Monday, March 31, 2008

Pass The Salad

A few weeks ago my in-laws were in town dropping off K.Z. after his week of skiing. While prepping dinner one night I grabbed a Tupperware bowl out of the cupboard to throw salad in, as I could not find my usual salad bowl.

At the table, C'sa beamed when she saw the familiar bowl. "Hey!" she exclaimed, "I threw up in that bowl when I was sick!"

We had a lot of leftover salad that night...

Friday, March 28, 2008

Watch Him Tonight!

A Remarkable Story of God's Grace

"It says in James 1:2, "Consider it pure joy, my Brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds."

It seemed like a tall order to “count” hurt, pain and struggle as nothing but “pure joy” when my birth date arrived. My parents were Christians; my Dad was even a Pastor of our church, so that verse was quite familiar to them. However, on the morning of December 4th , 1982, in Melbourne, Australia, the last two words on the minds of my parents was "Praise God!". Their firstborn son had been born without limbs! There were no warnings or time to prepare themselves for it. Having no answers at all, the doctors were completely shocked and taken off guard!

The whole church mourned over my birth and my parents were absolutely devastated. "If God is a God of love, “ they questioned, “Then why would He let something like this happen, and especially to committed Christians?" My Dad did not think I would survive for very long..."

Read the rest of his amazing story here and WATCH HIM tonight on 20/20. According to Nick, "This is my first national interview on American television and the questions of the interviewer guided the conversation continually back to hope in Christ."

This is a fantastic ministry! Check out his website and watch his 20/20 promo.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Man Declared Dead Feels 'Pretty Good'

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die..."

-Ecclesiastes 3

I guess this was not this guy's season to die! Amazing what the Lord will do!

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Four months after he was declared brain dead and doctors were about to remove his organs for transplant, Zach Dunlap says he feels "pretty good."

Dunlap was pronounced dead Nov. 19 at United Regional Healthcare System in Wichita Falls, Texas, after he was injured in an all-terrain vehicle accident. His family approved having his organs harvested.

As family members were paying their last respects, he moved his foot and hand. He reacted to a pocketknife scraped across his foot and to pressure applied under a fingernail. After 48 days in the hospital, he was allowed to return home, where he continues to work on his recovery.

On Monday, he and his family were in New York, appearing on NBC's "Today."

"I feel pretty good. but it's just hard ... just ain't got the patience," Dunlap told NBC.

Dunlap, 21, of Frederick, said he has no recollection of the crash.

"I remember a little bit that was about an hour before the accident happened. But then about six hours before that, I remember," he said.

Dunlap said one thing he does remember is hearing the doctors pronounce him dead.

"I'm glad I couldn't get up and do what I wanted to do," he said.

Asked if he would have wanted to get up and shake them and say he's alive, Dunlap responded: "Probably would have been a broken window that went out."

His father, Doug, said he saw the results of the brain scan.

"There was no activity at all, no blood flow at all."

Zach's mother, Pam, said that when she discovered he was still alive, "That was the most miraculous feeling."

"We had gone, like I said, from the lowest possible emotion that a parent could feel to the top of the mountains again," she said.

She said her son is doing "amazingly well," but still has problems with his memory as his brain heals from the traumatic injury.

"It may take a year or more ... before he completely recovers," she said. "But that's OK. It doesn't matter how long it takes. We're just all so thankful and blessed that we have him here."

Dunlap now has the pocketknife that was scraped across his foot, causing the first reaction.

"Just makes me thankful, makes me thankful that they didn't give up," he said. "Only the good die young, so I didn't go."

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

She Just ROCKS!

Try to get through this without a tear and whooping, "Hallelujah!". I want to be like this at 92.

Thanks to Trish for this.

Monday, March 24, 2008


You are an amazing and godly boy and I love you! Happy Birthday K.Z.!

"Pennsylvania Jones" and his "fedora"

Sunday, March 23, 2008

He Is Risen!


After our Easter dinner this afternoon, Mr. Clean had a project for us to do. First we talked about sin and wrote some of our sins on a piece of paper which was a humbling experience in itself. Then the meat of the project began...

