Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Controversy Settled - Part 3

This is a continuation from yesterday....

If you want to catch up on my previous posts regarding this subject (it might make more sense what I'm doing here), here is PART 1 and PART 2.

There are other verses that used to "throw" me as far as words being omitted, added, or changed altogether. If you've ever been in this camp or are there now, I'm sure you have felt the same way. This book "The King James Only Controversy" probably covers all of those questionable verses and explains why. The main reason is "textual criticism." All of the available original texts/manuscripts are studied and compared, and then the best translation possible is given in each instance. Then why so many different versions? Remember, "men" translated the Bible. Men who are not perfect. The words of the original writers were divinely inspired by God - not the translators. Some things can be translated in different ways and in a group of translators, there will be differing opinions as to what is the best translation. That is why I've come to realize that it can be a good thing to study different versions - see what each has to say. It certainly deepens the understanding. There were many verses in the KJV that used to confuse me, but I dared not look anywhere else for help. I'm mainly using a NKJV now (I also like the ESV), and almost daily one of those verses will occur to me, and I will go look it up and almost always gain some clarity as to what was intended.

"Those who use a modern translation that was produced by godly men who were seeking simply to follow the best texts of the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament, and to faithfully translate those texts into the English language, can have great confidence that they are reading God's Word in the best form in which it can be found in their language. The comparison of these translations against one another only serves to sharpen our understanding of the intention of the original authors. And when textual variants appear in footnotes or in comparison with the KJV, believers can be assured that these things arose not because of some attempt to hide the truth from them, but due to the very understandable actions of scribes down through the centuries who were themselves doing their best to accurately copy those precious manuscripts. Rather than being fearful that they can't be "certain" about what God has revealed, they should rejoice that God has made it possible for them to have and hold His Word, and they should seek to obey His will that is so clearly presented therein. The preacher and teacher can proclaim God's truth from the pages of such a translation with the full assurance that he is proclaiming the whole counsel of God, and can trust God with the results." (JRW)

Before I end this post for the day, I'll provide the following verses as examples of how different translators came up with different terms:

Genesis 36:24 (KJV)
And these [are] the children of Zibeon; both Ajah, and Anah: this [was that] Anah that found the mules in the wilderness, as he fed the asses of Zibeon his father.

Genesis 36:24 (NKJV)
These [were] the sons of Zibeon: both Ajah and Anah. This [was the] Anah who found the water in the wilderness as he pastured the donkeys of his father Zibeon.

"In Genesis 36:24, all Hebrew manuscripts and other ancient authorities read "found water"; whereas the KJV reads "found mules" following a medieval Jewish commentator." (JRW)

-----------------

Isaiah 19:10 (KJV)
And they shall be broken in the purposes thereof, all that make sluices [and] ponds for fish.

Isaiah 19:10 (NKJV)
And its foundations will be broken. All who make wages [will be] troubled of soul.

"In Isaiah 19:10, all Hebrew manuscripts read "soul"; whereas the KJV reads "fish," following the Roman Catholic Latin Vulgate." (JRW)

-----------------

I could give other examples, but I probably need to stop at this point. This was just another piece of the puzzle that made me realize that I would be better served if I, during various studies, studied more than one Bible version. There are some instances where the KJV has a better translation and other instances where another version may have a better translation. That is why I've discovered that "prejudice" regarding Bible versions is not a good thing.

Part 4
Summary

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Controversy Settled - Part 2

If you missed Part 1, you can CLICK HERE.

I am now going to share with you some of the things I believed or took for granted but through study have come to realize they are just not so.

1) Misconception ~ The KJV was divinely inspired and is the standard by which all other versions should be based upon.

1) Truth - "Our standard must always be found in the question, "What did the original author of Scripture say at this point?" We must be concerned to know the words of Moses and David and Isaiah and Matthew and Paul first; the words of the translators in 1611 may be important, but they cannot take precedence over the words that were the direct result of the divine inspiration." (James R. White)

In other words, it is the original texts in the original languages - Greek, Hebrew - that were divinely inspired. All modern versions, as well as the KJV, are simply translations of those texts.


2) Misconception - There are several verses that had changes that used to concern me, as well as the deletions, omissions, etc., that were found throughout the new versions. For example, one of the verses in the newer versions that really used to disturb me is Isaiah 14:12:

KJV - How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

The NASB exchanges "O Lucifer" for "O star of the morning" and NIV says "O morning star."

