Friday, December 19, 2008
Lexi: Hey Mom. What does green snot stand for?
A big pause here as I think about that. After all, I was not aware that snot stood for any particular causes. Perhaps it stands for dairy products in the interest of becoming more robust? Or maybe it stands for the cause of softer tissues in order to have a plusher landing pad?
Me: Uh…, I don’t know. (There. Just bought me a few more seconds of thinking time.)
Oh! Maybe she means “stands for” as in an acronym…S.N.O.T. Could S.N.O.T. stand for Syrupy Nasally Olfactory Things? Or maybe Secretions Normally Otherwise Thinner. Shoot! Got me. I have no idea what S.N.O.T. stands for.
Lexi: You know, like if it’s clear it means something but if it’s green it means something else.
Me: Ooooooohhh, okay. Now I know what you mean. Yeah, clear snot’s the kind you want because that means there’s no infection. Green or yellow could mean infection. But sometimes it gets that way at the beginning or end of a cold, too.
That was it! That’s all she needed! Just a little reminder about which colors of snot to be concerned about! Whew! It’s snot easy trying to have all the answers! But I love it when I do. ;-)
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Too Sexy Too Soon
by Marissa Cohen, Redbook
While it may seem cute when a 5-year-old copies the hip-shaking dance moves she sees on TV, it's also one of the first signs of how the adult concept of "sexiness" is being sold to younger and younger kids today, say Diane E. Levin, Ph.D., and Jean Kilbourne, Ed.D. In their new book, So Sexy So Soon, the authors explore a culture where grade-schoolers want to dress like go-go dancers, 10-year-old boys have seen Internet porn, and 13-year-olds talk casually about oral sex. Here, Kilbourne discusses how childhood is changing, and what parents can do to protect their kids:
What's different about how little girls are acting and dressing today?
We used to dress up in our mother's clothes. Now little girls are dressing up as sexy teenagers, and there are clothes being marketed to them that look like they are from Victoria's Secret. I see little girls wearing strapless black numbers to the school dance! As a result, girls are getting the message that not only is it important to be pretty but it is also important to be hot and sexy. Research clearly shows that this pressure is damaging to girls' self-esteem.
How does this affect their relationships with boys?
Girls have always gotten the message that it's important to attract boys, but we used to get it a little later, when we were 12 or 13; now they're getting it as early as 6 or 7. Girls in grade school are competing with each other to see who's the hottest, and then boys are learning that's how they should look at girls. It sets up a dynamic that does an enormous amount of harm. Little boys learn to look at girls as objects rather than as friends.
What happens as kids get older?
When a girl has learned early on that what matters most is how sexy she is, then by the time she hits the tween years, the message is already deep in her psyche and it just becomes louder and more harmful. Sex gets speeded up — 12- and 13-year-olds are doing what 16-year-olds used to do, and by the time they're 16, many are already blasé about casual sex. That's when you hear about "friends with benefits" and kids thinking about sex as being separate from a relationship. This not only puts them at physical risk for STDs, unwanted pregnancy, or even date rape, but they also lose the chance to develop the empathy and compassion that are necessary to make intimate relationships work later on.
What can moms do?
When your children are younger, you can limit their exposure to certain media. As kids get older, stay familiar with what they are listening to and watching. Ask them why they like certain songs or clothes so you can open up a dialogue about it. It's so important to start talking to your kids about sexuality and relationships as early as possible, in an age-appropriate way. If they know they can ask you anything and they will not be punished or shamed for it, that will pay off in incredible dividends when they hit their teenage years. When kids feel like they can talk to you, they will.
This ain't yo momma's pre-teen years, that's for sure. And if that article didn't curl your toes, this one surely will: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/27706917/?GT1=43001
My point with all this is not to depress you or get us all bogged down with worry. I'm actually bringing up this reality to ask for prayer. You see, there's something I haven't really "gone public" with that these articles--and all the scary facts they contain--are now prompting me to share.
This past spring, I felt God's leading to create a fiction series for tweens that is based on the beatitudes. A few basic problems surfaced right away. One, I don't write fiction; and two, I don't write for tweens. But I jumped on board and cranked out several chapters right away just running on the excitement and fun of the mission. That wore away quickly. Adrenaline only takes you so far.
But I still felt this huge burden that our kids just don't stand a chance of being pure in this culture, but for the grace of God. I wanted desperately to show them what being a Christian could look like as my characters held each other accountable and tried to walk in Christ's path. I wanted to show them that being Christian does NOT equal being a snob or a prude or a nut. But as I said, it was getting really hard to write in a genre that I've never really done before.
So I prayed. "God?" I asked. "Are you absolutely sure that THIS is what I'm supposed to be doing? I mean, fiction's not my gift, obviously." My faithful God replied with this: "Know the state of your flocks, and put your heart into caring for your herds, for riches don’t last forever, and the crown might not be passed to the next generation" (Proverbs 27:23-24, NLT).
Wow. I took that to mean that I need to be aware of what my kids are exposed to and pour myself into looking after their spiritual well-being. Just because I've chosen to follow Christ doesn't mean they necessarily will. And then I felt like God was showing me this truth not only for my kids, but for kids in general. I felt like He was saying, "Yes, Kathy, this is what you're supposed to be working on."
Well, given that answer, how could I NOT obey? I plugged away, hard as it was. At She Speaks in June, a publisher expressed a genuine interest in the idea of the series. She emailed me a proposal template which I completed and sent to her a few weeks ago. The first book isn't quite finished yet (though it's getting close!), but the proposal only required the first several chapters. I haven't heard back from her yet, but I know the reality. The chances of publication are very slim from a human standpoint.
