Monday, November 26, 2012

Let Us Come Into His Presence with Thanksgiving

Each year, hubs and I have Thanksgiving dinner at our house with all of our children...until now! This time, the College Kid hosted at her place, I cooked and brought the turkey, and hubs took care of all the fixings.

While the other kiddos: the Second Born, Little Chef, and Little Leaguer watched movies by the glowing fire. The bright sunlight cascaded throught the vertical blinds into the apartment as we all sat down to eat. The College Kid even offered we could all eat outside on the balcony, if that was more comfortable. The mashed potatoes and candied yams melted in our mouths as the sweet corn and succulent turkey caused us to stuff ourselves until we were beyond full. Everything was washed down with either Egg Nog or Sparkling Cider (our family favorites this time of year).

Over the weekend, hubs took us to Carnegie SVRA where the Little Chef rode the quad (ATV), the Little Leaguer practiced on the 70 dirtbike, and I used Little Chef's 80 to prepare for the motorcycle safety class I want to attend (hopefully after the start of the new year) so I can get my "M" license. This time I mainly stuck to kick start, neutral to first, clutch, gas, go, clutch, break, get aquainted with the clutch. Yep, I stalled many times (but did not pop the clutch this time). I knew I was comfortable when I was ready to try shifting into second gear (which I did but forgot to let go of the clutch after shifting...der!)

I can already see a problem developing here. Speed! I am certain once I do not fear the motorcycle anymore (street, not dirt) then I will want to go fast...then faster. I think hubs would love it if I was a dirtbike gal...but I'm not. I have always had a love affair with street bikes. Infact, have already asked him if he will get me a motorcycle once I get my license. He said I can have the GSXR.

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!

Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!

For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.

In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.

The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.

Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!

For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.

Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts,...
(Psalm 95:1-8 ESV)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

California Dreamin'

I'm sure there are many people who would LOVE to live in California. I'm just not one of them. Maybe it sounds glamorous or seems "bigger than life"...but what it is, is pricey! Crazy expensive! But that's just my opinion, I suppose. (Although, the house in which I currently live was about $171.30 per square foot when we bought it back in 2001. The place we are getting ready to rent was approximately $256 per square foot before the economy crashed. When I went to Texas in 2008, someone had a much bigger home (at least twice the size) than mine for less than what I had financed! Of course, I venture a guess, the rate of pay for jobs is also lower.)

Minimum wage in CA is presently $8.00. The highest state is Washington paying $9.04/ hour , the second is Oregon at $8.80/hr., and third is Vermont with $8.46/hr. (Wyoming and Georgia came in at the lowest paying $5.15/ hr.) (Wikipedia) So what should be deciding factors in where to live in the United States (U.S.)?

I have lived in Northern Cali for twelve years, now. I have watched some friends come, stay for a little bit, then go. Others I met here but now they have gone. Few acquaintances were born here and have stayed. I feel it is my turn to mosey along but that door is still closed, much to my frustration! (Lord! Why?!)

Anyway, back to my question, what should be deciding factors on where to live in the U.S.? Pay? Cost of living? Best schools? Safest cities? Cheapest cities? Family? Friends? Relatives? Faith? Children? Laws? Job opportunities? I'm told (by one individual) I have no clue what to consider when it comes to deciding where to live. I feel that is an inaccurate assessment. To me, family is very important and people take priority over money! But, that's just me. I would prefer to live modestly and be closer to family (immediate, extended, relatives) than live in luxury further away. But, not everyone agrees with that.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. (1 Timothy 6:10 ESV)

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5 ESV)

Schooling for the kiddos is also at the top of my list! At this point I "homeschool" through the Charter School Act however, I am always on the look out for something better! Something that is going to challenge my young ones and inspire them to learn! With each new area in which we live comes a new list of choices...but basically it boils down to public, private, charter, homeschool. Which offers the best for my crew?!

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled....

Slaves are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior. (Titus 2:9, 10 ESV)
(Titus 2:3-5 ESV)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Nothing Without You, Lord!

I am so guilty of getting all wrapped up in the day to day that I forget or bypass what is TRULY important. For example, last night I was putting together a design for something and my first thought, my initial concept was without Christ or God or His word! Thankfully, before I finalized everything and processed it, I came to my senses. Where was God or His precious Son in the project on which I was working? Why in the world had I left out what is most important to me?

