Saturday, May 31, 2008
I guess that's where my 2 year old, Abigail, gets it...
No matter what she's doing she ends up with it all over her.
Cookies? All over her face.
Her pudding? in her hair.
Ice cream? in her hair and up to her elbows.
In the sandbox? in her hair and ears.
At a playground with gravel? in her hair, pockets, shoes, and diaper.
Leaves? Oh, yeah.
Snow? Yup, she ends up UNDER it...
We have an Early Head Start home visitor over to our house about once a week. She plays with Abigail, talks with me over questions I have (potty training, sibling rivalry, etc.), and brings educational toys, books and games for us to play with together.
Last summer she brought the greatest thing- a water table. We filled it up from the hose and the girls were playing with strainers, containers and water toys outside. Of course, five minutes into playing Abigail starts dumping cups of water over her head. Cups and cups and cups of water over her head.
Remember, we live in Alaska. Water out of a hose is FREEZING here. Comes right up out of the permafrost (permanently frozen ground).
Within 15-20 minutes, Abigail's lips were blue and her teeth were chattering...
That's my experiential baby! Lucky she didn't end up with pneumonia from that one!
Monday, May 26, 2008
Desmond Tutu --Brandeis University commencement, 2000
Toni Morrison --Wellesley College commencement, 2004
Margaret Atwood --The University of Toronto commencement, 1983
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Hi there, friends-who-pray,
Here is an update about my mom, Anne Smith. Mom successfully had surgery to remove a section of her bowl, including a colon cancer the size of a ping-pong ball, her appendix, and other bits. She recovered in the hospital for less than a week, and is now eating normal food, though resting more than usual. The bleeding ulcers are being treated with medication. She found out that she has a third thing wrong with her digestive system: celiac disease, the inability of the intestine to handle gluten (a protein in wheat and other grains). Eating gluten has damaged her intestine so she can't absorb nutrients normally--hence the anaemia. A gluten free diet and lots of time (months or years) will repair the damage. Mom returns to Australia in a few months for a check up.
Mom and Dad leave Australia on Sunday, overnight in Port Moresby and fly SIL to Ukarumpa on Monday morning. I'm relieved at the outcome--though Mom is bummed at the thought of a gluten free life!--and we all are so thankful for the successful outcome of the surgery and for all your prayers. God has been merciful to us.
Ukarumpa International School
Papua New Guinea
What's wrong with us?
I think it's more than it appears. I'm not sure what's going on with us. I've been working consistently and making stuff and excited about going. I think we're both dreading the amount of work it takes to do the set up and tear down. But it's worth it! Financially and socially and creatively. We really enjoyed Farmer's Market.
This last month has been sheer torture/hell- With Jake so sick, and the end of Deborah's pre-school, and NO paychecks and them shutting off Jake's insurance.... I'm realizing that the stress we've been dealing with makes it very hard to step out of our comfort zone- and yes, we've done Farmer's Market enough to know what's going on. But it still involves an effort.
God please help us get there. We need the money, we need the affirmation, we need the work. Please remind us of the fun we had, and the pleasure we took in the relationships and Market community.
Essays by Joni Eareckson Tada, Charles Colson, Jay Kesler, Calvin Miller, Michael Card, Dallas Willard, Jill Briscoe, D. James Kennedy, J.I. Packer, Liz Curtis Higgs, Donald G. Bloesch, Kenneth N. Taylor, Gary R. Collins, Luci Shaw, Phillip E. Johnson, Luis Palau, John R. W. Stott, Edith Schaeffer, Walter Wangerin, Jr., Ravi Zacharias, Josh McDowell, Larry Crabb
This book was excellent and I wanted to highlight it. When I throw all the books I'm reading out at the same time they can get kind of blended together and this one deserves individual attention.
The editor, Scott Larsen, asked each of the authors to write about the books, other than the Bible, that powerfully affected their faith. Each of these authors has a powerful ministry & testimony and most of the books they focused on had to do with a crisis of faith... Or a major transition time in their Christian walk.
Hearing each of these people, many of whom I respect and admire, speak of going through a 'dark night of the soul' and come out of it stronger in their faith has changed me. Has given me more hope in my own present 'dark night of the soul'... I was delighted with how many of them mention C.S. Lewis as being instrumental in their faith journey- 'Mere Christianity' was mentioned repeatedly, but other Lewis works were mentioned. Dostoyevsky was another frequently mentioned favorite...
I have a long list of books to read now!
