Monday, August 31, 2009

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Just One More Reason I'm So Thankful for My Husband

Drew figured out how to take the memory card out of the camera and get the pictures directly from it and just bypass the problem I was having yesterday. Thank you, Drew! Now, here are some pictures I wanted to share, especially so my Mom and Dad can see them.

Boo brought me these cute little pony tail holders she has and asked me to, "Put these on, please, Mommy." She's been such a baldilocks for so long, this is the first time I've been able to put them in her hair and have them stay at all. I just thought she was so cute. She did, too, and kept looking at herself in the mirror.

She's looking so much older all of a sudden. Sniff.

At the pond on the way to meet her brothers after school.

On the way home from school one afternoon:

My sweet M:

My sweet J:

Roscoe the hyper dog wrapping his leash around a tree:

Friday, August 28, 2009

My Camera is Not My Friend

I miss my old camera, the one Rachel baptized in Oliver's water bowl. Oliver is our old dog, so this happened before we moved here. Anyway, she dunked it in the water bowl. It tried to work for a little while before finally dying right before our Disney trip last October. You know if you're going to lose your camera, it will be right before the Disney trip, right? That's just how it works. Anywhooooo....

What I miss about it is that it was so easy to upload pictures from it to my computer. I would plug the little plug in and a window would pop up on the computer and voila, pictures would copy to my computer. Easy.

We have a new camera now. It was a really expensive, much more sophisticated model than our old camera which we got for a very nice discount at a store closing sale. Problem is, I'm not so good with sophisticated. I'm really a simple girl....

Now, this camera got dropped a while back, and we can no longer use the view screen at all because all you see is a cracked black and white screen, so you sort of have to guess and hope you're pointing it well to get the shot you want. But that is not my problem with the camera. I can live with that until we can get a new camera when we can afford to spend on things that are less important than food and rent.

No, my problem is that I took what I think will be some really cute pictures yesterday, but I cannot get them to upload to the computer. Everytime I plug the camera in, the upload softward tells me that there is no supported device attached and maybe I need to push a button on the camera dock. Friends, I have checked all the cables and stuff jerry-rigged to our computer, and everything is firmly attached, I have pushed every stupid button I can find and the program still can't find my camera.

My kids thought I was a little nutty yesterday because I was talking to the computer. "Yes, there is a camera attached you warthog faced buffoon. I just want to see my pictures. There are no more buttons to push!!" Sigh. I'm hoping Drew can figure it out this afternoon. The pictures are really cute. I think. Then again, it's highly possible they are not cute at all since I can't see through the screen.

I think it's time to find a new camera.

I'm going to go fold the laundry now.

Frightening and Heartbreaking

This is a bizarre story. While we rejoice that this woman was finally found alive 18 years after being kidnapped, I'm not so sure we could say she's been found safe and sound. What a horrible, horrible thing for her and for her family. What a tragically lost childhood. How can she not emerge from such a thing without deep, deep scars? I'm praying for her today.

As a mom, I just cannot imagine. I pray I never have to. It makes me much more aware that I really need to pay attention. One really heartbreaking thing, too, is that her stepfather saw the abduction as it happened and couldn't save her. What a thing to have to live with, and it ruined his life. He's been a suspect all these years and it killed his marriage.

There is such a thing as evil.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Practical Mom's Dictionary, Installment #9

In a fit of spontaneity and the desperate need for something new and fresh, I got my hair cut yesterday. It was my scheduled monthly haircut, but I told her I was ready for a change, but not sure what I wanted. We found a picture and away we went. It is short. Shorter than I realized it would be. I think I'll like it when I get used to it. It is new and fresh and younger looking. The irony is, however, that with my new, fresh, younger style, I'm noticing a few gray strands I had not noticed before. Sigh.

1. I was planning to go the Y this morning. Not wanting to go, you understand, but it was the plan. Boo said, "Don't go Y today, Mom," and we are not going. It didn't take much to twist my arm. We haven't been yet this week. I think I'll start next week fresh. Besides, we're really working on potty training, and I have to put a pull-up on her when we go to the Y which kind of defeats our progress. Yeah, that's why I'm staying home today.

2. There is a game on Facebook that I could easily become addicted to called Bejeweled Blitz. Boo really likes the "shape game." I could rationalize and say it's educational for me to play it since she names all the shapes and colors while I do so. But then I would be wasting so much time.

That's it for this installment. Time to go do some real work around the house. If I'm not going to the Y, I at least need to keep busy. It's not like I don't have a lot to do.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What's On My Nightstand - August 2009

I always have more than one book going at a time. However, I seem to have so many going at the moment that I’m starting to feel a bit swamped. The stack on my nightstand is so high I had to move my alarm clock so I could see it. But it’s all good! So, here’s what I’m reading or soon to be reading these days:

Fiction: Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke. This is the third book in the Inkheart trilogy. I have enjoyed the series a lot. In fact, I’m reading the first book, Inkheart, with the boys in the evenings and they are really liking it. They hate when I say it’s time to stop for the night because it’s getting late. “Please, Mom, just one more chapter!” I love it when we stumble across something they enjoy this well. This last book is a bit darker, and the view of death is strange, so as a Christian reading it I’ll have to discuss some things with the boys when we get to this one, but I can’t wait to see how the series ends. I sure hope it’s a happy ending! Or at least a satisfying one.

Nonficition: The bulk of my reading at the moment is nonfiction. I have three separate Bible studies I’m working through – two for groups at church and one that I started before.

