Friday, June 29, 2007

Disturbing Church

Want to be disturbed about how Christians are viewed by the unreached in the U.S.? I just read through "A Month of Sundays" by The Stranger, an alternative newspaper published in Seattle- (Thanks to Marty, The Renzntzman, for this link.) And yes, I was disturbed...

Partly because there was some VERY painfully truthful comments written about our irrelevance, our commercial-ness, our habits... How we water down the truth and try to make it 'hip'. How we practice our 'Christianese' and make it impossible to understand what we're talking about. I wanted to read about some dynamic churches really sharing Jesus and making a difference in the world. Not what these predominantly atheistic writers experienced... Out of the 31 reviews written, only 3 or 4 of the writers seemed to be impacted in a positive way. And I wasn't sure if that was 'cuz the church was really in tune with Jesus or if that person was already open to hear about the truth...

Why aren't Christians more 'graceful'? We've got so much grace extended to us and covering us- Why can't we touch the lives of the people we meet with Jesus' mercy and grace? Why do Christians make it so hard for people to see Jesus? I see this bumper sticker up here a lot, "Lord, save me from your followers"... I don't want to be one of those followers! I know some of 'em... And I know there are days that I am one...

God, I don't want to be one of the people who turns people away from you! Please help me be a positive message of your grace, love and mercy. Yes, Your TRUTH is important. Yes, the reality of hell and evil and sin is important. But God, how sad to hear how Your followers are viewed... Please help me remember that I am ALWAYS a bearer of You- Your image, Your message. I want to be an accurate visible representation of the difference You can make. I can't do this on my own. Please help me be salt and light- Not something nasty and vile. Please bless Your church with Your presence. Help us accurately present You to the world... Help us remember that the world is always watching. Why did You entrust us with reaching the world around us??? We are doing a lousy job! God, forgive us. Forgive me. Help me serve You better- as a witness, as someone who's been changed and made new by You...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Prayer Request

I have a disease that is fairly private and rarely talked about: Endometriosis. It involves those parts of me that make me a girl and most people don't want to hear the details... So, I'm not going to share the details. Just let you know that since it's a 'woman's disease' very little research has been done about what causes it, what prevents it, or what the best treatment is...

I'm now experiencing some pretty major complications/problems and I'll be seeing my OB/Gyn next Monday to find out what she thinks need to be my next step. I don't think I want to have any more children (kinda letting God make the decision on that one- It's such an incredible miracle that I was able to have ANY kids that I'm not going to complain about the possibility of not having more), so we need to just wait and see what my ultrasound showed and what she's going to recommend.

Anyway, would you please pray that my doctor would have wisdom and eyes to see clearly what needs to be done. That our appointment would go well. That I would not be living with very much pain. That we would do the best thing.


Psalm 46:10 tells us what to do when we’re not sure where we fit in God’s action plan. The psalm says, “Cease striving and know that I am God” (NASB
Yep. Be still and know it ourselves. Don’t default into our past. Don’t jump the gun for our future. Just behold and know. Instructions will come when the time is right. In the meantime, being is so much harder than doing, isn’t it? Thankfully, Jesus knew where to find His disciples anyway and He interrupted their doing with his own being. John seemed to have a better grasp of what Christ had come to be than any of the others at this point. John is only attributed four words in this scene: “It is the Lord.” Oh, that you and I would come to recognize what is the Lord and what is not.

Quoted from The Beloved Disciple by Beth Moore

Beth is talking after Jesus' crucifixion- when the disciples don't know what to do with themselves so they go back to fishing. That they were out fishing when maybe they should've just been waiting for Him.
I wish I knew when 'it is the Lord', and not just circumstances, and not just my own wishes... I want to recognize His will and follow it immediately. The first step to 'finding' it is being quiet and waiting. So hard! I'm not a 'waiter'. I'm a go-out-and-do-something kind of person... Even if the thing I'm doing is just gardening or reading... Which means I'm not often quiet and still enough to hear His voice.

God, I want to know when it's you!!! Please help me find time to be still and quiet and wait for you. Please reveal yourself anew to me.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Doctor will see you now

Doctor Tiger, I presume...
About a year ago, Deborah was crying every time we went to the doctor. Our doctor recommended that we find a play doctor kit and let her play around with it. Now it's in their dress up box and both the girls enjoy pretending to be a doctor... We often see very fun dress-up combinations... It's quite silly to see a doctor with a princess dress and tiger ears... Isn't it wonderful to be 1? or 4? And for everything to make sense?


