Sunday, December 31, 2006

Sanctification and A Forgiving Nature

A high water mark. Generally something indicating the worst a rainfall received for an area. Often considered a moment of disaster or tragedy. However, what if you could look at it as a high mark to reach for instead?

This was our pastor’s idea when he spoke on Phil 3.13-14 and Col 3.13 this morning.

First… “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing [I do,] forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Our pastor is calling us up higher, to a loftier standard, to be sanctified, to be placed apart. And, his first suggestion was to forget the past and move forward! 2006 is OVER! And, Christ frees us from ALL things that have held us back. Christ has forgiven ALL of our sins. We can now reach “forward to those things which are ahead." We are to live in Christ not live in the past!

Secondly…bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also [must do.]

Our pastor’s second suggestion was to forgive! Work at it with everyone. And, that means every. one. No. Matter. What.

Then, he made us “practice” and model it by rising from our seats, leaving our rows, and seeking out anyone nearby and practicing it by saying “please forgive me for anything I might have done.” While we laughed, giggled, and hesitated as a congregation, there was an amazing moment of “lightness” in the room. Like the Holy Spirit approved! :)

So, for 2007, my first two “resolutions” are those: to forget the past and to forgive. My third? A chronological reading of the entire Bible from a guide I got here. I’ve also been using a site I stumbled onto (with the help of someone at Faithprints, I think) called “43 Things”. My personal link has been added to “These Vikings’ Links” . So, a list of things I’ll be working on this year:

Read one book a month
Get out of the "200 Club"
Clean the basement
Paint Viking #2's room
Learn to use a sewing machine
Want to try homeschooling Viking #1 in September
Take a cooking class
Lose all the X's on my clothing sizes
Cut our debt by half in 2007

Lord, help me to seek You out through the Word and prayer. Guide me to what you would have me do. Strengthen me in times of weakness. Protect me from distractions and temptations. Mold me into what You would have be! Amen.
Happy New Year to all!

pic credit: http://caroleknits.knitblog.com/archives/2005/08/

Friday, December 29, 2006

Comment for Dollars! LOL

Rocks in My Dryer has linked up with "Pass The Torch" to gain comments to raise funds for St. Jude. A sponsor will give $1 for every comment up to 500 comments. Please go to Pass the Torch and comment today if you feel led.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

God's Inbox

Has anyone else saw this?

Now considering the source and the location in the magazine, I expected some liberal-leaning tendencies, political twists, and some humor. But, it provoke a lot of other thoughts and feelings in me as well.

Thoughts about our prayer lives and what they "appear" to be to the outside world...
Of the 24 "emails", less than five appear to be "legit" prayers...
That they have three emails entitled "Let the unbelievers perish" from Muslim, Christian, and Jewish authors...
An email from our president with regards to Iraq...
An email from a reknown atheist (huh?)...
An email from Buddha...
An email from Zeus...
An email from Mary with regards to a DNA test request from Joseph...

I don't know whether to be offended, exasperated, or to have a chuckle and toss the magazine away.

What do you all think?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

So is it really a gene? LOL

OK, first of all, I LOVE my husband! I don't know what I'd do without him; I'd be lost. And I really do appreciate everything he does around the house. But, can anyone tell me what's wrong with this picture!? LOL

I bought these paper towel last week - had a coupon since they were some newfangled style that looks good in the standing holders as oppose to the ones that go under your cabinets. Whatever. But, my my dear, sweet hubby (all on his own) went to replace the paper towels last night, he put them in upside-down! LOL


This led me to think about a conversation he and I had recently...normally, I'm the first one to argue against generalizations. "All guys do this" or "all girls do that" type of comments really grate on my nerves. But, particularly after the sociology class I just took, I realize how much of what we are is a matter of socialization.

While I also praise God for providing to each gender their own unique attributes, how is it that guys seem to know how to "innately" do thing like use tools, fix things, etc. while they can't manage to run a washing machine, use a dishwasher, or sweep? LOL And, how is it that I can learn to manage all thing household-y but still can't remember the correct names for the two types of screwdrivers! LOL

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Wire Cutters, Birthday Cake, and Puke Buckets

Just popping in amidst the chaos! LOL Three thoughts for you...

1. Da Hubby and I have officially become our parents (LOL)...sat up 'til 1am Christmas Eve getting boxes open, batteries inserted and cursing the toy manufacturers for using those infernal wire ties on everything! Grrr...armed with a pair of wire cutters and a Leatherman multi-tool, we "freed" all the toys before the sun came up! LOL

2. How sweet it was and how it made me get all teary to hear Viking #1 sing "Happy Birthday" to baby Jesus before demolishing her piece of birthday cake last night! :)

3. We woke up to a toddler bed and a toddler covered in last night's dinner. *sigh* So, we're cancelling our trip to nearby family for Viking #1's first time on ice skates and making plans for large loads of laundry and a trip to Walgreens for clear fluids.

We hope everyone had a blessed and restful Christmas! Will check in again soon!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

“Santa endures…(but) lessens meaning of Christmas”

(Let me preface this by a similar disclaimer as Lisa used a few weeks ago…I’m simply thinking honestly aloud, following my heart and my spirit with reference to this topic. I in no way mean to offend or condemn. We have felt convicted in this area but in no means are we judging those that have chosen to do otherwise…)

Found
this article interesting, thought provoking, and worrisome all at the same time! LOL I know this issue has already made the rounds of the blogs I frequent (particularly Everyday Mommy’s To Santa or Not to Santa) but I have been the single voice (as far as I know) on the MSN message board I frequent daily who has chosen to not introduce Santa in our home. So, I have been muddling over this even more.

As I wrote at MSN the other day…”OK, I guess I'll be the dissenting opinion. We don't "do" Santa, nor Halloween, nor Easter Bunny, nor Tooth Fairy. Our faith is the reason. I understand history of St. Nicholas but our denomination doesn't emphasize traditional saints. I understand that many of our Christmas traditions are rooted in pagan beliefs but we're now trying to focus on the coming of Jesus not the coming of Santa. And, since we're not allowed to talk religion, I'll drop it there before someone complains. Respectfully, there's plenty of "magic" for kids to discover without manufacturing more and lying to them.”

The other MSN moms (a mix of the spectrum of liberal to conservative, Christian to atheist) felt that Santa did not necessarily equate with commercialism nor take away from any religious significance of the holiday. The poll in this article seems to argue otherwise. According to this source, 47% of the respondents felt that the Santa Claus tradition detracts from the religious significance of the holiday.

Also, I found it interesting that “Santa is important to 60 percent of Catholics, 51 percent of those without a religious affiliation and 47 percent of Protestants, when households both with and without children are surveyed.” Wait! Santa is more important to non-religiously-affiliated folks than to Protestants!? LOL For some reason, I find that funny!

But, what ultimately concerned me were sentiments like…

Reaching deep into memory, Margaret Klumpp, 88, of Windsor, N.Y., recalled hiding her Santa doubts from her parents... Now she sees Santa through the eyes of five great-grandchildren, the oldest 6, and considers him a complement to the Christian celebration…"When you are a little child you go to Santa and after that you move over to Jesus," she said. "I think it kind of goes together."

