Thursday, February 25, 2010

Introducing: COOLNESS for your feet!

This is something I'd normally post at my store blog, but I'm so thrilled about it I just had to post here :-)

Mens PRO KedsAt Reflections zazzle, I have a brand new line of super cool, custom PRO Keds hightops and lowtops in both mens and womens designs. I've been working hard on these designs for a while now, and the shop section is now open! I had such a blast creating designs for the PRO keds, I plan to add many more in the next few weeks.

I wanted to be as familiar as possible with these classically awesome shoes, so I did a little bit of research before I ever created my first design. Of course we've all seen these great shoes our whole lives (for the most part) but did you know PRO Girls Only styles!Keds have been around since 1949?

Originally created for outdoor & court play and worn by numerous NBA stars in the 1970s, the PRO Keds Royal (the style we have now at Reflections zazzle) has graduated from classic American sports wear to cult status among the cultural revolutionaries in New York City. These sneakers are so amazingly stylish they're actually sought after by collectors around the world. Now just how amazing is that?!

While the styles themselves (the graphics I use to create the design) cannot be altered, you can customize every single pair by changing the lace color, eyelets, upper binding, midsole, toe cap and more. All styles come in a HUGE range of sizes from 4.5 all the way up to 14! Those are mens (American) sizes, so you can Mens PRO Kedsjust easily pick the size that coordinates with the womens size (example: a mens 7 is a womans 9). The possibilities are only as limited as your imagination to make your pair 100% unique!

I already have a wide variety in both mens and womens, but I have a huge file of designs I haven't even uploaded yet, so there will be tons more to come!

Wild & Funky PRO Keds in hightops and lowtops for men & women. Great styles for any taste! Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

International Family Fun

Kev and I celebrated our 12th anniversary this past Sunday. He was working so we really didn't do anything until tonight when we went out to dinner. That was an extra special treat for us, since we only do something like that every few years or so. We decided to go to Montana's since we'd never been there before. The food and the service both were exceptional, and I'd highly recommend them to anyone.

Nothing like a little Olympic event to inspire international rivalry!For our anniversary, I bought us matching t-shirts... sort of. :-) In honor of the Olympics (which we both enjoy very much) and because we're an international family, these are the t-shirts we wore to dinner. It was rather humorous when the waiter seated us, as he noticed the t-shirts immediately and commented on them, and then a little chit chat about last night's amazing ice dancing competition started up. He handed Kev his menu and said "here you go sir" and looked at me and said "and you... get NOTHING!" and started to walk away. Of course he was joking but it was pretty funny. He asked if I just rooted for the American team or if I am an American, and I said both, of course (Bree Schaaf - womens bobsleigh on tonight - is from my hometown of Bremerton WA - Go BREE!!) The waiter reluctantly handed my menu to me and we all got a laugh out of that.

It was a very casual, very enjoyable evening. I certainly didn't expect that kind of reaction from my t-shirts, but that was fun too. Your results may vary of course, but you can grab your own GO USA or GO Canada gear at Reflections cafepress.

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Cost of Following Men

The other day, pastor Tom Ascol tweeted the following, which I read and promptly retweeted:

"Preachers are not celebrities and Christians are not to act like groupies. 1 Cor. 1:12-13"

This is such a simple and obvious truth but that it actually has to be said by anyone, really speaks volumes about the mindset of our modern day culture, and Christian culture at that. As a society we have this really weird habit of turning anyone and everyone into a celebrity, and then blindly following and defending them at every turn. It happens in secular circles every day of the week, and it also happens in Christian circles as well. I remember not long ago commenting on a friend's blog (a friend who happens to be what the world calls a celebrity) and being called a "fan girl" for my comment. It's hard to put into words the level of disgust I felt at being called that, but this is the mindset so predominant in our culture: celebs and fans. Interestingly enough, we've all got blind spots and stepping over the line from "admiring" a person to blindly defending them at all costs, isn't that hard to do. We all need to be cautious of that one, myself included.

