Thursday, January 28, 2010


I am feeling cruddy! I spent the day in bed yesterday. Happily floating on prayers and day dreams. Not sleepy, not sleeping, not reading, not much of anything... I am not sure I have ever done that before--or at least not for as long as I pulled it off yesterday!! I got up at eight, handled KidsROCK business for two hours--a limit I set for myself, pat on the back!!

Then I went to bed. I brought a book, read a page, and felt like I would prefer spending time with the Lord directly. SO I prayed. About everyone, everything. Just chatted. Then implored. Then rested quietly in His Holy Presence.

Then I day-dreamed. That is so stinking fun! And inspiring. I guess I needed a little inspiration, too. A reason to keep trudging. Daydreaming helps me rise above details and frustrations to see the bigger picture and my original goals or motivations; it keeps me going, reminding me why I am even bothering with details and frustrations. :)

When I would get up, I would be cold. Or my stomach would ache. Or something less definable would pull me back to bed. Then I would be fine. Ecstatically fine.

Today, sadly, I am feeling the same way. Slow and achy and uninspired. But only one day of self indulgence is really affordable. Brian is back to work, and will be home early. We must school. My dad is coming this afternoon--I did stay up late last night to sweep, laundry, kitchen, dishes, etc. I need to get the fire lit.

Lord, thank you for giving me a day to rest on the Rock of my salvation. Thank you for being my strong tower, the Great Physician--the original holistic Healer. Please restore in my body and spirit inspiration and strength for life so that I may pour into my kids and home your all-infusing love.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Family is so important to me. My extended family is, well...extended. I don't get to see them often. I actually have to introduce my kids on the rare occasions we see my mom. So, we aren't setting up a habit or frame of reference for my kids to maintain a relationship with each other or us when they are grown.

But that is exactly what I want. I want to be close. I want to be a part of their church. I want them to be close friends with the other's spouse, babysit for one another's kids, go to each other for help. And I want to be present in their lives.

How do we do this? Where does the American dream and mentality begin? The one that gets people to pursue their own dreams and ambitions over staying close-knit with their families. In school? At college? With the job? I can't count how many times I have heard people say that the family you grow up with is just for that short time at the beginning of life, but the REAL family is the one you choose--at work, from neighbors or school.

I don't actually know where that idea takes root. But if it is college, I want them close! I have a 10 year old and an 8 year old and I already have empty nest syndrome!!

The end is near! Then another beginning right after that!

We now officially have four weeks left to this school year. We are also working on our very first fair--the History Faire 2010! Very exciting, with lots of new things to learn.

It will be on Feb 15. Max is doing a presentation that includes a puppet show on Gladys Aylward. She is a truly inspiring woman. Of all the lessons we can learn from her life, I pray my kids understand that the thing that makes her special is her willing obedience.

Madi is working on a presentation about Nadia Comanicci. Talk about an inspiration! She is tumbling all over the house, practicing her entrance.

Monday, January 25, 2010

AoI, a contrast

In the Arms of Immortals is a book by Ginger Garrett.

I wrote before about the character, Panthea, who cannot accept herself as she is, wanting more, not from greed, but from a fear born from self-loathing.

In contrast to that character is Gio. She is a woman who got caught in politics and power bigger than her. She sacrificed her reputation for love and purity--but in doing so, lost everything. She lives as a marginalized woman, serving the poor and healing the sick who, for whatever reason, could not go to the church for it. She has found a delicate peace to her life.

On page 46:
She stretched her feet out near the fire and wiggled her dirty toes. They looked like roots, gnarled and clinging to dirt after so many travels up and down the mountain. She did not mind. She was almost thirty, but there was no one to admire her beauty or mention the lack of it. She felt her big stomach pressing up against her breasts. It, too, had lost its maiden shape, but she liked its warmth, like the feeling of being rounded and soft, of taking up space in this world. She felt undeniable. She knew people saw her. They had to step out of the way to make room for her to pass.

It continues this way for another paragraph ending talking about her thighs: "They were marvelous."

Talk about accepting yourself!! In the end, this woman finds love as love is. It takes us as we are. But then, love, by its very nature, improves all it touches. She finds a peace that is less delicate that comes from transforming love. But she would never have been able to accept that in the first place if she couldn't first accept herself, just as she was.

May we all learn to surrender our pride with abandon for the gift of love and redemption.

AoI Why do we resist His love?

this is another thought provoked by the book In the Arms of Immortals by Ginger Garrett.

On page 76 there is a conversation between two characters. The woman is privileged and daughter to the lord of the land. She is betrothed to the man with whom she is speaking in this scene. The book opened with her desperately trying to find a way out of this marriage. The reader isn't given a reason why, but the stereotype of a girl being thrust by her father into a life that legally binds her to some brute who benefits her daddy comes to mind.

