Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Wordless Wednesday--Hope at six weeks

Wordless Wednesday--twins separated at birth?

Harmony and her friend Emi were born on the same day, at the same hospital, and were even the only two babies there at the time...I'm sure when they're old enough to know about books like The Parent Trap they'll wonder if they were switched at birth...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wordless Wednesday--Christmas eve

The kids said since I make them fancy cakes for their birthday, Jesus should have one too:

Harmony's Santa letter (I told her to say something about her year, and she said the family stuff unprompted...melts my heart!)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Harmony funny

This morning, while getting a Hello Kitty spoon to go with her Strawberry Shortcake bowl:

Harmony: Mom, what do you get when you put Strawberry Shortcake and Hello Kitty together?
Me: What?
Harmony: Friends!
Me: That's nice.
Harmony: What do you get when you put Henry and me together?
Me: Siblings?
Harmony: No, a disaster!

(Actually, they played together nicely, with minimal arguing requiring our intervention and lots of laughter, for several hours yesterday--that was quite the Christmas gift!)

Melodic Monday--Light the Advent Candle

Henry picked up this song on Sunday, despite coloring and looking like he wasn't paying attention while it was being sung. We lit the advent candles every day during advent while I was a kid. We're not quite so diligent, but the kids have enjoyed it the days we've done it.

Light the Advent candle one.
Now the waiting has begun
We have started on our way
Time to think of Christmas Day.

Candle, candle burning bright,
shining in the cold winter night
Candle, candle burning bright
Fill our hearts with Christmas light.

Light the Advent candle two
Think of humble shepherds who
Filled with wonder at the sight
Of the child on Christmas night.


Light the Advent candle three
Think of heavenly harmony
Angels singing "Peace on Earth"
At the Blessed Saviour's birth.


Light the Advent candle four
Think of joy forevermore
Christ Child in a stable born
Gift of love that Christmas morn.


Light the Christmas candle now
Sing of donkey, sheep and cow
Birthday candles for the King
Let the alleluias ring.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Thankful Thursday: Timing

This week I'm glad that God has great timing:

Romans 5:6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.

This week, God's timing was totally apparent in Henry's life. His Winter Program was scheduled to be Monday night. Mammaw was very disappointed that she was unable to attend, as she's recovering from a perforated colon (from a colonoscopy--another praise, her recovery!). Well, Monday afternoon the weather turned blustery, so they postponed the program to January...and now Mammaw can attend.

Today, Henry was scheduled to get some fillings at the dentist...during his class's Christmas present from his teachers, a special in-class breakfast party. Once again, the weather to the rescue--there was a two hour delay (which would have been enough for him to make it to the party) AND the dentist called and cancelled. (Unfortunately it was minutes after I got him out of bed early to eat some breakfast before the "no eat zone" began...but I got to go back to bed :))

Not just one, but two times where God stepped in to bless Henry with his timing.

Jesus even confirms that God had a right time for him to die--John 7:6 says "Jesus told them, "The right time for me has not yet come..." I'm so thankful we get to celebrate his perfectly timed arrival.

It gives me confidence that although I don't always immediately agree with God's timing, it IS perfect, and all works together for good in the end.

And I'm glad he died for the ungodly, because that's definitely me.

And speaking of timing, I need to go to bed. For more Thankful Thursday, visit Iris.

Wordless Wednesday

Well, it's barely still Wednesday, but here are some pictures from our Great Cookie Caper on Saturday...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Yeah, what she said!

We had a great weekend, especially at the Great Cookie Caper. Jen wrote about it, so read what she had to say! The picture of Samuel and Hope is really cute :) If I have time today, I'll add my pictures here--it was definitely a blast, and it's so nice to have Christmas baking done (at least round one :))

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thankful Thursday

This week I'm thankful for:
--giving birth in our newly redone hospital maternity ward
--supportive friends and family who have showered us with gifts, especially yummy meals
--Time off from my job, though I still have work to do (enough to keep my mind busy)

And I'm most thankful for a baby born two thousand years ago, in an unsterile barn, who was probably shunned by his family and friends for being born out of wedlock (though some random strangers from both near and far brought priceless gifts to pay for their soon journey to a far off land...)

Share your thanks with Iris!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's been a great day!

Hope slept for 5 hours (in a row!) last night.
I got a shower.
I went to work for about an hour.
I'm wearing pants that button and zip.
Somebody else made dinner.

What else could I ask for?? :) It's a good day indeed!

Link love

I'm not good at one handed typing, so instead of my own thoughts, here are some cool posts by others:
Pastot Steven Furtick: Let them walk

A Misfit toy? by Lara O'Brian (sorry not a direct link--Dec 10ths devotion

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Top Ten Tuesday: Christmas traditions

Thanks to Mindy!

10. "Let it Snow" by the Blenders--polenesian style. Hilarious! (Jonell, you'd even like it :)--track 3 on the link)
9. Watching the Grinch that Stole Christmas and Charlie Brown's Christmas
8. Playing Santa (I've always been the one to stuff the stockings, ever since I graduated from high school)
7. Eating Robatsa (chinese dumpling soup that my grandfather ate as a child) on Christmas eve
6. Setting up the nativity set my aunt made for me
5. Christmas concerts--I still get choked up every time I hear O Come all ye faithful
4. Making traditional cookies like sandbaskels and krumkaka
3. Lefse, hot off the grill
2. Lighting the advent wreath and having special devotional time with my family
1. Candlelight service on Christmas Eve

Monday, December 8, 2008

Melodic Monday: C is for conifers by They Might be Giants

"Here come the ABC's" is one of our kids' favorite albums, and would account for Henry's nerdy knowledge of conifers...

Most with cones for seeds, most with needles for leaves
C is for conifers, my kind of trees
Large junipers and fir, spruce, cedars and pines
C is for conifers, more then five hundred kinds
If you see a Christmas tree or a stack of newspapers or a 2x4 frame of a house
It's probably made from pine trees and pine trees are conifers, that's what this song is about
Or if you see a plant in the shape of an elephant, or in the shape of a dog
It's probably a shrub, a conifer shrub pruned into that shape by someone
Most with cones for seeds, most with needles for leaves
C is for conifers, my kind of trees
Large junipers and fir, spruce, cedars and pines
C is for conifers, more then five hundred kinds

Spoken: There are so many different kinds of conifer trees.
This is just a few of them: Spruce,
Hemlocks, larch, cyprus, juniper,
Fir, Douglas fir, cedar, yew,
Pine, the dwarf conifer,
And the great California sequoia redwood.

Most with cones for seeds, most with needles for leaves
C is for conifers, my kind of trees
Large junipers and fir, spruce, cedars and pines
C is for conifers, more then five hundred kinds

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Proof that my children will be/are nerds...

On our way to Kokomo yesterday, we drove through a fairly large Christmas light display. As we approached, Henry's comment was, "Mom, they have both the conifers and non-conifer trees decorated!" Guess I better teach him the word "deciduous"...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Hope's top ten favorite things to do

10. Poop right after mommy has changed my diaper.
9. Listen to Henry sing his version of "Lullabye" at a very loud volume.
8. Have Harmony hold me.
7. Stare at the throw on the couch.
6. Listen to the vacuum cleaner.
5. Sit in the moving chair from the Lingley's (but not moving)
4. Nurse.
3. Listen to the bathroom fan--it puts me to sleep every time.
2. Sleep between mommy and daddy.
1. Sleep ON mommy or daddy in the recliner!

Gotta love life as a baby...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mother Letter

If you could give a letter of encouragement for a mother, what would you say? Well, here is your opportunity...

In pursuit of a "free Christmas", this husband and father is collecting such letters at the Mother letter blog.

I'm working on mine, and will post it when I'm done...I hope you'll write one too, whether your a mom or not. Or at least visit the blog, and read the submitted ones in the comment section--they're a fun read! (though a bit of a tear jerker...at least to a post partum mom!)

My Visa commercial

Hospital bill for me: $6200
Hospital bill for Hope: $2100
Doctor bill for me: $2400

Having Hope: priceless.

(Insurance doesn't hurt either...though I already see some of it billed incorrectly. Too bad I don't have better insurance...)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving

Heather at The Mouth behind the Moose is hosting "Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving"--a chance to do what Abraham Lincoln originally intended Thanksgiving to be: "I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens."

We have tons to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. One of the most amazing ways God has provided for us this year is financially. For example, we got a large, very unexpected tax bill...and the next day, got a check for almost the exact same amount. That happened again about two weeks ago (though this time it was property taxes). It was an act of faith for Patrick to step down from a regular, salaried job, but God made it very clear that it was what he was supposed to do, and He has been very faithful in providing for us.

I am also incredibly thankful for answered prayer and new life. For quite a while, both myself and a small army were praying that God would either take away my desire for another baby, or for a successful pregnancy. Seriously, three days after I finally felt at peace with only having two children, I found out I was pregnant. God definitely has a sense of humor...and of surrender. When I had given up, there were still faithful friends praying for me and our family. It is amazingly obvious Who is really in charge, and the answer is definitely not me.

Paul said it well in his letter to the Ephesians:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

Thankful Thursday, kid versions

I asked the kids for their thankful lists tonight--I was encouraging them to come up with ten...and they both came up with more than 20! Here they are:

Henry's list:

My sister, Hope
Star Wars videos
Music videos on the computer
Great Great grandma
Aunt Sharon
Ali (our cat)
Coloring and crayons
My teacher, Mrs. Hensley
The number 1,005 (??)
the letter H
going to the gym with Brandon
My class
Aden and Jacob living upstairs this summer
the colors brown and red
The tub (??)

Harmony's list: ("I'm thanksful for" )
my new baby, Hope
my friend Emi
feast at school
the water park in Columbus
Water park in Lafayette
the pool
the slippery slide at Mammaw and Pappaw's house
roasting seeds
my cat Ali
Strawberry festival
Miss Jennifer being our teacher
Henry comes to school after rest time
Miss Sophie and Miss Anna are my dance teachers
We went on a plane to San Diego
Playing with a girl on the beach
We get to help Pappaw set up the tree tomorrow
Going hiking
Pumpkin pie
My fluffy jammies (the footed ones)

Works for Me Wednesday--not losing baby socks

This is what I give new moms--a zippered lingerie bag. They wonder what it's for: the answer? Preventing the washer and dryer from eating baby socks. Works like a charm!

Now I need to take my own advice and get one...

For more great ideas, visit Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tackle It Tuesday: Quick bathroom re-do

We have a very small bathroom off of the dining room. When we originally chose the paint color, it was off white. But when we got it on the walls, it looked pink...very pink. Here's the before:

So on Sunday, before we went to the hospital to have Hope, we were walking Walmart (the only remaining place to shop for housewares in town), we talked about going with brown bathmats and towels. Patrick picked some up last Saturday, and he and Harmony "redid" the bathroom yesterday. Amazing what a difference some new towels and a bath mat make!

Christmas giveaways

Christmas Giveaway Gifts 240x240

5 Minutes for Mom is hosting some great Christmas give aways! Henry eould be over the moon happy if we won the PS2 with Batman legos (since I'm sure that's not on our shopping list for several years!)
Check it out at This site.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Melodic Monday-- High Hopes

I find myself singing this every time I say, "Hi, Hope"...

Next time you're found, with your chin on the ground
There a lot to be learned, so look around

Just what makes that little old ant
Think he'll move that rubber tree plant
Anyone knows an ant, can't
Move a rubber tree plant

But he's got high hopes, he's got high hopes
He's got high apple pie, in the sky hopes

So any time you're gettin' low
'stead of lettin' go
Just remember that ant
Oops there goes another rubber tree plant

When troubles call, and your back's to the wall
There a lot to be learned, that wall could fall

Once there was a silly old ram
Thought he'd punch a hole in a dam
No one could make that ram, scram
He kept buttin' that dam

but he's got high hopes, he's got high hopes
He's got high apple pie, in the sky hopes

So any time you're feelin' bad
'stead of feelin' sad
Just remember that ram
Oops there goes a billion kilowatt dam

All problems just a toy balloon
They'll be bursted soon
They're just bound to go pop

Oops there goes another problem kerplop
Oops, there goes another problem kerplop
Oops, there goes another problem kerplop

Writer(s): Cahn/Van Heusen

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Newborn babies and milk

"Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good." 1 Peter 2:2-3

I'm not sure how Peter came up with this analogy, seeing as he probably never nursed a newborn. But having a newborn definitely sheds some light on this passage!

First, Hope is happiest if she eats every two hours...sometimes more. She's pretty funny when she's hungry--there is a distinct "boob lean" (open mouth, leaning to the side) that she (and Henry and Harmony) has. Sometimes she ends up sucking on my arm or her hand--not quite sure what the real source of milk is. And sometiems she gets so excited she has a hard time latching on.

With all three kids, I've had a pretty copious milk supply--Henry used to "yeep" when he was eating, while Harmony and Hope either choked on it or pulled off before choking. Sometimes Hope wants more, even when her tummy is full (leading to lots of spit-up).

So are you eating from the Word frequently? Do you get excited about what you're reading? What's your strategy when it is pretty intense?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday funny--Henry's dilemma

On Mondays, Henry does a "weekend report"--a picture with invented spelling description of the weekend's highlight. He had a hard time deciding whether he should write about seeing the principal at Walmart, going to Chuck E. Cheese with grandma, or his baby sister, Hope, arriving. Hope won, but it was a tough decision!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thankful Thursday--Hope!

Our major praise for the week is the safe arrival of Hope Eileen! She is a definite blessing. I'm also thankful that Henry and Harmony are gentle and interested big siblings, and that we're surrounded by friends that are just amazing, lifting us up in prayer and providing for our needs.

For more Thankfulness, visit Iris at Grace Alone.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hope has arrived!

Hope Eileen arrived Sunday, November 16th at 5:58 pm. She weighed 8 lbs 14 oz and was 21.5 inches long. Everyone is doing very well. We'll be going home tonight.

And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we[c] also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 5:2b-5

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Eviction Notice

Dear Baby,

Tenant must vacate the premises by November 18, 2008 or be forcibly removed. The terms of the lease have been completed. Expansions only to the front of the house, within reasonable limits, were previously discussed by tenant and management. Not only have these limits been exceeded, but unapproved additions to the back of the house were also made. Remodeling and gutting of the home was never approved, nor was changing the initial layout and base structure.

You must act immediately or be forcefully removed. Should you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me.


I'm still pregnant

...and not much else to say.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Which Hogwarts House would you be in?

Which Hogwarts House Would You Be In?

You would be in Gryffindor. You are bold, passionate, and brave. You have a highly-defined sense of right and wrong, and you are not afraid to speak your mind or fight for what you want.

Find Your Character @ BrainFall.com

Pregnant with expectation

Still pregnant. Three trips to L&D--I think they should give me a punch card or something. They haven't been "recreational", either--we've gone after 4-6 hrs of contractions a minute or two long and 3-4 minutes apart, well within the parameters of "real" labor. After trip #2, I said I wasn't going in until my water broke or I was in transition, but we ended up there last night--the contractions were wrapping around my back and shooting down my legs, to the point of feeling like I was going to collapse. (They're still happening, but now I know they're not doing anything towards resulting in a baby)...

I know I'm not going to be pregnant forever--it's not physiologically possible. But it is very frustrating and tiring--there is nothing left on our to do list that I can accomplish in the 1 minute between one contraction ending and the next arriving.

So I think today I'm going to pretend I'm not pregnant anymore. Just really fat.

Sometimes I think the church (and especially some denominations) are like me. They've forgotten that we're pregnant--Jesus IS coming back someday. We just don't know what the gestation period on a savior is. Even Jesus doesn't know: "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." (Matthew 24:36).

And other congregations are also like me--wondering if every "twinge" is a labor pain, and wondering if today is the day. Matthew 24 gives a pretty clear description of what "labor" for Jesus returning looks like. But he also makes it clear that EVERYONE will know when he's really back.

Thanks, Lord, that you are coming back someday, someday soon. Help us not grow weary of watching for you, nor read too much into events around us. Give us your perspective.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Thankful Thursday

So my due date has come and gone, with no baby! (at least not on the outside) But there is still lots to be thankful for...

We are blessed with awesome friends! H&H have had two "slumber parties" this week, while we've been at the hospital (making no progress). They've made us dinners, prayed for us, given hugs, and generally been awesomely supportive.

I've actually gotten everything on my "to do" list done, including meeting all of the candidates for our job openings.

Access to good medical care. At least I know the baby is fine, even if s/he doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon!

For this pregnancy--what an answer to so many prayers, including Harmony's.

Time to have some "bonus" one on one time with my kids and husband.

That soon we'll get to meet this new little one--one way or another, I won't be pregnant forever!

So what are you thankful for this week? Share it at Grace Alone with Iris!

Works for Me Wednesday--Simple rules

The school I teach at has a grand total of one rule. While our household isn't quite that simple, we have gone with a few basic rules, like:

--People are more important than stuff.
--Don't distract the driver.
--Love one another.

It's a fairly short list, but it covers many different things. It also means we don't need a rule for every possible infraction--they're covered by these larger, overarching principles. So for example, when Henry was blowing a whistle in the car, it was easy to tell him to please stop because that is distracting to the driver. We didn't need a specific rule about "no blowing whistles in the car"; it was covered by the bigger principle.

And by stating things in the positive, we hope that they'll be ingrained as the kids grow older. So perhaps when they start driving, they will understand that their main focus when driving should be the road, not their cell phone, the radio, or other occupants in the car (we can hope, can't we?)

So what works for you this week? Please visit Shannon to share yours!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

No 11/11 baby...

Henry has dibs on the 12th :)

My "I" key sn't working...

t takes three or four strokes to get an I to emerge from my computer. Can't help but wonder f God is sending me a message...less of me, more of Him!

John 3:30: 3He must become greater; I must become less.

Top ten reasons today would be a good day to have a baby

10. It's my due date, according to both ultrasounds.
9. 11/11 has nice symmetry.
8. It's Veteran's Day.
7. It's Armistice Day.
6. Because of #'s 7 and 8, the post office is closed.
5. Because of #6, one of our best friend's doesn't have to work.
4. I have a doctor's appointment at 2 pm, so if nothng has started by then, she might be willing to send me to the hospital and induce me.
3. Patrick has an open schedule after Monday night.
2. The kids have nothing "extra" on their schedule either.
1. It's my grandmother's birthday, and that would be a great thing for this LO to share.

(I'm actually writing this on Monday, and there is no internet at the hospital...if nothing happens by 12;01 on the 12th, I'll post an update...)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Melodic Monday--Be Patient

No baby yet, though we were at the hospital for a while on Thurs night...

Be patient, be patient, don't be in such a hurry
When you get impatient, you only start to worry
Remember, remember, that God is patient too
And think of all the times when others had to wait for you

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The answer: green beans

This afternoon Henry and Harmony went to play at a nearby gym with some very generous neighbors. An hour and a half later, Harmony came back happy as a clam...and Henry was definitely in a "mood".

I was afraid of that before they left--Henry didn't really care for lunch. I did give them a big-ish snack before they left--they each had a kiwi and half a pear, plus something from the "treat box" (Henry had a pack of Teddy Grahams, Harmony had a Rice Crispie bar). When he is hungry, it definitely shows in his behavior--and add losing a game, and he was a crying mess.

The answer? Adding green beans to the menu for dinner. We were having left overs--the lunch he didn't like, the roasted sausage, white beans and tomato dish he likes less, and spaghetti. We needed a veggie, so I added a can of green beans, his favorite. Henry did eat a serving of spaghetti, a piece of bread, and a serving of beans...and the entire rest of the can of beans!

And the rest of the evening? Happy Henry. Amazing what a can of green beans will do.

Take home parenting message: sometimes it's ok to play a "favorite" card...it can solve more than one problem!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Critical Battery

The battery on my computer is dying--it's gone from having about two hours of capacity to about 20 minutes. The most annoying thing is that the "Critical battery: switch now to outlet power or lose what you're working on" message comes on when I reboot, after my computer has died.

Sometimes I feel like my computer--my spiritual "battery" runs out before I get the warning that I might be in trouble soon. Guess the answer is staying better connected to my power source!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Thankful Thursday: Tomorrow

I really need to get my hair cut soon, and it would be more convenient to do it before the baby comes. I'm hesitant to make an appointment, though, since I'm 39 weeks, two days pregnant...who knows if I'll be "available" or not!

But what I'm thankful for this week that this tension is biblical! James 4:13-15 says: Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that."

So I'm thankful that God's plans are bigger than mine.

I'm also thankful that I don't need to worry about tomorrow: "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 6:34).

I've seen lots of reactions (by Christians) to the election outcome, from elation to anxiety/depression. I don't know that either of these extremes is good. Why not? They're forgetting who really holds the future--God does.

It's no surprise to Him that Obama won. And it'll be no surprise how the next four years unfold. The question is whether we're willing to trust God with the future.

So I'm thankful that we can trust God, not only with today, but with tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, the next decade...

Catching up

Last night I worked on getting the kids' journals caught up--I did October 2007-Jan 2008. (I gotta do better about writing more regularly!) Obviously, I can't rely on my memory for that time period, so I used a combination of the calendar (where I jot things down), pictures, and my blog.

It was interesting to read my posts from that time period--what a difference a year makes! I had my second miscarriage, and was feeling pretty dark. But I did have some pretty insightful posts, including "When God says no," "The rest of the story," and "Changing Seasons".

Time gives a little perspective on these things. I think what God showed me last night was the "why" I was searching for. Look at the women of the Bible who waited (and waited and waited) for babies--Sarah, Hannah, Elizabeth. What was the story with these "fall" babies? Why did God say "no" for so long?

Well, look at their children--Issac, Samuel, John the Baptist. God had special purposes for those men, definitely not ones their mothers would have chosen for them. But because they waited, they knew whose babies they really were--not theirs, but God's. They willingly gave their sons to God for his purposes.

God, this child is yours--whatever purpose you have for him/her. Maybe it's missions, but maybe it's a disability or even death. But I know this child is yours.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Top Ten things I should get done before having this baby

10. Get some lab samples in the freezer.
9. Write exam questions for one of my classes.
8. Grade incoming papers for the other class.
7. Meet and interview four candidates (which would require not having this baby for another 10 days).
6. Write letters for Faculty Development Committee.
5. Figure out what labs we're going to do in Biochem next semester...and write them.
4. Submit prep sheet for biodiesel lab next week.
3. Get people to fill out biochem program matrix.
2. Get the kids' journals up to date.
1. Write out detailed directions about kids' morning and bedtime routines.

Top Ten things I got done today!
10. Mailed thank yous to visitors to my class.
9. Cleaned up the half of the lab where the new hire would go.
8. Graded a bunch of reading summaries and movie reports.
7. Graded Gen Chem homework.
6. Got grade book printout to person taking over my labs.
5. Had a lunch date with Patrick.
4. Got the good deals for the week at CVS and Walgreens.
3. Was Parent Helper in Henry's class.
2. Saw Harmony do a cartwheel at dance lessons.
1. Voted!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Drugstore game

Harmony and I hit both CVS and Walgreens tonight...

Coke 4/$13 12 pks
minus 4 $1/1 coupons from coke rewards (hint: the coupons "cost" 35 pts, and you can print 2 by hitting the back button, true for all Bricks coupons)
minus $3 ECB earned

4/$6 12 packs of Coke! That's $0.125 can, cheaper than generic :)


Brach's carmels 75% off $1.00 (for MYO Take5 candies for Christmas)
2 M&Ms $2.50 each (for Winter chex mix)
Almay Mascara 6.99 (Xmas gift for niece)
Almay eyeshadow 7.49 (Xmas gift for niece)
2 pks Walgreens diapers (40 ct) 8.99 (B1G1F)

Minus coupons:
$6 register rewards from previously
2x$1 off Almay
6.99 B1G1F Almay products

Minus rebates:
-2.50 M&Ms (I bought 2 packs earlier; it's $5 off of 4 pks)
-6.99 Almay mascara

So I earned $1.50 on the Almay products (and scored part of a Christmas present), stocked up on candy for Christmas gifts, and got diapers for $0.11 each. Not bad!

Melodic Monday--Yahweh by U2

Take these shoes
Click clacking down some dead end street
Take these shoes
And make them fit
Take this shirt
Polyester white trash made in nowhere
Take this shirt
And make it clean, clean
Take this soul
Stranded in some skin and bones
Take this soul
And make it sing

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, Yahweh
Still I'm waiting for the dawn

Take these hands
Teach them what to carry
Take these hands
Don't make a fist no
Take this mouth
So quick to criticise
Take this mouth
Give it a kiss

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, Yahweh
Still I'm waiting for the dawn

Still waiting for the dawn, the sun is coming up
The sun is coming up on the ocean
His love is like a drop in the ocean
His love is like a drop in the ocean

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, tell me now
Why the dark before the dawn?

Take this city
A city should be shining on a hill
Take this city
If it be your will
What no man can own, no man can take
Take this heart
Take this heart
Take this heart
And make it pray

Sunday, November 2, 2008

OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

More pumpkin carving thoughts...

The light shines through the holes, not through the solid parts of our lives. Sometimes God has to carve these out.

What the pattern is sometimes isn't obvious until the light shines through.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Putting out fires

A couple of weeks ago, I literally put out four fires while teaching lab. It was ridiculous--I don't know when the last time was when I had to extinguish something like that, let alone four times in one three hour block.

Most of the students' reaction to their sample catching fire was "deer in the headlights"--watch it burn and not do anything. Which meant I had to run from across the room to put it out.

So the next day in lab, I asked the students (a different group) what to do if their stuff caught fire, and their answer was "run". Not the answer I was looking for... The next answer was the fire extinguisher, and my answer was, only if you want to be cleaning the lab for another three hours.

So what do you do when stuff catches fire?

My answer was a 600 mL beaker turned upside down. As long as the fire fits inside it, all you have to do is turn it over, on top of the flame, and the fire goes out. It runs out of oxygen and extinguishes itself.

If THAT doesn't work, then the fire extinguisher...and if that doesn't work, then exit the building.

That made me think...are there "fires" in my life that I'm just staring at, instead of snuffing? Or are there "spirit fires" I'm quenching when I should be feeding?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Parable of the pumpkin?

This afternoon Harmony and I worked on carving the pumpkins she and Henry picked last weekend. It was the perfect opportunity to talk about the Parable of the Pumpkin with her...the conversation was more comical than spiritual, though!

Me: Harmony, did you know you're like a pumpkin?
H2: Uh uh!
Me: God is the farmer, and you're a pumpkin! He chose you from the garden.
H2: I am NOT a pumpkin. I'm not orange, and my hair is yellow. I don't have a green stem.
Me: Yup, he picked you from the garden and cleans all the yuckky stuff out of you.
H2: Is He going to cut me open?
(I pull out some pumpkin guts)
H2: Ew. I'm not a pumpkin, I don't have gooey stuff and seeds in me.
Me: What kinds of bad stuff might Jesus clean out of you?
H2: Blood? Germs?
Me (sighing inside): God cleans the sins out of you.
H2: Oh. I don't have guts like that pumpkin.
Me: Yup, God cleans you out,, and puts His light in you to shine to other people.
H2: I'm not a pumpkin. I don't have seeds.

Sigh...she's too much of a literalist to "get it" right now.

So when Henry came home, I asked him the same question:

Me: Henry, do you know you're like a pumpkin?
H1: Yes! God chose me from the garden, cleaned out my sins and puts His light in me to shine for him.

So we've determined that it's sometime between age 4 and 6 when a kid can handle a parable...

(In case you were wondering, Henry carved the bottom one himself; the next one is a cat, the next one is an unfinished Darth Maul, and the top one is Tinkerbell).

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I lurk on a bulletin board of people who are due to have babies in November. One person had a comment today about the end being in sight...my thought was, man, this is just the BEGINNING!

Then I was talking with the kids, and we used "commence" as a word for begin...and I thought about college commencement. Yes, it's the end of college...but it's the beginning of a whole new phase.

I'm terrible at endings. But what I'm realizing is that endings are really beginnings. Yes, there may things you miss about the old, but God is doing something new.

Thanks, Lord, that you make all things new.

Top Ten Tuesdays: Signs that it's time to have this baby

10. The baby has more clean clothes than you do.
9. You're sleeping less than if there was a newborn in the house.
8. The house has been taken over by baby paraphenalia.
7. You feel like a time bomb...will I make it through lecture today?
6. Bags are packed...for you, for baby, for older kids.
5. If one more person says "you've dropped" or "not much longer," you'd like to scream.
4. You'd like to avoid #5, but know that if you don't make an appearance at various events, you'll get calls, wondering if you've had the baby yet.
3. Labor doesn't sound so bad, compared to current physical complaints.
2. The expiration date on the milk is after your due date (granted, I drink ultra-pasteurized milk...)
1. The "turkey timer" (belly button) has popped out :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

The downside of learning to read...

Yesterday after church, I took Henry and Harmony to the mall. Henry is in desperate need of pants that are long enough, skinny enough, and comfortable enough that he will a) wear them, b)not look ridiculous in them and c)not have them fall off while doing normal boy things.

After a very successful Kohl's trip, including Henry picking out a dressy outfit (button down shirt, pants, vest and tie) that he HAD to have, we went to McD's for lunch. Henry's into reading signs and anything else he sees, so here was the conversation...

Henry: (sounding it out) Hoo-ters. What kind of store is that?
Me: It's a restaurant.
Henry: That's a silly name for a restaurant.
Me: Yup. (what else are you going to say??)
Henry: Why do they call it Hooters?
Me: (Thinking fast) See the owl on the sign? What does an owl say?
Henry: Hoo hoo hooo (Henry does a pretty good owl impersonation!)
Me: So something that says "hoo" is a "hooter." Get it?
Henry: I still think it's a silly name. I hope I get a car in my Happy Meal?

Oy. Life was definitely easier before he could read!


Last week I was doubly surprised and doubly blessed with not one, but TWO parties celebrating our new addition. The first was our small group Bible study--I had no idea AT ALL. I was scrambling to find snack and get childcare ready, since we lost the sign up sheets. We were running late, and that makes me crabby... But when Philip was stalling us at the door, I began to wonder! They did a great job including the kids, who each got their very own cake and a special present. But what hit me the most was when they prayed for me--it brought back so many memories of them praying for me throughout the miscarriage experience. When I had given up, they (especially Amanda) kept praying for a baby for us...and now we're on the verge of meeting this new little person. God definitely hears and answers prayers.

Then on Saturday, we were supposed to go to the pumpkin patch with some friends. My parents came over, but that's not unusual since my Dad was in town. What was suspicious was my father in law at the door, without my mother in law :) It was a diverse group of friends, ranging from people at work to neighbors to church friends. I'm glad they got to meet each other, and now I definitely feel like yes, we really *are* going to have a baby.

Yes, it has taken me nine months to wrap my head around that concept. I don't think I had a *fear* of miscarriage/stillbirth, I more felt like I KNEW I was going to miscarry or have a stillborn.

So THANK YOU for all the prayers. I have a feeling that some of you have been praying like Paul prayed for the Phillipians, "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

And thanks for the gifts and well wishes. This is definitely a blessed child!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Melodic Mon on Fri: That where I am, there you may also be

We've been trying to figure out where to put the crib and make room for the baby, and now I've got this song by Rich Mullins in my head...

In my Father's house there are many, many rooms
In my Father's house there are many, many rooms
And I'm going up there now to prepare a place for you
That where I am, there you may also be

If I go prepare a place for you, I will come back again
If I go prepare a place for you, I will come back again
And you know I am the Way, the Truth, the Life, keep my command
That where I am, there you may also be

That where I am, there you may also be
Up where the truth, the truth will set you free
In the world you will have trouble, but I leave you my peace
That where I am, there you may also be

Remember you did not choose me, no I have chosen you
Remember you did not choose me, no I have chosen you
The world will show you hatred, the Spirit show you truth
That where I am, there you may also be

And I've come down from the Father, it's time for me to go back up
Oh, I've come down from the Father, it's time for me to go back up
One command I leave you: Love as I have loved
That where I am, there you may also be

That where I am, there you may also be
Up where the truth, the truth will set you free
In the world you will have trouble, but I leave you my peace
That where I am, there you may also be

That where I am, there you may also be
Up where the truth, the truth will set you free
In the world you will have trouble, but I'm leaving you my peace
That where I am, there you may also be"

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thankful Thursday: How to grow hope

It's been a rough week. Our campus is still dealing with a death, and yesterday one of my freshman students ended up in the ICU for blood clots in his lungs--a life threatening situation.

What's the point of these trials? Sometimes it's hard not to be angry about situations.

Which makes me very grateful (again) for Romans 5:

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

I love the two paths to hope. In the first, we crack the door with faith, which leads to an avalanche of grace, which is accompanied by peace and rejoicing in the true source of our hope--God's glory. In the second, God reinforces that hope through trials. It's like building a pyramid; suffering sits on the bottom, on which is layered perseverance, followed by character, then hope, a hope which does not disappoint since it's focused on God and the Holy Spirit.

So this week I'm thankful that trials are not in vain, that God uses them to pour out his love on us.

I'm thankful that God gives us faith and grace, and layers upon that peace, joy and hope.

I'm thankful for peace that surpasses our situations.

I'm thankful that hope does not disappoint, because it's in the glory of God, not ourselves.

I'm thankful that God pours out his love through the Holy Spirit.

Wanna share your thankfulness? Visit Iris today!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Works for me Wednesday

We have a great strategy for getting our kids to eat veggies...APPETIZERS!

While we're getting dinner ready, we put some carrots, red pepper slices, broccoli, and whatever other veggies on the kids' plates. Sometimes we include some (~1 T) ranch "dip"--1/4 of a dry ranch dip mix packet in a 16 oz container of low fat cottage cheese, blended with an immersion blender.

Two birds with one stone--they get veggies AND it buys us a couple of minutes to finish getting dinner ready!

Monday, October 20, 2008

How should a Christian vote?

This post is partially inspired by Jonell...if you think this post is going to offend you, please skip it :)

November isn't that far away, my growing belly keeps reminding me. But the alignment of Election Day in close proximity to my due date means I'll probably vote absentee...which means I need to make some decisions soon.

So, how should a Christian vote? Maybe Jesus' inaugural speech in Luke 4:18-21 would be a place to start...

"The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."

Most of the Christian voting guides are litmus tests--two or three (very narrow) positions define the "Right" candidate--such as this one. In their mind, "pro life" is solely defined by whether Roe v. Wade is upheld and embryo destruction--in my mind, this is anti-abortion, not prolife (which embraces ALL human beings once they are born, by providing livable wages, education, health care access, etc...)

But I finally found a voting guide I can support. It does not tell you "you must vote for candidate X or you will go to hell", but rather outlines the issues and encourages voters to find out where the candidates stand. In a nutshell, those issues include:
--Compassion and economic justice
--Peace and the restraint of violence
--consistent ethic of life
--Racial justice
--Human rights and dignity
--Strengthen family and renew culture
--Good stewardship of God's creation
For each one, it gives a Biblical reference, as well as specific issues to consider.

So I'm not going to tell you who to vote for, but I do encourage you to be informed and prayerfully consider the candidates...not just for President, but for your local and state candidates, too.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Moving buildings

In my last post, I said you can't move the church. But you can move the congregation.

It's kind of like moving a house, . It sounds simple...until you try it. When you move a house, there are some things that need to be disconnected, like the plumbing and wiring, other things that need to be strengthened, like the flooring, frame, and drywall, and obstacles that need to be removed, like wires around the house.

Our church is trying this right now. Two months ago, we "moved" our position on women in the church. Last month, we "moved" by ending our affiliation with the Vineyard church. We are now a non-denominational Christian church, although we're listed as being in a small network of churches.

From what I can tell so far, it seems that the mission statement is the same, the priorities are the same, and it is built on the same Cornerstone.

But the foundation is different. About a third of the original team that planted the church have either left or have stepped down from leadership roles. We've gone from a volunteer-based church to one that is run by paid staff. And our support network of other churches is completely different.

For many people in the "house," it's not a big deal. They might have felt some jolts and lurches during the move, but they remain relatively unaffected. For others, there are some major repairs that need to be made.

Lord, bind up the hearts that have been broken by these moves, and give our leaders wisdom in negotiating the challenges of moving our house.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The church is not a modular home...

(from Michelle Kaufmann Designs)

On Tuesday I took one of my classes to the Museum of Science and Industry to see an exhibit on Green Home design. One of the interesting aspects was that the house is a modular home, built in a factory and transported to its final location. It's not very often that you visit a half million dollar modular home!

It made me think about the passage we talked about in life group last week, Ephesians 2:19-22, which reads:

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

I love this picture of how the house of God - the church - is to be built: with
Jesus Christ as the cornerstone, and a foundation of apostles and prophets. But there's more. In Corinthians 3, Paul explains that the foundation builders include the teachers and people who have planted and begun the work. From there, the individuals in the church are united to become the holy temple, where the Holy Spirit dwells.

When the exhibit at the museum is over, the half-million dollar home will be taken off of its foundation and moved somewhere else. But you cannot do that with the church…

The Church’s one foundation
Is Jesus Christ her Lord,
She is His new creation
By water and the Word.
From heaven He came and sought her
To be His holy bride;
With His own blood He bought her
And for her life He died.

She is from every nation,
Yet one o’er all the earth;
Her charter of salvation,
One Lord, one faith, one birth;
One holy Name she blesses,
Partakes one holy food,
And to one hope she presses,
With every grace endued.

The Church shall never perish!
Her dear Lord to defend,
To guide, sustain, and cherish,
Is with her to the end:
Though there be those who hate her,
And false sons in her pale,
Against both foe or traitor
She ever shall prevail.

Woo hoo!

It's fall break, and I've actually been productive today! I finished and submitted a case study to the Science Case Study Collection that I've been using with my Biochemistry class for a couple of years. It's fictional, but based upon a real case of a side effect of a migraine medication leading to metabolic acidosis (decreased blood pH).

It's good to have that off my desk...one down, four other projects to go!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Melodic Monday--Days of Elijah by Robin Mark

We sang this at my in law's church a couple of weeks ago, and Henry is still singing it...

These are the days of Elijah
Declaring the Word of the Lord

And these are the days of your servant Moses
Righteousness being restored

And though these are days of great trials
Of famine and darkness and sword

Still we are the voice in the desert crying
Prepare ye the way of the Lord!

Behold He comes! Riding on the clouds!
Shining like the sun! At the trumpet call
Lift your voice! It's the year of Jubilee!
And out of Zion's hill salvation comes!

And these are the days of Ezekiel
The dry bones becoming as flesh

And these are the days of your servant David
Rebuilding a temple of praise

And these are the days of the harvest
The fields are as white in the world

And we are the labourers in your vineyard
Declaring the word of the Lord!

Behold He comes! Riding on the clouds!
Shining like the sun! At the trumpet call
Lift your voice! It's the year of Jubilee!
And out of Zion's hill salvation comes!

There's no God like Jehovah!