You go to Santa and move over to Jesus?? Ouch! If a child is capable of understanding and grasping the intangible concept behind Santa – a loving and unseen benefactor - would it not be better time spent laying the foundation for a belief in Jesus in an age-appropriate way?

And, not to sound harsh, I guess in my heart of hearts I don’t feel like the “Santa magic” of being little is worth the moment when my little Vikings look at me devastated, realizing that adults (including their parents, pastors, grandparents, etc.) have been lying to them for years. Isn’t there enough “magic” in the world through the miracles, wonders, and creation of God to sustain that childhood state of grace enough to fight off the invasion of the world’s values for just as long?

While the decision has been made in the household, I’m still searching for peace and strength about it as it has been repeatedly challenged these last few weeks…

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas Meme

Since my first post today was so boring (LOL), I figured I drop this in here as well. Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer had this last...

1. What is guaranteed to make you smile over the holidays?
Viking #1 “helping” #2 open his first Christmas gifts! LOL

2. What makes you weepy during the holidays?
Singing “Silent Night” (all the verses!) LOL

3. How will you spend Christmas Eve and Day?
This year? Christmas Eve with the in-laws and Day home alone with the Vikings and Da Hubby!


4. What was your most memorable Christmas and why?
Unfortunately, the first one to come to mind- Christmas 1984. My grandpa passed away that day.

5. Christmas form letters from friends -- pro or con?
Big time pro! Love seeing pics of all my friends’ little kids I don’t get to see often! Lisa, Shelagh, Jill, Katina, Becca, my cousin Kathy, and my WebMD/MSN-PAIF friends.

6. In your home is Christmas more of a religious or secular observance?
The coming of Jesus over the coming of Santa! LOL

7. What is your favorite Christmas Carol?
See above about the weepy part! LOL

8. What is your deepest prayer for the world this Christmas?
Romans 10.1


And, if you are feeling Christmas-y, consider yourself tagged...Merry Chrismas, y'all!

Family Advent Calendar Confession

Well, the last I checked in with you all in was December 11th. That leaves 10 days to be accounted for since! LOL Well....between finals and holiday preparations, I've let this year's project fall by the wayside a bit. Not that we've lost the holiday cheer but organization (once again) has become my enemy! LOL

We still got several of the things we scheduled done but just not one a day: our family party, watching Christmas movies in the van on the way home from SE Michigan, making Christmas cookies, and making hot chocolate mix.

Things we "skipped" but would still like to do: go see "The Nativity", a night drive to see Christmas lights, and taking cookies and hot chocolate mix to the neighbors.

Things learned: the local area concerts we thought we'd take the kids to this year were not free nor family-friendly...they were the dress-up, night-out, baby-sitter-needed, pay-for-tickets types of concerts. So, note to self for next year.

I think the remaining four days are pretty much taken care of:

Today: make another batch or two of cookies, and then make up the cookie trays and hot chocolate packets for the neighbors

Friday: a trip to our local Nature Center that has the area dressed up with lights for a walking tour;

Saturday: maybe that night drive with the kids or "The Nativity" with Da Hubby

Sunday: we have our copy of "Night Before Christmas"and new PJ's for everyone washed and ready to go!

We're getting excited here! Merry Christmas to all! And God's blessings on the remainder of your preparations and your resulting celebrations!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Twenty-four pictures later...

...and I don't know whether to admit defeat by these two little anarchists who think they run the house or just really begin to love the shots I caught since they catch the kids at their goofiest!

I tried to take some posed, JCPenney-wannabe Christmas shots for my yet-to-be-started Christmas cards and got these instead....


WFMW: Temporarily "Toddler Proof" Toilet Paper Rolls

There will be peace on earth (or at least in our home) until Viking #1 figures this out...which should be any day now (LOL)...but I thought it might help someone else. I don't remember who suggested this but it has so far saved us I'm sure hundreds of dollars in toilet paper.

I've found a baby's or toddler's natural "arm action" is to start high, bringing the arm down in a sweep, thus spinning the roll from the top down. Simply insert your roll with the edge coming off the back and every time the little curtain-climber goes to "spin" the roll, he or she will be actually rolling it up. No more pile of TP on the floor. It's worked here so far.

See Shannon's site for more Works For Me Wendesday ideas.

Thirty Years of Friendship

While I could spend hours, days, weeks describing all she means to me, my "bestest" friend of thirty years sent me this yesterday along with my Girl Scout cookie order and Christmas gifts for my kids. She said it made her think of me. Well, it 's my wish for her as well. Lisa, sweetie, I love ya! So lucky to have you!

The Sweetest of Nights and the Finest of Days
by Judith Viorst

I wish you, I wish you
I wish you these wishes:
Cool drinks in your glasses.
Warm food in your dishes.
People to nourish and cherish and love you.
A lamp in the window to light your way home in the haze.
I wish you the sweetest of nights
And the finest of days.

I wish you, I wish you
A talent for living.
Delight in the getting.
Delight in the giving.
A song in your soul, and someone to hear it.
The wisdom to find the right path when you're lost in a maze.
I wish you the sweetest of nights
And the finest of days.

A snug roof above you.
A strong self inside you
The courage to go where you know you must go,
And a good heart to guide you.
And good friends beside you.

I wish you, I wish you
A dream worth the doing.
And fortune's face smiling
On all you're pursuing.
And pleasures that far far
Outweigh your small sorrows.
Arms wide to embrace your tomorrows.
A long sunlit sail on the bluest and smoothest of bays.
I wish you the sweetest of nights
And the finest of days.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Wisdom of Trees?

Something I thought of as we drove over to the other side of the state this past weekend...

Did you ever notice that "regular" trees without their leaves look like they are worshipping, hands raised and reaching up for God and that Christmas trees seem to be pointing up to the One whom the season should be focused around?

Monday, December 18, 2006

I Survived Round One!

I’m still standing! LOL

Took my final at 5pm on Thursday (THANK YOU to my blue-eyed, "most-est handsomest", love-of-my-life for coming home early from work so I could do so!) And, thanks to the wonders of technology, my grades were waiting for me when I arrived home via snail mail AND online access! An "A" on the final resulting in an "A" for the semester! Yippee, me!

Unfortunately, we found out right before my test that the best man from our wedding and his wife had lost their infant daughter on December 9th shortly after birth. So, prior to leaving town, we made a point of getting to the visitation time to share our sorrow, hugs, and prayers with them. I cannot put into words everything that few minutes at the funeral home brought up and out in me. Suffice it to say this: there are few things more sad in life than a casket that size; there are few things that clear your vision and grab your focus more quickly about what is truly important about the holidays; and just hug your kids a little closer today.

