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 Slate.com 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

Ohio River Valley Nachos

Here's where I get all kinds of arrogant, and toss a 'fly by the seat of my pants' recipe up here on the blog and name it "Ohio River Valley Nachos" as if I have even the slightest idea what I'm doing.

This is what I like:
sweet salsas that include things like mango, pineapple, peach, etc.
chips
not being hungry

A friend of mine recently brought a dish to a potluck which she revealed was really just a jar of sweet salsa mixed with a can of black beans and a can of corn. It was delicious and more filling than plain salsa and chips. I mixed some up the other week and put it over chips, sprinkled some cheese on top and microwaved it for maybe 30 seconds. Yummy lunch.

I wanted to take it further and get a dinner out of it.

Ohio River Valley Nachos

1 jar of sweet salsa (mango, pineapple, peach, etc.)
2 cans of black beans (or 1 1/2 cups dried beans, fully cooked)
2 small bags of frozen corn (or 2 cans)

Drain/Rinse beans and corn if necessary, then mix together and refrigerate.

1 lb ground beef
1 onion
1/2 tsp cumin
Dash of salt and pepper

Brown ground beef with chopped onion and add seasonings. Drain if necessary and keep warm.

Shredded cheese (I used a blend)
Sour cream*
Tortilla chips

Top some tortilla chips with the ground beef mixture and top with shredded cheese so it melts a bit. Then add your salsa mixture and any other toppings like sour cream or hot peppers or a sprig of cilantro...

*optional


This was a delicious dinner and more filling than just chips and salsa. For the kids, I put their mixture in a bowl and let them dip their chips into it. My son ate it up with a fork.


The risk of typing up this post at this hour is wanting to fix myself another plate right now.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Great Summer Sale on Lilla Rose this weekend!

If you love Lilla Rose, are looking for a prettier and easier way to style your hair, or just love a good deal, this is the update for you!

http://www.lillarose.biz/AshleyOliveOn Independent Consultant
 An even better place to keep up with those announcements would be my facebook fan page. You can find it and 'like' it here: Lilla Rose - Ashley Olive On on Facebook


            
I would be so thankful if you considered ordering from me! The first time I tried one of the Lilla Rose flexi clips I was hooked! (pun somewhat intended)

This is size extra-small in the "tails up" style.

My hair is super baby fine, and I finally get to enjoy a beautiful and secure hair accessory that works perfectly in my hair. Believe it or not, this flexi clip holds my hair securely, all day without needing to be adjusted! If you have fine hair like mine, you understand how impressive that is! And it looks great doing it. No giant plastic claw that digs into your head when you sit down (if you ever sit down!) to nurse a baby or drive to the library or grocery store! And with all the styles possible, you can have a different look every day.

Be sure to check out the sizing page to find out what sizes will work best in your hair before you buy!

Also, you can find this information any day of the week by clicking on the Lilla Rose tab at the top of the blog. :)

*Full disclosure: I am an independent consultant for Lilla Rose and will receive a commission if you purchase using these links, in which case my family and I are extremely grateful! I would not endorse or represent these products or this company if I was not convinced of its merit. Thank you.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Thrift Store for the Win!

Our local thrift store is one of my favorite places to find great deals on clothes, household goods, books and sometimes even furniture or craft supplies. It gets trickier and trickier to spend as much time as I'd like hunting down the really good deals when I have three small children to keep track of in a store with open shelves of china and glass knick knacks. Nevertheless, I still end up bringing home some goodies for a fraction of the cost of buying new.

Sidenote: I still can't understand how some people have an aversion to buying used clothing. Unless those same people only wear their clothes once and then burn them and head to the store for next week's outfits... Dirt is dirt and I have a washing machine right in my house! I'm not purposely buying anything that looks like it was donated from a crime scene.

Anyway, for anyone interested in seeing what I came up with from my most recent thrift store trip, here it is:

A cool looking 1500 piece puzzle of the Bible

A 'dress up' dress and three dresses/outfits for my oldest daughter

Four skirts for myself :)

The best part? All of this cost me only $21! Not bad for items that are in very good condition and will likely last a good while.

When I was pregnant, I would check the maternity section because I would often find maternity shirts and jeans/skirts from Gap, Old Navy, and some of the expensive maternity stores that sell shirts for a ridiculous $30 new, and I'd get 2-3 of them at a time at the thrift store for under $10. Maybe even under $5 if I shopped on 50% off day.

I do try to have a short list of items I am looking for. Otherwise, I'd bust the budget on thrift store deals, even though the prices are right. Just because it's a good deal doesn't mean you have to buy it. I have the tender bank account and full closets to prove it. (Hey- I didn't claim to be perfect!) A good rule of thumb is to pull out as many items to donate as you are bringing home. Even better would be to learn how to spot items that you can resell online. I'd add a link to The Common Room blog but her site isn't loading for me at the moment.  

What have you found at a thrift store? Do you make it a regular stop?