Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Baby steps

The littlest one is walking. He has graduated from holding on to furniture and walls, and is instead wobbeling about through the house.

His first few steps looked like the movements of those little green army men when someone is propelling them forward. Now he has the more customary stance of other novice walkers, with the hands held up on either side of the head and a huge grin on his face!

I thought it would be a good idea to get a pair of 'real' shoes for him, since it is winter and he will want to walk outside. We went to the shoe store in bought the standard white, lace up, high top first time walking shoes. I set him on the floor to try them out. He refused to move. He became a wavering statue. No movement of the feet. At all.
Finally, I took his hands and urged him forward. He moved - by lifting each foot as high as possible and shaking it a little before setting it down to lift the other. He took about half a dozen steps this way before taking to the floor in a crawl.

This time of learning to walk is exciting for parent and baby alike. Parents have urged and cheered their baby to this milestone and are thrilled when the little sweet heart has shown mastery of this new skill.
Baby is aware, suddenly, of the many escape routes to freedom. Any door is fair game. Watch how fast they go from those first unstable steps to running at olympic sprinting speeds!

We desire our children to learn the skills to become independant from us. Our hope is that they learn to navigate life without needing to hold our hands at every turn. When they begin to assert their independence, we smile and revel the 'first' moments of pride as the sweet little babies learn forward mobility. Then, after a couple of weeks, when the newness of this skill wears off - no, wears thin - we realize that we battle the desire to scoop them up and cradle them close. To keep them safe and dependent - at least for a little while longer.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Disclaimer...

Of course there are real, honest, God fearing Christians out there in the USA. The church would be non-existent here, otherwise. There are many great men and women building the kingdom here and glorifying God in their work.

There just aren't enough! What are we waiting for? Do we think that there is no place we can serve in our community? Do we misunderstand what a ministry is?

What is your ministry? Does it HAVE to be sanctioned by the church community where you attend on Sundays for it to be a real ministry? Do you count on funds and participation from your fellow church members to keep your ministry going?

Why?

Can't ministry be done independantly, drawing in various people from the community that don't go to your church?

So many questions. I know what my answers are. What are yours?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Do Hard Things...

If you follow me on FaceBook, then you know that I have been posting some serious material.

How long can the church of the United States be flaccid? We are a useless, rotten, maggot infested bunch of wussies.

Do we spend too much time trying to convince those in one denomination that they are wrong and should join another when we ought to be suffering for our faith? Why are we not persecuted for our love of God? Why is our most indignant moment as believers a small post in an online publication about a man losing his job at Home Depot for wearing a pin with a religious sentiment?

Why are those passionate for Christ so few here?

Satan has a stronghold on our government, our schools, our churches, our entertainment, our love of comfort.

And we eat it up, get real fat and cozy and sit on our butts proud of ourselves for having the key to heaven.

I am sick of myself for this...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Kids Riding Bikes

When two of the older children (8 and 6) are out front riding bikes or, whatever, they are responsible to keep on eye on a younger brother (2). They just need to watch and let me know if there is a problem with where he is going or what he is doing. Their boundaries are clear and over the summer this has worked out quite well.

Today, the Biggers went out to play, and about 30 minutes later, one of them came in to tell me that they couldn't find the Little.

"Oh, honey" I calmly reply "he's napping."
"well, the boys and a neighbor are out looking for him and I was told to tell you to call 911"
"It's okay, we'll just let the neighbor know that Little is napping and everything is fine"
---boys walk in the door---
"Bigger," I say " Please let neighbor know that Little is home safe napping and that we don't need the police."
---off he goes---
---back he comes, mission accomplished---
---15 minutes later, County Sherrif is knocking on the door. The dog is in the house and barking furiously. I am asking the children, loudly, to put the dog in the back yard. Officer knocks even more loudly, on the window. I say, "just a moment!" He knocks again on the door - HARD! "just a moment were putting the dog out!"
I open the door. He askes if my kiddos are all safe and sound. yes, they're fine. He is getting messages over the radio about bad stuff happening. and takes my name address and phone number. It'll prob'ly be in the police blotter of the local paper.
What an exciting afternoon...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Major Life Change

My oldest has gone to live with her father.

*sigh*

There are so many good reasons (for a 13 yo girl) for her to be there. There are so many good reasons for her father to have a hand at raising her.

There are so many more good reasons for her to have stayed here.

I am glad that I was able to raise her to the point where she makes her own decisions with a base of everything that she learned in my home. I pray daily, and more fervently than ever before, that she will continue to live according to the virtues and values that she learned with me.

I love and miss my baby girl. I don't have any great lessons learned from this experience except this: If this is how much it hurts when my children leave my home, even for good reasons, that I have much heartache in my future...

Monday, July 27, 2009

The HagenZoo Embarks on a Large, Accidental Adventure.

