Thursday, July 17, 2008
Several years ago my parents and in-laws gave our boys a trampoline. A fifteen-footer with netting around the outside so kids don't end up head first in the flowers. Since then my boys and I have logged more hours on that trampoline than I could begin to count. When we first
got it, my older son, who was five at the time, discovered that if he timed his bounce with mine, he could launch higher than if he was jumping on his own.
I remember the first time he called my wife, Kristen, out into the backyard to watch him jump off of my bounce. Now mind you, up until this point he was maybe getting a foot higher because of his new technique. But this one particular time, when my wife was watching for the first time, something freakish happened in the space-time continuum. When he jumped, there was this perfect convergence of his weight and my weight and his jump and my jump, and I'm sure barometric pressure and air temperature had something to do with it too, because he went really high.
I don't mean a few feet off the mat. I mean he went over my head. Forty pounds of boy, clawing the air like a cat thrown from a second-story window, and a man making eye contact with his wife and thinking, This is not good.
She told us she didn't think our new trick was very safe and we should be careful. Which we were. Until she went inside the house.
It is on this trampoline that God has started to make more sense to me. Because when it comes to faith, everybody has it. People often tell me they could never have faith, that it is just too hard. The idea that some people have faith and others don't is a popular one. But it is not a true one. Everybody has faith. Everybody is following somebody. What often happens is that people with specific beliefs about God end up backed into a corner, defending their faith against
the calm, cool rationality of others. As if they have faith and beliefs and others don't.
But that is not true. Let's take an example: Some people believe we were made by a creator who has plans and purposes for his creation, while others believe there is no greater meaning to life, no grand design, and we exist not because of some divine intention but because of random chance. This is not a discussion between people of faith and people who don't have faith. Both perspectives are faith perspectives, built on systems of belief. The person who says we are here by chance and there is no greater meaning has just as many beliefs as the person who says there's a creator. Maybe even more.
Think about some of the words that are used in these kinds of discussions, one of the most common being the phrase "open-minded". Often the person with spiritual convictions is seen as close-minded and others are seen as open-minded. What is fascinating to me is that at the center of the Christian faith is the assumption that this life isn't all there is. That there is more to life than the material. That existence is not limited to what we can see, touch, measure, taste,
hear, and observe. One of the central assertions of the Christian worldview is that there is "more". Those who oppose this insist that this is all there is, that only what we can measure and observe and see with our eyes is real. There is nothing else. Which perspective is more "closed-minded"? Which perspective is more "open"?
An atheist is a person of tremendous faith. In our discussions about the things that matter most then, we aren't talking about faith or no faith. Belief or no belief. We are talking about faith in what? Belief in what? The real question isn't whether we have it or not, but what we have put it in.
Everybody follows somebody. All of us make decisions every day about what is important, how to treat people, and what to do with our lives. These decisions come from what we believe about every aspect of our existence. And we got our beliefs from somewhere. We have been formed,
every one of us, by this complicated mix of people and places and things. Parents and teachers and artists and scientists and mentors – we are each taking all of these influences and living our lives according to which teachings we have made our own. Some insist that they aren't influenced by any person or any religion, that they think for themselves. And that's an honorable perspective. The problem is they got that perspective from... somebody. They're following somebody even if they insist it is themselves they are following.
Everybody is following somebody. Everybody has faith in something and somebody.
We are all believers.
Rob Bell lives with his family in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he's the founding pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church. He also teaches in a short film format called NOOMA, and he's the author of "Sex God: Exploring the Endless Connections Between Sexuality and Spirituality."
Jesus called his twelve disciples together and gave them authority to cast out evil[a] spirits and to heal every kind of disease and illness. 2 Here are the names of the twelve apostles:
Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Apostles
first, Simon (also called Peter),
then Andrew (Peter’s brother),
James (son of Zebedee),
John (James’s brother),
Matthew (the tax collector),
James (son of Alphaeus),
4 Simon (the zealot[c]),
Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him).
5 Jesus sent out the twelve apostles with these instructions:
35 ‘I have come to set a man against his father,
- Matthew 10:1 Greek unclean.
- Matthew 10:3 Other manuscripts read Lebbaeus; still others read Lebbaeus who is called Thaddaeus.
- Matthew 10:4 Greek the Cananean, an Aramaic term for Jewish nationalists.
