Thursday, May 29, 2008

Not That I'm Calling My Kids Cows...

The mess of our school table really bugs me. I am aware of my OCD tendencies, so I try to minor on the minors. But this is the first thing people see when they walk in the house... Kevin reminded me of Proverbs 14:4 a couple of days ago. Go read it and smile.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

What's the Point?

A friend and I had a conversation weeks ago about the purpose of the church. We talked about what the right way to 'do church' is, and if the mandate to 'be church' can be fulfilled another way than meeting together on Sundays as it's always been done. Here's part of my response to our conversation.

I have been thinking about our conversation weeks ago about the church. It was really good to talk to you about that issue, because it challenged me to search the scriptures and think through the issue for myself. Here are the thoughts that I have been ruminating on.

First, the church is for mutual encouragement and love, as so many verses say. 'Build one another up, encourage one another' etc. I agree that this can be done in an informal setting, such as seeing friends occasionally and spending time together say, over dinner, assuming you are talking about spiritual things. (1 Thess 5:11) However, when Paul writes letters to the churches, the comments and terminology he uses seem to indicate a network of believers who are a 'group' of some sort. He writes to churches, not to friends. He asks that the reader 'greet all the brothers' on his behalf. Sounds more committed than an occasional social gathering.

The second thought is related to church structure and function in the New Testament. The qualifications are presented for elders and deacons, as well as guidelines for church discipline. So, there is to be teaching going on, serving and meeting physical needs, as well as accountability among believers.

Also, we're commanded to remember spiritual truths through the sacraments. Baptism and communion are expected to be happening in the context of believers together.

Lastly, I looked into Hebrews 10:24 and 25, "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." The study notes I looked at indicated that some believers at the time of the writing of Hebrews were not 'coming to church', so to speak, because of persecution and fear. The author of Hebrews doesn't seem to mean that these people are cutting off all contact with other Christians, but that they are neglecting to meet corporately.

Obviously, I am not a bible scholar, and I would love to hear your response and thinking. Anything that causes us to go to God's word is a good thing, right? I do think house churches are wonderful, and the intimacy those groups of Christians must experience is probably hard and stretching and good at the same time. I wonder, too, if they have it 'more right' in the sense that they don't have building debt and the distractions that the whole church worship experience can be. Sounds simple and great to me. I completely understand what you meant by wanting to get away from 'fakey' friendships within the church. I struggle with that, too. And, speaking for myself, people are often so hard to love. (And yes, somewhere someone is saying that about me!) Kevin and I have talked about this issue at length. I have come to believe that struggling to love others who are annoying or less socially adept or who we have nothing in common with is a way to a) be refined further, and b) example to the world the powerful difference that Christ-like love makes. And boy, is this hard for me! I really want to be around people that I like and who are fun! As a matter of fact, I am feeling convicted as I write this.

Also, what you said about seeing your neighbors spending time together and feeling that you should be there with them, sharing Christ through your relationships, was so great. This is another thing that Kevin and I are really feeling convicted about. We do not reach out to our neighbors enough, for the same reasons that relationships with other believers are hard. I think we do need to be much more intentional about this area. We have mission fields right around us, but we don't tend to think of it that way. But, I think God wants us to meet together with other believers for all the above reasons, and give more of the rest of our week to others. And, friend, even if you are feeling 'dry' in the church setting, or not feeling that it has a point, I feel sure that your mere presence and example there (and service) is an encouragement to others. You guys are such a neat family. You really shouldn't deprive the church of the chance to know you!

Thoughts? Anyone? Anyone?

Friday, May 23, 2008

You Might Want to Do Something Else With Your Nine Dollars

Kevin and I were so excited to get to go see the new Indiana Jones movie tonight. We love the original movies and own them on DVD. So, we thought, bring on the nostalgia!

Boy were we disappointed.

The movie was bad on so many levels. The first three movies were campy and fun--not exactly believable, but not so over the top as to be aggravating. This one tried way too hard to be campy, and it was just plain silly, predictable, and even the acting wasn't great. I cannot figure out what induced Harrison Ford and Cate Blanchett to embarrass themselves by agreeing to do this film. Just in case you plan on seeing this movie, I won't go into the plot. But, before you go, lower your expectations.

That might help.

Friday Morning

I'm sitting here, monitoring the gray clouds outside threatening rain on our homeschoolers' field day. Joseph is in my lap laying his head on my chest while lovingly pinching the roll on my tummy. (Hey, I'm happy to be entertaining.) After pondering yesterday's tragedy in the Chapman family, I am trying to hug the kids more and keep remembering that we are like the flowers of the field; beautiful but quickly fading.

We had family pictures taken on Wednesday-you can see one of the poses on the left with the white background-and it struck me how comical the day was. Wake up, rush rush rush, iron clothes. Find Noah's new white polo. Find three small tears on the front. How did this happen? It still has the tags on! Grrr. Locate thread, needle. Snap at kids to hurry. Now I'm feeling irritated that no one else is in a tizzy like I am. Everyone is just too slow and laid back. Don't wrinkle your shirts! I just ironed them. (Don't you appreciate all the work I did to get everything together?!) Hubby finds out that Noah's shirt is ripped and suggests rescheduling the pictures. What?! I just want to get this over with. Someone complains about their hairstyle. Brush your teeth. Load in the car. Don't brush up against the van! It's dirty and you'll mess up your clothes! Hurry to the picture place. We're gonna be late. O.k. Here finally. Nurse baby so she won't scream through the sitting. Referee an argument over at the lego table in the waiting room. Alright, it's our turn. Get arranged--hold still--smile naturally. Put your hand down, Rowan. Honey, can you wipe the drool off of Joseph's mouth?