After creating a cross and pounding in the nails we took the pieces of paper with our sins on them and put them on the cross. It is amazing that our Lord died for som
e of the petty things on those lists. And for the sins on yours...

Have a blessed Easter!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Happy (?) Good Friday

How do you greet people on Good Friday? We have Merry Christmas (or "Happy Christmas" for those of you from the other side of the Pond), Happy Easter, Happy Thanksgiving, etc. But have you ever said "Happy Good Friday" to someone?

I never have; at least I don't think that I have. Good Friday services seem to be a somber and silent event while people reflect on the fact that the Lord of the Universe sacrificed His only begotten Son for our salvation. It does bring genuine reflection.

But it is a happy day. Granted, the resurrection three days later was the miracle and fulfilled promise, but rejoicing that Christ's violent death on Calvary happened is not an odd thing to do. Simply because it was no surprise to Him and yet He still did it. It had to be done. For us. Lowly, depraved sinners who do not even deserve that He has known our names and the number of hairs on our head since before the world began.

So, HAPPY GOOD FRIDAY! It is a great day in history.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

"The 'Oprahfication' of Eastern Mysticism"

I have REALLY wanted to write about this for a long time, but when something frustrates you so much that you cannot wrap your brain around it, it is hard to write coherently about it. Fortunately, someone else has written a clear and concise article that I can simply share with you...

S. Michael Craven
Christian Post Guest Columnist
Wed, Mar. 05 2008 09:33 AM ET

Given the fact that we are beings created in the image of God, we have an intrinsic spiritual nature. In other words, we are spiritual and as such we have a natural inclination to satisfy or fill this essential aspect of our being. As Christ followers, we have been made to know that this need is finally and fully met through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that follows the reconciliation of our souls to God through faith in the atoning work of Christ Jesus.

While the term “New Age spirituality” may conjure up images of incense, crystals, and Shirley MacLaine—or associations with flower haired hippies—this “new” spiritual movement, which is anything but new, has acquired a most powerful and influential advocate: Oprah Winfrey.

Recently Oprah announced that, beginning March 3rd, she will be offering a free 10-week interactive webinar based on the book, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by best-selling author Eckhart Tolle. Tolle, who is described as “a contemporary spiritual teacher who is not aligned with any particular religion or tradition … conveys a simple yet profound message with the timeless and uncomplicated clarity of the ancient spiritual masters: There is a way out of suffering and into peace.” In describing the thesis of his latest book, Tolle writes: “An essential aspect of this awakening consists in transcending our ego-based state of consciousness. This is a prerequisite not only for personal happiness but also for the ending of violent conflict endemic on our planet.” In other words, it is the alteration of our “consciousness” that is key to the salvation of men, not Jesus Christ and our shared problem is incorrect perceptions, not sin.
For anyone familiar with the world’s religions this, along with most of what passes for “New Age” spirituality is nothing more than ancient Eastern mysticism wrapped in modern Western attire.

Tolle, who experienced “a profound inner transformation” which “radically changed the course of his life” at the age of twenty-nine” became an active participant in A Course in Miracles in the years following. Published in 1975, A Course in Miracles is a spiritual self-study course representing primarily the thought system of monism, which is the idea that all is one (i.e. the Star Wars concept of “The Force”). Ironically, Oprah has been offering this course for free on her website since January 1, 2008.

Here are some sample excerpts from A Course in Miracles, which reveal teachings derived from Buddhism and other monistic or pantheistic philosophies:

Extend your perception beyond what your senses register. (Lesson 1)

That body does not mean anything….One thing is like another. (Lesson 1)

Everything you see is the result of your thoughts. There is no exception to this fact….salvation requires that you also recognize that every thought you have brings either peace or war; either love or fear. To trust in the force that moves the universe is faith. Faith isn’t blind, it’s visionary. Faith is believing that the universe is on our side and that the universe knows what it’s doing. (Lesson 16)

Now compare these statements to the words of Buddha:

This whole world of delusion is nothing but a shadow caused by the mind…. There is no world … outside the mind … To Buddha every definitive thing is illusion…. Things have no reality in themselves but are like heat haze. (The Teaching of the Buddha, pp. 86, 100, 104, 108)
Buddhism, in particular teaches that no supreme and personal God exists but that the universe is animated by an impersonal life force, which connects all things and that one can, through spiritual enlightenment, rise above the “illusion of reality” and enter nirvana—a condition in which one is absorbed into the greater essence or whole.

