Monday, March 29, 2010

Store Stuff: Brand New Mommy Calling Cards

Delicate Daisies Mommy Calling CardsI have a brand new line of goodies at Reflections zazzle that I'd like to tell you about.

Mommy Calling Cards! You may or may not have heard of these before, but essentially they fulfill the same purpose as business cards - except - they're purposely designed for moms.

Having been a mom for a very long time I cannot tell you how many times I've dug through my purse or diaper bag looking for a piece of paper to write a name and phone number down. It's also not unheard of for a mom to fall short of finding a pen and using an eyeliner or lipliner pencil (or a crayon, or marker) to write that number down once she does find a piece of paper (usually a receipt from the grocery store).

Mommy Calling Cards not only eliminate that hassle, they're super cute and completely customizable. Add your name, your kids names and all your pertinant contact information. You can also use the "customize" feature to add a line, delete a line or change the font style on any of the cards. They're the perfect way to exchange numbers with your kids friend's parents, teachers, babysitters or anyone else. These cute little cards are handy for sticking in your wallet, and can easily go on the fridge or in an address book - with all your contact information in one very convenient place.

With nearly 40 styles to choose from (and more coming, very soon) and 8 different paper styles (including the super-awesome, water-resistant and virtually tear-proof "indestructable" style, which every mom can certainly appreciate) Mommy Calling Cards are not only a great way to give out your contact info for those who need it, but they also make a wonderfully unique Mother's Day gift that any busy mom will be sure to appreciate.



Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wanted: Geek Wisdom

Okay geeks, I need your help. Here's the situation:

We have 2 computers, both dial up dependant. I was told today by a HDTV sat technician that the best solution for us (since we can't get internet any other way) is what he called an internet stick (usb wireless modem). He said we should be able to get high speed internet out here in the middle of nowhere, with that.

So I did some looking around at Bell and Rogers for their deals, and I'm somewhat confused. Here are my questions, in no particular order:

Do you have to buy 2 sticks for 2 computers?

Both places charge $0.00 for the stick on a 2-3 year plan, but I'm not sure how to pick the right monthly plan for internet using this kind of modem, and/or if we'd have to have 2 accounts the way we do now. That part confuses me. (and for those in the Rogers.ca and Bell.ca coverage areas, which one is more reliable, faster, etc.)

If we go this route, can we go ahead and dump both dial up accounts and one of the phone lines?

I was told they work off cell phone towers, and we do get excellent cell coverage here with Telus (although I'm not sure if that matters or not?). If the internet sticks don't work are we stuck with them for the 2-3 year plan? (assuming we have to get 2 of them?)

I'm sure I have more questions that I don't even know about yet, but I'm hoping to get some solid answers on this so I can decide what to do.




Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Going from A to Z

This past few days we finally replaced our older, on-its-last-legs tv, with a newer more state of the art tv. The newer tv is much bigger than the older one and would have never fit into the ancient entertainment center we had so not only did the old tv have to go, the old entertainment center also had to go and be replaced with a newer more functional version. Before that could happen though we needed to move another cabinet into the game room to hold the old tv (now the xbox monitor). Before we could do that, we had to unload a 6 foot bookcase and then move that bookcase into the living room and re-shelve all the books. Once we did that, we had to move the air hockey table. Before we moved the air hockey table we had to move the foosball table up to the loft where the kids play. To get the foosball table up there we had to remove some parts, then very carefully manuever the table down the game room stairs, through the kitchen and then up the loft stairs. After a few wall-scraped knuckles and some silly, uncontrollable laughing that nearly caused us to drop it, we finally managed to get the game table moved into the loft.

