Saturday, April 28, 2007

You say Elephant...They say Evangelism

This is in our paper today.This is not a joke.

Here's a quote:

"When you're talking about evangelism and bringing people to church, you need something that grabs their attention," Harris said. "An elephant will do that."

Have mercy.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek."

Romans 1:16

"For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths."

2Timothy 4:3

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Many Faces of Samuel

Because everyone deserves a good laugh and Samuel proves faithful at delivering them around here, I thought I'd share a "Day in the Life" tale with Sam as the star. All of these pictures were taken on the same day. It is evidence that you certainly can get glad in the same pants you got mad in. Sammer does it every day.

Happy Times. I've had a haircut....and survived. I am happy. Life is good. Did I tell ya'll how happy I am?

Not only happy...but cuter than baby ducks. We are talking about lethal cuteness here.

Same day. No pain was inflicted. There has been no physical trauma. No large man-eating reptiles crawling through the front door. Just a teensy bit of alarming news......

The ice cream man has appeared to skip our street.

Outrage. Lunacy. Riots. It's time for a plain-o-crazy fit. Look out people. When your tears are mixin' with your snot and running like a river into your mouth....and you don't care, then you know it's bad. You've been there. Admit it. I was there last week.

I can't go on. I won't move. Life ends here. There is no tomorrow.

What's that? The ice cream man took notice of the hysterical children bouncing around the cul-de-sac foamin' at the mouth? He saw a lucrative opportunity and he took it. He came to our house. Ice cream was purchased and Samuel's blood pressure returned to normal. That simple. No drugs. No shock treatments. Just Spongebob with gumball eyes.


I have found out that most people who ask me about homeschooling either totally understand or totally do not. I am working really hard at accepting that some may never understand. I have always had this insatiable burden to beat someone into submission politely persuade others to concede to my opinion....on everything. Homeschooling is just one more place for God to teach me humility and patience in regard to my own convictions.

There is a true deficit in public education and we all know that our culture is morally corrupt. This fact is no different today than it was 50 years ago. Therefore, it cannot be my *reason* for homeschooling. Still, I am grateful for how these negatives have encouraged me to seek what God has said on the matter. Certainly the "deficit" may appear worse and the culture seems in further decline, however, I believe it is all relative. God has never changed, nor has His word.

"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."

Deuteronomy 6: 4-9

I guess you could say that I allowed tradition to trump scripture. Preschool is what you do with your kids when they turn three. Kindergarten is what you do with your kids when they turn five. I did the next thing. And then the next thing. Without ever really considering the benefits, the repercussions, the possibilities.....the spiritual cost. I mean....I turned out okay.

Don't you love that argument? When did I start settling for "okay" for my kids? When was I the litmus test? Haven't I always searched for the best for these children? Their doctor, their dentist, their bedtimes? Appropriate dress, television, and music? Safe play dates, backyards, and booster seats? How did school fall into this abyss where I accepted things as they are? Total apathy if you ask me now. Of course, if you asked me then I would have climbed to the top of my soapbox and proudly proclaimed all the ways I was attempting to make a difference. The problem will forever be this: The school is not responsible for teaching biblical truth. I am. They are also not responsible for teaching biblical values. I am. Oh yeah. That whole biblical worldview? My job as well. How could I do this with a measly quarter of their day? I am getting the leftovers. It just doesn't make sense.

There was always a sense deep down that something didn't make sense. There were a plethora of people in my life who were homeschooling. I picked them apart. How could that make sense? Now...when I stand on the Word of God I cannot see how it does *not* make sense.

I have to be careful to cut this post off because it could quickly turn into a rambling conversation where there is no second party and therefore....makes no sense. I will end where I started. I believe that my responsibility to teach my children doesn't end when they are five. I believe it is a biblical mandate to teach your children the Word of God....above everything else. Everything. Not one thing should take precedence. Not socialization, not high level trigonometry, and not my freedom. Once I surrendered to that truth there came a realization that I could not possibly adhere to this teaching with such time constraints and outside influence. Public education would not work for me. Ever again.

