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I'll probably have some wi-fi while I'm gone, but I got myself a large stack of library books and some magazines for our vacation, so I won't be on-line quite so much in the next week or so. But don't give up on me! Check back! Maybe I'll post a photo or two.

Packed to the gills, hoping that cargo thingie doesn't go flying off the top of the van, everyone's asleep but me so I guess I'd better head that way. Tomorrow's a big day!

Ciao for now!

A new favorite snack around here is peanut butter balls! My friend likes to add rice krispies and dip hers in chocolate, but I keep mine simple for everyday snacking.

1/4 c honey (or corn syrup)
1 c peanut butter
1 c dry milk powder (more or less, make it so you can form the mixture into balls)

Combine, make into balls. EAT!

He had a total hip replacement and so far, things took good. He's in a lot of pain, but he had no blood clots, which was the main concern.

What a relief!!!

Hubby's taking what we call "my precious" (remember Gollum from Lord of the Rings?) to the nearby city where a church member is having a life-threatening surgery. Please pray for the man having this surgery, whose name is Jim.

As I was saying, we tend to fight for the right to the MacBook and he's taking it today! So no checking blogs for me today, no posting...but that's OK I guess because maybe I'll actually get some housework done. Especially because instead of going to see family and driving for a total of 6 days, we're going here:

www.ouraycolorado.com

Check this out! We're camping for a few days, then as a reward for my longsuffering at the campground, going to a two bedroom suite with a kitchen and satellite TV!

If you've checked my blog lately, you'll know things have been difficult, so once we made the choice not to take sweet baby girl back to see family (not an easy decision), I feel like I actually have something to look forward to!

The planning begins!

Babies

There are few things more beautiful than a nursing baby...

This has been so difficult lately. I've decided to put the breaks on the Anger study I was doing and go back to the basics.

About four or five years ago I was very convicted that I had never read the Bible in its entirety. There were unfamiliar Old Testament books I had never even glanced at. I have a good friend, as you know, who is a devout Muslim and she knows her Koran backwards and forwards, and here I was, a child of the true and Living God, and there were portions of His letter to us that I didn't even know! So I got started with books I had never read before.

Since the order of scripture is not necessarily inspired, it didn't matter much to me how I read the different books, but I started in the Old Testament since I had read the New Testament completely. I put a little mark in my table of contents after I'd finished a book.

I read the entire Bible in a little over a year. I have since done one other one year Bible plan, so in total I've read through the entire thing twice.

Now I'm going to try for three times. It doesn't matter how long it takes me, I'm just going to pick a book and read it like I did the first time. It's very easy for me to get bogged down in studies and reading what other people wrote, so we'll see how this works.

I am going to start looking at a study soon for our ladies' Bible study in the fall called Seeking Him by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It deals with personal revival, and we all know how much I NEED THAT.


We live in a place with very little diversity, with the exception of some Latino folks, and it's important for my children to know that Jesus loves people of all nationalities and cultures. He will have a multitude from every tribe, tongue, and nation as His people.

So I like to expose my children to books that don't only have white Americans as their main characters.That's why I like Ezra Jack Keats, who won a Caldecott Award for his picture book, The Snowy Day, which features a little African American boy named Peter.

The Ezra Jack Keats foundation website explains how the idea for books about Peter were born:

"In the two years that followed, Keats worked on a book featuring a little boy named Peter. An article Keats had clipped from Life magazine in 1940 inspired Peter. “Then began an experience that turned my life around—working on a book with a black kid as hero. None of the manuscripts I’d been illustrating featured any black kids—except for token blacks in the background. My book would have him there simply because he should have been there all along. Years before I had cut from a magazine a strip of photos of a little black boy. I often put them on my studio walls before I’d begun to illustrate children’s books. I just loved looking at him. This was the child who would be the hero of my book.

"The book featuring Peter, The Snowy Day, received the prestigious Caldecott Award for the most distinguished picture book for children in 1963. Peter appears in six more books growing from a small boy in The Snowy Day to adolescence in Pet Show.

