Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Random Acts of Culture

I love this! On October 30, 2010,650 vocalists burst into song in the middle of a Philadelphia shopping center. How come this stuff never happens when I'm around?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Refinancing Parenthood

"Secure love understands that loving someone is often inconvenient and sometimes painful. Loving your kids costs money, time, and sleep. It might cost a mom decades in time originally planned to be spent on her career. It might cost her her figure. It might cost a dad a promotion. It might mean that there are some amenities or lavish vacations you must do without. It definitely means eating crow, swallowing your pride, and asking for forgiveness a lot."

~Tim Kimmel, Grace Based Parenting

Twenty-four hours in a day. Eighteen years until they're gone. A mere vapor. Is there truly anything not worth sacrificing in order to show my children the love of Christ?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

10 Things To Remember When Your Child Is Disobedient

A wonderful list from Ruth at GraceLaced that needs to be read, absorbed, shared, and lived out:

10 Things To Remember When Your Child Is Disobedient:

Here are 10 Things I had to remind myself today when the job of correcting my children felt especially difficult…

1. You disobey the Lord…and He is the perfect Father.

2. His kindness leads us to repentance.

3. God disciplines those He loves.

4. Your child’s disobedience does not measure your value any more than his obedience showcases your achievement.

5. Your child’s disobedience teaches you dependence on God.

6. And sometimes it’s more than dependence He’s after, it’s complete desperation for Him.

7. Your child is clearly a sinner, and needs to hear the truth of the Gospel, and see it lived out through you.

8. Times of correction serve to remind, or establish within your child, his own sense of need for a Savior.

9. It’s not good behavior you really desire…you want his heart.

10. Your child is a person, not a project.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

God's Gifts

"For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake..." (Philippians 1:29).

Our fellowship has spent the past three week studying the opening chapter of Paul's letter to the Philippians, a book most noted for its instruction to rejoice, and yet insomuch as joy is related to the American Dream, the first chapter doesn't give a Christian much to rejoice over. Paul is in prison for proclaiming the gospel. Other preachers are attempting to afflict him while he's there. Death is knocking at his door. And yet, Paul is brimming with joy. Why?

In verse 12 Paul lets his readers know that his time in prison is no accident. Instead it is the avenue by which God is making Himself known among the imperial guard and strengthening other Christians to speak boldly. Paul says, "I am put here for the defense of the gospel" (Phil. 1:16). He was not sitting on his hands and waiting for deliverance or bemoaning the fact that life was hard and he was there without just cause. It wasn't a pit-stop on the way to God's plan; it was God's plan. For Paul, living, be it in prison or as a free man, was Christ.

"Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ..." (Philippians 1:27).

So many times we look at the hard things in life as God's "boot camp to a better me." I don't mean to be offensive, but as my pastor so bluntly put it, "We are not the point!" Our trials are not just about making us better, happier self-absorbed people. They are not about simply refining our marriage, parenting, or stewardship skills. God is into His own glory and has granted (or more poignantly, gifted) suffering to us that in it and through it we might bring glory to Him.

So what is your life about? Who are your trials for? Are you just waiting and praying for them to end, or are you pouring yourself out living a radical life of peace, joy, love, patience, and humility in the midst of your chaos, all for the gospel and glory of Christ? Or are you not suffering at all? Are you blissfully pursuing the American Dream with no thought to being poured out at all? Can you give more, go more, love more for the sake of the One who was broken and spilled out for you?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


**Caution--contains the f-word, and I don't mean fudge. If you can accept said word for the point it makes, this is a very good video.

"Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." ~ Proverbs 31:30

What are we teaching our little girls about beauty and acceptance by our words, actions and expectations?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

For a really cheap ocean vacation...

Run a few ounces of saline through your nasal passages with a NCheck Spellingeti pot and then take a stroll on a windy, warm afternoon. You'll swear you're only a block or so from the sea.

Check back often for more frugal tips.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A good rebuke

"What unifies the church is the gospel. What defines the gospel is the Bible. What interprets the Bible correctly is a hermeneutic centered on Jesus Christ crucified, the all-sufficient Savior of sinners, who gives himself away on terms of radical grace to all alike. What proves that the gospel hermeneutic has captured our hearts is that we are not looking down on other believers but lifting them up, not seeing ourselves as better but grateful for their contribution to the cause, not standing aloof but embracing them freely, not wishing they would become like us but serving them in love (Galatians 5:13)." ~ Ray Ortlund

I need this kind of instruction often as I find myself taking sides in all sorts of doctrinal bickerings. It truly is all about Jesus and I need humility. Read the rest of this excellent charge at The Resurgence.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Upon finding bugs in our broccoli

as it sat upon our plates, sprinkled with cheese.