Thank you God for using so many people that point to You and give glory to You through their obedience. Thank you for the deplorable situations in the public school system because they also pointed me to You....and the Word. Thank you for the sadness in my heart every time I sent them away because I now know it was directing me to Your Way. Thank you God for the longing that you have given me for homeschooling....even before I knew it was a possibility. Amen.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The cycle of sin

You must read this from Piper in light of the recent Supreme Court ruling upholding the ban on partial birth abortions.

an excerpt:

This use of catch phrases is surely tired. “Right to choose.” “Equal rights for women.” The grandchildren of the sixties are waking up to the vagueness and danger of those phrases. Right to choose what? Anything? All laws that protect children limit the rights of moms (and dads) to choose. You can’t choose to starve them. You can’t choose to lock them in closets for three weeks. You can’t choose to abandon them. You can’t choose to strangle them five minutes after they are born. (Piper)

I have not read the 73 pages written as the opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy, but I dare say it would most likely rattle the cages of the most stiff necked "pro-choice" advocates.

It is an encouraging day when the truth is no longer shrouded under politically correct "terms" that encourage people to live in complete denial of the atrocities that are taking place...all in the name of "women's rights". The truth is being brought to light. Praise God.

A Little Bit of This...And That

Too much to blog about! Could I have about 43 hours of uninterrupted time and an unlimited supply of coffee? Please?

I have gotten to the point where I love to chronicle our life almost as much as I love to collect my thoughts and get them written down. I have always been sentimental but never organized enough to journal and store our memories in a special way. Blogging has done that for me and I know it blesses our family, near and far....cause they tell me so :)

Then there are the thoughts. And oh, have mercy do they come a-floodin' in! I have decided that for my homeschool essay, I will write about it as it comes. Bit by bit. The same way the Lord revealed it to me. I am totally overwhelmed...burdened even...with the truth about our responsibility in regard to raising them and educating them in the Word. I am compelled to get it out. I also have some serious thoughts on evangelism. Not just the "how not to's" but the "how to's". I know lost people. I just don't want to know lost people. Was that too honest? More on that later. I have Spider-man, the achilles tendon, hair-cuts, popsicles, and so much more to purge from this peanut brain.

For now, I plan on just trying to catch up the friends & family with the events of the past couple of weeks. Fun stuff!

These are the remaining pic's and videos from Spring Break. Did I mention that we had a mighty fine time? Well...we did.

We went to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg with our two families and their kiddos. A clan. Maybe a mob. Either way, we were a bunch of people with a bunch of children and it was good-time fun. Here are some pics:

Darling Daughter...

Another Darling Daughter...

Here's our clan moseying through the crowd. See the guy in the yellow and blue striped shirt? He's our pastor. He is a blessing to our lives and to our church. He is an expositional preacher. He is all about the gospel...teaching it....preaching it. He is a humble man of God who places the highest priority on being a husband and father.

He is also a certified froot loop.

Here are the little fella's about to take flight.

The train ride! The children were spillin' over the side. We had wagon's and strollers and buggies...15 people in all and we managed to shove politely wait our turn for the second train. I think the people there thought we were either Mormon or obnoxious. The latter was mostly true.

Bring on the good times! Please notice the Froot Loop in the striped-shirt. He can translate Greek with the best of 'em.

Okay. Let me set this clip up for you. Small stage in the middle of a "Make-Believe European Country." Irish music is playing in the background. Pay very close attention to my boy and his unique ability to combine The River Dance with The Break Dance. It's cutting edge folks. Seriously.

Then you should notice the little guy in the turquoise shirt. That... is Froot Loop's boy. The apple didn't fall very far. That's all I'm sayin'.

The littlest midget-man belongs to my dear friend Dusty. He's a little younger so he is in the froot loop "learning stage". There is such a thing.

