Friday, November 15, 2013

Please Pray for the Philippines

For two years now our family has sponsored a child through Compassion International in the Philippines.
The experience has been uplifting for our family as we think about and pray for little 5 year old Aira and her family. We are encouraged by the letters we receive with sweet drawings and copied bible verses. I'm sure as our kids get a little older they will feel even more involved by writing their own letters to send.

 The Super Typhoon Haiyan that swept through the Philippines left significant destruction. In a country that was already vulnerable to disease and poverty, this storm has claimed many lives and threatens to claim many more as families struggle to find food, shelter and safety.

As of right now, Compassion is still trying to assess the situation since communication is down in many areas. We still don't know about little Aira and her family or the region where she lives, although by what I've looked at in the news, it seems the storm passed close to their region.

Compassion is urgently requesting prayer on behalf of all those affected in the Philippines. Also if you are able to donate anything to the relief efforts there, they have set up this page for donations.

Help Children Affected by Philippines Typhoon

Friday, October 11, 2013

I've been married six years, do you want my advice?

When my husband and I first started spending a lot of time together, I seemed to have a lot of conversations with people who wondered what we had in common. "What do you guys like to do?"
I would open my mouth as if I had an answer ready and then realize "wait... what do we like to do?"
Part of me would panic as I questioned our entire relationship wondering how smart it would be to marry someone with whom I had so few interests in common.

I'll tell you what we don't do:
We aren't that couple who bike (or hike, or run, or ski, or even go to the gym together)
We don't travel (unless you count 30 minutes to IKEA for fish and chips on Fridays for $1.99)
We can't afford to be foodies or movie aficionados, even if we wanted to be.
We're not "dog people" or even "cat people."
We don't play sports, and although I follow some baseball, my enthusiasm for football rarely exceeds that of having a bowl of chili (or a hot dog) while the game is on in the background. My husband, on the other hand, could tell you that Shaquille O'Neal missed 5,317 free throws in his NBA career. (if you asked, of course.)
I like romantic comedies and dramas. He likes action and thrillers.
I have a sweet tooth. He has a steak tooth.
I'm a bit of a neat freak (or at least used to be) and he is... well, he has his own way ;)

The main thing we hold in common is our faith. We both share a faith in God and in Jesus Christ as our savior and redeemer. We both choose to worship together several times each week. We both strive to live our lives according to that faith and seek to base all other decisions on that faith. I'd say that's a pretty good starting point!

The other thing we do is laugh.

 I didn't really think about it much until I came across this picture recently, but we laugh a lot. We laugh at ourselves, at each other (with love), and with each other. One of my favorite things about Chris is his sense of humor. Ladies- look for a man who will make you laugh. I consider it a source of pride when I make him laugh. His humor is pretty discerning; no lazy jokes allowed. He makes me think.
Now that we have three small children, the opportunities for laughter have increased exponentially. Our family is a laughing family. Our hopes for our family are our joint mission.
We have a unity in our faith, a lightness in our laughter, and a purpose in our family.

So after all that anxiety at the beginning, I've found that what we do together is Faith, Laughter and Family.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The one where I make all the chaos sound ok

I didn't invent the concept of turning around my complaints and frustrations to see the blessings for which I should be grateful. I'm going to do a post about it anyway because I agree with those who say that gratitude and thankfulness are good medicine. Really good medicine.

Our bathtub is somehow causing a leak in our kitchen ceiling... again.
Thankfully we still haven't patched the original hole in the kitchen ceiling from the last time it did that, 3 years ago.

We still haven't patched that hole in the kitchen ceiling from 3 years ago.
Thankfully we didn't spend any money on fancy ceiling tiles or anything since it is leaking again.

Until we get a proper electrician in to add an outlet or two in our hallway upstairs, we won't be able to run the space heater that keeps us from freezing our toes off at night.
Thankfully we'll have an excuse to cuddle together under blankets and read stories more often.

I just never seem to have enough time to sew or do some of the other projects that I enjoy.
Thankfully I know how to sew, own a machine, have a dedicated space for it and do occasionally get to spend time with it. Thankfully I'm not responsible for sewing all our family's clothing myself. 

