Friday, December 08, 2006

On the links

So here a few blogs and sites I wanted to give an (hopefully) honorable mention:
First up is Advent4evangelicals
I found this Christmas blog through my blogospheric travels and thought it was a great way to anticipate Christmas day and the wonders that followed. Various women, some of whose blogs I read semi-regularly contribute with their own personal reflections.
And this one Lifenut is just different. Her writing is skillful, interesting and memorable. The posts are hard to describe, but the ones I read, I read over several times. The line between fiction(storytelling) and truth is quite blurry over there, so just sit back and take it for what it is, a blog with a distinct personality.
Follow this link to DrawMo! to view artwork posted at Flickr by amateur artists dedicated to posting a drawing a day for the month of November. Very cool renderings for those of us who find the eraser easier to use than the pencil.

And now for some true nonsense...

Okay this one deserves it's own post. Well, "deserve" is a relative term. I just didn't want to pair it up with anything else. They are gym shirts for Lutheran clergy members. No joke. Check it out for yourself.

BTW, give yourself two points if you caught the double pun. And if you still don't get it, I'll send you a pair of these shorts as a consolation prize.

The "Oh, this is why I love to read" List

So if you know me, you've probably seen me with a book in hand or one within reach at any given point. And I've already mentioned that my mother and I browsed the newest Barnes and Noble Bookstore in her area on Black Friday (official day of shopping after American Thanksgiving).
So with this in mind, I present the following Christmas selections straight from the kid's department.

When I saw this book, The Snow Globe Family I called my mom over to look at it with me. The book tells about the family living inside another family's snowglobe. You can imagine the fierce blizzard conditions that this little family encounters, but also the wonderful sledding opportunities that fall their way. It's a delightful story with Victorian era illustrations which come to life on the page.

I came across this book, Mortimer's Christmas Manger last Christmas season, but rediscovered it this year online. It's falls into the "cute" department, with the mouse needing a new place to sleep and happening upon a family's nativity set. A story written from the Christian worldview of Christmas, it is a good reminder for us in this age of consumerism. The illustrations are very compelling and enjoyable to study.

Patricia Pingry specializes in writing board books, including this one, The Story of Christmas for toddlers on a wide variety of events, people and Bible stories. The illustrator changes, but are all similar in design. We have half a dozen other books by her and all them are great for reading from a baby's first day. I think I have the one about Jesus pretty much memorized from start to finish. The Bible stories are accurate and pithy, which is rare these days among publishers. Some of her stories are written to explain the reason behind our Christian holidays. The explanation themselves are much needed by children today of which many have no biblical literacy to place these celebrations. Pingry also writes about people and events in American history. Her simple way of introducing well known people and symbols like Abraham Lincoln and The Star Spangled Banner is perfect for young minds.

This last book, Snowmen at Night was first read to us at the Fredericton library storytime. The librarian said it was one of her new favorites and that she had her own copy at home, just for her. It's written to show what snowmen do when left alone outdoors all night. They seem to enjoy the same activities as their human designers and sculptors, only with a few slight twists. The illustrations are gorgeous works of art that really make you believe the story. There is a follow-up book with the snowmen encountering Santa Claus.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Sailing Through

Just wanted to pop in and say I have not abandoned this place.
I have several things to write about, some blogs to highlight and a few personal notes to add. But I have to get my house in order, literally. It's in a cluttered funk and needs every minute I can give it. Sooooooo...I'll be back for a real post ASAP.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

An Admission and a Link

So my Mom and I didn't tell very many people, but we went shopping on Black Friday and had a very easy time. The only crowd was in Target in the toy and electronic sections. The rest of the stores were bustling, but controlled and pleasant to be in. We made our purchases, but took time to browse in our more favorite stores like Barnes & Noble, where I declared that if my husband ever sent me back to work, I would promptly come right back to the B&N children's area. For those who don't know, I worked there while in university and for a short time after.
Oh, what wonderful treasures we found. Some of them I hope to highlight throughout this upcoming month. Something happens to me when I step inside well done bookstores. It's like time stands still and my real life ceases to exist as I am mesmerized by stories and pictures spilled out on paper. And I must confess, I am a book snob. Many books are trash. Either terrible or missing plots, horrendous illustrations that bring headaches or absurd formatting that crowds out the content.
So needless to say, my eyes glaze over as I scan and skim waiting for my eyes to catch on a true find on which to feast. Umm, what was I saying?
Oh right, so we went shopping on Black Friday with nary a story to tell. But one early morning blogging shopper from down south shares this amazing story of providential encounters on America's most famous shopping day.
Her other blog about Advent4evangelicals will get it's own spotlight in December, which is only a few days away!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

In the Motherland

Well, that's what my husband calls it.
I'm home at my parents in Pennsylvania for the week.
I'm here to eat turkey and sell Barbie dolls on Ebay.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Deck the Halls

This has been our tree for the past three years. As we are usually away for Christmas, we've never seen the need to get a real one. But I'm thinking that next year this dear little tree will find a new home in our son's bedroom and we'll graduate to a real tree for the living room.

This small table is a safe place away from the cat for us to talk about the Incarnation and all the events of that time. This is a strange combination of the Playmobil and Heroes of the Faith sets.

For the past two years, my mother has built up this Willow Tree Nativity collection which I really enjoy. I'm not a knick-knack figurine person, but these pieces seem to do the birth story justice. The three angels on the top of the creche are not part of the set, but it seemed like the right place for them to be heralding the good news.

Found these two red berry trees on sale at Home Hardware and couldn't resist them. Paring them up with my silver candlesticks makes this place look a bit more sophisticated. Yup.

When I bought these new brown candlesticks and berry candle rings, I knew that I should use them that same night and prove their worth. My husband seemed very impressed. Of course the bottle of wine we had with the meal may have added to his appreciation and enjoyment as well. :)

At Home in Mitford

Reading through this series again. I really, really like it.
At Home in Mitford
Most local libraries should have the books on hand, so dive in and enjoy the Mitfordians. They're a southern hoot.

Knitting Woes

Yes, I've gotten out my needles again and look what I've done.
I did go to a local yarn store today and plead for help from the professionals. But as helpful as she was, her needles flashed so quickly even when she slowed it down to show me that I'm afraid it's all a blur.
I think I actually heard my needles mocking me tonight as I cast-on a few more knots in the row.
And knitting is in again. The Knit Cafe

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Girltalk on mothering

Here are two short posts about discipline and mothering from the Mahaney girls at Girltalk.
Mamma's word
Wise at last

Sunday, November 12, 2006


We've set up our nativity scenes and are talking about the incarnation. It's a lot of details for a three year old to remember. My favorite is when he sings as he plays with the nativity characters, like right now. Love it. Or when he picks up the angel and says, "Good News!".

Santa's got nothing on this.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

In the not-too-distant future

So I was looking at my blog stats for the past week and many of the Google search terms that have brought people to my blog are related to spanking.
It's been months now since I blogged on that topic, but lately I've been ruminating on some of the related discipline issues. Several passages that I have seen Christian anit-spanking parents use to advance their cause are have been coming to mind and I intend to study up on them and post my findings. One of them for sure will be 1 John 4:18 and probably another will be Matthew 25:40,45.
My goal is certainly not to antagonize anyone, but to discuss the verses in the context in which they were written. Wresting verses out of context to suit our purposes and beliefs is an insult to God's Word. There is an intended meaning for every passage and as Christians we need to deal honestly with the text, regardless of what it does to our belief system.
With that said, I better save the rest of my thoughts for the real post.

