Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Monday, April 28, 2008

Top Ten Tuesdays--Ten things I love about my church

10. People are "real"--we're all fallen, and people are open about our "junk". It was easy to get support after my miscarriage, because people had been open about the pain in their lives, so I knew who to ask for prayer.
9. People are welcome just as they are.
8. Relationships are emphasized--not only with other believers, but with non-believers, inviting them to "come and see."
7. The messages are relevant AND Biblical.
6. Everybody is invited to "do the stuff". It's not a church where 90% of the work is done by 10% of the people--the goal is 90% of the people doing 90% of the stuff.
5. Gotta love the mission statement--Love God, Love others, Live it out. It's not enough to just know it in your head, moving it into action is important too.
4. Children are loved and taught about Jesus in an age appropriate and fun way. My kids start asking on Monday if it's time for church yet.
3. The worship is well done but not a performance.
2. We pray for each other...and the prayers are answered. Just from our life group, the answers have been amazing!
1. God is doing stuff there--it's very evident in people's lives, and sometimes the transformations are dramatic.

If you want to check it out for yourselves, visit our church website :)

Thanks to Jen for the idea! (And I'm thankful for what I learned at your church...but this is where God's called us to be).

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Melodic Monday--Came to my rescue

Falling on my knees in worship
Giving all I am to seek Your face
Lord all I am is is Yours

My whole life
I place in Your hands
God of mercy
Humbled I bow down
In your presence at Your throne

I called You answered
And You came to my rescue and I
I wanna be where You are

In my life be lifted high
In our world be lifted high
In our love be lifted high

We sang this today in church...but I was actually singing the chorus as a prayer for some friends who really need to trust God to come to their rescue...and for Him to answer!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Tuck pointing

I spent this afternoon tuck pointing a section of our porch. It's not hard work, but it's very tedious--first you have to clean out the old, broken mortar. Then you mix up the new mortar, getting it to just the right consistency. You put some on a trowel, then shove it in with a specific tool. A 10 lb bag of mortar, a trowel, and the pusher tool cost less than $10, and the three hours I spent on it will keep our porch from collapsing (at least for a few more years). I didn't do the most beautiful job, but it will be better than no mortar (which is what was there).

Building a house is an analogy used both for our spiritual lives and a marriage/family. Psalm 127:1 says "unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain." The second half of the psalm talks about children being a blessing, and is actually where the "quiverfull" phrase is, so I think I'm ok in applying it to a family.

One set of our friends is in a very hard place in their marriage. Between talking to the wife and working on the tuckpointing, it's got me thinking about the foundations of marriage and the mortar that holds it together.

For a Christian marriage, the cornerstone has to be Jesus Christ. I'm amazed that secular marriages work without that base of faith and prayer. Some of the other bricks are common experiences/memories and common interests. But as we age, those interests can change, and the common memories can fade...guess that would be the house built on the sand in Matthew 7:26.

But what's the mortar, the glue that holds everything together? Looking for the house on the sand passage really helped me--"everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand." So what are these words? Hmm...look a little earlier in Matthew 7:
--Verse 1:Don't judge. It's easy to look around and find greener grass somewhere else, but every marriage has its struggles. It's especially easy to judge our spouses and see their failings, but we'll be judged by the same measure we use by a much more perfect Judge!
--Verse 3: You can't change others, but you can change yourself. It's easy to see other faults while overlooking our own. While sometimes the other person is the one with the log in their eye, we still need to focus on asking forgiveness for our own failings, and fixing what we can rather than pointing fingers.
--Verse 6: Don't throw pearls to pigs. to apply this to marriage. I guess for me it's where do I put my quality time--to I give it to Jesus and my spouse, or do they get the left overs?
--Verse 7: "ask and it will be given to you." Two applications: your spouse is not a mind reader. If you need or want something, you have to tell them. Second, pray for your marriage.
--Verses 9-12: "Who gives their child a rock when they ask for bread?" Do nice things for your spouse. Fill their "emotional bank" with positive comments and thank yous, even if it's for things you "expect" them to do.
--Verse 13-14: Take the hard road. It's easy to stop fighting for your marriage and take the easy route of divorce, but that's not what God wants for marriage.

