Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You.
Psalm 63:3

Saturday, October 30, 2010

And the winner is...

...very scientifically chosen {a piece of paper picked by Bug}'s Abi.

Congratulations! As soon as I get back into town {~ Nov. 8ish} and locate the book in a random box, I'll get it to you.

And Bekah, you can still borrow my penciled, dog-eared, commented copy...I know right where it is.

Love you, both!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

this and that

Okay, back to the frivolities of life, shall we?

It's a cold, rainy day here. We may venture out later 

but for now we're enjoying a cozy school morning.

Here are the haps ~

~ we decorated yesterday

~ a wedding for the happy dolphin couple, Squirtle & Hannah

~ playing a little Set
you can play, too

{Hannah beat the tail off of Squirtle, by the way.}

 ~ making Great Pumpkin cookies on which to snack 

while we watch "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" tonight, 

you blockheads!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

radical {baby} steps, part 2

We need a dose of global thinking in our home. I wake up with nearsighted glasses...focusing on the immediate circumstances of life...meal preparation, schedule, errands, laundry, and mostly how can I maximize my comfort today?

I desperately need a reminder to look around me and most importantly up

My kids need it, too. All of us can so quickly go from this is the best day ever to why me? why can't I have that? it's so not fair.... 

They follow their momma's lead, y'all.

So, can I effectively make it part of our day? 

When a why me? tantrum erupts with my kids, my immediate response is to holler getagrip! at the plaintiff. You have no idea how good your life is! 

I go on to explain about living conditions of faceless, nameless people.  Sometimes, I may even go as far as to describe groups who are not allowed to express their faiths or don't have the chance to even know about Jesus. I imagine they hear my Charlie Brown headless adult voice.

Abstract...meaningless. Maybe they understand...but is it really sinking in with them me? {Sidenote: I do recognize groups of people, who may not have immediate challenges of just surviving the next day, also have the need for the grace of the Savior. We all need the good news of the gospel.}

I want to discuss specifics with Bug and Bean. I mean, point to the country on the world map, look at faces, talk about foods and houses, and imagine what it would be like to have to hide to go to church. {My radical friend, takes that one step further to get the message across to her radical.}

I've read about other families using a prayer guide to focus on praying for people around the world.Wouldn't it be great if I had written those book titles down somewhere? Or bookmarked the pages? Yes, what a fabulous, organized idea that would have been....

There are several daily prayer guides available...but I'm impatient. I want to find something to use during our couch time...tuh-day

The last chapter of Radical outlines ways that we can implement God's principles in a practical way. {Thank you, David Platt...I appreciate specific tasks and just need a point in the right direction.} He references Operation World and their prayer guide as a way to increase awareness and actively pray for people around the world, daily for a year.

When I checked out the website, I found this and clicked on Pray Today and found information about the country and people Operation World is praying for this very day. Jackpot! {The organization has a larger book and other materials available.}

So, we've included global prayer in our couch time last week. We use the computer to look up the guide, I read some of the information about the people, and then I do a search: "images name of country  people."  As we pray, we flip through the images...the visual connects us me with reality.

Perhaps someday we can meet some of these people...but for now, how exciting that we can learn about them and their cultures and pray for them like God asks us. 

I believe prayer can move God and absolutely change circumstances...I am hoping it will also move and change our family.

{Added later:} A quote from Radical : “We learned that orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes” (139).

Don't forget to enter for your chance in the giveaway...leave a comment on yesterday's post.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

radical {baby} steps & a radical giveaway


I'm nervous about this post. It's of the thinking out loud, composing my thoughts sort. Expect some transparency. And some disjointed thought. Please do not interpret any presumption on my part...please don't infer an assault on your life...this is truly me working through God's message for me through this book. Okay, done with the disclaimers.

I have finally finished Radical. I hear's about time...I've been reading it since May/Iowa. you want to hear the scoop?

Actually, there are so many other people who have more beautiful and intelligent things to say, like here. {Really, please read that link...His words through her are exquisite.}

Proceed with caution...the words may compel you to read the book...or send you running in the other direction. The book may mess with your head...or your life. If you are active in a fellowship, you'll question why you attend a certain church. If you are shaken like me, you'll begin to really pay attention to every dollar you spend {which is a very good thing for me, indeed.} If you lean to the radical already, well, watch out, world.