- Matthew 10:7 Or has come, or is coming soon.
- Matthew 10:18 Or But this will be your testimony against the rulers and other unbelievers.
- Matthew 10:22 Greek on account of my name.
- Matthew 10:23 “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself.
- Matthew 10:24 Or Disciples.
- Matthew 10:25 Greek Beelzeboul; other manuscripts read Beezeboul; Latin version reads Beelzebub.
- Matthew 10:28 Greek Gehenna.
- Matthew 10:29 Greek one assarion [i.e., one “as,” a Roman coin equal to 1/16 of a denarius].
- Matthew 10:36 Mic 7:6.
- Matthew 10:41 Greek receive a prophet in the name of a prophet.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
I think at times in my life I would say a kick in the head for sure. Honesty can be so brutal and when coming from someone else ugly. My instinct is to be mad but honestly how can I be? Truth comes in so many forms and I know this one is in love no matter how much I hate it and wish I didn't have to agree. Can I go kicking and screaming into the night? Can I drag my heels resist and say NO? That wouldn't be the right answer and I care to much to do anything but quietly agree as I suck in my bottom lip and sigh...
Things will be normal before I can blink life will all go back to the way it was.
Monday, July 14, 2008
To make me more anxious.. I am heading home to New Hampshire next Friday and will be surrounded by non-believers makes my nerves even more rattled. I went home last summer but was standing very solid on my rock. What will happen if I am unbalanced?
I know this must happen on His terms and His time but.. wish he would hurry up!!! :)
My "instinct" is to stay home and hide but I really don't think that is what God is wanting me to do. A good friend told me to stop being a control freak and Be still. I truly want too... But my anxiety is taking over. I suffer from an anxiety disorder so behaviors tend to take on a mind of their own.
PLEASE pray for me... I cannot tell you exactly what to pray for but... He does! Take it to Him and maybe He will speak through you to me.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Music is one gift I honestly do not have. I like to sing "for fun" and being silly but nothing serious. I think I sang "You are my sunshine" on stage in front of 300 people when I was 4. I was taking singing lessons and that was my "solo". It is one song I have sung my entire life and the song that got me through the longest nights in the NICU. My singing is silly and touches no one but the poor dogs in the yard.
Drew's voice is a gift...
I hope you'll take a minute and go and check out one of his bands new songs just posted on myspace. http://www.myspace.com/drewdieckmann
For those who go to church with me, that is Chelvis on Bass and Robert on the drums too!!
Drew.. you rock my free world! Thank you for making my days just a little brighter. I Love ya!
I have had an unusual week. My emotions have been high and all over the place. But, where exactly have I seen or heard God? I have seen satan knocking on my door tempting me with my greatest weakness's beckoning me to cross that line. In that, Christ has been there watching waiting to see exactly what I will do. Being supportive in silence, allowing me to stick my toe out and feel the warm sweet air waiting for me to realize it's infested with sharks. Waiting for me to stand by Him and honor Him. At times I have wanted to run and take shelter in a closet in the safety of that old Vegas saying. "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas". Like Vegas though, eventually you must open that closet door and leave. Sitting there waiting for you to open that door and crawl out is your Best Friend, Your Father, Your Savior. Sigh.. that water isn't as desirable anymore when you consider the consequences.
Thinking about it I can honestly say I have seen Christ in the some of the most minuscule ways this week. In a song, in a text, in a hug, in a e-mail, in a rant, in my quiet office, in the news, in my sons eyes, in Rick's laughter, and in my friends warm faces. I realize that maybe when you stop looking so hard he is actually right there. RIGHT there under your very own nose.
It can be as obvious as the friend who gives up her day to take care of your child or the person who arrives at the 3 way stop first yet let's you go first. It's also in the big hug a friend sends by text just because your having a depressing afternoon. I could list many many more but instead YOU go looking and let me know where YOU saw God today!!
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$4.03 yep that's what I paid in gas today. We moved to MS in April 2004. Upon arriving we were so excited to see gas as low in some areas as $1.38. NO JOKE. Will we hit $5.00 by Labor Day?
Painful is what it is as with the gas prices everything else has gone up too as company's are taking a hit due to the high prices. I am worried for our economy. What's next?
