Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday Photo

Does this really need a caption?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Fox Walked Alone

We were riveted and captivated. The Fox lead us on in our curiosity. What was happening? Where were we going? Why were alligators, wolves, and boars traveling together? What an interesting ancient marketplace they discovered and meanered through. Ha! There is the Ark. What a clever new twist on the ancient tale of Noah's Ark.

You know you want to read this picture book by Barbara Reid!

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Child of the 80's/90's Christian Bubble

I read it in three days; it was that good. I was captivated. I was reading my own experiences: the good, bad, and the ugly. I can't rave enough about Jesus Girls: True Tales of Growing Up Female and Evangelical.

My mind has been composing my own chapter that would fit nicely amongst the female voices of this anthology. Here is my rough draft, my brainstorm.

There is so much I could write about:

-High school Sunday school...we girls froze in our skirts sitting on outdated furniture. We'd argue. We'd debate. Our church insisted we KNOW what we believed....the trouble was they definitely had one things we were supposed to believe on about ten very important doctrinal stances, and I found myself disagreeing with most of them. (I proved to be the black sheep of the group when I chose to attend George Fox University, which also disagreed with many of my church's beliefs. My church would not give any money toward the Universities Church Matching Fund even though the money was really going to come from my parents via the offering plate. This was actually expected and encouraged by my admission counselor, so not shady or lacking integrity. Luckily this angered my parents, and I felt completely supported in my spiritual rebellion.) Still, I loved that group, that church, of high schoolers and our teacher. I have only good memories of him and his heart toward us. Plus, we ate a lot of white powdered donuts from the grocery store across the street.

-Christmas Pageants! Oh my. We loved them. We were superstars. Yep, they were cheesy, but we were the right age to be singing, "Arch the Angel...what a guy!" Now, the trouble came when we weren't the right age, but they needed us. (The kids a few years younger did not have the drama skills that we had. I guess that was the message they were sending us.) Playing the part of Baaabara in Baa, Baa, Bethlehem and doing really bad Christian rap is not even remotely OK when you are in junior high.

-Jesus Northwest! This was the proof that you were in, for any NW Christian who ever attended youth group. (Of course, I couldn't help but wonder how many youth kids "lost" their virginity at these type of events. Was I the only one who had these thoughts?) Ah well, I still remember standing next to Scott and being in total idol worship as we sang loudly with Michael W. Smith. I'm pretty sure I was worshiping Michael and not Jesus.) In that moment I think I felt the moshing done earlier during the Newsboys didn't hurt my Christian coolness factor...even if it was only in my mind and in that moment.

-Campfires and Altar Calls! On top of going to church my entire life I went to a Christian school, so I'm very comfortable with emotional spiritual highs. Actually, I'm very cynical toward them, and that is one reason I was so attracted to Quakerism and its emphasis on the quiet/silence with Christ. I remember one track retreat campfire where one of the male athletes dropped to his knees sobbing after he asked God to reveal what was in his heart. I decided right then and there I'd never ask God to show me what was really in my heart because if his was bad, mine must be horrible.

At my Christian school we had an annual Spiritual Emphasis Week where an "amazing" speaker was brought in to start a revival and spiritual awakening in our student body...mostly in the men. This was the era of Promise Keepers, and I truly believe most thought World Peace could be achieved if only women would submit and men would start leading out in verbal prayer....a sign of being the spiritual leader of your household. No one really pointed out that none of us were married and not really men or women yet.

During one of these weeks we had an altar call at the end of each chapel...which for that week was...everyday. After each one, the only student left sitting on the cold, folding chairs was the exchange student from Spain. I noticed this, and decided I was done with altar calls. I haven't gone forward or raised my hand since.

-Piercing the Darkness. That was a bad era. Now everyone was an expert on spiritual warfare and everyone, except me, had seen a demon. I was scared. That was about all that accomplished. Why were they all so eager to see such things? Why was there a bit of spiritual pride in seeing the dark side? Why weren't people sharing more testimony in seeing the Light of Christ? Where was the emphasis on social justice and being Christ to others? Do you remember that song "The Champion?" I hated it. In 6th grade, students begged our teacher to play it during lunch. We ate lunch in the classroom. In it were the voices of demons. Of course, Jesus rises from the dead and conquers all, but I wore my own garlic necklace to survive that torturous lunchtime experience; I repeated the name of Jesus over and over under my breath. I survived.

-Some of my favorite church memories took place during summer evening church services. (Later I used to beg my parents to not attend these and instead watch 60 Minutes. I still love this news show. I think my parents would have given in, but my sister usually insisted with great emotion and tears that we attend. Maybe she'd like to blog about that at another time.) But back when I was in the 3rd grade I went happily. Sure, I had to endure really long and boring doctrinal debates that seemed to last forever, but it was all worth it. Because afterward while the parents chatted, we kids ran free. We played tag, Midnight, Mr. Fox....nothing is better than twilight and a summer breeze---the screams of happy, giddy children. It was on one of these nights that my best friend and I declared our mutual love for a 3rd grade boy that shall remain nameless. We shouted high up into the sky, and I know Jesus was smiling.