You all, I am boldy asking for prayer. I don't for a red-handed second think that anything I've done on my own can make a difference in this "crooked and perverse generation." I certainly don't anticipate starting a revolution. But since God's been the instigator here--and I believe that with all my heart--then I'm humbly asking you to pray that God would use this work to touch young lives according to His will. If that's only a small circle of kids here locally, fine. If it's many more than that, great.
I remember one time reading in the OT about child sacrifices and being appalled. I thought, "How could people actually condone sacrificing their children?" and the text noted how detestable it was to God too. But you know what? Our culture isn't so different. We don't throw them into a volcano, but to an extent we have thrown them to the wolves in this hyper-sexed society that tells kids their value is in their hotness. Please join me in unleashing God's power to show kids, whatever the means, that they are loved, worthy of respect, and are precious in God's sight. If they value themselves by Christ's standards, maybe one day we won't be reading articles like the ones above.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Soccer season ended... (basketball, here we come!)
Carving pumpkins the night before Halloween...
and then...HALLOWEEN! Frankenstein was supposed to have a bride, but at the last minute she decided to give up her black and silver wig and make-up for the comfort of her robe and slippers! (Don't brides usually wait until after the honeymoon to do that?!) And the headless horseman rides again!
And yep, I was a witch. Feel free to keep your comments to yourself about that! :-)
Monday, October 27, 2008
HSM3: My least favorite of the series. I SO wanted to love this movie and I went in to it convinced that I would. I even guilted Shane into coming to see it with us. Now I’ll never live it down. ;-) Many of you may love it so I don’t want to step on toes, but here are some random thoughts I had as I watched it…
“Why does Gabriella’s hemline have to be cut so short in a dance number where she gets picked up, spun around, and has her arms raised so much?”
“Why do the cheerleaders’ tops have to be cut so low?”
“What happened to Ryan? I loved how his character grew in HSM2 and at how the Wildcats encouraged his talent and involvement. So why is he so one-dimensional now?”
“Did Zeke have more than two lines?” He was referred to more than he spoke.
And after I watched it…
“Uh…did I see them at prom or didn’t I?” Sure, T & G had “their own” prom but jumbled segments weakened the story-line for me. I think? Honestly, I was confused. And was that graduation or the musical or both at the same time?
“What were the walk away hit numbers? The Boys are Back was by far the coolest, but I can’t even remember the tune right now.” (Of course, I haven’t heard it 35 times yet on TV, either.)
I don’t want to seem too cynical. The kids liked it enough (and Praise Jesus! I heard my girls discussing how they thought some of the outfits were inappropriate!). But after 1 & 2, I wondered if we’d ever get enough of this fab group. I think I have now. So that’s good, right? :-)
Fireproof: Even if you’re not married this gem provides a lesson and reminder we all need—to love and serve others unconditionally. And for nonbelievers it presents them with the gospel message. Is the acting going to win any Oscars? Probably not. But if we use God’s measuring stick, as opposed to Oscar’s OR the world’s, this film is HUGE! The Holy Spirit can and will and is working through this movie to soften and convict hearts, plant seeds, and whatever else He sees fit to do. It’s a tool worth exposing yourself to.
Some thoughts while watching…
“My goodness, Kirk Cameron is all grown up! (Yikes, that means I am too.)”
“Where’s the humor and fun in the couple’s relationship? Did they used to have any before things got so bad?”
“Wow…she’s cold as ice! Give him a chance!”
“The big dude is a hoot!” There were some truly funny parts, especially with the male relationships at the fire house—and not a vulgarity to be found!
At a pivotal part in the story when Caleb, the husband, is at the crossroads of feeding his addiction or destroying it, I became angry at how accessible this particular temptation is. It literally just popped up right in front of him. A weak person stands little chance without the power of the Holy Spirit guiding his choices. Seeing him beat that devil down with a bat was very satisfying.
By the end, you see God’s work in a man who’s changed. And a wife too. AND you feel some hope that maybe the Christian niche will gain a stronger foothold in cinema. AMEN!
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Through the wonder of the internet, God has connected me with a soul-sister in Minnesota, a 3rd grade teacher named Tammy. It has been awe-inspiring to both Tammy and me to watch God create a bond that’s a little more solid and a little more revealing about His plans through each exchanged email. Maybe the best way to share this is to provide chronological snippets of our exchanges. What started it all was an email from Tammy about an article I wrote…
I just recently received my first issue of TCW and loved it. The last article I read was one you wrote about control and what God wants. It was in the July/August issue. It was perfect for me to read.
My husband and I have been trying for our second child for almost two years. I have been through a major roller coaster ride of emotions going through this. I learned about six months ago that I really like to be in control and I never realized how much I try to control EVERYTHING which is not possible. I have to remind myself that I cannot control this….God is in control and I shouldn’t try to grab onto it over and over again. Your article really encouraged me and gave me a boost in giving it all to God.
Understanding fully how to hand it over to God has released some of this pressure though I continue to trip up from time to time. Thank you for sharing on this topic. I know I need to be patient and wait upon the Lord. In His time, our family will grow. Thank you once again. Many blessings to you and your family!
Now it was clear to me immediately that I needed to share my own struggle with infertility with this dear woman. So I replied without even really stopping to think,
I can't tell you what your sweet message meant to me. God used it to encourage me in my writing when I really needed it. So thank you, thank you. Now I want to encourage YOU! My husband and I found out I was pregnant only a few months after we'd gotten married in 1995. He was elated; I wasn't. I wanted to just be married for awhile without kids, ya know? Then when I began to get really excited (finally) we miscarried. From that point on, for two years, it became our mission to get pregnant. He was tested, I was tested, I had my tubes blasted, we prayed when we thought about it (we weren't walking the walk back then), and we finally ended up having success with Chlomid. It "took" the first month and eight months later I had beautiful fraternal twin girls who looked nothing alike. They'll have their 11th birthday in December. Three years after their birth we began trying for number three. No luck on our own, but again, Chlomid worked on the first try and nine months later came our bouncing baby boy.