So to set up our new tv and new stand, we had to:

Unload the book case
Move the bookcase
Reload the bookcase
Vaccum the carpet behind where it was
Run the carpet cleaner over the area
Clean out a tv cabinet
Move the tv cabinet into the game room
Take the old tv out of the entertainment center
Put the old tv (and xbox) into the cabinet
Remove all electronic components from the EC
Remove the old surround sound wires
Disassemble the old entertainment center
Run the vaccum and carpet cleaner over that area
Wash the wall behind where the old entertainment center was
Move the foosball table
Move the air hockey table
Bring in a chair from the living room (for the xbox station)
Assemble the new tv stand

Finally after all that was done we could put the new tv on the stand, then hook up all the extras (dvd player, sat box, stereo components). It was a lot of work, it was messy, and it took a lot longer than we hoped it might. By the time we were done with all the big tasks, we were exhausted, bruised, bloody-knuckled and more than ready to just sit down and rest. While the hard work is done, there are still some very large prints that had to be taken off the walls and they're still leaning against a wall, and I still need to run the vaccum one more time to finish the whole area off. Oh how nice it would have been to just bring the tv home and enjoy it without all that work!

As I was drifting off to sleep last night, it occured to me just how similar this is to my spiritual life, much of the time. Indeed, I want to go from A to Z by skipping B through Y completely, thank you very much. I don't want the bloody knuckles, the mess, the frustration, the exhaustion, the trial and error, the confusion, or any of that. It reminds me of the old joke "please Lord give me patience, and please give it to me NOW!" As much as it would have been wonderful to just bring the new tv home and begin enjoying it, it didn't work that way as there was a lot of hard work to be done before that could happen. The same is exactly true about our spiritual state. Growing in grace requires time and circumstances and events that cause us to mature and depend more and more on God's goodness and faithfulness. Learning how to be content requires being in situations time and time again where we are not at all content and quite frankly are often miserable and hate the situation with every fiber of our being. No, we don't wake up one day and find that we've skipped B through Y and suddenly we're a shining vessel of grace, fully at peace with all things and entirely resting in God's goodness. It would sure be amazing, but it does not happen that way.

It takes a lot of work, a lot of humility, and it's messy, painful, exhausting, challenging and often very unpleasant. The good news is, He's there every step of the way and He will in fact, finish what He started in us. We are His workmanship and while the road of sanctification may be very rough at times, it's all worth it in the end.


Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Monday, March 22, 2010

Ack - comment notification was turned off!

For those of you who have commented on my blog in the last 30 days and had your comment go ignored by me, I apologize. I switched to echo commenting some time ago, and just learned late this evening that as of 2/20 the commenting system had stopped notifying me of any new comments via email. I honestly just thought no one was commenting.

I've adjusted the settings so that I do receive new comments in my email inbox, so hopefully I wont miss your comments again in the future. I'm currently making my way back through the past 30 days to see what you've all said. It's almost like Christmas! :-)

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Dear Miley

I'm under no delusions that Miley Cyrus will ever read this, but I'm going to go ahead and call it an open letter to her all the same. Maybe someone else who needs to hear it will, and maybe it will give them something to think about:

I think it was maybe two or three years ago when I first started hearing about Hannah Montana. Not being a tween myself and not having girls who were tweens yet, Hannah Montana just wasn't something that came across my radar. Then of course the girls heard about the show and watched it one day and that was that, they've liked Hannah ever since. Truth be told, I do too. The characters on the show (Hannah, Lily, Oliver, Jackson, Rico, Robbie Ray, etc.) are all fairly likeable characters and some are just plain funny in a very simple, innocent, fun way. Yes it's true, I watch Hannah Montana with the kids. I watch most of the shows they watch to make sure what they're watching is decent. I even know all the HSM songs, and Camp Rock songs, and do in fact think Sponge Bob and Fairly Odd Parents are two of the funniest cartoons going today. I know, it's an occupational hazard. Go Wildcats!

Now, that's my condensed version opinion about Hannah and the show and other kid-fare available today.

Miley Cyrus, on the other hand, is a completely different person than cutesy, likable, Hannah Montana. As adults we all know this, but as kids the lines are very blurred and that's where the real issue is. She's certainly not the only teen-pop-star who once did cutesy, innocent, fun, girly roles and then grew up and was no longer that cutesy little character. They all grow up, and they all do different things but the problem can be when your girls still want to follow their career, buy their music and see their movies even after they leave cutesy behind and start doing more adult type projects. Sometimes those adult type projects may not always be so wholesome and decent as the once cutesy girl was involved with. In the minds of the fans, it's still "Hannah Montana" (or whatever character they happened to play at the time when the girls first "met" them) but in reality that's not who or what they are at all. Sometimes, trying to explain that to a young girl who is a fan is like talking to a wall.

