Wednesday, April 30, 2008
- Ben Witherington, author of "What Have They Done to Jesus?
New Testament professor at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky.
I saw this quote a while back and it struck me. How well do we know the Christ of the Bible versus the Jesus we have made up in our minds; because despite what the Winfrey and Tolle crowd try to convince us, God is not a state of mind. After all, He is, "I AM". How much more definitive can He get than that?
But because my brain can jump from one topic to another without missing a beat, the quote immediately caused another thought; what about images of Christ? This is a well worn path I know, as many have tread this conversational road before.
I grew up in a Southern Baptist/ Methodist family (I know that sounds almost like an oxymoron) and we had images of Christ everywhere. On collectible plates, portraits of the last supper, Christ's image beaming out from the pages of my children's Bible and always a tiny infant Jesus Christ laying in the creche. It never really bothered me until I was studying more on the Mosaic Law.
The obvious one for this topic is, "You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth". (Exodus 20:4)
In my mind that simply meant that I should not bow to these images or make them holier than the Most High, but that is quite easy to do without much effort. I grew up with a plate that my Grandmother gave me with a painting of Christ on it that hung over my bedroom door. I loved that plate and I would stare at His image for hours. I prayed toward that plate in almost a comforting way. It gave me something to focus on. It was not just any old plate. It was special because it had an image of my Savior on it. I started to focus on an image of a God that was painted by a man whom had never seen His face. My friend the Tutor in a similar discussion pointed out once that perhaps God in His infinite knowledge sent the Savior to a time of no known portraits or paintings (and obviously no cameras) for that very reason.
Imagine if there were a photograph of Christ Jesus. I bet we would be entranced by it, as we lowly humans tend to be visual creatures. We would never fix our eyes on the King of the Universe and His teachings, because we would be too fixated on the photo. Dare I say obsessed?
Heather at Stepping Heavenward posted this a while ago and it gave me much pause. I was quite convicted reading it, yet I still have that plate as well as my well worn nativity creche. I am just wondering what the future of these things may be in our family.
This is one of those topics that have no bearing on our salvation, but one that I have batted around for a long time. We absolutely will not be condemned to damnation for possessing a baby Jesus figurine, nor will we gain access to eternal salvation by denouncing it and although we may be under a New Covenant, it's hard to ignore what the Lord commands. Old Testament or not.
I'd love to hear your thoughts...
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
In layman's terms, I have not gotten off my duff much and my beloved treadmill has gotten no action in
I adore my treadmill, I really do, but I have discovered since we rearranged the basement that having the treadmill and the television on the same circuit, just does not work. Mr. Clean randomly decides to steal the extension cord I use to solve this problem (since technically it does belong to him) leaving me with the choice to hit the treadmill while staring at the mess my kids have left in the basement or to sit among the mess my kids have left in the basement and watch television sans the treadmill carrying me miles to nowhere. Neither option is appealing to me.
Back in the day I used to be a gym rat. I will wait while you roll your eyes at the fact I used to be one of those girls. I admit it. I would spend about three hours a day at the gym and even got into serious power lifting. I was a strong girl.
I got into a car accident and had to stay out of the gym for six weeks. During this time I started dating Mr. Clean, the dreamboat. All visions of being the next Rachel McLish were gone. I just wanted to be Mr. Clean's girlfriend.
Fast forward 8 years and two babies later and I was a little older, a little wider and quite content about it. But I really wanted to work out again so my friend Angie and I decided to join Curves. I was in heaven since I could do circuit training in only 30 minutes. Then I got pregnant and had to stop due to my history of miscarriage. I bid adieu to Curves.
