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May 19, 2014

Enlightenment in a Podcast

My baby girl had her first dance recital this weekend. This is also my Sammy's last week of kindergarten.  And I'll share those photos and chronicle my raving-reeling-mommy emotions about all that very soon (those 6 of you who read can rest easy).
But today there is something else I need to share.
A month or two ago I discovered podcasts.  (Yes.  I realize I'm a bit late to the game on this one, but hey, I'd rather read a good book than play on my phone, so I blame...books.  Yeah.  Let's go with that.) 
Some work day mornings while I'm getting ready, I catch up on podcast sermons from two former pastors of mine, Derik Hines and Ryan Gear.  They have both moved out of state, and I have missed them and their crazy awesome preaching and teaching skills so very much in the years since.  
These men have different preaching styles, both of which are effective because, at their cores, they both seek and preach the truth, they respect doubts and questions, they guide and teach God's word with wisdom and strength of faith and honesty and humor and intellect and gentleness and love. 
These two are disciples covered in the dust of their Rabbi. 
This morning I listened to a sermon Ryan gave called What Does the Bible Really Teach about Slavery and Sexuality?  It is such a necessary message that took courage and conviction to preach, because it's a polarizing subject in so many of our lives and our families and within ourselves. 
It may not change your mind.  It may piss you off.  It may open your mind.  It may close it.  It may make you look at the Bible and Christianity in a whole new light. But whatever it may or may not do, please give it a chance to do something....and listen to it.  
I think his message conveys wisdom.  It takes these verses that Christians quote when referring to homosexuality and shines a contextual light on them in a very scholarly and thoughtful way. 
It's enlightening. 
I have never viewed homosexuality as a sin.  Through the years I have read these same passages in the Bible and have been challenged and confounded by them, not able to figure out what they are doing there or how to make them fit into my faith in Jesus' love.  But I continued to try because how can I be expected to explain and defend my faith if I just ignore the parts I don't like?  
So I read them again.  And again.  The images they invoke to me are ones of depravity, of pedophiles and degradation and the very depths of perversion and wickedness.  No where was the love between two women or two men addressed.  Just various lewd sexual and other nasty human behaviors. 
And people, that's not what being gay is. 
It's just two normal blokes falling in love and wanting to make a life together.  Just the same as the rest of us. 
I had in mind to write a much more expansive post about this, quoting verses and different interpretations, that Jesus never mentions homosexuality, that certain verses say slavery is ok but being gay is not, that we can (thank god) dismiss the Bible's slavery edicts in today's society without (much) debate but so many continue to hold onto the homosexual verses...
But Ryan writes it much better, with much sounder and scholarly authority than I could ever muster.  So go to his blog and read what he has to say.  There's wisdom and love and honest genuine faith to be found there. 

May 9, 2014

One of Those Days

I had one of those very special days with the kids yesterday.  One of those days that, as a mother who so often struggles under the heavy weight of repetition that makes up such a large part of was one of those days that I needed to have.  One of those days from which I'll draw strength and energy and endurance and love when I'm feeling worn down and at the end of my rope with the kids.

One of those days that reminds me why, day after day after day, I continue to pick up the same toys, wash the same dishes, read the same books, fold the same laundry, sing the same songs, vacuum the same floors, play the same games, scrub the same toilets.

(...Hmmm...sounds like I'd be a much happier mother if cleaning weren't a constant part of motherhood.)

Yesterday was an awesome day full of new adventures and fun and sunshine and smiles and laughs and hugs.

I need to make a concerted effort to have more of those days.  Though I'm convinced that it's the moments we try to plan and make perfect and have grand expectations for that always end up covered in vomit or mucus or are overthrown by tantrums or weather or some other perfectly-planned-day-ruiner.

Spontaneity ruled the day yesterday and it was simple and purely joyful.  And I thanked God all day long for filling back up my mommy tank. 

While Lena was in school, Sam and I had our adventure.  We finished his homework at the park (I thought how he sounded out and spelled his answers was so sweet).

Played with a new friend at the playground.

Then headed to Creekside for a fossil finding expedition.

(Yep, his other front tooth is hanging on by a thread. Look how it's all twisted sideways. But he won't let us touch it.  He's so stubborn...wonder where he gets that?)


We found some cool shells by the water's edge and discovered this giant fossil-covered rock on a walk through the woods.  We spent a long time digging in some rocks, which paid off when Sam found his very own fossil! He was so excited and I was very proud of his patience and persistence. 

I'll miss my one-on-one time with my sweet boy when he starts first grade this fall.  He's growing up too fast. 
While Sam was at school in the afternoon, Lena and I set out on our own adventure.  We tried Boyer Nature Preserve right by our house, but it was pretty overgrown and deserted and we both quickly decided it was creepy...guess that's the difference between a nature preserve and a park.  Lesson learned.

So we headed just down the road to Inniswood, which was perfect for us two girls!  Beautiful flowers, gardens, shady spots with benches for resting Lena's tired little legs, wide paths for us to hike down...this is definitely our preferred way to experience nature. :)

She loved this little girl statue and played with it and some of her dollies, which she had packed in her Tinkerbell backpack, for quite awhile.  When she's not Moody McMoodertons, she can be so sweet...

We did a little fossil digging on the paths and found some cool, super smooth stones.   

She was getting tired here.  It was nearly 90 yesterday around the time we were there, though it didn't feel uncomfortable.  But it was also nearing her rest time and I think she'd had enough exploring for one afternoon. 

To keep her going until we could pick up Sam from school, I drove through the Dairy Queen and got her a strawberry Orange Julius (some of which she saved for Sammy).  That, and the ruby "gem" she pried off a plastic crown and stuck to her sweaty forehead, infused her with enough energy to make it home before she passed out. 

They both napped (and I may have laid down for a few minutes myself) when we got home, which is a sure sign of a day well spent...and a mommy tank all filled up!

May 7, 2014

Blue Doors, Stolen Chairs, and Gooey Kids...

Blue doors, stolen chairs and gooey kids...just another week at our house. 

We're trying to finish up our front porch.  After many, so very many paint swatches, texting consultations with Jen (my color expert), in-person consultations with Lori (who wisely geared me toward the lighter hues), and going back and forth between several shades of turquoise; Rich and I settled on this beautiful, warmer shade of light turquoise.  And we love it. (I promise to post a better photo very soon.)

We used the same color to paint the loveseat Rich made. (Again, updated/better photos to come.)

I believe (though I'm not certain yet) that I'm going to use the same color to paint this rocking chair, which I will be adding to the front porch...and which I pulled from someone's garbage this week.  Before you say anything, yes, I am aware that this is the second rocking chair I have saved from the junkyard.  And yes, Rich has a little more repair work to do on this one than the last. And yes, my son told his neighborhood friends,
"It's so crazy.  I don't know why my mom keeps stealing chairs..."
(I tried explaining that it isn't stealing if someone's throwing the thing away, but he still eyed me with suspicion.) 

Regardless of all that, I'm still elated with my find and you can bet your bottom dollar that if I see another cute rocking chair on somebody's curb on trash day, I'll be stuffing it my hatchback faster than you can say dumpster diver. 

Our sad little planters on the front porch got a facelift this weekend when I painted them to match our outside trim.  The white here is just primer, but I was so astounded how much better they looked just with primer that I had to take a photo. 
Our trim is this beautiful butter cream color, so I painted the planters to match and plan to put boxwoods in them, inspired by this photo.

In addition to reshaping, edging, mowing and mulching our flower beds and yard, and stripping and priming some bubbling trim on our house; my work horse of a husband also cut down our very, very dead out front.  Well, he didn't so much cut as he pushed it down (it was so light and dry and dead that it just kind of fell on its own).  He transplanted in its place a little Japanese maple that was overcrowded in the backyard and we're hoping the transplant takes.  According to our neighbors, this was the second tree to die in that same spot, so...yikes!

In honor of the very, very dead tree, we used some of its branches for an impromptu s'mores party for some neighbor kids.  They were all gooey and full and smiley by the time the pile of branches was gone, which I took to mean "Thanks.  We'll be back."  And I hope they are...I like having them all around.   

Wait for it...wait.......I crafted yesterday.  BAM! 
In honor of teacher appreciation week, and because I don't have money to buy gift cards worth anything for the very deserving teachers my kids have had this year, I was kind of forced to craft.  But I did it and think the crafted presents turned out terribly cute.  I wrote the notes on Lena's teachers' scissors and she signed her name.  Sam wrote the whole thing for his teacher.  They are both very excited to give them to their teachers tomorrow...and so am I!

May 2, 2014

Tiny Dancer

Lena's first ballet recital is coming up soon! 

Her class pictures were taken this week and, since I didn't want to spend $300 on photos from the ballet company, I cheaped out and snapped some of my own.