Saturday, May 31, 2008
This topic makes me question why my family is in a church weekly. Let me point out I am not judging anyone for making a different decision than we've made. Each family has to pray and make this call on their own, it's not up to me to dictate it. I'm simply sharing why church is important to me, even though it seems scripture is not crystal clear on the topic.
I don't go to church to secure my salvation. The two don't jive together. You're either saved or not and you either go to church or not, two different issues. Being saved has nothing to do with our actions (which would be works and Paul said clearly it's not about works) or the pastor's actions (like him baptizing us or whatever-baptism is the act of obedience that shows the condition of our heart, it doesn't save us), it's about the condition of our heart. Are we trusting Jesus as our only route to heaven? That's another post, though...
I go to church to worship in truth and to learn more about the Bible. I go to exercise my gifts and talents God has given me, to encourage others, and to lean on the support of others.
Corporate worship does something great to my soul. There's a church or two a lot closer that we'd enjoy but the worship is so opposite our style that we would really have trouble getting our hearts into it. I worship at home too, but there's nothing quite the same as singing to our Lord with a couple hundred other believers, all in one accord.
My pastor is one of the smartest men I know. I get something from almost every sermon. There was a series of sermons he did related to politics that Shane and I discussed for days. We weren't sure we agreed with it all, but boy did it stretch us! Listening together to our pastor adds strength to our marriage. One sermon a few months ago really drew Shane in, while other sermons speak to me more. It's interesting to compare notes on what God is teaching us individually and as a couple.
We get to know people we would have otherwise never met. There are a lot of women who are further in their walks with the Lord than I am. They gracefully demonstrate their gifts to the body as they love and serve. I get to absorb this as we work together on a project related to church. What a blessing to "sit" under the women who have so much to share!
I can use the gifts the Lord's given me anywhere, but what better way to regularly exercise and practice them than to fellow believers in my church? We are called to build up other Christians, and I find church to be the best place to start!
It's easiest to tithe on a regular basis if I am in church. When we miss the Sunday after payday, it's harder for me to make sure I get that tithe in the plate two weeks later. It gives us a place and a regular schedule for our giving.
Another reason I love being in church is that Shane can let his guy-guard down. Our society expects so much from men that God doesn't. In church, men can be tender, can be the leaders they're supposed to be (or they can learn under other great models), they can tear up, be weak and vulnerable, and they can freely worship their God. Especially because of Shane's field of work, he needs a place like this.
People in our church can plant seeds in me or my family. When we started the PRC, Doug, our pastor (then) was the fuel behind it. God called us, Doug coached us. I'm sure God could have pulled it off another way, but without Doug, I'm not sure the center would be here. In the same vein, Ash has a Sunday School teacher who is absolutely precious. They have a great bond and Ash learns from her in different ways than she learns from me. Even when Ash is grown up, I know she'll have a tender place in her heart for Mrs. Sherry.
Finally, to challenge my dear cousin-in-law (and many others who feel this way)-with her permission, may I suggest that the hypocrite argument holds no water? If we went to church to become perfect; if there were a special device at the front doors that would take our sinful habits away, then we could be upset with the people who come in the back door (missing the device) and continue to mess up. Unless you are also sin free as a Christian (I only know of One!), then how can you (or I) complain that a fellow church goer still sins? After all the church is not a social club for perfect people, it's a hospital for the wounded.
We don't go to church to compare our lives to each other, we go to come before the Lord, compare our lives to his standards, repent and worship! All fall short, remember-I am part of all.
I grew up in a house that had the attitude that you don't have to be in church to go to heaven. That is perfectly true. However, as an adult it left me weak and unknowing as a Christian. When the pastor would say, "We all know what happened to Jonah." I'd think, "Well, I don't..." and I'd feel ashamed. If I had been brought to church, I wouldn't have been behind.
