Jul 31, 2007

It was a two bath day

No, not for me. For Emma. She didn't get much of a nap today so that made her pretty cranky. That, in turn, made her wound up. That, in turn, made her somewhat excitable. First bath was this morning and it was all good until she was done. Then it was, "OUT! Bafroom out!" I guess she was done. Then we played and colored and did whatever until naptime. I'd had high hopes for actually doing something creative with my time like scrapbook stuff or journal stuff, but she had other plans. After just an hour she was up and trying to find me. Unfortunately, I stepped outside to put some much-needed correspondence in the mailbox and to check on the two fountains in the backyard (wanted to make sure the deer or raccoons hadn't made them empty the ponds) when I heard her yelling, "DEAR!" Where are you?! Where are you?! DEAR!?!" I hurried inside, telling her at the same time, "I'm right here, Emma. Dear's right here." She was a little freaked out. So, since I so heartlessly deserted her, she got back at me by not going back to sleep. We played a little, watched a little Veggie Tales and then I decided to try to get some work done in my room. We brought her little fold-out couch down here (I'm no dummy. I thought MAYBE I could get her to sleep again. HA!) and I put some Veggie Tales on and then I tried to work. Didn't work out very well. After scattering Cheerios and colored pencils (among other things) all over my floor, I decided it was bathtime again. Yay! She loves baths. We got her in there and got her all stocked up with a bunch of her animals and then she just played to her hearts' content until Mama got home. Whew. It was a tiring day.

Jul 29, 2007

26 Marbles and a Horse

Did you know that you could put 26 marbles and a small plastic horse into a DVD/VCR, then remove said items and the machine will still work? Of course, you have to be sure that you remove the 26th marble and the horse before it will work as it is designed. Just removing 25 marbles whilst leaving the 26th marble and the horse will only cause the DVD player to make horrendous noises and lots of sputtering on the screen.

Ah, it's good to have Emma home. :o)

Jul 27, 2007

Favorite book quote

"Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys." The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis

Quiet in the house

It's quiet here. It's a bag of mixed blessings. On the one hand, I like having time to myself to do those things I've been trying to get done for so long. My room is getting put together and I pretty much know where everything is. The gigantic oak desk is out of there, waiting for a den. I got my dresser all cleaned off last night and pictures are back up on the walls where they belong. Well, most of them are. I still have some of my own photographs I need to print out and put into frames and then find homes for them. My computer's become used to being down there and I like not having it in the living room. Grandma's black buffet/desk is finally cleaned out and put in some semblance of order. I've condensed us out of 3 desks now and most everything is in the black desk. Upstairs, the TV isn't housed in the entertainment center any more. We're going to donate that to the PD or to the hospital thrift store. I'm using the antique Korean chest to house the TV and all its' accouterments. It's nice paring things down.

On the other hand, it's very quiet. I miss Emma. She'll be back tomorrow, though, so I will enjoy this brief respite. Like I said, it's a bag of mixed blessings. Katie is camping with "friends" and Emma is with her. When I commented to Mike's dad some weeks ago how difficult it will be when Emma no longer lives with us and how quiet it will be here, he said, "But you'll get used to it. And that's how it's supposed to be." He's right, of course. Little ones are meant to be raised by their parents. I just pray that the circumstances at that time will be much better than they are now. I would love nothing better than for Katie and Emma to be on their own, Katie with a good job, Emma with either us watching her or someone else just as good (is that possible?), happy, content, doing what is Right.

It struck me this morning how I wish that our church-going wasn't "broken." I know that it was right for us to leave the old church and go to the new one when we did . . . and then to switch back when we found that the new one wasn't home. I just wish that the timing had been better. It caused a disruption for the kids. They never fit in with the new one and when we went back to the old one, too many years had passed for them to feel part of it again. It's so much easier when they're younger and they go with you because you go. I know (mostly) it will all turn out OK. They've all been raised with the foundation intact. It's just up to them now to take it up themselves. Seeing hardness of heart is distressing in anyone.

I haven't been to the old church in months. That one is not the right place for us. I always hated the "praise songs" and thought they were insipid and they weren't into using the old hymns. I wish Father Bruce hadn't left the Catholic church. I think we might have liked that. Mike's new rdo's include Sunday now (that's a first!) so I'm thinking maybe I'll see if he wants to go to the monastery and see what he thinks. It will be very different for him. The Eastern Catholic service (especially for one raised in Protestantism) is awesome in the truest sense. It's close to the Eastern Orthodox church and that's what I like. I've never been to a service where I truly felt like I was worshipping in the presence of God as I did there. I hope Mike wants to go.