I'm so tired from being busy during the day and then losing sleep to a teething, nursing infant. I don't remember what a full night's sleep feels like.
Thankfully my sleep habits won't be too shocked if I were to have another baby, or if a friend called and needed help in the middle of the night, or if sickness kept me up with another child.

I probably don't need to mention how the laundry piles should remind me of how blessed we are to have ample clothing for every season and size and sometimes style that we want or need. Or how the stacks of dishes speak to how well fed my family is.

I struggle with the comparison game. Discontentment is such a heavy weight. It drags my thoughts from thankfulness back into bitterness, envy and self-pity. I'm too sleep deprived at the moment to go much further with the point of how our human side makes us want to fit in and be "normal" so we strive to keep an appearance, at least, of having our ducks in a row. But then we keep trying to tell ourselves that our spiritual priorities are all that really matter, while simultaneously pinning 3-4 home improvement ideas that seldom come to fruition.

Ultimately, when I feel discontentment tugging me down that spiral of "my-house-is-going-to-be-declared-unfit-and-donated-to-the-zoo-for-storing-animal-feed" I NEED to start listing what I'm thankful for.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

No No Chocolate

My husband made this video for our son who has been sneaking into the pantry and eating chocolate chips.

I asked him what the video was about. 
He said "dat man said 'no chotat'" 
I said, yes, and do you think he was talking to you?
Why? What did you do?
Eat chotat.
And did you ask?
And was that right? or wrong?
So you're not going to it again.
Let's watch it again.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Cleaning House

Friends- I've had it with clutter!!

How many times do we say that as we look around a room in our homes and just wonder what exactly IS all this stuff and WHERE did it come from?

I read an interesting article shared by The Common Room blog and Smockity about reading in public schools, which reminded me of how badly I need to go through our children's books and remove the "twaddle." I run into trouble with these kinds of tasks because I get so sentimental about everything I'm trying to get rid of! Does this happen to you too? Please tell me it does!

I didn't do too badly when I cleaned up my sewing and craft area, but I'm not as sentimental about craft supplies as I am about children's toys, books, clothing, etc.

The best advice for tidying and going through things in your home is to "touch it once." If you pick something up, put it down where it belongs instead of moving things around to various midway locations where they are likely to remain until the next time you decide to clean up. At the time of this writing, I think most flat surfaces in my home are currently midway locations of one sort or another. In my attempts to only touch an item once, I end up holding it with my other hand holding my chin as I gaze back and forth at the item and into space- trying to detach myself from any and every emotion I've ever associated with said item. If you haven't already guessed, this means that when I attempt to tidy up a room it takes a long time.

I've seen some helpful things on this subject such as valuing the memories made over the physical items, taking photos of some of the plentiful works of art made by your children and keeping the digital formats instead of all the piles of marker-soaked paper, etc.

I'd sure love to hear any tips that you have for me! I think we are going to set aside a day this week where the children will be with a grandparent so we can attack this clutter. How do you force yourself to be less attached or sentimental about things so that you can clear some physical (and mental) space in your homes?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Thinking out loud

It seems like Christian moms have a tough job because we want to show the world what a glorious thing biblical femininity and motherhood can be. We want to "right the ship" that modern feminism has broken. We want to glorify God and portray our lives as being a worthy path as compared to this world's ways.

The trouble comes when we inevitably run into the struggles that come and want to share that we are, in fact, real people who are striving toward the goal. We want to encourage each other that none of us is doing this all alone. This kind of transparency can be good as long as it doesn't veer into sin by being unloving or unkind to our children, our husbands and even ourselves. It is a fine line, to be sure.

I'm not trying to jump on any train or wagon, here, but I've noticed that there has been a bit of back and forth in the "momline" (moms online... anyone?) community lately over what is and isn't acceptable to reveal about our lives, our struggles and our families.