Four years and another state later (and throw in one more kid for good measure even though I did not give birth to him) I am a little older and yet a bit wider. Time to get off my duff. There is a Curves about 1.5 minutes from my house (if you drive) that has been beckoning me for the four years I have lived here. I have resisted out of the shame that I am no longer my former powerful self (I might as well call it for what it is... pride). Then I saw some pictures my
Ironically, last week my friend asked me if I wanted to go with her to Curves for their, "two for one" promotion. She had no idea that I was a former Curves junkie. It took all my strength and social graces not to hug her and do a Charlie Brown happy dance right then and there. Tonight we went for the first night together. It was sheer sweaty, heart pumping bliss.
Afterward we went into the library to return some books on the way home. Back in the day I would not be caught dead with out my "face on" and hair done before, during and even after the gym. Tonight I walked into our library without hesitation and without lipstick, still in my workout clothes (insert gasp here). I would have never done that alone. I guess it is true that there is strength in numbers.
Tomorrow I anticipate that amazingly agonizingly wonderful feeling that all power lifters (even former ones) love... the feeling of "ouch". So if I don't post, you'll know I could not move. But I will be smiling about it.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
I loved the club and the fact that when I moved to Pennsylvania it was the way I connected to other stay at home moms. It was a lifeline and I have made life long friends because of it, but recently I have become disenchanted with the club. This past year I have just sat back and watched the goings on. A storm seemed to be brewing and yesterday it arrived. Thankfully I was safe in my own little world and no where near the calamity, but those involved were not so lucky. When it rains, it pours.
It amazes me the way women treat one another. If we were men we would have our say, punch one another and go back to being friends. Women do not work that way. They gossip, they backbite, they cry and then maybe, just maybe, they get over it and make-up.
I have never been one for the gossiping and backbiting crowd. I would much rather have my say and get over it (forget the punch however, I am too wimpy for that). I know there are a lot of women like me but we tend to stay quiet and that is what is happening in the club. It's sad to see.
I have never been one to get my validity by a group of women but it is so crucial to have a circle of friends on which you can rely. I have that and I thank God daily for it, but it saddens me to know that some of the new women to the group may miss out on what I so desperately needed and received because of cattiness.
Who said being a girl was easy?
See the video on BBC News
A vicar is to apply for a drinks license so he can sell wine and beer at his small village church.
The Reverend Geraint ap Iorwerth could be made licensee of St Peter ad Vincula Church in Pennal, near Machynlleth, close to the Powys-Gwynedd border.
He joked that there were plans to serve more than just spirits, though, with lager and wine on the menu too.
Mr ap Iorwerth said he might also open a bar with proper pub-style pumps in a new church cafe in the future.
But at the moment the license is needed to sell and serve drinks at parish functions such as concerts, weddings or christenings.
The vicar will go to magistrates' court next month to apply for the license.
Mr ap Iorwerth said: "It is quite common for larger churches and cathedrals to apply for a license, and we want to make sure we are within the law.
He added: "We also want to serve drinks at a cafe at the rear of the church.
"We have also received requests from people planning weddings who would like drinks and canapés after their service and before the reception.
"It would be nice to serve drinks at concerts, Christmas and New Year's Eve too.
"A small bar is a possibility. I would love to think that at certain times of the year people could come down in the evening to have a drink."
Earlier this month, the Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan told a conference in Llandudno that churches should "think creatively" about facilities.
The Church in Wales said St Peter ad Vincula Church had a gallery cafe so the license would enable it to serve alcohol to customers.
"The Church in Wales welcomes initiatives such as this which encourage people to come to churches and to see them as places where they can relax, socialise and share food and drink," said a spokeswoman.
"Indeed, sharing bread and wine is an essential part of the Christian ministry.
"We see alcohol, taken in moderation and used responsibly, as something to enjoy with others."
But Carol Bodza of Glansychan stores and off-license and Susan Crossley of the Riverside Hotel in Pennal, oppose Mr ap Iorwerth's plans.
Mrs Bodza said: "We have no objection to the cafe, but I don't see why he (Mr ap Iorwerth) needs to apply for a license to sell alcohol."Both our off-license and the hotel is less than 100 yards away from the church and we feel this could affect our business."
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
When did the public school system (and my tax dollars along with it) become a place for politics and activism? With no disrespect to the students, as long as the parents are footing the bill for the school system, keep it to reading and ritin' and rithmetic (taught by the tune of a hickory stick?)...
"Thousands of students across the nation will participate on Friday in what has become known as "The Day of Silence" – a vow among students to remain silent throughout the day in recognition and protest of the perceived “silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies in schools.”
First organized in 1996 by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) in collaboration with the United States Student Association, the event has become somewhat of a staple throughout schools as students vow not to speak and distribute cards that urge compliance and support for homosexual students... "
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
So last night I decided to forgo the last bottle and see what would happen. Maybe he would wake up in the middle of the night, but at least I would have a few hours sleep in advance, right? If I were a rational person. I wound up staying up way too late and goofing online while listening for a peep from Iggy's room. There weren't any.
So Iggy wound up sleeping a long, luxurious 12 hours while I slept 5 1/2. And I have no one to blame but myself.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Friday, April 18, 2008
Here the part that kills me. I would NEVER wish PCOS on anyone and do not make light of it often, but if I looked like Mrs. Beckham I would embrace my PCOS and start a very public support group or the like. No frustrating tears or moping for me.
Why is it that even in Hollywood (okay, she officially lived across the pond at the time, but you get the point), an annoying, life long, incurable, syndrome does not affect the glam squad negatively? I have no ill regard for Posh whatsoever and I am sure she has had her own issues to deal with in the polycystic nightmare, but it almost seems like a cruel joke to find out she has it.
Maybe tomorrow I will get over myself. Today I choose to pout...
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
I made an executive decision and blew it off (which was also helped by the fact I woke up late) and decided to visit a semi-local farm museum (that also boasts an 18th century homestead in which you can roam around), that was having it's annual "Homeschool Day". We were joined by friends which made it even more special.
It was a great decision. We all had a blast and Iggy got his first ride in a horse drawn wagon. The kids got to make crafts, watch sheep get sheared by 18th century methods (just a man and a pair of shears) and attend a half and hour of school in the one room school house taught by a school mistress who knew her stuff.
She taught them as if it was 1892 and they were to act accordingly. I am not so sure she would have actually used the dunce cap or the switch that were displayed on her desk, since the parents may have frowned upon it (perhaps, not?), but it never became necessary as the children did exactly as she instructed and not one peep was heard by the over 70 children in attendance (they squeezed in two to a desk). It was amazing. Iggy decided to sleep through the whole thing in my arms and by the end of the session I thought my arm just might have fallen off, but I dared not move as I was afraid of the lashing I may have gotten from the teacher!
The best part was the fact that the kids just got to run around and enjoy themselves in a completely different setting. It has been a rough week school wise at home and we all needed the break from reality. It was a great break!
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
They say, never take a photo at high noon, but Iggy sure looks cute!
Monday, April 14, 2008
This article talked about all the ways we homeschoolers can be thrifty with our curriculum without thinking about the fact that we may be taking bread right out of the authors mouths and sinning while we do it by (albeit unintentionally) stealing.
I know that I have been guilty of this. I have purchased one set of consumables to use multiple times in my household via my trusty copier/ printer. In my mind I was getting the most for my money. In reality, I was cheating the author and publisher. Now that being said, quite a few authors will allow you to do just that. But frankly, I never bothered to check and see what the copyright details were.
This article hit me the hardest when I made it personal. My longtime and dear friend The Tutor has been feverishly writing a science curriculum for a while now. Her "blood, sweat and tears" so to speak, are in this project and she is hoping for a good return on her work. If I were to buy the book and then pass it along to every other homeschooler I know who needs a science curriculum that would diminish her sales. She is not some big corporate conglomerate, she is a homeschooler with four children.
The article went on to talk about the various allowances that publishers and authors allow with their curriculum to help homeschoolers. Many are quite generous, but it certainly made me think twice about reproducing those consumables in lieu of buying each child their own. We may be helping our own bottom line, but we are hurting someone else's.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Friday, April 11, 2008
At three months now Iggy is sleeping a solid 8 hours a night, bedtime at about 20:30 and then a final bottle to "top him off" at 23:30. That bottle takes ten or fifteen minutes tops and then the sleepy baby is changed and whisked right back into his bed with a full belly and a clean diaper. I actually prefer if he is slightly awake as it helps him learn to fall back to sleep on his own. But last night was different.
Thursday is the day that he goes to visit his mother and siblings during supervised visits at the courthouse. For the most part the baby is clueless as to what is going on and goes with the flow. I used to look at that time as a two hour mini break for me and time to spend with the kids sans an infant. Lately I have not wanted to go. It has really hit me recently that I am raising another woman's child, not simply "fostering". This baby has no clue that I am not the one who gave birth to him and that his lighter skinned siblings (my three) are not linked to him genetically as an older foster child would. There are no tears to soothe as he yearns for "home", we are all he knows. We are his home.
If Iggy were to go home tomorrow he would adjust very well. Our routine and family would slowly fade from his memory as he adjusted to life with his biological mother. In 6 months he would be fine as well. In a year? Much harder, but still quite doable. I know of many friends who have adopted children under 2 and 3 years of age and the child adapts to the new family very quickly and the new family becomes their constant and loving reality.
I absolutely want the Lord's will for this precious boy. It it too bizarre of a feeling to explain, but my desires do not play into this at all. I thought I would be a little more selfish in this situation and glimpses of that trait have peeked through, but for the most part I am content to just see what the plan for Iggy's life will be.
Last night I finished feeding Iggy and put him on my shoulder to burp him. After complying he snuggled down onto my chest and happily fell asleep as I rocked him in the glider. I had no desire whatsoever to put him in his crib although my eyes burned from being so tired and I could barely contain my exaggerated yawns.
I took the opportunity to pray for him with an intensity I had not done before. For him, his future wife (should he have one), his children, his salvation, their salvation, the opportunity for him to witness to his biological family should he go home, and many other things. I simply did not want to physically let go of him last night.
So I sat and cuddled and prayed with him until about 01:30 when my bones ached for my own bed while my heart yearned to sleep in the glider with Iggy all night. My bones won out and I finally went to bed.
It is an odd thing being a foster parent. I know that every situation is different and there may be a placement that I am sooo ready to send home, but Iggy is not that placement. This is almost the ideal first foster placement and quite possibly the very hardest. The Lord's perfect will remains to be revealed, but I am quite anxious to know what it shall be.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
So today we raced through the work that we absolutely could not skip for school and I pushed them out the door for
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Growing up, my house was always immaculate because my mother is a basket case (um... just kidding Mom; sort of) and she was particular about her home and abhorred dust of any kind. The house always had a wonderful smell in the air, a mix of a wood fire in the wood stove, scented candles and fresh drywall (some room in our house was usually being revamped or updated since the house was built in the 30's). To this day, the smell of drywall is one of the most comforting scents to me. More than likely because some chemical in the drywall mud permanently affected my brain.
Scent is important to me. I dream of having one of those houses in laundry soap commercials where the fresh breeze is continually causing the curtains to dance while the house is sun filled and fresh smelling. Not like last night's salmon and cous cous dinner.
So today I was day dreaming once again about a master bedroom with painted walls (ahem... Mr. Clean), a sparkling bathroom with no boys size 7 Joe Boxer underwear left haplessly on the floor from last night's shower (why do I even let the children in my room?) and bright white bed linens scented with a $40.00 bottle of linen water that I cannot afford. Then the thrifty side of me took over. I could make my own linen water. So here is the recipe I intend to use from Nostalgic Homemaking. I will let you know how it turns out...
I have decided NOT to use Absolut in this recipe, LOL! Thanks Heather!
Glass or plastic bottles with caps (or spray bottle)
Essential oil (try lavender or rose for traditional scents, jasmine or plumeria blossom for exotic scents)
90 ml non-flavoured, high proof vodka (approx. 3oz)
750 ml distilled water (approx. 25 oz)
If you are using a glass bottle, sterilize it with boiling water. If you are using a plastic bottle, pour a little very hot water into your container to rinse it. Let it dry before mixing your linen water.
In the cooled bottle, mix the vodka and 1 teaspoon (5ml) of essential oil together. Close the bottle and shake it well to mix the oil with the alcohol. (The alcohol emulsifies the oil so you will have an
evenly mixed solution.)
Add the 750 ml of distilled water to the bottle. Close the container and shake again to mix the scent and the water.
Use your linen water when making the bed, pressing your linens or simply by misting the air to freshen a room. You can also try misting linen water while you are ironing or try adding a little into your dryer while your table linens are drying. You can store your linen water for 6 to 8 months. Cap your bottles tightly and store them in a cool corner to make them last.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
We took the kids camping this weekend to celebrate the new acquisition (pop-up) and had a blast. The plan was that all of us would stay, but we camped about 20 minutes from our house in case little Iggy and I needed to go home or if we forgot something on our first run in the camper (and of course, we did).
Since Iggy has been sleeping a good 8-9 hours at night we thought that we could easily incorporate him into the trip. This would have worked well if it was a tad warmer. At about 21:00 we put the older three to bed (Iggy had been asleep for an hour already) and then Mr. Clean and I looked at each other with that, "now what?" expression. I wake Iggy at about 23:30 for one last feeding to help him not wake in a panic at 03:00. I had 2 1/2 hours to go.
Had it been warmer we could have just sat outside by the fire, but Friday night was cold and we did not want to give up the warmth of the camper to hang out outside, nor sit in silence while our children fought sleep due to excitement. I decided to head home with Iggy and come back the next day. Mr. Clean crashed right after I left.
Saturday was a glorious day and we had a blast just enjoying each other and tending an all day camp fire and marshmallow roast. Again I opted to go home at bedtime to tend to Iggy properly without waking the family for his late night feeding. Poor me, having to sleep in my own cozy bed...
We intend to camp again with my parents in two weeks, this time closer to their house in Maryland. Hopefully Iggy and I will be able to stay at the campground overnight this time. We will see!
Monday, April 7, 2008
Frankly, I think it is a brilliant and quite pithy ad. The ad obviously represents Mexico before the Mexican/American war of 1846 and if you are Mexican, it would be a quite symbolic ad full of Mexican pride. That's it. nothing more. Just an ad to sell Vodka, yet us "boycott loving" Americans had to get in on the act and complain.
Let me make it clear. I am a proud, proud, proud, American. I love my country with all of her faults and quirks. I also have personally boycotted certain companies that affiliate with organizations I abhor. But to boycott a particular brand of vodka because a Mexican ad, portrayed Mexican pride and history? Give me a break.
Absolut's blog site has received more than a thousand comments since the ad campaign was launched a few weeks ago, with many calling for boycotts of the Swedish company.
"I have poured the remainder of my Absolut bottles down the sink," says one blogger.
I have a 13 year old bottle of vodka we bought on our honeymoon which is more than 3/4 full, since we are not big drinkers. Maybe I will send it to the poor blogger who was forced to poor their Absolut down the drain. I better check and see what the brand is first however.
Good grief. It makes me want to go and buy a bottle of Absolut, just out of principle, but it would probably just languish in the pantry for another 13 years.
Friday, April 4, 2008
This week he finally decided to retire from the fire company and made it official today. Once Iggy joined our family he took a long look at how thin he was spread with church, work, the fire department and family and decided that something had to go. It was the obvious choice.
Mr. Clean was a volunteer fire fighter in upstate New York for many years and then here in PA for the last four and has really enjoyed it, but that stage of life has passed and his love of the thrill has lessened. Frankly, anxiously waiting up for him to come home safely from a fully engulfed structure fire has never thrilled me, so I cannot say I am completely unhappy, but being a fire fighter has been part of the fabric that has made up Mr. Clean for so long.