I thought about all this after I read Miley Cyrus' recent interview with Parade. I'd seen it mentioned on twitter and clicked through to read it, since my girls are indeed fans of Hannah Montana. What I read left me rather disappointed. Now to some, no matter what I say in the way of observation about her statements in this interview, it's going to come across as judgemental. The fact of the matter is however, she claims to be a Christian and the truth about what a Christian is, is not what she represented in this interview. Obviously she doesn't realize what a true Biblical Christian is, and that's a shame. No question about it, there are likely millions of people exactly like her who have these same kinds of ideas and think that makes them a Christian. I know she grew up just outside of Nashville and I have a friend who used to live there and would often say in jest "don't you know, everyone in Nashville is a Christian!" It's not just a southern, Bible-belt sort of thing, it's a good example of what is often called cultural Christianity all across North America. I've heard it called all sorts of things such as Easy Believism or Greasy Grace. Say you believe in God, say Jesus saves, admit you believe the Bible is true and boom - you're good to go. No real need for holy living, no need to worry about the example you set in front of others, no need at all for being a part of a local church (and being involved there and accountable), and certainly no need to ever stand firm on things like Jesus being the ONLY way to God. Afterall, that would certainly be divisive and may cause others to call YOU judgemental, and we don't want that. Especially if you're in a high profile position where having such convictions might cost you big-time roles, concerts, etc.

Without being able to sit down with Miley Cyrus and actually ask her point blank what she really knows about living like a Christian, a few of the things she said in this interview really stood out to me. I really don't want to be "judgemental" of her in the sense that I'm condemning her, but I want to be fair with her statements and see how they measure up to a genuine Christian worldview. Maybe by some uber-fluke (or divine orchestration?) she'll read this and have something to think about.

"My faith is very important to me,” she says. "But I don’t necessarily define my faith by going to church every Sunday."

I think most Christians have likely heard this countless times. Now in her case, I can understand how it might be perceived as a show, as she states in the interview. How the media might make everyday living and doing things like going to church, a monumental stress-factor. It might drive me nuts if every time we pulled up in the church parking lot, the media vultures were there to snap my every move onto film for the sleazy tabloids. Regardless of that, we are not called to be Spiritual Lone Rangers but instead we are to NOT forsake the gathering of the saints. Doing so will leave you seriously misguided and un-anchored, and unlearned. All it takes to prove this to be true, is to spend 5 minutes talking to a professing Christian that doesn't go to church on purpose, to see how little they really know about the Christian faith. They are that way because they have no genuine fellowship with other Christians, they never hear sound teaching from the bible through a sermon, they never participate in any kind of Bible study, and they've left themselves unaccountable to anyone but their own opinions. Essentially they starve themselves from real growth, and insist that they're just fine with where they are.

When asked if it was hard to be openly Christian in Hollywood Miley answers this way:

"People are always looking for you to do something that is non-Christian,” she answers. “But it’s like, ‘Dude, Christians don’t live in the dark.’ I have to participate in life. If I wear something revealing, they go, ‘Well, that’s not Christian.’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’m going to go to hell because I’m wearing a pair of really short white shorts.’ Suddenly I’m a slut. That’s so old-school."

Old-school. I love that one. I hear it often, and it always makes me wonder, if living like a Christian is old-school, why call yourself one at all? Why even mention Christ's name, since He's definitely old-school. 2,000 years old school for that matter. Christianity itself is completely old-school, so why even bother? This is a really good example of someone who doesn't understand what Christian living is supposed to look like. The whole short-shorts thing is about modesty, and not giving anyone a reason to lust after you in their minds and hearts. So many people don't see it this way though. The shorts are cute, I like them, I like the way they look on me, I'm wearing them and if you have a problem with it, that's YOUR problem, not mine. That's the attitude right there, and I know it well since it used to be my attitude all the time about the way I dressed. The thing is, it's a completely anti-Christian attitude. Are we supposed to care about not giving other people a reason to stumble, as much as it's within our ability to do that? Yes, we are. Are we supposed to be 100% self-focused and self-serving? No, we are not. Jesus Himself could have taken the same attitude in the garden when He said "if there be any other way, take this cup from me". He could have said "I'm not going to that cross, I'm leaving and going elsewhere and if you don't like it that's YOUR problem, not mine." As we all know, that isn't what He did. He fully and completely and entirely gave up His own human desire and gave of Himself. Bottom line is simply this: do you dress to show off your body to others, or do you dress to please the Lord? That may not be a question a young pop star wants to answer, straight up. It requires taking Christianity seriously, and that's not always an easy thing to do.