Lately, Luna has been attacking me the second I sit down at the computer... I think she's feeling a little neglected. I spend a LOT of time with the girls or my beading, and very little time just petting and adoring her (as is proper).
At the computer I have a lap and (at least in her mind) don't appear to be doing anything of great importance. It's definitely affected my typing speed and style (you try typing over the top of a cat that keeps rubbing her head and face on your arms & hands) and I often end up dumping her off. It's amazing how quickly she slides back up on my lap like nothing has happened.
The last time she got this much petting time from me was in 2003 when I was placed on bed-rest during the last few months of my first pregnancy. I got to read so much! Jake would drive me to the library, I'd get a big basket and push one of the little library stools along the aisles. I'd come home with 20 or so books and go back the next week or so... I'm not lying. I don't like day-time tv. He did rent movies for me, but there's only so many movies you can see... So, I was reading 2 or 3 books a day...
Luna loved it. She'd sit on my lap or next to me on the couch all day. She hasn't had that kind of attention from me since. I guess it's good she got so much attention right before her complete and total abandonment...
I got her from the pound right before Jake and I started getting serious (in July of 2000)- can't say we dated. We never really dated... I named her Luna for her black body and white face. She reminded me of the moon. Jake says I named her Luna 'cuz she's a lunatic who should live in a loony-bin... There's truth to his statement. She's the only cat I know that starts panicking when her food gets low or when I walk outside... I'm pretty sure she was abandoned by her former owner, and that she probably ran out of food before she was rescued. I'm not 100% positive, but her behavior at times is quite humorous. I wish she'd realize I won't abandon her like that on purpose... I wish she could trust me. (I bet God's saying the exact same thing about me to Jesus right this very minute!)


Deborah being Spun
Abigail being spun
One of my girl's favorite activities is to be spun by their Daddy... They'll beg and beg and beg, (Abigail says, 'Spin, Daddy! Spin!) and he'll give in knowing that he'll be completely worn out and so dizzy he can't stand. They take turns being picked up, held on his shoulders and spun and spun and spun. They know he has hold of them and won't let go, and they laugh the whole time. When he can't spin anymore Abigail cries for at least 5 minutes and lays down at his feet. Deborah cries too, but not as long or loudly.
I wish I trusted God as much as they trust their Daddy to spin them safely and to stop if they get scared... I wish I enjoyed the crazy life-ride I'm on now as much as they enjoy their spinning... It's not like they're in control- They just hold on and let him do the work.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Sci-Fi/Fantasy Favorites

One of my dear friends whom I've known forever & ever... (since '93, I think) is now a missionary teacher in Papua/New Guinea. She's teaching in a Wycliffe school and requesting titles of favorite sci-fi/fantasy titles for 7th-12th graders. Seems their little library has an incredible dearth/paucity/lack of such materials. I've offered many suggestions to her and so has my sister. I thought I'd pass along any new suggestions anyone has to share. Here's the parameters of her search:

1st) What sci-fi/fantasy made a big impact on you when you were young? What would you recommend to almost anyone as an "excellent book"?

2nd) most of her students are young Christians & unprepared to deal with a high level of sensuality/sexuality or extreme violence simply for the sake of violence (her comparison was that "Ender's Game" uses a lot of violence, but it moves the story along and has a reason)...

I've suggested such titles as:
Andre Norton- Star Man's Son
Anne McCaffrey- DragonDrums trilogy
Piers Anthony- A Spell for Chameleon
C.S. Lewis- The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe
Robin Mckinley- The Blue Sword

I had more, but can't remember any more off the top of my head. Anyway, what other titles do you all suggest? I'll pass them along to her...

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold

I ‘ve been re-reading the Miles Vorkosigan series (space opera stuff), and recently got to Memory… I was surprised at how much it struck me this time around. As much as I’ve enjoyed these I’ve never particularly related to Miles- he’s a rather extreme personality, very physically handicapped by a “Terrible Thing” that happened while his mom was pregnant, desperate for a part in the military, and he thrives on spy work with a high degree of danger.

Some Background: Miles was born on Barrayar, a VERY class conscious and structured society. He’s Vor- High class, one of the few wealthy and controlling families, and has been raised with a high-level of responsibility and pressure. His dad has been the regent for the child emperor until he was old enough to take his proper place and Miles was raised with him. Through many compelling circumstances Miles is prevented from joining the military and subsequently invents a character “Admiral Naismith of the Dendaari Merchant Marines”, assumes this personality for field ops and then successfully convinces the Barrayaran government to secretly sponsor/fund the group he ends up taking over. Almost impossible to quickly explain his adventures!!

Anyway, in the book right before Memory (Mirror Dance), Miles is in a serious accident, develops a seizure disorder, and then attempts to hide it so that he can continue having this wonderful escape as this crazy military leader. In Memory, his superiors find out about his seizure disorder, that he officially lied about it, and someone almost died because of it.. They remove him from the work he loves- the covert ops and spy work he’s done through the Dendaari Military group. So, this wonderful escape outlet from the constrained and rigidly limited world he grew up on is terminated.