Here's my favorite hymn . . . well, one of my favorites:


When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blessed assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

- Words by Horatio G. Spafford, 1873
- Music by Philip P. Bliss, 1876

The words to this hymn was written after two major traumas in Spafford's life. The first was the Great Chicago Fire of October 1871, which ruined him financially. Shortly after, while crossing the Atlantic, all four of Spafford's daughters died in a collision with another ship. Spafford's wife Anna survived and sent him the now famous telegram: "SAVED ALONE." Several weeks later, as Spafford's own ship passed near the spot where his daughters died, he was inspired to write these words.

Bliss originally named the tune "Ville de Havre" after the ship on which Spafford's four girls perished, the SS Ville de Havre. Ironically, Bliss himself died in a tragic train wreck shortly after writing this music.

Jul 25, 2007

My day so far

I liked Jon's most recent post about his trip to Seattle. Let's see what my day today would look like . . .

7:00 got up quietly so I didn't wake anyone else because it's the only time when NO ONE else is up to ask me to do something for them. check.
7:10 go let the chickens out of their coop. check.
7:12 look at the fence again and wonder what animal keeps pulling it down. check.
7:15 fill the chickens water can. check.
7:20 water the flowers and plants in the upper garden. check.
7:30 water the flowers by the rock wall, paying close attention to the scattered sunflower seeds I'm hoping will sprout and grow up to be a beautiful sunflower border next to the rock wall, but know chances are slim because of the damn deer. check.
7:35 fill up pond number one and marvel that there are still fish alive. water that bed and again get ticked off because the damn deer ate most of the morning glories and nasturtiums and the ones left are doing nothing. check.
7:40 move to the plants in front of our room and water them. check.
7:45 fill pond #2 and try to get the pump unclogged. check.
7:50 water front beds. check.
7:52 water front cecile brunner and see that it's getting some leaves back from when the damn deer stripped it to the bones. check.
7:55 water front planters, hoping that the seeds scattered there will come up, but not holding my breath because the damn deer already decimated the violets. water moss in back yard and aerate back pond, count 3 fish. check.
8:00 top off pond #3, finish watering, pull hose back up to front garden, check out fence again, shake dirt off muddy pajama pants and go inside. check.
8:10 turn on Little Einsteins for Emma and sit with her while she bemoans her owie, check out said owie and marvel at giant blister that's formed on top of the giant swollen lump on her arm. check.
8:30 start eggs for Emma and I. check.
8:45 check out news online, peruse a couple of blogs, sing with Little Einsteins, check on eggs, remind Katie of stuff to be picked up, change Emma, check on eggs and turn down burner, add more eggs so they're not so well done, add ham and portabellas. check.
8:50 Mike calling me to look at big bucks in the garden. take pictures of two big bucks 20 feet away from me. sight a third one. check.
9:00 eat eggs. give eggs to Emma who promptly ignores them. hold Emma. turn on Wonder Pets and sing with them. check.
9:30 switch to Go Diego Go and learn about kinkajus in the rain forest. check.
10:00 switch to Backyardigans and ride the range. more singing. check.
10:20 Emma tired of Backyardigans and wants to watch trains so put on Thomas. Emma starts to nibble at eggs. straighten up around the house. check.
11:00 dress Emma. she's tired of Thomas so find the fish dvd and take it downstairs to put it on so I can take a shower. check.
11:30 name all the sea creatures with Emma. check.
12:00 Mike in the shower and getting ready for work. give Emma numerous necklaces to play with. check.
12:30 Emma pulls apart puka shell necklace. check.
12:45 Mike leaves for work. check.
1:00 straighten up more, watch fish, watch Thomas. check.
1:30 put Emma down for nap and lay with her til she falls asleep. check
1:50 Emma asleep. play on computer and then make plans to clean up and catch up on correspondence.
2:15 not started correspondence yet because I've been wasting my time recapping my oh-so-nothing-is-happening day. vow to get correspondence done TODAY. check.

Ahhhhh . . .

Twelve hours after I started it, I finished it. It was worth every hour, every minute, indeed every second. I finally went to bed at 3:30 am. The next morning I re-read the last two chapters to answer a couple of nagging questions. I'm anxious for everyone else to finish it so we can talk about it. I know Cherlyn's already reading it again, as am I.

My take on it? I thoroughly enjoyed it. You'll get no hints from me as to the books' innards.

Jul 22, 2007

It's Finally Here!

