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Pressing on, in Jesus Name.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Happy Birthday, Peanut!

Today marks the day our youngest made her entrance into the world. Happy 10th birthday, Leah. I love you!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Help Spread the Word!

The soon-to-be-released "family" film The Golden Compass starring Nicole Kidman is dangerous! Read what Snopes.com has found out about it. The Christmas-time (I'm sure the author Phillip Pullman would prefer "holiday" to Christmas, but too bad!) movie is based on the first of a trilogy of children's books by Pullman. The plot of the books are to defeat the forces of a senile God. Do not go to this movie! Do not let your children go to this movie! I have seen previews of it, and was mildly interested, since it had a Narnia look to it, but in reality it is EXACTLY the opposite! Click on the envelope icon below this post to email a link to it to anyone who should know this! Spread the word!


Okay, I know I'm not the only one who did it, and I'm grateful, because without help it would literally never get done. Our church just finished making 471 pies today. TODAY! That is an IMMENSE amount of pies!!!! Something like 23 bushels of apples, and 300 pounds of flour, not to mention sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and all the other things that are required to make a pie all the wonderful goodness that it is. And work! We're all beat! But you know what? we'll be back at it again next year because it is an AWESOME fundraiser.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Thanks, Nicole!

Nicole, I am privileged to call you a friend, and I wish you God’s continued blessings as you follow His lead in your ministry of writing.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Ethiopian Orphans and Nicole Baart

You’ve adopted a child from Ethiopia, and through that experience discovered a new passion for the orphans of Africa, what are you doing to help them since obviously you can’t take each one home and care for them yourself!
Really? I can’t adopt them all? Bummer. Sometimes I feel like I would if I could. But thanks for asking as this is something that I am very passionate about.

Aside from Miriam:
Readers can click here for more information on Nicole's orphan passion.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Third question...

No life is without heartache, and I know yours is no exception, do you have any plans to write a story incorporating your own life experience?
No. Honestly, I don’t think my own story is very interesting or unique. I’m afraid that if I tried to write about it I would downplay everything in the fear that people would misinterpret the story and assume I’m glorifying myself. Or, I’d exaggerate everything, trying to make the story appear more glamorous, more interesting than it actually is. I have no desire to write an autobiography or even a fictional story that is loosely based on my own life.
I do, however, admire people who are courageous enough to write about themselves. I’ve even heard recently about “spiritual autobiographies,” works of non-fiction that chronicle a person’s spiritual journey. I think that takes a level of bravery that I just don’t have.
Mostly, I guess I want my life to be between my family, my friends, and me. Being a pastor’s family already places us firmly in a fishbowl--I don’t need to write about us to aggravate that situation!

Day Two with Nicole...

Here's the second installment of my "chat" with debut author Nicole Baart...

The character, Julia, is so far removed from your own experience, how did you get into the head of a troubled teen girl?
I don’t know! Apparently one of the strengths of my writing is the ability to make emotion and experience very real. Recently, someone asked my dad if I had experienced deep loss in my life. The answer is, no, not really. But this woman had just lost her mother, and the way that Julia, my main character, dealt with the loss of her father was so real and honest that this woman could relate completely to everything I was writing. The woman said, “But she’s describing all the things that I’m feeling!” My only response to this is: it’s God. It’s not me, it’s God doing His thing through this very broken vessel.
That said, one of the things that I have always been able to do is internalize other people’s struggles. I would make a terrible counselor! I just know I would cry with my patients and take their pain home with me instead of leaving it behind when the workday is done. So watching a movie, reading a book, and listening to a friend talk are all very emotional experiences for me. Sometimes, I feel that if I would let myself go, just really abandon myself to what I am feeling, I could grieve with someone who is grieving exactly as if the loss were my own.
Because of this emotional over-involvement, sometimes I have to back out of certain situations. I’m learning to shut down that part of me that wants to adopt everyone else’s problems. It’s not always healthy! But I do think it gives me a unique ability to write about experiences and feelings that may not necessarily be my own.In writing Julia, I drew a lot from dozens of stories and heartaches that I’ve witnessed throughout my life. I also worked hard to put myself in her shoes, imagining what I would feel and how I would react if life dealt me the same cards that it dealt Julia. I absolutely fell in love with her character and truly enjoyed watching her story unfold.

Blog Tour Day One...

Following is the first of five questions I've posed to my friend and debut author Nicole Baart about her recently published novel After the Leaves Fall.