The thing was, Jesus was real for me. At a very young age I began my spiritual conversation with him. Even when a male church leader laughed at me and told me I was making things up, I knew Christ was speaking to me. I ignored the mockery and proceeded in my intimacy with Christ.

Even though much of this has made my cynical toward church, I still believe.

My faith even survived a church split, actually I grew from that. You see, there is no perfect church and there isn't supposed to be. I have yet to meet a perfect person and since church is people....well, you get it.

I need community. I need church. I crave and desire it. I hope to do it better and better as I age. I hope to not pass on the same misconceptions and hurts and fears that I received from my church journey to my kids, but I might, and they'll make it because God is bigger than us. It is his still small voice that remains true and pure. It is that Being who is passionately pursing a mutual relationship with my children....with all his children.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Anthology Submission Tips

Ok all you mamas who are aiming to submit to our anthology! Here is a great article to help you succeed!

The best point was when she suggested reading your narratives out loud! If it doesn't hold a listener's attention, then you need to rework it! I agree.

Happy writing.

Monday, May 17, 2010

It Made Me Cry

Are You My Mother always makes me cry. It made me sad when I was a little girl, and it still does. I get so into it as I read. I feel the panic of the young bird as he races past the junkyard car. There is complete joy and exhaustion when his mommy finally returns with a worm for his hungry belly.

Well,I found another read that effects me the same way: One True Bear by Ted Dewan is another to make the throat get all tight. And this is a good thing. The steadfast spirit of this little teddy bear gets me every time. There are elements of the spirit of the Velveteen Rabbit...only Darcy Brewster, the bear, doesn't find himself being tossed onto a burn pile. I'm glad. I'm not going to give away the ending, but you should seriously consider checking this one out and then buying it for your children for a very sentimental Christmas present.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Bear Wants More....Friday Photo

This is near the family cabin...good times. Check out those claws! The other day my middle son informed me that our youngest(the baby) will turn into a boy after he gets done hibernating.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

All Things Bright and Beautiful

Ashley Bryan has created art with scissor and paper in his book All Things Bright and Beautiful. The words to this book are from Cecil Frances Alexander's Irish hymn. On the last page of the book is the score to this familiar tune. After reading it to my boys, we hurried on over to the piano and played it. The boys danced while I sang. This was requested many times after our initial reading....not due to my piano or voice skills, but I think due to the joy this song evokes.

I just loved reading a book that talked about God and creation without being an official Bible story. I like to incorporate God-talk into the daily happenings of our lives, and since reading is one of these daily happenings it was nice to find this book at the public library.

I hope you enjoy it too.

"The sunset and the morning that brightens up the sky. The cold wind in the winter, the pleasant summer sun, the ripe fruit in the garden: He made them every one."

Monday, May 10, 2010

One More Month

My sons lug in their large, glass money jars. We are entering Target, land of their every desire. They've been saving up for Transformer underwear. With great pride and anticipation they picked them out and headed to the cashier. Everyone is watching. We are a sight. The coins jangle loudly against the glass. We are all chatting and verbally processing our joy.

"I have Bumblebee on my underwear!"

"Yeah, I have Jazz."

"Mine are red."

"Mine are red too."

The cashier interjects, "Wow, you make your kids buy their own underwear?"

"Well, no. They have underwear at home, but they wanted Transformer underwear which they didn't need, but they wanted."

This is language that we use in our house. When my second announces that he needs white donuts I ask, "Do you need them or do you want them?"

I have a deep passion to pass on a healthy attitude toward money to my children. I want them to be content with what they have, to give to others in need, to learn to wait for things they save. I want them to know you can have fun and be filled with joy without a lot of toys. The goal is to go shopping and leave with nothing...if there is nothing to buy.

The Target cashier smiled, "I think that is great! I can't believe they are so happy about underwear!"

I smiled, "Sorry about all these coins. I know it is a nuisance." So much easier to swipe and go.

"No problem at all," she said as she mentally counted the combination of quarters, nickels, dimes, and pennies.

How about you? How are you teaching economics to your children, money choices that love God and love others? How do you teach giving? How do you make it tangible?

We are looking for more submissions that deal with this topic.

Our deadline for our book project is June 1st! Keep the stories coming!

(For more ideas of what we are looking for, click on my label "writing" and read seven other entries devoted to this topic.)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Board Books or Bored Books

My youngest is craving, wanting, salivating over books...literally. He's now 15 months and loves reading time with mommy. This means I have to read all those board books again. I have mixed feelings about this. Board books are great because they are short and often rhythmic. But, a lot of times they are a major, monotonous bore.

So, here are my current favorites. (Oh, and anything with a flap to lift is a winner with him right now...regardless of the literary merit.)