Here's a sampling of the books I now want to read:
Foxe's Book of Martyrs- by John Foxe
Creed or Chaos, The Mind of the Maker- by Dorothy Sayer
Desiring God- by John Piper
Knowing God- by J.I. Packer
He is There and He is not Silent- by Francis Schaeffer
The Pursuit of God- by A.W. Tozer
In the Name of Jesus- by Henri Nouwen
The Cross of Christ- by John Stott
My goal is to read one of the books I heard about a month. I don't know if I can achive that because some of these are heavy, wordy tomes. Some of them won't be, though.
I'm so ready to be out of this valley, and on the mountain-top again.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
"Even if England were covered with broken glass from coast to coast, I would walk over it." This is the kind of reality, and these are the words, that shape one’s call.
Quoted from the article Reading: The Fingerprints on Your Soul By Ravi Zacharias, from the book Indelible Ink
Monday, May 19, 2008
Quoted from Hope Grows Best in the Garden of Despair, an Interview with Walter Wangerin, Jr. printed in the book Indelible Ink
Think about another word for poet, the Old English word scop (pronounced ‘shop’). It is related to our word shape. The Old English understanding of scop was this: The singer of songs, the artist, the writer of books is the one who will take your mess of a day when you’re lost and incapable, and this poet will sing shape to it- and sing you into that shape.
So the question becomes, Who are you going to allow to become your ‘heaper into heaps’ and your ‘piler into piles’? Who will shape the world that you enter into and dwell in? Are you going to allow football to do that, so all the world is seen in a contest? Are you going to allow simpleminded understandings- like the cartoons, newspapers, or the government- do that for you? Or are you going to enter into the sweet complexity of minds, this living treasure of singers and writers who embrace more details with greater richness of beauty, deeper understanding of what is truly evil, what is good, and what is the procession of human experience? You want the minds of those who have created whole cultures of insight. The more complexly we see the world, the more capable we are of admitting many people into that world- people who are not like us. Books open our eyes to the complex truths that simple, mindless stories simply have no names for. Why not pick the best?I don’t mind the people who read romances, but that’s formula fiction. It repeats the same world over and over again, and it’s a profoundly limited world. And every one of the people who loves romantic fiction has a mind better than the world that it shapes. We call that escapism. Gerard Manley Hopkins offers his poetry as inscapism- to escape into things, truly, not escape from them.
That’s the influence of great books; they teach us how to see the world that is.
Quoted from Hope Grows Best in the Garden of Despair, an Interview with Walter Wangerin, Jr. printed in the book Indelible Ink
Quoted from Hope Grows Best in the Garden of Despair, an Interview with Walter Wangerin, Jr. printed in the book Indelible Ink
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
I read this fantastic article titled 'As Time Goes By' in the May 2008 issue of Reader's Digest. I have to share a tidbit from it-
I don't know what further changes I will enjoy or endure as I age, but I do know the answer to the question I asked myself at 30, 40, and at 50: How did I get to be this old?
I was lucky. Getting old is what I want to do. Getting old, whatever the years bring, is far better than not getting old. Or, in the words of Maya Angelou, "Mostly, what I have learned so far about aging, despite the creakiness of one's bones and cragginess of one's once-silken skin, is this: Do it. By all means, do it."
I hate what my body is doing right now... And I'm not looking forward to it getting worse!
But I do want to be alive. I do want to grow old. I want to see my children grow up and grow old. And see my husband grow old. I want to see the world change... I'd like to see it grow for the better, but I recognize the human propensity & capacity for evil... I want to be close to family & friends. I want to slow down. I want to grow old...
Struck me completely unable to speak...
Did you know that in the U.S.A. the low-end estimate of people trafficked into the country as slaves every year is 14,500?
Did you know that in the U.S.A. there are more than 43,000 slaves at any given time?
That only about 2 percent of those slaves are rescued? And that the U.S. has one of the best records in the world for rescuing slaves? only 2 percent & we're the best at it...
In his interview, Skinner says that the average citizen can do something about slavery and the low rate of rescue: "Victims get out of these situations when individuals say, 'Something is wrong here.' So be aware of your neighborhood. Make sure elected officials put modern-day abolition on the American foreign policy agenda. Get involved with groups like Free the Slaves (http://www.freetheslaves.net/)."
I don't want to be a member of a country that accepts slavery as 'life as it is'...
This information comes out of an interview with E. Benjamin Skinner, the author of A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-Day Slavery, published by Free Press
Nothing super creative.