"Hey Kiddos!, jump in the van! It's time to get Marli!" Shouts of excitment ring through the air. Their older sister has been gone for over a week and they Hagen kids are ready to have her home. We choose the van because, while it doesn't have a radio, it DOES have air conditioning. Uneventful ride to Totem Lake, and Marli is now picked up.
We begin our catching up conversation and round the corner to get on the I405. "um, Mom? Did the van just quit?" asks Marli. "Why yes, I believe it has." replies Mom, cool and calm. We coast to a stop on the shoulder of the on-ramp and I activate the hazard lights. Good. Now, to call Jerry. "Hon, the van has stopped, it won't restart and we are on an on ramp to 405." Jerry replies "Oh. Wow! That's a problem. That's, um, okay. I'll get the suburban and come get you guys." I can tell he is trying not to sound worried and a little panicky. It's not working. I can still hear it, and I am glad he loves us enough to be worried!
We sit there for about 15 minutes. The van warms up. considerably. I roll down windows. The temperature inside the van is rising. This isn't good. Not good at all. think, think, think. What to do?
"Hey Kiddos! let's get out of the van! We're going for a walk!" What??!?!?" they ask? "ON THE FREEWAY?!?!?!? Is that even legal??!?!?!" (you can guess who said that! Yep, J.J.) "No, son, it isn't legal. But it is a superior action to the one that leaves you all cooking in the van, don't you think?" J.J.'s reply, "We could get cooked in the van? Really?" As J.J. is contemplating whether it would be more cool to find out if someone could actually get cooked in the van, or experience probable impending doom on the freeway, we are searching the van for the shoes that Andrew has removed. I realize, with chagrin, that the stroller is at home. Benjamin, whom you all have prayed for, had trouble putting on weight and not losing any. Not any more. He weighs about 19 lbs. That plus the 40 lb infant seat (it's an exaggeration, but not much...) are now hanging on my right arm, the purse and diaper bag on my left. We hop over the guard rail because it looks like there is a gravel pathway that might allow us to get down to the arterial road without having to walk on the shoulder. Not so much. Back up the gravel pathway, back over the guard rail.
I give explicit instructions to "Walk with your left hand ON the guard rail. NO EXCEPTIONS! Do not wiggle, do not jump or stretch. Do not run. Do not SNEEZE!" At this point my children are more afraid of death by Mom's voice than death by vehicular homicide.
We are walking, single file, down the on ramp. I count 20 vehicles go by us. Each on slowed, gave a wide arc around us and the faces they made were priceless! I wish I had a camera for each one! I had a couple of "What a terrible mother" looks, a few "Oh How awful! I wonder what happened" looks and at least one or two "What an inconvenience, get out of the road!" looks. Not one person stopped or bothered to ask if we needed help. One woman, six kids. Really? Not one? If you EVER see any thing like this. STOP AND ASK!!!!!
We make it to the intersection and are faced with a decision. Which way to go? We decide on Denny's. Air conditioned, notoriously slow service, and we have lots of time to kill. "No? You don't take checks? Oh....kay. We'll have three grand slam breakfasts." I carry cash for gas and grocery shopping. When I am not doing one of the two, I don't generally have much cash with me. It works. There's a lot of food on a Grand Slam break fast plate. It worked out beautifully. Our waitress was wonderful. She decorated four of the pancakes for the kids with strawberry syrup and checked on us often. We left her a good tip and left the restauraunt. Now what? I call Jerry. "Hi! How long?" "Well, I am going to see if I can borrow the Bentley's tow dolly!" "okay, hon! bye" Going to see. That means we have more time to use. What to do?
"Hey kiddos! We are going for another walk!" We walk across the street to the Totem Lake Mall, which closes at six pm on Sundays. It was 7:30 pm. We took over the covered entry and the sidewalk for 20 feet in either direction. We sat on the ground, layed on the ground, ran around and around and around on the ground, the children played, swung and hung on the bike rack. They sang and danced and played tag and I LET THEM.
"Mom, I'm thirsty." O Great. "I don't have any thing for you. Dad and Mr. Mark will be here soon." "Mom, I'm thirsty." So, four of the children repeat this refrain. One can't speak and the oldest knows better. The oldest is sent to the nearby Chevron for cold bottles of water. As she leaves, Jerry and Mr. Mark arrive. Halleluja!!!! We pile in, pick Marli up and head over to the on ramp to load the van on to the dolly. Backing down an on ramp, even on the shoulder, about as legal as walking around on the freeway - okay, we weren't hitch hiking.
"Hon?" Jerry replies "yes?" "Um, one of the kids had my keys over at the mall and I am sure they are laying on the pavement over there." "Oh. Really?" "um, yeah." "okay." Off we go. We pull over, Jerry wants to do a torque check, and I think He's really hungry. Mr. Mark takes me back to the mall to get my keys. There they lay, undisturbed on the sidewalk. We get back to the freeway. Mark says, Jerry's probably left there by now, you think?" I thought I was thinking when I replies "Yes, I'm sure he is." So...Mark brought me home. About 2 miles from home, my phone rang. "Mom?" "yes?" "Did you find your keys?" "yes!" "Good. Are you almost here?" "Um, almost home?" No, here" "Where are you?" At the parking lot." "Really?" "yes!" (Babies screaming in the background. Really, truly, screaming.) "Uh, tell Dad to head home. I am almost home." "uh, okay. Bye"
There you have it. A large, accidental adventure. I Wonder what tomorrow will bring...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Thoughts on Food

A good friend and I were having a conversation in which the subject arose of 'feeding the whole neighborhood'. Children from other families are playing at or near our house, and it is snack time. My children come in with 3-7 (usually) others asking for a snack. 'Wow.' I'm thinkging. 'How'm I gonna feed all of these kids?'. Do I tell the others that they need to go home and get a snack? Here's what I am finding out: Some of the children either don't get a snack at home, or get some kind of sugary snack. They get cold, fresh fruit, cheese, nuts, crackers and popcicles at my house. This can get expensive just for my family!
Have you ever had your mind blasted with a Holy Spirit Meteor? It happens to me once in while. this Holy Spirit Mind Blast reminded me who provides the food. God does. Does He provide food to my family because He is obligated? I think not. He provides food to my family so that we will responsibly fuel our human bodies to continue building His Kingdom here on earth. He provides food to my family because He enjoys sharing good things with us. He provides food to my family so that we will share his blessing.
I won't be stingy with snacks anymore, and I'll be working on responsible fueling...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Power of Prayer

Books about prayer have been leaping off of bookshelves and into my hands for a while. Some are hokey, some are amazing, some are dull, some are exciting!
I know something about prayer. I grew up hearing about it, reading about it in the bible. Praying at meal times, bed times, troubeling times, praying for safety and for needs.
Suddenly, it seems, my heart is yearning for prayer. If I didn't pray early in the morning, I find myself sneaking off away from my LOUD family to spend a few moments in prayer. I keep a prayer journal and refer to it often. I want to speak to God and I want God to speak to me.
If you read my posts regularly, you'll notice that I often wonder why my life is the way it is. Most especially, when so many children? One of the reasons is becoming clear (one of many reasons).
Prayer. If it is difficult at best for me to get all six children out of the house to someplace where I have to have an eyeball and hand available for each one, by myself, chances are, we won't go. I end up saying
'no' to many activities because of my husband's schedule. I can not, in good consience, take my children on my own to whatever it is and expect everything to go well. So...we spend a little more time at home. I find a little more time to pray. My prayer time is becoming more purposeful. There is power it prayer. It's amazing to note things that happen when I know that people have been praying about a specific thing.
I know that God would have to 'ground' me in a significant way in order to make me consider prayer a significant and useful part of my life, then do it.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Quiver Full?

"We are allowing God to determine the size of our family." Said by several women that have 6, 7, 8 + children. The standard answer for those brazen enough to ask things like "how many will you have?" and "are you having more?"

Here's the question: Did couples with fewer children, then, not allow God to determine the size of their families?

There are many Godly families that have 1, 2, 3, or 4 children. They are living a life according to the path that God has laid out before them. They are seeking God's will for their lives. God has spoken to these families, in some way, to allow them knowledge, wisdom and/or peace about the size of their family.

So I will be careful, as a mother of 6, about using that phrase, "...allowing God to determine the size of our family." I want to communicate that we are seeking to want what God wants for us, whether that means a large family or a small one, whether it means homeschooling or not, whether it means raising many disciples at home to go out and serve, or intensly serving our communities without children in tow.

Is there a fabulous phrase to communicate that God determines what a 'full quiver' means for each family? What about something like this "God is providing a ministry of discipling many children in our home."

Or am I getting a little to PC?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Home school vs Public school - sort of.

