Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Thankful Thursday--Bible Study

This week I started a new Bible Study at a community Women's Resource Center. Since I don't have a church home, I've been needing the accountability and encouragement to spend time in the Word, and hopefully find some community too.

I was half an hour late--it was on the same day as I have a late meeting (I knew I was going to be late and e-mailed the leader in advance.) I brought Hope with me, as we're still nursing, and I can't pump enough for daytime and evening (not to mention that I miss her!)

So I was late. I was stressed. I felt like the baby was distracting. I'm not used to the video format or that we didn't pray for each other at the end.

But God still met me there--He reminded me of truths I had memorized, and the value of a mustard seed's worth of faith.

So this week I'm thankful for:
--Jeannie, for the vision of starting a Community Women's Resource Center
--The presence of this organization, providing counseling and Bible studies for women of all different denominations
--The opportunity to study God's word
--The freedom we have to study, with our very own Bibles and without the worry of persecution or imprisonment

You can share your thanks with Laurie at Women Taking a Stand.

Wordless Wednesday--Harmony's Birthday

Birthday dinner at Little Mexico:

Double Birthday Party with Harmony's birthday buddy, Emi:

The aftermath:

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Melodic Mondays: Connected

Both kids are singing this song from "Barbie and the Diamond Castle." It almost could make it as a worship song...

I'm blind folded on this carriage ride that they call life
keep trying to make it through that next turn knuckles white and holdin' tight
so here i go
taking a curve
but i know that I’m never alone
I think of you
and how you never let me go

Chorus: I feel connected (connected)
Protected (protected)
Its like you sitting right, with me all the time
You hear me (you hear me)
You’re near me (you're near me)
And everything else gonna be alright
Cause nothing can break this..nothing can break this
Nothing can break this tie.. connected
Ooh..Connected inside

It’s not an accident
The time we spend apart
But now we’re so close
I can always find you
Right here in my heart

You’ve given me something I need
And I don’t ever want it to end
Because of you
I know I’ve found my strength again


Bridge: Every time that I breathe
I can feel the energy
Reaching out flowing through
You to me and me to you
Wake a dream walk a stair
You are everywhere I am
Separate souls unified
Touching at the speed of... LIFE


Connected inside

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The older brother

It's hard to be the older brother...Henry had a tough time this week, both on Harmony's birthday and today at her party. We did things to accomodate him, like inviting some boys to the party (post coming after I load pics!) and spending some undivided time with him. But he was still more whiny than usual, and had a melt down both days.

It reminded me of the parable of the prodigal's son. When you think about it from the older brother's view point, it is totally unfair--why is HE getting the party? I'm the one who has been loyal, who is here day in and day out, and yet I don't get rewarded.

Some days the Christian life feels that way...doing the work day in, day out, without seeing the rewards.

I love the dad's response: 'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'

EVERYTHING I have is yours. I love that God promises the faithful everything!

I also evision the loving arm around the older son, a grace-full, loving answer. That vision helped me be gracefull with Henry (or at least attempt to be), even though he didn't have the reason to be offended, like the other older brother.

Lord, help Henry respond gracefully when others get attention or accolades, whether they deserve them or not.

Saturday night struggle

One of the most challenging things about not having a church home is the Saturday Night debate...where are we going to church this week? Before we left the donut church, we were having four day hangovers recovering from attending, and now we have the one day panic attack the day (or hours) before.

There aren't a ton of churches here, yet that almost makes it harder. Where haven't we tried? The hard thing is that we're between charismatic and evangelical, and neither fits us.

Although I've been moving slowly, I am still working my way through Acts. Acts 2:1 really struck me: "When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place."

First of all, when I think of Pentecost, I think of the story of Acts--tongues of flames on everyone's heads, speaking in other people's native languages. What I don't think about is why were they all gathered together? I know they were sharing everything, but even sow, just because you're sharing doesn't mean you spend every moment together. Turns out that Pentecost is also a holiday for Jews...the Feast of Weeks, the holy day celebrating the first fruits. That is just too cool, that the first fruits of the Christian "Passover" was the gift of the Holy Spirit!

The other thing that strikes me is that the unity in the church--there weren't separate churches for Peter, for Mark, for Luke, etc. This week I'm starting a Bible Study through a women's center here in town. I'm looking forward to getting know some other Christian women in town...and maybe find a church home too.

Thanks for giving us the first fruit of the Holy Spirit--of reversing the gifting and giving us the gift. Help us find a church home.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Thankful Thursday--Harmony

My daughter, Harmony, is turning five on Thursday. Happy Birthday, Princess!!

