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Boy, oh boy...I think I may have found the ticket for getting along better with my oldest son. Some days I feel like all I'm doing is saying things like:

"Pick that up!"
"Put that away!"
"All I said was to turn on the hose for the garden a little, not play with it!"
"Put your bottom in your chair!"
"Clean up your room!"
"Stop touching your brother!"

I was listening to a podcast on http://thatmom.wordpress.com on Saturday night as hubby was over at the church working late on his sermon. It was an interview with a homeschool mom in the trenches who has had similiar problems with her oldest son as I have had with mine and one of things she discovered was that her learning style was profoundly different from her son's. They spent a little time discussing the book "The Way They Learn" by Cynthia Tobias. I thought to myself I needed to get that book...

Well, I'm sitting in the youth room downstairs at church yesterday feeding baby girl while hubby's teaching on Sunday night, and I see the book setting on the table! I started reading it after the kids went to bed, and my husband I were laughing out loud at how it described us.

It turns out, without going into a lot of detail, that each one of us are different and that my son and I are basically opposites. I'm very linear, just do it, dependable, stable, rigid...He's strong willed and likes to find things out for himself. The best example she gives fits us perfectly: I tell my son, if you stand on that coffee table I'm going to spank you. For someone like me, the threat of the discipline was enough to deter me when I was a child. But not for my son. He feels like the excitement of standing on the coffee table is worth the spanking so he does it anyway.

I'm hoping that I can start choosing my battles and stop micromanaging him. I'm anxious to pick up the book again today--but first, housework and a crying baby calls!

I've a new pet peeve. It has to do with choosing which church you want to go to. And this has happened at least twice since we've been at our current church. Here's how the conversation goes:

Me: "We'd sure love to have you come to our church sometime. The people there are just wonderful, and they were that way before we got here! We're very centered on Christ and His gospel. My husband loves to study and preach the Bible. We're doing a scripture memory program with the kids on Sunday nights, too. And Vacation Bible School is just around the corner."

Them: "Oh yeah...they're very nice at your church. But I gotta tell ya, I can't worship God when I only sing hymns with just a piano. And no overhead projector or power point... I mean, I want to raise my hands, dance around a little...and well, you guys just don't do that."

There may be a kernal of truth in that last statement. We don't do that. But it's not because all of us don't think we should...in fact, when I sit in the back row and I sing, "In Christ Alone" or "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name" I do raise my hands. But I have to respect that others worship in a different way. Some people are very private and reserved, prefering to praise more quietly.

My point is that worship style is NOT something by which you decide if you should attend a certain church. Ask this instead:

Does the preacher treasure Christ and preach Him crucified for sinners? Is he a godly man who loves people?

Does the congregation seek to grow in their love for God and each other?

Do the songs lift up God, or could you insert your boyfriend's name instead of Jesus' and the song would mean the same thing?

Saying you CAN'T worship God somewhere implies that the worship is for you and your preferences, not just for God alone.

A Blah Day

What causes days like this, when the sun is shining, the warm breeze blows, green things begin to grow...when nothing I start seems interesting to me, when a task before me seems impossible, when my insecurities make me want to crawl in a hole and hang out a while...when all the old struggles against sin in my thought life escalate...I could wax theological eloquent on my blog, but I'd be putting on a show. I know this is the age old search for contentment, the Buddha looked for it, Confucius looked for it...I know Jesus is the answer, in my head, but to translate that to my affections and mood...

*sigh* Sometimes I just long for Jesus to come back NOW and set all things aright. I get tired of fighting.

Sara Groves has a song on her The Other Side of Something album called The Boxer. In a lot of ways, this song is more about the music (I wish I could figure out how to have it play on my blog--remember, I'm slow) but here are the lyrics:

The Boxer by Sara Groves

When you said this was a fight, you weren’t kidding
When you said this was a fight, you weren’t kidding, kidding
Cause my ribs are bruised and it’s just round two

When you said this was a fight, you weren’t kidding
When you said this was a fight, you weren’t kidding
Cause there’s a cut on my eye and it’s just round five

And I used to be quick I used to see it coming
I used to know how to move my feet
Now I can’t duck and I can’t land nothing
And I forgot how to bob and weave
Bob and weave

When you said this was a fight, you weren’t kidding
When you said this was a fight, you weren’t kidding, kidding, kidding
Cause this room’s in a spin and it’s just round ten