So what's the mortar? From that list, it looks like not judging others, cleaning up your problem areas, giving your spouse your best, praying for your marriage, and staying committed, even when the going gets rough. Even though it's not specifically in that passage, trust and intimacy are important too (maybe that's in the throwing pearls to pigs too?).

So maybe this is just my fried brain after sitting for three hours in the hot sun, shoving mortar in cracks. What do you think are the bricks and mortar of a marriage?

If you'd like to hear more about what God is showing others, through is word or about who He is, check out More of Him Monday

Friday, April 25, 2008

Kindergarten Round up

Today was Kindergarten Roundup for Henry. He's been saying that he's scared or that he doesn't want to go to school, but I think Round-Up changed his mind. They had six different sessions--we were in the last one for the day. As soon as we got there, they whisked Henry away to a classroom, while we turned over registration forms and birth certificates, then learned about bus routes and other fun stuff. He must have had a good time--he was all smiles when he came out. He said he knew the answer to all but two of the questions (but couldn't tell us what the questions were), and I think he was surprised that he knew several of the future kindergarteners from preschool and other activities.

The bummer is that the first day of school is the day after his birthday, and the open house "meet the teacher" is on his birthday. Maybe we'll celebrate his birthday the weekend before school starts!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Party Day, Harmony!

We went to Pizza Hut last night, and the kids had salad bar. The price is based on the age of the child, so I told the waitress that Henry was 5 and Harmony was 4. Harmony replied, "No I'm not, I haven't had my party yet!" She really believe(s/d) this, because on Wednesday at school, she was very upset when people wished her Happy Birthday--because her party wasn't until Saturday! I guess it was ok last year because her party was the weekend before her birthday....

A great time was had by all. 10-noon is a great time for a party; you only have to deal with a couple of hours of "how much longer until the party starts?" (mostly from Henry). We had 10 ballerinas and two basketball players at the house--I was somewhat surprised by the turn out; I expected more no shows, but that was fine. The girls decorated wooden wood shapes with markers and glitter glue, played pin the tutu on the ballerina, had a dance time with Harmony's dance teacher's teenage daughter, ate grilled cheese, strawberries, and cake, and opened presents.

It was definitely fun, but I think we all needed naps afterwards!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Earth quake!

We felt one last night/this morning at about 5:45--the house was distinctly rolling for a good 30 seconds. It woke up Henry and Patrick (who usually sleeps through everything), but Harmony kept on sleeping! Apparently there was a 5.4, with the epicenter at Olney, IL. It wasn't strong enough to do any damage (at least not that I can see in the dark).

Even so, it was a little scary. I can only imagine how Paul and Silas and the rest of the prisoners felt when God sent an earthquake strong enough to break open the prison!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

San Diego recap

Better late than never... if nothing else, it gets it in writing so I have half a chance to get it in the kids' journals!

Tuesday (April 1) we drove to Indianapolis and stayed in a hotel close to the airport. We used Priceline and got the Hyatt Place--it was very nice and the people were very friendly. Patrick stayed up all night working, which was a good thing because our wake-up call never came through (oops!). At 5:30, we got Henry up, and Patrick and Henry took the shuttle to the airport for their 7 am flight. I went back to bed, and Harmony and I slept too late--by the time we left the hotel, it was after 9:30, and we didn't get back in town until almost 11. I then realized that I had neither packed her lunch, nor did I have anything to pack at home...nor time to stop by home and make it to class on time! So instead we picked up McD's. Harmony was in heaven, the toy was a princess toy. Meanwhile, Patrick and Henry were bumped off of their MSP-->SD flight, so they had time to eat brunch at one of Patrick's favorite restaurants.

I went to class and tried to get a bunch of stuff done befor picking Harmony up. She had a special treat of Steak and Shake (fridge was empty!) before going to a friend's house while I had dinner with our big name biochem speaker.

Thursday morning I had class at 8 am--Harmony's not usually awake by 8 am; Patrick does drop off on Tuesday/Thursday. So I put her to bed in clean clothes for the morning, and I basically got her up, put her in her carseat, and brought breakfasat to school. I felt bad dropping her off that way, but there weren't a lot of options. Taught my class, ran home to pack, ran back to school to return the school credit card from the night before (which I forgot to actually return--more later), listened to the speaker, made sure things were set for lab, picked up Harmony and drove to the airport. We had the perfect amount of time before our flight, but man, I wanted a nap!