Not long after I read Tom Ascol's tweet, I read this post by Tim Rogers. Truth be told, my initial reaction was along the lines of "oh you have got to be kidding me, there is no way this man actually believes what he just wrote". Sadly, he most certainly does believe every word he wrote, and spent ample amount of time in the comment section to prove it. He closed the comment thread so I'm going to leave my "comment" here. Feel free to add yours as well, if you like.

In his initial post, he makes so many false accusations and bizarre or questionable statements that it's hard to believe he's serious. Such as:

"Dr. Ergun Caner states all of the time that he will debate anyone, anytime."

Yes, he does make that claim and there is even video evidence to prove it. Unfortunately, he doesn't really mean it. Him and his brother were set to debate Dr. James White and Tom Ascol once upon a time, and that never happened. Why? Simple, the Caner brothers decided to play fast & loose with the terms of the debate at the last minute after having agreed to the terms of a formal debate. You don't get to play games when you agree to a formal debate, but that's what they did and the event never took place. If you've never read what went down and what Dr. White and Pastor Ascol went through in trying to set this debate up, I would recommend that you do that (here) so that you can see for yourself just how willing Ergun Caner is to debate anyone, anytime.

In addition to this, Caner also makes the claim that he's debated all sorts of people from all sorts of religions. However, no one seems to be able to produce these debates in any kind of audio format. Not even his most staunch defenders who repeat his anyone/anytime standing offer. As well, no one seems to be able to locate the names of all these people he's debated so as to verify the claims. It seems to me to be a most reasonable request, for these debates to be made publicly available, does it not?

Rogers goes on to say:

"He (Caner) is very articulate in expressing the truth of the Gospel and this has cost him much in regards to his personal family habits."

I honestly can't speak to the personal safety and welfare aspect of what Caner does, but I do have a question that maybe someone can clear up for me. On the same day Rogers posted this article, there was another blog article that went up questioning Ergun Caner's many claims. You can read that here. If you read down the comment thread at that post you'll see this at #21:

I appeal to you, under the title of your blog, and as a follower of Christ. Remove this post as you have placed the lives of people in jeopardy.
Please remove it.
Comment by
Tim Rogers February 20, 2010

Going on the assumption that this is the same Tim Rogers, on the very same day he posts at one blog trying to get the blogger to pull her post about Ergun Caner, he goes to his own blog and opens up the whole issue there? How does that make any sense, if he is that concerned that the post was placing the lives of people in jeopardy, that he would then go and publicly blog about it all himself? That really doesn't make any sense to me at all, so any comments on that would certainly be welcome.

Rogers continues:

"The personal attacks (against Caner) range from the truth of their lives before Christ to the academic degrees they hold. See here, here, and here. You may wonder how anyone could call into question these issues. They drink the kool-aide pouring from the poisoned vine of the above links, this Facebook page, and the following videos."

I have no comment on the links only because I don't know if any of that information is wholly accurate or not, but I will comment on the "drinking of the kool-ade from the poisoned vine from the following videos". One of the videos he embeds is Dr. James White's response to the statements Ergun Caner made on the Calvary Chapel's "The Pastor's Perspective" show on January 22nd where he said in part:

"I like very informal ones. Formal debates have been taken over a lot by myopic Reformed guys, uh, they try to turn it into these little, uh, show ponies, it's like the Jerry Springer Show, basically, and there's really not any real discussion going on, there's rolling of eyes, its huffing and passive/aggressive garbage."

Please watch this video if you haven't already, and tell me which part of the video qualifies as "personal attack" or the "drinking the kool-aide pouring from the poisoned vine".

I've watched this video and what I see is a man defending his ministry against false accusations made by another man. Obviously Tim Rogers sees an attack and a poisoned vine since he describes this video as "You may think that no person who calls themselves a Follower of Christ would side with a Muslim to degrade and berate a Brother in Christ. I did also until I viewed the following video."

Rogers continues:

"Many do not like it when truth is revealed. Those that do not celebrate truth will try to use everything they can to silence those speaking truth. Then you have those that are jealous and envious of the Drs. Caner. Those envious and jealous will use the lies for a “gotcha” moment in order to accomplish the same ends–silence the truth."

