Saturday, December 23, 2006

Only in Maine

We were at a Christmas party last night which included the ever-popular Yankee swap. One of the gifts that was under the tree was large with fragile written on it. The gentleman who picked the package carefully opened it. Inside was a styrofoam case. Again cautious opening...

Then what to our wondering eyes should appear? A LIVE lobster. He held it up and it waved Merry Christmas to all of us. What a hoot!

(Apparently, lobsters can live in these conditions for shipping up to 24 hours.)

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Just finished this book by Patricia McCormick. Marc bought it for me to bless me a couple months back, and I haven't read it because I am a wimp. It is about the child prostitution trafficking in Nepal and India. It is written a bit like a diary of a thirteen year old girl whose stepfather sells her after a long time of gambling away the family money and a monsoon season the wipes out the rice crop.
McCormick really did her research, and I am thoroughly impressed with the book. I will read this book again and will seek out other books by McCormick.
I know that child prostitution slavery is a huge problem all around the globe. One of the reasons I wanted to read this book was to make the problem more 'personal' and less intellectual for myself. I think I need to read it and share it and process it a few more times to get there...
I think that everyone needs to read this book and enter into the dialogue and awareness of this issue.
I had two initial responses. One was thinking that somewhere in the world there is a little girl who is playing and discovering much like Anna is - playing with dolls, entering the world of being pretty, singing, reading, swinging - and that little girl in a few short years will be sold into a prostitute system that it is impossible to get free from.
My second response is simply 'Lord, how then do I live?'

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Thoughts from Richard Foster

Our home is full of anticipation this year - of the gifts we'll be giving, receiving, and the special time together. And the anticipation seems to be True Anticipation, not simple greed.

I've been working through "Seeking the Kingdom - Devotions for the Daily Journey of Faith" by Richard Foster during Advent. (I love Richard Foster's writing, and am challenged to the core of me - but in a non-religious, non-legalistic way. The grace in the truth he writes is so anointed.)

Here is what I read this morning:

"There is hardly anything more clear in the Bible than God's absolute right to property.... (Job 41:11, Exod. 19:5-6, Ps. 24:1)...

We moderns find it difficult to identify with this teaching. Much of our training draws from the Roman view that ownership is a 'natural right'. Hence the very idea that anything or anyone can infringe upon our 'property rights' feels alien to our view. This coupled with our seemingly innate self-centeredness, means that for us, 'property rights' tend to take precedence over 'human rights'.

In the Bible, however, God's absolute rights as owner and our relative rights as stewards are unmistakably clear. (Deut 14:28-29, Exod. 23:11, Lev. 25:23)...

God's ownership of all things actually enhances our relationship with him. When we know - truly know- that the earth is the Lord's property itself makes us more aware of God. For example, if we were staying in and caring for the vacation home of a famous actress, we would be reminded of her daily by the very fact of living in her home. A thousand things would bring her presence to mind. So it is in our relationship with God. The house we live in is his house, the car we drive is his car, the garden we plant is his garden. We are only temporary stewards of things that belong to Another.

Being aware of God's ownership can free us from a possessive and anxious spirit. After we have done what we can to care for those things that have been entrusted to us, we know that they are in bigger hands than ours. When John Wesley heard that his home had been destroyed by fire, he exclaimed, 'The Lord's house burned. One less responsibility for me!'

God's ownership of everyting also changes the kinds of question we ask in giving. Rather than, 'How much of my money should I give to God?' we learn to ask 'How much of God's money should I keep for myself?' The difference between these two questions is of monumental proportions."

(Richard Foster, Seeking the Kingdom, pg. 76-78)

What a great reminder this reading is a week before Christmas! An invitation to celebrate all the good gifts we receive as His Stewards.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Things Caleb says

That make me kind of warm inside....

'We should just buy it at LLBean, Mom'
'You should blog that'

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Cub Scouts

Caleb began CubScouts this afternoon. He goes about a half mile away to the Catholic School for his meetings. A group of about 10 first and second grader boys make up the den. Tonight he and Marc will go to the Pack meeting. Pinewood Derby is on January 21.
Isn't he so handsome?! I was so proud of him.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Gingerbread Train, Day 1

At the beginning of November, I received my FamilyFun magazine. Looking through it, I found a recipe and directions for a Gingerbread Train. I thought it would be fun to do with Anna as a special Anna/Mommy project. I showed her the picture and we've been planning ever since.

Last week I bought all the candy and ingredients. This week is assembly week.

Day 1 (today) is making the dough, which needs to be refrigerated overnight. The dough is made, and it went fairly well. The only snafoo's actually were an older and younger child that couldn't stand Anna and I having an exclusive project. Sofia cried, Caleb paced. Then the kitchen sink got clogged and the food disposal stopped working.

But it went great. Really.

Day 2 (tomorrow, I hope) will be baking day.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Well Spent Dollar

Caleb is very motivated right now to earn money, find money, make money. He has found something in the Lego catalog that has his attention.

In the past, we have paid Caleb for out of the ordinary jobs, but that usually is when we have outdoor work to be done - like moving bricks. With the colder weather, it is harder to get creative with the jobs.

I'm a big proponent of his doing work just because he's part of the team. And he get's a small allowance because he's part of the team ($3 every paycheck - $1 for God, $1 for savings, $1 to spend).

Last night, Caleb asked if he could do the laundry as an above and beyond job. I thought that sounded like a good thing. I certainly would consider his doing the family laundry as above and beyond. So I agreed. Honestly, I didn't think he would see the project through. After all, I am intimately acquainted with the drudgery of the laundry chore.

I am pleased and proud to report that Caleb completed four full loads of laundry today: from sorting, washing, pouring detergent, turning on machine, transferring to dryer, turning on dryer, emptying dryer, folding, and putting in piles to go to our rooms. At 25 cents a load, from start to finish, Caleb is the pleased recipient of the dollar. And for the dollar I feel like I had a day's vacation, and a more grown up and appreciative son then I had when the day started.

Christmas Photo

Here is a photo of Marc and me that was taken at the Inland Christmas Party this past weekend. I think it came out pretty good.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Jesus gone missing...

This week has been largely spent getting the house ready for Christmas. Living room furniture moved around, decorations out, Christmas tree bought last night. Shopping online almost finished. Now thinking about the task of Christmas cards, making cookies, maybe some more ornaments.

One glitch in our Christmas preparation... Baby Jesus has gone missing. That's right. Missing.

A couple years ago, some good friends gave us the Playmobil Nativity Playset. It was something I had been wanting to buy for years, and never got around to it at the same time that I had money for it. So it is a very treasured and dear part of our Christmas tradition.

This year, Anna got to set the pieces in the cardboard stable on the end table at a convenient height for little fingers to play with.

"Mommy" I heard. "Baby Jesus isn't here."

Hmmm. Okay. I remember a few pieces didn't make it into the box last year and I put them safely somewhere.

I look in our storage room. Found a sheep. No baby Jesus. Thinking quickly about how to ease Anna's mind.

"Anna, I found a sheep. And while I was looking for the sheep I realized why we can't find Jesus."

"Why Mommy?"

"He's not born yet. He'll be here in time for his birthday. We just have to get everything ready for him." (BTW, I'm sure this is bad theology, but she can sort it out when she goes to seminary.)

She didn't really buy my explanation, but she's okay with playing my game. And we are enjoying all sorts of cool questions coming from our 4 yo's mouth. "Daddy, when is Jesus coming back?" "Mommy, when is Jesus going to show up?" If you didn't have the context, you would think either 'how cute' or 'what kind of end-times freaks are her parents?'

And in the meantime, I think I'm going to have to do all out cleaning of our storage space looking for the missing Baby Jesus.