When asked about her controversial stripper-style pole dance on the teen choice awards (which my kids did not see, thankfully) her reply was:

"My job first is to entertain and do what I love, and if you don’t like it, then change the channel. I’m not forcing you to watch me. I’m not forcing you to talk about me."

Bearing in mind she stated earlier in the interview "I am a Christian. Jesus is who saved me. He’s what keeps me full and whole." Clearly, Miley doesn't understand that her first job as a Christian is NOT to entertain and do what she loves. Her first job as a Christian is to use her talents to glorify God. I know that's not a popular statement but it's true all the same. God didn't give her a singing voice and a healthy body so she could sing and dance around a pole like a stripper. Jesus saved her so she can live for herself and do whatever she wants? Where can we find this in the Bible? Truth is, it's not there. This me-first attitude is not a Christian one at all, but sadly Miley Cyrus doesn't know that, she's just repeating what is so common in the world today. I used to say the same exact thing, since the world revolved totally around me and my likes and dislikes. Indeed, I was my own god and if you didn't like it, too bad, so sad for you.

Miley goes on to say:

"I’ve learned I can’t live for what people are going to say. People are so judgmental—especially parents."

There is some truth to the first part of this statement, to be sure. People ARE judgemental, whether for good or for bad. It's also true that no matter what you do, what you say, or how you say it there always seems to be someone, somewhere that finds something wrong with it. You can live a completely pristine life and someone's going to have an issue with how you're doing that. Regardless of what other people say, if you're a Christan your first desire and obligation should be to live like one as much as you're able, and despite what anyone has to say.

Now, about those judgemental parents...

Young people without kids will NEVER understand this, but I'm going to say it all the same: You have no idea what you're talking about. How can you?

Think of it this way: 2 men approach a building. One man stands outside while the other goes inside and up to the roof. The man outside sees what is viewable from the ground while the man on the roof has seen the inside of the building, the stairs, the roof door and the view from the top of the building. The man on the ground tells the man what he can see from his vantage point. The man on the roof tells the other man what he can see and what he saw on his way up. The man on the ground then turns to the man on the roof and shouts up to him "I can see all that too!" In reality, he can only see from his own vantage point, he cannot see the same things the man on the roof sees, or has seen. Logistics make it absolutely impossible.

Young people without kids often have this odd idea that they can see from the roof of the building when they haven't even climbed the stairs yet. Sometimes they also get very frustrated when an experienced older person tells them this, but the fact is it is just the truth. While it doesn't always mean your vantage point is better or smarter (not all parents are smart, as evidenced by the mother in Australia who recently took her young daughter to a Lady Gaga concert then freaked out over the sexual overtones of the show. Hello?) it does mean you've seen more, walked more, experienced more.

Parents are in fact judgemental, and should be. Parents (who spend their hard earned money to buy their kids dvds and cds of famous pop stars) have a duty and an obligation to weed out the garbage from the good for their kids. They have a duty to set good examples as best as they can and to give their kids the best advice they can so that those kids have a strong and solid foundation to go on when they grow up and become adults. Young people without kids, have absolutely no idea what that means in a practical sense. It's impossible for them to know it in a practical sense, since they don't have kids yet and haven't walked that road. The best I can hope for in saying that, is that at least they'll actually hear it and respect it for the reality of parenting that yet eludes them.

Miley Cyrus stated in this interview:

"Hopefully, I can influence people and help them follow the same path I am on"

Frankly, I hope that doesn't happen. Based entirely on her statements in this interview (which might be unfair, I'll grant that) it appears Miley doesn't really know what a Christian is, how one thinks, how one lives, or what should come first in their lives. I do hope she finds out, and honestly begins to live like one. At which point, it would be a great thing for others to see her as a good example.


Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Thursday, March 18, 2010

There's a New Doc in Town

Tuesday afternoon I was just about to get a nice cup of coffee and sit down to listen to the Dividing Line, when the kids came running to tell me Miss Kitty was having her babies!

I mentioned Miss Kitty here recently, if you're a regular reader. We just had a lovely wedding ceremony where Miss Kitty and Turbo were wedded in blissful CATrimony. :-) Just to be clear on ownership: Miss Kitty is actually my grand daughter Jocelyn's kitty. She was an abandoned cat that my daughter took in, but they were unable to keep here at their house, so we took her in here. One of the benefits to living in the country as opposed to the city.

Doc Kitty!In any event, I ran upstairs and sure enough at exactly the top of the hour when the DL was set to begin, the cutest little kitty made his debut. I had a little talk with him and told him that he was making me miss the Dividing Line. That didn't seem to phase him in any way. Since he made his entrace at 2pm on a DL day, I named him Doc, after my friend Dr. James White. (and he was nice enough to announce the birth of the new kitties just after the 30 minute mark on the show!) :-)

In all, there are five new kitties. If you're local and you NEED a kitty for Mother's Day (or just because you need a kitty) there are 4 that will be ready for a new home in the middle of May.


Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Clock Messer Uppers

I do not care for daylight savings time. No, I do not like it in a boat, I do not like it with a goat. As long as I can remember (and that's a really long time, kids) I have never liked it. There is just something 100% unnatural about fiddling with the clocks and then telling your brain and your body and your daily routine that it's a different time than what it really is. It's just mental, and shouldn't be happening in a civilized society.

I wont name any names here, but the person in our house who is in charge of clock-fiddling 99.99% of the time (his first name starts with Kevin) forgot to change the clocks last night. In his defense, he has been on midnight shift for the last 6 weeks (and by default, I have too) so he's already in a time warp and essentially functioning like a zombie (minus the eating brains part, of course). Zombies don't even use clocks, so it's reasonable to understand why they wouldn't remember to change them. Kev also doesn't use twitter or FB anymore so he didn't see the 875 trillion reminders from friends and friends of friends to change the clocks. I did see them, and I did remind him, but somewhere between the reminding and the not doing it, he forgot. The result? I woke up to a dark, gray, rainy morning (highly conducive to sleeping in, even if you didn't plan on it) a full 90 minutes past the time I needed to be up and begin rallying the troops to get ready for church. As if that wasn't bad enough (and it was) the timer on the coffee pot (which turns on very early in the morning and then turns off after 2 hours) had already turned off and the coffee wasn't even hot. Blech!

So that only begins the time/space warp I get to deal with for the next week or so. Generally for about a week after people go around fooling with the clocks, I feel constantly hurried or perpetually late, even if I'm actually right on time. Or... am I? It's a mental thing, and it takes me about a week to adjust. For a long time I thought I was the only weirdo that couldn't handle a little time change but over the years I've talked to lots of people who say it affects them in similar ways. It was much worse when I had babies or toddlers, since it somehow throws their schedules right out the window too. Thankfully, tomorrow begins a week of March break for the kids so that helps.

I'm sure that once upon a time whenever DST was dreamed up and put into play, someone... somewhere... thought it was a great idea. The thing is though, it just no longer makes any sense. Do we really need to conserve coal and candles? Do we really need to have sunlight to play evening games when there are gigantic lights in nearly every sports field? I think not!

So I missed church, feel like I slept in (which really I didn't, but I did, because my clocks are messed up) but now I'm tired, and I shouldn't be because I slept in. Or... did I?

Pfftage! I'm going to have a nap. I don't care what time it is.


Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Friday, March 12, 2010

Today Is a Gift

Quite often when you read or hear about someone who has received a devastating prognosis from the doctor, along with that difficult news you might also hear or read about their positive attitude and making a deliberate choice to live each of their remaining days to the fullest. They choose to begin saying "yes" more often to their kids requests, they choose to enjoy life more and worry about the little things less, and they tend to pro-actively determine to leave their loved ones with a positive legacy of love and fond memories.

I can't even count how many times I've read that or heard that taking place when someone is finally facing their mortality. In general, it seems to take the harsh news of "you're not going to live forever" to get us to truly consider what is important.

