27 February 2010


Often, after dinner, my children choose to run around the dining room table playing some LOUD game while Dennis and I sit, trying to talk before we banish them to another room. This evening, they were galloping around the table and Annalivia kept yelling LOUDLY something about "Tessa".
"Who's Tessa?" I asked.
"Our sleddog" she replied.
"I have a horse!" added Daniel. "His name is Burrboo."
"Biboo?" I asked.
"NO! BURRboo!" he clarified.
Annalivia chimed in wisely, "Daniel, that's a hard name. Why don't you name him Parachute?
... Or Tony."

For those worried about the "patriarchal" church we now attend...

... (and you know who you are)...

Today my children spent a long time playing "church." They turned two plastic storage bins on end to create pulpits, used the stick end of a hobby horse for a microphone, passed out children's bibles and pink and purple blocks for communion, and turned on Rutter's Gloria for the music.

Annalivia brought the sermon.

So far, so good... :)

26 February 2010

Whatsoever things are LOVELY

I thought it interesting that the word we translate "lovely" is only used right here in the New Testament. It means "acceptable" or "pleasing", but I've always thought of it as "beautiful" and when I think of beautiful things in the Bible, I think of many gorgeous word pictures in the scriptures. So here are some that I'll be pondering today...

1. How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!" (Is. 52:7)

2. Many waters cannot quench love; neither can the floods drown it (Song of Songs 8:7)

3. I will lift my eyes up to the hills; from whence shall my help come? My help comes only from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth (Ps. 121)

4. The Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words (Romans 8:26)

Whatsoever things are PURE

Yesterday was Annalivia's birthday. In addition to thinking about that happy event 5 (FIVE!!!) years ago, I was thinking on these things...
1. God's pure gift God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but shall have everlasting life (Jn. 3:16)
2. Jesus' pure gift Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. (Jn 15:13)
3. The Spirit's pure gift But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Gal 5:22-23a)

24 February 2010

Whatsoever things are RIGHT

I've had such a great time doing some in-depth study on this passage and these words. The word translated "right" in many translations is also translated "just" in others. It is used to describe "righteousness" far more than in other ways and that's what Dennis and I ended up pondering last night. It took us a while to come up with scriptures using "right" or "righteousness". But here is what we're pondering today...

1. Righteousness is a gift from God "He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake" Ps. 23:3b

2. Righteousness fulfills "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied" Mt. 5:6

3. Righteousness protects "Stand firm, therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness..." Eph. 6:14

4. Righteousness takes courage "The righteous one shall live by faith" Rom. 1:17b

23 February 2010

Whatsoever things are NOBLE

The Greek word translated "noble" in the NIV means "worthy of respect". Here are those things on which we will be thinking today...

1. God is Creator of the universe "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth" Gen 1.1

2. God is Creator of me "For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb." Ps. 139

3. Jesus defeated death "For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death has no mastery over him." Romans 6:9

4. Jesus died for us. "For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God." 1 Peter 3:18

5. Jesus creates us anew "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Cor. 5:17

22 February 2010

Whatsoever things are TRUE

Four true things Dennis and I have been thinking on today...

1. God loves me. "God shows his love for us in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us." Rom. 5:8

2. God is faithful again and again. "Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, 'The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.'" Lam. 3:22-24

3. All things WILL work. "All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose" Rom. 8:28

4. Children are a gift. "Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior so are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate." Ps. 127:3-4

Number 4 may have been targeted to a Momma stuck inside with sick children. ;)

21 February 2010

Philippians 4:8 challenge

Today, our pastor began a sermon series on sin and his first sermon was on disciplining our thoughts. During the course of the sermon, he encouraged us to read Philippians 4:8...

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things."

He pointed out that there are seven categories of "whatsoever things" (as the KJV would say) and that there also happen to be seven days in a week. So he challenged us to assign each category to a day of the week, come up with four or five specific things under each category: true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, praiseworthy, and be purposeful about thinking on such things for that day.

So, we made our lists and tomorrow, we'll be thinking about four or five things that are true throughout the day. We'll see whether it changes things for us this week!

20 February 2010

The "What would you do with..." game

Tonight, after dinner, we played a fun game as a family. We found four items -- a box, a basket with handles, a foam sword, and a long scarf/ shawl and then, using one item at a time, we asked each person in the family, "What would you do with... a basket?" Then we acted out our responses and we had to guess how each person was using the item.

It was a lot of fun! Daniel didn't quite get the concept, but Annalivia was really clever! She came up with some great pantomimes. The sword was by far the best item. We used it as a toothpick, a guitar, dragon-fighting sword (Daniel), a metal detector, skiing poles, a walking stick, a dragon-fighting sword, a flute, a brake on a train, a shovel, a horse, a pen, and a dragon-fighting sword about 8 more times...among other things.

We only played the game for about 25 minutes. It ended while we were all really enjoying it and that was good. But I think we're going to do it again sometime soon.

Does anyone else have games you play with your family? I'd love to know what other families enjoy together.

18 February 2010


We all got sick here this week. Annalivia got the flu on Saturday evening. Daniel threw up on Tuesday. Emmeliese got sick Wednesday afternoon and I got it Wednesday night. We're all praying it will miss Daddy.

The four of us without a paying job have been inside since Saturday. Today, it was sunny and 32 degrees out, so we all got on our slippers and walked out to the front porch where the sun was shining. We came in when we were cold five minutes later. It was a good breather.

We are all in varying stages of recovery. I have a headache. Emmeliese is fussy and frustrated by everything. Daniel and Annalivia are both eating regular food now, but Daniel is getting very tired (and hence, fussy) in the afternoon.

BUT -- in the midst of this, as I was praying at some point for healing for a child, I realized that I really do take for granted the other 360 days in a year when we are all healthy beyond most of the world's populations' imagining. There are so many for whom that ratio works the other way. May I be mindful...

17 February 2010

Ash Wednesday

Listening to Fernando...

All flesh is like the grass

The grass withers and fades away
The glory of man like a flower
that shrivels in the sun and falls

But the word of the Lord endures forever.

16 February 2010

Twenty thoughts for Tuesday

I keep starting posts and then not having time to finish them, but here are some blurbs to record...
  1. My whole family gathered in Eastern Iowa at the end of January to celebrate my brother-in-law's installation as Senior Pastor of his church. My sister leads worship at the contemporary service and their band played music that they had composed for the service. One was a song my sister wrote with her testimony. It was incredibly cool and it worked in a bird-of-prey, which made this sister laugh in the midst of tears. They are a couple who is truly gifted by God and I'm excited to see what God will do with them there in this new position.

  2. We celebrated Daniel's 3rd birthday on Feb. 7. It was a good day. I was particularly excited by the cake which was completely my own design and incorporated construction vehicles. He loved it.

  3. I have MONTHS worth of pictures to post. But I've misplaced the camera cable again. Someday there will be a place for that thing and it will be in its place. Someday.

  4. Dennis has been working like crazy on our house. He is so amazing. My dad has also been putting in a ton of time redoing the walls. They look SO good. Or they will one day, I guess. It's just awesome to see the fruits of their hard work.

  5. I gave up facebook for Lent and I started with this sacrifice a week early. It's amazing how much that cut down on my email.

  6. If I weren't in the midst of working on a big event for my alma mater and sorority at the end of April, I would just completely unplug for Lent and maybe beyond. But, unfortunately, I need to be available for some communication. Alas. I am seriously thinking that someday, we'll just get rid of the internet.

  7. We went to a Valentine's Day dinner at church on Sat. It was put on by the youth group to raise money for a mission trip and they offered free childcare. Dennis and I got to sit by each other at a card table in candlelight with lovely music, great food and truly sweet, attentive servers. It was delightful.

  8. Annalivia got sick that night. We thought perhaps it was just a fluke, since she was up and running the next day, but Daniel got sick last night. So we are quarantined and the house is a mess, but the kids are relatively happy.

  9. I wonder -- why don't children begin throwing up during the day? Why always in the middle of the night?

  10. I'm reading some really good books right now. Three of them are kicking my rear-end in three different, but related ways. It is uncomfortable, but the process of spiritual growth is such a rich process. It's neat to experience.

  11. Annalivia has, I think, arrived at the age where she wants to wear three or four different outfits. In a morning. I suppose I should be thankful this didn't come earlier.

  12. Emmeliese is getting ready to walk. We got her a walker for Christmas and she LOVES to push it, but can't turn it. This means she's thrilled for about 10 seconds as she heads across a room and then dissolves into tears and dramatic fussing until someone (usually a sibling) rescues her and turns her walker around. This process then repeats itself until someone (usually a parent) gets tired of listening to all the crying and puts the walker away for a bit.

  13. She also learned how to climb up the stairs this weekend. ALL the way up the stairs. I have no idea how, but the kids broke the junky wooden gate we had, which didn't really fit the stairs anyway. Since this is a rental, we can't afix anything to the wall permanently and the gates simply don't fit. So yesterday, I resorted to the age-old solution of turning a heavy chair on its side. And today she figured out how to move it. *sigh*

  14. We have become Olympic junkies again. I love the Olympics, especially the winter games. I don't love the way we stay up too late every. single. stinkin'. day. But the games are among the best argument for tv, I think.

  15. Since I'm watching the Olympics, I see commercials for products that I didn't know existed. Annalivia, who usually watches mostly PBS, sees them, too, and is constantly telling me about "this really great cleaner that you can buy and it makes things sparkle" and "this really great medicine that takes care of headaches and can help you be happy" and other "really great" stuff.

  16. I have also been seeing commercials for shows I didn't know existed and I think it's interesting that Spike Lee is doing a show on the lineage of famous people a few weeks after PBS began airing their version. In difficult times, are we, as a nation, yearning for examples of those who have come before us and persevered? I wonder.

  17. Speaking of non-commercial television and such -- I think it hilarious that when my children play super-heroes, Annalivia is Word Girl and Daniel is Super Why or they are from the Electric Company and use dryer lint to create word balls. They're already PBS nerds.

  18. And speaking of Daniel, one of the new developments around here is that he has a new imaginary friend. His name is Cutter-Man. I think Cutter-Man gets to use scissors freely, unlike his oppressed creator.

  19. I'm working on a new background for my blog for Lent. Did you know that there is a DEARTH of good Christian digital scrapbooking resources? Seriously -- if anyone out there is into design of digi-scrapping materials, there is an unaddressed market.

  20. I'm excited for Lent tomorrow. I LOVE Lent and though we now attend a fairly non-liturgical church that does not celebrate Lent, we are going to be observing it here at home. I hope I can share more about that tonight because I KNOW everyone will want to go to bed super-early after being up half the night with the vomiting brother. That will happen, right?