Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Christian Club

Just last week, back home in Ohio, I passed by a church while I was driving. The sign out in the front yard said something to the effect of "we read the KJV here."

I don't know how it is where you live, but there seems to be a contingent of people in my neck of the woods who are quite vocal about the King James being the only accurate translation of the Bible. I won't be addressing that issue. My beef is with the sign. Right out in front of a church.

It makes me sad.

And a little angry.

I think this sign reflects a line of thinking in which we tend to think of Christianity as a club. We pick characteristics in people that we believe they must possess in order to be a Christian. In this case, it is being a KJV loyalist. In other cases, we might think that you have to believe in creationism, or have a certain stance on abortion, or vote a certain way. Then, we tend to gravitate towards people who believe like we do. We all do this to some extent. And we have to check ourselves on it.

But what concerns me about seeing this sign is this: has this church allowed the "club" mentality to so permeate it ranks that they have forgotten what they are about?

By this, I mean: If a church is supposed to be bringing the kingdom of God to a lost world, how many people do they automatically run off by putting up a sign like that? Is it too hard to imagine that a person, sincerely wanting to know more about Christ or the Bible, would turn away from a church simply because they don't like/read/understand/care about the King James Bible? They'd read the sign and think, I don't belong there.

The only possible outcome that I can think of from a sign like that is attracting other people who have the same conviction about reading the King James. That's fine, if the only thing you want to do is attract people just like you: if you want a club. But I have to wonder how many people who don't believe, and need to hear The Message of hope will ever be drawn into that church by that sign. They won't. And this church will have missed one primary aspect of its purpose - bringing the Kingdom of God to those who live outside of it.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

If not for the courage of the fearless crew...

Well, we made it to Connecticut. It took us a LONG time, but we are here.

We stayed longer than we expected in a town called Hermitage, PA. We intended to just get gas. But, alas, the horrendous noise that the van emitted when we turned it on again.

We weren't surprised. The twenty minute shrieking spell that it went through while we were on the road was warning enough. Although it went away, we knew something was probably wrong.

But we rolled into Hermitage just after 6 pm on a Sunday. So there wasn't any hope of getting it looked at until morning. We were at least 100 miles short of where we wanted to be, but we decided it would be wise to just get a hotel room.

Early Monday morning, we went to visit a repair shop that had been recommended by the desk clerk at the hotel. He seemed totally unconcerned, telling us he might have other appointments. But he didn't even check to see if those appointments actually existed, so we moved on. Firestone.

They sent us over to the Dunkin Donuts for breakfast with our hungry children (it was the only place within walking distance, but, really, I wasn't complaining.) They said they'd check it out and let us know what the problem was when we got back from breakfast.

And that is exactly what they did.

But, they could not find the part they'd need to fix it. We needed a new bearing for the air compressor. They said we might be able to drive another two years without it breaking. But, if it DID break, then we would lose power to the engine. They suggested that maybe we drive to a bigger town and maybe we could get it fixed there. Or, even drive it to CT and have it fixed while we were here.

But, see, that CRAZY mom in me wasn't too keen on the idea that we could break down on an interstate highway with three kids in tow.

They told us they could get the part by Tuesday morning, and they'd start working right away.

So, we drove off in our van, which we have decided sounded like it was perculating coffee... LOUDLY. We moved to the Radisson, where they had an indoor pool and ridiculously overpriced food. We spent a lot of time in the pool. We still had use of the van, so we went to Walmart to get some things we needed. We found a family restaurant, which when we walked in, we learned was actually an Italian restaurant. Whatever. We were too hungry at that point to go anywhere else.

But, it was my birthday (did I mention that?) so I thought this will be my birthday dinner. They had stuffed shells, after all.

I know you might have been thinking that Hermitage, PA is known for it's Italian food. It is. Nowhere else on this planet have I ever eaten stuffed shells that were actually crunchy.

Aye, aye, aye.

Other than the indifferent guy at the garage and the bad Italian food (with service to match,) we had a fine time in Hermitage. The hangout time with the family was nice. Lots of pool time. Lots.

Tuesday morning, Paul took the van to the Firestone. The manager conned a guy who'd come in for an oil change to bring Paul back to the hotel! But he was back in time for breakfast. I had an omelette. I think it cost about $80. Roughly.

More swimming.

Six hours and a thousand dollars later, we were finally on our way to CT.

