Sunday, December 27, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Sunday, December 06, 2009
Friday, December 04, 2009
The following article is featured on the front page of The Cypress Times today.
Journey Through Advent: Our Family's Adventure
I'm hoping to continue the series this season.
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Still--our grass continues to fight on as I try to remedy problems which have developed over the past few years. I haven't been able to do much yard work since the birth of our first son. My boys have only recently allowed me to work on household projects while they amuse themselves. It's hard to mow and trim with preschoolers clinging to my shirt. It's been over 5 years since I've been able to help with the yard and it shows. The condition of my lawn fills me with equal parts despair and determination.
So my heart and mind were primed for a recent sermon illustration. Pastor told the story of a man who battled crabgrass in his yard, digging it up wherever he found it. He discovered that he never could get rid of it. He could dig forever and the crabgrass would spring up somewhere else. Finally, he asked a lawn expert what to do. The man told him, "Forget the crabgrass. Plant good seeds."
It took him 3 years of planting and nurturing the good grass, but he looked out one spring and his yard was beautiful. The crabgrass was on the edges of the yard, trying to get in, but it couldn't. The good grass was too thick. Its roots were too deep.
As I approach this Advent season, it's easy for me to look back over this year and see where I've failed. Resolutions made at the beginning of 2009 were choked out by the weeds of busyness and neglect. The demands of projects and appointments cling to me, keeping me from tending the garden of my soul.
I could keep digging at these regrets--or I could get busy planting good seeds. The season of Advent begins next Sunday: the first Sunday of the liturgical year. Our family will begin a weekly devotional time. I have my "Bible in a year" plan ready. I've discovered some tips that other busy moms have shared for meditating on God's word during the day--and will share those here. I'm ready to plant good seeds and encourage deep roots. Life's weeds will still be there, but hopefully they won't grow in as far.
Yesterday, I hauled out the spreader and put down the first bag of fertilizer toward reclaiming our yard. We've sprayed for grubs. I'm preparing to re-sod or re-plug parts of our yard in early spring. Hopefully one day our lush, green lawn will return. In the meantime, every weed will serve as a physical and spiritual reminder to plant good seeds.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Yes--there's a whole jalapeno in there, but the soup is not spicy. My only complaint was that the soup was a little thin and 1 cup of corn looked a bit lonely. So I added 2 cups.
I plan to make this again--with either a little less chicken broth or more black beans.
Black Bean and Corn Soup
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
4 cups chicken broth
2 cans drained black beans
1 tsp cumin
1 cup frozen corn kernels (I used 2 cups)
sour cream (optional)
1- Saute onion, jalapeno, and garlic in olive oil.
2- Add chicken broth, black beans, and cumin.
3- Simmer for 10 minutes.
4- Puree soup and return to pan.
5- Add frozen corn and heat through.
6- Serve with sour cream.
Working my way through some new recipes. I'll be sure to share the good ones.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
So now I'm getting ready to get ready to observe the Advent season again.
Advent is the four week period prior to Christmas in which we celebrate the birth of Christ and anticipate His second coming. The word "Advent" comes from the Latin "adventus" which means "coming" or "arrival". Advent is a time of reflection, confession and preparation. In our household we light candles on each of the Sundays of Advent as we reflect on a different Advent theme. Our Advent wreath contains 4 candles: 3 purple and 1 pink. [More on that later.] The wreath surrounds a white candle, which is lit on Christmas Eve.
I've been shopping for candles, much easier to come by in previous years. Where are the purple and pink votives this year? (!)
I'm also digging through our seasonal devotions and looking for one to do with my family--and possibly our Sunday School class.
November 29, 2009 is the first Sunday of Advent.
Don't miss the Messiah this year. It's time to get ready.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still. [Exodus 14:14 NIV]
Friday, September 18, 2009
It's a conversation I'd hoped we'd be able to avoid until he was older. But television commercials, playground talk, and the natural curiosity of a 4-year-old forced my hand. Last week we began addressing one of the mysteries of life.
Is Anakin Skywalker a good guy or a bad guy?
When I was a kid (and I love saying that) life was simpler. Darth Vader was bad. Period. Sure, Luke ultimately saved him from the Emperor and they were reunited as a redeemed father and son. But Vader was the villain.
Then along came episodes 1-3. We see Anakin grow from a cute little boy into a lovesick teenager into a vengeful Jedi. He's the hero--albeit a doomed one-- and Anakin doesn't become Vader until the very end of chapter 3. As an adult I can appreciate the epic story cycle. I understand the complexities of character and the symbolism of fall and redemption.
