Friday, January 30, 2009

Lip Smackin'

As you know I have never been a mom before. B is our first child and after 7 years of marriage, having a baby definitely has affected the romance in our marriage. I already joined the challenge over at The Diaper Diaries and now one of my favorite blogs is starting a special SWAK series

.

I am not a big kisser. Sure i give lots of little kisses, but not those heart pounding, weak in the knees kisses. That is about to change. I am going to (try to) give my amazing husband the lip smackin' he deserves; everyday until valentines day, starting the 1st. It's OK if you want to start early. It is the weekend after all!

Some of you may be pro's at the romance, especially you newlyweds (Rachel, Tammy), but for the rest of us, I encourage you to begin recounting the reasons you fell in love and how all that love makes your life better. I hope it will help us to be a little more thankful for that man in our lives.

In the next couple weeks I'll be blogging the stories of my romance with Norse, so if you are willing to listen to my sappy rambling, check back in the coming days.

Have a great weekend.
Jes

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Well Wishes

I love That Family's 'Fro Me to You series. It is always a great time for me to look back at old pictures and remember, not just the great hair, but the memories that went with it.

This picture is of my dad and I. Very cute redheads don't you think? I guess that is where my dad got the nickname "Rusty". We haven't always had the best relationship. I lived with my mom and saw him on the occasional weekend and holidays. I knew he loved me and I adored him. I remember sitting outside my house waiting, watching, for him to turn onto our road to pick me up. I am not sure if he ever had to come to the door. I was always so eager to be ready when he arrived.

When I moved to the NW for high school it made it more difficult to stay connected. As I grew older, I began to realize what I had missed by not having him as a constant presence in my life. The spring of my senior year we found out he had cancer. Cancer that had been misdiagnosed a year before and had now spread throughout much of his body. It was a turning point. Within the next 2 1/2 years before he died both he and I changed. I withdrew, he got sicker. I became a Christian and tried to explain myself. He died, I thought I failed him.

8 years later, bringing my son to meet my dad's family, my stepmom gave me this letter.

It is wrinkled, tattered, and stained. Lost underneath a mug or stack of papers until God's perfect timing - the time when I missed him the most. The time when I wish he could meet his first grandson. The words were a balm to my soul. The handwriting is shaky and since he died only 2 weeks before my wedding, it must have been near the end when it was penned. It is from his own hand and somehow has brought a measure of healing to my heart. He really did just want the best for me.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

To Blog or Not to Blog

Blogging is kind of a waste of time, but sometimes the greatest fulfillment I get in a day is seeing my thoughts "published" in a post. When I first started blogging it was primarily a way of keeping pictures and updates available and consistent for family and supporters. That has changed.

When I became a SAHM my opportunity for discussion, adult conversation, and sharing with others was greatly reduced. I love being a SAHM, but I miss sharing my life with others. Ever since I became a Christian I have been in leadership roles in various ministries. It was my joy to share my spiritual journey with others, both my triumphs and defeats. It was so rewarding to encourage others in their walk as we grew together. Currently my 9 month old is not really interested in why I believe in the sovereignty of God or what I thought about the passage I just read. He doesn't need my advice on how to overcome the things that make us stumble or the theological ramifications of the latest "must-read". He just needs to know I am going to play, cuddle, feed, and bathe him. So, I blog.

I blog in hopes that some other gal (or guy) behind their computer screen will be encouraged by the things I write about. I am sure my readership doesn't even break into double digits, but still it gives me purpose to know that perhaps some other SAHM can relate, laugh and know she will make it through & she is not alone. I hope it gives my fellow Christian something to think about - whether in agreement or disagreement. I hope it still keeps my family in "the know", since we live so far away. It is my outreach. It is my time to teach. It is when I create. It is how I can love. It is a way to share hope. It is my refreshment.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Legalism, Abusing Grace and living in between the two.

I read this quote on a different blog the other day...
“People do not drift towards holiness.
Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate towards godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, or delight in the Lord.
We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance;
Toward disobedience and we call it freedom;
Toward superstition and call it faith.
We cherish the non-discipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation;
We slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism;
We slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.”

It was written by DA Carson (who, as far as I know, could be some freak show Christian, but I think that the quote was thought provoking none-the-less. )

I have been pondering the concepts of legalism and living in grace often. It seems much easier to be a legalist. I know if I had my way, I would probably just fall into that line of thinking, because then I would be able to continue on my frustrating attempt to be perfect, all while ignoring the idea of living by the Spirit. Or perhaps I could be one of those "truly free" people and ignore discipline, others and my own conscience while satisfying all my fleshy desires to live life to the fullest. Where is the balance?

I desire to live somewhere in between these two extremes. I try to be cautious of my freedom in Christ because of others whom I care about. I am free to listen, watch, eat, drink, do whatever I want (within reason and all things being legal) , but it is my choice to refrain from certain things that could cause my fellow Christian to stumble. Often I think because Norse and I choose to refrain from much, we are seen as legalistic. I hope not.