The other day I posted on twitter: "today is a gift, what will you do with it?" That status update posted at both twitter and facebook, and only 2 people responded. I know plenty more than 2 people read it, but I found it curious that only 2 people responded.

I really don't know why we wait until we are faced with our impending departure in this life to truly begin considering what kind of legacy we're going to leave. Maybe it's because we are in a sort of denial and don't really like to think about the fact that we're not going to live forever. Maybe it's because like the old Cat Stevens song "the new job's a hassle and the kids have the flu, but it's been sure nice talking to you dad". Maybe we just get so pre-occupied with the minute, day-to-day stuff that we forget to look past that and consider what kind of life we're really living. Maybe there are a million other little reasons we live and think this way, I'm honestly not sure.

One thing I am sure about, is that we don't have to wait until the 11th hour to start living with genuine purpose. Sure the bills need to be paid and yes the lawn needs mowing and the dishes need washed but what are we really doing with our time when all the need-to-be stuff is done? Are we sitting on the couch watching tv when we could be going for a walk with the kids? Are we sitting at the computer wasting time doing something unimportant when we could be doing something productive? I'm sure there are bazillion different ways we all waste time. I can think of several things that I do during the course of the day that could be considered time-wasters. How about you?

The thing is, if today is in fact a gift (and trust me it is - not a single one of us has any guarantee we'll be here tomorrow, next week or even an hour from now) then what should we be doing with it?

- Is there an unresolved, messed up relationship in your life you need to repair?
- Is there someone you've been meaning to call or visit?
- Is there a project or a function you've been putting off doing or attending?
- Is there something you've been meaning to say to someone that you haven't said yet?
- Are there promises you've made that you haven't kept yet?

I think if we're all honest, one or more of those things is in current "pending" status in our personal lives. Today is indeed a gift, as is tomorrow, and each and every day you and I wake up. I've begun determining every morning to remind myself of that and make a genuine effort to make my days worthwhile to the people who matter most to me. My only regret is that it took me 45 years to really grab hold of this. I'm not waiting until I hear some bad news (if I ever do), I'm starting now.

How about you?


Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I'm Not Sorry

Christian apologetics. That might sound a little odd to some people. Many Christians I know joke around that it's the idea that Christians should be apologizing for their faith. I know plenty of people that wish we would do just that, and then just shut up once and for all about all that "Jesus stuff", morality, propriety, forgiveness, humility, obedience and all that other annoying stuff Christians go around talking about.

In reality, Christian apologetics is the ability to be able to give a defense or reasonable explaination of your faith to anyone who asks. It comes from 1Peter 3:15 which says:

Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence

The phrase "make a defense" in the original Greek language is the word apologia, and where we get the word apologetics. Apologia originally meant being able to give a reasonable argument for something that was true. Over time the word apologize came to mean giving an answer for something that was wrong. It's interesting how language evolves the way it does sometimes.

Going back to the idea that Christians sometimes joke about, that apologetics means to go around apologizing (modern meaning, i.e. "I'm sorry that I'm wrong") for your Christian worldview, I think we all know we're living in a society that really wishes that we'd do this. Sadly, there are some Christians that give in to that pressure to not rock the boat at work, school, or even in their very own families so they keep quiet about their faith and just keep it to themselves. Granted there are at times, delicate and very sensitive situations where it's for the best that you remain silent, but when you call yourself a Christian you're declaring that you have been changed by the grace of God and follow Christ. If that is who you are, then you should never be ashamed of His name, and should always be ready to engage in Christian apologetics, no matter where you are or where the opportunity arises. Bearing in mind the verse above says we're to do that with gentleness and reverence. How we give the answer for the faith we have is just as important as giving the answer itself. This is something I think a lot of Christians miss the boat on big time (myself included at times, no question about it) in sharing their faith with others.

Gentleness meaning in a calm and gentle way toward the person who is questioning (the gospel of Christ is already offensive to a sinners ears, we are not called to be offensive as well in our delivery of it), and reverence meaning you give that answer with the intention of glorifying God with all that you say and the way that you say it due to the importance of the subject itself, and with an ever-conscious sense of the presence of God. The verse begins with "Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts" and when that is done, when His example of grace, mercy, compassion, gentleness and forgiveness is the pattern you're setting your own life after then the rest of that instruction falls much easier into place.