D doesn't care about complexity and he hasn't seen any of the movies. He just wants to know where Anakin stands. When it comes time to play pretend with his buddies, he wants to play one of the good guys.
I pray that both of my sons always want to be the good guys. I love their gentle hearts and desire to do good and be the heroes.
So last week, I punted. Anakin starts out good, but he turns into a bad guy later. We moved on to Obi-wan Kenobi, Luke Skywalker, and Han Solo. Safe territory.
Satisfied for now, D's moved on to Transformers, a show that debuted after I'd graduated from high school. I guess that's a subject we'll study together.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage?
He does not retain His anger forever,
Because He delights in mercy.
19 He will again have compassion on us,
And will subdue our iniquities.
You will cast all our sins
Into the depths of the sea.
20 You will give truth to Jacob
And mercy to Abraham,
Which You have sworn to our fathers
From days of old.
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
Monday, August 03, 2009
Sunday, August 02, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Thursday, July 09, 2009
Saturday, July 04, 2009
Thursday, July 02, 2009
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Vacation Bible School ran its high energy course through our church last week. It’s a big production with over 100 volunteers (including those who set up and take down). Attendance hovered around 250 singing, dancing, chattering children from age 3 through 5th grade. This year’s theme, Crocodile Dock, somehow combined down home Southern swamp fun with Moses and the Passover story.
We five crew leaders led our combined group of 27 primary grade children through the daily stations of Bible, snack, video lesson with Chadder Chipmunk, crafts, and games. Our main tasks: guide the way, answer questions, and keep the group together.
My crew included one child with, um, well let’s just call them problems with impulse control. Loose communion cup holder in the pew? Kick that baby right off there. Feel like wrestling? Take down in the chapel. See something you want? Go after it. He agonized over waiting even one minute for something he wanted right now. Since this is my 2nd year shepherding this particular child I knew that somewhere in the midst of his chaotic mind, the gospel was taking root. Praise God.
Throughout the Exodus story we see Moses and the Israelites acting on impulse. Lose your temper? Kill the Egyptian overseer. (Ex. 2:12) Lose patience? Make a golden calf. (Ex. 32) Angry with the people? Can’t wait for God? Strike the rock at Meribah. Twice for good measure. (Num. 20) Our curriculum didn’t cover these stories, but I was reminded of them as the week wore on. Our sinful human nature doesn’t want to wait. We want it and we want it now.
This week I’m reading through the book of Proverbs. It’s a 31-chapter book on controlling our impulsive nature.
Watch your temper.
Hold your tongue.
Wait on God.
True in Moses’ time. True in Solomon’s time. True today.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
Now that school’s out, we don’t have the thrice weekly routine of getting ready and heading out to preschool. My boys are feeling a little lost. Regular activities defined their days during the school year. They felt secure knowing that Monday meant school and gymnastics and Wednesday meant library and church. Summer is a little more freewheeling and I’m not one for scheduling every minute of the day. So we needed something to help us keep track of our time.
Enter the kids’ calendar.
DLTK is a fantastic website, with printable coloring sheets and activities for young children, including some excellent Bible activities. DLTK’s calendar page allows us to customize a monthly calendar by theme and language. It’s simple. Choose the month, year, title image and click create. We’re using the summer calendar theme and selected a sand castle for June.
Each morning we look at the calendar and place a sticker in the square for the day. We talk about the name of the month, the day of the week and what we’re going to do. I added in our regular weekly activities with color-coded symbols (cross for church, wavy blue line for swim). We’re using our calendar to count down to much anticipated events like Vacation Bible School and family vacation.
As a bonus, we’re reviewing math skills by counting to 30 (or 31) and repeating the names of the days of the week. By the end of August, we’ll all be ready for preschool to begin again.
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Sunday, May 31, 2009
"For if a man mints many coins from one mould, they are all alike, but the Holy One, blessed be He, fashioned all men in the mould of the first man, and not one resembles the other..." (Babylonian Talmud: Sanhedrin 38a)
Monday, May 25, 2009
In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
In Flanders Fields the poppies blowBetween the crosses row on row,That mark our place; and in the skyThe larks, still bravely singing, flyScarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days agoWe lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,Loved and were loved, and now we lieIn Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:To you from failing hands we throwThe torch; be yours to hold it high.If ye break faith with us who dieWe shall not sleep, though poppies growIn Flanders fields.