2) Truth - "......if one dares to translate the Hebrew by another term, such as "star of the morning" or "morning star" one will be accused of removing "Lucifer" from the Bible! Such a "change" surely "preaches" well, and this example is often used as the "capper" to prove the true intention of the "devilish modern versions."....one would do well to take a second look and discover that the very translations being accused of "hiding Lucifer's name" refer to Satan, the accuser, the "old serpent," the devil, each and every time the term appears in Scripture. Again, the inconsistency of the argument is striking." (JRW)

In other words, if the modern translations are trying to remove "Satan" from the Bible, why did they not do it at every occurrence?

" "But," someone is to retort, "isn't Jesus the 'morning star' at Revelation 22:16?" Yes, He certainly is. "So, doesn't translating Isaiah 14:12 with 'morning star' identify Jesus with Lucifer? Aren't the modern translations trying to connect Jesus with the devil?" Only if one does not read things in context very well. The person under discussion in Isaiah 14 is obviously not the Lord Jesus Christ, and how anyone could possibly confuse the person who is obviously under the wrath of God in that passage with the Lord Jesus is hard to imagine. Further, aren't the terms being used in Isaiah 14 sarcastic in nature? Didn't this person claim lofty titles that were proven to be misapplied?" (JRW)

Now I get it. Other verses/deletions/omissions that confused or concerned me have similar explanations. I've come to realize that if the modern version translators were trying to remove Satan from the Bible or take away from the Deity of Jesus Christ, they did a very poor job of it.

I'll continue with more tomorrow.

Part 3
Part 4
Summary

Monday, March 29, 2010

Controversy Settled - Part 1

I almost hesitate to even begin this series, but on the other hand, I feel like I "need" to as a result of some things I've written on this blog in the past. I've realized that it's time to "set the record straight," (as far as my view point) so as carefully as I know how, that's what I'm going to try to do this week.

Looking back at some of my previous posts, I've mentioned before how I "cringe" at some of the things I've written. Just the other day, I was looking back at a post where I was discussing something that God has completely changed my heart on. I was tempted to delete the entire post, but instead, I added a "NOTE:" at the end describing my current feelings. I like to look back and see how God has worked in my life, but I don't want to be a stumblingblock to anyone either, so I felt it necessary to add an "addendum" just in case anyone should ever have an occasion to read it.

In this particular post, I was talking about Bible versions and how the many different versions are to blame for the many different churches, false doctrines, etc. I now clearly see that was a statement made out of ignorance. While there may be some funky versions out there that are just wrong, I have now come to believe that the most popular ones that people are using (NKJV, NASB, NIV, ESV among others) are not to be counted in that number.

In another post, I commented about how an author of a particular book had confused me by using so many different Bible versions to prove her points. I now have a better understanding of why she did that.

This topic is going to have to be divided up into a few different posts so I don't overwhelm anyone who cares to read on, and I'll start with a bit of the story here.

The only churches I've attended in my life have been small Southern Baptist churches or independent Baptist churches. It is mainly within these denominations (of course there are others, but these are the main ones - and to be fair, there are probably some that don't fit into this category either) that you will hear the "KJV Only" discussions or see the "KJV 1611" on their church signs. Those are the churches that I've been a part of. These churches have been huge blessings in my life, and I'm not taking away from any of that. I'm just saying that "KJV only" is the usual stance taken. So, that's all I've ever known. At one church, D.A. Waite did a week long seminar about the whole subject, so after hearing all he had to say, I was pretty much set for life as far as my "chosen" Bible version.

Along the way, I would hear preachers and teachers and meet with women that I greatly respected who were using different versions, and I would question why they were doing so but never really enough to look deeper into it.

A couple of years ago, we began reading websites, studying books, and listening to sermons by men like John Piper, John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, etc. During their teaching, they would use NASB, NKJV, ESV, etc., and having come to respect these men as men who were strong in their teaching of doctrine and presenting the "whole counsel of God," I was questioning - "now how are they doing this without using the KJV?"

So, Brad and I approached our pastor about this subject, and as always, he was able to give us all the information we were seeking.

Now, I could have just started using the other versions without having a good reason except that men and women I respected were using them, but I needed to know for sure that it was "okay" first. I'm not one to do things just because others are doing it. I need to know that it is okay with God.

So, he and his family invited us over for supper one evening, and afterwards he brought out several books and also had copies of several different Greek and Hebrew manuscripts. In the space of a few hours, he gave us a quick lesson in how the new versions have been translated, and to add to the information he had provided, he also recommended two books for us to read. We purchased both, and I am almost finished with one of them "The King James Only Controversy" by James R. White (interestingly, he cites many quotes by D.A. Waite).

As I've been studying this through, I have to say it has been like a burden that I didn't even know I had has been lifted. When your KJV only, you are caught up in a very emotional issue. And let me just say that I think it is okay to be KJV only, but I no longer think it is okay to say that everyone should be that way and that the other versions are wrong and only the KJV is right. Over the next few posts, I'm going to share with you how God changed my heart on this issue. There were some particular reasons why I never wanted to use any other version - things I had been taught - and I want to share the other side of this story.