Ms Garrett spends the rest of the novel visiting this character, painting a beautifully poignant character gripped by pride. We discover the reason she doesn't want to marry this tender and loyal man because she cannot come to terms with the fact that he is a man and she is a woman. She doesn't want to be rescued. She doesn't was a hero. She wants to run it all, have the power, the wealth, the fear of her underlings...

In this scene, however, the betrothal has not yet been finalized. A visitor has come to town. He is dark and mysterious and has won an invitation by her father to the banquet. He intrigues her, tempts her to something impure. She follows him out to the garden, and the man to whom she will be betrothed tries to stop her.

He tells her that she is mindlessly following a man she doesn't know who serves an unknown master. She accuses him of being jealous. His response:

"Do you know why you won't admit you love me? he asked. "Because I know you, Panthea. I knew you when you were a girl and I was just entering your father's service, barely more than a child myself. I knew you then. I know you still. I know you as no other man ever could, and you gate me for it....You hate me because you hate who you are. You want a man to make you forget yourself....You always want more, Panthea, more than any man can give, but you are not greedy--you are frightened, frightened that, alone, you are not enough.....You are enough, Panthea. You are enough for this man."

I see this as a message from God to each of us. To be so sure that we aren't enough, and to refuse that it is OK to not be enough is to be stuck in damnation. God knows we aren't enough--and we do, as well. God is OK with that. He is there to make up our loss and to love us as we are. The real point of turning comes when we decide to relinquish our half-selves to him. When we can allow our flawed selves to be loved, we find salvation.

As I said, Panthea's story is tragic. She can never see herself as enough and cannot bring herself to rely on anyone to love her or redeem her. She sins, as do we all. But she chooses the mire of sin rather than let go of her treasured pride.

This particular part of the story had me put my book down and pull my kids close. I told them to never think they are beyond salvation. I told them that they will be tempted and they will do sinful things that shame them horribly. I wanted them to know that no matter what, they are never outside his grace. Their bad could never be bigger than His good. Amen and Praise Him!!

Big, Fat Snowflakes

I am looking out my window and chatting with my sis about the beautiful honkin' snowflakes coming down. I just love it. I told Diane about it and she asked what makes them fat. I guessed a higher water content.
She looked it up and found that it is temp and water content. She read more and more about it and it was neat hearing about the nature of snow and snowflakes.

One of the things that made me laugh was that it discussed snowflake counts. Some snow storms have more snowflakes than others. When the temperature is cold, the flakes a smaller and there are more of them. When it is warmer, there is more water and the water in the flakes attract each other and bind into larger flakes. So, some storms have more flakes than others.

The question I have is who is counting flakes?? LOL I thought that was so funny. We measure inches, but I haven't ever thought about measuring by the number of actual flakes that fall. He he... So funny to me. 'It snowed all day, but we didn't get a lot of flakes.' What?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

So well researched?? I am being snotty.

I am looking for good books to read all the time. One of the genres I enjoy most is historical and Biblical fiction. I was recommended a book. I was told (and it is written on the cover) that she and her husband are tireless in their research and the historical accuracy of their novels.

So, I open the book and begin with the Prologue. The time is 38 AD and the place is Qumran, by the Dead Sea. Immediately I am excited, because we read about this place and the process by which Scripture was copied in our Advent books. Back to the story, Jerusalem is fallen, the Romans are coming and this monk is grieving the loss of his 'young' 17 year old brother. The continual reference to 'the boy' has me skeptical, because I only assume that 17 year olds weren't really considered boys at this time. But I am not an authority so set it aside and keep reading.

Then, this shaken, fearful, blood stained monk resolves to finish copying the book of Isaiah before the Romans storm the place. All alone, he enters the scribe room and begins reading.

"How beautiful are the mountains of the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!"

Then he basically grumbles because he thinks there is no good news, there is no peace, but he will go ahead and write the sentence anyway.

WHAT???? Seriously?? I don't even know where to begin! King James in 68 AD? Copying a full sentence when a monk is shaky and tired all alone? What does that say about the authenticity of the Scripture? Oh, and did I mention KING JAMES?

This is a woman touted as being an excellent researcher? Man, I could barely turn the page. So disappointing.

AoI: Evil in body

On page 184, the modern woman is talking with her guardian angel about all that is going on. She has just received eternal salvation and desperately wants to save these people from what she knows is happening. Her angel is trying to rein her in. He tells her that she isn't enough and the little bit of truth she has is not enough. Her angel speaks in broken English; why, I don't know. I will copy below:

"You sent me here to fight the darkness."
"You not know who fight with you. That big truth you still need."
"this is what I know: Death doesn't want their bodies. He has no use for them. Bodies are not eternal, not in any world. Spirits are. These are what he seeks. That's why the Enemy appears as a disease. There is no one visible. No one to blame but God...."

This is an intriguing thought to me. Satan is no dummy. A fool, perhaps, but an expert in human folly, as well. We love to blame. We love to explain. We need to know WHY. WHO. If we do, we feel we can have some control. So, Satan offers no body (nobody) for us to blame when he acts.

And the odd truth that fits with human idiosyncrasy is that even those people who don't believe in God are willing to blame him for evil. We are more ready to admit His existence as the One without a Body (forgetting that is our own role), than acknowledge that there are others without bodies who are acting. And if we admit only His existence and see body-less acts, then He gets the credit--or blame, as the case may be.

So interesting to me.

In Ginger Garrett's After Words, she speaks about her personal beliefs regarding Satan and the change in the world's perspective on Evil as a result of the Black Plague.

Regarding her personal beliefs, she says there is an 'active, intelligent evil in the work to destroy everything God considers beautiful.' She continues to talk about how today evil and Satan are trivialized, citing that the Devil is a mascot for ham. the images we have of both angels and devils have become so trivialized that we see no reason to pay them any serious considerations.

At the time of the Black plague, angles were considered mighty warriors--in keeping with what we read in Scripture. In the age immediately following the Black Plague (a time Garrett calls the death of the angels), the Renaissance (she refers to as the Age of Fear) art portrays angels as cherubs looking more like being needing protection that ones who may provide any. Devils, Death and evil are all given much more menace and power in the art created during this time.

So interesting... Which is more detrimental to faith, I wonder? The idea of innocuous angels ill-equipped to protect us from muscular and commanding evil or the whole lot of them being a joke?

Woo, this got long!

AoI, the Black Death's affect on Science and the Church

In the story In the Arms of Immortals, we witness the Black Death ravage a small town in Sicily. There is one 'banker' who acts as lord of the town, living in a castle away from the village. One church building with one priest. As a member of this town, you either belonged to the church by attending mass and confession or you did not. If not, you were decidedly marginalized, if not outright considered lost...damned.

When the plague hit, several things happened. First, the idea that the priest and church knew all and was authority over all was questioned. Scientists today can only speculate on what exactly the plague was. The idea that sin brought sick didn't fly any more. Children were stricken. No one was safe. While the priest implored on the sick to confess, people died. While the people implored on the priest to heal, people died.

I suppose this was the time that science and the church were considered to be enemies. This idea is so topsy turvy and offensive to me, because I believe that science is inseparable from God. I see science as the act of exploring and discovering Who God is by seeing what he has made. To know his creation, we understand the Maker a little more.

So I am in the boat with those Christian who believe that removing science from the authority of the 14th century church was not a rebellion against God. Ginger Garret writes that scientist studying to find the cure for our current killer diseases that they are searching for God and working within His will to end suffering, find the lost and make whole those who are broken (page 290). She says that are 'radical optimists about eh human condition.' (also page 290)

Further down this page I love. She points out that the plague may have caused a diminished authority of the church, but it did nothing to bruise Faith. In fact, the plague moved the church to be the living Body of Christ that He'd intended. No more did one need to enter a building to receive His mercies. No more was there a need for ritual or propriety or human authority. People were suffering and in need, so PEOPLE ministered in the name of Jesus. No need for ceremony, seminary or atmosphere.

The pope at this time authorized women to offer last rights (speaking the words that at the time were allowed only by priests) to those in need--to this dying world.

The last topic Ginger Garrett covers in the Epilogue is the idea of God's speaking during this time of need. In Biblical times we read about how God brought plagues as punishment for disobedience and hard hearts. It is all explained. God spoke and prophets spoke. She wonders in her pages why God is silent.

She shares that in writing this story she realized God has never been silent. She says on page 291 that

'in the time of the Black Death, the Church doors were thrown wide open, and the faithful were pushed out into the world. Women, who had no voice in the Church, were now encouraged to speak for God, and their message was one of deliverance, hope, and redemption. The Church was willing to die to itself, to suffer the pain of change and reconsiderations, that the suffering would not die alone. The Church fought darkness, and women took the front lines.'

Praise Him!! Amen!

In the Arms of Immortals by Ginger Garrett

I loved this book. It has given me so much food for thought, I have been savoring it for hours at a time.
The story is the second in a trilogy about angels touching modern day women and sharing with them the lives of women during pivotal times in history. While the author has a special place in her heart for women and chose these times to show how women played important roles in changing the course of history, she is not heavy handed about it in her story writing. There are post scripts that lay out her plan more directly and that gives added depth after enjoying the story.