Do you home school or send your children to public school? What are the advantages of home school?
~Parents have curriculum options
~Flexibility of schedule
~Children learn at their own pace
~Children get more one on one time with the 'teacher'
~Special needs kids have a better chance of their individual needs being met at home
~Parents can raise their children in a sort of bubble
~In general, home schooled children have a more rounded education, and top colleges are recruiting from home schooling families.
Not a terrible list. But one pops out at me as being a terrible reason. What is it that we are protecting our children from?
There can be a long, long list. It is a parents job to keep our children safe. "Don't do drugs", "Don't jump off the roof", "Don't play with fire", "Don't talk to strangers".
What do we tell our children to do? What is it that we dream for our children? We want them to be leaders, to be confident, to make good choices. We (Christian parents) want our children to go and make disciples, to live virtuous lives. How much practice do our children have at this in a sheltered environment? When parents claim that they live God centered lives, and that their children are being raised biblically, then example can your children possibly be to them? If our childen are always in the company of 'church' families, with very few exceptions, how are they practicing discipleship? How are they supposed to be a light to the world, when we hide them?
What about the children and the families that are in public school? Let's just assume, for a moment, that all Christian families are pulling their children out of school. That we have decided that the government is forcing to much in the way 'unacceptable morality ' on our children (i.e. homosexuality as normal, sexual education in elementary school that offers birth control, prayer and evangalism as unacceptable, etc.). Okay, so now the local public school is a cauldrin of sin. There are no Christian families sending their children there. No Christian parents attending PTA, or parent information meetings. No Christian parents giving input on curriculum changes, or forming relationships with teachers and other classroom parents. There are no children that have been raised to live virtuously on the playground influencing other children. There are no children in the classroom demonstrating virtues to the teachers.
What now? Have we just told all of those families to go to hell? Have we, of our own accord, chosen who has access to the gospel and a model of a Christ-like life?
If we choose to respond to the crumbling of the institution of public school by avoiding it all together, then we are supporting the decline of our neighborhoods. We are avoiding relationships that we have been instructed to build. Jesus Christ did not die on the cross so that we could put our families in a church bubble, then hope that when they graduate from High School, they will face the troubles of the world with grace.
I am all for protecting my small children from the perils of bad language, lewd behavior, and degraded thinking. Our children age, however. There comes a time when we should be coming along side our children and guiding their choices rather than making choices for them. If your children are not given the opportunity to make choices in a lost world, when parents are there to guide them, then what do they do as young adults?
A few will stick close to what they learned. They will go to a christian college, they will get into the church body and cocoon themselves there. They will attempt to become engaged in some sort of church building ministry. Even fewer will step out into the world with confidence in Christ, mingeling with the 'others'.
Most will drop out of church, if not upon entering college or the workforce, then by the time they are 30. After all, the world is nothing like the one we presented to them for 18 years!
Home school has it's place. It's a good place. It can be a great tool. So can public school.
What is your reason for homeschooling? Or, for that matter, public schooling? Are you putting your family in the way of the tax collectors? Are you influencing, on a daily basis, those that are addicted, prostituting themselves for the desires of the world, looking for something better? Or have you decided that those things are unpleasant and you just don't want to deal with them?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

why is parenting so hard?

I've been asking this question for a while. I've heard it pop up around me several times lately. There are so many reasons, so much good advice, but one stuck with me.
Are the problems that our kids face different or more difficult than those 20, 30, 40 years ago? Yes! They are!
Drugs, sex, and rock n'roll, the everpresent 'enemies' of a decent life (LOL!) are still around. So is the media. The images and language considered appropriate or mainstream have evolved over time until our children, if we allow them, are exposed to ideas of rebellion as acceptable, nay, encouraged! The message is that if young people aren't rebelling against something, anything, then their lives are boring, pointless and they are likely friendless.

BUT what are we teaching our children, on purpose, at home? Are we teaching them to live virtuous lives? Are they aware that ethics and morality are not the same thing?
When children are not equipped to filter media through virtues and ethics they are left with the morals of the current culture, the acceptable practices of the day - not always ethical and almost never virtuous!

How many of our children know what virtues really are? How about parents? Do we know what virtues are and how to live them daily? Do you?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Leadership at home - mostly.

Are men natural leaders? Do they automatically step up to head of the family just because they are men? Do they desire to have leadership even if their wives have assumed that role?
Women have been told that they are disrespecting their husband when they choose to keep the family under their own direction. If these women were to relinquish this role, would the men step up to that role? Does confidence come with they Y chromosome?
I boldly declare the answer to be 'No.'
While there are instances of overbearing women disrespecting their husbands, refusing to give up their powerful position as leader of the home, I believe that there are many men that do not want that position. That they would just as soon have someone else make the decisions, handle the finances, raise the children, do the negotiating.
Is it wrong for a man to give his wife these responsibilities? Giving the responsibilities is the key. What if he just sits back and does nothing, forcing his wife to assume these responsibilities. What if she takes on the responsibilities, and, over time begins to loose respect for her husband.
Okay, here's the thought that has been roaming around in my head, waiting for the questions to catch up. Wives, we have the responsiblity not only to relinquish head of home to our husbands, but to encourage and support them in that responsibility. Help them build their confidence, and offer to be a helpmeet.
This is a challenge for me. I am not a natural leader, as are so many women that I know. I don't lead my family gracefully, it is a challenge and I often grunt through my days in misery and with much rebellion in my heart.
My husband desires, because it is biblical to do so, to be the leader in our home. He knows that there are many things that I can do more effectively than he can (i.e., home school, grocery shopping, menu making, communication, set up house and home, keep skeds, etc.), and he trusts me with these areas. I, in turn, strive (because it is biblical to do so - and because I desire to allow our home to be God centered) to support my husbands efforts to be a leader in our home, exhorting him and respecting his growth as a man of God.
Not that I don't still make the occassional suggestion...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

the slight

Recently, some one said something to me that, well, wasn't very nice. It was in response to a comment that I made. It wasn't horrible. It wasn't even mean. It just wasn't very nice.
It stuck with me. It wouldn't go away. Why would this person say something hurtful to me? I began to be apprehensive about being around this person. What could I have to learn from this?
I dislike confrontation. Horribly. Mostly, when I have to do the confronting. Could this be a lesson in gentle and loving confrontation? The more I thought about that, the more agitated I became.
I wondered again what I might have to learn from this. Was this person so wrong in what was said? Do I need to change something about myself? Was the comment a way for God to point out something that needs to be improved in me?
Eventually, the pressure of this comment on my mind crept out to other areas of my life. My husband would say or do something that irritated me immensly. The children's squabbles and volume would set my spine to ringing with the desire to silence them by sending them to their beds for the entire day. I was essentially being consumed with this one comment. This doesn't happen to me. I usally let things go. Why is this bugging me so much?!?!?!
So...I prayed about it. I confessed this SIN to another friend who prayed for me. When I realized that confessing sin was what I had done, I confessed it to God, asked him to forgive me, and now purpose to not sin in this way again.
I allowed a comment, probably spoken in jest, to take on it's own life. I Entertained thoughts of malice that were never intended and justified my emotions about it, allowing my feelings to dictate how I reacted to and treated others.
It's good to know that I am free of the bondage of sin. That silly, hurtful comments don't have any power over Jesus Christ and the transformations that He takes me through.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Summer List

This post is from May 16th, 2009. Three years ago. Want to know what I actually was able to cross off of that list?


The list is growing. It's amazing how huge this list is. It includes some things that I didn't take care of because they weren't as important as other things, or it didn't need doing at the time, but definately does now. It also includes a few very important things that truly need doing now, all in no particular order.