So, we were on the road by 2:30pm. And, for the first time in our family history, our traveling across the state was uneventful. If you've ever attempted a trip longer than 30 minutes with one or more children under 3, you know EXACTLY what I mean. No diaper blow-outs, no temper tantrums, no "are we there yet?", no "I gotta pee...NOW!", no screaming-hungry-needs-to-nurse-NOW baby, no accidents, no traffic jams, and (praise Him for all things that are good) the DVD player played Christmas videos all the way there! LOL We checked into the hotel around 6pm and then spent the rest of the evening with my dad, step-mom, and two half-sisters.

Saturday morning, Da Hubby and Viking #1 were waiting at the pool's gate at 9am and enjoyed an hour of swimming before our day’s activities. I forgot my bathing suit so Viking #2 and I stayed in the room, cleaned up, got ready, and packed our bags for the day. We met up with my mom and step-dad at noon for lunch and then spent about 4 hours at their house wreaking havoc going through the apparently unending piles of gifts for their two only grandchildren. We then spent the evening with my extended family for our family's Christmas party. What a wonderful phenomena becoming an adult! LOL How weird to sit there and suddenly realize the irony that 30 years ago it was me and my cousins rampaging through the “play area” upstairs instead of all these adorable, amazing children who are now our offspring!

Sunday morning began with another swim, packing, and then an early lunch at Culver’s (Cracker Barrel’s line was too long! LOL) Then, with the van packed to the gills with presents, bags, suitcases, toys, and baby gear strapped to everything but the roof, we made our way uneventfully home. Following a 2 hour nap (during which even Mommy and Daddy snuggled and snoozed), we attended our church’s Christmas party last night!

Needless to say, everyone slept well last night! LOL And, now, Round Two begins for this week as we prepare for this coming weekend! Grocery shopping today. Christmas shopping for the kids tomorrow. And, hopefully, lots of just-sit-and-play-and-snuggle time with the kids that I was so coveting last week when I was studying and preparing us to travel. I’m tired of being tired and cranky and just want to spend the remainder of the week snuggling with Da Hubby and the Vikings.

Of course, there is that first birthday party for Viking #2 I need to arrange in two weeks…LOL

Thursday, December 14, 2006

100 Signatures in 17 days?

(With apologies to Bob the Builder...) "Can we (do) it? YES, WE CAN!" LOL

Jules at Everyday Mommy posted today that the Moms For Modesty petition has reached 900+ signatures! YEAH! But, she was hoping for 1,000 by the end of the year. If you feel lead or are willing to sign, please go here and do so!

Thanks...and now I'm off to wash dishes, do laundry, and pack for our weekend trip! And, oh yeah, btw the test went pretty well! ;)

Thoroughly Worn-Out Thursday

13 hours sleep in the last three days.
Uncooperative kids.
All six chapters read.
One of 3 essays written.
20 vocab definitions left to memorize.
Test in 3.5 hours.
*sigh*

Have to finish laundry, wrap 6 gifts, and pack the four of us so we can leave for my family's holiday celebrations in 24 hours. As Da Hubby and I said during that "mommy hazing" stage each time we brought a baby home: "Sleep is overrated!"

I probably will not post 'til Monday when we get home. Everyone have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

WFMW: Baby Food Organzation

Well, this (again) isn't anything particularly complicated...just me dealing with one more Momma-thing to keep track of while dealing with a wicked case of off-meds ADD! LOL

I have had a devil of a time trying to keep track of baby food "stock" as well as what I had fed the kids. I needed to know how many of a particular fruit or veggie I had. I also wanted a way to make sure I was having them try and eat a variety of foods so I didn't just get stuck feeding the same thing day after day after day.

So I pulled up Word, made a list of our most favorite options, and organized them on the page in a somewhat circular fashion. Then by simply using a pen and a magnet, I can keep track of how many of each option I have and I know what I fed them and what is coming up next! See what I mean...

If can see it in the picture, the veggies are on top. I always gave them to Viking #2 for lunch. The red magnet is on "squash" so that means "peas" are next. And, so on...clockwise around the circle.

And, the handwritten numbers near each one is how many of each I have. So, for example, when I took this photo, I knew I had 2 green beans and five sweet potatoes servings left.

The fruit choices that I gave him at dinner are listed under his hand. But, it used in the same fashion.

Not anything particularly revolutionary but it saved me a lot of brain cells since I had one less thing I had to keep track of in my head! LOL And, it cost me NOTHING! :) So, the price was definitely right!

For more awesome ingenious ideas, see Shannon's site at Rocks In My Dryer. And, while you are there...consider clicking on her voting link to select her as the best parenting blog on the web!

Online Cookie Exchange

What an awesome idea! Anita suggested an online cookie recipe exchange. So, here is a list of goodies I have made so far or was hoping to bake this month:

Cherry Snowballs
Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookies
Rice Crispie Treats (green and red!)
Almond Stars
Oatmeal Scotchies
Peanutty Caramel Bars
Chevy Macaroons
No-Bake Cookies (my SIL's recipe)

And, here's the one Viking #1 and I will make today: Cherry Snowballs

1 C butter, softened
1/2 C confectioners' sugar
2 C all-purpose flour
1 jar (6 oz.) maraschino cherries, without stems, drained and halved
Additional confectioners' sugar

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and confectioners' sugar; gradually add flour. Shape a tablespoon of dough around each cherry, forming a ball. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake at 325 for 18-20 minutes or until bottoms are browned. Roll warm cookies in confectioners' sugar. Cool on wire racks.

Yield: 2 1/2 dozen

Please feel free to participate! Post your recipe at your blog and link back to Anita or to here.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

For Your Consideration...

As far as I can tell from browsing the other 9 nominees' links, Shannon is the only Christian mommy nominated. So let's support our sister. Please go check out Rocks In My Dryer and consider clicking on her voting link.

Tuesday Morning Tired

Well, it IS Tuesday, right? Technically. Since it is 1am. *sigh*

The good news? I got three chapters read somehow yesterday plus we had time for a play group.

The bad news? I'm up at 1am with sick babies. Both Vikings have colds again. *sigh* So, Momma's doing the humidify-hydrate-humidify-hydrate, middle-of-the-night shuffle. How do you moms with more than 2 DO this? When they're all coughing, hacking, and crying for you at the same time??
The ironic twist? Da Hubby and I agreed that after the first of the year we'd start talking about whether or not to start working on #3! LOL Maybe God only meant for us to have two...but is that me or Him talking? ;)

Sweet dreams to all...zzzzzzz

Monday, December 11, 2006

Monday Morning Bleary Eyed

...with a LLOONNGG list of things to do!

I feel a bit of a disclaimer, warning, justification, explanation is in order for this week! Particularly since I awoke at 5:30am with Da Hubby to do some studying in peace before the Vikings get up.

I have a final on Friday which will require (since it is a "study at home at your own pace" classw here I have as of now done NONE of the work for this unit) reading 6 chapters, watching 6 30-minute videos, memorizing 20 vocab definitions and writing 3 "mini-essays" before Friday while balancing kids, family life, and Christmas preparations. Friday at noon is my final. After which, I will be traveling across the state to enjoy my family's Christmas celebrations for the weekend. Did I mention I haven't started Christmas shopping yet? LOL

And, would it now go without saying that I hope y'all aren't TOO disappointed if I'm not able to deposit quality, long-winded, lengthily-studied for entries this week? LOL And, while I'm anxious to see what the Lord has for me in that Scripture I posted last week, my hopefully fruitful, eventual "revelations" may be delayed in being published!