My final point is this: If I were to pray and ask God, "God, if I find a good, solid, Bible believing church that follows you and worships in truth, should I go?" what would he likely say? Would he say, "No, please be comfortable and stay in bed, just watch that TV preacher." or maybe, "No, there's no need for you to hang out with hypocrites." Thanks for letting me pick on your statement Jennifer, you're a good sport :)
Thursday, May 29, 2008
So, today, I have a problem for you to solve. See, when I was in highschool, I was lonely and really didn't feel like I had many friends. I prayed about it and then suddenly, I had too many to fit in my car to go to lunch with (ahem, I should say here that I drove a pickup, so it didn't take too long to get too many!).
Apparently, God has blessed me by continuing to answer that prayer for friends. Shane and I have pockets of friends in various places-a few churches, two pregnancy centers-which means 2 boards and two sets of staff, plus the former staff we still have contact with, two or three jobs (his current, his old...), our Life Group, Awana-the teachers of our kids, and then those friends who don't fit a group...everyone (okay, not everyone from above, but you get what I mean) wants to know FIRST if this is a boy or girl. Which we'll hopefully know on Monday. Oh, you say I forgot to mention family? See what I mean? How will I tell everyone?
I don't have unlimited texting so that idea is out.
An email is too impersonal, isn't it?
Not enough of the above read my blog.
Just thinking of calling everyone makes me tired.
I'm out of ideas. Have any? As long as we have to come up with something, it might as well be creative! I'm really lacking in that department, so help me out!
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
I clicked on it and have been steadily reading it for a few nights. I'm so moved by it. I wish I'd read it as it was happening instead of catching up. I've been trying to think of how to share it here, but I can't figure out how to describe it. Part of me wants to keep it to myself, to ponder it in my heart. I think that's out of fear. Shane doesn't know I've been reading it, he wouldn't approve if he did. I plan to introduce him to it when the time is right.
Maybe you already know all about the story of Selah's Todd Smith and his wife Angie. She was given the most terrible news at her 20 week sonogram. Now you see why Shane wouldn't want me to read it right now. I'm just a couple weeks from my own 20 week sono. We've walked with a friend down this road. Shane met Danny and we prayed for a healing before he was born. We know it's real, you know? We know a long life isn't promised. By exposing you to this blog, I guess I'm letting you in on my own fears. It's like saying it out loud. Yes I'm afraid of losing one of my children. As I sobbed through this blog, I would sometimes think, "God, please don't call me to do that. I can't do that." Oh, the pain of just the thought is so hard.
This blog lets you see into the heart of a mom going through the one thing we all fear the most. Angie is so very open, honest, and worshipful through the process. The day before her scheduled C-section, Angie was presenting the gospel to her blog readers. Amazing woman. Now I know why the other blog just wrote "Amazing" and left it at that.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Family Life Today broadcast (you can listen online or download to your mp3 player) that talks about teaching our young ones the catechism. I've always been drawn to the idea of teaching the Westminster shorter catechism to my girls (and learning it myself) but am so unfamiliar with it that I never did it. This broadcast and book called Big Truths for Little Kids explains it more and I think we may order it and do it over the summer. (Denise, you might like this one.)
While we're talking about listening online, this is a great resource for finding godly programs. Great names like Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Beth Moore, Focus on the Family, Ken Ham (Answers in Genesis), Kay Arthur, John MacArthur, Alistair Begg (one of Shane's faves) and dozens more are featured. I love it!
Here's a fun place if you're a wordsmith-a visual dictionary (thanks Summer!).
Did you know Cranium has a very cool website? Makes you want to pull out a board game tonight! Click on the fun ideas tab at the top! It's also a handy place to see what other fun games they're offering and order pieces to games. We've not found a Cranium game we didn't like!
Want to watch live video of the African wild?
Feel the need to report little things in your life between blog posts? Twitter allows you to do that. You can follow your friends, too. If you received an email inviting you to join from Glorygirl (or karatechick-Ash), it was me :). So far it's okay, but would be more fun if you'd join! There are a lot of fun features to it I haven't tried yet.
Some good blogs I've found lately:
We are That Family-a fun blog written by a Christian mom. I don't know how to define this blog any more than that, except to say I'm drawn to her mix of sincerity and humor.