No, many do not like it when lies about them are posted, so they refute those lies with evidence of the truth. This is what Dr. White did with this video response to Caner's accusations. I'm not at all sure who Rogers is accusing of being jealous and envious, not celebrating truth, and using lies for a "gotcha" moment to silence truth. If he's accusing Dr. White of this, why not just come out and say it rather than beating around the bush?

Rogers however makes it pretty clear he is in fact talking about Dr. White personally by his final comment in his post:

"May God bring conviction to the Brothers and Sisters that are accepting the lies of the ungodly in order to satisfy a jealous and envious heart."

So there you have it. Tim Rogers somehow believes Dr. White to be a jealous and envious individual who will accept the lies of the ungodly for the purpose of silencing the truth. Absolutely incredible accusation, and an absolutely outrageously false one, at that.

Tim Rogers called his post "The Cost of Following Christ" and then made his post all about his admiration and appreciation for the Caners. So much so, that without even addressing the points made in Dr. White's video, he just throws him right under the bus and makes his own false accusations about him. This is following Christ? No, this is blind devotion to the Caners. This is the cost of following men.

Tim Rogers, as far as I'm concerned, owes Dr. White an apology for this post, and should in fact retract it. Based on his final comment in the thread however, it's pretty clear this will not take place:

"It appears nothing short of my recanting this article and backing up to say that I beg your forgiveness and the forgiveness of all of the rabid hyper-Calvinist out there will satisfy you. However, that will not happen." - Tim Rogers

I guess you can classify me as one of the rabid hyper-Calvinists out there who read this post and the comments, and wondered what in the world it had to do with following Christ.

My dear friend Rosemarie (who is also a rabid hyper-Calvinist like myself, I might add) read all of this today as well, and has what I think to be a most thought provoking commentary on it. Please do read her insight here.

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Celebs and the Jesus They Do Not Know

Social networking. That's sort of a strange little phrase isn't it? Up until a few short years ago this phrase didn't even exist. It's very cruious to watch how technology changes the way we communicate, the way we think and even the way we speak.

A lot of people online are using these kinds of SN tools. Not everyone uses them yet, but many do and for a wide variety of reasons. From blogs, twitter, Facebook, buzz, the list is rather long and seems to grow overnight. Folks use these tools for staying in touch with family, networking with likeminded professionals, self-marketing, gaming, and just about anything else you can think of. What's more, many people have numerous SN sites synced up so you'll see their updates across various platforms at the same time. Joe Blogger pops up a post on his blog about peanut butter cookies, and before the hour is up, it pops up on FB as well as twitter. In addition, if you use these kinds of site for breaking news, you know you get "on the ground", first hand reports faster than any of the major news outlets can report on it. I'm sure you know what I mean, you probably see it all the time the same way I do.

Just the other day for example, I had my twitter page open in a secondary tab while doing some design work. I hit refresh on twitter to see the first report of the alleged passing of Gordon Lightfoot. Over the next hour the facts rolled in to reveal that it was a hoax, and Lightfoot was doing just fine having just left his dentist's office in Toronto, very much alive. He'd called into a local radio station to chuckle about the sudden increase in airtime of his music.

Another more heartbreaking example was the immediate coverage and updates from those in Haiti, just moments after the devastating earthquake. If you're like me, it was very hard to click and view that first round pics coming in over shortened twitter links from folks on the ground there.

Just in the last couple of days as well, there has been immediate and repetative coverage of both Tiger Woods and his comings and goings, and Sir Elton John and his most ignorant comment about who he thinks Jesus was. You really can't get it away from this kind of coverage, unless you shut the power off on your mac or pc, turn off the tv, radio, and ignore the newspapers. Online though, it seems that everyone has something to say about both Tiger Woods, and Elton John. I'm not exempt, because I do have something to say about Sir Elton's remark.

