Much Ado About…

We’re headed to a wedding Saturday and, while I realize most people will not be looking at me during the ceremony, I still need to wear something a little more appropriate than my tent shirt, running shorts, and sneakers. So, in very much the same spirit as Meredith, and out of a commitment to reality programming on this blog, I thought I would post pictures of the dress choices I have, and let you all weigh in. So’s I don’t chase all three men who read my blog away, I’ve put the pictures in a Picasa web album. Read the captions; they may make or break your choice. Remember, the Internet adds 20 pounds. πŸ™‚

Weekend Thoughts

…The real universe…is one in which personality has meaning because man was made in the image of a Personal God. The impersonal universe of man’s making is one which does not produce a base for creativity.
But Christians, who do have a base for creativity, as well as other marks of personality, are very often not the most creative people nor the ones who produce an atmosphere for creativity. Yet they have a solemn responsibility in this: to themselves, to others, and the God who created them. ~Edith Schaeffer, The Hidden Art of Homemaking

Sofa Search

I’m starting to think about how I want to furnish the new house. In the living room, it is assumed we’ll have places for people to sit, though folding chairs look more and more attractive the longer I live with children. πŸ™‚ If the few websites I have perused today are any indication, I might have some trouble finding the kind of couch I want. So, I thought I’d talk about it here, and maybe you have seen something like my description somewhere.

I would like a seat thats frame is not upholstered, ie. the arms and back are just finished wood. Then, cushions (probably three on top, three on bottom) nest in the frame. The closest I have come to this in my search so far is the futon- close, but not quite what I have in mind. Although, if someone can come up with a comfortable one of those that doesn’t look like it belongs in a dorm room, I might take a look. I don’t even know what this type I’m looking for is called- is there a name for it other than sofa? Sofa sounds so cushy. And, I am not willing to pay much for it, which cuts down the playing field dramatically. πŸ™‚

Any ideas? We had a couch like the one I’m describing here when I was a kid, the cushions in a 70’s orange plaid. Mom had it reupholstered, then later switched it out for something different. I don’t wish she still had it; the varnish wasn’t too attractive. Though I suppose I could have refinished it. Yeah, in my spare time. πŸ™‚ Anyway, please help me find the couch of my dreams.

Ruggy Bliss

copy.JPGI’m starting another rag rug. This will be my fourth, and I’m taking my time, doing more (tedious) things to get it just the way I want it. Hopefully, it will go nicely under my new kitchen sink.
In the past, I just cut the strips and tied them together as I went along. This time, I am stitching each strip to the next one. Before, I would just crochet the strips without finishing the edges first. Honestly, though, loose strings on fabric makes my eye twitch, so I am pressing all of the strips in on themselves (there is probably a fancy name for this) before I use them, too. It is to where the preparation of the strip takes longer than the crocheting of the rug! But I don’t mind. There is something so fun about creating. Have you been creating lately, too?

Too Much Information? Maybe

Well, I got me this problem. [Where’s the southern- speak coming from? Living in northwest central Ohio doesn’t lend itself to that kind of talk, but reading blogs like Sophie’s or Shannon’s makes it creep up on a’ one right quick πŸ™‚ ]
It started a few weeks ago, when my underwear wouldn’t stay put right. As I was doing laundry the next day, I held up that pair, and saw that while the left leg hole looked normal, the right one looked like it had been wrapped around an elephant! I threw them away, figuring they were a dud pair with faulty elastic. Nothing noticed for a while, then this week, I’ve had the same problems with a couple of pairs. I haven’t examined them yet, but they feel like that first pair did when they are worn. My thoughts are these:
1. They each were part of a six- or eight-pack of undies. Is it possible that all of the pairs would eventually have the elastic in that same leg hole go bad?
2. Is there an elephant in my drawer?
3. The real question: do I have something wrong with me? I would expect pregnancy to stretch out the waistband, not the leg hole. It doesn’t appear that one of my legs are larger around than the other, but if any one of you notices this about me, would you let me know? I’d be so grateful.

Sermon Drawings

I’m reading The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer, and in it she challenges any wife or mother created by God (that’d be everyone :)) to use their creative abilities to the fullest where they are right now, in their homemaking. One chapter talks about drawing, and she says how she would, during her husband’s sermons, draw corresponding pictures for her grandchildren to see. This helped them not only stay quiet, but got their brains involved with what the preacher was saying.

Yesterday, we had the two big girls in the service during the sermon. There is usually a bit of impatience (“When is he going to be done talking?”) and wiggling, but for the most part, they are pretty well behaved. However, I don’t think they are really getting much out of the sermon. They are learning, slowly, that this is a part of our week, and our devotion to God, but the fact that the sermon isn’t showy and with a lot of entertainment makes it difficult for them to pay attention. This will take a lifetime to learn!

About a third of the way into the message, as Big S was leaning over on the pew for the second time, trying to take a nap, Edith’s drawings came to my mind. I thought I should try that, and began making some scribbles around our pastor’s printed notes. The girls were intrigued, and I think if I make a habit of it, it will help them to keep focused. It is a bit humbling, to try and ‘explain’ what I think the pastor is saying with my own silly sketchings, but it does seem like what is needed during this time when they are still young, but need the meat of the sermon. It can be cut up for them with a pencil and paper.

Songs Rethought, Songs With Thought, Songs Forgot

I like to think myself a capable critic of praise and worship music. That is, I can appreciate any song, right off the bat, that doesn’t repeat its words too often. I usually find that songs that do are trying to compensate for poor writing (Hey, ‘God is good’ works here. Let’s use it five times in a row! That’ll get us to the second verse…) Shame on me for writing them all off in this way- David Crowder Band’s Never Let Go is a power-packed song of few words, written after Hurricane Katrina. I can’t listen to it without crying. Maybe this is because the truth is, when I have found myself in intense situations, my prayers are often reduced to three words or less, over and over again. A sampling:
Hearing about a tragedy, murder, or some other inhumane event (Lord, have mercy)
Death of a loved one (Oh God)
In transition of labor (Help!)
In any case, let me encourage you to never judge a praise song by its lyrics.

Another great song I heard today is Empty Me by past American Idol contestant Chris Sligh. Click on the song title for a free streaming of it. Good stuff-
Empty me
Of the selfishness inside
Every vain ambition
And the poison of my pride

I think winning that contest could have been the worst thing to happen to him. As it is, he is doing what he loves and I love to hear it.
Lastly, where has Down Here been all my life? I know, down here. Hee. I forgot all about it and was so happy to hear it again today, but their song, A Better Way, makes my heart just swell. Swell, I tell you.
He loves you, you know.

Tawk Amongst Yourselves

The training of a missionary should begin in the nursery; school should continue it; home should nourish it. All influences should be bent one way. That training should not be perplexed by a mixture of thoughts, but expressed in a single line of conduct, clearly recognized for what it is. In other words, till the life of a child has had time to root, it should not be exposed to various winds (confused or conflicting examples and ideals, different ways of making t’s). After it has rooted, let the winds blow as they will. Then they will only cause the roots to take a firmer grip. ~Amy Carmichael

This quote from Amy was particularly intriguing to me. At first glance, it is an elaboration of Proverbs 22:6-
Train a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not turn from it.
But, as I think on it more, the phrases “mixture of thoughts” and “confused or conflicting examples and ideals” give me pause. First, though, I need to lay down the context of her voicing this opinion: dark, idolatrous India, where she is training her children. She has no choice but to isolate them as best she can from this highly destructive culture, and measures have to be taken quite to the extreme for the children to grow up without beingΒ  “exposed”.
Really, though- are we living in a culture that much removed? Satan is still at work, trying his hardest to snatch our sons and daughters away from the truth. What, then, is to be my pattern for my children’s training? I can think of many things we do, watch, and allow to go on in our home that many would consider promoting “confused or conflicting examples and ideals”.

Here’s one: the boys like to play pirates, and we take books out of the library about them. Some of the books, though written for children, can be obnoxiously graphic in their descriptions of pirate life. Should I be taking a harder stand against these influences? I don’t know. There is always the threat of legalism (taking pride in what I do and don’t do) when I consider boycotting stuff like this. I don’t know if it is worth it in the end- was it the thing that could potentially lead the children off the path, or did it just lead me off the path worrying about it? How isolated can and should we be in this day and age?

TV is another big one. Some say avoid it entirely, some say there is redeeming value. What other “hot buttons” do you hear Christians doing battle over? I’d love to hear your thoughts/ opinions.

A Vested Interest

As we go through this season of building a home, emotions run high and anxiety threatens to overwhelm. Don’t misunderstand- things are going FANTASTIC- stuff is getting done in a timely fashion, and the weather hasn’t been too much of a factor. For better or worse, however, the whole process has had our undivided attention, and will continue to until it is done. I think Luke likes the fact that he has control over most of what is going on; still, he knows he has to put forth careful planning, sacrifice and sweat- all in all, an incredible effort to see the house to completion. When I think of how important this house project is to us, I then realize how much more intimately and carefully and providentially God is paying attention to the details of the lives of His people, His building. Sure, He isn’t sitting there, wringing his hands, worrying (like we do). But the sacrifice of His Son for our sin, and assorted verses in the Bible, indicate how the life and times of the human race are something in which He and the angels have quite a vested interest, and that they are watching with baited breath. An encouragement to me today- He cares way more about me than we care about this house.

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.
By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 1 Corinthians 3:9-14

Dreamy Shoes And Dumb Dreams

It hasn’t yet been a week of good results, but I am reasonably confident that wearing my running shoes throughout the day is helping to ward off my chronic pelvic and leg pain! A few days ago, I put my sneakers on after my morning heel treatment, and was so pleased with the way it kept them soft that I did it again the next morning. Then, after three days of this, I got to thinking how I wasn’t feeling so sore through my legs. It could be a coincidence, but I’m willing to bet I’ve just killed two birds with one stone.

Last night, I had the stupidest dream. We were getting ready to go somewhere, the whole family, so I had the usual jobs of gathering clothing, shoes, and stuff for the diaper bag. I also had the usual interruptions by kids and husband and self, so it took forever to get out the door. At one point, the kids were all in the van and Luke and I were still inside, and I remember being so afraid, thinking, are they all really in the van? Maybe some were running around outside. Finally, I am in the van, but I am not dressed; I’m in a bath towel. Scientists say your dreams only last a few minutes, but this one seemed to go on all night. And we never got anywhere! I don’t think we got out of the van before I woke up. It stinks that I don’t usually remember the really good dreams I’ve had- I might for a few seconds right after I wake up, but later in the day I can’t retell it to anybody. I do manage to remember the pointless ones. You get to hear all about them- aren’t you lucky?

Slouchin’ in a plastic chair
Rakin’ my fingers through my hair
I close my eyes and I leave them there
And I yawn, and sigh, and slowly fade away

Deep enough to dream in brilliant colors
I have never seen
Deep enough to join a billion people
For a wedding feast
Deep enough to reach out and touch
The face of the One who made me
And oh, the love I feel, and oh the peace
Do I ever have to wake up
~Chris Rice