Meanwhile, Patrick to Henry to see the Midway, a retired aircraft carrier. Henry was in heaven, and wanted to go back every day we were there.

Harmony loved the airplane, and was tired--she gets boistrous when she's tired. But no go on a nap. We got to SD at 7:30 pm, and Patrick and Henry met us at the airport. We took the bus and trolley to the hotel and dropped our bags off, then went to a tapas place. Harmony's poor body was still on IN time, so it was after midnight on her body's clock, and she finally fell asleep at the table. I felt badly, but we needed to eat!

Friday we moved to our hotel for the next several days of the trip. Even though I got a great deal on HotWire for our hotel, we were still able to check in really early, which was wonderful.

Next destination: Balboa Park. Not only is it a great park, there are great museums and some restaurants. We explored some of the park, ate sushi and noodles for lunch, and visited several museums. The kids' favorite was the railroad one--and we liked it too. We bought the unlimited pass for Patrick, since he was planning to go back with the kids while I was a the meeting, but were just planning to pay for my entrance fees as we went. But as we were leaving the visitor's center, someone gave us their books, saying they were leaving town and couldn't use the remainder! While there were some that were gone, it was definitely a blessing!

That evening we met some internet friends that have kids the same age as Henry. Henry had a great time playing tic tac toe and straw fighting with Cole and Sami, while Harmony enjoyed Daddy's company. It was fun!

Saturday I took the kids swimming (brr!) before my meeting from 11:30 to 5 (I judged an undergraduate poster contest). Meanwhile, they went to Balboa Park. We met back at the Spanish restaurant for tapas for dinner.

Sunday I ran in a 5K, then we met my brother Mark at the zoo (he lives an hour north of SD). We took the bus tour, then went on foot. Henry really liked the takins (why, I have no idea) so we hiked to the top of the hill where they were and took the tram back down. It was a good day for the zoo--not too hot but not freezing either. Afterwards we went to Ra Sushi for dinner (can you tell DH's definition of vacation is eating good food?)

Monday I went to a session while they hung out at the hotel. Afterwards, we took the ferry to Coranado. Patrick really only wanted to take the ferry over and back, but there was a sandy area right by the ferry landing, and a little girl was playing in the sand and asked H&H to join her. The other mom was from WV and had brought a babysitter, so we compared notes on stuff to do. We took the ferry back and ate lunch at the Fish Market. Harmony and I headed back to the hotel to pack (we moved hotels) while Henry played in the trees. The guys ended up taking a very scenic tour home (walking under the flight path of the planes), so Harmony and I ended up moving four backpacks and three carry on suitcases ourselves. I'm not sure how we pulled that off, but we did.

The new hotel was the W, which was quite hip. Harmony loved the beach ball pillows on the bed, and they both enjoyed the chalkboard in the room. We ended up vegging/taking naps (me) before my dinner meeting. I don't know what they ended up doing for food, but I had dinner at Molly's in the Marriott.

Tuesday morning we went back down to the harbor for one last look at the Midway, then headed to the airport. The security line was scarily long, but we made it The plane rides were uneventful, other than that I desparately needed a nap and Harmony wouldn't let me, and then by the time I was awake, she pouted about leaving for most of the rest of the flight.

We got back to Indy at about 11:30 pm, dropped DH off at a hotel (I didn't want to lose all of Wed morning again), then I drove home. The kids eventually konked out in the car, but it was hard getting everyone up in the morning!

Well, that was a novel! I'm impressed if you read it all!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Happy Birthday!

April 16, 2004:

April 16, 2005:

April 16, 2006:

April 16, 2007:

Happy Birthday, sweet Harmony!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Life in a nutshell: Women's conference

In case you were dying to know, here's my recap from the Women's Conference two weekends ago:

After racing around to try and get to the departure place on time (including rescheduling a meeting and various other contortions), I was still late. It was raining/sleeting/snowing on the way to Chicago...nice relaxing drive, yah right :) But we made it, right on time.