LB: Mom? Was that broccoli you got organic?
Me: No.
LB: So it had pesticides?
Me: Yes. Probably.
LB: Then why did it have pests?
Me: Good question.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Less than 5 months 'til 40

...and these videos are looking more and more like reality.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Gospel-centered Parenting

"Although there are many ways we can provoke our kids in discipling them, we learn from Paul's expositions of grace in these epistles that we provoke and discourage our children when we forget the gospel and demand, as a condition of our approval and affection, that they obey the law that 'neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear' (Acts 15:10). By itself, God's law, although it is 'holy and righteous and good' (Rom. 7:12), will serve only to aggravate or discourage them. The law will stir up within them the desire to sin because they are not able to obey it. It won't furnish them with the power or motivation to obey us or the Lord. The law has its uses with our children, but making them good isn't one of them. Only the gospel and God's grace can change hearts."

~ Quoted from Counsel from the Cross: Connecting Broken People to the Love of Christ, by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Dennis E. Johnson.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Are Christians Not Having Enough Children?

And is that sin? I receive mailings from an organization that is constantly fortifying a bulwark for the family against the pursuing horde. It's enough to make Don Quixote proud. The hubbub this month is all about babies. It seems that Christians just aren't having enough of them. This truly would be problematic if godliness came through reproduction, but that's not Christianity. In fact God gives some pretty glaring examples of god-fearing families gone wrong in the Old Testament, be they large or small.

Jesus didn't say, "Procreate and make disciples." He said, "Go." Not because we shouldn't be passing on the faith to our children but because it is not in our blood; it's in His.

"But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." John 1:13

Sunday, July 11, 2010


**Disclaimer: There is nothing (I mean absolutely nothing) healthful about this recipe, in fact, there is probably nothing in it that even remotely qualifies as food, but if you like caramel corn, you have to try these tasty treats. Think of it as doing your part for the midwest corn-growers.

Now that that's out of the way, we were at a party this weekend and the hostess had a bowl of these innocent little darlin's on the table. "Try one," she said. Oh... my... goodness! One? I couldn't stop, they were so yummy! And I couldn't keep this to myself; I had to share.

Caramel Corn Puffs

1 to 1.5 bags of O-Ke-Doke Corn Puffs
1/2 cup light corn syrup (Gasp! I know!)
2 sticks butter
2 cups brown sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda

Cook corn syrup butter, and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. After mixture reaches a boil, cook for 5 more minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and baking soda. Pour caramel over corn puffs and mix well. Spread caramel puffs on two aluminium-foil-lined cookie sheets. Bake at 250-degrees for 45-50 minutes. Let cool then break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ringo is right

Yesterday was Ringo Starr's birthday, and what he wants is peace and love.

(photo from The Official Ringo Starr Site)

"At noon, wherever you are, just go, 'peace and love, peace and love,' that's your birthday gift to me. How great is that?"

That would be great, Mr. Starr. We all desperately need peace and love, and while it is generated by none it is available to all. God, whose steadfast love never ceases, makes a way for us to have peace with Him and with one another. Peace and love can be yours.

"And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience--among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loves us, even when were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved--and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:1-7)

Happy Birthday, Ringo Starr. May grace and peace be yours from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Losers wanted

It is the question asked incessantly by adults from the day a child picks up the fire truck and zooms it around the room until the day she graduates from college, "So what do you want to be when you grow up?" When I was little I wanted to be a real estate appraiser just like my daddy. Throughout high school and my first semester of college I wanted to be a nurse, until I figured out the outrageous amount of bodily fluids involved. And when I received my first salaried paycheck and printed business cards I gleefully accepted the title "Product Manager" for a Christian publishing company. In my life the answer to that question took some pretty violent turns but something that never made the list was "servant." Never once did I answer, "I want to be nothing so that others might benefit."

Recently we've been studying what it means to abide in Christ with our church fellowship. You know, "Apart from Me you can do NOTHING." This morning we looked at sacrifice. One part of the sermon that particularly hit me was out of Matthew 20. James and John had a momma who wanted them to succeed. She brought her sons before Jesus and requested that her sons get a place of honor in his kingdom. While this infuriated the other disciples, a sign that they didn't get it either, it didn't seem to bother the Lord that much. He admitted it was not his position to grant but told them, and us, who was going to be first in his kingdom: the servant. Jesus wanted them to succeed, too, just at something completely different.

It's easy to say, "Yah, yah, yah, I know, the servant," but if we really peel back the curtain on our motives we see that we spend a whole lot of our time trying to yank our lives away from Jesus lest we experience something uncomfortable. Sure, we give, but we don't live lives of radical sacrifice because we don't want to die. "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it," (Luke 9:23-24). Personally, I'm afraid to die, not physically (although that doesn't seem very pleasant, either) but lifestyle-ly. I want cushion and safety. I want respect and admiration. I want position not slavery.

