Weekend Thoughts

Where Do We Start?
To be transformed into the image of Christ I must begin to do the will of the Father in the same place where He began: He emptied Himself. There is for any serious disciple, quite simply, no other starting place. It is a matter of beginning today to say no to yourself–specifically, about something you’ve been insisting you must have, specifically about something you have been refusing. This is step one. You travel the road “toward Jerusalem” from there, gladly taking up the cross (which is step two: saying yes to God) and following, knowing where the road led Jesus. It did not–and don’t forget this!–end with a cross. The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven.
His prayer for us is, “Father, I desire that these men who are thy gift to me, may be with me where I am” (John 17:24 NEB).
~Elisabeth Elliot

Fixed!

Luke was able to repair our air conditioning! Apparently, it needed a new motor. The big fear was we’d have to shell out the big bucks for a new furnace, and the idea of putting a new appliance in this old house just makes Luke ill. What a blessing to have such a handyman for a hubby! He has come through on some very critical household breakdowns- there was the washing machine incident, and many other things gone wrong, that would have cost us much more if we had to replace/call in professional help. Ahhh- the house can return to its Swiss splendor, the next hot day that we have.
Thank you, dearest.

Rain

We had a good bit of rain yesterday afternoon. While I sat outside on the porch to watch, and thoroughly enjoy getting goosebumps for the first time in days, this story came to mind- one of my favorites from the Bible:

1 Kings 18:21-46
Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”
But the people said nothing.

Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only one of the LORD’s prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. Get two bulls for us. Let them choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD. The god who answers by fire—he is God.”
Then all the people said, “What you say is good.

Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire.” So they took the bull given them and prepared it.
Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “O Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made.

At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.
Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.” They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the LORD, which was in ruins. Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, “Your name shall be Israel.” With the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs of seed. He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.”

“Do it again,” he said, and they did it again.
“Do it a third time,” he ordered, and they did it the third time. The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.

At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”

Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.

When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The LORD -he is God! The LORD -he is God!”

Then Elijah commanded them, “Seize the prophets of Baal. Don’t let anyone get away!” They seized them, and Elijah had them brought down to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered there.

And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.” So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees.

“Go and look toward the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked.
“There is nothing there,” he said.
Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.”

The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.”
So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’ ”

Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain came on and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. The power of the LORD came upon Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.

My Favorite Cold Things

For the past couple of days, we have been without air conditioning in our home. Sympathy cards and virtual Klondikes may be sent to It has been very difficult for me; I don’t know if it is more mental-“It is hot, therefore I am hot”- or truly and completely physical-“What a shame; only two popsicles left, kids, guess I get them both”. I am really trying to maintain a good attitude, and keeping my thoughts positive. I mean, in some parts of the world, they have never seen ice, let alone had a freezer to keep it in. While thinking of all the cold things in this life I have ever been able to enjoy, I very nearly burst forth in a song that goes something like this:

Girls in pink swimsuits getting wet with big splashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Brown covered ice cream all frozen to a stick
These are a few of my favorite cold things

When the fan stops, when the sweat stings
When I’m feeling steamy
I simply remember my favorite cold things
Then I just feel 99% as hot-ot-ot
{Big orchestral ending}

Next time you see a pregnant woman trying to climb into the upright freezer at Walmart, just walk on by. Just walk on by.

Homeschool Fun

The week (a few back) I thought I’d have nothing to blog about, there turned out to be a surplus of things to blog about, and this is one of the ‘lost episodes’ of that week.
For science, A-Major had to make a life-size replica of herself, and fill it with bones, organs, etc. I didn’t take a picture of the finished body- it is kinda gross, if you think about it. And displayed on the kitchen wall for all to see- nice. She had fun doing it. The online lesson about the digestive system was funny: there was a little movie of a see-through man eating an apple. The powers that be chose to make the digested food, and subsequent waste, purple. The most unnatural color imaginable, to my way of thinking, for this sort of thing, unless it is July fifth and you had colored pancakes yesterday. I know they wanted to keep it from getting too gross, but A-Major had a bit of trouble figuring out exactly what the digestive system accomplished, due in part to the too-pretty visual aid. She searched her brain for what might come out of the body that was purple. “Is that p**?” No, just Barney doodoo.

