Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
The book is about an elderly lady and broken family relationships. Not what I'd call "light" reading, but definitely engaging and worthwhile. I think I'd read this book before, but I didn't remember much of it. It made more of an impact on me this time.
I was challenged as I read some of the negative thoughts of the characters.
- How often do I believe the lies that the enemy plants in my head?
- How often do I place blame on others rather than accepting responsibility for my own sin?
- How often to I get caught up in my own life to the neglect of anyone else?
- How often do I insist upon my own way?
- How often do I harbor bitterness in my heart?
Yes, it was certainly challenging!
As Leota shares with her granddaughter about cultivating a garden she has many wise words,
"A garden is only yours as long as you seed, weed, cultivate, water, and prune. A garden needs lots of tender, loving care....It's lots of work. You don't realize at first. You have to soften the soil with hoeing and fertilizing. Then you plant the seed and water and weed, all the while watching and hoping for growth. Then you have to protect the seedlings from vermin, and prune when things grow too fast and wild. Sometimes it gets away from you altogether. Sometimes they die, and you don't know why. But then others flourish, so that everyone can partake. That's the whole point, don't you see? Bearing fruit. Carrying the sweet aroma...." (Tyndale page 203)
So much richness in these instructions. So much practical application, so much spiritual depth. It's no wonder the Bible is so full of gardening analogies; they make so much sense if you pause long enough to ponder their eternal significance.
Later Leota thinks to herself,
"It wasn't enough to love the flowers. Annie would have to hate the weeds that tried to choke the life from them. She would need to soften the soil and plant the seed so that she could watch the Father bring forth the growth. She would have to cut away the branches that died. It took harsh pruning sometimes to bring forth the fruit, all so that others might partake." (Tyndale page 340)
These are the passages I have been pondering. These words have been lingering with me throughout the afternoon.
I haven't posted pictures of my vegetable garden because it's overgrown with weeds. I've spent time out there, but not enough. I made a dent a couple of weeks ago only to leave for a week and return to find that it was worse than ever.
My tomato plants have beautiful green tomatoes, some of which have ripened and been picked and eaten already, some of which are close to being ready to be picked, but the leaves are yellowing and covered with spots, some are brown...evidence of disease I imagine, but I haven't done any research to find out more.
As I read Leota's wise words about cultivating a garden and nurturing it, her instruction about vermin and pruning, I am challenged by the hasty way that I have gone about gardening. I don't prepare the soil as it should be prepared; I'm too impatient to get the plants in the ground. I don't water faithfully. I don't fertilize. I don't treat the diseases or uproot diseased plants before the disease spreads to other plants. And I certainly don't weed enough. Then I wondered,
And what about sin? Do I hate those weeds? Truthfully, I could say that my feelings towards sin are the same as my feelings towards the weeds in my garden. I don't like that they're there. I wish they would magically disappear, but I allow them to linger. I don't hate them enough to fight them. I get overwhelmed and pray that the Lord would produce His godly fruit in my life without having to deal with the sinful weeds.
It's tough facing the truth. I'm praying that God would pierce my heart through with it. That I would share His hatred of sin, and fight to live a holy life. I know that as I stand before Him I am holy because I am clothed in the righteousness of Christ. I know that God is gracious. It's not about working toward holiness; it's about living the resurrected life and walking in the Spirit. There is no place for sin in the life of a believer.
Grace and Peace,
Monday, July 28, 2008
A Future and a Hope- It took me a couple of years of arm twisting to convince Lisa to start blogging. She is a dear friend from my support group in Virginia and someday I hope to go on a long adventurous road-trip with her family and mine. I was the color of Green Gables when I heard she'd be traveling to P.E.I without me. She was so kind to send a postcard! Now I get to enjoy her pictures and stories!
All the Days of My Life Psalm 27:4 Holly is the wife of the youth pastor at our church in Virginia. She is such a godly woman with an amazing testimony. She has two sons: one was adopted from the Ukraine through Shohanna's Hope (I think), and the other was a domestic adoption. Holly will be beginning to homeschool this fall. She's very thrifty and likes to blog about her awesome Freecycle and garage sale finds. I think some of you will really love her! I do!
Blessings from Above I've blogged about my dear friend Jill who I adore before, and now she has a blog of her own. This post is a must read.
Simple Expressions: Kristin was roomates with some of my really good college friends. Although we were only acquaintances, I have enjoyed getting to read about the things that God lays on her heart through her blog. She was a missionary for a little while after college, now she's a stay at home mom. It's not always easy to read about social injustice, but sometimes we need to so that we can look beyond our own selfish existence into a hurting world that is hungry for Christ. Kristin challenges me to do that. She also has a great sense of humor as can be seen here and here.