As we drove out of town, I told Paul that I wanted to pull a "Pretty Woman" on that first mechanic we looked into. You know, walk into the garage and say "Hi, remember us? We were here yesterday and you wouldn't help us. Big mistake. HUGE!" But, we didn't have any shopping bags to show for ourselves, and I didn't think that shoving a Firestone receipt in his face would pack the same punch.

So we left.

After a few hours of driving, we stopped for dinner and were back in the car by 7 pm. We figured we would reach CT by 10:00.

Until I-80 closed down due to flooding.

We took about an hour long detour. Bethany, who is not a fan of the carseat, wanted out soon after we got back on I-80. We stopped at the nearest rest stop so she could get out. We called my parents and told them that we had no idea when we would get there, but we had about 175 more miles left to go.

Rain would not stop.

Kids finally asleep.

Two more exits to go.

Accident on the highway.

Thankfully, were were in my hometown by this point. We saw the accident early enough that we just exited early, and we drove through town a little more.

We rolled in around midnight.

Land sakes.

Thanks for all of your prayers. I know someone was praying because I felt oddly calm and really not even all that annoyed through all of it.

But it is nice to be here.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Headed for the Nutmeg State

We are leaving after church tomorrow (well, today, I guess... I need to go to bed!) We will be going to Connecticut to visit my family. We will return after the 4th of July.

I got the kids all packed up. Not too hard, except that I kept trying to figure out why I could only find 3 of Ms. Boo's short-sleeved shirts. So, I dug around in a pile on the floor right next to her bed and found two. And found another in the family room. So, I just did another load of laundry. At 10 pm.

I didn't really think too much about packing my own stuff. It's packed. I don't know if my clothes will match. But, I think I can at least manage to stay dressed while we are there. I just didn't want to think anymore about what goes with what... so I just threw some stuff in there.

Maybe someone will take pity on me when they see my sorry wardrobe and take me out to buy me some new clothes!

Anyway, I am rambling. There is really no point to this post, except to let you all know that I will be in CT and if you think to pray for our safe travels, we'd sure appreciate it.

I imagine I'll be posting while I am away. I saw something today that has me thinking... and we all know what that means....

Later, taters.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

One small blessing, one big blessing

Today, while shopping at a nearby discount store, I found a whole peg hook full of MY pens. I wrote about my search for the pens here, but had yet to find any - until today. It's been a while.

And don't think this won't go on my blessings list.

That, by the way, was the little blessing.

The big blessing is for someone else. Barbara, over at Mommy Life, has posted a picture of a little Chinese boy with Down Syndrome who is waiting to be adopted. Apparently, Chinese officials have not allowed DS kids to be adopted in the past. In this case, someone needs to agree to adopt him by July 1 or he will no longer be available for adoption. AND, if he isn't adopted, apparently they will not offer any more DS kids for adoption. (So they will all grow up in institutions.) The great news is that a donor has offered to fund the adoption. Maybe you could be this child's new mom or dad, and what a huge blessing that would be. For you. For the boy. For lots of other DS kids in China. Read more about it here.

Friday, June 23, 2006


I finished it.

Yes, it was twenty days ago that I told you I only had 158 more pages to go. So I finished it in less than three weeks. Not bad, eh?

And, being misinformed about the actual due date of the book, I am happy to report that I will only be paying a fifteen cent fine - which is great - considering that I have had the book since, uh, January(?)

Thank you, thank you very much.

And, can I just ask every Christian on the planet to please read this book?


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Big Lessons from Little People

When Ms. Boo was about three and a half, we were having some issues with her regarding the inappropriate use of markers. It was a struggle for a few weeks, as she proved to be quite stubborn about it. I resorted to throwing out whichever marker she used to commit the infraction.

The marker supply was dwindling.

Eventually, I thought she might be getting the point. After a few weeks without any marker calamities, I assumed she'd grown out of that phase.

Not long after that, I remember sitting in the kitchen and realizing that she wasn't making enough noise. You know - she was up to something. So, I stopped what I was doing, scanned the room, and turned on my bionic hearing. I picked up on the sound immediately. The bathroom sink.

Immediately, visions of dripping water and all manner of soggy toilet paper come running through my head. (Innapropriate use of toilet paper being our number two problem at the time.)