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Summary

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Be Thou My Vision

I learned last week that one of my favorite hymns was based on a poem that was written in honor of St. Patrick - you know, the St. Patrick we honored a week ago today. I also never knew what an awesome missionary he was and how many he reached for Christ. I think we'll start taking that day a little more seriously around here.

I like this version of Be Thou My Vision by 4Him. The pictures don't really make sense, but I couldn't find the hymn without a video.

Amelia and Cari and Matthew

Amelia and Cari recently moved back in together. Amelia did not want to sleep by herself in her room, and apparently Matthew being in there didn't count. The fun of having her own space sort of wore off for Cari, too, and she really wanted to move back to her old room. So, a few weeks ago, we made the change. Their room looks really cute and cozy. Cari had purchased a hot pink comforter after Christmas that was a cute contrast with her green walls in her other room, and it looks nice in contrast with Amelia's black/white comforter with hot pink trim in their shared room. I still haven't found curtains for them yet, and I think it will be complete when I do. I took some pictures, but my short lens on the camera is not working, so I wasn't able to get everything in one shot.





After Matthew was born, I had wondered if I would keep his future room (the one Cari had) in Longhorn colors or paint it green and do John Deere stuff. I guess Cari made that decision for me when she wanted to paint it green. I am so glad she didn't choose bright pink or orange! The switch was fairly painless, and now I have to start decorating his room, but he doesn't seem to be in any hurry. :>)

In other news, the LHOP fans (Amelia and Cari) received new pinafores this past weekend - courtesy of my mom, the seamstress. I had them pose for some pictures ~





Matthew was sitting next to them, so I grabbed a quick shot of him, too. The flash was a bit much for his little eyes in this one.


After taking his picture, he ALWAYS wants me to turn the camera around so he can see the stored picture on the back of the camera. If I don't, this is what he does ~


He's finally starting to say some more words, and yesterday he started saying "apple." It sounds a little more like "bapple." Madison noticed it first when he went to the fruit drawer in the refrigerator and pointed and said "bapple." He loves to eat apples, so I guess it is fitting that "bapple" would be one of his first words.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Happy Birthday, Brad!

Today is my husband's birthday, but we celebrated yesterday. Madison has softball practice tonight, and we wanted everyone to be in on the celebration, so we did it a day earlier. That made it more of a surprise, too, since he wasn't expecting anything the day before his birthday. I fixed some of his favorite foods - grilled cheeseburgers along with homemade guacamole dip and chips. This was followed by Slow Cooker Brownie Peanut Butter Pudding topped with vanilla ice cream (from The Cake Doctor Returns! book) Extremely rich and sweet but yummy!

We were hiding around the table when he came home from work. When he turned the corner out of the kitchen, we yelled "Surprise," and I took a quick picture. I can hardly ever get him to smile for a picture, so I thought that maybe he would during a "surprise attack." It worked!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Birthdays and Softball

What a fun weekend! It started on Friday evening when my family came over to celebrate Brad and Alex's (my brother-in-law) birthdays. I fixed supper (venison tenderloin wrapped in bacon, homemade mac & cheese, baked beans, sweet potato casserole, seven layer salad, and whole wheat rolls), and my dad brought the delicious birthday cakes - one for each (coconut for Alex and chocolate for Brad). During all of the excitement and conversation (mostly political), I never got a picture of the birthday boys.

But I did get a picture of Brad on Saturday morning when he left out early for his first day of turkey hunting. He and his friends saw some turkeys but didn't get anything after some dogs scared the turkeys away. Maybe next time.



Madison, Matthew and I were also up early for her first softball tournament of the year (Cari and Amelia were at my mom and dad's for the first half of the day). She has been looking forward to wearing her new uniform, and I told her that even if they didn't win, they would definitely be the best looking team on the fields that day - and that was very true! They didn't win, but they did look sharp.

Posing beforehand.

Playing third base.

They played four games. She never made it on base in the first game, but after her coach made her switch bats, she had some good hits in the other three games, and I believe made it on base every time.

Then yesterday was perfect. Church, followed by a rainy afternoon. Matthew took a long nap, and so did I. I drifted off to sleep hearing the rain hit against the windows in my bedroom - that is one of my favorite things to do.

Yesterday afternoon, Brad was preparing for the lesson he was going to teach at church last night, and Matthew decided he needed to join him. He went to the kitchen drawer where I keep pens and found one. He then walked over to the table and climbed up in the chair beside Brad and began doing his own lesson. It was too cute to not get a picture of.

Friday, March 19, 2010

No More Refrigerator Mysteries



My sister gave me a set of these bowls for Christmas. In case you are wondering why, the fact is that, when asked, I like to request purposeful, practical, useful gifts. Since I'm the manager of this home, I'm always looking for ways to make my job a little easier. That wasn't necessarily my intent when I asked for food storage containers, but it has worked out that way. I asked for them because I'm a bit cheap when it comes to some things but finally came to the realization that what I was using was no longer working. For the most part, my previous storehouse of containers consisted of leftover sour cream containers, jumbo yogurt containers, etc. They worked okay but were not very pretty nor were they very reliable in some instances. Plus, often I would put leftovers in them, and over time if the leftovers were not used up soon, I would forget and assume I had "yogurt" or "sour cream." I would get quite a surprise at times - you know, like science experiment type stuff.

The biggest benefit to these see-through containers is that my refrigerator is staying cleaned out. I had declined to mention it until now as I wanted to make sure my theory was going to prove true, and it has been three months since Christmas, and that does seem to be the case. So, if you're tired of refrigerator mysteries at your home and don't have any see-through containers, I highly recommend these Food Network containers. They are quite sturdy and very well made, and they suction shut when you snap the lid in place. There are snaps on all four sides, and you can't snap them all properly unless the lid is on correctly, so you know your food is well taken care of. They wash easily, and overall, they were just what I needed. Thanks, Angela!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My Preschooler's First Lesson in Photography




Over the past few months, I have been trying to give more attention to my 4-year-old's school time. With an 8th grader and a 5th grader, some days there isn't much time left for her "school" time. She really enjoys school right now and often asks, "Can I do my work yet?" She completed some workbooks at the beginning of the year rather quickly that I had ordered from Christian Light Education, but I found similar additional worksheets on a web site, TLSBooks.com. They are free and printable, and that, for the most part, is where most of her "work" has come from this year. She knows her letters, numbers, colors, most shapes, etc., so now we're mainly working on letter sounds, handwriting, reviewing shapes, and counting.

For pre-K Bible lessons, I like A Kids Heart.

I believe I have mentioned how much I love the company Timberdoodle. On their recommendation, I ordered a couple of things from them for her. I've mentioned the science experiment set on here before, and I also purchased My First Brain Box, which we've all enjoyed playing.

I think she'll be ready for kindergarten next year, and my plan now is to order the complete kindergarten curriculum package, since so many things they have recommended are things that I've used and stuck with over the years, and I'm looking forward to trying out the things I haven't used before.

We've also been trying to go to story time at a nearby library. The librarian there is a great storyteller. She not only reads to them, but they sing songs, too. She always has a coloring page to give them afterwards that goes along with her stories. It's really an educational experience! A local home school group has playtime afterwards, and we're starting to meet with them sometimes, too.

(A funny story that is off topic from this post: Yesterday, it was confirmed that Matthew is officially scared of stickers. ??? In a store the other day, someone gave him a Transformers sticker, and I thought that maybe it was the ugly picture on the sticker that was scaring him. But yesterday, the librarian gave him a cute leprechaun sticker for St. Patrick's Day, and he vigorously shook his head "no" just as he had done with the Transformer sticker. Hilarious but a bit strange.)

Back to Amelia ~ Yesterday, she got to enjoy a quick photography "lesson," and I let her use our camera for the first time. Here's the documentation of that ~

A little higher....

Higher....

You've almost got it!

She found me!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A New Book, Same Theme

I'm actually reading two books right now. Things can get a little scattered around here sometimes, so when I have the opportunity, I usually just pick up the one that's closest to me and read. They're on two completely different subjects, so there's no confusion involved - though it wouldn't take much sometimes!

When God Writes Your Love Story by Eric and Leslie Ludy is one that I'm reading. I've mentioned the other one several times by Leslie that I read recently, and this is just more along those same lines. To reiterate, I'm not reading this for me. Thankfully, my love story has been written. I'm reading it for my children, looking for any help and useful advice that I can find to give them in this area. I'll have each of them read this book in due time. So far, it's living up to its good reputation, and I read something last night that will be good for discussion this morning.

The question is asked, "Is It a Chore or a Choice?" (The following is Leslie speaking.)

When I was eight, my parents forced me into slave labor; they made me clean up the kitchen every night after dinner. I wasn't too thrilled about such a chore, and I made sure to let them know it.....But no matter how much I despised cleaning up the kitchen, I always did it anyway. Why? Because I knew that negative consequences would result if I didn't......I can remember one evening when my parents went out for the night. The kitchen was a mess, but no one asked me to clean it. I got the brilliant idea to do something special for Mom and Dad. So I set to work, all by myself, and scrubbed the dishes. I did an extra-careful job to get them sparkling clean. I even wiped up the counters and swept the floor. I couldn't wait for my parents to come home and notice what I'd done......I actually enjoyed the whole process. Why? Because I was motivated not by a rule but by love for my parents.

When obeying God is a chore we are forced to do, it becomes a lifeless act of drudgery and we complain the whole way through. God becomes the Big-No-Fun-One who is trying to make our lives miserable.

But when we learn who God really is and we base our decisions on a passionate love for Him, we find joy and delight in obedience. We even want to go that extra mile for Him.


Thankfully, we've had some prayers answered in this new area of our lives, but I know there are many more prayers to be prayed. With God by my side, we're going to fight to the finish on this one. I pray He'll help me to be intentional in this delicate area to teach and guide, and in the process, He'll be holding their hearts and they'll be receptive to His truths, His ways. This reminds me of what we were reading yesterday morning during our morning devotion:

Proverbs 3:1-8
My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands; For length of days and long life And peace they will add to you. Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart, [And] so find favor and high esteem In the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.


In the next section, the question is brought up that you may hear often in youth group sessions, at least that's what they say. I've never been in such, and for our family, we intentionally looked for a church that didn't have a youth group per se. I'm not saying all youth groups are bad, I'm sure there are some great ones out there with some fine Christian young men and women in attendance - you just never know, and it really wasn't something we wanted to have to deal with. A friend of mine commented the other day about how Madison seemed to really enjoy our church. She asked if there was a big youth group - I guess assuming that is the usual reason that teenagers enjoy going to church. I told her that we didn't have one, and it occurred to me at that moment that I should be thankful for what my friend had noticed.

Back to the big question... How far is too far? "This question is really a code for asking, How much can I get away with and not make God mad? It's not even a question a devoted follower of Christ should be asking in the first place. Rather, we should be motivated by an entirely different question: How far can I possibly go to bring joy to the heart of my heavenly Father in this area of life?"

Okay, so maybe this book is for me, too. I think the above referenced sentences are a great thought in regards to dating, etc., but are there other areas in my life where I wonder how far I can go without making God mad? Hmmm. Definitely food for thought on this early Tuesday morning.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Happy Monday

Madison asked me earlier why it is that some people dislike Mondays so much. I tried to explain to her the concept behind that, and in doing so, I got to thinking how Monday is one of my favorite days right now. It is the only day of the week that we do not have any commitments, and I could possibly stay in my p.j.'s all day if I wanted to. I like that very much. Now I really wouldn't want it to be like that everyday, as we would all go a little stir crazy if we never had anywhere to go, but I'm certainly thankful for my Mondays right now.

I've also been thinking about yesterday's Sunday School lesson. Every class and age group at our church is studying the same thing right now, which makes for great discussion during family devotions. It's a series of lessons from John Piper, and they are all about teaching us Who God is, His attributes, etc. So far, we've learned He's Incomprehensible, YHWH - Lord, Eternal, Creator, Glorious, Wise, Almighty, Sovereign, Provider, and yesterday we learned He is Self-Sufficient. God doesn't need anything. What does God need to exist? Nothing. Does He need air? No. We are totally dependent, but God doesn't need anything. Even when we say we're trying to live more self-sufficient, we still need the things that He has created in order to be "self-sufficient." He needs nothing from us. He doesn't even "need" our praise. But He commands it. Why? "The practice of praise helps us focus on God's character and not our problems. It gives us inner joy and peace no matter the outcome."

Psalm 8
To the Chief Musician. On the instrument of Gath. [fn] A Psalm of David. O LORD, our Lord, How excellent [is] Your name in all the earth, Who have set Your glory above the heavens! Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength, Because of Your enemies, That You may silence the enemy and the avenger.
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, [fn] And You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all [things] under his feet, All sheep and oxen-- Even the beasts of the field, The birds of the air, And the fish of the sea That pass through the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, How excellent [is] Your name in all the earth!


Psalm 147:1
Praise the LORD! For [it is] good to sing praises to our God; For [it is] pleasant, [and] praise is beautiful.


Remember the story of Paul and Silas (Acts 16:16-34)? In verse 25, they were singing through the trial. As I truly ponder their situation, I see how "hard" that could have been, but they made it look easy. Praise reminds us to put our trust in Christ no matter the circumstances.

Journaling is a great way to remember to praise God. As I look back over the course of my life (which is much easier to do if I've written about it), I can look back and see the many times that God intervened, answered prayer, sent unexpected blessings, etc. I have found blogging to be the easiest way to do that. As I looked back at my blog a year ago this month, I noticed that I only blogged three times last March. I know there must have been much more to say during that time, and I find myself wondering what I missed, which blessings and praises I failed to report, and I realize that I need to be more diligent about that.

I should also be more diligent about finishing up my Monday chores, so I better go tie up those loose ends. In the meantime, Happy Monday!

Friday, March 12, 2010

So Long, Juke

I just returned from my weekly trip to the grocery store, and I thought I'd blog a bit while I'm eating some oatmeal and before I wake the kiddos. (I usually let them sleep late on Fridays.) I am so glad that my new job allows me to still make my Friday morning grocery run before Brad leaves for work. I'm getting enough work to keep me happily busy Monday through Thursday, and then Friday is a day off. Love it! My other company occasionally gives me work on Fridays, but it is usually so little that I can do it when I return from the store. I am so thankful for the way God has worked all of this out!

I've got a good bit to do today, so I guess I can only sit here as long as my oatmeal lasts. I'm going to eat slowly.... We're having several people over tonight, so I have some quick house cleaning to do. We haven't been home much this week, but things have not gotten too out of hand. We've just had to do our school work at rather strange times, but as long as it gets completed, that's all that matters.

My sister was wanting to see Alice in Wonderland and so were my oldest two children. She offered to take them on Tuesday, so we met her in Newnan, had a quick lunch, and then they went to the theater while Matthew, Amelia, and I went to a nearby park. (Johnny Depp sort of freaks me out, and his character looked rather strange (again) in this movie. So, I didn't care anything about seeing it. But now that I've heard about it - my sister and the girls loved it - I may have to see it when it comes out on DVD.) If you'd like to see some pictures from their movie experience, you can CLICK HERE.

Before we headed to the park that day, my sister pointed me in the direction of the Verizon store. My two-year contract was up this week, and I was SO ready to get a new phone. I've been living with a Juke for two years.



I remember it well. It was a Sunday afternoon in 2008, and Brad was on the Verizon web site and said, "Hey, you can get a new phone now." I think I had just woke up from a nap, and I remember going over to the computer and quickly scanning the free phones I could get. In a matter of five minutes or so, I chose the Juke. I was pregnant at the time, and I have been known to make bad decisions while pregnant, and this was clearly an example of that. Now, I'm not a gadget guru who has to have the top of the line phone. We don't have an internet plan or even texting on our phones, so all I need is something to talk into. Unfortunately, for the past two years I've felt like I've been talking into a pencil. I know I could have purchased another phone, but I like FREE, so I dealt with it. I've never had any problems with it, and it's had a great battery, so I really can't complain about its function. It was just the size that drove me crazy.

So, I was very intentional this time around about going to the store first and looking at the phones before ordering online. My new phone arrived yesterday. The Escapade...



I'm pleased, and I love the fact that it's big. I told Madison that I would almost take one of those huge 80s phones after using the Juke. I like a phone that puts the part you talk into at your mouth, and this one is big enough to do that. Brad has one of those short phones where the mouthpiece (or whatever you call it) is about at your cheekbone. That would drive me crazy, too. So, I'm happy now with my phone situation. Yesterday was officially the first day of the rest of my life without the Juke.

In other news, yesterday I cut Amelia's hair for the first time. I didn't really think about it until yesterday, but she will be five years old in July, and it was the first time that scissors have ever touched her hair. It was getting really long but quite uneven and a little unhealthy as she is always wanting me to flat iron her hair. I probably cut two to three inches off, but she looks really cute.




Also yesterday, I went to a funeral. It was for the brother of my friend, Terri. On the way there, I was taking the children to my mom and dad's to stay while I went to the funeral. I said, "I hate going to funerals." Madison made a good point. She said, "If you enjoyed it, I think you would have problems." True.

Then when I got home last night, I received a phone call that one of my classmates had a massive heart attack! People my age are not supposed to have heart attacks. At least that's what I thought. He lives in Florida now, and I heard that he's in ICU at the moment after having surgery for 100% blockage. Please remember Shane in your prayers as you're reminded.

My oatmeal is gone, so I guess my time is up. But before I end, I have a quick prayer ~ Dear Lord, thank you for the week that you've blessed me with and that my biggest worry has been what kind of phone to get. I am surrounded by people at the moment with much bigger worries - real problems that need real answers, hurts that need healing, and those who need an additional boost of strength for their journey. Please be with these people and give them the help they are seeking, and if there is anything I can do to help, please show me. I know that You, God, are in control of everything. You send blessings and you also allow the hardships to come our way, all these things come in order for Your purposes to be fulfilled. Thank You for Your mercy, Your grace, and Your longsuffering towards us. We don't deserve these things, but because of Jesus, You give us all these things and so much more. Thank you. In Jesus wonderful name, Amen.

Ephesians 1:11-14 (ESV)
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Our Favorite Salad

Craisin Salad
My friend, Heather, was the one who introduced us to this recipe. She brought it over one evening when we were having dinner at our house. She gave me the recipe, and we've enjoyed it many times since. I was making it last night and couldn't find my recipe at first, so I looked it up on the internet and found it easily. But for easier reference, I thought I would add it to my blog for my benefit as well as your's if you'd like to give it a try!

Here are the ingredients:

1 bag (or bunch) of Romaine lettuce
1 c (8 oz) shredded Swiss cheese
1 c cashews (salted or not)
6 oz bag Craisins
1 Granny Smith apple cut into cubes with skin
1 pear cut into cubes with skin

Mix salad ingredients except fruit. Mix dressing and refrigerate. Just before serving, cut up pear and apple and add to salad. Toss in dressing (recipe follows).

Poppy Seed Dressing:
1/2 c sugar
1/3 c lemon juice
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 c oil
1 Tbsp. poppy seeds

I put the above in a mason jar, twist on the lid tightly, and then shake until well mixed.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Is there a cake doctor in the house?

The weekend of Cari's basketball tournament was also my dad's birthday weekend. We were trying to plan when to do the party, and it was decided we would shoot for Saturday evening. If her games lasted into the afternoon, they would just have to start without us.

My dad likes German chocolate cake, so I usually try to make him one every year. They usually turn out well with two exceptions. A few years ago, I tried to make him a "healthy" German chocolate cake. I used the freshly ground wheat flour, no refined white sugar - just honey and sucanat. It was edible, but it was probably more like something you would eat for breakfast rather than put birthday candles on. The next day I made him an unhealthy version and took it over, since I was sure he was not thrilled about enduring the healthy one.

This year was the other exception. I had a short time span to make this cake as we had to leave after lunch for Cari's tournament. I had many other things to do that morning, so I was rushing through the baking process. I got the cake mixed together, poured it into the three layer cake pans, and popped them in the oven. About five minutes later when I was cleaning up, I looked over and noticed the bowl of egg whites that I had neglected to add to the batter. I thought, "Well, the yolks of the eggs are in there, so everything should be fine." When the baking time was over, I noticed that the cakes had not risen nearly as much as usual, as this recipe generally makes a big, fluffy cake. Not this time. After they cooled, I attempted to pry them out of the pans. I guess the heaviness of the cakes maybe combined with not enough oil and flour on the pan to begin with made for a bad situation. I finally got the layers out, but unfortunately, each layer was a crumbled mess. There was absolutely no time to make another one, so I squished and squashed and molded, sat on it (not really) and did my best to salvage what was there. The positive thing is that it did still taste good. I put it together the best I could and when I handed it over to my parents, I promised them that it had not fallen on the floor. I am now going to show you a picture of it. I know you're going to not believe that I actually gave that to someone looking like it did, but like it said, it did taste good, and I knew we would figure out some way to eat it. And we did.


Sad. Very, very sad.
While at the library this week, I picked up this book, "The Cake Doctor Returns."
She takes basic cake mixes and adds ingredients that make them taste more like homemade. She even has a recipe in there for German chocolate cake that I think I'll give a try, as I think I definitely earned a chance for a redo. There are a few others I'd like to try also. She also gives a lot of helpful hints. One hint was in regard to what to do if your cake is too crumbly. She says to put it in a dessert cup and then add rum or something on top. I wouldn't do the rum, but I guess I could dollop some of the icing on top or sort of layer the crumbs and the icing in the dessert cup. But hopefully that won't happen again, but you never know.

I don't think Paul had cake baking in mind when he wrote this, but it made me feel better anyway.

And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

This episode was just another reminder of how imperfect I am and how grateful I am to serve a God who is perfect in every way.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Snow Day - 3/2/10


I think I pulled Amelia's hat too far down.




Here I am looking a bit like Rudolph. I was trying to make a Bevo "snow-longhorn".


I guess Matthew worked up an appetite. I later found him perusing the fridge.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Lot to Talk About

We ended up with a record of 4 out of 6 getting the stomach virus. I felt pretty yucky on Friday but was starting to feel better on Saturday. I took Amelia to a birthday party Saturday morning. It's rare that I get to do anything one on one with my children, so I had been looking forward to taking her. When we got in the car to leave, she said, "it's just you and me, mommy!" She seemed quite surprised about that. The party was for her sweet friend, Bentley. Amelia had fun, but unfortunately, as the party went on, Bentley appeared to not be feeling too well, and before we left, the stomach virus was obviously making a visit to their home. Being sick any day is no fun, but on your birthday, now that is especially rotten.

Bentley's mom is very talented and artistic. I love the cake that she made for the party.



I took some pictures of Amelia at the party, as I was pretty sure I remembered that Bentley does not like to have her picture taken, and I didn't know any of the other children.


It was a dress-up party, and Amelia enjoyed wearing a little makeup. She was going to have her hair "professionally" done, but she opted to play instead.


This is what you do after a birthday party.

In other news, I've been looking around our home the past few weeks and trying to find ways to be more organized and at the same time, make our home more cozy, inviting, etc. One area in particular was our entertainment center in the living room. At an after Thanksgiving sale year before last, we purchased a new TV. It was a flat screen and needed something to sit on as our previous TV had been a big screen TV that just sat on the floor. (I'm sure there's a proper name for that, but my mind is blank right now.) My father-in-law was visiting and had offered to purchase us a TV stand as our Christmas present. Matthew was just a couple of weeks old - and I remember being pretty exhausted, we were putting up the Christmas tree, and it was pouring down rain outside. I obviously did not want to go anywhere, so Brad and his dad set out to find a TV stand. I gave few instructions and just told them to find something that would match our end tables or to just go with something black, as that usually works. They came back with a black TV stand that seemed to be okay, but as time went on and I began to start sleeping a little more and the fog began to clear from my mind, I realized that it just didn't look right. But it was a gift, and that makes it a little harder to get rid of too quickly. Well, it's now been over a year, and I would think the "respectable time of keeping" has come to an end. So, I've been scanning Craig's List and EBay and our local ads looking for something.

Over the weekend, we saw an ad on Craig's List for an armoire that was nearby. He and Brad e-mailed back and forth, and although I really needed to go to the library yesterday, I stayed around the house and waited for him to call as he said he would. He called sometime after lunch and said we could meet at the storage building around 3:00. He had some errands to run and would give me a call when he was ready. He finally called around 4:45, and it was obviously too late to go to the library (but I guess that's beside the point of this story, huh?), and I grabbed Cari and headed to the storage building. Why Cari? Well, I needed Madison to stay home and watch Matthew and Amelia in case we needed to pull down the middle row of seats. If there were a car full of kids, that would not have been possible. Cari was my next biggest choice. She's never taken karate but feels pretty strongly that she could do it if she needed to. I said a prayer that this guy would be safe and that Cari and I would not have to pull out the Kung Fu. Thankfully, the karate was not needed, and we're obviously home safe and sound.

He was there waiting when we arrived and had the armoire cleaned up and sitting at the door for us. I immediately thought that it would work but went ahead and tested the doors and pulled out the drawers to make sure they worked. When I pulled out one of the drawers, there was a wallet and a green silk box in the bottom. He said, "Oh, that's the rest of mother." I just looked up and smiled politely thinking that was the rest of her estate. I got out of the way so he could get her stuff, and he said, "Really, this is the rest of mother" - pointing at the green box. I said, "Oh." Awkward silence. Apparently, he had taken part of her to California and was taking the rest to Mobile but just hadn't got around to it yet. Moving on ~

I paid him for the armoire, and miraculously, we fit it into the back of the car. The trunk couldn't close, but we tied it down. I wished him well on his new adventure - apparently he is getting a divorce and preparing to go live on a sailboat. I said "goodbye," and Cari and I headed home.

We got home, and I quickly fixed our supper of lasagna and this delicious salad. Afterwards, Brad and I made the switch, and here's the before and after pictures. It is such a better fit with the rest of our furniture. I know you can't see the rest of our furniture, but I'm telling the truth.


What a horrible mess!


I put all the Little House on the Prairie DVDs in the basket on top so Matthew can quit playing with them, and most of the other DVDs I put in a big DVD zip-up case with individual pockets and threw away all the plastic DVD cases that they came in. This definitely was a space saver!

Doesn't that make you just breathe a little easier?

Last on my list of things to talk about is that for the third or fourth time this year, it is snowing like crazy outside! When you home school, snow days aren't that big of a deal. But maybe they'll get their work finished a little more quickly so they can go outside and play. (If it looks like it's going to melt, I'll let them go out anyway.) It looks like we may not make it to the library again today. We'll see. What I do know is that it definitely looks like a good night to make some chili for supper!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Finished

I finally finished the Set Apart Femininity book this morning. It's a keeper. I like this quote by Amy Carmichael that was the final words of the last chapter ---

Comrades, let us be resolute. Let us, by whatever name we are called, be Soldiers, Nazarites, Priests. Some will praise us, some will blame us; let us not care too much about either praise or blame. Let us live looking up, looking on, standing true by the grace of Him who has called us.