In fact, I made 3 bracelets that are part of a bulk order of similar items.
However, these facts do not matter!
What matters is that I did something creative.
And I had fun!
And I feel better about not wasting my time on FaceBook!
(Although I have to admit that, yes, in fact, I did FB time today,
just not more than 45 minutes...)
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
by Casting Crowns
But if we are the body
Why aren't His arms reaching?
Why aren't His hands healing?
Why aren't His words teaching?
And if we are the body Why aren't His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way? There is a way
Christians are far from perfect... We are people who have messed up and been forgiven much. We've done every bad thing out there. Don't make the mistake of thinking that Jesus is for perfect people. If that were so there'd be no one in church....
But I wanted to tell a good story of how God has taken care of us through the body of Christ.
Jake & I have been going through a VERY rough time. Financially, emotionally, physically... His staph infection is on the mend & he is doing better- still tired and with little stamina, but better.
However, this last week we found out that his place of employment cancelled our insurance last month because he didn't work enough hours to qualify. (yes, he got injured on the job. yes, this is ridiculous. yes, we are in the middle of fighting it and trying to figure it out. YES! We are both ANGRY.)
This means that some of his 'every-8-hours' trips to the ER were not covered. Something like 5 or so doctor's appointments were not covered. But the biggy for right now is that our prescriptions are not covered... I have asthma & an ulcer, which means I take meds every day. Jake's got meds, too. They've run out. We can't afford them.
Also, Jake hasn't had paychecks for the last few weeks. Since we live with my mom, this isn't as much of a big deal as it could be... However, his paycheck covers our grocery & gas bills. A big deal.
But here's the amazing news: God has taken care of us. Through His hands & the hearts of His followers He has gifted us over the last 2 weeks with enough for us to eat & get to school & work. We're NOT rolling in it. We've got bills like everyone else. And 6 people does not a small grocery bill make. But God has provided us with exactly the amount we've needed every time we've needed it.
Thank you, God! Thank you, friends!
I'm getting to keep up with some friends I haven't seen since 2000.
I'm getting to play silly games with them, and get frequents post about their lives.
I'm getting to see pictures of their families & old pictures of the drama team I was in with them.
I'm getting updates on some serious prayer concerns- (one of them has a newborn who was born with a rare & almost always terminal skin condition- Please pray for the baby, Emma & her parents, Vickie & Denny).
Too much time on FB means not enough time with my girls & my husband.
Too much time on FB means not enough blogging!
Too much time on FB means I'm not doing much beading... which equals loss of income...
Too much passive input means less creative output...
I hate dishes already! Now I have a really lame excuse to not do them... 'I've got to play my turn in Scramble.' Wait. Is that a good thing or a bad thing...
Anyway, got to make better choices. I know it'll be over soon anyway, 'cuz summer is coming. Deborah's last day of school is tomorrow & then I'll have her all day, every day. Maybe that fills some parents' hearts with glee, but it fills mine with trepidation....
Friday, May 09, 2008
Quoted from Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
I believe we are born with a hole in our soul. An emptiness, a longing for something... We try to ignore it. We try to plug the hole with a myriad of things, each uniquely molded by the individual: friends, relationships, food, books, poetry, success, drugs, busyness.... But everything we try still leaves unfulfilled areas.
The only thing that will ever fill that hole is God, the one who made each and every one of us. The only way to experience fullness & peace is to seek the one who made the hole...
by Annie Dillard
My boots crunch down the slope, clamber over
the bleached bones of trees. I conquer a tide of pebbles;
at wave edge I stoop and finger one, another,
fondling their flecks and facets, their skin soft as peaches.
Their colors burn my retina. Uninvited words leap into my throat.
I am astonished; from what pleat of brain tissue did they spring?
Schist, agate, gneiss, shale, scree, granite, quartz- they use
my lips to utter their abrasive syllables. God is in these
crystalline names, in the mineral click, the stony rattle
of gravel under the scrolling breakers. God speaks the language
of stones. I am a polished stone myself, and he is speaking
my name. With every ripple, every spit of rain that wets a pebble
into its real color, he tells me, I am washing you with salt,
I am grinding you smooth to my touch. With rain I caress
your oval shape, your apricot silk, and show you your true self.
I love this poem for many reasons...