Thoughts On Writers

Luke and I had the privilege of seeing Mark Shultz in concert last night, thanks to some super babysitters. I appreciated how the concert wasn’t ‘show’y like so many other artists’ are these days- he just came out and shared the songs that we know and enjoy hearing, and his purpose for being there- to raise money for the James Fund- was kept as the focus.
I got to thinking about writers, and what the nature of that gift is. On the way to the concert, we were listening to Brad Paisley’s Time Well Wasted CD, and I noted how good a writer Brad is, to get a whole story put into a few lines of song, and influence people that way. Then, hearing Mark that night, I recognized the same talent in him- most of his songs were written from stories he heard along the way, and decided to put them to music. That is what these songwriters do, that is what they were made to do.
In a small way, writing on this blog has developed the writer in me, to where I recognize in myself small snippets of the creativity that would drive Brad and Mark. I found myself able to identify with Mark when he would mention how a song came to be- at times, it could be an ordinary circumstance, but he could take it and make it into something really neat. Barbara Curtis has said before that true writers are going to need a pen and paper with them at all times, as they never know when a good piece will get its start. This has been proved for me often, as I’ll find myself going through my day, and either something will happen, or I will have a thought that is a perfect topic for a post, and I have to get it down on paper before I forget. With practice, I see how writing can develop into something others can enjoy, not just an outlet for the writer.
Good writers, I believe, are people gifted in sharing information in a way that benefits the reader. Not everyone can do that, so it is a treat when we get to experience that creative art in action.

Luke On You Tube

This is yesterday’s entry on Mark Shultz’s video blog of his trip. You can even see the kids in a brief appearance, if you don’t blink. Scroll down for the full story on Luke’s ride.

Luke’s Ride With Mark Shultz

Yesterday was the big day- the day Luke had been planning for for some time, to accompany Mark Shultz on an Ohio leg of his cross-country ride to raise money for the James Fund. We found out the night before exactly where Luke would need to meet Mark’s group. Knowing Luke would need to get up early in the morning, I opted to move the family to my parents’ house for the night; that way the kids could stay asleep while Luke took off. Originally, I was the one who was going to have to chauffeur Luke back and forth, but my dad graciously offered (Thanks, Dad!) to take Luke to Marysville in the morning, leaving me to only have to pick him up later, in Wooster. This turned out to be very helpful, as I made the stupid mistake the night before of ordering, and drinking half of, a McDonald’s iced coffee. I didn’t sleep the whole night, I don’t think. Those drinks are tasty, but wrong place, wrong time for me. I wasn’t much good to anyone all morning, but by lunch was able to get everyone loaded into the van to go pick up Luke. The kids and I got to Wooster at around 3 pm, and had to wait for the group to arrive, as they got a little lost on the way to the destination. Once they got there, we got to go up inside Mark’s bus, and rub shoulders with the sweaty cyclists. Fun! The kids each were given cute stuffed bears (Thank you, Mark!) that I think they sell at the concerts. Mark told Luke that we were welcome at the concert on Sunday night in Mansfield if we wanted to go. We’ll have to see about childcare and get back to him.
All in all, Luke really enjoyed making this ride today. It is the longest he has ever cycled- over a hundred miles- but he felt up to the task, since he has successfully completed a marathon, something much harder to do, endurance-wise. He had fun talking with and getting to know Mark and his team, and I think Mark was grateful for the help Luke provided in accompanying him on this difficult, hilly stretch of Ohio’s byways.
Check out some pictures of the ride, complete with my corny captions, by clicking on the album below.

Luke’s Big Bike Ride

Summer Showcase- Abigail

Abigail, age 1
What is your favorite color?
Milky white, of course
What do you like to do in your spare time? Get into stuff, get on top of stuff, get stuff in my hair
Who is a person most special to you? Mommy- she wouldn’t get much done without me around to help
What are you excited about these days? I can stand up really well! [What? Walking’s the goal? Oh, that’s so overrated]
What is a favorite memory you have? Those Cheerios this morning were pretty good
If you could go on a trip anywhere, where would it be? Anywhere Mommy’s going
Do you have any goals you hope to reach before the end of the summer? Trying not to let displacement (not the baby anymore) damage me for life. Hopefully, this will not require (much) counseling, later on
Photo: a future blogger?