If you care at all take that towel from your neck
Cause I’ve reached down deep and there is nothing left
I’ve got nothing
I’ve got nothing
I’ve got nothing

Greater is he who is in me
Greater is he who is in me
Greater, greater
Greater, greater

Okay, okay

Bob and weave
Bob and weave
Bob and weave

And I can’t just know it I’ve got to feel it
And I can’t just feel it, I’ve got to believe it
And I can’t just believe it, I’ve go to live it

Islam Part 2


A while back, I was reading that book by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross called "My Year Inside Radical Islam". I had mentioned in a previous post some questions I had about the position of Christians before Allah. Are we capable of going to heaven? Are we infidels? What does Islam teach about these issues? So, in our cool technological age I decided to email Mr. Gartenstein-Ross and see what he says about it all. I found him to be very accomodating, and he's allowed me to post his response on my blog. (You really must read his book!) Here's his answer:

"With respect to your question, there is a split opinion among Muslims in contemporary times about whether Christians can go to heaven. Compare Qur'an verse 2:62 (saying that Jews, Christians, and Sabians "who believe in Allah and the Last Day and do righteous good deeds shall have their reward with their Lord") to verse 3:85 (saying that "whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers"). The traditionally dominant interpretation is that verse 3:85 abrogates verse 2:62, and therefore that only Islam is a path to salvation. Some contemporary scholarship has challenged that view, but my guess based on observational data is that most Muslims, and most Islamic scholars, hold an exclusivist view of salvation.

As to Christians being "people of the book," that's primarily a political classification and doesn't speak to whether or not Christianity is a path to salvation. The "people of the book" classification allows Christians to continue to practice their faith under Muslim rule, although with the visible subjugation of the dhimmi class.

One final point. You ask whether you're "OK or not" in Muslims' eyes. This ties into the question of whether there can be respect and friendship between people of different faiths that make competing truth claims. It's worth noting that under most interpretations of Christianity, adherents to other religions cannot reach heaven. I do not find this to be an inherently offensive view, so I have difficulty finding it offensive when coming from Muslims rather than Christians. After all, if someone believes that you're on a path to hell and he's right, he's doing you a favor by trying to correct your course. And if he's wrong, that erroneous belief has no impact at all on you. I believe there can be friendship, cooperation, and peaceful coexistence between people who belong to faiths that make competing truth claims. Problems occur when adherents of one faith believe that it is their religious obligation to physically dominate believers in another creed, as is the case for radical Muslims today."

Working Out


I have 40 pounds total to lose. It seems like it's impossible to get away and exercise with our schedules. I want to do it in the morning, but I'm so tired from being up twice or THRICE (like the last two nights have been), that I can't. I'm going this afternoon, though, with a lady from church. I just don't feel like it at all. I know that as soon as I leave the baby will start squalling and dad won't be able to comfort her... Someday I'll be skinny again.



It was very painful for my hubby to write out that big check last week, and youtube had a turbotax rap contest to help ease the pain. My favorite video, besides Rhett and Link's, of course, was from go remy. The guy's hilarious!

(until i figure out how to post from youtube, just click on that there question mark to get to the video. i know i'm slow..)


Oh, oh, oh I'm SOOOOO excited to get my garden in the ground! It should be in the next few days when hubby and I will be preparing the ground, setting up our Square Foot Gardening boxes, and sowing cool weather vegetable seeds (as well as baby red and green romaine lettuce plants). I've planned the rest of my boxes, too. Here's what I'm growing:

romaine lettuce, spinach, radishes, green beans, yellow wax beans, peas, zucchini, yellow squash, mini pumpkins, tomatoes, bell peppers, corn, shallots, onions, sweet potatoes, yukon gold potatoes, parsely, chives, oregano, basil, mint, lavendar, cilantro, black eyed susans, blue flax, marigolds, cosmos, and MAMMOTH sunflowers (last year my sunflowers were almost 8 feet tall and the stalks were as big around as a small tree, probably 2 1/2 inches in diameter).

Hubby reminds me that when you have a hobby only other people who share that hobby with you enjoy talking about it...sooo, any gardeners out there who have their garden stories and plans feel free to post a comment or two!


It's getting to be that time of year, fellow pastor's wives. Do you dread it? Do you love it? How does your church plan for it? Any curriculums you like? How do you advertise? Follow up with kids and their families? Do you have a huge budget or tiny budget?