1. replace/repair the sliding screen door  But it needs to be done again.
2. replace the screen on the boys bedroom window (does anyone know how to do this? I have all of the materials...)
3. fix a circle vent thingie on the wall in the boys room (I don't even know w here to begin with this)
4.plant the vegetable garden
5. clear the vents at the base of the house
6. kill the moss on the roof
7. get things from storage for a yard sale (they've been in storage for 4 years, I'm probably not too attatched).
8. Price the items for the yard sale
9. Transport the items for the yard sale
10. Clean the sliding glass door numbers 10 and 11 have actually been done a few times.
11. Clean all of the other windows
12. Get rid of a broken television
13. Paint the boy's room (it is currently pink...)
14. Paint the girl's room (I have the paint in the back of the van) I got it out of the van, but never used it. It's in the coat closet...
15. Clean out the back of the van Good thing I did, since we no longer own that van.
16. Get rid of all the blue plastic storage bins that are piled up around the perimeter of my house. This was a major accomplishment and we celebrated.
17.Find a safety net for the trampoline.
18.Install the safetly net for the trampoline The trampoline needs to be repaired, actually.
19.Hang the baby swing on the play structure
20. weed the flower patch Not that you would know it today...
21.buy ink for printer
22. Plan curriculum for next school year
23. Get rid of a couch In fact, we have been rid of three different couches since then.
24. Move a piano
25. Have piano tuned  As long as we are in this house, the piano will not be moved here. We have added another baby to our extremely limited square footage.

I have to stop there. I am feeling overwhelmed. That isn't the end of the list. All of these things will have to be done with the attendance of all six of the children and in conjunction with the regular daily stuff. Besides the giant ones - replacing a roof and replacing the siding (may have to wait for another year or two). How am I going to get all of this done? I had dreams of a summer where we do chores in the morning and hang in the shade or at the lake for the afternoon, with bbq suppers and evenings around the fire pit. Maybe those things will happen once or twice.
Summers are so much shorter now than they were when I was a kid. (and they STILL are!)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sin - What is it?

Is sin anything that displeases God, or is it simply failure to adhere to the Law as laid out in the Old Testament? Does it matter? Is it semantics, or is it important?

If it is simply failure to adhere to the Law as laid out in the Old Testament, then are we all doomed to failure? Can a person strive to obey the Law and still be displeasing to God? The Pharisees did. They kept the letter of the Law! The wore long tassels, they bound (literally!) the word of God to their wrists and foreheads. They were so righteous, that they expounded on the Law to make sure that everyone knew exactly how to follow it.
Jesus Christ called his followers to be more righteous than the Pharisees.
So, the very men that kept the law publicly and rightly, were not pleasing to God.

The idea of judgement. There will be a time of judgement, and all men will be judged. Does this mean that if we don't adhere strictly to Old Testament Law, that we will be less in the Kingdom of Heaven? We know that the wages of sin is death. It is the Law that shows us our sin. Romans 7:7-25 tells us that. It tells us that the law is spritual and good, but that we are sinners. That even when we want to do what is right and good, there is a struggle within us because of our spiritual nature. But then, "Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord..."
And on to Chapter 8. There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. (vs 4)He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature, but instead follow the Holy Spirit.
So when we sin, displeasing God, we can ask his forgiveness, for He is forgiving, and we are made holy, without sin. (though, I haven't yet met anyone that doesn't have to do this over and over) so, the only question left is, what will I be judged for on judgement day? If I am constantly asking God to show me the deepest part of my desperate, poor in spirit, heart, the things that offend him, that I might repent (ask for forgiveness, and turn from that wickedness), then that sin is no longer binding, and I no longer have responsibility for that which is gone.
What do you think?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

What if...

...There wasn't Sunday School for children. What if parents had the full responsiblity to teach their children about God.
Would our children still be leaving the church as teens and young adults?
Would the divorce rate in the church be the same as mainstream numbers?
Would our children learn anything beyond some 'heroes of the bible'
stories?
Sunday school can be a good thing. Many of us have stories of highly influential Sunday school teachers. But - Can they do a better job than parents? Should Sunday school be a place that reinforces what is being learned at home, instead of the primary place to learn about God? Should parents become more involved in what is being taught at Sunday School?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Safe!

"Get down! Get down! He has a gun!" screamed the aproned women as they ran through the parking lot, stopping at a hedge to wait for the sherrif's car to pull in.

That's what happened when I was fueling up the family vehicle this afternoon. Two young people robbed the local grocery, then took off on foot, waving their firearms about. No shots rang out. No one was hurt, but my mind raced.

I was frozen when I saw the running women and heard their shouts. What should I do? I am currently pumping gas, should I stop? Should I get on the ground? No, the children are all in the vehicle. Do I run around the front and get in? No, that might alarm someone. Augh! What do I do!

I did nothing. I stood there until the weapon weilding robbers were out of sight and the store employees were giving their accounts to the police.

It's an awful feeling, knowing that in that instance, no matter what happened, I had not control over the safety of my children.

After a few hours of running the scene over in my mind, I remembered somethings that I learned some time ago. I may not have control over every situation, but God does. Not that I would view a bloody out come as in my family's favor, or anything less than tragic. My only comfort would be that there is a plan that I don't have the details to.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sunday Morning Service, Just The Way You Like It?

We live in a made to order society, and our churches have followed suit.
The walls are painted in calming colors, the carpets are cleaned and the pews are padded. The lighting and sound are run by techs that know what they are doing so that everything is seamless and beautiful. The kid's programs are set up so that parents just drop their little one's off before service and pick them up after, pleased at the darling wall hangings and nice toys available, not giving a thought to what goes on to make the children's classes happen.
And sometimes, even the sermons are developed to tickle the ears of those that show up. The right buzz words, catch phrases, current events and even leaving out the unpleasant parts of life and eternity.
Church, made to order. If you don't like that one, shop around, you'll find something else that meets your needs. If you feel offended, go to another building and sample the offerings, see if they look and sound more to your liking.
What happened to the unified body of Christ? What happened to Christians meeting the needs of those in the community, believers and non believers alike?
When people that make us uncomfortable come into the church buildings, what do we do? Do we offer them a place to sit near us? Do we get them a cup of coffee? Do we spend time with them after service, showing the love of Christ? Generally, we ignore them. We avoid eye contact and hope they won't show up again. Essentially, we make it very clear that socially challenged people are doomed to hell because we don't want to go outside of our comfort zones.
What can we do to show these people that God loves them? Do some kind of community service on a Sunday morning instead of going to church, perhaps?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Header

We arrived at our destination, the children piled out of the suburban. Well, most of them piled out. One of them slid, head first to the asphalt. I watched, from the other side, as his rubber boots made their descent.

He has assured me that he won't choose that same dismount style again.

*He's fine, no concussion, no cracked skull, just a black eye and road rash.

Monday, May 4, 2009

About the Question.

