Saturday, October 31, 2009


For future reference: When you hear your 3-year-old in the bathroom saying, "Oh, crud. It's okay. It's okay," it is probably not, in fact, okay.

And on a somewhat related note, did you know that dogs will eat pretty much anything?

I, on the other hand, will probably not be able to eat much of anything at all for quite a while now.

Fun times. Fun times.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What's On Your Nightstand - October 2009

It’s that time again – actually yesterday was that time again, but I seem to be on a semi-permanent blogging lite schedule and missed it, so I am a day late for this month’s "What’s On Your Nightstand." Very much wanting to return to more blogging, however, I am posting this today.

This month I am heavy on the nonfiction side. Once again, I feel like I have too many books going at once, but they are all things I’ve wanted to dig into and I couldn’t pick just one. So, here’s my list this month:

Becoming a Woman of Excellence by Cynthia Heald. We are reading a chapter a week for our Tuesday morning Bible study group, so this one will be on here for a little while longer. I must say that it has been a good study, and I’m really enjoying spending Tuesday mornings with our small group of ladies. Yesterday we discussed chapter 7, “Excellence: Guarded by Discretion.” It was challenging – for all of us. For me, especially challenging was the discussion about being careful with our words. I have written before about struggling with my temper, and this was a needed study for me. Also, I tend to talk too much in any setting. I often come home and wish I’d said less and listened more, especially when we may have discussed something I am passionate or concerned about. We spent a lot of time in the book of Proverbs this week, and I have also been reading a chapter from Proverbs each morning as part of my daily quiet time. I pray our time in God’s word and learning from this book will sink in and I’ll take these things to heart!

Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. This is another one that will grace my list for a while to come. Our Sunday night women’s group at church is reading this together and breaking into small groups to discuss it each week. We are taking it slowly and will finish up next spring, so I’ll be working along with the group. I plan to blog more about this one when I ever get back to blogging again.

The Jesus You Can’t Ignore by John MacArthur. This is one I just couldn’t wait to start once it arrived in the mail. I’m just now getting into it, and it is going to be good. I may blog some impressions from it, too, as I get to it, but, again, I’m taking it slow.

Because the Time is Near by John MacArthur. I have had this book for a while, and I got ahead on my reading through the Bible in a year plan during my morning quiet time, and since I’ve arrived at Revelation, I thought that instead of just reading through it, I would read it and read this book along with it during my devotion time, since it is a study of the book of Revelation based on MacArthur’s sermon series on that book. Again, it is kind of slow-going, so this one may also be on the list for a while.

The Complete C. S. Lewis Signature Classics (Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, The Abolition of Man, The Great Divorce, The Problem of Pain, Miracles, A Grief Observed). This is on my nightstand, but it is taking a bit of a breather until I finish some of the others, though I’m really looking forward to reading these.

Whew. Another ambitious list! Now on to fiction:

Currently reading:
The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly. He is one of my favorite authors and I’ve read everything I can find by him, so when I saw this on the new books shelf at the library, I had to check it out. Detective fiction/mystery is probably one of my favorite genres of fiction, and Connelly’s books are great. I love how his main characters are flawed, but likable – realistic. It is due back tomorrow, and I haven't finished it yet because I read the two listed below first, so I'd better get this post finished and get back to reading!

Just finished reading:
The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly.

The Rook by Steven James.

Enjoyed both.

Reading with the boys: Inkspell by Cornelia Funke. We finally finished Inkheart and have moved on to the second book in the trilogy. They love our evening reading time, though lately we’ve been so busy and I’ve been just too tired to read every night. Need to get back to it and find out what’s happening with Dustfinger and Meggie and all the rest!

Don’t forget to visit 5 Minutes for Books to see other nightstand lists!

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Best Laid Schemes O' Mice an' Men

Saturday afternoon, about 4PM: Planning ahead, I prepare the roast, cut up the vegetables and set out the crock pot, complete with liner.

Saturday evening, about 11ish PM: I pride myself on remembering to turn on the crock pot with the roast and veggies in it, knowing the recipe said to cook for about 12 hours, AND I remember to turn on the dishwasher, something I frequently am frustrated in the morning to have forgotten.

Sunday morning, about 5:30 AM: I gasp myself awake with the sinking suspicion that the care I took not to plug in the crock pot earlier in the afternoon may have backfired by my not remembering to plug it in later when I turned it on the night before.

Sunday morning, about 5:31 AM: I find the suspicion growing when, as I sit up in bed, I realize that I do not, in fact, smell roast cooking from downstairs.

Sunday morning, about 5:32 AM: I stumble down the stairs in the dark, walk into the kitchen, turn on the light, gingerly touch the side of the crock pot and find that it is stone cold. Look up to find that it is not plugged in.

Sunday morning, about 5:33 AM: I stand in the kitchen and wonder if a 12 hour recipe could at all be ready to eat by noon if I turn on the crock pot right now, and, though math was never my favorite subject, I decide that my carefully laid plans for Sunday lunch now need a major overhaul.

Sunday morning, about 5:34 AM: I put the whole crock pot in the fridge, trudge upstairs and go back to bed, mumbling to my husband that all my joy for remembering to turn the crock pot on last night has come to this…..think we could go out to lunch after church today?

Sunday morning, 9AM – 11:45ish AM: Enjoyed worshipping our Lord together with our church family, what a fellowship, what a joy divine!

Sunday afternoon, about 12:00ish PM: We enjoy a light lunch at Jimmy John’s, where the family teases their mother gently about forgetting to plug in the crock pot. Oldest son was actually kind enough to be disappointed not to be having crock pot roast beef for lunch. He actually likes it. Love that boy!

Sunday night, late: Took very cold crock pot out of fridge, set it out to bring it up to room temp and not risk breaking it by turning it on immediately.

Monday morning, 5 something AM: PLUGGED IN crock pot, turned on crock pot. Started the coffee and sat down to read my Bible and pray before kids got up and had to get them off to school.

Tonight, dinner time: Unless more plans go awry, I hope our family will be enjoying the 12 hour roast beef crock pot meal that took two days in getting to the table. Hope it’s still good for all that.

Friday, October 23, 2009

I Have Internet Again

I have internet, cable and phone again. Hooray! Wednesday afternoon I was, ummmm, working, on the computer (okay, I was playing on Facebook), I heard some banging and bumping on the wall where the cable box is located outside and some banging next door where we share a wall with our neighbors and then I lost my internet connection. When I went to check the modem, I found that we had also lost phone and cable at the same time since we have one of those bundle packages, and the usual solution of rebooting the modem had no effect whatsoever.

And now, today, after a couple of days of being told a different story every time we called the provider, and not having a working phone in the house besides my cell phone which is long distance for people here to call, we finally had someone come out this morning. Turns out that when they rewired our building a few months ago, the wires were mislabeled , and on Wednesday when they meant to be disconnecting our neighbor, they disconnected us instead. Gotta love apartment living.

Anyway, I had been praying that I would better learn to exercise discipline about the time I waste on the computer. This forcing of computer silence has been a good thing. My fingers didn’t fall off or anything, and I managed okay without being connected for a little while. Though I am glad to have it back, I do need to not be on the computer as much as I have been recently.

I have to say, however, that the aspect of apartment living that led to being disconnected suddenly and being given the runaround for two days by the phone operators who were either clueless, lying or both about what was going on with our system is even more annoying than having to experience the mysterious tator tot smell from next door periodically. I also have to say that it is really disturbing how disconnected I felt without phone, internet and cable. These things probably shouldn’t be quite so important to me, I am thinking.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things

In honor of this gloriously beautiful Fall day, here are a few of my favorite things about the Fall:

Pumpkins – as decoration, in pie, as inspiration for pumpkin spice lattes and teas, pretty much in any form

My oldest son’s birthday

Crunching acorns – I got to introduce my boys to that joy on the way home from school today

Cooler weather

The crisp, almost indescribable feeling in the air

College football – it helps that we have a winning team. Go Gators!

High school football – such wonderful memories of Friday night football games and marching band, blazingly hot in wool uniforms in central Florida (hello? Wool uniforms? Really? I remember smelling like a goat after Friday night football. How we cherished those free Cokes after the half time show. But for the few cold games, I remember them not being quite warm enough. But the fun and camaraderie of marching band was not to be beat. It was worth it all. Hooray for the Marching Mustangs! Good memories.

Beautiful colored leaves – I love how Boo has to collect “bootiful” handfuls of leaves whenever we go outside.

Crunching through the leaves

All the colors and smells and tastes of fall – smoke from fireplaces on those evenings when it’s cool enough, spices from pumpkin pie cooking in the oven, chili simmering on the stove….Fall is a cornucopia of delights for the senses

Corn mazes

Hay rides




The anticipation of the glitter and wonder of Christmas (coupled with the struggle not to experience Christmas overload before December even gets here from all the commercialization that starts way, way, way too early these days)

The opportunity to talk to my children about our awesome Creator God who gave us the blessing of all these things.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Doubt Your Doubt and Cling to What is True

Proverbs 14:7-8
“Go from the presence of a foolish man,
When you do not perceive in him the lips of knowledge.
The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way,
But the folly of fools is deceit.”

I read this the other day and it made me think about some blog conversations I’ve seen and some of the current “conversations” going on in certain areas of evangelical Christianity, even among people I know in real life, today. It also reminded me of people I know who seem to question everything except the things they ought to question. For example, there is a movement in this postmodern world away from the notion of absolute truth to some amorphous view of relative truths. People who are being caught up in this thinking begin to question the plain things in scripture and try to make them seem more mysterious than they are, or just downright discount them altogether. In fact, with some people, it seems that the questioning and doubt are the end goal, not finding the answers to the questions. It’s enough to be ‘on the journey’ and it’s assumed that we need to rethink everything and question all assumptions – but instead of going to God’s word to check the assumptions, they go within their own selves, their opinions, the opinions of cool and hip emergent or postmodern pastors and writers. I don’t have a problem with examining assumptions and making sure that what I believe is really real. But the standard we use to judge that is God’s revealed word. There is an ultimate standard by which we can and ought to measure the truthfulness of our assumptions. To paraphrase a quote from John MacArthur that I have found helpful, “Doubt your doubts and cling to what is true, trust God’s word, trust what He has revealed to be true.”

Granted there is mystery in the Christian life – 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.” But the end of that verse shows us that, though there are some things we are not to know in this life, there are things that are revealed. We can know what God has said to us. He spoke clearly through His word and by His Son. Rather than tickle our ears and excite our fallen imaginations by trying to reimagine the doctrines of the faith with all kinds of speculations and worldly wisdom, and rather than enjoying the ambiguity of doubt as an ideal, we ought to be about the business of knowing the things God has revealed and submitting to Him and His authority.

It is exhausting and frustrating to talk to someone who has gotten caught up in the postmodern way of thinking. It’s almost like doubt is a badge of honor and to be certain of anything is the only taboo. With some of these conversations, you finally get to a point where you wonder if the person isn’t actually asking the questions to resolve doubts or to come to a better understanding of God and His word, it really does seem in some cases that merely questioning is the goal, and that the better you are at questioning your assumptions, the less you need biblical answers, and the more ‘enlightened’ you are in this warped way of looking at things. In this postmodern age, to be uncertain is to be ‘tolerant’ or accepting of just about anything as long as it isn’t an insistence on absolutes. It’s filled with this arrogant humility that pretends that it is a darkened understanding or an arrogant person who can claim that there are absolute standards that are true. The Christian faith and the deep and serious things of God are treated like a big game where they deconstruct language and meaning and play around with words and ideas, or like some grand intellectual exercise where we are free to speculate whatever we want and the stakes aren’t very high – a form of godliness without power, something to play around with. It is frightening, however, because life is not a game and the stakes are actually very high. The fact is, there is truth, the Bible says that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. This isn’t a game. We aren’t free to change the meaning of words and free to determine our own “truth.” Ultimately, we are all bound by true truth, God’s truth. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life that sets us free to worship God in spirit and truth.

Later in the same chapter, I read this:

Proverbs 14:26-27
“In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence,
And His children will have a place of refuge.
The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life,
To turn one away from the snares of death.”

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. There is confidence in Him, yes, strong confidence. It is not arrogant to take God at His word. It is the beginning of wisdom. I would argue that the true arrogance is this false humility that questions everything and can never seem to come to a point where God’s word is good enough and sufficient to answer the doubts, always questioning, learning, but never coming to the truth. It’s a false humility that arrogantly seeks man’s opinion and tries to impose it upon God’s word by twisting it to say what we want it to say and twisting it to fit our fleshly lifestyles rather than seeking to know what it really means and submiting to the authority of our Creator God.

I have recently come to be very, very wary of certain Christian bookstores. Books filled with this pseudo-intellectual kind of questioning and subversive and subtle planting of seeds of doubt fill the shelves. I left one store in tears as I asked my husband where in the world was the discernment of the booksellers at that store after we had found some books aimed at young teens about dopplegangers. No, I didn’t read the books, so I don’t know how they attempted to Christianize that topic, but really? Isn’t there something better to offer kids? Really? And then they go on to read books by respected authors in the Christian book world who are peddling heresy, cleverly masked, but heresy all the same. The Shack, anyone??? Drew’s answer was, “It’s not about discernment, Beck. It’s all about money, marketing and what sells.” And that’s why I cried.

