Wednesday, July 26, 2006

July Book-List Addition

I am in the middle of reading Heaven by Randy Alcorn. It's excellent. Since I have dear family and friends who've recently passed away I feel more compelled to explore the topic. If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend it. I haven't done a lot of reading about heaven, but Alcorn has made the Biblical study of heaven his lifework. He uses scripture to back up everything he states definitively about what heaven will be like. And when he suggests something about heaven that isn't covered by scripture he makes it very clear that it's based in his own imaginings and understanding of God's character...

In particular I appreciate his assertion that Christians (saints) who've passed away are waiting in an intermediate heaven (not a waiting room where you're trying to earn your way into heaven- it's only Jesus' blood that gets you into heaven- they are waiting there with God for His plan to be fulfilled and Jesus to return to Earth) also that they are aware of what's going on here on earth.... that they pray (just talk) to God for those of us here. (he reminds the reader that we are NOT to pray to those departed saints, because why on earth would you go to a secondary source when you can go directly to the one in charge?!) I'm not going to quote scripture here, but after reading what he has to say and how he works with scripture I agree with him.

He also asserts that when we all get to be with Jesus on the New Earth (when heaven comes down here and the New Earth becomes what God had intended from the beginning) that we will be surrounded by animals and perfect nature- that we see glimpses or shadows of what God intended the earth to be like all around us. He even goes so far as to say that he believes that pets who've passed away may be waiting for us there... I don't know. Even he's not saying this is definitely-for sure true. He just says it would fit with his understanding of heaven and the place God is planning for those of us who love and obey Him.

Anyway, there are very few books that I get really enthusiastic about every Christian reading. I can think of only two or three right off the top of my head: What's So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey, The Wounded Spirit by Frank Peretti.... I'm sure there are a couple more if I could think of 'em. Heaven is one of them. I think it's a don't miss book.

An Addition to Mommy Blues

I do like cooking! I forgot to say that I enjoy making dinners and lunches for my family. And the only reason I don't like breakfast is really that I'm non-functional in the morning. If my kids are happy and not screamingI really love the calm of making tasty food. I enjoy the creativity of making food and developing my own recipes. I tend to work off of a recipe and add & delete at will. I have my own recipes for tacos, burrito's, stir fry, teriyaki chicken, pizza... and lots of other stuff... and those recipes change , grow and develop as I'm going along.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Mommy Blues

I have a terrible truth to admit- I hate being a stay-at-home Mommy... This does not mean I don't love my girls. I do, more than I imagined I would. More than I thought it was really possible to love them. I love playing with them, I enjoy the sweetness of holding Abigail and feeding her a bottle as she goes to sleep at night. I love watching Deborah figure something new out. The girl is smart, and she loves learning and trying new things. I like feeding Abigail and I like making food for Deborah, I like giving them baths, I like playing with them, and if you've never heard the deep belly laughs of a baby you haven't really lived.

(I will never forget the first time Deborah saw a dog play. She was about 9 months old and we were at a friend's house. Three dogs were playing together, chasing each other and tugging on toys and she just started belly chuckling. She laughed that deep wonderful baby laugh for about 20 minutes straight while they swarmed around under her. It was so wonderful to hear her... I still smile when I remember that night).

Hating being a stay-at-home Mom does not mean I think nobody should do it or that there is not any value in it. I have a couple of friends who really enjoy their "job" of being a stay-at-home Mommy, and they consider themselves household managers. They enjoy most every part of staying home and making their house a home. My problem seems to be that I hate all the other trappings involved- I HATE housework. Let me say that again. I HATE housework. In fact, I could probably make this into a little song- "Oh, I hate housework, let me tell you how I hate it, Let me count the ways, Oh, I hate housework, it makes me hate my days."

I hate doing dishes, I hate picking up everybody's junk, I HATE doing laundry, which is sad, 'cuz I used to really like it until we had the girls. I do not like vaccuuming, I do not like washing floors, I hate cleaning the bathroom, I don't like making beds- You name it, there is not a single household chore I enjoy. In fact I end up feeling like somebody's slave by the end of the day, which I'm sure makes me a very unpleasant wife to come home to.

I hate changing diapers (I wash my hands so many times a day that in the winter they crack and bleed). I find it very frustrating to figure something out for the girls and I to do in the winter months when I swear, if we stay inside for another minute we will literally start bouncing off the walls. It starts snowing up here in mid-October and the snow stays on the ground until March-ish. I don't like snow sports or being cold, which is pretty pathetic for someone who grew up here.

Sadly, the idea of putting my girls in day-care makes me want to cry. Jake and I have talked about me getting a job, and I just cannot justify it to myself right now. I really want to be able to be the one who sees them through their days and I want to get to see Abigail start to walk. I want to see Deborah get those new things and learn about the world. Nobody else can do traise my kids better than me. I know this, I get this, I agree with this, but AAAAHH! I hate being stuck at home. And that's what it feels like to me. Stuck, trapped, caged....