You’re from small-town Iowa , how in the world did you get connected with big-city publisher Tyndale?
My connection with Tyndale is very much a God-thing. I wasn’t seeking publication at all when suddenly the Lord began to very obviously open doors. It’s a bit of a long story, but suffice it to say that God is a careful planner, and He worked for almost a year to make paths cross and lives intersect so that He could carry out His will. I still get shivers when I think about it!
It pretty much all came down to an amazing couple that my husband lived with while he finished his denominational requirements for ordination in the Christian Reformed Church. (Try saying that five times fast!) We were living in Iowa at the time, but Aaron had to go to Grand Rapids for fourteen weeks and leave my young son, Isaac, and me home alone. While he was there, Aaron lived with a fantastic couple. They were all talking one night and my husband mentioned that I write. After a few more conversations, the couple told Aaron that they were friends with the senior acquisitions director at Tyndale. They mentioned that they would love to slip her one of my manuscripts.
I was floored. This was the opportunity of a lifetime--and I had nothing to present to my would-be publisher! Though I had other novels in the works, I didn’t feel that they would be suited for a Tyndale audience. So I spent one month writing the first 50 pages of a new novel--a novel that I thought would be appealing to Tyndale and yet that did not compromise my own beliefs about what constitutes God-honoring fiction.
I sent off my manuscript with a wish and a prayer, frankly, never planning on hearing from Tyndale at all. Then, a few months later, I got an email from the senior acquisitions director. She wanted the rest of the manuscript! I felt terrible because it was not done. After I sent off the first 50 pages, my family and I went through a number of personal issues that drew me away from my writing for a time. But Tyndale was incredibly gracious and they allowed me to finish the book. Four months later I was done. I sent off my work a second time, wishing and praying even more fervently than before.It was another four months before I heard from Tyndale again. This time, when they called it was to tell me that they loved the book and they wanted to publish it. Life has been a whirlwind ever since. Lots of fun, a little surreal, and wholly dependent on the God who brought this all to be!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Blog Tour Makes a Stop Here!

Tomorrow, I'll be posting the first of five "interview" questions I've posed to Nicole Baart, debut author of the novel After the Leaves Fall. Be sure to stop back each day this week for another installment of our "conversation!"

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A quote I liked...

Friends are like the walls of a house. Sometimes they hold you up, sometimes you lean on them. But sometimes, it's enough to know they're just standing by.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

So What's Your Shield Like Today?

You know it's true. You have a shield and you're supposed to be using it! Is it ready to use? So why not?
I can hear it now, "what shield?" The shield of FAITH! (Ephesians 6:16) What are you supposed to do with it? Extinguish the fiery arrows of the enemy. Where'd the shield come from? Not you, not your own strength, faith is God's gift to you--He gives you the faith to believe in Him! (Ephesians 2:8) Are you supposed to care for and nurture that faith to make it a ready shield? You bet you are! When Paul writes about the shield of faith in Ephesians, his mind is conjuring up an image of an object that has been covered with leather, which needs to be wet to be effective, so is soaked in water so that literal flaming arrows that are being fired can be blocked and put out. This object was given to the soldier by the country that he was fighting for, but the soldier was expected to maintain it and have it ready for use at any moment.
So, done anything "big" for God lately? Feeling attacked and beaten down? Why? What's going on with your faith that is making that thing so rough to go through? Christians often talk about the "valley" after a "mountain top" experience. They feel exposed and alone. We're not alone, we're not exposed. We have our faith to get us through--it may be a bit shaken, it may have a few dry spots that allow an arrow or two to get through--but it is still there, because no matter what, God won't strip you of your faith.
Sure, soak it, cry your heart out, let God know what is getting to you, but ask him to work through the faith He's given you to hold your ground and not fall. Sometimes soldiers slept under their shields--yeah, some were that big. That's where I want to be, under a shield of faith so big that I can sleep under it and be confident that in the morning I will wake unharmed and ready to fight again.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Happy Anniversary, Babe!

After 18 years, I still do...

Friday, October 12, 2007

It's Friday Again...

Okay, so far, so good, but it IS Friday, and my husband is currently working with a Skil-saw upstairs. The smoke alarm DID go off already, but I am pretty sure it was just being over-sensitive about the dust. Mark removed the battery. Now he'll have to remember to put it back in of course, so that it can serve its intended purpose, rather than choking on sawdust.

The only disaster so far, and it hardly bears mentioning it's so minor, is that Hannah neglected to bring home an order form for something that should have been turned in today. Fortunately for her, others on the team also neglected to take theirs home so extra time has been allotted.

So if you were looking for another Friday drama from my corner of the world, so far you're out of luck, but then the day isn't over yet!!!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Poignant Scriptures

Psalm 143
A psalm of David.
O LORD, hear my prayer,
listen to my cry for mercy;
in your faithfulness and righteousness
come to my relief.
Do not bring your servant into judgment,
for no one living is righteous before you.
The enemy (the junk and pressures of every day life) pursues me,
he crushes me to the ground;
he makes me dwell in darkness
like those long dead.
So my spirit grows faint within me;
my heart within me is dismayed. (I'm really getting sick of this, Lord, its dragging me down)
I remember the days of long ago;
I meditate on all your works (Lord, you've brought us through tough times before, I know that)
and consider what your hands have done.
I spread out my hands to you;
my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah
Answer me quickly, (I'd prefer yesterday, to be honest!) O LORD;
my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me
or I will be like those who go down to the pit. (I feel so mired down)
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.
Rescue me from my enemies, O LORD,
for I hide myself in you.
Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
lead me on level ground.
For your name's sake, O LORD, preserve my life;
in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.
In your unfailing love, silence my enemies;
destroy all my foes,
for I am your servant.

Habakkuk 3:17-19
Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
(Yes, even though I'm completely without resources)
yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the heights.
(I will praise you in this storm!)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

No wonder we're tired at the end of the day!

Check out this video of a "William Tell" tribute of the things moms say. And a big thanks to Steph who brought it to my attention! It is a hoot!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Lyrics from Sara Groves

Sara Groves is an artist who is insightful and poignant in her songwriting. Her thoughts through song pierce my soul and minister to my heart. This song, which I heard for the first time yesterday, is no exception:

"This Journey Is My Own"

When I stand before the Lord, I'll be standing alone. This journey is my own. Still I want man's advice, and I need man's approval, but this journey is my own. .

Chorus: Why would I want to live for man and pay the highest price? What would it mean to gain the world, only to lose my life?

So much of what I do is to make a good impression. This journey is my own. So much of what I say is to make myself look better. This journey is my own. Chorus

I have never felt relief like I feel it right now. This journey is my own. 'Cause trying to please the world it was breaking me down, it was breaking me down. Now I live and I breathe for an audience of one, now I live and I breath for an audience of one. Now I live and I breathe for an audience of one, 'cause I know this journey is my own. Chorus

You can live for someone else, and it will only bring you pain. I can't even judge myself. Only the Lord can say, "Well done."

Conversations, Compact Disc [CD]By: Sara Groves Ino Records/m2.0 Communication / 2000 / Compact disc

Thank you, Lord for those who point me to your truth and challenge me in my faith to press on towards the goal YOU have for me.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Psalm 23--From the mouth of a babe...

Slaving Away

Here I sit, slaving away next to a hot oven--I love modern technology, when I can turn a few dials and voila, my oven is getting a cleaning! Of course I do have to deal with the stink of burning debris and the heat that is being given off, but overall I figure its a pretty good trade, since my oven would probably NEVER get cleaned if I had to do it manually! As the magnet I keep on it says, "Nobody ever died of oven crud!"

On to a bunny update...yesterday we took Dandelion to the vet for a little, ahem, "surgery." Now he's sporting a lovely collar which makes him resemble a bunny lamp or some alien receptor, but it's all for his little bunny good. Hate to have any bunny paternity suits on our hands! I hear those can get ugly! Hee-Hee!

Another random thought, last week Mark & I were privileged to attend a book debut party for author Nicole Baart. (Have you read it yet? Better go get a copy and get to it!) As an author, Nicole is gifted for using just the right word to capture a feeling and get you inside the head of a soon to be adult who's had a tumultuous adolescence. Adolescence is rocky enough without the added stress of the death of your father in the middle of it and the abandonment of your mother in early childhood. The title is After the Leaves Fall and is published by Tyndale. Ask for it at a bookseller near you!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The joys of ADHD

Oh, the joys of dealing with ADHD. Over the years we've learned to give meds an hour before Peter is to wake up, so we have a less "interesting" morning while getting ready for school. (We're not too fond of incessantly repeating ourselves, you know...). Today was a morning we forgot. Ugh~not fun for anyone. I can't imagine Peter's frustration of being constantly called back to the task at hand, like eating his breakfast. I can imagine our frustration when we have to do it. Don't tell me ADHD is just a crutch for teachers to keep control of their classrooms. It is VERY real. Do I believe it is over-diagnosed? Yes, I do. It is a difficult diagnosis to achieve, and using Ritalin as a diagnosis tool is ineffective, since just about everyone can benefit from a little Ritalin (to quote Peter's psychiatrist). Do I believe we've received an error in diagnosis? No, I most certainly do not. Do I allow ADHD to be a crutch to my kid? I try not to, though it may seem that we do, even to members of our own family. I'm a firm believer in picking my battles with each of my children, and letting the natural consequences take their course in those I choose not to fight. Do the lessons get learned right away? Nope. Do I ever learn my lessons the first time? Nope, God's still working on me, too.