And, in the finished product, we all look so perfect and relaxed. Ha. :)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Headlines this Morning

I know there are people all across the world shedding tears for the family of Steven Curtis Chapman, and praying for God's comfort for them. The words of Job keep coming to mind:

"Though He slay me, yet I will trust in Him." Job 13:15

Monday, May 19, 2008

Birthday Breakfast

Annesley Models the New Rug

Daddy's Home

After 11 loong days, Kevin is home from training in San Diego, and boy are we some happy people to have him back! I hate it when he's gone, but the reunions are so sweet: the kids jumping up and down, getting neato souvenirs, kisses, and hugs...

The King in the Garden

We use The Story of the World for history, which I love. It relies heavily on 'living books', which means it is not in a textbook format but instead uses lots of biographies, poetry, picture books, folk tales, etc. to really give students a rounded and interdisciplinary look at the stories of history. Keely and Noah and I are finishing up ancient history this year, and there is a book we got from the library that really stuck with me, that I thought I would recommend. (As you can imagine, we get lots of library books for school. You have earned nerd status when you don't carry your library card with you, but instead rattle off your number from memory. What?! It's easier than digging out my wallet when I'm trying to keep a grip on a two-year-old, rock the carseat with my foot, and bag books.)

We studied ancient Babylon quite a while ago, and we checked out a book called The King in the Garden by Leon Garfield. This is a creative retelling of the story of Nebuchadnezzar from the book of Daniel. I loved this book because it tells, from a small girl's perspective, what might have happened to Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom while he was in the wild eating grass like a cow because of his pride. The story is so clever and a bit haunting, but I don't want to give too much away in case you want to read it with your kids. Unfortunately it is out of print, but you might be able to get it from your library. I have also seen some used copies on Amazon.

Have fun learning with your kids today! :)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Party Pics

What Would You Have Me to Do?

"For each one of us--whether on a bed of pain, in the feebleness and uncertainty of purpose which can come with ill-health or overstrained nerves, or whatever else may be our immediate condition--nothing is more urgent than for us to ask, "What would You have me to do?"

For whatever our state, however helpless and incapable, however little service to God or to our neighbor seems to be within our power, there is no doubt at all as to His willing us to do something.

Not necessarily any great thing--it may be only some little message of sympathy and comfort to one even more lonely than we are--it may be a kindly word or glance to one whose own fault has cut him off from general kindness and pity--it may be even just to stand and wait in humble patience til He makes His will plain, refusing to fret or murmur while we wait--but in some shape or other, be certain that your Master and Lord hears and will answer your question, "What would You have me to do?"

H.L. Sydney Lear

Friday, May 09, 2008


Since Kevin was going to be gone on Mother's Day, I got my present early (though I saved my card for Sunday). I was so excited to get a new ESV Bible, with my married name on it! The last Bible I got was for my high school graduation, ahem, fourteen years ago. :)

Peace Lily

It's Party Time!

Well, in a few hours anyway. Noah is 8, as of yesterday, and tonight we'll have 5 buddies over to celebrate. I have been trying to get him to set low expectations about his party since I agreed to let him have one this year. I know, I know; that sounds horrible, but I just don't have the energy to do anything over the top this year. He doesn't seem to care or even know what I'm talking about when I say we aren't doing anything elaborate. No themed plates or involved games? He doesn't care. To him, friends+sugar+presents=a pretty great day. I will try my hardest to figure out how to post pictures from our new camera. My technology crutch, also known as my wonderful hubby, is in San Diego for 10 days for more training. I miss him! But back to the party...I have to say that I have one of the most wonderful and thoughtful friends anywhere. After calling her to get allergy-safe recipe info for Noah's cake, Beth adamantly insisted on making Noah's birthday cake for me! How great is that? This woman is the queen of cool birthday parties, and makes adorable cakes! I'll bet her Bionicle-themed cake will even be adorable, and that's hard to do, 'cause those things are uuu-gly.

Have a blessed Friday!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

A Prayer

Seems like the past few days God has been 'hammering' a point home with me. And I am so thankful for His revelation. I am grieved and burdened when I seek, in my own life and in lives around me, the elevation of 'self' and the degradation of God. I so easily justify and coddle myself when it comes to my own sin. I want to see God as He is, and I want to hate sin and evil, and love righteousness! I want to have a 'holy fear' of God and be 'undone', as Isaiah said, in His presence. I want to be constantly aware of my own sinfulness and desperate need for God; not to beat myself up and punish myself, but to keep me ever clinging to the cross of Christ. God, help me--us--to do this.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

He Prefers Pig Latin

The kids started their last Latin lesson for the year today. I teasingly asked Noah if he was crying about it. He answered, "Yes. And they were tears of happiness."

Girls in the Kitchen

Keely loves to bake and cook. Which works out great for me, since I don't. The thought of standing in the kitchen waiting to take a cookie sheet out so I can put 5 more in has lost much of its magic. Fortunately it hasn't for my almost-ten-year-old and her best buddy. They had a ball making some cookies for us all to enjoy....and they even cleaned up the kitchen. I may never bake again!

Still Here

Just when I think that I am getting into a pattern of consistent blogging, life happens! It has been a fun couple of weeks: My mom was here and we enjoyed her immensely, Kevin and I (and baby monkey) went to the home school conference and were so encouraged and rejuvenated, we saw Expelled, which was excellent...I will probably write more about the home school conference when I have more time, but let me just tell you that if Voddie Baucham is speaking near you,
go see him. He was articulate, funny. And the man doesn't mince words.

Schoolbooks, dirty laundry, kitchen cleanup, and little people are calling. Have a blessed day!