Watch this.

Radical by David Platt from Taylor Robinson on Vimeo.

So, thoughts... well, first my definitions based on my understanding and my experiences....

The American dream: If I work hard and treat people well, I will be rewarded with a fulfilling and comfortable life...and that's heaven enough for now. 

The gospel of grace: I can do nothing to earn my way into heaven. I deserve separation from God for my mistakes. The only way for me to join God in heaven is to believe and accept the sacrifice He has given for me in His son, Jesus. And because His love is better than my life, I should be willing to sacrifice anything to share the news and glorify Him.

Oh, yeah, we're getting right into it.

David Platt, author and pastor of an Alabama church, challenges followers of Christ to examine the contradiction between the American dream and God's gospel of grace. They cannot be assimilated...they don't fit together. He asserts that the individual cannot be believing and working toward the advancement of both. As a believer, I must choose one course...the success of me or Him.

My responsibility as a recipient of His grace and a follower of Christ is to share the news and extend that grace by sacrificially giving {my time, my material possessions, my loved ones, my commitment to giving in spite of what others do with my time & money, everything I have} all the while giving Him the credit. Period.  Specifically, God asks me to take care of the widows and orphans. And to go and talk to others about Christ...wherever they may be. 


Thank God, He's already given me a little insight.

I have a voice in my head that says, You deserve this. You've worked hard and been good. It's time to indulge. My American dream, right? Be it food, or spending, or comfort, or squandering time...the message and motivation are the same.  

The voice makes sense to me...partly because it seems logical...cause and effect, right? And partly because I have heard that message all my life as a middle-class American. Mostly, I believe it because I like a justified indulgence. 

But my American dream needs to be continually exposed in the light of the gospel. I'm beginning to recognize the arrogance of a selfish perpetuation of a culture of comfort which distracts me from my greater purpose as a follower of Christ.  

This book is an answer to prayer I didn't {and still don't want to} pray: LORD, help me silence the lie of the American dream. 

How do I know it's a lie? Well, if I believe that I deserve anything that God's provision has allowed me to have, what does another mother, who doesn't have access to the same resources, deserve?  Does she deserve struggle and suffering and the gut-eroding fear that she cannot give her children the fulfillment of basic needs?

Why do I have clean water from 3 sources within 10 feet and others have to walk miles to carry filthy water back to their families? {One of my favorite Christian communities, Mars Hill in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has partnered with this clean water program.}

I'm not talking about the consequences of personal choices...I know that enters into the mix. I'm talking about cultural, socio-economic obstacles that are part of this basic as where one is born to the more complex issues of outright injustice.

Our world does not operate on the you get what you deserve principle. The universal question why do bad things happen to good people? continues through the ages. And people who have done unspeakable things have never come to earthly justice. I include myself in the latter.

So, just what am I supposed to do with all this? What do I now?

I don't know...I need to simmer a bit more...and ask some more hard questions of Him and myself.

How much of this do I believe?

How far am I willing to go?

How do I function as a contributing citizen in a system that contradicts my God? The emperor has no clothes.

Not to mention, I know I'm opening myself up to some scrutiny. I am very aware that you may chalk this up to me having an emotional response to tragic stories.  I sound  flaky or condemning. You will be watching am I living? Has my paradigm shifted? How will my fickle flesh feel in a month? Prone to Wander isn't just the blog's my heart status.

Can't I just walk away unaffected? It'd be so much easier. Just don't bug me about this right now, God....

So, do I really want to be different? I am at least shaken out of my slumber, once again.

I don't have answers. But I'm asking for the answers. And my finite brain can begin to analyze the choices I make in my day as extending grace or withdrawing it. I think?

That's about as far as I've gotten in the practical sense. {Oh, and a new practice with the kids that I'll talk about in my next post.} 

How do I sustain? Only by maintaining an awareness of the healing, understanding, and joy He has given me.  Just a moment of remembering my life 15 years ago...wandering in a fog, trying the world's answers to fulfillment. The gratitude floods back. When I recognize the miracles of timing and purpose...the times I trudge through my life focusing on my feet...He is working with precision with this little old life of mine. If I take a moment to look, His fingerprints are all over my life.

I love the Serenity its entirety, but I especially love the lines that are not so well known.