Too many of us would rather read books about the Bible than to read the Bible. We don’t have time for Bible study, but we gobble up Christian fiction and Christian (at least in name) authors and read opinions and allow subtle doubts to creep in, but too seldom do we know the Word itself. And please don’t take this as a rant against all Christian fiction or all Christian books in the bookstore. I have read some that aren’t all bad, and some that are actually pretty good, and some that are very good. It’s just all the weeds you have to sort through to find them that are so extremely troublesome. And they are troublesome because I actually know people who are being swept along in the current of ‘doubt is good,’ and who are swayed deeply by the postmodern/emergent “conversation,” and who are in danger of being led seriously astray while everyone pats themselves on the back and gloats about how clever they are.

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

P.S. As I was getting ready to post this, I happened to read the following quote from one of Drew’s friends on Facebook, and it is very fitting:

"Without 'absolutes' revealed from without by God Himself, we are left rudderless in a sea of conflicting ideas about manners, justice, and right and wrong, issuing from a multitude of self-opinionated thinkers." -- John Owen

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Mug With an Attitude

This is what my husband bought for me when he went to Washington D.C. for the Army 10-mile run. Pretty much sums it up.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Now That's Funny

Site meter showed that this blog got a hit from the search query, "how to reason with a 3 year old." I must say that really made me laugh. Came to the wrong place for that answer! ha, ha, ha!!!

How do you reason with a three year old? You don't. You just have to patiently teach them, be truthful, be lovingly firm (i.e. you don't give in to their every whim and demand and temper tantrum), you certainly don't argue with their circular reasoning, and be very, very consistent. Be the mom!

Monday, October 12, 2009

On the Menu for Tonight

Dinner by request of the birthday boy:

Homemade pepperoni pizza (his Sunday School teacher told me yesterday that he told her his mom makes the best pizza. I'm glad he's so easy to please, food-wise.)

Salad (to make me feel better by giving them something green)

Spiced "wine" (before anyone gets all hyper on me, we do not drink alcohol, for lots of reasons, which we won't discuss here today. The spiced "wine" came from a book he was reading about the Roman Empire because he is very interested in that part of history at the moment. In the book there was a recipe for spiced "wine" using watered down grape juice, honey, and spices - watered down the way they would have watered their wine back then, by the way. It was really good, so it's become a favorite special drink and he requested it for tonight.)

Yellow cake with chocolate frosting (his absolute favorite. I made my own frosting this time - it's just so much better, but I did use a mix for the cake.)

Hope he likes it. :-)

Eleven Years Ago

On Sunday evening, October 11, 1998, Drew and I were at a Care Group Leaders’ meeting at the home of our Sunday School teacher. I was quite pregnant, but thought I still had about 3 weeks to go until the due date of our first child. I had just the week before finished my last week at work in anticipation of staying home with our little guy, and had just had a baby shower the day before – the gifts were still in their bags in the living room , we had not had time to put them away yet.

While having dinner that night at our friends’ house I was laughing at a funny joke someone had made, when I realized something was definitely happening. Drew pulled my friend into the kitchen and I asked her if it could really be my water breaking, and she insisted I call the doctor and get myself to the hospital RIGHT NOW. So, we left the meeting, went by the house to hurriedly pack my hospital bag, which had not been packed yet – that had been on the agenda for Monday! As we hurried in the door of the women’s center, the man at the welcome desk took one look at me and my husband, smiled, and said, “There’s the elevator – third floor, first door on your right.” Or something like that. Who remembers the exact words now? When we got upstairs, I told the first hospital staff type person I saw why we were there and she took me to the nurse on duty who did not look up and said something about having me wait a minute, until she looked up and realized that I definitely needed to be put in a room.

Excited, nervous, happy..…..and at 12:31 PM the next day, Monday, October 12, 1998 we welcomed our sweet Joshua into the world.

And now, eleven years later, it seems like just yesterday he was our “little man,” and then I blinked and he’s this big kid. It’s not going to be any time at all before he’s taller than me, and I’m feeling like a dork for crying when I posted a happy birthday to him on Facebook. He’s a really neat kid, and I’m so grateful to be his mom. I pray he will continue to grow in the knowledge and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. May we teach him well, and never forget our calling to train him up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. May God be merciful and gracious to mature him and develop in him a love for Christ Jesus, in spite of my many failings as a mom.

Happy birthday to my oldest son.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Believing the Truth

"What we believe about God is crucial because it affects what we believe about everything else. A distorted or damaged view of God will distort the way we see everything and everyone around us." - From: Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

We are inundated from all sides by wrong views of God, even from some supposedly Christian sources. It is so important to fill our minds and hearts with God's word and to run everything we hear through a biblical filter.

