooms and straightening up the general living area and the kitchen, I think I'm going to sit down until time for the bus to bring the boys home and read a book while Boo is napping - or at least resting, I don't think she's actually asleep yet.

That’s all for now. Have a nice Monday.

Friday, September 05, 2008

More Thinking

This was another good read, if you're interested.

Still Thinking

I think I might need to clarify a little bit. I re-read yesterday’s post, and I think I was vague enough that something might be read into it that I did not mean. Maybe not. I know what I mean to be saying, but most of the few people who read my blog don’t actually know me personally, so it might be easy to assume I meant something I didn’t. So I’m going to go out on a limb and share some of my thoughts about women again, and then I’m going back to mommy blogging or whatever miscellaneous stuff it is that I do around here.

I do affirm what the Bible teaches in Titus 2 and elsewhere about younger women being keepers of the home and submissive to their husbands, if they are married, and to love their children and train them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord when He has placed children in their home and about older women teaching the younger women on these things. I’m not going all worldly feminist or anything, and I didn’t want what I said about my thinking a lot to imply that I’m rethinking the basic biblical principles that I do, in fact, affirm.

Where I am struggling, to be specific, is that I have heard a lot of speculation over the years about how every Christian woman and every family is to follow those principles specifically, and there is where I kind of have a hard time. The reason I have a hard time is because some of the voices I’m hearing seem to have a kind of check list of how that must look for a family to be in line with the biblical principle that a woman is to make the home her priority and to serve joyfully in that capacity and that every family will look the same in how they do it. I think we need to be careful about defining legalistic lists of specifics that we develop and then when a family or woman deviates from our list then we are quick to judge them harshly. I may be wrong with how I’m thinking here, and if so, I trust the Lord to graciously bring me into submission to His word and help me to see it His way.

Now I’ll share my opinion, understanding that, again, if I am wrong I want to be willing to retrain my thinking as God leads me and as I prayerfully continue to grow in His grace and learn from His word. I think each of us needs to prayerfully consider with our husbands and before God what His will is for us in this matter. And I think we are wise to seek out godly, solid, biblical counsel. Then we need to boldly live in that conviction, but I think we need to be careful to show grace to people when we don’t know everything that went into the decisions they have made for their families. For example, I am convinced that it is absolutely right for me to stay home with my children, and I am extremely grateful that God has provided a good job for Drew so that he can be the provider for our family and that Drew has the same conviction that it is best for me to be home for and with our children. We are not, however, homeschooling them, and that would be seen by some as a failing to follow through with the Titus 2 and other biblical principles. Trust me, we did not make that decision lightly, and we are being careful to teach our children at home, too. This is just one example of those areas we need to allow people to trust the Lord about and understand that we answer to Jesus on how we fulfill our mandate as wives and moms to fulfill Titus 2. I am wary of saying that every wife and mom must never work outside the home or must homeschool or…..well, look around and there are lots of things people have strong convictions about and will judge others who haven’t come to that conviction. I do believe that the best is for mom to stay home, but I also realize we live in a fallen world and I think we need to offer grace and trust the Lord to convict His children in how they are to fulfill their calling to surrender to Him as Lord and how that will be accomplished in their homes, understanding that the overriding biblical principles are not to be violated.

I would not be honest if I said that I had no qualms at all about the fact that Sarah Palin has young children and is taking on the kind of responsibility that the Vice President (and therein, possibly president one day) has. But, again, I am not her judge. I don’t know her at all. I heard somewhere that she often takes her children to work with her and that her husband is planning to homeschool them. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but, if so, there is probably more family involvement going on there than in a lot of families, and that is a good thing. I have always believed that it is better if a mom does not pursue a career once she has children at home. It really would be hard to give them the attention they need and to be involved with them enough to know what is going on in their hearts. However, I have found, too, that even though I am home with my children, it doesn’t always mean I’m being as involved with them as I ought. Just being home isn’t what matters most, it is what I am teaching them and how I am interacting with them and training them and disciplining them and investing in their lives that matters. It is how well I am listening to them and watching them to be discerning about the heart issues they need me to address and teach them about. Just having me close isn’t enough if I’m distracted and busy and letting the TV babysit them while I am home.

Having said that, though, it doesn’t change the fact that I am very excited about Sarah Palin and the fact that she can speak to the issue of abortion and pointing out the inconsistencies of the liberal feminists and in advocating for special needs families in a way that I am not sure any of the men on the national stage would do right now. And I liked her stance on other issues, too. Whether or not I agree with every personal choice she makes or whether or not they may be choices I would not have made in my own life doesn't mean I can't vote for her or even be happy about voting for her.

I also know that I am much more excited about this election than I was before because she seems to be the breath of fresh air that is encouraging to political conservatives, which I am. I do not look to government for my hope for America, however. The only hope for all the things that are wrong with America will not come in whoever is elected this fall. My hope is in Christ Jesus alone. But we do not live in a theocracy. The things that applied to Israel how it was to be governed can’t translate over to how America is governed. As a dual citizen of God’s Kingdom and the USA, I have to make the best choice I can when I vote, but I won’t either look to a candidate as a ‘messiah figure’ nor will I mourn and wail and sink into depression if someone I didn’t want to be elected wins. God is in control. We need to remember that and hold lightly to our political convictions, understanding that this world system is temporary. We should do all we can to stem the tide of evil, but continue to understand that the ultimate answer is not in who is elected. The ultimate answer is in people repenting and surrendering to Jesus Christ. It is heart change that we really need.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


I don't blog much about politics here. I don't intend to start doing much now. But, I am also not an ostrich with my head in the sand. I do follow the politics of my country pretty closely, I do have some strong opinions, and I don't mind sharing them sometimes. However, my blog is kind of a safe haven for me to write out things I'm thinking about and I tend to stay away from controversial subjects, because, let's face it, I don't know who is out there that might stumble across my rambling thoughts and have a bone to pick, and I've said before I don't like to debate very much when it gets all heated and argumentative. Having said all that, I felt like it would be a little weird to say nothing while I'm thinking a lot. I do have something I'm pondering and thinking about, so I'll say just a little bit here.

I really liked Sarah Palin's speech last night. From what little I have read about her, I like her stand on many issues. She seems like a very accomplished woman who loves her family. She's probably the kind of girl I would have felt very intimidated by in high school, but that's another post - we won't get into my self-esteem issues here. I was already planning to vote for John McCain come November, and I actually feel more excited about it now after watching last night, because I believe that my values are better represented with this choice than the other who will not be named here. I don't think I have to agree with everything a politician believes or does in every area of their life to be able to vote for them, but I do have a responsibility to vote, and I will choose the one that I believe will be closest to the things I think are most important, abortion being up at the top, as I mentioned before. There, I said it.

There are some things I'm pondering, however, and there are several posts I have read recently that have sparked some thinking for me. Keep in mind these are just things I'm ruminating about, I'm not making any definitive comments here, just thinking out loud a little. This whole situation has me thinking about Christian women's roles in general, and I'm not going into all that here, but there is a lot of discussion going on all over the internet. So, I'm thinking. A lot. I am wanting to make sure I understand what the Bible does and does not teach for myself and not just what someone else has told me it does or does not teach and how that is to apply to our lives. For the record, I do not believe women should be pastors or elders in the local church. The Bible is clear on that. I'm not as sure as some people I have heard recently that it is as clear on their role in secular government, however. I do want to submit my opinions to the authority of scripture, so I am trying to be careful with my pondering.

In the case of Sarah Palin, I wonder if it were a man in her place with young children at home would the concerns be the same? I know children need mom. But they need dad, too, so the concern would still be an issue, I think. In general I believe it is best for a mom with young children to be home with her children. I also think that it seems that Mr. and Mrs. Palin seem to be on the same page with each other and they seem to be okay together with her career. Is it the best? I don't know. I don't know the Palins and I am not their judge as to what happens in their personal prayer closets. I do know I certainly wouldn't be able to do the things Mrs. Palin has done and I know that I do not want to. I am not wired like that at all. I have zero desire to be in the political limelight. Just the thought could lead me to breaking out in a cold sweat. But she is not me. That's all I'm going to say on it, except that I am really doing a lot of thinking and praying about the broader issues implicated in all of this and how I am to believe and stand in my own life, and I'll probably keep all that to myself for now, thank you.

Here are some posts I've read recently, and I'm thankful for the thoughts these have shared:

Dr. Albert Mohler: An Unexpected New Motherhood Debate

This from Brad Williams at Sojourner

This and this from Carla at Reflections of the Times

This from Kim at The Upward Call

This from Amy at Amy's Humble Musings - the comment thread is interesting, too

This from Douglas Wilson

Just a little bit of what I've been reading recently. Okay, back to my non-political front porch.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Weather Watch- Updated

It is looking like Tropical Storm/Hurricane Hanna is heading right for us, so we are watching the weather channel and making plans. I went shopping this morning and stocked up on bottled water, batteries, canned food, etc. We’re really hoping we can stay home, but we are preparing to leave if we have to. I am pretty sure that the schools will be closed come Thursday, and I’m hoping we will know if we should leave soon enough that we can leave early enough to get off the island fairly easily. I’ve heard it is not fun around here when the evacuation order hits, so we’re paying close attention.

I know it is a little goofy, but the thing that terrifies me most is having to take the kids and dog and drive up to North Carolina where we have some family by myself. Since Drew is already on active duty with the Army, and the storm is heading right for Savannah where he is stationed, if it does hit, he’ll have to stay and we’ll have to do this by ourselves. He is home today as we get ready, but he’ll be going in tomorrow and I’ll have to either weather it out here or leave without him, and, though I’m really trying not to be worried, it does scare me a little. I know that God will grant me strength to do whatever we need to do, so may I ask my blog friends to please keep us and our whole area in prayer as we wait and see what this week holds?

*Update 9-3-08: We're still here, obviously and we are cautiously optimistic that we probably will not have to evacuate.....this time...., though we are still keeping an eye on things. We do need to be in prayer for those who are being affected and for those in the path of Hurricane Ike, too. Those poor islands south of us really suffer when these storms hit.


Job 1:20-22
“Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said:

‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the LORD.’

In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.”

I’ve been reading the book of Job again. In this passage, Job has just been bombarded by bad news, having lost his livestock, his servants and finally all of his children, who were killed when the house where they were together collapsed on them in a storm. It doesn’t seem strange to read that he arose, tore his robe and shaved his head, which are all signs of extreme grief. But I imagine it does seem strange to some to read that his response is to fall to the ground and…..what do we expect to see here, weep? But that is not the word there, is it? It says he worshiped.

I imagine he probably wept greatly as he worshiped. But he worshiped. Isn’t that interesting?

I have been thinking about that for a few days since I read that last week, and Kim at The Upward Call wrote an interesting post about a conversation she had with someone recently about worship that goes well with my thoughts, too.

I think sometimes our understanding of worship is too shallow. I think a lot of times when we think about worship, especially in a church setting, we tend to think that the music portion of the service is the worship time and then we have the preaching, which we don’t so much equate with worship. We seem to think we haven’t worshiped unless we have had an exciting, emotional time of music-that-we-like kind of experience. Music is very emotional. A skilled music leader can very effectively create a certain mood with careful song choices, and I think sometimes, if we are not careful, we can tend to equate emotion with worship. And they are not the same thing. We can be and often are extremely emotional when we worship, I often am! But, we do need to be careful about assuming that we haven’t worshiped unless a music service brings the house down in some kind of emotional outpouring. And we need to be careful not to put too much emphasis on the music and the type of music and too little emphasis on the preaching of God’s word. And we would do very well to remember that worship is not about how we feel, but about the worth and honor we ascribe to God!

I’m not saying that emotion is wrong or that music is not important. In my last post I talked about a song that is really special to me, and there are lots of songs that do aid in focusing my thoughts on God and help me to enter into an attitude of worship. Having said that though, I also must say that I have been in church services where I have been emotionally spent after the music fades because, frankly, the emotional manipulation is over the top, and it was just that – manipulation. It was obvious the songs had been carefully selected to produce just such a mood. I may feel any number of things, but have I truly worshiped just because I’ve been through an emotional wringer? That is a question we need to ask ourselves.

I was once in a church service on a patriotic weekend (July 4th or Memorial Day, something like that) and the music was all patriotic that morning, and very stirring, very emotional, and very……America-centered. In church. Where our worship should be focused on the King of glory, Jesus, the Savior who poured out His blood to redeem His people, and as I sang those songs I became more and more uncomfortable that we were mixing up love of country with love of God that morning. In fact, the same kinds of emotions we have during a moving ‘worship’ service were flowing that morning, and as we sang “America the Beautiful,” people were swaying with eyes closed and hands raised as we sang the line, “Thine alabaster cities gleam….” And I cringed, thinking, who/what are we actually worshiping with this? I think we had equated emotion with worship, and it was disturbing. I kept thinking about how someone from another country may have experienced that service. Would their attention have been drawn to the Savior? I fear it would not.

So, what I suppose I mean to be saying with this post, that is once again too long, is that I often need to be careful not to count on having a certain kind of emotion in order to worship or to think that music is the most important part of worship. We need to remember that, while music is wonderful, preaching and hearing God’s word is equally important. It is as our understanding of God’s word grows that our worship deepens because knowing God as He has revealed Himself to us through Christ and His word is what should inform and motivate our worship. As we’re singing those songs, we should be focusing on what we know of the One we are singing about. Some of my deepest times of worship have happened without music, in fact.

When I had my third miscarriage, Drew had just the week before departed for 6 months in Iraq and I was alone with two little boys and my heartache and the physical ordeal of the miscarriage. I had been memorizing Psalm 34, and I remember during one very difficult afternoon crying out, “I will bless the LORD at all times, His praise will continually be in my mouth,” through sobs and tears and hurt and physical things I won’t go into detail about here on the blog. In the midst of it all, His peace truly was the peace that passes all understanding. I think this must be a glimpse of what it means when it says that Job worshiped. Moving beyond the feelings into what we know is true, in spite of the feelings and acknowledging God’s absolute worthiness of honor and glory and surrendering to Him, in spite of the feelings.

I think we need to be careful not to limit worship just to the music, and we need to be careful not to say that we can only worship if a certain emotional situation is achieved or only if certain music is sung. Good Bible teaching and spending time studying the Word for ourselves is every bit as important, and I would argue even more important, than music that makes us feel excited or whatever that feeling is that we seek. Sometimes the purest worship happens when we don’t feel like worshiping at all but we fall on our face and do it in spite of the feelings.

His word will inform our worship as we seek to really know Him through reading it and knowing it and hiding it in our heart and through prayer. Then we can learn to worship Christ Jesus with our lives as we learn to apply what His word says, offering our lives as a living sacrifice, obeying and serving Him and not just waiting for a certain type of emotion to define worship for us. Then when the crises come, we can choose to say, with Job, “The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD,” and with David, “I will bless the LORD at all times, His praise will continually be in my mouth.”