I don't think day-care is bad, specifically, I just don't want that for my girls. We had really hoped that my Mom would be able to take care of the girls so that I could go ahead and get a part-time job, but after the stroke she has a lot of problems picking up the baby. She's doing AMAZING. She is back at home, she is climbing the stairs, she can carry normal size things, and really do almost everything she used to be able to do. However, there is no way she could take care of them by herself for three or four hours a day.

We are probably not moving outside this summer... Not after my Mom's stroke. We've kind of had to make some changes in our plans now, but we'll see. It's like we'll be stuck up here for another winter, which has made me want to SCREAM. I DO NOT want to do another winter in Fairbanks. But the idea of my mom moving right now is kind of questionable... She's doing well but...

Anyway, there is my confession of the day, I guess... I hate being stuck at home. I hate being a stuck-at-home Mommy.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Books I've read in July

I HAVE added on to this! And Since this is now the 31st I've completed my July Books. Lower count with my Mom in the hospital and completing VBS... Still a satisfying list.

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde - I thoroughly enjoyed this. Thank you Melissa & John. Very fun. A fantastical mystery entangled with sci-fi elements, plus the strangely bent literary references- In particular, I enjoyed the Rocky Horror version of Richard III. Delightful & real main character, truly evil villain, fun twists, satisfying ending. Since the library had four of them I'm going to be able to just dive through them... I love finding a new-to-me series with a lot of books! (I'm going to admit this, although I probably shouldn't: I've never read Jane Eyre- when given the option I always read Jane Austen's stuff, which I love, and somehow I slid through AP English Lit and college without reading it. This book made me want to rectify that...)
Heaven by Randy Alcorn - See July Book Addition. I valued this book, and believe that if you haven't read it already you're missing out. Very few books strike me as don't miss books. This is one of them. I find myself thinking differently about the future now because of this book - I'm less stress about the whole thing at church and I'm more able to let God handle the problems with my pastor. It's really His mess anyway.
Sun in Glory by Mercedes Lackey - I like Mercedes Lackey! This is a book of short stories about Valdemar and only one of them is actually written by Lackey. Still fun to have holes in the Vlademar story filled in by other fans .
The Sleeping Dragon, The Sword and the Chain, and The Silver Crown by Joel Rosenberg- I last read these when I was 19 or 20 and they were some of my very favorite books at the time. Premise: A group of college friends are playing a role game much like Dungeons and Dragons and they get translated over to the actual world as the characters they played. I used to love these books, and while I enjoyed them this time they were not as "deep" I guess... I don't know... Definitely fun, definitely characters I liked, just not as life-changing or something.
Secrets of the Vineyard by Bruce Wilkinson- Wilkinson picks apart the practical applications of the John 15 passage regarding abiding in the vine. He separates this passage into four levels of abiding, and I particularly appreciated his vintner knowledge applied to this passage- excellent discussions of "lifting up" the vine, and the possibilities of producing more fruit. However, I was concerned about some of the implications of his first level of abiding in Christ. He states that a Christian who is not producing fruit will be brought through trials to cause them to abide deeper in the vine and eventually produce fruit. Sounded a bit like the arguments of Job's friends... "Your sins have caused the wrath of God to send these trials upon you..."
In Fury Born by David Weber- Military Sci-fi, Excellent story, Strong believable characters, Interesting world. The first time I read one of his Honor Harrington novels, I started flipping to the back to check out his bio. I had a very hard time believing that it was a man writing this very believable female character. (after reading most of what he's got out there, I believe Weber has a special & close relationship with his daughter, and that he uses that relationship to develop Honor.) After saying all that, I have to comment that the central character in this novel, In Fury Born, is not as believable- I like her, but she doesn't have the foibles and depth of emotion and experience that his Honor has. Also, he takes a LONG time to really get to the point of the story. It's almost like this should have been three books...
City of Dreams by Stephen Lawhead & Ross Lawhead- Premise: It's the year 2000 and Jesus was not born- the world is still waiting for the Messiah. The authors take the story of Jesus with all it's trappings, miracles and changed lives- and transform it into todays terms. The book is excellent. I particularly enjoyed a very humorous description of Washer John (John the Baptist) by a drunk hippie the main character meets in a bar- "This is what he does, okay? Pay attention, you might need to know this- it's a survivalist thing. The first thing you do is get some honey. Now, that's not as hard as it might sound- all you have to do is to find a bee and follow it back to where it lives. Simple. Next you take a little honeycomb from the bees. I don't know how you do that. Maybe you smoke them out or sneak up on them from behind or something. Anyway, you take this honeycomb and haul it to the nearest meadow or pasture or whatever. You put it on some leaves and leave it there for a few hours, or overnight, sticky side up, and you come back, you have a plate full of grasshoppers and whatnot. They smell the honey and wander over to take a look, and -Hey, presto! Instant protein and sugar hit!" There's more like this... However, the book is told through the eyes of an undercover cop given the task of infiltrating a radical terrorist organization so there's action, adventure and intrigue as well.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Song: Voice of My Lord