Hoping For Something Better by Nancy Guthrie. I’m working on chapter 5 now of this book, and I really am appreciating this study of the book of Hebrews. There are a few things that have sparked mental blog posts, but I have not yet taken the time to write them. I hope I do before I forget. For now, I’ve been journaling quite a bit in my spiral notebook. Old school….

Becoming a Woman of Excellence by Cynthia Heald. A friend of mine had a burden to start a new morning women’s Bible study at our church, and she asked me and another lady to come alongside and help with it. I am glad and excited to do so! This is what we’ll be doing this Fall. We start the first Tuesday of September. I’ve just finished the first chapter, and I’m excited about it. So far, besides the three of us who will be leading it, we have had three women sign up. Hopefully I’ll get to blog some about this, too!

The Lies Women Believe (And the Truth That Sets Them Free) by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. I have heard great recommendations for this book, so I was excited when our pastor’s wife announced that our Sunday night ladies’ group would be studying it this Fall. I picked up my copy of the book and study guide this week from the church office, and I just couldn’t wait to get started reading, so I read the introduction and first chapter. It’s going to be good. I don’t think it’s going to be easy….I’m already seeing some places where I think I may squirm, but I’m praying for a teachable heart. Please, God, grant me a sensitive heart and let me see the truth of Your word as we work through these studies!

So, those are the three Bible studies I’m currently working through. Someone asked me to join BSF this semester, too, but I had to say no to something. With the boys needing to be at school at 9AM, I just couldn’t get over to the BSF meeting, and I really have a heart for this Tuesday study we’re starting, so I just didn’t think it wise to take on one more!

I’m also still working through The Ultimate Proof of Creation by Dr. Jason Lisle. Interesting read. A little difficult for me – I’m finding the need to go back and reread to make sure I’ve understood what he’s saying – but very interesting. It’s part of our Creation Museum legacy.

Another nonfiction book I’ve got on my nightstand this month is Life on Planet Mom by Lisa Bergren. This one is from MOPs, and as I’ve agreed to be a small group discussion group leader this year I need to read it, too. I am praying I’ll be a decent DGL this year. I’m not as excited about this book, and I don’t know if it’s because I’m almost past the MOPs stage of life or what. It’s really more geared toward younger moms, and I have to fight the temptation to think I’ve ‘been there, done that’ and be sensitive and try to remember what it was like when my first kiddo was little. Just being honest. Pray for me?

Waiting in the wings are two more I’m wanting to sink my teeth into, but it will probably be a while until I get to them. As you can see, I may have already bitten off a little too much! These two we also bought at the Creation Museum bookstore – loved, loved, loved that bookstore!!! Raising Godly Children in an Ungodly World by Ken Ham and Steve Ham and War of the Worldviews by Ken Ham and other authors. Both of these I’m really looking forward to as well.

Whew. A rather ambitious nightstand this time!

Check out 5 Minutes for Books to see what others have on their nightstands this month!

Monday, August 24, 2009

So Far Today....In Bullet Points

I actually have substantial things I’d like to blog about, but I don’t have concentrated time to sit and think them out yet. Soon I hope. Until then, here are some little random things, none of which warranted an entire post. In fact, I’m pretty sure that all in concert they are a waste of a post, but here we go.

Facebook is hindering my blogging ability, I fear. I’m starting to think in little meaningless status updates. The scary thing is the obsessive urge to go and share these meaningless updates as soon as they cross the mind. As if I don’t have enough to do. And as if anybody really cares.

Went to bed too late last night. I was working on copying and saving old blog posts onto my computer. I like to back them up that way, but I was about a year behind. So, I got myself caught up to January of this year. When I looked at the clock, I realized it was getting kind of late, but I still wasn’t tired at all, so I took a bubble bath and read a book. When I almost fell asleep in the tub, I realized I was more tired than I had thought, so I went to bed.

Because I went to bed too late last night, 5:30 came very early this morning. Forgot to mention that Boo went to bed later than usual last night, too, due to a late nap yesterday. I was able to get up and read my Bible this morning, but I was tired.

Was planning to go to the Y today, but M told me his stomach hurt but not in a throw up kind of way. I never know what to do with that when there is no fever and no other symptoms. So, we walked to school and I decided to stay home and get some work done around here so I could be around if the nurse called. She hasn’t yet. Looks like I made the right call.

Wore my sloppy work-out clothes anyway so I could bleach the ‘tator tot’ bathroom. Boo is potty training. Bleach had become necessary. Please don’t ask for more information…..

Bathroom is clean and fresh. Doesn’t even smell of tator tots at the moment. Nice.

Since I was already in sloppy clothes, I gave the dog a bath. He did not love it.

Upstairs bathrooms are clean now, too. I even used Comet on my tub, which was looking ucky. For some reason, my grimy boys prefer to shower in my bathroom. I can’t figure it out. Can you say “tub ring”? TMI? Perhaps …. But I still feel like I haven’t gotten much done today.

Did you know they make coconut M&M’s? I didn’t either until I saw them at the store the other day. They are good. I wish I had not seen them. One more thing to exercise will power about.

Did you know they make dark brown Play-doh? I had never seen it before the new Play-doh I got for Boo the other day. My heart did a little palpitation when I looked over at her for a moment and wondered what that brown lump in her hand was. Then I remembered. Whew. TMI again?

I feel the need for some lotion….I did all that bleaching without gloves. Not smart.

Laundry is in the basket needing to be folded. That’s the next thing on the agenda. I promise. After coffee, which is perking at the moment.