Friday, April 20, 2007

In Memory

Today, the state of Virginia is painted maroon and orange in memory of the Virginia Tech tragedy.

Our hearts are broken for the families that have lost loved ones.

"Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise." Jeremiah 17:14

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Read this article that Piper wrote about repentance in regard to our suffering. I remember reading this article when it was first published after the tsunami in Thailand.

There are people who completely remove God from their circumstances when they talk about calamities, disasters, or great loss. This is so puzzling to me. Have they read any of the bible? How about the phrase, "biblical proportions"? There was never a more colossal "natural" disaster than that of the Great Flood. You certainly can't remove God from that. God was never absent, nor is he now. He is still Lord over all. Before, during, and after that horrific tsunami. Before, during, and after the Virginia Tech tragedy.

Brian (Jenn's husband) had said during a sermon a few weeks ago that people today attend church in hopes of feeling better about themselves. They measure the effectiveness of the service based on how "good" they feel when they leave. But they shouldn't feel good about themselves. They should feel good about their God. Our self-esteems should be in ruins as we fall to our knees before a Holy, Perfect, and thank you Jesus, Merciful God who has seen fit to make a way for our wretched souls. I am not good. I am grateful to be reminded as often as possible.

The point of every deadly calamity is this: Repent. Let our hearts be broken that God means so little to us. Grieve that he is a whipping boy to be blamed for pain, but not praised for pleasure. Lament that he makes headlines only when man mocks his power, but no headlines for ten thousand days of wrath withheld. Let us rend our hearts that we love life more than we love Jesus Christ. Let us cast ourselves on the mercy of our Maker. He offers it through the death and resurrection of his Son. (Piper)

How to make cottage cheese...

Did you know you can make cottage cheese in about 15 minutes? Oh yes. You can.

Here's what you do. Give your emptied belly preschooler two large cups of milk first thing in the morning. Be sure and expose him to to an upchucking 4-year old the previous day. That last part is of the utmost importance.

Seriously, the boy gulped down his milk. Two large glasses. Threw them up only minutes later and "Wa-La"....cottage cheese.


No warning whatsoever. Emma and Samuel both could throw-up in the middle of taking their SAT's or walking a tightrope and just wipe off their chin, blow their nose, and keep right on going. What in the world is that??? Hannah and I go into hysteria mode. Honestly, I am talking about real live hysterical behavior. With a whole lot of tears and hollerin' out "oh, God, please don't let me throw up" chant-like prayers while rolling around on our backs. It is a site to behold. Lucky for us we don't "behold" it very often.

Samuel had two concerns:

1.) When can I finish my breakfast?
2.) Please don't wash my hair. (which was filled with cottage cheese)

He never even bothered to sit up. He just laid back in his eezy-breezy fashion, drinking his milk, watching a little Arthur. And then started throwing up. But he never moved his body or made a sound. Just sat there and threw up all over himself (and the sofa and the non-washable pillows). I come around the corner because Emma says, "Mommmmaa....I think Samuel is spilling his milk"

Oh, yesiree. That's what he was doing all right.

When I get to him, he just takes a deep breath....puts both hands up in the air (like "I dunno") and shrugs his shoulders. As if to say, "ain't my fault".


I go to scoop him up and this obviously sets off the barf-button in the brain so he starts up again. Now it is aimed straight at me. I flip him around and try to make a run for the bathroom. He is still spilling over. Emma is watching from the kitchen and starts to cry. Merciful Heavens.

"Oh sugar, what's wrong?" (me)

"I just can stand it, momma. I hate to see him go through that. It makes me worried and scared." (E)

Well then. Now you know how I feel, huh?

I banish her to upstairs, call the neighbor to take her to school, coat her with Lysol & hand sanitizer, and send her with a banana.

Time to set off the Lysol and Febreeze Bomb in my house. Time to try and scoop cottage cheese clumps off my furniture. Time to convince my boy that he WILL NOT be consuming anything for the next several hours.