Romans and the Gospel

Earlier this week I was reading in Romans and in chapter 1:13-15, I was puzzled why Paul refers to having a harvest among the Roman Christians and his desire to preach the gospel to them. Those phrases are usually reserved for preaching to unbelievers, so why is Paul saying this to the church in Rome?
So I dragged out my husband's thick commentary on Romans by Douglas Moo and began reading. Moo says that harvest refers to the "product of his[Paul's] apostolic labors including here probably both an increase in the number of Christians through evangelization among the Romans and a strengthening of the faith of the Roman Christians themselves". So for Paul having a "harvest" was not simply having unbelievers convert to Christianity it was also having the current believers built up and discipled further into their new faith. This idea is repeated again by Paul in verse 15 where he expresses a desire to preach the gospel to them. Looking to Douglas Moo's commentary again, he says that "the 'preach[ing] of the gospel' is referring to the ongoing work of teaching and discipleship that builds on initial evangelization".
For many Christians, gospel preaching means preaching to the unsaved in hopes that some will repent of their sin and trust in Jesus as their Saviour. From the verses mentioned above, that is an incomplete understanding of what it means to preach the gospel. For Paul, preaching the gospel also included discipleship and edification of the church. It was not merely a time when the unbeliever was targeted for salvation, but also a time for the Christian to be strengthened in the faith as their understanding of salvation was expanded. Thinking this way about the gospel then can change the way we view evangelization.
As long as I can remember, the gospel of John is what is almost always recommended and passed out to unbelievers and new believers universally. The third chapter of John especially being the beacon light by which unbelievers will see God's love for sinners displayed in His Son, Jesus. This is accurate and I am certainly not knocking John's gospel. But I mention that to show that while John's book is the most popular for gospel preaching efforts, it is Paul in his epistles, especially Romans who speaks the most about the gospel. Eleven times in the book of Romans is the term for gospel and evangelization used by Paul to describe his calling and his preaching topic.
In using the commentary I did the reverse of what most Bible students should do, I looked at the specific passages I had questions about, then I turned to the beginning and read what the author thought the intended theme of Romans was. Douglas Moo after affirming that "justification by faith" is certainly central to Paul's argument, goes on then to say that the theme of Romans is, actually, "the gospel". Funny how in a book that is largely regarded as a book of doctrine, which means teaching or instruction, the gospel is central to the book's theme. The gospel which has been watered down by so many evangelists to simply meaning, telling the unsaved that they are sinners and need a Saviour, actually encompasses all of theology, notably Christology and soteriology.
For church leaders and pastors to delegate a service or portion of a service to the preaching of the gospel as they earnestly plead for sinners to turn to Christ for salvation is showing a misunderstanding of the full meaning of the gospel. The gospel as Paul shows is for the believer; the preaching of the gospel is for conviction of sin of course, but it is also for training and equipping as a means of building up the church.
Understanding the full meaning of the gospel should then lead us to preach it in a way that not only is the unbeliever hearing about sin, wrath and forgiveness, but the believer is being deepened in their theology. The separation of gospel versus doctrine(ministry as some call it) that has affected many preachers is unfortunate and erroneous. The apostle Paul sought to preach the gospel to both groups of people and allowed the Holy Spirit to discern the personal application.
The book of Romans is the Christian's world view because it describes God's transcendent worldview. Understanding God's transcendency entails an acknowledgment that what God says about the world is true and is not up for debate or disbelief.
As the Protestant church has just celebrated the anniversary of the Reformation, Romans 1:17 has been quoted extensively by many bloggers and preachers.
For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."

This verse has many pages dedicated to its understanding with many scholars and teachers have varying opinions on what meaning Paul intended with each particular phrase. My eyes caught the part, "a righteousness that is by faith from first to last", which is revealed in the gospel Paul tells us. Calvin understood this to mean that as our faith makes progress and as it grows in knowledge, the righteousness of God increases in us at the same time. Under this view, the gospel speaks then not only of salvation but also of perseverance and sanctification. This well explains Paul's desire to preach the gospel to the believers in Rome; he wanted to see them persevere and continue in their pursuit of holiness. In Paul's apostolic ministry there was no division of preaching material. It was all for the gospel.
Understanding this part of the book of Romans as shown me that any conversations that I undertake in my limited sphere of influence should all flow from the same desire as Paul: to see "a righteousness from God" revealed both to the Christian and the non-Christian.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Abortion insight

Kevin from the Derek Webb forum writes this about abortion:
If we want God's take on the whole deal, we know that he knit us in our mother's womb. What about the nature of God makes us think he's cool with us just going ahead and killing what he knit?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Reformation Day!

How is that after twelve years of Christian education, thirteen if you want to count kindergarten, I managed to never remember hearing anything about this historical holiday? Oh, we dressed up at school in costumes based on different themes provided by the school or teacher, and although often we came as historical figures( I was Betsy Ross one year and my brother was Ben Franklin), I didn't ever grasp the vast significance of the date until just a few years ago, I'm sorry to say.
What changed? Frankly I believe it was my understanding of Calvinism and its place in history that brought me to an understanding of the need for church history.
Now as a mother preparing to home educate our son, I am looking for curriculum that will teach the whole counsel of history, not just the stories of Columbus and the Pilgrims. I'm also wondering if the authors of the curriculum wrote with untaught parents and teachers in mind. In discussing this with a friend who homeschools her two boys, I noted that I would like to study the material myself and learn what I missed. She agreed and said that sometimes she tells her boys, "Just hang on a second, this is really interesting" as she sits with them and reads the books.
It was two years ago this month that I learned that October 31 was the same date as Luther's posting on the door in Germany. What rock had I been under?
Did all other Christians know this and just assumed I did too? Instead of creating an alternative celebration to Halloween, here I had a real and historical reason to celebrate the day. God had taken a German monk, convicted him of his sin, saved him and fitted him with the boldness to protest against the catholic church's practices and doctrines. What a great day to remember! God was reviving His church and it would never be the same.
Learning this bit of history opened the door for me to understand what a staggering amount of information was missing from my life. Yes, I knew the redemption story, and the book of Acts, but what happened after Paul and Peter and James? Who did God raise up next to carry on His work? Someone must know. And as my husband and I began to read new authors and new titles(some of them quite old actually), the world as seen from God's perspective was unveiled. The history of the world was not worldly, it was heavenly. I had spent all my years of education wrongly compartmentalizing the various subjects: American history, Italian artists, Roman Catholic saints, English monarchies, German philosphers, European scientists and Middle East conflicts, etc. But as I began to realize they all fell under the heading: The Works of Jesus Christ. What a relief to know that I could study "secular" history and be adding to my "biblical" world view! There was no shame in reading a non-Christian history book because there was no such thing as non-Christian history. My heavenly Father was the orchestrator and hero of every story. Now the task fell to finding authors and books that understood that great truth.
Our bookshelves at home have undergone a metamorphosis. We are now searching and reading books that match our understanding of history. And since I love children's literature complete with illustrations, I am delighted to find so many wonderful editions to choose from. Here's one that suits the day.

I pulled this book off the shelf to read yesterday and found it thoroughly engaging. One of the new things I learned about Martin Luther is that he is credited with inventing the idea of the parsonage. Not surprisingly, his home was always abuzz with students and visitors, so much so that his dinner conversation was actually eventually written down into a book called Luther's Table Talk.