I am benefitting from reading this book. I know there will be some things in later chapters that I'm pretty sure I'll have to wrestle with, but the first few chapters have been very helpful to me. I mentioned in an earlier post that I had been struggling with a bit of a low time, and it has been very helpful to be reminded to examine my thought patterns and try to discern the lies I may have bought that could be feeding that lowness. I have especially liked her discussion about the lies we often unconciously believe about God and how to combat those lies with the truth revealed in His word, the Bible.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Lessons Learned

My son seems to have found a way to work the AWANA system . Clearly I’m missing something as a parent….

M: I got my book tonight! I finished the last 3 sections and got my book!

Me: Great! How did you do that? I only signed off on one section for tonight. How did you manage to get the other two? I didn’t think you had studied them enough yet.

M: Well, I’m usually one of the last ones to say verses, and N_____ always has, like, 12 or something, so while he says his, I study mine, and by the time they get to me I can say them.

Hmmmm. So, one boy actually studies at home like he’s supposed to, and my little procrastinator piggy-backs off the time it takes him to say his verses and uses that time to cram. So, is the lesson being learned that procrastination pays off? What am I, as a responsible parent to do with that?

I’m making him study at home. I figure if he can learn two extra sections in the time it takes his motivated friend to say his verses, then he ought to really be learning it well here at home. Thankfully, having gotten his book has served as motivation to study. He’s been excited about doing it himself without me pushing so far this week.


Thursday, October 08, 2009

Status Report October 2009

Sitting…at my computer desk and listening to the rain that has been falling all day today. Also listening to my daughter talking to herself in her room and not taking the nap she really needs to take because we’re going to see "Curious George Live" tonight and I really want her to be happy there instead of cranky because she had no nap.

Drinking….sweet tea with lemon . Ha!

Loving....Fall. The leaves are turning, the air is cooler, I love, love, love it.

Hoping….to return to blogging on some kind of regular basis. I’ve been in a slump for weeks now. Not even posting much on Facebook these days, if that tells you anything.

Having…spaghetti with meatballs for dinner tonight before we all go to the show. Meatballs were requested by oldest son, and I made up my own recipe for them and cooked them this morning so we can get dinner ready early enough to eat before we need to leave to go down town. Hope they are yummy.

Frustrated…this morning when I had to go back out in the rain again to take my son’s jacket to him which he couldn’t find when it was past time to get out the door to school this morning. Obviously I am not doing my job in teaching organization skills. We will be putting out clothes and jackets the night before from now on in an effort to avoid the kind of frustration we had this morning.

Encouraged…by the book that our women’s group is reading together, Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. I am reminding myself again of God’s great love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. I’ve been on the edge of a mild slump/depression for a few weeks now and I’m seeking to recognize the lies I have been believing that are contributing to the malaise and replacing them with the truth of God’s word. What a blessing that is!

Swimming…in the depths of the wonder of God’s grace and mercy and love as I ponder Romans 8:31-39 and seek to hide it in my heart by memorizing it and feasting on the Bread of Life and remember and hold firm to the fact that nothing, nothing, nothing can separate me from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen!

Challenged…by our Tuesday Bible study as we examine a biblical view of excellence. What a sweet time of opening God’s word together with our little group of women on Tuesday mornings as we’re guided by our study, Becoming a Woman of Excellence by Cynthia Heald.

Beginning…to prepare for our next study that will start in January, and which I will get to lead. That thought humbles me, and I covet prayer as I prepare for that study! We got approval from our associate pastor to use Hoping For Something Better by Nancy Guthrie and take a deep look at the book of Hebrews together. Exciting!

Wondering…why it seems to be that I get hit with depression/slumps right when I start to really get going and involved with Bible study or teaching opportunities. Praise God that He is able, and strong, and mighty, though I am pitiful, poor and weak.

ReadingThe Rook by Steven James. Just finished the first book in the series called The Pawn and really liked it. Found these from a review Lisa did at 5 Minutes for Books. Thanks, Lisa!!

Quit…reading another fiction book that really seemed interesting but I felt would not be the best thing I should be reading, especially with the spiritual malaise I was finding myself in. I won’t mention the name of the book, but the first book by the same author was one I found intriguing, disturbing and probably another I shouldn’t have read right now, too.

Waiting…for a book I requested from Grace to You to arrive: The Jesus You Can’t Ignore by John MacArthur. Can’t wait to read it. I’ve been challenged by and enjoying the sermon series that it is based on – I’m a few weeks behind, still, on my podcasts, so I’ve been listening to them as I walk the treadmill or work around the house.

Praying…for someone dear to me as they are encountering a big trial.

Thankful…for my husband.

Needing…to end this post and go pick up the boys from school. It’s still raining….