Thursday, January 31, 2008


I am amazed to report that Audrey slept from 9pm to 8:30 am last night! This, after only one night of letting her cry. Incredible. Now I just have to sleep train myself again, since I tossed and turned most of the night, first anticipating her waking up and crying for two hours again, and then playing the "Is she okay? Yes, she's fine!" game in my head. :)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Somebody tell my kids it's naptime now?

I'm waiting for the girls to finally give up and go to bed. Hannah slept 12 hours last night, she might not be tired. Audrey slept about 6...and so did I.

We took the girls to Dr P last night for the first time. Going to a first appointment with him is somewhat of an investment, so we haven't been able to do it before now. He tested them for food allergies, which was fascinating to me. I knew we were missing a couple of things that just weren't working with their bodies. Hannah can't do gluten, yeast, eggs (she's just not a bread person!), dairy, peanuts or cashews. Audrey can't do corn, soy, dairy or egg. The yeast and the egg issues are new to me, although they make perfect sense, because food intolerances tend to run in families.

The biggest thing that came from the visit though, was he told us that we HAVE to get Audrey to sleep through the night. The girl has been waking up to eat once or twice a night since she was born. She'll be 17 months this week. We're tired. The thing is, she and Hannah share a room, and it always has seemed easier to just go get Audrey, feed her and put her right back to bed instead of listen to her scream (and then listen to Hannah scream AT her.) According to Dr P though, it's not that simple. He says people get fibromyalgia and chronic fatique from not sleeping through the night. He says babies ought to be sleeping through the night by 8 weeks! Hannah was, but I just chalked that up to different personalities.

Anyway, all that to say, last night we put Hannah in a pack'n'play in the living room for the night, and let Audrey cry herself back to sleep when she woke up. Not very fun. She only cried on and off for about 2 hours total, and she never really got THAT upset, but it was hard anyway. I cried a little too. Dr P says training kids to sleep takes 3 nights if nothing else is bothering their system (food allergies, etc.) and then they will do it. So, we'll try it. I typically need 9 hours of sleep per night in order to be functional, and I still feel tired, but maybe that's because I haven't slept all night since before Audrey was born? :) Audrey seemed fine this morning, giving hugs and playing happily with Hannah. I'm always afraid my kids will feel like I abandoned them with this kind of thing...but she was fine. I was the wreck. But maybe we'll sleep soon?

What are your sleep experiences with kids?


I discovered this morning that Delia's sells 36" inseam jeans for about $40. This is a revelation, as any of you ladies who have long legs will attest. Now if I could just bring myself to buy clothes on the internet...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I left a comment on a friend's blog today. I had a great conversation with another friend today. In different ways, both conversations were about insecurities.

I have been told by several people over the years that I look like I have it all together. "You just have this comforting presence." It's very flattering to be told that, to be sure. However, let me be the first to say I'm insecure. I wonder what people think of me. I rehearse conversations and feel stupid for comments I make, even days later when there's no way anyone but me remembers what I said. I find it very interesting that each one of us seems to believe we are the only one who's afraid of what other people think.

Going back to my pet subject right now - the 7 Habits book. There is a way to break free from all of this. The book says that we should live our lives based on principles. We should have a list of things we believe in, and make all of our decisions in life based on those things. For example, in my life, when I get to the day of my funeral, I would hope that people would say about me, "She put her family first. She had lots of other interests, and accomplished many, many things. But her family was always first."

Example: In order to do this, occasionally I may have to make a decision somebody else doesn't like. We may have to miss something important. I may look flaky (I HATE looking flaky). But what it boils down to, is that I have made decisions based on what I believe. This gives me a tremendous amount of confidence in my decisions. I can know without a doubt that I made the right one, even if somebody else doesn't like it.

I think all of life can be lived this way. I'm a ways from that, but I'm going that direction. What do I believe about marriage? What do I believe about raising children? What do I believe about finances? What do I believe about the way a home should be kept? What do I believe about friendship? What do I believe about ministry? And, what priority does each of those things take? What comes first? We have to do this on a personal level and on a family level, because our priorities need to line up with our spouse's or we will have arguments about that all the time.

Bottom line: when we live based on principles, we don't have to be tossed around by everyone else's opinion. Other people's opinions don't matter all that much, unless they are an authority figure in your life and you've chosen to take their opinions to heart so that you can grow - we all need that as well.

What do you guys think about this?