So here is some dinner conversation for tonight's Reformation meal, what happened to history? How did it fall out of favor with so much of the church? And of course, what can we do to exchange our ignorance for enlightenment? The Wittenburg door needs new posters, written by the Spirit of the living God on tablets of human hearts(2Cor. 3:3).
Not to get repetitive but head to Tim Challies blog to find other posts celebrating the Reformation.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Skating...or maybe not

With my husband having great athletic talent and coordination, I was hoping that our son would take after him and be ready to skate this year. As you can see from the picture, his nickname "Spaghetti Legs" accompanies him to the rink as well.

So what do you do with a kid who can't/won't stand up on his skates?
You get out the skates with no blades, also known as sneakers.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Flickr-ing pics

This is just a reminder that our family pictures are posted at anyone interested. I have a free account which limits how much I can load per month, but I'm trying to stay on top of the recent pictures we've taken. I've just added pics from the weekend including my husband's birthday dinner. Enjoy!

Monday, October 23, 2006


a state of inactivity or stagnation, as in business or art

Waiting for winds of inspiration to bring my blogging sails to life.

In the meantime, go read Tim Challies post on Halloween and the Christian family.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

"By Their Books We Shall Know Them"

Great post by Tim Challies about personal libraries. Click here.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

John Piper letter republished

I've long stopped wondering why doctors work so hard to save babies when our country works so hard to get rid of them. Everytime WORLD magazine publishes an article reporting on abortion clinicians who have been accused of killing a baby due to a botched abortion or unintended delivery, I wonder what makes these "healthcare providers" harm these little babies?
I realize the answer is sin, but somedays that answer just doesn't seem adequate enough. I want to get in their face and shout at them to open their eyes to their own wicked hearts. Kinda like what God sometimes has to do to me. Gulp.
Anyways I've posted this letter from Piper's website that he wrote over 10 years ago as a response to a newspaper article.

Open Letter to the Star Tribune
By John Piper January 1, 1995

Dear Editor,

Are you aware of the fact that the same day the Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved the unconditional permission to terminate the lives of 24-week-old fetuses, the neonatology unit at Abbot Northwestern was caring for a 22-and-a-half week-old (500 gram) preemie with good chances of healthy life?

Now that is news and calls for profound reflection. Instead, your lead editorial the morning after (Feb. 26) glossed over this critical issue and endorsed abortion because it is "one of the most personal decisions a woman can make" and because "the abortion decision is undeniably sensitive." This level of reflection is unworthy of major editorials in good newspapers.

I assume you mean by "personal decision" not: having deep personal implications; but: having deep personal implications for only one person, the mother.

But abortion is emphatically not a "personal" decision in that limited sense. There is another person, namely, the unborn child. If you deny this, you must give an account of what that little preemie is at Abbot Northwestern. Abortion is a decision about competing human rights: the right not to be pregnant and the right not to be killed.

I assume you approve of the Committee's action. But I also assume you would not approve of the mother's right to strangle the preemie at Abbot before its 25th week of life. If so you owe your readers an explanation of your simple endorsement of abortion because it is "personal" and "sensitive".

In fact I challenge you to publish two photographs side by side: one of this "child" outside the womb and another of a "fetus" inside the womb both at 23 or 24 weeks, with a caption that says something like: "We at the Star Tribune regard the termination of the preemie as manslaughter and the termination of the fetus as the personal choice of the mother."

I have read in your pages how you disdain the use of pictures because abortion is too complex for simplistic solutions. But I also remember how you approved the possible televising of an execution as one of the most effective ways of turning the heart of America against capital punishment (a similarly complex issue).

We both know that if America watched repeated termination of 23-week-old fetuses on television (or saw the procedure truthfully documented in your paper), the sentiment of our society would profoundly change. (The Alan Guttmacher Institute estimated over 9,000 abortions after 21 weeks in 1987.)

Words fail to describe the barbarity of an unconditional right to take the life of a human being as fully developed as 23 weeks. You could never successfully defend it in the public presence of the act itself.

You can do so only in the moral fog of phrases like: Abortion must be left to the woman because it is "undeniably sensitive". This is not compelling. There are many sensitive situations where the state prescribes limits for how we express our feelings where others are concerned. And there is another concerned. If you are willing, you may meet this "other person" face to face in dozens of hospitals around the country.

Sincerely yours,

John Piper


© Desiring God

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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: Email: Toll Free: 1.888.346.4700

Having God's Perspective

I found this link via Tim Challies blog and knew immediately that this should be posted here as well. My words are inadequate so here's the link.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Doing God's Work God's Way

Catching up on some of my reading, I came across some concepts from Amy Carmichael's life that struck me as extraordinary. Her mission work started in her hometown in Northern Ireland amongst the mill girls, who were disparagingly referred to as "shawlies". (These girls wore shawls instead of hats, which were more "respectable"). She writes about the expanding work:
From this time on, the work for the mill-girls grew and grew till we needed a hall that would seat 500; just then we saw an advertisement in The Christian. An iron hall could be put up for 500 pounds and it would seat 500 people.
When I was about ten or eleven I was asked to collect money for the Birds' Nest, Dublin, and as I happened to be staying with my grandmother I took the collecting card to her various friends in Portaferry and asked them to help. There was one who had just built a new house for himself. He refused to give anything.
Perhaps it was the repulse of that refusal that set me thinking: Why not ask God to make those who love Him want to help the little children whom He loves, instead of asking for help from those who perhaps don't love Him?
Later on many thoughts came, and in the end I settled that it is enough to ask our Father only, for the money for his work. I had no thought then, no faintest dream of what He was going to do in answer to prayer like that.

Amy then goes on to tell how God used a Christian friend of her mother's to provide the funds and Amy herself after much prayer approached a mill owner about purchasing part of his land. Everything was provided for and her hall was built and given the name "The Welcome". Looking only to the Lord for her finances and provisions was the method Amy carried with her into all her future work.
Looking around her at the various church groups using fundraising for their projects brought these words:
We must have money. We can't build spires ninety feet without it, we can't decorate our churches with elegant windows without it, we can't issue costly programmes for our social meetings without it, we can't furnish our sanctuaries with real polished mahogany without it...How are we to get it? You may touchingly plead for the 865,000,000 heathen abroad. You may paint a picture terrible and true of the state of the home heathen at our doors. You may work yourself into hysterics over these and other intensely real realitiies but you won't get the money. So another plan must be devised. We shall get up a fancy fair.

Next she writes about an advertisement in the local paper about one such fair put on by a local church and the theatricals involved.
Continuing in a light hearted manner she says:
Let us fancy for a moment we are a band of Israelites who want to build a magnificent abode for the Mighty Presence to dwell in. We convene a committee...Moses says, stroking his beard meditatively, "Ah the people's tastes must be considered, in the present state of society we cannot do otherwise, though of course it is not a desirable course to pursue."
"But brother,"remarks Aaron, "the Tabernacle must really have decent curtains, and if they are to be of goat's hair they will cost quite a large sum of money and then they must be embroidered..." Then Bezaleel speaks: "You speak, my brethern, as if nothing but the curtains should be considered, but there is a great amount of carving in wood and cutting in stones to be thought of and various curious things to be devised out of gold and silver and brass. These too will cost money." There is a silence. Moses looks puzzled when in a very hesitating voice Aholiab says, "Have we not, Bezaleel, got both time and talent to devote to this work? Could we not spend and be spent in the service of the sanctuary?" But he is quite squashed by the head-shakings of the committee. Such a thing would never do. "What would become of our families if we worked for nothing? Really Aholiab should be ashamed of himself--such an idea!" etc.etc. Suddenly Moses' face brightens. "Just what I remarked at first," he says pleasantly, "In the present state of society we must conform a little to the world. We'll have a Bazaar!"