I think it’s really weird that about a year or so ago I still hated coffee, and now I have a hard time getting going in the morning without it and have even developed an early afternoon craving. Scary.

It was a good mail day. The Go Fish Guys CDs I ordered arrived, and now Boo is ‘partying like a preschooler.’ If you don’t know the Go Fish Guys, here is a link. Fun music for kids. Boo and I had a terrific time a few minutes ago dancing to their version of “If You’re Happy and You Know It.” Enough of that, and it could count as my aerobics for the day and I won’t have to feel so guilty about skipping the Y this morning.

Also in the mail we got a refund check from……the government. Due to the fact that some clerk somewhere pushed the wrong key, when Drew went active duty he got coded as separated and reinstated, rather than merely transferred. This meant that he was considered no longer eligible for the bonus he’d received a while back. And we had to repay it. It wasn’t real small. So, we’ve been paying it back, even though everyone Drew had called agreed we didn’t really owe it. But on paper we did. Clerical error finally went through the channels and was fixed. We got part of the refund today. Drew is thinking about framing the apology letter he received. How often does a government agency ever admit to an error on its part?

Thought Boo would take a nap today due to the late night and early waking, but, no go. She’s still going strong. Maybe an early night tonight?

Drew will be home tomorrow or Wednesday. Finally. It’s been a long two weeks. How come “Two-week training” is always at least two and half weeks? Army math….

Going to have a cup of coffee and fold the laundry now. It’s almost time to go walk up to meet the boys after school.

Have a happy Monday.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Thoughts From Today

During the sermon today, my pastor said this: “God does not promise to give us everything we want, but He does promise to supply what we really need as His servants.”

We were looking at 1 Kings 17:12-16 this morning and talking about how the human predicament is hopeless unless God intervenes.

Pastor also talked about how God’s purpose for us is to be conformed to the image of His dear Son. We best experience His provision when we participate obediently in His plan for our life. He also said that God’s plan for us may very well involve things we see as difficulties – sickness, loss of job, etc. The reason is that His purpose is to conform us into the image of His Son, to draw us close to Him, to teach us to depend upon Him completely.

His provision is designed to be enjoyed daily with no fear of its depletion. He gives the strength we need for today. Enjoy the day. My first priority in this life is not to be myself, my comfort, the American dream. My first priority in life is to live for Him. This is not an easy teaching.

This goes totally against the health/wealth/best life now/feelings-oriented type of teaching you hear on TV these days, doesn’t it?

The choir sang a version of “How Great Thou Art” today, and when we got to the verse about when Christ shall come with shout of acclamation…..I just about couldn’t sing anymore. I just got to thinking about bowing before Him, in His presence and proclaiming, “My God, how great Thou art.” I don’t want to waste the life I’m given here by being consumed with things that don’t matter. I want to live a life that matters for His Kingdom. I am very convicted about how much time I waste. I want to pursue the joy of living a life that is faithful to my King.

It was good to be with God’s people today.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Practical Mom's Dictionary, Installment #8

Just had to share another one:

Perspective: My son was looking at some coins he had in a bag and came across a one dollar coin from 1977. Here is the conversation that ensued:

J: "Look at this Eisenhower coin, Mom. What is it made out of?"

Me: "I have no idea what it is made out of."

J: "Wow. It's really old, look, it's from 1977!"

Me: "Yeah, really old, I was 6-years-old." The sarcasm doesn't carry over in my typing, but, trust me, it was dripping in my voice.

J: "That's really old, then!"

Thanks a lot, son, thanks a lot.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Practical Mom's Dictionary, Installment #7

Haven't done one of these in a long time. Only one entry for today:

Willpower: There are 6 gooey butter cookies left. I want one. I have 3 children. If I do not take one, they will evenly divide between the 3 children. So, my options, as I see them at the moment are to eat three cookies, leaving one each for the children; eat one cookie and suffer the consequences later when the 5 cookies that are left do not divide evenly; eat no cookies right now and stay in line with the fact that I'd really like to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight....I'm talking to the weight way back to before the first one, losing that extra 12 pounds I've been carrying for, lo, these past 10 years. I'm choosing that last one. And that, my friends, is willpower.

Life With Boys

Don't you just love it when you reach for something you need from the pantry only to find that it's an empty box you are holding? Yeah, me, too.

Cleaning the house today. Many blog thoughts whirling around in my brain, but, I've got to get some real work done first.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Well, That Was Fun

Nothing like walking home from school in a monsoon. With two boys, a 3-year-old girl in a stroller and a hyper puppy. I misjudged how quickly the storm was rolling in when I put the leash on the dog and strapped Boo into her stroller this afternoon, preparing to walk up to the school and meet the boys. It became distressingly apparent by about the time I had walked far enough that I did not have time to go back home for the car that the storm was coming in much, much faster than it had seemed a mere five minutes before.

By the time I got up to the school, the sky was black, dark and rumbling with the first large drops threatening. I waved to the boys, handed the leash to Michael and said, “Run home, guys!” We got across the street at the light and began running as the bottom let out of the sky and buckets of water gushed over us. We were drenched in under sixty seconds. Drenched. Boo was laughing, the boys were laughing, Roscoe was beside himself trying to pull Michael home. By the time we were at the bottom of the hill by our house, the lightning was closer than I felt comfortable with. I yanked Boo out of her metal stroller and told her to run up the hill. She did. That girl can book it. I followed as quickly as I could, dragging my lightning rod of a stroller behind me and limping on my very sore knee. I may not feel like I’m 38, but my knees feel like they’re about 55 some days. And booking it up that hill in the rain was…interesting. Good exercise.