It is exciting to begin the next stage of his journey with him. He is still my hero, turnout gear or none.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
He had to learn to adapt however, as he was a traveling evangelist (a real one, not the Jim Bakker kind) and Americans get funny when an immigrant cannot speak the language but is trying to save their souls from damnation. And most especially when he actually is speaking their language and they STILL cannot understand it. As a result, my Grandfather adopted a beautiful Glaswegian/American combo form of English.
How is this all related to National Kilt Day? Well, he wore one. Not here in the States so much, but in his native and beloved Scotland while playing the bagpipes for HRM Highland Bagpipe Band. That's him in the picture. Cute knees, huh?
So here we are on Kilt Day. My beloved hubby of Viking decent would never wear one (although, kilts were believed to have been heavily influenced by the clothing worn by the Vikings and Normans that conquered the British Isles in the 8th Century), but I have a dear friend and brother in Christ who I know has. He even owns one, so hopefully he will enjoy the manliness it exudes on this oh, so special holiday! He knows who he is so I need not name names, but perhaps he will comment on whether or not the kilt saw daylight today.
As they say, "Only Real Men Wear Kilts".
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Please pray for her. The Lord knows the details and knows who you are praying for (no, it's not me... it really is "a friend", but while you are at it.... :-).
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Homeschool mothers proudly wear their denim jumpers and roam around curriculum fairs making sure they have the perfect geometry package to compliment little Johnny's advanced math program while trying to decide which science DVD will give little Janie the edge during standardized testing. All the while eating homemade granola out of biodegradable baggies.
Homeschool mothers are not supposed to cry unless it is tears of joy at the fact that their precious Buford got accepted to MIT a year early and on a full scholarship.
And then there is my house. This mother has cried twice this week alone about a son who just cannot seem to "get" math (with our fourth curriculum in three years), a baby who seems to get lost in the fray and spends way too much time in the bouncy seat, a bright daughter who does not get as much educational time as she should while quickly gaining speed on her 2nd grade brother in skill and comprehension, and a 4 year old who pretty much entertains herself during "school". Oh, and I do not own one single denim jumper.
You never hear about 8 year olds having full on temper tantrums and how to quell them or discipline them, nor when to start worrying about reading ability (you just are told not to rush it). You don't get to see the massive amounts of dust piling up in every room and the unread pile of mail in the kitchen. Homeschool mothers always seem clean and well nourished to me, while I fight for time to take a 5 minute shower and eat standing at the counter trying to load the dishwasher simultaneously. I simply cannot be the only woman who doubts if this the path the Lord really has ordained.
Yet, I know that it is. I know this is what is meant for my life and for my children. The thought of sending my children to public school makes me panic, but so does the thought of raising kids that never got what they needed educationally, emotionally and ethically.
So why is it that you never hear of the families that, while for the most part are having a good time at this venture, still struggle at times? Why are we so afraid to let others know that this homeschool gig is not perfect? Are we afraid of being judged and have that all knowing, "I told you so", thrust upon us by well meaning friends and family? To have to admit we do not have all the answers (even though we do have the socialization question nailed!)?
I searched site after site looking for articles about mothers who do not have it all in control (temper, schedule and juggling abilities) and came up sadly short. There are a plethora of articles about the successes of homeschooling and we all know they are valid, but I want to see others that contain less then glamorous stories about mothers who still struggle with their own sinful nature and have children they would like to throttle at times. Because that's where I am right now.
I do love the fact that I can homeschool. I want my children to be those bright students courted by Mensa, while they eat homemade granola out of a biodegradable bag. I want all the good things for them and 85% of the time (I refuse to lie and say the typical 99.9%) they are wonderful and obedient children whose minds are on fire for learning. But there is the 15% (20%?) of the time that tempers flare, tears flow, and things get hurled across the room.
I can't imagine that we are the only ones.