"I think Jesus was a compassionate, super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems. On the cross, he forgave the people who crucified him. Jesus wanted us to be loving and forgiving." - Elton John - Parade Magazine

Simply put, I find it sad. I'm not at all surprised by it though, and neither should anyone else be. It's not as if he's the first popular enterainer ever, to make an ignorant or offensive public remark about our Lord. It actually happens quite frequently, if you read the entertainment news. I can only assume it was "big news" because he's somehow managed to gain a wide respect and fan base over the 30+ years he's been a pop culture icon. I fully admit even I enjoy his music, and always have.

God created Elton John and gave him a talent that is rather impressive. That's part of the reason I find it so sad, that he would make such a statement. The very God who created him, the very God who became a man to suffer and die for sinners, is so very easily dismissed in favor of a god of our own imagination? A false god who makes us feel better about our particular self-centered life. Yes, I find that quite sad indeed. As a side note, I find it curious that Elton John admits he believes Jesus was crucified. Obviously he knows enough about the Christian faith to confess this part, but I would love to ask him why he thinks Jesus was crucified in the first place, and then show him what the Bible says about why Jesus went to the cross.

Elton John may have said the name Jesus, and he may have mentioned the cross, compassion and forgiveness but it's quite obvious he was not speaking about THE Son of God, the real Jesus Christ. No, Elton John was describing the Jesus that he has created in his own imagination that makes him feel just fine about his particular lifestyle. Clearly, Elton John rejects the God of the Bible, as evidenced by his chosen lifestyle of decadence and self-serving pleasure.

The thing is, this is so common it's not even funny. There are all kinds of people that do this. They call themselves Christians, they use the right words, but all you have to do is start asking them about Christian doctrine and it's quite clear they have created a deli-style religion all their own and call it Christianity. They pick and choose the parts they like and that appeal to them so they feel better about being "spiritual" but they reject and ignore the parts they don't like or don't understand because those things require hard decisions on their part. I know this for a fact, since I once did the very same thing. I didn't associate what I thought my beliefs were with Islam, Buddhism or any other religion I'd ever heard of and I was pretty sure I believed in God, so I called myself a Christian. Had anyone actually pressed it however, it would have been pretty obvious that I wouldn't know what Christianity was if it jumped up and bit me. Sadly, neither does Elton John.

Last night while listening to the radio, the DJ commented on this story and said he would imagine that this quote would be highly offensive to many Christians. He then added "but since when has Elton John ever really cared what anyone thinks?" There will come a day not too long from now, when Elton John takes his final breath in this life and suddenly finds himself standing in eternity. Before his Maker, and his Judge. On that day, Elton John will only wish he cared what God thought, and wish he really did know the real Jesus of the Bible with a saving faith.

He certainly should care what God thinks of him, but he obviously doesn't. Sad indeed.

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Friday, February 19, 2010

Workin' It Out

I recently blogged about making some lifestyle changes. Specifically, getting off my rear and getting into shape. When the cooking, cleaning, errands and whatnots are all done, I do a lot of sitting. I sit to blog, I sit to chat, I sit to read, I sit to FB, tweet, design, check my mail and all those other good things we all do online. I've been doing this for years, and the unfortunate cumulative affect of that, is me being dreadfully out of shape. Ironically enough, it takes absolutely NO effort whatsover to get into horrible physical condition. You don't have to do a thing, and all it takes it a while of doing nothing, and before you know it you're a giant wiggly wimp. Being a wiggly wimp is not one of my goals in life.

Therefore, I've made some decisions to combat this. We bought the elliptical and I've been using that every weekday. The tension was messed up at first, but Kev fixed that. Just recently I've finally been able to double my time on the machine from when I first started, and I'm really encouraged by that. I've also increased my workouts to twice a day and even though my quads are screaming "hey fatty, sit down right now!" I'm determined to hush them up.

I have a good friend who's been giving me pointers about warm up exercises and being a consistant encouragement to keep going, and that's helped a great deal.

I have cut back the amount of yummers I tend to enjoy, especially later in the evening when I'm designing and sitting. For those who know me well and know how much I LOVE cheetos, you know this is not easy for me. Cheetos are now a movie night (every other Friday) snack only.