Yikes. This time around I was shocked at how much the loss of Admiral Naismith struck me- I could relate to having a part of my personality killed… I’m amazed at how much I desperately miss traveling with Company and doing full-time acting/teaching/ministry work. Nothing else will ever completely satisfy a part of my heart…

During the summer of ’97, I got my first opportunity to tour full-time with Company. I remember working my tail off, missing sleep, eating at weird times and eating odd meals- Most importantly, I remember writing a thank you note to Dennis, the leader of the Company, and telling him that this was the first time I had known beyond a shadow of a doubt I was doing exactly what God made me to do, made me to be. I loved the rehearsal & performing schedule. I loved the impromptu-ness of the whole thing… “Here we go to Kalamazoo, and we perform this, and then we’re off to Paris, and we perform these things…”

I have loved leading worship and working for churches. I’ve loved working in music and children’s ministry, but I’ve never again felt that sense of “this is why God made me the way I am” that I did while traveling with Company. I wish to have that experience again- and I don’t necessarily mean traveling with a group like that. Just the sense that I’m exactly where God wants me and I’m using the gifts and experiences He’s given me to the fullest extent possible. I’m not craving the lack of sleep or the lack of proper nutrition! (The older I get, the more like a baby I am about those things…)

I'm not craving the crazy side effects. I’m craving the work that God made me to do… This entire person within me that’s felt dead since moving away from Fort Worth…

Amazing what reading a book that has absolutely nothing to do with me can bring up in my emotional recall and experience…

God, put me where you want me to be! I want to be doing the work you made me to do. Please give me patience as I wait on your plan...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

More Satisfied

I began stumbling on other Christian hedonists. Perhaps Augustine is the most blatant historical example. Of his conversion in 386, Augustine wrote, “How sweet all at once it was for me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose!... You drove them from me, you who are the true, the sovereign joy. You drove them from me and took their place, you who are sweeter than all pleasure.” My heart leaps as I read words that I, too, have lived!

Jonathon Edwards was another. In 1755 he wrote, “God is glorified not only by His glory’s being seen, but by its being rejoiced in. When those who see it delight in it, God is more glorified than if they only see it.”

C.S. Lewis was also a fine Christian hedonist. He wrote: If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."

My favorite example of a holy hedonist from the early twenty-first century (is John Piper). Although you could almost pick any of his works for evidence, he draws his hedonistic conclusions best in one statement: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”…

C.S. Lewis was right. We have been too easily pleased. Somewhere along the way many of us formed a concept of Christ and settled with it. So few really grasp the invitation to great adventure. They try to reduce God to nothing but religion then grow bored with the image they created. As a result, hearts become accidents waiting to happen, for our souls were instead created to exult and dance in holy passion. If we don’t find it in the holy One, we’ll search for it amid the smoldering heaps of the unholy. I have burn scars to prove it.

Quoted from The Beloved Disciple, by Beth Moore

Oh, God! Please, let me take your offer of the vacation by the sea... I know I'm the skittish and cynical orphan you plucked from the middle of Trash Town, but oh, how my heart longs to trust You. To believe how awesome and amazing and wonderful You truly are... To believe that You are more than a fairy tale. Lord, I pray that You would satisfy me so that I would "exult and dance in holy passion". I want a relationship with You that satisfies the deepest hunger of my soul...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

street picture

So, this is the street in front of our house. Not that big of a deal, right?
Except this picture was taken at 2:38 am without a flash! Now that's a big deal!
I LOVE Fairbanks summers! Particularly right now. The solstice is on the 21st, and we're pretty much living in 24 hours of daylight right now.

What strange weather we've been having...

Seriously, I don't know if I can adequately express how strange our weather has been lately... But I will try.
First let me say this: Fairbanks is technically in a 'desert' region. A very cold desert, but a desert, none the less. Our humidity is VERY low...
For the past couple weeks we've been having an odd 'evening rain'. Every night around 5 or 6 pm we've had a downpour rivaling some of the rain dumps I experienced in Texas. Nothing else is quite like it- Like God took a bucket or barrel of water and just turned it over. In Fort Worth there would be three-five inches of water standing on the highway in about 10 minutes. Crazy. Plus Fairbanks has had thunder & lightning, which is rather rare up here... I remember almost an entire high school football team getting struck by lightning while I was in seminary... Beautiful clear day and something like 8 guys are struck by lightning and killed. Absolutely insane, but apparently not unheard of in the Fort Worth area. I had never heard of anything like that before I moved down there. Now we are seeing quite a bit of lightning over our skies...
I'm from Oregon- lived there for my first 10 years, plus I lived in Seattle for several years recently. I KNOW rain, not quite in the Biblical sense, but I am very familiar with the vocabulary of rain. I know many words to describe rain- spitting, drizzling, sprinkling, sheeting, pouring... you get the idea. (side note: The Inupiaq Eskimos around Kotzebue where I lived for a while have approximately 100 words to describe different kinds of snow... Wow. I guess snow has been more central to their lifestyle than rain has been to mine...)
The rain we've been having here is crazy and very unlikely for our area... Just dumping buckets. Raining cats and dogs. For the last 3 summers we've had terrible forest fires in the area. I'm hoping that all this rain prevents some of those, at least...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Me, Books and Stress

My reading has always been a good barometer of what's going on in my life... If I'm experiencing a lot of stress, I tend to escape more. In fact some very stressful weeks can involve more than a book a day.

Which tends to increase the stress... 'cuz where is the reading time coming from??? sleeping time?? talk time with friends/husband/sister?? praying time?? time I could be writing about the stress and figuring out how to deal with it??

It's like some crazy vicious cycle- the more stressed I am, the more I read, which means that I get more stressed, which means I read more.... Yikes.