We're looking at Concordia Publishing House's The Quest this year for our VBS. It really focuses on Jesus was being the way, the truth, and the life.

What are your thoughts?

(p.s. I figured out, with the help of hubby, how to download images! If you feel like I'm overdoing it, it's just because I'm so excited!)

Last night, our little sweetie pie (the middle one) had the highest fever he's had yet (the highest fever any of my kids have ever had, actually). I was really worried, living so far from the pediatrician and all. Oh, how I prayed. Gave him motrin and tylenol through the night...

And this morning, the fever was gone! He was still weak, but by the evening he was asking for food and teasing his daddy to play some tough.

I'm so thankful that our God is God even in the little things, that He cares for us so tenderly. I know a fever is not uncommon in a child, but anytime someone is sick or something is out of the ordinary around here, it causes a tremendous amount of anxiety within me. I must learn to rest in Christ no matter the outcome.

I just recently discovered this whole blogging thing...I'm a bit slow at technological stuff anyway. Digital music? Music that you can't literally HOLD in your hands but lives somewhere out there and is on my husband's iPod? When I drive someplace, I still stick CDs in the CD player. In fact, I didn't get a CD player (was faithful to my tapes) until the summer of 1996! I digress...

I've found some AWESOME new blogs lately, ladies whose hearts are on fire for the Lord and whose posts continue to encourage me. Check them out!

(I guess I should get off the MacBook now and do some housewifely duties...) *sigh*

I've started reading a great new blog, Rebecca Writes, and she's having people submit quick, easy dinner recipes. Here's my contribution!

1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons finely minced onion
2 cups milk
2 cans Campbells cream of potato soup
1 can creamed corn (or 1 cup frozen corn, thawed)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup sour cream

In a large saucepan, saute onion in butter until tender. Add remaining ingredients, except sour cream. Cook over medium heat until heated through and smooth. Stir in sour cream. Serve with sandwiches or wraps for an easy dinner!

Well, little buddy has STREP throat. Who knew? I'm glad I took him in. The nurses gave him two shots at once in each thigh. He wasn't too happy about that. He still has his fever, but hopefully, this medicine will kick in soon. I don't think our TV has ever been on this much...

Sick Kids

My poor 4 yo has a terrible case of the stomach bug. I'm waiting for a call back from the pediatrician to see how long I should let this go before we do something about it. He's such a sweetheart, though. Not one complaint or fuss...You ask him how he's feeling and he says, "I'm doing great." Then a half hour later he's throwing up again. If you think of it, say a prayer for my precious little guy. He's been such a trooper. We'll see who gets hit next!

I discovered this great book by Mel Bartholomew called The All New Square Foot Gardening Book. Since we live in a place with hard, clay, alkaline soil, this is perfect. I got my husband to build me 4x4 foot boxes with 6" wide lumber. You put these on the ground over weed paper, fill them with perfect soil (1/3 each peat moss, vermiculite, and compost) and plant in square feet rather than rows. It eliminates a lot of the weeds and helps conserve water and time. I can't wait to put out my spinach, radishes and romaine lettuce! The only problem I've encountered is finding the right compost. You need a variety of composts and I've called everywhere to find it. The ideal thing is to make your own, but that takes time and I've already started it but it won't be ready by planting time. Anyway, I love to garden and still feel new at it, so if any of you like it, too, and can share some wisdom, great!

I'm absolutely convinced that we pastor's wives need ladies outside our churches to hang out with. I've met a wonderful friend here who will probably never attend our church but who is a Christian. She just blesses me so much. Today, we met for lunch and discovered we have a lot in common and will, hopefully, start doing some playdates with our sons, go workout, maybe even do that Anger Bible study together I mentioned earlier. I don't want to get my hopes up yet, but I gotta tell ya, us girls we NEED to go out to lunch sans kids once in a while!

Beef Lo Mein

I LOVE recipes with short ingredient lists. Everyone devoured this tonight!

Beef Lo Mein

1/2 lb ground beef
1 1/2 cups frozen stir fry veggies, thawed
1 can beef gravy
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
8 oz spaghetti

Brown ground beef. Add veggies, gravy, soy sauce, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Boil noodles until done. Drain, then add to the beef mixture. Ta-da!