This was not on the agenda.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Whatever We Want....The Last One

I can't remember where we went. I can't remember the last post. I just know that there are still pictures from our fantabulous weekend that I haven't posted and now that we are in the thick of the springtime hustle-bustle boogie it would be nice to glance back at simpler times. Times when our sides were splitting with laughter and too much food. Good times.

Here's Dusty making the bunkbeds. She's a pro.

This is a creepy old house on the property. It was used during the Civil War. There are headstones on the grounds as well. This alone would be enough to fascinate my oldest child for months. This alone would be enough to send me screaming into the night from fear. It's a good thing for my roommates that I didn't see this landmark until the day we left.

Here we are at the edge of the James River. Spring had not sprung just yet, so I can't wait to go back when everything is in bloom. Can ya'll see the *yawn* tiredness on our faces?

Hans & Judy...our gracious hosts

As we drove home I continued to have the urge to leap from the car and snap photos of barns and landscape that struck my fancy. This one really struck my fancy.

When I look back over all the years of my life, I cannot say that I have ever been more richly blessed in the area of friendships....Godly friendships. I have a couple of friends who have been with me through the majority of my marriage and motherhood. I have several more who I met once I moved here to Virginia. They are not superficial. They are not always easy. They are filled with years of standing in the gap, carrying burdens and prayerful petitions. There is not always agreement with one another but always accountability before God. A true friend speaks in the place of your husband or your children when you feel full of resentment and frustration. Trust, commitment, forgiveness, accountability....honesty. Whoo-whee! Honesty? Let's be honest and say that hands-down, honesty is the hardest part. I have probably driven away more potential friends than I care to admit because of my "honesty". The ones left standing (and standing up to me) are my truest friends.

Proverbs 27:5-6 says that, "Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.

I would welcome the correction and "calling out" from any of my friends over the shallow pretentious ways of fake relationships. I don't have time and they don't honor God. What's the point?

I have been given sisters. Family that I don't have and could not have dreamed for. It is a gift that I dare not take for granted. I am prayerful that I honor Him in the way that I nurture these friendships.

Thank you God.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Samuel Preaches The Word...

Matthew 19:13-15, as told by Samuel after his lesson today...

Hey mom, you know what? You know, Jesus' friends say, "HEY, TELL DEM CHIDREN GO AWAY".
(said with a furrowed brow and an assertive tone)

(said with the confidence of a 4-year old preacher)

And the momma said....amen little preacher.

Romans 13:14

"But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires."

Romans 13:14 ESV

Our pastor preached from the text in Romans 13:11-14 this past Sunday. The above scripture cuts straight to the bone of my own devious plan for making a way....making my way plausible and being certain that it comes to pass. I know that sin is most often a calculated act but at the same time I find myself arguing that certain things, thoughts, or circumstances occur so quickly and without warning that I discover I am knee-deep before I realize what has transpired.

Not true. I made provision. Always. I have cut the path for the trail that leads to sin. Even when I can't see my own wicked forethought, I must confess that I did not put on the whole armor of God. Ephesians 6:10-20. Either way...provision was made.

Not only must I make no provision for the flesh, but I must also make provision for righteous choices. It is much easier for me to just avoid certain situations, conversations or circumstances that might provide a slippery slope or a route to failure. How much harder is it for me to actually "choose" the path of righteousness?Is it possible for me to stand still and at the same time honor God and His commands?


For me to stand still....would be the same as being neither hot nor cold. Lukewarm. Rejected and spit out is not where I want to find myself before Holy God. I must choose. It is a difficult thing to be deliberate in choices. Chris and I have been trying desperately to do so. Deliberately choosing the narrow path has proven to be a challenge, not just daily but minute by minute....

14"And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: 'The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation.
15"'I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!
16So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
17For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
18I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.
19Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.

Revelations 3:14-19 ESV

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Squatter In Action...

Enjoy this little bit of footage and be sure and listen carefully to the song being played in the background. The lyrics are helpful when wondering whether or not you should consume tequila in a public place...or not. We left before the kids started a sing-a-long.

Bowling is the armpit of somethin'...that's fursure

Hey! The bowling alley is fun! We were reminded of that last Wednesday when we checked off Emma's pick for our Spring Break "To-Do's". The bowling alley is also filled with smokers.....therefore, filled with smoke. The armpit is the stinkiest place on the body and the bowling alley is the stinkiest place on earth. That is my assessment. Take it or leave it.

O.K., maybe that is a slight exaggeration but shoo-wee. You hear me? SHOO-WEE smokers! Cigarettes stink! They stink to the high heavens! I want to bring some poopy diapers to the bowling alley and open them up on all the surrounding tables. Not to punish you. No. I am not like that. I only want to drown out the smell of SMOKE!

O.K., enough fussin'. Here's the fun. We had fun. It was short (and smokey) but everybody had a great time. In honor of each person's achievement, I have given awards to each of my family members. The awards go to...

Hannah for Best Form-

The girl is graceful. She walks carefully up to the line as if the sport of bowling begins when you choose the ball and saunter up to the line like a southern belle. That long lanky right leg then sliiiides behind her left and she gently releases her ball. No strikes? No problem. She looks good. That's what counts.

Samuel for Most Unique Form-

What's all this one handed business about? Sam is sure that two hands are far better and with a squat and a thrust and loud grunt the ball is gone. It is gone. It might not be traveling fast. It might not even "look" like it's traveling at all. But it is. Just really, really, really, really slow.

Samuel's ball for the S-l-o-w-e-s-t.....M-o-v-i-n-g.....B-a-l-l.....E-v-e-r....

and it's still rolling...

Emma for the Cheeriest "This Was My Idea" Happy Disposition-

OH little pickle! You did have a great idea! She said that about 487 times while we were there :) "Isn't this a great idea, mom?" She bowled well but that was totally beside the point. The point was....this was fun and she thought of it.

I agree.

Chris for the Most Intense include numerous strikes accomplished with his patented rolling/throwing/hurling motion followed by the heaviest ball in the joint. One way or the other, somethin' was going down. It was either pins....or the drywall.

Chris is good at bowling. He is great at basketball and baseball and he is good at shooting pool, throwing darts, shooting skeet, throwing and catching footballs, kicking soccer balls, jumping, skipping rope, flying kites, tennis, racquetball, boat rowing, swimming, badminton, ping-pong, horseshoes, and BOWLING. He is good at bowling. It is not fair. As a matter of fact, it is just plain wrong for someone who DOESN'T bowl to bowl three strikes in a row and then pick up spares till the cows come home. He is just good at sporting stuff. Well, good for him. But his form stinks. So there.

My last award goes to all the smokers in the *alley* that afternoon. Smokers at the bowling alley get the award for....

Best attempt at Making A Cigarette Look Like Incense Award!
We were a group of 5 people and there were probably only 15 people in the whole place. Two or three were manning the counter while the other 8 were positioned next to us. Have I ever told you in one of my 100 posts that I abhor, hate, despise, and hate cigarette smoke? Oh have mercy, I would prefer the smell of....well just about anything. Especially since the smell of just about anything else doesn't cause a deadly disease for which there is no cure. I grew up in a house of smokers and I know the dreadful addiction that is caused from nicotine. Still, why let the stick-o-death just sit in the ashtray and burn? and burn? and burn? Isn't that a waste of money? And clean air?

That's my only complaint. Next time, we will head to an alley that is a little bit further up the road, but has a "no smoking" policy on Saturdays and that way we can stay longer...and that way Sam can perfect his squatting stance. Emma can perfect her cheesy grin. Hannah can perfect her arabesque form. Dad can perfect his cannon-ball blast. And I can get some nachos. Because that didn't happen. And it should have.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Easy Button & A Trip to the Crater

On Tuesday, we checked off a couple more "to-do's" for Spring Break and headed to Petersburg. First a visit to Dad at his office and then on to Petersburg National Battlefield to see the infamous "Crater".

1st- A Trip to Dad's Office...
A trip to Daddy's office always includes some candy and an unhealthy obsession over the "Easy Button". There is incessant pushing over the Easy Button.




I don't know how those guys get anything done. If we had one of those at our house, I could just put it in the center of the room and fascinate our children for hours. Bizarre.

Then there was the dismay over the decor of Dad's office. The girls and I are now on a create a homey and smell-goody environment for poor Dad. What's the deal with all the paneling....and the maps....and the thumbtacks??? Don't worry Dad. "Team- Office Makeover" is on the job! We'll be bringing in some coordinating fabrics, some citrus fragrances, and of course a dozen pictures of us!

We enjoyed our visit and wished we could have wooed Dad to come with us, but hey...somebody has to fund these excursions, right?

Next- Petersburg National Battlefield...
The Siege of Petersburg was a 10-month struggle...the longest siege in American warfare. There are scores of battlefields scattered throughout the Petersburg/Richmond area. You could visit civil war sites for weeks and probably not see them all. The area we live in is rich in history and struggle and it is not lost on our children. The girls have each studied the Civil and Revolutionary Wars at length and are pretty avid history buffs. It is fascinating and embarrassing at the same time. Can I tell you without you judging me, that I asked my daughter at least 326 times:

"Union is the north, right?" or

"Hannah, the Federals were the north & the Rebels were the that right?"

Samuel on the other hand just knows that some fightin' took place here and is there a possibility he might get his hand on a weapon? Please? Fire a cannon maybe? Light up some dynamite? OH yeah, and where is George Washington?

I won't bore you with the details of Civil War trivia. If you are at all interested, you can click here and check out more info on this particular battlefield. I will give you the skinny on the trail that we walked and the oh-so-famous "Crater".

The visitor's center had a small but quaint museum that we walked through.

The trail is called Confederate Battery 5 and was probably about a mile long. It is considered on the of the strongest works of the original Confederate defense line (that's the south-wink, wink) and also known as the Dimmock Line. Besides noting the historical significance of our location, we were absolutely enamored with our surroundings. Spring buds are on every single living thing and it is a beautiful time to be outside. We took way too many pictures! It was a splendid day and I had wished we had more time to spend there.

Now...prepare yourself for the picture below. At this very spot on July 30, 1864 at 4:44 a.m., a Union mine was exploded under a Confederate Battery in an attempt to create a breakthrough. "The charges exploded in a massive shower of earth, men, and guns." Between 250 & 350 Confederate soldiers were killed instantly. The battle which ensued resulted in the deaths of thousands and ultimately, the plan was a failure, ending with a Confederate victory. The area affected by this tremendous explosion is known simply as....THE CRATER. (tum-tum-tum)

We are giddy with excitement over the gigantic, monstrous, gaping hole that has been left in the Earth from this mighty blast! You'll need to sit down for this one....

Yep. That's it. Notice Samuel can't even turn around because he's afraid he might miss something. WHERE'S DA HOLE? WHERE...IS...DA...BID...HOLE??????

Imagination must play a vital role at this point in the day.


Tomorrow in our Spring Break adventures I'll share with you what we did on Wednesday and decide....are bowling alley's the armpit of America?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Sunday....more pictures

I'm nearly caught up with the picture posting. Aren't you glad Gigi? Here are pictures from Sunday. Yes, we still ate rabbit parts and we did hunt eggs in the afternoon. I love the idea of moving some of these traditions to another day so that we can focus on the glorious meaning of Resurrection Sunday. Still...there is something absolutely precious about little munchkins in their Sunday best, sprinting through the grass searching for treasure. Too sweet :)