Monthly Archives: November 2007

Loaded iPod Giveaway

Have you heard about the Focus on the Family iPod give away? To celebrate 20 years of Adventures in Odyssey, every day for 12 days they are giving away 3 iPods loaded with Odyssey & Christmas listening (Radio Theatre’s Christmas Carol, etc.) – there are 8 days left. They’ve made some nice changes to their site making it super easy to listen to broadcasts, etc. Check them out when you have time. To enter the contest, you have to watch a little video clip & listen for the word of the day & each home can only enter once a day. Somebody’s gotta win – it may as well be you!!

Click here to enter.

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“Merry Christmas” & All That Jazz

A blog friend, Significant Pursuit, is discussing the “war on Christmas” right now. While some might argue it’s just the wacko religious right who’s getting all up in arms with this (much ado about nothing), I argue the fact that this whole flap is indicative of our society changing as a whole & Christians not opening our eyes to the obvious.

The days of being a “normal American” & Christian are gone. America is in the post-modern era, like it or not. Do you realize how many kids have grown up in the church & don’t even have a Christian world view? So many would have no clue how to answer basic questions like why are you here? Is Heaven real? What proof do you have that the Bible is real or that Jesus really rose from the dead? I see kids from good homes taking Christianity so lightly & frivolously. I shudder to think what they are probably going to face in the next decades with no weapons or armor. These are the days they should be “suiting up”, but I see most of them floating down the River Norm.

The days of being a Christian & still trying to be “normal” in our society are long gone, people. And the current is quickly flowing in the pagan direction. I don’t see the trend heading back any time soon. But this is no need for doom & gloom! I see it as a chance for the light of Jesus to glow brighter. As the darkness grows darker, the light gets brighter. We who carry the light must not hide our light under a bushel, but just keep letting it glow for those around us stumbling in darkness to be drawn to the Light.

Bottom line; you cannot be a Christian in America today & just do what everyone else is doing. When Grandma was raising her family, the norm was to be a good neighbor, tell the truth, be a church go-er, dress decently, discipline your kids so they’re not total brats, pay your bills, etc. etc. Now, the main American goals in life seem to be to have the world revolve around you, teach your kids to be the same way (only it gets magnified in each generation – Heaven help us!!), blame everyone else, do what makes you happy at all costs, & truth is relative, so what is true for you isn’t true for me so don’t tell me what to do. Wow. Unless the Lord intervenes with a huge awakening soon, it’s going to get a whole lot worse in this department before it ever starts to get better.

So, in light of all that, my goal as a parent is to equip my children as best I can for what lies ahead. Teach them God’s Word & His principles. Openly teach them that we are in a spiritual battle – keep your eyes open for the enemy. Help them put on their spiritual armor as I put mine on each day. And pray, pray, pray!! We live in exciting times! But don’t kid yourself – we don’t live in a Christian society anymore. Not even close.

Note: It is interesting to note that the undercurrent of America until recently has been Christianity. We noticed a difference when we were in Korea, a country in which ironically now has arguably more Christian influence today than American society (they are about 1/3 Christian. 1/3 Buddhist, & 1/3 atheist). But when we were there ten years ago, we noticed the Buddhist undercurrrents in their society. For example, our college students had a bad habit of cheating off each other. To them, “helping” wasn’t cheating. They are more “all for one & one for all” minded & due to Buddhism’s influence in their culture over the centuries, they were not so concerned about the act of cheating, but of getting caught & thus tainting the family name. Americans, on the other hand, see it as cheating because, whether they know the Ten Commandment or not, our culture has roots in the Ten Commandments. They are where we have gotten our sense of right & wrong. We also are more individualistic as a nation. The team mentality they fan in the early years is literally foreign to us.