In New Age, like the ancient Eastern religions, the goal is that you, through instruction, either from spiritual masters or even spiritual entities must achieve “enlightenment” (i.e. understanding that all is one) and thus rise above the human condition by means of an altered consciousness (mediation, mantras, trances, etc.) to actually see that distinction itself is an illusion and if all is one and God is part of the all then you are in effect God. By understanding this principle you will become part of the divine and thus gain unlimited power.

These are the very same principles put forth in both A Course in Miracles and Tolle’s book, A New Earth. The most troubling aspect is that A Course in Miracles employs many references to “God,” the “Holy Spirit,” and even the “Son of God.” In addition, there are statements such as “surrender all outcomes to God” and “allow the Holy Spirit to do what He does best….” Of course the instruction goes on to emphasize “the power of your own thinking” which enables you to create the outcome that “serve[s] your own best interests” in your hands, which according to the course is “your only goal in any situation.” The “god” presented here is a monistic, impersonal god who “is everywhere and is in everything” including inanimate objects. According to the course, “God is not outside of you but rather in your mind.” The blending of Christian terminology with New Age paganism endorsed by Oprah will likely deceive many less mature Christians.

I can appreciate the success of Oprah Winfrey; she seems like a kind and sincere woman. Her achievements are indeed impressive given what she has overcome and I believe she truly wants to help people and make the world a better place. However, these materials are nothing but spiritualized self-help and repackaged paganism that serve to deceive and divert people from the One True God and the salvation that comes only through Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Please Forgive Me

My sick and deranged mother sent me this in an e-mail the other day and I almost wet myself I laughed so hard. Don't judge me, I still think it's funny...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

You Have GOT to Be Kidding...

"Last week, the University of Virginia's student paper, The Cavalier Daily, ran a cartoon depicting a naked man smoking a cigarette in bed. Standing beside the bed, a woman in her underwear buttons up her shirt and asks, 'Come on God, be honest – Did you really get a vasectomy? I can't let Joseph find out about this.' The man replies, 'Well, Mary, you're f----d,".
- from a WorldNet Daily

I'm sorry? I know that newspapers like to be edgy and controversial to bolster readership, especially college papers, but who in the world is the editor?? Is he/she a world renowned idiot? You want to offend a ton of Christians the week before Easter (or at anytime for that matter)? In rural Virginia?

This is the stupidest thing I have read in a long time. We really need to be praying for the cartoonist and the editor.


In the interest of fairness, I had to add this note that I found online today from The Cavalier Daily.
This is not the first cartoon to cause an uproar. Maybe they should understand that the best defense is a good offense. This never had to happen, had they thought of this sooner!

"The Cavalier Daily sincerely regrets any offense readers may have taken to two recent comics in the strip TCB published March 13 and 14. The content of the Comics page reflects neither the views of the Managing Board nor of The Cavalier Daily as an institution. When the comics were considered for publication, they were deemed to have met The Cavalier Daily's censorship criteria, which can be found at this this address. It is never the intention of The Cavalier Daily to offend, and we regret having done so.

UPDATE (3/15/08): In light of recent and previous concerns, The Cavalier Daily will be reviewing its comics policy."

Monday, March 17, 2008

A Thought to Ponder....

I normally do not go into politics here since in my own extended family there are many varied political views. And although mine are the correct views, it would be quite rude to say that out loud. *grin*

HOWEVER... many of you may have recently heard of the hub-bub with Barack Obama's pastor, Jeremiah Wright. My in-laws were here this past weekend and we chatted about this latest political hiccup and I thought it an interesting subject, regardless of whom it involves.

According to a CNN article today...

(CNN) -- The Rev. Jeremiah Wright's former church criticized the news media Sunday for coverage of his sermons, saying in a statement that Wright's "character is being assassinated in the public sphere."

Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Illinois, defended Wright, saying he "has preached a social gospel on behalf of oppressed women, children and men in America and around the globe."

