Monday, December 13, 2010

The Liturgical Year


Having very recently become interested in the history of the church, and specifically the different rituals, for lack of a better word, of the church, I was excited to read this book.

As a Baptist, many of the feasts, and even the general approach to many of the "holy days," have been a foreign concept to me. Generally speaking, Baptists celebrate Easter and Christmas as "holy days," and that, to a degree, is the extent of it. As a result, it is easy to look at those churches that celebrate "the liturgical year" as legalistic, doing something that is not necessary, or not following the Holy Spirit. However, upon closer reflection, it is possible to see that following the holy days in the liturgical calendar, CAN, as the author proposes, lead a person into a deeper relationship with Christ.

It explains, in very clear, concise details, how the dates for Christmas and Easter were set, and how the time leading up to the two holidays (Advent and Lent) can be spent so as to grow in understanding of Christ's life and as a result, become more Christ-like ourselves (something that should be the goal of any Christian regardless of denomination).

As someone completely unfamiliar with the history of the liturgy, the author does an excellent job of making it understandable. There are a few times in the book where I felt she was having to work a bit too hard for the justification of observing it, but those were few. Also, there were times when her "doctrine" and the doctrine I choose to believe are different, but I started the book anticipating that, and it was not a huge detraction as I was not reading to develop what I believe, but to learn about something I had never been introduced to.

My biggest gripe and complaint about the book was how there were key quotes placed on almost every other page, in the middle of the text. I found it very annoying and distracting. Identify one or two key quotes and put them at the beginning of the chapter or at obvious breaks. It felt very "magaziney" doing this, but in a magazine the articles are short enough that it isn't that terribly distracting. With a book, though, it was absolutely asinine.

Overall, I felt this was a good book for its perceived intended purpose -- to educate about the liturgical year, and I would recommend it for anyone looking for an easy to understand overview.







Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Flashback

Tonight, I was listening to Christmas music on Pandora, just as I am apt to do at any time, not just in December.

I don't know what song it was, but it reminded me of a Christmas program that I was in when I was in 6th grade.

It was a group simply called "Special Music" meaning that we had to audition and if chosen we got pulled out of the regular class every other week to go have an extra music class with the music teacher -- Katie Hoyle.

Teaching elementary school is a special calling; being an itinerant music teacher just means you have a special level of insanity (I know; I've been there.) However, Ms. Hoyle took insanity to a whole new level.

I do not know her reasons why, but she decided that year, our class would present a "Madrigal Feast."

and we did.

Few memories from childhood stick with me, but if I close my eyes, and concentrate, I can still smell the cafeteria, see the costumes, hear the instruments, and sing the music. Twenty-eight years later I still remember some of the songs.

I remember learning later, perhaps from her, perhaps from my uncle who was a teacher at the same school, that many of her colleagues told her it couldn't be done -- that level of music and performance simply was not possible by 10, 11, and 12 year olds. (This opinion was "confirmed" some years later when having a discussion with fellow music majors at college).

But she presevered, and we did it.

We weren't supposed to be able to do it, but we did.

Looking back, I see that that lesson had a much deeper, longer lasting impression on me than I imagined.

There were instances in Jr. High the next years, and later in High School, that told me, "You can't do that." But, I did.

And it stayed with me.

Ever been told that a student can't read, he is a behavior problem, and that there is no way he will ever be able to do anything in your music class, so why bother?

I have.

He sang the solo beautifully.

Ever been told that the "trainable mentally handicapped" student in your math class really didn't need to be that involved with other students because he didn't have the social skills necessary to "fit in?"

I have.

He made friends that year.

Ever sat across from a student who is so severely "learning disabled" in math that you have been told to do the best you can, but he probably won't graduate because he can't pass the state competency test?

I have.

He passed, and holds a NC Diploma.

Ever have a student look at you and tell you they will never, ever "get this stuff," and graduate with their GED or Adult High School diploma?

I have (many times).

They did (many times).

I don't say that to brag on myself or my teaching skills, which are mediocre, at best. It wasn't me that did it. In every instance, the student was the one who did it.

But, I believed in them.

Ms. Hoyle believed in us and we did what we weren't supposed to be able to do.