I share this because I want to let you know that God sometimes works through professionals--maybe so that in some way you can be the salt and the light to them, maybe so that they can touch you in some way. I've heard it said "If God wanted you to be pregnant you would be." But to that I say, "He provides avenues and help and if He doesn't want us pregnant, we still won't be." In other words, don't let people give you a hard time for seeking available help. Of course, seek God FIRST, and it'll all work out.
I don't know you, but I already love you. Keep me posted on your family growth. ;-)
Now, hold up…I know what you’re thinking: Sheesh, Kath! That’s a lot of very personal info you’re giving to someone you don’t even know! Aren’t you afraid she’ll think you’re a nutcase or someone who’s too desperate for a friend? The second AFTER I hit send, yes, I was afraid of both of those things. But I’m sure it was the Holy Spirit prompting me to do it—talk to Him about it. ;-) Here’s a portion of Tammy’s response:
Wow! I don’t know you and love you, too!! I am tearing up over here. Thank you so much for responding and sharing your beautiful story with me! I needed your words! I am in awe of God right now. Here we are - two people who have never met before….I recently was given a subscription to TCW as a gift…..read your article that touched me in a BIG way…..and saw your email and felt the need to write to you. Then you write back with words that only a person who has dealt with fertility issues could write. He uses everything, doesn’t He?!
Take THAT doubt and pride!! Of course, I had to respond, but I’ll skip ahead a few exchanges because we got very personal about praying over wombs and what not, getting to know each other a little better and just praising God all the way.
Then I received this message from Tammy…
I got my “wonderful” period yesterday….so I guess I am not pregnant. But, I didn’t cry this time. I have cried every time since January of 07! I have had a greater peace within me from our writing back and forth. I just feel like I am in a better place right now. I know I may still have good and bad days with this, but it was an awesome feeling to actually be “OK” with it this time. I was still bummed, but not like I have been in the past. Thanks again for your openness with me.
My response…(and again, please note that this was another one that as soon as I hit send, I began to fear I’d gone too far and lost my new email friend forever.)
Okay, YOU may not have cried when you got your "wonderful" period (I laughed out loud when I read that!) but I had tears in my eyes as I read your whole message. God is SO amazing!!! What a blessing you are to me!
So let's see, if I've got my math right, I need to be on-my-face prayin' REALLY hard on Oct. 13th...and YOU better be getting ready for a romantic evening! (wink, wink) Hey, that's Columbus Day! You and I will both have the day off. I just had a crazy idea...do you want to join me in a fast that morning? Just skip breakfast that day and pray for you every time we get a hunger pang? Then break the fast at lunch? Even though we're hundreds of miles apart, we could be unified in the effort through that. What do you think?
But instead of writing me off as a fanatic or worse, my girl responded,
Okay, now I am crying!!!! Trying to keep it together while the kids are packing up over here. On Sunday in church as I was listening to the sermon….for whatever reason I thought about fasting. I do not generally do that. I did once in my life and it was an amazing experience for my faith. So on Sunday it was on my mind and I really felt strongly to fast. To be honest, after Sunday it hadn’t crossed my mind until JUST RIGHT NOW!!!! YES! I would love to fast with you and thank you for being YOU!! Praise God! It is obvious God is telling me to fast!! The thirteenth sounds great………I actually will be teaching because we do not get Columbus Day off. But, that is fine!! Normal people would ovulate around there, but my time is usually around the 16th day of my cycles???? But I feel often that when the kit says I am ovulating that I am not…..maybe I missed it?? This is wonderful! I want to do this and I thank you for listening to your heart and what God is telling you.
You all, we serve an AWESOME GOD, do we not?! So on the 13th when some of us get a day off for Columbus Day, would you all mind lifting up a special prayer for Tammy? You too will be a part, then, of this amazing work God is doing.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
You're a Problem Solver. You are constantly considering what else each person or situation requires. You want to know what is missing. During this period of mulling things over, others might view you as passive or quiet... (Me? Passive and quiet? Actually, yeah, a lot of the time, though I'm sure some of you would disagree. ;-)
Hue are You?
You're a Problem Solver! You are constantly considering what else each person or situation requires of you... (Me? A problem-solver? I'm much too passive for that. But I do like to know up front what people or situations require of me! That's totally true!)
Logical and practical, you easily find new ways of achieving your goals. But because you keep your emotions tightly... (Okay, this is the one that almost tempted me to buy the rest because I AM fueled entirely too much by emotion. And I really wanted to read the rest of that part because it sounded like it was going in the opposite direction!)
You encourage people to be the best that they can be. Being concerned for them inspires you and... (This one was kind of cool because it confirms where I am in my writing right now.)
You are a wonderful strategist, able to plan future designs with a clear, sharp, and imaginative style. You love... (Me? A strategist? Somehow that doesn't quite compute. When things get too complicated, I develop some sort of coping mechanism--usually, "Who cares?) ;-)
Taking On the World
Sometimes you have so much self-confidence you feel you can save the world. You love initiating new... (I would really like to read the rest of this too because I DO love initiating new things. The problem comes with the follow-through. The Lord's been working with me on this one.)
A different day and mood might yield different results--who knows? (It didn't reflect the fact I'm tight, though, did it?!) But I just thought it was kind of fun. If you'd like to give it a shot, click here and let me know if it pegged you or not by posting a comment.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
But it also moves me in a new way, just as many other love songs from the past now do. If you shift your perspective from one of love between a man and a woman, to one of love between Creator and created, you'll see something even more magnificent. Take a listen and just see if "every signpost in nature says" Who you belong to. Lyrics are also below.