I believe these Christian undercurrents are the reason God is still able to bless us as a nation today. We still value Israel as a nation. I find this amazing & wonder how long that will keep up. We still have a vague notion of the Ten Commmandments, but is is quickly fading!! I mean think about it – adultery – not a sin anymore but a lifestyle choice, lying & stealing – funny if you can get away with it & it benefits you, Lord’s Name in vain – common use in public, although there are other words you better not say to offend such as “sin” or “Merry Christmas”, keep God’s day holy – unless you can make a buck or you have anywhere else more fun to go or do than go to church.

The undercurrents they are a quickly changin’.


Oh, Rochester!!!

You know your kid’s been listening to too much Jack Benny when he can recite whole scenes at a a time! And that’s just from memory of last year’s listening.

Every year, right around Thanksgiving, our family checks out the old time radio Christmas CDs. There’s Fibber McGee & Molly, The Red Skelton Show, The Life of Riley, Father Knows Best, etc. but Nate’s favorite (& I have to admit mine, too) is by far Jack Benny. Here’s the monologue he gave me over lunch today…

Mary: “You have more money in your sock than he does in the bank.”

Jack: “If you’re referring to that bulge above my shoe, I was getting out of the bathtub & I sprained my ankle this morning!”

Mary: “Well, you’ve got Lincoln’s picture on the bandage.”

Bob Wilson: “Bathtub? What were you doing in the bathtub?”

Jack: “I was sailing a boat! What do you think I was doing? Diving for pearls? Or my laundry?”

Mary: “That could happen.”

Jack: “I shouldn’t discuss it… I don’t do my own laundry.”

Mary: “Well someone should!”

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Enjoy Jack Benny here. Our Christmas favorites: 12/22/1940 & 12/23/1951. Other recommendations from the list: , 12/24/39, 12/24/1944 & 12/21/1947. (The 12/07/1947 episode showcases classic Benny gags – violin lesson & a trip to the vault).

I love it when Nate describes Far Side cartoons, too. He read them to me all the way back from DC last summer. He’s got a great sense of humor & remembers stuff word for word – too funny.


Another Thing To Be Thankful For At Our House…

Anyone who knows me knows I don’t do so well at keeping good news a secret.

We haven’t told the kids yet (tomorrow, in the eight hour van ride to cousins’ house) but it looks like they will have another sibling to play with next year. 🙂 Baby number four is due to arrive sometime in July. For an idea of our surprise & excitement, read God Is In Control. Callie was just saying to me again yesterday how much she wants a sister. We’ll see. I didn’t say anything – so-o-o-o tough! One more day.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!


Tukey Leg, Anyone?

Two new Thanksgiving treats the kids are helping me make this year…

Thin Mints
(super easy & super good!)
Ritz crackers
melted chocolate
peppermint oil

Put some (ten”drops” maybe?) oil into the melted chocolate, put whole Ritz crackers in & fish them out with a fork. Tap off excess chocolate & lay on wax paper to dry. You can sprinkle some fall sprinkles on if you want to add fun.

Turkey Legs
Thick rod pretzles
caramel loaf (I buy at an Amish store nearby)
crushed walnuts
melted chocolate

This is my answer for a Thanksgiving turtle. Snap the pretzle rod in two, wrap some caramel around the broken end, roll in the nuts, & dip in chocolate. Again, lay on wax paper to dry. I think these are going to be a hit this year! Start of a new tradition?

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Since today is a recipe sharing day, here’s an election day tradition at our house…

Donkey Droppings
– I know, an odd choice for a house full of rah-rah Republicans, but it’s all we got.
(an Aussie friend passed these on to us in Korea – thanks Elaine!)
1 can condensed milk
250 grams plain biscuits (two sleeves of plain graham crackers)
1 Tbs. cocoa
1 cup dessicated coconut (I have no idea what that means – I use reg. shredded coconut)
rum (we are teatotalers here, so use milk:)

Combine all ingredients. Roll into balls like Buckeyes (for those outside of Ohio, about 1-1 & 1/2 inch round). Roll balls in coconut. If you put these in the freezer & remove a few minutes before eating, they are AWESOME! But could be eaten at room temperature as well.