I have another dear friend who has stepped up to the plate and volunteered to be my personal cheerleader! We even have a contest going to see who can lose the most weight by Easter. My friend called me "Skinny" today. That helped. :-) (this is really more about being consistant and getting into shape than losing weight, but I rarely turn down a competition!)

To find out how much weight I'd lose, I had to do the ugly thing and buy new bath scales today. I threw the last one out because it sat on the bathroom floor and yelled ugly things at me once a week. It had VERY bad manners. Sadly, the new scales doesn't have any better manners, as it told me today that I weigh 9 pounds more than I thought I did. So, I will visit this wretched beast once a week and see if I can help it learn some good manners, and see how I'm doing in the weight loss/fitness contest.

So that's what I'm doing to get off my hiney and get into better shape. I'm curious, with spring and summer just around the corner, are you doing anything along these same lines? Got any great ideas for a good workout? I'd like to hear from you!

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lunch Counter Lady: I Want To Be Her

(Alternately titled: "What Kind of Person Are You When Your Underpants Fall Apart?")

This is sort of an embarassing story but I'm going to tell it anyway because it has an important element in it. The older I get the details tend to get a little hazy, so I will tell it the best way I can remember it.

When I was a little girl of about 4, I had a babysitter for a while that was probably not the most responsible babysitter in the world. She liked to take me places and sort of show me off, for some strange reason. There were the trips to the local park where all her pot-head, daisy-chain-making friends were hanging out. There was the trip to her boyfriend's house where the genius boyfriend decided to take me on a trip on his motorcycle. The trip ended before it started when I burned my leg on the hot tailpipe, and started screaming like crazy. The genius boyfriend's genius mother decided to put cold butter on my burn. It didn't help, and I have no idea what fancy story the babysitter came up with to tell my mom, but I'm sure it wasn't the truth. Then there was the trip to the lunch counter downtown, when she insisted I wear a dress and let her do my hair in pigtails.

The hairdo wasn't such a big deal, but the wearing of the dress was. For reasons that escape me at 45, the logic I tried to explain at 4 went something like this: I can't wear this dress because my underpants are loose and they might fall down. I have no idea why I didn't just change my drawers, or if the babysitter didn't understand me, or how that all really came down. I just know that I didn't want to wear that dress, and she made me wear it anyway.

So there we are at the lunch counter (I think it was the one at Woolworths - something that has gone by the wayside in our modern world), and sure enough my worst 4 yr old fears came to life. I stood up, took a step and suddenly my drawers were around my ankles. I froze, too embarassed to move, and started to cry. It was lunch time so the place was quite busy with grown ups... who all seemed to turn and look at me at the same time. Looking at me wasn't the worst part. The laughing was. It seemed like the laughing just got louder and louder, as I stood there with my eyes closed, crying, wishing I could suddenly disappear into a magic bubble like Glenda the Good Witch, in the Wizard of Oz.

I have no idea where my brilliant babysitter was, but it was the nice, older, non-laughing lady with the giant red hairdo from behind the lunch counter that came over and picked me up. She said something very stern to the grown ups (I don't recall what it was, but they all seemed to quiet down right quick) and she said to me "come on honey, let's go get you fixed up". She didn't laugh at me, she rescued me and took me into a back room that had all sorts of boxes and shelves. Just like magic, she pulled a brand new package of girls underpants out of a box, took a pair out and handed them to me and pointed me to the bathroom where I was told to go change. Which I promptly did.

What was clearly a very humiliating experience for a little 4 year old girl, also had a most profound blessing tucked inside. The lunch counter lady who scooped me up and took care of me left an impression on my mind that to this day, makes me smile when I think of her. From an adult's perspective, I'm sure it was rather comical indeed to see a little kid standing there with her drawers around her shoes. Yet she never laughed along with the rest of the folks. She saw that I needed someone to help me and she stepped up to be that person. Somehow I just knew she was a mom, and she was the closest thing to having my own mom there. She comforted me, calmed me down and then chastised the crowd and quieted them down as well. She was a real life example of class and dignity, even though I was too little to realize what those things were at the time.