Brought to My Senses--Sting
(This first part isn't on the video, but it's almost acapella and very haunting--just my little analysis here, but kind of like us before Jesus, alone with storms brewing)
Alone with my thoughts this evening I walked on the banks of Tyne
I wondered how I could win you Or if I could make you mine
Or if I could make you mine
The wind it was so insistent With tales of a stormy south
But when I spied two birds in a sycamore tree
There came a dryness in my mouth Came a dryness in my mouth
For then without rhyme or reason The two birds did rise up to fly
And where the two birds were flying
I swear I saw you and I, I swear I saw you and I
(Now the music changes and this is where the video picks up.)
I walked out this morning
It was like a veil had been removed from before my eyes
For the first time I saw the work of heaven
In the line where the hills had been married to the sky
And all around me every blade of singing grass
Was calling out your name and that our love would always last
And inside every turning leaf Is the pattern of an older tree
The shape of our future The shape of all our history
And out of the confusion Where the river meets the sea
Came things I'd never seen Things I'd never seen
I was brought to my senses
I was blind but now that I can see
Every signpost in nature Said you belong to me
I know it's true
It's written in a sky as blue
As blue as your eyes, as blue as your eyes
If nature's red in tooth and claw
Like winter's freeze and summer's thaw
The wounds she gave me Were the wounds that would heal me
And we'd be like the moon and sun
And when our courtly dance had run Its course across the sky
Then together we would lie
And out of the confusion
Where the river meets the sea
Something new would arrive Something better would arrive
I was brought to my senses
I was blind but now that I can see
Every signpost in nature Said you belong to me
Friday, August 15, 2008
Faith World is the name of Clint Brown’s church. If you know my family at all, you know we loves us summa dat Clint Brown, both his preachin’ and his awesome praise and worship music.
So we figured while in town, we’d go worship with a ministry that has blessed us tremendously.
We were late arriving for the second service (it was ALL the way across town from our resort and we underestimated the time it would take to get there), but still managed to slip into a pew during praise and worship. The pew we slipped into was only occupied by one other person.
Now if you’ve listened to Pastor Clint at all, you know he does a lot of “Look at your neighbor and say…” or “Touch your neighbor and say, ‘Neighbor,…’” during his songs, so it came as no real surprise when he directed us to do that while praising.
The neighbor on my right was the sole occupant of the pew other than me and my family. She was an African American lady who had the biggest, happiest smile I’d ever seen. Pastor Clint had directed us to tell our neighbors something and when I turned to do it, I saw tears along with that winning smile. Then as the worship continued, I noticed her crying harder and wiping her face with tissues while offering up requests for the Lord’s touch along with phrases of gratitude and love to Him.
As we both worshiped, I would alternately drape my arm around her shoulders to squeeze her or pat and rub her back in circles to let her know she is loved. (She was receptive or I wouldn’t have continued!) I held her hand during a corporate prayer. And of course I had tears streaming down my face to match the ones that were streaming down hers.
I was doing this with a complete stranger, y’all! I can only attribute that to the Holy Spirit because I barely do that with people I know—at least for that long! And yet the unity of spirit I felt with this “stranger” immediately rendered her a dear sister in Christ. I didn’t need to know anything about her other than that to know that I loved her.
After a powerful sermon and a closing song, the service wrapped up and I finally got to meet this lovely lady who had captured my heart. Her name was Dorothy. She shared that she had just had heart surgery and that she was so grateful to God for giving her a second chance. I introduced her to my family and she said how sweet we all are (another bonus to worshiping with strangers! LOL!). I told her we were only there on vacation, down from Illinois. She asked us to keep her in our prayers and she said she’d keep us in hers. When we parted ways, I praised God in my head for seating me next to Dorothy--what a blessing!
Later, my heart melted as I heard my kids remember Dorothy in their meal-time prayers. I still think and pray about her often and occasionally they do too.
Dorothy, if you’re out there (why, oh why didn’t I get her last name? her email? give her my blog address?) we love you and we pray God’s continued blessing in your precious life.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
I detested country music when I was growing up, which is probably odd considering I was a farm girl. Instead I was a rock-n-roller, boogying to 45’s in my pink shag-carpeted room. Disco was cool in the late 70’s and my favorite album in 1980 that I bought with my very own money was Donna Summer’s The Wanderer. Then the second British invasion hit and “cool” to me was wrapped up in the unique sounds of Duran Duran and The Police.
Country? Not for this country girl. I’d rather have a tooth pulled.
My aversion followed me into adulthood. When I’d drive in and out of various listening areas, pausing on a country station never occurred to me. If it did happen, it was because a commercial was on and as soon as the first song hit, I was on the knob immediately.
In the early ‘90’s Garth Brooks almost lured me over to the “other side”—a side where dark denim Wrangler’s, plaid button-down Ely shirts, ropers, and big hats somehow didn’t look altogether bad. I loved his song “The Thunder Rolls” and of course, “Friends in Low Places” was a great sing along at weddings, parties, and even with my future hubby, who in the right hat, looked a little like Mr. Brooks his own bad self. (Don’t believe me? Come over and let me show you footage of our wedding reception!)
But Garth still couldn’t hold a candle to the heart-pumpin’ beats of club mixes, the wanna-be vibe of rap (Hello?! Ice Ice Baby anyone?), or the insightful and humanitarian depths of Sting (who ironically, has been incorporating country sounds into some of his music for years). After Garthamania subsided, so did any interest whatsoever in the world of country music.
When I began chasing Jesus harder, I swapped my listening habits from secular to Christian. God has spoken to me countless times through the lyrics he’s inspired in these artists. And when kids entered my life, I was glad to have a “family-friendly” music track in the background of their growing up.