So, we got into the house, the boys’ brand new shoes are soaked and in the dryer in the hopes they won’t develop that awful stink that sneakers seem to take on for the rest of their usable lives whenever they get this dripping wet, and we are all in dry clothes. Thankfully, nobody has any homework tonight, and we can sit and enjoy the rain from our dry house now, while the hyper dog runs around the house trying to dry himself off in that spazzy way that dogs tend to do when they get drenched.

On the other hand, the gooey butter cookies and milk I got for after the first day of school snack were a hit, and the kids all treated our little monsoon wade home like a grand adventure rather than a “mommy really messed up.” The boys seemed to have a great day at school today, too.

Ah, good times. We do need the rain, though.

There’s a reason that meteorology class I took in college didn’t become a career choice for me.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Happy Birthday, Drew

I am just now getting a chance to sit and write this, but today is my husband’s birthday. The big 4-0 today. I’m not going to make a huge big deal about it, though, because mine’s coming up in a couple of years, and well, you know….. I hate that he’s missing being here for his big day, though. He’s away with his Army guys for two week training. He’s probably just as glad to have an excuse for me not to do anything big for the birthday. We’ll have a little celebration when he gets home next week.

But I am very thankful for Drew. He’s my very best friend as well as my husband. He loves our kids. He even loves the dog, something I'm still trying to do, :^) And he loves me. I love him. He puts up with me, that’s saying a lot. More than puts up, actually, he demonstrates his love in so many ways that there are times I am overwhelmed that I get to be married to this man. We’ve grown together through the years, and I look forward to the years to come and look forward to growing in the Lord together as long as we draw breath. I’m proud of him, and I love the man and husband and dad that he is.

Happy birthday, Drew. The almost 16 years we’ve been married have been some of the happiest of my life, and I thank God He blessed me with you.


Proverbs 14:1
“The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish woman pulls it down with her hands.”

Proverbs 14:4
“Where no oxen are, the trough is clean;
But much increase comes by the strength of an ox.”

I read Proverbs 14 today, and these two verses stuck out to me. I’m not sure if the application I’m about to draw is exactly right, and if I’m really off biblically please correct me. But this is what it made me think about this morning as I read these and as I thought about some things that happened around here yesterday and a conversation I had.

I want to be the woman who builds her house, not the foolish woman who pulls it down with my hands. I’ve talked and thought and prayed about this before, and I am sure it will be an ongoing theme in the process of sanctification to grow in wisdom. Here’s where I am at the moment on this in my own life.

I like orderliness. I like my home to be neat and clean – not like a showplace and unlivable, but neat and orderly. I function so much better that way. I have children. They are not, by nature very orderly people. Especially my most middle of middle children. He does not seem to be a detail kind of guy. He does not seem to have grasped the concept of “a place for everything, and everything in its place.” For him, things pretty much live wherever they fall at any given moment. Which, of course, leads to much frustration when he cannot find something he needs RIGHT NOW, or when I have to see the chaos that is his room, or any other room in which he spends time, for that matter.

I have expended no small amount of energy trying to motivate this child to learn a little more orderliness. I have failed, often, to stay on top of it and encourage him to clean up the mess each day so it doesn’t get out of hand. Laziness and exhaustion and distractedness on my part are much to blame for the times when I fail to be diligent in teaching this skill, I confess it.

Recently, the state of his room had become such that we had told him that if he could not get it cleaned up, I would go in there and do it (for the third time since we’ve lived here, mind you and we’ve only been here about 7 months), and the consequence would be that I’d be taking a lot of things out of there – LEGOs!! Yesterday was that day. It started well. I needed to go through his clothes, anyway, and had finished going through his brother’s clothes the day before, so I had hand-me-downs that needed a home in M’s room. I spent the morning working on clothes. My mood decayed as the morning wore on, however, when I found piles of dirty clothes in really strange places and clean clothes that should have been put away in even stranger places, and ear plugs and swim goggles in very strange places – this is the boy who could not find any ear plugs or swim goggles the other day. And yet I found several pairs in his underwear drawer – along with all kinds of things that also didn’t belong there, but the underwear was somewhere else entirely. Enough on that. Suffice it to say that by the time I came downstairs for a break I was feeling a little frazzled, because sometimes I feel like I'm talking to a wall. I know the kids know better than this, and I get a little tired of doing the same thing over and over and feeling like I'm not making any progress. And then I saw the mess that three kids had made in the living room. My tone was not very nice or kind, I must confess.

So, I took a deep breath. Commissioned the kids to straighten up the living room, took them to the grocery store to get the ingredients for lunch and a special treat. After lunch we went outside and made ice cream in a bag and enjoyed the fun of doing something different and eating the fruit of our labor afterwards. It took my hands a long time to thaw, by the way. But it was yummy.

After that little break, I had calmed down and was ready to finish my assault on the chaotic room upstairs. It didn’t take me all that terribly much longer. I also apologized to the kids for letting my frustration dictate my attitude with them in the morning.