ONE has been on the ground in Hokkaido, Japan, making sure leaders of the G8 heard your voice as they gathered for their annual summit this week. The result has been mixed...
Before the summit, the Financial Times leaked that the G8 may backtrack on their 2005 Gleneagles commitments to the world's poorest. But thanks in no small part to a massive outcry from around the world—over a million people in 190 countries, including nearly 200,000 ONE members—they reaffirmed their promises.
Unfortunately, reaffirming their promises doesn’t address the fact that their commitments are not being backed up by money. Germany, the UK, and the US are doing well in delivering their part, but the other countries are lagging behind, and dragging down the group as a whole.
To learn more, check out the analysis from the G8 summit on the ONE Blog:
We’ve helped stop the G8 from slipping back, and encouraged them to take some small steps forward. But they didn’t meet our request to deliver on their promises, nor did they set a timeline for spending $10 billion in pledged agricultural aid.
The G8 still have the chance to hit the targets they set for themselves, and we’ll have more opportunities to pressure them to do so in the coming months.
Thank you for your voice,
Josh Peck, ONE.org
P.S. There is one piece of unequivocal good news today. PEPFAR, America’s aggressive five-year plan to prevent and treat global AIDS, malaria and TB, is about to take a big step forward. This bill has been held up by a handful of senators for months. But yesterday, Senator Reid responded to the calls of ONE members and our allies in Congress, by demonstrating leadership and taking action to get PEPFAR moving. Learn more on the ONE Blog: http://www.one.org/r?r=50&id=
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Monday, July 07, 2008
First I have to sort the nasty dirty laundry which let's face it when you have a 5 year old laundry can get pretty nasty. Plus a husband who thinks he's superman fixing cars, doing yard work, and just plain rolling in the filth. Think pigpen! Sorting can be stressful as everyone has a different concept of "how" to sort. My theory is different... Unless an item is new it's all shirts together, all pants or shorts together, socks and underwear together. NOW if an item is new and red or some other color that might bleed it is washed alone. Nothing worse than turning my family's white's into a lovely shade of pink. eeekk... BAD!
Next it's time to carry it OUTSIDE (yeah here in the south they like to put laundry rooms outside of the house). Then load the washer, put in the soap, and wait. Now as the female of the house this also means I do all the grocery shopping. This means I also am in charge of picking out which brand of laundry detergent we use. Which fabric softener, which dryer sheet, which stain remover. Now, to a man this means waking in and grabbing anything. To a woman this means standing in front of the aisle smelling jugs, comparing price, and polling every woman they know to see what they use and like. Keep in mind that there is over 55 brands of detergents to choose from, add in the choices in each brand, powder, liquid, different scents, it's a serious brand overload. Picking the wrong brand could end in disaster and lead to itching private areas. This will of course lead to ONE grouchy family.
Back out to the laundry room to switch the loads, one to the dryer and another dirty pile into the washer. Then head back to the house to... wait! Sigh....
FINALLY, the first load is done and it's time to do the REAL PAIN!! Folding, hanging, and putting away. Depending on the load this can take as short as 5 minutes to as long as 30. There is NOTHING I can't stand more than folding socks. It's such a pain matching them and figuring out who's is who's. Hang up before everything gets full of wrinkles or then it might mean ironing too. Let's just say this wife DOES NOT IRON!! I really suck at ironing and my husband refuses to allow me to do it. Hmm.. maybe I should suck at doing laundry too??
Today, is laundry day in my house! I have folded 3 loads and have 5 more waiting anxiously for me. I can't wait till I can teach Alex to do laundry.
1. "Git-R-Done": Having married a man whose Father was born and raised in EBF, Berry, Alabama where the claim to fame is a Piggly Wiggly, I have actually heard this one ALOT! This basically can be sued in regards to anything. Larry The Cable Guy did NOT start the trend of this saying but rather it started long before he was born.
"Git R Done is a common phrase used mostly by the people living in the southern states. The term is used when a person is about to tackle a task are it can simply be used in any conversation for no apparent reason. Usually Git R Done is used to state how you or someone feels about something in an excited type of phrase. Most people think that only rednecks and wannabe southerners use this phrase but thats completely untrue."
2. "Y'all": I actually use this! This take the place of "You Guys" which I also use on occasion. It basically refers to more than one person although it doesn't really matter southerners use it in every form.