So. I'm dealing with some of the repercussions right now. Reading at night after working on the beading after putting the girls to bed... I haven't been going to sleep till at least 4, then the girls wake me up about 9-9:30... Then I'm tired all day... And in a bad mood... Way less creative, and way less able to deal with anything that happens during the day.

I am feeling very strongly that God is telling me to be more self-controlled in my reading. I've gone whole hog into this- not reading for a month, which ends up backlashing and causing me to do nothing but read for a while. That's not what I should be doing, either. Instead, I'm working on reading 2 chapters in a sitting. Instead of being like "look, there's only 60 or so pages left! I can finish that in less than an hour!", I'm going to try and go "Only 2 chapters. Yes, I'm 4 chapters from the end, but I'm going to read my 2 chapters and GO TO BED!!"

In the last 3 days I've succeeded twice in this goal and been in bed by 1-2 am, which is good. Not as good as I'd like, mind you, but definitely better than 5 am, which is what happened on the third night...

God, help! You know I have NO self-control in this area. Please help me be faithful in my desire to obey you. I cannot do this, but you can. Thank you in advance for the sleep I'm going to get! And the lowered stress level.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Praying for More Love

No one had more spiritual tenacity than the apostle Paul, and he made no bones about what kept him on the path amidst unparalleled pain and persecution. In 2 Corinthians 5:14, he wrote, “The love of Christ controls us” (NASB). … You see our callings may differ, but if we’re going to follow Jesus Christ in the power of the crucified life, our compellings will be the same. Only love compels to the death. Dear one, life is hard. Opposition is huge. Circumstances will inevitably happen in all our lives that will defy all discipline, determination, and conviction. Love keeps burning when everything else disintegrates in an ashen heap. Pray for this one thing more than you pray for your next breath. I am convinced love is everything.

Quoted from The Beloved Disciple by Beth Moore

If I could just get this one thing straightened out- loving Jesus more than myself, more than my kids, my husband, my sister, my mom... More than sleeping and eating... More than being comfortable and getting what I want... More than being recognized for what I do, more than what I've done in the past.... More than reading and music and acting and dreaming and escaping...
If I could just get this one thing straightened out, I think life would be simpler.
Not less busy. Not less difficult. Not less frightening. Not less painful.
Just more focused.
Dwelling daily in His presence.
Doing His will.
Bringing the Kingdom here on earth.
Less worried, more willing...

Friday, June 15, 2007

Blessed Be Your Name

Acts 8: 1-4 tells of God’s unusual method of spreading the gospel. Saul embarked on a project to persecute the followers of Jesus and to bring them in chains to Jerusalem. I can’t wait for you to read a fitting quote out of a book that’s over a century old. In The Two St. Johns of the NT, James Stalker wrote, “Not infrequently it was by persecution that the new faith was driven out of one place into another, where, but for this reason, it might never have been heard of; so that the opposition which threatened to extinguish the fire of the Gospel only scattered in embers far and wide; and wherever they fell a new fire was kindled.”

What amazing providence! When Christ told His disciples that they would receive power and become witnesses not only in Jerusalem but to the uttermost parts of the earth, they never expected His means! No, His ways are not our ways. Our ways would always be comfortable. Convenient. Certainly without hurt or harm. We would always ask that God use the favor of man to increase our harvests. Not the fervor of opposition.

If you’ve walked with God very long, I have little doubt He has used what you perceived as a very negative means to achieve a positive result. I suspect that God has allowed you to experience a fence pushed down painfully in your life to expand His horizon for you. God is faithful, isn’t He? Even when He turns the ignition on a holy bulldozer to plow down a confining fence.

Quoted from The Beloved Disciple: Following John to the Heart of Jesus, by Beth Moore

I love reading Beth Moore- I always end up seeing God and my relationship with Jesus in an entirely different light. This is part of the section I read last night, and it struck me. It struck me hard this time. I do not understand why God has allowed this change to happen in our lives- Our year without a home church has been so hard on our little family- I've been so lonely, had no creative outlet, or place to participate in ministry, no worship, no group Bible study. The girls haven't been in regular contact with a Bible teacher or other kids their age... I know they NEED this- this time is so important for them. We still talk about Jesus and exhibit lives made new, but they've had only spotty reinforcement from good teachers. We've visited about three or four church so they've gotten that, but it's not the same as a long term relationship with a regular teacher like they had at Shannon Park.

What is He doing in our lives during this time? Making our relationship to him strong WITHOUT ministry? Making the relationship I have with Jake revolve around Himself instead of what we do together? We met in church, and have worked together in churches since then doing music... I really don't know and we probably won't know for years. We are physically where God wants us right now, but I'm not sure we are where He wants us spiritually.

One of the Bible verses I have up on my mirror is Habbakuk 3:17- "Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior." I want to be faithful to this promise. I'm not always. There are times during this last year that I have been so angry at God over losing our church. There are times during this last year that I have been so angry at this pastor and his wife! I know that this anger is destructive to me, not them. And angry at some of the church body who knew what was going on and still chose to stay there... These feelings damage my relationship to Christ. I have forgiven them- and the message I keep getting from God is that we were ALL wrong. No one was entirely in the right here...