Where am I going with this? I did a lot of complaining over the past couple of days about how messy our house is. When I read Proverbs 14:4 this morning, I got to thinking that, sure, cleanliness is important. But the mess is also a byproduct of having these kids around in the first place. And I am very thankful that I do have them around. I need to do a better job of training them in the responsibilities of living together in the home, this has become obvious to me. But, I don’t want to do it in a way that tears down our house. I don’t want their memories to be a mom who yelled a lot, was mad and frustrated a lot, and cared more about a clean house than she did about interacting with them and enjoying them. There has to be a balance. I need to find the balance that will work better in our home. There are some changes I can be making to be wiser about building up the house and not tearing it down by letting things go so long that I’m frustrated and taking it out on the family.

Anyway, that’s what I got to thinking about this morning as I read Proverbs.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Take My Life

At choir practice tonight we were rehearsing an arrangement of the hymn, "Take My Life." The last verse ends, "Make my life useful to Thee." Our choir director made the observation that far too often we live like the words are, "Make my life useful to me."


I was also listening to John MacArthur the other day talking about wood, hay, and stubble versus gold, silver and precious stones. He was saying that the wood, hay, and stubble of our lives that will be burned up aren't necessarily bad things, they're just meaningless things, in terms of advancing the Kingdom. I got to thinking about how much of my day is spent in pursuit of meaningless things. Not just that they are part of my life, but that I actively pursue them in a way that I don't pursue a deeper devotion to Jesus as much as I want to. How much time I waste. Not a comfortable thought. I don't want to waste my life. I don't want to only be useful to me. I want to be useful to the Kingdom.

So, I thought what our choir director said tonight was quite interesting. May I do more than just think about it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Status Report August 2009

Sitting: In my living room/dining room, where I always am when I’m on the computer.

Drinking/eating: Nothing right now. Just finished breakfast – Frosted Mini-Wheats and coffee. Probably going to get some iced sweet tea with lemon when I finish this post.

Listening: To three rowdy children loudly playing. Wondering how long until the loudness becomes yelling and fighting. It’s a fine line most days. As an aside, can I just mention that if I hear, “Mo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-m!!!!!” one more time I might just explode. And it’s not even 9AM yet. And it didn’t even take until I finished typing this……now I’m listening to a 3-year-old scream, “It’s mine, it’s mine!” at her brothers who are trying to play a game with a ball that is not hers.

Weary: Of LEGOs, LEGOs everywhere. How many times a day can you say, “Boys, get the LEGOs off the table”? I’m thinking that if they can’t follow the “LEGOs stay downstairs” rule, then maybe I need to just start collecting any LEGOs I find anywhere other than downstairs and they will “go away” for a while. Probably a long while. I’m tired of stepping on them, hearing them clank into the vacuum and having to work around them on my table and kitchen counter. LEGOs are evil, I tell you, evil.

Hoping: To enjoy these final days of summer vacation before school starts on Monday. Meet the teacher is Friday night.

Wondering: If I will get any mail from the school telling me what teachers we’ll be meeting or if we are just to show up on Friday night and find out then. We weren’t here last fall, so I don’t know how this school does it. I do know that my personality type would deal with the transition a lot better if I were to have a letter in hand this week…..

Thankful: So far I have not had my sleep interrupted by my usual back-to-school nightmares.

Trying: Not to think too much about the direction our country seems to be heading.

Asking: Why is it that no matter how early I try to get up so I can have a few minutes of quiet to read my Bible and pray in the morning, Boo gets up just as early?

Woke up: At 5:30 this morning. On purpose. When I got out of the shower, there was Boo standing outside the day saying, “Good morning, Mama.”

Feeling guilty: Was it wrong to feel just a little bit disappointed to see that cute little face wishing me good morning at just under 6AM today? I love her, I do, but I was so looking forward to a few minutes of quiet today before starting the day.

Read: My Bible this morning while Boo colored a picture of a ferris wheel and talked to herself happily.

Reading: Three books going simultaneously these days:
- Hoping for Something Better by Nancy Guthrie. Just finished Chapter 3 and am really enjoying this study of the book of Hebrews. In fact, the reason I’m trying to get up earlier is because I’m wanting more time to study.
- The Ultimate Proof of Creation by Jason Lisle, PhD in astrophysics. Rather an audacious title, it might seem…..but I’m liking it.
- Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke. My current fiction selection, I’m enjoying this last of the Inkheart trilogy.

Reading with the boys: Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. We were reading The Fellowship of the Ring, but I needed a break. That one is just hard to read aloud, I found.

Seeing: Light at the end of the potty-training tunnel. Granted the end still seems a way off, but Boo finally seems to be getting it. Not a moment too soon for this queasy mommy - I actually lost my breakfast yesterday while cleaning up an unfortunate potty mess. Good thing I was already in the bathroom.

Not: As bummed as this post makes me sound. Didn’t mean to seem down. It’s really not a bad morning. Just not what I’d intended. And that’s okay.

Time: To get to it today.

Happy Tuesday.

Fearmongering? I Think Not....

It is not fearmongering to listen to what they are saying and follow through with the implications. Ideas have consequences. Regardless of what this postmodern culture may want to believe, words have meaning. Worldviews matter. Take a hard look at the worldview of those who are talking and follow their logic through to the possible consequences. This is not fearmongering. It is wisdom to listen to what the people in power are saying and apply it to the legislation they are trying to push through without proper examination.

HT: my brother, Some call him.....Tim

It is not fearmongering to look at similar programs elsewhere and examine how they are being implemented and what are the consequences for the people involved. It is wisdom to examine a matter thoroughly before making drastic changes that will affect a whole lot of people. (HT: Dan Phillips at Biblical Christianity)

It is not fearmongering to examine the words of those the president is listening to as advisors and follow the logic through.