On the one side you have the moms who are laying it all out there in an attempt to be "real." On the other side are the moms who at least appear to live with rose colored glasses permanently affixed to their faces. Am I going to be so above it all and suggest that we all need to land somewhere in the middle? That seems too easy. We have a diverse audience online. Moms who are at the end of their rope and looking for solid, biblical encouragement from other Christian moms need to be able to find it. Some of them will find more comfort from a mom who is cracking jokes about some of the antics of her children while others will find practical disciplinary tips to be more helpful. Some women might be intimidated by writing that seems to convey a state of perfection already reached, while others will be inspired by it.

I read a lot of blogs that range from lighthearted anecdotes about motherhood to practical wisdom to theological analysis of the roles of women in the home. I like to laugh at funny stories about things that other families experience and sigh "Ooooooh, good! I'm not the only one who has done that!" I like to clip truly helpful bits of advice and add them to my little notebook of parenting helps. I enjoy learning something new or seeing something from a new angle while reading deeper articles. Even the seemingly "too perfect" ones serve to inspire me. Sometimes I need to be honest with myself and admit that I'm not doing very well at [insert life skill here] and could benefit from working at it a little harder.

Comparison is the thief of joy, but it is human nature to assess the norms that surround us and attempt to fit ourselves somewhere in the picture. We like to identify with our "tribe." For that reason, I think it is important that we are both honest and careful. We shouldn't pretend that we never mess up or that our children never mess up, but we should ask ourselves if what we are about to share will glorify God and do justice to the gospel message of Christ. If we are struggling with an area of life and feel the need to share it, let's also tie it into the overall gospel message of redemption and hope. If we are going to share specific examples of things that our children do, let's be fair to them as people and perhaps not call them out by name or use compromising pictures. Let's point out their strengths as often as their weaknesses and always point to our own need for forgiveness as well as theirs.

Let's simply remember that the bible calls us to dwell on whatever things are good and pure and lovely and of good report.  

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." Philippians 4:8

Maybe I just used a lot of words to pretty much land in the middle, which I suggested at the start was too simple. Oh well. Maybe it is.

Friday, July 26, 2013

So many happenings, so little time

We've had a couple whirlwind weeks lately. As a new(ish) blogger, I listen to advice about blogging and writing and time management, etc. People say that you should only post when you have something to say, not simply for the sake of posting. I have plenty to say (as most who know me can testify) but lately I have not had time to do my thoughts justice in the form of a written post.

People also say that you should spend plenty of time actually living your life (obviously) so you have something, if anything, to write about. So I'm going to call what I've been doing lately "research" and I'm going to look into writing off a large portion of my grocery bills and living expenses as "research expenses" since life sort of is one big research project. I'll let you know how that turns out ;)

He's looking for my next post idea...

All this to say: I'm still here and I'll be writing some more soon. The weather has been just perfect this week and I'd hate to post something so epic and thought provoking that you all were glued to your computers hanging on every word. HA!

Olive on! and God bless.

Monday, July 15, 2013

When selfishness stole my joy

It's probably safe to assume that most of us understand on some level that selfishness is wrong. When we see someone conspicuously choose their own comfort or benefit over another, we notice. When a lesson is preached or a comment made regarding putting others first, we nod along with the speaker and perhaps even think about how we changed three diapers, mopped the floor and started the laundry before having our morning coffee that day. I'm not selfish. Right?

Without going into too much detail, our family is struggling a bit financially right now and a lot of conversations have taken place regarding what we should do next. I'm ashamed to admit we've occasionally fallen into the "woe is me" mentality. We are striving to keep our priorities in line as a growing family on one income. We are at a point where big, serious decisions need to be made to ensure we are living a sustainable lifestyle. It hurts us in terms of added stress (although we truly should not be worrying about material things) and it bruises our pride to ask for help, to admit our shortcomings, to know that some people's opinions of us could sour. This pride thing is a problem.