Sorta Crunchy-she's a little less crunchy than me (or the me I want to be!), but I love reading her blog nonetheless. She looks a lot like a woman who used to volunteer at my "other" pregnancy center, so I just like her :)
Rocks in my Dryer-she's got quite a following, and if you check her out, you'll see why!
Looking Towards Heaven-Karla has very not-boring blog. She always has a different topic-improving your blog, adventures of muffin top (you know, when your middle muffins out a bit...nah, I'm sure I'm the only one who gets that!), as well as fun contests and links.
Oh my, and Fussypants. Have I told you about Fussypants? She's a hoot-a balanced Christian woman who coaches us in fashion trends and inner beauty. She just delivered her fourth boy, wearing pearls.
Fussypants was a link I found from Blissfully Domestic. I think I've just hit the tip of the ice burg of this network of mostly Christian moms (I think they're all moms) who blog on all kinds of topics. Just watch some of the outside links on some of the blogs, on occasion the ads on those are not PG-I don't think the blogger can control that, fyi.
Finally, a plug for a new little shop I found, Just Stickem Up (this one's an ebay store, not a brick & mortar). She sells beautiful word art for your home for a very reasonable price.
...and for my two other favorite little businesses:
Feather Your Nest-based in Arkansas but you can order online and shipping is fast! Gina's website is worth looking at, even if it's just for ideas on decorating you home in a vintage style.
And don't miss the Duwe's card company (link in my sidebar) which offers greeting cards made from Rick's original hand painted designs. They include scripture and are precious in their simplicity (and they're affordable!).
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
I messed up and misunderstood the softball coach. She told me our game tonight was cancelled, but I thought it was next week's game. So, off to the field we go only to turn back around and come home. Ash was embarrassed since her coach was out there watching her son play so we were busted. It wasn't as bad as the time last year when I sent the girls to Awana in their PJs a week before it was actually pajama night, but when you're a tween, any embarrassment is too much. So, in order to redeem myself and enjoy the nice evening outside, I made an obstacle course for the girls...They hopped through hula hoops...
And walked in funny ways...
This one got a little help from big sister...
And this one needed no help! Boy did she go!Yes, this was part of the course!
And so was this...she's singing the ABC's before she can move on to the next part.
Well, here come the dramatics. She doesn't want to wait for her next turn. But she's so cute!
This one has issues. She thinks the fuzzy things that fall out of the pecan tree are worms or something and once she saw them on the ground she refused to be set back down!This is all of them very early in the morning. Hope is sleeping quite soundly as you can tell (even though she thinks she can only sleep in my bed, ugghhh). Then Ash & Beth are next with Adri with half the bed to herself!
We do the buddy system at our house. Ash is Beth's buddy and they're very close. (Buddies help the little ones get their shoes on, pour cereal, or whatever.) It's very sweet how Beth curls up to Ash when they sleep.
Here's the second set of buddies. This was taken by Ash on the porch swing this morning. I see Hope maturing in her buddy job. She's doing good at nurturing and I love to see her grow in this area. I can see that she & Jay are getting closer, but Jay also really likes Ash...and Beth...she's a friendly girl! By the way, did you notice Jay & Hope have the same exact hair? Funny, since none of the rest match up at all!
We don't need real toys! The little ones just like the couch pillows and totes!
So this is my crew...and just a fun note, Hope just got out of the shower and was singing in her southern twangy voice. I suspect she was singing "Sunrise Sunset" from Fiddler on the Roof. The song was in our wedding and I pointed this out when we watched it a few days ago. I suspect Hope was singing it because Bethany came out of the bathroom singing "Sunrise...Sunset...Sunrise...Sunet..."over and over. Pretty funny from a 4 year old!
Thursday, May 15, 2008
By the way, I'm a mix between uber, hippie, and slacker since I'm conservative, a little granola, and not really a conformist.
In my job, I have figured out how to mix with all different denominations. Now my new challenge is to mix with (even though we aren't supposed to mix) all these types of moms.
Have a blessed Thursday--the weekend is almost here! And don't miss my picture laden post below!
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
The ever socializing Hope!
More coming soon!