There's no God like Jehovah!

There's no God like Jehovah!

There's no God like Jehovah!
(Repeat 3 times)

Behold He comes! Riding on the clouds!
Shining like the sun! At the trumpet call
Lift your voice! It's the year of Jubilee!
And out of Zion's hill salvation comes!

Behold He comes! Riding on the clouds!
Shining like the sun! At the trumpet call
Lift your voice! It's the year of Jubilee!
And out of Zion's hill salvation comes!

And out of Zion's hill salvation comes!

And out of Zion's hill salvation comes!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Snickers vs. water

It is completely a conspiracy that the stores have Halloween candy on sale so far before trick or treating actually happens.

And somehow, my brain thinks that chocolate should be able to cure anything.

Frustrated with your kids? Have some chocolate.
Tired but have a long to do before you can go to bed? Eat a piece of chocolate.
Trying to not bite a hole in your tongue? Eat some chocolate.
Need a snack? Have some chocolate.

But once again, eating chocolate just leaves me feeling fat...and completely unsatisfied. That fun sized bar wasn't enough...but somehow, it's never enough.

Turns out a glass of ice cold water (preferably with crushed ice) is much more satisfying.

Huh. Not too unlike my spiritual life...usually what I don't need is the quick fix, but a long drink of the Living Water....

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Quiet house

Yesterday Patrick took the kiddos to Mammaw and Pappaw's house for a slumber party so we could try and find the baby stuff in the closet.

It was soooo strange. I stayed late at work--instead of leaving at 4:30 and hauling a bunch of stuff home, I stayed until seven and had everything done when I left. It felt like our pre-kid days! It was also sooo quiet--no "mom, mom, mom", no two children talking at once, no noisy toys. Just us and the cat.

It felt like a foreshadowing of empty nest days. There are definitely things to look forward to--and definitely things to treasure right now. I was glad to see them, though I relished my nap beforehand!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Baby pool!

A baby pool just seems like a fun idea...any guesses? Enter them here...

In case you're curious, Henry was born on his due date, Harmony was two weeks early...

Thankful Thursday

I love Thursdays--it means two of my favorite things are happening--Thankful Thursdays and Life Group!

--I'm thankful God gives us communities, both virtual, in our churches, and in our neighborhoods, to be expressions of his grace and love to us.
--I'm thankful that I have lots of friends with tiny babies--it helps me adjust to the idea of #3!
--I'm thankful that the kids are excited about having a new sibling.
--Henry is doing so well at school--his reading just amazes me. So I'm thankful for his teacher (who is a Christian--double blessing!), his school, his classmates, and the obvious ways God has gifted him.
--I'm thankful that Harmony fits her name so well :)
--I'm thankful that God gives manna when we need it...I'm trusting him for a girl name (any suggestions?)

If you'd like to share your thankfulness, visit Iris at Grace Alone...

P.S. A prayer request: a student at my school died this weekend, and the on campus memorial service is today. Please pray for his family and friends, and that his death might lead to spiritual awakening and changed lives.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Oh my...

Yesterday morning I woke up and did the usual morning routine--turned some lights on in the kids' room, turned on the music player, and snuggled with Henry in an attempt to get him to wake up (which wasn't very successful).

Then Patrick came in, wondering what was up...it was only 4:30 am!

Pregnancy brain is a bad thing...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Monday, October 6, 2008

Random Thoughts for Monday

...so I can get them out of my head and get some work done.

1. I wish my mouth had a rewind...or I had stopped when I should have.
2. I hope my mom finds her credit card (and some peace).
3. I hope Henry learns to sleep through the night before the baby arrives. Despite going to bed at a reasonable hour, I couldn't sleep (see #1, plus baby acrobatics made it hard to get comfortable) so I got up and posted (see below). When I headed back to bed at 1:30, Henry was there--he said there were big buzzing bugs in his bed. I got him the flyswatter, and prayed over him...but he still wanted me to lay with him. An hour later (and several attempts to leave before that) I finally got to go back to my own bed. He was back in our bed at 5...there just isn't room, so once he fell asleep, I carried him back to his bed. Needless to say, it was a sleep in and drop Henry off at school morning.
4. I need to find another 11 passenger certified adult van driver to go on a field trip with me next Tuesday.
5. Why do you have to have a group of 20 to qualify as a "group" for any discounts? It's almost cheaper to buy three "throw away" tickets than to go as a group of 17...

Back to work!

An awesome post you should read

Jess at Mourning into Dancing just has some awesome posts. This one just struck me as completely where I'm at (though instead of me moving to a new church, our church changed some of its theology and to a new "network")...though I need to take the action step she did.

So if you haven't checked out her blog, please do. While I've never met her in person, her posts are just awesome.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Answered prayer?

The late last winter(and for the year before that) my prayer was that God either take the desire away for another child or I become pregnant again and carry to term.

That first Thursday in March, I had some powerful prayer from my life group, and that night I totally felt a weight lifted--the desire for another child was totally gone. I was completely satisfied with the two we have, and I was ready for the move into school aged child stuff. I was completely sure I had heard correctly, and had "make an appt with the ob/gyn to discuss birth control options" on my list.

That Sunday, I found out I was pregnant.

So be careful what you pray for--"or" prayers are dangerous.

I was sure I'd miscarry--I had the last two pregnancies, why would this one be any differently? But nope, I'm 35 weeks.

And God has not removed the feeling of being "done" at two. I've struggled with this for the last eight months--how can someone who had such a hard time with a couple of miscarriages be "done"?? I feel guilty for feeling this way, but I'm having a very hard time how things are going to work out with adding another to our family.

So did I ignore a no from God and this child is a result of my fleshly nature? (Doubt it, every child is a gift from God.) There is a very real part of me that is convinced that this child will either be stillborn, have major birth defects (for which my mom will blame me), and/or not live beyond the hospital stay...it's the only way to reconcile the "done" with "pregnant". Which would explain why we don't have names, childcare arrangements or a million other details (other than cheap diapers from CVS/Walgreens deals) figured out...and am planning crazy things for my classes for the next month, such as field trips and special speakers.

Change my heart, God. It seems like everything (work, church, marriage, house, parenting) is going very not well right now...I need you to show up.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Thankful Thursday

I need to do this--it really helps put life in perspective :)

I'm thankful my classes are going well, especially my freshman seminar.
I'm thankful that this pregnancy is going smoothly.

Why does this feel completely shallow?

I think I better go back plan A...

We're studying Ephesians. I love Paul--he's such a logical writer. Even though I teach at a secular school, there is a senior level "Great Books" course that regularly includes Romans. It's awesome, because you can start the discussion with "what is Paul's thesis statement" and continue for an hour with "how does he support it"? They discover the Roman Road without me "pushing it."

So I'm first of all thankful for Paul's clear exposition, and secondly, that the Bible is still considered a great book, even at a secular institution.

Two weeks ago, we picked apart Ephesians 2:8-10: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

I'm thankful that we're saved by grace. We're reading about Solomon in the kid's "through the Bible in a year" book, and how he didn't keep steadfast...and consequently lots of bad things happened in Israel. I'm thankful that our salvation isn't determined by our actions, but by Jesus's.

I'm thankful that faith is a gift.

I'm thankful that God has prepared GOOD works for us to do.

I'm thankful that Paul outlines how God has worked this in him (see Ephesians 3:7-9) so we can better understand what he means.

I'm thankful that "him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence." (Eph 3:12)

I'm thankful that although Paul was in chains, he still prayed mightily for the Ephesians (I love the prayer in Ephesians 3:16-21--it was even one of the readings at our wedding!)

And I'm thankful that Bible Memory has a program to memorize Ephesians...it'll take me forever, but there are so many great verses in Ephesians!

Things I learned in grad school: more money doesn't make people generous

Grad school lesson #2:

In my third year, my graduate institution went from requiring grad students to purchase health insurance (unless you could prove other coverage) through automatic deduction from our paychecks to covering our health insurance as a benefit. So it was a $75/month raise when it happened--which when you're making $900/month, is a pretty big raise.

