Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It Was a Really Dumb Thing to Do

We have a glass cooktop on our stove. Glass. The stuff that breaks under impact. Like banging frozen biscuits to break them apart. Kevin says he'd prefer if I not touch any of the appliances for a while. I wonder if stuff keeps breaking (okay, okay.... I wonder if *I* keep breaking stuff) to remind me that it's only stuff. It doesn't ultimately last. Looking on the bright side, we're doing our part to stimulate the economy.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Jesus' Example

Beginning last Thursday, we had a conference at our church and Ted Donnelly, a Reformed Presbyterian pastor from Ireland, was the speaker. I was so blessed by his insights and teaching as he preached from the book of John. My favorite session was on Friday night, when Pastor Donnelly preached from John 13, verses 1-17: Jesus washing his disciples' feet. His message was for the unbeliever as well as the Christian.

Pastor Donnelly told a story about a very refined and respectable gentlemen who, toward the end of his life, became unable to care for himself; unable even to do basic things for himself, like bathing. This man had a great internal struggle as his daughter-in-law cared for him and bathed him in his helplessness. He spoke about how we, before God, are in the same position as this old man. We see that we are dirty, but we can't do anything about it. It's often a great struggle to admit this and accept the spiritual 'washing' of Jesus: salvation. We feel unworthy and wish we could clean ourselves up and dress and then present ourselves to Jesus, but it cannot be done. But, instead of our dirtiness and nakedness disgusting Jesus, it inspires his great love and compassion toward us.

In John 13, Jesus, the pure and holy Son of God, humbled himself to perform a socially degrading task. He did this for the sinful disciples, who had recently argued among themselves about who would be the greatest in Jesus' coming kingdom. These men were not worthy, yet Jesus insisted on washing them to model the humble servanthood they were to pursue (vv 14, 15). Pastor Donnelly's application was to ask if we regularly "put ourselves out" for the sake of others' blessing. He asked, "Do you have a towel around your waist?" I loved this reminder that I need to serve others because I have been washed by Jesus. Pastor Donnelly said, "The 'you should do' is founded on the 'I have done.' I want to grasp more fully the washing I have received so I can truly 'wash others' feet' from my own joy at being washed.

If you would like to hear this message and the others that were preached at the conference, you can download them soon here.

Friday, March 27, 2009

How to Feed a Baby

Step 1: Put baby in high chair and put food on tray.

Step 2
: Baby eats two bites, then throws remainder of food on floor.

Step 3
: Clean up baby and take her out of high chair.

Step 4
: Baby eats food off of floor.

What is it about the floor that makes that rejected food appealing again? I'm thinking about going straight to step 4 next time.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Encouragement For Dads

We attended a homeschooling conference a couple of years ago and one of the speakers was Todd Wilson. He is the founder of Familyman Ministries. God really used him to encourage me to be more like Christ with my family. It's easy, sometimes, to spend all of my emotional and spiritual energy on others and neglect those closest to me -- my first calling. We all need encouragement on a daily basis to help us keep our priorities straight:
"...Exhort one another every day, as long as it is called 'today,' that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." Heb. 3:13 (ESV)
I subscribe to the Familyman email newsletter and saw this video. Be encouraged, Dads, today is a new day!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Before and After

Our kids have been in Texas since Saturday, and we'll meet in Oklahoma City this Saturday to get them back. I know, I know: We are blessed with the most wonderful parents ever! I love this time; it's great for the kids, great for (though lots of work for!) the grandparents, the cousins, and for our kids, who have been counting down to this week for a while.

Kevin and I have had lots of time together, and have gotten to go out a few times as well as just enjoy staying in together, in a strangely quiet house. I've also tackled a couple of projects, though I know I won't be able to complete everything I want to. The priority project for me this week was to get Rowan and Annesley's room re-done for them. Shhh. It's a surprise. I've always loved 'before and after' pictures, so I'll share some with you here.

Before, the girls' room was okay, but not very girly. I was thrilled to find two twin quilts, two shams, and two coordinating throws at Marshalls--for less than the cost of one of the Pottery Barn clearance quilts I was looking at.

I picked up this sturdy little antique chair at a garage sale last summer. I paid $20, which is more than I usually spend on one item, but I knew it would be so cute in the girls' room.

Trying to decide which fabric to go with...

Here's the chair, all finished.

And here's the finished room. I'm so glad my sister-in-law told me to be careful with pinks. I picked the very lightest color on the paint chip, and I think it's just right.

I don't think the boys will even want to come in here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I came across this definition in my Bible Study book.  Larry Crabb defines wisdom as:

"belief that accepting God's way, no matter how painful, leads ultimately to joy."

Foolishness is:

"going our way, even though it genuinely relieves distress and feels good, leads ultimately to despair."

Monday, March 16, 2009


Here are some pics from our 'Daddy's Job is Safe' party!  
Taken with Kevin's phone-excuse the poor quality!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Singing the Psalms

One of the biggest changes we've experienced leaving our Southern Baptist church back in the fall and now attending an RP church has been the corporate worship. Before, mainstream evangelical worship: praise songs, a few hymns, drums, piano, bass, 'worship team'. Now, on Sundays, we sing Psalms exclusively without the aid of instruments, and the Psalm-leader up front has not so much as a microphone. It was very strange (and still is, at times) to not have a clue how to sing the songs in the hymnal (really, Psalter) after being in church worship services all my life.