I never saw that lady again, but I've thought about her often over the years. If I could, I'd thank her for making such a wonderful impact on a helpless little kid, and let her know that I always thought "when I grow up, that's the kind of lady I want to be." I've been blessed to have several women in my life over the years that are those kinds of examples (including my own mom).

I'm still aiming for that goal, every day.

(In case anyone wondered, the babysitter was soon fired, and all my little-hippie adventures ceased before I ever started kindergarten.)

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sleep Movies

I woke up from my afternoon nap the other day, and was suddenly greeted by one of the kids telling me they had to have a plate of cookies for the next day at school. The school was having a special fund raising event called a cookie swap. I don't recall all of the details, but all three kids needed a plate for the event, and it immediately occured to me I was out of eggs. Feeling frustrated about that, Kev offered to run up to the store and get a dozen eggs. I headed into the kitchen to get all the other ingredients out to make 3 dozen cookies for the fund raiser.

When I stepped into the kitchen I had forgotten that our kitchen floor is warped and slants at a sharp angle (probably because I had just woken up and was immediately distracted about the urgent cookie need) and when I took a step into the kitchen I mis-stepped somehow and slipped and fell at a very strange angle. Due to the way I fell I somehow managed to break my left thigh bone when I hit the floor. The pain that shot through my leg, up my back and into my brain was unlike any other kind of pain I have ever felt in my life. Laying there on the kitchen floor not even able to scream (I think I blacked out from the pain and/or went into deep shock), Kevin came home with the eggs and found me there. Needless to say he was quite distressed to find me like that. The kids were all in the game room the whole time, so they didn't even know I needed help. He grabbed the phone and called 911 and tried to reassure me everything would be okay. I knew it was a flat out lie when he said "I'll make the cookies for the kids".

And then... I woke up. (Yes mom, it was just a dream!)

For as long as I can remember, I have had the weirdest, wildest, most detail-rich dreams. Sometimes I laugh so hard in my dreams that I wake up still laughing. Sometimes I am in such terror, that the sound of my own screaming (literally) wakes me up. Much of the time they don't really make any sense, but other times when I think about the details it's rather comical how my sleeping brain just tumbled all sorts of little details together into some bizarre type of sleep-movie.

For example, the Egg/Cookie Swap/Broken thigh dream from the other day. We really are out of eggs and I made a mental note to pick some up Thursday, hoping nothing would come up before then, where I might need some. The cookie swap is sort of true, since the kids are all having bake sales at their schools, and I wasn't able to make anything this time around. The warped floor isn't real, but our basement stairs are in fact very warped, and it occured to me the other day that it's purely by God's grace no one has wiped out on those stairs yet. The falling and breaking a leg bone was from being told my friend's step-dad actually did fall and break a hip. Somehow, for some reason that doesn't make a bit of sense to me, while I slept my brain decided to toss all those things together and create a new story, for me to dream about.

Some people say they never dream, while others say they can't remember their dreams. I've never had either of those experiences, but it seems like it would be very odd. While I have my share of nightmares and I could certainly do without those, I think it would be very odd indeed to never dream, or never remember the details of them. In some ways, it's rather enteraining trying to figure out why you dreamed about the man with ears like corn cobs, or how you dreamed about your daughter's face before she was ever even conceived, or why in my dreams when I want to run faster I actually turn around and run backwards. Oddly enough, it works every time.

I'm just glad my real life is nowhere near as full of adventure as my dreams. :-)

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Monday, February 15, 2010

This Little Piggy

For those who don't know, we live on a pig farm. We don't deal directly with the pigs, we just rent the farmhouse. Last week however one of the wee itty bitty piggies was mistakenly let out of the barn so the girls took it upon themselves to "mother" him. Rachel was already in her pajamas, but that didn't stop her from throwing on her boots and coat and wrapping up the little piggy in her scarf:

This little piggy is very cute
Rachel to the rescue

The Piggy Rescue Squad

Always an adventure around here :-)

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day - I Love/Hate It?