Whatever you do in life, but especially if you are a teacher, believe.

Even if they "can't" do it. Believe they can.

Ms. Hoyle, I have no idea where you are now, or what you are doing, but, thank you.

Thank you for believing we could.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Boy Who Changed the World

This is a wonderful children's book that explores and explains how even just one person can have an effect for many years to come. It starts by looking at the life of Nobel laureate Norman Borlaug who is sometimes called "the father of the revolution," and whose studies and developments have led to many, many people being able to have food.

A story about Borlaug, in and of itself, would be an uplifting and motivating tell, but the author goes a bit further. He begins to unravel the history, backwards, at who helped and assisted Borlaug, and back many years to someone who probably would have never guessed at the role he would play in the future.

The story itself was a little confusing to me at first, and felt awkward because it tells a story, goes back in time, comes "up" to where the story begins, goes back, etc. However, after the first reading, this makes perfectly good sense and is an effective way to show the ripple effect of each of the lives of the people involved.

The book is slightly larger than many children's books which makes it great for reading to a group. Also, the pictures and illustrations are excellent and colorful and really held the attention of my children (8 and 5) and I look forward to giving copies of it to the children that I know.



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Jesus You Can't Ignore



In this book, MacArthur takes issues with the "weak, mild, gentle" Jesus we often see represented.

Throughout the book, the author takes an event from Jesus' life, gives the historical context, then proceeds to show how that event could be applicable in a believer's life today. For me, he could have stopped after the first two "steps" because I found that to be educational and encouraging. Many times, the application was misused because in most, if not all, of the instances written about, Jesus was openly rebuking the religious leaders of his time. ONLY the religious leaders. Many times, I see Christians embrace the teachings similar to what MacArthur has expounded upon and use them to openly confront those they feel are the enemy -- in today's fundamental Christian world, that is usually the homosexual, the atheist, and the Muslim. This application of the life of Christ is not only grossly wrong, but counterproductive to the entire message of Jesus.

My overarching opinion of the book, though, is positive. I was renewed and rejuvenated just reading about Jesus' life and what all he did will on Earth. It was encouraging to me, and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more about his life while here on Earth.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back to School





So, in the morning, all of Trav's football/baseball buddies will be back in school, as will most of Kristi's little friends.

They are, in part, a little jealous, I think, that they are not part of that. They are also a little bit "proud" that they have a few more days of summer vacation left. :)

There are times I really wonder, "Why DO I homeschool." Unlike some (more than I would like, actually) homeschoolers I know, I am not anti-public school. I do not consider it a "cess pool," as I heard one mother refer to it as. All of my kids' closest friends, now, are public schooled.

For the most part, I am very pro-public school. I went to public school. I know a lot of AWESOME public school teachers, administrators, and support staff. Thinking about it, I probably know more "good" than I do "bad."

So, why do I homeschool? For now, because I feel that that is what God wants for our family -- my kids are receiving a top education, and I am getting to spend valuable time with them. I do not like the direction that public education is going in, and has been for some years. To me, as a teacher, it truly seemed like passing the test was tantamount to everything else. I wanted to teach kids to love to learn, because then, they would teach themselves, even after leaving my classroom.

I failed miserably at that. BUT, I could get even the weakest math student to pass the NC Competency Test of Math (which is no longer given --YEAH!).

So, as my friends go back into their classrooms, and as the little people my kids call friends convene as well, my prayers are with those involved. May you have a safe year, a fun year, and a productive year.

And, who knows, maybe next year, I'll join you!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Be Still

One of the hardest things for me to do is keep my mouth shut. If I feel like something needs to be said, I will say it -- for better or worse.

But, sometimes God directs me to "Sit down, shut up, and be quiet."

Okay, He is probably a lot more gentle that *that,* but that's what I imagine He would say if He were speaking audibly to me.

It is in these times of "quietness" that I often don't know what to pray.

I want the pain to go away.

I want the wrongs righted.

I want the misunderstandings talked about and fixed.

I want the muddiness cleared.

I want the weight lifted.

And I want it done NOW.

But, only God can do it, and I wait on Him.