Isn't it a pretty picture--far superior to: "And they came both men and women as many as were willing-hearted and brought bracelets and earrings and tablets and jewels of gold and every man that offered, offered an offering of gold unto the Lord." Three things we may notice:
1st as many as were willing-hearted
2nd brought their own possessions
3rd unto the Lord.
Is the work for which we want the money God's chosen work for us, or our chosen work for Him? If the former, will not He see after the money necessary? If the latter, then how can we expect anything better than we have?

In her biography of Amy's life, A Chance to Die, Elisabeth Elliot concludes this part of Amy's work by adding:
These principles, discovered when Amy was alone with her Bible and her God, written down only for the small circle of readers of Scraps were never laid aside. Years later their influence was felt by thousands.

Looking for people to help her in work with the mill girls was another issue that Miss Carmichael was determined to be different.
Frank Houghton writes this in his book, Amy Carmichael of Dohnavur:
What was required in one who was to take part in this work? As Amy studied the book of Ezra the question was answered. At that time others beside the Lord's people offered to help in building His house, but their offers were refused. Even though refusal caused offence, and in fact delayed the completion of the work, the Jewish leaders held firmly to the principle that none but the Lord's people could share in the task (Ezra 4).

Amy's words continue:
It is the word of 1 Corinthians 3. 11-15 again. Do we want to build in substance that will abide the test of fire? Then let us see to it that the builders are those whose hearts are set on building in gold, silver and precious stones. This was what was taught to us then.
You will not find it difficult to see the bearing this has on all that was 'before ordained' to be. What I want you to notice specially is the great kindness of our Lord. He led me into this truth at the very beginning and He has kept it as a settled thing in my heart ever since. Nothing that I have told you made for a superior attitude as some said it would. It was just the opposite. It had and it has a very humbling influence.

Houghton writes about the outcome of such a strange practice:
And as she waited, refusing to accept kindly offers of help from any who were not utterly one with her in her desire for the salvation of the mill-girls, a band of loyal friends was given, including older Christian women as well as Amy's contemporaries.

I'm not advocating a certain financial policy of missions and ministries. I just wanted to highlight Amy's reliance on the Lord for all her needs. Lessons to be learned here for sure.

Friday, September 08, 2006

A Mother's Heart

I've posted about the book A Mother's Heart by Jean Fleming before, but I this time I want to post her thoughts that I have written down, read and reread countless times now. This is not just another book on mothering. For me this is, next to the Bible, the most helpful book on being a godly mother that I have yet to read. In one of the early chapters entitled A Vision for the Task this is what she says:
Mothering can seem an isolated occupation unrelated to anything beyond the immediate needs of the family, but there is no more natural way for a mother to influence her world for Christ than through her own children. We will touch few lives with more intensity than the children God has placed in our homes. The implications are awesome.
Time devoted to our children should not be spent marking time, but as an investment in one of our greatest ministry opportunities. Although our children should not be the focus of our lives, if we neglect them to pursue other opportunities we may one day find we lacked a biblical vision of mothering.

"Marking time" is what Jean Fleming calls it. I certainly am guilty of doing just that. Entertaining my son while looking at the clock wondering how much longer until I can do what I want. Providing filler activities to pass the time until dinner and bathtime. If you, like me, feel convicted in this area, just wait, it might get worse.
If you think you would do a better job if you had a "real ministry", one that people would recognize and want to learn from you, listen to her talk about a women missionary.
Several years ago, I heard a dedicated missionary share what she would do differently if she could start raising her family again. This woman was committed to Christ and his cause and she spent her life serving others--so the depth and quality of her life made me sit up and listen when she shared. She said she would stay home more, be kinder to her children, and feed them spiritually.
Not what we would expect is it?
Fleming went on to recount:
Even knowing she would spend almost all of her married life as a missionary in Asia, this woman said she would have postponed full-time language study--which took her away from her children during their preschool years--until she could do it without being gone from her children.

Her response to this missionary's revelation is, I think, the key paragraph to this book.
I too am jealous for the influence I have at this crucial period in my child's life to teach him what is good, to enrich his life with beauty, to train him in obedience and respect, to stimulate his eager intellect, to encourage his attempts to try new things, and to play with him. I want to enjoy these years that happen only once and are soon gone forever.

Once the full import of this way of thinking sets in, the question no longer is, "What will we do all day?". The question becomes, "How on earth will I ever get all this done in such a short time?".
Ending the next chapter, What Values Are Really Important?, Mrs. Fleming writes:
I must constantly remind myself that though the visible, tangible world is so insistent and clamorous in its demands, I must not let it badger me into spending my life unwisely... I must take the long view. I must choose to do those things that will give satisfaction as I view my life as a whole, rather than measure satisfaction at the end of each day.
She then quotes this poem to strengthen her insight.
Time is of the Essence
by Irene Foster

Now is the time to get things done...
Wade in the water,
Sit in the sun,
Squish my toes in the mud by the door
Explore the world with a boy just four.

Now is the time to study books,
How a cloud looks,
To ponder "up,"
Where God sleeps nights,
Why mosquitoes take such big bites.

Later there'll be time
To sew and clean
Paint the hall
That soft new green,
To make new drapes, refinish the floor,
Later on...
When he's not just four.

A tender reminder of how important mothering is to our children.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Life Under the Sun: No More Mommy Wars

Michele writes about the problems with arguing about parenting styles in her post Life Under the Sun: No More Mommy Wars. Even if you're not a parent, you can still enjoy her thoughts.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Back pounding 101

Listen, I know I abandoned you all this summer, but I'm here again and I'm posting and...and...and...nobody has dropped in to say, "welcome back, heather"!
So before you fall all over yourselves trying to make up the silence with your inevitable fawning, may I remind you that I can always disappear again! Umm...right... so yeah...where is everyone?

30 Days of Nothing

Here's the gist of the project that Tonia from Intent (hat tip: Allthings2all) has started to help her family combat the dangers of consumerism. Buy nothing except the basic necessities for the month of September and send saved money to a charity.
The goal of this month-long fast is to break the grip of materialism in our hearts and minds. We want to live in gratitude, not discontent; and we want to live with awareness of the great responsibility our affluence has laid on our shoulders.
Speaking strictly about myself and the effects that things have on me I can say the following:
It certainly isn't wrong to have money to buy the extras, however when I use our money to buy into the lie that happiness means more stuff, then I certainly have lost sight of the kingdom of God.
But, oh how deceptive my own heart is in that it not only blinds me into not seeing my greediness, but when it is seen for what it is I then seek to justify it by any number of ways. God could take it all away, but unless He changes the heart, our desires to rebuild will only drag us back.

*note: link for Allthings2all is not working. The blogsite is

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

"So what have you been reading lately?"...