"In the books that Keats wrote and illustrated, he used his special artistic techniques to portray his subjects in a unique manner. One of these was his blending of gouache with collage. Gouache is an opaque watercolor mixed with a gum that produces an oil-like glaze.

"The characters in Keats’ books come from the community around him. Many of his stories illustrate family life, the simple pleasures and more complex problems, that a child often encounters in his daily routine. To create his books, Keats drew upon his own childhood experiences, from having to flee from bullies to taking a ribbing from his pals for liking girls. But these are also the experiences of almost all children growing up in neighborhoods and communities in many parts of the world. This commonality explains the continuing popularity of Keats’ books and characters."

We've checked out every Keats book we can get our hands on. I love the pictures and that little boy is just adorable.

We have tried this, then stopped, tried again, then stopped. We have lots of good ideas and great intentions, most notably doing our Truth and Grace Memory System from the Founders Press (www.founders.org) and reading Catherine Vos' beautiful written The Child's Story Bible with the children. We've tried doing it before bed, at the breakfast table, at the lunch hour...nothing is consistent. I know that family devotions are not a "magic bullet" for well-behaved children and personal spiritual growth (of course, I know they help...), but I so want to do them. I also don't want to nag my husband about it, either, but as I get to feeling despondent about the health of the church, I want to pour a love for Christ into my children even more.

I need thoughts, ideas, comments, experiences! Bring it on!

I mentioned in a comment a few days ago that there has been very little discussion of what it means to be a pastor's wife. So I emailed Focus on the Family with some thoughts and they responded:

"It was thoughtful of you to send us your feedback concerning the amount of resources you have found that address the needs of pastors' wives. We are pleased that you brought it to our attention. The suggestions and various ideas we receive from our listeners are of great interest to us and often prove to be useful. We have passed along your observations and blog site to our Ministry Outreach department for consideration.

"Again, thanks for contacting us. If we can be of further assistance in any way, please do not hesitate to let us know. May the Lord richly bless you and your loved ones in the days ahead."

We'll see if anything happens. Maybe a magazine article or radio show or on-line discussion will develop from this. Who knows? In the age of the internet and instant information, anything is possible and everything's worth a try.

For those of you who aren't pastor's wives, there are some things you should know about how to encourage your pastor's wife.

1. She's not perfect either.
2. There are things that go on in the life of the church that you know nothing about but are huge burdens for her to bear.
3. She'd like friends, too.
4. So maybe you should call her for a playdate or over for dinner.
5. Pray for her that she would not get bitter or resentful.
6. You don't have to act "all spiritual" around her.
7. She does a lot that no one sees and she certainly isn't getting paid for it.
8. Unless she's in a megachurch, her family doesn't have a lot of money, probably less than you make.
9. She has times of spiritual dryness, too.
10. Sometimes she wonders if it's worth all the hassle, worth the toil it can take on her husband and children.

So the next time she does something that bugs you, remember these things and pray for her instead of complaining.

This seems weird, but it's GOOOOOD.

I'm posting it for my friend, Kelly, a super cool gal who I wished lived closer to us! Hi Kelly!

2 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1" cubes
1 1/2 T. olive oil
1 T. minced garlic
2 T. dijon mustard
3/4 c. plain yogurt
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 T. lemon juice
2 T. Splenda (or to taste)

Heat oven to 375. On a prepared baking sheet with a rim, place potatoes in a single layer. Drizzle olive oil and garlic on top and toss. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until tender and golden.

Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl. Fold potatoes into the dressing mix. Serve immediately, or if you chill it, let it come to room temperature first.

Boy, sometimes I feel like I swing on this pendulum between basking in my role as wife and homemaker and homeschooling mother and loathing it.