I will be around for quick study breaks and occasional commenting. Promise. And, I'm too "blog-addicted" to not browse through my links that see what you all are up to this week. But, I didn't want anyone to think I'd fallen of the planet temporarily! :)

The "curse" of ADD - procrastination and disorganization for large projects would be a BIG problem around the holidays! LOL Ya think!?


God's blessings on everyone's preparations!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I'm such an English geek! LOL

No one else I show this to "gets" it. I thought it was funny! LOL Maybe I'm the only one! :)

Weekend wrap-up

Well, we got a little off track this weekend but so it goes with small kids! LOL Both kids had sniffles and such during the week. My littlest was also battling laryngitis, a slight ear infection, and a budding tooth. Then, the low-grade fevers hit both of them late Friday! *sigh* So, our family advent calendar activities for the weekend got rearranged a bit. No trekking out Friday night to a local historical site all dressed up for the holidays.

Unfortunately, we had a Christmas get-together (our Saturday activity) scheduled for last night
with two other couples and their kids. But, once we notified them of our kids' snifflies, both moms said "yea, so?" and everyone came over anyway. We had a blast! Six adults and 5 kids under five! Yikes! LOL The girls (Viking #2 was the only boy) made individual pizzas then the grown-ups had soups, sandwiches, noodle and potato salads, and a TON of desserts graciously provided by our guests. Awesome fellowship! And, other than some teething crankiness from Viking #2, the girls got along great!

Today Da Hubby and I decided to keep the kids home and out of the toddlers' room at church so the Vikings and I are coloring Christmas printables for Da Grandma and Da Papa who will be here with Da Hubby for lunch when church is over around 12:30pm. Then, later today, we'll make green and red Rice Crispie treats for tonight's dessert
.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Can't get this out of my head...

This is currently "percolating" for a couple future entries. But, I can't get away from this...even thinking about it in those few seconds of wakefulness as I roll over in bed at night.

Luke 1.38, 46-55
Mary's response to the angel and the Magnificat/Mary's Song

38 Then Mary said, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word."
46 And Mary said: "My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. 48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. 49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy [is] His name. 50 And His mercy [is] on those who fear Him From generation to generation. 51 He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered [the] proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52 He has put down the mighty from [their] thrones, And exalted [the] lowly. 53 He has filled [the] hungry with good things, And [the] rich He has sent away empty. 54 He has helped His servant Israel, In remembrance of [His] mercy, 55 As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and to his seed forever."

God, please work this through me, reveal the message for me so I will be able to express just what needs to be said at just the Right time, Your time!

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Mercy Drop Honor

You will find listed in the right column something labeled "Honored and Humbled" which is exactly how I feel after being dubbed by Kari at Healed Waters with this acknowledgement. Her blog is one of those I use as my example of what I want my blog to be like. So, to be recognized by her is truly flattering.

It's her desire to recognize those blogs and their writers she feels "consistently reflect to me a manifestation of just such light, life, joy, peace, and power. Yet how often they go unrecognized because I haven’t time to comment or e-mail. And how often some of them go unrecognized because they write about the “hard” things. Because they don’t seek “readership.” They just write what the Lord has laid on their hearts. Day after day. Week after week.

"These ladies are as “Mercy Drops” to me in what can often be a dark and stormy world - and blogosphere. They are regular sources of refreshment and revival for me
."

All she asked for in return was to share this edification with another. So, as I look through my daily link-surfing of blogs, I found someone who has been consistently following her heart and God's direction about keeping the Good things first in her life and setting an example for the rest of us to follow. So this Momma Viking passes on the praise to Anita of "Ask a Lutheran". So, Anita, please copy the above button for your blog or I can email you the original artwork if need be. And, as Kari, all I ask is that you pass it on to someone who equally moves you, your heart, and your faith.

Family Advent Calendar: Day 7



I'm so enthusiastic about this idea that I guess I just want to show everyone how it has been a HUGE blessing for us for relatively little effort.

Monday: Viking #1 made little foam cross ornaments for the Christmas tree. Cost: $5 at our local five n' dime. If I had known all the pieces before I opened it, probably could have done it for less with leftover supplies I had on my craft shelf in the basement.

Tuesday: Our play group provider, Parents as Teachers, had their Christmas Open House. Since Viking #2 was fighting "walrus boogers," he stayed at Da Grandma's while Viking #1 and I spent two hours playing in paper "snow", playing with gingerbread-scented playdoh, throwing "snowballs" of rolled up socks, and making a snowman craft. Cost: free

Wednesday: The kids and I watched the old "Frosty the Snowman" cartoon from ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas which I had recorded sometime earlier this week while I "showed" #1 how to make paper snow flakes. Cost: free

Total cost so far: $12

So far, Da Hubby hasn't been able to do much with us. He's back on 12-14 hour shifts. *sigh* Good for the bank account; bad for the kids and I. But, we'll be doing the weekend things together plus we're having two other couples over (we'll have 5 kids under 5! LOL) for dinner Saturday night. Homemade soups and breads, a meat tray, a veggie tray,and mini-do-it-yourself pizzas for the kids.

Busy, busy, busy...but loving it! It's the first time in a long time that I'm genuinely getting excited about the holiday! Don't know if it's the kids becoming aware of the holiday or the decisions we're making about how we're spending our time. Haven't thought about it too much yet! LOL

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

WFMW: Who's Da Boss?

With a 2 1/2 year old, you can imagine how often this topic comes up in our household. LOL Once in a great while, when asked "who's in charge?", Viking #1 will answer "Momma is". LOL Good girl! But, generally we hear "I'M in charge!" through toddler tears. Well, for my "Works For Me Wednesday" idea this week, I'm willing to admit that I often relinquish my authority to a simple kitchen appliance.

After becoming exhausted with trying to find an effective transitioning method between activities and to help simplify bedtime, I began using my kitchen timer! Now, I'M not the one saying the fun is over, it's the timer! LOL You may laugh but it's actually working! Bedtime has become nearly trouble-free as the timer is set for 10 minutes of reading and when it goes off, Viking #1 happily (well, most of the time) trots off to her room!

I've used the timer for transition from a beloved craft (usually Play-doh or using markers) to something less fun like eating or a bath. But, I've also used it at times to get her out of the bath! It has worked so well that I actually took the timer with me one day to our local Dairy Queen. It has an indoor play scape and (as you can imagine) it's often difficult to get either kid to leave without a struggle. But one "ding" and I can usually get the oldest on track for leaving with minimal effort. And, I've also used it for her time-outs.

I even used it when I started potty-training Viking #1. She was terrified at first of sitting on the pot. I was setting the timer for every 30 minutes initially and then told her she only had to sit on the pot for 2 minutes at first. So, "ding" - it's time to go sit on the pot. Then, "ding" - you can get up now. And, slowly increased the intervals to every 60 minutes for 5 minutes until she got the hang of it.