Someone once said to me, “I cannot believe people put their religion before everything else, even people!” How could I explain what God means to me? That He is not “religion”! That I love Him and Christ Jesus with all my heart, mind, body, and soul. Can love ever be adequately put into words…whether it is for a parent, child, or spouse? I think not.

But I also know it is not my responsibility or even ability to change hearts. I am simply called to spread the gospel of Jesus! Admittedly, it is hard not to become emotionally invested, though. Especially when it comes to individuals I love dearly and with whom I desire to spend an eternity.

I pray everything about me is a fragrance of Jesus…like the soft sweetness of a flower or the bold fullness of coffee.

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ. (2 Corinthians 2:14-17. ESV.)

I pray for words that reach the depths of songs and the beauty of paintings to share You with the world, Lord, one person at a time.

People generally think those memoirs only worthy to be read or remembered which abound in great or striking events, those, in short, which in a high degree excite either admiration or pity: all others they consign to contempt and oblivion. It is therefore, I confess, not a little hazardous in a private and obscure individual, and a stranger too, thus to solicit the indulgent attention of the public; especially when I own I offer here the history of neither a saint, a hero, nor a tyrant. I believe there are few events in my life, which have not happened to many: it is true the incidents of it are numerous; and, did I consider myself an European, I might say my sufferings were great: but when I compare my lot with that of most of my countrymen, I regard myself as a particular favourite of Heaven, and acknowledge the mercies of Providence in every occurrence of my life. If then the following narrative does not appear sufficiently interesting to engage general attention, let my motive be some excuse for its publication. I am not so foolishly vain as to expect from it either immortality or literary reputation. If it affords any satisfaction to my numerous friends, at whose request it has been written, or in the smallest degree promotes the interests of humanity, the ends for which it was undertaken will be fully attained, and every wish of my heart gratified. Let it therefore be remembered, that, in wishing to avoid censure, I do not aspire to praise. (Pg. 32 & 33.)

To be continued...

(Photo Information.)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Studying the Ugly Truth of Sin

I hate own sin, the sin of others, "respectable" sins, despicable sins, sexual sin, "little" sin (there is no such thing, by the way), "big" sin (actually ALL sin is the same to God, I believe), private sin, public sin, sins of the tongue, name it, I abhor it! Further, it's dang near impossible getting anything done around here with a big ol' plank in my eye! I'm just saying'.

For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. (Romans 14:23 ESV)

"Sin" is the topic of chapter 24 in Wayne Grudem's SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY which covers 20 pages! He begins with "The Definition of Sin" and wraps things up with "The Punishment of Sin", no less. Immediately, I think of Romans 6:23,
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

But what, exactly counts as sin? Jerry Bridges wrote my second favorite book (next to the bible) called RESPECTABLE SINS, in which he lists a few. Fantastic reading, by the way! I highly recommend it! And why do a lot of people hate talking about sin? I do not know.

Grudem states,
Sin includes not only individual acts such as stealing or lying or committing murder, but also attitudes that are contrary to the attitudes God requires of us. We see this already in the Ten Commandments, which not only prohibit sinful actions but also wrong attitudes... Therefore a life that is pleasing to God is one that has moral purity not only in its actions, but also in its desires of heart. In fact, the greatest commandment of all requires that our heart be filled with an attitude of love for God: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength" (Mark 12:30). (Pg. 490)

God can see my heart. And when it has a hint of tarnish, impure motives or ugliness, He knows it!

I thank you, Lord, for this understanding of sin and for Your laws and expectations of me, Your humble servant.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

God and Father of All, Over All, Through All, and In All

Tuesday morning I spent 45 minutes in the car but had so many thoughts during that drive, it felt like half the day had gone.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;

a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 ESV)

I do not have very many “weepy” days (or moments for that matter) but Tuesday (admittedly) I did. There is a bit going on around here…the most important of which was surgery, Tuesday, to remove the cancerous tumor in Sweet Pea’s leg. Overall I am told it went well although a muscle attachment was also taken which could affect motor skills. The doctors are confident they were able to get all of the cancerous tissue and Pea should now be “Cancer Free”! Praise God! I think they are doing one more chemo treatment just to make sure.

It was as though my cup runneth over. A flood of mixed emotions kept the tears coming at various times throughout the day…and not being able to spend this time with Pea and loved ones involved just made it that much harder.

