Monday, December 29, 2008


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To Noah

Yesterday was Noah's 2nd birthday. So I thought it appropriate to post some well-wishes from his brothers.

Here is a "Christmas" card that Sam (and Caleb) wrote for Noah:

Cristemis cord to noah
We love noah
noahs cool

noah is veary abedeint

noah looks like a sooprheero
he looks like a wise man
he is just asum

And a week later, on his birthday, Noah received the following:

deer noah
happy brthday noah
yor to today
with happy smiyls to fill yor day

frum Sam

Now either he copied that last line from another source or he's a future Hallmark card writer!

Noah, we love you!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Fancy Fig Leaves!

Tonight, Sam got really excited when he saw me opening a package of Green Giant peas. "Mom!! Look, it's Adam!" "What?" I exclaimed, actually looking behind me toward the garage door. "No, right here!" he said, pointing to the bag of peas.

The Jolly Green Giant. Otherwise known as Adam.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I want to be purposeful about everything we do this Christmas. Everything means something!
So at the breakfast table, I asked the boys what a Christmas tree has to do with Jesus being born.
Sam, unprompted and with no previous instruction in the matter, said, "Well, it kind of looks like a cross."
I explained that sometimes the cross is actually referred to as the "tree".
"And so when we look at our tree, we can be reminded that Jesus was born to die on that cross so that we could live forever with him." I finished.
"So what about the green of the tree? Think about what happens in the springtime." I said.
Sam came back with "Growing things, things turn green."
"Things come to life." I prompted.
Sam gets really excited. "So it's like the tree of life? The tree of life in the garden of Eden? And the cross was like a tree of life because we have eternal life because Jesus died on the cross."

Can you wrap your brain around that?

I encouraged them that as we place each ornament on the tree in the next couple of days, I want them to tell me the spiritual significance of each one. *Earlier in the week, I removed all purely secular ornaments from our collection.
It's our goal that as we look at each ornament we're reminded of something Jesus has done for us or a facet of Who Jesus is.

So we had a little example. "One of our ornaments is a small stuffed lion. How could that relate to Jesus?" I asked. I had left our little animals in the collection, thinking that Jesus was the Creator of them all, so they'd work on the tree.
Sam can't be bothered by such a simple meaning though.
"Oh yeah, like how Jesus is the lamb of God, but He's also the lion of Judah."

Oh yeah.

Good job, Sam.

Somehow I think they'll have no problem with this task, and our Christmas "traditions" will take on new and significant meanings.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Grief and Grace

Death was not meant for us.

We were meant to live forever.

It is something foreign that every molecule of our body protests, that our emotions scream out against, that our minds sometimes refuse to accept.

We were meant for an eternal existence.

Thank you Jesus, it is restored!! We have the hope of eternal life. He keeps His promises.

My very good friend lost her baby boy at birth this week. She and her husband have purposely chosen to accept God's sovereignty, not to stray from the path, and to praise Him through their grief.
And God's grace shines through them.

This calls to mind a spiritual strength equal to the physical strength of Samson. Jesus is the Rock. Build your foundation on Him!

*Please keep this family in your prayers.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What's a video game?

Sam has been obsessed with writing lately. He comes home from school and will often sit at the kitchen table until dinner time, writing stories or drawing pictures.
Here are some samples I recently found in his notebook:

the BiBle
yes thets
the book
for me i stad
a lone on the wrd of God
the BiBle
the BiBle
"a cat on a mat"

a cat was wnts seepeen on a mat in frunt of the mouse home
but the mouse was awake and the mouse wuntid to git out be for the cat woke up
hale king of the joos
Jesus is the Christ for evrewun

Friday, November 14, 2008

It sure is hot here

Fires in CA again. Santa Barbara county. So I'm reading the news article and there was actually this quote, "I can tell you for certain that Oprah Winfrey's house is safe, as is Rob Lowe's." However, more than 100 other homes were destroyed.
Is it just me, or is this blatant insensitivity to those who were injured (there were a few) and those who did lose homes? Good grief! These celebrities would be the ones most able to afford new ones if their others burned down. They probably HAVE more than one!
We (society) treat celebrities in a sickening way!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I remember you!

We're now scheduling weekly one-on-one time with each of the boys - something we've wanted to do for awhile now. Mondays are Sam's night, Tuesdays are Caleb's, and Thursdays belong to Noah. We put the others to bed, and then the selected special one gets to stay up a bit later. So far, we've taught Sam how to play checkers and Caleb how to play Parcheesi. I'm thinking about doing some baking with them next week. It's SO different interacting with them on a one-on-one basis when the other 2 aren't around to provide their own dynamics to the situation. Actually, kind of refreshing. I'm really enjoying it!
Now I just have to come up with a catchy title.
Like, "MY night". But that's not too catchy.
Anyone have any brilliant ideas?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Pack it away, kid!

Sam has now graduated to the Level 2 approach for stopping his thumb-sucking, which he still claims he wants to stop doing.
So now, he brushes his teeth.
He gets on his jammies.
He goes potty.
Then he puts his sock over his "thumb hand" (in his case, it's his right).
Then Daddy puts on the packing tape.

This has provided Caleb with yet another wonderful excuse to leave his room at night: "Sam's taking the tape off!"

He's the self-appointed thumb-sucking police.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Toss the cookies

Out to dinner at Perkins tonight, all the kids got one of their huge cookies for dessert. Those half chocolate chip, half sugar cookie ones.
5 minutes into eating his, Caleb all of a sudden announced, "I like God better than cookies!"
We must be doing something right around here!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voting Day

"Kings and kingdoms will all pass away, but there's something about that Name!"

The Lord, He is God!

Voting day:
"But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15

No need to wait till the votes are all counted. We're under HIS command and leadership! Praise the Lord!

Friday, October 31, 2008

"Mom, why don't we go trick-or-treating?"

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4:8

"The Lord is my light and my salvation -- whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life -- of whom shall I be afraid?" Psalm 27:1-2

"So do not fear, for I am with you." Isaiah 41:10a

"I will set before my eyes no vile thing." Psalm 101:3

"Candy is bad for you!" my dentist

We have a "tradition" of not trick-or-treating. This is the first year Sam asked about it. For the first time, I was really struck by the command not to fear. Here we are, trying to show our kids that there is nothing to fear in the dark, nothing to fear when they have bad dreams. God is with them. And we (the Christian culture) then choose to expose our children to sights on halloween that we would never allow them to view in a movie! Yes, even if you dress your child up in a cute little puppy costume, guess what? Not all parents do that! I'M even disturbed when I see the gruesome graveyard display one of our neighbors has out, or when I walk into the party store this time of year. The blood and gore and focus on DEATH!! We stand for LIFE!! Remember? Jesus is THE TRUTH. Jesus is THE LIFE! Everything about halloween - hey, let's not play dumb here and pretend it's all about the candy - glorifies things that stand for death. Just look at the "spooky" halloween decorations.
And what are we trying to do when we decorate our homes with those things (again, I'm speaking to the Christian culture here)? We're trying to give the kids a delicious scare and make them feel spooky. And yet the Bible says, "DO NOT FEAR!"
I will never understand a believers' ability to gloss over these facts. Yes, a child may see only loads of candy, but a parent's responsibility calls for a higher plane of thought.
Now, contrary to some "halloween extremists", we do answer the door and hand out candy, along with a little story sharing the gospel. I'm not about to pass up a witnessing opportunity when they're flocking to my door!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Where everything's $1!!!

Things I couldn't bring myself to buy at the dollar store, as much as I love it:

10. A pack of gum. Well, tried it once. "Gum"="Rock"

9. A bra. But that's just me.

8. Halloween candy. So from how many years ago is this?

7. Pacifier, sippy cup, bottle. All the "bad" plastic has to go somewhere.

6. A pillow. Where's the number for the chiropractor?

5. Any kind of medicine. I don't want to die.

4. Nylons. Maybe if viewed as "disposable".

3. Perfume. If you want, you can label me a perfume snob for refusing to pay as little as $1 for this product.

2. Tacky knick-knacks of kitties, angels, or dutch people. Why is this a trademark of every dollar store?

1. A pregnancy test. Yes, they have them.

I Don't Understand

(this is my inaugural post on this blog which should say something about my feelings on this topic)

I was listening to Minnesota Public Radio yesterday on my drive to work and heard a report on the abortion referendum in South Dakota that's coming up next week. As is to be expected, this ballot issue is very controversial with many strong feelings on both sides.