Psalm 46:10 / Zec. 2:13
Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is holy

Be still oh restless soul of mine
Bow before the prince of Peace
Let the noise and clamor cease
Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is faithful

Consider all that He has done
Stand in awe and be amazed
And know that He will never change

Be still
Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is God
Be still
Be speechless

Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know He is our Father

Come rest your head upon His breast
Listen to the rhythm of
His unfailing heart of love

Beating for His little ones
Calling each of us to come

Be still
Be still

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Can You Hear Me Now?

I guess my favorite quote -- the one that challenges me and inspires me daily, is attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson.

"What you do speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you say."

Simply put, actions are much louder than words.

I can say, "I love you," but if I ignore you, or deliberately try to hurt you, my mouth is going to be moving, but you are not going to hear anything coming out.

Tangentially related is that "perception is reality." It may, of course, be an incorrect reality, but it is, in effect what is "real" to the person. If I am "seeing" something, that becomes what I see as reality.

Every experience we have is interpreted through a filter of past experiences, beliefs, ideas, and preconceived notions. Is it any wonder that being an effective communicator is considered a talent?

As a result, I have been pondering silence. Holding my tongue when I really, really, really want to say something. Some will say that "Silence is golden," but I have found that silence is rarely, if ever, taken to be positive. Therein lies the crux of my dilemma. I want to say *something* to make a situation better, but I feel that saying something will probably just make the issue worse, so I remain silent. And then I begin to wonder if my silence gives the impression that I am something that I am not.

Is my action (or inaction, as it may be) being interpreted in a way that I don't mean for it to be?
Are my actions matching my words?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sarah's Garden by Kelly Long



I admit, I'm a sucker for Amish "romance" novels, of which there seem to be many. This one, though, has an interesting twist that I did not begin to suspect until about 3/4 through, but was still surprised that it ended the way it did. I think this is the only book of this nature that I have read that took that turn.

The story was an intriguing in that you could feel the emotions the main characters had for each other, yet, the conflict between what they wanted and who they were was almost tangible as well.

My only criticism isn't so much about how it is written as much as how it is described "on the back." I kept expecting the quilt to become an integral part of the story, and even thought that the relationship between Sarah and Grant would be described (or become a metaphor) of the quilt that she made. Instead, the part the quilt played in the overall story seemed almost like an afterthought. The squares were introduced early in the story, so I kept expecting them to "be used," but they weren't. Then, suddenly, *bam* there they were, she made a beautiful quilt and the story moved on. Then, almost as suddenly as it came about, the quilt was gone again.

Overall, though, the story was a very pleasant read, and I enjoyed it. It was easy to follow and the characters, though not particularly dynamic, were easy to understand. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes this genre of book.



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Max Lucado's Hermie and Friends -- Who Is in Charge Anyway



My kids really enjoy the Hermie and friends series, so I was anxious to get it and watch it with them. When Freddie the Flea shows up to fix the ladybugs' TV set, he hears Hailey and Bailey asking their mom what is so special about fleas. They recount a couple of heroic acts by other members of the Garden, which Freddie overhears, and he begins to question what *is* special about him. So, he goes outside and talks to God.

God uses the lives of Freddie's friends to show him that he is special and that there is a plan just for him -- a job in the Garden that only Freddie can do.

My kids and I sat together and watched this and they enjoyed it as they have the others. They also liked that it incorporated clips from some of the other stories they have seen. Their favorite, I think, was seeing what Buzby "used" to be. :)

It seemed a bit short to me, with the "flashbacks" being too short and not really developing enough as far as the story was concerned. It helped that I had seen most of the stories referenced, but when it was over, we were all kinda like, "Is that it?"

Overall, though, it is a cute story with a good message, and my kids enjoyed it (as they have the others in the Hermie series).

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

A Summer Secret



This was a pleasant read. It had believable characters, and I thought it did well at contrasting the life of the English with the life of the Amish. So many times, I've read books about the Amish people, and it is easy to picture them being set in a time past. This book, however, unblurred that line gave an interesting picture of what could happen when the Amish are presented with runaways, foster care and child abuse.

I probably would stop short of calling it a true mystery, as the story isn't quite that intriguing, and it is fairly obvious what is going on and what will happen. I enjoyed it as it was both easy to follow and relaxing (and I was reading it on vacation). I could also see pre-teen or early teen girls enjoying it, though it is not a "girl story."