The either/or rhetoric that is being used is a false way to look at this issue. It is not true that unless the government takes over the whole system there can't be reforms. I don't think there are many people who are saying we don't need reform. That is not the issue anymore. It's pretty obvious there need to be changes. The issue is, we do not want people who believe and are saying these kinds of things to have as much power over us as the legislation that is being rushed through would give them. We do not trust government to do this. We need to look at other types of reform (not least of which is rethinking our entitlement mentality and rethinking the whole way insurance is actually viewed and handled in the first place), not hand it all over to the government. We are too prone to think emotionally and not rationally. Think it through.

Update: I have no idea why the comment feature is missing from this post. Maybe 'Big Brother' is making it go away? Just kidding. Anyway, I don't know why it's missing......

Friday, August 07, 2009

I Usually Keep Out of This On the Blog....

I’m going against one of my self-imposed blogging rules about staying mostly away from politics, but I’ve been stewing on this all day (well, longer than all day, but today in a fairly concentrated way), and I think I just need to post this. I do not like to argue politics with people. There are others out there who are much better at the art of debate than I am, but I do have opinions and reasons for those opinions. So, here goes. I hope I’m not sorry I did this.

Why some of us do not trust the Obama healthcare plan:

Some questions
A summary
An observation (could also be observed: Wake-Up Call – Hello? The message from 2008 wasn’t what you thought it was, and there were lots of us who could have told you so.)

It has nothing to do with selfishness, or not caring about our neighbors, or right-wing extremism, or whatever else people want to accuse us of.

It has everything to do with not trusting government officials with our private healthcare decisions and not trusting how much control this particular plan would give them. It also has to do with the fact that not enough time has been given to study the various bills out there and think through the implications of the finer print. It has a whole lot to do with not trusting government officials and pencil pushers at government agencies to look out for our interests. For me, it has a whole lot to do with what I see as a culture that is not all that friendly to the unborn and the elderly and infirm. Why would I want government officials who hold a vastly different worldview on those issues than I do have as much control over those issues as a nationalized healthcare system would give them?

It has everything to do with the fact that socialized medicine is not efficient anywhere it is being practiced.

It has everything to do with the fine print, not the propaganda that’s being fed us like pabulum. In an ideal world, it would be wonderful if everyone had free, quality healthcare. We don’t live in that world. We may, and I would even argue we do, need some reforms, but think it through carefully! There are other reforms we could investigate rather than nationalizing/socializing the whole thing. For one thing, we ought to look into why healthcare is so expensive in the first place. It might surprise us….out-of-control lawsuits leading to malpractice insurance being pretty much a necessity for providers today – who have to pass on their costs somewhere, reimbursement from the current government healthcare plans (Medicare!) coming in at prices lower than the cost to provide the quality care demanded meaning that those costs get passed on to others in order for doctors just to make the ends meet, which means higher costs to the private insurers who then pass on costs to consumers in a never-ending cycle, and the highest costs going to those who do not have health insurance because of the discounted rates everyone else pays. And another thing, my husband, who has worked in the healthcare industry in a hospital setting for years told me that emergency rooms cannot turn people away for lack of ability to pay. That’s another area where costs get passed on to others, elevating the overall costs. We ARE a generous country.

I think we’re going about the task of reforming in the wrong way. It is true that if you can’t afford private health insurance, you probably won’t get the quality care that others get. Rather than taking a system that works for some, but maybe not all and totally overhauling it to something that will be loaded, LOADED, with government bureaucracy and invasion of personal privacy (look into it, it’s loaded with intrusions), let’s look at how to make care more affordable for all, that kind of reform is needed, I agree. But if you think nationalizing it, putting the government in charge of it, will fix it, I seriously fear you are wrong.

The thing is, I’ve heard that there are between 40-50 million Americans who do not have health insurance. Of those, about 40% are without health insurance by choice – either they have chosen not to be insured at all because they can afford to pay out of pocket, they may be college students who have chosen not to buy the policies through their school, or people who have chosen not to buy supplemental/temporary insurance in order to spend their money elsewhere. The people we need to be looking at assisting are those 60% of the uninsured who do not want to be without insurance but cannot afford to buy it and do not qualify for Medicaid. Rather than overhauling EVERYONE’S heath care and mandating governmental oversight for EVERYONE, why not focus on the small percentage of Americans who truly do need help, the ones who fall through the cracks?

And when you get officials at government agencies determining what behaviors are “healthy lifestyle” behaviors for everyone, you are opening yourself up for scary, unintended possibilities. What’s to stop them from determining that having more than one child is unhealthy behavior? Think that’s far-fetched? Look at China’s government policies. It wouldn’t take much. What’s to stop them from deciding to withhold care from someone who is elderly and whose medical needs are deemed too expensive to continue, since they don’t have all that long to live anyway? Even if the current legislators/officials don’t think these things, once we’ve handed this much power to the government, what’s to stop future administrations/officials/legislators from making these kinds of determinations or worse and imposing them on us through a national health plan where we have no opportunity for appeal? Nothing. Nothing is to stop them. That’s why I don’t trust government officials to make these decisions, and why I am wary of putting this much in their hands in the first place.

Rather than increasing quality, it will lower it for all. Turning the healthcare over to government agencies is just not a wise way to go.

At the very least we need to not hurry legislation through that none of the legislators have had time to read, examine and discuss with constituents. Listen to the people on this, take time to determine the best road, don’t force something through with this many huge consequences for so many people without carefully weighing other, more balanced approaches. Why does it all have to be in the hands of government? Why not look at reforms that would allow private insurers to compete in a way that benefits them and consumers? There have got to be other alternatives than a national health plan.