I understand that some people honestly don't believe life exists until birth and even though I think that's not True, I can understand why they don't see abortion as reprehensible as those of us who know life begins when our Creator attaches a soul to a zygote. Beyond your standard, run-of-the-mill, "lets-pretend-we're-libertarians-because-this-thing-inside-me-isn't-a-baby"- type pro-choice citizen, there's another segment of the population that is an order of magnitude more liberal. MPR had the privilege of interviewing one of these individuals.

This individual was a director of the local Planned Parenthood office (I don't recall the city in SD). She expressed her deep concern over the possible outcome of passing such a ban which, by the way, still allows for rape, incest and life of the mother exceptions as a compromise with those that believe it's OK to kill a baby if your reason is good enough (don't get me started). I can't find the quote on but she said something to the effect that she was concerned that not enough abortions would be performed in South Dakota if this referendum passes.

Not enough abortions!?!

Think about that for a moment. That's like saying you wished that people ate less healthily and loaded up on a lot more artery-cloggers so that we could have the opportunity to perform more triple bypass surgeries. Or, maybe you wish that people got in more head-on-collisions so that we would have more opportunities to use the Jaws of Life as a demonstration of our ability to help people in need.

I would hope that even the most staunchly pro-abortion activist would see abortion as truly a last-resort option, not as something that they would want as many people as possible to experience. Every time an abortion is performed it is a sign that society has failed that woman (and the man that's partially responsible) by,
A) not giving them the moral fiber to say "no", and
B) not giving her the support she needs to feel like there are other viable choices (and yes, we pro-lifers are pro-choice as well, just with a different set of choices)

Monday, October 27, 2008

What I meant to say was...

At dinner tonight - in our dressed up dining room - to celebrate our 7th anniversary - surrounded by our 3 children - Sam brought up an interesting piece of conversation.
"We're gonna name our baby Daisy."
We are? Apparently he really likes the name. And apparently, according to the boys, the baby IS a girl. No doubt.
Of course, Caleb had to get his two cents in:
"I think we should name our baby xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx" (insert very loud, drawn out, gaseous sound, produced perfectly on cue, and apparently totally NOT on purpose.
Needless to say, that was the end of any serious conversation on the subject.
"How about 'Chicken Heater' "?
"How about 'Sweet Flower' "? Well, coming from you, Caleb...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Caleb's theme

Heard from the "naughty chair" the other day as Caleb bided his time:
"Ama--zi-ing grace! How swe-e-et the sound.
That sa-a-aved a-a wretch like meeeeeeeeeeeee!!!
I once was lost, but now am found.
Was bli-i-nd, but no-o-w I seeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!"

"Mama!! Can I get up now?"


"Yes, Caleb."

Bottom's up!

Have you ever had one of those days?
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Sam and Caleb usually play together in their room while I get ready in the morning. Lately, it's been trains. The majority of the time, it goes really well, but there's about one major issue per day. You know, the things that really make you mad. Someone else's train is in your way and they won't move it. Someone just won't stop SINGING! Someone just TOOK a train and the other had already said they wanted it! (Keep in mind, they're picking from about 20 different train cars) So today, Sam was getting picked on by Caleb and I'm trying to have a teachable moment of, "Put him first." Move to the other side of the giant track where he can't touch you with his foot. He went back and "tried" to reconcile, but it wasn't working. He came back to me with, "Caleb is not making sense! He said I can go, but then he's blocking me!! He's a - he's (face red, tears, anger) - he's a no-maker-senser!!!"
Meanwhile, Caleb's standing in the hall placidly watching to see what my response will be - completely in the buff, by the way - as he'd forgotten to put undies on after removing his pull-up.
So this morning, we finally just had to pack up the track for the day, as the issue just could not get resolved.
Then we all got dressed.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Autumn harvest

The things a boy picks up on a "Fall Walk" field trip with school.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Thumb war update

I just thought I'd update on the thumb/Sam. He's been doing really well, putting a sock on his hand every night, unprompted. Sometimes the sock is off when we go to check on him later, but he's still "in process" and still trying hard!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Thumb war

Sam has come to the end. He told us last night that it would be the final night he would suck his thumb.
Two years ago, when we moved into this house, he was still sleeping with his "rag", a soft cloth diaper. Back then, he told us he just needed one more night and then he'd be done. He stuck with it.
So tonight, we tucked them in and prayed with them. Nothing was said about the thumb. I think I'd forgotten all about the vow. 5 minutes after I left the room, I heard a bit of arguing between Sam and Caleb (nothing extraordinary), and then Sam started crying. Brian and I both went into the bedroom in time to hear him sob, "I have to suck something! It's too hard!" Good grief, I'd thought he was just crying about wanting a drink or something.
We told him to try laying on his tummy with his arms under him or under his pillow. Normally he sleeps on his back. He turned over, still sobbing, but apparently determined. "It's hard!" he said a few more times. We prayed for him, asking God to let him fall asleep quickly.
Well, I always knew he was strong-willed! Praise the Lord, there are benefits to that!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Studied for my exam

So, I went in for my 12-week appointment today. Here's what I came out with:

Things I just don't care to hear at the Dr.'s office:

1. "So, do you think you'll be done after this baby?" Said by the nurse. Why don't we just concentrate on the baby at hand, huh? Next time, I'm going to say, "Actually, we're going for fourteen."

2. "Have you had any animal dreams yet?" Said by my doctor. Apparently she had animal dreams while pregnant with each of her four children that accurately predicted the gender. Okay...

3. "3 boys! Wow, you're busy." Said by the tech who drew my blood. And about everyone else when they first discover how many kids I have. Can we have a more original response, please?

4. "The doctor has a student trailing her today." Great. Come on in!

5. "So, you're right at about 11 weeks, 4 days, right?" WHAT??? By my count it's 12 weeks, 3 days. And I COUNT!!

6. "So how does this gown work, anyway?" Said by my doctor. I won't elaborate.

7. "I know you just had all this done at your last physical, but we need to do it all again today." No elaborating on this either.

8. "Only 3 more vials to go!" Said by the tech as she's drawing the 5 vials of blood she needs. "Because I'm too lazy to separate it for the different places we have to send it." So do I get a transfusion after this? My blood pressure was a bit low...

The good news is it took about a second to find the baby's heartbeat. That's always a comforting milestone to pass.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Buddha is watching you

We decided to go to a Chinese restaurant for dinner tonight. Has anyone else noticed the lack of a really decent, sit-down Chinese restaurant? We tried one we'd never been to before, in Lakeville. Tak Shing.
A few minutes after we'd sat down, Sam noticed the Buddha shrine right above our table. "What is that?"
"It's an idol." I replied.
"Really? Is it really?" He was incredulous. We assured him that some people do worship Buddha and no we didn't know whether the people who work in the restaurant worship Buddha.
He averts his eyes.
"I'm not gonna look at that anymore, because if the waiter sees me looking at it, he'll think I worship him."
Well, that's an interesting take. Is this kind of like not causing "your brother" to stumble?
He tried shielding his eyes, covering only one eye, asking why we made him sit in the chair facing Buddha.
We told him that it means nothing to us. It's just a piece of plastic. As worshippers of Jesus, it means nothing.
I'd catch him gazing at it, and he'd see me and quickly avert his eyes. "Oh!"
He'd turn a little in his chair and we'd ask what he was doing and he'd be all secretive and gesture and whisper, "You know, you know why, right?"
So, Sam's proclamation as we left the parking lot was, "Are we going to come back here to eat again? I hope not!"
Oh, one more funny Sam moment. As we were giving our order, I asked the waiter if they had any sodas that were caffeine free. Just Sierra Mist. But I was dying for a dark soda, so I risked it and ordered a Diet Pepsi. He told me they also had Diet Mountain Dew. I exlaimed, "Oh my, no! That would not be good!"
As the waiter left, Sam mouthed to me, "Why didn't you tell him you were gonna have a baby?"
I don't know what type of connection he was making in his mind between the soda and the baby.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Bible-uncensored...sort of

I read the story of Dinah tonight with Sam and Caleb, which led to a discussion of biblical circumcision. When I got done explaining what was done, Caleb's reaction was, "Ouch!!"
The other sticky subject was of course, the fact that Dinah was raped by the prince of Shechem. The version I was reading explained it this way: He took her and hurt her, treating her like she was his wife.
Later, I wanted to see how much of this Sam was getting, so I asked him what the prince did that was so bad. He responded that he'd treated Dinah like she was his wife when she wasn't. I wonder what he thinks this means? I wanted to question, but I wasn't that brave!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My day at Kindergarten

Today was my first day of helping out in Sam's classroom. I LOVED it!! And do you know why? Because my job was organizing the Scholastic book orders. I remember watching my teacher do this in grade school, and I was envious. Seriously, I love to organize, I love books, I especially love touching new books. I got it all! On the downside, I couldn't help but note who ordered Spongebob...

After my hour-long project was done, I got to take a few kids, one at a time, and sit down with them at a table to work on rhyming words. I have to admit, the first kid I picked was Sam. He breezed through it. The two other boys I worked with had a looser understanding of rhyming, but I still had fun with it.
One little girl, who I hadn't talked with at all today, actually painted me a picture. It was so sweet...I hope she doesn't feel bad when she notices that I forgot to take it home.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sabbath rest

Mercy: A refraining from the infliction of suffering by one who has the right and power to inflict it.

Have you ever thought of the Sabbath (which we typically think of as Sunday) as a showing of God's mercy and grace?

"Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return." Genesis 3:17b-19

Basically, we were cursed, because of our choice to turn away from God and choose sin, to work really really hard. For everything.

The Sabbath is God's demonstration of grace to us. That even amidst this curse that He proclaimed on us, He is merciful and gives us one day out of every seven to REST! It's a gift! It's not just that day that you should avoid shopping, the day that you should not clean your house, the day that you should focus on things spiritual, the day that you should leave the labors of your yard, the day you're only allowed to walk so far. It is the day that SHOULD be received with gladness, joy, and maybe even a sense of unworthiness. God is gracious. We deserved the curse. But one day out of seven, He reveals His grace in this special observance called the Sabbath.

I just never looked at it that way before!

Receive His grace.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Right to vote

I do not like politics. Part of this is due to the probability that no matter who we have as a "leader", individuals are the ones who really make the changes. The changes that matter, anyway. For some reason, I also just can't bring myself to care much about high/low taxes, taking money from this or that person/group, or giving it, government programs, aid packages, etc. Someone always gets the short end of the stick on these decisions anyway. And who's to say it's the "right" or "best" person to get it?
So as for myself, I have almost completely 100% made up my mind not to vote. Now, if Billy Graham was on the ballot, I might make it to the polls! But, the fact is that I would be voting for the "lesser evil". Think what you will about the candidates, they all have their issues.
I believe strongly that it is not "a Christian's duty to vote." Where the heck do you get that?? I do believe that it is a Christian's responsibility to pray for our leaders and for God's will to be done in the outcome of the election.
Just to be sure to generate some discussion here, I also think that if you are a Christian voter, you have a responsibility before God to think morally first, societally (is this even a word?) second.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I wanna hold your hand

What do you think the rules should be in a Kindergarten classroom regarding hand-holding? Okay or not okay? Sam's teacher has deemed it "inappropriate". Kindergarteners should not be acting like boyfriend/girlfriend. Well, I agree if that was their intention... Sam doesn't even know what that means. It was a little hard to explain to him why he would no longer be able to hold his friend Maddie's hand in class. Anyone have any advice?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Getting to know me

I have been tagged by J Mom.
1. Link to the person who tagged you
2. Post the rules on your blog
3. List 6 random facts about yourself
4. Tag 6 people at the end of your post
5. Let each person know they've been tagged by commenting on their blog
6. Let the tagger know the entry is posted on your blog

6 Random Facts About Me: (or, "What You Never Needed to Know")

1. I hate trends. Even if I liked it before it became popular, if everyone's suddenly into it, I'm turned off.

2. My most famous random fact: I have no bellybutton. I should've been named "Eve".

3. I wrote a novel from 6th to 11th grade. The main character was named "Elizabeth".

4. Although shy growing up, I did some pretty gutsy things, like selling the neighbors flowers to the rest of the neighborhood and swinging a stick around "just for fun" in Kindergarten (ended up hitting a girl in the eye). Huh, maybe that's where Sam gets it...

5. I have this weird fantasy involving a small space (like a submarine or something) that can only hold a certain amount of people, each bringing items to survive on in one grocery bag each.

6. I love food. In fact, my first doll was named "Hot Dog". I also, at various stages of my childhood, had pets named "Twinkie" and "Cupcake". I notice I refer to my children as "Punkin Pie" or "Sweetie". Maybe someday, we can have a "Haagen Daaz".

In turn, I will tag:
Jen at The Mulvihills, Candice at Godfrey Family, Beckie at Three Men and a Lady, Dad at Flint: The Hard Truth, Jennifer at Everlaughter Life, and Brendan (or Molly) at Ecclesia Domestica.
Follow the 6 steps at the top of my entry and come up with some random facts!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Sam the Missionary

Sam's mission work:

On the bus the other day, he asked the little boy sitting next to him (who apparently refuses to tell Sam his name) if he knew who Jesus is. The boy said no.

"He's the Lamb of God." Sam replies.

Huh, I wonder if that mother will get any interesting comments the next time her child sees a lamb.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Getting Even

Who likes odd numbers anyway?

Like 3.

4 is so much more rounded out.

Coming April 2009....

(By the way, this is also an even numbered post. And today's the 4th!)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The park rocks

I run into some pretty interesting parenting "philosophies" at the park. Now, I try not to make all these judgements about what kind of mom she is by the one incident, because hey, I too can look like less than the ideal mother (sometimes).

However, sometimes words are a dead give-away of the philosophy of the parent - conscious or not.

The mom today was begging her 3 1/2 year old not to throw rocks. Over and over. As he just laughed. Now, everyone who knows my children knows that they would never so blatantly disregard my authority.

Sense the sarcasm.

So the kid laughed and threw some more rocks, a handful of which hit me in the leg. The mother gasps, "Did you see what you just did? You hit her with those rocks! Now you stop throwing rocks please!"
The boy laughs some more.
The mom, "It's not funny!"
The boy ignores her and throws rocks some more.
The mom tries to reason with him. "Look, you can throw rocks but you'd better make sure nobody's around that's gonna get hit!"
The boy has no response. Other than more laughter. More throwing. Totally ignoring her.
Oh, and all this is always accompanied with "We're going to leave. We're out of here right now if you throw rocks ONE MORE TIME!"
I think he picked up on the fact she wasn't following through.
So she finally says, "You know what? You're going to hit one of these little kids if you throw rocks, and then you'll be in trouble.
Because apparently he wasn't getting into any trouble just for his disobedience and disrespect to his mother.
As I said, interesting philosophy.

I wonder if there are any moms out there blogging about what they've seen me do.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Kingdom Prayer

Lord, we're broken, broken-hearted, tired of going our own way.
We've been proud and self-sufficient, but we're broken here today.
Lord, we need Your power within us, for we have none of our own.
Take this broken heart and mend it with Thy power, and Thine alone.

Lord, we're mourning, mourning children, mourning o`er the sins inside.
For they're always right before us, much too great for us to hide.
Lord we need Your power within us for we have none of our own,
Take this mourning heart and comfort with Thy power and Thine alone.

Lord, we hunger and we thirst for righteousness that's not our own,
For we see our selfish motives; we need you to take Your throne.
Lord, we need Your power within us for we have none of our own.
Take this hungry heart and fill it with Thy power and Thine alone.
Lord make us Your kingdom people, for we're nothing on our own.

Do Your will and bring Your kingdom,
Fill our hearts, and take Your throne.

*Words/Music by Dan Adler
From his "Heart of the City" worship CD

Sunday service

The announcements at church this morning caught my attention when "service opportunities" were mentioned. I've been thinking a lot about how I want to be involved in serving at a homeless shelter or something of the sort.
But the service opportunities were all within the church - you know, extra help for the nursery, check out this new program or that new group.
What about the service opportunities outside the church? The "least of these"?
Those weren't mentioned.
Our pastor then proceeded to preach a message on service opportunities - nothing specific, just how we need to always be ready for God to shake us up a bit and to embrace the changes and opportunities this brings.
At the end of his message, the congregation was invited to donate to the benevolent fund - money which goes to help those in need in the congregation and out. I'm not sure if he meant this as a tie-in to his message or not.
I think that part of the church's responsibility should be to point the congregation toward real live service opportunities - OUTSIDE the church - maybe even as part of the announcements. Some people - like me, for instance - would just love to help out if I was just shown "here" "do this". Rather than having to search this out on my own. Maybe this is spiritual laziness, but I still think that the church is missing the boat in many cases with this issue. Focusing too much on the inner needs of the church (and I'm not denying these are real) and not much, or at all, on ministries outside the church. And not just, "so and so is involved in the such-and-such ministry - here are some pictures". But, "These people could really use some extra help organizing clothing, or serving meals, etc. Why don't you sign up?" The church needs to be the encourager here for the body of believers to get involved in a community that has become the "church community" and no farther than that.
And when believers experience the joy of service to others who are lost and who we are able to show Jesus to, I believe it provides the rejuvenation, refreshment, and unquenchable joy needed to fulfill the other responsibilities of the church, like teaching a Sunday School class or rocking babies. Like turbo power or something when you're playing a video game - you start radiating the turbo light and suddenly you can go faster, jump higher, resist all injury.
The pastor talked about how when you serve in the capacity that the Lord has designed you for, you will find yourself in a place of happiness and complete joy that you haven't fully experienced before.
Christian turbo power. The Holy Spirit Glow.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Never alone

Sam once again told me that I didn't have to wait for the bus with him today. He could do it all by himself. I explained that I had no doubt he'd be able to do it alone, but that it was a matter of safety.
"I don't want you standing on the corner all by yourself." I told him.