Overall, not a bad book, and one I could heartily recommend to someone who simply wants a book to enjoy.





Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday, May 09, 2010

I Am Hutterite



I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, but was pleasantly surprised. I had never heard of the Hutterite people, so each page taught me something new. It was well written and easy to understand. The author gave us a close, personal glance into her early life, and as a result, I found myself feeling like I "knew" the people and the events that happened.

Even still, there seem to be a sense of detachment from the author and the 'story' she was telling. For the part of the book that dealt with her youth, that could be understood as children sometimes only see things in a small framework of their life.

Though I really enjoyed the first 2/3s of the book, I felt that it transitioned very quickly in her later teenage years, and I felt as if I didn't see the transition coming. In that respect, it seemed to me to feel hurried or pressed to finish.

Overall, I thought it was a very interesting read and would heartily recommend it for those wishing to learn about small people groups like this. It is not a deep intellectual read, nor is it overtly spiritual, but it is pleasant and easy to understand.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, May 03, 2010

Plan B

I have read Pete's blog on occasion, so it was with interest that I received the book and read it.

I found it to be easily read and understood. So many times, Christian writers tend to fall into the trap of making it sound complicated, but Wilson's book does not do that. His writing style, though not a true conversational style, is personal and is reminiscent of sitting on the front porch talking with a friend. It is filled with poignant stories and examples, but also has the well placed chuckle to keep you going.

If I had any complaint about the book it is that it seemed to me that he kept repeating the same thoughts in each chapter. Rather than building on the previous chapter, it seemed to be the same thoughts verbalized a different way. That said, I also recognize that sometimes those for whom the book was written may benefit from hearing it several times.

Would I recommend the book? Yes. I believe Wilson is teaching some valuable lessons that Christians can learn, and perhaps NEED to learn, and it serves as a valuable reminder that things aren't always going to go as we planned, and at those times, we can trust in God for the alternative plan.









Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Piece of the Puzzle



Have you ever been cruising through life, thinking all was going well when you realize that something was happening?

Events that were seemingly unrelated take on a whole new level of importance, and it starts to become apparent that while it appeared they were unrelated, they were actually co-dependent on eachother?

That is where I am. Event over the past couple of weeks -- seemingly coincidental, random acts have brought me face to face with myself, and God is showing me areas in my life where I need change.

I wish I could say I was excited.

Honestly, it scares me. While I know that God is with me, ultimately orchestrating it all, and that the end result means a closer walk with Him and more rewarding life experience, the process might be painful to bear.

So, now, I have a choice to make.

Friendships for Grownups

I hesitated to read this book, simply because I wondered if a "loner," such as myself would find anything of value or worth in it.

Never could I have dreamed the floodgates this book would open. I suppose that since she wrote the book, and Thomas Nelson published it, there are other women "out there" that can relate to the struggle Lisa has had in finding and maintaining friendships with women. For me, though, for much of the book, I found myself wondering if she was writing about my life and my experiences. There were times when the words seem to come off of the page and slap me in the face -- it was that directly confrontational with events and episodes of my life.

As a result, it is difficult for me to give an objective review of this book. If you are a woman such as myself who tends to build steel enforced brick walls around your heart, then, yes, this book may very well help you to find a way around that and encourage you to be vulnerable with those you want to be close to.

If you are fairly confident in the friendships you have established and are maintaining, it may not be as much a help to you, per se, but it may help you to understand why there are those of us out there that don't warm up to you instantly, and why we seem to withdraw emotionally.

For men? Not sure on that one. The title of the book is "Friendship for Grownups" but I'm not sure a lot of men would relate to much of what she says. A better title might be "Friendships for Women," but I could be mistaken.

At the end are some good discussion questions and "what's next" type of advice. For me, it was a bit soon to do some of her suggestions, but I can see it being useful in a group study.

Overall, I'm very grateful for this book, and will probably be revisiting it in smaller chunks in the future.

(Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”)

Friday, April 09, 2010

Bonhoeffer A Biography



This book, in it's simplest incarnation, is a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, yet, in so many ways, it is more than that.

