Wednesday, April 28, 2010

today i was a mama

kind of.

we are watching our pastor's four kids this week, and today i was able to cancel my first two sessions of the day and stay at their house (three of the kiddos go to school, and i was homeschooling the other one).  it was so much fun!  i mean it definitely helps that they are older (10-15 years old) and pretty independent.

all day i basically home schooled, cooked, did laundry and cleaned a little bit.  it was glorious.

in the evening i worked for two hours, and that two hours took more out of me than the rest of my whole day.

we are still waiting for our out of state paperwork to come through before we can be certified for foster/adoption.  and waiting and waiting and waiting. i know its in God's timing.  but i surely am looking forward to being a mama!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

happy earth day!

for some reason i am super excited that today is earth day, and i plan on meditating more on God being creator God.

in celebration of earth day, i will not be worshipping earth as many do, but i will worship the Creator of the earth, as well as think about what my role is in stewarding the good gift He has given.

i highly recommend this blog to think more about this topic.  the main points are:

1.  the earth is the lords and all that is in it (ps 24:1)

2. dominion should not equal destruction.

3. we have a multi-generational vision.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

sinners in the hands of an angry God

great quotes from 'sinners in the hands of an angry God' by jonathan edwards:

"There is nothing that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God"

"There is no fortress that is any defence from the power of God. Though hand join in hand, and vast multitudes of God's enemies combine and associate themselves, they are easily broken in pieces. They are as great heaps of light chaff before the whirlwind; or large quantities of dry stubble before devouring flames."

"Another thing implied is, that they are liable to fall of themselves, without being thrown down by the hand of another; as he that stands or walks on slippery ground needs nothing but his own weight to throw him down."

"Almost every natural man that hears of hell, flatters himself that he shall escape it; he depends upon himself for his own security; he flatters himself in what he has done, in what he is now doing, or what he intends to do. Every one lays out matters in his own mind how he shall avoid damnation, and flatters himself that he contrives well for himself, and that his schemes will not fail."

"So that, thus it is that natural men are held in the hand of God, over the pit of hell; they have deserved the fiery pit, and are already sentenced to it; and God is dreadfully provoked, his anger is as great towards them as to those that are actually suffering the executions of the fierceness of his wrath in hell, and they have done nothing in the least to appease or abate that anger, neither is God in the least bound by any promise to hold them up one moment; the devil is waiting for them, hell is gaping for them, the flames gather and flash about them, and would fain lay hold on them, and swallow them up; the fire bent up in their own hearts is struggling to break out: and they have no interest in any Mediator, there are no means within reach that can be any security to them. In short, they have no refuge, nothing to take hold of; all that preserves them every moment is the mere arbitrary will, and uncovenanted, unobliged forbearance of an incensed God."

 "The greatest earthly potentates in their greatest majesty and strength, and when clothed in their greatest terrors, are but feeble, despicable worms of the dust, in comparison of the great and almighty Creator and King of heaven and earth. It is but little that they can do, when most enraged, and when they have exerted the utmost of their fury. All the kings of the earth, before God, are as grasshoppers; they are nothing, and less than nothing: both their love and their hatred is to be despised."

realizing how bad the bad news is helps us to see how amazing the good news is.

as the famous jonathan edwards colloquialism goes: “Ain’t no sermons like a J. Edwards sermon, ’cause dem J. Edwards sermon don’ stop.”

living frugal, green and healthy

since starting this crazy journey towards motherhood, i have been introduced into a realm in the blogosphere that i did not even know existed.  previously i was pretty devoted to the theological nourishment i received from such blogs as between two worlds and mark driscoll's blog.

more recently i have been blessed and refreshed to learn from the godly perspective of some older women that i really respect, namely carolyn mahaney and noel piper.  in the past few months, i also started to follow blogs from some younger mothers that focus on practical tips for managing the family day to day and maintaining a healthy and environmentally friendly home (namely simple mom, simple organic and keeper of the home).

although i almost feel like a christian tomboy at times because of my love of theology, i have been really gaining a lot from these feminine issue focused blogs that i have most recently started to follow.  i am learning a lot about my role as household manager, wife and (soon to be) mother.

something that has struck me as a repeated theme in several of these blogs is that my desire to be frugal, to be healthy and to be green go mostly hand in hand (in hand?). i love multitasking!  though i would say that i generally live a pretty green and healthy life, i have been challenged to take it a step further in a few areas, and by God's grace i will become a better steward of the resources he has given us in these ways.