I so want to be doing what GOD wants me to do... I so want to be where God wants me to be...

So, the worship song I keep singing is Matt Redman's Blessed Be Your Name:

Blessed be your name
In the land that is plentiful
Where the streams of abundance flow
Blessed be your name

Blessed be your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be your name

Every blessing you pour out,
I turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say...

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your glorious name

Blessed be your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's all as it should be
Blessed be your name

Blessed be your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be your name

Every blessing you pour out,
I turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say...

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say Lord, Blessed be your name

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Pirates III: At World's End

Jake & I saw this about 2 weeks ago and I haven't had time to say anything about it. We rarely go to the movies 'cuz it's expensive for us- babysitter + movie for 2 = LOTS... I know we're pathetic, but we typically end up just renting movies. However, this was a movie Jake really wanted to see in the theatre and so did I, so it happened.

Okay, I loved the first one: Curse of the Black Pearl, and enjoyed the second one: Dead Man's Chest- although it was weird tone-wise. Dead Man's Chest was kind of like two movies in one- the first part was very similar in humor and mood to Curse, but then suddenly it veered into this "almost-horror" movie with Davy Jones and his crew. I still enjoyed it, but wow, was it different than the first one and 1/2 movies... Really dark, rather grotesque, kind of scary. Well, At World's End is like the second half of Dead Man's Chest- dark, dark, dark. I liked it- it was fun, fast-paced and a great adventure, but very dark.

Johnny Depp is fantastic, of course, as always. Haven't really ever seen him be bad- even if I don't like the movie (ie- I thought Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was awful), but he was very good in it. I've seen many weird movies with him- Edward Scissorhands, The Ed Wood thing (oddly, I enjoyed this. Definitely not something I recommend to everyone, though), Cry-Baby, Benny & Joon, Chocolat, Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Corpse Bride, What's Eating Gilbert Grape (the movie that proved he could ACT, excellent if you've missed it)... - So, the one thing I've got to say is, that boy picks weird movies... Anyway, moving on. Of course, he's fantastic and really he is the one who makes the Pirates movies what they are- fun adventures with a serious quirk-thing.

I thought the other actors were fantastic, too- Keira Knightley, and Orlando Bloom are both beautiful and a pleasure to watch. Chow-Yun Fat surprised me- for some reason I didn't know he was in this- of course, he's great. There were so many wonderful actors in this one that I really can't mention them all. The director definitely is an actor's director- (the way an actor describes a director who allows them to have fun in the part and really do character acting).

Costumes- fantastic and fun (costuming & makeup are the only backstage things I really liked and would have been interested in doing- whoever did these had FUN- particularly with the Pirate Council & their nationalities); Computer graphics- fun and weird (somebody tell me what was up with the crabs...); Setting- oh, yeah. Everything fit together, down to the maps and ropes and weather worn ships- beautiful; Action- exciting and flavorful...

It was cool to see a broader variety of pirates and to meet Jack's dad... Cool to see the characters again and how they've grown. Cool to see Elizabeth have an opportunity to lead more than Will around, and to see her in the rescuing role... Cool to see things finally come to a conclusion instead of being drawn out further... In general, I liked the movie, probably would give it a B+.

Here are my 3 big problems. (You might not want to read this if you haven't seen the movie yet, It's not really a spoiler, but...) :

1) It was confusing. I don't mean to complain, but I DON'T get confused in movies. Jake does, and he'll whisper, "what was that?" and I'll quickly go, "she's his daughter"... ya know? But I was confused some of the time... And I saw Dead Man's Chest fairly recently... (Jake was confused more than I was, but that's pretty normal- he doesn't like really fast-paced action) I'm gonna have to see it again and see if it was me or the movie...

2) The Calypso thing was built way up and then it was just kind of thrown away. I don't want to give anything away if you haven't seen it, but this should have been bigger... or more important or something, I don't know...

3) The ending stunk. Of course, we stayed for the little bit after the credits and it makes it somewhat better, but it still stinks. Surely they could have come up with something better than this! We go through the entire series waiting for them to get together and fix everything and they get this! One night every 10 years! Blech. That is not love... Like it's supposed to be some romantic thing for him to never die and her to grow older, have a baby and raise it by herself?? I think love is going through every day together, arguing, working it out, finding the compromises, having fun together... Not one night of passionate sex... The ending really bugged me- It so fits in with with today's culture of selfishness and self-sufficiency: each of them getting what they can from each other and then going on with their lives and not having to deal with the other person's smelly socks or bad habits, or taking care of their partner when they're sick or can't get a job... Okay, there's my two cents worth- probably more than enough.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Picnic Fun

We had fun last night! We've been trying to get out as a family once a week for a picnic and play time... To enjoy the weather and wear the girls out. Wish we actually did it that much, but the rain has really been bad for the last couple of weeks.
We finally got out again last night- everybody except my mom. That's my sister, me, Abigail and Deborah in the picture. Jake was our event photographer. We had hot dogs, marsmallows, chips, cole slaw, strawberries- yum! Then we traveled up the slough a bit and played at the school play-ground for a while. The girls got to see a beaver dam on the way and pick lots of flowers- they love dandelions and giving them to their loved ones.
And the girls slept! Yay! I love it when they get in bed and are asleep in 10 minutes. A rare occurrence in the Sirevaag household. Mind you, I was awake till 4 or 5 am from my foray into 'smores... Yum! Not even half a bar of it and I'm messed up all night. Caffeine after 3 pm does me in good... Oh, well.
What a lovely evening we had.