So it was election time, 1996. One of my lab mates and I were discussing taxes--he was taking the position that if people paid less in taxes, they would donate more, so government services wouldn't be necessary (because charities would be able to do more).

So I asked him, "So how are you spending your extra $75 a month?".
He replied, "Huh??"
So I explained the raise he had just gotten in August, and asked again, how he had spent the $300 he had received over the last four months.

Lesson #2: If people aren't generous with what they've already been given, they're not going to be generous when they have more.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Things I learned in graduate school: People aren't as observant as they think

Last week I re-connected with a grad school friend--last I knew, he lived in Galveston, and I wanted to see if he was ok after Hurricane Ike hit (He's fine--doesn't even live in Texas anymore). I haven't talked with him in at least six years--probably more like ten.

But talking with him brought back lots of grad school memories...

My first year, one of my friends, Elliott, liked to say, "Yeah, right, and monkeys may fly." So I bought a barrel of monkeys and designed ways of making them fly--a hang glider, rocket ship, airplane, parachute...pretty creative, if I do say so myself :) I even got friends to place a couple of them, to throw them off the track.

So I would plant one somewhere near his desk, and see how long it would take him to discover it. Usually it would be a day or two (the longest was a week), and he would swear it hadn't been there when he had gone to XX (lunch, the bathroom, the gym, whatever) just a few minutes ago.

He was a good detective, too--I was sweating it when he was in search of who had the matches I had used to make the hang glider wings (they weren't the standard lab matches). But the funniest thing was that he was convinced that the ones I made had to have been done by a male, and the ones I had others do were done by me.

So the big take home lesson: People aren't as observant as they think, especially in an environment they think they know.

And just because something is well constructed, doesn't mean a guy made it!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Lost and found

Tonight we had round 2 of students over for dinner. When it was time for them to leave, somehow our cat got out--we followed her from the porch to the neighbor's yard, to under a car. Ali hasn't been outside in at least 9 years, and considering she's all black (well, Harmony says black and pink because her collar and tongue are pink) and it was dark out, this was a bad situation.

Patrick and I tried for a couple of minutes, while the kids had orders to put pjs on and get ready for bed. (I busted them helping themselves to extra dessert...new step in the bedtime routine!)

The kids were pretty upset, and Henry was sure he had seen her, so we all went out for one more look...no cat. As we were heading back in, Henry wailed, "But I prayed that she'd come back!"

I was gearing up for dealing with the "sometimes God answers prayers right away, sometimes later, and sometimes the answer is no" talk...we spied the cat, under the dining room table.

None of us saw her enter, but there she was. And we had all specifically seen her outside--there are no other black cats in the neighborhood, let alone one with a fluorescent pink collar. Patrick and I were amazed...but not Henry and Harmony. Good ol' childlike faith--I KNEW God would answer our prayers!

And for story time, they wanted to read the "Lost" parables--the lost coin, the lost sheep and the lost son. So despite it being way past bedtime by the time they settled in, it was well worth it.

Thanks for answered prayers, God. Give us childlike faith to believe you do answer prayers.

Melodic Monday: Henry doesn't care

"Henry Doesn't Care"
By Ashley Cleveland
Album: Bus Named Desire
Label: Reunion
Year: 1993
Track number: 4

Baby's got a good laugh on me
He don't have to wrestle with his history
He don't have to worry 'bout thinking too much
Only pressure he feels is the human touch

Foolish things drive me to despair
Henry doesn't care
Henry doesn't...

Baby don't know about false pretense
He never met a soul that he had to convince
He don't hide his anger in a few cheap shots
Or act like he's happy when he knows that he's not

Foolish things drive me to despair
Henry doesn't care
Henry doesn't care

Baby's gonna feel the thumb of powerful men
And learn firsthand about original sin
Got to take his knocks like everyone else
But I hate to see him learn to protect himself

Fearful things drive me to despair
Henry doesn't care
Henry doesn't care

Friday, September 26, 2008

My hearing may never be the same again...

I did this as a demo today in Gen Chem...it definitely woke people up!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Menu Planning Monday

This week went from "nothing's going on" to overful...

L: Ham and cheese sandwiches, banana, milk
D: Clean Out the Refrigerator Night (CORN)
L: Lunchables, apple slices, milk
D: Grogonzola and Sundried Tomato Burgers (with beef, not buffalo), sun chips, cucumbers and carrots
L: quesadillas, fruit, milk
D: half my advisees over for dinner. Salad, Cumin Lime Pork Tenderloin, corn, dressing, apple crisp
L: Leftovers :)
D: Life group in Lafayette. Most likely McD's.
Friday--Patrick at a wedding.
L: ??
D: Something kid friendly!
brunch for a friend with a couple of pictures in the local art show. Overnight cinnamon rolls (my mom's version of this--use 1/2 as much yeast, rise on countertop), crockpot hash browns, egg and sausage strata, blueberry muffins and fresh fruit

Come back next Monday for part 2 of having the advisees over--Asian theme :)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Remember my crack about crickets?

We have a real one that's moved into our dining room...but we can't find it. It starts chirping around 10 pm, and keeps going all night...so much for silence. Our cat is usually a cricket hunter, but hasn't gotten this one. It gets quiet when you get close, but as soon as you leave, it's back at it...it's a new torture form!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Thankful Thursday--Jesus's "I tell you the truth"s

Iris's theme this week is Truth. One of my favorite parts of the book of Mark is all the times Jesus says, "I tell you the truth,..." So I'm thankful these are true!

Mark 3:28
I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. I'm thankful for forgiveness--that it covers ALL my sins.
Mark 9:1
And he said to them, "I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power." I'm thankful that we get to participate in the kingdom of God on earth, and in power.

Mark 9:41
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. I'm thankful that servanthood will be rewarded.

Mark 10:15
I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." I'm thankful for childlike faith, especially from my kids, and the opportunities to grow it through Kid's Church.

Mark 10:29-30
"I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. I'm thankful for missionaries and their sacrifices, both here and abroad.

Mark 11:23
"I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. I'm thankful that faith will be rewarded (though this is still a hard verse for me).

Mark 12:43
Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. I'm thankful that God measures wealth and generosity on a very different scale than the world does.

Mark 14:9
I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she [the woman who poured out perfume on Jesus's feet] has done will also be told, in memory of her." I'm thankful that Jesus hears (and smells) our worship, and enjoys it.

Mark 14:18
While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, "I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me." I'm thankful that Jesus not only died on the cross for me and you, but that he did it willingly, with full knowledge of what was coming.

Mark 14:25
"I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God." I'm thankful that Jesus has gone ahead of us to prepare a place in heaven, and someday soon we'll get to meet him face to face there!

So what are you thankful for this week?

What works for me Wednesday--streamlining my surfing

The semester has started, and my surfing time is much reduced. But I found a new function on Blogger--once you're logged on and at the Dashboard, you can choose blogs to follow. Now instead of checking all my favorite blogs, the updates are listed in one place--no waiting for each page to load!

So what works for you? See more ideas at Rocks in my Dryer!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Messages to myself

I'm giving a sermon tomorrow at the religious chapel at my school. It's usually a small group (like 20 or so), but I don't feel very prepared (especially since I forgot that it was this week until the notice went out to campus yesterday!). So prayers are appreciated!

I opened up a sermon I gave last November to check the format, and it was one of those, "I wrote this??" moments--definitely a message I needed to hear...and maybe others do too. So here it is:

I started my Christmas shopping last week, but I skipped Black Friday. Instead, I hit the internet…and bought my brother (and myself) an entry in the Indy Mini-Marathon. I ran it last year, and it was a great experience—there were lots of spiritual analogies in it for me, and I now better understand some biblical principles because of it.

One of those passages is in Hebrews 12, verses 1 to 3:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Love this passage—it’s so visual. You can just see someone casting off their backpack, fixing their eyes on the finish line, and running hard. Let’s take a closer look at it, using some examples from the mini-marathon.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses

• Running with 35,000 people there are lots of witnesses!
• You have lots of witnesses—the “therefore” is referencing the long list of faithful in the previous chapter.
• You also have lots of real life witnesses—those who are around you.
• Cheerleaders on the side, but real encouragement from those running next to you
• Who can you cheer on?

Throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles
• Being a mom, I tend to be part sherpa—rare is the day when I’m not hauling a ton of stuff. A typical morning includes me carrying a school bag, purse, three lunches, and a gym bag.
• Mini—Fedex trucks where you could check your “stuff”. You can do the same thing—check it with Jesus
• 1 Peter 5:7 says "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you," but sometimes I think I'd rather carry them myself and focus on them rather than looking to Jesus at the finish line--my burdens seem more immediate. But when I was in gymnastics, I learned a trick—if you want to do a full turn, the key is to fix your eyes on a spot, like the end of the beam), and keep your eyes on it while you rotate.
• What kinds of things hinder? Worry, anxiety guilt; bad habits like procrastination. Not sins, but things that distract you from the task at hand. There might be things that are good, but get in the way—Does this help me run my Christian race?

let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us
• Faith is an active thing—running isn’t passive
• It’s an endurance race—requires perseverance, no quitting! While the race had a sag wagon that picked up stragglers, no such thing
• Look for the water stops—Jesus
• Midpoint of the minimarathon, on the Indy 500 racetrack, Bon Jovi was playing over the loudspeaker – whoa, living on a prayer, whoa, we’re half way there…Prayer is a requirement
• Sometimes it’s an act of will

fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith
• Mile 12—getting tired, but could see the finish line—and the clock. Focusing on that helped me overcome my tired legs.
• Easy for us in our spiritual race to get distracted from the goal—looking at the obstacles or at others in the race.
• Instead, we’re supposed to fix our eyes on Jesus
• faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
• it starts and ends with Jesus—faith begins and ends with Him
endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God
• Jesus as an example—he fixed his eyes upon the goal and persevered
• It is finished—he has sat down and is done.
At the finish line, you couldn’t just sit down—you had to turn in your timing chip in exchange for a medal, and there was a virtual banquet of water bottles, bananas, cookies

So how’s your race going? Do you feel the support of the great cloud of witnesses around you? What can you do to encourage others in the great race? Are there burdens that are slowing you down or sins that are tripping you up? If so, check them with Jesus. What are you focused on? Are your eyes on Jesus, or are you busy looking at the obstacles or others in the race?

God, give me the endurance and faith to press on when the race feels very long.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Melodic Monday HELP

I'm "up" to preach at chapel at school on Wednesday--silly me, I forgot about it until I got the announcement today. Good thing it's literally a ten minute service! I think I'm going to use the previous post on Samuel and David as the message. But I'm stumped on a hymn...somehow I doubt "Man looks on the outside" is in any of the mainline hymnals.

Any ideas???

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Man looks on the outside, but God looks on the heart

Our Children's Ministry leader has often said "You'll never miss something God has for you because you're working with the kids." That is soooo true.

Case and point:

Last week's lesson was on Samuel annointing David king. God sent Samuel, always the good listener to God, to Jesse's house to annoint one of his eight sons king, under the guise of offering a sacrifice to God. So Jesse lines up the seven oldest, and Samuel goes down the line..."Ah, surely the eldest is the one." Nope, says God. "Do not consider his appearance or his height for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16:6-7; The kids sang an awesome song with the last part of the verse.)

Keep going. How about the second? Nope. Third? Nope. Fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh? Nope, nope, nope, nope.

Are you sure you don't have any other sons, Jesse?

Oh yeah, David is out watching the sheep. Hold on a minute (or an hour) while I send someone to get him.

David wasn't even on Jesse's radar screen as important enough to participate in the sacrifice--someone has to stay with the sheep. But that's exactly who God chose to lead His people.

Huh. It wasn't until I started preparing this week's lesson on David and Goliath that it hit me, that passage is relevant to me too. When David came to the battle, his older brothers scoffed him for voyerism. And when he went up to fight, both Saul and Goliath wondered why in the world God was sending a boy to do a man's job.

By outward appearances, he wasn't qualified to do the job. But David knew whose battle it really was--something that no one else seemed to realize.

Have you ever been in the situation where the new kid on the block becomes the teacher's pet? Or someone younger than you is put in authority over you? Or someone who doesn't seem qualified, either in training or experience, is put in a position that doesn't seem right, especially when there are more qualified and better trained people available? Or the new employee is promoted before someone who has paid their dues?

It sets off my "it's not fair!" alarms.

And God says, "You're looking at the wrong things. You can't see the heart."

Totally convicting.

Forgive me, Lord, for forgetting that you're the one who puts people in authority. Thanks that you see the heart, not just outward appearances like looks, degrees, and experience. Help us trust your decisions and pray for our leaders.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thankful Thursday--courtesy of my MIL

My MIL sent this forwarded message to me. It's definitely appropriate for a Thankful Thursday, and I definitely needed to hear it!

I want to thank You for what you have already done. I am not going to wait until I see results or receive rewards; I am thanking you right now. I am not going to wait until I feel better or things look better; I am thanking you right now. I am not going to wait until people say they are sorry or until they stop talking about me; I am thanking you right now.. I am not going to wait until the pain in my body disappears ; I am thanking you right now. I am not going to wait until my financial situation improves; I am going to thank you right now. I am not going to wait until the children are asleep and the house is quiet; I am going to thank you right now. I am not going to wait until I get promoted at work or until I get the job; I am going to thank you right now. I am not going to wait until I understand every experience in my life that has caused me pain or grief; I am thanking you right now. I am not going to wait until the journey gets easier or the challenges are removed;
I am thanking you right now. I am thanking you because I am alive. I am thanking you because I made it through the day's difficulties. I am thanking you because I have walked around the obstacles.

I am thanking you because I have the ability and the opportunity to do more and do better.

I'm thanking you because FATHER, YOU haven't given up on me.

God is just so good, and he's good all the time.

For more thankfulness, please visit Iris.

Sounds of silence

(Insert sound of crickets chirping (if I knew how, or had the time to find it))

It's been pretty quiet in my little corner of the blogosphere--many of the blogs of real life friends haven't been updated in weeks. There are good reasons--new babies, one in the NICU; back to school busy-ness; people connecting more by Facebook. But I have a feeling some of the silence is due to people being too hurt to want to talk about what's going on publicly.

On the one hand, I'm glad people are staying away from what could be construed as gossiping. On the other hand, I'm very sad that we've lost our "real-ness" in the bloggy community--people are hunkered down in their bomb shelters (a good God place to be) and not "talking" (not the healthiest place to be). I think Amy was right when she described blogging as the "canary in the mine" It feels like lots of things have gotten shoved underground...I know that's true for me.

So here's a promise that this blog will get more real...but not today. I need to try to go back to sleep for a little while--the days are definitely long right now.

Jesus, there seems to be too much going on right now. Quiet my heart, give me peace, and restore the "authentic relationships" part of our church's mission statement.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Works for me Wednesday -- cheap cards

Birthday (and other) cards can really add up, so my strategy is to make my own! Michaels and Hobby Lobby carry packages of 50 blank cards for $10, and they often have 50% off any item coupons, making the cards themselves $0.10. I then print (either by computer or by hand) a message on the inside, and attach a picture. Sometimes I use a picture of the recipient, or a fun picture of my own kids.

For example, I've used this picture of Henry (from his 3rd birthday) with "Happy Birthday Partner!" for birthday cards:

Or this one for a new baby, with "congrats on your newest bundle of joy":

Or for "showers of blessings":

For thank you cards (especially from the kids) I take a picture of them with the giver or of them playing with/using the gift.

Depending on where you get the photos developed, the pictures cost less than $0.20, bringing your cost per card to less than $0.30, about a tenth of the price of a card at the store!

So what Works for you? Please visit Shannon for more ideas!