The crazy thing about this upside down kingdom Jesus is running is that all of those things I desire--cushion, safety, respect, admiration, position--are available in Christ. Not only that, but they have nothing to do with my ability to perform. Take a look at Ephesians 1 for a list of what Christ provides for us. Throwing aside my crazy attempts at self-fulfillment and embracing Jesus enables me to live a wild life abandoned to the gospel. I am free to love as Christ loved because my stability is found in what He's already guaranteed. I can give away everything because He's secured my future. I truly have nothing to lose but that which doesn't count anyway. This kind of Christ-dependant living would change my neighborhood, my community, and my world.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Unlikely Prophet

We've all seen a man at the liquor store beggin' for your change
The hair on his face is dirty, dread-locked, and full of mange
He asks a man for what he could spare, with shame in his eyes
"Get a job you *&$#% slob," is all he replies
God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in his shoes
'Cause then you really might know what it's like to sing the blues

Then you really might know what it's like...
Then you really might know what it's like...
Then you really might know what it's like...
Then you really might know what it's like...

Mary got pregnant from a kid named Tom that said he was in love
He said, "Don't worry about a thing, baby doll
I'm the man you've been dreaming of."
But 3 months later he say he won't date her or return her calls
And she swear, "*&%$#@, if I find that man I'm cuttin' off his *&%$$#."
And then she heads for the clinic and
she gets some static walking through the door
They call her a killer, and they call her a sinner
And they call her a whore
God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in her shoes
'Cause then you really might know what it's like to have to choose

~Everlast, "What It's Like"

Jesus knows what it's like.

The King of the Universe became a servant who was mocked and beaten and crucified. He in whom there was no sin, became sin. For us. To make us able to be with him and like him. Yet instead of loving like Jesus, this rap song accurately describes the shameful way I've thought at times about my fellow traveler. Yet, if truth be told, I am the begger and the whore.

Compassion. Kindness. Cleansing. We are all desperately in need of the good news: Jesus knows what it's like.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Between the Rock and a Hard Heart

I just finished reading The Hole in our Gospel. I don't know where the book came from--I didn't buy it--or what initially motivated me to pull it from my bookshelf, but I know that it is another tool to wake me from my stupor and make me a disciple.

"Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God." ~Bob Pierce

I want to change the world but my life keeps getting in the way. Between schooling and laundry and co-op and housekeeping and piano I often feel like I can't breathe let alone make a difference. And deep in my soul I know that something's wrong with this picture.

Many people feel that what I do every day for my husband and my children is my mission field, but I'm just not comfortable with that. Or maybe I'm too comfortable with that. I just don't think it involves enough risk. We live in a safe spot, a nice place with good food and cushy couches where we talk a lot about Jesus, but somehow He is missing in the majority of our daily life because, frankly, we aren't engaged in anything that tests our faith or makes us any different than the nice atheist folks next door. We go to church every week and sponsor a child in a third-world country. We don't swear or beat our children. So what?

Christianity should be radical. Jesus made some rather outrageous statements:

"Leave the dead bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:60)

"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:26)

"Go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come follow me." (Mark 10:21)

What am I involved in that has even an inkling of this sort of devotion?

I want to live a missional life characterized by radically living out the gospel in word and deed. I want my children to see the hands and feet of Jesus extended from our lives, not just read about missionaries in far away places. I want them to care more about the things Jesus cares about than computer games and Lego sets or the rules and regulations of "good Christians." And yet here I sit, paralyzed by fear and lack of motivation.

How can I love my neighbor? How can I change the world? Only when the gospel permeates my life. I need to eat the body of Christ and have it ooze out of me like when I eat lots of garlic! But this cannot happen when I choose to gorge myself on the stuff that makes me nothing more than "nice." The gospel is for the nations, for my community, and for me. And I need Him desperately so that others also might know.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

"If Christ is followed only because his gifts are great and his threats are terrible, he is not glorified by his followers. A defective lord can offer great gifts and terrible threats. And a person may want the gifts, fear the threats, and follow a lord whom they despise or pity or find boring or embarrassing, in order to have the gifts and avoid the threats. If Christ is to be glorified in his people, their following must be rooted not mainly in his promised gifts or threatened punishments, but in his glorious Person."

~John Piper, When I Don't Desire God: How to Fight for Joy

Monday, February 22, 2010

Better for You Cookies

It's no secret that this family like sweets. (It's more of a mystery why we're not all 500 lbs!) Realizing that the horde will not stand for a moratorium on treats and apart from trying to convince them that smoothies constitute dessert, I've been manipulating recipes by reducing the sugar and switching to whole wheat flour. But when I find a recipe that doesn't call for any refined sugar like Laura's breakfast cookies, I'm in the zone. I realize that molasses, the main sweetener in tonight's yummy treat, is a sugar cane product. Yet this recipe contains less sugar than most cookie recipes.