But, Da Hubby would probably suggest one word of caution...find a timer whose bell you can live with. He HATES ours because it sounds like the phone so many times he's jumping up to answer a non-ringing phone! LOL

It may not solve ALL our problems but it was DEFINITELY made life easier around here!

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

A small fun thing...

I remember being told once "Don't ask what someone REALLY thinks of you unless you REALLY want to hear the answer." Well,I guess I'm doing that...sort of. LOL This is an interesting meme I picked up from Kari at Healed Waters and thought I'd give it a try.

It's called a Johari window which "was invented by Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham in the 1950s as a model for mapping personality awareness. By describing yourself from a fixed list of adjectives, then asking your friends and colleagues to describe you from the same list, a grid of overlap and difference can be built up."

So, let the fun begin...click here and then click on the 5-6 words you think would best describe me.

Monday, December 4, 2006

It Must Have Been Good!

Was making breakfast for the Vikings and noticed...hey, wait a minute...where's the second cake I baked last night? Hmmm...it appears that Da Hubby enjoyed his slice of the first one so much that he took the ENTIRE second cake to work with him this morning! LOL I guess THAT'S a compliment! LOL

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Family Advent Calendar: Day Three!

Thought I would share how our project is going so far.

Friday we were suppose to go to our nearest big city to watch them light up their "city tree" in their main park. But, it started at 5:30pm and Da Hubby didn't get home early enough. So, instead we went to our local Dairy Queen which has a kids' play area. After an hour of "peppermint/chocolate" Blizzards and rolling around playing with the kids, we all came home and crashed.

Yesterday, Da Hubby and Viking #1 went to our local library for a "Build a Peppermint Cottage" activity (see above) while #2 and I stayed home and decorated the tree (see below) including adding our Swedish flag garland to the tree. Oh, btw, if I haven't bragged on Da Hubby enough this weekend...he hand-built that fence "from scratch" in an afternoon in the garage to keep #1 and #2 out of the tree! I just LOVE that guy!

Finally, today, we were planning on making Christmas ornaments with Viking #1. But, after church, lunch, and a family communal nap (yippee!), Da Hubby was asking if we had any "sweets" around. So, he agreed to leftovers for dinner when in return I offered to bake a chocolate cake from scratch after scrounging up all the ingredients. (My supplies have been running low pending a re-stock for the holiday cookie baking rush! LOL)

So, with a little help from #1, we just had homemade, from scratch chocolate cake with Da Grandma's homemade "seven minute frosting" - the only frosting Da Hubby will eat! He thinks he died and went to Heaven! LOL So, that was our "family thing" today - we all hung out in the kitchen for an hour or so! I baked, Da Hubby and the Vikings licked the spoons and bowls, we ate dinner and then we all had a slice of cake. Not a bad weekend if I do say so myself! :)

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Weekend Tweaking of Template

Was incredibly busy today - was up part of the night with #2 and his running nose and cough, breakfast out with the family this morning, running errands, cleaning the house, putting up the Christmas tree, making lunch, doing some more "to-do's" while chasing kids, making dinner, more "to-do's" and more chasing, bedtimes, and then doodling on the PC.

From after dinner until the kids' bedtimes, Da Hubby was trying like crazy to make a beautiful, incredible picture he took (I'm just a little biased) at one of our favorite places in Northern Michigan my new banner. We found it to be a problem between Blogger and IE7, and he solved the problem with Firefox. Then, I just spent the last hour trying to "tweak" some colors. It's still a work in progress (if there are two colors I can't stand it's gray and beige! LOL) but I just wanted to say "Da Hubby ROCKS!" Thanks, babe! You da man! XOXO

Friday, December 1, 2006

Glitter Revelation

Feeling a little down today. Having a little “long-distance sight” problem. Having trouble believing that the mundane, small things I do every day with and around my children are really making a difference.

I chose to stay home, putting on hold (or, to be more honest, giving up) a career I worked hard to achieve after 12 years of “single-hood” and 5 years of infertility struggles. And, it’s not that I regret the decision. I fully believe in the “mission field” of my home as described by Everyday Mommy. But, it’s just that all my days just are starting to look so much alike. And, while the ADD part of me thrives under a schedule so that all gets done and nothing’s forgotten, the creative and fun part of me is often sighing and sinking deeper inside.

However, I just had one of those “ah-ha” moments while in the basement rotating laundry loads. Da Hubby and Viking #1 nightly trot off into the basement post-bath time as I nurse #2 to sleep. Daddy “putzes” around – snuggling his girl, watching TV with her, or cleaning up. A few nights ago, Da Hubby warned me that while downstairs, she had found some glitter in my ill-secured crafty supplies. Today, as I looked around the basement, it was everywhere. And, I mean everywhere. But, in that flash of revelation, it came to me.

There were more sparkles where she had spent the most time the last few nights. She had a couple centralized “piles” but from walking, playing, etc. they had been spread throughout the basement. It was easy to track where she had been. Some had clung to her even as she came upstairs. That’s similar to the things I do each day.


Each moment spent reading, playing, talking, preparing meals, even cleaning up is leaving my sparkles on these two little miracles. And, while I don’t know where all these sparkles will end up or even if they will make a difference, when they are grown they will (hopefully) glitter with the love of Da Hubby and I but more importantly with the love of Christ that we should exemplify. Our efforts, no matter how small or apparently trivial, will hopefully cling to them long after these times. And, maybe then I will be able to see how far my “reach” really is!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Mom Radar

While we all know these things happen regularly, today this made me think of Sara. But, here is another reason why moms should get suspicious when the kid(s) has(have) been too quiet for too long...*sigh* I guess I didn't need to read yesterday's paper anyway! LOL

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A Week After Thanksgiving

I didn't mean for this to take so long but, after bugging Kari over at Healed Waters about how her "Thirty Days of Thanksgiving" adventures went, I figured it was time to blog about my experience.

I took up Kari's challenge but I started on October 24th with writing one note per day, seven days a week. I made up a card in MS Publisher using Kari's graphic (giving her credit, of course, as well as the link to Healed Waters) that I "snail mailed" to the majority of the people I chose but also used the Dayspring e-card site for several as well.

Among others, I sent notes to some church family, my pastors, my three oldest friends, a couple of my MSN message board buddies (fellow moms who struggled with infertility), some blog friends, my parents, and my mail and newspaper carriers.

To be entirely honest, I fell two sort by the end. But, of the 28 I completed, I received some kind of feedback from about 10 folks. Not that this was the point but I felt it was a good gauge that I was making a small difference to these few folks and that Kari's idea was an awesome one to begin with! LOL Mostly, it just felt good to slather some love on some of my favorite people. And, I apparently made my mother-in-law cry...well, not intentionally! LOL

My biggest testimony about this, however, is that I sent three cards to family members that I'm currently somewhat estranged from and each one responded with being very open and positive about the unsolicited contact from me. I'm hoping these notes are a crack in the door to some restoration between me and each of them.