- Use of the contraction y'all as the second person plural pronoun. Its uncombined form — you all — is used less frequently.
- When speaking about a group, y'all is general (I know y'all) —as in that group of people is familiar to you and you know them as a whole, whereas all y'all is much more specific and means you know each and every person in that group, not as a whole, but individually ("I know all y'all.") Y'all can also be used with the standard "-s" possessive.
- "I've got y'all's assignments here."
- Y'all is distinctly separate from the singular you. The statement, "I gave y'all my payment last week," is more precise than "I gave you my payment last week." You (if interpreted as singular) could imply the payment was given directly to the person being spoken to — when that may not be the case.
- Some people misinterpret the phrase "all y'all" as meaning that Southerners use the word y'all as singular and all y'all as plural. However, all y'all is used to specify that all of the members of the second person plural are included, that is "all y'all" as opposed to "some of y'all"
3. Pecan: I will never in a THOUSAND years say p-kän like they do down here. It will be a
pkn pie that I eat every Christmas. Luckily, I have taught my son to say it like a good Yankee should despite my Father in Laws efforts. I also have to say that I had never seen a Pecan tree before moving here and was amazed at the amount of nuts it produces. Our Friends The Guerry's have a ton of tree's in their yard and pick them up to sell. We got to go over one day and pick a bunch up to help me make my Coffee Cake and Pecan Pie over the Holiday's. Pecan's are expensive.
4. Grits: is a corn-based food common in the Southern United States, consisting of coarsely ground corn. It is similar to other thick maize-based porridges from around the world such as polenta. It also has a lesser resemblance to farina, a thinner porridge.
Yellow speckled grits is also very popular in the southern states, named for the black specks in its yellow body.Now I must admit that seeing grits for the first time was nasty. I was told over and over that I needed to try them but it took me 2 years before I finally gave in. While on a Christian Retreat they made Cheese Grits for breakfast. Rick told me to add a bunch of pepper and some salt or they would be to bland for me so I did and they were YUMMY! I have since had an incredible shrimp and grits dinner that was spicy and intense. I still have not managed to order grits for my side to my breakfast while at the Huddle House or cooked them in my own home but maybe sometime soon. This is one southern food that is just starting to grow on me.
5. Hunting: This is a sport here! People where the camouflage clothing like it is the latest trend. They even sell a pink style of camo for the female hunters. Did you know people even hunt squirrel. It's crazy! They spend tons of money prepping their "deer hunting property". Yes they buy property JUST to deer hunt for. They set up their tree stands and sit up their all day. Children as young as 4 join their Dad's on these "manly" adventures. During Deer Hunting season you can expect to see at least 1 if not 2 deers in the back of a pick up truck just about every time you leave the house! My Neighbor is 8 and has shot himself an 8 point buck last season. Crazy... and something I work hard to shield Alex from. I pray he NEVER takes this hobby up.
Well.. that's 5 more... More soon!
By: Joel Baker
1. Save all manner of bacon grease. You will be instructed later how to use it.
2. Just because you can drive on snow and ice does not mean we can. Stay home the two days of the year it snows.
3. If you do run your car into a ditch, don't panic. Four men in the cab of a four wheel drive with a 12-pack of beer and a tow chain will be along shortly. Don't try to help them. Just stay out of their way. This is what they live for.
4. Don't be surprised to find movie rentals and bait in the same store.
5. Do not buy food at the movie store.
6. There is nothing sillier than a Northerner imitating a southern accent, unless it is a southerner imitating a Boston accent.
7. Get used to hearing, "You ain't from around here, are you?"
8. People walk slower here.
9. Don't be worried that you don't understand anyone. They don't understand you either.
10. The first Southern expression to creep into a transplanted Northerner's vocabulary is the adjective "Big ol'", as in "big ol' truck" or "big ol' boy". Eighty-five percent begin their new southern influenced dialect with this expression. One hundred percent are in denial about it.
11. The proper pronunciation you learned in school is no longer proper.
12. Be advised: The "He needed killin'" defense is valid here.
13. If attending a funeral in the South, remember, we stay until the last shovel of dirt is thrown on and the tent is torn down.
14. If you hear a Southerner exclaim, "Hey, y'all, watch this!" stay out of his way. These are likely the last words he will ever say.
15. Northerners can be identified by the spit on the inside of their car's windshield that comes from yelling at other drivers.
16. The winter wardrobe you always brought out in September can wait until November.
17. If there is the prediction of the slightest chance of even the most minuscule accumulation of snow, your presence is required at the local grocery store. It does not matter if you need anything from the store, it is just something you're supposed to do.
18. Tornadoes and Southerners going through a divorce have a lot in common. In either case, you know someone is going to lose a trailer.
19. Florida is not considered a southern state. There are far more Yankees than Southerners living there.
20. In southern churches you will hear the hymn, "All Glory, Laud and Honor". You will also here expressions such as, "Laud, have mercy", "Good Laud", and "Laudy, Laudy, Laudy".
21. You can ask a Southerner for directions, but unless you already know the positions of key hills, trees and rocks, you're better off trying to find it yourself.
22. If you hear music from your neighbors house, join in on the chorus.
23. If you are a woman with a flat tire, don't worry - someone will be along shortly to change it for you. This is the South and we don't let our womenfolk change flat tires.
24. Yes, we do have garbage pickup twice a week here.
25. While you didn't realize it, the National Anthem does end with "Gentlemen Start Your Engines!"
26. However you did it in the North is of no concern to those of us in the South.
27. Flannel shirts can be considered formal wear in the wintertime.
28. Those nice white buildings on the street corners, across from the convenience stores, are called churches! Pick one and attend.
29. Learn to play softball.
30. Learn to eat watermelon. Seed spitting is optional but distance is a virtue.
31. You have 10 days to get your Alabama tape, Bear Bryant Cup and learn all of verses to "I'll Fly Away" after establishing residency. Get your drivers license when you get time to do it.
32. Learn to visit the Space and Rocket Center at least one time each year.33. Appreciate leaving the house 30 minutes before concert time and being seated 10 minutes before concert time.
Saturday, July 05, 2008
When I first arrived I literally could not understand a word anyone said. Worse they couldn't understand me. Normally within 2 minutes they would ask every so sweetly "yur not from round here r ya". My response "how did you ever guess". DUH!!!
Here are just a few of my favorite Southern knowledge that I have gained since arriving...
1. Let me just say catfish are "raised". There are actual people who take on the job of being a "catfish farmer" and I KNOW them. CRAZY isn't it?? I really thought people were pulling my leg when they told me this. I am DYING to get up close and personal with a catfish farm and promise to post pictures when I do!
2. Nabs are an inexpensive small packet of crackers with cheese or peanut butter filling. And to think all this time I thought nabs is when you grab something. Like "I am going to nab you" or "The police are going to nab you". Who woulda thunk it? Here's a little proof to add on to my story!
"Many snack cracker products manufactured by Lance are commonly referred to as "Nabs". The term "Nabs" today is used to refer to any type of snack crackers, most commonly those made and manufactured by Lance, Inc. Many in the southeastern United States prefer the term Nabs to generically mean the specific Toastchee brand of Lance crackers. The term has its origins back to 1924 when the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) introduced a snack, put in a 5-cent sealed packet called "Peanut Sandwich Packet". They soon added a second, "Sorbetto Sandwich Packet". These packets allowed salesmen to sell to soda fountains, road stands, milk bars, lunch rooms, news stands etc. Sales increased and in 1928 the company adopted and started to use the name NAB, which immediately won the approval of the public. This term caught on and is still widely used today."
3. Sweet Tea is "wicked" AWESOME and the entire country just needs to get a grip and start making it!!
4. Okra is a vegetable! Down here in the south it's most often fried and served as a side option to almost any meal. I personal think it looks like green mush and tastes about the same BUT down here eating okra is like going to church you just do it! :) I am standing my ground on this and will not be eating okra EVER!!!!
5. "God love her but..." This is the Southern polite way of putting some one down. I guess they think but adding that first the insult won't hurt so much. "God love her but she is crazier then a turkey on Thanksgiving". I LOVE this saying.. it seriously cracks me up. Sometimes they will see someone doing something bad, crazy, etc and they will say "God love her..." all drawn out and with such dripping pity. It actually makes you feel bad too! Sadly, I couldn't find a good link for this one.
I Have LOTS more but today we will start with 5.