But now, my twins are 10 ½. Peer influences are gaining a stronger foothold than ever before, though thankfully right now, my girls still seem to care what Dad and I think. This is a crucial time: I can either be a dictator and say “You will listen ONLY to Christian music” and risk a complete backlash when they’re older; or I can say, “Oh, you want to listen to country? Okay, but I’m listening with you.”
Guess which route we took? In fact, Shane loves country and when he first enthusiastically cranked up “Today’s Hot Country” on an hour-and-a half long car trip, I wanted to thump him. But instead, I shut up and listened.
Know what I learned? Kenny Chesney “never wanted nothin’ more” when he got down on his knees and accepted the Lord. Carrie Underwood begged Jesus to “take the wheel” when her life was out of control. George Straight “saw God today” in the things around him.
WHAT?! I thought country music was about cryin’ in your beer, gettin’ in brawls, and getting’ revenge on that cheatin’ no-good man! What was up with all this?! It was a turning point. And I loved the heart I was hearing.
Not all the songs are as “good” as the ones mentioned above, but what I’ve found is that even the ones that aren’t can lead to some good discussion about bad results from sin. For example, take Carrie Underwood’s “Last Name.” I’ve talked to the girls about it under Christ's authority (I Cor. 10:31, "whatever you do, do it for the glory of God"). I've told my daughters, "Man, I love the music and vocals on that song, but did you catch the words?! Whew! Just goes to show you that alcohol and crazy behavior can ruin your life..." and then we'll talk about excess vs. moderation or something like that. (I haven’t quite figured out how to deal yet with “She’s a Hottie” other than turning the station. Any ideas? ;-) )
I’m hoping that by allowing my kids to listen to some (not all) music of their choosing, I’m helping them to be in the world but not OF the world. And oddly enough, country music is helping me do through the life lessons it offers.
Yeehaw! Slow down the hay-wagon, I’m gettin’ on board! :-)
Thursday, July 17, 2008
From May we have...
soccer! This is the team picture from the last game.
Maise, Lexi, and soccer bud, Dana.
Here's Skylar showing some of his rad Taekwondo moves. He has since decided to focus on basketball, but doesn't he look smashing in his...uh, his...uniform?! (I forget what it's called!)
From June we have a few shots from our trip.
Here's Disney's Magic Kindgom!
This is my favorite shot from Sea World. Talk about a ham bone!!!
And from July...could it really be?!
My boy turned SEVEN!!!
Sunday, June 1, 2008
The organization appears to be flourishing as three cars have already stopped and made purchases. On staff: Lexi and Skylar--advertising; Maisie--customer service; all three--accounting (are there trust issues among personnel?); Penny-Poo (master barker and hackle-raiser)--security. I stopped by the enterprise to get some pictures but the camera needed one more battery than I actually had. So I'll try to describe the scene...
They hear a car coming down the road. There's a brief flurry of activity as bodies are positioned strategically and signs are lifted high into the air. The car slows (there's a dog and kids by the road, after all!). Then shoulders slump as the car goes on by. Time between cars is spent singing Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift songs. And my oh my can those voices carry!
However, on occasion a thirsty or just plain nice prospective customer will happen along and patronize the stand. There are three sizes of tea to choose from, which are introduced with a smile along with the prices. Ten cents will get you a Dixie cup-sized drink, 25 cents will get you a small coffee-cup size, and 50 cents will get a large coffee cup size. Ice goes in first, then the peach-tea is poured. Customers are sent away with a cold drink on a hot day and a big "Thank You!"
Ooh! More customers! Two guys on a four-wheeler stopped by for some liquid refreshment and hospitality! (This is just too stinkin' cute! Blast those darn camera batteries for running out of juice! Too bad it's not tea-powered.)
Free enterprise at its finest! :-)
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
When my girls were born, people couldn’t understand why Shane and I didn’t name them immediately. We had the names picked out, after all. But I needed to see both babies at once to know who would be named what! Because they came five weeks early, Lex had to be hooked up to a monitor for a day or so due to a few breathing irregularities. So on the day of their big debut I was able to see and hold Maisie, but Lexi was in the nursery.
Mais definitely “looked” like a Maisie Madolyn; she had light reddish blonde hair and full lips that suggested a beautiful smile would reside on them often. Her deep blue eyes set against her hair reminded me of sunshine and blue sky. The name Maisie means “pearl”—an apt description of her smooth, creamy skin, but I also associate it with a golden color for some reason (maybe because of “maize” meaning corn?). So a sunshiny, pearlescent name for this little “towhead” seemed absolutely perfect.
But I hadn’t really gotten a good look at “Baby B” before she was whisked away--would she look like an Alexandra Anne? When I was finally able to hold her and gaze upon that petite little dark-haired beauty, I knew—she was my Alexandra. Her little red lips were pursed into a perfect bow and when paired with her high forehead, gave her an aristocratic look. Yep, “Alexandra Anne” would be a perfect fit, though that was a big name for such a little squirt. “Lexi” for short worked perfectly. These days, she goes more by “Sassy” though. When Skylar was little, he couldn’t pronounce Lexi’s name—what he said sounded like Sassy, and because this girl definitely is sassy, it has stuck.
Having come in a pair, these two have always had a built-in playmate. Some of the time they can get on each others’ nerves just like any sibling can. But most of the time it's been a huge blessing. For instance, on a recent safari in the woods behind our house, the dynamic duo managed to find AND capture mating frogs--see below and yes, the small one is on the big one's back--AND furnish them with an appropriate enough environment that they'd continue to procreate!!! When the frogs finished after a few days (FINALLY--WOW!) I made the girls release them because we had enough eggs to supply frogs for the whole county.