***I am not questioning the validity of studying the bible***
We are accountable for what we know. If we have the freedom and ability to study the bible in depth, and the Holy Spirit reveals himself to us through these studies, then we are responsible to live what we learn, and to share it. No excuses.
What I want to know is, if bible study is so incredibly important to our growth as Christians, then what about people that don't have bibles and/or access to study materials and leadership? Are their christian walks somehow lesser than mine? Could it be that they are held less accountable for leading others astray? How can their convictions be so much stronger than mine (than anyone who claims to be a christian and has access to bibles and study materials)?
AND - for those of you that know me, please do not interpret this next question as confusion or lack of faith in the studies that I am currently involved in. It isn't that. I'll explain
The next question is - do we have a tendancy within the church to jump from program to program, study to study, learning what we already know, instead of living what we already know. How many of us are too busy with church and other activities to serve? How many of us need to learn more before we can 'go and do' with unbelievers? Are we replacing the action of loving our neighbors (nonchristians in our community) with a myriad bible studies?
personal explanation - I am involved in a small group, a bible study, volunteer my time at the church building, teach sunday school, listen to the sermon, sacrifice time with my husband for his bible study, and his second bible study. We have lunch and fellowship time with other church members, our children play with church children, we home school and spend time with other members of the local church. This is all in a typical week. We also spend time serving other members of the church. All of these things are good, important, and needed. Do I need to be doing all of these things? How are any of these things impacting the nonbelievers in my community? Am I the only one struggling with the need to have relationships with people in the community that do not love Jesus Christ because I am so busy with the things that I believe God has called me to do? Is it possible that I have missed the mark?
I think so. I don't plan on 'dropping out'. I just plan on making a few changes. Some that will allow me to grow the most important ministry that I could have a part in right now - parenting and nurturing my children, and being a respectful wife. Some others will put me in the paths of nonbelievers. I have a purpose to notice these situations and use each moment to build relationships and glorify God with an attitude of loving each one of His specially created people in the hope that they will make a choice for eternal life with Jesus Christ.
****I have come to these conclusions through bible study and prayer****

Friday, May 1, 2009

Why Do We Do It?

A question was posed to me today that goes with another question that has been popping up in my mind for a while. A question that I don't ask, because it's too controversial for church. This is a weblog, though, so I'll ask it here .
How do people that do not have access to bibles and study materials build relationship with God and walk the narrow path? Are they 'inferior' christians because they don't know all of the things that I have access to knowing? Am I an inferior christian for not taking advantage of all of the bible study materials that I have access to?
Here's the question that was posed -- Why do we spend so much time with bible studies and so little time doing what we already know to do. Love God, and Love Others.
Relationship with God can be had through prayer, right? God can, and does, reveal Himself to us through ways other than the bible.

So, is there biblical call to immerse ourselves in bible studies? Deuteronomy 6 tells us to teach God's laws to our children and grand children consistantly. That's through relationship. It's verbal and by example.
Where is our command to go and study? Help me out, here?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Being a dog owner

I recently learned something about being a dog owner. The dog is charming, sweet, loyal, handsome. A positively protective and willing to please animal. Until the neighbors cat gets involved. There are hundreds of cats roaming around the area. There is one cat in particular that haunts our back yard. This cat taunts our dog. She sits in high places and meows and hisses at the dog. She jumps down from her perch and goads the dog into chasing her to places the dog can't go. Our dog can be heard, from time to time, trying to flush this cat out from under the deck. The owners of the cat are quite aware that this happens.
The cat also uses our yard for a toilet. She digs in my garden and eliminates there, covering her 'stuff' with my mulch, displacing bulbs, tearing at roots, and killing my plants. She sleeps on our porch and prances around our yard as if it is hers. She hisses and scratchs and nips at my children if they try to pet her - while she is in our yard.
On occassion, my small children open the front door while the dog is in the house. She sees this as the perfect occassion to make a run for it. She knocks the small child over to get out of the front door. Once out there, she doesn't listen to anyone for any reason. No food can tempt her to return to her back yard. Not the promise of a walk. No sweet cajoling with offers of petting or belly scratching. Nothing.
Enter stage right, the cat. The cat is on top of a car, sees the dog, and carrys on her tradition of teasing. The dog, no longer confined to a fenced area, takes off after the cat. The cat jumps off of the car and darts underneath it. The dog ensues, barking, growling and snarling at this cat. The neighbor hears and sees it. Screams at me to get my *nasty words* dog off of his cat.
The dog, for at least 3 years, has yet to catch this cat in it's own yard. The barking, growling, snarling and chasing of the cat by my dog, in the dog's confined space was never a problem. Now, out in the open, it's MY problem. Really?
I make more of an effort to keep the dog inside. The children know to put the dog in the back yard before they open the front door. The dog is very rarely out in the neighborhood.
The cat? She still wanders at will. She still shows up in the yard, teasing the dog. The neighbor still doesn't care that the cat defiles my gardens and riles the dog. My dog still can't catch the cat.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Girls Day

It was girl's day, today. Sorta.
The girls went for hair cuts and accessory shopping and the boys took a picnic and the dog to the river.
We tried a new salon (I like it and the prices are better than the supercuts places). Cheryn was trusted to tell the stylist what she wanted - I vetoed the length and gave her a couple of other options. Marli had the same options. She made a great choice. Her hair looks great! Too great. In fact, I am thinking about either locking her in her room or imposing a pony tail rule. She can only leave the house with a pony tail.
She wanted bangs. I though, sure, bangs are fun. She hasn't had bangs since she was about two. This will be cute. Cute isn't the word. She has long bangs that are swept to the side and her curls are layered and look more like beachy waves. She is beautiful and looks much older than 13. Yikes!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The gym

The gym is an interesting place. I have put off going for a long time. I didn't want to walk my droopy, flabby self into a place with mirrors all around, toned, thin, tan people staring at themselves and showing off how fit they are. Then, I found this little place that some of my friends have been talking about. Anyone can go there, but their main target is the average american fatso. Really! So, off I go. I sign up and commit myself to this power strength class three days a week. wow! I am gonna do this!
First day was torture. I am sure this instructor is up all hours of the night imagining new ways to torture our under developed little muscles. I left the gym already aching. The day wears on, no problem. Keep moving, I'm told. Keep those lactic acids from building up. The what? Um, okay, I can keep moving. I have six kids. How can anyone with that many kids just sit? It doesn't happen. I even stand to write my blogs in case I have to take care of something in a hurry!
Then, I went to bed and spent several hours lying still. In the morning I got out of bed and nearly died. My body hurt. A lot. It hurt to lower myself onto the toilet seat. I went again for the second round. It wasn't quite as bad, but I don't think I worked very hard, because I could barely move anyway.
The third day at the gym was murder. Different instructor. Female. I swear female fitness instructors are merciless. They talk sweet, but push us to our death. Fortunately, the class is only 45 mintues long, not quite enough to actually get through death's door.
Week two rolls around. I rise at 4 am and go to it again. And again. I am committed! I am excited to be healthier! As for the mirrors, well, I can see how tortured everyone else in the class is and know that I am not alone!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

daylight view on previous post

Now that the sun is up (hard to tell in this region), some reflection on the previous post regarding Looks and church ladies:

I do not have a problem with people looking great and their children looking sparkley. I don't have a problem with people living in larger houses or having nicer things.
I have a problem with the pressure that some 'brothers and sisters' in the church place on others to acquire the same things. That somehow we aren't spiritual enough if we haven't been blessed financially. A good friend mentioned this disturbance a little while ago, and it has been tossing about in my mind, gathering bits and pieces here and there.
I suppose if we are doing what we believe that God has asked us to do with what he has given us, then that is all we can do. I do not in any way believe that financial prosperity is God's only way of blessing those who have been shown responsible with little, thereby giving them responsibility for more. This happens in myriad other ways. More children, a promotion at work, discipling other believers, the blessing of being present when a blind one is relieved of the scales over their eyes and confesses a spirit impoverished without God. And yes, even more hardship and more persecution.
If my harship was a small house with two adults and one child, and it has been increased to the same small house with five more children, then I will continue to give God glory for providing for our needs, giving us the gift of children, and hoping that I teach them with biblical truths as they learn to make decisions for themselves. I pray that I give thanks always for the warmth and safety of of my house, the convenience of appliances and electricity, and plenty of clothing and linens to keep us clean and comfortable.
I do spend plenty enough time pining for grand accomodations. Often I pray that God will bless me in just the ways I want to be blessed. I believe in praying specifically. I can only feel good about praying that way, though if my wants are what God wants for me. Does he want a bigger house and nicer things for me? I don't know. I do know where I am now, and I intend to bloom there.
Even if my bloom looks more like a dandelion than a rose to those around me.

Church Lady Adventures-Looks

Church ladies always look just right. no strings hanging from hems, hair in place, make up on, shoes match the outfit, no stains, children's hair combed, faces shining, ditto with the clothes.
*record skips, scratcheds*
What?
Oh, man-can I keep up with that? Appearance is somewhat important, after all, we live in the United States of America. We are expected to be overly concerned with hygene. And looks. Should that be pushed at church? The looks part. I'm all for the hygene!
Here it is, why is it so incredibly important for us to wear the latest fashions, ironed and with the right shoes, hair in place and make up on, all the children shining and perfectly coiffed and clean. I get that we don't want to appear dirty and disheveled all of the time. We need to show that we care for the gifts that God has given us. Okay. So, what if it's been a long day, I've been out with all of the children, and I have to stop in at the grocery store before I go home. It's illegal to leave the children in the vehicle while I shop, so, in come the kiddos.
They have various juice splotches on their shirts, crumbs stuck in their hair from snacks, possibly their socks actually match, and dirt and grass stains on their knees. My pony tail is coming out all over the place, my eye make up, if I bothered, is smudged terribly, and I have spit up and sticky hand prints from shoulder to knee. I have one pair of shoes left, so they go with everything, even if they don't 'go'.
No one says outright to my face that this is unacceptable. It's the looks -I promise, not perceived! And whispers, often combined with a pointing finger or gesturing hand.
pss.pss.pss "She could at least comb their hair.", "Does she ever bathe them?", "Poor children.", "What a group of little urchins." That's just at the grocery store!
At church, oh, my! I was taught as I was growing up that we bring our best to God on Sunday mornings. We are sparkling clean, we wear our best clothes, that's that. Not a bad thing to learn to do.
What happens when it's been a marathon week, sleep isn't entirely possible during the nights, something has happened to the matching shoe for at least three of the six children, and the baby has spit up on nearly every top that mom has. Mom puts a sweater over the one top that is still clean, hoping that a double layer will at least get her out the door. The children end up wearing their golashes, because they can find the mates. Make up may or may not have been applied, and again, the ponytail wins out.
We get to church to find that folks are in their sunday best. One of my boys runs by with his buzz cut grown out a bit too long and laying awkwardly on one side because he went to bed with it wet. My sweet little princess girl is somehow wearing pink and white cowboy boots that are three sizes too large and don't exactly go with the Christmas dress that she is still wearing in March. My sweater didn't make it, and my blouse has been doomed. My shirt and my shoes don't match. *sigh* I'm looking around. No one else appears to have this problem. People say they do, but I am sure they are just trying to help me feel better. Look at them! They don't look like this!
What about where we live? All kidding aside for the moment - I have actually had people say how surprised they are about where we live. After all, we have so many children that they just assumed we live in a very large house. Hmmm. We've lived in the same tiny house since we had one child. The other five showed up one right after the other and here we all live. Is there some sort of church standard about a person's dwelling? Are there particular neighborhoods that are acceptable? No, of course not, but do we think it anyway? And if so, then does that mean that people who live in less desirable areas should move when they choose to follow Christ?
Is it so impossible to believe that some of us choose to live in a means consistent with the income that has been provided to us? Is it wrong to steward what God has given us to use for his glory? Is it somehow against the grain of the body of Christ to ignore the pursuit of material wealth?
So I say, look great in your designer duds if you can afford them. Apply your make up with skill and keep it in place throughout the day if this is one of your talents. Work your magic that keeps your childrens hair in place and clothes clean all day long, if that's what you can do...but don't be harsh with me when my children play like children, then get dirty. When my nails aren't manicured and my clothes are all but worn out.
Do you have any idea how much pressure is on a mom to look good, the more children there are? It's almost like a contest. "Okay, I have four now. I can still put on make up and heels. People will still think I'm okay. ", "Number five. Going out with five children. Final coat of mascara, now the lipstick. Okay. I look like I have control over things." , "Six. I have six children. God, dear God, you have blessed me with six, but that means I have less time to get everyone out the door. I pray, dear Lord, matching shoes, with two socks per child or my hair and make up?"

***DISCLAIMER

If you look good, I don't hate you. I do make an effort now and then, because I feel good about being able to do it sometimes. We DO have a shoe tree - but, it is rarely in season. If we haven't invited you to our house, don't feel bad, it's just big enough for the eight of us and, in true American fashion, we have too much stuff so there isn't any room for you to sit.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

grouch

I'm a grumpity ol' grouch today. I admit it. I don't like how it makes me feel. I have a terrible headache, stomach ache and am super tired. I'd love to snuggle up under a fluffy blanket with a cup of coffee a book and an assortment of DVD's.......but. I have children to care for, classes to drop off and pick up for, lessons to prepare for, bible study class to study for, laundry to fold and put away, dishes to wash, food to cook, diapers to change, floors to sweep, and even a dog to pay attention to, bills to pay, remember personally where everyone put everything that they can not easily locate. sigh. And there is cheese dried on to the inside of the cheese grater. And two babies are crying. See you later!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Stupid Random Thoughts

Man, oh Man! Here I am, excited about getting to work on writing a book. Thoughts colliding in my mind, scrambeling to be the first to be written down. The link up togther forming sentences, paragraphs, description. Title ideas, topic ideas. How to keep things general. What style to use.
I am so excited to be writing a book! I am continuing my bible studies, and want this book to be a reflection of who God has created me to be.
Then, I opened my mouth.
These wonderful, linked up thoughts were not great. They didn't link up in any real order. Things have begun to come out of my mouth that are so completely random, all I can do is laugh. Hard. And pray that the random things are not unGodly.
I blurted out some inane thing about snakes being able to see through their eyelids, and the relationship between man and serpent/Jesus Christ and Satan according to God in the book of Genesis, during a bible study about the book of Matthew. What? I have no idea. It seemed to make sense in my head, when I said it out loud, it was just strange.
My husband showed me some coats he picked up for the boys at a second hand store. I told him that one of them looked great. The other, I said, "doesn't look very orange." Blank stare. "What?" I ask. He tells me it isn't supposed to be orange. At all. Warm is what I meant. Why did orange come out? I don't recall even thinking about anything orange.
My hope is that by writing more things down, and being able to cross off the crazy random things, my thoughts will be more centered. Instead of things swimming through my head and oozing out of my mouth, they will be contained and categorized. Not that I will suddenly be eloquent and sound knowing and wise, but that I will strive for wise in my speech.
I have a feeling I'll be wasting loads of notebook paper...