This is the Life I happened to see Debbie's face on an avatar and recognized her as a woman I was in Bible study with in Virginia. I'm not the only one who has discovered her and who is enjoying her delightful sense of humor.
I hope I haven't embarrassed any of these dear women by linking to them; I just love them too much to keep them to myself. :)
So go say hi already!
Grace and Peace,
Saturday, July 26, 2008
The challenge is that I'm afraid of diets. My struggle in the past with border-line anorexia compels me to avoid dieting at all costs. I don't want to count calories or fat-calories or figure out correct portion sizes or watch my weight or any of that stuff. I know how obsessed I was with that in the past and I just don't want to go there again. Sigh.
Another part of the problem is that I don't know that I have really overcome this struggle. I still skip meals, I still have an unhealthy view of what my ideal weight should be, I still struggle with contentment with the way my body is, and I'm not sure I'd be content even if I were 20 pounds lighter.
So how does a person who truly needs to lose some weight, but has struggled with border-line anorexia in the past and still continues to do so even though it doesn't look like it externally, lose weight in a healthy manner? I don't know. If anyone can enlighten me, I'd really appreciate it. I do have a few ideas of how to start though, and I guess I'll just have to see how they work.
- No fad diets: I haven't read and don't plan to read any South Beach or Atkins or Mediterranean or French (although that one sounds intriguing) or _________ books. No diet pills, no Slim-fast, and NO cabbage soup diets either!
- Eat more: All the seasoned experts say that you need to eat less and exercise more, but the fact is that I don't eat enough and my metabolism has shut down. I need to eat more consistently throughout the day. I especially need to eat breakfast first thing in the morning!!!
- Eat less: I know I just said I need to eat more, but I also need to eat less when I do eat: one half a chicken breast for dinner not a whole, no seconds, try to watch portion sizes at dinner, don't eat half the chocolate chip cookies myself, eat something for breakfast other than chocolate cake.
- Exercise: working in the garden and chasing after the kids just don't cut it. I need real exercise. I hope to get up early and ride my bike before it gets too hot, do Pilates (hopefully 3 times a week) with workout tapes in the basement, and ride my bike to play tennis with my family in the evenings (1-2 times a week?)
- Eat more raw foods: I stocked up at the farmer's market and the grocery produce section this morning. Salads, fruit, fresh (local) veggies...now I just need to eat them myself and not just feed them to the kids!
- Whole grains: I've been adding whole grains to our diet for over a year, so this isn't anything different, I'll just continue to enjoy them.
- Nothing radical: I'm not going to eliminate sugar completely or high fat foods. I won't eat diet or lite or low-fat anything. Instead, I'm focusing on moderation, self control, and enjoying certain foods as special treats, not everyday occurrences.
- Prayer & Scripture Memory: The fruit of the Spirit is self-control. Gluttony is a sin. I need to yield to the Holy Spirit in this area of my life, surrender to Jesus, and allow God to be victorious. In my weakness, His strength is made manifest.
- Blogging: I've never been thrilled when people post about diets, but I think it would be good for me to record what I eat and how much I exercise to hold myself accountable. Since I hope to do this daily, I'm going to use my old blog as a place to record my progress. If you're interested in keeping up with me, encouraging me, or holding me accountable, you can follow my progress here. It will not hurt my feelings a bit if you don't really care. ;)
Those are my ideas. We'll see how it goes. I still don't own a scale, so I'm not going to be able to obsess over how much weight I've lost. Instead, I'll just have to judge how I'm doing by how my clothes fit and how I feel physically.
Do you have any suggestions? What's worked for you when it comes to losing weight or eliminating the muffin top?
Grace and Peace,
Friday, July 25, 2008
Today, we had an opportunity to see the new movie Kit Kittredge: An American Girl in the theater. We don't go to the movie theater very often so this was a special treat. I checked out the plugged-in online review before I went and was fairly confident that this movie would be okay for my kids, but knowing how
I thought it was fabulous! Absolutely fabulous!
It was one of the best tear-jerkers I've seen in a while, and it was funny too! All of my kids from my 5 1/2 year old with a low attention span to my 11 year old son were enthralled and captivated. The message was fabulous and not at all hokey. It was a sincere, believable film with a great cast of fine actors and actresses. I loved it! I think it's a very timely message with the current financial state of our country. There's a lot of good thought-provoking content that can yield positive discussion with your kids too. Things like
- the value of a strong work ethic
- our attitude toward those who are less fortunate than us
- where we place our trust
- the importance of keeping your word
- the uncertainty of riches
- stealing...is it ever acceptable?