Our objections are not just over having to pay higher taxes. They are over the details in this thing.

She's A Detail Oriented Girl

We were watching Disney's The Jungle Book this afternoon. Actually, Boo was watching and I was reading a book. I was drawn out of my little reading world when Boo kept saying, "That's the Winnie-a-Pooh snake. That's the Winnie-a-Pooh snake!"

I looked up and the movie was at the part where Ka'a the snake is hypnotizing Mowgli in the tree. I said, "Yeah, the Winnie-the-Pooh snake." Then I started wondering why in the world she called him that. Then I realized that somehow she was recognizing the voice. The same actor is the voice for Pooh.

The thing is, I think she's only ever watched the Pooh movie once. And that was a while ago. How did she put that together?

I think this girl is one smart cookie. She's going to keep us on our toes. She really seems to pick up on details, in a way that's a little bit scary in a three-year-old. I have to remember how much she notices. Anyway, I thought it was something that she could remember the voice like that and put them together. And just felt like sharing.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

A Few Pictures From Our Trip

Running from a dinosaur in the outdoor garden at the Creation Museum. I love Boo's "scared face."

At the entrance to the Creation Museum:

Me with the boys:

Boo and her daddy:

The kids with yet another dinosaur:

I just had to include this one:

My Report From Our Visit to the Creation Museum

Psalm 19:1
“The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.”

Where to begin? That’s what I’ve been sitting here trying to decide as I attempt a post about our visit to the Creation Museum. I originally had the word “brief” in my title, but now that I’ve finished I see it’s not so brief, after all.

I think one thing that impressed me was the use of Scripture throughout the museum. As you go through the walk-through part, there are colorful, attractive signs explaining each exhibit and many of the signs are scripture verses that explain what is being depicted. Sometimes there might be theories about how something may have happened within the biblical framework, but in cases where we cannot observe and prove through experimentation, they were presented as hypothesis, not fact. It is clear that the worldview and starting point for this museum is that God’s word is our first and final authority in how we look at and interpret what we see in the world. In fact, I have been spending quite a bit of time recently pondering how important our worldview is to how we see everything, from the physical world, to how we read books and view movies, to how we perceive and respond to other people and their ideas. Everything is filtered through our worldview, whether we realize we are operating with one or not. We are not capable of seeing things in an unbiased way because our basic worldview will influence how we see and experience everything.

Another thing that impressed me was that the gospel is clearly presented throughout the museum, explicitly in The Last Adam, the movie at the end of the walkthrough portion. Answers in Genesis uses what it calls “The Seven C’s” to present a biblical view of the history of the world, and this was the theme through the museum. The seven C’s are Creation, Corruption (when sin entered the world through Adam and Eve’s eating of the forbidden fruit), Catastrophe (the Global/worldwide flood), Confusion (the Tower of Babel), Christ, Cross, Consummation. This is a very effective way to present the gospel from Creation to Christ and to quickly tie it all together biblically. Last year our church used AiG’s VBS curriculum and we got to teach the kids the 7 C’s, and I really found it to be a great way to address VBS.

We began our visit with the planetarium presentation. It is absolutely awesome to ponder how incredible our Creator God is when you begin to understand how vast and beautiful our universe is. And He spoke it into existence. It’s almost funny to look at the complexity and wonder of the stars and all that is out there, only a tiny part have we been able to study, and then read in Genesis 1:16b, “….He made the stars also.” And then when you begin to realize how small we really are, and that it was here that Jesus came and walked among us and redeemed us and reconciled us to God. Incredible. Amazing, amazing grace. J came out of that presentation saying he wanted to be an astrologer. I told him, “I think you mean astronomer.” He asked the difference, and after I told him, he said, “Oh, yeah, I meant astronomer. I don’t want that other thing at all!” Anyway, both boys are contemplating careers in astronomy after that presentation. It was impressive.

Then we did the walk- through, which is the main part of the museum. There is a section on digging for dinosaur bones, discussion about how your ‘starting point’ (worldview) will influence how you interpret the same data, a section about the Bible – Moses and the Law and Prophets and David and Psalms and the New Testament and how the Bible has withstood the test of time, the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve, the Fall, Cain and Abel, Methuselah, Noah and the ark and the Flood – with a realistic look at what the ark may have looked like and how they could have fit the animals and what a catastrophe the flood actually was, the tower of Babel and how what happened there explains our differences and how racism is really an unbiblical and evil concept – we are all ‘one blood’ as Paul tells the Athenians in Acts 17, and we ended with The Last Adam, a short movie about Christ and the Cross. It was very good. In fact, the quality of the exhibits and the movies and music throughout the museum is very high. It is all done very well.

I think the neat thing for me about the Creation Museum is that it gave me time to just think a little more concretely about things I already believe are true. The more I ponder these things, the more I am convinced that nothing else makes sense but to take God at His word, and to avoid trying to compromise and try to make man’s ideas fit. He created the earth in six literal days. The dinosaurs don’t even pose a problem for me anymore. I blogged once before about how nervous I was when my then 3 or 4-year-old son got interested in dinosaurs and we were getting books from the library that were talking about them dying out 65 million years before man. I knew I didn’t believe that. But I didn’t know what to think. Now I do. The land animals were created on day six. That is the answer. There can’t have been millions of years of death before man. It just doesn’t fit. Death and the curse entered the world through man’s sin. Does that mean I have all the answers for all the details all figured out? No. But I know the God who does. And I know that He gave us what He wanted us to know. And I know that when we look at the evidence around us, we need to do so with the starting point that God’s word is true and it is true in every way – history, biology, anthropology, etc.

