Thursday, January 31, 2008

Boys Will Be Boys

This is not staged. The kids had just come in from playing in the snow. I made hot chocolate. I joined them and proceeded to go through the grocery ads at the table. I look up and my son has found the Sears tool page all on his own.
He is very serious about his tools.
What a great moment to capture.
He also took the time to show me the specific tools he wanted to buy.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Little Experiment

We as a family are doing a little experiment. My husband and I have been kicking around the idea for a while. Sunday we packed up the TV, DVD player and VCR (yes we still have one, if you can believe that ) and put it in our closet. It's buried!
We've never had cable until 8 months ago.....we were roped into some deal for $10.00 a month. It was kinda fun having the history and discovery channel. I also got into all the home decorating shows.....a little too much really. When the deal was over we cancelled but found we could still get about 5 channels through the cable because of our high speed internet. I love free stuff!
It's funny because I didn't really watch too much TV, maybe about 6-8 hours a week but I found that I started to look too forward to it. I was starting to rush to get things done to plop and veg. We were curious. What would we do without any media entertainment for 30 days? Would we go crazy? Would the kids go batty? Today is day two and I haven't missed it. I have been busy which isn't a fair assessment. How will I do when I am at home and wanting to veg and I can't plop? We will see?
I must say so far it has made me more relaxed. There is less need for structure because I found before, that I wanted the kids in bed by a certain time to watch TV. Now....who cares. They still go to bed at a decent hour but we have been reading longer and hanging out chatting. My husband and I have been hanging in fun creative ways the last two nights...wink wink. Not a bad fringe benefit. It feels to me the last two days have had more hours in them.....they haven't but I have been more engaged and connected to those things most important to me. We may never turn back. :o)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Longing

What a week! I have had a nasty 6 days of insomnia and during that time I got a wicked cold. The last two nights I have slept only because NyQuil and I have become friends. I don't like to take meds even for a headache but the deprivation of sleep made me desperate.
I also became the sin monster at my house this week. No sleep, nasty cold, fever and a head that felt like a pulsating brick brought all the yuck to the surface. There were speeches to my ever patient husband, about how mom's never get to be sick.....all self focused pity on my part. Even these times are used for my good, I was simply having a hard time seeing it.

Do you ever think about what life will be like when there is no sickness of the body or the heart? When God speaks to us to do or obey and we won't hesitate or delay. When the first thought we have isn't for ourselves? Recently at our caregroup meeting we talked of heaven, of eternity with no pain , sorrow, and most on my mind, no sin. I wonder what it will feel like to be sinless? Will it feel like a bird soring in the sky, like a feather floating in the air or perhaps the weightlessness of space. I always imagine it as a weight being lifted and pure joy that can't be understood.....yet.

I have asked forgiveness of my family and God. Once again the undeserved mercy and grace of God is mine. The temptation to be irritable, grouchy and full of self pity still sits at my door, waiting for the first opportunity to come rushing out. It will happen again, sin will finds it's way out of my mouth, in my thoughts or actions. It is a constant companion.....for a time.
The sleeplessness and sickness have brought's made me long for that day when this will no longer be my battle. It's made me desperate for Him and the hope that only he can give.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Roe vs. Wade

This is a post from thatmom, it is well worth the read.

Today is the 35th anniversary of Roe vs Wade, the US Supreme Court decision that decided that abortion is allowable because of a perceived “right to privacy” clause of the constitution, resulting in the eventual legalization of abortion on demand during all 9 months of pregnancy.
A few years ago, I volunteered with an online ministry that provided crisis pregnancy and post-abortion counseling. Here is the letter I received one day from a woman I will never meet:

“I know you probably do not remember me but I wrote to you back in September. I cannot tell you how difficult it is for me to write to you now. But I keep feeling like I need to because I chose to have an abortion and everything you said has come true. I was pregnant with an unplanned third child and my husband didn’t want me to have the baby. I wrote him a letter telling him how I felt and basically pleading with him to tell me to keep the baby. But he didn’t want the baby. He just chose to be emotionally gone.
In October I went to a so-called “counseling” appointment where the counselor was a nice woman but really just wanted the consent form signed. Two days later I went to kill my baby and in the procedure room where they put the thing in to dilate, I was crying and shaking and literally hyperventilating and I asked the same counselor lady to get my husband from the waiting room. I kept asking him if this was what he really wanted and he said it was.

Read the entire post here.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Blogging With a Purpose


My friend Melanie has honored me with a Blogging With a Purpose award. I appreciate the acknowledgement of my attempt to be purposeful, though I easily wonder at times.