First, for my father who was a true rock hound. I have so many memories of him picking up a rock, licking it to show the true color and then telling me the name of the rock and the family that it belonged to (igneous, etc.). We would go on rock hounding trips to search for specific rocks- agates, petrified wood. No vacation was complete without digging for rock, looking for places to find rocks, or a trip to a rock shop or show.
Second, for the affirmation that we all go through the grinding process. The slow, painful and life-long process of being made into the image of God through difficulties and disappointments.
Third, for the beauty of the words and the hope that I too will one day be as beautiful as a gleaming tumbled and polished rock...
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
I know it's not pretty, but it means it's almost gone.
All winter we scrape the snow to the side of the road or the side of a parking lot.
Then, as the snow melts, the dirt & gravel that was scraped and piled with the snow starts to rise to the surface of the snow pack.
Ugly, but promising...
It means green grass and flowers and sun 24 hours a day.
Soon it will be summer!
Monday, May 05, 2008
There are still some small piles of snow, but most of it has melted and finally we're experiencing spring! Yay!
Rain generally melts the last of the snow away...
Today, I raked most of the leaves out of my little flower garden... Last fall, I raked all the dead leaves from our Aspen trees over it to protect my plants from the cold. Good thing, too. 'Cuz we had some really cold days without enough snow. The dead leaves insulate the roots of my flowers from the extreme cold, which snow also does when there's enough.
Yup, I know that's weird. Not enough snow = dead garden.
Last summer I purchased some special flowers, some arctic poppies and some violas, that I'm really hoping come back this year. We used to have some amazing lilies, but a couple of winter's ago we lost them to a bad freeze before enough snow had fallen to insulate them. So now I'm raking our dead leaves up over my garden before the cold comes... And hoping it's enough...
Friday, May 02, 2008
1. What is your occupation? homemaker/jewelry designer
2 What color are your socks right now? barefoot!
3. What are you listening to right now? some freaky movie my kids are watching with my sister- it's some Goofy movie (Goofy as in Disney guy with long ears)
4. What was the last thing that you ate? pizza
5. Can you drive a stick shift? NO, but Jake is determined that I'll learn...
6. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? green
7. Last person you spoke to on the phone? Beth, my sister, I think...
8. Do you like the person who sent this to you? YES! All three of them. :)
9. How old are you today? 36
10. Favorite drink? ice water, in Alaska... I had no idea how spoiled I was til I lived in Texas!!! Nasty water down there...
11. What's your favorite sport to watch? Hockey
12. Have you ever dyed your hair? NUMEROUS times
13. Pets? One kitty- Luna
14. Favorite food? ice cream
15. Last movie you watched? Shrek 3, made me laugh out loud!
16. What do you do to vent anger? I tend to hide it out or read it out...
17. What was your favorite toy as a child? my sister! ;) no, really... we moved a lot & I'd have fun as long as we played together...
18. What is your favorite, fall or spring? spring, nothin' as magical as watching the ice melt and knowing that everything will be green soon... wish it would happen soon this year!!!!
19. Cherry or Blueberry? Blueberry
22. Do you expect your friends to email you back? yes
23. Who is most likely to respond? you all already have!
24. Who is least likely to respond? hmmm..
25. Current living arrangements? my husband, my mom, my 2 girls, my sister, 3 warring cats
26. When was the last time you cried? when Jake's foot infection went into relapse
27. What is on the floor of your closet? a plastic cabinet of drawers, and laundry. LOTS of laundry
28. Who is the friend you have had the longest that you are sending this to? Beth...
29. The friend you have had the shortest that you sending this to. ? impossible to answer 'cuz I wouldn't have called one of 'em my friend, but I've known her forever, and the other has been my friend about as long as I'd call the other one my friend...
30. What inspires you? worship music at my church
31. What are you afraid of? not doing what God wants me to do
32. Plain, cheese or spicy hamburgers? plain
33. Favorite car? red or yellow fast looking car, or a big SUV
34. Favorite cat breed? plain old american
35. Number of keys on your key ring? 4 or 5
36. How many years at your current job? I've been a homemaker for 5 years, and a jewelry designer for about 3
37. Favorite day of the week? Friday & Sunday
38. How many states have you lived in? 5- Alaska, Oregon, California, Texas, Washington,
39. Today's date and time: May 2nd 8:19 p.m.
I'd like to know what happened to questions 20-21.
Excellent. I always enjoy reading Lucado’s books. He takes truths I know and turns them on their ear to make them new and fresh. Come Thirsty is about His mercy and the strength He gives us to live out our daily lives.
Hex and the City by Simon Green A-
Aah. We’re getting somewhere! Finally, we’re getting some answers to the mystery of our guy’s past... I enjoy the humor in these so much. Biting & sarcastic, yet fresh and not ancient.
Dismissed with Prejudice by J.A. Jance B-
Okay, there’s really nothing new here. Good mystery. Solid pulp fiction stuff. The only really interesting character thing that happens to J.P. is that he finally admits his slide into alcoholism. I like the character, but I think Jance was still learning the art of writing with Beaumont.
Gathering Blue Lois Lowry A+
Wow. This book is fantastic/excellent. A mystery wrapped in fantasy. Lowry writes of a future that has regressed technologically- a harsh world where the damaged and poor are cast aside.. A parallel to the cruelty of our world. Worth the time.
Grim Tuesday by Garth Nix B
I’ve got what’s going on in the world and the author didn’t have to give a bunch of exposition. The first book in this series, Monday, was really slow and confusing, but Tuesday was much better. Still not Nix’s best work.
Drowned Wednesday by Garth Nix A
I really liked this one. So far, definitely my favorite. Pirates, whales, magic. A damsel in distress, who more or less figures out a way to save herself. Wednesday is fun, definitely not something I can say about the first two...
Jinx by Meg Cabot B-
Cabot generally writes light, rather frivolous stuff and this fits in that category. We’ve got a witch determined to ignore her powers; however, ignoring them is getting her into more trouble than using them wisely... Fun light read.
Creation in Death by Nora Roberts A
A dark addition to this series. We follow the story of Eve, a NYC detective in the year 2050 or so, as she hunts down the bad guys. Roberts has gotten better at writing these as she’s gone through the series. At first they were mysteries with romantic/futuristic twists. Now they lean toward the horror & they’re more than just a good story- they comment on the human condition and what is good & true about life. She used to drop clues so that you could kind of figure out who the murderer is, but now you know. All through the book you’re watching who the murderer is and hoping she can catch him. No clues. No easy solutions.
Three in Death by Nora Roberts B-
Short stories- republished into one book. Not as good as the full stories.
Sleeping with the Fishes by Mary Janice Davidson B-
Silly romance about a half-human/ half-mermaid chick. Very funny, but a little annoying.
Reminded me of these horrible Sunfire romances I used to read in junior high- they were historical romance with a picture of a pretty girl on the cover and two guys on either side of her... She always had to choose between the two guys. Well, in this one there’s an arrogant jerk mer-prince and a nice marine biologist. Why is she struggling to choose between the two? I guess because the mer-dude can ‘understand’ her mer-half. But there’s NO way you’d catch me looking twice at the jerk...
Swimming Without a Net by Mary Janice Davidson B+
Better than the first. Still silly, but not quite so annoying. The mer-folk are trying to decide whether to show themselves to the rest of the world, and they drag our mermaid into the "Pelagic"- the big discussion/debate. We get to see the Mer-prince on his best behavior, and the marine biologist on his worst...
No One to Trust by Iris Johansen B+
I don’t understand why I keep picking up her books! Mom reads them and they’re around the house, but I should know by now that I don’t particularly care for her stuff. This one was better than some of them. I really liked the main character, but yuck! Most of the stuff that happens to Johansen’s characters is just over the top disturbing.
Minor in Possession by J.A. Jance A
In my opinion, this is the best of her Beaumont series. Excellent characterizations, interesting mystery. A very good book. Beaumont’s in an alcoholic recovery ranch and his roommate is murdered with Beau’s gun... Some interesting character things happen, and we get to the heart of Beaumont’s depression.
The Sharing Knife: Legacy by Lois McMaster Bujold A+
Oh, I didn’t want this to end! Magical fantasy. Interesting relationships. Delightful story.
Payment in Kind by J.A. Jance A
The next J.P. Beaumont. In my opinion, this is the best of her mysteries... Minor in Possession was the most interesting character book, but the murder mystery of Payment is fascinating. Plus, we’re still seeing changes in Beaumont’s character...
The House on Parchment Street by Patricia McKillip A
One of her earliest books. A young American girl goes to visit her relatives in England and discovers ghosts in their house. Very good- interesting historical stuff. Good YA fiction.
Our first piece was this cool African thing with this tribal beat sound.
I got to play this huge cow bell thing and we all sat around this wooden instrument that looks like a xylophone with gourds attached- it makes a beautiful sound that I can't quite describe- like a marimba, but more like blowing over a bottle...