God grant me the serenity 

to accept the things I cannot change; 

courage to change the things I can;

and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time; 

Enjoying one moment at a time; 
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; 
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it; 
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life 
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

Reinhold Niebuhr

Yes, that is what I believe. He rescued me from the muck of far He has brought me, knowing all the while I will be far from perfect. But I will have love...and I'll never be alone. He has done it for all of us....and now it's my privilege to tell you and others. That's radical.

And there you go, the culmination of my conviction in a {very convoluted} nutshell.

Here's the deal. I have an extra copy of Radical {don't worry, this is a good use of our dollars} and I'd like you to have it. So, leave a comment by Friday evening and I'll choose the winner on Saturday. {Terribly exciting, my first giveaway!}

Monday, October 25, 2010

Whirlwind weekend

Saturday evening, with just enough chill in the air, under a full moon, my friend Sarah married her sweet man. I'm blissed out for her. {Since I didn't okay it with her, I won't show faces, but these gorgeous flowers are safe. They're my favorite...I carried white hydrangea for my wedding.} I'm thankful my sweet man indulged me a quick trip to Ohio to join in her celebration. And we couldn't have done it had his parents not taken us in for the weekend and watched the kiddos Saturday eve.

Just to round out the fun a bit, we caught one of my brother's last shows with a great band. He's in 3, but One Under is my favorite of them. This clip is from over a year ago, but it gives you an idea. He's the bass player {on the left.} Note the requisite white-man-playing-bass head bob around 4:30 into the clip. Alas, the lead singer/guitar/songwriter is moving to Colorado, so One Under will be no more. This is a fitting song to hear, indeed.

Sunday, we went to church with Sweet Man's sister and her family. She even sent us on our way with very full fajita bellies...we should ambush them more often.

We arrived back in Bloomington last night. Shooooo-weeee!

Trick-or-treating is Thursday, if we get their costumes finished, that is. I'm in charge of Bean's; Sweet Man creates Bug's. And surely we must find another pumpkin themed activity...we haven't hit our quota, yet.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

You may be expecting this...

It's pumpkin~time!!!!

And we hadn't even begun the festivities until Friday...gotta keep pace with the harvest madness of last October.

After a little reading, we blew off the rest of the school day and drove to perhaps the most charming pumpkin farm I've seen. The day could not have been more beautiful and the kids and I really enjoyed it.

{Bug said he wished the boys had been with us, SBR.}

momma and 6{!} piglets

our jumping Bean

momma goat and 3 day-old kids

isn't he handsome? 
{possible suitor for your ladies, MLG?}

the dirt-tunnel and climbing the giant haystack

Later we went to dinner at the home of old friends who live here in town. What a lovely day.

{Bug & Bean each had cuffed pants on so we brought plenty of the farm home with us to the hotel *sigh* and now I'm picking pieces of straw out of my clean hotel sheets.}

Friday, October 15, 2010

Big secret

You ready? I'm going to tell you something only my husband knows about me. So far.

I don't wash my hair.

With shampoo, that is.

It's a movement, ya know. I read about it years ago, and wondered if I could ever make the leap. 

More recently, on Sortacrunchy, Megan wrote about being shampoo-free...easy peasy...just stop buying shampoo. When you run out, don't replace it. Here's another great post on the hows and whys. {She also explains how to cleanse your face with oil and how to become a cloth TP household. I'm not there yet.} 

I've rinsed my hair with diluted white vinegar for many moons now...and loved the results: softer hair, cleaner scalp, a bit of lighten-ing. 

So, a few weeks ago, I ran of shampoo and decided to do it.

The results are in: I love it...I'm sold. No more coupons or Big Lots buys...two ways in which I used to buy  product. Just baking soda and apple cider vinegar for me. I'm an every-other-day-wash kinda girl, in case you were wondering.

It appeals to my crunchy and frugal tendencies...I don't claim to be full-blown crunchy or frugal...I just lean  those ways. {Sortacrunchy and other sources suggest using Bragg's which can be a little more pricey. I've used that and store brand AC vinegar...both work. But there may be more information about using filtered or unfiltered...haven't looked into it, yet.}

It doesn't hurt that I've deluded myself into thinking that I'm also cleaning my tub as I rinse, saving time on scrubbing. See, it's a win-win.