Monday, January 28, 2008


From the Unsinkable Kristen, whose blog I stumbled across when I was bored one day. I like her sense of humor and attitude. :)

1. Do you wear a name tag at work?
Not at this point.

2. What kind of car do you drive?
A 2001 White VW Jetta, like 50% of the rest of the state.

3. What do you order when you go to Taco Bell?
2 crunchy tacos with no cheese. It's the only thing that doesn't make me sick.

4. Have you ever had a garage sale?
Yes, we had one before we moved last summer.

5. What color is your iPod?
Don't own one. We have a Creative Zen Micro. It's white. Boring, but much cheaper to pay $15/month for Napster than $1 per song for ITunes.

6. What kind of dog do you have?
I'd like to get one sometime...

7. What's for dinner tonight?
Chicken of some kind along with brown rice and peas, probably.

8. What is the last alcoholic beverage you had?
Banana Daquiri...on our honeymoon in Mexico. It was yummy.

9. Stupidest thing you ever did with your cell phone?
I'm pretty good with those.

10. Last time you were sick?
Had a cold last week.

11. How long is your hair?
It brushes my shoulders. I'm about to chop it again.

12. Are you happy right now?
Other than being pretty tired, yes.

13. What did you say last?
"Goodnight, girls. Take a nap."

14. Who came over last?
Mom and sister Amy on Friday

16. Have your brothers or sisters ever told you that you were adopted?
Don't think so. We didn't buy things like that from each other, and I am the oldest so I got even less of it.

17. What is your favorite key chain on your keys?
There's only one - the knight I bought at a castle in Germany.

18. What was the last movie you watched at home?
I watched part of Ocean's 13 again yesterday

19. What is in your pocket?

20. Who introduced you to your crush?
Nick introduced himself to me the first day of school at ORU. I thought he was terribly friendly and a little bit dorky. :)

21. Where do you hurt?
Right in the middle of my back. I need an adjustment.

22. Has someone ever made you a Build-A-Bear?
Nick and I made one on a date once. Hannah loves it now.

23. What DVD is in your DVD player?
Little People. It is the worst thing you've ever seen, and Audrey requests it every day.

24. What's something fun you did today?
My day thus far has been uneventful. I should have done something fun.

26. Has your house ever been TPd?
Not mine.

27. What do you think of when you hear the word 'meow'?
My brother Nathan. He...never mind.

28. What are you listening to right now?
The fan we set up on the computer so it doesn't overheat and shut off. Anyone want to buy me a new laptop?

29. Drinkin?
Ice water.

30. What is your favorite aisle at Wal-Mart?
I'm quite fond of the cooking stuff.

31. When is your birthday?
June 4th. My cousin Lindsey's is the same day and so is Liz's.

32. What's the area code for your cell phone?
Why do you care?

33. Where did you buy the shirt you're wearing now?
Charlotte Russe. Amy picked it out for me. It was $6.

34. Is there anything hanging from your rear view mirror?
Not today.

35. How many states in the US have you been to?
I don't feel like figuring this out. Lots.

37. What are you going to do after this?
Teach piano for 2 hours.

38. Who was the last person you went shopping with?
We all went to Target Saturday night. We got diapers and sippy cups. Hannah was thrilled with this.

40. What about your favorite dessert?
Carrot Cake

41. What is something you need to go shopping for?
My stove needs a new burner for some reason. It quit working. I need breakfast stuff. I have had the itch to clothes shop for weeks, but one must have clothes money if one is going to clothes shop. Difficulties...

42. Do you have the same name as one of your relatives?
No, but half of my generation is named Sara(h)

43. What kind of car do your siblings drive?
Another white Jetta (not kidding), a black XTerra, and a gray...SUV thingy.

44. Do you like pickles?
Not really. I'll eat one sweet pickle in a pinch.

45. What about olives?

47. What is your favorite kind of juice?
Juice makes my blood sugar do weird things. I'm not into feeling shaky

48. Do you have any tan lines?
Not at this time

49. What hospital were you born in?
St. Jude

50. Do you remember the name of your kindergarten teacher?
My mother. :)

Monday Highlights

Quick today, because I have spent WAY too much time on the internet the past few days...

1. Sister-in-law Michelle is coming to visit on Saturday.
2. The girls are going to Dr P tomorrow night. Yay!
3. I'm helping work on my 10 year high school reunion. How in the world has it been 10 years since I graduated from high school?
4. I'm still feeling great. Nick told me the other day that I haven't been this happy and had this much energy since college. That's a good thing to know. Wish I had cut out eggs years ago!
5. Nick worked on the Jeep for 10 full hours over the weekend to replace the water pump. It was far harder than he or his dad (who helped guide him through it) expected. Kinda sad to lose our whole weekend together, but at least it's fixed now. He did it!
6. We were well enough to go to church yesterday. Yay! It was really good.
7. Exciting news is forthcoming. No, I am not pregnant. :)
8. We are getting a nice tax refund. Yay again!
9. A girl I graduated from high school with is going to watch the girls for us Friday night. Yay again! We've been trying to figure out how to have dates consistently, and this is a huge blessing for us.
10. I am really tired today, after the weekend of Nick working on the car. I am so thankful to not be a single parent most of the time. It's tough!

Better go take care of fussy children. What are your highlights?

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Would you all still be my friends if I told you I was listening to Natasha Bedingfield today...and liking it?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

On Being Happy

I have read in multiple places over the years that you can choose to be happy. I supposed it must be true, since so many people said it, but it also seemed rather far-fetched to me. If hard things are going on in your life, how can you be happy anyway?

So! I'm currently reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The very first habit in the book is "Be Proactive." Essentially what this boils down to, is become someone who is truly independent of other people and circumstances. You make the decisions - others don't get to make them for you. This involves what he calls "re-scripting" yourself - changing the patterns you have played out your entire life, and in many cases, the patterns your parents and others taught you to play out. If "A" happens, you have always responded with "B", but what you would really like to do is "C", so you decide to do "C" instead of "B". As humans, we have this ability.

The book goes into detail on this, telling the story of a man in a German concentration camp. He realized during his inprisonment, that the only freedom the Nazis could not take from him, was the freedom to choose his own response. He began to imagine himself speaking to thousands about his experiences in the concentration camp, bascially creating a reality for himself that he had no guarantee would ever happen in his life. However, it helped him survive with his soul intact. And he did get out. And he did speak to thousands.

My point is: if a guy in a concentration camp can do this, so can someone stuck in a job they don't like. Or a mom at home with kids, doing dishes and laundry and wiping noses all day. We can decide - we have that ability.

As I considered this, I realized something. The biggest hurdle keeping me from deciding to be happy, is my sense of "rights." For example, today. Audrey was in bed with me all night because she had fever. Hannah is cranky. My nose is running nonstop. Don't I have a right to be frustrated? Don't I have a right to feel like this day is a waste? Well, maybe. But what would be the purpose? To make it worse for myself? To make myself and the kids MORE miserable? To prove to Nick how hard I worked today and get his sympathy, when he comes home and I'm fried? Sounds like a good time.

Obviously we're human - we're going to get tired. But we all know there's a huge difference between happy-tired and cranky-tired. :)

This is too hard to do in my own strength, but when I feel myself start to get off track, I can stop, take a deep breath, pray, and make my decision. New habits are hard to form, but not impossible. So, this is where I'm at.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Monday Highlights

1. Hannah is sick again. She got that nasty cold thing. Here are the things I'm giving her, in case anyone is interested.
Elderberry (find one without nasty stuff like sugar and alchohol; glycerine is okay. I do only straight Elderberry, without echinacea or things like that, because they can cause allergic reactions/rashes)
Euphorbium (this is great homeopathic stuff for stuffy noses and sinus infections. It actually does make you feel better, and no side effects!)
Colloidal Silver (helps kill infections)
Powdered DGL (helps heal mucus membranes like throats)
Normally I would also give a probiotic, (make sure it's at a different time from the silver - they cancel each other out) but the one I have gives her diarrhea.
I'm fighting it too, and I'm taking 1,000mg of Vitamin C at least twice a day. I can't do too much more than that since Audrey is still nursing, or else I would.

2. It was 10 degrees when we got home from running errands last night. Brrr.

3. I am very excited. For a while I've been having stomach issues and I couldn't figure out what the problem was. The other day, my mom said in passing, "Eggs used to hurt your stomach when you were a kid." She never told me this. Dr P does food allergy testing - that never showed up. So, I tried it. No eggs, no bread with eggs in it, nothin'. I am well. For the first time in literally years. I can't say I'm terribly excited about never eating eggs again, but I sure am excited to not be sick every day any more. I'm pretty sure this (and the prenatal vitamin I took while pregnant - that made me sick too) has been the source of my tiredness and lack of stamina... The last time I remember feeling good was on our honeymoon 3 1/2 years ago. As carefully as I eat, I always knew I ought to be feeling better than I did. Now I do! Okay, dropping it. For now.

4. We are down to one car...and a rather shaky one at that. The water pump on the Jeep went out on Thursday, and the Jetta has a tough time starting in the bitter cold because it needs a different O2 sensor. Thankfully, we had budgeted the money to fix cars this week! The Jeep broke the day we had money to fix it. Isn't that neato? God provides...

5. Hopefully, my mom's group starts up again this week, assuming kids are well. I have missed my friends!

6. Still reading the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. So much to chew on. So much help for things that have always frustrated me about life. If you're ready to honestly evaluate yourself and make the positive changes you have always needed to make, get this book. I keep wanting to blog about it, but I don't know where to start.

I better go start my day. Yes, it is 11:30a. We had a long night. (Did I mention I feel GREAT?)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Fluoride is nasty stuff

Not to mention dangerous. I tend to be ridiculously sensitive to stuff, but if I use fluoride toothpaste or even drink some brands of bottled water, I get sore muscles in the front of my neck. It is bizarre. Fluoride is naturally occuring in certain food. Contrary to current practices, we don't need it in our water or our toothpaste, especially kids' toothpaste. Too much is poisonous.


Here's a good suggestion. Nick and I do this some, but can also do it better.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Doing it all

Kim wrote a really good blog today about prioritizing, making tough decisions, and how no mom does absolutely everything. It was a good reminder. We have to focus on what God has asked us to do, and not be threatened by what God has asked other people to do.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tired Day

I have not been to bed before midnight in the past three days, I think. There is no good reason for this. However, it is catching up with me.

Hannah did not sleep well last night, so she slept in until 10:30 this morning. That threw off our schedule, and now the girls are likely to tag-team naps all day, meaning I don't get a break, nor do we get to go anywhere. I've been in the house since Sunday night.

We had a play-date this morning (Hi Joanna!), and we had a great time, as did the kids. However, after about an hour and a half, I felt myself shut down. It had nothing to do with the company or the activity. I do this quite a bit. I'm good for an hour, but then I can't think of anything else to say, and I have no energy left.

No idea what to do about this, but I don't like it.

Monday, January 14, 2008

This is pretty weird

Have you seen this? Little girls are going through puberty at ridiculously young ages. The alternative medicine community blames it on endocrine disruptors, chemicals in all kinds of cleaners, as well as pesticides in meat and produce. Pretty creepy, and yet another reason to go green with cleaners and buy organic!

Monday Highlights

1. Kids are well. I can't believe this is finally true.

2. The baby shower went very well, I thought. I found a recipe for punch (just mix raspberry shebet, ginger ale, and frozen raspberries in a punch bowl) that was a complete hit. Of course, it was so sweet that I could only stand about two sips of it, but everybody else raved about it. :) I also found a punch bowl with 12 matching glass cups at Kirkland's for $10. I love that place!

3. I got lots of sleep over the weekend. That is a definite highlight.

4. Business stuff continues to move forward. I'll have to share new events soon.

5. New Norah Jones playing on Napster today. When did this come out?

6. Ordered a new book on today. It's called The Go-getter. It's on Dave Ramsey's recommended reading list. So, we'll add that to the list of...oh...8 books to be finished.

7. Possibly another major snow storm moving in tomorow night. This is not so much a highlight, I suppose. It's COLD, people! It is January...

What are your highlights?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Ode to the Taco Bell guy

Long ago and far away, the incredible Josh played electric in a band I was in. He has crafted the funniest blog I have ever read. I laughed until I cried.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Colloidal Silver

Here's an article about colloidal silver that I found interesting. We use it all the time against all kinds of sickness, and it works great. Each of my kids has only been on antibiotics once in their lives because of this stuff. There are many people who say it's dangerous and they refuse to use it because of what happened to this guy, but if you scroll down and read Dr. Mercola's comments, you'll see the truth. :)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Good for the soul

These people just completed an international adoption of two boys from Africa. It's not their first adoption, but I am loving watching the process. What a gift to a child who needs love! I have never been particularly drawn to adoption, to be honest, but this kind of story makes me think about it for the first time.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Monday Highlights

1. Kids and Nick were sick with a stomach thing on and off all week. It's not bad - just enough to make them uncomfortable...and cranky. Ill be SO glad when it's over. I'm fine. And going to stay that way, thank you.
2. Mom's 49th birthday tomorrow. My mom is so young still. She says we're going to Cracker Barrel for dinner and then going bowling. She loves to have fun.
3. I'm hosting a baby shower at my house on Saturday for the first time. I'm really looking forward to it, but also feel a little shy and awkward about trying to make it fun and comfortable. Anybody have good ideas on games, food, decor?
4. New School of Worship term starts this week. Wahoo! I have one student this ten week session, along with my three others. I had four others, but one broke his arm and shoulder skiing last week. Poor guy. My student count is dwindling. I need to either advertise, or start making money somewhere else!
5. Snow is heading our way - 3-5 inches of it. It's supposed to start at 3 or 4pm.
6. All of our Christmas decor is stacked on the back of the piano. For real. I need to go get the boxes out and put it away.

Alright. The girls are taking early naps, and I'm off to do my yoga and eat a quiet lunch. Nice. Tell me your highlights!

Be Stubborn

I'm beginning to value stubbornness. I know we aren't supposed to insist on being right, be impossible to correct, or be unwilling to compromise during arguments. Neither Nick nor I is a stubborn person. We've been thankful for that, because we don't argue often and our arguments are typically quickly resolved. But there is something to be said for tenacity, for being unwilling to let go of what we believe, even in spite of circumstances or opposition. Hang in there with me, let me explain.

I've been reading 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I tried to read it in college, back when it was the trendy thing to read, but I couldn't digest it. I wasn't ready for its message. I'm about halfway through, and the one phrase summary of the book so far is: you decide how the world looks to you. Everybody has obstacles. Everybody has things they could point to as the reason they cannot succeed in living the life they want to. But, like the 1st habit teaches, the only freedom that cannot be taken away from us, is the freedom to decide how we respond to stimuli. No matter what happens to us, we can decide our response. This is something God has put into humans that sets us apart from animals. We are not creatures purely of instinct or habit.

My mom faced tons of opposition when I was a kid. She and my dad homeschooled, fed us healthy food, and left the church denomination of our heritage. Many of our relatives and friends did not understand why and were very critical at times. I asked mom once how she did that. "I'm stubborn," was the answer. She was able, partially because of her stubbornness, to cling to what she believed, the way she felt God was leading her, in spite of opposition.

I wrote my friend Kim an email last week, asking how she got through the experiences of her early marriage. As I read her post, telling a part of her story I hadn't heard, I was struck by the joy she had, in spite of her baby being sick. Honestly, it was humbling. It was a needed kick in the pants to my attitude. I want to post her response, because I think she says it well.

No there are no easy answers. I have thought a lot about why we
responded the way we did. Part is just really good fortune. I have always been
doggedly optimistic. Also more than a bit stubborn. All it takes is someone
saying "you can't" to trigger my 'oh yes we can!' response. Part is that joy
is a gift of the spirit and I can't take personal responsibility for that

That said I do think Joy is also something we can cultivate. No matter
how awful things are there are always many more awful things that are
not happening. We have to focus on the rose and not the thorns because in
truth the one is always accompanied by the other.

I am not an old woman but the longer you live the more awful things happen both to you and to those around you. As time goes on I have become acutely aware of what suffering is. Every moment we have been given protection and reprieve is treasured in my heart because gosh life is hard and short. When you face that reality you have to choose whether you will let that overwhelm you or whether you will survive - and thrive. That is where that dogged determination comes in. I am determined to thrive and to make the most of the roses. I can't control the thorns. I CAN maximize the garden and make it as beautiful as possible. It's my little attempt to thwart Satan who would like to see us despair.

Sometimes it takes a very conscious effort to look for things to appreciate - the sun coming through the window, the smell of bread baking, the soapy clean hair on newly bathed babies. Once you make a habit of seeking out those little wonders like that and always always thinking of how much worse you could be it starts to come more naturally. In our family there is never a shortage of opportunity to practice. : / Just this morning our (second) brand new trampoline was victim of a wind storm. $400 GONE. It was hard to swallow. My dh saw
thorns. Lots of them. When the initial shock wore off we stopped and
talked a minute. I said well, for all we know someone may have been going
to have a terrible accident on there today and God swept in and intercepted that

I guess my other thing is that depression runs in my family. I have been blessed to avoid it but it's been ever present in my relatives. They are uniformly negative and it wore on me. I have vowed to try to avoid that rut to the extent that I can. Now that doesn't mean the Pollyanna in me always wins. I cry easily and often. Some horrific things have happened to me. The baby's health wasn't one of them if that gives any indication of how serious I am. But what are you to do? I just won't let it defeat me. Thank you God we aren't on the streets of Iraq or Darfur. We have warm rooms, good food and the opportunity to try harder again every day. We have our knowledge of God. We will never suffer as He did. We are ok. We have to ride the waves with our eyes on the shore ahead.

One thing that has helped me beyond measure has been surrounding myself with uplifting stories. For me that is the story of the saints who to a number have had to overcome horrible suffering. Scripture is full of suffering people who still found joy. It is a mystery in my opinion. That whole concept of 'embracing' the cross has always been a mystery to me. Slowly slowly God is helping me. I have had to ask Him to please help me understand HOW in the world to actually embrace my crosses when my gut level response is to dodge them wherever possible. Maybe someday I will actually 'get' it. I am an admittedly slow student. God has given me lots of chances to learn this lesson though. Bottom line though - I try to remember to just ask Him when I can't find silver lining. What is the good You are bringing from this situation? What am I supposed to learn? Help me to suffer patiently as You did. It works. Sometimes better than others ; )

Again, the themes of stubbornness, deciding your response, looking to God.

I have a stubborn child. She's not as stubborn as some, but more stubborn than others. I have no way of knowing what challenges she will face during her lifetime. It's my job to take her stubbornness and not break it (I wouldn't want to do that - she might need it one day!), but mold it into a positive rather than a negative in her life. This requires that I become far more stubborn than I am naturally, because I have to match her in strength. But as I find that strength (in God, not in myself - for God gives us everything we need to do that job He asks of us 2 Pet 1:3), I'm finding it can also be applied to my everyday life. In the past, I have given up far too easily. In many areas.

Finally, sort of related, this post encouraged me today. If we're going to be stubborn, we need to be stubborn about the right things. Like DAILY time with God to renew our strength.

We decide so many things. We can influence so many things. To spend all our time and energy worrying over the things we can't control is such a waste. This concludes my summary of the kick in the pants I got this weekend.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Time Out

So, Marianne suggested that we wait to finish this discussion, and I'm so glad she did. Even if she hadn't, I think I would have pulled out tomorrow.

The fact is, I feel like I've said everything I have to say. I could possibly be convinced otherwise, but I have a feeling that my current beliefs are what is necessary to get through this time in our lives. In spite of my desire to be open to new ideas and opinions, I'm not sure I am right now. I feel raw, to be quite honest. And we had only scratched the surface.

So, thanks for your sensitivity, Marianne. I really appreciate it. It takes a lot of self-control to not get to argue your points right now. And thanks to all of you for reading (or not reading) my diatribes.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.

My Answers

I know this is an intense subject for this blog. The silence is deafening... Fairly soon I will return you to your regularly scheduled program. This subject is so close to my heart right now that I feel I have no choice but to be part of this conversation.

This is a comment I left on Marianne's blog today:
I hope we can come to some conclusions through this discussion. I do think it's best though, if I admit that these things are still VERY hard for me to talk about. While it is easy for those of you who are far removed from the situation to theorize and question and even make some judgements, this is our everyday life still.

Every week I walk down the halls at my church and try not to imagine what happened there. Every week I sit in services and am grateful for the extra, visible security that is there for the time being.

They interviewed the parents of the Works girls who died, and the mother told the grisly story of getting in the car, the father heard popping and turned around to see his 16 year old dead on the ground. That instant, he was also hit. The mother turned in her seat to see their 18 year old in the backseat with blood gushing from her nose. She was gone by the time the mother reached her.

There are real live people who are still living with the reality of this event. It is horrific. Up till now, the way I am dealing with it is to mostly push it from my mind and trust that God will answer the questions with time. So...although I look forward to participating in this conversation, please, please sensitive. This is not just a philosophical discussion for me. This is my reality.


This is likely to be a very long post, even for me. I apologize. Please take this post in the tone it is intended. I am pleading and persuading, not attacking or being defensive (as much as possible, see my disclaimer above. :). I would much rather have this conversation over tea at my dining room table, but the distance prevents that for the time being.

First, I would like to take on the issue of whether the Works girls were martyrs. Honestly, this discussion seems almost petty to me. Who are we to judge that? They died through no fault of their own, and their family now has to live out the rest of their days on earth without them. The topic seems almost too sacred to me to talk about. But, I do have a couple of things to say.

If the same thing had happened in a country without religious freedom, and some terrorist had shot up a church, we would not have questioned their martyrdom. Why then, would we question the Works'? Yes, we in theory have freedom to worship here as we feel led. But, the reality is when you attend a high profile church like ours, you do not feel safe anyway. Long before this happened, many people in my family have admitted to thinking, "What if someone walked in here right now with a gun?" There is hatred and wickedness in the world, like Marianne said. It IS an act of bravery and faith to attend our church, especially after all we've been through. We're safer than some others, but the principle is the same.

Second, (this is the most passionate one. Please forgive me for my intensity) I feel that there is a tendency even among fellow Christians, but especially in the world, to have an attitude as if somehow we are responsible for the evil someone intends for us. Like maybe it was our fault because we "judged" our pastor for having a homosexual affair so we deserved to be shot at. I know you're not saying that Marianne, but many have. You did say something along the lines of Matthew Murray acting that way because of the lack of love he was shown. He wasn't shown any lack of love. His mother and father loved him every way they knew how. YWAM tried repeatedly to love and accept him and help him. He made his own decisions. He refused any help. I don't think we should give up on anyone, but we can't force people to make right decisions and live righteous lives no matter how hard we try.

We have to come to grips with the fact that sometimes people make decisions that are evil. Many people want to believe that people are basically good because then they don't have to deal with the sin in their own hearts, but people are not good, they're inherently evil apart from God. God is not willing that any should perish, but He also has given us free will. If God's wooing someone doesn't draw them because they have decided to rebel against everything that is good, what good does it do for a church to allow themselves to be shot to pieces because of someone's rebellion? I am most certainly not excusing us as Christians from loving people. My point is, what do you do when you love someone and they still hate you? It wasn't our fault, or the fault of Christians as a whole that he decided to shoot our church. There is a point where if we are to continue to minister to others who may still make decisions for Christ, that we protect ourselves. If someone continually tore you down, insulted you, and generally made life miserable, you wouldn't continue to subject yourself to that (unless you were specifically led to do that). You have your children to raise, and millions of other reasons that you need to be healthy and strong emotionally. Turn the other cheek is one verse in the context of the entire Bible. We can't build our entire theology around one verse. My God didn't ask all the parents with little children who were in that hallway that day to stand and talk to that gunman while he killed their children. That would be an absurd thing for a parent to do, would it not?

Third, I think we have to be very careful when we watch movies like Gandhi. They are produced by people with an agenda - to make you believe that Gandhi was some sort of savior. I don't deny that good things may have come from his peaceful protest, but Gandhi and Christ are two very different people. Repeatedly in the Gospels, we see Jesus slipping away from the Pharisees because it wasn't His time to go yet. He did not present himself to be crucified. In fact, He begged God for another way, to the point of sweating blood, right up until the end. I believe his reprimand to the disciples for cutting off the soldier's ear was not about violence (God had ordered people to kill even women and children, hundred of thousands of them - it's the same God here), but about them not understanding the fulfillment of prophesy and final submission to God's plan. Maybe if they had been awake praying with Him like He wanted, they would have understood?

Fourth, like many theological issues (and like a comment left on Marianne's site), I believe the answer to this topic of violence vs. pacifism is that both are taught. That makes no sense in our understanding, but there are verses to defend each. And I believe that the Holy Spirit will guide us in which response to have when we are communicating with Him and listening to His voice.

Finally, what if this happened 5 times? 10 times? All over the nation, like Marianne said? How do we decide as Christians how to handle that? Well, we're not there yet, thank God. The world our children will live in may get to that point. If there is still constitutional religious freedom at that point, I would guess the government would attempt to provide all religious organizations (not just Christian ones) with protection, because that's the kind of thing the government tends to do. If there isn't constitutional freedom any longer, I would guess the church would go underground and have no ability whatsoever to protect themselves, even if they wanted to. We would have many, many martyrs, like they do in other countries. I pray that never happens here, but it may someday before Jesus comes back. We are in the in-between time.

So, my conclusion is we have to listen to the Holy Spirit guiding us and make the best decisions we know how to make. And I think we need to be really careful about making judgements about the decisions church leaders make about these things. If you disagree with one you may choose not to attend there, but even making jokes about the Lord's anointed is a serious thing (2 Kings 2:23). This is the reason Nick and I continued to stand behind Richard and Lindsay Roberts at ORU until things were decided, even when there were rumors of financial indiscretion. But that's another post.

Whew. That's about all of this I can handle for today.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Just War Part 2

I want to finish my train of thought here...even though Marianne further explained that it was not so much pacifism she was asking about, but what the individual Christian's response should be to persecution. I'll have to write a seperate post about that. I do, however, also feel the two are linked in some ways because of her question about our pastor having a bodyguard. I feel this train of thought will address that question.


Here's the second principle we find in Scripture regarding authority.

2. Those who are in authority are charged by God to protect those under their authority.

Romans 13:4 "for it [the God-instituted authority] is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil." (emphasis mine)

Proverbs 14:28 "In a multitude of people is a king's glory, But in the death of people is a prince's ruin."

Proverbs 20:26 "A wise king winnows the wicked, And drives the threshing wheel over them."

More to come...

Further thoughts

Marianne posted a blog today that was incredibly hard for me to read. In fact, I must admit to physically shaking after having read it. However, I really appreciate the spirit with which she wrote it - not as an attack on New Life, but with genuine questions that demand answers if we are to live out our faith in this current day.

First, a couple of thoughts. I feel that it is impossible to process a traumatic event the same way if you are connected to it, as you would being far removed from it. Therefore, even if Marianne and I both had perfect theology (wouldn't that be nice, Marianne? :), we could still come up with totally different answers and feelings. I'm not sure she would have said some of the things she did if she had been here, but my perspective is probably also somewhat skewed by the fact that I am here.

Second, I feel that there has been a ton of pacifist information out there among people of our age group, and that the concept of just war has not been accurately portrayed or defended using Scripture. As an aside, I don't know what to think of the war our country is currently engaged in. But I will submit to my governing authority (whoever that happens to be), and support them in the decisions God has them make. (Prov 21:1 "The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.") There is a place for serving God rather than man, when man tries to prevent us from serving God, but I do not see that happening in our country right now. Therefore, I feel we should support our president.

I immediately needed to study this subject in depth, because I would have no peace until I did. I am asking God for guidance as I do it, especially because it's easy to believe something from personal experience and then look for Scripture to back up one's beliefs. I didn't want to do that. So, here are my thoughts, with the Scriptures I found.

1. God sets authority in place, no matter what their beliefs. This means if Hillary Clinton is elected president, I will submit to her authority, even though I personally disagree with her beliefs.

If she was in authority, her heart would be in the hand of God, as she would be our "king." Therefore the decisions she would make would ultimately bring glory to God because He would direct her. Pharoah and the plagues of Egypt come to mind. God demonstrated his power to the Egyptians by hardening Pharoah's heart. (well, first Pharoah hardened his own heart, and then God began doing it after Pharoah had made his decision, see Exodus 8-9)

Romans 13:1-4 (NAS, because it is a very literal translation)

1Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.
2Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.
rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same;
4for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an
avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.

I'm going to do this in several installments so I do not neglect my children in the meantime. :) What I'm doing with the next couple of posts is establishing the groundwork for my position. I'll come around to the point later. Please discuss, but because this is an especially intense subject, stay on subject - if you disagree, please attack logic not people. I won't post anything mean-spirited.

Let's work out the answers to these things together!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Your Input Needed

So, I have this idea, and I can't think of a better place I could possibly go to get the feedback I need. Please contribute.

What if...I took stay at home moms who have some music background (like, people who took piano as a kid and can remember a couple of songs?), and charged them like $200 to train them to teach beginning piano lessons. Then, I gave them all of my philosophy and policies related to running a piano studio (that have taken me years to develop), and I did all the marketing that would bring in students for them. At this point they would become part of my piano studio. I would sent students to them, they would teach them. The students would pay the studio, and I would pay the teachers according to their level of skill and how many students they had, etc.

In my mind, this is the perfect work at home deal for moms. Of course, they would need to have a piano, but you can get used ones for a couple hundred.

1. Would you try this? Why or why not?
2. What would you want to be paid per hour to do it?
3. How many hours would you want to work?
4. What would you want to pay for training?
5. Any other thoughts?

You can email me if you'd rather, but please let me know your impressions!

Everyone's Doing It

OK, so this is my New Year's post.

The idea of a resolution at the beginning of the year is a little funny to me. Because, after all, shouldn't we be working on our lives year round? On the other hand, the beginning of a new year is a great time to think about life, evaluate where you are, think about things that could be better. So, although it sounds trite to me, here is my list:

-Exercise regularly (I gotta get stronger and have more energy than this. I'm only 27.)
-Turn off the tv more and play with the kids more. (I have a tendency to rely on the tv to help with the girls on hard days. I'm beginning to see that the longer it's on, the worse things get.)
-Learn more about business administration and marketing
-Make money at business
-Plant a garden
-Make our date night a weekly occurrence
-Paint the bathroom (no, we still don't have this done)
-Stick to our budget and pay off significant debt
-Write my piano curriculum
-Continue with time with God
-Love people better, even when it's inconvenient. (I hate that I'm flaky sometimes)

Interesting to me the things that aren't a huge priority - things like having a spotless house, spending more time reading stuff on the internet, etc.

What's on your list?