At long last. Harry Potter book 7 will be here within half an hour or so. Katie went down to town to pick me up a copy since the ones I ordered didn't arrive on time. She's going to a bbq with Emma after she gets home, Mike's at work, India's at school and Disneyland and I will be completely alone. I will be totally and utterly alone to savor and enjoy the book. This is a series I put right up there with Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia. I've got some oatmeal cooking on the stove so I will have something to "stick to my ribs." Maybe I'll even make some tapioca later on. I'm really going to enjoy the solitude.

Ted is SOO lucky to be reading it while he's in London. That would just be too cool.

Jul 20, 2007

Patty & Pete

My sister and brother-in-law have just made a huge lifestyle change. They moved from the house they've lived in the last eleven years and moved into an apartment in a lower income, predominantly ethnic, neighborhood. Patty works for a (for lack of a better term) community center their church started in this neighborhood. Actually, it's more of an open house sort of thing for kids. They do their homework, play games, go to camps, and do stuff in groups. It's all very organized and the place looks like small classrooms inside. They wanted to make more of an impact on the kids' lives so they thought if they moved there and immersed themselves into the kids' world, they could. Apparently, they have. There are kids dropping in at all hours and they've been doing a lot of stuff in the neighborhood. They've only been there since the first, but I think they're really making a difference. Talk about living out your faith. I'm very proud of them.

The Story of India, Part One

On August 25, 1990, while Mike was on duty, he was sent on a call to the hospital to see the ER staff. They were treating a five month old baby girl who had some strange bruises and was "suppposed" to have been in a car accident. Strangely enough the bruising left perfect imprints of handprints and finger marks on her face and neck. It became apparent to the doctor and Mike that the bruises weren't caused by any car accident. The fleeing of the parent seemed to substantiate that, too. We were foster parents at the time and already had a five and a half year old daughter placed with us in addition to our own seven and five year old daughters.

I was listening to the scanner and heard him go to the call and, after a short while, request a social worker because he was going to "300" the baby. That meant he was giving her to social services for placement because being with the parent was dangerous for her. I quickly called the dispatcher and told her, "Tell Mike we have room for a baby!" Then I called the hospital and gave the same message to the ER nurse. I nervously listened to the scanner so that I could get a clue as to what he would decide to do.

Within probably half an hour the phone was ringing. It was the dispatcher telling me to come down to the PD to pick up the baby because Mike and the social worker agreed that we would keep her for "a week at most." I yelled to the girls that we were getting a baby girl and I called our closest friends and next-door neighbors, asking them if they'd watch the girls for a little while while I fetched the baby. They were thrilled to help out and I was soon on my way down to the PD.

The baby girl was small for her age and dressed in pajamas that were sized for a toddler. She had the most unusual name; India. It was a name I'd never heard before. I took her home and got her settled in.

At home, the girls, as are most girls that age, absolutely adored her. They played with her and made her laugh and that made me laugh. As the next day came along, the bruises became more pronounced. It was obvious that she had been slapped and had had someone's hands around her neck. Fortunately, the bruises were the only injury and they soon vanished. For one reason or another, the week came and went without India being placed anywhere else. Days moved into weeks, weeks moved into months and before I knew it, I was hooked by her. I knew that she was part of our family and that, as far as I was concerned, she was part of me.

Medical (cough cough) Marijuana

. . . or 'The Farce That Is Medical Marijuana' . . . or maybe 'Living Next Door To A Perfectly Healthy Twenty-Something Who Grows And Makes A Ton Of Money.'

First of all, I want to make it perfectly clear that I have nothing against people who are really sick using marijuana to make them feel better. In fact, I support it so much that when my dear Aunt was in the end stages of cancer and unable to keep any food down, I went out and bought her a pipe and a small supply of weed. Me . . . wife of a cop. Daughter of a pastor (long since retired.) Ok, so maybe that last one isn't so foreign. PK's have a bad rap and there's probably a reason for that. But I digress (how unusual of me). My Aunt Madelynne couldn't keep any food down and we were willing to try anything to help her to feel better. I approached her (rather tentatively) with the idea of smoking pot to help her appetite and she was eager to try it. I was pretty surprised. Whether it helped her because of some chemical interaction or it helped her because she thought it would, it did help. She was able to eat and keep more food down than she could without it. For that, I am truly thankful for this "weed" that God saw fit to place on this planet. As seems to be the case with we human beings, though, we've chosen to take what He left here and distort and mutilate its' original purpose (whatever that was supposed to be) and turn it into something that ruins lives.

Now, if you were to look at my neighbor, you probably wouldn't think his life is ruined. Let's see . . . he's in his late twenties. He's on disability so he doesn't have a paying job. He's probably 6'5", 250 pounds and all muscle. He lifts weights, as is evidenced by the rather expensive set that he has outside the house he is renting. He has a new vehicle just about every month. His two pre-teen boys have just about every cool boy toy any kids could want. There are dirt bikes, a big screen TV, the latest in XBox (or whatever it is), a boat, and on and on. Did I mention the neighbor doesn't have a paying job? What he does have, though, is a rather extensive "grow" for his "personal use." Of course it's only for him because of his "disability." I'm sure that all those kids that drop by the house are just there because they like to visit with him. Never mind that some of them are more than ten years younger than he is.

He has more toys, more time and more money than my husband and I. That would be my husband the cop. The one who was just off work for seven months because of two knee surgeries from injuries sustained on the job (chasing bad guys). The same husband who works record-making numbers of hours of OT. The most was somewhere in the neighborhood of 65 hours in a two week period. Chances are really good that the OT hours will be increasing in the near future because more of the new guys are going onto bigger and better (and much better paying) departments. No. I take back the better part. I digress again.

The medical marijuana scene is an absolute fiasco. You have people like my Aunt who had bona fide reasons for using it. Then you have people like my neighbor who abused it. The majority of people in our area (The Emerald Triangle) are members of the last group. That's so unfortunate and it's causing so many problems for our little town. The folks who wrote the laws were pretty slick. They purposely made it hole-ridden so that they could get around the laws and make money. That's the bottom line, isn't it? It's money. The growers and medical marijuana (the bogus ones) supporters have a lot of money and they can get a lot of politicians elected. They know how to work the system.

"Oh, but it doesn't hurt anyone," you might say. What about all those kids who grow up seeing that the easy way to make money is by trimming pot plants. Why go out and get a real job where you have to have taxes taken out, when you can go do a little snip-snipping and get paid really well in cash? What about the home invasions and attempted murders that have happened in our area because someone wants someone else's plants? What about the home invasions that I'm not sure have happened in our area on WRONG HOUSES because the smell of weed is so strong and the invaders don't know which house is the growing house? What about the murders of people working in gardens or people stumbling through gardens? What about the smell? Geez, it is terrible! It smells like a skunk was run over in the road right in front of the house. And it doesn't just stay outside. It permeates everything. What about the transient trimmers who come into town and take advantage of the various free meal programs, taking food away from those people who LIVE here and who really need the help? What about those same transients who relieve themselves outside, camp around the town, leave their trash all over, etc.? I'm not talking about our local homeless people here. I'm talking about the kids who flood the town during trimming and harvesting time.

I'm sure if I had more time, I could come up with more, but there's my rant for the day.

Jul 19, 2007

Photography Painting

I've been playing with some of my photographs on Photoshop. I took this picture of a resort that was at the farthest southern end of Baja. We took a hike from where we were staying, over a small rock-covered mountain, past Divorce Beach, to Lover's Beach, The End of the World. If you've ever seen those cool pictures of pirate ships against giant rock formations that look like bridges, that was where we were. It was beautiful. I played with this photo and manipulated it to make it into a watercolor. It printed out really well and looks gorgeous.

Jul 11, 2007

Works Produced by Faith

In keeping with the discussion we've been having the last week or so, I found this. It's the notes part of my Orthodox Bible.

Matthew 25:31-46 Commentary

Here is the majestic climax of the discourse, which is not simply a parable but an account of the universal judgment. Since the Cross is now near for Him, Jesus raises up the hearer to the sight of the glory of the Son of Man, His judgment seat, and the whole world before Him. He shows the heavens opened and all the holy angels (v. 31) present to witness His judgment. For if the first coming of the Son of Man was in humility, to serve and to die, the Second Coming will be in glory, as a King to judge all the nations (v. 32).

The standard of judgment is uncalculated mercy toward the needy. The works produced by faith are emphasized, for a saving faith produces righteous works. It is possible to fool ourselves about whether we truly believe, but what we do so reflects our true inner state that we will need no other evidence before God's court. The needy are the intimate brethren (v.40) of Christ. The least of these (v. 45) may refer primarily to Christian missionaries or to needy Christians and, by extension, all who suffer. Jesus identifies Himself with the poor and the outcast and invites to brotherhood all who are kindled with love for others (1 John 4:20). These are crowned with grace.

I'll comment more later. It really struck me.

It's raining!

How glorious to wake up this mid-July morning in Northern California to find it raining. I hope we get at least an inch. Everything's been so dry and we've been conserving water because it's supposed to be a drought year. You know when you start your shower and you let it run until you get hot water? Well, we have buckets that catch that cold water and then we use that to water the plants up on the decks. More later. People are starting to wake up here.