I also think there are some things God did not tell us. In Deuteronomy 29:29 it says, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” There are some things we are better not to expend too much energy speculating about, and focus on those things we are given. The things we are told, we need to hold to and obey. The physical world we can see and observe, we need to do so with the authority of God’s word as our ultimate authority, a worldview with the starting point that His word is true.

As we were thinking about Methuselah after seeing that part of the museum, Drew and I got to thinking and talking about how these were real people. People who lived a long time. It’s very possible that Methuselah may have even known Adam. Can you imagine what it might have been like talking to Adam about what it had been like to walk with God? Surely He must have talked about some of these things with people. I said that I imagine there were tears as he told about what is was like when that was lost.

It was a really fun, educational visit. Even Boo enjoyed most of it – even things I thought she would find boring. All the kids want to go back again. I suppose that someone who doesn’t believe might criticize and say what we experienced was ‘indoctrination’ or ‘brainwashing.’ Again, your starting point influences how you see that, too. That same person wouldn’t recognize the ‘indoctrination’ and ‘brainwashing’ we see from the evolutionary and humanistic worldview that permeates our culture from every angle and almost every other museum we could visit. In fact, I caught it at the science museum here in St. Louis when we went to visit. They had some exhibits that were biased toward the evolutionary view, and the bias was obvious. So, it just depends on where you’re starting from. One thing I’ve appreciated about Answers in Genesis is that its ministry has helped me to better articulate what I already know to be true and how to think it though logically. I’m thankful for their ministry. And I’m very glad we took a trip to the Creation Museum. We hope to go again.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

A Good Opportunity

I get to substitute teach in my 4th grade son's Sunday School class this weekend. I'm excited about it. After reading that book, Already Gone, that I blogged about earlier, I have a better focus for how to approach the lesson I've been given to teach. I got the outline written today, just need to get some ink for the printer so I can print it out (story of my life, we never seem to have ink when I really need it). I just gave Joshua a little overview of what the lesson will be Sunday, and he seemed to respond well.

I'm praying I can do a good job. I'm more used to talking to adults, so I hope I don't go over the kids' heads too much. I'm also a little nervous because the lesson really covers quite a bit and my outline seems rather long. I hope I don't go too long for them to be able to hear what they need to. But I'm really excited about this opportunity. I very much want to be available to serve. I very much want God to be pleased with what happens in our little class this Sunday. I am very surprised at how much I want to do this. Pray for me?

Monday, August 03, 2009

Summer's End

I woke up this morning wondering where the summer had gone. How in the world is it August already?? Did I sleep through a month or something? Well, come to think of it, that nasty virus a few weeks ago did eat up several weeks, but still. It hit me, with my usual irrational back-to-school panic, that the boys go back to school two weeks from today. Meet your teacher night is the Friday before that. Gack!

My sentimental wondering about how fast the summer has flown by has eroded after a day of constant bickering, too much yelling (them, not me so much this time), whining, tattling (oh, the tattling, make it stop, please, I beg of you, duct tape is looking mighty appealing, the tattling), grocery shopping with three children who didn’t want to be grocery shopping, fussing, griping, me telling them repeatedly to turn off the TV, and so much more.

Two weeks may just feel like an entire summer.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Recommended Reading

We've just returned from a terrific visit to the Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY. I want to blog more about it when I've got the time, but for now I will just say that it was really, really good. I'd expected it to be good, we are charter members, after all, but it far exceeded my expectations. I can't wait to try to get some of my thoughts written out.

What I wanted to mention today, though, was a book I purchased at the museum bookstore and read on the way home. I had seen it advertised in the Answers in Genesis newsletter and had intended to order it, so I was glad to see it there this week.

The book is Already Gone: Why your kids will quit church and what you can do to stop it by Ken Ham and Britt Beemer with Todd Hillard. It is the results of a study that Answers in Genesis commissioned that targeted 1000 20-somethings who were active in conservative churches on some level throughout elementary, middle and high school but who no longer attend church. Many of us have noticed the trend that we seem to be losing the 20-somethings from our churches, but this study sought to find some of the reasons why these 'churched' kids are abandoning the church in such large percentages.

What they found was surprising on some levels to me, but on others not as surprising. One of the main things they saw as application was that the way we teach the Bible to our children is not the best way to teach it. It is something I've actually blogged about before - we teach stories, but we don't well enough connect the Bible stories to the real world for our kids. We give them moral lessons from Bible stories, but don't stress enough how those stories are real history, and how important it is to know how they all connect, and how the Bible has relevance to the "real" world - history, biology, origins, archeology, anthropology, etc. - and how what we believe about Genesis really does affect the foundation of most biblical doctrines. They also gave a lot of discussion to how important it is that we teach the Bible as history, not 'stories,' and give our kids answers for the questions of our day, the questions they are asking need biblically based answers. For more about this, read the book. It was a fascinating, disturbing read.

I wish every parent, Sunday School teacher, church leader, youth leader, pastor would read this book. I think it presents a needed warning and wake up call to all of us. It isn't enough to have a Sunday School. We need to be equipping students to know how faith relates to the 'real' world and how to answer the questions our culture is asking, they need to know the full counsel of God's word.