My awards go to :

Keeper of the Home - My friend Steph is very purposeful about being a keeper of the home and caring for her family. She has a special interest in nutrition and natural living. I glean many things from her...she does all the research and I reap the benefits.

Stepping Heavenward - Heather's blog is very focused. She classically educates her three boys with passion and commitment. She also has a healthy respect for the Constitution and democracy.

I would be giving this award to Melanie but she gave it to me. I also would nominate Nicole at 168 Hour and Leslie at Lux Venit but they have already received it. :o)

I hope I don't loose my award because I really only nominated two people LOL!
P.S. Please don't feel pressured to do this if you don't want too.

The guidelines that accompany this award:
1. Awarded parties must nominate five people who have not received the award.
2. The blogs that receive the award must serve some purpose.
3. In their post about the award they need to link back to the original entry.
4. Awarded parties must post the award banner on their site. The banner must remain linked to Eric Novak's site.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Random Write

I've had one of those weeks where I haven't sat down very much. I have had much thought but little time to put it together. This is a very personal post. I tend not to share too much about the details of my life but this is so close to my heart.

I have been thinking much about Roe vs. Wade coming up on January 22nd. It seems I am not the only one. I have read some great stuff in blog land like at 168 Hours , Whatsoever is Pure , Stepping Heavenward and lastly Mommy Life.

I have been thinking much about the unborn and those born, that live in very difficult situations. This past week we met with a family who have two little boys being raised by grandma who is very old and ill. Before Christmas we were asked if we would consider adopting these little guys. We said yes we would, went to prayer and waited to meet a relative. We met this week and turns out the bio parents have moved back and are wanting to be involved. The parents have no rights (drug addiction) to the children and are not allowed with them unless supervised. What this meant for us is the family backed out of wanting to have the boys adopted. Unfortunately, no one is considering the boys best interest and they will still be in a very unstable situation when/if the parents take off again as they have done in the past. My heart breaks for them. If the grandmother dies they will be put in foster care and that could happen at any time. Could some one think of them? Please pray for these boys. I know God is sovereign. If there is one area of that truth I struggle with, it would be in watching other peoples choices. I know that sounds self righteous and at some level probably is, but I want this family to choose good for these boys not instability and the loss of mommy and daddy again.

I also found out this week that my efforts to control my PCOS have paid off. I was diagnosed over 18 months ago. We had been trying to have a baby for over a year and it was discovered I had PCOS. I started working on it with exercise, diet and meds. We went for fertility treatments due to anovulation and they failed. As most know, we did conceive on our own but then lost the baby in September 2007. Anyway, the doc says because I have lost 30 pounds and changed eating habits my numbers are back to normal. YAY!! I didn't really think I could get things back to normal but it happened. Gaining even one pound could throw things off but I am excited to have some reward for the hard work. He said if I loose 30 ish more pounds I can go off meds. I would love that. The other tidbit of info he shared is that I shouldn't be infertile anymore.

So there you have it, my crazy week. We so long to grow our family in whatever way he wills. God is good! I am excited to see what he has for us. I am a bit sad for these two little boys but have to trust God has them in the palm of his hand and has good planned for them too. His timing is perfect.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Which Jane Austen Herione are You?

Nicole at 168 Hours shared this quiz. It's kinda fun. If you take it let me know, so I can find out which character you would be.

I am Elinor Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Strong Willed Women continued

Since Leslie's post I have thought much about her questions. I did not take the poll on her sidebar because I only had the option to answer yes or no. I found it entirely too difficult to respond to those questions with one word answers. I'd like to think it is because I am a writer but more then likely it's due to my strong opinions. I am sure your not surprised.

Here are my answers to the poll questions.

Do you consider yourself a strong willed women?
From a cultural perspective....Yes.
(Okay, I can answer this one with almost one word :o)

Is a strong willed women a positive or negative characteristic?
This is a loaded question! It all depends on who you ask. I don't personally see it as a negative thing in my life. I can imagine about 10 years ago when I had little restraint and thought I was God's gift to the world, it being negative for those around me. All things God gives us are good! We are very capable of sinning in those gifts but that doesn't make them bad.

Does a women have to give up her strong will to follow Christ?
This question really makes me want to "rename" the strong willed women. Scripture tells us that our will must be submitted to His. So the literal answer would be yes. But I would question the label being correct. To be strong doesn't mean you are willful and this label makes me feel rebellious when I think on these lines. To be able to make restrained, reasoned decisions not based on emotion and whim is not being willful but wise. See my definition of a strong willed women here. If I am pushing my way then I am not following. If I am not putting others before myself them I am not following. If I think my ideas have to be heard then I am not following. Draw your won conclusion.