"I won't be alone. God will be with me. That's what the Bible says. Right, Mom?"

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Eye exam

I enjoy People. The magazine. Glossy gossip and all.

Had to go.

I had the headlines of stories from magazine on my homepage, and maybe I'm weak, but when I see headlines that interest me - in a good or bad way - I cannot help clicking on them.

So they had to go. I actually clicked and closed those headlines yesterday.

I don't need to be reading about Ellen and Portia's wedding and L. Lohan and lover. And this is just the obvious garbage. Bottom line - there is nothing edifying about any of the headlines in People. If it is truly newsworthy, I'll see it on my CNN headlines.

Made me realize that Satan is using mediums such as this to just get us used to the garbage in a nice, glossy, comfortable way. How long will it be before Christians are acclimated to gay and lesbian weddings, and decide, hey it's not so bad - they love each other after all. It is subtle, but I believe that this is how it happens - through seemingly innocent reading curiosity.

"Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word." Psalm 119:37

"The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light." Matthew 6:22

It hit me that a woman's eyes are more readily drawn to gossipy types of garbage, as a man's eyes are drawn to a Victoria's Secret display window.

Monday, August 25, 2008

No nap today!

The innocence of a fresh kindergartener:

"I can't believe it!!! I'm going to school!!" Sam burst out with this several times as the hours drew near for him to board the bus.

As we are waiting (all 5 of us) at the bus stop, Caleb says, "Oh yeah, I need to give you hugs and kisses before you leave!"
Sam responds with, "Not now. Wait till the bus gets here."

"Mama, you can just stay here. I can handle it." Sam said to me as we were eating breakfast and I was telling him how we'd walk with him to the bus stop.

"I don't need a treat after lunch. My snack at school will be my treat."

"Look, I drew a picture of my first day of Kindergarten at school. See, I'm holding an ice cube!"
"Oh!" I say. "What did you do with ice today?"

Saturday, August 23, 2008

It's in the Genes

Sam saw a picture of the Statue of Liberty the other day.

"Daddy, why is she holding an ice cream cone?"

Friday, August 22, 2008


So, here's something to think about. Do electronics praise God? Don't stop reading, I'm not about to start a debate on video games here. I was wondering though, while mindlessly listening to the radio the other day, if when I'm not engaged in worship when the radio is playing, is it just noise? Or does God still receive this as praise? I know he receives praise from the hearts of those who praise Him, like when recording artists are singing for real, but what about the CD's and the radio and such? And I know He is praised when I am praising in my heart as I listen and am caused to praise Him, but what about when I'm not engaged? Are the songs still considered praise to God when it's not real, per se?

Just a bit of a random thought to contemplate over the weekend.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Save the bananas!!

A 10-minute trip to Cub. Perfect length. Especially when each of my 3 children is munching on a free apple. Took about 10 minutes for them to get down to the core. Bless the free apples. BLESS THEM!
The only problem we had was the issue of the red button. You know, the one at the end of the conveyor belt? What kid isn't attracted to that? Too bad, even after many gentle warnings (I was still in my blissful state of not needing to discipline) my food wasn't the only food that got squished. They just go right down the line and push all the red buttons.
And why red anyway?
Usually, a red button is the one you don't want to push at all costs. The one where you wonder, "hmm, I wonder what this does? And you push it, with everyone screaming a silent "NO-o-o-o!!" behind you and running in slow motion. Then everything blows up.
But now they know red buttons as the fun grocery store button that makes the food come closer.


At least they have free apples...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Iron Man

Sam has been choosing healthy cereals lately, scorning Caleb's choice of Strawberry Chex. His reason is practical. He wants to be as strong as Gaston, whom he recently came to know after watching "Beauty and the Beast".
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Monday, August 18, 2008

Camping with the stars

Things I learned while camping:

1. If you're a woman who does not pee in the woods, the bathrooms are always far, no matter how close to the campsite they actually are. Especially at night.

2. I WILL hear wild animals when I get up to go to the bathroom and it's dark, even if there are none in that particular area.

3. Contrary to popular thought, my children are not tired enough to conk out from all the fun right when they go in the tent no matter how late it is.

4. More than 2 or 3 desserts after meals is always more acceptable while sitting around a bonfire.

5. I can comfortably go a lot longer without a shower when camping than I ever could at home.

6. Food tastes great outside cooked over a fire. If it tasted like that at home, I'd never eat it though.

7. It's possible for kids to be too loud, even outside.

8. My children are capable of falling over everything. And they did, believe me.

9. When little kids are the same size, they tend to think they're the same age too.

10. Sleeping in a sleeping bag is like confining yourself inside a gigantic nylon all night long. By choice.

11. My 1 1/2 year-old really doesn't know what a boob is, that's just his word for "tube". Thank goodness!

12. My cleaning compulsion extends to camping.

13. So does my obsessive weed pulling. Do I need to seek help?

14. My 5-year-old does not get embarrassed at anything - even holding a pair of wet undies to dry under a hand dryer in the women's restroom. He could stand there all day. "Yeah, these are my underwear - what's it to ya?"

15. There will always be things that don't get used, but there can never be too many pairs of underwear. I'm talking about the kids here.

16. Chili is better than prunes. (I'll let you put #14-16 together)

17. Apparently my 3-year-old has no shame either, stripping down to all his nakedness as we were about to leave the beach because I told him to dry off.

18. Naps? You've got to be kidding!!

19. My boys love exploring.

20. Camping is exhausting! Even if you don't do all that much.

21. I'd actually do this again.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Yep, That's Me

No thanks, I'm just looking...

How do you deal with the child who casually looks down the tops of the female mannequins in the department stores?

What do you say to the child who asks if the gas we put in our cars is the same as the gas that comes out of our bottoms?

What do you do with a child who vehemently argues that you did not tell him not to blow on the whistle again, only not to do it loudly - and then realize he's right.

My Caleb.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A wretch like me??

God's grace has been shown to me lately in 2 very different scenarios.

1. Our neighbor recently lost her brother in a car accident. She came over and told me about it and asked me to pray for her. I realized that God's grace washes over me when I am used by Him even in this small capacity.

2. Today, 3 strangers stopped and helped me when I hit a large hubcap from a truck dropping tires. One, a woman, actually went back to her home and got her cell phone so that I could make some calls. The others worked to get my spare on - a task that, due to the state of my front wheel, took about a half hour. The woman stayed with me until I had things under control and was about to leave with my police escort. There is no reason for me to believe that these people are followers of Christ (other than this kindness), but God used them to show me His grace in another way. I was left overwhelmed by gratitude and speechless with the desire to do something for them in return.

This just amazes me. And reminds me how much I am loved by God.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Start `em young

Good things to start at a young age:

Global awareness - there are people of other nationalities in the world. Tonight, while watching the Olympics, Sam pointed to a member of China's gymnastics team and asked if he sold Chinese food.

Potty training - Some kids really won't just automatically ditch the diaper.

Reading of Scripture - from the real Bible! The other night, we were reading from Mama and Daddy's Bible, a well-known story for the boys of David and Goliath, and Sam said very skeptically, "Did that really happen?" I guess the description of Goliath according to Scripture is more impressive than in their children's Bible story book.

Cleaning up - kid's can help with the never-ending chores, and the good thing is that they like it a whole lot more than you do!

Saying "please" and "thank you" and "sorry" - even Noah, who is 19 months, is starting to use these words unprompted. Drill it into them.

Adults are to be respected - we have taught this in little ways, like having them call most adults "Mr." or "Mrs." and by not allowing for certain obnoxious behavior and ways of talking to adults

Talking respectfully to their siblings - this is something I've been lax about for awhile and have recently tried to crack down on. Sometimes the "work it out" approach is great, but some things just should not be allowed to be said to a sibling. Or said in that tone.