- lying...is it ever okay?
- believing people to be innocent until proven guilty
- not judging people based on outward appearances or external circumstances
- resisting peer pressure
- being willing to sacrifice
It's a great movie, and the only bad thing is that it must not have done well in the theaters since I had to drive 45 minutes to the closest one that was still showing it, and it was the last day it was playing there. So I guess you'll have to wait until it comes out on DVD. But when it does, it's worth buying.
So there. I can be positive. Hollywood isn't all bad.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
- Fifteen year old boy.
- Latch-key kid.
- Single parent home.
- Public school educated.
Reading this list, what comes to mind? Depending on who you are, what your convictions are, and what kind of background you have, you may come to different conclusions about the character of this boy. What if I add another?
Changes everything, doesn't it? Well it should anyway!
In this society where teenage boys rarely want anything to do with small children or their thirty-something moms, I am blessed to know several who shatter the stereotypes. The kids and I just got home from playing tennis with one of them. He lives around the corner and goes to our church. I don't know much about his background, but I know that his parents are divorced. He and his brother have been on their own for much of the summer, attending summer school in the morning, taking driver's ed, and then hanging out while their mother works at a local bank. We've talked about inviting them over some afternoon, but our summer has been so busy that it hasn't worked out. Today, we finally made it happen.
I am no longer surprised by this boy, or his brother, or several of the other male youth in our church. They love our kids. My kids adore them. My five year old especially adores this 15 year old. Perhaps I should be concerned. But I'm not. The thing is that he respects me too, and my husband. He looks me in the eye and talks to me like I'm a real person. Maybe nobody told him that I'm 33 and he shouldn't enjoy talking to me.
Today, he rode his bike to our house where we packed a picnic lunch and headed to the tiny community park to play tennis. When I asked if anyone wanted to pray, he volunteered and prayed a simple sincere prayer. As we ate lunch he talked to us about the Bible study he's doing with a couple of other boys from the youth group. We talked about the flood, dinosaurs, and millions of years. He doesn't believe any of that millions of years stuff. And he's not even homeschooled. Imagine that.
He humored our feeble attempts to keep the tennis ball in play; me an out-of-shape formerly average tennis player, the kids---novices. He was careful to avoid hitting the two younger girls as they skipped rope around the tennis court. He never seemed to mind being with us. He never got frustrated. I wasn't at all surprised, but then I realized that I probably should be. After all, boys like I described at the beginning of this post shouldn't be respectful and willing to play with little kids and middle-aged women. They should be self-absorbed and bitter and __________. They should be too busy playing computer games or hanging out with their friends or getting into trouble.
But not this kid. He's defying the odds. He loves Jesus, is growing in God's Word, has a mother who loves the Lord, a church that stands with her. It is clearly evident that the Holy Spirit is living and active in his life, and I am blessed to have him as a friend and role model to my own children.
I pray that God would continue to be glorified in his life, and that we be challenged to recognize that the power of the Holy Spirit can overcome any circumstance. God can work in the lives of any who are willing to submit to the Lordship of the Son; whether they come from a single family home or have two parents, whether they're homeschooled or attend public or private school, whether they're 15 or 25, male or female,... God is faithful!
Grace and Peace,
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
And the greatest irony of all. Even though we were surrounded by corn, we never had a single taste the entire trip. All this corn is for feed, not really suitable for human consumption. Pity. At least the girls had a fun time playing in it.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
- I'm glad Emily is stalking me. I love that girl!
- I'm glad to be home with my husband and son again. Saturday afternoon after the boys returned from Scout Camp, all six of us just sat in our living room together. No tv, no music, no computer, no toys, no games; just the six of us hangin' out. I'm glad we can do that and that we really do enjoy being together.
- I'm glad that my geeky husband had an extra keyboard lying around so that he could replace the old one whose space bar mysteriously quit working (he's blaming the cat), even though it doesn't fit in the keyboard drawer. Thanks, sweetie! :)
- I'm glad that my glasses were found in a parking lot in Illinois and that they're being shipped to me. In the meantime, I'm glad that I have an old pair of reading glasses so that I can still read and work on the computer despite the fact that my eyes ache and my head is pounding. I'm also glad that I have prescription sun glasses so that I can still drive until my regular glasses arrive in the mail even though I wouldn't have lost my regular glasses in the first place if I didn't have my beloved prescription sunglasses.