At a lunch with some friends, various ones were sharing news of promotions, weddings, looking for a first house and other exciting life changes. I sat in silence, eating my food, feeling sorry for myself. I wasn't rude or bitter, but instead of rejoicing fully along with my friends, I was selfishly comparing their happy news to my own imperfect life. "If only I could do things over.." I thought to myself. "Maybe I could have avoided so much student loan debt. Maybe we could have waited before buying a house. Maybe we could be in a position like our friends if we had just done this differently or that...." And it gets worse.

I thought to myself "Everyone is able to choose their next move and accept big new changes and all we've done is have babies." All we've done is have babies. I cringe as I recall the thought somehow slipping past the gatekeeper of my conscious mind and out into the open to convict me of my terrible pride and selfishness. I didn't say it out loud, but it doesn't matter because our mouth speaks of that which fills our heart. (Luke 6:45) I might have had enough sense to keep my mouth shut, but those words came from my heart nonetheless. It doesn't matter if it is because our society doesn't value children and homemaking and bringing children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord that this thought materialized. It doesn't matter if I was just stressed and reverted back to my old, worldly way of thinking that having children and taking care of them all day isn't a valid career option.

I selfishly denied the utter blessing of my three beautiful, loving children and allowed my own self pity to drown out the many countless blessings our family has received, day after day after day. And I wasn't the happy, supportive friend that I should have been during lunch while hearing of others' good news. I failed to "rejoice with those who rejoice." Romans 12:15 My own selfishness stole my joy and I repent. I repent, and I pray that others who read this will also pause to consider their lives and count blessings and give thanks and not let selfishness or the pride of life steal the joy from your lives.

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phil 4:4-7

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Better late than never!

On Friday I committed to clearing off and organizing my sewing/working desk by Monday. I shared the photos in this post to give myself some accountability.

A quick look at the "before" picture:
My productivity has been... hindered, to say the least.
I did work on it over the weekend, but we also had some work needed in our basement after all the rain and so I wasn't finished by Monday.

Today I am happy to report that my work space has been fully organized, cleaned, cleared and optimized! That sounds impressive, right?
I was able to toss out two garbage bags of clutter, one large bag of donations and consolidate a tub of items to sell at a garage sale or something.

This giant work space system is in our dining room, by the way. The photo you see above was taken from the chair in front of our computer table. Our small round dining room table with three chairs (one is broken for good) is just to the right in the center of the room. Our lovely 12x12 dining room also houses a play kitchen for the littles, a pack n play and a dresser in the other corner for more storage. Did I mention our house is 100 years old and lacks closets, plentiful outlets and wide open spaces? We use every inch!

So.... finally! For your viewing pleasure, I present to you my finished work space!

A little dark since I finished at night. Ain't it grand?
The dresser in the corner during my cleaning work.
The dresser/changing station after 

 Please don't judge our filthy baseboards! One thing at a time, folks!

The white basket holds my 'works in progress.' I've got some work to catch up on!
A portable 'art caddy' low enough for the children to grab and take to the table.
 As I sit here typing this post, I can glance over at a job well done and be excited about how much easier it will be to keep up with my growing pile of projects. I truly do enjoy learning new skills relating to sewing, knitting, crochet, painting, needlepoint, etc. I love getting the kids interested in making things and being creative. When my work area is in such disarray, I am more likely to procrastinate a needed or wanted creative task and that is not a habit I want to pass onto our children. I'm hoping my newly organized desk will allow to be a "yes mom" when my littles want to try out an art project of their own. "Yes, I know where the paints are. Yes, you can use the cat stickers. Yes, I have a photo of Daddy and I know just where to find it." :)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Progress report on my project

I know I said my goal was to finish my desk project by today, but in truth, I am only halfway finished. 
The before photo


The after photo

We had some water in the basement which took up more of my Saturday than planned. But I am definitely making good progress. Throwing a lot out and finally organizing the rest. It feels good! 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Accountability project #1

Right now my sewing and craft desk looks like this:
Not ideal. I haven't made any progress on any of my projects lately due to this mess. 