My first impression of this rather large volume is that it would be so typical of other biographies and would simply drag on and be a tedious read. The only aspect of my first impression that was correct is that it *is* a large volume -- it is not an afternoon read; it will take a while to read.

From the first few paragraphs, the story is captivating and I often found myself saying, "One more chapter. .." even though I was already up in the wee hours of the morning reading. While I was peripherally familiar with the name Bonhoeffer, and while I felt that I had a pretty good grasp on the events leading up to and during the Holocaust, this volume deepened that understanding, and made want to learn eve more (a mark of a truly good book, in my opinion) about the German resistance to Hitler and the Nazis.

The only negative criticism would be about the author's style of relating an event, "fast forwarding" if you will to the future, then pulling you back to the point in the story. Ordinarily, this technique is effective at maintaining the interest of the reader and keeping them engaged. However, the story of Bonhoeffer's involvement is captivating enough and the technique seemed to tease me because I was already desperately reading to see what would be next.

More than anything, though, this book helped me to understand the potentially volatile role and relationship of the church with the local/national authority, and how, without a knowledge of the Bible and Godly discernment, the role can be abused. I would not recommend it for the church member who is comfortable equating patriotism with Christianity -- that notion is challenged directly. I do, however, highly recommend it for the person, who like myself, is struggling to understand exactly what role, if any, the church (corporately and individually) should play in the chess game of politics.




++++++
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Map by David Murrow



a review.

this book is part fiction, part non-fiction, delineated nicely in the middle. not that there could be confusion between the two.

the author begins the tale by describing a "suspenseful" journey to discover a "map" within the book of matthew. then, once the map has been discovered, the author delves deeper into the implications of the map and what it means for christian men.

i wanted to like this book. i wanted to have something that i could hand to my husband, brother and others and say, "here! this is it! this will change your walk with christ forever!" this book, sadly though, isn't it.

in the first part, the story is obviously fictional, and though i tried to convince myself that it was believable, it simply was not. the characters seemed forced; the plot was contrived. the whole time i was reading, the phrase 'da vinci code wannabe' kept running through my head.

the second part was slightly better leading me to believe that perhaps the author should have only written the second part, and used the "story" from the first interspersed as examples, or worked on the first part to develop the plot and characters better. as a whole, the two just don't seem to work well together. on the upside, it is like two books in one. the last half of the book is basically an explanation of how the pattern of Jesus' life as shown in the book of matthew gives a "map" for men to follow today, and gives a "reason" to pursue strength (using a 21st western definition of the word) and for being "macho." unfortunately, it left me with many more questions than it gave me answers.

what about women? (he does address this, briefly, for about a paragraph or two, but does not say anything meaningful about it -- it seems more a token mention). if the "map" is so revolutionary for men, and is indeed how they should live their life, shouldn't it offer some nugget of truth for how women can be victorious as well?

what about non-American men? the whole premise of the book is how christianity has emasculated the men, and thus they are no longer interested in church because it isn't "macho." in my admittedly limited exposure, though, this "macho-ness" seems to be especially prevalent amongst american men. many of the european and asian men I know do not worry about it. if it were as true for american men as it was for Jesus, wouldn't it also be true for men everywhere? which leads to my last point.

this seems to be yet another effort of a christian writer to offer something (for a profit, it would seem) and seemingly ignore the cultural and societal differences between the 21st century and the time of Christ. it reminds me of the books that say, "since jesus ate this, we need to." it always makes me want to ask, "jesus didn't mention going to the bathroom, so does that mean we are not supposed to?" to me, "macho-ness" is a cultural thing and to try to reconcile it to a biblical view, or justify it, even, seems a bit ingenious to me.

the author *does* make some good points about submission and the differences between peacemaking and peacekeeping. the latter, especially, seemed well thought out and addressed an perspective that isn't often thought about in present day churches.

overall, it wasn't a *bad* book -- there were some redeeming points, and it does address an issue that perhaps needs to be studied a bit more. taken separately, each section of the book is probably better on its own rather than with its partner, though.

3 out of 5 stars


(full disclosure: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”)

Friday, March 05, 2010

Lesson

I don't blog about our homeschooling much. Not because we don't do anything, I just figure the day to day would probably bore my two or three readers.

