My oldest boy, almost 13, has grown a sudden and extreme interest in astronomy.  Specifically in the areas of astrophysics and aerospace.

That’s rocket science people.

Literally.

I’ve not seen him into something like this since he got his first Hot Wheels car.  Oh, then there was his handy dandy notebook.  And the time he thought he was really Spiderman.

And Entomology.

Okay, so intense interest in things is the way he’s always done it.  But this seems different.  He’s thinking about this on a more intellectual level.  On a more serious level. A more permanent level.

Instead of wanting to go outside and play war with his friends so much he’s spending more and more time researching and learning about this new subject. I’m seeing him grow up before my eyes lately and this new interest is a huge part of it.

This is the area he’s decided to pursue for his future career. How he wants to support a family.  And more importantly, how he will be able to support me in my old age.
Okay, so he didn’t exactly say that last one, but still…  I think I’m gonna encourage this anyway, you know? 

It’s a way better career than, say, the general idea of being an inventor.

So, I really want to support this, like I said.  Start building him a firm foundation in astronomy and physics. However, I’m stumped on this one.  I just don’t know what to do with this.

Did you know that an astronomy degree costs about $40,000 a year?  At least that’s what my limited research has turned up.

It isn’t that I’m sure this is what he’ll want to do with his life, but his interest here has opened up a bunch of new doors in my brain that I’ve kept closed because I really didn’t want to think about it. 

And now I’m thinking about it against my will.

I guess I don’t need to be too concerned.  I mean, right now the boy is building a tower with his little brother’s mega blocks. He’s doing it so Jesse can knock them over.  But still.

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some jackets are not jackets

Sam(3) told Ryan today, Dad, some jackets are not jackets.
Ryan wondered what he meant by that so I explained about Sam’s and my conversation a few days ago where we discussed the difference between a sweatshirt and a jacket. Sam had been confused, thinking they were both jackets.  So I explained it to him. 

I thought this was funnier than everybody else did.

I laughed. I needed to laugh today.
But then a few minutes later it brought to mind something that happened recently.  Something that was obvious to me was a sweatshirt looked like a jacket to somebody else.

And that person really doesn’t like jackets.

I’m not actually speaking about jackets and sweatshirts here.  Just so you know.

Anyway, I thought this person was ridiculous for not recognizing the sweatshirt for what it was.  This person thought I wasn’t trying hard enough to view things from their perspective because I couldn’t see how, at first glance, it might have looked like a jacket to them.

But then, when Sam made his simple, 3 year old statement today something clicked. I understood.

Different lifestyles cause people to view things differently.  How we understand words, how we view another’s beliefs, what we assume other people are thinking, or should be thinking, or what their intentions are, were, or will be…

Sometimes people see a sweatshirt and think jacket

We’re not all going to look at something and always see the same thing at first.  And sometimes a little explanation is in order, no matter how obvious we think something is. Sometimes we need to stop allowing our feelings to dictate our responses.  And we have to allow grace for those who see something differently than how we meant it, or how we see it, or how we think it.  Either that or go our separate ways. 

And I think grace is way better in most situations.

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Where does your baby go pooey? and other stuff…

A repost from April 2008 (with a few necessary updates)

I have come to realize something quite interesting and, in my opinion, a little disturbing. It happens everywhere in e-land. In e-mail signatures, forum signatures, Chat rooms, etc.. Many moms out there in web-world define themselves funny-like.

Example similar to one I received today: (name has been changed to protect the senders identity. Though, she seemed pretty bold to state such personal things about herself to a perfect stranger so I don’t think she would care.)

Lana
crunchy, cd, bf, bw, co-sleeping, unassisted homebirthing mom.

For those of you who don’t know what that means…
tree hugging, cloth diapering, breastfeeding, baby wearing, co sleeping, homebirthing without anybody assisting, mom.