Monday, March 16, 2009

super quick bible thought

Church and community. Community and church. We have a 'church home'. We have a 'church community.' We have a community church. Right? I hope so. The church is not a building (thx to Pastors Jesse and Scott for saying this thousands of times over), it is the body of Christ. So, is our community lived out in the body of Christ? Should it be lived out in the body of Christ? Should our complications and balancing acts be lived out in the body of Christ? How about AS the body of Christ IN the community? If our relationships with other body members are healthy, and we are discipling one another, spurring each other on to good works, and supporting one another, then we are doing what God's word has instructed. Are we leaving these things where they are? In the building? EGADS! I hope not! Take these things out into your community. Be a Holy reflection to the people you see everyday!
I hope to live this way. I want people that don't love Jesus to see that I am someone who needs forgiveness, and strives to be Holy - not someone who believes themselves to have achieved perfection. That is discouraging to folks that believe that we have to have cast aside all of our junk before coming to the cross.
Obviously we don't want to '...keep on sinning to gain grace...', we just want to be real!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I Read The Comments

Do you ever read the comments that are left for online news reports? They are amazing! I am going to generalize here, because there may be a couple of truly intelligent people that have left proufound remarks.
The remarks left by these people are stunningly preposterous! I love them! What a laugh. Often, they are just gross. Usually, however, they are hilarious.
My unofficial research has led to the discovery that no matter what the news story was - science, entertainment, travel, finance - the comments go to religion and evolution. Almost every single time! What angers people the most? Mentions of Jesus Christ, His saving grace, God's love and laws, and the cross.
Mentions of evolution don't seem to stir anger, just conversation. Someone types in "the bible says..." and the follow up comments are seething with hate!
If anyone reading this is having trouble finding lost people to pray for (really? All your friends are Christians?) then go on line, click on a news story, find an angry ranting post, and pray specifically for that person.
This is not a practice that should exclude sharing the gospel in person and building real face-to-face relationships, it's in addition to .
Try it!

Friday, March 13, 2009

sick, sick, sick!

One kiddo has strep, I probably have strep, one baby might have strep. Ick, yuck and gross. I'm going to lean on prayer purposfully tomorrow as I stagger through the day. I plan on allowing lots of DVD watching, computer time, free reading, maybe even video games, I'll work on the Precept study of Matthew, and filling a notebook with scribblings intended for a book. We will consume chicken soup, possibly ice-cream. Believe it or not, the pediatrician listed ice cream as a good throat soother. Sounds good to me!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Big Idea

The Zoo Mama Chronicles
Adventures of a Church Lady.


I don’t like church ladies. They are mean and scary. They have rigid rules and high expectations. They gossip and are snooty. Church ladies exclude people and have small minds. These women are forces to be reckoned with. The whole of their existence is to shield their children from the perils of the earth – mainly Saturday morning cartoons and the neighbor children, keep the church kitchen in order and forever churn out casseroles for church potlucks. Modern dress is abhorrent to this crew, and laughter is but a few titters here and there at the antics of toddlers and embarrassment over some trivial matter. These women rule everything! Their husbands are weak and their children cower. I sometimes picture even God’s knees knocking a bit when these women take to prayer!
Horrible, terrible revelation: I am a church lady. Noooooooo! I grew up going to church. I go to church now. I am married and have children. I use the church kitchen, volunteer in the nursery, and teach Sunday School. There is, however, a difference. The high expectations are God’s. His law is written on my heart and I seek to serve Him. There are still potlucks and church building work to be done. I volunteer for these things and enjoy serving the local body of Christ this way. There are so many ways to be a woman in the local church (read: body of Christ) and get something done for God with compassion and joy.

writing stuff

Writing is writing. Right? Writing a blog, or an email is not the same as writing a book. I hope. There here blog is a place for random musings. A place for a rough sketch of an idea. A place for thoughts to spill out over one another and hopefully match up.
Writing a book, however, is a different story. I am embarking on the great adventure of writing a book. I've taken classes, gone to writing conferences and researched the writing and publishing processes. Immensly boring stuff. Yawn. Yet, here am I! scribbling notes in a spiral notebook. Phrases that won't get out of my head. Ideas that seem to compound in my imagination. They are going down on paper. At some point they will be organized and typed up and printed out and sent places.
Here's the part that's difficult for me. Waiting. Time. I am definately a product of the microwave generation. I don't want to wait. I want it done right now. I understand that writing a book can take years! AUGH! I don't know if I can handle that!
I'm learning things. About God and what God wants me to know about myself and His love and grace...and timing. 'His thoughts are not like my thoughts, His ways are not like my ways...' (my paraphrase). I have lots of small children. It will take time for them to grow up. It takes time to train them in the way they should go. It takes time to get them to wipe their own hineys. It takes time to get to the bottom of the hamper.
Patience is something that I have prayed extensively for. God doesn't give me patience ZAP! He gives me many opportunities to practice patience. Many, many, many opportunities.
This book writing thing is something that I have thought about for a while. I've kicked the idea around from time to time. What on earth would I write about? I have nothing to write about. Through various blogs and othe outlets, I have proven that I can write about nothing, or at least not much. The book is an idea that grew and stuck. It swims around in my head. What's more is that the idea has traveled from my brain to my heart. I have to write the book. I have to be open and public about the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have to use the gifts that God has given me to share is message in they way he created me. I am not a preacher. I am not a televangelist. I am not a foreign missionary. I am a stay at home mom, home schooling, church going, God fearing, furniture rearranging, craft doing, book writing person.
Excerpts and ideas to follow.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Jerks for Jesus

People say all sorts of things. ALL sorts. Some people talk about God, Faith and Jesus Christ. Yay! That is awesome! I do, too! They speak truth in love. They are gentle and kind. Others are less gentle, but still loving. The message is the gospel and the delivery is reverant.

Then, there are the Jerks for Jesus. They know everything about the bible, the history of christianity and every other major religion. They know what is wrong with everyone they come in contact with AND they know how to fix it. Always with an answer at the ready, they lay in wait for 'key' words in a conversation. Their eyes brighten, their shoulders roll back, they stand a little taller - and - Pounce! The victim, uh, listener, now knows just how to make his life right. Should he choose to ignore the free advice and/or not show marked improvement within the week...watch out...the JfJ is on the move.