Well, Deborah has the herpes simplex stuff now, too.

This stuff is so awful! I've been calling it 'the plague'. My mom doesn't like me calling it that, but good grief- Open wounds, screaming, bleeding gums... What else do you call it?

I feel horribly guilty about this one, too. I really feel like them getting this one is my fault. If I hadn't taken Abigail out when she was still recovering from bronchitis they probably wouldn't have gotten it. She was going stir crazy, but I should have waited a couple more days.

The nasty thing is that it never really goes away. For the rest of their lives they will get cold sores when they're sick. I never had to deal with this. In fact, I don't know anybody who's had this. Or at least who's ever admitted to having it... So, I don't know what it'll really be like.

Battlestar Galactica

Well, I'm going to admit it.

We've been checking out the new series from the Sci-fi channel on DVD, and I love it.
I make serious apologies to all the diehard 'old' series' fans but I really like the new stuff. Not BETTER than the old stuff exactly. But I admit that to my '21st-century, ER-and-Matrix-entertainment-speed eyes' the new BG story-lines are more exciting...
Lots of differences for those of you familiar with the old show:
-The Cylons look human and can rather easily infiltrate the escaping ships (I'm sure this was a rather big money-saver for the new show, although they're using some pretty expensive CGI stuff; I don't know exactly why they did this, but it gives us a scary and believable enemy- sorry old fans, but those tins cans just weren't that scary... in fact, they were kind of funny bumping around... like some of the silly BBC Doctor Who stuff)
-Adama (played by Edward James Olmos) is a serious atheist and doesn't really believe that Earth is out there- he's just trying to give the escapees 'hope' for the future so he comes up with the 13th colony
-Adama and Apollo have this very rough relationship filled with angst over Zach's death. Zach is Adama's son/ Apollo's brother and Apollo holds his dad responsible for his death. We never get to meet Zach in this re-telling of the story, while in the old version he died within the first hour of the series pilot.
-Starbuck and Boomer are women! (okay, folks. These are the weirdest changes as far as I'm concerned. I love the actors doing these parts, but why did they do it? I like the gender switch for Starbuck in particular. It gives us some great story lines between her and Apollo. Starbuck was engaged to Zach, Apollo's brother.)
-Boomer is really a Cylon and was planted a while ago so she doesn't even know it herself... (yikes, this one's rough, 'cuz you never know what she's gonna do... She's come back to 'herself' with bombs in her bag. Not very pretty.)
-Baltar didn't turn traitor to the human race, although he is the one responsible for allowing the Cylons to get access to the computer nets protecting the 12 colonies. He's a computer/math genius and had a contract with the defense system. He was involved with the rather striking scarlet-clad woman for two years without realizing she was a Cylon. He used her to 'help' him on his defense project...
-There are only about 66 or so ships traveling with the Galactica instead of the 200 or so. (this one's actually way more believable... and adds to the stress of losing one or two 'cuz they're all that's left.)
Of course, there are WAY more differences than that. For a more comprehensive analysis check out the Wikipedia site. (that's where I pulled the picture from...)
Anyway, we've only seen about 8 episodes from the first season so I don't know if it stays this good, but so far I'm thoroughly enjoying this show. We don't get cable so we're getting to watch it at whatever speed we choose. :) That's one thing I really like about watching shows on DVD. Also, I don't have to worry about missing anything if one of my girls wakes up or needs something. We can just pause the show and I can come right back to it after the crisis is averted.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Jake's Eyes

Jake's eyes are this lovely sky blue, very Norwegian. Lovely on him, and strikingly gorgeous on our little blond girls... However, the color of his eyes isn't my concern here.

One of our dates the first year we were married was at the Pacific Science Center. It's one of those interactive science museuems, probably designed with children in mind. We had so much fun! One of the displays tested all sorts of things on your body- your strength, hand eye coordination, hearing... Jake got a big surprise on the color blind test- He'd always known that he had problems with red (in fact, there were times when he was little that he thought people were lying to him about things 'cuz he couldn't see the red as you and I do); however, he discovered that he couldn't see the red or the green... That was probably six years ago.

Well, he just had his annual optometrist appointment, and had a rather disturbing and nasty surprise... On the eight or nine color tests they do, he could only see one of the numbers. (You know the test I'm talking about? dots and dots of colors with a number in a different color hidden in the center?) He was pretty upset. Neither of us had noticed this progression, but now that we know, it explains some things. He's made some funny comments about my beads and color combinations, and now I know he sees the colors differently than I do. Also, some times he'll say something about a painting we're looking at or that I've done and I've wondered what he meant...