Usually, we refrain because of our past, or because we are in a leadership position, or because we have seen the destructiveness of things in others lives. Often the people who I feel are abusing grace are ones who grew up in solid Christian homes. I wonder if they had ever seen the destructiveness of certain things, perhaps they also would choose to refrain. My biggest peeve (and certainly always a hot button) is the issue of christian 20 somethings and social drinking. I think that I am tainted because I know it is possible for people to drink alcohol responsibly, in moderation, and without any misconduct, but instead I have seen these christian young adults only abuse that freedom. Instead of going out for a beer it is basically the "legal" version of the high school keggers I attended in my teens. It is almost humorous to think about were it not so prevalent. Maybe it is the "sowing wild oats" phase that most of us heathens got out when we were rebellious teens, but since good christian kids could never get away with it, they wait until they are legal and then make idiots of themselves. Could someone explain this phenomena to me? If you are a 20 something that drinks responsibly, please comment, so i know you exist :).

Moving on (in an attempt to avoid hate mail), how do you find the balance between laughing at sitcoms, but not participating in "silly talk or coarse jesting"(Eph 5:4). How do you live in a way that leaves you guilt free, but not so out of touch with reality that you can't reach the world for Christ with an authentic relationship with Jesus? How do you confront a friend who is abusing grace and destroying part of her relationship with the Lord, without coming across as "judgmental"? How do you live in the freedom of Christ, while not letting your actions dishonor His name?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Good 'Ol Days

This is my grandpa as a hot-headed 20 something. Isn't he handsome?


I often think about what a blessing it is to have him in my life. He is the man who has always been there for me. He was quick to forgive my youthful mistakes, the one who took me camping and road tripping. He was the one who gave me my first and only spanking. He was the one who walked me down the aisle. The second man to hold my child after he was born. The man whose advice I still covet. The man who has accepted my sweet husband as his own son. He is the man who will forever hold my little girl heart and will always be my Pa. 


(This is my contribution to That Family's 'Fro Me to You series - Check it out for more great photo's)

Church, Conflict & Forgiveness

As I mentioned in a previous post, our church has had a bit of conflict. It has been difficult to understand, more difficult to really know the truth, and impossible to just ignore. About a month ago, things sort of came to a head. It involved elders resigning and a confession on Sunday morning. While we have tried to stay very "neutral" in the situation it is a battle to lay aside our own emotions and see all sides of the story. We all have faults. We all handle things differently. We truly care for each person involved. It left us asking "What are we supposed to do?"

The whole situation brought up many issues for contemplation. The main problem for me is - can there ever really be "irreconcilable differences"? I thought as Christians, we can agree to disagree, but we should try to be at peace with all men. So, saying a conflict cannot be resolved seems wrong. Aren't we called to be humble, quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry? Isn't one of the biggest messages of the Gospel, forgiveness? You may be sensing that although much has been accomplished in remedying the situation, there are still issues to be dealt with? Which keeps me asking "What am I supposed to do?"

I finally decided that as a Christian (and one who hopefully is living a grace-centered life) it is my job to forgive. The person, who in my opinion was most at fault, confessed before the church for his bad judgement and irresponsibility. That is what needed to happen. Whether it was forced by the elder board, if it was sincere, if it really was repentance - that is not my call. I can only take people at their word and when my brother or sister asks for forgiveness, I must forgive. It is the Lords job to judge the hearts of men, not mine.

I am relieved that this step has been taken. I think that it was a humbling thing for him to do. I feel like it is probably just one step on the path toward living a more Christ-like life; he will have many more. We all are being refined. Sometimes we are stubborn, sometimes we are ready for change, but all of us make mistakes, act like idiots and have to be called on it, eventually. We have to forgive, when forgiveness is requested. If we don't, we become self-righteous and bitter.

I do think that the sweet sister on the other side of this situation deserves more. She is wonderful, giving, and desires most of all to do what the Lord requires of her, even if it meant carrying the huge burden of being the catalyst for change. She was wronged and I am not sure how to make things right for her, but I do think that some of the interpersonal conflict that happened as a result of "bad judgement" still needs to be dealt with. Obviously, Sunday morning service is not the place for it. Through the whole situation she kept saying "The Lord is my Defense" and I truly believe that He will continue to defend her. I hope that these two can really be reconciled, but I am beginning to wonder if it is just another "irreconcilable difference". That disappoints me. 

Monday, January 19, 2009

Empty Promises.

How many of you had the "let's not buy Christmas presents for each other this year" talk? We did, so we made homemade and cut way back on $ spent. It all worked fine until my grandparents bought us a Wii for Christmas. You just can't trust people anymore. :) So, with that said I think we need to have a part-ay at our house and play some games. I have been very anti video game in the past, so I have to use this for good. Let's make a date.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Infomercials and 1 Cor. 7:5

It is prime time in our house and the tube is on. We only get one channel so the options are limited. Our TV is either on or off. There is no channel surfing. Occasionally in the winter, when our one channel, comes in with sound and color we enjoy a sitcom, reality show, or the news. It seems that our current channel has lots of those "as seen on TV" product specials. We've seen the foot pads, the aqua globes, the ove glove, but the one I wasn't ready for was... loverub.com. A product for the married folks out there. I couldn't believe it. It was so bad it was hilarious, but now when I typed that in to my browser (only for blogging purposes, because who really buys the stuff off TV?... really, I am serious, why do you doubt me?) I got a spices and seasonings meat, poultry and fish rub. Perhaps someone put the kibosh on that product. I hope you have the joy of seeing the love rub commercial someday soon. You'll never be the same.

In a slightly related note... I am joining the

over at The Diaper Diaries I invite all you married ladies out there to take the challenge too, because really when was the last time you heard that verse preached about in the pulpit?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sunrise

I usually don't make it up in time to see the sunrise. However, since the sun isn't rising until around 8 am these days I was up in time to capture this. Isn't it beautiful?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I can't wait!!!

Last year we "bid" on a room at the Kandahar Lodge, when we were at a banquet for the DREAM program. We won! While I was hoping to have my first "alone" time with my dear hubby while we snowboarded the day away, it will not be. My sweet baby boy will be with us, however I still can't wait to have a great time on Big Mountain...err the Whitefish Mountain Resort in February!

How old was your baby before you left him for a night? Boden is going to be 9 months soon, but without a grandparent near us it is difficult to find a trustworthy babysitter with which to leave him. There are lots of trustworthy people we know, but I worry that they may not continue to be our friends if we left a naughty baby boy with them for the night. Family members do not have the luxury of dodging us 'til we go away, so they seem to be a safer bet for babysitter.

Friday, January 09, 2009

The Loot

I forgot I was going to show you what we crafted up for Christmas (besides our Christmas boxes). I also want to show you some of our favorite home-spun treasures we received. (You'll have to forgive me for the poor quality photos.)

Our inspiration was from Simply Vintage Girl. This project was time consuming since instead of buying the 4x6 notepads and ripping the paper out, I was super cheap and purchased filler paper and cut it all myself. If I would have known then what I know now I definitely would have spent the extra few dollars and bought the right size paper. We also gave framed pics of our beautiful family. (My sister in law also gave us pics of her kids which I LOVE! Pictures are my favorite gift to receive.)



Sam & Greta made us delicious viddles including this:


And probably my favorite gift of all was from amazing Freyja. She gave me this:

I am convinced she needs to open an Etsy store, but for now if you want one of her creations leave me a comment and I'll see what I can do :)

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Rockin' the faux-hawk

Just a little Bode love for the day. He is back to his usually jolly self now that the snot is subsiding. I am biased, but this kid is cute!


GO FLAMES!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Anne of Green Gables as "emotional pornography"?

So, I was avoiding housecleaning (I don't even resolve to be a better housekeeper anymore) and reading through the comments at 22 Words. People were leaving suggestions of good novels and I ran across this:

"I would NOT recommend Anne of Green Gables. It’s just as bad as Jane Austin or worse. Those type of love stories are like emotional pornography for girls. We should not let our daughters emotionally give themselves away to a “love fantasy.” We should rather have them read things like Redeeming Love that is based on Biblical love and would better prepare them to be women of God." from some person named "Taylor"


Hmmm, I never thought I would hear someone ridicule Anne of Green Gables that was a card carrying member of the Christian community. Especially since I had never even heard of Anne until I worked at a Christian book store and it seemed everyone I met who had heard of it, adored the series.

Then came this from a "Jessica"(I am using only excerpts because the comments were definitely more than 22 words)

"I heartily and entirely disagree with Taylor regarding Jane Austen and Francine Rivers.
I find that Redeeming Love is more like emotional pornography for women than Austen. Rivers is VERY descriptive and as a single girl I often have trouble reading her novels...
On the other hand, I find that Austen is VERY careful with her descriptions. Austen HIGHLY values controlling emotions and feminine patience. Jane (P&P) is an excellent example of feminine patience and acceptance. And Sense & Sensibility has a STRONG biblical message. Anne in Persuasion is an example of faithfulness and self-control. Anyone who has ever dealt with a hope deferred can learn from the examples in her books. I could also go on about Austen’s men! Any man could learn a great deal about leadership, headship, responsibility and taking risks. I highly recommend Emma, Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, and Sense and Sensibility."


Which brings up a whole other issue about the "Christian" romance genre of fiction books. Which ultimately, I believe, is the root of this whole dialogue.

Taylor's rebuttal :
"You’ve proved my point, Jessica. You said, “I could go on about Austen’s men!” You are caught up in fictional male characters. They simply do not exist. If men today need advice they need to seek Godly counsel of other Godly men that have gone on before then not some entertaining book.
So, whenever these single/young girls are reading these books and are entertained by fictional men they construct an idea of how Mr. Right should be. When really they waiting to be pursued by the one God has chosen in their life.
In addition. I’m not saying that if femininity triumphs it is bad thing. But the “love fantasy” that females chase after in these books are wrong. It’s no different than men giving themselves away to looking at other women."


Julianne enters the picture.
"In your earlier post you stated, “If men today need advice they need to seek Godly counsel of other Godly men that have gone on before then not some entertaining book.”
That is true for anyone, but the point of this post was to recommend good NOVELS, not godly advice books. No one is claiming that JA has all the answers or wrote her books as a guide for young girls. They are just good stories that contain godly values....Jane Austen’s heros and heroines are NEVER perfect. They all have character flaws and sins that they have to overcome, delivering the messages that no man (or woman) is perfect, but there is always hope for change.
However, you are correct in supposing that all of JA’s heroes are upright, honest, honorable, kind, and loving. What father would not want their daughter to marry a man of this description?"


Quite the discussion isn't it? So what do you think? I admit that I am a sucker for a good Jane Austen book and I think Francine is a fantastic author for the romance genre. I also believe that there is a fine line between reading a book for entertainment and being so engrossed in a book that one blurs the line between a real godly man and the men of fairy tales. When I worked at the bookstore I was able to read basically any book I wanted for free because the staff had a tremendous library and on those cold, snowy, winter evenings I often curled up with a girly novel to pass the time. These books are not heavy reading and often in a few hours I would have devoured my book for the day and headed to bed with my own prince charming. However, sometimes an especially "good" read would make me long for my own handsome hubby to whip out some of those clever lines, gifts and dates that filled the pages of the latest piece of- let me stress- fiction I had just read. This being no fault of his, because he truly is a godly man. A provider, a protector, he loves me as Christ loves the church, he is -for me- THE ONE. The danger in romance books as a general rule is not the book itself, but the attitude in which we read it. Are we reading it to make our husbands look bad and put unrealistic expectations on them? Are we reading it as a substitute for romancing our own spouse? Or reading to avoid true quality time with the one God gave us? We need to remember that a book often gives us a few snippets of a "persons" life, not the lifetime. I am sure if you wrote a book and put only the best of times with your husband, the times he rescued you, he romanced you, and he wowed you people would be so envious of you that they could spit! All that to say, romance novels are not all bad (but, some are VERY bad and border, not of emotional porn, but regular porn - so as always use discernment. The one with the oiled-up pool boy on the cover probably doesn't have a whole lot of biblical encouragement in it).

The second problem I have with this Taylor-persons attitude towards the men of fiction is that while no man could live up to the fairytale created by the author, no one wants to read about a disgusting, rude, jerk-wad. Would he rather have a girl pining for "Mr. Perfect" or settling for some dead-beat? It is true that young women need to be seeking the example of a godly, Christlike man, but in this culture a lot of ladies have never heard of a man like that, let alone actually met one! It is my desire that my son grows into a man like his father (only difference being that he dances) and treats women with respect and kindness. And if I ever have a daughter I want her to expect the important men in her life to be gentleman. If we begin censoring literature because it presents an unrealistic humanity we better start closing the doors on every publisher, library and bookstore out there. We are to teach our children (and learn ourselves) to be discerning, to test everything against scripture. When we begin to, so narrowly, limit what ideas can be introduced we begin to create lazy thinkers who can no longer think for themselves.

I end with the quote below (from Josh S) because I think he summed up my thoughts on this Anne controversy quite well.

"Anne of Green Gables as “emotional pornography”? Now I’ve heard everything! Have you read the Song of Solomon? Do you label that as “biblical pornography”? Because that’s far more explicit than Anne of Green Gables."

Friday, January 02, 2009

Snow Day, Sick Kid, and Creative Suite

This week I have spent most of my time swimming in a sea of used tissues. I know - disgusting. This is the first time Boden has truly been sick and luckily I also brought home the nasty cold from our Christmas gatherings. I have to say I am not a fan of being sick or having a cranky child. Regardless being "stuck" at home has allowed me to play on my computer and try out my design skills. I did this for camp and this
for our friend Jon who is the main man at Landmark Builders (Where Norse works) I am pretty proud of myself (if you couldn't tell) I mostly enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to do something I have never done before. It is also a nice outlet for me since this Stay-at-home-mom stuff is not my forte. I am thinking that maybe I could offer my services to ministry workers to help them get out prayer letters(hint, hint - KAREN) and cards. Do you think anyone would be interested?