I drew up a quick plan to reorganize this space and it is my assignment for the weekend. I'll let you know on Monday how it went with photos, hopefully. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

On getting along and playing nicely

I'll start by saying that I don't know how to angle this post. It could be marriage advice, parenting advice or just plain, how to get along in polite society advice.
Perspective is a funny thing. You have a unique perspective that no one else can imitate exactly. Only you are you, after all. Our individual perspectives allow us to approach life in a way that someone else might never think of.
Aside: Our collective perspectives (such as parents who can share the perspective at least in general of raising children) allow us to relate in ways that someone who is not a parent cannot. Another important collective perspective could be a worldview or religion held in common among a group of people. The shared perspective of being fallen humans before a holy God allows Christians to relate to each other in ways that those in the world might not understand. Of course, in the case of Bible believing Christians, we are reminded of the existence of absolute truth. Diverse perspectives are only helpful when tempered by absolute truth. 

What about when a problem needs solved? Is it more helpful for everyone to have the same individual perspectives when solving a problem or would it be better to have several unique perspectives when approaching a problem?
My daughter got a puzzle for a birthday present and promptly requested help. I sat down with her and began organizing the pieces. "Let's pull out all the pieces with flat sides since they will go around the border. Then we can make the border and start filling in the middle after that." So it went and we completed the puzzle. Of course, being a four year old, she wanted to do it again right away. This time my husband helped her: "Okay, let's put all the pieces in groups by color. You can make the pink pile and I'll make a blue pile and we'll put the green pile here. Then we can start to match pieces together." So it went and they completed the puzzle. I thought it was so cool that she got to experience two different strategies for putting together a puzzle, back to back like that. Perhaps an early lesson in understanding that different people do the same thing in different ways and can still arrive at the same result. Problem solving from a couple of perspectives can be useful.
The next day we took a walk through some woods at a state park. When Chris or I would say "Hey, look at that giant tree! Look how tall it is!" my daughter would look straight out (following our gaze or our outstretched hand) and find the tree and follow the tree upward to see its top. My son would immediately look straight up and (I assume) start looking for the tallest tree to then find and follow downward to see its trunk. I don't know how to interpret this other than to say, when alerted to the presence of a tall tree, one person might look around at eye level to find it and another might look up to find it.

Interactions with those around you will be improved by remembering that the solution that comes naturally to you could be completely foreign to someone else. And the hare-brained solution someone you know suggests might be the completely natural solution that comes from their perspective. We all have a unique perspective to offer and as important as that can be, we also need to remind ourselves that we ALL have a unique perspective to offer and should be patient with others who might differ from us. We just might learn something! And if it turns out we have the better idea, we can just be content with that and use the learning opportunity to broaden our own perspective.

Linked up at: Raising Arrows and Raising Homemakers

Friday, June 28, 2013

Our Visit to the Creation Museum

 Earlier this week our family had an opportunity to visit the Creation Museum in Kentucky. We live fairly close, but had yet to experience it. The first thing I realized while pulling into the parking lot was that we were about to spend a day in a place where probably most of the people we came into contact with were Christians, or at least interested enough in the subject of Creation to visit the museum. I was encouraged by all the license plates as we walked toward the entrance. On a Tuesday morning there were visitors from New York, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Florida, Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, Missouri, Michigan, Texas and probably a few more that I didn't see. This place is popular and lots of people come to see it!

 The front entrance area was decorated with a lot of dragon themed items. I guess they have a new exhibit in the works that explains about all the legends we read of dragons. I'm excited to go back to see that.
 In the line before entering the main exhibit there were several glass cases with various creatures to study.