The statement came two days after Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, a longtime friend of Wright and attendee of the church, denounced sermons that have become the subject of recent controversy. Obama called them "inflammatory and appalling."

Here are my thoughts on the matter (and if you wish you can read the rest of the article here). Obama, Clinton, McCain or Daffy Duck himself, ought to know the heart of a man, pastor and close friend he has known for 20 years. The article said that, "Obama called them (the sermons in question) "inflammatory and appalling".

Okay. Hadn't he heard them originally? Were they not appalling and inflammatory when he sat in a pew and listened? Let's give Mr. Obama the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he was traveling when these sermons were preached. Maybe he simply had never heard them. We have all missed a church service or two.

That being said, I frankly can tell you how my pastor feels about quite a few things and what his thoughts are on biblical and some social issues. I have only attended my church for the 4 years we have lived in Pennsylvania and while we have a great relationship with our pastor as members of the church, I am not a longtime friend or trusted confidant of my pastor; yet I can safely say that I would defend his sermons before hearing them based on his past deliveries.

Basically, unless my beloved pastor took a ride on the crazy train, I know that his sermons would have the same feel each time, even when teaching a different passage or theme. So, do you think that Mr. Obama (Mrs. Clinton, Mr. McCain or Monsiour Daffy Duck, whomever) should have left the church years ago if he found some of the sermons inflammatory and appalling? Is it telling that he did not leave the church, yet is now playing the perfect politician by denouncing the sermons that have now come to the media's attention?

Personally, I would leave any church if I believed the teaching was wrong and not biblically based. I don't care if the pastor was my good friend, my father or John MacArthur himself. I would love to hear your partisan or non-partisan thoughts!

Friday, March 14, 2008

I Am WAY Too Emotional

An e-mail went out today from our church office thanking and naming the many wonderful people who work with the children and youth of our church, of which there are many, and asking them to take a flower on Easter Sunday as a way to recognize their hard work.

I read the list and teared up as I realized that my name was not on it, even though I work in the nursery. My first thought was that maybe it was an oversight or that it was just for the older kids' teachers and volunteers. Then I felt like a ninny for acting like one of the babies that I serve.

I don't care if anyone knows or thanks me for doing what I do in the nursery. I do it to serve Christ, not my own selfish pride. Yet my pride seemed to get in the way anyway. There are just those days you feel invisible and those moments you wish you were! Sigh...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Isn't It Ironic?

I have three full days of only having to care for one of my four children (and the one at home sleeps a majority of the time!) and I was very excited to be able to get some things done around here. Wednesday I had planned on running errands with Iggy and just spending time with him and that is exactly all that I accomplished.

Today and tomorrow's agenda required domestic work and I was really excited to get to do it uninterrupted (save the bottle every three hours, of course - not me hitting the bottle, Iggy!), until I woke up feeling lousy. Not "fluish" or the like, just a head cold leaving me with a major headache and sinus pressure, which makes bending, breathing and blinking out of the question.

I am still going to try and muddle through, but the domestic superwoman I planned to channel today has up and left the building.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Sound of Silence

I decided last night that I am not designed to be a care free career gal with no rugrats. Three out of four of the kids are with grandparents (the ones who talk the most) and while it is nice to have the break, I simply could not imagine this being my reality.

Last night we had a wonderful babysitter for Iggy and went off to celebrate yet another year of my getting closer to the dreaded 35 (I have this thing about birthdays ending in 5, I should probably get professional help). Mr. Clean and I are the best of friends, so having time for just the two of us is always welcome and well spent, but having no children in tow got me thinking (here I go again... thinking). I was designed to be a mother. I do not think that is true for every woman, but I know it is true for me. I could not imagine doing anything else.

After college and marriage I went out into the workforce and had two big jobs that I loved a lot. They could have turned into lifelong careers and I would have been quite content. Yet I was always just a little detached all the time. I had babies on the brain and visions of June Cleaver floating in my head. A month before K.Z. was born, I was out of the rat race permanently (and thankfully no longer commuting on 270, oye!).