Today, though, I had to share. Yesterday, T. informed me that he knew how to make french toast, and then proceeded to tell me. ;) Then, he asked if he could try it sometime.

This morning was "sometime."

He did indeed make french toast, all by himself. I only supervised to make sure he didn't burn himself (or his sister) and I had to show him how to turn it.

He was pleased (and it was tasty).

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Basketball is Over


Last Monday marked the end of basketball season for T's team. I wish I could say they ended on a high note but, a 30-something - 3 routing probably isn't a happy thing to remember. :)

However, it was a poignant lesson for both the little man and me.

On Sunday, his team was making up a game. They were going to be playing one of the weaker teams in the league, and the plan was to let Travis and the other "little guys" start and play a lot.

Then, our church service got rescheduled to the exact same time as the game.

I wish I could say our decision was a no-brainer about what to do, but that would be a lie. We prayed and agonized and rationalized, and finally decided that T. would have to miss the last season of the game that he would probably get to play in.

Sunday morning was filled with tears and sadness (and that was just from me!).

We went to church, the service was great, and T seemed okay. I fully expected to be 'relieved' because we had made the right decision. The relief never came.

I spent the rest of the day in a funk; discouraged and grouchy. T. wasn't much different. :( I had told him that when we give up something we REALLY want for Jesus, He will bless us. (To my concrete-as-a-block 8 year old, he thought that meant he was getting a surprise).

Monday came, and he had one more game. He suited up and went -- fully expecting to sit on the bench. By the middle of the 3rd quarter, his team was trailing by over 20 points, and he got to play the whole 4th quarter!

With 7 seconds left on the clock, he got fouled and had to go to the line. He missed the first shot, got the second and the time ran out.

My little boy, so discouraged the day before, got to score the last point of the season! (and as we pointed out to him, half as many points as the first string had scored)

The poignant lesson came outside of the gym. I leaned down and whispered, "Son, I am so proud of you. But, I want you to know that I was praying the whole time (I normally won't pray for him to win, etc. but that is another post) for you to make the shot, and for Jesus to help you."

He looked up at me and grinned (dang, that dimple is cute), and said, "I know mom. I was praying, too."

Looking back, I'm still not sure that B. and I made the right decision in letting him miss the Sunday game. I said that we did the wrong thing for the right reasons, and B. said we did the right thing for the wrong reasons. Someday we will know, but for now we are just trusting that God will continue to draw the little man to Him, and if it takes lessons like we learned on Sunday, so be it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Overcoming Addiction

Ever had to overcome an addiction?

Ever had to do it when you were 5?

My daughter, the precious Princess is on day 2 without her pacifier. This is the same princess that just turned 5; it is time.

I initially started the "pacie de-tox" when she was about 18 months old -- around the same time started potty training.

Big girls don't use pacies.

Go potty like a big girl.

Her little slightly less than two year old brain then drew the logical conclusion, "If I am big, I will use the potty and I won't have my pacie."

Toilet training shut down. Fast. Nothing but diapers for this little gal.

Sooooo, to get out of diapers, we had to tell her she could keep pacie a bit longer. At the time, I chose the arbitrary age of 5 figuring she would give it up on her own by then. hahahahahahaha.

Her birthday was Monday. Tuesday morning she went to look for it and it was gone.

Her little face. :( Just thinking about it makes me get teary-eyed.

As a parent, I am constantly amazed at how their joy makes me joyful and how their pain makes me hurt. Physically, deep in my gut, hurt.

So, today is day 2 of OUR pacie addiction being broken. The hardest thing I have ever had to do for the Princess was say, "No, baby, the pacie is gone."

I was asked when we were taking bear blankies. My answer? NEVAH. She can keep bear blankies until she is grown with grandchildren for all I care.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I'm Not Believing This

The Superbowl is coming. That means Superbowl ads -- those brief encounters with products that we probably neither want or need shown during one of the most popular sporting events of the year. This means that if you are watching the game with your 8 year old son, he gets to see who knows what (remember Janet's "wardrobe malfunction????).

I just received an email advising me how to watch the ads and talk about them with my kids.

One paragraph discusses why kids shouldn't see the Budweiser commercials (quote -- alcohol messaging needs to be managed with kids), junk food ads, movie ads (one is Disney) and an EA sports ad (which might be Madden Football but may be something else). One paragraph.