Keith thinks I should learn how to make elephant ears at home, too, to represent both sides of the aisle, but we haven’t gone there yet. Anyone know a good Republican recipe for the upcoming Presidential race? It’s never to early to start thinking about that, you know.


Thanksgiving: Remember

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Have you noticed the last few years an increasing trend to “squash” Thanksgiving or is it just my imagination? It seems some are trying to make us as Christians or “anglo-Americans” feel guilty or politically incorrect if we celebrate God’s hand in bringing the Pilgrims to America, providing for them, & working through Squanto, etc. We are pushed by the commercials & stores to go from Halloween (a purely pagan holiday) straight to Christmas (the materialistically pagan version), skipping over Thanksgiving or minimalizing it to a glutton fest. I refuse!

I realize we are not God’s chosen people, Israel, but we have Judeo-Christian roots in this country, contrary to what many want us to believe today. I’m seeing a deliberate “whitewashing” of American history to systematically erase all traces of God from our nation’s history. History is extremely important & in fact, it’s critical to remember! Karl Marx knew this when he said, “A people without a heritage are easily persuaded.” If you can change people’s historical context, you can change the way they view the present.” In other words, if you can re-write the past, you can make people believe anything you want in the present. I’m afraid we’re there.

Revising history is not a new trick. Do you remember the story of Eve & the serpent? He twisted God’s words in Eve’s mind when he said, ” Did God really say…?” People tried to revise history with Jesus’ resurrection (Matthew 28:11-15 & 1 Corinthians 15:14-19) What is a lie, after all, but simply put, re-writing history! “I didn’t break the lamp, Mom…”

God has given His people a mandate to REMEMBER!!! (Joshua 4:1-7, the Passover & other feasts & celebrations, the tassels (Numbers 15:38, 39/Deut. 22:12) Judges 2:6-15 talks about how God’s people were destroyed because they forgot. Our problem is, number one that we forget what we’re told to remember, & two that we remember what we’re supposed to forget (1 Corinthians 13:5)!

Remembering is our source for gratitude & obedience. God warns us to be careful – if we forget when we sit in plenty, we will certainly be destroyed. (Deut. 8:10-20)

This Thanksgiving, let’s celebrate our American Christian heritage, marvel again at the stories of God’s hand in the lives of our ancestors, & give thanks to God unashamedly for His blessing on this country. Here’s a few good sites with the stories you can read or hear on line to get started…

Chuck Colson on Squanto
Squanto’s Story
The True Meaning of Thanksgiving
the origins of American Thanksgiving
Whit’s End (Thanksgiving shows this week only)
True Story of the Pilgrims, part one & two (Family Life Today)
The Mayflower Compact

LET’S CELEBRATE!!!! Pass your American Christian heritage on to your children. Share some of your family’s stories of God’s provision. Remember, & pass the baton to the next generation.


Random Thoughts On Heaven

Heaven’s often on our mind around here; it’s hard to put those thoughts concisely into a post, but here are some recent thoughts…

One thing I do know, we won’t be spirits just floating around (2 Corinthians 5:3). Disney or some such has put into our heads we’ll spend forever floating around on a cloud strumming a harp like Goofy. That sure doesn’t sound like much fun to me. In contrast, the Bible talks about Heaven & the resurrection – the end to sin & eternity with our Saviour – as our HOPE! We should be encouraging one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Yet often, we are so enjoying our “entertained away” life down here, we never give Heaven a thought & when we do, in our ignorance it’s not very appealing. We are so missing out.