Enjoying God - and enjoying worshipping Him. Not just a required prayer before meals and bedtime, but a teaching of worship that is very personal. Like teaching them to close their eyes and think about how wonderful God is while singing a well-known worship song. Or dancing in worship. The other night, we did "Jesus, you are____" for our prayer time, rather than the typical "Please help..."

Any other good things we should teach early?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Camp cook

So in a week and a half, we're headed off into the woods for a weekend of camping. Anyone want to share a list of must-have camping equipment? Especially in the area of cooking utensils? How about a good camping breakfast or dinner recipe?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Not flaming, just a little toasty on the pants

So, do your kids ever lie? We've tried to treat lying as a serious offense around here. Lying gets a punishment reserved for pretty much only lying.
But should every untruth coming from your child's mouth be treated the same way?
I had a situation with Sam today where we were all outside and he and Caleb were riding bikes and having a good old time. No fighting, no problems at all. Caleb rode up to me and asked, "Why did Sam get a spanking?" "Huh?" I was confused. "Sam didn't get a spanking." Being 3, he actually tries to contradict me in this, "Uh huh! He said!" And sure enough, Sam had casually told Caleb that he'd gotten a spanking - don't ask me why, I have no idea - and then when Caleb told him that "Mama said you did NOT get a spanking!" he rode off singing, "Yes I did, yes I did, yes I did!" For this he got called off his bike and was made to sit on the front step for awhile - this is not our usual punishment.
Now, Sam most definitely knows what a lie is, but sometimes he's a little confused with teasing versus lying. He'll claim, "But I was just teasing." This in situations when he obviously is being deceptive.
I'm a little at a loss to how seriously all untruths should be taken.
On the one hand, I want to really send the message home that no lying will be tolerated, thought funny, or be called by different names.
On the other hand, there is the love of a little boy to tell fantastical tales of woe and gore.
I've started making them aware that there is a distinction between pretending and setting out to deceive someone. In pretending, everyone is in the light. In deceiving, someone is being led to think something else, and this is not honoring to God in any way.
So, any other suggestions?
Any situations you've run across in this department that you didn't quite know what to do with?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

And then!! Part 2

We allowed the boys to jump to different parts in the story at will, as long as they remained in chronological order. For instance, Darius made a new law...then Daniel was thrown to the lions. We didn't make them hit every single detail.
This could even work as a broad overview of Scripture, naming stories and then seeing who can name a story that comes after that one.

And then!!

The Bible Story Game:

One person starts the story with one sentence.
The next person adds the next sentence to the story.
And so on.

Great way to see how much of those Bible stories your kids are actually absorbing.

Make sure they understand that they need to remain true to the biblical text though.
We were making our way through Daniel and the lions at brunch today and when it was Caleb's turn to add something, he said, "And then the lions ate Daniel all up!"

If little boys got their hands on the Bible:
The big fish would have chewed Jonah up with its long fangs before spitting him out on the beach.

Goliath would have made David into a shishkabob.

Job's problems would have ended quickly with the attack of Leviathon, who would have carried Job off to his cave and ate him limb by limb.

A wild lion would have come out of the woods and eaten Cain after he killed Abel.

Wolves would have taken over the ark and locked Noah and his family in a dark room where they could only hear the howling for the voyage.

Maybe this is just sinful nature responding to sinful nature, but the boys seem to be drawn to the evil characters more than even the heroic characters in the Bible. Maybe this is something that'll go away when the Holy Spirit gets ahold of `em?

Friday, August 1, 2008

Home again, home again...

Well, all the boys are back under one roof.

Noah was very distraught, not crying, just very serious, refusing to look at me when I picked him up yesterday evening. He would just gaze at me very seriously when I wasn't looking at him and then look away when I did look. And he wouldn't respond to anything I asked and wouldn't even accept food from me for awhile (I was trying to share the cheese from my french onion soup - we were at Friday's).
By the time we got in the van to go home, he'd done a complete turnaround and was almost giddy with joy. When we got home, we called Daddy on the cell as he was en route to home after picking up the other two from Des Moines, and Noah was sitting on my lap cuddling almost frantically with me. Like a cat purring and rubbing up against an owner that's been gone for several days. He was reaching up and stroking my hair and rubbing his head against me and smiling. When I rocked him before bed, he held on tightly and kept trying to climb up closer to my face. He wanted his face pressed against mine.

Maybe just one night away for him from now on until he can understand that I'm coming back and when.

On the other hand, Sam and Caleb had a wonderful time in Kansas and I think they could have stayed another month and not been bothered. Even when we talked on the phone, they would say a few sentences and then want to get on with their day. They said they were glad to be home though, and they especially missed Noah. He was pretty happy to see them too!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Keeping up with the Joneses or Jesus?

Okay, I have a question. We all know that people choose to spend their money in different ways, depending on what's important to them. Some people just love shoes. For others, it's clothing, haircuts, knick-knacks, wine, cars, etc. As a follower of Christ, I try to be conscious of what I'm spending my money on and evaluate (especially when I'm making a larger purchase) whether I'm being a good steward of what the Lord has blessed me with.

But does it get to the point that spending "that kind of money" on an item is just wrong? No matter how much you justify it?

I was thinking yesterday that I just cannot see spending $1000 on a pair of shoes as being a good steward of my money - not that I was considering a pair.

I would say that if an item is available for $200+ less than what you're considering paying, there should be a very good reason why, such as safety issues, quality (within reason), or possibly an auction where the extra money is donated to charity.

What are your thoughts on this?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Proverbs Prophecy

I found a surprise in Proverbs today. A prophecy!

Proverbs 11:30 "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,.."

According to Revelation 2:7, "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God."

Now, the first time I read this verse (and probably the second and third times too!), I read it in such a way that the righteous will produce fruit that will be like a tree of life for others.

I realized it actually makes more sense to read the verse the other way around: The righteous will eat of the fruit of the tree of life. That which was once forbidden after eating from the other tree will one day be a reward!! That's pretty amazing.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


There are no children here today.
Noah got dropped off at Gramma Sue's this morning and the others aren't coming home until Thursday evening.
But I still find myself looking at the clock, thinking I have only about an hour left till naptime's over, thinking I need to shut the door quietly, wondering if I really should start this or that task.
Oh yeah...
There are no children here today.

I miss them...

Thwarted again

I was reading Esther today.
I continue to find it interesting the number of times the Jews are nearly wiped out in the Bible. Satan securing power for himself.
I wonder if he was surprised when the Promised One did not come through Queen Esther. Maybe he thought it was the perfect set-up. A king and queen, the queen a beautiful and courageous girl with her heart set on following the Lord.
Haman's plot was conjured and set in place. All Jews were to be killed at the end of the year.
But because God knows all things and Satan does not, His people were saved. Through a woman's courageous act and obedient heart.

Monday, July 28, 2008

my child, the stroller

When was the last time you stopped to admire the tufts of grass - okay, weeds - growing up through the cracks in the sidewalk? I got to experience this treat on my walk with Noah this morning. A rare pleasure - Sam and Caleb are in Kansas with Papa George and Grandma Sarah... Noah lasted in his stroller for about 5 minutes before he wanted to get out and push it himself. His favorite thing is to tip the stroller up on the back wheels and run with it, crying "WHEEE!!" But every few seconds, he would stop and look. At the duck on the pond, at the weeds in the sidewalk, at the stick in the grass. Any sound would also stop him in his tracks. "Ay-pane!" "Bug!" "Oooahhooo!" (Police siren). Then he'd look at me for verification. "Yep, a plane!" "Do you hear bugs in the woods?" "Oh, do you hear the police siren?" To which he'd respond, "Yah!" It hit me that I needed to go as slowly as he wanted because he was doing something that few take the time for. He was enjoying God's creation. He found interest and wonder in things I typically zip right by because we need to "get to the park".
So my new goal is this: So often our many frustrations with our children come out when we're going somewhere, or trying to. I am going to attempt to make the getting there more fun than the "there". Then maybe my children will learn to appreciate the little things and not always be in a hurry to get to the next place or activity.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Fun, fun, fun

Sam and Caleb are spending the next 2 days at Gramma Sue's. This morning, during the prayer before breakfast, Sam prayed, "Please help Momma and Daddy to have a fun time while we're gone." I thought this was pretty perceptive for a 5-year-old. Or maybe he just couldn't imagine how we could possibly have fun when they weren't here. Thus the prayer.

We are going to Valleyfair tomorrow just the 2 of us!

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Please do not confuse the new red letters in my blog with the red letters in your Bible. Thank you. I do not claim to be Jesus, only to want to be like Him.
Also, please don't criticize my spelling of my made-up word in the Title of this blog post. Thank you.

Before you see Spot run.

How to teach your child to read - the basic beginning steps:

1) Read to your child. The more expression, the better. Pretend like you're auditioning for a play or something. Be creative with different voices and let yourself get silly.

2) Teach your child the alphabet song. Eventually, make sure they know they're singing about individual letters (so they don't think that eminemopee is some animal with lots of legs).

3) Introduce them to the capital letters with all kinds of games. Alphabet blocks. Books. Making the letters out of legos or cars. Or even on a larger sheet of paper, an outline of the letter that the cars can follow. Make sure they're repeating the letter as they do this. We did gigantic alphabet flashcards - which I just made out of white construction paper, putting a different letter on each one. We made patterns on the floor with these letter cards and then I'd quiz them by having them walk to the letter I called out. At the beginning, I worked with only 4 or 5 different letters at a time until they learned them, and then added more.

4) Once they know all the capital letters and are able to readily identify them, you can move on to sounds of consonants and common sounds of vowels. Very informal. Just start listing items in the room and ask your child to come up with what letter it starts with. Point out that many alphabet letter names start with the same sound they make. Once they get to this step, they can spell the first letter of pretty much any word, and this is pretty exciting for them.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Do you get my point? (I hope not)

The NEW point system:

So we just instituted this like, 1 hour ago.

We read the boys a Bible chapter each night out of their kids Bible. It has a few questions at the end of the chapter, and they take turns answering them. If they get the answer right, they get one point. If one of the kids says "I don't know", the question gets bounced to the other and they get a point if they answer correctly.

Next, the verses. If they say the verse without help AND are able to give a short summary of what it means (this has been previously discussed with them on other nights), they get a point.

If at any time, their behavior becomes disrespectful or obnoxious, especially prone to happen during the prayer time, they lose a point (or two or three...).

Tonight, Caleb earned 2 points and Sam earned 3.

Once they get to 30, they will get a special reward - a new book (Bible-based) or something else designed to promote spiritual growth. Hmmm....a new wooden spoon?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It doesn't measure up

Sam and Caleb have been playing a lot in the woods at the back of our house lately. A lot. Part of the reason I'm sure is that this is the only place they're allowed to play with sticks.
Tonight, we were all out in the backyard and Caleb and Sam were in the woods. Were. Caleb was heading toward us crying, Sam having poked him in the corner of his eye with a stick. Not a serious injury, and not purposeful either. Sam claimed "accident". I sternly told him how important it was that he stay well away from Caleb when he's playing with the stick. He said (very innocently, and also like he knew what he was talking about) that he "was like, 2 feet away from Caleb!" Brian then asked him how long the stick was. "4 feet." was his matter-of-fact response.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Hide it!

Our Scripture memory program has fallen by the wayside this summer. Tonight Caleb reminded us to do verses before bed, and so we got out our verse sheet and quizzed them on one of the very first verses they learned, Proverbs 3:5-6. I again realized how important it is that we talk about what they're reciting and not just concentrate on the memorization part. This is actually a great starting point to teach children how to study the Bible. We talked through each part of the verse and made sure they understood the meaning of each phrase, and then we had them recite it one more time.
A brief outline with possible questions:
"Trust in the Lord" What does it mean to trust?
"with all your heart" Sam said this meant to always try your very best.
"and do not lean on your own understanding" This one got an elaborate story from Mom about how sometimes your own understanding can make a lot more sense than trusting in God. A poor man gives away his last loaf of bread to another who has nothing, even though he'll have to go without dinner. Later that day, dinner is brought over from one of his neighbors unexpectedly. God sees the whole picture. Don't believe that what you see is the whole truth. Trust God's truth.
"In all your ways, acknowledge Him" In everything you do, glorify God. Do everything with a servant's heart as working for Jesus.
"And He will make your path straight." Depending on what version you use, the wording here could be a bit different. Some say, "And He will direct your paths." We first asked what they thought that meant. Even if you think your child has no idea, this is always a great way to give them a chance to think it out for themselves. We talked about the promise of heaven to those who follow God's way. Also, when you choose to do God's will and not your own, it is easier to hear His voice directing you in other ways. Your heart is soft to His leading.
Obviously, we try to stick with age-appropriate explanations, but we're usually surprised with how much they grasp, especially Sam, whose spiritual eyes have started to open.
Here's a list of some verses we started with. I think there could be no end to the verse studies we could do even with this small list. The more they are aware of the verses and what the verses mean, the more they will start using the Word to govern their decisions. Like, should I take the biggest cookie, or should I leave it for my brother? Sick and tired of reading that bedtime book they always pick over and over and over? Try some Scripture. It never gets old!
(I really didn't mean for that to come off as a commercial!)

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.”

Ephesians 6:1 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”

Psalm 119:11 “Your Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

Ephesians 4:2 “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”

Psalm 34:14 “Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies.”

Acts 4:32 “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.”

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world...”

Psalm 18:2 “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.”

Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.”

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Just add water

It rained today.

It was much-needed, the grass was brown and crunchy and not very pretty or nice to walk on.

When I make a spiritual connection with someone and spend meaningful time with a friend, it has the same effects on my spirit as the rain does on the grass.

I've noticed that when I go too long without this refreshment of spiritual connection, I'm "not very pretty or nice to walk on" either. I tend toward being a little prickly. Better wear your shoes.

Such moments with friends help my spirit to get soft again. (It was much needed)

God has most definitely designed us to be dependent on Him, but also to receive a drink from a fellow traveller now and then.

Whether you're giving or receiving today, remember God's amazing grace and freely give or gratefully and humbly receive His LIVING water. By the way, He has no water restrictions.

"I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward." Mark 9:41

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

There's no place like home!

I want to write this down while I feel it - I know it in my head, but I don't always feel this way:

I am so blessed to be able to stay home with my boys!

There, now, I need to note the date and read this post frequently.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Why is the sidewalk blue?

2 hours after taking a spill on his bike, Sam is smiling. Believe me when I say the picture doesn't do his injuries justice. His lips are both swollen - think Simpsons - and the skin under his nose is all scraped off. His front 2 teeth are a bit loose, and you know that little piece of skin that connects your upper lip to the top of your gums? Ripped right through that too.
At dinner tonight he shared another detail of his fall, telling us that after he fell, the sidewalk was all blue and when he got up to walk to mama, it was hard to see.
Yep, he was wearing a helmet.
He was on the sidewalk.
He did not hit anything.
He was, however, experimenting with turning the handles sharply first one way, then the other.
Yes, I was right behind him. Or pretty much.
There's all my disclaimers in case you were wondering.
Caleb was very helpful. Thankfully we were only about a block away from home. I stuffed some tissues in Sam's mouth and then had Caleb ride his bike all the way home and run back to help with Sam's bike - which he wasn't able to ride.
The boys had a relaxing late morning sitting in the shade and sucking on ice chips together.
And he says he wants a motorcycle!!

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Chalk full of fun

Fun with sidewalk chalk:

* Make shapes close in proximity to each other and write letters or numbers in them. Player must jump to the shape that shows the letter or number you called.

* Make a maze for the trike or scooter to follow. Stay on the line!

* Walk the maze.

* Hop the maze.

* Crawl get the idea.

* Make a giant musical staff and have the player jump to the correct line or space as you call out letters from the musical alphabet.

* Be ready with a rag to wipe out the mouth of your 1-year-old when he discovers that the blue chalk is the yummiest!

* Outline a picture and then have the kids color it in.

* Quiz them on their shapes and have them draw some.

* Take turns drawing animals and guessing what they are.

* Make parking spots for all the ride-on toys.

* Write each kid's name on the ground and then call out names and watch them all rush to stand on the correct one.

* Also works with words. Write simple words for your beginning reader and call out different words for them to stand on.

* Write action words like "Hop", "Clap" "Stomp", "Jump", along a squiggly line, and have them obey the actions as they go through.

* With two children playing, draw a clock. Have one be the minute hand and one be the hour. Call out different times for them to make.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Scrambled Eggs

A conversation at dinner:

Sam: "What's this white part around the egg called?"
Mom: "The white. It's part of the egg."
Sam: "No it's not! This yellow part is the egg. What's the white part called?"
Mom: "It's all egg, Sam."
Sam: "No!" (Add a lot of inflection) "Then this is the egg and what's the yellow part then?"
Mom: "That's called the yolk, but it's still part of the egg."
Sam: "No it's not."
Mom: "Sam, yes it is."
Sam: "Well if this is egg," pointing to the yellow part, "then this can't be egg too."
Mom: "Yep, the WHOLE THING is an EGG!"
Sam: "NO!!"
Mom: "YES IT IS!!"
Sam: "No it's not!"
Mom: "Sam, your fingers and your head are all part of you, right? But they have different names."
Sam: "No my head is my HEAD. My fingers are part of my BODY! So you're wrong!! See, this white part is different, so it can't be an egg too."
Mom: "Yes, Sam. Who do you think knows more about this, you or me?"
Sam: "You. But it's NOT all egg!!"
Dad: "Just because it's not the same color doesn't mean it's not part of the same thing. Is the outside of your body the same color as the inside of your body? No, what color is your mouth inside? Red, right? Well, your body's not red, it's flesh color. But it's all part of you."
Sam: "Yeah."
And nothing more was said.
Sometimes it takes all of 2 people's patience to deal with this 5-year-old.

Another boy

I don't know if I've shared yet that we have a new addition to our family! His name is Tamirat, and he lives in Ethiopia. Sam chose to sponsor him through World Vision when he (Sam) attended a David Phelps concert a few months ago. Sadly, we're just now getting around to sending him photos and a letter. I was asking the boys what their favorite color was, what they liked to do, what some of their favorite things were, and I was getting responses like, "I like to play with Blue Bear!", "I have lots of toys! Do you?", and "I play pirates all day!"

So I had to gently guide them to some more appropriate answers. Something ten-year-old Tamirat would actually understand. Pirates?

They each drew him a picture. Caleb drew a magic whale, and Sam drew a colorful tapestry of different shapes, along with a picture of himself.

They're really excited to understand more about Ethiopia, especially the government's involvement in what people believe. Things like that are hard to explain to a 5 and 3-year-old!
But I have hopes that I'm expanding their world-view. It needs expanding greatly!!

Okay, how many of you clicked on the blog post expecting a different announcement?

Friday, July 4, 2008

I pledge allegiance....

Oh say can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Who's broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O`er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming
And the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O`er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

We all recognize these as the words to "The Star-Spangled Banner", which will be sung at many, many fireworks displays and other venues tonight.

How many people will sing this lustily and even get teary-eyed, and yet these same people are afraid to show emotion while singing "Amazing Grace"? And I'm not talking about non-believers.

I tend to feel that such allegiance and devotion belongs only to my Lord anyway.

Kind of like Santa Claus and Christmas.

The flag and the cross.

What has done the most for our country anyway? Really?

The flag just happens to be a tangible and non-controversial symbol of that same devotion (toward different objects).

Many have lived and died for this country and all it stands for.

Many are not afraid to join the leagues of fighting men and women who are daily deployed to fight for what this country stands for.


I'm afraid to show my neighbor Jesus.

Where's your allegiance? And mine.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The story of Turtle and Giraffe

Listening to a conversation between Sam and Caleb in the car tonight:
(They had brought along a giraffe and a turtle - some new toys from Miss Leah)

Caleb: "Turtle, what did you do with your birthday money?"
Sam: "I spent it on sand spots."
Sam: "Giraffe! Did you get a lot of birthday money?"
Caleb: "Yeah, but I threw it away because I was too old because I became a daddy."
Sam: "Well, do you buy things at the store?"
Caleb: "Yeah."
Sam: "Then what do you use for money if you threw it all away?"
Caleb: "Different stuff."
Sam: "You're not an old daddy."
Caleb: "Yes I am."
Sam: "No you're not! Giraffe, you're an old woman rocking in a rocking chair and crying because you're going to die!"
Caleb: "No, I'm an old daddy. A very very old daddy. I'm five!"
Sam: "That's not old!"
Caleb: "Yes it is!"
Noah: "Heh, heh, heh!!" (Deep-throated chuckle)
Sam: "You're one million!"
Sam: "Giraffe, look out the window, quick! I see Wendy, and John and Michael."
Noah: "Heh, heh, heh!!"
Sam: "Giraffe!"
Sam: "Giraffe!"
Sam: "Caleb!"
Caleb: "What?"
Sam: "Get giraffe for me."
Caleb: "I can't. He's dead in his cave."
Sam: "Well, my turtle's Jesus and he's going to resurrect him from the dead."
Caleb: "No, he's dead `cause he's very very old."
Sam: "So? Jesus can heal him."

This is about all the conversation I can recall. Food for thought.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The best seat in the house

I was rearranging things on the entryway wall to make room for our large framed picture of the boys we recently got back from Flash Photography. One of the things I moved was a cross with the words to the hymn "Amazing Grace" written on it's surface. As I was positioning it to be hung on its new wall, I noticed that it would now be hanging above the "naughty chair"! Well, I hope that will be a good reminder, both for me and for the kids, that God's grace is great and mine should be too!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

To market, to market...

I had to go grocery shopping today with the boys. I was determined not to get angry at them, especially since they were well on their way to full-blown obnoxious as we were heading out the door.
Several things were helpful:
I gave them each items to be on the lookout for.
I bribed them with promises of the free cookie at the end of the trip if they were good.
Spoiler: The only one that got a cookie was Noah.

Here we have the trip divided into two obvious categories:

The bad - By the time we were halfway down the first aisle, they were already starting to pick things up and ask if we could get them.
The good - for the first three aisles the bribe of the cookie actually worked.
The bad - Sam squatted down and growled at a mother with a two-year-old and a newborn as she tried and failed to slip past us.
The good - Noah was happily gazing at all the different kinds of crackers and saying "gack-ah".
The bad - Sam would swing around with his arms outstretched and nearly belted a poor woman (not the same one, thank goodness!).
The good - When Noah got his cookie, we still had about 10 minutes of shopping to do, but he was content and kept saying ""
The bad - By aisle four, Sam and Caleb both lost their cookies for continued ignoring of rules such as "Don't push the cart until I'm ready" and "No running in the aisles!"
The good - uh....
The bad - Caleb shrieked "Don't leave me!!" twice when I was merely going a bit further down the aisle as he was getting some cereal.
The good - oh yeah, when it came time to check out, the boys were anxious to help in putting the food on the belt and then bagging it for me. We actually got quite a system going. Sam would get the can off the belt, hand it to Caleb, then hand it to Mom. Meanwhile, Noah was busy getting every cookie crumb into his mouth off his fingers.
The bad - the food we so carefully put on the belt, with the heavy stuff in front and the "squishables" in back was squished anyway when the boys found that red button at the end and pushed it until EVERYTHING was within arms reach. Now we just have to stick a straw through the banana peel and suck it out.
The good - we finally arrived home, Sam and Caleb decided they didn't want to play outside, I was free to make lunch, and now they're all asleep.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Brian: The exalted?

Noticed while reading in 1 Chronicles:

"All these were sons of Heman the king's seer. They were given him through the promises of God to exalt him. God gave Heman fourteen sons and three daughters."

"Obed-Edom also had sons: [8 listed] (For God had blessed Obed-Edom.)

Interesting wording.

Somehow I think children were viewed differently "in those days".
What a line to give someone asking if all those children you have were "planned"!
"Oh, God chose to exalt and bless me. You can't really plan that!"

Mmmm, cake

Papa George's 60th! Coconut cake and chocolate cake

Sam and Aunt Theresa (creator of the cakes)
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Puppy love

One of Noah's favorite things on the farm was Sadie.
They got to have quite a relationship!
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Stand up, stand up for Jesus

Yesterday in church I was having a hard time with Caleb. He was too tired to stand, he wanted to lay down across the seats, he was kicking Sam, he was sitting backward on the seats staring at the people behind us, he fought me whenever I dragged him up again.
I have recently thought that kids cannot be expected to know how to worship if they are not taught. Therefore, I'm pretty strict about the behavior I expect from the boys during the service. They're only in there for the first 25 minutes or so, and then they go to children's church, so it's not an unreasonably long amount of time. They've also been told the expectations beforehand. But Caleb's SO tired, he can't see, Sam's in the way, blah, blah, blah. Sam, on the other hand, is really starting to participate. I know that this is mostly an age issue, but I still feel like I should be at least enforcing the "Stand up, this is one of the ways we show respect for the Lord in His house." rule.
Any ideas?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The truth according to Prince Caspian

Brian and I went to see our once-a-year movie at a theater while we were in Arizona. "Prince Caspian". Due to the fact that I'd heard it described as, "Not nearly as good as the first one", I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of symbolism. Some had been in the book originally and some appeared only in the movie. If you haven't seen it yet and want to find these on your own, stop reading now!

Note: This is by no means an exhaustive list

1) In the first battle to take place in the movie, the "good guys" actually lose. They have to withdraw and many lose their lives. Because Peter went on his own initiative and did not wait for Aslan. Hmmm, a common mistake of the impatient follower of Christ.

2) This is my favorite. I'll just loosely quote because I can't recall exactly, but when Lucy is talking to Aslan toward the end of the movie, Aslan asked her why she didn't follow Him when she saw Him at the beginning. Her answer was that the others didn't follow him. He basically says, "So what? What is that to you?" If she had followed him at the beginning, many lives could have been saved (my speculation). Now, there is the obvious symbol: Follow the Lord even if everyone around you is not. But even more, if you are led by the Spirit in a direction not commonly travelled among your fellow Christians, follow the Spirit!

3) Water judgement is used in the form of the god of the sea, which Aslan awakes and lets unleash his power. My first thought was "pagan beliefs". Then I remembered Daniel and Revelation (hey, even Genesis), which both describe in vivid picture, judgement using terms like "the waters of the deep were stirred".

I know there are more than these 3, but finding these in particular made me want to see the film again and search for more.

Now, I know that some of these may have been unintentional. So? Does that make them any less real? God is sovereign over EVERYTHING! Even humans creating films - some in which they think there's no inkling of God whatsoever.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Up close and personal

Grandma Sarah's fishpond lured Caleb this afternoon, where he sat at the edge enjoying the goldfish. A few minutes later, Grandma came to the front door in time to see Caleb climbing out of the pond, dripping wet and sobbing. When inquired about how he entered, he said he leaned over and fell in head first.
No bath for Caleb tonight!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Highlights from our Ohio trip

Click here for full screen slideshow

Driving me crazy

We're back from our car trip to Ohio! If you're looking for an interesting and spiritually enriching vacation spot, I have to recommend the Creation Museum.

One good thing about a car trip where you're in the car for 2 days (!!) is that at least all the kids are strapped in....right?


"Don't kick your brother!"
"Don't touch your brother!"
"Don't look at your brother!"

"Be quiet!"

"Don't bang your alligator against the window!"
"Don't stick your straw up the air vent!"
"Stop poking yourself with your pencil!"

"No, you cannot have a treat!"
"No, it's not lunchtime yet!"
"No, it's not time for dinner yet!"
"No, we just stopped at a rest stop!"

"You'll have to hold it!"
"We JUST stopped!"
"Get it all out this time!"

"Give it back to him!"
"Give it back now!"
"I said..."

"Please don't put your stuffed animals in your mouth."
"Don't spit your milk out onto sheep."
"Don't hit each other with your stuffed animals - that is NOT a fun game!"
"Stop giving Noah your blanket and then ripping it away from him - that is NOT a fun game!"
"Okay, enough screaming! That is NOT a fun game!"

Then there was Noah, who for the entire return trip was pretty miserable due to a croupy cold. He would scream and scream and scream, and finally I (driving at the time) would reach back and put my hand on his leg. As long as I left it there, he was fine. The second I moved it an inch, he would tug it back up again. He was definitely not satisfied with Brian's hand. My right arm is now a few inches longer than my left.

All in all, the kids actually did a pretty good job! And it's a good thing, because off we go to Kansas on Friday.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

What's mine is yours

Our new inside-out, backward method:
If one of the boys asks the other for a toy, he has to give it to the asker.
We're all familiar with the concept of sharing. Share, share, share with your brother. Why don't you find something else for him to play with? Can't you give him one of those too? You have three already.
I realized that this is not a very Biblical approach. Yes, sharing is great, but in so many cases, it's glossed over as this gracious attitude of "Okay, you can play with it...don't break it, don't take it home with you, play with it how I want you to, etc. What about turning this on its head? I mean, the concept of sharing is virtually impossible to teach to a 2-year-old or younger anyway, so how about the concept of giving? I think we shy away from it because, well, it's not fair to the kid. That's not biblical either.
So the boys (Sam and Caleb) were practicing with a car tonight.
One would say, "May I have that please?"
The other would give it and then say, "I'm giving this to you because I love you."
The first would then respond, "Thank you, Caleb." or "Thank you, Sam." Have you noticed how the use of a name adds respect and caring for that person?
Anyway, you might think this is a tad too sickeningly sweet, and it was pretty funny watching them practice it, but I figured I wanted them to know the "why" behind the action, not just see it as a new rule.
They both really get it, especially Sam, and have enjoyed this new concept, at least tonight.
I tried to explain that there's the added element of consideration for the person you're asking for a toy from. You want to give them a chance to play with it before you ask for it back. But the rule stands. And I want to not jump in as much as possible. We'll see how it goes!

What was the question?

Caleb, Noah, and I went to Gramma Sue's this morning to pick up much-missed Sam. Here is a conversation - pretty typical - between myself and my second son.
Caleb: "Is it a long way to Gramma Sue's?"
Me: "Pretty long. But remember, I told you we were going to make a stop at the mall first, and then we'll be going to Gramma Sue's to eat lunch."
Caleb: "It's not a long way to Gramma Sue's."
Me: -------------
Caleb: "When's Christmas gonna be here?"
Me: "Caleb, Christmas is a long way away."
Caleb: "Is Kansas before Christmas?"
Me: "Yes, we're going to Kansas in a few weeks, and Christmas isn't until the end of the year."
Caleb: "Is Arizona before Christmas?"
Me: "Yes, Arizona's in just a few weeks too, remember? Christmas is a long, long, long time from now."
Caleb: "Not that trip, the one where we go on the plane, the big plane."
Me: "That's the trip I was talking about, Caleb."
Caleb: "No it wasn't."
Me: "Yes it was."
Caleb: "No it wasn't. Can we eat lunch at the mall?"
Me: "No, we're eating lunch at Gramma Sue's"
Caleb: "Well, they can eat there too."
Me: "Caleb..." I'm at a loss.
Caleb: "Are we almost to Gramma Sue's?"
Me: "No, we're going to the mall, remember?"
Caleb: "Is it a long way to the mall?"
Me: "VERY!"

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Where's Sam?

Sam is at Grandma Sue's until Thursday morning. Caleb has been asking all day, "When's Sam coming home?"
He and Noah helped me make bread today - each helping themselves to a nibble of the dough. Noah spit it right back out again, but Caleb, "Mmmmm!" (add much inflection here), claimed to love it. He also showed his little brother how to eat spilled flour off the counter.
Walked to the park and pretty much sat on the bench the whole time with the two of them. Things just aren't fun without Sam, I guess.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Church discipline

For all our talk about how wonderfully "spiritual" our children are, we got a call today from the Children's Church director telling us how many comments she's gotten from various teachers about our children's behavior.
Apparently, they have the same listening and behavioral issues at church as they do at home.
In other words, often wild, obnoxious, and out-of-control.
So we had a serious talk with them, through which they both repeated "Yeah" every few sentences. Caleb confessed to getting up for a drink when the teacher told him not to. Other specific issues were not claimed. But our solution - we'll see if it's that - was to give them an ultimatum: Either they behave or they get to sit in "big church" with us for the hour. Being that they're affecting the other kids' ability to learn, we both agreed that this was a good solution.
I'm also well aware that when they're alone, they are two very different people!
Another option would be to have them take turns - one week, Caleb goes, and the next week, Sam goes.
We also need to let the teacher each week know that it's okay to discipline them a bit - i.e. not giving them the snack when they misbehave. Knowing their love for snacks, this one might end up being the most effective.
Let me know if you have any other ideas....
And pray for us! Our first call like this and they're not even in school yet!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Lunch and a show

We went to a free Minnesota orchestra concert today outside of Orchestra Hall, with Beckie and her boys. It was packed but still fun.

Caleb and Sam having their lunch - they were actually sitting on top of a garbage can so they could see. Handy!

Jack - he tried to say "cheese" for the camera, but what can you do with a mouthful of food?

A rare picture of all 3 of my boys looking at the camera.

As I said, rare. Or was that rear?

Ahhh...a place to stretch out and relax

The skin below my nose

I was reading the current Readers Digest today and came across a blurb on meditation:

"Sit in a quiet space and focus on the skin below your nose and above your upper lip. Feel the sensations of your breathing. Aim for 15 minutes a day, building up to an hour."

A different version: "Sit in a quiet space and focus on the magnificence of our Saviour and Creator and praising Him and talking to Him and being silent before Him. Feel the sensations of His Spirit responding within you. Aim for 15 minutes a day and be amazed at how this turns into an hour."

Be different!

Monday, May 19, 2008

A boy's treasure

Things I found in the wash today:

4 rocks
numerous wood chips
a deflated balloon
bits of broken plastic
2 pennies

I have a hard time remembering to empty the pockets - maybe now I've learned my lesson!

Dig in!

Noah loved helping Daddy fill the gardens with dirt. Mmmm!

No mowing the flowers!!

These frogs got rocked and fed, and Caleb's even got to ride in a dump truck!