I'm thankful that Harmony has recently started wondering if we'll be young when Jesus gives us our new bodies. "But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness." 2 Peter 2:13

I'm thankful that the cup is always full to overflowing for Harmony. "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10

I'm thankful that she doesn't walk--she jumps, hops, skips, dances--sometimes I wonder if her name should have been Joy. "Then maidens will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow." Jeremiah 31:13

I'm thankful that even when something is hard, she sticks with it. "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Phillipians 3:14

I'm thankful that she's generous, easily malleable, wanting to please her teachers. "To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness," Ecclesiastes 2:26a

I'm thankful that she loves to paint rainbows, complete with glitter glue and jewels. "Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:16

Thank you, Lord, for Harmony, and the blessing she is to me and our family. Continue to bless her and grow her up in You.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Birthday party help

Harmony is having a joint birthday party with her birthday buddy, Emi. It works out pretty well, because they want "Barbie and the Diamond Castle", which stars two girls, Alexa and Liana. We invited 12 girls (including the guests of honor) and 4 boys (Henry, a sibling, and a family with two boys).

The activities for the girls are going well. They're going to:
--decorate a basket with foam flowers (Alexa and Liana collect and sell flowers in the movie)
--Make a heart necklace (the heroines find heart stones in the river that protect them from the villianess later)
--Do a scavenger hunt to find a puppy
--Play Karoke on the "stage" in H&H's bedroom (they perform in the movie)
--Eat lunch (if we're true to the movie, it'll be chicken wings and mashed potatoes...but it might be nuggets, grapes and carrots)
--Do an obstacle course to find the pinata of Slider, the villianness' serpent (the pinata is going to be a challenge!)

Here is where I need help...what do the boys do as parallel activities?? There are twin boys that are also in the movie, but they have smaller roles. So far I have:
--decorate a foam sword
--(need a parallel for the necklace)
--(need something for them to find on the scavenger hunt)
--play outside
--eat lunch
--obstacle course to pinata with the girls

Any ideas? The boys play guitar in the movie, but I don't know how to work that in.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Signs that You’re Getting Older

10. Your little girl is turning 5.
9. You don't know any of the songs on the radio.
8. It's your 20 yr high school reunion this summer!
7. There are pictures of you on Facebook with your collar turned up and feathered hair.
6. You have to use the full 1040 tax forms...and the Home Business Level TurboTax.
5. You shouldn't be trusted by anyone under the age of 18.
4. Your fridge contains vegetables. Of several varieties.
3. You're excited about signing up for a CSA...to get more of said veggies in the fridge.
2. The edition you teach from is the 9th...and you used the 2nd edition when you were a student.
1. During a generational marker conversation, a student asks, "So where were you when JFK was shot??" (A twinkle in my dad's eye...)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Ex voyeurism

A friend posted a high school meme on Facebook, and one of the questions was "are you still in contact with your prom date?"

My answers were no and no. Considering prom was the only time I ever went out with my junior prom date (and he asked me in a note), I don't even remember his last name.

But it did make me curious about my senior prom date. We met through 4-H; he lived in a neighboring town, about 15 minutes away. We dated my entire senior year, then I broke it off because I didn't want to be dating someone at college.

Amazingly enough, a quick Google search brought him up, along with his wedding page and he and his wife's (well, really only his wife's) blog. I was glad to hear that he's an electrical engineer, happily married, and running marathons. His younger sister has dyed her hair blonde and is as beautiful as ever. And strangely enough, his daughter was born a couple of days before our Chilita.

I was happy for him--happy things are going well, that he's healthy and has a family.

I didn't have the same response when I've been reading about our old church. They're moving into a new building, and I have a twinge of jealousy about not helping paint. They had a leader's retreat, and part of me thought I should have been laying on the blanket in the sun with friends between sessions. I want to have a church community, and I don't. At least not one that meets on Sunday mornings, or that I see on a regular basis.

So I guess I'm feeling like a dumped prom date. I know eventually we'll find a church home here, and the jilted feelings will fade...I hope someday I can be happy for the donut church, and not feel any of the negatives.

Bless the new donut church as they transition into a new building, and heal our wounds. Show us where you want us, and make us willing to go there.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Thankful Thursday

It's a crazy week, but I still want to share my thankfulness!

This week I'm thankful for:
--Both sets of grandparents having some special time with Henry and Harmony during Henry's spring break
--Hope being such a smile-y happy baby--she is such a blessing (even if she doesn't sleep more than three hours at a time!)
--There is a CSA delivering to our town this year! http://www.tranquilridgefarm.com/

Monday, April 6, 2009

First communions?

Even though we've had the "just friends" conversation with the neighborhood church and I don't think we'll be there long term, God and our children might have other plans.

Both kids have now had their first communion there.

In the church I grew up in, your first communion was a ritual of fifth grade. After a four week series of classes (including making a special altar decoration and the unleavened bread for the week), we all went down the aisle and had our first communion together (with our families, of course).

While I'm glad for the seriousness that my childhood church took in making sure everyone knew what communion was all about, it was a little artificial. Some children have professed faith years before fifth grade, while others are just going through the motions to make their parents happy.

The neighborhood church is fairly open about communion--the liturgy before communion is something like "all who have placed their trust in Jesus are welcome," and my kids have taken that literally. At the Sunday night service in February, I thought the kids were hitting the snack table while I took communion (Hubby was in the band), but Henry had other plans--he jumped in line behind me and took it. Afterwards we had a long talk about communion and what it means--he understood it and wanted to do it, so we decided it was ok.