Here are both remarkable pairs--frogs AND girls!
Don't these gals make a great team? They've been such distinct little ladies from the womb, but they're also compatible and enjoy many of the same things. God is SO good.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Lysa Terkeurst does an amazing job of reasoning through some of the major points of Oprah/Tolle's rhetoric. Given that she was actually on the Oprah show last year I was really interested to see how she might deal with all of this. As usual, her logic, writing, and most importantly, her heart for Jesus impressed me. If you check it out, she has spread the content out over several postings so you might want to begin with the Mon. April 21st post...Enjoy!
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
There. Now we’re all on the same page as far as what she’s promoting. Though I’m not completely on board with the sensationalism of this video (the "scary" music, etc.), I agree that its content is a matter of huge concern to Christ followers given the enormous influence Oprah has.
So what does a Christian brutha or sista to do with all this? Actually, let’s start with what NOT to do…
1) Don’t condemn. Sure, she’s wrong, but isn’t one of our Christian precepts to hate the sin and love the sinner? We’re sure not gonna win this war by pointing fingers, calling names, and being hypocrites. If we preach Jesus and Jesus says the greatest commandment is love…well…think it through… YES! Show love, Honey. ;-) Does there come a time to fight for our beliefs? Yep, and this IS one of them. But how we fight will either accrue casualties for the kingdom, or it will attract precious souls. Don't be like the Pharisees who brought the adulteress woman before Jesus to condemn her (and Him!). As He said, “Let he who is without sin throw the first stone.” Anyone? Anyone? Didn’t think so. Me
2) In the same vein, don’t forward the video along with a self-righteous rant. Your credibility is instantly shot as far as fence-riders are concerned and it wins our side nothing. I agree that awareness is important, but if you decide to forward or post the video, PLEASE emphasize love (see #1). Jesus loves Oprah just as much as anyone and He hurts just as much when she doesn’t acknowledge Him as He does when we don’t (even though we may not have a global reach or a following of millions)! He would welcome her with open arms if she turns back to Him, just as He would any of us.
What CAN we do?
1) Pray! And I mean specifically. Pray that Jesus makes Himself as visible to her as He did to Saul on the way to Damascus. And that it has similar results. If those following her every move now are one day told by her, “You all, I met my Jesus face to face. I’ve been wrong…” can you imagine the fruit?! Prayer warriors, Armor up! ALL things are possible with God and He can work even this for His good.
2) Listen. At the office, club meetings, school functions, and the grocery store you may hear of people who are enjoying Oprah’s plan. If the relationship you have with this person is such that you can be frank (though sensitive), seek the Spirit’s guidance as to how you should share your concerns and follow those promptings. If you don’t know the person well or at all, lift him or her up in prayer and ask God to open a door to develop a relationship.
3) Stay grounded in the Truth. Guard your heart wisely and get your daily Bread. Wisdom comes to those who seek it if they seek it in the right place.
4) Seize this opportunity! One great thing about this whole deal is that it gets people talking about their faith. If done according to Biblical principles, this can be a great chance for you to show WHY you’re a believer and share what Jesus has done for you. For example, one of the most notable points would be the whole "empowerment" source. I see it as self-power vs. resurrection power. If I'm watching a loved one die of cancer, would I find enough power and strength in myself, or would being plugged into the same power that rose Jesus from the dead be a more reliable source? Be real, not pious. Be transparent, not arrogant. Go be the “real” light to others. And above all, pray for and hold on to the hope that God will work this for the good of His kingdom.
(An aside to Missy—I ALMOST referred to Oprah as "Okra" in keeping with the influential women/vegetable name thing! God has me thinking about her nearly all the time, just as He had you thinking about Celery. I have not yet dreamed about her and Steadmon yet, though. LOL!) ;-)
Monday, March 31, 2008
TEN years ago...Shane and I were getting ready to move into our new house! Our actual moving date was May 5 (Cinco de Mayo!), but we had already started to organize things for packing. (What's funny about that is here we are now, ten years later, and we're just now in the process of finishing our basement! LOL!) Our awesome twin baby girls were four months old, which marked the beginning of a magical season with them. They were finally through the colic stage (PTL!) and were now vocalizing and smiling in heart-melting ways. I remember holding Lexi up and singing "Laaaaa" to her and she'd throw back her head with this gummy grin and sing it back to me. And then while her mouth was wide open she'd swoop in and try to gum my chin. Baby attack! It was so precious! When I did it to Maisie she'd just cackle at her goofy mom and then shove her fist into her mouth. (I'm thinking four months must be the period Freud referred to as the oral stage? Hmm...)
TWENTY years ago...Let's see, 1988. I was just about to finish up my freshman year of college! My man was living in Tyler, Texas at the time, so I was no doubt devising a plan for spending my summer with him there. It must've worked because I ended up doing that! Still, I remember really enjoying my freshman year of college. I was no longer intimidated by the whole "academics" thing and found out I was really pretty good at "doing college"--If there's a job that entails just taking classes and getting paid a nice salary, SIGN ME UP! I had no idea what I wanted to do for a career, but I remember taking an Intro. to Social Work class to see if I'd like that. I didn't. The 40 hours of volunteer work I did revealed that I was far too emotional to be of much help to people who needed not pity, but practical, assertive help. Fashion staples in my closet twenty years ago included really long, straight skirts worn with a big belt, granny boots, and tops or jackets with really wide shoulder pads. We also pegged our jeans (and hush!--you KNOW you did it too!). The baggier our high-waisted acid-washed jeans were at the top and the tighter they were at or above the ankle, the better! I had the same long spiral perm with big bangs that everyone else had. Bobby Brown, Young MC, Sting, Prince, and Bon Jovi played on my cassette tapes!
THIRTY years ago...I was nine years old. That makes me younger than my girls are now, so I'm thinking I was in third grade? If that's the case, I was sitting in Mr. Oller's 3rd grade room probably being nervous about learning long division and fractions. I remember trading posters with friends--I gave away anything that would score me a Leif Garrett or Andy Gibb poster. Shaun Cassidy hung in there for awhile but faded out after the Hardy Boys stopped airing. I remember Ponch from CHiPs being a hot item too, and at recess my friends and I played "Charlie's Angels." I always got "stuck" playing Sabrina. :-)
Thursday, March 13, 2008
If You Give A Lion Some Candy! by Skylar
Once upon a time there was a boy named Skylar and a forest with a lion in it. No one has ever gave candy to a lion before.
So I walked through the woods to the lion and gus what. He started to hop everywhere and asking for more.
I did not know what to do. So I ran and got mom and dad and I showed them it. They did not know what to do either.
Then I had an idiea I put candy in frunt of his face and filled a gun up with vegetadles I shot it in his mouth and I never gave a lion candy again! The End.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Check this out: “They smashed the sacred pillar and wrecked the temple of Baal, converting it into a public toilet, as it remains to this day.” (2 Kings 10:27, NLT). Rewind…converted it to what?! Yep, you read it right.
If I were on a quiz show and the host said, “Okay, Kathy, for $10,000…True or false… The words ‘public toilet’ do appear in God’s Word…” I would have said “False” and forfeited my $10,000!
I was intrigued and decided to see how other versions of the Bible coined the phrase. This is what I found:
The King James Version says, “…and made it a draught house unto this day.” No offense to King James and those he commissioned to translate the Bible, but that sugar- coats the new function of Baal’s temple to the point of miscommunication. A draught house to me, is a tavern. Dictionary.com agrees with me. ;-)
The New King James Version says, “…and made it a refuse dump to this day.” Well, that sounds a lot closer to the truth, but refuse could be any type of trash or waste, which still leaves some ambiguity about where Baal worship ended up.
The NIV is more specific: “…and people have used it for a latrine to this day.” And the NCV and AMP (respectively) are more vivid in their depictions with “…and they made it into a sewage pit, as it is today” and “…made it [forever unclean] a privy to this day.” Ahh…can’t you just smell it on a hot, middle-eastern day? I bet real estate downwind took a nose-dive.
The Message uses pretty much the same verbage as the NLT: “They smashed the Baal altars and tore down the Baal temple. It's been a public toilet ever since.”
This is so fascinating to me! Not that I’m obsessed with bathrooms (ancient or modern) at all—in fact, if you visit one of mine you’ll probably see that I should be a little more obsessed with them, especially cleaning them. But what is so interesting to me is the fact that Baal worship was so entirely detestable to the Lord, and therefore to Jehu (the one doing all the remodeling) that it wasn’t enough to merely destroy the temple. What Jehu did was to ensure that Baal worship was thereafter associated with such a lowly position that it was “in the toilet”—literally.
I know I’m dangerously close to crossing a line here, but I can even imagine the soldiers “writing their names” on the pillar in a kind of a “Take that, Baal!” sort of gesture.
Wow. It’s hard to take a god seriously that you can do that to! God made clear in no uncertain terms that He is the only God, the One True God, and all others--even our 21st century idols--are just… well, worthy of a refuse dump.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Did y'all catch that beautiful eclipse last night? I couldn't get our camera to "find" it, but a google search turned up this picture, which is exactly what the one last night looked like.
I had just gotten the kids to bed and sat down to get online for a little bit, when I learned that there was a total lunar eclipse going on right outside and I wasn't even aware of it! I went outside and looked. Even though "totality" was still 20 minutes away, what I saw--pretty much exactly like this picture--was breathtaking. I went back in, told the kids to get their socks, shoes, and coats on (and believe me, once they're in bed, I RARELY do that!) and come see something special. Of course they were all over it. We took blankets out to help deal with the 13 degree temperature and sat on the porch marveling at this cool thing God lined up. Shane had shorts on, getting ready to start a workout, so he didn't stay out quite as long as the rest of us, but it was so cool!
We came in to warm up briefly a few times, finding new facts on the internet. Did you know that the outline is called a penumbra? Neither did we! Did you know that the next time we'll be able to see another total lunar eclipse here in the states is in December of 2010? Neither did we! And did you know that in the past year, there have been two other ones? Neither did we! (They must have occurred while we were snoozing.)
It was quite educational and very awe-inspiring. After the kids were in bed for the second time, I decided to check a concordance to see if the Bible mentions eclipses. I knew there were instances of darkness during the day, but I was curious about whether they were noted specifically as eclipses. They weren't. But what I did find was that whenever the moon "turns to blood" or "will not give light" it was usually mentioned in warning or sign of "horrible days". But everything else was dark too. No stars twinkling like there were last night. No peaceful stillness where your breath steam froze in the air like last night. No giggles and delighted shouts of, "Mom, get back out here! It's almost done!" like there were last night.
Just like we need water to live but too much can kill, or fire sustains life and takes it away, God uses these amazing cosmic events to forwarn, to be a sign, or just to bless. And blessed we were. Thank You, Jesus.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
“In…all.” Reminds me of a song we sing telling Jesus He is our all in all. I seriously doubt that the very first and last words in the Bible were randomly chosen. To me, this appropriately conveys to us that whatever we need—direction, discipline, encouragement, examples, insight—it’s all in there. We can find all we need in these wonderful pages. Amen!
So what have I learned or gained from reading the Bible in a Year? Here are some highlights…
*People have been as messed up as we are today ever since the fall. Injustice, incest, child sacrifices, greed, murder, adultery, unspeakable violence and war, deception, and numerous other vices are recorded throughout the ages. Gives a whole new irony to “the good ol’ days” doesn’t it? And it highlights the depths of God’s mercy and grace in providing a Savior.