I've started a Bible study called Victory Over Irritation, Grumpiness, and Anger just on my own. If you've read previous posts, you'll know this is often a problem with me--my own discontentment translates into anger, and that anger is really against God, not against the people I feel have wronged me. So far, it's been excellent. Hubby's been preaching through the Sermon on the Mount and my Bible study mentioned this same passage in Matthew when Jesus says that if you are even angry with someone, you might as well have murdered him. When the same bit of scripture comes up more than once in conversation, maybe God's trying to get through to me? An exercise the author had me do was to read Paul and Silas' account in Acts of being unjustly imprisioned for preaching the gospel and casting a demon out of a slave girl, then to compare my recent episode of anger to that. Does it really matter that my son let the cake fall over when I turned a corner in the car? Not when I look at the scope of eternity. So now my prayer is that I'll actually THINK and REMEMBER these very simple truths in the heat of the moment when I mistakenly think that my anger will improve a situation (it never does).

A cyberbuddie at youngpastorswife.blogspot.com has this quotation on her blog and I LOVE IT. (I have no idea who Lora Horn is, though...)

"I like to blame Katherine Luther, who ran a hospital, brewed beer and cared for people with the plague. She did everything. And a lot of congregations expect that." -Lora Horn

TAXES!

We're getting slammed by Uncle Sam with social security tax! I think now that we're really, truly "grown ups" with a REAL job, it's hitting us. Being self-employed and actually making enough to live and not be in debt hasn't helped the tax situation. Just thought I might find someone out there who can comiserate. If you haven't checked out rhett and link's website to see their Turbotax rap, it is a bit of comic relief to salve those gaping tax wounds...

www.rhettandlink.com

I love to do big holiday dinners so I thought I'd share with you our menu (I am having friends bring stuff, but this was my original menu before I started inviting people). If something sounds good to you, let me know and I'll send you the specific recipe!

Stuffed Mushrooms (with garlic, cream cheese, parmesan and cayenne pepper)
Buffalo Chicken Dip (courtesy of the Pastor's Wives Forum) with tortilla chips
Rolls
Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing
Mashed Red Potatoes
Marinated Green Beans
Ham with Cherry sauce
Carrot Cake (so moist and delicious with homemade cream cheese frosting)

(can you tell I love cream cheese??)

Easter Blessings!

Islam

I've always been interested in Islam, ever since high school when I had a good friend on the debate team who was a practicing Muslim. She didn't wear a head scarf and would wear short sleeves, but never shorts. She was sweet, articulate, intelligent, and didn't have any desire to blow me up. I get frustrated when I hear people make sweeping comments about how violent all Muslims are. I still keep in touch with her and we've had some fascinating conversations about religion and politics.

With all that said, I'm reading a most interesting book, one that I can't put down. It's called My Year Inside Radical Islam (you can see the link down the page). And what I'm most struck with is a glaring inconsistency that's bothered me for a while about how Muslims view Christians. Here it is:

1. On the one hand, my friend has shared with me that as a Christian, I am a "person of the book", meaning that like Jews and Muslims, since I believe in only one God (monotheism), I am OK and can go to heaven, so I'm not really an infidel. The book I'm reading basically echoes this sentiment, and this inclusivism drew the author to his Muslim faith. Since we all share a reverence for the prophets of the Old Testamant, and Jesus is included as a "good teacher", then we all basically believe the same thing. There's a mistaken belief that Jews, Christians and Muslims all pray to the same god; they just call him by different names.

2. BUT, my friend also tells me that if I associate partners with God then I am committing the ultimate sin and will automatically go to hell. Muslims believe that the Christian belief in the triune God is polytheism. Because we see Jesus as the God-Man, both fully God and fully Man, they we must believe in more than one god.

So my question is: which is it? I can't seem to get a straight answer from anyone and it's bugging me. Any thoughts? I really am just curious about these theological differences

Check out this article by the scientist in charge of the Human Genome Project, Francis Collins. Here's the link; tell me what you think!

http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/04/03/collins.commentary/index.html

We live in a very remote area, where our closest Wal-Mart is an hour away and the closest mall two hours away. (Being a city girl, and from part of the country where EVERY small town has a Wal-Mart, this was a huge adjustment for me.) But I've figured out a way to make meal planning and shopping happen, partly with the help of a good buddy of mine here.