I'm so glad you asked.
Last week I took my father-in-law to several used bookstores in the city and at the first one I found a copy of this book, Amy Carmichael of Dohnavur. I have already read Elisabeth Elliot's biography of Amy Carmichael, A Chance to Die and have started rereading it again.
I just finished Noel Piper's book, Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God. This book highlights five well known women and their service to the Lord. I will be looking to get their own individual stories as the little snippets weren't nearly enough. It's hard to say which story was the most poignant as they all struck my heart in some form or another. Four of the women's stories were new to me and at times their experiences took my breath away. If you can read this, you should.
I just recently borrowed The Christ of the Covenants from our church's seminary library. It was recommended to me by a Reformed Baptist on the Derek Webb forum as a good explanation of Covenant Theology(CT). I'm only in the first chapter as this is not a book that I can read in bed at night as my eyes grow heavy and my mind becomes dull. CT is new territory for me and it's important that I take my time to take in as much as possible.
A few other books that I have started by haven't made much headway on are The Pilgrim's Progress in Modern English and Don't Know Much About History. I also usually have children's literature book on the go and this past Saturday I picked up a copy of Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator for a quarter at a yard sale.

Monday, August 28, 2006

New Little Nico

After several weeks of looking for a free cat to adopt, a friend of mine called to say that she had a friend with a four week old kitten who they couldn't keep due to allergies. Was I interested? I said absolutely. So on Saturday, we headed over to look at the cat and this little face was instantly a keeper.
So after spending two nights with us, little Nico(nee-co) seems to be adjusting quite well to his new life. He is litter trained and I have not found any messes yet. He is extremely playful and jumps out to attack anything and everything. He has taken to Seth's toys like they are his own and it's very funny to see a little kitty playing amongst the trucks, cars and parking garages, etc. His purring is like a low rumble and causes his whole frame to vibrate. What a neat design from his Creator.

Friday, August 25, 2006


I read this Fox News column several weeks ago and I thought, "yeah, what's with people anyway?".
Columnist Mike Straka turned to his keyboard several weeks ago to offer up this rant on recent customer dis-service encounters. I have had several hum-dingers myself recently as I shop in the great metropolis of Ottawa. And as I've been left shaking my head, sometimes visibly, I think, how much can a person be expected to take before the last poor sap just gets an earful. Now, as a Christian, I need to rein in this urge to verbally lash out at incompetence. But seriously, why aren't people being trained in performing even the most basic acts of customer service? Why for instance, when I was attempting to purchase an item at a Canadian retail icon, was the teenager unable to translate my question about the sale price into one of action? Which was namely, call someone who knows something, don't just let me figure this one out on my own. Or the girl at the same store who when asked where a certain product was located, gestured down towards several aisles and gave out a number like a bingo announcer. As my small son and I trudged along, I thought, "I hope she's right, cause if I can't find it, chances are I won't find her again". Now before I get accused of being cynical or worse, pessamistic, just think about the last time you needed assistance in store larger than your bedroom and were completely satisfied with the ease at which you found both your product and it's sales team? It's not as common as we think or we wouldn't be so surprised and grateful when the service is outstanding.
The best places to go I have learned are the smaller, locally owned stores where they actually care if you say you will be back. When we lived in Fredericton, there were several small stores that valued my business and I knew it. Finding places like that have been harder, but I will persevere, if for no other reason than to keep my santification process from being a complete train wreck.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Alternative "Evangelization"

Several weeks ago as I was exiting a large grocery store downtown, I was handed this flyer promoting healthy living by an older Asian woman . I didn't have time to look at it until I came home. The pathetic clipart animals and their manipulative messages at the top made me laugh and shake my head in wonder. After doing some online research, I found the flyer connected to a sect of Buddahists who practice the Quan Yin Method,which is Meditation on the Inner Light and Sound, as taught by Supreme Master Ching Hai. If you spend even a little time reading the articles and links, you will find that this religion is inclusive, meaning anyone of any religion can participate. What is left out is that their beliefs, not surprisingly, directly oppose Christianity and our God. So really, if you do hold to other religious beliefs, you ultimately will not be able to practice their forms of Meditation and thus achieve their stated goal of an "omnipresent" being capable of relieving global suffering without leaving your home.
Later as I thought about this flyer, I found myself comparing it to some of the gospel tracts I have seen over the years. The corny quotient for some, leaves one wondering, is it wrong to be embarrassed by such a low-minded pitch? I have certainly experienced embarrassment over some tracts, followed by guilt that I should have that attitude towards an evangelistic tool. Without making this an attempt to explain away my feelings, I will say that our presentation of the gospel in any medium should contain both integrity in method and relevancy in content. Sharing the gospel requires discernment and an understanding of the seriousness of the topic, no matter the target audience. This flyer like some evangelistic tools fail in both categories making them difficult to be successful. Thankfully, it is God who is responsible for turning hearts to Him and not the gimmickry so prevalent in our culture today.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Summer lapse

With the onset of summer, I'll be taking a vacation from my own blog. Summer is too short to spend it behind the screen. Thanks to all who have contributed with their comments and visits. Have a great summer!

Friday, May 26, 2006

The Dan Brown/Dave Hunt Connection

Dave Hunt's book, What Love Is This? has done to the Christian church in North America what Dan Brown's book, The Da Vinci Code has done for Christianity worldwide. They have both promoted an intentionally incorrect view of an important issue. Both exhibit poor research and both contain untrue statements regarding their respective opponents. It is to their discredit that both authors maintain that their books are accurate and need little, if no revising, at all. Many books have been written to refute Dan Brown's "historical" claims about Jesus. Dave Hunt also has been widely refuted by many articles and books and on public radio broadcasts. He has been corrected about many of the errors found in his book concerning Augustine and Calvin and others and also regarding at least one passage that he misquotes in order to prove his points(Matt. 23:37), yet to no avail. He continues to preach and teach in churches around the U.S., warning against the dangers of Reformed Theology, including its so called "Roman Catholic" roots. Nevermind that the Reformers and the Roman Catholics have had much to disagree about for centuries, including free-will and predestination. I see many Christians today who have had exposure to his book and in turn make exceedingly ignorant remarks about Calvinism and all its related issues. Blame, although ultimately laid on the reader for not exercising discernment, must also be shared by Dave Hunt for pursuing such a topic with literary recklessness.
For a short critique of Dave Hunt's book, click here.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Canadian ministry with unique idea

I came across this ministry as a result of a visit to a local Christian bookstore here in Ottawa.
Harvest of Hope Catalogue

Monday, May 15, 2006

McD's former employee speaks out

Here's a link to my high-school friend Robyn discussing her recent 7-month stint working at McDonalds: bobsburbullings
Read this brief clip from her rant about working the drive-thru. This is so reminiscent of a Seinfeld episode.
Or how about this. Me: "Welcome to McDonald's, can I help you?" Customer: "Yes, I would like a shdoiedmigumed and a doimekdligm...umm....and thieldkme." Me: "I'm sorry, can you repeat that?" Customer: "Yes, I would like a shdoiedmigumed and a doimekdligm and thieldkme."
Or, here's another one. Me: "Welcome to McDonald's, can I help you?" Customer: "UMM! I WOULD LIKE, UMM...A.... CHEESEBURGER!" Remember people, these poor people taking your order have ear phones on. Your normal talking voice is fine. Now, if either one of those examples are your real talking voice, then you have more problems then I know.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Perhaps Not Your Typical Mother's Day Thoughts

Since I became a mother almost three years ago, there has been one general topic that my mind shuts down over. That one topic is suffering children. In whatever capacity that children suffer, from abortion to starvation, from neglect to outright abuse/murder, my heart breaks over these issues. And I mean it. I get this terrible feeling in my stomach and I breath real fast while thinking about the issue. I simply can no longer dwell on the topic. The stories that have entered my realm through the radio newshour or reading online and other mediums bother me for days. When I think about what we as humans do to our children, I am reminded of the passage in Jeremiah 32:35 where God talks about the sin of the Israelites.
"They built high places for Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech, though I never commanded, nor did it enter my mind, that they should do such a detestable thing and so make Judah sin."