Does your strong will hinder or enhance your walk with Jesus?
Ahhhh...tricky. Every person has their weaknesses and besetting sins......those things that will be with them until we reach home and our sinless state. I think women who are gifted (as each person has gifts) in this way have similar struggles. Sin hinders my walk with Jesus, so yes my "strong will" has an impact on my relationship with God. I tend toward self sufficiency and independence ever so easily. This effects my marriage, parenting and other well as my relationship with Jesus. I tend to think more highly of myself then I should which is in opposition to the gospel. Every women has hindrances in their walk, they are simply different.

Do strong willed women have a difficult time fitting in with other women in church? Okay, I am going out on a limb with this one. Don't throw eggs! I think if we struggle to fit in (which I have struggled with) it is because we are looking too much at ourselves. We are to be peacemakers. When people criticize (trust me I've been there) I think strong women can develop a chip on their shoulder which for me lead to pride. I am no better then any other women, I just have something different to contribute. And realise I am only addressing the strong willed women here not the responsibility of those being critical and their reactions.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Strong Willed Women

A fellow blogger Leslie has posed a few questions on her blog related to a book she is reviewing by Cynthia Tobias. She also is running a poll on her side bar related to this topic. Many of the questions asked are about how we as women see ourselves and how others perceive strong willed or not. This is a quote form the book.

"There are so many strong-willed women whose hearts and souls long to know Christ but whose self-sufficient natures won't even consider the possibility of surrendering their hard-won independence. These are women who can and will change the world--one way or another--and it's never been more important to find a way to recognize and validate their worth in the kingdom of God." Cynthia Tobias

First, I think we have to define a strong willed women. Is it a biblical term or simply a cultural one? I would lean toward cultural. There are women who are opinionated, articulate, brave, direct, confident and in control of their emotions, these are those typically assigned the strong willed label. Does it mean if you aren't those things you are not strong? Being willful is often a negative term. It's seen as a pushing against the rules and a fighting mode. Will simply means to have the power of making a reasoned choice or decision or of controlling ones own actions. It doesn't mean being pushy, overbearing or unsubmissive. Any of those things in any person, man or women, would be considered self serving and sinful. I have learned that with great strength and will comes great restraint. Restraint means control of emotions, impulses and liberty. It is not a denial of my thoughts, ideas or giftings but a wise thoughtful restraint in how they are communicated. Am I serving and building up or am I tooting my own self righteous horn? Am I using the ability to make reasoned choices and think clearly to help someone or show how smart I am and control a situation?

The quote above bothers me. She seems to be saying that we (I assume she means the church) are missing out on all these assertive and "strong" women who can do much for us and the world. And we are loosing out because they don't want to loose their independence. Submission and interdependence is a biblical mandate for every believer. It isn't about women or men. Yes, the women's role is different to men but of no less value. When women struggle to be the helper it is simply sin in their my heart. I personally don't want to follow any women who isn't interested in submitting herself to others or to letting go of being independent. This self-sufficient nature started in the garden of Eden. We as women have to be on careful watch for this creeping into our lives. I am not saying you become a doormat but strength in submission is a beautiful and I believe biblical thing. The best example is that of Christ on the cross, taking the wrath of God for us when he had every ability to do as he pleased. He submitted his strength, gifting and will to the father. Are women called to any thing different? Are men for that matter? Are we looking at the label strong willed women through the lens of the gospel or of our church culture.

I would be considered a strong willed women by most people I know. Being independent is about control if I am honest with myself. I feel good when I call the shots and have constant ideas. I feel smart. In light of this, being independent is not my friend. I don't need someone to find a place for me in my self sufficiency...I need someone to show me my self righteousness and arrogance. Does that mean I don't contribute my ideas and take initiative where it is appropriate....absolutely not. Having been made this way comes with much responsibility to be careful and on watch. I have to be interdependent in order to use what I've been given for His glory and not my own.

The road of being put in this category has not been an easy one. I have been so quickly judged in the past but also have discovered that there was often a bit of truth to the criticism. If serving in the church and coming to Christ make women feel they are loosing their self -sufficiency isn't that a good thing?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Non- Fiction 2008 Book List

I have compiled my non-fiction reading list for the year. This is the first year I have committed to reading books ahead of time. I tend to have many books on the go at once......which means I don't always finish them. Many of the books on my list are ones I need to actually finish, not start. There are a few re-reads. I try to read one on the cross every year. I was thinking of attempting Stott this year but decided against it. I will save him for next year :o). I haven't decided on any fiction as of yet, but working on it. Here goes.