So, it'll be something I will do each year. I've already put the reminder in my Palm for next October to get prepared. Ultimately, I want to thank Kari's obedience for following God's call to write about this desire of her heart. Because of it, I've taken the first few steps down a (hopefully) long road of healing with three very important people.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Countdown to Christmas!

Growing up, I always had an Advent calendar. Now, as a parent, I was looking for some new traditions for all of us to share and to help with the "Christmas countdown" once the kids are a little older. I found this idea 2-3 years ago (I don't remember where or I'd cite the source! LOL) and used it for the first time last year with pretty good success. And, we are looking forward to trying it again starting Friday.

I made a list for December 1 - 24. And, for each day, I tried to come up with one small thing we could all do together as a family. It doesn't have to be complicated or costly but it needs to be something everyone engages in for a little bit. For example, here are some ideas:

Decorate our tree

Hang our new Scandanavian flag garland
Make ornaments for tree
Watch some "old" Christmas movies (see
post below)
Make paper snowflakes
Decorate tree for the birds
Make red and green rice crispie treats (food coloring is SO underrated! LOL)
Go see "The Nativity"
Night drive to see houses dressed up with lights
Christmas crafts
Play carols and games
Make hot chocolate mix
Make Christmas cookies
Take cookies and cocoa to neighbors
Go sledding
Go skating
Have a cookie swap

We also included a couple local attractions and performances to get us out and about. For example, our city's orchestra and youth choirs each have their concerts this coming month and the city's annual "Reindog Parade" as well as our area's zoo has a program outside for kids.
I'm also using the ABC Family movies for "back-up plans" in case of poor, icky, or too warm weather. (Did I mention that it is November here in Michigan and it is currently SIXTY-THREE degrees outside!?)

A few things I learned last year:
I had too many crafts and too many baking/cooking/crafty things so it got too expensive and time consuming (especially since I was 8 months pregnant this time last year!) so I'd suggest spreading those type of activities out over the month. Also, we made the traditional paper chain for the tree last year but, instead of cutting all the paper up ourselves, we just order the materials from Oriental Trading. We also used them for our ornament last year.

Finally, since the point is spending time together doing fun things, don't stress about not getting to your activity each day! It defeats the point! LOL We got about 80-90% of the things done we planned but it was always nice knowing that if we had an hour or so to kill that we could fill it with some pre-planned and family-quality-time related activity.


And, we used about 75%of last year's ideas, tossed a few, added a few, and adjusted a few for more age-appropriate things for our kids. The beauty of this is that it is so easy to change and mold into something appropriate for each family! Just wanted to share this idea. Hope it blesses someone's family as much as it has blessed mine!


For more Christmas ideas, head over to Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer

"25 Days of Christmas" on ABC Family

As I will posted later, I've been looking for things that are "family oriented" for Da Hubby,me, and the Vikings for each day of December through Christmas. Came accross this in my "Family Fun" magazine - which is owned by Disney. They have schedule a "family" movie each night December first through Christmas. It includes the old "classic" cartoons (Frosty, Rudolph, etc.) as well as somemore recent family favorites.

And, while everyone might not agree that all these movies are appropriate for Christian households (like the issues over the Harry Potter movies as well as some IMHO questionable selections recently), I like the concept and it will be filling in some leftover spots on my makeshift Advent calendar (explanation to come soon).

Just thought I'd share...Here's December 1-7. Other links there will take you to the rest of the schedule. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Christmas Meme

Tagged from Callapidder Days...

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot chocolate

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? No Santa at our house but, growing up, Santa wrapped.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? White pre-lit on an artificial tree. None on the house.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? Nope. Don’t even know what it looks like! LOL

5. When do you put your decorations up? Trying for a tradition of the first Saturday in December.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Ham

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child: Honestly, having trouble thinking of one. Isn’t that awful?


8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? Don’t remember

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Not ‘til I got married so now one gift is opened on Christmas Eve

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? Right now it’s mostly stuff I collected, had passed down, or had given to me as a single girl. Haven’t really gained too many since I got married or since the kids arrived.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? Depends – the good fluffy stuff where I am now? Love it! The nasty damp stuff I grew up with? NOT!

12. Can you ice skate? Use to – now I’m just an ER trip waitin’ to happen. LOL

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Not really but I know that one that I remember fondly because I just passed it down to my daughter is the doll house my dad made me when I was about 9.

14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Re-discovering the simple joys and setting traditions for our kids

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? My sister-in-law’s “Dirt Cake” – think crushed Oreoes and “fluff” in layers in a trifle dish/bowl.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? This is hard since I’m transitioning from being someone’s only child and being a mom myself. This may sound funny but I always looked forward to the bag of pistachios in the toe of my stocking growing up. Munching nuts after all the gift opening while reading instructions, manuals, taking off tags, etc.

17. What tops your tree? Has been an lighted angel for several years but it is acting as her nightlight right now in my 2 year old’s room right now. So, probably won’t have one this year.

18. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving? Giving.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? It’s probably a tie between “Away in the Manger” and “The First Noel”20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum?? Yum!

And, "Tempest/Coppertop"...consider yourself tagged! LOL

My Short, Unsuccessful Career as a Burglar

*sigh* You know that moment. We've all done it. At the moment that the front door, back door, car door, or whatever closes behind you. *click*

I keep two sets of keys in my purse. Since we own two Ford vehicles (a Focus and a Freestar), we have those monster key fobs with all the buttons as well as the "big" keys required of newer vehicles lately. I refused to carry both big keys and both fobs all the time so I made up a separate key chain for the Focus's keys (which Da Hubby generally drives) and kept them in a zippered pocket of my purse. I drive the van which has my house keys on the ring.

So yesterday was one of those days where both Da Hubby's and my schedule got completely shot through like Swiss cheese and by 7pm we were still barely hangin' on. For a multitude of reasons which I won't go into now, Da Hubby had to be driven back to work by me and the Vikings around 6pm so he could work 'til 9pm so he could clock in a full day. The Vikings were NOT happy about it and spent most of the evening making Momma miserable at home.

Around 8:40pm, in my frazzled state, I scoop up both kids, a set of keys, and head to the van to go pick Da Hubby up. I walk off the porch to my similar refrain to my eldest "go to the van...go to the van...go to the van...no, don't pick up rocks, chalk, etc....just go to the van." Then, it occurs to me that the van isn't unlocking but the Focus is honking! Hmmm. Doesn't take a rocket scientist...I have the wrong set of keys...OH NO! I just locked the van keys in the house and the kids and I are locked out!

Thank you Ford Motor Company for keyless entry on the van! I get the kids loaded up and plug in a "Wonder Pets" DVD we burned from the TV. Then, I begin to assess how in the world am I going to break into my own house? I'm so embarrassed that I didn't even call Da Hubby at first. But, after two trips around the house and despite two "loose" screens/windows with no luck, I break down and call him. After some "debate" but Da Hubby still using his nice "inside" voice (LOL), he tells me to go ahead and break out the glass in the back door! *sigh*

But, MAN, do you realize how much noise that makes! LOL How does anyone break into a home by breaking glass and NOT have anyone hear it!