I have never in my life had somebody introduce themselves to me in this fashion in the real world and I wonder why so many moms on the web feel the need to describe themselves in this manner.
The fact that I typically breastfeed my babies for 18 months is not anything I feel as worthy to write about in a brief description of myself. Breastfeeding does not define me; and, in my opinion, if a woman finds herself defined by the way she feeds her babies, or where they poop, maybe she needs to find something more to do with her day. Maybe I am wrong, it’s happened before.
Just saying…

And, frankly, the word ‘breast’ is thrown around way too much for my taste, anyway. Unless you’re talking about chicken.

I also think the phrase, ‘baby wearing’ sounds weird. I have an Ergo and I like to pack my babies around but I think stating that I ‘wear my baby’ has a strange ring to it.

Who comes up with this stuff?

I asked my husband if any of his guy buds went around describing themselves in emails, bulletin boards, and forums in this fashion.

goatee having, muscle flexing, kite flying, boot footing, motorcycle chroming, bread loving, flossing dad.

He just laughed at me.

I said, “no, really”.
He said, “no”.
I said, “why not?”
He said, “because it’s stupid”.

Now, I do not think it is so unusual or weird to give a little information about yourself in web-world. Things that may naturally come up in an initial introduction to a new person would be things like;
Where do your kids go to school?
What do you do for a living?
What does your husband do?
Where do you go to church?

I am a stay-at-home, homeschooling mama who is married to an adorable Navy pilot.
I would not, however, say what kind of toilet paper I use, or tell my new acquaintance that my children all sleep in their own beds, or that I prefer refined sugar to, well, just about anything healthy.

I am not necessarily saying it is wrong, just a bit odd in my opinion.
To each their own, I guess.

Mel
bread baking, book reading, diaper blowout cleaning, flavored coffee creamer having, wheat grinding, vertically challenged, Bible reading, organizationally handicapped, lotsa kids having mama.

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Protesting the system

I want to say in advance that I’m not so much complaining here as I am expressing my disappointment at the current state of the medical community in our country.

I’m 20+ weeks pregnant. 

My doctor, the practice that came highly recommended as one of the most natural OBs in the area, just kicked me out of their practice because I wanted to delay a specific, very personal part of my physical, and just combine it with another personal exam they will want to complete around 37 weeks. This particular exam is a procedure I believe is widely over performed anyway.

So they said in so many words (and I’m paraphrasing here), “We can’t know you if we can’t complete this exam right now.  You have two options.  Have it done within the week, or don’t come back.”
That wasn’t the extent of our conversation, which lasted around 20 minutes or so. 

I’m just going to say something here.  This was the third doctor in the last 2 years who has bold faced lied to me to try to get me to take a medicine or have a test done.  Is the general population really so gullible?  I just wonder how these docs get away with it.

Grrr.

Our society views pregnancy and child birth in a very negative light.  As soon as you find out you’re pregnant you need test after test after test.  This particular doctor made comments that led me believe that she doesn’t think the average woman is capable of carrying a baby to term successfully without tests and exams done. 

I made the comment that the world has managed to populate itself just fine, and stay fairly healthy too, without the progressive medicine we have today.

She actually disagreed with me.

Then how did we all get here, I wonder?

I don’t want to knock her important job, I do believe that doctors are a gift, and I completely believe she has the right to refuse service to anybody for any reason (a little libertarian in me, I guess). However, I am dismayed at the attitude she showed towards women and pregnancy.  All of her technical knowledge has misshapen her view towards things.
And the fact that she was willing to lie to get me to do what she wanted…
 Well that’s just unethical and immoral. I can’t have an untrustworthy doctor deliver my baby.

So, now I’m at 20 weeks pregnant without a doctor.  I’m making contact with other OBs, but haven’t had any of my messages returned. 
The only midwives in this area who don’t practice directly under a doctor are not covered by Tricare.  That’s a bummer –  Fruitful Vine is a Christian midwifery group with one of my most cherished Bible verses right on their front page.  Wish we had planned our finances out better.