 The beginning of the tour tells us what the difference is between what much of modern science teaches about the origins of life and what God's word teaches, and shows how the facts can and do support what God's word teaches. I like this above illustration of the "kinds" of animals producing a lot of diversity within their own kinds.
 I love anything that shows us just how reliable the Bible is! This is a point that a lot of people stumble over and I really want to have facts at the ready to help assure people that they can trust the Bible.
This picture might be hard to see, but this part of the tour was illustrating what has happened in the world as a result of people moving away from the truth of God's word and relying on their own worldly wisdom (or lack thereof.)
The whole point of the museum is supposed to cause us to realize that it matters what we believe about Creation and about the Bible because it influences our faith and it hurts the world when there are fewer faithful Christians living in it. The doubts about our origins have made a dent in our faith and allowed a place for sin and doubt to creep in. These headlines and magazine covers were taken from real magazines, and recently too. I think they must keep these walls updated with the latest sad and scary news so that when people visit, they can think about the cumulative message of all of it.
After walking through a cool, starlit tunnel we arrived in this room. Here is where I would have loved to see more detailed exhibits about bio genesis, molecular biology models or interactive displays, anything with DNA and cellular models. I am a bit of a biology nerd, and I think those areas of study had such a huge impact on me as far as being so clearly designed by a Master Designer. This room had lots of very informative videos and posters that touched on these subjects, if you had time to take them all in. 
Next, we entered The Garden. I thought it was beautiful. I loved the way paradise was conveyed by this pool or lagoon with a waterfall nearby and the sounds of birds, surrounded by pleasant smells and lovely flowers and trees. You can't see in this picture, but the serpent is perched in the tree above them. A reminder of what happens next.
Chris asks: "Is this model made.... to scale?" ;)
I loved this scene of the women working side by side surrounded by all their handiwork.

 The part of the tour dealing with the building of the ark and then the flood was fascinating. I believe this section (on the left) that you can walk through is to scale. The ark was massive.
 The section with the dinosaurs was smaller than I expected, but still impressive. I've heard critics say before that the Creation Museum doesn't have sophisticated exhibits, but I was sure impressed with the amount of detail and technology.
Dinosaur riding photo op at the end.

 Ok, I don't like insects. But this part was so cool. There were a few dozen light boxes like these filled with every insect you can imagine. I included my favorites in these photos. There were also lots of beetles. Some as big as a rodent... (shudder) Our kids really liked the animatronic professor guy in this section who spoke about various insect related topics and told jokes.
I'm usually not the type to get very excited about a garden tour. This place was definitely an exception! The grounds outside were so nice, I wish it hadn't been quite so hot because I would have loved to spend more time taking them all in. The bridges were a big hit. This one was a floating bridge that bounced quite a bit as you crossed.
 We visited the petting zoo, which was also fun for the little ones.

 We really enjoyed every part of the museum and can't wait to go back. We'd still like to visit the planetarium and spend more time really reading some of the information and walking around the gardens. If we're feeling adventurous maybe we'll take a ride on the zip line. I probably won't as long as I still have an infant strapped to me :)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Stop! Don't eat that!

 Raise your hand if you've read anything lately about all the poisons you're eating on a regular basis? 

Go ahead- I can see you. I have government technology that lets me see through peoples' computer monitors... Kidding.

Part of my job as a wife and mother is to see to the food needs of my family. Over the last couple years I have tried to cook more from scratch, use whole foods, stay away from over processed stuff. I'm guessing many of you have been on a similar path of trying to improve your diets at least to some degree. Chris and I have been having smoothies for breakfast on more mornings than not. Kale, fruit, yogurt, water kefir, maybe some flax. 

Then one day I see an article about how the green smoothie craze is resulting in people consuming way too much kale and other greens and there is some adverse effect in the body from that.
Also, my yogurt is not always the full fat yogurt. And I'm not sure if my ground flax is organically sourced. And the frozen fruit from Costco? Well, it's not organic either. And the water I use in my water kefir came straight from my tap which means at some point it was fluoridated, so I'm basically drinking bleach. And, and, and, and!

All I'm trying to do is incrementally add healthier options to our family's daily diet and in the process I'm finding out that each danger I attempt to avoid leads me to finding five other potential dangers. It almost seems like it is impossible to make the right choices. 

Sometimes I get the feeling that religion can be that way for some people. All they want is to choose life over death. Choose Jesus over hopelessness. Choose faith over doubt. They repent and become a Christian only to find that they're still not "safe." Some people become overwhelmed with the swirling mass of religious opinion out there about what a "good Christian" should and shouldn't do. It almost seems like it is impossible to make the right choices.