- I'm glad that I have glasses and don't have to endure blurry vision and headaches all the time.
- I'm glad we had chocolate chip pancakes for dinner and root beer floats for dessert as it'll be a long time before those pass my lips again. (unless someone can share with me a safe, effective, and healthy way to lose 20 lbs. on a diet of chocolate and ice cream, because I've been trying to perfect one for years and it just isn't working!)
- I'm glad that I had an opportunity to spend a week with my dad and that we have a good, albeit imperfect, relationship.
- I'm glad that I got one more opportunity to see my grandmother, I don't know how many more I will have.
- I'm glad that my grandmother still knows me in her heart although she never spoke my name. I'm glad that I was blessed to see her radiant face as she gazed into mine, and her joy as I spoke to her and as she watched my girls.
- I'm glad that I got to spend a week with my girls on my aunt and uncle's farm. More on that to come.
- I'm glad that I got to be in my own church for the first time in a month. We've missed being there, and it was really good to be back. I'm glad God has placed us in this body.
- I'm glad that it's my eldest daughter's birthday tomorrow, even though I have mixed emotions as she leaves "eight years old" behind and advances one more year towards double digits.
- I'm glad I'm not starting my "diet" until the day after her birthday (or maybe the day after that, because birthday cake makes a great breakfast the next day and I don't think that's on the "diet" menu.)
- I'm glad that it's bedtime, and that I have a warm and cozy bed to go to and someone who loves me to share it with. I hope that I only have to share it with one other person tonight, and that there aren't any midnight, 3am, 4am, or 6am visitors.
- I'm glad I have friends who'll read this glad post and leave me witty and encouraging comments. ;) What are you glad about?
Grace and Peace,
P.S. And if you happened to be annoyed by the everlasting gladness in this post, stay far far away from Pollyanna, she's even more annoying; although I'm glad we're reading it because it is quite well written and the vocabulary is exemplary. The girls love it, and it's actually a delight to read aloud, if you can get past the eternal optimism. Bah! ;)
Friday, July 18, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
I managed to figure out how to get on-line out here at my aunt and uncle's farm, but at the speed I'm going, I can't say I'll be doing it again. This city girl has been spoiled by her high speed internet! Besides that, blogging and a trip to the farm don't really seem to go together very well. I'd rather just enjoy the quiet (despite the non-stop ESPN) and catch up with you all when we get back. But while I'm logged on, I'll give you a quick update.
I'd appreciate your prayers this week. It's been a year since I've seen my 93 year old grandmother, and she's declined dramatically since our last visit. It's very difficult to see her get old. I'm just trying to be a blessing while I'm here.
My heart is homesick for my husband and my son. I about fell to pieces when I had to say good-bye to my 10 year old, knowing that when I see him again, he'll be 11. I didn't celebrate a birthday away from my parents until I was 21 years old; it's just not right that I have to be separated from my own son so soon.
I really wish my husband could be here. I'm glad that I could make this trip with my dad and be here to support him as he visits his mom, but I've realized that I'd much rather submit to my husband than my father. When you've grown and gone, it's not so easy to come back and put yourself under your father's authority again. Honoring your parents can still be a challenge, even at age thirty-three.
The girls are doing quite well, a little catty as can be expected with 3 girls, but they've been quite delightful too. They love being here in Illinois, surrounded by corn. They're excited at the prospect of goin' fishin' with Uncle Frankie this evening. We're enjoying reading Pollyanna together just us girls. Fun times! This time I'll try not to let anyone erase my camera's memory card.
Well, we're off to the nursing home now. My dad and aunt are out golfing, so the girls and I are on our own for the morning, and I get to drive my own van again. It's the little things. Have a great week, and don't miss me too much.
Grace and Peace,
Friday, July 11, 2008
I'd forgotten how cute little boys look in bug t-shirts and rain boots. I'd forgotten how persistent they are in asking questions, and how they don't stop until you answer them. I'd forgotten how determined little boys can be when the want to get up a hill, no matter how small. I'd forgotten how early they begin to insist, "Me do it myself!"
The older boys are big enough to amuse themselves. They play games, ride bikes, and try to act cool. They know where the kitchen is and how to help themselves, so they really don't need me at all.I sure enjoyed having a little pal for a day. I'd really like to have another little boy of my own, but since I don't, it's nice to know that I can always borrow one.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
- Every person needs their own Five Buck Club card. The cardholder is limited to ONE admission ticket, so make sure you order a card for every person in your family.