1. reducing our paper products
Solid Color Cotton Bandanas (Black)we already re-use computer paper (print on the back side of already used paper for unimportant things we print out, such as directions and coupons) and use very few paper towels (i clean with rags only and dry my hands on regular towels).

also, i have already sewn cloth baby wipes and we plan on cloth diapering as soon as we get kiddos (assuming they are still in diapers, which they almost definitely will be, as a result of the train wreck that is called the foster care system).

our next steps are going to be eliminating paper towels and paper napkins.  i plan on finishing out our current supply of both, and then (hopefully) never buying then again.  i have a heard a good recommendation to use plain colored bandanas for less fancy (and less expensive) cloth napkins.

and... call me crazy but i have considered looking into cloth handkerchiefs and cloth feminine hygiene products.  if we ever make this switch, it is long in the future.  but it may happen.

2.  making my own cleaning products
Church & Dwight Co 01110 Arm & Hammer Baking Sodai was already in the process of switching to all homemade cleaning products, but recently i have discovered more recipes for various types of homemade cleaning products, and more motivation to switch (did you know that the epa estimates that the inside of a house often has 2-5x more pollutants than outside the house?)  again, i am using up what we still have around the house, then i will start making all my own

currently, i am using baking soda as an abrasive scrub for the bathtub and sinks, and vinegar for cleaning various other things.  i am also planning on making an orange peel-vinegar cleaner next time oranges go on sale.

 3.  reducing plastic
EarthLust Stainless Steel Water Bottle (1L / Tree)more awareness is being raised recently about the effects of BPA, a chemical found in many plastics, especially clear ones, that leaches out and can effect your health.  it is especially dangerous for young children.  i was aware of BPA in nalgene-type water bottles but i have come to discover that it is found in much more than that, from the lining of cans to plastic food storage containers.

recently, i got rid of all of our plastic water bottles and travel mugs.  i now use a stainless steel water bottle, and i am looking to buy a stainless steel travel mug to replace the one i lost recently.

i am moving towards getting rid of our plastic good storage containers in favor of glass (this is going to be a more difficult transition, i anticipate it taking some time).  i also want to learn how to can my own vegetables, especially tomatoes. since we moved to california, i discovered how to make beans in the crock pot from dried beans in order to save money, since canned goods are so costly here (i save at least $3 per batch this way, and we go through a batch a week easily). i will most definitely continue to do this now that i know about the BPA in cans.

4. organic foods

mentally, the switch to organic food is very difficult for me.  most organic food costs about twice as much as conventional, which seems like a ridiculous waste (this is where being green and frugal don't go quite hand in hand)!  i am secretly bitter because i suspect that organic companies know that people are willing to pay top dollar for their products, so they rip people off.  it is very hard for me to justify spending so much on food when that money could be given to others who have none at all, and would be happy to eat pesticide-laden food.

however, several things i have read recently have convinced me to take the plunge.  probably more than anything, my decision to move towards organic stems from the fact that i have a concern for the impact on the earth that herbicides and pesticides have.  i heard a story on NPR the other day about farmers in alabama resorting to old-fashioned hand picking weeds because of the fact that they are now resistant to all 4 or 5 different herbicides the farmers tried to use.  also, herbicides and pesticides wash off of farmland and go in to the local water supply.  the use of these chemicals does not seem to be good stewardship of the earth that God has given to us.

furthermore, some farming chemicals do have an effect on our health.  every year, america sells billions of dollars of pesticides to other countries that are banned in the US for health reasons.  however, then we go back and buy up the produce that these other countries produce with the chemicals that are banned in our country.

to a lesser extent, i have a concern for the treatment of the animals who give me the food i eat.  i do feel more comfortable knowing that the chickens who produced my eggs were given the freedom to run around and peck and fulfill their God-given chicken purpose, or that cows were not fed old meat scraps and antibiotics so that they produced more milk for me.

i am making the transition to organic slowly, mostly for budgetary reasons.  my current goal is to buy about 25-50% of our food organic, and hopefully increase over time.  i have researched which foods typically are found to have the most pesticides/chemicals (for example, meat, dairy, apples and spinach) and which are more "clean" (for example, broccoli, cauliflower, US grown grapes and pineapple), which helps me to decide which foods to buy organic and which to buy conventional.

also, i am learning how to make more things at home (for example, i recently tried my hand at making yogurt) to save money.  i have also started a garden and a compost bin, which will allow us to eat more chemical-free produce for less.

does any of this strike a chord with you?  what steps have you taken recently to live more frugally/green/healthy?  what are the next steps that you want to take?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

the bride: part 1

recently i have been really into the song "the bride" by lecrae, which has taught me a lot about the church, along with why we love the church.