*I’m amazed at how some of the Old Testament rituals, which honestly, before, I thought had no relevance whatsoever to me today, really can be illustrative under the New Covenant.
*God’s timing is just…PERFECT. I can’t even begin to list here how many times that the reading for a certain day was clear direction, affirmation, or conviction for me.
*His Word is new and fresh every day. Even familiar verses take on new meaning depending on your circumstances when you read them. His Word is living and active (Heb. 4:12).
*I don’t have to fear Revelation! I always used to avoid reading Revelation, or at least large parts of it together. It was just too scary and confusing to me. But this time around was different in a way that I can only attribute to the Holy Spirit. I actually found myself reading more than I was supposed to on several occasions this time because I was riveted—couldn’t wait to see what would happen next! I still don’t understand it very well at all, but it was just “less scary” to me.
Even though I’ve read it all, I’m clearly seeing I didn’t retain it all! For example, just last week at Bible study, Lisa Gard and I were whispering about Sara being Abraham’s half-sister. I couldn’t believe it! So I looked it up in the verse she showed me and not only did I know this at some point, I had even underlined it!!! (I do that when something’s shocking or impactful.) And less than a year later, it had slipped through one of the holes in my colander-like memory.
Maybe doing this plan EVERY year wouldn’t be such a bad idea!
Monday, January 28, 2008
Here's something easy and readily available at home that may help ward off or shorten a cold: put hydrogen peroxide in your ears!
I've done it several times this winter and have so far avoided a cold. Lexi, who is very susceptible to strep throat came down with a sore throat a few months ago. I put peroxide drops in her ears and she awoke the next day feeling well enough to go to school. Her sore throat was gone (I was fully prepared to take off work to take her to the doc--I was sure she had strep!) Shortly after that, I developed a sore throat and saw a few white patches in the sore area. I gargled with peroxide a few times throughout the day and had the same result. Maisie and Skylar have both developed coughs so far this winter, but both of them were very short-lived (like a couple of days each) when we did the treatment.
I believe that God can use whatever He chooses to heal us and help us maintain our health. Doesn't it fit into His character that He'd provide simple home remedies? If you're interested in reading more, check out the following link, which also provides specific instructions. Also, if you do a "peroxide" search on Dr. Mercola's website, you'll find testimony after testimony from folks who've had success with it.
As a side note, this treatment is kind of fun! I love hearing the kids talking loudly over the fizzing in their ears telling me how it's tickling! :-)
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
BTW, I kinda dig doing this via blog. That way, whoever wants to respond--great! But there's no guilt for those who don't (as opposed to email).
1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Fortunately, no. My brother wanted to name me Frankenstein.
2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? A few weeks ago when I heard a woman speaking very harshly to her kids in a store.
3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? It’s pretty bad. (I’ve heard that bad hand-writing is a sign of intelligence, though, so I’m runnin’ with it…)
4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? turkey
5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? Yep--three
6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? Honestly, I think I might get on my own nerves (those of you who claim to be my friends, THANKS!).
7. DO YOU USE SARCASM? Uh, sheah!
8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? Yes
9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Before kids, you bet. Now? Nope.
10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? I don’t know! It has almond slivers, clusters of oats and stuff, and a honey flavor. Is that Honey Bunches of Oats?
11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? If possible.
12. DO YOU THINK YOU'RE STRONG? No. (But I do seem to have a high pain threshold!) ;-)
13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? DQ plain
14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE? Whether or not they look friendly.
15. RED OR PINK? pink
16. WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? Many age-related changes.
17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? My buddy Tricia
18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU? N/A-- but I would love for them to post their answers on their blogs!
19. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Brown and brown.
20. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? Scrambled eggs and an orange.
21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? The hum of my space heater and the clicking of the keyboard.
22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? Indigo or magenta
23. FAVORITE SMELLS? Freshly mowed grass in spring and in the winter, something warm and delicious cooking or brewing.
24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? A judge from Coles County
25. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Of course!
26. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH? Basketball and anything my kids are playing
27. HAIR COLOR? blond
28. Eye color? Dark blue
29. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? yep
30 FAVORITE FOOD? I love it all! (which in part pertains to #16)
31. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Happy Endings
32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? At the theater, International Treasure. At home, Ocean’s 11.
33. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING? red
34. SUMMER OR WINTER? Fall.
35. HUGS OR KISSES? hugs
36. FAVORITE DESSERT? Cheesecake or brownies. Or cappucinno w/ biscotti.
37. MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? N/A but leave a comment if you put it on your blog
38. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND? N/A
39. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW? I’ll soon be reading Bad Girls of the Bible and I can't wait! I've wanted to read it for awhile now. Liz Curtis Higgs rocks.
40. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? Some ugly internet solutions ad—I inherited it with the office.
41. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON TV.Late LAST NIGHT? Nothing.
42. FAVORITE SOUND? The sound of my mattress and bedclothes when I’m snuggling into them. I also love the sound of wind and rain when I don’t have to be out in it.
43. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES? Beatles.
44. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME? Maui.
45. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? I can do this thing with my arms I learned from watching “Zoom” as a kid. (Remember that song? Oh yeah, I also have a talent for remembering worthless information.)
46. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Shelbville, IL
47. WHOSE ANSWERS ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING BACK? Any and all who care to or have time to.
48. IF YOU COULD HAVE (OR HAVE HAD) ANY PROFESSION WHAT WOULD IT BE? I would only be totally happy doing whatever it has that God has for me. I’m not exactly sure what it is right now, but probably something to do with speaking/training.