- Designated movies can be viewed for $5 at any viewing time. This means you pay less than matinee prices, even at night!
Potatoes. With the storm rolling in and thunder rumbling in the distance, my husband and I were frantically building up our potato mounds. This is our first attempt at potatoes and I don't know how it will turn out. As I review these instructions, I realize that we buried too much of the plant, so I'm going to have to go out and "unbury" the leaves. Oops! There's such a huge learning curve to gardening. This is only my second year, and I still have so much to learn!
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
So, rather than post nothing, I guess I'll play the latest M.E.M.E. This one could be a real challenge for me. When have you ever known me to limit myself to ONE word?
1. Where is your cell phone? Here
2. Your significant other? Wonderful
3. Your hair? Natural
4. Your mother? Knowledgeable
5. Your father? Droll
6. Your favorite thing? Impossible
7. Your dream last night? Forgettable
8. Your favorite drink? Refreshing
9. Your dream/goal? Holiness
10. The room you’re in? Studious
11. Your church? Family
12. Your fear? Failing
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Obedient
14. Where were you last night? Fellowship
15. What you’re not? Neat
16. Muffins? Moist
17. One of your wish list items? Indulgent
18. Where you grew up? Ghetto
19. The last thing you did? Burying
20. What are you wearing? Glasses
21. Your TV? Entertaining
22. Your pets? Shedding
23. Your computer? Necessity?
24. Your life? Abundant
25. Your mood? Peace
26. Missing someone? Perpetually
27. Your car? Ordinary
28. Something you’re not wearing? Accessories
29. Favorite store? Books
30. Your summer? Hospitable
31. Like(love) someone? Absolutely
32. Your favorite color? Green
33. Last time you laughed? Melissa's
34. Last time you cried? Worshipping
35. Who will repost this? Anybody?
Friday, July 4, 2008
Since I started blogging, I've grown quite attached to a handful of very special women. One of them is my dear friend, Christa. She's a gem! Lest we forget the sacrifices that continue to be made on our behalfs, I encourage you to read her latest post A Man In the House.
Let's join in prayer for those who have paid the ultimate price, for the families they have left behind, wives just like us with children just like ours, and also lift up those who continue to fight and defend our nation. May they safely return to their loved ones. And while you're at it, why don't you leave Christa a comment telling her how much you appreciate her, and how beautiful she is, and what fabulous kids she has, and how awesome her pictures are, and that you're praying for her and her husband and all of the other husbands that are "over there." I think filling her inbox with comments would be a wonderful way to celebrate Independence Day! :)
Grace and Peace,
Thursday, July 3, 2008
It wasn't enough that I had cable internet.
It wasn't enough that I had a blog.
No. It wasn't enough.
But now, now I am a full-fledged member of the 21st Century!
I got a cell phone. Can you hear me now?
Gasp! You mean I didn't have a cell phone before?!? You mean I've existed all these years without a cell phone?!?! You mean, I made countless long-distance road trips with my four children WITHOUT A CELL PHONE?!?!?!
WHAT was I thinking?!?
Are you IN?
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
My dear 1ds10 received permission to take the old digital camera with him to Scout Camp. Now he's searching for the instruction manual. He's his mother's son.
He has to be the first to read all the rules to every new game and then of course he has to explain them to everyone else. Any new toy, un-assembled piece of furniture, appliance,...if it has a manual, he'll read it. He even reads manuals that he just finds laying around whether or not he needs to know how that product operates or whether or not we even own the product anymore. We may have assembled the bookshelf months ago, but now he's read the instructions and knows how to assemble it. LOL
Yes, just like his mother. Except his mother has grown too busy to read the instruction manuals, so once he finally finds the one for the camera, he'll probably figure out how to do more with it than I ever did. (Because of course, I can't figure out how to do anything without the instructions!)
He's a bit out of control, but at least this will be one man who stops to read the directions! ;)
On the subject of directions, have you all noticed the change in such over the years. Recently, I've been increasingly frustrated to find that assembly instructions are mostly pictures. I don't do pictures. Sure, I enjoy photographs, but naturally, if there are words and pictures, I read the words and don't even notice the pictures. I love words! Diagrams befuddle me. (Unless they are sentence diagrams with words in them.;)) I need sentences, not illustrations. You're probably all laughing at me, but I'm serious. These new-fangled directions written for illiterate people drive me crazy! I can read!!! Give me words!