Tonight, well, all of today, actually, was a loathing day. No one "set me off". Hubby didn't get on my nerves...I just had that little feminazi demon whispering in my ear again:

"Is this what you went to college for?"
"Nobody cares that you're picking up and mopping the floor again."
"Almost 30 years old and this is all you have to show for your life?"

AHHHHH!!!!!! And when I get like this then little things make me so mad, like dog food stuck in the floor grates, strawberry stains on the floor, laundry piled in a basket higher than my head when I carry it upstairs, pee on the floor around the toilet (I live with three boys, remember)...

I KNOW my ministry is to my family right now. I know these years fly by. I know. I know. I know.

So now's where the knowing must translate into action and attitude change, or maybe I don't know it at all after all...



My four year old is at the age where he's starting to identify less with his mom and more with his dad...I'm glad about this. I wouldn't want a sissy son. :) Anyway, yesterday before worship started he had to go potty and our bathrooms at church are one-seaters, so the men's was full and he needed to go right then and I needed to get to church, so I insisted he go in the women's. He cried and carried on, wailing, "I'm not a girrrrrlllll!!! I don't want to be in the girls' bathroom!!! WAHHHHH!" It took all my composure not to crack up into hysterics. On the one hand, I'm sure glad we've got that gender issue figured out.

Then, he sees older brother's Red Rider B.B. gun (of, "You'll shoot your eye out" fame) and says, "Daddy, I want to take that gun and go shoot an ELK!"

So dad's proud of his young son, our manly little he-man.

Ruth Graham

I found this poem on blestwithsons blog (an excellent one, by the way, even though I have a daughter now). I had to post it. I think I'm going to print it off and plaster my house with it for those difficult days.

For all these smallnesses
I thank you, Lord;

small children
and small needs;
small meals to cook,
small talk to heed,
and a small book
from which to read
small stories;
small hurts to heal,
small disappointments, too,
as real
as ours;
small glories
to discover
in bugs,
pebbles,
flowers.

When day is through
my mind is small,
my strength is gone;
and as I gather
each dear one
I pray, “Bless each
for Jesus’ sake -
such angels sleeping,
imps awake!”
What wears me out
are little things;
angels minus
shining wings.
Forgive me Lord,
if I have whined-
it takes so much
to keep them shined;
yet each small rub
has its reward,
for they have blessed me.

Thank you,
Lord

Paul Galdone



Here's a lesser known author/illustrator, Paul Galdone. I had some of his books when I was a kid and I still have one I read to my children called, "The Talking Turnip," written by Anne Rose and illustrated by Galdone. It is about an old woman who lived out in the woods back "when strange things still happened". She was about to throw her turnip into her soup kettle when it called out, "Don't put me in there!" She was so startled she dropped the spoon she was holding, which also spoke to her, then the floor spoke, and so on until she runs out of the house to tell the king her troubles, meeting a woodsman and a young boy along the way.

The pictures are what make the books, as many of his stories are retellings of folk tales. Born in Budapest in 1914, he made his living in the art department in a major publishing house in New York, where he emigrated in 1928. He was trained as an artist and his characters fairly speak off the page. Be sure to check out such favorites as: "The Little Red Hen", "Three Little Pigs", "The Gingerbread Boy", and "Three Billy Goats Gruff".

As Gladys Hunt says of him in her book, "Honey for a Child's Heart", "Children have been enjoying Galdone's renditions for generations."

I posted a link to this last week, but here's the video since I figured out how to post on my blog. Let it sink in.

For all you homeschoolers out there-enjoy!

We've recently found out that one of our colleged-aged girls in our church family is expecting. She's taking full responsibility for her baby, though the father is out of the picture. She has all the expected fears and worries about the future, but even more so since she won't have a husband to share the experience with her.

Since I've been in her shoes, although I was able to marry the father of my baby, I want so badly to talk with her, pray with her, encourage her to use this for God's glory, and stand back and watch God move, taking our sin and shame and transforming it into something for his glory and our ultimate good. God is sovereign. This baby came as no surprise to him. And I pray that this baby will do amazing things for God's kingdom. I also pray for a godly husband for this precious girl, who will cherish her and her baby and provide for them both.