Jul 6, 2007

I hate labels; emergent, emerging, postmodern, modern, whatever

I just read the article, "Five Streams of the Emerging Church, Key elements of the most controversial and misunderstood movement in the church today." You can read the article here . That title made me think about some comments made about the Orthodox church. There are people who have labeled it a "cult" because they light incense and sing antiphonal chants. That's just plain ignorance. All you have to do is to look at both the Old and New Testaments to see that all of that is historically based.

That makes me think of something else I don't like. I've heard people in my church say that repetitious praying is wrong. What do they think the Lord's Prayer is? What about Psalms? It's not the words and the prayers that are wrong. It's peoples' hearts and motives. As you can see, my thoughts are kind of here and there so this may not flow as well as it could. Bear with me.

I really don't like labels because it doesn't explain what the something is. Because of that, I've been spending the last week or two reading up on the labels "emerging, emergent, postmodern, postmodernism, modernism" and some others that escape me because it feels like my brain is too full. I'm finding it difficult to sort out all of my thoughts, but I will give it a shot. The article I referenced above did a fairly good job at explaining what the "emerging church" is. Why do they have to give it a name?

I also checked wikipedia here for a good definition of postmodernism. From what I can tell, it means that modern isn't necessarily the be all and end all and that tradition and the "old" way of doing things may actually be better sometimes. From wikipedia, "of, relating to, or being any of several movements (as in art, architecture, or literature) that are reactions against the philosophy and practices of modern movements and are typically marked by revival of traditional elements and techniques."

I am hungry for a decent church that is akin to the church my dad pastored from 1972 until 1985 (86?). It was a community of believers; a SMALL community. We weren't just a place you went to on Sundays, it was a complete part of our lives. We were entwined, all of us. When I think of The Fellowship, I think of training grounds. It was a place where you were being prepared to go out into the world. The churches around here just aren't like that. They have their small groups. They have the people who see each other every Sunday. They have their elder/pastors who take the high school kids out by the bars on Wednesday nights and tell them that they have to witness to people. I don't like that. I don't believe you should force that on anyone . . . the witnessing part. I don't like them saying that such and such a group of people won't be in Heaven because of their lifestyle or whatever. (I mean, come on, how can anyone play God and say that Mormons aren't going to Heaven?) That's just not right. We don't know and we can't know anyone's heart.

And that brings me to my next thought. Who came up with all the exclusionary stuff about Heaven? Have we misinterpreted the parable about getting a camel through the eye of a needle in talking about how hard it is to get into Heaven? What about Catholics who don't pray the same way as Protestants, i.e. asking Jesus into their hearts? And Mormons? What about people who love Jesus and follow him and treat others better than themselves but they haven't prayed that prayer? You can't tell me that they won't be in Heaven. What about people who've never heard of Jesus but who follow God and love Him?

I believe that we have to have a balance in our lives and in the Church as a whole. I don't think we should ONLY focus on social issues or missions or growth or whatever to the exclusion of everything else. We need to remember that The Church is the ENTIRE body of believers. I wish that we didn't have all of the divisiveness and factions that I think we have now. This group says that group is wrong and not the TRUE church and vice versa. We need to put our collective emphasis on serving God by serving others and, in the process, letting them know about His love for them. What's that old song we used to sing in high school . . . " . . . they will know we are Christians by our love . . . "

One of the things I liked about the article from Scot McKnight was what he said about the focus of The Church. He said, "I ask my fellow emerging Christians to maintain their missional and ecclesial focus, just as I urge my fellow evangelicals to engage in the social as well." I also liked what he had to say about living out your faith, not having it just be something you believe, but something that you act on, too. He says that the "emergent church" is "Praxis-oriented." He goes on to say, " The emerging movement's connection to postmodernity may grab attention and garner criticism, but what most characterizes emerging is the stream best called praxis—how the faith is lived out. At its core, the emerging movement is an attempt to fashion a new ecclesiology (doctrine of the church). Its distinctive emphases can be seen in its worship, its concern with orthopraxy, and its missional orientation."

When I read the stuff about the emergent church, it kept coming back to me. It's not a new idea at all. It epitomizes Mother Teresa. She loved God. She obeyed HIm. She served Him. She served others. She spread His message. Her focus was social, missional and ecclesial.

This is a fraction of what's been going through my head. As more of it congeals, I'll add more. I'm definitely interested in hearing what you have to say so if you'd like to leave me a comment, please do.
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