The next paragraph tells how and why you need to "ad manage" the Focus on the Family/Tebow pro-life spot.

What you believe is up to you. But the issues of pro-life or pro-choice are complicated moral questions that aren't age-appropriate for young children who may not even know about the birds and the bees yet.


Frankly, this I agree with. However, I also know that I can talk to my 5 year old about abortion without telling her about the birds and bees, yet.

The timing of when to initiate a discussion of the issues surrounding this hot-button subject should belong to individual families, not to a broadcaster.


Heck yea. And you know what else goes in this category? Alcohol, sex (ever tried to explain a Trojan or viagra commercial to your 5 year old), feminine products (do you HAVE to show how much liquid it will hold). Frankly, I would much rather have a discussion with my 5 or 8 year old about abortion, and the moral implications, etc. than those other things because abortion is an issue. (and for the record, based on what I've investigated, the word abortion is never used leading critics to say it is a "veiled" message.).

The article makes some excellent points. But, they should be things that parents should do anyway. Unfortunately, my short time on earth has shown me that common sense is anything but common.

My opinion?
While I'm not a big FoF fan, I believe that the main opposition to this is that Tim's mom was told to abort her baby because of multiple/severe health problems, but she chose to have him. Obviously, as one of the premier young quarterbacks in the country, the doctors were wrong. And THAT is something I've found that pro-abortion folks don't won't others to know.



/rant over.



http://www.commonsensemedia.org/watching-super-bowl-2010-ads-whats-age-appropriate

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Zero

Zero is nothing.

Insignificant.

Small.

But what a different it makes.

10 degrees outside vs 100 degrees outside. BIG difference.

50,000 a year salary vs 500,000 a year salary. Whoa.

Are you a zero in your church?

For Jesus?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Giving

and receiving.


It is more blessed to give than to received. Yet, without someone "receiving" it is impossible to be blessed by giving.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

A Matter of Perspective

Last night at church the Preacher Dude, Dean, asked, as part of teaching, "Why do bad things happen to good people?"

Why? It doesn't seem fair; it doesn't seem just; it doesn't seem merciful; it doesn't seem gracious. All words that we used to describe God.

Perhaps, I wonder, is it a matter of perspective? Are we defining God's actions based on our realities?

Yesterday, I stood at Lake Junaluska and looked across the lake. As far as I could see, it was white and frozen. Furthermore, the ducks, normally in very abundant numbers, were nowhere near to be seen as their normal "stomping" (or swimming) ground was now an inch or so of ice. In the distance, I could see some of them walking around or sitting on the ice. There was no water flowing, and frankly, it looked a bit overwhelming.

To me, this is what it feels like when I don't understand why my child is being treated unfairly. It is what it feels like when good people find out that the child they are birthing is less than perfect. It is what it feels like when the child you love so dearly decides to reject you and leave home. It is what is feels like when "friends" deride and criticize every move. It is what you feel like when a dear friend receives a cancer diagnoses.

Life is like that sometimes. Really bad things happen to really good people. It is not fair, by our definition.



A change of perspective, in this case driving around the lake a bit and rising above "lake level" helped me to see something.

The ducks were being taken care of. The lake was not a solid, ice filled vastness. It had two melted areas where the ducks were congregating, and based on their actions, having a pretty good time. Also, being slightly higher helped me to see that it wasn't a solid sheet of ice; there were cracks and fissures running all over the surface.

The child being treated unfairly? Perhaps it is a valuable lesson in learning how to deal with the situations around him and still be able to come out on top? The less than perfect child? Whose definition of perfect? Ours? God doesn't make accidents, so while we see a disability or handicap, God sees a beautiful creation made to glorify him. The wayward child? The unfaithful friend? The cancer? Who knows? But, if we try to define and shape our reactions based upon our own definitions and perspectives, we will fall woefully short of realizing what wonderful power and grace God has.

Bad things will happen to good people. We will continue to feel it isn't "fair." But, when we can accept that God has a different perspective, and he can see what we can't, may we rest in knowing that He loves us, He will never hurt us, and His way, while not able to be explained, is perfect.