Yet, I have some suspicions that some folk in our church won't approve of a beautiful baby shower for this little one and her mom. And that makes me ANGRY. Spitting nails angry. I hope and pray I'm wrong about some people's reactions.

But if it were wrong to throw a church shower for an unwed mother, then it would be equally wrong to bring her son cupcakes for his birthday in Sunday school when he turns 5. And what of the alternative? Would it have been better for her to go secretly get an abortion and never tell a living soul what happened? Just so she and her family would save face?

This young girl must come to grips with the fact that yes, she has sinned against a holy God. But that holy God is also merciful, full of compassion and lovingkindness and seeks to restore her relationship to him.

My unplanned pregnancy in college is what opened my eyes and rocked me out of my complacency. I hope it does the same for her.

Sometimes I'm the sentimental type who feels sad that something big and exciting that I've planned for is done. I felt a twinge of that tonight at VBS--but mostly I'm just glad it's out of the way for the rest of the summer!! YIPPEEE!!!

We had 57 different children attend. Our highest night was 46 kids. I'm thrilled with these numbers, even though it's not all about numbers.

We were able to teach them that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and hopefully, one day they will decide to follow Jesus as their Lord. We are very careful not to manipulate them into making a decision. What do I mean? Take this scenario:

VBS teacher: Who doesn't want to go to hell?

Kids: Me! Me! ME!

VBS teacher: Who wants to go heaven?

Kids: Me ME! ME!

VBS teacher: You're all saved! Look how many decisions we had for Jesus at our VBS!

Or this one:

VBS teacher: If you'll just pray this prayer and mean it, then you'll be saved and will go to heaven when you die.

Kid: OK. [prays after his teacher]

VBS teacher: Welcome to God's family! You're saved! If you prayed this prayer and walked this aisle, then you know you're saved.

We could have coerced, one way or another, every kid in there to fill out a card, raise his hand, or walk an aisle. We could have inflated our successes and said, "We've had 25 decisions to follow Christ at our VBS!"

What we did instead was to preach and teach the Truth of Who Jesus is, why He came, and what that means for us as sinners. All we can do is tell the Truth and pray that the Holy Spirit will do a work in the hearts of these kids. God begins the work and finishes the work. He lets us in on it as a privilege.

I hope that our VBS will help us reach out more to our community. I plan on helping a lot with the follow up contacts.

In the end, I'm pooped and glad it's over (except we still have to undecorate the church!).

Our town is heavily Mormon and only about 2200 people. That leaves a lot of kids OUT because even though the Mormons market themselves as Christians, they won't send their kids to our VBS (hmmm...maybe because they know deep down inside that they AREN'T Christians?) Anyway, our first night we had 37, our second night 46, then our third night 44.

I got an idea to write an article about it for the newspaper and send a photo. Hubby's doing a cool photo/video DVD for our Thursday night closing program. I feel like the paper article will be great free publicity.

Peggy Parish

I totally dropped the ball on Saturday--VBS preparation was all-consuming and my house is in a perpetual state of chaos...so here's a belated review of an oldie but a goodie: Peggy Parish, you might know her as the author of the Amelia Bedelia books and I read her when I was a kid. Our library nazi was surprised when I checked out a whole bunch of Amelia books. She said no one ever checks them out--and what a shame that is! These would be perfect for their story hour.

Parish was an elementary teacher for many years and wrote over fifty books for children, including mysteries and craft books. Though she died in 1988, her nephew, Herman Parish, has continued to write books about our favorite housemaid.