…one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. (Ephesians 4:6-7. ESV.

On this end, we are trying to find a good match, education wise, for the Little Chef. Up to this point, we were with a charter school we really liked. However, I feel for the next few grades, the kiddos need to adjust to not having me involved as much so they will be ready to work one on one with their teachers at the higher levels. The charter school we are currently trying does not quite seem to be the right fit for Little Chef so, the search continues and so do the challenges…but we’ll get through them.

Not to mention, the potential sale of our home has us unsure where we will be heading next. This additional element adds to the puzzle of which school to choose. Without funds for private school, we feel the charter school option is best.

Speaking of our house, an investor is interested in buying it, repairing the “builder issues” and then using it as a rental property. I feel that is EXACTLY what this cute, little place needs! Hubs now has his sights set on more square footage, preferably with some acreage. Presently, an accepted offer is a fabulous thing! Yet, it also means the clock begins and we could be moving in 30 days! Not unreasonable at all, of course…it just puts our “Moving Day” relatively close to Christmas. Without another residence lined up, this puts a pinch on things. But, I have no doubt all will work out splendidly…even if it is not quite what I might have in mind. God establishes my steps and I trust WHOLLY in Him! My Provider. My Protector. My Sovereign King.

Turn to me and be gracious to me,
as is your way with those who love your name.

Keep steady my steps according to your promise,
and let no iniquity get dominion over me.

Redeem me from man's oppression,
that I may keep your precepts.

Make your face shine upon your servant,
and teach me your statutes.

My eyes shed streams of tears,
because people do not keep your law.
(Psalm 119:132-136 ESV)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

JP's Origami General Grievous

The Little Leaguer asked me to look up how to make an origami General Grievous so I went to Youtube where I found this precious video by eight year old, "JP". JP's sweet voice explains his technique as the video goes along. I feel it is so cute and the drawing totally something like what one of my kiddos would make. Yet, some people were downright rude to darling JP which literally brought me to tears. How can individuals be so mean, especially to a child?! Thank you so much, JP, for sharing what you made! I think it is FANTASTIC!!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Earth is Full of the Steadfast Love of the Lord

If I am honest, I will tell you I stalled. I was in no hurry to get there. Sure, I figured it was going to be a fine time...but I was dragging my feet.

"Come on, mom! You said we would leave no later than 10:00!"

They were right. That's what I said, alright. But now it was 10:02 and I was not even cleaned up and ready to go. We did not pull out of the driveway until 11:15. Three stops along the way and we did not arrive until 2:30. Three more hours until sunset. No worries. The Little Leaguer could get in some riding time.

The forecast was not on the bright side...not at all. Low temperatures and rain...a bad combination had we been planning to tent camp. Not this year, thankfully. We were bringing the 80's Dancing Queen! This was way more fun than tent camping! Oh man, to know what I had been missing. And all these years I thought pitching a tent was grand!

As we were driving up on the place a grimacing cloud loomed dumping precipitation on a targeted area.

"I hope that's not where we are heading," I mused out loud.

We had missed the down pour and pulled up to a saturated campsite, but all was bright and cheerful. The generator hummed dependably, leaves rustled gently, and stinky dirt bikes whined loudly. Hubs and the Little Leaguer were in hog heaven! The Little Chef and I were, more or less, just along for the ride. Three days of fresh air and sunshine lovin', no bathing dirty smellin', grit in your teeth mud flingin', good time.

We settled in, nicely...all of us, having brought each and every one of our critters down to the lizard (a bearded dragon named, Simon). This was not a three compartment tent. This was the Dancing Queen...26 feet of 80's Winnebago goodness complete with hot water, shower (sort of), toilet, oven, stove, and pesky air mattresses that go flat in the dead of the night---especially when one is six months big expecting baby (not that I am now, but I did go tent camping on a field trip with the College Kid when I was)---or running to the community outhouse in the early a.m., way before dawn, sporting pajama pants and clutching a winter coat while coyotes whine their eerie call in the distance. Nope! Not this time!