I’m frustrated.  A little stressed. 
And I’m really tired.

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What would you do if there were no more instruments at church?  If all churches went back to singing hymns and psalms?  Would you still show up on Sunday morning?  Would you be able to glorify God singing ‘boring’ music?

I enjoy contemporary Christian music.  I really do.  It’s what I prefer to listen to at home and in the car, and I really like that I don’t have to worry about the junk my kids might hear.  It’s clean, it has a lot of uplifting qualities, it’s good.

I like it.

I’m making that statement up front because I don’t want anybody to think that this post is about hating CCM music.  It’s not.  So, don’t cry legalism and get your panties in a wad.

Few people will argue against the statement that music stirs the soul, creates and sways emotions, and can actually effect the way the mind works (this has been scientifically studied).
We tend to have strong opinions about song and the kind of music we want to listen to.  We either like or don’t like the way it makes us feel or the instruments used or not used, or the beat, or the words, or whatever…
And these musical opinions are becoming especially prevalent in today’s churches.

Liking different music is all fine and well.  God certainly didn’t create us to be carbon copies.  The argument I’m making isn’t about what we should like or dislike. My beef with the music debate starts when the kind of music we like becomes more about glorifying “me” and less about glorifying God.

I have seen the music issue bring the congregation to heated argument in more than one church.  I’ve also seen first hand, a mass exodus from a church that began simply because of a change in the type of music being played and/or sung.

And, it was a child that opened my eyes to the truth of the issue. 

Child: “I love the music they play on [that Christian station].  The songs make me feel so good and help me want to worship God.”
My husband replied with the comment, “Be careful! Worshiping God should come from our desire to glorify Him, and should never depend on the kind of music we’re hearing.”

In that moment it all became clear to me.  The reason so many people have issues with the type of music played in church is because of their “me” centered Christianity. I want to feel uplifted.  I want to feel moved.  I want to feel spiritual growth.

I, I, I. (Hey, I’ve been this person, I’ve done this. I’m not judging, just sayin’.)

What we’re failing to recognize is that Worship Is About Him
And if I decide that I can’t worship Him properly with psalms and hymns, that it’s become all about the beat and the band, I have lost something very necessary.  It’s time to get back to basics and find it again.

When I’m schooling one of my littles, and they’re doing the work but not really getting it,  I don’t keep pushing it on them.  I take a step or two back, sometimes going back to the very beginning, and start teaching it all over again.

Again – When we’re not understanding, or have forgotten the purpose of singing to God, and we’re having trouble “getting it”, sometimes, most times, the best thing we can do is to get back to basics.

Start over again.

It’s not about contemporary music being evil or wrong.  And it’s not legalism.  It’s learning how to worship God for God, because He told us to, instead of continuing to worship God for ourselves, because it makes us feel good.

Feeling uplifted at church isn’t a bad thing.  However, if that’s the only reason we attend, maybe it’s time to take a step back, re-think our priorities, and start over again. 

Photo credit goes to Kait (aka Jane)
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Don’t turn your back. Just don’t.

Yesterday our 3 year old, Sam, went to greet his daddy as he got home from work.  Ryan, as he always does when one of the kids comes up to the motorcycle right after he arrives home, reminded Sam that the pipes were hot and not to touch the motorcycle.

Ryan then turned his back for a moment and wouldn’t you know it.  Sam stuck the tips of his fingers right onto those hot pipes.  He’d done it on purpose, even after the warning – even after being warned at least 30 times in the past that the motorcycle is often hot and will burn him.

We went through the burn drill and his fingers, though blistered, are no longer in pain.  He is going to heal and there will be no lasting sign that he was ever burned.  A lesson was learned, albeit the hard way, and Sam’ll not touch those hot pipes again.

I wish we would have been able to keep him from feeling that pain.   I wish we would have seen his little fingers getting closer to the pipe so we could have stopped him. I wish he would have heeded our parental council and not reached for the pipes to begin with. 

Sometimes we put our guard down, turn our backs, or just assume that our always-good-kid isn’t going to disobey us.  Or, we’re fed up, don’t know what to do, and comfort ourselves saying, “We have to let them live life for them to learn.”

Kelly said yesterday:

There is some truth in that, but it’s missing a lot.

Often the “life” being referred to in that statement is “sin”.  A truer interpretation might be, “just let them sin and learn the hard way“.

Yes, Sam did learn the hard way.  His sin, which was disobedience, caused him to blister his little fingers.  But, that isn’t how we want our children to learn their life lessons, is it?  Aren’t there better ways to train our children than letting sin have it’s way with them?  We need to steer our children away from sin.  However, many parents, often out of frustration, have truly come to believe that their kids must be sinful to learn not to sin.

Kelly goes on with:

I don’t think that’s the parenting method the Bible teaches.

Jesus was serious about avoiding sin at all costs.  He talked of “cutting off limbs” to emphasize his seriousness.  And that was spoken to adults. Somehow I just don’t hear Jesus saying to parents, “Yeah, go ahead and let them dabble…it’ll be good for them in the end”.

I agree.
In fact, the Bible specifically instructs us to “Train up a child in the way he should go…”
That means teach them the right way and not let out guard down.

What it does not mean is to turn our backs, cross our fingers, and hope for the best.

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smile

Kait and I ran to CVS today to pick up some free candy corn ($.99 with a $.99 ECB return).  They gal behind the counter had taken the time to put on a little makeup and do something with her hair.  But, she still looked bored, sleepy, and generally unapproachable.

Then, after we had walked out to the car I decided to run back in to pick something else up and the same cashier was saying hello to somebody she obviously knew.  She looked 10 years younger, and very pretty.

And the only change she had made was that she was smiling. A large tooth-showing smile.  It was very becoming.

I wanted to tell her that she had a beautiful smile, you know – to encourage her a bit; but thought that would be weird so I didn’t.  I just made a mental note that smiling does change the way we look for the better.

I think I’ll try and remember to smile more.

And that CVS deal is only good through today so if you want to score some free candy corn you better get a move on. (limit 1 per card)

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Excuse me if I become unclear while typing this.  I have a lot of questions bouncing around in my head right now, and they all seem to be wound loosely together – which is just making everything more tangled.

Parenting is such a curious topic for me.  How we view our children comes out in what we expect from them, how we educate them, and how we treat them.  The typical Christian parent wants to raise their children to be Christian adults, that’s not the question.  The question is, what are we actually raising our children as right now?

Are we raising them as Christians?  To be Christians? To hopefully someday be Christians?
Is our child’s Christianity an assumption, an expectation, or just a hope?

Are we raising our children as if Christianity is an option, just praying they’ll stay on the right side of the fence?

After an eye opening conversation with some good friends of our ours a few weeks ago I really got to thinking.  How are my husband and I raising our children here in this house?

The answer was easy after a little thought.  We’re raising our children as though Christian is who they are.  Not what they will be, or what we hope they will be.

I’ve never even thought of saying, “Mommy and Daddy are Christians and someday you will be too!” 
What we might say would sound more like, “Yes, we’re a Christian family.  And that means we….”

But this new line of thinking has brought to the forefront the question of Baptism.

What is Baptism?  Why Baptise?  When to Baptise?

When God came to Abraham he told him to not only circumcise himself, but all boys 8 days or older, and everybody in his household.  It was a covenant between God and His people. Genesis 17:10-14

Unless the 8 day old babies in Abraham’s house were much further advanced than our 8 days old babies are now, which is a ridiculous thought, this meant that babies, through no choice of their own, were to be circumcised in this bloody ritual as a sign of membership in the covenant community.