I'm certainly not going to suggest that there are no absolutes, that truth is "too tricky" to figure out, or that we should throw up our hands in frustration and just give up. But there is this: "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints." 1 Cor 14:33
God does not want to trick or confuse us. We might learn slowly or struggle with certain concepts, but I believe we have all the information we need in His holy word, the Bible. His word will not contradict itself the way so many diet books and healthy eating recommendations sometimes do. There will be no scientific discovery that reveals that something He asks of us is somehow poisonous or causes disease. 

I'm not dismissing the importance of trying to be mindful of what we eat, but honestly? Try to eat mostly foods that are real and everything in moderation.

When it comes to your spiritual health- Don't accept anything but simple Bible truth and apply liberally. 
"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Matt 6:33

Monday, June 24, 2013

Gospel Meeting

We have a visiting preacher to our congregation this week for a gospel meeting.

I love these because a new (to me) preacher or one that only visits once or twice a year comes to town and stays with a family from our congregation while preaching nightly for several days in a row. Usually lots of folks from nearby congregations come on the weeknights to join us in worship. It is so encouraging to sing hymns together with a larger number than we usually have and hear gospel lessons from a style and perspective that I don't regularly get. I always come away from the week of the meetings feeling uplifted and refreshed with a renewed zeal for living out the faith in my own life and for sharing it with others.

This week we're blessed to have a family visiting that has four children who are homeschooled. I've enjoyed discussing the subject with the preacher's wife and hearing how much they like it. The preacher is doing a series of lessons called "Amazing Moments with Jesus." Yesterday we listened while the accounts of Jesus calming the storm on the sea, healing a paralytic who was lowered through the roof, and cleansing a man of demons or "unclean spirits" were relayed to us in inspiring fashion.

One of my favorite statements made was regarding the calming of the storm on the sea. The lesson itself was on faith trumps preparation. We know Jesus never suggests that we should not be prepared, but that when it comes to a decision between faith and preparation, we should put faith before preparation. The way the speaker phrased it was this: "Jesus told his followers that they can put faith over preparation because He can overcome a lack of preparation easier than a lack of faith." That statement really resounded with me. We don't normally think of Jesus or God as having trouble overcoming anything. The truth is- a lack of faith is something Jesus rebuked His disciples of because it isn't something that works like a lightswitch. If God could flip a switch and give us faith, how does that teach us? "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ" Romans 10:17 We also know that a lack of any physical preparation is easily overcome by Christ, at least in terms of the many miracles He performed to provide food, money, etc.

I'm sure there are a lot of deep theological discussions that could be drawn from this, but for now I'm encouraged by the simplicity of the statement above and the lessons I've heard so far.

Tomorrow I am meeting the visiting family along with some other members of my congregation at the Creation Museum. I have never been, so I am excited to visit and bring my littles. Hopefully I can write up a post about it too.

On top of all THAT, our congregation is getting ready to start a bible study on Proverbs, which I have never studied in depth. So much wonderful, edifying things happening! I am so thankful for my family in Christ and the fellowship and support from them. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Lilla Rose Sale and New Flexi Clips

I posted earlier this week about this sale, but here is another reminder in case you've been waiting for a sale to try out a flexi clip!

Visit HERE to check out the new flexis and see what else Lilla Rose has to offer.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The "Science" Guy

I came across this article on the New York Times website about Bill Nye. You might remember him from his TV show in the 90’s. For better or for worse, I’ve decided to refute/discuss some of the issues from the article in this post. I believe it is important for parents to know what kind of indoctrination their children face in the name of science.

"If he were a politician, college students would be his base. Instead, he is something more: a figure from their early days in front of the family TV, a beloved teacher and, more and more these days, a warrior for science. They, in turn, are his fans, his students and his army."
The idea of a figure from their early days, a beloved teacher… reminds me of why it is so important to know who is influencing your children. When the majority of a child’s instruction comes from the likes of, well, anyone other than godly parents, the result is a breach of the God-given chain of authority that is so essential for bringing up children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. 
That last sentence is telling. Giving our children over to godless authorities turns them into fanatic student armies for those godless authorities. Period. 