I wonder if I'm the only one that finds Valentine's Day confusing. Not the day really, but how I really feel about it?

I think its sort of ironic that THE day set up as the day for love, makes me feel so conflicted.

- I hate VDay - if you don't do something, go somewhere, buy something, you're a grouch and a grump.

- I love VDay - I think it's a wonderful thing to celebrate your love with that someone special.

- I hate VDay - when you're single and everyone's making a big whoop-dee-doo out of the day (including every single store, and everywhere you go online) its just a constant reminder that you're single and have no one to share the day with.

- I love VDay - my kids always make me cute little cards (or buy me something cute) because they love me.

- I hate/love VDay - for me, it becomes personal as well because this year it would have been my 24th anniversary with my late husband Ben. It was also just before our 5th anniversary we got the news of his terminal cancer.

- I love VDay - I love stuffed animals, pink and red hearts, candies, cards and flowers. All those things are very good.

- I hate VDay - it's far far far too commercialized.

Am I the only one who feels like this about Valentine's Day?

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

For the Rainy Day

Sometimes it's rather interesting and unexpected, what will rally your kids around and cause such excitement.

I'm in the process of fixing up my upstairs bathroom (paint, curtains, etc.) and when I was shopping yesterday for new curtains, I found the most curious little item. A plastic jug (about the size of a large mayo jar) with a plastic screw on lid and a slot in the top for coins. Embossed on the side are the words "Rainy Day Fund". Seems simple enough, but this little rainy day jug has a twist.

Rainy Day Fund... so far!Inside the lid is a battery powered mechanism that registers each coin you drop through the slot. It counts the coin then displays the total amount of change you've deposited in the jug on the bright and easily readable LED display on the top of the lid. I thought it was rather clever when I first saw it, and just last week Kev and I were talking about starting a coin fund again and using one of the old coffee cans. I really liked the rainy day battery powered jug, so I brought it home.

The kids were still at school but I showed Ruth how to use it, and she immediately started scouring the house for change to drop in there. Then when the kids got home and they saw it, they all excitedly ran around the house as well, looking for change so they could take their turn with the jug. Between what was in my wallet and what the kids rounded up, we managed to deposit a little over $9.00 in the rainy day jug since yesterday.

Awesome, cool, neat and amazing were some of the words I heard used to describe this nifty little jug I brought home. Then they all decided they each need one for themselves, so that they can start saving their own change! I thought that was a brilliant idea, and I loved seeing them so excited about saving money.

I had no idea the kids would find this thing so fascinating, or the amount of good stewardship type of conversation it would generate. Pretty amazing how sometimes it's really the little things, that make such a big difference.

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Mad Designer

Even though I've discontinued the weekly store e-flyer, I thought I'd go ahead and round up a "what's new" all the same. You can check that out here.

By the way... only 37 more fans to go before we have the random drawing for a free t-shirt! If you're not a fan yet, go over to our FB page and take care of that right away. Only fans will be entered into the drawing, so don't miss your chance for a fun, new, FREE t-shirt :-)

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Public School Influences

I'm going to share a link with you. but before I do I need to offer a warning/disclaimer for those who are offended by obscene language. Personally, I detest it and even though I was warned myself before clicking it, I felt I needed to read it.

The post is from a middle school teacher sharing some of her experiences in her school on a day to day basis. I had a million thoughts about public education, homeschooling, adult authority figures, adult examples, influences our kids deal with, and so many other things as I read this post.

I'd really like to hear what you think, after you read it.

Here it is: Teach Your Children Well

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wisdom Calling - Anyone Home?

When I was about five years old and I'd go to the county fair with my family, I'd look with amazement at the big, scary midway rides the older kids went on and think "some day I'll be big enough to go on those rides too". When I was about 15 my best friend and I beat our personal best for how many times we could spin our Zipper car around. Twenty-nine spins around, before we got tired and lost our momentum.