I actually wrote the chorus to this song when I was 17. I sang it for years in my own private worship times at home... I didn't really expect it to go anywhere else. I love how God recycles things. The year after I married Jake was so hard- the church start we met in failed, and I lost my job there. I didn't have a job for about 4 months, we ended up moving in with his parents, (which was HARD), and he had a job he hated. We served in an older dying church, and I finally found a job tutoring reading... We both were searching so hard for what on earth God might have in store for us. Right about then God gave me the verses to this song, and it seemed to be an answer about waiting on Him and trusting Him to know what He was doing. He gave me the verses while I was driving in Seattle traffic to my job. I have never in a thousand years pictured myself writing a gospel song, and that's exactly what it sounds like... a Natalie Grant or Crystal Lewis type thing... :)

The Voice of My Lord

Where you lead me I will go
What you tell me I will do
I will listen to the voice of my Lord
I will listen to the voice of my Lord
And I will go

Verse 1
All the roads You've led me down
All the trials You've brought me through
I will never understand Your love or the peace I've found in You
For I know the plans You have for me are always for my good
Though the pathway seems to wind through a dark and lonely wood

Verse 2
All the times You've called my name
All the sin You have erased
I will never understand Your love, why You died to take my place
And though I cannot see the future here I will cling to You alone
For the hope that lives within my soul tells me I am not my own

And I will follow,
I will follow Your voice
And I will follow, I will follow Your voice
And I will follow, I will follow Your voice
Speak Your will
Say the Word
Make the path clear
And I will go

Copyright 2000 R&J Music

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Why I haven't Posted

In the last week my mother has had a minor stroke and is in the hospital. She is okay, but this has been an enormous shock. She's got diabetes and heart problems... we weren't expecting a stroke. She lost all mobility on her left side, but her doctor is expecting a full recovery... HUGE shock. It's so hard to explain to my three year old where her Grammy is. We've visited her every day and talked to her on the phone, but my Mom has played an enormous role with my kids. Since we live with her, she does all my babysitting and she participates actively in their lives. She's the one I often discuss things about my girls with, 'cuz Jake's normally too busy and he always wants to just FIX whatever problem I just want to talk over... Not that I don't appreciate his opinion... But sometimes I just want to talk about them, and kind of generate ideas for how to deal with their stuff, not FIX my girls.

Also, I have been preparing for VBS which is the last thing we're doing at Shannon Park before moving on. I had committed to doing the music and decorations back in March. I love doing VBS. I had NO idea how much I would love doing it. I've gotten to work at a VBS every year since I graduated from seminary. Mostly I've done worship rally, and taught music. One year I ended up directing the whole shebang, which I abhored. I love leading the worship rally and teaching the music and the motions and I love taking over the ENTIRE church with the decorations. Beth and I have been doing the decorations at Shannon Park for the last three years. We've done grandiose things with paint and origami and flags and it's been such fun! This year's theme is Alaska, Arctic Edge, which I thought was just silly at first, but now I think it's kind of fun that everybody else is learning about Alaska. And we've had fun with how much the kids already know here. (Melissa, we do incredible paintings and props on cardboard and I'm finally convinced of the value of cardboard sets. :)

It is so hard to emotionally throw myself into doing this for Shannon Park when we will be leaving immediately after it's over. I'm torn between committing myself to the kids and falling in love with the visitors and loving the kids I've worked with in my choir for the last three years. Another weird thing I've discovered is I love directing the children's choir. It is so hard to work with our new pastor... which also makes this year hard. I'm realy struggling with forgiving him. I feel like he's stolen our church, which is not actually true. God is the one who is moving us. He's just using them to facilitate this move. I wish I knew what he's doing with us.

God, please heal my Mom. please grant her a full and complete recovery. That she would be able to use her left arm and leg and climb up stairs and do everything she could before. Please help her be able to hold Abigail again. God, please help me not be angry with the Pastor and his wife. Please help me forgive them for their interpretation of scripture. Please remind me that You are in control and that you are using this situation to take us someplace else, someplace better for us, somplace where you can use us more fully and effectively. Please bring us to a place of service and light and dwelling richly and deeply with You.. God, remind me the ways that this "Egypt" was not as good as it feels like it was. Show us the way so that we can walk your way. Make our path clear. I love you.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Three Weird Things

Okay, so three weird things have happened in my life since I moved away from Texas... (of course there are many more, but these are the ones i'd never have guessed...)

First- I play djembe. That's an African hand drum for you that don't know. It's a little bit less than three feet high and has a low mellow tone. We've used it in worship and I'm really quite good now. Not fantastic, not sure that I'm ready for Stomp or anything. But good.

Second- I paint. And people I trust tell me I'm very good. My sister and my Dad were always the painters, the artsy types in our family. I was always singing, and reading and doing plays. I ended up taking a beginning painting class at the University so that I'd have something to do to keep from going bonkers during the winter and I loved it. I don't have any pictures of my stuff yet, but I will.

Third- I sing... Not that I didn't before, but I trust myself now. Working with my husband and his ear has made me a much better musician. I sing harmonies now, which I really hated before. I love leading worship and am confident in my ability to do so. (or at least confident in God's ability to use anything, and Jake's ability to cover any mistake I make. :)