God considered the sin of the Israelites so terrible that He says it was foreign to His thoughts. It would be like us saying, "It never occured to me that..." or I never dreamed...". God actually had told the Israelites in Levicitus 18:21, " Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molech, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the LORD.". So although God had commanded them in advance not to sacrfice their children, the wickedness of the Israelites was so great that they in fact did commit the "unthinkable".
Are we any different? As Christians we should be. Our treatment of our children should distinguish us from the non-Christians around us. God's rules to the Israelites were intended to set them apart from the heathen nations around them. Ditto that for today's believers as well.
This Sunday is Mother's Day, but really it's a day about children. After all, that's what distinguishes some women from all women. With rampant on-demand abortions, disjointed families, overflowing daycares and all manner of unspeakable violent crimes against children, the fires of Molech are all around us.
I started reading a book last night that a cousin from the states sent up for me to read. She went throught it with a women's study group and thought I would benefit from it as well. It's called A Mother's Heart by Jean Fleming. I'm only 36 pages in but one of the things that has convicted me so far is the idea of being kinder to our children. For me, when I'm looking for obedience, I tend to be short with my patience rope. Working at being kind, even when dealing with disobedience is a tall, but necessary order. Abusive reactions, whatever their form, are not unattainable sins for any of us. I know that certain times with my son have been appalling when I look back over his short life. I have cried out for forgiveness for my anger and have no illusions about the future. But in claiming God's grace and mercy to me, I am humbled in my prayers. Mothers are important, but Christian mothers operating under the wideness of God's daily grace are vital.
There will doubtless be more news stories that I cannot handle, but only by God's grace will I not be one of them.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Happy Anniversary!

Today is our fourth anniversary. We were married on a Friday night in my parent's frontyard with a dessert reception following. Other than my husband's twin brother trying to pass himself off to me as my newlywed husband, things went well. And oh, the MC initially introduced us substituting that pesky twin's name for my husband's, but quickly realizing his mistake, he got it right. Still not sure to this day if that was an intentional mistake or what.
This is also my husband's first day at his first post-grad job. Meaning he worked while doing his degrees but this is his first job as a qualified electrical engineer and the reason why we moved to Ottawa.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Relocation Rant

You know the old saying, "So-and-so couldn't find their way out of a paper bag."?
Insert cardboard box and that is what we are currently up against. Unpacking is quite easy here as we have much more house to work with. Filling it up with the right furniture, now that's a different story.
Did I mention that I hate shopping? Shopping for new items is such a pain since it often takes more than 3 trips to the right stores to find the particular items you are looking for. Give me a day to browse and buy without the pressure of needing to purchase a certain item.
And I haven't have a caramel frappuchino in over a week even though I am now driving by Starbucks' drive-thrus left, right and center. Did I mention that I love drive-thrus? With small children, everything should be in a drive-thru, starting with Walmart!
Our son is growing up, we kept the crib, but have not set it back up. We want to transition him to a real bed and figured now is the perfect time. I'll run up and check to see if he fell asleep on the mattress or if he's on the floor. Legs are on the floor, but body and head are on the mattress. I think he's off to a good start, only tried once to get up and walk around his new room still filled with boxes.
So far he's asked three different times for his little friends at church. I don't think he understood the permamence of our goodbyes to them. But we have pictures, so we will post them so that he can remember them for our visits back east.
Time to get out into the sunshine, I have a backyard to dig in!
And my neighbor's bleeding heart is creeping over through the wooden fence. I think I'll take cutting for myself! That's one cheap way to get some perennials.
I want to get more posting done, but I'm also working on getting some others to post on here as well. So hopefully you will see some new by-lines up here in the near future.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Modesty on Your Wedding Day

This is the title of a post over at Girltalk, which is team written by Carolyn Mahaney(C.J's wife)and her three daughters. (Hat tip: Joshua Harris)
It's an important reminder that modesty should not be suspended at a wedding. I love reading what these four women write. I highly recommend reading their posts. You will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Packing Faux Pas

Here's a lighthearted moment amidst all the stress of moving our household to Ottawa. We went to the Moving Company's warehouse today to pick up some additional boxes. While there I asked one of the employees for cardboard sections to place inside the box to keep my glasses and mugs from smashing into each other.
Well...he looked at me and promptly said, "We don't use them anymore, we haven't used them for twenty years." And while I slowly nodded my head with a silent, "Oh" on my lips, he slammed dunk my packing error by reiterating that no one packs glasses like that anymore. It takes up too much space. He went on to say that only the liquor stores pack glass that way nowadays. Standing in a warehouse gravel parking lot with a man with blue workpants on and his uniformed shirt, I felt the weight of my packing faux pas come down hard on my tired shoulders. As we got in the car, I was already laughing at the man's aghast demeanor when he realized how I was wanting to pack my glassware. Who knew?!
I am humbled.

Packing Tape

Moving Truck comes tomorrow! Very exciting times for a little boy who is almost three! Must...keep...packing.

The twins are out!

Two new baby boys were added to our extended family yesterday evening, Baby J and Baby T.
Congratulations to my brother and sister-in-law and my older nephew C.
The boys were delivered by C-section and everyone is doing fine. They are 4 weeks early but both are over 5 pounds.
More details and hopefully pictures to follow.
Praise God for His care over our family.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Greatest Game Ever Played

We watched this Disney Movie on Tuesday night and we really enjoyed it. I'm not good at writing reviews, but I will say one thing. This movie did not patronize you with phrases designed to encourage the hero or it's audience. No one told the young golfer, Francis Ouimet, "Just follow your heart and your dreams will come true." Or "You can do whatever you dream." Those who thought well of his golf-abilities sought to give him opportunities to play, but no one pushed him into "believing in himself". When he initially turned down the offer to play in the US Open in 1913, they accepted his answer without much of a reply. It was his own determination(according to the movie) that led him to change his mind and accept the offer to play.

I personally don't see the benefit in telling young children that "they can be whatever they want to be". Simply because that is not the reality of our world. On the other hand, we need the courageous people who do not take no for an answer, who continue to try despite setbacks and without seeing success. Their drive inspires others who perhaps will be able to finish what they themselves could only start.
I highly recommend this movie, even if you do not have an interest in golf. I do not follow golf and I picked this movie.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Great Blog Recommendation

I found this blog awhile ago, but forget to mention it. Godward Thoughts is consistently an excellent read. He currently is posting on two topics, Jesus' death and resurrection and his ongoing studies into the differences between dispensationalism and covenant theology. (For the moms in my life,) this is a great and easy way to look at the two views. And you can study along with him. Be sure to read the comments as you go, as his readers are from both sides.

Monday, April 10, 2006

In a Whirlwind

No this isn't about Job's conversation with God. That's how our Ottawa trip went this weekend. We left our son with Nannie & Grampie on Wednesday night and headed out Thursday morning. We arrived there after about 10.5 hours of traveling. Friday we headed out to look at two apartments. After viewing both, we went with the first appointment. We like it a lot as it has just gone through a complete renovation. Everything is new. And with original hardwood sanded and stained until it shines, it is very beautiful.
So our moving date is set for the last week in April.
We drove home yesterday and got back in time to catch the grandparents before they headed back to church with our son. Tired, but happy with our success, we are now awaiting approval for the apartment application.
Now the real work has to begin. Packing and sorting for a moving/yard sale.
My upstairs neighbor is going to help me sell at the yardsale. Apparently she's got great selling techniques for these jobbies.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Moving Memories

We'll be moving up to Ottawa for the first of May. My husband and I plan to go up this week/weekend (it's all of an eleven hour drive) to find a place to rent. Hopefully we can be settled by the time of his official start date of mid-May. I have already packed about 20 boxes and have barely made a dent. My almost 3 year old son is a big help...kinda...if you call knocking down walls of boxes and making me stumble around them helpful. Or throwing things in boxes that aren't quite ready to be packed. Or wanting to carry his scissors in his back pocket like Mommy does. Aren't kids great?!
The picture of the moving truck reminds of the way my father-in-law drove the rental truck on one of our previous moves. The move included several back country roads which harbored two deer that he managed to swerve around only injuring one while he was pouring himself a cup of tea from his thermos! My mother-in-law, baby son and I were riding behind in our car watching the whole catastrophe unfold before our eyes. I felt quite self-righteous as I had been just remarking prior to the deer that he was driving insanely fast and quite erratically. Thankfully the only damage done to the truck was a smashed headlight and the deer eventually limped off into the forest as my husband and I leaned over the ditch to assess her injuries. I think she was glaring at my father-in-law, or maybe that was just me.
Dad, if you're reading this, thanks for all your help, but I think we'll get professionals this time!

Saturday, March 25, 2006


We're leaving New Brunswick. Details will follow.

Opportunity knocked, but I fumbled with the latch

Tonight I went to talk to our upstairs neighbor armed with goodies and news of my husband's job offer and with the intention of providing a clear witness to her concerning the gospel. The conversation seemed to give me a perfect opportunity to speak out about Christ and the forgiveness of sins. But then, it faltered and fumbled and finally fizzled. After talking about several other topics, I attempted to return the conversation back to Christianity. I inquired if they had a Bible, since just yesterday, when she was down to see us, she had checked out my husband's open Bible on the table. After she talked about how many they had and when they had gotten them, there was another opportunity to speak the truth and I failed to transition the topic. I felt frustrated. How hard can this be? Should it be this hard to present the gospel to a needy neighbor. So as the conversation seemed to be winding down, I asked her this time if she would be interested in going to church with us in the morning, as her husband is away and she is lonely. She asked what time and said she would try to ready if she thought she could go.
So now I'm hoping she'll go and that the Holy Spirit will use this time to speak to her about her eternal state.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A rundown of my week thus far...

I haven't been posting, I've barely been on the computer. Real life activities have kept me busy. After spending the weekend with my in-laws and gone all day Sunday for church, Monday was "get the house in order" and delete the overload of laundry. Monday night, my mom and I hosted a Pride & Prejudice movie night with some of our friends. Good movie, partial to the older one.
Tuesday evening Mom and I headed out to watch a figure skating show with many of Canada's top skaters. The tickets were a birthday present from my husband. Neither of us knew what to expect and we were blown away by the performances. The light and sound show was wonderful and the theatrical displays on ice were crazy. If I have time to do some research, I'll post who and what we saw. I would love to go again.
Today we visited some friends this afternoon who are also Americans and looking to get involved with church planting, probably in their native California. I looked through a church planting guide that they are studying which is published by Redeemer Presbyterian in Manhattan. I'm very excited for them and hope they can get on board. And as far as our plans go, we are waiting for a job offer to officially come through for my husband from a company he interviewed with recently.
I will post more when we know our plans. We are very excited about the possibilities.
Also heard from my sister-in-law that her baby boys are both 3lbs. 12 ounces and they continue to be breeched with no room to move into the correcting birthing position. She will progress as long as possible, but they will perform a C-section to remove the boys. Her due date is May 26th. Babies are wonderful!

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Here's a Hip-hip-Hooray! My mother is en route to visit us! "Memmem is coming", says my little guy. This has always been a difficult week for my family since we lost my youngest brother in an automobile accident three years ago this week. We trust that he's with the Lord, yet we miss him here with us.
Tim was 24 years old and the only occupant of the vehicle, his infamous yellow mustang. He was single and still living at home with my parents. In fact, he was putting the finishing touches on the room he renovated incorporating my old bedroom into his. He knocked down my bedroom wall, closed up my doorway and proceeded to paint the whole thing six coats of red. He then filled it up with the lushest carpet I have ever walked on, three pieces of black leather furniture, one queen-sized bed and a huge home entertainment system. It was his lounge pad. Now my husband and I get to enjoy it when we are home visiting my parents.
He knew that he was going be an uncle, two times over actually as both my sister-in-law and I were due later in the spring. I often wish he could be here to see the boys. He would have laughed himself silly over their antics. We chose to remember him by giving our son the middle name of Timothy. Now his picture hangs inside my armoire and my son is learning who his uncle was.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Think Spring!

The Philadelphia Flower Show is running this week. I was able to go several years back when I worked for Barnes&Noble. We had a mini gardening bookstore set up just outside the show's entrance. So between customers, we would run through the exhibts for free. I did take pictures that year, but they all turned out quite darkish with my hi-tech throw-away camera. However, I still have fun memories of taking in the show and hob-nobbing with the elite green thumbs of Philadelphia.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Bible Is Silent on Abortion says Planned Parenthood Rabbi

Here's an excerpt:
Some contend that the Bible approaches the subject of abortion in Exodus
(22) when two brawling men accidentally strike a pregnant woman. If the woman is injured, the inadvertent assailant gets punished, receiving the very same wound he caused the woman: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. If the woman dies, then it is a life for a life and the man who caused the injury dies. But if the woman miscarries, then the assailant just pays a fine.

So, an injury caused to the woman is one thing. The injury to her fetus is not viewed the same way. This same biblical passage does not say that the fetus is a human being like the injured women or like you or me. If the fetus were considered human, the punishment for injuring the fetus would be the same punishment as that for injuring the pregnant woman.

The book of Exodus warns us to take care around a pregnant woman. Cause her to miscarry, it costs money. Cause her to die, and the penalty is death. The Bible extends a full measure of legal protection to a pregnant woman, a fullness of rights and protection that is not extended to the fetus.

But these verses simply discuss the fetus; they are not about abortion. They do not permit, proscribe, or prohibit abortion. They consider an accidental miscarriage but do not describe the willful termination of a pregnancy. And what if a woman wants to end her pregnancy? Let's say the fetus endangers her life or her physical or mental health. If she decides on abortion, the Bible is silent.

Here is an article from John Piper on this Exodus 21 passage used by pro-choice advocates.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

What is this thing from my mother-in-law?
I'm 2 seconds away from heaving it into the ole' garbage can.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

High School Flashback

We were in one of Mr. Crush's math classes, obviously not a math person, I have no recollection of what it was. We must have been getting rowdy and difficult. Crush needing to restore order launched into a full rebuke of our unseemly behavior. At one point in his diatribe, he started off a sentence with the pointed words, "What I don't need is...". For some unknown reason that struck most of the class quite funny. I'm sure no one laughed out loud, however, in the hallways, bathrooms, and study halls, that line was repeated over and over as we added various lines to make the originally statement completely ridiculous. The crowning moment came when one industrious student placed a handwritten sign over Mr. Crush's classroom garbage can, proclaiming "Things he doesn't need". Thankfully Crush had brought his sense of humor to school that day and we all laughed ourselves silly at the ingenuousness of the sign.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Sensing God's love

I grew up singing the song written below during our Lord's Supper service. It came to my mind in bits and pieces as I was thinking of how hot and cold I am about the Lord. I know God loves me, but I don't feel it in the same way as I do my husband's or my mother's love. Reading in John MacArthur's book, The God Who Loves, I found this encouraging thought as he wrote about the prodigal son and his father in Luke 15.
Like the father of the prodigal son, God loves us constantly. He forgives eagerly, loves lavishly, and does not deal with us according to our sins or reward us according to our iniquities (Ps. 103:10).(pg. 159)

1 We hear the words of love,
We gaze upon the blood,
We see the mighty Sacrifice,
And we have peace with God.

2 'Tis everlasting peace,
Sure as Jehovah's Name;
'Tis stable as His steadfast throne,
For evermore the same.

3 Our love is oft-times low,
Our joy still ebbs and flows;
But peace with Him remains the same;
No change Jehovah knows.

4 We change – He changes not,
Our Christ can never die;
His love, not ours, the resting-place,
We on His truth rely.

5 The cross still stands unchanged,
Though heav'n is now His home;
The mighty stone is rolled away,
For He has left the tomb.

6 We know He liveth now
At God's right hand above;
We know the throne on which He sits,
We know His truth and love.

by H. Bonar

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Pleading Ignorance

So I've been reading D.A. Carson's book on the Emerging Church. I started before Christmas and I am not quite half way yet. I have found it to be very heavy reading...for me. I read and reread some paragraphs without much further understanding. I have zero background in philosophy and ideology. I have no experience in discussing what is modern versus postmodern thought. I have had to stop and look up various vocabulary terms that were unknown to me. My ignorance has been so great at times that I just feel like shelving the book. However, I want to finish the book even if it takes me all year. But as I am reading, one thought continues to plague me. How conversant are the Christians who have aligned themselves with this movement in discussing what is postmodern thought and what is not? Can they articulate for themselves what the problems are with modern thought? I'm a bit skeptical that a vast majority can. That's fine. I can't either. But how much understanding do I have to have to join up? How much do I have to understand to participate in the narratives and conversations? How intellectual do I have to be?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Da Vinci Code

Warning: Possible plot spoilers ahead

I started the book on Friday night at 11:30pm. I only read the Prologue which is not even 3 full pages and I was interested. I spent much of the day reading on Saturday as it was a lazy day with no agenda for us. I only got to read a little bit on Sunday between services and company. I finished the book on Monday afternoon after my immigration medical. Obviously at the rate I was reading it, you can tell that I enjoyed it. For a mystery novel, it had all the right elements. I'm not an book review expert, just my humble opinion. It was fast paced and kept me guessing.
One of the neat aspects of the book are the use of anagrams. I found myself trying to figure them out before the characters did. However my complete lack of art knowledge was my main obstacle. As a Protestant Christian, I did wince when the British Royal Historian Teabing began his diatribe on the "facts" of Jesus' life. He asserts that Jesus' marriage to Mary Magdalene is a matter of historical record. He then proceeds to refer to The Gnostic Gospels as his source. From the scant research I've done about the criticisms of this book, his use of this book is called into question. Why Dan Brown chose to include a book that has been widely criticized and apparently refuted by many scholars one can only guess. I'll let you conduct your own research into the matter if you so desire. The historian goes on then to claim that Jesus and Mary not only were married but that they had a child whose name was Sarah. He then asserts that this royal blood line(Mary supposedly came from the tribe of Benjamin) is the real meaning behind the Holy Grail, Royal Blood. Much of this being "hidden" by Leonardo Da Vinci in his painting The Last Supper.

Since I know nothing about some of the historical topics covered in the book, I am at a real disadvantage in knowing what is truth and what is fiction. So I probably will spend a fair amount of time with Google and Wikipedia to get it all sorted out. However, the one thing I know to be true is that Jesus, the Son of God, is who the New Testament says He is. If you're in doubt, do some research. But don't take Dan Brown's word for it.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Nate Saint's story

Here is a news article about this upcoming movie.
And here is a link to an article discussing the controversy surrounding this movie produced by Every Tribe Entertainment.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Lessons from the School of Prayer

This is the title of Chapter 1 of D.A. Carson's book A Call to Spiritual Reformation.
Let me briefly list the eight lessons he gives to shape a successful prayer life.
1) Much praying is not done because we do not plan to pray.
- Wise planning will ensure that we devote ourselves to prayer often, even if for brief periods: it is better to pray often with brevity than rarely but at length.

2) Adopt practical ways to impede mental drift.
- You can do many things to stamp out daydreaming, to stifle reveries. One of the most useful things is to vocalize your prayers....It simply means you articulate your prayers, moving your lips perhaps; the energy devoted to expressing your thoughts in words and sentences will order and discipline your mind and help deter meandering.

3)At various periods in your life, develop, if possible, a prayer-partner relationship.
- ...Praying is an immensely intimate business--and intimacy in one area leads to intimacy in other areas, [so choose an appropriate partner]. Prayer partners are as valuable for the discipline, accountablity, and regularity they engender as for the lessons that are shared.

4)Choose models--but choose them well.
-Most of us can improve our praying by carefully, thoughtfully listening to others pray. All[good models] are characterized by a wonderful mixture of contrition and boldness in prayer.

5) Develop a system for your prayer lists.
- Many Christians who give themselves to prayer, however find that in addition to such published information[i.e. Operation World], it is wise and fruitful to prepare their own lists.

6) Mingle praise, confession, and intercession; but when you intercede, try to tie as many requests as possible to Scripture.
-This rich mixture is nothing more than a reflection of the many different components of the kind of relationship we ought to have with the God of the Bible.

7)If you are in any form of spiritual leadership, work at your public prayers.
- It is not a question of pleasing our human hearers, but of instructing them and edifying them. Good praying is more easily caught than taught.

8) Pray until you pray.
-We are especially prone to such feelings when we pray for only a few minutes, rushing to be done with mere duty. To enter the spirit of prayer, we must stick to it for a while. If we "pray until we pray", eventually we come to delight in God's presence, to rest in His love, to cherish His will.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Still bookish

One of the many downsides to finishing a much enjoyed book is that within a day or so the story and its characters or the topic and its adherents become like a distant relative. You enjoyed them so much when they were with you but since time has elapsed since your last visit you don't have a reason to keep them at the forefront of your daily activities. The problem is further compounded by starting a new book with new faces and issues. Life has moved on and there are fresh plots and points to rehash in your mind as you absentmindedly wipe the counter or put on your coat. Favorite parts to smile again over or stirring ideas to rekindle. Reading is a necessity in the civilized world, but reading is anything but civil. People and their problems, real or imagined barge into your brain when you are least expecting or at least unintentionally expecting it. Before you know it, you have spent the last four minutes of your drive to the bank wondering what plot turn is next. And of course you have no recollection of what turn you just made as you sail through a yellow light. Scrubbing the sink and you'll wonder if the author is as witty in real life as they are on paper or does the editor help put those things together that make you spontaneously smile. Oh, yes. Reading is certainly not civil. How can one politely explain that they have not been listening to the last full minute of your conversation because something was said five minutes ago that made them think of their current reading material? Realizing that you just smiled over something that you can't explain without getting into a full blown book talk. So you just smile demurely and hope they'll let you get home to your book!