Not wanting to know what she was really doing, I simply said, "Boo, get out of the bathroom."
And out she walked. Into the kitchen.

If a three-year-old could ever be described as nonchalant, this was the one. And this is what she looked like:
She went right on about her usual activities as if nothing was wrong. She had no idea that I could see anything on her face. I suspected that she'd been in the bathroom trying to clean off the marker she'd smeared all over herself. (Indeed, the clumps of green and purple toilet paper that I would later find in the bathroom were evidence of this.)

But the sweet girl thought she had removed all the marker. Thought she'd pulled one over on her mom.

I often think about this story when my relationship with God goes through periods of neglect. There is stuff in my life that I need to bring before the Lord, honestly. But I don't. Instead, I go about my usual tasks as if nothing is wrong.

Just like I didn't let Bo go on with her day before I cleaned her up, God gently intervenes with me. He lets me know that he can see whatever it is that I think I'm really hiding. And he offers to clean me up. It makes sense. No mother would let their marker-laden child try to interact with the world as if nothing was wrong. God is no different.

Folks, I have marker all over my face. It isn't so much about what I have been doing as much as it is about what I haven't been doing. Things are getting in the way of my personal fellowship with God. I know if I don't let him clean me up right now, I will slowly become calloused to the reality that my face is a mess - and getting messier by the day.

So, sorry to do this again to you all, but I am taking a break. And I don't know how long it will be. I won't be blogging. I won't be reading blogs either. Not cuz I don't love it... I do. Too much.

But I love Jesus more. Now I just need to act like it.

He who conceals his sin does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. -Proverbs 28:13

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Saturday, June 10, 2006

Recipe Search

While we were at the store this week, Mr. Bug asked if we could get asparagus. We don't normally (read, ever) eat asparagus because Paul gags on it, and it isn't, exactly, one of my favorites. But, it was on sale, and he asked for it, and it is heathful, I thought I'd be stupid not to let him try it. Who knows, maybe it will be one of his new favorites.

But, I got the asparagus home and realized that I don't have any good ideas for how to fix it. So, great internets, I turn to you. I would like to know how you fix asparagus. I'd like a recipe that keeps it fairly heathful (no deep frying, Boomama.) And it needs to be one that would generally appeal to kids (if that is possible with asparagus,) so, I'm not looking for anything with, say, anchovies in it.

I would love to hear from you all. If I like enough of the recipes, I might even have to buy more asparagus so I can try them all out.


Thursday, June 08, 2006

Speaking Scripture

Not too long ago, I was convicted that I needed to start incorporating Scripture into my children's day more fully. I had been using a few scriptures when I was correcting them, but that was it. It became obvious to me how damaging that could be for them as they begin to build their understanding of God. Do I want them to form the perception that God only cares about them acting this way or that way, without teaching them about how deeply he loves and cares for them? (Obvious answer alert) No.

These thoughts were affirmed this week during a meeting for the "nursery" workers at church. We were reminded of this passage from Deuteronomy 11:

18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the LORD swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.

I realized how little I speak Scripture to my children. And I realize that part of the reason I don't is because I don't have my own heart and mind fixed on it. I don't "know it."

My children do a program at church, part of which focuses on scripture memorization. And I think this is great. But, I don't "push" them to memorize these scriptures. Why? Because I don't want to burn them out trying to remember things that don't have real meaning to them. What I DO want, is to use scripture that is applicable in their daily lives and work on remembering those. I think this will, for now, serve them better than memorizing something they don't really relate to. (Don't get all hyper on me. I am not denying there is a need to teach about things that they may not necessarily be experiencing right now. But I think you all know what I mean.)

But, to do this, I need to actually know some scripture that I can call upon from MY OWN memory, whenever they experience different things. In other words, I need to make like a Girl Scout and - be prepared.

So, here is a list that I am developing for myself to work on. A list of scriptures that I can speak to my children whenever the need arises or the opportunity presents itself.

Psalm 118: 6 - The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?

James 5:13 - Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.

Ephesians 6:1-3 - Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother" - which is the first commandment with a promise - "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth."

Philippians 2:14-15a - Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure

Proverbs 22:9 - A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.

1 Peter 5:7 - Cast all your anxiety on God because he cares for you.

Psalm 48:14 - God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end.

Hosea 14:9 - The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them.

2 Chronicles 20:20 - Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld.

Colossians 3:13 - Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord orgave you.