in the chorus lecrae raps:

"yeah she may look gritty
when her man come back she gon' look so pretty - she the Church
you might see her acting crazy,
be patient with her tho cause she still God's baby - she the Church
before you dis her get to know her,
Jesus got a thing fo her and died just to show her - she the Church
she ain't bricks and buildings
she all of God's people men women and children"

the imagery of Jesus' people being His bride (revelation 19) is truly astounding.   it especially strikes me when it states that "it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure." (19:8)

the bible makes it clear that we have not earned the bright and pure linen.  quite the opposite, we have used the beauty God has bestowed on us prostitute ourselves out to other lovers (ezekiel 16).

but Jesus has not cast his bride aside, despite these things.  while we were ill-deserving, He died the death we should have died, and paid the price we could not pay.  as a result, his people, the church will be well dressed on that day, because he granted it.

is it possible to be a true friend to someone but absolutely hate his wife?  i dont think so.

in the same way, i find it hard to believe some people who claim to love God but hate church.  its just not possible.

she may "look gritty", she may "act crazy" but jesus still chose to love her and even die for her.

Friday, April 9, 2010

came across a good biblical wo/manhood quote today

"so in the end this whole controversy is really about God and how his character is reflected in the beauty and excellence of manhood and womanhood as he created it.  will we glorify God through manhood and womanhood lived according to His word?  or will we deny His word and give into the pressures of modern culture?  that is the choice we have to make"

-wayne grudem

Sunday, April 4, 2010

analysis of my first california earthquake

it felt like i was in a boat being rocked by waves.

but that is weird because i was on "solid" ground.

he is risen!

just realized today that "he is risen" wasn't coined by christians, but the angel who was at jesus' tomb.  

i love this song, especially today:

"how deep the Father's love extends,
in graciousness and mercy,
i made my bed down in the grave,
he left His throne to find me.

it wasn't anything i'd done,
i have nothing to offer,
but this i know with all my heart,
His wounds have paid my ransom."

Joyous Easter to you!!!!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

how did i miss it?

even though i posted this video about autism awareness yesterday, i didn't find out until today that yesterday was world autism awareness day.

noel piper, wife of the godly pastor and theologian john piper, posted a really good series on austism, which you can see here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

one post that especially hit me:

"I was a visitor in a circle of mothers who have children on the autism spectrum.”We’ve been kicked out of every place anyone takes their children. The public library banned us,”  one of them said. All the others nodded with full empathy because they’re living the same story.

I thought of the times there’s a child screaming in a store. The disapproving faces around them all wear an expression you could spell with the alphabet: “Why doesn’t she control her child?”

I wonder. Maybe it is an undisciplined child. Or maybe it’s a parent who’s ignored the child’s needs and has postponed lunch time or nap time way too long. Or maybe it’s a child with autism."

this is me at my job.  a child is screaming and there is nothing that i can do to stop it. you try everything, but not even their favorite activities will stop the tantrum, let alone the programs i am supposed to go through with them.  in my mind, i am freaking out: all i can think is "i wonder what mom/dad/teacher/siblings are thinking?" even though they already know the child's behavior issues.

how much more so do parents feel this every day in public with strangers who are ignorant of the full situation?

Friday, April 2, 2010

a great prayer to meditate on for good friday

Valley of Vision: A collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotionsan exerpt from "love lustres at calvary" from valley of vision:

my father,
enlarge my heart, warm my affections, open my lips,
     supply words that proclaim 'love lustres at calvary.'
there grace removes my burdens and heaps them on thy Son,
     made a transgressor, a curse, a sin for me;
there the sword of thy justice smote the man, thy fellow;
there thy infinite attributes were magnified,
 and infinite atonement was made;
there infinite punishment was due,
     and infinite punishment endured.
Christ was all anguish that i might have joy,
     cast off that i might be brought in,
     trodden down as an enemy that i might be welcomed as a friend,
     surrendered to hell's worst that i might attain heaven's best,
     stripped that i might be clothed,
     wounded that i might be healed,
     athirst that i might drink,
     tormented that i might be comforted,
     made a shame that i might inherit glory,
     entered darkness that i might have eternal light.
My Savior wept that all tears might be wiped from my eyes,
    groaned that i might have endless song,
    endured all pain that i might have unfading health,
     bore a thorned crown that i might have a glory-diadem,
     bowed his head that i might uplift mine,
     experienced reproach that i might receive welcome,
     closed his eyes in death that i might gaze on unclouded brightness,
     expired that i might live forever.

praise Him!

autism vid

i am finally emerging from my illness...

here is a video made by some people at my work: