Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Winter fun

I wish these pictures were an indication of the snow on the ground right now, but unfortunately we have no snow. We didn't get a white Christmas, but it looks like we might get some around New Years. Anyway, these are pics of Elijah sledding after our December 1st snowstorm that wrecked our evening out (see here). It was nice that he got to enjoy it! Thanks to Tina for snapping these great pics and printing them out while it was still winter. I tend to let them sit in the camera for months on end!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Particular Redemption

I have been following a debate on particular redemption on the Fundamentally Reformed blog lately. The doctrine summarized is the L in TULIP. Basically it states that Christ's death was limited for the elect and that His blood pays for the sins of them only. The debate has been very informative. I will admit that I don't understand all of the ramifications of the doctrine, and I am not the best apologist for it. But I do believe that Jesus came to redeem His people and that His death accomplished it (John 10:11). I believe that His death absorbed all the wrath of God, so that there is no more fear of punishment for the people of God (I John 2:2).
That being said, there is a valid argument that Wayne Grudem discusses in his Systemactic Theology book concerning the doctrine. It causes me to question the vehemence that some use when debating the doctrine. I quote him here:

"Scripture itself never singles this out as a doctrine of major importance, nor does it once make it the subject of any explicit theological discussion….In fact, this is really a question that probes into the inner counsels of the Trinity and does so in an area in which there is very little direct scriptural testimony—a fact which should cause us to be cautious…."

If you want to read a more in-depth discussion, I encourage you to read Bob's post on Fundamentally Reformed.
Wherever you fall in the discussion, I firmly believe that it is our responsibility as Christians to be informed, and to debate with the spirit of charity. I hope the debate encourages you to search out the Scriptures to determine what you believe. Be a good Berean and don't just listen to what others have to say, but discover God's truths for yourself!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I've been receiving a lot of Christmas email stories. Some worth reading, some not so much. Anyway, I got this email from my friend Heather and laughed out loud. Now this is eating advice I can follow!

Holiday Eating Tips

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. Like fine single-malt scotch, it's rare. In fact, it's even rarer than single-malt scotch. You can't find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-aholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's.You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple.! Pumpkin. Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or, if you don't like mince meat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Reread tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Thanks for the prayers for our two friends who are struggling right now. I promised an update, so here goes:

Jenni and Scott are home with their baby, giving her anti-seizure medication every 12 hours. It seems to be working. I am blessed beyond belief to see the faith and trust they put in our Savior's sovereignty during this whole trial. They are looking at 6 months of the medicine, then tests to see if she is able to come off of it. They won't diagnose epilepsy until toddlerhood or later, after they see a pattern of seizures. The doctors are hoping it is a newborn genetic thing that causes them, and not epilepsy.

Kate and Aeron have not had a baby, and that is great news! She is now 26 weeks, which is where their last daughter was born at. They know the trials of having a preemie, so everyday this baby stays inside where she is supposed to be is a good day. Kate is in the hospital until at least 30 weeks, which means no Christmas at home. Pray for her spirits, as well as Aeron's, as he is rushing around from work, school, home and back to the hospital to spend the night there as a family.

Thanks for praying and keep it up!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Bethlehem Marketplace

Here we are another week closer to Christmas and we have yet to do anything "Christmassy." Sure, we've read some advent stories to Elijah, but that is about it. In my previous post, I wrote about the State Farm Christmas party being cancelled, so we haven't had a chance to really do something to celebrate the holiday. That all changed last night . . .

We went to the "Bethlehem Marketplace" at Elmbrook Church. I heard about it at my chiropractor's office and thought it sounded interesting, so I talked Dan into going. We bundled up the kids and tried to get there for an early viewing, since the website boasted 40,000 visitors last year. We didn't want to wait in that line!

It was a great experience. We entered into a small theater and watched about a 15 minute video about Bethlehem and it's history. Then we entered the "time tunnel" (adults need to have an active imagination for this to be fun) where a voice reminded us to hold our children's hands less they be transported to a century not their own! Walking out of the time tunnel brought us into Bethlehem, circa first century. There were goats, cows, a camel, and what appeared to be a llama. Elijah liked this. He got to pet a baby goat and a chicken. I often wonder if he connects the live, feathered fowl with the meat we so often eat at dinner. He didn't seem to make the connection last night. After petting the animals there was an industrial sized GermX bottle with which to disinfect ourselves. Somehow I doubt they had that in Christ's time.

After registering for the census, we were given some shekels to spend and a warning to watch out for the theives in the marketplace and the Roman guards. We saw guards, never encountered the theives, and only saw one beggar. She was getting money from another child, so we walked past. We encountered stone cutters, where Elijah bartered for a polished stone for 1 shekel. There were olive oil merchants, dyers, dancers, craftsmen and a wonderful spice shop where we acquired some frankensence and myrrh. We burnt it this morning; let's just say that our candles are more cleanburning today then they were back then.

The trip through time ended at a humble inn, where in the stable area was the virgin Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus. This is the part of the trip Elijah was most excited about. I only hope he understands that it wasn't the REAL baby Jesus. Either way, it was worth the $9 we spent, and it seemed an accurate representation of what Biblical Bethlehem might have been like.

There were cookies, coffee and ice water to enjoy afterwards, and we talked with a few representatives from the church. A couple was really interested in Alli, since they need 42 Baby Jesus' this year and they are still looking to fill all the spots. I gave them my number, but on further reflection, I'm not sure Alli, as active as she is these days, would make a gentle, quiet Jesus. We'll see. If she does participate, then I get to be Mary! Apparently it makes the most sense to have the baby's mother be the one to hold them for an extended period of time. We didn't hear if that would mean Dan had to be Joseph.

A few side notes for those of you thinking about going: no strollers allowed, although wheelchairs are, so be prepared to hold your littlest ones if this applies to you. Also, we left with extra shekels. So don't be cheap, spend what they give you! We left with a bead necklace, shiny rock, and a piece of papyrus, and ate 2 pieces of bread with honey and still had left over money. I didn't get any bread and now I regret it! Also, the line for the 7:30 show was really long, so the earlier you go, the better.

I can't promise we will go every year, but as the kids get older I can see it being a great teaching tool. And I finally feel like we did something "Chirstmassy!"

Friday, December 01, 2006

Storm Stories

We woke this morning to a beautiful snowfall, with 6" already on the ground. It had been predicted, but as any school child whose hopes for a snow day will tell you, just because they say it is coming, doesn't mean it will! So it was a pleasant scene with which to wake. *Sigh*

Then reality sets in. No time to sip hot coffee and enjoy being indoors. It took Dan over 2 hours to get to work, it was coming down like a blizzard and Elijah was begging to go outdoors and play. I heard that it was going to taper off by noon, so my plans for shopping this morning were sidetracked, but the State Farm Christmas party tonight should still be good to go. I hop into the shower, trying to decide what to wear tonight, since I was going to try to find a new blouse (what an old-fashioned word!) to wear tonight. I get out and try on an older skirt and sweater that I haven't been able to wear for a while (pregnancies and all) and it fits! Problem solved.

Then I get the email from Dan - party cancelled. I was crushed. A night out, without kids, no more. Do you know how rarely we plan for a babysitter? So the decision was made that we are still going out! Em is still willing to watch the kids, Elijah is excited she's coming, we are going to take advantage of this! We'll probably do some Christmas shopping (sans kids - this is a big deal!) and have a bite to eat. Nothing exciting, but it's a date! And really, more exciting than a work Christmas party, although we may not eat as good. It doesn't matter, I'm still grateful for the storm!