I grocery shop once a month. WHAT?! Yep. Once a month around payday, I load up the coolers and head to Wal-Mart, list in hand. Here's how I do it:

1. I make a list of 25 dinners. I love to cook, so my list can get involved. I love trying new things so I scour the internet and my cookbooks for recipes. I list them with their corresponding book and page number for easy reference. This month, I've decided to make copies of each recipe and put them in a 3 ring binder so that everything is at hand. We'll see how that works. I try to plan for leftovers for lunches and I work for a variety of mexican, italian, american, asian, and grilled dishes, as well as different meats (The hubby killling his first cow elk sure helped the beef situation. I LOVE ELK now!) and meatless items. I also plan 5-6 different lunch options. Breakfast is almost always cereal (gimme a break-i was up all night with the baby :) ) I also plan for any special dinners, like Easter dinner or snacks for Sunday night church or anything else we're craving. Once I have all my recipes together, I begin THE LIST.

2.I use a chunky spiral notebook to make my list. I shop for nonperishable stuff first, in the order of the store and load my cart up with that. By now, I've filled up one cart, so if hubby's with me, he takes it and one of the kids to go check out and take it to the van. I continue with a new cart and get all the dairy, meat, produce, and frozen in that order. By the time I'm done, he's done and loaded so we all go through together with the last load. I make my list thusly, one page for each category in my chunky little notebook:
health/beauty
toys/automotive/garden/home stuff
office stuff
clothes
condiments/coffee aisle
canned goods
boxed goods
juices
baking
breakfast
snacks
baby stuff (it's back that way in my store)
dairy
meat
produce
frozen
bread (on top so it doesn't get squished. I buy 10 loaves of 100% whole wheat and freeze them)

When a category is complete and everything's checked off, I rip it out of my notebook.

3. When checking out, I get an empty cart to load bagged stuff in. I also put similar stuff together on the belt, especially cold and frozen since it requires dry ice.

I truly save money this way. I only buy milk, eggs, and fruit in town. We also use lots of frozen fruits and veggies, especially veggies--frozen can be just as good as fresh. We probably spend, for this trip, between $500-$600. What's left in our budget, goes toward milk, eggs, etc. I don't buy milk on the big trip because it takes up too much room in the cooler. In all, we're out of the store in about 2 1/2 hours.

I know this sounds like a lot of work, but it's a huge pay off. And I'm not bound to always make tacos on Tuesday. We just look at the list every night and pick something, knowing I bought everything we need for it already. That eliminates all those quick runs to the store, where you intend to pick up one thing and come out with twenty. And this isn't Once a Month Cooking. I tried that and it didn't work for me because too many dishes we like can't be frozen and maintain their quality. This is just once a month grocery shopping.

Consider giving it a try, even if you aren't as remote as we are!

It all started in the '70s with Roe v. Wade...and people are surprised when it trickles down.

What I'm getting at is how our world devalues children. When it's OK to murder an unborn baby because she's conceived at an inconvenient time, when Peter Singer, the professor of ethics at Princeton, says that a baby is not a human until it can communicate, when children are objectified and exploited, when people see children as a nuisance, then why are we so appalled and shocked when a man fires his gun at a daycare center or when suicide bombers blow up a car full of children? It's just a natural follow-through of their worldview.

God tells us in His Word that children are a blessing and that He had all our days ordained before we were even born. We must be transformed by this truth, and refuse to let the Enemy win this fight for life.

God help us.

A precious little boy in our church has Cerebral Palsy and is having surgery today. My husband has gone to the hospital to be with his family. Please pray for Josh and his mom and dad. Hopefully, this surgery will help him walk better, but it's always scary when your little one is operated upon.

This is such a cool tradition! My husband came up with it once when we were in college, eating our Easter dinner by ourselves at Red Lobster (we were too far away from family for a real dinner).

We eat fish and bread for breakfast (I will qualify that and say that I do sneak a bowl of cereal beforehand!).

Why? At the end of the gospel of John, Jesus is hanging out on the beach watching Peter and some buddies fish. Peter realizes that it's the Risen Lord calling to them, and he jumps out of the boat and swims to shore. Jesus prepares some fish and bread for them, and they eat together.

We fry up some fish on the stove and slice some french bread for our breakfast. We then read the story out of the Bible. It's a little wacky, but just another way for us to reinforce for our kids the Easter story.

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