In Heaven, I do believe we will keep our personalities & differences. For example, Dad loved gardening & music here on earth; why would that stop in Heaven? Our tastes & interests are not inherently sinful. Our uniquenesses are reflections of God’s creativity. I think Dad still enjoys new vocabulary words. Which leads me to the next thought,

I think we’ll learn in Heaven & I don’t believe that we will ever stop learning. We serve an infinite God Who we can easily spend eternity with & still not know all about Him & certainly will NEVER know all He does – that would make us God (a Mormon belief, although I have heard that alluded to in well intentioned SS classes). Sometimes I hear comments from other Christians to the effect that “all our questions will be answered”. What? We’ll be instantly zapped with all-knowingness? Where is that found in scripture? I think too many Christians buy into this mystical vagueness of Heaven that sounds awfully close to spiritualism to me.

There are those who have voiced a great sorrow over losing our married status in Heaven; our spouses will just be another person – our relationship will be different. I have mulled that one over & tried to see it through their eyes, but honestly, I look so forward to my relationship with Keith in Heaven!! No, he won’t be my husband, but better yet, he’ll be my PERFECTED BROTHER!!! Think of it!! We will get to know each other so much deeper than we ever can down here, finally unshackled by sin’s chains!! I can’t wait! Keith will finally get to see me as I was created to be – redeemed, unblemished, completely God’s reflection. I tear up just thinking of it. I can’t wait to get to know my Keith that way as well; complete, whole, faultless, glorified!! Wow. All i can say is thank You, Jesus; I stand in awe of You.

“Oh, that will be glory for me…
When by His grace I shall look on His face,
that will be glory for me.”


Through the Eyes of a Four Year Old

My little guy is such a fun, unique one. Had to get a few of his favorite things down in a list…

tractors
construction trucks
motorcycles
lawnmowers
policemen (used to call them “smees-men”)
helping (especially Daddy)
watching Daddy work
playing football with Daddy
football in general
playing school, church, wedding & hospital with C
(his name is always “Jim” & hers is “Alisa”)
furrowing eyebrows
sticking bottom lip out
chapstick
snack time at church
(He just moved up to the “big kids” group on Wednesday nights this year, but whenever he gets squirrly I’ll send him to the teen group to sit with Daddy. He was going pretty often for awhile until he asked if there was going to be a snack at church tonight. I was naturally curious seeing as how we don’t do snacks in Club. Come to find out, the teens do & teen girls are suckers for little boys with big brown eyes! He said he liked the “baby class” he used to be in because of snacks & I guess he’d figured out how to keep a good thing going! His mama didn’t raise no fool. Needless to say he now watches the teens eat when he’s in teen group; not quite as much fun.)
the song “Jesus Loves Me” – all time favorite
his little green Bible
his red checked shirt
dressing up – sweater vests & ties
his black super suit & cape & gloves
brushing his teeth
sunglasses
salad with Daddy’s dressing
salsa – hot foods
gum!!
rootbeer
other people’s toothbrushes, glasses, sippy cups, chapstick, etc.
his “rah-monica” (harmonica) & piano
his Big Wheel
playing with his cousins & kitty cats
free cookies at the grocery store 😉
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Anders-isms:
“What’s for zert?” “I’m ready ferzert!” “That’s my ferzert!” = dessert
“Don’t leave about me!” = means “without me”
“Ah-prize!!” = surprise

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When I asked him what his favorite things were, his first response was “tractors”.
Mom: “What else?”
A: “My Mom & Dad, brother & sister.”
Mom: (sniff) “Come here & give me a hug, you little sweetie pie!” Does he know how to melt a heart or what?
He proceeded to rattle off a list of all those he loved including Grandmas, cousins, aunts, uncles, and Sara (still his favorite babysitter!!)
Mom: “But what do you like to do or what’s your favorite color, book, that kind of thing?”
A: “I like to watch Mr. Morrison’s movie. Can we see that?”
Mr. Morrison is a teacher with my dear hubby who made five homemade “shorts” to help kids learn the school rules. They are very clever, but we haven’t watched them for a long time, maybe a year?, so he must really like them to put them this high on his list! Mr. Morrison will be so proud to hear this news.