With that said, I want to say this: I'm NOT sorry.

I'm not sorry that the same God who spoke the earth into existance chose in His infinite wisdom and mercy to draw me to Christ by the preaching of the gospel. The preaching of the cross is absolute nonsense to the lost... until He opens your eyes. One day I hated hearing "Christian junk" and the next it was like a balm to my despicable heart. That is the power, the sovereignty, the majesty and the work of God, pure and simple. I didn't wake up one day and chose to believe anything different, He opened my eyes and showed me the truth.

I'm not sorry that I grew up in a generation where going to church on Sunday was what most American families did, even if they weren't Christians. This exposed me to the gospel that was a planted seed in my life for many years only to be watered and nutured many many years later.

I'm not sorry that the Sunday school teachers taught the silly stories had their classes memories verses. Those stories and those verses were anchors in my life even when I didn't know I remembered them. They still are.

I'm not sorry my brother took me to a Christian bookstore and bought for me my very first Bible. Even while living as a complete heathen, reading Proverbs each night both comforted my mind and convicted my soul. I needed both. I still do.

I'm not sorry my heart was broken and that I saw my true need for salvation through Christ alone, on that spring evening in 1994. Once my eyes were opened to my true sinful state, all I wanted was Christ's forgiveness like a thirsty man in the desert wants a cool drink of water.

I'm not sorry I've been a member/attender of several different fellowships over the years. While none were perfect, each was a genuine gathering of the saints and I learned a great deal from them all.

I'm not sorry I go to church every Sunday (weather and other things permitting). I love my church, I need my church, and without it my growth in Christ would stagnate and wither and I might begin to be decieved into think I'm a Spirtitual Lone Ranger and do not need that constant fellowship or accountability. The longer I am a Christian the more I see my need for this very thing. He designed us to be social beings and we can pretend that's not true all day long but the fact remains we do need one other.

I'm not sorry I've raised my kids (since 1994) in the faith of Christ. I know it to be true, and to do any less would be to cause untold damage to their souls. What the Holy Spirit does with the truths they've heard over the years is between Him and them. I only pray He does the same with them that He did with me, and eventually they might all be drawn to the foot of the cross and see their own need for reconciliation with God through Christ.

I'm not sorry I pray this way for my entire family. Some of them have already entered eternity and some of them did it without knowing God's mercy. I don't like to think about that but it's the truth all the same. Some of them entered eternity at peace with God and trusting in Christ's atonement on the cross for them, and I look forward to seeing them there. I want to see them all there.

I'm not sorry the Holy Spirit continues each and every day to convict my heart of my own sin. I know what a rotten person I am, and I know I need this conviction and this guidance to have the right thoughts, right attitudes and right speech. Without it I would be just as self-centered and self-serving as the next person walking through this life rejecting God's wisdom. Sometimes I am still like that, which tells me I need this conviction all the more.

I'm not sorry I blog about the things of God. If just one person ever read anything I've ever written and it causes them to either fall to their knees in repentance or draw closer to our Lord through prayer or meditation or service, then this blog has been used for His glory and I am content with that.

I'm not sorry I'm a Christian. I am humbled beyond words for the grace of God in my life. I can look back over the 45 years I've been alive and see His hand at work so many times, that it is without question in my mind that He has orchestrated events, spared my very life (several times) and been an active presence in my life all along. I don't know why He chose to do this for me, but I know He didn't have to. I love Him for it and I am not ashamed to proclaim His name.

I know that annoys certain people, and there is nothing I can do about that. I know Christians sometimes do and say really stupid things (myself included) and that is often used to say "see, Christians are so fake, they preach all this holiness stuff then do this or that just like anyone else". Those people want us to shut up, go away and stop being who we are because it annoys them. Being a Christian doesn't mean you're floating around on a cloud with angelic choruses of alleluias surrounding you wherever you go. It means (in part) you're a person who still says and does stupid things, but you're trusting in God's grace to help you do it less as time goes by.

