Wednesday, February 27, 2008

This article really hit me. I've been hearing this message a lot lately, and it has me thinking. What radical thing am I doing for Christ? The author states:

The American Dream has permeated this nation, but it has also spilled across the oceans to all nations of the world. Everyone understands the American Dream, and he pursues it with all his might. While we are familiar with seeing images of desperate Cubans endeavoring to land makeshift rafts on the beaches of Florida in their pursuit of this dream, many Americans are no different. They just look better in the pursuit. But under the cover of well-clothed, well-educated, well-cared-for Americans is a relentless pursuit of the same idea—a better, richer, fuller life than what I am currently experiencing. The pursuit leaves every player exasperated for one simple reason—it’s not the way God intended us to live.
God gives us strong admonitions to live for another world, another country. Our mode of operation is to be that of a pilgrim, not a consumer. When pagans compare our lives to theirs, we should look like idiots in their eyes. But I’m afraid most of the time we look pretty normal. We should have different economic strategies (kingdom giving), different time schedules (acts of mercy; times of personal, family, and corporate worship), different family priorities (parenting God’s way, time together), and different pursuits (kingdom of God, glory of God, people of God). However, I’m afraid that when the lives of most Christians are examined, they make complete sense to the average pagan. Materially, we have houses, cars, retirement plans, and five kinds of insurance so that we can have “risk-free” living. When it comes to our time, we spend more time having fun than serving the poor. We spend more time playing with our toys than meeting as believers, provoking one another to love and good works. I’m afraid that our diversions have become our delight in America. When it comes to what we live for, I’m afraid we display Babylonian desires for the latest and greatest . . . just like the pagans.

I know that my mind is more often occupied with how to make life more comfortable for my family, and specifically, me. I know that I spend a lot of time dreaming about what we want to do someday, and it usually involves a house on a lake more than a shack in Africa.

I'm not sure what to do with all these thoughts, though. I realize there are going to be earthly pursuits that don't, on the surface, look like kingdom pursuits. But I also realize that my heart is what matters, and sometimes those earthly pursuits give a window of opportunity to bring about kingdom goals. That time we hired someone to drywall our basement? It led to some great conversations about church and living for Christ, and has established a relationship with a guy that still exists today.

Not everyone will give up their job like the author did, but we all must be willing. So my question becomes, how do you live a radical life for Christ, while still working a 9 to5, having a family and having responsibilities elsewhere?

What do you think?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Our Alli

I feel like I've posted a lot of pictures of Elijah lately, and hardly any of Alli. Granted, his birthday was a few weeks ago, but I thought I should post about my little baby girl, who is definately not a baby anymore! She is almost 20 months old, and a joy to our family. She wakes up every morning wanting to give big hugs to her brother, wanting a bow in her hair, and wanting to eat! She giggles and smiles like she realizes how cute we think she is, and has a will stronger than iron. She wants to do everything Elijah does, which includes coloring, helping me cook, and running from her daddy when he plays monster.

Her 2nd birthday is just a few months away and she already wants to sleep in a big bed. She LOVES other kids and is quite social, except when they try to play with one of her favorite toys! She follows the "big kids" around and tries to mimic all they do. I can't wait to see what things she will try outdoors when it (finally) gets warm!

We adore you, Alli. And we are enjoying every moment that God is giving us with you!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Complete Look

Here it is . . .The framed skeleton keys in the shadow boxes look small in the picture, but I think they fit perfectly in the space. I am very happy with the result!

And because Elijah couldn't stand to have me snapping a picture without him in it . . .
Nothing like the friendship between a boy and his dog (although Sadie is really just tolerating him here!)


My friend Karen tagged me to write 3 sentences from page 123 from the book nearest to me. Right now I sit next to Dan's Bible and C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity, and I think I'll do the book, since pg. 123 in the Bible falls in Numbers, in a very wordy passage!

So from Lewis:
1. "Nearly all those evils in the world which people put down to greed or selfishness are really far more the result of Pride."
2. "Pride is competitive by its very nature: that is why it goes on and on."
3. "If I am a proud man, then, as long as there is one man in the whole world more powerful, or richer, or cleverer than I, he is my rival and enemy."

Now I tag Crazy Mom, Rachel and Tina to do the same. Have fun!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Abridged 14 Days of Valentine's

Last year, my friend Rachel described how she lavished gifts on her husband for the first 14 days of February to show her love for him, and to focus on giving, rather than receiving on this Hallmark holiday.

I decided then and there that I would do the same this year. However, lack of planning found me midway into February with no gifts given. The old adage says late is better than never, right? and so I focused on an abridged, 7 days of Valentine's instead.

I have tried to surprise Dan with a little gift every day, including his favorite candy, a fun conversation game, a musical card (I can't fight this feeling anymore . . .), and other various gifts. Today I left chocolate-cherry kisses in his car, as well as taping homemade Valentine's that the kids made on his steering wheel. And to remind him all day long that I love him, I am cluttering his email inbox with love song lyrics and Scripture verses about love. And when he gets home tonight, he will see the heart-shaped cookies that the kids and I will make and decorate today.

An abridged version, but fun nonetheless.

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Monday, February 11, 2008

2007 Children's Book Picks

This past year found me reading more, and subsequently, visiting the library more often. I hadn't made it a habit to go to the library, partly because Elijah was stilled enthralled with the Zempel family library and also because Alli was small and napped most of the day. But as she got older, we started making a trip to the library a "must do" every couple of weeks, and Elijah's world opened to new books and the wall of videos, of which he was allowed one choice each visit.

At a loss as to what books I should be reading to my then-3-year-old, I found a list that the library suggested for picture books and we started checking out the past Caldecott winners. Without a doubt, we really loved the list the librarians recommended, and were a bit disappointed in the Caldecott books, mostly because the stories didn't captivate Elijah like some others did.

So without further ado, here is our list of favorite children's picture books from 2007 (that is, the year we read them, not the year they were published):

10. The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster (the 2006 Caldecott Medal Winner)

9. Any of the Froggy books by Jonathan London

8. How Are You Peeling? by Saxton Freymann

7. I Stink! by Kate McMullan (definately a boy's book. On the downside, now Elijah loves to talk about eating garbage.)

6. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin (I will admit that I don't get this book, but both Alli and Elijah loved it - I guess it is the rhymes.)

5. Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae

4. Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin

3. Strega Nona: An old Tale by Tomie De Paola

2. Bed Hogs by Kelly DiPucchio

And the number 1 book that we loved from 2007 . . . which I bought to give Alli on her 2nd birthday . . . whose author lives in Wisconsin . . . and also happens to be the 2005 Caldecott Medal Winner is . . .

Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes

It is the story of a little kitten who mistakes the full moon for a bowl of milk and spends all night chasing after it. So adorable and fun. A must-add to our family library.

What are your favorite picture books?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Shameless Plug

I don't think I've ever mentioned it here before, but I sell Mary Kay Cosmetics. I've been a consultant for a little over 2 years, mostly because I LOVE their products! Well, they have a new product on the market that I absolutely adore. I just bought their Mineral Powder Foundation and I am amazed how well it works. I have always been a liquid foundation girl, prefering light to medium coverage (depending on my complexion on any given day) and have always been pleased with MK's medium-coverage foundation. But I ordered the new mineral powder to try it out and I will rave about it here.

It goes on ultra-light, so you can barely feel it. It blends beautifully, giving my skin (which is, by no means perfect) a silky-smooth look and feel. And the great thing about the mineral powder is that it is actually good for your skin! It offers buildable coverage, so you can wear it as light or as heavy as you like, and all in one jar. No need to buy different foundations for different coverage!

Okay, so I think I have made my point. I am very happy with this product. So here is my offer to you, my loyal readers. If you are interested in ordering, contact me via this post, and I can work with you to determine the color choice you would need. Then I will ship it to you FREE OF CHARGE, which is always my offer to out of town or state customers.

If you are looking for a great foundation, you must try this! The foundation is 18 dollars, and for 28 you can get the foundation and specialized brush for application in an attractive black bag. You must order by contacting me, since I do not have a Mary Kay website.

Have a BEAUTIFUL day!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


I'm not a crafty person by nature. Most of what little I create is an exact reproduction of something I've seen elsewhere. So a few years ago I saw in a catalog a set of framed skeleton keys and decided that they would look great in our bedroom and promptly ordered them. A few days later I received an email saying they were backordered and it would take an additional month or so before they shipped. Over the following weeks, I kept getting emails that pushed the date back further and further. Finally, impatient with waiting, I cancelled the order and went on with my life, never really forgetting the piece.

So fast forward probably 4 or more years, I was in Micheal's the other day and found skeleton keys in the scrapbooking aisle and instantly the memory of those beautiful framed keys sprang to my mind. I bought 2 packages (about 3 bucks a piece) and started formulating my design. A trip to IKEA last week helped me find the exact shadow boxes that would work . . . and I already had some Stampin' Up scrapbooking paper that I thought would complement our decor . . . and Voila! . . . I finally have those framed skeleton keys that I ordered so long ago.

I'm pleased with the result and anxious to hang them on the wall. I made 4 of them, 2 for either side of our bed, I'll try to post pictures when they are up. All in all, I feel rather surprised with my do-it-yourself attempt at craftiness, but don't expect it again anytime soon.