The nights were relatively cold...downright FREEZING to me! Without hook up we were at the mercy of our generator (until it ran out of gas or we were instructed to turn it off, whichever came first). I piled blankets onto the bunk beds for the kiddos. The pug snuggled with one of us, the boxer roughed it on the cold floor (the 1st night and slept with me the second), and the beardie---well, from what I understand the temperatures in the desert are pretty intense, some are crazy hot during the day and (though I could be mistaken) quite a bit nippy after sunset. ---I was a little concerned about the beardie and admittedly wrapped a few blankets around her habitat hoping that would help. But she made it through the the wintry twilight, seemingly without a hitch.

All in all, it was a not too shabby weekend! During the day on Saturday there was a bit of a lull (during which the young bloods were complaining of being bored) but was a writer's dream...peace and quiet, with only the sound of the rain (and hail) on the roof of the R.V. (recreational vehicle). On a whole, it was lovely. Further, by the end of it all, the Little Chef was riding comfortably on my quad (ATV). Being way more conservative than the Little Leaguer, the Little Chef had to work up to trying it.

For the word of the Lord is upright,
and all his work is done in faithfulness.

He loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.
(Psalm 33:4-5. ESV.)

Thursday, November 08, 2012

15 More Things You Might Not Know About Me

Below are 15 more things you might not know about me. (The first 15 are here.)

1. I like to go to the driving range and hit some balls. I do own my own set of clubs however I have never played a round of golf.

2. Hubs and I were married next to the 18th hole on a golf course in Florida.

3. The longest I’ve lived in one house is eleven years. The longest I have lived in one state is eighteen years.

4. I have added Instagram and Pintrest to my list of social networks on which I participate.

5. I am trying my hand at selling Beachbody products like P90X, ChaLean Extreme, Turbo Fire, Body Beast, Les Mills Pump, Shakeology, etc. It is slow going.

6. My favorite candy is Violet Crumble. I have not had any since 2000, though. Guess it's time to order some online.

7. I used to get "Rodeo Day" as a day off from school.

8. One of my favorite sounds is the thunder like crash of waves as they break on the shore or against rocks.

9. One of the best smells is the salty sea air.

10. I have always wanted to go to Space Camp. One of my most watched movies, growing up, was a flick by the same name.

11. One day I would like to own and operate a motorcycle. I loved Ninjas for the longest time, until I discovered Ducati!

12. One day I would like to explore Japan. I have only stopped there (in Tokyo) on a layover, once. I barely had enough time to get off the plane and run to the nearest shop to buy up all the crackers I could. Boy, oh boy, do I love their rice crackers!

13. I enjoy going to Japantown in San Francisco.

14. Ballet is my favorite form of dance. I loved training in it and teaching it to others. My least favorite is hip-hop because I look like a goof trying to execute it! I have a love/hate relationship with tap. It is interesting yet tedious. I over think it.

15. If I had my choice of any style home, I would choose a Victorian.

And, If I had my pick of any kitchen layout, I would select the one pictured below:

We started to have our current kitchen cabinets remodeled similarly but the individual who was working on them disappeared one day...along with almost all of our cabinet doors.

This is the only door we out of twenty-one! This is what they were supposed to look like. I think our kitchen would have been very pretty. But, it remains unfinished. S'ai la vie.

God in the Uncontrollable

The heart of man plans his way,
but the Lord establishes his steps.
(Proverbs 16:9 ESV)

Offers have started coming in on the house and I have to say, I am ecstatically optimistic! If we can be out of here by rainy season, that would be my ideal. But time is ticking and my palms are beginning to sweat! The weather hiccups moments of precipitation but the down pour has not yet begun. The clouds are white and fluffy today as they lazily mosey across the sky however it will not be long before they are plump, gray, and threatening to burst wide open!

But, to where are we going to go? We have yet to find a rental! I remember when hubs and I moved back to the U.S. after spending a year in Australia. We had no home and stayed in a hotel until we were able to find a place. Of course, we were new to this area, then, and did not have the RV (recreational vehicle). Even still, I should sit back, relax, and trust God in ALL things...even something as small as where we will be dwelling, next...a tiny pebble in the massive pond that is the universe. Yet, I believe that something big to me, though possibly insignificant to Him, matters.

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5.)

He goes before me and paves the way, he always has. Similar, in essence, to the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night that lead Moses, Aaron, and the Israelites out of Egypt.

And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people. (Exodus 13:21, 22 ESV)

Currently, we are waiting...and I cannot help wondering, "What comes next?"

