Thursday, August 28, 2014

Showers

Me: You need to shower.
Child: Harumph
Me: I told you that you needed a shower yesterday and you didn't get one. You must shower right now.
Child: Okay.

Bathroom door closes.
Noises.

Child pokes head out: Is it okay if I just get my hair wet?
Me: No, you need to clean yourself from head to toe.
Child: Harumph

The shower was just turned on. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.

Breakfast

Oldest Boy: Is that salmon?  I smell something yummy.

I look at the cinnamon roll in my hand and the coffee dripping through the machine.

Oldest Boy: What's that noise?  Are you making salmon?

Me, giggling: Well, I'm eating a cinnamon roll and making coffee.

Oldest Boy, disappointed: Oh.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Damascus

I heard on the news today that in Iraq and the surrounding areas single bedroom apartments are being crammed with five or six families, just so these people can stay alive and safe. I had déjà vu to a book I read recently about the Holocaust. Jews were forced to leave the towns where they grew up and the possessions they worked hard to purchase. With nothing but the clothes on their back and whatever they could stuff in their pockets, they fled and hid in homes of family and friends. But this modern-day Hitler is an organization called IS(IS) and they aren't targeting Jews... They're targeting anyone who won't convert to their religion of Islam.

I was reminded of another religious zealot/terrorist who was proud of his job of killing Christians. He bragged about it, was supported by the local government, and the Christians certainly knew who he was and what he was capable of.

Hitler, Osama bin Laden, Gaza's Hamas leader Ismail Haniye, ISIS's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi... It's hard to imagine any of these guys having a change of heart and deciding to spread love instead of hate, but it's still what we need to be praying for.

Please read this true account of a religious terrorist who spent his efforts killing every Christian he couldn't sway away from their faith. Any time you see the name "Saul," insert the name of one of the above terrorist leaders.

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Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.

In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”

“Yes, Lord,” he answered.

The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”

“Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”

But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.

Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn't he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn't he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.

After many days had gone by, there was a conspiracy among the Jews to kill him, but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.

When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. He talked and debated with the Hellenistic Jews, but they tried to kill him. When the believers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.

Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.

(Acts 9:1-31, NIV)

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It is challenging and exciting to read that and imagine it happening today. But it is what we need.

Please pray with me for a Damascus conversion for these religious terrorists. That is what we need to see.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Sprouts and buds

We headed out to the market and library, expecting it to be much like any other day.  We smiled at our market-vendor friends, made our purchases, and headed over to the library.  My 8-year-old boy made a bee-line for the computer so he could look for a book on a certain topic.  My 12-year-old boy also had a specific book in mind so he looked that up. All this, while I was taking care of business with one of the librarians.

My 8-year-old's book was in the adult non-fiction section, which is on another level of the library.  I convinced him to look for the same type of book in the children's non-fiction section first.  We looked and were rather dissatisfied with the books, so we collected the 12-year-old (who had his new book in hand) and went to the second floor.

My 8-year-old found the section he needed (700s...  746...  746.434) and started perusing for the perfect book.  (Anyone who knows the Dewey Decimal System can probably figure out the topic that had piqued my young son's interest.) 

As we walked through the 700s, we saw a young man, probably 15 or 16, sitting at a table, reading a book, with a chess board in front of him.  I mentioned this to my 12-year-old and suggested that he could go over, introduce himself, and see if the young man was interested in a game of chess.  My 12-year-old asked a few clarifying questions, establishing the parameters of our time at the library and what the best words would be to begin such a conversation, and approached the young man.  I peeked through a bunch of photography books to see my young man happily engaged in a mental battle with a complete stranger.

My 8-year-old continued searching through the books, probably five or six, until he found just the book he was looking for:


As I was lying on my bed, thinking about the day, I marvelled at these events.  One year ago, my youngest had no interest in learning crafty things.  Now, he just determined that he would learn to crochet, without any prodding from me at all. One year ago, my oldest would never have had the gumption to approach a stranger and ask to play chess with him in the library.  Now, he spent half an hour playing two games of chess and making pleasant, not-at-all-awkward conversation.

They're growing and maturing.  Days like this make my heart happy.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Shhh...

My husband, to our oldest boy, about our girl: She talks a lot, doesn't she?

Boy nods in agreement: Can you keep talking to her, so I don't have to?

(Our boy is so sweet and giving of his time. Everyone has their limits, I suppose.)





Thursday, July 24, 2014

Accounting

I read a lot of articles that speak to people like me...Wives, moms, middle-aged women, homeschool teachers, Christians in general. There are a few topics that seem to come up again and again. Modesty. Breast-feeding. Cell Phone use at the park. Pleasing our spouses. And so on, and so on...

I think I've reached my saturation point. Maybe I follow too many people who tend to say the same thing. Maybe there are just a lot of people who feel very strongly about these things. Maybe I waste too much time reading articles on the internet.

Or maybe we just need to get over ourselves and stop it.

Stop setting the bar for others.
Stop (passive-aggressively) telling your friends what choices they need to make.
Stop comparing and measuring what others do against that thing you read about those people who said what they said.
Stop passing judgment on one another.

I have written about judging others. I haven't written about Romans 14.

I've read this Romans 14 passage many times, enough that it just pops in to my head without me even trying to recall it. Just tonight, I realized that this passage needs to be read every single time I think I'm about to get into one of these discussions.

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Romans 14:12-19

So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.
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(I started highlighting the good parts, but it's all the good part, so I didn't highlight it. Just go read it again if you skimmed the first time. And imagine that it's all highlighted because it's all the good part!)

It's about eating, but it's about a lot more than eating. It's about the choices we make. What's right and wrong...

You may have your own idea of modesty and what works for you. I have mine. They're probably different. That's okay.

We probably think differently about those moms with their phones at the playground. You know what? We can still be friends.

Breast-feeding? To cover or not to cover. That is the question... that we won't be talking about here.

There are plenty of others... Swearing, sharing, every little thing that they are wearing. Dating, waiting, how we spend our time recreating. (Okay, I may be getting carried away here. But did you at least catch the White Christmas reference?)

Anyway, you get the point. I think it's great to dig into these topics and figure out what the right thing to do really is. But there's not always a Bible verse that tells us the right thing to do. (When there is, of course that is the end of the discussion for me.) We are each responsible for the decisions we make. I will answer to God for my choices.

Until then, I really do appreciate the gentle guidance of those who care. Ultimately though, I am the one who decides for myself what is right. And I have no reason to try to force my opinions on others. If I try to do that to you, please gently remind me that you are responsible for yourself, as I am for myself.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Bedtime strikes again

She: I really appreciate the braid that you put in my hair today, even though it ended up getting messy.

Me: You know what?  You are a really sweet girl.  That's a really nice thing for you to say and I appreciate that you told me that.

She: Aw, you're welcome.

Me:  You know what? I love that about you... You are just so sweet.  I would love you even if you weren't this sweet, but you sure make it easy for me to love you.

She:  I would love you even if...

Me: *hands on my hips*

She: ...even if...

Me: *grinning at her in the dark, hands still on my hips*

She: You're just awesome.

You can't help but love this girl