Gingerbread Treats
(makes 4 dozen)
adapted from a recipe found in the More-With-Less Cookbook

Mix together:

1 cup hot water
1/4 cup honey
3/4 cup molasses

Combine separately and add:

3 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt


1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 cup raisins (we left these out because the cupboard was bare)

Mix well. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.


Disclaimer discussion with my youngest:

Me: "Wow! So aren't these great? Can you believe they don't have any sugar in them?"

LB, after snarfing down two cookies and reaching for another: "Yes. I could tell. They're good, but they aren't good enough to have sugar in them."

There you have it folks. These cookies are darn good, but don't expect molasses crinkles.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A different hall of faith

Sometimes I wonder exactly what they prayed for us, our parents, Sunday school teachers, and youth leaders in that small church with the blue-green windows and folding chairs.

I wonder if they fretted over us in our stubborn toddlerhood or ever thought of giving up on us in our rebellious teen days. We surely weren't anything special; just a bunch of mismatched kids growing up Baptist. But they trusted God and chose to sacrifice for us. They played with us in the nursery long after their own children were grown. They tirelessly mimeographed coloring pages for us. They taught us a different Christmas musical every year and endured months of practice before the final performance. They spent Wednesday nights trying to teach us to pray while we were often times silent. They slept (or attempted to sleep) along side us on Army cots during our summer mission trips when they could have been enjoying their own vacations. They did all of this without knowing what God would do with their efforts, but trusting that they served a faithful God.

These people are my "cloud of witnesses" (Hebrews 12:1). They inspire me to hold on to Jesus, to trust Him when I don't see the faith I want to see in my kids or the grace I want to see in myself. They encourage me to keep praying and teaching and reaching out. And the results of their sacrifice--the Christ-following teachers, business people, pastors, ministry wives, moms--assure me that God is indeed faithful with the mite and the talent.
All I can say is, "Thank you."

Shannon is one of these results. She has a beautiful blog tracing the hand of Christ through daily life called In a Mirror Dimly. It has been a great delight to me. Below is our senior piano recital photo. Can you figure out which beauties we are?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Three in One Things This Thursday

Dave over at Home School Dad hosts Things This Thursday (previously Three Things Thursday). I've never participated because I never seem to have three things on Thursday. Today I do. Sort of. So here are my three things on one topic this Thusday:

1. Stop. The book of Hebrews rocks! I'm seeing Jesus like I've never seen Him before. It's amazing what you can see if you slow down and really examine a text.

2. Look. I'm studying Nancy Guthrie's Hoping for Something Better: Refusing to Settle for Life as Usual with my Bible study gals. It's on Hebrews, of course. I highly recommend it. (And the gals, too!)

3. Listen. Tim Keller's sermon, Christ, the Final Word, on (what else?) Hebrews deepened my understanding of the passage and forced some necessary questions regarding the place of Christ in my heart.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I won!

And I never win anything! Lizzie over at A Dusty Frame had a giveaway from Tropical Traditions and she drew my name. This is what I won:

While this might not be exciting to some, I was just talking about how I wanted to get some of this powder to include in the kids' smoothies. Being that it's not cheap and that we owe the mechanic a grand for fixing our 13 year old van, I've been pinching pennies and haven't bought any.

I don't know about you, but when the Lord provides small gifts--nothing necessary, just nice--at just the right time, it reminds me that He does know me intimately. Just like my husband knows how I take my coffee, what kind of chocolate I prefer and at what heat setting I like my side of the electric blanket, God understands me.

Jesus knows me, this I love.

And I am humbly thankful.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


It is rare that I read something as ludicrous as this op-ed piece masquerading as a scholarly article. While everyone has a right to his or her opinion, it is both polite and correct to at least have some credible and cited evidence for that opinion when it is published in a scholarly journal.

According to Robin L. West in her article The Harms of Homeschooling, I am uneducated trailer trash who probably lets her children skateboard all day, only calling them in to teach them Bible verses while beating and berating them, all the while potentially causing an outbreak or epidemic because of my medical negligence. Where has this lady been? Believe it or not, sitting on the full-time faculty of Georgetown Law School.

Hopefully you can easily spot the straw men, red herrings, ad hominem attacks, and genetic fallacies in her article ( my trailer trash 11 year old who just came in from skateboarding can) but if you'd like some help there is a neatly organized retort at Razzed.

As for me, all I have to say is I hope she doesn't teach logic. Maybe I ought to send her a copy of The Fallacy Detective?