Sunday, May 11, 2008
On our way home, Ash announced that Hope had a bug on her head that was stuck on her and big. Shane and I looked at each other and called Hope to the front of the (parked) van. Sure enough, it was a tick, just as we suspected. Shane removed it, wrapped it up in a napkin and we went home to doctor up her wound and inspect the tick close up.
We learned via the net that it wasn't a deer tick, which could carry Lyme disease, but we couldn't find it's head attached to its body, even with our little microscope. Shane decided to take her to the urgent care clinic in case the head was still buried in her skin. They ended up at the ER, since the clinic decided Mother's Day was no day to be open. The ER doctor was glad they came in because of a large knot under the bite, but thankfully he thought he could see the head through his microscope.
While they were gone, I started a crock pot cake and took a nap. Of course I told Ash to come get me if her Daddy called with news. He only called asking for the year of Hope's birth...when you have so many, sometimes they get all mixed up you know :)
Once they came home, we ate cake and headed out to see all the Moms and Grandmas in our family. We are blessed to have both our moms nearby and two of our grandmothers. They've all done a part to leave a great legacy. They are all strong women with many talents.
So, there you have it. Dishes, ticks, twins, cake and wonderful moms to celebrate. All in all, not a bad day!
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Edit: I had trouble with the YouTube videos, so I'm putting them on Photobucket. There's only one so far, but I'll put the others back up as I have time :)
I uploaded a couple videos of Ash (and one with my brother, Stanton). You can see them above. The one with the fewest people is the belt test. Ash is now an orange belt. After her test, Stanton tested (it was pretty funny, by the way-he didn't know what to say when he was asked God's name). I was using our new camera and thought I turned it off between their tests, but didn't--sorry! I will promptly put "learn to edit video" on my long list of things to learn to do!
Our trip to Tulsa was interesting. Jaybird didn't like the ride home too much and we had to take lots of breaks to get her out of her carseat. Our trip there was the longest trip in the history of ever, though. Shane's glasses broke along the way, we'd forgotten to get mouthguards and someone else needed some, ahem, special guy equipment...so we had a layover at--you guessed it--Wal-Mart!
Our hotel room was the dirtiest hotel I've ever stayed it. I took a picture to prove it. Now, I have grime at home, but it's MY grime (or more likely, my kids' grime).
It was all worth it though to see our oldest shine. First, she was thrilled to compete. In front of people. Lots of them. That alone would have sent me home. She had a great time and almost placed in kata. It was a great learning experience for all of us. Besides, it's always a blessing to be with the fun people in Ash's karate class. The instructors are jewels. If you need some encouragement, just hang out in that class for a few minutes!
Oh, and the most important thing-after a karate demonstration that reenacted Christ's last hours, twelve people trusted Jesus for salvation!
Here's some more pics:
Ash and one of her best karate buddies.
Ash's karate hero, Sensei Holzbauer, the leader of ABKA...this guy runs a mile for every year he's been alive on his birthday. He's a great man, a man of faith and a super encourager for the kids (and adults, too I'm sure).
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
You would never guess what the topics were at the end of last week. Surprise pregnancies.
I clicked on May 1st broadcast and immediately started crying. The woman about to be interviewed had four children and was feeling much like I do when she found out she was pregnant with number 5. She put words to everything I'm feeling. Except that she wished for a miscarriage, my emotions line up perfectly with hers.
Shane came in and saw me misty eyed. I assured him these were tears of joy, joy that the Lord knew just what I needed this morning and that I am not alone or crazy or abnormal. Well, the last two might be debatable ;0)
If you care to listen to the broadcasts: http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/FamilyLife_Today/archives.asp?bcd=2008-5-2
You'll have to catch the first one of the 2 in the series today or they might be off the oneplace site. I'm sure you could find them at the Family Life website, though.
Monday, May 5, 2008
Friday, May 2, 2008
Ted Turner says the above will be the result if we don't limit ourselves to just one or two children per family.
Hmmm, how's that working for China and Russia ? (Russia, by the way uses abortion as birth control and the average woman has 20-30 abortions in her lifetime-pray for the pregnancy centers that are trying to get off the ground there!)