Ten Reasons I’m Glad We Get To Homeschool

10) The core lessons, when taught one-on-one, don’t take that long! This leaves plenty of time to pursue other things: read the classics, memorize Scripture, learn how to knit, try out Tae Kwon Do or ballet lessons on DVD, exercise with Mom & Dad, piano, fun family trips, etc.

9) When someone comes to visit, everything can revolve around enjoying the visitor (Grandma, aunts & uncles, etc.) These are cherished times! I want my kids to know their extended family.

8 ) I get to choose who my kids hang out with & form friendships with – an ever increasing “must” for both safety & wisdom in this day & age.

7) My children can grow at their own pace. They may excel beyond their assigned grade in one area, but need to take extra time to learn another, for them, more challenging skill. Every child is unique in their learning skills & styles.

6) My kids don’t have to waste their time standing in line for the bathroom, wait for everyone else to get out their books & sharpen pencils to start lessons, or learn new “tricks” in the lunchroom or playground. That’s not to say they don’t waste time or learn new tricks, but I have a lot more control over all that in these early years.

5) My kids don’t compare themselves to others – they don’t think they’re the smartest kid on the block, or the dummy in the class, either – healthy self-esteem.

4) I know what my kids are learning & can supplement with resources at the library, etc. We get excited & discuss topics as they “pop up” in real life.

3) I get to introduce God into their lives throughout their studies & day. (ex. – study China/Buddhism = we get to talk about how Jesus is different from other gods.) We can talk about how penguins & peacocks are MADE & how creative God is! We can note God’s awesome creativity in snowflakes, tree varieties, animals, etc.

2) My kids see me as the main authority in their life. They want to please me (for the most part!!), learn from me…I have their hearts. Time will come soon enough for them to give it away to another.

1) My kids know each other. We get to make memories together rather than with 30 kids & the teacher of the year. We spend time together. The older learn to be patient with the younger & the younger admire the older.

No, it’s not a utopia of learning every day, but every day I am thankful for this year with my three children at home.


“Nice” vs. “Kind”

A few weeks ago on Focus on the Family, a guy was talking about how we should stop trying to raise “nice” kids & work toward kids who are caring & compassionate. I found this to be a very encouraging two part broadcast (listen to parts one & two here).

One point the author being interviewed brought out was that so often Christian parents are training their children to be nice – look good, don’t rock the boat, be “nice” & make me look good! He pointed out that the word nice has, if you look in the dictionary, “ignorant, to not know” at it’s root. I didn’t believe him, but he’s right! Nice, at least in my dictionary, doesn’t have a positive trait in it’s definition until the sixth entry! And then it seems to have connotations of appearance – “wanton, coy, finicky tastes, particular, demanding excessive precision, trivial,…” I was shocked.

Today, the kids & I had a devotional on kindness & random acts of kindness. I got to thinking again about that broadcast & the differences between nice & kind. Words do mean something, so I wondered the differences between the two. Kindness is a fruit of the Spirit; nice is not. So what are some other differences? I think one thing is that nice is what you do, verses kind is how you are. CHARACTER! Another word for kind according to the dictionary is “loving”. (Remember that God is love – 1 John 4:7,8. Love is the essence of Who He is – we only know what love is by looking at His character.) Nice seems to be more of an outward appearance, often times with a “fake” air about it. Kindness is an inner quality that often times gets no notice.

This also leads to another podcast I heard way back in June again on Focus on the Family about “nice guys”. Hear those two broadcasts here & here. It was talking about the problem women have with their passive men, “nice guys”. They fall in love with them because they are “nice”, but then get all disgusted with the same man when they live with them a few years. Aren’t we training our men to be wimps? Why do the same women who can’t stand their men to be so wimpy bring up their boys to be that way? Rush calls it the “chickification of our society” & points out many other problems this is causing with our boys. Kindness, on the other hand, is very masculine; think chivalry.

Is the goal for members of our family to be nice or kind? Something to think about. “Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)