I found a quick biography of Parish and her endearing character at http://comsewogue.k12.ny.us/~csinger/projects/amelia/fun/biopp.htm so I thought I'd just borrow it since the week is busy:

"Amelia's literal mindedness comes from reading cookbooks, where you must do exactly what it says. She even tried some of the things out herself before she included them in a book. One example would be the "sponge cake." The author said that she spent the afternoon in her kitchen cutting up sponges, stirring them into cake batter and then baking them to see how it would turn out. She didn't know whether it would turn soggy, burn up or stay "spongy." It stayed spongy-- in real life and in the book.

"When Amelia Bedelia gets a job as a maid, she sprinkles dust on everything when she is asked to dust. ("At my house we un-dust the furniture", she says. "But each to his own way.") She stuffs the Christmas stockings with turkey stuffing. She uses real sponges when she is asked to bake a sponge cake. She "changes" the towels with scissors. She goes camping and literally "pitches" the tent. While playing baseball, she "runs home" after hitting the ball. In one book, she teaches school and yells "hey, roll!" when the lesson plan says to call roll."


This is what makes Amelia so fun. And the older kids get, as they begin to learn the cliches and expressions of our culture, the funnier the stories become!

So even though the books aren't flashy, and even look a little dated, pull some off that library shelf and start laughing!

I can't believe that in the course of one weekend, I would receive news that another friend, this one young, single, and with three children, has been diagnosed with breast cancer and will be having a double mastectomy soon.

We are awaiting news of our other friend, who has her appointment with the surgeon today, to see what her prognosis is.

Lord Jesus COME! I'm not sure I can take any more suffering--I long for You to make all things right again!!!

Copy and paste the link (you know how macs are funny about letting me hyperlink in a blogger blog).
It's from the Reformed Baptist Thinker blog:

http://www.thereformedbaptistthinker.blogspot.com/

Watch the Youtube on the prosperity gospel by John Piper.

YOU MUST WATCH THIS.

I'd say tonight was a success. Hubby and I haven't been able to debrief much on it because he took firstborn fishing afterwards but l think it went great. We had about 37 kiddos, and are expecting some more tomorrow since some of our own kids were out of town. Not too bad for such a small town. Sweet baby girl did GREAT, considering she was up way past her bed time, of course, I just heard her crying so I'd better go upstairs and check! See ya!

For those of you who know him, I think this is pretty accurate!

INTP - "Architect". Greatest precision in thought and language. Can readily discern contradictions and inconsistencies. The world exists primarily to be understood. 3.3% of total population.
Free Jung Personality Test (similar to Myers-Briggs/MBTI)

I got this test from helpmeet's blog. It's fun! I think I'm going to have my husband take it!

ESTJ - "Administrator". Much in touch with the external environment. Very responsible. Pillar of strength. 8.7% of total population.
Free Jung Personality Test (similar to Myers-Briggs/MBTI)



I'm reading an updated version of Foxe's Book of Martyrs, that famous book that chronicles the men and women who have died because of their faith in the Living Christ since New Testament times. I'm only into some of the Roman persecutions, and there were many, before the emperor decided maybe he'd like to be a Christian, too.

One reason I'm reading it is because I have a great fear of dying. I know it's inevitable, but I want to want to be willing to suffer for Christ if He asks it of me. I feel like such a coward sometimes.

I was also struck with how different these Christian martyrs are from the radical Islamic martyrs of today.

Jesus prepared us that His followers will suffer persecutions. Church history records that Peter was crucified upside down because he didn't feel worthy to die the same death that Jesus did. None of these men and women fought against their torturers, but sometimes the strength of their faith ministered to their tormenters and brought them to faith in Christ, too.

The martyr of Islam is bent on the destruction of non-Muslims (infidels) as he or she is dying for Allah.

While I am not naive enough to believe that "Christians" throughout history have not tried to further their cause through the sword, the "noble" martyrdom of radical Islamists bear a striking difference to these heroes of the Christian faith who willingly and with great love and compassion for their captors died for their faith.

Breast Cancer

One of my friends was just diagnosed today with breast cancer. If you think of it, please pray.




You Are A Lily



You are a nurturer and all around natural therapist.

People see you as their rock. And they are able to depend on you.