I'm not attempting here to tackle the theology of exclusive Psalmity; I am most definitely not equipped to do that. I haven't come to any firm convictions about the rightness or wrongness of singing hymns or praise choruses to the Lord in a corporate setting. But I am reflecting on how singing the Psalms, simply and without any hoop-la, has affected me.

A question I wrestled with in the past year is that of false 'emotionalism' versus true worship. Now, let me say that I'm just about as emotional as they come. I believe God has given us emotions and they, in themselves, are neutral. But I started to wonder just how much of my worship was really focused on exalting the One True God, and how much was (literally) driven by the pounding bass, drums, and building climax of the chorus I was singing. I'm really not trying to cause division here, or be judgmental. These are just honest struggles I've had concerning worship.

I feel really immersed in God's Word through worship, now. One of the points of singing the Psalms is that you are singing the inspired words of praise, blessing, lament, and request to God. Are other songs inspired by God? Maybe, but not in the same way as God's Holy Word written down by 'holy men taught by the Holy Spirit', as the kids' catechism says.

Another interesting effect of singing the Psalms has been a feeling of connectedness to believers through the ages. Singing the words that countless other Christians have sung to God over thousands of years is a sobering and yet joyful thing. A common song, if you will.

I haven't thrown out my Chris Tomlin CDs, nor do I have a problem singing praise choruses when we visit my parent's or mom-in-law's churches, but I am so thankful to be able to worship God with Psalm-singing.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Things I Don't Want to Hear Behind Me in Church

This is an excerpt from one of my favorite websites, The Sacred Sandwich. The whole article is well worth the read. Bon Appetite!

Things I Don't Want to Hear Behind Me in Church
1.) Dude, I’m gonna hafta call you back. We’re about to pray or something.”
2.) “Boo-oooo!”
3.) “The pastor looks really cute today.”
4.) “Mommy, my tummy doesn’t feel good. I think I’m gonna throw uh—erpleeeeeck!” (Accompanied by a splashing sound against my seat.)
5.) “Hey there, ladies… nice bibles. You come here often?”
6.) “Zzzzzzzzzz…”
7.) “Sweet! I just scored the last Krispy Kreme at the snack table.”
8.) “He’s good, but he’s no Joyce Meyer.”
10.) “Dang it, I grabbed my Bhagavad-Gita by mistake. The Message Bible is still in the Prius next to my yoga mat.”
11.) “You think they’ll mind if I use the offering basket to break a five?”
12.) “Seven-day sex challenge? Now you’re talking, pastor!”
13.) “I can’t see the pulpit. The guy in front of me has a melon that could show up on Google Earth.”

Friday, March 06, 2009

It's All About the Box

Thankfully, no one else has come down with the yuck that Joseph had this week. He's almost back to normal; I say almost because he turned down ice cream last night. We're going to get out today and enjoy the beautiful weather we're having. Come on, spring!

He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding

Daniel 2:21

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Formal Preschool

I subscribe to an e-newsletter from The Old Schoolhouse home school magazine, and I particularly liked these thoughts from Nancy Carter about preschool. Of course, some moms have situations that require them to work outside the home when their children are little. But this article deals more with the outsourcing of our responsibility as moms to daycares and preschools. I don't buy the idea that those places really provide the best 'learning environment' for young children.

Preschoolers--seems like folks are trying to force them into formal academics earlier all the time. Some homeschool moms feel pressured to put their little ones in preschool just so "they'll learn how to share" or "listen to someone besides Mama."

Hogwash, I say!

Good preschools often try to create a more home-like environment with a kitchen center and cozy reading nook. Have you heard of the Montessori method of teaching? A big part of that involves seizing those teachable moments when teaching your child practical skills. Wonder why those schools try to create a homelike environment? It's the natural place for children to learn!

And don't feel pressured into doing academics too early either. Hands-on learning is actually preferable to filling out a bunch of workbooks. If your child enjoys workbooks and coloring pages, that's great, but not all of them will, and those more active, slower learners will learn their colors, numbers, shapes, and letters without you setting them at a table and making it like "school".

If your children are home with you, you're already homeschooling them. Somehow you taught them their first words and how to walk without an official curriculum. Just keep loving on your children, creating a rich learning environment, and teaching them as you go through your day.

Don't let anyone force you into something that doesn't work for your family because they think preschoolers should be tackling bookwork like the kids in public school. Education isn't about curriculum; it's about life!

Enjoy every minute!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Who, Me? Superstitious?

It's really amazing, but we haven't been sick at all in the past two years.
Yes, folks, I actually allowed those words to cross my lips last night at church. What was I thinking? Truly, I'm not suspicious, but you know what's coming next. This morning around abouts 4:20, a little blonde boy stumbled into our bedroom making some rather gross throwing-up noises. To keep things really interesting...our washer is broken.

I was going to post a really great story about our newlywed days, seeing as how today is our 13th wedding anniversary, but I'll save it for another day.

I'm off to get my coffee and roll up my sleeves. :)