Saturday, February 28, 2015

Pregnancy transformation...

is what happens soon after that positive pregnancy test. In fact, before you take a pregnancy test you may have some signs of change--feelings of nausea and queasiness, heightened smell, an aversion to some tastes, and usually what prompts the test is being late for the monthly visit of Aunt Flo. But there is something that happens mentally when a woman sees that clear blue or pink line--all of a sudden everything that happens to her physically is filtered through the news that she is now pregnant.

An ache on the lower left side--ligaments stretching? A bout of heartburn--because you're pregnant, of course. A darker patch on your skin--that darned pregnancy mask. Positive testing women pick up the 72nd edition of What To Know When You Are Expecting and read every sign, symptom and symbol with the expectation that they will experience each and every one. Even the ones you don't want to actually experience.

I'm not pregnant, but this illustration came to mind when thinking about a question I was asked on the whole, "is someone really saved or not" issue. I always cringe when I'm asked that because I know that most of the time the one asking will not like my answer. The one asking is always asking about a loved one, a dear family member or friend, someone that they desperately want good for and in asking the question they are really asking for reassurance about their loved one's eternal state.

I've got loved ones just like that so I understand the groan and ache of heart that precedes the question. But the part they don't like to hear, the part I don't like to say, but the part that must be said is that a person who is truly saved will be transformed in their lives in heart, mind, and actions. True salvation affects external life changes because true salvation is the regeneration of life from within that can't help but flow to the outside.

"What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death  in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." Romans 6:1-4

Someone who has said the prayer or walked the aisle or signed the card or attended the revival and has had the outward, external signs of salvation but is still living for self in most if not all respects, who is hostile towards Christian fellowship, who is unrepentant regarding their sin, who does not desire to know the Lord through His Word, who is defensive regarding life changes....it begs the question, what effect, if any, did those outward, external signs of salvation have?

Hence the illustration of pregnancy. A positive pregnancy test will only lead to actual physical transformation that proves to be a real pregnancy, that of a real life growing within and a baby born after nine months. Before a woman is shown to be pregnant externally with the swelling belly, breasts, and ankles, she is indeed pregnant. But the fruit of that pregnancy cannot be hidden and she would be hard pressed if she continued to insist she was pregnant if no external signs ever appeared and certainly if no baby came after the requisite 40 weeks.

However, our current evangelical culture does not seem to think it strange in any sense for person after person to claim the positive line test of salvation and then live week after week, month after month, even year after year, with not the first external evidence of an internal event.

And here is the thin ice. No one knows the heart of another. How and when and by what means God saves one and His Holy Spirit begins to work in that heart and bring about change is all of His timetable and no one else. And I know that to even indicate that a person is not saved (because of no outward life changes) is the pile on invitation of the year for calls of judgey judgmentalism and legalism and lack of grace and unkindness and all that.

So I can only expect first in my own heart that true salvation will affect true life change in my own life and pray that the many loved ones where the question still hangs will be found justified in Christ and not in anything else.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Resurrection...

the resurrection that is spoken of in Ephesians 1:18-20, "...his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms," is something to dwell upon and hold close in our thinking for the transformation of how we live.

Resurrecting a blog from death status of inactivity is something tremendously less. But when the thoughts in your head and the lack of writing have conspired to "dig a grave" for where all the words go, it does seem like resurrection is an apt term for what I think (notice the wavering here?) that this blog needs.

The paralyzing act of writing--having the words but also having the editor in your head residence--that keeps you from actually writing, is mentally exhausting. I started this blog in an effort to give the words an outlet. I stopped this blog because the outlet had become clogged with life that couldn't or shouldn't be blogged, with the noise of the blogosphere where if everyone has something to say then truly no one really has anything to say, with the pressure of comments and branding and clique-ish celebrity, with the question of blogging for profit or pleasure or purity of craft, and other reasons that do not deserve a remark but are real obstacles. Each one being another shovelful of dirt on the death of a blog.

So why bother with it now? Because the words are still there and I'm 45 years old and writing works wonders in my tangled head. And for now that is enough reason to resurrect a place where writing is practiced, where the editor is confronted and wrestled with, and where maybe every now and then something will unravel into the sweet spot of writing out a complete thought.

Now, if I can just remember how to update the various gadgets on this blog, ie. sidebar and so on.


Monday, February 18, 2013

The last guinea pig...

of the two, went to his new home today. His gift to us was a flare up on Samuel's hands and I got an asthma attack. But we still wish him well.

Within minutes he had a new name, Patches, and was being duly loved by the littles of the family. We are grateful for their willingness to adopt him. He needed more attention than any of us could give him.

Now it's just the two stupid cats. Ai yi yi.

Friday, February 15, 2013

The older two guys.....

head off on a youth ski trip tomorrow. This is a first for them. Can you say "pervasive excitement"? Honestly the house is fairly pinging with the rush of teenage hormones that can't wait to not sleep for the next 96 hours. Next week was not an "off" school week, but I'm all ready re-thinking the strategy of trying to teach history and literature to the freshly glazed from ski trip teen.

Brick wall::Forehead.

I will not ever regret the luxury of flexibility that homeschooling provides. Nev-ah. There are plenty of other things to regret in the moments of mom angst, but not the flexibility.