You are a soothing influence. You can make people feel better with a few words.

Your caring has more of an impact than even you realize.




I used to love those magazine quizzes when I was a teenager-now there's a high tech version!! I stole this idea from very cool blogger, Joann, at Joann's Blog Adventure!

We start ours on Sunday. Hubby's the "storyteller" meaning, he will do all the teaching. It's a lot on him, but we know that the gospel will be proclaimed and our volunteers can relax a little and help reinforce the story at the different stations.

While we love the Quest curriculum from Concordia Publishing House and they've been soooo helpful in getting our stuff here on time, when hubby called to ask if there were any "Lutheran distinctives", the customer service representative said, "No." Well, when we started reading through the lessons, the lesson on Jesus' baptism deals with sprinkling and teaches baptismal regeneration (meaning your salvation is tied up in faith AND your baptism). Being in a Baptist church, this isn't quite what we believe so we've had to alter the story a bit. It's not that big of a deal, but we did ASK beforehand and got a different answer. We believe our Lutheran brothers and sisters are Christians, but this has been an example where theology and doctrine DOES mattter.

I'm in charge of publicity so I spent the last two weeks making phone calls and putting up signs around town. Our director says advertising hasn't made much difference in the past, but I hope I can prove her wrong! So pray we have an ovewhelming number of kids and that they would decide to follow Jesus. I will be glad when next week is over, though...



I discovered yesterday the deer have found my garden. My precious Romaine lettuce is being nibbled, my tomato plants, which already have pretty yellow flowers, are being eating at the tops despite their walls o'water...

I wish you could shoot a deer in town.

I've sprayed Deer Off on the tomato plants and experiemented with cayenne pepper on the lettuce (I'll just wash it really well!). I haven't looked yet this morning, but I was quite perturbed. Especially since I've got a broken dishwasher, a broken garbage disposal, and a broken vacuum, and THEN the downstairs toilet filled up with bubbles when I did laundry! The plumber can't get here until Wednesday.

It's hard to be a modern housewife sometimes...


I almost forgot my Saturday kids' literature post! It's been such a busy day--a sporting event, a fence put up next door, made lunch for everyone who was working, had church kids over, hung up VBS posters all over town, made dinner, got lunch ready for VBS meeting tomorrow, got breakfast ready for church tomorrow, complained in my heart about my broken vacuum, dishwasher, and garbage disposal...I'm done ranting. Sorry... Here we go:

When my oldest was a baby, my college roommate gave him a copy of author Melody Carlson's book, The Lost Lamb. In clever rhyme, she tells the parable of the shepherd seeking his lost 100th sheep, who happens to be named Zebedee. The pictures, by Steve Bjorkman, are just as fun as the story, colorful watercolor and ink. I've since found other books about Jesus' parables such as It's Not Funny, I've Lost My Money, The Two Builders, and The Other Brother. We've enjoyed all of these-they are such a great way to tell Jesus' stories and they give us a springboard to discuss the meanings behind the parables. I've found on Amazon.com that there's some we're missing, such as Yes or No Who Will Go?, Farmer Brown's Field, and A Treasure Beyond Measure (I know three things my boys are getting for Christmas!).

Another series Carlson has written deals with things that Jesus said: Love Your Neighbor, Show Each Other Forgiveness, Secretly Do Good Deeds, and Don't Worry About Tomorrow. All four are illustrated by Susan Reagan, whose known for illustrated greeting cards.

Unfortunately, most of the parable books are out of print but if you hunt for them, I'd bet you can find some. She's written lots and lots of other books, both for adults and teens. I'm not familiar with those, all I can tell you about are the ones we have and how much we've enjoyed them.




Places like this. We visited Cumberland Falls, KY a few years ago and I would love to go back! It's called the Niagra Falls of the South. And it's now the only place in the world where you can see a Moonbow, a nighttime rainbow that forms in the mist of the waterfall during a full moon. *sigh*

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