Do you realize how many things are very difficult for someone who is color blind? One of the silly stories from our first year is related to this pair of red socks Jake would wear every once in a while. I just figured he liked 'em, but then for this one very nice dress-up affair he put them on and I asked him if he was sure he wanted to wear red socks with his dress pants and shirt. He had no idea they were red. His mom had given them to him, and he had always thought they were grey... So, he pretty much dresses in blues, greys, and blacks. All his socks are white and black now (my contribution to the solution). And if there's an odd color combination going on when he starts to put on his shoes, I say something about it now! :)

Forget dressing yourself, there's way worse things to mix up. Remember, red and green are the colors he has problems with? In cities where they tilt the stop lights, he's got to know which way's the top and which way's the bottom... Yikes. That's not one you want to mess up! And sometimes when the light's hitting it right, he really can't see the arrow lights when they change.

The digital clock in our living room is red so Jake always wears his watch or he doesn't know the time. (which reminds me, I keep meaning to replace that one so that he can see it too...) We found an alarm clock with green lights for him. And the DVD player- almost all of the movies we've ever seen use a red light for the item the cursor is on. Jake has to have someone else use the remote on the DVD player 'cuz he can't tell whether it's on Play or Bonus Materials or Language. Very annoying for him. On simple displays he can make a good guess, but the complicated ones? The ones without a straightforward list? Forget it...

And at work- they put red stickers on the clearance items... You can imagine some of the problems that can create.

I wish I could see the world the way he does. Not all the time. Please! I'd miss my colors so much! But I'd really like to get an idea of the way the world looks to him.

I do know what it's like to be missing one color... I went to the same optometrist one week before him, and their test confirmed what I already knew. I'm missing the lavender number. I've known I had problems with lavender since high school. In 7th grade I had this lovely lavender sweater, one of my favorites, that my mom kept saying was grey. Beth and I would just humour her. "Okay, whatever mom. It's lavender, but if you want to call it grey, that's your right..." And it would make her so mad! The sweater got put away after a while, and then we went through my closet somewhere in there to give some clothes away, and lo and behold, that sweater was grey!! Except Beth still saw it as lavender. And then we knew. The ladies in our family lose lavender progressively as we grow older. Now Beth is losing it too, which frustrates her no end! An artist who can't paint with lavender... It annoys me, but as much as I enjoy painting, I'm not identified by it. I do avoid using lavender in my beading 'cuz I'm never sure if it looks okay with the other colors... And nobody in my house can tell me! :)

Anyway, I still like Jake's eyes, and I kind of like the fact that mine are green. But it's annoying to know that they're missing something. I've got this theory that the world looks different to every set of eyes that gaze upon it. For one thing, my two eyes don't even see color exactly the same. My right eye tends to see everything a little bit warmer/yellow than my left eye... If my two eyes don't even see the world the same, I have a hard time believing that Beth and I see it the same, or that Jake and Beth and I see it the same... Expand on that progression and you can understand why some art which completely depends on color doesn't work for everyone... The best example I can come up with right now is 'The Sixth Sense'. Jake didn't have a clue that Shamalan was using red as a signifier of death and the ghosts... He really saw that movie completely differently than I did. I loved how Shamalan used symbolism and color and was warning us of the ghosts even before we knew they were there, and Jake didn't see the warnings at all... He still liked the movie, but he was missing some of the art of it and some of the message...

Isn't vision amazing?? God is so cool. I wonder how different everything will look when we all get home... All new and beautiful and RIGHT and pure...

Backyard in June- NO SNOW!!

I love the roses in our backyard...

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Abigail has been VERY sick for the last week.

Here are the facts:

1. Abigail had a cold that turned into bronchitis. She was no longer contagious and rather cranky at being stuck inside, so we took her out.

2. Having bronchitis made her more susceptible to other illnesses.

3. Herpes Simplex is a non-sexually transmitted disease that children get regularly. In very young children it presents as a NASTY, NASTY mouth infection.

4. This mouth infection involves a rather high temperature.

5. This mouth infection involves red, swollen and tender gums, open sores inside the mouth on the tongue and mouth surfaces, and open sores on the lips and around the mouth. All of these sores are very painful.

6. These sores make it very painful to eat, which can cause a 21 month old baby to scream hysterically if they are hungry. These sores make it very difficult to sleep, which can cause a 21 month old baby to scream hysterically if they are tired. These sores make it very difficult to be alive, which can cause a 21 month old baby to scream hysterically 24 hours a day...

7. Rebecca has come to hate rather passionately the parent that allowed their child to go anyplace with Herpes therefore allowing Abigail to come in contact with it.
Okay, so all facts aside- I didn't know anything about Herpes Simplex, so when I called our pediatrician on Saturday night and she told us that's probably what our baby had, I flipped out. Herpes had a rather nasty connotation in my mind, and now I know better. Now I know more about Herpes Simplex than I EVER wanted to know.

When her temperature went up on Thursday we called our pediatrician and everybody honestly thought that her bronchitis hadn't gone away. She's had repeated bouts with bronchitis and that always involves a fever... Then she got this funny sore by her mouth and we started thinking chicken pox until I noticed the nasty sores inside her mouth.... Weird. Really weird. That was so weird that I immediately called our pediatrician late Saturday night...