This morning we had to spend some time getting those last minute things as in underwear, socks, an extra sweatshirt, jeans, sunscreen. It's like going into the grocery store for eggs and milk and peanut butter and leaving with cinnamon rolls, frozen pizza, and havarti cheese.

We always hit the Goodwill store for trips like this. Very frequently I have found jeans and sweatshirts for the boys that grow an inch a week. It seems. Today we scored on the sweatshirts but bombed on the jeans. Kohls had the jeans. Wally World had the socks and underwear.

Thankfully the boys kept an attitude of "get'er done" with the trying on and choosing and checking out. Too much shopping with them or with me and we all break out in hives and unfriendly temptations.

I am excited for them to have this opportunity and will spend the majority of my weekend praying that they return with all of their bones intact. And obviously that they learn from the speaker who I understand is Ah-maz-ing. Watch out West Virginia, about 100 youth are about to descend upon your mountain slopes.




Sunday, February 10, 2013

Teaching Hebrews in two weeks....

not in two weeks as from now but IN two weeks. The whole book. All thirteen chapters studied, taught, lectured, done. It sounds insurmountable and ridiculous. And it's no small feat, but that's what I've been asked to do for my church's ladies' Bible study. I did the same thing with Romans in the fall. Taught the whole book in two weeks.

At first I was skeptical about how much any of it can be absorbed in that quick of a time. I'm used to teaching Romans over a nine month period, and I've not ever taught Hebrews in less than five weeks. Arguably there is a lot, A LOT, that you can't camp on when you are moving that quickly through the book, but I have found that there is a lot to gain as well from this type of teaching perspective.

First, you have to read the book in one big lump. The letter of Hebrews arrived that way. I doubt the church it was addressed to read it in chapters. It was probably read aloud to them in one sitting and not in the thirteen chapters as we now. Originally, they would have heard the truths in one big meeting time. And then they had to process what they had heard. They had opportunity to go back to it, most likely. But the first hearing would have been all.at.once.

Second, when you have that much to hear at one time, you get the big picture, the big theme of the book. There are some troublesome passages in Hebrews that in scholarly, and not so scholarly debates, get all twisted around. But when you read the book from start to finish you see those troublesome passages in context to the author's whole point. And then they are not so troublesome.

Third, studying the book in such a large chunk gave me a deeper appreciation for the pastoral heart of the author. He was writing with a zeal to defend the moving forward in faith with Jesus Christ that was essential for the audience he was addressing. His argument increases in intensity and reading from start to finish showed that progression.

Regularly I want the luxury of reading and studying a book in-depth, of seeing each phrase and point be underlined in its power and truth. But even when that option of study is not available, there is still such sweetness in the Word of God to convict, instruct, reprove, and correct the listening student.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Saturdays are for prepping..

prepping for lessons for next week's homeschool, prepping for any Bible teaching I am doing, and most of all prepping for all of the next week's meals. Thankfully, I've started sleeping in on Saturdays to give me the extra stamina I need for all of the day's prep.

Today included finishing up the week's menu which contains a birthday dinner for Matthew, a dinner party for 14 on Tuesday, and the regular stuff of the week. Two shopping trips, one to Sam's and one to Publix, garnered the necessary essentials. And then some.

I had a Bible lesson on Hebrews 1-6 to finish that took up about two hours and then it was into the kitchen for the cooking. I was able to prepare three pounds of green beans, the sausage spinach stuffing for Tuesday's party, an Italian cream cake, two batches of brownies, garlic chicken, rice, and do some other basics that will help ease the week's workload.

I still have kale and bok choy to make for the week's vegetables and the fridge is full of thawing venison, chicken, and pork for other meals. Tomorrow will be my day to rest and study though so more meal prep will have to wait until Monday morning.

As I've written previously, returning to work even part time has been quite an adjustment. For years I've had an alarm on my watch that goes off at 4:00. I call it my location alarm. It's a reminder at 4:00 to look and see where I am at in the day and decide what else needs to be done in regards to dinner. Although some days that 4:00 alarm has served to remind me that dinner needs to be decided.

With work though, the 4:00 alarm isn't enough. I'm tired by that time of the day from work and so if there is not some ease in all that has to be prepared for that night's meal, my family is likely to get a hodge podge of cereal, instant mac n' cheese, and cheese toast. Enter my Saturday prep.

Today was full of some extra desserts that had to be made but usually I reserve the day for cooking as much of the meat and veggies and starches that will be served during the week. Meatballs can be made and cooked ahead; chicken thawed so it quickly cooks on its serving day (just make sure it's still within date). I like to prepare a bit pot of rice and potatoes that can be easily warmed up. And I do as many vegetables as I can. That helps me stay on track with right eating and taking things to work.

The full load of prep on Saturday has given me new appreciation for Sunday's rest. There is a spiritual metaphor in there somewhere but tonight I'm just tired from a hard day's cooking. But that's okay, today's cooking means less stress in the week. That's a great exchange for one busy mom.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

So, my email was hacked....

It was a mess. I had to shut everything down. Change all the passwords. Delete the entire account And start over.

Boy, was I hacked. Really hacked. As in the meaning of the word before it meant messing with someone else's computer, passwords, internetial life.

Sheesh.

So, now I think the mess is finally cleaned up. My password is so tight that I am not sure I will remember it past the second day. I wrote an encrypted note to myself to help me remember it. But I can't remember where I put it.

When I find it, I probably won't remember my encryption.

Sheesh.

Nothing but hacked.