So now I sit in a quiet house relishing in the fact that I have three days to run errands and do other chores that do not require input from my three beautiful children. Or maybe I will just read...

Monday, March 10, 2008

So It's Monday...

...Isn't it just exciting?

K.Z abandoned us on Saturday for a week long ski trip with my in-laws in the Adirondacks. His cousins are flying in from their home on the west coast and he got to go and meet them at the airport before they all started their adventure together.

The girls, not ones to be left out of adventure, are heading west to my mom's house tomorrow for the remainder of the week. Poor Iggy has to stay home with us, but I am sure he will not be too heartbroken over it.


I have been reading a debate on a blog I pop into time to time on being quiverfull. As expected it got quite heated (civilly, but heated nonetheless) and it got me to thinking. Regardless what you think about that particular topic, it seems we believers spend a whole lot of time debating the aspects of scripture that we find socially topical and current and forget to focus on one major thing. The major thing.

Christ Jesus.

Having a "quiver full" of 3 or 12 does not dictate your entrance into the Kingdom of God. While it is an interesting topic (and I am not picking on it in particular, just using it as an example), we Christian gals tend to get our knickers all in a twist about some particular aspect of biblical teaching and use a lot of our energy to focus on it and dwell on it, forgetting the key issue.

I will give another example, one that has a huge place in my heart. Abortion. I have been pro-life and an active pro-lifer since I was very young and the thought of abortion makes my heart hurt. I have spent hours "marching for life" and debating those who are pro-abortion while my mind was firmly placed on the social injustice the unborn had to face. Not once did I wonder about the salvation of those I debated. That is a bigger tragedy than the millions of unborn babies.

We get so wrapped up in our "cause", biblical or not, that we tend to forget what our real purpose is here on this planet. Chiefly to serve and worship the Creator and spread the Good News. If abortion was outlawed and the quiverfull debate was finally settled there would still be tons of lost souls out there in need of a Savior. We need to rethink our priorities.

That is not to say that we cannot still study and explore biblical teachings; that is important as well. Let us just keep this world's need for Christ first and foremost and let everything else follow after.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

It was Inevitable

Mr. Clean grew up in a camping family. They tent camped, owned a pop-up camper for close to forever, and later in life his parents became full time RVers for a couple of years. Mr. Clean is an outdoors man and loves to go camping. My father is the same way and has owned a pop up camper for more years than I can remember. I am more like my mother and prefer to camp in a Sheraton, but have embraced camping since joining my hubby's family. Only once did I sleep in my car after finding a spider in my tent (at least I think I saw one, you cannot be too careful).

We have joined the "pop up revolution" and just bought our first "nused" (new to us, but previously owned) pop up camper and I must admit I am more than a little excited about it (especially since we scored one with air-conditioning, hee hee!). Mr. Clean is like a kid at Christmas and can't wait to get out there and I know this will add a lot of memories to my kids' memory banks. I must add though, when we were checking it out Xena asked, "where is the television?"...

We will pick it up sometime next week after the dealership spiffies it up for us and makes it look as new as possible. Once we get it home I will post pictures of our new "baby".

So pray for the spiders. I am bringing big, spider stomping shoes. Either that or I will have to sleep in the mini-van.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Future Roller Derby Queen?

Because she ALWAYS wears this dress, it makes perfect sense that she would wear it while roller skating in the garage, right? Thankfully my talented sister-in-law made this for her and made it really well, so it will hold up until she finally outgrows it or I have to peel it off her body.

It's Good to Have Comrades

I LOVED all the comments from yesterday's post, but one struck a huge chord in me. So much so, that I may have to needlepoint it onto a pillow and carry it around with me (if I did that sort of crafty thing). So, thank you Renae for the following...

"We are preparing the soil in our children's hearts.
Pushing a plow and pulling weeds tends to make a mess. :)"

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Big Sigh from Home and Garden

I decided to pay strict attention today to everything that I did, to see where I may I catch myself wasting a bunch of time that could be spent doing "domestic work". Unless you count those silly hours that I slept last night, I was kind of surprised that there were not too many. I was either feeding children, educating children, burping a baby, changing a baby or yelling at someone calmly correcting a beloved child.