Bless his heart because that man o' mine comes home (after having arrived at work the first time at 6am that morning), helps me put the kids to bed, and then cleans up the mess I made knocking the glass out of the door (and down the basement stairs *sigh*) And, never says one word other than - "don't worry about it! It's only a $10 piece of glass! By the way, you have the spare house key on your Focus ring now, right?"

I knew I married that guy for a reason! *blush*

Monday, November 27, 2006

Five Things You Probably Don't Know About Me

I was "passively tagged" (LOL) by Everyday Mommy and thought this might be fun. And, I don't remember what I've blogged about or not (thus the "probably" of my title) so...

1. In elementary school, I won the softball throw for the greatest distance in the City-Wide Olympics. I was also the only girl in third grade who could hit a softball hard enough from our playfield that it would hit the school!

2. In high school, I not only got to be the lead in my senior year play, an Agatha Christie mystery, but I got to be the "bad guy" as well! What fun!

3. In college, I was part of a large group of people at Michigan State University trying to set a world's record for the most people playing Twister! LOL

4. Again, in college, I got to work down on the field at Spartan Stadium as a gopher with ABC Sports a year that MSU went to the Rose Bowl!

5. I worked with Secret Service while on staff with the police department at the University of Michigan around 1996 when the former President Ford was on campus to "retire" his football jersey!

If you read this and found it fun, consider yourself tagged!

Motherhood's Equivalent to Duct Tape! LOL

Going to playgroup! What a way to spend a Monday morning after a holiday! LOL

My first impulse today was to stay home, dig in, and get the house picked up, cleaned up, and straightened up after having company, traveling 400 miles, and having Da Hubby home for four days. But, the Vikings slept in until about 8am and we had playgroup at 9:30am. So I mobilized the troops and arrived with 2 minutes to spare.

This group is put together by our local
"Parents as Teachers" group and is very organized around several age-appropriate activities and a children's book each month. One of this month's activities? Shaving cream and food coloring! ROFL! Good Lord! What are they thinking?! Do these people have children?? LOL

Anyway, while Viking #2 played in the baby area, I got #1 set up in a plastic smock to make a huge mess. After quite a while, she was ready to move on. So, I then faced the challenge of how do I clean her up? So I started with paper towels to get the "mass" of bubbles off her and then resorted to baby wipes for the sticky remainder.

As 5 or 6 moms did the same, I joked aloud, "what did moms do before baby wipes? They are like the mom-equivalent of duct tape! What mess can you not get out of with baby wipes!?"

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Post-Thanksgiving Thoughts

In no particular order...

Welcome to my new blog provider. I decided to move from Faithprints.com and hopefully have found a home here at Blogger.

Our "Turkey Day" wasn't exactly what I planned (is anything really ever what we moms plan? LOL) Just Da Hubby, Vikings #1 and #2, and me at home this year. A first! And, since it was just us - Da Hubby and I decided on something a little unconventional for dinner so I wouldn't have to spend all day in the kitchen. So, we got a tank of propane, 2 fillets, and some frozen crab legs and had a little Thanksgiving "surf 'n' turf"! LOL

Friday was spent cleaning the basement and completing some electrical work that is to be inspected next week before our permit expires. Even Grandma got in the game and came to watch the Vikings upstairs so Da Hubby and I could clean without distraction. We're not quite done but a large dent was made in the mess.

Today was spent on Viking #1's and my haircut, purchasing supplies from our local Lowes, putting up the tree, and Da Hubby being in the garage most of the afternoon making a "baby picket fence" to put around the tree to keep our 2 1/2 year old and our 10 month old from pulling it over on themselves. The best part of today? The kids took a "tandem nap" (meaning both at the same time) so Da Wife (aka ME) got a little short snooze on the couch! Yippee!

That's about it for the last few days. Will be doing a short road trip tomorrow to be with my mom and her husband on the other side of the state. My "step-grandma" (my step-dad's mom) passed away Thursday night. It was a blessing after 5+ yrs in the nursing home but sad nonetheless.

God's blessing on the rest of every one's weekends. I'm off for bath times and bedtimes!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

2006 11 16 I am Unique!


HowManyOfMe.com
LogoThere are:
0
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

2006 11 15 Say Thanks to U.S. Troops

A web friend whose husband is currently serving in Iraq passed along this site and really encouraged a group of us to help out and use this site to send "thank yous" to soldiers overseas.

www.LetsSayThanks.com

The kids' art on the "web postcards" is so cute! Plus, you can submit your kids' work as well. And, they have pre-composed thank you messages or you can write one yourself. Please consider taking a few minutes to participate!

2006 11 15 Interesting Research on Speaking In Tongues

Received this in an email newsletter I receive regularly from Charisma Magazine Online...

SCIENTISTS STUDY SPEAKING IN TONGUES

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that there may be a neurological parallel between what worshipers believe about the speaking-in-tongues experience and what actually transpires in the brain, The New York Times reported. Scientists took brain images from five healthy, active, churchgoing women as they were speaking in tongues and as they were singing. Comparing the two images, the researchers discovered that the women’s frontal lobes—the willful, thinking part of the brain—were quiet, as were the language centers, indicating something else was in control, the Times reported. “The amazing thing was how the images supported people’s interpretation of what was happening,” said Dr. Andrew B. Newberg, the lead researcher and director of the university’s Center for Spirituality and the Mind. “The way they describe it, and what they believe, is that God is talking through them.” Scans of people practicing meditation differed sharply. Newberg found that during meditation the frontal lobe was more active. The findings were published in the journal Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging.

I'd be interested in reading the entire article from the journal if it isn't all medical-jargon-gobboldy-goop! LOL

2006 11 15 In Response to a Response About Ted Haggard

As I'm sure many others have done, I've followed the story about Pastor Ted Haggard of New Life Church in Colorado Springs. My heart breaks over devastation done to his relationship with Christ, his family, his church, and the National Association of Evangelicals of which he was the president.

I watched with some Christian pride at how it was handled by the Board of Elders to which Mr. Haggard answers. No big to-do. No big finger pointing. It was immediately, openly, honestly addressed. They demanded he step down but they "closed ranks" around him as his period of correction and restoration began. It appeared the Biblical "system" worked despite the backlash and opinions of the general public.

So, I found myself more than a little irritated by today's syndicated article from Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts. Now, I read him regularly despite his apparently socially liberal beliefs since he is one of only a few national columnists that our little local paper publishes. He was comparing the "outing" of actor Neil Patrick Harris (of "Doogie Houser" fame) as a homosexual and the "outing" of Ted Haggard's self-described sexual immorality. Pitts feels that at this point in time he would rather be Harris rather than Haggard.

But, what I found so irritating is how sarcastically and disrespectfully he addressed the handling of Mr. Haggard's situation...(the bold is my emphasis)

"On Nov. 2, Haggard stepped down from the NAE presidency. Two days later, his church fired him. He has confessed to ''sexual immorality'' and will spend the next three to five years in ''restoration,'' a process that reportedly involves confrontation, counsel and – you can’t make this stuff up -- rebuke from `'godly men.' "

What's to be made up? Why is "godly men" in quotes? That is how the Bible system is designed and instructed to work.