The Power of Prayer in a Believers Life by Spurgeon

The Cross Centered Life by Mahaney (re-read)

All Things for Good by Thomas Watson (finish)

Humility by Mahaney

God's Big Picture by Vaughan Roberts (our care group book study this year)

Don't Waste Your Life by Piper (finish)

Love that Last by Ricucci (read with hubby)

God's Guidance A Slow and Certain Light by E. Elliot

Heaven for Kids by Randy Alcorn (with my kiddos)

Teach Them Diligently by Lou Priolo (finish)

From Grief to Glory by James W. Bruce (finish)

Instruments in The Redeemer's Hands by Paul David Tripp (finish)

The True Women by Susan Hunt (re-read)

When Sinners Say "I Do" by Dave Harvey (with hubby)
Do you see the overwhelming pattern here?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

(Sorta) Wordless Wednesday

He passed out with his toes under his chin in the middle of the day.

I thought I'd take a picture to capture this very rare moment.

Monday, January 07, 2008

The Twilight of Books?

This is a post from Al Mohlers blog. It is a must read in my book.

Years ago, Walter Ong argued that our civilization is returning to a condition of "orality" in which the text gives way to the tongue. Specifically, Ong argued that this condition is actually a form of "secondary orality" since the culture had once been literate -- but willingly gave up reading. The great civilizational achievement of literacy was being surrendered to a new non-literate age, fueled by television and mass electronic culture.
The bare fact is that reading is not an important part of the lives of many persons -- including millions who can read. Americans have far more leisure time then ever before, but they fill those hours with everything from television to video games to surfing the internet. These media often use words, but they may also be the great enemies of literacy.
Writing in
The New Yorker, Caleb Crain warns that literary reading is fast disappearing as Americans are shifting attention to amusements. In "The Twilight of the Books," Crain cites a number of research reports from both the United States and the Netherlands and argues that we are just not reading as previous generations had read. Book sales per person are falling, reading scores at many grade levels are falling, and this generation of parents is producing a generation of young people who do not read books -- and generally feel no loss.

As Crain reports:
The most striking results were generational. In general, older Dutch people read more. It would be natural to infer from this that each generation reads more as it ages, and, indeed, the researchers found something like this to be the case for earlier generations. But, with later ones, the age-related growth in reading dwindled. The turning point seems to have come with the generation born in the nineteen-forties. By 1995, a Dutch college graduate born after 1969 was likely to spend fewer hours reading each week than a little-educated person born before 1950. As far as reading habits were concerned, academic credentials mattered less than whether a person had been raised in the era of television. The N.E.A., in its twenty years of data, has found a similar pattern. Between 1982 and 2002, the percentage of Americans who read literature declined not only in every age group but in every generation--even in those moving from youth into middle age, which is often considered the most fertile time of life for reading. We are reading less as we age, and we are reading less than people who were our age ten or twenty years ago.

The impact of all this is more significant than some might think. Only 13 percent of Americans are thought to be able to take two contrasting newspaper editorials and come to a reasoned comparison. Then again, many Americana are not reading newspapers in the first place. This has obvious implications for our national discourse and politics.
For Christians, the concern must reach even deeper levels of concern. Christians are a "people of the Book." Our knowledge of God, the Gospel, and all things essential to our faith is found within a book, the written text of the Bible. Beyond this, while Christian witness is often oral in transmission, the survival of the church depends upon the availability of the Bible as the church's living witness to Jesus Christ. Put simply, Christians who are not deeply involved in a growing understanding of the Bible will find their faith fed, fueled, and formed by something other than the Bible.
Taking the argument a step further, Christians should note that Christianity has also given birth to a literary culture of books. The church has been fed, challenged, and corrected by arguments and narratives that have been irreducibly literary. Take away the book (or take away reading those books) and the church is a very different people.

Read the entire article here.

Beautiful Joe

My daughter and I try to have a book to read aloud together pretty much all the time. It is one of our favorite things we share. Our recent pick is a book called Beautiful Joe by Marshall Saunders. It was originally written in 1893. It is the story of a dog who is abused and is rescued by a loving family. The later part of the story is about his adventures with this family. The book is told from the dogs perspective. Don't ask me why, but I especially enjoy a story told from the point of view of an animal and so does my daughter. While reading the first chapter this quote stuck out to me.

"One reason for Jenkins' cruelty was his idleness. After he went his rounds in the morning with his milk cans, he had nothing to do till late in the afternoon but take care of his stable and yard. If he had kept them neat, and groomed his horse, and cleaned the cows, and dug up the garden, it would have taken up all his time; but he never tidied the place at all, till his yard and stable got so littered up with things he threw down that he could not make his way about."