I admit it is entirely possible that the parent of the child with Herpes didn't even know they had it... Abigail had a fever for two days before any sores showed up, and if that length of time is typical, that's a long time for someone else to bring their child somewhere for Abigail to came in contact with them. So, I really don't HATE them. I just think they're kind of stupid. Although, we passed pinkeye onto some friends 'cuz we didn't know enough to recognize it, so I guess that makes us 'stupid'...

Anyway, it's been a rough couple of days or so... Since Abigail hasn't slept, I haven't really slept... And we've been fighting trying to find anything she'd eat or drink, 'cuz EVERYTHING made her mouth hurt. And you can't really be logical with a baby- "if you'll just go ahead and eat this it won't hurt for long and you have to drink something..." Doesn't really work for a baby.

The big fear with Herpes in babies is that they'll refuse to drink anything and end up on an IV in the hospital... We came pretty close to that... The only thing she'd eat or drink on Sunday was vanilla ice cream. After the doctor said that was okay, I let her have as much as she wanted, but at first I wasn't too sure that it was okay...

So, the moral of the story is: I will not be taking Abigail anywhere ever again. No church, no grocery, no store, no school... Okay, that doesn't really work, does it...

So, the moral of the story is: When Abigail has a fever I won't take her anywhere. Okay, that doesn't really work, 'cuz she didn't have a fever when she got Herpes...

So, the moral of the story is: I will read up on all of the potential diseases a child can get and watch hysterically for the slightest indication that Abigail or Deborah have one and immediately rush them to the hospital... Okay, that would make me one paranoid freaky parent. I knew one of those when I was in high school and determined I would never keep my children from life, church, friends like she did... Also, when I was pregnant and reading the couple of pregnancy books my OB recommended, I started flipping out when I read through the chapter on birth complications. I had to just start reading the section titles and the first paragraph of the section instead of all the gory details or else I was gonna turn into this flipped out, bug-eyed, freaky pregnant chick... So, that doesn't work.

So, the moral of the story is: Please, please, pay attention to your child. If you think your child is behaving oddly or unusually get them to a doctor. I will try to do the same... May God bless us in this endeavor and give us the right instincts and the right knowledge at the right time.

This parenting thing is hard! It's probably the most incredibly rewarding thing I've ever done in my entire life. But it's also the HARDEST & SCARIEST thing I've ever done in my entire life- including, but not limited to: being a wife, a minister, a driver, an actor, a writer, a director, a musician, a teacher of both secular and Christian topics...

Dear Father, Thank you for the incredibly precious gift of my children. Please help me be the best Mommy I can be. Please help me notice when something is wrong and get them to the right person in time.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Books I read during May

I really didn't have time to read much during May, but I guess it's evidence of the amount of stress I was experiencing that I STILL read...

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers A+
One of the best books I’ve ever read. A retelling of the Hosea/Gomer story set during the California gold rush. Very powerful. Excellent characters. Gripping story. A lovely redemption tale.

Shards of Honor, Barrayar, The Warrior’s Apprentice, The Vor Game, Cetaganda, Ethan of Athos, Borders of Infinity, Brothers in Arms all by Lois McMaster Bujold all are at least a B, several of these are A+’s
These stories follow Miles Vorkosigan, a brilliant young man with severe physical handicaps caused by a horrible accident/terrorist action thrust upon him before his birth. He’s the son of the regent for a world (Barrayar) whose general population despises mutations, and the results of the accident give the impression that he is a mutant. He has learned to live with his physical limitations by focusing on what he can do, and because of his birth into the higher classes of his world he’s had the opportunity to do quite a bit… I like reading how he gets himself into situations and then struggles to figure out how to get out of them. He invariably comes out on top, but often in rather surprising ways. The sense of humour spiced through these stories leavens the seriousness of the situations plus adds richness and flavour to Miles' character and prevents him from sinking into bitterness/overwhelming depression. My favorites are probably the two that focus on Miles' mom, Cordelia (Shards of Honor and Barrayar) and the accident that so strongly affects the rest of his life.

Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold A+
One of my favorite Bujold books. A fantasy set in the same world as The Curse of Chalion- this book more fully develops one of the minor characters from that book, Ista (plus we get to see the brother guards again-Ferda & Froix- and see them in an expanded role) and gives her a new future full of hope. I thoroughly enjoy this middle-aged character and love the expansion of her story. Paladin follows the aftermath of the removal of the Curse of Chalion and how deeply it affected Ista and her family- Of course, there's more to it than that, but it takes time to figure out what her new life will become. (By the by, this book won the Hugo award… which is probably meaningless since I don’t always like the Hugo books, but this one’s so good it gives me hope that other winners may be worthy of the honor. :)

The Hallowed Hunt by Lois McMaster Bujold B+
This fantasy is set in the same world as Curse and Paladin, but doesn’t have any connection to those stories except the theology and setting. It’s kind of a Were story without some of the complications. Two characters must figure out how to get rid of a curse… I enjoyed this one very much, but was disappointed it didn’t contain any of my favorite characters from Curse or Paladin.