The conference itself was amazing. The speakers were very powerful--the theme was "Run It 2 Win". Lots of great women preachers, with good worship and ministry time. The ministry time was almost too much--some congregations/individuals are a little more "dramatically supernatural" than ours, but God was DEFINITELY doing stuff in people's lives. We saw a demon being cast out, and heard God birthing lots of new life and new projects in people's lives--the sound effects were more than I'm used to, but when people are expecting the Holy Spirit, s/he definitely shows up! There'd be an altar call at the end of a session, and there would be more people at the front than left in the pews--and some of us in the pews were getting prayer from people we knew instead of going up. I got some prayer about the pregnancy, which was very good and powerful.

It was fun hanging out with the women from our church, though I'm at such a different place than all of them. I was rooming with two college students, a chemistry grad student, and a stay at home mom (for one night). Lots of good connections and growing, though. My working (especially as a college prof in the sciences) is much better accepted than it was at our previous church where I felt like I had leprosy, but it's still a little wierd to be the only full time working mom. Wait, I guess Becky W. is a FT working mom too, but I didn't really have any opportunities to talk to her.

I did skip one of the sessions and walked to the mall--it was good to have some alone/God time to process a conversation. Jonell, I have a bunch of stuff I should have said before we left--we'll have to have a coke or lunch and talk about it.

All in all it was a good, refreshing time, but the craziness before I went and immediately afterwards made me question the sanity of going. I'm still trying to get caught up several weeks later (thus the suffering blog :)).

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Milestone day!

Henry lost his first tooth. It's been loose all week, and last night it was sitting crooked in his mouth. This morning it was gone--he didn't even notice until I told him to look in the mirror. I figured he had swallowed it, but my mom found it in the bed. He is quite proud of joining all his friends who have lost teeth.

It seems like he just GOT those teeth! Where does the time go???

Friday, April 11, 2008

A Parent's Job Description

Sorry my posting rate in April is awful. Things should calm down soon...I hope! My aunt sent me this, and I thought some of you might enjoy it...

Mom, Mommy, Mama, Ma
Dad, Daddy, Dada, Pa, Pop


Long term, team players needed, for challenging permanent work in an often chaotic environment.
Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24 hour shifts on call.
Some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in far away cities!
Travel expenses not reimbursed.
Extensive courier duties also required.


The rest of your life.
Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily, until someone needs $5.
Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly.
Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat in case, this time, the screams from the backyard are not someone just crying wolf.
Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets and stuck zippers.
Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple homework projects.
Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks.
Must be willing to be indispensable one minute, an embarrassment the next.
Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a half million cheap, plastic toys, and battery operated devices.
Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.
Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product.
Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility.


Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you


None required, unfortunately.

On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.


Get this! You pay them!
Offering frequent raises and bonuses.
A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because of the assumption that college will help them become financially independent.
When you die, you give them whatever is left.
The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.


While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition eimbursement, no paid holidays and no stock options are offered;
this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth and free hugs and kisses for life if you play your cards right.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Where in the world AM I? And what time is it?

Sorry I've dropped off the blogosphere--between the women's conference for church last weekend, a major speaker at work and getting ready for this trip, I've had negative amounts of blogging time. In fact, I dropped the ball on several large items--before I left I didn't get my portion of the tests graded, I forgot to return a college credit card, and forgot to grade an exit exam (that a student must pass to graduate). So needless to say it's been stressful-busy.

Now we're in San Diego. Harmony and I arrived last night at 7:30 SD time. It was a crazy day, with me dropping Harmony off at preschool before she was really awake (she slept in clean clothes for the day and I brought her breakfast), teaching class, a student putting a piece of glass in his hand, running around trying to get everything done, leaving town at the "cutting it close" time, but making our plane. There were no naps on the plane, so Harmony was very tired by the time we got there--Patrick and Henry hadn't had dinner yet, and Harmony fell asleep at the table. It's definitely a case where you wonder if the stress of going is worth the trip.

We're moving to another hotel today which only has free internet in the lobby, so I'll probably be scarce until we return...and I dig back out from under all the grading that's waiting there for me! I definitely have a post (or a series) princesses brewing...