"This all raises two questions. One: Between this guy (Haggard) , the late gay-bashing former Spokane mayor, James West, Pat Robertson biographer Mel White, and Michael Bussee and Gary Cooper, leaders in the ''curing homosexuality'' movement until they fell in love with one another, can't we now safely assume that any conservative who rants about the homosexual agenda is a lying hypocrite gayer than a Castro Street bar? And, two: Wouldn't you much rather be Neil Patrick Harris than Ted Haggard just now? In other words, wouldn’t you rather be a content gay man living life to the fullest, than a closeted gay hypocrite living lies to the fullest? Especially since lies are so frequently found out."


So conservatives are never to be believed ever again? All of us are hypocrites? So, there's no overgeneralization by Pitts here? So I guess I'll stand up and say, no, I still wouldn't want to be a content gay person rather than someone seeking God's correction to return to His will for me.

2006 11 14 My House-band

Ephesians 9.22-25: Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so [let] the wives [be] to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her...

We had a ladies' tea last Saturday. The theme was apples and in particular being the apple of God's eye. One the points (among many) was the issue of submitting to one's husband as the priest of the household.

Now, as a former 12-year-long single unsaved career girl (I left home at 18 and met Da Hubby when I was 30), I would have been the first to tell ya' that you were insane if you thought that (one) I even needed a man much less that (two) I would submit to ANY man lording over me. I had been raised by a single mom who strictly taught to depend on no one but myself.
Even when I returned to regular unsaved church attendance in 1988 at 20 years old, the church I was in NEVER addressed "submission" in relation to my future husband much less Christ! I don't think I ever heard the word! I just figured it was part of that Old Testament thing like the dietary restrictions that Christians don't follow anymore! Too bad that the Scripture was in Ephesians!

Then, I met Da Hubby in 2000, got married in 2001, and got saved and baptized in an independent charismatic church in 2002. (It was a busy few years! LOL) And, that's when the teaching about submission really started to sink in. The turning point was a message at our former church about how men are told to love their wives but women are told not to love but to submit! Initially, one could find this humorous or find this unthinkable. I'd like to think that loving those we care for comes naturally as part of the nature God gave us and we didn't need to be told to "love" these guys again! LOL

Either way - the most important part that no one up 'til this point bothered to explain to me was that men are to love their wives like Christ loved the Church! It was like an explosion went off in my head! So THAT is what that means!? Once I began to grasp the slightest understanding of the depth of Christ's love for me and that He only wants what is good for me, why would I have a problem submitting to the man He had chosen for me and that is directed to love me as He does!? Thus, my conversion to a submitted wife began.

So, at the ladies' tea, one of the points our speaker made was that the word "husband" references him being the "house-band". He is not only the priest and leader of the home but he is the "band" around the "house" holding it together. And, if a man fails at this calling, the home will be out of balance and at risk of falling apart.

I like that idea! While I may be the heart of the home so to speak, it is Da Hubby's arms holding us all together tightly! And, just as Da Hubby holds us close to him, so does Jesus hold us close to Him, sheltered under His wing of protection from all that may try to break that bond between Father and children!

Praise God!

2006 11 10 How Do I Strike A Balance?

Between enriching my kids’ lives and overscheduling them?

Between keeping my house clean but spending time with my kids and husband?

Between going to church and spending quality time at home with my family?

Between my Bible reading and my reading for school?

Between time caring for my family and some time caring for me?

Why does it seem to be all or the other…when the only thing that should be “all” is our enthusiasm, love, and devotion for Christ?

Psalms 29:11 “The LORD will give strength to His people; The LORD will bless His people with peace.”


Matthew 24:13 "But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”

2006 11 09 Nine Weird Things

Found this on Everyday Mommy (http://www.everydaymommy.net/everyday-mommy/2006/11/9/nine-weird-things.html ) and considered myself tagged! LOL Anything self-inspection-evaluation-orientated lately is seriously grabbing my attention.

My 9 Weird Things...

1. Up until I had children, for every vehicle I've ever owned, I recorded EVERY tank of gas, mileage, etc to figure out my MPG. Thanks to my "best-est" friend of 30 years whose Dad made her do it for all the leased vehicles his employer provided and that she and I drove through our high school and college years.

2. While I love him dearly, I am eternally miffed that Da Hubby can NEVER seem to order anything off the menu! LOL It seems like EVERYTHING needs to be a special grill order for him!

3. One of my favorite toys from my childhood was my huge box of Lincoln Logs! I want to find some for my kids as soon as they stop putting everything in their mouths! LOL

4. Speaking of toys, another favorite of mine was the racetrack I won when I was about 7 while on "Bozo the Clown", a Detroit area kids' TV show "back in the day". I was on a field trip with my Brownies troop and managed to get a dollar bill out from under an upside-down glass Coke bottle without knocking it over!

5. I met Da Hubby at a kayaking conference - I had NEVER kayaked before and had borrowed all of my equipment!

6. I rarely can have a can of Pringles in the house without sitting down and eating the whole can!

7. Being trained as a middle school landuage arts teacher, yes, I've read all the Harry Potter books and LOVE THEM! (Don't know that I would let MY kids read 'em now (LOL) but I did read them all when I was single and teaching full time.)

8. I can sing the theme songs to "Diego" and "Wonder Pets" in my sleep.

9. And, I can still sing "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow" that I learned at youth camp MANY years ago backwards and forwards! LOL

So, if you read this, enjoyed it, and think it might be fun, consider yourself tagged as well!

2006 11 08 A New Bible?

Being resistant to change, I haven't been willing to give up my current Bible since it was given to me in 1988 when I returned back to church. It's NIV which was fine but I'm starting to have some concerns about some things I've noticed missing or different in NIV from KJV or NKJV which our pastor uses for sermons/messages/teachings.

Plus, my current Bible is a bit of a snapshot to my spiritual journey back into God's light since I started a habit of putting dates by passages that were meaningful to me at that point in time. It's amazing to see "1989" next to a passage with a note about what I was struggling with at that time as a re-new-ed believer. To see other passages marked "1998" as I was still single at 30+ yrs old trying to live right. To see the passages marked as possible wedding Scriptures from 2000. And, the transformation to a married, stay-at-home mother of two in 2006.

But, I'm itching for a new start, a clean page, a fresh reading of the Word. I'm feeling like that part of my "old life" needs to be put aside, released, put behind me, to start fresh. Also, my NIV Bible was published by Concordia Publishing and has a Lutheran "tilt" to it. But, I'm no longer part of that organization so I'm looking for something that fits my new Pentecostal instruction better.

So, I'm looking for recommendations. A women's Bible? Something NKJV? Amplied translation? A study bible verus a "plain" one? Anyone have any ideas? I'd like something with lots of room for notes in the margins, some references and/or commentary, and a concordance of some sort. Never had a soft cover - that might be a nice change.

Anyone have any thoughts, ideas, suggestions?