By the time I was 25, I'd been to Disneyland several times and had went on all the best rollercoaster type rides, and loved every minute of it. At 35 I recalled going on the biggest rollercoaster at Magic Mountain a few years prior to that, and how I had so looked forward to it, but then half-way up the tracks I was dreading my decision. Looking back, I truly hated every minute of it.

At 45, I have absolutely no interest in going on scary midway type rides, whatsoever. The very thought of it inspires further thoughts about danger, responsibility, carelessness, etc.

What made me think of this sort of evolution in thinking and attitudes, was a quote I read the other day about a pop star who expressed frustration with her father. The article said at 17 years old she moved out of her parents house and dove headfirst into the drug/sex/rock & roll club scene, and she was frustrated because her father "didn't understand" her. When you're young, you think one way. When you get older and as you go through life's experiences, you think a completely different way. It's just the way it is.

Well, I'm not her father and I can't speak for him, but I am someone her father's age. I would suggest that it isn't so much him not understanding her but instead that he has the life experience to know full well what a horrifically stupid choice it is, to get yourself involved in that kind of lifestyle.

When we are young and carefree, we often make really bad choices. If all our friends are doing it, if no one we associate with thinks there is anything "wrong" with it, it's quite likely going to be something we do, whatever IT happens to be. We tend to shrug off the insight of the older generation or write them off as someone who "doesn't understand" just like this pop star did with her father, or we slap a label on them that says "out of touch with our generation". We think we're very clever, and we make our own choices, thank you very much! I can speak from years of experience on this one, since I slapped many labels on many people in my younger days.

Then ten, twenty or thirty years later we look back and think "how stupid was I, and how did I make it through such a ridiculously reckless youth, alive!?" Well, for those of us who know full well that God is sovereign over all things, including the very heart beating in our chest and the breath of life in our lungs, we already know how it is we made it through reckless youth. It also makes us so much more thankful for the mercy of God that spared us some of the nightmarish statistics that maybe some of our closest friends were not so fortunate to have avoided. Like some of you reading right now I'm sure, I can think of several things, and several situations I once did or was in, that were it not entirely for the grace of God, it would have been my mom getting the visit from the local police, or my name in the heartbreaking article in the local paper, instead of someone else's name.

There are certainly things we don't "understand" as the older generation (things such as trends, fashion, slang-lingo) because they just don't appeal to us. We've already been there/done that and much of the new stuff is often just silly to us. This may help explain why Pants on the Ground caught on like wildfire with "older people". These kinds of things are just a passing fancy though, and not really worth getting worked up over, usually.

However, when it comes to life changing, potentially dangerous, deadly or destructive lifestyles, we completely understand that. We've lived it AND we've lost friends who tried to live it and didn't make it. We've seen the short term and long term consequences of playing games with our lives (spiritual, emotional, physical), and some of us didn't make it out entirely healthy. We've attended the funerals, held the hands, seen the pain in the eyes of friends, listened while tales of shattered lives were explained, prayed with and prayed for countless friends who needed it, shared tears with others, made the phone calls... and so much more. Oh yes, we understand better than we ever wanted to. Many of us I'm sure, secretly wish we could say that we didn't understand it, because that would mean we would have never experienced the pain that foolish choices later bring. Many of us have graduated with dishonors, from the School of Hard Knocks. Many of us have the scars to prove it, even if they're on the inside and you can't see them.

Its not that we (us older folks) are trying to kill anyone's fun, boss anyone around or throw our "experience" in anyone's face. It's a simple matter of reality, and wisdom speaking. Someone who has lived twice as long as me WILL know more than I do. They will have experienced more than I have. They will have seen more than I have seen. They will have wisdom to share with me, and the real question is, will I be so full of my own pride and arrogance to disregard what they have to say - or - will I realize that I'm not nearly as smart as I think I am, and pay special attention and learn how to identify wisdom when I'm hearing it?

Some will say that you cannot learn from other's mistakes. While I'm not entirely convinced that is true, I do believe young people would be so much further ahead if they would learn how to truly hear wisdom speaking, and heed the warnings wisdom brings.

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe