Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Alternative

I took Landon to Story Time at the library yesterday for a little party and parade they were having. This picture just had to be shared. I've always had a weakness for a man in uniform, and he proved to be no exception.

Last night Julie and I decided to give the kids a Pumpkin Party as a Halloween alternative. I borrowed Mrs. Deckard's book "The Pumpkin Parable". We were supposed to be learning about "Create in me a pure heart" when we cleaned out the seeds and pulp, "He has taken our sins away from us as far as the east is from the west" when we threw it away never to be seen again, "We all show the Lord's glory, and we are being changed to be like him" when we gave the pumpkin a new face, and "In the same way, you should be a light for other people, Live so that they will see the good things you do. Live so that they will praise your Father in heaven" when we put the candle in. The overall lesson was supposed to have been "If anyone belongs to Christ, then he is made new". It is such a cute book and I thought it would be a good time of teaching. Hopefully they gleaned some truth, Julie and I weren't sure, the level of activity going on during the process did not lend itself to learning. Here are a few pictures of the evening for your enjoyment.
Our "pumpkin" meal was supposed to have looked a little more festive, it actually did when all the "pumpkins were on same platter. Harold and I laughed very hard at this picture, as you can see it looks anything but festive.

Here's Julie faithfully cleaning out her little pumpkin.
Here are the finished products. I won't say who did which pumpkin except to say that she's had more experience at this than I have.
As many of you know we have already arranged marriages between our children. Since they have had a girl shortly after we had each of our boys it just works out. Julie and I can make sure we have the Unity Candle thing down to a science. We have many pictures of the two older couples together, but none of the two younger. Getting a picture of Landon and Sammy is no easy thing, but we finally managed to get them still long enough for a couple shots.
Actually it was probably trickier to get a picture of the two little ones. Dylan thought poor Annie was a teething toy, as you can see by the way he couldn't seem to get his tongue back in his mouth.
I hope you enjoy. I promise this will be my last post for this week, so...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Intelligent Design

I recently saw an advertisement for a boat manufacturing company. Their logo
was "Intelligently designed for absolute peace of mind". It seemed a little strange to use that phrase in reference to boats instead of the universe or the human body. I am, of course, a firm believer in Intelligent Design but not just for all the scientific arguments that I don't completely understand. For me it comes down to five "designs" that have been placed in my care. We have been made in the image of our "designer", therefore endowed with the same feelings that he feels. We can't really say that about boat, now can we. My beliefs are confirmed by the love I feel when my husband kisses me as soon as he walks in the door. Feelings that are so deep that they had to originate from the one who showed the "greatest love of all". It's the twinkle in Ethan's eye just before he says "got ya" or the way Collin uses his whole body to tell a story. It's the way Landon likes to snuggle so close that I can feel his breath on my face, or the way Dylan lifts his foot up for me to kiss it while he is nursing. If my heart can feel so deeply for these little "images" of me that I had so little to do with the designing of, how much more does our Grand Designer feel for those that he personally designed. I guess that's where the "absolute peace of mind" comes in. Just like I do my best to show my love and keep those placed in my care from harm, so my designer does for me. I love the quote from "Loves Comes Softly" where Clark is describing God's love for Missy. He uses the illustration of walking with his daughter. He said "if she trips on a rock and scrapes her knee, I didn't cause it to happen, but I'll be there to wipe it off and dry her tears". Probably not a perfect quote, but you get the idea. For more on peace go check out Tara's blog.

Here are a few concerns about things that are not so "intelligent".

Many people have commented that we now have a perfect quartet. I'll admit that I have thought how nice it would be if my boys were able to sing together. Lately though some things have happened that have made me second guess that dream. A Statler Brother Christmas tape made its into my van and now the boys want to listen to it all the time. I didn't think to much about it until the other night. They were all singing "Lord We Lift Your Name on High" while holding their noses. I think I'll exchange that tape for GVB or something else a little less nasal.

The other day at the playground I looked up to see Ethan laying flat on the ground. I was of course concerned so I asked him what was wrong, to which he replied "I'm just going to lay here really still and when the vultures come to eat me I'll jump up and scare them. If anyone sees our house being circled please don't be concerned, we are just playing tricks on some pesky creatures.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Normal Post

After my last post I thought that maybe I should let everyone know that I really am normal. A little demented maybe, but still normal. In order to prove this point I'll give you a little glimpse into the last few weeks of our lives.
My aunt and her best friend came from IN to pay us a visit. We hadn't seen her for about six years, so she had never met Landon or Dylan. It was really wonderful to be together again. Of course it made my Dad extremely happy to spend some time with his little sis. Dorothy has been Aunt Barbara's best friend for many years. She came with me to help Collin's class make yarn pumpkins, it was quite an experience. The pictures I took of Aunt Barbara didn't turn out because of the lighting. You have no idea how sad that makes me.
Last Wed was hat day at school. Ethan desperately wanted to wear a shoe on his head. I guess he though that would take the prize for the most original. As you can see I didn't let him. How do you keep a shoe on your head anyway? As he was walking out the door he asked if I would staple an apple on his head. Go figure.
The boys were off school on Thurs and Fri so since I had to work Thurs night and would be sleeping Fri. morning we decided to make a day of it on Thurs. We met Harold at Al's Red Barn for lunch. It is not far from the airport in Ft. Pierce. It is such a fun place to take the boys. They have a restaurant on one side with really tasty American food and wonderful authentic Mexican. On the other side is a little gift shop. It is a really great place to buy FL candy and other memorabilia. They even sell alligator jerky. Oops there I go with gators again. This picture was taken on an old tractor that sits out front.
The hangar at MFI is one of the boys favorite places to go. Here are a few pictures we took of them "helping" Daddy at work.
Anybody need to be towed?
Our little pilot in training.
Anybody want a ride when these mechanics are done?
After leaving the airport we headed for the Pumpkin Patch. This is how we import fall to S FL.
We are trying to smile, but this imported hay has ants in it and it's really hot out here.y
These pumpkins are really funny I just wish the FL sun didn't reflect off of them so brilliantly.
We're done with fall picture taking, let's go to the beach.
We finished out the week with a Pastor Appreciation service at church. We are so thankful for the leaders God has given us.
Well I hope this was enough to convince everyone of my sanity, cause who knows what I'll come up with next.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Is Reform Possible?

As the population of South FL has increased over the past several years, we have been forced to deal with the issue of gators and humans co-existing in harmony. We have been told that the reason the gators are so aggressive is because they associate humans with food. It's not that they really want to eat us, they are just so anxious to get the treat that we are holding out to them. The fact that we lose an arm just for trying to be kind is our fault. This year the hunters were allowed to kill an alarming number of gators in order to provide a safer environment for the humans. Here in HS we are opting for a softer approach. We have started the Gator Social Reform Society. Our main goal is to socialize these gators to the point where they are able to function normally in our society. The dear lady you see pictured here is our pilot project. When we found her she would snap at anything that came near, it was a real job to get her to put some clothes on. We would have gone for something a little less dated, but you should see the figure we had to work with. The hair was added to soften her appearance, I thought a lovely chestnut brown would have been very becoming, but after seeing Ethan there was no convincing her that red was not her color. She has only tried to eat me once, I was running late and Winn-Dixie had already given away the outdated meat we had been feeding her. We really are not sure what to do about her skin issues, we may try Lubriderm. We have taken her to church a few times but people tend to shy away from her. Maybe a manicure would help to ease every one's nerves during the shaking hands part of the service. Voice lessons have gone over big with her, I mean this girl can sing. The problem is that it is a bit disconcerting to watch her. Overall the project is going as well as expected. If anyone is interested in becoming a part of our organization, just let me know. One day we may be maimed heroes.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Flight Tracking

Harold is up in the air today. I thought that there might be some aviation enthusiasts out there who would like to track his route. Go to
Type N300MF for the tail # and you will be able to see where he is.
Enjoy Tim.

Monday, October 15, 2007


This past weekend was the annual retreat for the young married couples of our church. We have recently split into two groups, one for over 35 and one for under 35. Since Harold teaches Sunday School we don't get to participate in the weekly gathering of either group, but we still like to be a part of the social activities when possible. Since I am nearing 35, and we have good friends on both sides it has been hard for us to decide which group we belong with. Therefore we have become "wafflers". The older group changed their name from YAMS to ACTS, which was a very good decision. The first retreat with the new name was addressing what the acronym stands for. Active Christians in Today's Society. Since we have had so many discussions in the blog world on the subject of evangelism I was eager to hear some different views on it. Dr. Dan Glick was the special speaker. He spent a lot of time talking about how important pre-evangelism is in today's society where relativism is so rampant. We can no longer just present the Gospel to people and expect them to believe. First we have to convince them of moral absolutes and what their basis is. Harold was reminded of this article that we had both read some time ago. I thought I would share it, as it is a though provoking read. I am not advocating everything in it, just sharing it.

Exploring a Parallel Universe
Philip Yancey, November 2005

For almost ten years, I have participated in a book group comprising people who attended the University of Chicago. Mostly we read current novels, with a preference for those authors (Philip Roth, Saul Bellow, J. M. Coetzee) who have a connection with the school. The group includes a Marxist-leaning professor of philosophy, a childhood-development specialist, a pharmaceutical researcher, a neurologist, and an attorney.

I marvel in our meetings at how the same book can evoke radically different responses. Yet after navigating a sea of ideas, the living room conversations almost always drift back to political issues. Though I live in a red state, all but one of my book buddies are liberal Democrats—the sole exception being a libertarian who opposes nearly all government.

The group views me as a window to a parallel universe. "You know evangelicals, right?" I nod yes. "Can you explain to us why they are so opposed to homosexuals getting married?" I do my best, but the arguments I cite from leading evangelicals make little sense to this group.

After the 2004 election, the Marxist professor launched into a tirade against "right-wing evangelicals." "They're motivated by hate—sheer hate!" he said. I suggested fear as a possible alternative, fear of changes in a society that is moving in a troubling direction. "No, it's hate!" he insisted, uncharacteristically raising his voice and turning red in the face.

"Do you personally know any 'right-wing evangelicals'?" I asked. "Not really," he admitted a little sheepishly, though he said he had known many in his youth.

I have learned from this group how threatening religion can seem, especially to those who see themselves as a minority of agnostics in a land of belief. They tend to regard evangelicals as morals police determined to impose their ideas of proper behavior on people who do not share their beliefs.

Visiting another city a few months ago, I met with three gay men who consider themselves Christians, attend church regularly, and take their faith seriously. They view the political landscape through the same lens as my reading group friends, though with a far more acute sense of alarm. "We feel like we're in the same situation as the Jews in the early days of Hitler's regime," said one. "We're trying to discern whether it's 1933 or 1939. Should we all flee to Canada now? It's obvious the country doesn't want us, and I believe most evangelicals would like to see us exterminated."

I responded with sheer incredulity. "How can you think such a thing! Homosexuals have more rights in this country than ever. And I don't know a single Christian who wants to have you exterminated." The three cited legislative efforts in several states to roll back rights granted homosexuals and gave me several pages of inflammatory rhetoric against homosexuals by prominent evangelical political activists.

I went away from that discussion with my head spinning, just as sometimes happens at the university reading group. How can people who inhabit the same society have such different perceptions? More ominously, what have we evangelicals done to make Good News—the very meaning of the word evangelical—sound like such a threat?

Only one person in the reading group has expressed interest in matters of faith. One evening Josh told us about his sister, now a conservative evangelical. She had been a drug addict, unable to hold a job or keep a marriage together. "Then one day she found Jesus," Josh said. "There's no other explanation. She changed from night to day."

Josh asked me to recommend some books by C. S. Lewis or someone else who could explain the faith in a way that he could understand. "My sister sends me Christian books, but they're totally unconvincing," he said. "They seem written for people who already believe them." I happily complied.

Reflecting on our conversation, I remembered a remark by Lewis, who drew a distinction between communicating with a society that hears the gospel for the first time and one that has embraced and then largely rejected it. A person must court a virgin differently than a divorcée, said Lewis. One welcomes the charming words; the other needs a demonstration of love to overcome inbuilt skepticism.

I thought, too, how tempting it can be—and how distracting from our primary mission—to devote so many efforts to rehabilitating society at large, especially when these efforts demonize the opposition. (After all, neither Jesus nor Paul showed much concern about cleaning up the degenerate Roman Empire.) As history has proven, especially in times when church and state closely mingle, it is possible for the church to gain a nation and in the process lose the kingdom.

Monday, October 8, 2007

My Daily Prayer For Grace

Have you ever seen a lizard have a nervous breakdown? I got to experience this phenomenon first hand last week. The boys filled up the wagon with soap and water and were just getting ready to scrub the first two lizards in their collection when I walked out the door. The poor little creatures were frantically trying to get away while bubbles dripped from their tails and gizzards. I tried to be patient as I emptied the wagon and tried to explain why we don't bathe lizards. I had already explained to Collin at least five times why we don't put lizards in plastic bags and freeze them. Don't ask me why he wanted to do this, I have no explanation. Shortly after this escapade was over Harold suggested that we go to the beach for the evening. Now those of you who know me well know that the beach is not my favorite place to take the boys simply because of the mess it creates in the car and house. But in the interest of being a good Mom, I consented. So after I changed them out of the stinky wet clothes they were wearing and into their swim shorts we piled into the van and headed for the beach. Now I will never understand how they managed to get sand from the top of their heads to the bottom of their feet, I mean their scalps were even covered. So we came back home with all our wet, sandy clothes and towels to pile in the washer on top of the already stinky wet ones. When I walked into the house and saw a snake on the floor I looked somewhat like the lizard that I had rescued earlier in the day. Okay, it was only a plastic one, but in the dimly lit house it took me off guard. By the time they were done in the bathroom it looked like the "sands of the sea" had all been deposited in my tub. Needless to say my patience was wearing thin. I was in the mood to fuss. Then Harold called me to computer to look at the pictures that I had taken that day. I quickly realized that I needed a new perspective. These aren't outlaws I am dealing with they are just little boys. How often have I overreacted to something that in the light of eternity really didn't matter. My hope is that God will give me wisdom to decipher between character flaws and childish curiosity. My daily prayer is for the "Grace", the courage to let little boys be little boys, to realize how fleeting the moments of childhood are. So if you see my boys covered with mud, swinging from the trees, or bathing lizards, they are not being neglected, they are just being little boys. Here are a few lines from a poem I recently read. I don't know who the author is, but her words spoke to my heart.

I Took His Hand and Followed

My dishes went unwashed today,
I didn't make the bed,
I took his hand and followed,
Where his eager footsteps led.

Oh yes, we went adventuring,
My little sons and I,
Exploring all the great outdoors,
Beneath the summer sky

That my house was neglected,
That I didn't brush the stairs,
In twenty years, no one on earth,
Will know or even care

But that I've helped my little boy,
To noble manhood grow,
In twenty years the whole wide world,
May look and see and know.