Now that Baptism is the sign of membership in the covenant community (also a bloody ritual of sorts, I might add), I’m curious to what changed the ‘when’ of it all.

And if we’re raising our children as today Christians, as though they have been elected already, not maybe-someday Christians, as though they might someday be elected, how does that fit in with our current credo-baptism practices?

And if I’m wrong does that mean a person isn’t elected until they choose to be elected?  And if that’s case, how can they really be elected?  Isn’t the idea of choosing to be elected a contradiction?

Sometimes somebody says something to you.  It could be just a couple of sentences, but it totally changes the way you’ve been thinking. 
This whole Baptism thing has created new questions for me, but has actually cleared up a number of other questions I’ve had about election and God’s sovereignty.

It’s given me something new to ponder.  And that’s always good.

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Child, adult, or just there.

After some praise from her aunt, my daughter recently described herself as “just a normal 15 year old kid who likes to help out”.
And I was reminded that she’s not just a kid.  She’s a young adult. And people are surprised to see her kind of grown-up behavior in a 15 year old – male or female.

Some things, ideas, are occurring to me lately.

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.  1 Corinthians 13:11

A couple of years ago we started treating Kait more and more like an adult.  I’m not sure what prompted us to do this, a leading from The Spirit or something.  Over time we gave her more adult-like responsibility, started expecting more adult-like actions, and gave her more adult-like privileges.  At 13 she was no longer a child.  And though silliness and childlike antics are a fun part of our family, it was time for her to pack up any childish ways and toss ’em.

It’s becoming quite clear to me that this is what is wrong with the majority of our youth these days.  They hit a certain age, have all the physical and mental abilities of an adult, but none of the responsibility or expectations.  They are no longer a child, but not yet an adult.  They are just there. 

Think about this.
In the typical public high school you can’t use the restroom without permission from a teacher, and sometimes an explanation of what you might need to do in there.  Oh, and a pass so everybody in the hall knows you’re allowed to go potty by yourself.
These kids are old enough to be an adult, and we often rant and rave because they continue to act so childish; but if they dare expect to be treated with the dignity of an adult they’re likely to be faced with some form of punishment.  In public schools that means detention, suspension, or in severe cases, expulsion.

A male of 17 should not only be expected to act like a man, he should also be given appropriate manly privileges.  Like getting up to go to the restroom without begging permission. 

I understand why changes like this could be difficult to implement in the public school system.  It’s just not gonna happen.  So, the system will continue to work to produce perpetual children; whiny, needy grown girls with no sense of true womanhood, who go through relationship after relationship after relationship in search of something they’ll never find in a grown boy; and lazy, dependant, demanding grown boys who expect nothing of themselves, have a warped view of pride and manhood, and desire no responsibility at all.

Even the most attentive parents have trouble combating these things in the few hours a day they have with their public schooled kids.

But we’re not completely without help.  There are other options, though they aren’t always the easiest choices.  But the narrow gate, the one that leads to life, isn’t supposed to be easy.

Enter by the narrow gate.  For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.  Matthew 7:13-14

Whatever it is that you chose, remember this.
There is no middle child-age where our kids quite growing and learning.  What is it you want your children being taught?

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Undermined by our passionate intensity

A quote from a gal named Cindy who I don’t have a link for.  I found it on an old post of Amy’s and just had to pass it along.

Say that you rail and your rail with your children about all kinds of things: drugs and rock music and Christian music and weak Christianity and sugar and white bread and recycling and ‘those’ people and bad literature and mud on their boots and dirty houses and vaccinations and feeding babies and chocolate and vitamins and natural childbirth, how will your children know which of these things is really important? Maybe one day they find out that some Christians eat sugar and they are nice lovely people who truly love the Lord but from hearing you day in and day out he thought that anyone who ate sugar had a free ticket to hell. Now every single thing you have tried to teach your child ever has been undermined by your passionate intensity.

Written so well, Cindy. Gives me something to think about.

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