“…he flatly tells adult viewers that “if you want to deny evolution and live in your world — in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe — that’s fine. But don’t make your kids do it, because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future.””
So there you have it. They need voters and taxpayers for the future. Who are “they?” Bill Nye would have you believe “they” represent everyone with a brain. Everyone who is reasonable, who want “a better tomorrow.” But as we all know, “they” are just one side of the debate and “they” want to make sure your children grow up to join “their” side. 
And just what issues will our future voters and taxpayers be weighing in on that so crucially hinge upon evolution and the earth being billions of years old? At least they are being transparent with this statement and plainly telling parents that they want your children in their army. What will you do with your children as a result? 

"Phil Plait, the creator of the Bad Astronomy blog at and a fierce advocate himself, is more like Mr. Nye, willing to take the gloves off in rebutting those who might deny that men landed on the moon, or the evidence for human effects on climate change."
This isn’t really the point of this post, but admire the bias from this author for a moment. The author is putting people who deny or question the evidence for human effects on climate change in the SAME category as those who deny that men landed on the moon. These are significantly different groups. You would have a much harder time finding someone who doubts the moon landing than someone who has serious doubts about climate change science. 

"Mr. Plait said admiringly of Mr. Nye, “He will very calmly tear them apart,” adding, “His big advantage is, he’s right. We know that climate change is real. We know creationism is wrong. These are no longer scientific controversies.”"
Interestingly, those who accuse Christians of “playing the God card” in debates over origins are willing to vaguely assert that “he’s right. We know creationism is wrong.” This type of statement is as empty as it is vague. Atheists are quick to claim that the debate is over, but we know they never acknowledged the debate to begin with. Why do we trust their asserted authority in these matters? Why don’t we demand the debate?

"Over the hour-and-a-half talk, those statements started out as a laugh line that got funnier through increasingly manic repetition. But he shifted his tone gradually, from goofy to fervent. By the end of his speech, it was an exhortation, a command: Change the world."
This amounts to what is essentially an hour-and-a-half sermon by Bill Nye in front of thousands of college students who would likely balk at the idea of sitting through a 45 minute Gospel sermon in church. Thanks to Christians abdicating their educational duties to their children and handing them over to atheistic leaders of academia, Science is their religion now.

"That celebrity has allowed him, as executive director of the Planetary Society, to push for the kind of interplanetary exploration that, he said in an interview, “leads to the reverence that we have for our place in the cosmos.”"
The Bible tells us that creation points us to the Creator, which points us to a proper understanding of our place in creation. I've seen some awe inspiring photographs and videos of space that truly reflect the power and awesomeness of our Creator God.
"For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse." Romans 1:20
Scientific exploration leads to ‘reverence’ for our ‘place’ in the cosmos. Where is the fruit of that vain ‘reverence’? The worship of self? When you look around at the state of our country, do you see a nation of humbled, reverent humans who are awed at the vastness of space to the extent that they feel some sense of smallness in comparison? Because I see a nation of selfish, carnal humans who are constantly seeking the next big thing. People who would sooner kill their own unborn child than be inconvenienced by the (Natural! Scientific! Biological!) consequence of their actions. People who don’t think it would be fair to have to deny themselves gratification in any sense of the word. This is the fruit of that vain ‘reverence.’
“Space,” he added, “brings out the best in us.”
Sure it does.

If our interest and exploration of space and everything else isn’t rooted in belief, then it certainly will not be bringing out the “best” in us. There is no reward for honoring the created over the Creator. 

"For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen." Romans 1:25 Read the context around that verse and see what some of the 'rewards' are for serving the creature rather than the Creator. You'll find some very relevant items.

"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." Hosea 4:6
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction." Proverbs 1:7

Bill Nye considers himself a champion for knowledge while simultaneously rejecting the very beginning of knowledge. And so he is perishing along with all those who seek wisdom from worldly sources.

"For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God." 1 Cor 3:19