The first story was about Anne Boleyn and the bringing of the Word to women (and all 'commoners') to read in their own spoken language. this book is about the Black Plague, specifically in Sicily and how the Pope allowed women to give last rights to the dying. It gave women a voice in the church when they did not have it before.

The last book is yet to be published, but will be about European witch trials.

So there is the background. I will post several times about the various themes this book has brought for me to ponder.


I was spending Mommy and Me time with my princess girl yesterday and she asked me a question.
"How was KidsROCK for you, Mommy?" I told to to please ask me in a different way so that I could understand what she wanted to know. She said she couldn't think of a different way to ask, so I said, 'OK, just tell me how is KidsROCK for you.' Then she began to describe her day in Club PALS the morning before.
Understanding, I told her how things went for me.
Then I asked how KidsROCK was--letting her know that it is bigger than Club PALS.

I enjoyed her answer and enjoyed the topic, but more than that, I was so impressed with her thoughtfulness and maturity to know that we can attend the same event, but that it will be a different experience for different people. And she cared enough to wonder and ask about how it is for someone she loves! Very neat.

As she talked, she mentioned that she had asked a new friend of ours (moved from Alaska less than two weeks ago) what it is like to move. She told her friend that she hasn't ever moved and wanted to know how it was. Talking about her new friend's answer, she was moved to silence as pondered leaving friends, toys in 'the mail,' and not knowing anyone in the new place.

Once again, I was surprised and pleased with the depth of her character. This is my girl who once could contentedly play next to a screaming child. I used to worry if her heart were terminally hard. It is neat to see this development. She is so very precious to me.

Is it wrong?

We had some storms come through that left us with power going off and on for three days. During the longest stretch without, I began what I normally do on the inside out loud: dreaming about a KidsROCK building.
I included the kids in it. We would have our own sources of power, so we could be open to our members during blackouts. They can come to play, eat, shower, do laundry and stay warm. So much more fun than being without all that indefinitely.
The next day Madi came and asked how I would feel if she and Max grew up, got married (to different people) and had kids but never moved out. I said I would really like a bigger house! Then I said that if we had property like Aunt Katie does, we could have three houses on it and be neighbors. Then we could have the KR building on the property, too and they could be partners in running it!!

This idea only had just come to me, and it excited me to a ridiculous level. Madi liked it and talked about how she could run a big garden on the property--teaching others to garden, plus making pretty walks for people who wanted to wander and be with God and a cup of coffee. She wants to train dogs, and teach others to do that. She wants to teach dance, and of course, homeschool her kids. So she said that way she could do all that she wanted to do and still be a stay at home mom!!

Of course, I think it is a brilliant idea. She ran to tell Max, and he was on board about teaching kids how to act for his movies, teaching about computers and how to make movies on the computer...

Is this wrong??? LOL I love it so much, it very well might be! But there is a tradition of family businesses that is older than our nation. But our nation's spirit has often taught children of family businesses to seek themselves separate of families. I know my nation's spirit isn't as important as my God's, but even with that, I am not sure this is right. It is fulfilling my dream.

I want to make KidsROCK something really special, and eventually a one-stop resource for homeschoolers. I can't do that now. I am homeschooling. I mean, right now we have about 10 things on back burners because we just can't prioritize it over family. I am content and confident we are right to move slowly.

But when the kids are grown, I would love to grow this into something more than it is now. I will have time then. But will I care? Is this just a season in my life, and when the kids are gone, will I be done? I hope not. And if my kids returned and benefited from what I did, then I would still be in with both feet. If my son and son in law were able to make a living by staying close to family and promoting a family centered lifestyle, how cool would that be???

But, it is my dream. I can't even say it is Brian's. While I know I can convince my kids that it would be cool, would I be robbing them of their own paths? Or is that hokum? American-look-out-for-number-one crap? I don't know.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A good life lesson

Yesterday when we woke up, my girl told me that last month when we went to the Pizza Factory tour and got to make our own pizzas behind that counter that she was really wanting to fit in. She said she had seen many of the other kids add several toppings to their pizza and thought that, even though she only wanted olives, that she should add more just to fit in. She added pepperoni and Canadian bacon (not even knowing what it was).
Later, when all the kids were eating their handiwork, she saw a good friend had only pineapple on her pizza. My girl was disappointed that she had added the extra toppings because she really only wanted olives. She picked off the meat but said she wished she had been brave like her friend had been.

That is a pretty good lesson, huh? She is slow to process. It is crazy that it takes almost two months for her to share the secrets of her heart with me. I worry about what I am missing.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

You have grassy eyes

Madi and I were cuddling together. I was looking into her eyes and told her she had cloudy eyes. So pretty. She looked at me and said, You have grassy eyes!!! What??

I asked what that meant and she said it is like seeing grass from a birds eye view. lol