Proverbs 17:17 - A friend loves at all times.

Psalm 32:8 - "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go," says the Lord.

Ephesians 2:10 - We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Isaiah 57:2 - Those who walk uprightly enter into peace.

Zephaniah 3:17 - The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.

Psalm 119:2 - Blessed are they who keep God's statutes and seek him with all their heart.

Proverbs 19:16 - He who obeys instruction guards his life.

John 3:36 - Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life.

Proverbs 14:23 - All hard work brings a profit.

John 15:10 - If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Fathers' commands and remain in his love.

These are just a few that I picked out because, if they weren't simple enough for my young children to understand, I thought I would be able to easily explain them. There are so many, really, I think this list could go on forever. (There are one or two I wanted to add, but they escaped my brain as I was writing...)

I'm wondering what scriptures you all like to speak to your children.

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Let me break this down for you

I just need to get this off my chest.

What follows is the text of an e-mail that I have received twice now. It is the type that I normally delete without even reading, but I thought I might open this one just to prove a point. (My commentary appears in red.)

And, please let me know the exact time you read this. It is mystical--honest (mystical, eh? so are unicorns. But I'm sure you meant "mystical" in the you-can-trust-it sort of way.)

This morning when the Lord opened a window to Heaven, he saw me, and he asked:My child, what is your greatest wish for today? (Why on earth would anyone need to open a window in order to see something? That's just stupid. But even so, the Lord isn't hindered from seeing us at any time. If you don't believe me, please see Job 31:4, or Psalm 139:7-12)

I responded:"Lord please; take care of the person who is reading this message, their family and their special friends.They deserve it and I love them very much" (Really? Seriously? That was your GREATEST wish for today? Well, I am flattered. But I don't believe you. Here's why... because these e-mails are the only communication we have with each other. And, I'm thinking that if you really wanted me to be taken care of, you would, maybe come over and hang out with me when I am losing my sanity. Or help with the laundry. Or maybe just call and ask if there was anything I needed. And it's not about deserving it. I don't. I'm just saying that if you really love me that much, you could find a better way to show it than by forwarding an e-mail that someone else wrote.)

The love of God is like the ocean, you can see its beginnings but Not its end. (That's very poetic, but what, exactly, does this mean? I can't see the beginning or the end of anything that is infinite.)

This message works on the day you receive it. (Works? I'm confused. Is the message going to do the laundry for me? And, I don't know who is going to do the work, but I know that God's timetable isn't like ours, so I don't know how you can guarantee this.)

To some it may sound dumb, (yes) but the person who sent this to me was impressed with its timing. (So?) Let us see if it is true. (What, see if WHAT is true? Dude, you need to take another writing class, cuz you are all over the place, here.) ANGELS EXIST, but sometimes, since they don't all have wings we call them FRIENDS, SUCH AS YOU. (Okay, you need a course in angelology too. Yes, angels DO exist. But I'M NOT ONE OF THEM!)

Pass this on to your true friends. (I am flattered to be considered your friend. But, let me give you a heads up on what is NOT cool to do to your friends. Adding their e-mail address to something that will soon be forwarded to a bunch of strangers is, um, not so nice. But, I suppose I could be wrong here, so I'll make you a deal: You forward my e-mail address to strangers, and I will go write your phone number on a couple hundred public bathroom stalls. That sounds like a fair deal, now doesn't it?)


My point: pseudo-religious garbage is neither encouraging, nor biblically sound. If you are a Christian, I implore you not to send this garbage to people. If you want to let them know you love them, then go DO it.

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Who Comes up with These?

I have been tagged for this meme. I can honestly say that I think this is one of the oddest memes I have ever seen. But, I am game, so here goes:

Favorite Word: the. it's so useful and all.

Least Favorite Word: flax (???)

What turns me on spiritually, creatively, emotionally?
spiritually - good preaching/teaching.
creatively - being around other creative people.
emotionally - having a conversation with someone who is willing to discuss and think about what I have to say.

What turns me off spiritually, creatively, emotionally?
spiritually - when people who haven't taken the time to invest in me as a person take it upon themselves to "challenge" me or tell me how I am "supposed" to respond to something.
creatively - not having enough time to think about options.
emotionally - when I feel like I am not understood or when people give me a bunch of pat answers without considering what I might think.

Favorite curse word: I do not curse, cuz I'm all Christian like that. But if I had to pick a favorite it would definitely be "#@&!"

Sound I love the most: Me singing 80's music.

Sound I hate to hear: loud motorcycles roaring down the street. It makes me feel like I am going to explode.

Profession, other than my own, that I would like to attempt: pharmacist, or something in marketing.

What I would like to hear God say when I get to heaven: "I made cicadas because..."


Things I thought existed (but don't)

1. Stationery that is neither the size of a notecard nor comes in a set with foil lined envelopes. Apparently, the only people who write letters of any considerable length these days, are extremely snooty. Foil lined envelopes isn't quite my style. But I want to write a "letter," not a "note." Two weeks, 5 stores and I still can't find them. (I'm swear I am going to get another letter to you, Shalee. Even if I have to write it on notebook paper... again.)

2. An off-white shirt that matches the flowers on the hip new skirt I bought. I figured off-white should be easy to find. Naive? No. Just too picky, it seems. I just don't want a shirt so tight it shows off my flab, or so low cut that I might as well not wear a shirt in the first place.

3. A slip in size 5T. Not at Walmart, KMart, Sears, Penney's, or Target. Can't. be. found.

4. A pair of sandals comfortable enough to wear every day, but nice enough to wear with a skirt.

5. My sanity whenever I try to go shopping.


Saturday, June 03, 2006

Am I some sort of sicko?

Okay, we already know the answer to that, but humor me, okay?

I have recently been presented with two different opportunities to meet fellow bloggers. I won't try to quantify for you the desire that I have to attend. Let's just say it is vastly infinite. You may say that is superfluously redundant. But, you don't know how vast this infinity is.

It doesn't matter, of course, because I don't think I will be able to attend either. Believe you me, I am wracking my brain trying to figure out how I might work one of them out, but I fear it is not to be. And I am disappointed. In a vastly infinite sort of way.

So, I am wondering, Lori, what in the world is wrong with you? And why are you talking to yourself again?

Why does it bother me so much that I cannot attend either of these get-togethers? I mean, who, in their right mind (ah, that may be the problem) actually SEEKS OUT long distance friendships? And once you have them, aren't they hard to maintain?

As I find out who will be attending these things, my reaction is No! SHE is going to be there? I cannot believe it! And then I start manipulating schedules and trying to figure out some way, ANY WAY that I can be there and meet HER! (Teeny-bopper screaming optional.)

Have I filled in too many blanks that the one-dimensional blogging world has left open. Because, in my mind, I am going to die a long slow death if I can't meet some of these women that I HARDLY KNOW!

What group of random people consists only of really cool, likeable people? Surely, there have to be some bloggers who end up being duds when you meet them in person. (The greatest of whom would be me, by the way.) But, I have it in my mind that every single one of these bloggers is a kindred spirit and that SURELY we will walk away from our meeting having established ourselves as secret pinkie sisters (friends for ever, cross my heart and hope to die.)

It all just seems so illogical. And I can't handle bad logic.

But I still wanna meet these bloggers.

Okay. Now you can answer the question.


Friday, June 02, 2006

A Girl's Gotta have a Goal

I started reading God's Politics by Jim Wallis about 7 renewals ago. I'd put it down for a long time. I also hit a long stretch that bored me (big surprise, right?) But, I want to get it finished so that I can cross it off of this list, rather than add it to this one. Plus, I really want to stick it to my husband for intimating that I cannot read twelve books in one year. (Just kidding...) Anyway, I have about 158 pages left in this book. That is nothing for some people. They'd have it done tomorrow. For me, not so much.

At five cents a day in overdue book fines, I am already at 10 cents, having too much pride to present the book to the librarian and request my eighth renewal. So, I am using the fines as my motivation. Finish the book - and the faster I do it, the less I will have to pay.

Excuse me, I've got some reading to do.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

A Praise and a Prayer Request

Praise: Bao's cast is off and the x-rays show that her arm has healed. For all intents and purposes, we are done with the broken arm thing. Thank you to everyone who prayed.

Request: A friend just called and told me of a family in their church whose daughter was drown in a pool on Monday. She was in the Sunday school class with my friend's 5 year old daughter, so I imagine she was not much older. I don't know names or any other specifics, but please keep this family in prayer. As a mom, I know I would be completely devastated by something like this happening in my own family.

Thanks, y'all.