This struck me. How many times in my day or week am I impatient or irritable due to idleness? The more idle I am with my time the more self focused I become and the less satisfied I am. The less satisfied I am, the more I pursue pleasure which makes me even more self absorbed. When my hands are busy with the work before me, in my case it's usually work in serving my family, I don't have time to become as self absorbed.

Anyway, leave it to a dog to get my attention. I am grateful that the Lord can use anything to remind me to keep my heart in the right place.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Fresh New Year

I love when a new year comes. There is a freshness in it that I enjoy. I like looking over the last year and reflecting.....where have I grown....where do I still need to grow. I have to guard my heart with resolutions. I can easily tend towards legalism. It is a constant temptation with a very all or nothing personality and perfectionist tendencies.
One area I have grown much in the last few years is in being more flexible There is still room for improvement but am grateful to see God's grace in that area. Each new year I try to set a few goals to work toward. Working toward something is better for me then deciding I "will" do such and such. First I don't know what the year will hold. Secondly, it's easier for me to become rigid over something definitive then something in progress. I appreciated the post over at girl talk about working on one area of change at a time. Real wisdom if you ask me. I like to break it done into three categories and have one major thing in each.
  • My growth, both spiritual and physical

  • My family

  • Others

My growth

Spiritual - I am beginning this year with an Elizabeth Elliot devotion called Keeping a Quiet Heart. I have gone through a Spurgeon devo the last two years and wanted a change. You will also see how this is strategic in light of My Family goals. I am also reading through the New Testament this year starting in Galatians. I also have a book list for the year. That will be a whole new post.

Physically - Exercising at least 4 times a week. I already try to do this and have for over a year. I am going to track my miles jogged or walked; and the numbers of minutes doing Pilates (if i ever do it:o) Another area is continue with healthier eating. This ties into our family goals too. I am going to try and master yoghurt making this year as a healthier alternative. I want to work toward making more and more from scratch . We are thrilled with my homemade granola recipe.

My Family - The healthier eating is a big one. The other area is a struggle to see daily interruptions as God's opportunity and work in my life. I have been through some hard things in the last several years. I have navigated or responded better in those circumstances then I do with daily petty issues. I allow frustration (code word for anger) to fly in those moments when things should be smooth and they aren't, it's selfish expectations and ambition to the max. Every moment, those planned and those not, are apart of His sovereign will for my family and I. My response in those moments is crucial. So this year, I plan to focus on responding in a godly way, working at keeping a quiet heart and applying sovereign trust in the little, like I would in the big. I am still working out how this will look practically on a daily basis. One question I ask myself that has helped is: Who's kingdom are you building right now....yours or His?

Others - is to be diligent in remembering birthdays and making the effort to bless others.....even if it's just a phone call. I can be so bad about procrastinating and then doing nothing.

This is a quote from the beginning of Keeping a Quiet Heart. I will carry this quote with me this year.

"I think I find most help in trying to look on all the interruptions and hindrances to work that one has planned out for oneself as discipline, trials sent by God to help one against getting selfish over one's work. Then one can feel that perhaps one's true work - one's work for God - consists in doing some trifling haphazard thing that has been thrown into one's day. It is not a waste of time, as one is tempted to think, it is the most important part of the work of the day - the part one can best offer to God. After such a hindrance, do not rush after the planned work; trust that the time to finish it will be given sometime, and keep a quiet heart about it. "

Annie Keary, 1825-1879

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Little too much time on our hands.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A Grateful New Year!

When I think of the last year, that word that comes to mind is gratefulness. God has been so faithful to us in all He has allowed in our lives this year.

I am thankful for:
  • mercy that never ends even when I really mess up
  • a church family that cares for us in so many ways
  • two healthy happy kids sleeping warm in their beds
  • my husband's new job started in May 2007 - what a blessing for him to be working in his field and actually liking his work
  • for the comfort of God to carry use through the loss of our third baby AND
  • the peace He provided in being done with having babies from my own womb (this was a biggie)
  • our current house that is a practical blessing in so many ways
  • dear friends that will tell me the truth (this is like finding a big hidden treasure worth millions)
  • gospel centered preaching and teaching

The list goes on. God has been good this past year. He will be good again. Though I don't know what God has for us in 2008, I do know it will be for our good and for His glory. My pray is that in all that comes my way I have the faith to walk that out daily. Though I am not big on resolutions, I do resolve to follow Him with all I am!

Happy New Year!