I feel God is in everything. He is in the wind, the rain, the laughter of a child. He was, and is, and is to come. He is in the mundane, the challenges, and the storm. He is in the mist and the light...the mountains, the sunset, the crashing waves of the ocean. He is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Romans 1:18-20 ESV)

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

It's Like This, and Like That, and Like This, and Uh...

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8.)

Here I sit, (between doing loads of laundry, dishes, and cleaning) teaching math, language arts, science, history, art, etc. to the young bloods before being whisked away to after school activities...and where I return after a long day to write or read for a little bit before it is time to power down.

Yep, it is that time again! EGGNOG time! My kiddos LOVE the stuff (in moderation, of course)! Funny thing is though, before hubs I had never tasted the delightful, creamy, sugar filled, calorie packed, dessert beverage before! It is almost like a milk shake in a carton. I prefer it a little thicker where hubs likes his thinner. Add some nutmeg and maybe even a splash of rum...

Have you ever tried eggnog pie! If you haven't it is a fluffy, mouth watering, aromatic, guilty pleasure similar to the look and consistency of banana cream pie!

Ranch dressing with a touch of bitterness is just not my idea of a good thing. I have tried all grocery store brands (and then some) and the only soft, light, rich, flavorful one I have found only ships in bulk to restaurants! Boo. And then I found this one. I haven't tasted it it yet, but I have high expectations of it!

I have a gray hair (see it!?) that REFUSES to vacate the premises! What's worse, it has invited some friends to move in, too! Not to mention when the rest of my hair lays nicely, they stick up like neon signs drawing all kinds of attention to themselves...the stark white against dark brown! Sheesh! What's a girl to do?!

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

Sunday, November 04, 2012

PLEASE Pray for Jack!

This amazing little man is Jack! He was diagnosed with Apert Syndrome. He is absolutely incredible and his wonderful mother, Marie, keeps a blog of his journey over at "All Access Pass to Jack".

Jack has recently had to have surgery and I hope you will all join me in praying for him. As you read the post below (reposted with permission) and others from Marie's site, you will see the areas in which fervent prayer is needed! Thank you so much!

This happy guy was sprung from the hospital [October 26th] afternoon. We spent a restless night at the hotel and are on our way home. We took two days to make the trip a little more bearable on the way out but we all just want to get home so we're trying to do the whole drive back in one day.

It's been an exhausting week. This whole trip started a couple of months ago when I happened to send a frontal and profile picture of Jack to Dr. Fearon. He was a bit alarmed by the height of Jack's head and the fact that Jack's forehead appeared to be so far recessed. He advised that Jack return for an anterior cranial vault remodeling to make some more room for brain growth to allow for good blood flow to the brain as well as to prevent or stop any increased intracranial pressure issues.

When we got to Dallas and Jack had his MRI, we were surprised to hear from our neurosurgeon that Jack did not appear to have any pressure issues.

Then we met with Dr. Fearon who continued to advise that we move forward with surgery. He strongly believed that Jack needed more room even if the current MRI did not show increasing ventricle sizes. He reminded us that he usually monitor's the kids' optic nerves and monitors for development of sleep apnea to determine timing of cranial surgeries. Because Jack's optic nerves are already severely damaged and he already has sleep apnea, those methods cannot be used with Jack. Ultimately, David and I decided to trust his experience, expertise, and intuition. And we decided to switch to a more proactive neurosurgeon who works more closely and more often with Dr. Fearon.

The next afternoon, we received confirmation that we made the right decision. Dr. Swift said that Jack's shunt was not working properly and the pressure within the shunt itself was high. Apparently, the shunt valve was clogged and while it allowed the ventricles to drain, they were not draining as they should have. Dr. Swift explained that if the shunt was working properly the band of unfused bone just behind Jack's forehead should have fused. This was news to us since our former neurosurgeon was not bothered by the unfused bone. Apparently the unfused bone worked in Jack's favor since it kept things from getting too much tighter prior to the surgery.

Dr. Fearon and Dr. Swift discussed replacing the shunt while they were already operating on Jack but ultimately decided against it because a properly functioning shunt could cause the brain to not move into the newly created space allowing excess room for the brain to bounce around in. Dr. Swift pulled a lot of cerebral spinal fluid out of the shunt and was concerned about fluid building up again quickly in the ventricles causing the brain to be pushed into the space by rising pressure so he would not allow Jack to leave the hospital without another MRI showing that the slow functioning shunt was not allowing too much fluid to accumulate in the ventricles. Fortunately, the MRI yesterday morning showed ventricles that were unchanged in size.