{For the kids, I still use whatever we have on hand...usually stray hotel bottles. And Sweet Man's on his own in the toiletry department.}

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Lisa Leonard giveaway

Do you read Lisa's blog?

Look to the right...she's right there on my blog roll. Or click here. Her writings about her sweet family can always tweak my perspective and help me remember my blessings. Her pictures are beautiful. And then, there's her lovely, personalized jewelry...pop over today, leave a comment about the bravest person you know, and have a chance in her latest giveaway.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mecherle Park, Part Deux

In August, on our way to Des Moines, we stopped.

Sunday, we went back.

Bean and her butterfly kite

The boys and Bug's double-string jet kite

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Just ride

We've been logging many miles...

because of this...

and this for Sweet Man...
{Yes, it seems that with the change of summer to fall comes a compulsion to spend a boatload of money...two years going now.  Last year was my camera, so you won't see me looking askance at my sweet man. Nope.}

It's also terribly exciting that our littles are flying free on their own 2 wheels. I still smile as I bring up the rear of our little cycle parade, trying to make sure we are obeying the rules and trail etiquette. {Sidenote: It occurred to me recently that trail rules are proper training for the real road rules. That may not be news to any of you clever people.}

Gone are the days
we stopped to decide
where we should go...
we just ride.

{Listen on the playlist if you are so inclined.
"Crazy Fingers" songwriters: Hunter, Robert C;Garcia, Jerome J}

Friday, October 8, 2010


Just a little update:

Sweet Man called and described our large and lovely hotel room in Bloomington. Then he topped it with better news: that he won't be working 6 days a week, 12 hours a day, here, as he does on other assignments...he'll have a more normal schedule.

So, the kids and I extricated ourselves from my dad's house and hightailed it west.

Now we're safe and together. And excited to explore a new town and see some friends who live here.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Santa Maria

My laptop's back...hence the photo heavy posts.

How are you going to celebrate Columbus Day? Did you know that there is a replica of one of Columbus' ships right here in central Ohio...of course, you did.

I had never been and since we've been reading about the New World explorers {the height of controversy, I know} I could see a field trip coming together. By the by, The Story of the World: Vol. 2, (Bauer) covers all the explorers {as far as I know}: Leif Erikson, Columbus, Vespucci, Sir Walter Raleigh {props to the folks in NC!} and the Jamestown settlement, and certainly the recognition of aboriginal people who had been here long before with their own rich, but a bit more mysterious history.

Anywho, I talked Sweet Man into a day trip and we invited a few homeschooled cousins to come along for the ride. I had a blast...I hope the rest did. The tour was good...although I don't think the tour guide was enjoying himself so much. We learned so much about life on a ship in the 15th century...not fun, I assure you, but impressive. Thanks, Ferdinand and Ysabella!

And in travel news: Sweet Man has received an assignment in Illinois. He was supposed to leave next Monday, but the trip has been moved up and he departs this Wednesday. Bummer...since we had big plans this weekend and I don't think I can pull it off as a single momma. Another time, perhaps.... 

I am excited to hit the road and travel about 6 hours away. We'll be staying in a lovely place and I think we'll be close enough to come back home, here and there. 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Roscoe Village

Roscoe Village is a living history canal village demonstrating life in the mid-19th century. I had been there when I was in grade school and again with Sweet Man while I was pregnant with Bug. A couple of weeks ago Roscoe had a homeschool day.

Half expecting radical, frenzied home educators {of which I consider myself one} would be throwing elbows and pulling all sorts of shenanigans to get in on the one-day deals, we actually arrived on time in the morning {will wonders never cease?} But I was pleasantly surprised when we were one of only two groups there. Boy, I felt badly for the hapless civilians who had endure our group of about 15 kids & 7 adults throwing elbows and pulling shenanigans. Just kidding, we were well-behaved; just a big group. And I had to give Bug the stink eye a couple of times when he just wouldn't hush during a presentation.

Highlights of the day were the print shop and the antique toy display.

attentive kids in the schoolhouse...first stop of the day

period kitchen: butter churn & presses, washboard and handmade lye soap 

making dinner on the fire

the village doctor

the smithy holding up a nail he just made 

view from the upper deck of the canal boat


the print shop
antique tin toys

outside the ice cream shoppe