I, myself have been known as a JfJ. Not for spouting and being bossy, but for talking about the truth and wondering what sort of truth others believe. Folks get pretty edgy when they don't have answer to that! When I say atheism, Darwin, Buddah, power, fortune, or fame-people will politely join the conversation. When I say God, Jesus Crist, satan, Heaven, or hell, people become defensive and angry. I am not confused as to why. I'm a JfJ - I know the answer (haha!). It's heartbreaking, actually. The thought that someone could spend eternity absent from the Creator is enough to compel me to continue speaking the truth. I will Christ as I continue to learn and grow in Him.

I don't have all the answers. I'm getting a few as I go - but nothing that will stop the universe!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Modern psalm of Praise

You have heard my cry, Oh God! You have heard my wailing!
Lord God, you have heard my dying breath and have responded.
My needs are met through You, Most High!
You, precious Lord have sent relief. I now have hope and joy.
The one was sent, Oh God, to clear the way. To straighten the mess, and to tidy the bowl.
My relief is evident. My spirit is full. I overflow with thanksgiving!
Your servent found his way to my pain and has relieved my distress.
You are faithful and true!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Lamentations

Where are you God?
And where is the shephard, knowledgeable and wise, that you have promised me?
You are immovable. Always in the same place. I don't remember moving. I don't recall stepping away from you, yet I look for you and and cannot see you.
The delights that you have blessed me with, the gifts that you have given, have become opressive and strangling.
They climb over me and surround me and shade me from you.
They consume my mind, they steal my strength. My soul is void,it is empty.
I long for your presence. Your abiding comfort, your strength. The strength that you promised, God, where is it?
I pray for understanding and a soft heart when I read your words. The understanding does not come. Why do I not recieve your wisdom? Why am I cast out in the shadows, cold and confused?
I come up for air. I have an hour. One hour of quiet, alone, without other people. I cry out for you, God. I scream out for your Holy Spirit. Why can I not hear your Spirit through all of the noise? Why does your spirit not scream out for me as I do for you?
O, Holy God, these tears course down my face, I can not choke them back. They flow out, taking with them my energy.
You have given me gifts of Mercy and of Encouragement, yet you put me in a place of leadership and teaching. I am so weak, God. I could lie on my face and die. You don't let me. You push me through each day. You allow my eyes to open each morning and my breath to continue through the night. You cause my sleep to be disturbed. You give me troubling dreams. You send visions of tidal waves that destroy everything around me, and my family and my self.
You show me my weakness. You show me that I am unable on my own. I reach for you. I long for you. I fall on my knees to grasp some part of you, yet you leave me alone.
Show me. Show me. I am ready to know. I can not wait any longer. my relationships suffer because of this turmoil in me.
God, make me whole. Give me peace.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Book Review

My daughter has these great teen fiction books The Christy Miller series. I enjoy reading what she does so that we can discuss it afterward. In this case, I wanted to read the books with her because they are written by a christian auther that wants to give young teens a picture of what it is like to apply biblical principle to their lives.
When people write books about God, the bible, and application of scripture, sometimes it gets warped. A verse is taken out of context, or a truth is mixed up in a personal opinion. It sounds like the truth, but isn't quite. There's something a little off. I didn't read the Twilight series with my daughter because, well, the whole series is more than a little off. Entertaining, perhaps, but I didn't need to wonder if the truth was being twisted. In the vampire books, there is no truth. It's all fantasy. Fun, but not as worrisom as believing a lie.
These are great books. I'm sure they aren't perfect, but it appears that author Robin Jones Gunn has done her research. She hits on topics that are important and life consuming for most teens in the USA. She doesn't go into gory and disturbing detail if someting terrible is happening to one of the characters. She is able to communicate through her writing so that the reader knows what happened, and the story continues. There is enough gory and disturbing detail in everyday life, I don't believe that my children need to read about in their fiction.
The biblical refrences are right on - I looked them up myself to make sure that the verse addresses and content match, they do. The commentary, or application that the characters come up with is great. There are some characters whose faith is strong. They are wise and willing to share with new believers with gentelness. This is impressive to me. This series more than encourages a life of faith. It is a great tool to use for expounding on life application lessons with the bible, and they are a fun read
Many thanks to Tia for introducing us to this series!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Psalms

I was supposed to have the kiddos up 5 minutes ago. I'll make this quick. I have been reading the Psalms this morning. I chose Psalms because it' what our Pastor is chatting about on Sunday mornings. I posted something on Facebook about a Psalm, then I read further and posted somethign else. A friend noticed that my Profile became a blog. So here we are!
Psalms are a great place to find incredibly direct communication with God, praises or lament. I love the laments that end by giving God glory. Psalms that say just what I am thinking and feeling in a particular moment and direct my to God's goodness, His purpose, His faithfulness.
Psalm 13 and Psalm 24 were my focus this morning. Psalm 13 is a reminder to trust God even when He doesn't answer us immediately (in my time) and Psalm 24 is a reminder that everything belongs to God (even when my grasp is white knuckle).

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Friends

Have you been FaceBook-ing? It is fun! I like it better than My Space. Not because of programs or graphics or navigation. Because it's easier to find friends! I have never felt so good as when my friend counter clicked to 100! Talk about an Ego boost!
What's cool about this is that I absolutely know each person in my friends list. Do they know me? I'm not really sure. I felt invisible during HS and college. There was a group of people that I knew and spent time with, sure. I had classes with others, so we recognized faces. I was surprised, actually, that some people from so long ago accepted my friend invites. I do not have my maiden name on my listing, and most of us have changed quite a bit physically since those long ago years.
I have lamented a few times that I just don't have any friends. Boo-Hoo, poor me, no one wants to spend time with me. So, I evaluated the situation. Am I just nerdy? Really weird? Do I say offensive things? Do I smell bad? As it happens, I had this idea of what friendship is supposed to be among adult women with children that stay home to raise them. I thought that we should be getting together at eachother's homes and sipping coffee at the kitchen table, visiting while the children play quietly and responsibly together.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
That isn't how it goes at all! We get together and spend three quarters of that time telling the children to be quiet or to get along and be quiet or how to solve their problems and be quiet and to clean up and to be quiet. We go a few weeks without saying anything significant to one another and suddenly realize it. "Oh! We haven't spoken in a long time! Quick, let's get a meaningful conversation in, I have ten minutes, you?"
I have come to believe that a busy mom that would take their one spare set of 10 minutes to have conversation with someone and make it a priority is a good friend. Moms that will add children to their carpool on a moments notice, or that will give you their last diaper, and hold the baby while you use the bathroom one of two times for that entire day. Moms that simply sweep the papers and crayons and playdough off of the table when you show up, and don't get embarrassed when you grab the broom and start helping out. Moms that don't wrinkle up their noses in disgust at the overwhelming smell of spit up radiating from your shoulder. Mom's that don't say a word about your child's new haircut when it is obvious that it was given by another small child. These are friends that make life bearable and enjoyable.
This is a season of life. I am blessed to share it with others that revel in their current state. I hope I remember these times when I move into another season. I hope to be that good friend to some other harried, tired, overloaded women with small children and an overflowing diaperbag.
Mothers of the world - breath!