No, I'm not sorry I'm a Christian and I'm not sorry I live and speak and write and think like one. This is who I am, by God's grace alone. If I live another 50 years or another 5 minutes, I will continue to live and speak and think and write the way I do now, because this is who I am. To do any other I would be a fraud and the shame would be on me.

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe




Sunday, March 7, 2010

Moaners and Groaners

Many years ago I used to collect the funniest email forwards that people would send along. I scrolled through the collection recently and thought I'd share one of those here.

Moaners & Groaners (don't say I didn't warn you)

How Do You Catch A Unique Rabbit?
Unique Up On It.

How Do You Catch A Tame Rabbit?
Tame Way, Unique Up On It.

How Do Crazy People Go Through The Forest?
They Take The Psycho Path.

What Do Eskimos Get From Sitting On The Ice too Long?
Polaroids

What Do You Call A Boomerang That Doesn't work?
A Stick.

What Do You Call Cheese That Isn't Yours?
Nacho Cheese.

What Do You Call Santa's Helpers?
Subordinate Clauses.

What Do You Call Four Bullfighters In Quicksand?
Quatro Sinko.

What Do You Get From A Pampered Cow?
Spoiled Milk.

What Do You Get When You Cross A Snowman With A Vampire?
Frostbite.

What Lies At The Bottom Of The Ocean And Twitches?
A Nervous Wreck.

What's The Difference Between Roast Beef And Pea Soup?
Anyone Can Roast Beef.

Where Do You Find A Dog With No Legs?
Right Where You Left Him.

Why Do Gorillas Have Big Nostrils?
Because They Have Big Fingers.

Why Don't Blind People Like To Sky Dive?
Because It Scares The Dog.

What Kind Of Coffee Was Served On The Titanic?
Sanka.

What Is The Difference Between A Harley And A Hoover?
The Location Of The Dirt Bag.

Why Did Pilgrims' Pants Always Fall Down?
Because They Wore Their Belt Buckle On Their Hat.

What's The Difference Between A Bad Golfer And A Bad Skydiver?
A Bad Golfer Goes, Whack, Dang!
A Bad Skydiver Goes Dang! Whack.


How Are A Texas Tornado And A Tennessee Divorce The Same?
Somebody's Gonna Lose A Trailer


Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Wedding Story

We had a wedding in our house yesterday.

As weddings go, it was a little more low-key than most. The kids all attended in their pajamas, and instead of tossing rice they tossed ripped notebook paper. Nevertheless, it was a lovely ceremony officiated by Mr. Samuel Rolfe. This was his first wedding, so he was a little nervous when he asked "mom, is the boy the groom?" I reassured him that yes, the boy is the groom. He didn't have a wedding ceremony script, so instead he grabbed the closest book handy in the wedding chapel (also doubles as our loft/kids play room) The Maltese Falcon.

Introducing the bride:

Miss Kitty

Miss Kitty

Miss Kitty came to live with us just a few weeks ago when she was abandoned by her owners. She's a real sweetheart. Our alpha-male in the house Pyro (who did not attend the wedding) decided to claim Miss Kitty as his own, and she's now with-kitty. While he is definitely adorable, he's a typical deadbeat dad, and doesn't always come home at night.

Our groom... Mr. Turbo

Mr. Turbo

Also known as Turbs, Flurbs and fluffywuffykitty head, Turbo came to live with us a few months ago. He really enjoyed Pyro's company as sort of a little brother/sidekick sort of deal, but when Miss Kitty came along he was instantly love struck and almost never leaves her side (which is often rather annoying to her, but he never seems to mind the swat on the nose she gives him). When Turbo heard she was with-kitty, he did the responsible thing and asked for her paw in wedded kitty bliss. We're just assuming she accepted, since she showed up for the ceremony. As you can see by this shot, he appears to be very excited to be marrying the love of his life.

The ceremony complete: the kiss

Awwwww

Awwww! Aint love grand!?

We're sure Turbo was just delighted with the morning's events:

Turbs and Mr. Rolfe

Turbo and Mr. Samuel Rolfe

While Miss Kitty was just looking for a quick escape down the loft stairs:

Is it over yet?

What a lovely couple.

The Happy Couple

Mr. and Mrs. Turbo

And may they live happily ever after.

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe