Friday, December 02, 2005

There is too much to catch up on and so I was avoiding writing because I knew that I didn’t have time to record everything. However, to prevent this blog from dying, I will have to just press on and write from here on, even if I don’t get time to include everything that happened before.

We’re home from all of our holiday travels now and looking forward to the New Year. Joe has been on vacation since the 23rd and it has been a rare treat to have so much time with him. He heads back to work tomorrow (yes Sunday—remember he’s a pastor) and I will miss having him here. The boys and I have both enjoyed the extra time with him.

We took advantage of the parental double team to try to potty train Joseph, but without success. He will go almost any time that we put him on the potty, but doesn’t ask to go himself and still has accidents. I know he is capable, he just doesn’t mind the accidents yet.

I’ve just finished reading The Way Home by Mary Pride. It wasn’t at all what I expected. I had visited enough pro-family sites online to know generally that it was a book that encouraged motherhood and more conservative Christianity (home schooling, stay at home moms, parental responsibility, “quiverful” parenting, etc.), but I was expecting more flowery encouragement and less thoughtful critique. It read almost like an academic text much of the time with reviews of feminist literature, sweeping connections between feminism, abortion, socialism, and careerism, and exegesis of Biblical passages on womanhood.

I really enjoyed the first part of the book but breezed through the second half. I tried to read it on New Year’s Eve while I was sick and the TV was on (waiting for the infamous ball to drop). I’d like to read the whole thing again so that I can get more out of it. When I read something that I like I tend to devour it and though I leave with a general feeling of fullness, I fail to taste the subtle flavors of the text. So it was with this book. I hardily recommend it though and know that any Christian would be challenged by what Mrs. Pride had to say. Challenged to examine one’s views on womanhood, children, and the family in light of Scripture and not through the cultural lenses that so color our views.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

What a precious hubby I have! He loves being active and would spend hours a day running, swimming, biking, etc. if his time where all his own. Instead, he diligently works for our family and spends his non-working time hanging out with me and the boys. He has largely given up his exercise time because of the fast pace of our lives. I truly treasure what a selfless and family-centric man he is. My love language is definitely quality time (with a close second of acts of service) and so by making us a priority he makes me feel loved.

There are times however when he does manage to sneak in some exercise time. Afternoons when he comes home early (due to going in early or having night meetings) he sometimes runs while I get dinner together. Just now he has left on a run pushing the double jogging stroller (full of 50 lbs of boys) and pulling our disobedient chocolate lab. If I can snap a picture of them when they come around the block, I will add it to this post. In the meantime, I’d better make the most of my time and get hopping on dinner. I HAVE THE BEST HUSBAND!!

Friday, April 08, 2005

We’ve been out of town and so I’ve not been around this week. I did have several good Xanga digest emails of my subscriptions waiting for me in my inbox and I enjoyed “catching up” with everyone. My grandfather in VA was in the ICU on the verge of death and so I packed up the boys for a 14-hour car ride to visit. You never know when it will be the last visit. I even packed funeral clothes for all of us. Thankfully, God was merciful and Pop is now out of the hospital even! He is still on oxygen, but improving (he has non-lymphocytic leukemia and got pneumonia on top of that). He was glad that we had come and we enjoyed seeing him and all of the rest of my family that lives there. (My parents, two aunts and their families, and my grandparents all have moved back to live in the city where I grew up.)

So, my only life observations at this point involve all of the reasons not to try to drive 14 hours solo with a 2 year old and 11 month old!!! I am GLAD to be home!!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

I am seriously afraid that my children were switched at birth. The boys that live in my house and call me “mama” are not mine, but strangers. Tonight as we started eating dinner, my two year old stated matter-of-factly, “I really like spinach.” As he gulped his down, I decided to test my 11 month old and plopped some spinach onto his tray. It disappeared into his mouth and he went on to devour the rest of what I had made. Who are these children? My earliest childhood memory is of watching my older sister run out to the ice cream truck while I am stuck at the dinner table until I finish my dreaded portion of spinach. To this day I only eat it because I know that it is good for me and excepting turnip greens and kale (close relatives of spinach) it remains my least favorite vegetable. So, tonight somewhere there are two boys who when served spinach by their well-intentioned mother, turn up their noses and protest. And in exchange I have two spinach lovers that look just like me, but obviously could not be mine.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Joe is back to work today and so things here are getting back to normal. This morning, after general straightening and kitchen clean-up, I put some bread in the oven to rise while we left for what I thought would be a quick errand to the mall. My MIL’s bday is next week and I have been struggling to find a present for her. The trip took twice as long as expected and so we arrived home to some very risen bread. I baked it anyway and though it is a bit fluffy, it tastes fine. Hurray for a flexible husband who is always complimentary of my cooking despite my insufficiencies!

Both little men are napping now and so I have taken a few minutes to waste on the computer. I need to go clean up our lunch dishes and start on supper though.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Joe has been off since he got home late Wednesday afternoon and so I have been spending time with my family instead of blogging. Tonight, Joe is working on his Sunday school lesson and so I have a few minutes to write.

First of all, I did fine with the boys all to myself while Joe was away. We scheduled 2 or 3 things to do away from the ordinary (trip to the zoo, play group, park, bookstore, errands, etc.) each day. I also realized that I handle the boys by myself everyday while Joe is at work and so that part wasn’t any different. The evenings were lonely and of course I missed Joe most then. However, I stayed busy and so that helped to pass the time. I am one of those people who works when tired, in a bad mood, upset, lonely etc. and so I worked! I finished painting our laundry room—no longer aquamarine blue with glitter-stenciled fish—so tacky! It is now a tasteful gray/blue with white trim. And I painted our master bathroom. It is now white instead of pink, which is much more to my manly husband’s liking. I was proud of my accomplishments and love looking at my newly painted rooms. It is fun that things can be improved that much by just a gallon of paint and some elbow grease.

As another update, it looks like we won’t move until next year. Joe is still ready to leave, but God closed the door to the available job possibility elsewhere and so we are staying put for now. Though we are disappointed at not getting the new job, we see so many ways that it will be a blessing to stay here. We won’t have the hassle of a fast move. I’ll get to have this baby here. Financially, it makes sense to stay as this is a higher salary and we can put off moving expenses for a year. We are so thankful for God’s leading to this point and are just praying that we’ll be continually faithful for as long as we are here.

It was hot here today and tonight we are getting a spring thunderstorm. The yard is abloom with azaleas, daffodils, an ornamental pear, and a red bud tree. The rain will wash away the dim haze of yellow pollen that coats everything. Tomorrow, we celebrate our arisen Savior! The Lord is risen indeed, Hallelujah!

Thursday, March 17, 2005

As I’ve thought more about my propensity to complain, I realized that a good amount of the time that I spend talking to other moms is also focused on negativity. Mostly, it boils down to complaints about all of the things that we are busy doing and our children’s foibles and troubles. How we handle our children’s problems is a topic for another day, but today I wanted to write about busyness.

My husband is getting ready to go on a trip with the youth group to Chicago for their spring break. As I have thought about my time alone here with the boys (pregnant/morning sickness/single mom), I have been overwhelmed by the prospect of it all.

And yet, compare my life today to the life of an average American wife 150 years ago. At 27, I’d have been married closer to 10 years by now instead of 4 and would have 4 or 5 children by now instead of 2. We would be living on a farm in the middle of nowhere perhaps with a small town within a day’s horse and buggy ride. I would be up before dawn to tend the animals, pump water and carry it to the house, get the wood burning stove going, and cook breakfast. During the day, in addition to raising the children, I would tend our vegetable garden, sew and mend clothes, knit, clean the house (minus vacuum cleaner, Windex, or “scrubbing bubbles”), and help in the fields at times. I can’t even think of all of the responsibilities I would have. Today, I have so many modern conveniences to help in my daily labors that it is laughable. Me, busy? What do I have to complain about?

It would be interesting to read about what women of that time thought about their lives, daily routines, and value as a wife and mom. I bet that they were much more content than we are today. We have so many outside pressures on us. Stripped of our identity and sense of value at home by our modern culture, we try to find ourselves in jobs, social standing, being the best “soccer mom” our there, having accomplished children, etc.

I believe that I am fulfilling my God-given role by being at home with my boys and keeping our home for my husband, but I still struggle so much. I get overwhelmed by the constant demands on me and really resist the selflessness needed to thrive. Why? Because of my sinful nature certainly, but I also get so tired of fighting for myself. I read a blog the other day (which if I can find, I'll link to it) where a woman talked about her longing for a spiritual mentor and her realization that she needed to plow ahead despite her lack of support. She realized that she needed to stop looking for support and that she was going to fight hard, even alone. Perhaps that is where I am. Coming to realize that though alone, my worthy fight must be fought daily—in acts of selflessness and patience, as I rely on God’s grace.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Does anyone else ever worry that her blog is too whiney? As I walked to the living room to write and contemplated tonight’s entry, my mind went over my day and naturally cataloged all of my tiredness, complaints, pains, etc. That is my typical entry recently. And that is who I am a lot of the time. My husband is the optimist in this marriage and I am the realist (read: pessimist). My glass is always half (at least) empty and I think everyone else’s is too.

But, I know that is not focusing on God’s sufficiency for me. Not that I fall into the “Christians are perky all of the time” camp. I have read enough Amy Carmichael to know that is not true. I do, however, believe in a sovereign God. And that should change how I view even my bad days. The trick is living in that sovereignty daily and seeing it in the midst of sick boys, morning sickness, a very busy husband, and the routine self-sacrifice of being a mama. I want to abide in God’s presence in such a way that my heart overflows with His goodness—every day.

Friday, March 11, 2005

First real bout with morning sickness today. I’ve had queasy moments from time to time, but today it is lasting. I’m tired too and so it has been a long day. Joe is in a training seminar at the seminary today and was excited about the change of pace. He’ll be home late this afternoon though, so the day is just beginning.

We’ve had an uneventful day. We grocery shopped this morning and then have stayed here and taken it easy for the rest of the day. Both boys are napping now and Will will be up in a few minutes. I’m exhausted, but am not feeling as bad now as I did earlier.

Thanks for all of the congrats. It is fun to share happy news, isn’t it? We haven’t told anyone here yet since I am still not very far along and so it is fun to have you all know.

If anyone has been keeping up with the Teri Schiavo case, now is a critical time. I encourage all of you to go to to get the info needed to contact your state’s senators and representatives. The ten minutes that it would take to email them would get the message across about the sanctity of human life at all stages. Be vocal!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Where to begin….First, thanks to mind if I call you Fred for noticing I was gone and asking about it. J At first, we switched ISPs and were without service for a week. Then, life happened….

Joe has continued to have problems with his job—so much so that he is looking elsewhere—which means we could move. Before we got to this point, there were times of turmoil, prayer, and long talks as we sought God’s will and sought to be faithful in the midst of trials. God has brought us to a place of peace now, which is a huge answer to prayer and blessing. Whether Joe gets a new job and we move, or stays here and seeks to be faithful in adversity, we have both accepted either possibility.

In the middle of all of this, we have found out that we’re expecting our third little one! Truly a gift from the Lord, but we didn’t know that all of these conflicts would be happening now. It has been difficult to be both joyful about this new life and so unsettled about the situation at church. Lots of opposite emotions and LOTS of instability, which is hard for me. I am a huge planner and worrier, and all of these troubles at church were not on my list of things to do. More chances to trust in God’s sovereignty. Anyway, I’m due late October and am so thrilled to be pregnant again. I never feel cuter than when I’m pregnant (although I am not to the cute stage yet at this point. I’m still only in the pudgy stage.) Neither of my first two pregnancies was easy, but it is just so wonderful to be carrying God’s new creation—a secret joy that only a few family members (and now any friendly Xangans out there) know about so far.

In my absence I have somewhat kept up with all of you, my faithful subscriptions. I haven’t posted though some of you have really poured out your hearts, but I’ve prayed. I have also branched out and found some good non-Xanga blogs that I’ve read a bit. One that I would recommend for you to check out:

Amy’s Humble Musings (a witty and Biblical look at motherhood, she’s recently talked a lot about big families and her perspective is so different from the world’s. I’ve really enjoyed reading her.)

So, pregnant, with major life decisions in God’s hands, I’m back.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

I had such an encouraging conversation yesterday. I called my friend M because I heard that her older son had been sick and we ended up talking for probably 20-30 minutes (I know it doesn’t sound long, but in the middle of the afternoon that is a long time for moms with two boys each). It was the most honest and open conversation I have had since being in MS. Nothing terribly earth shattering, but it was real and for that I am thankful.

I had a friend in Charlotte who was the type of friend that one is always looking for, but that does not come very often. She was a few years older than I am and shared her life openly. We talked about our marriages, spiritual struggles, and sin, and we encouraged one another to keep on striving towards Christ and not to settle into the mold of the world. To have that kind of relationship, there is risk as you open your heart to rejection. As you share more of your thoughts, it is more likely as well that you will disagree. It is easy to get along when the conversation sticks to fluffy topics, but as you delve deeper clashes will occur—how they are handled will be telling. Early on, C’s disarming authenticity set the stage for a remarkable friendship. I can still count on her candor and genuineness even though we are continents away from each other now.

One person has to be willing to take that first step and be real. For those of you that have this kind of close friend, be thankful and continue to “spur one another on towards love and good deeds.” For those that don’t, pray and look for those in your life who could be that friend. Then, step out and be real.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Why we ever try to do home improvement projects I don’t know! Today, we started on the next step of the kitchen cabinets and it did not go well. We are covering ugly green 1970s formica with granite tile. It will look awesome when we are done, but today everything that could go wrong did. We didn’t have enough of the right type of tiles, the tile saw blade was dull, I chipped off and broke tiles, and the children were a bit fractious. We aren’t even close to being done and so it will be about a week before I have a kitchen sink again since we took the old one out to lay tile and will replace it. At least my stove is back to normal since we did that counter the last two weekends.

Joe and I still don’t handle days like today very well, and it is a challenge to keep our relationship right during stressful times. We need to communicate better and I know that I need to keep a better attitude towards him when I am frustrated.

This afternoon, we got things ready around the house for Sunday and then went to a high school basketball game after an early dinner. Lots of Joe’s students were playing, and so it was good for him to be there. They were losing terribly when we left at halftime so that we could put the boys to bed. Tonight, we’ve taken it easy—watching TV, picking up around the house, laundry, etc.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

I feel like we are finally coming out of the woods. Will is on an antibiotic and a prescription decongestant and so he is slowly recovering. Joe and I were talking yesterday and realized that it had been more than a month since we’ve slept through the night since Will has been up so much. We let him cry some last night when he was up at 3:30 and hopefully can retrain him to sleep more at night now that he is getting better.

My parents are coming to visit next week and I am looking forward to having them here. The boys have changed a lot since they saw them at Christmas, and I am looking forward to them getting to see how. Then, the week after that Joe’s mom and sister are coming. Our next few weeks are going to be busy with guests and so that will be fun. It is always hard to have family time though and to feel settled when we have houseguests. I am going to have to try to keep up with some of my household routines while everyone is here so that it won’t be too different.

I haven’t had much time to be online and feel out of touch with everyone’s lives since I haven’t been reading my subscriptions much either! I miss it!!

Sunday, January 30, 2005

We’re still struggling with sickness here. Both boys have colds that have morphed into more. Both have awful coughs and we took Will to the after-hours doctor yesterday. Today, we added bigger fevers and diarrhea. Fun, fun!

Tomorrow is my 27th birthday. My good friend M turned 30 about a month ago, but our kids are the same ages and so I really don’t feel she is that much older than me. Thirty is a few years off still and so I am trying not to let it loom too large. M and I talked about her turning 30 and she handled it with such grace. It still seems daunting to me. I hope that I am as contented in where the Lord has me as I age.

Do any of you struggle as I do to keep the right perspective on beauty and aging? As my post-baby body adjusts back to what it will be like from now on, I am tempted to be discontented and regret the changes. But I do rejoice in my boys and know that my goal in life is not to keep a flawless body. My goal is to glorify God in my daily life as a wife and mama. For me, that means dealing with the age and decline of my physical self as I nurture and welcome little ones into the world. The bodily effects of motherhood are a result of the blessing of my children and part of God’s marvelous plan for my good and sanctification.

So, tonight in the few minutes that I have had to reflect, my mind has flown in a million directions and I’ve only been able to write one tenth of my thoughts. Mainly though, I have been reminded again of God’s sovereignty and of His blessings. Body image and aging—yet another place where I need His eyes to see the truth.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Latest adventure in our household….Will is old enough now to take a bath in the normal bathtub and so now the boys take baths together. It is the best thing in the whole world (okay, one of the best) to see my two little naked guys splashing and giggling and playing with the bath toys together. They have such a blast that Joseph asks to take a bath. He asked yesterday morning and I told him he would after dinner. About 10 times after that during the day I heard, “It’s bath time, Mama!” “Not yet, Joseph. After supper.”

So, the long awaited bath time arrived and I had taken Will out and was getting him dressed when I heard Joseph fall. Joe was right there with him and scooped him up right away. His hand slipped on the rim of the tub while he was trying to get out and his mouth/chin hit the rim of the tub hard. Joe and I were both relieved to not see any blood and after cuddling him and getting him to calm down, I started to put on his pjs. He said something and smiled at he, and I almost shrieked in horror. His front tooth was chipped in half! (Okay, so I admit on further examination that it was only 1/4-1/5 chipped off, but to a panicking mother, it looked pretty bad.)

We went to the dentist this afternoon (me and both boys since I didn’t have anyone I know who could watch Will on such short notice), and he got x-rays. The nurse that dealt with Joseph was so sweet to him, and Will did pretty well in the stroller. Dr. T thought that it might have been fracture below the gum line, but the x-rays were inconclusive. So, my big guy might loose his front top tooth at 2 years old! I have to watch to see how it does.

I know that as a mom of two boys that I should get used to this sort of thing, but I only had sisters growing up and so I know that I’ll be in for a whole bunch of new things. I don’t always want to be squeamish about them getting hurt either and don’t want to baby them too much. But still!!! They are my little guys!!!

Thursday, January 06, 2005

First, a disclaimer: After writing this entry and rereading it, I realized that it contains a lot of info about bodily functions that might not be something usually in polite conversation. I’m so wrapped up in this phase of life that sometimes I forget that most people do not deal with these things all the time like anyone with little children does. I guess what I’m saying is that this is a very “mom” post and if you don’t want to read about my son’s potty training….you’ve been warned now to skip this one! J

Well, I have good news to report….It seems that Joseph has finally gotten the idea of using the potty! YAY!!! Since Monday, he has been asking to go himself and has kept dry without accidents. He still wears pull-ups for nap and a diaper at night, which is fine with me. I am so proud of him and happy to be able to see a very tangible skill that he has learned. He’s 2 years and 4 months old too and so I consider this to be no small accomplishment.

We did have half-hearted try at potty training just before he turned two, but gave up for a few months. When I realized that Joe was going to be off of work for Christmas and that we’d be out of the usual routine therefore giving us both more time to focus on Joseph, I decided that we had the perfect opportunity. No feeble attempts this time—we were going to do it. As of December 23rd, no more diapers!

We talked a LOT about being a big boy, what to do when you felt you needed to go (i.e. “run to the potty!”), etc. I used pull-ups only when we were going away from the house because I wanted the immediate effect of accidents to be obvious to me and very noticeable to Joseph so we used mainly old-fashioned training pants. Those first few days, I took him to the potty frequently and he started to resent going. He also didn’t seem to mind the accidents even though we talked about how they were messy and weren’t “what big boys do.” Also, I wanted him to develop the processes to ask to go.

When we got back from my mother-in-law’s after Christmas, we recommitted to the process and decided to use several incentives to push him along. In addition to the M&M that he got after a success, we wanted to make accidents more unpleasant since we had noticed that he didn’t mind them. We talked about how if he used the potty, he could go right back to playing, but that if he went potty in his pants then he had to wait in the bathtub to be cleaned off and changed and couldn’t play again right away. This is a really hard concept for a little one because he doesn’t want to stop playing to go.

Now this is where some people will probably disagree with me and think that I’m horrible. I had read some potty training tips and we decided to put one into practice. Joseph had gotten to the point where he would go into another room to have a bowel movement in his pants. So, I calmly explained to him that now that he was a big boy, we were no longer going to use wipes to clean his bottom. If he had a BM on the potty, he could use toilet paper like Daddy and Mama. But, if he BM’ed in his pants, then his bottom would need to be washed off with cold water from the spigot in the bathtub. All of this was explained very matter-of-factly and without any anger or disapproval on my part, just a simple explanation of the way things were now that he is big.

We had 3 cold bottom showers over the next few days, but there wasn’t any antagonism or frustration shown towards him (although I must admit there was some frustration felt since I wondered if he’d ever “get it”). We talked again and again about what big boys do, how proud we were when he used the potty like a big boy, and how he could go right back to playing after going to the potty.

Well, this past Monday was the big turning point. We had added one more incentive. Only big boys get to eat desserts and I had just baked brownies and so that was a very visible incentive. And I brought his potty chair to wherever we played that day so that he could see it. Amazingly, he started asking to go! What a breakthrough!

Since then, he has done so well and is SO proud of himself. He talks about how he is a big boy and gets to eat dessert. He got a small piece of chocolate cake today after lunch and was on top of the world. Of course, when he was done he whined for more and then said he wanted mine, but that can be (and was) dealt with. He is two, not perfect! Who wouldn’t want more chocolate?

So anyway, my firstborn is potty trained! I’m sure you veteran moms may laugh at my meager attempts, but smile sympathetically remembering how the first one is always such a learning experience for parents. And for you moms of littler ones or not yet moms, beware the potty! J

Now, does anyone have tips on how to teach a boy to go standing up? That is his newest request (to be “like Daddy”). I think I’ve been explicit enough here—perhaps to keep some semblance of delicacy on this blog you could email me tips instead of posting them.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

I had an interesting experience today at Joseph’s little playgroup that I want to mull over. Playgroup is a group of about 6 moms and their children who have been getting together since the little ones were about 7 months old, which is about a year and half now. We all go to the same church, and we meet about every other week at someone’s house or at the park or at Chic-fil-a.

Today, there were 5 moms there and the talk turned to M, who originally organized the group but was not there this morning. Our hostess informed us that M was absent because she was taking a day at the spa, which was one of her birthday gifts (she’d just turned 30). We all like M and so we talked about how we were happy that she got to do this. Then, however, G said that she was happy because she bet M didn’t get to do things like this very often because her husband’s residency salary is small and they only have one income. She said that she knows that they don’t have much money left to just spend on fun things. Now, G can say this knowledgably since she and her husband went to medical school too, and so she was saying that she understood the circumstance because she had lived it. However, now G works as a pediatrician and her husband works at the hospital. She has a two-year-old daughter who is in day care and one on the way.

I was not disturbed by G’s lack of discretion in talking about M’s finances because she was speaking kindly, almost jokingly sympathetic to M’s “plight.” What I am dealing with is G’s attitude and underlying assumptions about money, motherhood, and the purpose of M’s life (and subsequently mine). G felt sorry for M and her family because 1.) they didn’t have much money as they were living on one income, 2.) therefore they didn’t have money to do “fun” things with, and I think without directly saying so 3.) because M is a full time mom.

I did not know what to say at the time and so I said nothing and talk moved on to other subjects. Should I have said something? Tried to point out the truth that money is not the chief end of man, but only a gift from God to be used for his glory? Was I a coward for not saying anything to “defend” a one-income family who places importance on raising children over money? (I wonder: Did G realize that Joe and I are a one-income family with “no money left over to do anything fun with?” M’s husband is done with his residency this spring, and then will work full-time as a doctor. Joe will be in the ministry until God leads him elsewhere and so we will always be in that circumstance.) How should one handle times of polite conversation with acquaintances when someone says something that shows a lack of understanding about Biblical principles (in this case the value of motherhood and children over careerism and the pursuit of money)?

Sometimes I am able to turn the conversation by calmly pointing to sound reasoning without offending the person who made the contrary statement. (i.e. Today, everyone was joking about a mom they knew about who was about to adopt two toddlers and was looking into trying to breastfeed them. They thought it was funny to try to nurse toddlers and adopted ones at that and were laughing at her. I was able to change the conversation a little by inserting that we all could understand that she was trying to do what is best and trying to connect with these kids. I felt that I had at least stood up for my beliefs and encouraged sympathy and kindness for this mom.) Other times, I am not sure that I could say anything without directly contradicting someone and risking offending them. My tendency would be to do so anyway, but I want to have a Christ-like gentleness about me. And I know that does not just mean that I don’t contradict people. Jesus was bold in his teaching and did not shy away from pointing out sin and wrong thinking. However, there is a time and a place of appropriateness, and today I struggled with those.

Sometimes, as Christians we are called to stand up in ways that are uncomfortable for us and for those around us. John 15:19 records Jesus saying, “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” This means that if we are Christians, then we will be unpopular—the world will HATE us. This is such a hard teaching for us to understand sometimes, isn’t it? Who doesn’t want to be liked and well thought of? Moreover, apply this to your children and it gets even more difficult. I see so many of the parents of the children in Joe’s youth group who are not willing to help their children make stands for Christ that would also make them unpopular.

“Lord, teach me to rest in your grace, content in your love. Focus my eyes on what you value and help me not to conform to the pattern of this world. Help me to live with a gentle and quiet spirit that knows when and how to stand up for your truth. Give me the grace to teach my sons to do the same and to prepare them to boldly stand under the world’s hatred. For your glory and in Jesus name. Amen”

Monday, January 03, 2005

I’ve got a blog etiquette question for you all. I’ve only been doing this for a few months now and so I just do not know the protocol on this. I have several blogs that I have subscribed to and I get a daily email with a digest of all of the entries from my subscriptions. Occasionally, I will click on the eprops link in the email and make a comment on a blog. However, I don’t usually remember to go back to that blog to look to see if the writer comments back to me. I read their entries daily, but don’t look at the eprops since it comes in an email and I read email offline (we have dialup). And anyway it can get tedious to read all of the comments and eprops.

Similarly, occasionally I get comments on my entries. I want to respond, but don’t know how to do so. Should I write a comment on my own entry and trust that those that left comments will check back and see that I responded? The downside being that perhaps they won’t see my comments and know my appreciation or what I said. Or do I do a new entry that responds to the comments from the previous? The downside being that perhaps the new entry would be too boring or redundant.

So, my question is this: how does one handle eprops and comments? I need some feedback from more veteran xangans than I—which would not take much considering that I’ve only been doing this for a month or two.

We’re off to the zoo this afternoon as soon as Joseph wakes up from his nap!

Thanks for the encouragement! He's had a good day today (really good--asking to go and keeping dry so far), so I'm thinking that perhaps it has all clicked for'll probably get a post from me tomorrow saying otherwise, but until then....