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 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 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 was only 4:30 am!

Pregnancy brain is a bad thing...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Monday, October 6, 2008

Random Thoughts for Monday 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'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'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.