This is going to sound worldly and pathetic, but I have to admit that I am jealous of my neighbors' houses. Yep I said it, I covet. I do not say this in jest or to be proud of my sin, but I say it because it is an issue I need to resolve. Surveying my home today, it looks like a crime scene. The only two rooms that do not resemble a burglary are the kids' rooms, ironically. I scoured and cleaned them this past weekend (with their help) and they are doing great at keeping them close to perfect.

Their mother's domain however? Oye.

I live in a typical suburban cookie cutter neighborhood. No million dollar homes, but decent sized and fairly new homes. We are really blessed. On our street are a ton of families with children and every morning at 08:30 we watch then board their big yellow bus and get whisked off to school. At 16:00 we watch them dutifully file off. The 7 1/2 hours in between I imagine their mothers are like madwomen cleaning and perfecting the domestic domiciles. I have proof...

Twice I have gotten into random conversations outside with two different neighbors. The conversation usually leads to what paint colors they are waffling between or the like since we do not have a ton in common (I have really nice neighbors but we do not see each other a lot). Once we run out of witty conversation I will say something like, "so, what is the layout of your house compared to mine?" or "is your bedroom in the front or the back of the house?". Anything to keep the conversation from that awkward silence.

Both times both women have said, "Oh, go in and look around!" I was flabbergasted. I have never and will never say those words unless I have 24 48 hours notice and my kids are shipped off to grandma's. Even then it would be iffy. You better believe I took them up on their offers.

Both houses were picture perfect. Not so much in the way things were decorated or arranged, although they were also nice, but moreover, the floors were clean, there seemed to be no hand prints on the walls and the houses seemed "sunshiny" (you would not have believed me if I said that butterflies and blue jays were sitting on the windowsills singing). Each time I slunk home in shame determined to repaint the entire house that afternoon.

Please do not misunderstand. I am blessed and I know this. Mr. Clean painted every room of the house to my exact specification (except for, ahem... my own room... ahem...) even though he abhors painting; we decorated the house the way we like it and even spent a little bit on a couple pieces of new furniture when we moved in. I like my house when it is clean. I liked it better four years ago when the paint had no fingerprints on it and was not getting chipped on the corners from being run into by various matchbox cars and Barbie Jeeps.

I have decided the only reason I would send my kids to brick and mortar school is to be able to keep up with the Jonses' and have a Home and Gardenesque house (okay, and to eat bon bons at 14:00). That almost seems a little more sinful than say, murder, doesn't it?

I guess I have to live in my reality instead of dreaming of someone else's. I love homeschooling (89.2% of the time) and having my kids learning, growing and changing where I can see it happen. Call me selfish, I just dig my kids (89.2% of the time), but boy will I be thrilled to see them shuffling off to college so I can have shiny floor and eat bon bons.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Movie Bliss

I have always loved the cinema. Movies have been a place to retreat into another world and enjoy sights and scenes you may never see otherwise.

Recently my friend Colleen snookered me into opening a Facebook account (I have wasted way too much time there in the last few days so I must blame it on someone... anyone but myself) and as I invited friends to join with me I saw the Facebook wildfire take off. My friend, The Tutor recently added a movie feature to her account and it got me thinking about my favorites.

I have two all time, never changing, favorites from when I was a kid. One is The Color Purple with Whoopi Goldberg and the other is The Fighting Sullivans, a true American classic. The Fighting Sullivans has always ranked number one in my favorites list and I doubt that will ever change. If you have not seen it, rent it. Here's a small taste...

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Hit or Miss

It certainly has been "hit or miss" with blogging lately. Either I have tons to say or nothing and no time to do it. This week I had a lot on my plate and yet, still a lot on my brain. Just none of it made the journey from brain to keyboard.

I love writing. I have always been infamously bad at keeping a journal, but I love to write, so this in kind of the next best thing. I just have problems with consistency and time management. I also have not had time to check in on my favorite blogs (my RSS feed says I have 96 entries from you guys outstanding, most of which are undoubtedly Ray Comfort - ouch!). I guess I need to get better at balancing!

So until next time, which will hopefully be in the next day or so (hour? minute?), I bid ye farewell!