This Sunday, Harmony did a similar thing. On Saturday, we had a long talk about what happens after you die (sparked by the death of a friend's dog), including a profession of faith by Harmony. On Sunday in morning church, she wanted to take communion too...so we let her. Though the three minutes she had to hold the cup before everyone was served must have seemed like an eternity to both of us--her because she was so eager, me because I was afraid she was going to spill it!

So I'm taking Jesus at his word... "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14

Thanks, Lord, for leading my children to you. May their faith have deep roots and last a lifetime.

Melodic Monday: PassOver Us by Andrew Peterson

This week is Passover, and this song is a great one celebrating passover...

Well, we all remember Moses on the banks of the river
He said "Pharaoh, you've got to let my people go.
You don't want me to have to tell you this ten times over--
Denial ain't just a river, you know"

And we all remember Pharaoh, he just wouldn't do it
So the plagues they came upon Egypt one by one
His heart was hard and the other nine just couldn't move it
So the last was the worst: the death of the firstborn son

But the Lord, he gave to Moses a word for the people
He said their firstborn sons could live to see another day
"Put the blood of a lamb on the doorway and death will pass right over"
That night all of the children of Israel prayed,

"Lord, let your judgment passover us
Lord, let your love hover near
Don't let your sweet mercy passover us
Let this blood cover over us here"

So the years went by and the people they whined and they wandered
And only sacrifice atoned for the sins of the land
So you see the priest he placed upon the holy altar
The body of a spotless lamb
And he prayed,

"Lord, let your judgment passover us
Lord, let your love hover near
Don't let your sweet mercy passover us
Let this blood cover over us here"

Sunday, April 5, 2009

And the winner is...

Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2009-04-06 03:27:51 UTC

So Jonell, the PotBelly card is yours...I don't think I have your snail mail addy, so please send it to me! Thanks everyone for playing...

Legal Stealing

So I got a deal at CVS today that was so good that it feels like stealing...

2 packs of Huugies size 3 diapers $10 each
1 pkg Gentle Care Huggies wipes (184 ct) $5
Tax 1.76
Total 26.26
-$5 off $25 CVS coupon I got in my e-mail box
-$2 quarterly Extra Bucks
$5 coupon off of Gentle Care (from coupons.com)
$1.50 Huggies
$1.00 Huggies

Total out of pocket: $11.76
PLUS I earned $10 Extra Care Bucks

So I paid $1.76 for 2 pks of diapers and a refill of wipes!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Side lined

Last night my mom showed me some things she had picked out of a catalog for my Sunday School class...which I'm no longer teaching.

Ugh. It feels like I've been sidelined. Hubby has picked up a Sunday night worship gig (before all this fell apart), so he's got an outlet for using his spiritual gifts. I'm very glad for that. And while I'll occasionally generate a lesson to use with our kiddos (and sometimes their friends) it does feel strange to be out of the game.

Not getting to use our gifts was a contributing reason for not going back to the church we were attending before we went on sabbatical. And I'm sure that no matter where we go next, it'll be a while before I'd be allowed to teach Sunday School. But I'm itching to be back in the game.

Give us opportunities to serve You and use the gifts you've given us, Lord.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Thankful Thursday--Lessons from the Beach

We had a great time at the beach when we were on vacation. One morning Harmony and I went down to see the sunrise. We looked for the sandcastle we built the day before, but it was nowhere to be found--the tide had washed everything smooth and flat.

It reminded me of the messes and piles I make in my own life, and that all I need to do for Jesus to wipe them clean is draw near to him and ask.

So this week I'm thankful for God's forgiveness, that wipes everything smooth as the beach when the tide goes out.

I'm thankful for the shells we found on the beach--but more thankful for the reminder that if you want to find life (not just empty shells), you have to jump into the ocean of God's love. The Christian life isn't a spectator sport!

What are you thankful for today? You can share your list at Laurie's this week.

Breakin' up is hard to do...

Although we've been estranged for a while, we have yet to have the "break up" conversation with our old pastor. It's like that dating relationship that should have ended a couple of months ago, but drags on...though both parties know it's over.

I knew it was time for us to finalize things when I found myself wanting to toss the Manderin Orange Bath and Body Works body wash and Cool Citrus Basil lotion that I got as "thank you's" for teaching at the donut church. And wondering who I could give the gift card to a restaurant that isn't even in my town (another "Thank You" gift). Kind of like cleaning house after a break up.

Hubby was going to bring a letter and have the conversation yesterday, but his car started acting funny--it wouldn't go over 40 mph, then would rev up to 3000 rpm. Instead he headed home. We took it as a sign that yesterday wasn't the day.

So I'll hold onto the body wash a little longer...but does any one want a PotBelly Sandwich gift card? My best guess is that it has $5 on it. I tried to check the balance, but the calculator didn't work. If you're interested, please leave a comment with an e-mail address, and if there is more than one person interested, I'll use a random number generator to choose a winner on Sunday.

Wordless Wednesday--signs of spring!