Unfortunately, when cutting across Jack's brow bone to open up the skull, Dr. Fearon cut across Jack's frontal sinuses. The frontal sinuses are not present at birth. They begin developing around age 8 and continue to grow in size into adolescence. Jack's were large enough that Dr. Fearon cut into them and then had to create a flap over the sinuses to keep bacteria from the sinuses from getting into Jack's brain. Dr. Fearon wants Jack to avoid using his Bipap because he is worried the positive pressure will push any bacteria through the flap. The area needs three to four weeks of healing before we consider using the Bipap again.

Jack's breathing was great in the hospital just after surgery but each day we found that he needed a bit more support--more elevation of the bed and oxygen--to keep his oxygen saturation levels where he needs them. Last night at the hotel, he never really got into a sound deep sleep because he would obstruct his airway and that would wake him up.

Now we go home and wait for Dr. Swift to call. He'll let us know whether he wants to tap the shunt after Jack has had a little time to recover from this surgery or whether he just wants to continue to monitor Jack with MRIs to determine when or if the shunt needs to be removed and replaced.
Thank you for all your prayers so far. We continue to need them.

Remember, Remember the Fifth of November

Remember, remember, the fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot!

November fifth is Guy Fawkes day! Never heard of him? Wikipedia states the following regarding him,
Guy Fawkes (13 April 1570 – 31 January 1606), also known as Guido Fawkes, the name he adopted while fighting for the Spanish in the Low Countries, was a member of a group of provincial English Catholics who planned the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

Each fifth of November the College Kid and I see who remembers it first! Being the quickest draw and promptly texting the other the above nursery rhyme determines the winner. In past years we have even watched the movie, "V for Vendetta" together. My plan this year is to draft the text ahead of time and then send it as fast as possible right at midnight! Of course, the Kid probably has a similar idea.

I'm sure it seems like foolishness (and maybe it is) but the fabulous thing I get out of it is a special "holiday" I share with the College Kid, all to myself. No one else ever joins in...can't imagine why. (Joking.) It is even more precious to me now that the Kid has established a residence separate from ours. I value that connection... especially since, sadly, we do not share a love of the Lord. But I cling to Proverbs 22:6,
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
I feel I did the best I could with the knowledge I had when the College Kid and Second Born were children. Prayerfully, one day, each of them will receive grace by faith.

Is There An "Age of Accountability"?

I think I am going to go back to reading SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY: AN INTRODUCTION TO BIBLICAL DOCTRINE by Wayne Grudem. As I have mentioned before, it a meaty read of 57 chapters spanning 1,146 pages. I believe I made it 1/3 of the way through it before I put it down. But it is such a great read!

For example, regarding the "age of accountability" Grudem states,
Some maintain that Scripture teaches an "age of accountability" before which young children are not held responsible for sin and are not counted guilty before God. However, the passages noted...about "inherited sin" indicate that even before birth children have a guilty standing before God and a sinful nature that not only gives them a tendency to sin but also causes God to view them as "sinners". "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me" (Ps. 51:5). (Grudem, Wayne. SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY: AN INTRODUCTION TO BIBLICAL DOCTRINE. Zondervan. 1994. Pg. 499.)

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;according to your abundant mercyblot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions,and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinnedand done what is evil in your sight,so that you may be justified in your wordsand blameless in your judgment.
(Psalm 51:1-4 ESV)

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Friday, November 02, 2012

God in the Mundane

“Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.” ― Jim Elliot
I wonder in what scripture this statement is rooted. Maybe 1 Thessalonians 5:18,
give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Being "all here" is VERY difficult for me because my parents, brother, relatives and most of my friends live elsewhere, and I desire to be with them, too! I can't help but feel somewhat alone here in Cali. And yet, I have been here since 1998. (I do have one cousin on this coast...but in WA. My immediate family is here with me, of course. And that, is where my focus should be held...on the ones who depend on me.)

Even in the typical day, God is there! Okay, this particular day was not quite my usual...though there were lots of chores to do and errands to run. Generally, the day begins with doing school work with the kiddos and then goes from there. This has become quite the challenge as the Little Chef is no longer in elementary grades and feels the need to argue with me and sometimes even flatly refuse to do the work. Such resistance does not go over well with me and I tend to get frustrated. How do I get this one to understand the importance of this education and how thankful one should be for such knowledge in all subjects?! There are so many who can barely read or write!

After hours of mind numbing lessons and a slough of math problems, it was off to the store for a small list of groceries, a set of pajamas, a book for a literary curriculum, and a new day light and Omnivore mix for the Beardie (bearded dragon, Simon). Now, no excursion with me would be complete without forgetting something. Yep, I did, of course...the book! If it is not on the list on my flip phone (yes, I know, I should upgrade), it gets overlooked. Psh!

This late afternoon we stop at the pet store for listed items and walk away with added treats for Simon and the dogs (Sydney the Pug and Brutus the white Boxer). Crickets for the beardie and canine cookies for Syd and the Brute. They were cheap, okay?! No biggie. Suddenly, I had a thought once we returned home. Every other time we have gotten Simon grasshoppers...not crickets! As evening came I started to notice a foreign sound. Yep, chirping! Which, no less, continued all... night... long! Darn crickets! They are out in the garage now.

After all was said and done the evening concluded with kiddos in bed and wine :30. Does one need a reason to indulge in a glass (or two) of Pinot Noir? Not in my book. The laundry and cleaning got done, the children were trained up, the dinner was made, the pets spoiled, and hubs was assisted. I think that about covers it.

An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life....
17 She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night....
20 She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy....
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
(Proverbs 31:10-12, 17-18, 20, 25-30. ESV.)

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Hallowed Be Thy Name

"Hallowed", meaning "regarded as holy; venerated; sacred: Hallowed be Thy name; the hallowed saints;". (

"Hallowed saints" as in "All Saints' Day", "Allhallows Eve: observed especially by children in costumes who solicit treats, often by threatening minor pranks.". (

Please forgive me for being curt but I prefer not to be judged (or judge others) because I allow my children to play dress up in public and "solicit treats" one day out of the year. I feel it is my heart, and the heart of my children, that matter regarding this topic and only God can see those so it is difficult for anyone else to form an accurate assessment. With that said, I do not have ill feelings toward people who steer clear of "Hallowe'en" in general as a reverence toward God and Christ Jesus.

To me, observing "Hallowe'en" does not mean I disrespect or dishonor God just as my wearing black does not represent I am "emo", practicing dark arts, or worshipping satan.

Now that, that is out of the way...I must say, "Hallowe'en" is not one of my favorite "holidays" because of what it has become. As a child, my brother and I had fantastic costumes...a painter, Peter Pan and Tinker Bell, Mickey or Minnie Mouse, to name a few. it was fun, innocent, amusing to wear funny clothes and get treats! Only compared to Easter did I get so many sweets! This is what I pass down to my children. Sometimes we make funny faces on pumpkins, I carve them out, and then I bake and eat the seeds! (I LOVE pumpkin seeds.) Sometimes I place glow sticks in them and put them on the front porch. There is no malice in it. It means nothing to us but playfulness.

Personally, I am not a fan of gore, macabre, horror, witch craft, satanism, or the like that some individuals add to October 31st for whatever their reasons...a lot of times claiming pagan or wiccan practices. I suppose it means something different to each depending on their beliefs...just as Christmas is a celebration of the birth of our Savior to followers of Christ and others view it as simply a time to spend with family and give gifts.

Generally speaking, my crew and I spend this evening each year at a church function whether it is a "trunk or treat", carnival, etc. Last time we were merely attendees. This time we volunteered ourselves and resources and participated wholly, helping to create the environment for others to enjoy.

It was called, "Awesome Autumn" and each of us came up with some sort of game to be played out of the back of our vehicles. Ours was a carnival Wii game. Kiddos competed against each other in "midway" type challenges, on the gaming console. All received candy as a prize. I fully expected ours to be the most popular but really, I have a sneaky suspicion the "hay ride" was the favorite! Ba humbug! Just joking.

I even had a getup! Can you tell what I was, from the picture? It is a shout out to my former years...a ballerina! (I could only find one leg warmer, though, and instead of real pointe shoes I wore dance sneakers...on which I can still go "on pointe".). The Little Chef was a "Ghostbuster" (from the movie) and the Little Leaguer was "Boba Fett" (from Star Wars, of course)! Great merriment was had by all, I do believe!

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? (James 4:10-12 ESV)


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