Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Movie We Enjoyed

Drew and I watched the movie, Tender Mercies last night. We use Blockbuster Online and I decided to add some older movies into our queue, some things we either had never seen or had not seen in a long time and wanted to see again. Last night's choice was one we had not seen before. Both of us really liked it.

I remember my dad one time telling me that Tender Mercies was one of the few movies out of Hollywood that gives favorable or sympathetic treatment to Christians, and now that I've seen it, I have to agree that is so. The Christians are presented as genuine and not hypocritical and not falsely preachy, either.

Some of the characters did take our Lord's name in vain, which I really hate and wish they could have left out, but it was in keeping with the character, and the transformation of the main character's life rang very true.

Also, one of the hallmarks of good writing is the rule, "Show, don't tell." This was drilled into us daily by our creative writing teacher in high school. It's also a rule I apparently have a very hard time following, as I am often much too wordy. Anyway, this rule was excellently applied in this movie. Especially the ending. It was very clear what point was being made, without any character saying a word of explanation. I loved the ending, and I'm glad I finally got around to watching this one.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Joy in the Moment

I just finished reading If Mama Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy: Making the Choice to Rejoice by Lindsey O’Connor. Ready for our last discussion group meeting tomorrow morning. It’s been a good group this summer. One thing I liked from this week’s reading, the last chapters of the book, was how she encouraged us to find joy in the moment. So often I get caught up in the things that must be done that I let myself get busy and forget to be alert to the sparkles that add so much joy to the everyday. I tend to be pretty serious in my disposition, but I love to laugh. Remembering to keep my eyes open for those everyday joys helps to bring laughter to life.

She especially encouraged us to not miss the joy in the moment by looking for the joy in the future. How much of my life have I wasted with a “well, I’ll be happy when…” kind of attitude. Even now, though I love it here and really love our church, I’ve found it so hard to jump in and really let myself get involved in serving because we know we won’t get to be here for a long time. It’s hard to go into a new place knowing there’s already a countdown to when you’ll be moving again. But I have recently made the decision to go ahead and let that go. Rather than waiting for some future date when I feel settled enough to get busy, I need to make the most of the time I’m given here. Let’s face it, none of us should boast about tomorrow, because we aren’t guaranteed there will be a tomorrow. So I want to serve Christ here, now, today, not wait. I want to learn to enjoy life here, now, today and not be always looking for something else. That always waiting for something different kind of marred my time in South Carolina. I didn’t like it there, tried to be joyful, for sure, but in the back of my mind I think I was always hoping we’d be free to do something different. So, I’m going to take that MOPS discussion group leader position and pray I do it well, joyfully and to the glory of God. I’m going to help with that new Bible study for women and bathe it in prayer. I’m going to look every day for those little sparkles that make life joyful.

Then she encouraged us to not miss the joy in the moment by looking for it in the past. One thing I regret is letting old friendships from the past lapse. My problem with the past is that I either color it too rosily in some areas, or I remember the hang-ups and insecurities I battled as a kid and teenager and forget about a lot of the joys. There were many. And those joys were helpful in molding me into who I am today, and I am thankful for them. But to live too much in the past is not good, either. The past is done and now we need to live today. Cherish the joys from the past, but don’t neglect today’s joys.

I enjoyed reading this book. It wasn’t really what I expected, but it’s been okay. There were times I had a hard time really getting into it as we've gone along this summer, but overall it was not bad. I do like being reminded again to learn to enjoy today. So, here’s a few joy sparkles from my day today:

- sitting outside with my youngest child and enjoying the nice afternoon reading while she played, and then having her ride her little tricycle up to me just to give me a kiss.
- Boo asking for me to sing the “Cinderella song” which is actually from “Sleeping Beauty,” but I sing it all the time, and now she likes it, too
- singing the blessing at lunch time and hearing all three kids join in the song. I love to hear my children sing praise to the Lord.
- rejoicing and dancing with Boo when she had a potty victory.
- Praying for each of my family members as I folded laundry.
- The joy on my oldest son’s face when he creates some new Lego thing. No matter how bored I may get with the Lego obsession, I do enjoy his joy.
- my younger son’s joy at beating a difficult computer game.
- Marveling at God’s creation as I watch the black clouds rolling in and listen to the thunder and watch the rain this evening.
- The sweetness of a sleeping three-year-old who finally petered out and is taking a nap in my lap as I type.
- My husband walking in the door after work, and his cheerful, “Hello!”

And now that he’s home, I think I’ll post this and go enjoy my family.

You Keep Using That Word...

Read this article today.

See, now, here's where the rubber meets the road in worldview. I think the real reason scientists may be "puzzled" is that their basic assumptions are starting off on the wrong foot.

Genesis 1:1
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

God has spoken to us. He has given us His word so that we may know what He wanted us to know. That is where my worldview starts. How you look at data will ALWAYS be influenced by and filtered through the worldview you hold to be true. Whether you realize it or not.

So, to paraphrase one of my favorite movie characters, " keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Power of the Cross

We sang this song in church this morning. This is one of the new hymns I really love. (This isn't my church in the video, I just wanted to find a version I could share here.)

Baked With Love

I have issues with my kitchen. The floor is slanted. Remember the TV show, “Mad About You”? Drew and I consider that our show. We used to watch it together when we were dating and newlyweds. It was just so funny. Anyway, Jamie, the wife on the show, was always trying to convince the husband, Paul, that there was a slant to the kitchen floor. When we moved in here, Drew was actually the first to notice our slant since he lived here without us and without furniture for a couple of weeks before I and the kids were able to come out.

When he showed me the slant we both started laughing because he slid on it the same way Jamie does in the show and we both said, “This is what I’m saying.” You had to be there. You had to be a fan of the show to get it, I guess.

So, why am I blabbering about this now? I just made a cake for tomorrow night. We are having friends over, and I thought a lemon cake might be nice for dessert after an authentic South Carolina shrimp boil. (I’m actually having a hamburger. This Florida girl hates seafood. But that’s beside the point.) Anyway, I lovingly mixed the cake (from a mix – I’m not Martha Stewart), let Boo and J lick the beaters (of course J had to ask about raw eggs and salmonella – we don’t call him Monk for nothing….I told him I licked a ton of beaters as a kid and never got sick….but that’s beside the point, too), put the cake in the oven, and assessed the results once I took it out. The two layers are slanted. Just like my floor. I’m not making this up. My slanty kitchen seriously slants my food. It’s even hard to measure liquids because when I put the measuring cup on the counter, the right side of the liquid is higher than the left. It’s a leftward down slant in my kitchen. Go figure.

Anyway, my cake may not be the prettiest I’ve ever baked, but it was baked with love. I lovingly thought of my family and the friends who will share it with us tomorrow night as I baked it. I’m pretty sure that will be good enough.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Apartment Living

Living in an apartment isn't really all that bad. We knew when we moved here that, Drew being Army and all, we're only here temporarily, so rather than buy a house while our SC house is STILL on the market (come October it will be a year), we decided to just rent an apartment. And as apartments go, ours is spacious and pretty nice.

But. One thing I don't so much like is that when my neighbors cook a certain something, my house smells like tator tots for days. I'm not sure what it is they are cooking over there, but, somehow what starts coming through our air vents is distinctly "tator tot." And, whatever it is that they are cooking, they must like it a lot because my house fairly regularly smells of tator tots. Especially the guest bathroom. It seems to have the strongest blast of tator totliness smell.

Drew thinks I'm weird. Well, a lot of people think I'm weird, but that's another post for another day. He thinks I'm weird on this issue, because he doesn't smell the tator tots. I am constantly asking if he smells it, and he thinks I am losing my mind. Then again, he doesn't smell poop (dog or Boo variety) nearly as soon as I do, either. I am blessed, nay cursed, with a very sensitive sense of smell.

Speaking of poop, you would think that with two children successfully potty trained by the age of three that I would be something of a potty training expert. You would think wrongly. While Boo is beginning to get it and we are seeing some hope, we are slow going in that department. I do lots of laundry.

Maybe she just doesn't like the tator tot smell in the bathroom.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Status Update July 2009

Quite late on the July status update due to that nasty virus and other stuff, but here goes with my copying of Lisa's format:

Sitting: At my computer desk. Where else? I use a lap top, but it's hooked up more like a desk top at the moment. I'm so technologically inept I wouldn't know how to go about moving it at this point.

Waiting: For J to get home. They'll be back in less than an hour, so I suppose I should keep this short and keep one eye on the clock! Can't wait to hear about his first camp experience!

Glad: To be feeling much better.

Needing: An intervention, I fear. Facebook is becoming an addiction. Got to set a limit. Right. Now. Of course, I was the same way with blogging when I began. And you can see by my very light posting of late how that has worn off.

Reading: Hoping for Something Better by Nancy Guthrie. I'm taking my time because I want to absorb this study through the book of Hebrews. I'll be blogging about things that strike me, I'm sure.

Also reading: The Charlemagne Pursuit by Steve Berry. Always have some fiction book going. I'm not too far into this one yet, so I don't know if it's good or not. So far it's interesting.

Reading on hold: God is the Gospel by John Piper. This was another one I was taking slowly, but then the Nancy Guthrie book came, and since Elle is reading and blogging her way through it, I want to be reading it. I hope to get back to this one soon.

Received in the mail from Amazon: Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke. Can't wait to sink my teeth into this last of the Inkheart trilogy. I've really enjoyed the other two books in the series. Gotta finish what I'm already in the middle of first, though.

Finishing: If Mama Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy by Lindsey O'Connor. Next Wednesday is our last meeting, so we'll be finishing our discussion. I've enjoyed it! Look at all these books I've got going. No wonder I'm.....

Avoiding: Housework. You should see my floors. Wait, maybe you shouldn't. I've GOT to vacuum, and soon. Get off the computer, put the book down.....

Enjoyed: Some one-on-one time with Boo this week while her brothers were away. She is such a funny, sweet little girl. She gives the best hugs, too.

Preparing: To help with a new women's Bible study at church this fall. I'm a little nervous but excited to step out on faith. Pray for me and the other ladies?

Drinking: Iced tea with Sweet-N-Low. Got to drop some of this extra weight that has crept back since my little dehydration episode.

Snacking: On nothing right now. See above.

Trying: To bond with our new dog. He's cute, he's sweet, he's cuddly, he's......a puppy. He chews EVERYTHING. He POOPS in the house...occassionally. He's not Oliver. But he is Roscoe, and I'm glad we got him, all things considered. It's just taking a while to feel like he's "family." Boo has totally bonded. She hugs him all the time. He's very patient with her. Good thing.

Ending: This post. It's almost time to go meet the Centri-Kid campers as they return home. Need to get myself and Boo ready to walk out the door now.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Deceptive Food

I don't usually get very political on this blog, but I read this today:

Proverbs 23:1-3
"1 When you sit down to eat with a ruler,
Consider carefully what is before you;
2 And put a knife to your throat
If you are a man given to appetite.
3 Do not desire his delicacies,
For they are deceptive food."

For some reason, big government-run healthcare came to mind.....

Monday, July 20, 2009

Wings and Letting Go

Took my oldest boy to the church this morning and saw him off to his first spend-the-night camp. He’s going to have a great time. I’m praying he makes great memories and even more that he’s encouraged in his walk with and love for Jesus. He was so nervous, but I know it will be a good week for him. We both were a little teary as that van pulled away – he to go on to camp, me to go back home. But I know he’ll be so busy this week he won’t have time for homesickness. And that’s how it should be.

Every time he stretches his wings a little I have such a bittersweet pang in my heart. I want him to go to camp and have all those great experiences, just like the ones that helped shape me as a kid. But part of me sees the little boy in the big kid he’s becoming. And that part of me feels bittersweet. Time just keeps marching on. He’s growing and experiencing life and more and more what he’s experiencing will be on his own. Less and less am I going to be as active a part in everything he does. And that’s as it should be. But he takes a part of my heart and some of my fears with him with each step toward maturity all the same.

I really pray that I’ll parent in such a way that he’ll still want to share his life with me and his dad once he’s grown. Are we doing all we can to foster that kind of closeness? More importantly, are we doing all we can to help him to see Jesus? Are we living in such a way that Jesus is exalted in our home? My heart's desire is to see my children's faith move beyond just what mom and dad believe to being their own. For this I pray most.

Just a few thoughts as my oldest boy goes off to Centri-Kid today. I’m sure more will follow.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Like a Drink of Cool Water

Psalm 17:15
“As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness;
I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.”

I read this today and started thinking. Does this really reflect my attitude? I know it is true that I will be satisfied when I awake in His likeness. After all, the goal of the Christian life is to be conformed to the image of Christ. This is what it is all about. I know this. I want this. Truly I do.

But. Do I live like I want this, like I believe this, like I love Him more than life itself everyday in every way. Sadly, I find that I am far too easily distracted and I settle for so much less.

I saw something in me over the past week when I was feeling so crummy that I really did not like. When feeling crummy, I was very self absorbed. Prayer was not number one on my list of joys. In fact, I found that missing church two weeks in a row really did a number on me. There is a reason we are commanded to not forsake the gathering with other believers. We need that community of faith to encourage us to worship and to spur us on to good works. I went back to choir on Wednesday night and as our music pastor led us in prayer I was overwhelmed by this joy to be back. I really enjoyed that rehearsal Wednesday. It was worship, and I had missed it so much.

And my little excursion into Facebook land has got me thinking, too. It’s just too blasted easy to get distracted by things that don’t matter. I’m not saying I’m not enjoying reconnecting with my past. I am enjoying it. But it also brings back memories of a me that I am glad I am not anymore. I’ve come a long way from the me I was to the me I am now, and I wouldn’t change that. I wouldn’t go back. Things have been pruned that needed pruning.

What I am finding now that I’m feeling better again is that I really want to lay aside the weights that so easily entangle and press on toward the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. I want to be holy for He is holy. I want to see Him, savor Him, enjoy Him and worship Him in a way I have never done before.

I’m giving a little shout out to my blog friend, Elle. She introduced me to a book on her blog that she is reading this summer, and I just received my copy and started reading it. It is Hoping for Something Better: Refusing to Settle for Life as Usual by Nancy Guthrie. It’s a study through the book of Hebrews. As I read the introduction today, it was like a drink of cool water to a parched tongue, and tears flowed as she described how I've been feeling lately to a T and I prayed, "This is what I've been looking for." And having recently experienced extreme dehydration during my virus, I am newly sensitive to the benefits of cool water on a parched tongue. I am so looking forward to digging into the book of Hebrews, one of my favorite books of the Bible already, and learning to see Jesus in all His significance and beauty, to remind myself again what an awesome Savior and Lord He is. My appetite is whetted, and I’m ready for some meat. Thank you, Elle, for sharing what you’re studying on your blog. I am benefitting from it, and it comes at just the moment I needed a fresh reawakening of my passion for Jesus.

Trying to Reason With a Three-Year-Old

Or Conversations in futility

Me: Boo, why are you crying?

Boo: Cause I'm sad.

Me: But why are you sad?

Boo: Cause I'm crying.

Me: But why are you crying?

Boo: Cause I'm sad.

Alrighty then. Glad we cleared that up.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Because I Didn't Have Enough to Do...

I finally overcame my reluctance and joined Facebook. I'm not sure why I've dragged my feet except that once you're on then people can find you. That's the good and the bad of it, I guess. I don't know why I worry too much about people finding me, but privacy is a good thing. Anyway, I joined this week, and it's fun finding people I hadn't even thought about in years.

I think it's the fact that my 20th high school reunion is this weekend (we're not going) that got me thinking about all the bridges to the past I've left untravelled for so long that I'm having to rack my brain when I hear certain names come up. The people I really want to reconnect with, though, besides a few high school friends, are people who I went to church with while growing up and people from churches we've been members of over the years but have lost contact with over time. And I've already found a few of them. So far the Facebook experience is turning out to be positive.

Here's one of the things I'm not going to like: friend requests from people I don't remember except in a really tangential sort of way - friend of a friend of a friend. I got one today and I recognized the name but had to get out my yearbook to see who it was. Then I realized it wasn't someone I'd actually been friends with, but we do have mutual friends. What is the Facebook etiquette here? You don't have to confirm all friend requests, I'm sure. You know me and my hermit tendencies.....

Anyway, I really didn't need another thing to distract me and waste time, but here it is. I can see I will have to put some serious limits on the time I'll allow myself to play around with this.

Heard at My House Last Night:

J: "If you see a body lying around anywhere, let me know."

Context is everything.......

Bet you're just dying to know what kind of context could have elicited that comment, huh?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Note to Self.....

When they advise plenty of fluids when you're sick, they mean it.

Well, I think I'm going to live a little longer. This virus knocked me out for over a week. I have felt BAD, but I think I'm finally on the mend. My house is destroyed - when mom's sick that happens. I can't complain, though. My husband really has been so great this week when I was just unable to do anything except lie on the couch and moan while the world spun dizzily around me. I cannot say enough about his sweet attention to all the things that he did this week.

I went back to the doctor yesterday because I was just not getting better. Turns out I managed to become extremely dehydrated in the midst of all the crumminess, so now that I'm drinking and forcing myself to eat again I am finally starting to feel better. Not yet 100 per cent, but on the mend.

I just looked at my Google reader and there are 175 unread posts in there. I have really dropped off the blog world map lately. Maybe I'll get back soon. I miss it. Until then, I'm off to drink some more Gatorade.

Happy Tuesday.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Feeling Crummy

I haven't dropped off the face of the earth, though I might feel better if I were to. Summer cold/flu is the worst. It started Saturday night with headache and general unspecified achiness and ickiness, and by Sunday morning I had to stay home from church with fever and headache and chesty cough. Not feeling any better today and fever's higher. I would try to be poetic or prosaic, but I just don't feel like it. I don't know if I'm ever going to get back to blogging. Guess I'm calling the doctor tomorrow if I don't feel better. Bummer.

On a lighter note, here are some pictures from our early July 4th celebration. They had fireworks at the Arch Friday and Saturday night, and we decided at the last minute to go on Friday because the weather was looking bad for the rest of the weekend. In fact, we almost didn't go at all because we weren't sure how Boo would do with the late night. We had a great time, but she's been cranky the past couple of nights as pay back.

There were tons of people there and we went first to the Arch and let Boo and the boys 'touch the rainbow arch' - which Boo is always wanting to do and explored the museum for a while then went down closer to the river for the fireworks show. The boys can now say they have actually touched the Mississippi River. Woo-hoo! Simple things amuse me.....

Here are some pictures and then I'm going back to my post on the couch with my ice water, cough drops and Tylenol.

Touching the Arch - Boo's dream come true

Cool statue of Lewis and Clark in the Missippi River