31 May 2007

Step Four: Find an Older Mom

Last week {was it last week?}, I gave three steps that I thought would help new mothers who are trying to stay at home for the first time, but finding it to be a challenge for various reasons. Step one was perseverance, because some things, as I keep on saying, simply have to be gotten through. Step two was figure it out. In other words, don't just sit there. Actually solve the problem. Step three {which should maybe have been step two, but I wasn't very organized about all of this} was to identify root causes. If step two deals with the external stuff, step three focuses inside. What is going on there? Why all the discontent?

Step four is to find an older mom. After all, I can't offer much more advice. I have only been doing this for five years. But most of what I have learned, I have learned from older and experienced moms.

Who do I look to? Well, there have been many women along the way. The main thing I have always looked for is someone who has the result I desire. For instance, a mom that I spent a lot of time with when I had one child under the age of one had teenagers that were very sweet, respectful, and desired to follow God. She was worth listening to, and I learned a lot from her. Another mom friend of mine has eight children {and one on the way!}. Her children sit so nicely through church, and they obviously love each other very much. I always wanted my kids to have a good relationship not just with me, but with each other. So I ask her how she trains them to sit, and how she fosters their love for one another.

There are very nice, well meaning women out there that have terrible situations with their children. They may have learned a lot from their mistakes. And I surely do not want to judge them. However, I do think it is safest to choose advisors who have actually lived a life of wisdom, rather than recently repented of a life lived in foolishness.

Titus 2 lays the groundwork for all of this. It doesn't tell young women to go out there and love their husbands, love their children, keep their homes, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Rather, it commands older women to go out there and teach the younger women how to do these things. We young moms are not left alone to fend for ourselves. The Bible commands that we be taught, that we have a guide {or two or three} along the way.

So, go ahead and be a success at all of this! Persevere while solving the problem and identifying root causes, all the while learning from an older mom who has lots of experience and, though she isn't perfect, really knows what she is talking about.

30 May 2007

Simple Summer Treat

When I was little, my mom made homemade popsicles for us. When I think of childhood summers, I think of sticky fingers, sweet with formerly-frozen grape, apple, or orange juice. When I went to a Tupperware party a while back, I was certain I would be able to purchase some popsicle holders just like my mother used to have. But I just couldn't do it. It seems that Disney got hold of the Tupperware company. Or vice versa. It really doesn't matter. I couldn't buy for my children what I myself had, the pure, unadulterated popsicle holder.

However, a couple months ago, my grandma showed up with some things from her home she thought would be useful to us. Among the bounty was an old-fashioned Tupperware popsicle set. Actually, there were two sets, meaning that we can make a whole dozen popsicles at one time.

We have experimented. Apple juice is quite popular. We haven't tried grape because we know the toddler would use it to stain anything within reach. Pictured here is our attempt to freeze a smoothie made from whole strawberries, blueberries, and orange juice:

It turned out yummy, but separated a bit during the freezing process:

In all, we have found this hand-me-down to be quite frugal and healthy, what with the reusable parts and Red 40-free contents. Best of all, my kids can have their own summer memories, complete with sticky fingers.

29 May 2007

Pirate Ship Cake

We are at the part where Jim Hawkins is captured by Long John Silver, which is shortly after the part where Jim has beached the Hispaniola with the help of the buccaneer Israel Hands. We are anxious to learn what happens next, but that will have to wait until tomorrow. Until then, we will treasure the lesson in our hearts that one should never sneak up on sleeping pirates as they use a most effective watchman, one green parrot that likes to scream "Pieces of eight!!" over and over as an alert.

But enough of Treasure Island.

The cake below was crafted using two 8-inch round cakes. I must mention that my lovely sister-in-law Alex, who works in a bakery at a grocery store, was quite helpful with this particular cake. Furthermore, she is invited to help with all future cakes!

We took the two rounds and sliced off the "humps" where the cake had risen using a long serrated knife. When stacking round cakes, a flat surface comes in handy. We saved the humps to use as the island later. We covered the serving tray with blue cellophane to imitate water. We cut the rounds into halves. We frosted three halves and stacked them ever so carefully, and then turned the load on its side so as to resemble a Chinese junket ship. The fourth half had the edges cut off and then we stacked it on top to add some dimension to the boat shape. Then we frosted it all with chocolate. Yum.

We used some blue and white frosting to imitate waves under the ship. These also served our purpose of stabilizing the ship a bit.

The island was, as I mentioned before, made from one of the risen "humps." {The other hump was eaten by vultures.} We frosted it white and sprinkled it with lots of brown sugar and a bit of ground flax seed for some darker colored "sand." Blue frosting brought a bit of water onto the "shore."

The sails and palm tree are made from 3x5 cards. The palm tree has a toothpick taped to the back as an anchor sunk into the island. The sails are attached to long skewers. Yes, I drew the Jolly Roger myself. I am now quite vain about it. Alex added some cute yellow portholes on the sides.

If this were a first birthday party, we would have gone with animals and made it Noah's Ark instead! It is a very versatile design.

21 May 2007

The Book Review Formula

Back before I was a blogger, maybe three or four years ago now, I reviewed books for my church's newsletter. At that time, I had a format I followed for each review, which made them all fairly consistent in structure and kept me from using too many words. After all, the newsletter was printed on real paper, meaning there were actual space restraints.

The only space restraint in blogging is the attention span of the audience, a thing which my husband constantly accuses me of disregarding.

For the life of me, I cannot remember my old format. Thankfully, I have come up with a new one. Many throughout the ages have used the categories of good, true, and beautiful. I suppose that Plato guy would be the most popular. I fully admit that I have not read much Plato at all {though this is an eventual goal of mine, along with losing the baby weight}. This means I may use and misuse the categories all at once.

In an uncommon {for me} postmodern style, allow me to explain what these categories mean to me:

  • Good: This would be referring to something {in this case a book} in the moral sense. Is the book good? Does it discuss a topic that is good in a way that is good? Does the work promote goodness in the reader? In a work of fiction {not that I really ever review fiction}, I would watch for who the reader ends up "rooting for," so to speak. Does the work twist everything around so that the reader roots for a bad guy? Movies do this a lot {think Ocean's 11-12-13, etc.}. A story can entertain while still twisting the reader to support evil. In nonfiction, a truly true fact, or unnecessary gory details about something not good {doubleplus ungood for those 1984 fans} can be discussed, making the work true, but not necessarily good.

  • True: There are a couple ways of looking at this category. The first would be a matter of history. Are the facts presented true accounts of something that really happened? A good starting question, except that a lot of nonfiction these days consists of so much personal introspection and bravado, that I think a better question to ask is whether the work is true in the sense of eternity. Does the author's assertion match up with God's assertions as maintained by Scripture? As the ultimate holder of Truth, Scripture is a great place to start {and end} when analyzing anything.

  • Beautiful: Here, I mean well-written. In the negative, a reader would expect a "beautiful" book to be free of glaring typographical errors and poorly structured phrases that detract from the reader's ability to think through and enjoy the work. In the positive, a gloriously "beautiful" book would create a sense of awe and wonder, even if it is a work of nonfiction. Anyone who has read Chesterton knows that this is not only possible, but expected of a truly great author. Beautiful writing is not trite, nor is it pedestrian. It makes the craft look easy, all the while revealing the efforts of a hard-working mind.

So, for what they are worth, these are my new categories. For my own, personally selected reading, I may or may not follow this structure. For books that are sent to me as free, review copies, this will be my absolute plan {until I come up with a better, more brilliant absolute plan}. My first free review copy arrives this week. Keep a look out for the upcoming review.

By the way, official Book Reviews {where I received the book from a marketer or publisher for free for the purpose of having it reviewed publicly on Afterthoughts}, will be posted in their own category.

18 May 2007

Beyond Prolife: Vaccines Part II

It has come to my attention that when I casually mention that vaccines are made from aborted fetal tissue, the people around me may look at me like I am crazy. Once, I was actually accused of reading a "fictional anti-vaccination website." Now, there are some crazy websites out there, but I want my readers to know there are also some pretty reliable online sources, and I've done some of the research here. And it's free!

Of course, you get bonus points if you shop Amazon using the sidebar. {End shameless sales pitch.}

I am not a Catholic, but usually if I throw out that I got a lot of my information from an endorsed-by-the-Vatican source {The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly}, it helps. The Vatican has the funding to do some real research. For now, they have more money than Big Pharma, and a lot of this is about money. Remind me to tell you about the time my sister overheard her doctor telling a nurse how upset he was that his flu shots didn't come in because he usually makes $10,000 at least and was planning to take his wife on a cruise!

In order to more thoroughly explain the situation, I will use the rubella vaccine as my example.

The component vaccine for rubella is called the Meruvax II. It contains an attenuated strain of live rubella virus. The interesting thing about the rubella vaccine is that the virus is not only grown on cell lines {called human diploid cell strains, or ADCS's} obtained from an aborted fetus, but also the virus itself was obtained from a fetus that was aborted after the mother suffered rubella in her first trimester during the 1964 rubella outbreak. The virus being grown is referred to as the RA 27/3 virus, which means rubella abortus, twenty-seventh fetus, third tissue extract. The developer of the vaccine, one Dr. Stanley Plotkin, wrote in his paper "Studies of Immunization with Living Rubella Virus" {all emphasis mine},
This fetus was from a twenty-five-year-old mother exposed to rubella eight weeks after her last menstrual period…. The fetus was surgically aborted seventeen days after maternal illness and dissected immediately… It was then grown on WI-38. {pp 381-382}

The propagation medium for the rubella vaccine referred to above is known as the "WI-38 human diploid lung fibroblasts" in pharmaceutical and medical circles. Most parents don't know what this language even means. I know I didn't until quite recently. In the National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly from Autumn 2006, one can learn this:
The Wistar Institute is a scientific institute located on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, specializing in the fields of immunology and cell biology. Working for the Institute in 1961, Dr. Leonard Hayflick first published a paper describing twenty-five HDCS: WI-1 through WI-25 {Wistar Institute fetal samples nos. 1–25}. These cell strains were derived from the lung, skin, muscle, kidney, heart, thyroid, thymus and liver of nineteen separate, electively-aborted fetuses. The purpose of choosing different organs was to test difference in tissue characteristics. His research included also testing these cell strains' susceptibility for different viruses.

And one can also learn this:
Even though there are many cell strains in use in research, the most well known are WI-38 and MRC-5. These two cell strains come from two deliberately aborted fetuses. But as the evidence shows, there were more abortions involved to achieve the technical expertise needed for development of these cell strains. In addition, other cell strains have been developed for vaccine manufacturing and other purposes.

And finally:
WI-38 was obtained from a three-month-old female fetus:

This fetus was chosen by Dr. Sven Gard, specifically for this purpose. Both parents are known, and unfortunately for the story, they are married to each other, still alive and well, and living in Stockholm, presumably. The abortion was done because they felt they had too many children. There were no familial diseases in the history of either parent, and no history of cancer specifically in the families.

In 2001, a group within the scientific community sent a letter to President Bush in favor of fetal stem cell research. Dr. Hayflick signed this letter. Here is an excerpt:
For the past thirty-five years many of the common human virus vaccines—such as measles, rubella, hepatitis A, rabies and poliovirus—have been produced in cells derived from a human fetus to the benefit of tens of millions of Americans. Thus precedent has been established for the use of fetal tissue that would otherwise be discarded.

As a child, I was taught that smoking was a "gateway drug" for marijuana, which was a "gateway drug" for harder drugs such as cocaine. Reading this excerpt from the above letter reveals that, within the scientific community, vaccines are the equivalent of a gateway drug for stem cell research. The letter clearly states that the widespread use of fetal-derived vaccines sets the precedent for even further utilization of aborted fetal material in medical research.

If you know a doctor who is interested in these issues, there is an organization called Canadian Physicians for Life that can help. There is probably a similar organization here in the United States.

This is the primary reason we have chosen not to vaccinate at this time. There are a few other reasons that I will not explore here. However, I believe that it is not enough to simply keep our children healthy. We must also guard the world that we eventually hand to them. I hope to hand my children a world where babies are valued as such, rather than as material that the already born can utilize to extend their own lives.

17 May 2007

Step Three: Identify Root Causes

Step Two was Figure it Out. This was meant to deal primarily with external issues. Baby crying? Figure it out. Solve the problem. Family life too busy? Cut back on activities. Solve the problem. Problems can and should be solved rather than avoided.

When I say root causes, I am referring to what is going on inside. I suppose this could be done in reverse order. It's not like I sat down and mapped out this series in advance. So maybe step three is really step two? Or maybe it can all be done simultaneously? But I digress.

When a mom is first at home, a big complaint is loneliness. That, and When do I take a shower? The root cause of the loneliness must be identified. Is it because she has absolutely no community of any kind to which she is attached? Is it because those with whom she is spending her few precious spare hours are undermining her decision to be a mother and causing her to doubt herself? Is it because she is failing to spend time in communion with the Lord? Is it because she has never learned to be content alone? If loneliness were a plant, each variety would be identified by the differences in root structure.

It is my belief that once the loneliness is sufficiently dealt with, what is left is selfishness. Maybe I am the only mother in the world who has found this to be true, but for what it is worth, almost every time I am overwhelmed with irritation, it is more about me than the actual situation. All the events of the day conspired together to prevent me from doing the one thing I had my heart set on doing, and so my response was internal tension. Annoyance. We all give it different names.

This world tells us that the children are in the way. Even just now, I was annoyed when the two-year-old dropped her cereal bowl {on purpose} because I had to stop what I was doing. But what I was doing happened to be of no benefit to anyone but...ME. That is selfishness, the internal stiffening of my neck when one of the children intrudes upon my plan to do my thing at my chosen time. Me. Me. Me.

When I was in the working world, I never thought it was unreasonable that I spent almost all the working hours working at the job. I didn't take many personal calls. I didn't write many personal emails. I tried hard not to chat with Grace. My desires were subordinate to the job.

For some reason, this active self-imposed subordination is not directly transferable, or at least it wasn't for me. I had to {and have to} relearn how to subordinate myself to the job. Only it isn't a job. It's a calling, a way of life.

So back to identifying the root cause. This is important. Sometimes a young mom is lonely and she really does need a playgroup, or a friendship with an older mom, or maybe a Bible study. But sometimes she is lonely and she needs to learn to be content. And sometimes I am filled with tension because I need to go to Step Two and Figure Something Out. I need to solve a problem. But sometimes I am filled with tension because my selfishness has reared its ugly head, in which case I need to repent, and remember that motherhood is about service and self-denial.

Instructions for mothering?

Step One: Perseverance.

Step Two: Figure it Out.

Step Three: Identify Root Causes.

16 May 2007

Step Two: Figure it Out

I know that yesterday I said that some things simply have to be gotten through. And I do believe that. Some transitions in life are a lot like grief. After a while, the absence of something {or the presence of something new, like a baby} becomes normal. For me, it takes about four months to feel accustomed to having a new little person around. For others, it takes longer. I wonder if twins would take eight months? Hmmm...

Anyhow, I can feel the emails coming, the ones asking me if I really mean that women should just stay home and be miserable forever. Well, first of all, most of us grew up and left home, so the idea that it is forever is a bit of an exaggeration. But I get the point.

In my worst moments, I can be a very A-or-B Person. What I mean is, I am blind to any other options but A-or-B. This is what is going on when the situation is framed in terms of {A} I can stay home and be miserable forever, or {B} I can go to work and make it better. It is Si who always teaches me that there is always a C, and perhaps even a D option.

I say, No! You do not stay home and be miserable. You stay home and make it better. Talk to your husband. Make a plan. Do research. Figure it out.

Let's take the colicky baby. I have never had one. But I did have a child that teethed for three months straight and I thought that by the end of it I was literally going to die from a combination of exhaustion and frustration. I think the way a mom feels when going through a situation where the child is practically inconsolable is pretty much the same. Frustrated. Sad. Tired. And ready to quit.

But let's brainstorm. Some "colicky" babies really are cranky. But some are actually dealing with acid reflux caused by an intolerance to certain proteins in their mother's diet that are transferred to them during breastfeeding. Sometimes, Mom can adjust her diet. Mom can actually take a prescription drug that helps break down the proteins before they reach her milk! Baby can take a prescription (though this should be a last resort in my opinion). Some "colicky" babies aren't getting enough sleep, aren't being held enough, are being held too much and they just want down, etc. I'm not saying I have the answer, I am only saying that sometimes there is an answer. It has taken me some time to learn to seek out the solution instead of wallow in my own frustration and self-pity.

In regards to my teether, in retrospect, I would have kept him out of the church nursery. I have learned that he easily caught colds when teething, probably because of the open wounds in his mouth when the teeth were breaking through. He is a horrible bear when he is coming down with something. Had I kept him out in the sun and away from other children during that time, it probably would have helped.

But instead I held him. He cried. I cried. And we are still alive to talk about it. We simply got through it.

I remember one day telling Si I was quitting my job as Mommy and going back to work. I couldn't do this anymore. I couldn't handle the constant sense of failure. I wanted to do something for me. I. I. I. Me. Me. Me.

He gently talked me out of it, and here I am, now happy at home and laughing a bit at my Old Self. But I realize that my heart was not to fix the problem. It was to escape the problem. Fixing the problem means the problem subsides, or even disappears completely. Escaping the problem means the problem will still be there.

The same Bible that says that children are a blessing also says that the child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother. The same Bible that says that a man who fears the LORD is blessed by having a fruitful wife who brings forth many children also says that a foolish son is a grief to his mother. I am not trying to say that every problem with children is a direct result of improper parenting, I am only saying that the Bible acknowledges that children can be far less than a blessing at times. Proper parenting and good problem solving are necessary for a happy home.

The act of having children does not necessarily beget a happy home. Sometimes our home isn't happy. And I and my husband have to figure it out.

Instructions for mothering?

Step One: Perseverance.

Step Two: Figure it Out.

15 May 2007

Step One: Perseverance

Dictionary.com defines perseverance as steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement. Good Old Mr. Webster said perseverance was persistence in any thing undertaken; continued pursuit or prosecution of any business or enterprise begun; applied alike to good or evil.

Now, how in the world does perseverance fit with what I brought up yesterday? What light might it shed on unprepared young women facing housekeeping and motherhood? I propose that it has everything to do with it, because if one is not trained to do these things, and if one has never done them before, these tasks are very hard. They may seem insurmountable.

The transition to stay-at-home motherhood was a difficult one for me. I had experienced success and approval in my job. I met new people almost daily. The tasks that I undertook brought me satisfaction. College had trained me for one thing: career.

So there I was at home. I felt like the only stay-at-home mom in all of Los Angeles. At least the only one under thirty. People in L.A. don't have children until they are almost forty. My friends all had jobs during the day. My husband {obviously} worked during the day. I was lonely.

But it went beyond the loneliness. I felt unequal to the task. I never really liked children. I didn't babysit. The first diaper I ever remember changing ever was E.'s. What was I supposed to do with this little child? And wasn't it scary the way he looked at me, like I was his whole world? I felt the pressure of that.

And then there was the money aspect. We were young. We were just starting out. I had felt like I was helping when I had a job with a paycheck. I didn't feel like I was helping anymore.

And don't forget the nursing difficulties. A lot of new moms have nursing difficulties. This can compound the sense of failure.

I think that, in this world where women are completely unprepared for motherhood, my case of Early-Motherhood Anxiety was actually pretty mild. My mom did prepare me for many household tasks. I simply spent most of college enjoying myself instead of practicing what she had taught me. I do not blame her that a lot of it felt like square one. Any muscle will atrophy if it isn't used.

However, it wasn't until a conversation I recently had that I realized these senses of insecurity and failure are actually a reason some women go back to work. I'm not about to say all, because I know there are many reasons women take the career route. But I can't say I never thought about leaving, going back to a job I felt good at, a place where I could experience success. And now I have met women who went back to work because staying at home was hard, difficult, filled with negative emotions, lonely, etc.

This is not meant to criticize. Motherhood can be lonely. It is hard. Going from one income to two can be nearly impossible. We, if you recall, sold our house to make it possible long term. This job can be summed up in the word sacrifice.

Don't worry. I'm not trying to talk anyone out of motherhood. And I think I've been sufficiently pro-children on this blog in the past. I am just trying to be realistic about what a lot of women are feeling/have felt.

Through some of these recent conversations of mine, I have learned that quitting is becoming overwhelmingly acceptable. This is most evident in nursing. Most women give up nursing because it is hard. Period. If you recall, my body hardly makes milk at all. Let me tell you, unless the baby has a physical defect {like cleft palate}, where there is a will, there is a way.

When I was a child, I wasn't allowed to quit. Well, I was allowed to "quit" piano lessons, but that was only after taking them for thirteen years. I probably could have "quit" softball, but only after I finished out the season, and not a day before. But literally quitting? Walking off that softball field before the season was over? No way.

Children were once required by parents to finish what they started because the parents believed this would cultivate perseverance and determination in a child.

Have we forgotten what it means to persevere? What it looks like to have determination?

Our culture lives for the easy way out. Is it hard to learn to parallel park? Buy a Lexus LS 460, and it'll do it for you. Is it hard to read a map? Buy a GPS navigation system, and a little tiny computer will bark directions at you. This has been going on for years. Is it hard to wash dishes? Buy a dishwasher. Is it hard to do math? Buy a calculator.

Avoid hard work. Avoid learning. Avoid doing anything I am not naturally good at. This is the voice of the culture.

So, my first piece of advice for a brand new mommy? Persevere. Be determined. Don't quit. It is hard. You will be tired. But your own comfort and convenience is not the point. It was never the point. Remember giving birth? Um. Not. Comfortable. Not. Convenient.

Sometimes, hard times simply must be gotten through. There is no truly quick fix. Going back to work does not change the fact that a woman is still fully unqualified for and unskilled at homemaking and mothering. It just helps her avoid the fact.

Instructions for Mothering?

Step One: Persevere.

14 May 2007

Preparation for Real Life

Today in my Reader, I found the large quote below in a link on Like Merchant Ships. I was so delighted, as I believe this lends a little perspective on an idea I intend to discuss a bit this week on Afterthoughts.

In accordance with their whole plan of education, Mr. and Mrs. Wilmot selected a school for their daugher in which the mental and moral discipline of the pupils was most thorough and systematic, though in so doing they were compelled to listen to the remonstrances of all their fashionable friends. "You will be still more surprised," said Mrs. Wilmot one day, to a lady who had exhausted her eloquence in trying to persuade her of her error-- "when I tell you that for three months of every year, Mary is to leave Mr. B.'s school, and become my pupil in the mysteries of housekeeping, until she is fully qualified to take my place, should it become necessary for her to do so."

"Poor girl! with her attractions and her fortune, to make such an antediluvian of her, when all her companions have nothing to do but enjoy themselves, and become as accomplished as possible."

"I might answer," replied Mrs. Wilmot, "that I consider a thorough knowledge of housekeeping a most important accomplishment for every woman whose vocation is that of a wife and mother; but I assure you I have no intention of undervaluing either a cultivated intellect, or external accomplishments. I consider the former essential to the full developement of the female character; and were it not my firm conviction that by the course I have adopted, Mary will learn more and to better advantage than by keeping her constantly in school, I should follow in the beaten track, and suffer her to spend the best years of her life in utter ignorance of what is to constitute her principal employment hereafter. But, with my present belief, I cannot be so cruel to my child, so blind to her best interests, as to neglect a part of her education which must necessarily be practical, and which she can acquire nowhere else so well as in her father's house, and in the preformance of those thousand offices of love, which are daily required in the domestic circle, but which the school-girl has usually neither the time nor ability to render. True, she may not in this way become a prodigy of learning, though I see not why she should make less mental progress than in the ordinary routine: but she will be what is far better in my estimation, a "household spirit," fitted for her true mission, full of warm sympathies and domestic affections, with a heart to feel the wants of those around her, and a hand to execute its generous promptings. There are comparatively few of our sex, whom God has fitted by the priceless gift of genius, to be the blessing and ornament of the age in which they live, but every woman may, with proper training, become the sun of her domestic circle, diffusing warmth and radiance throughout the sphere of her influence, and leaving behind her a lasting memorial, in the virtue and usefulness of the immortals whom she has helped to form for happiness and heaven."

{from the book The Ladies' Wreath, originally published in 1849; read the whole book here}

It may appear from reading the quote that I am about to write a post on the proper education of girls, or perhaps something on housekeeping. On the contrary, it is my plan to discuss neither subject. I simply want readers to note that some families {and trust me when I say some families still do this} prepare their girls for the future occupation of wife and mother. But most families do not.

Think for a moment about how prepared and capable the young Mary of yesterday was when she finally faced the independent running of her own household. And now consider how completely inadequately trained is the Brittney of today. I recall a country song with a line in it that went, "Me and my husband, we need a wife." When both sexes are trained for a career, there is an entire sphere of life with which neither marriage partner is trained to deal. However, many young women have the conviction even when they don't have the training.

What happens to the young woman who spent her whole life being trained by the public school system and university system to be a Worker and then decides to live by conviction and make a home?

12 May 2007

Happy Mother's Day

Tomorrow is Mother's Day, but I don't usually post on Sundays. Today is Saturday, and I do not always post on Saturdays, but since I was out of town much of this week, I thought today was as good a day as any to post a little something. This specific little something is a poem, nameless, that appears in the prologue of John Piper's book Future Grace, written in honor of his wife, Noel, for Mother's Day in 1995:
I used to dream about becoming old,
And leaning on your heart so long I'd fold
It into mine, like that old hickory tree
Along the cottage path, that after three,
Or four, or maybe five decades, has pressed
Itself against the fencing wire with rest
Unceasing, till, without a drop of blood,
The pith is pierced, and every barb a bud.

Now, barely shy of half a century,
And long since pierced with fierce fidelity,
I dream about becoming older still,
And how, some day, beside the Brightwood mill,
Between the watercourse and stream, four sons
And faithful wives, and all their little ones,
Will rise and bless the velvet steel where I,
And they, have leaned, and will until we die.

07 May 2007

Electric Anniversary

Although candy is the traditional gift for a sixth anniversary, Si and I both went electric this year. It was strange, because we are not gadget people by any scope of the imagination. In fact, I have been known to scowl at young couples on "dates" that are both talking on their cell phones. I think that modern technologies often interrupt the natural flow of human interaction, the development of relationships.

However, this doesn't mean I think all technology is inherently bad, or that I am any better than anyone else just because I didn't know what a Blackberry was until last Tuesday.

Si, being my protector, gave me my very own cell phone! I make frequent day trips to a town where I have extended family, and it has made both of us nervous that I have been driving there without any means of contacting someone if I have car trouble. So now I have a cell phone. Actually, it is an emergency phone because it doesn't come with a plan. It is a Motorola Prepaid Phone with service through Cingular, which means I can call Grace for free.

Of course, Rebecca has already pointed out to me that none of this matters since I generally refuse to call people or answer phones.

My gift to Si was the Sandisk Sansa Express MP3 Player. Si has been in the habit of listening to educational CDs on his commute. I noticed he was running low on variety, and thought he would enjoy the replenish-able resource that is podcasting.

Did you know Scriptorium Daily will begin podcasting any day now? I will feel like I'm back in college, listening to Dr. Reynolds and Dr. Moreland speak in chapel.

I mean, Si will feel that way. Because I gave the MP3 player to him.


So here is to our electric anniversary. To be followed shortly by my birthday. And then Mother's Day. I love the month of May.

04 May 2007

The Honeymoon Begins

Baby Q. is officially four-months-old. The age of four months is always a significant milestone around here. It has {so far} always been accompanied by a Sigh of Relief. My husband and I both think thoughts like, We made it! and It all feels so normal now.

I have been informed by a friend of mine that she never feels this way until her newest babe is six-months-old, so apparently this phenomenon can vary by family. But I know the day always comes for every parent. It is the day when you feel like you finally have it figured out, that "doing it all" {even though none of us ever actually do it all} doesn't take so much effort, but begins to come naturally. It is when the new habits finally become ingrained in all the family members. It is when you finally get a chance to step back a bit, stop for just a moment, and enjoy the fact that you actually made people and isn't that a strange and interesting thought?

It is four months now and I have learned to teach math at the kitchen island while simultaneously cutting vegetables and putting them in crock pot. It is four months now and I have learned how to survive the dreaded four o'clock hour where Toddler A. wants only to be held. Sometimes this involves my father coming over to hold her, but still we have survived.

It is four months now, and everyone has enough clean undergarments to last them a few days. Most people have clean sheets. No one has a clean bathroom, but like I said, no one actually does everything.

Four months begins what I usually call the Honeymoon. I am now well-rested enough to feel truly and utterly in love with the Baby. I am well-rested enough to still adore the other children (most of the time). And Baby Q. cannot walk, so I don't have to chase after her and stop her before she inflicts some sort of mortal injury upon herself.

So how about a toast? Here's to four months. And here's to tomorrow, the sixth anniversary of the day I married the Love of My Life.

02 May 2007

Say a Prayer for Biola University

New Update at Bottom!

I already linked the blog posting I am about to quote to my sidebar, but I think this is important enough to designate a post to it, especially considering that approximately 75% of my readers are connected to Biola University in some way. Two days ago, Biola announced that their Presidential Search Committee has selected its final candidate, who will be presented to the Board as "fully qualified." This candidate is none other than Dr. Barry H. Corey, who is currently the Vice President for Education at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

A friend of ours, Chad Vegas {founding pastor of Sovereign Grace Church of Bakersfield}, who graduated from Talbot Theological Seminary {one of Biola's graduate schools}, has raised some important concerns about Dr. Corey. Though Biola is a nondenominational school, it does have a fairly strict doctrinal statement. Biola, it seems, is about to hire a president who is not in full compliance with the doctrinal statement. Here is a quote from Chad:
Dr. Barry H Corey has stated the following:

“After one becomes a Christian, there should be a second experience: the baptism of the Holy Spirit,” he says. “This empowerment enables the believer to have an extra zeal that is miraculous - it’s like a turbocharged faith.”

You see, Dr. Corey is not just a member of the Assemblies of God Church; he is an ordained minister of the Assemblies of God Church. Chad's article discusses the importance of either insuring that Corey has recanted his position on the Baptism of the Spirit as manifested in true Christians through speaking in tongues or changing the doctrinal statement so that Corey's beliefs are no longer in conflict with it. Yet he expresses a reasonable fear that Biola will simply devalue their doctrinal statement by refusing to enforce it.

Read all of Chad's article here. Then, email Stan Jantz your {kindly spoken} opinion on his selection of Dr. Corey.

Update 5/3/07: Rob Westervelt of Biola has responded to Chad's concerns. He claims that Dr. Corey does not ascribe to tenets 7 & 8 of the Assemblies of God doctrinal statement. I hope to hear Dr. Corey publicly clear this up himself, and guarantee that he will not be using speaking in tongues as a litmus test for salvation. It is nice to hear Rob's defense, but it is obvious that Corey is also highly involved in the Pentecostal movement. Also, Chad follows up by addressing Rob's defense of Moreland's and Craig's supposed Apollinarianism using quotes from their own book if anyone is interested.

01 May 2007

Oops! I Forgot One!

A while back, I posted what I thought was a complete listing of all the cakes I had made since we purchased our digital camera. But I was wrong. I missed one. A very important once, actually, because it is the only cake I ever decorated entirely from a design in my head. Every other cake has always been someone else's idea that I attempted to either duplicate or improve upon. But this one is mine:

The color isn't quite accurate. It is more of a pastel shade of purple, but I'm sure you get the idea. This is a three-tiered cake {with raspberry jam filling--yum!} made from two simple box mixes and canned white whipped frosting that I dyed purple for the occasion. The dots, stripes, and outlines were all done using a friend's decorating set. If someone wanted all the dots to be perfect, they could easily use white chocolate chips and place them upside down. I'm not a perfectionist, so frosting dots are more my style.

This cake was, incidentally, for a baby girl. The nursery linens were sage and purple, and so, naturally, I used purple for the cake. We used the sage in some of the other decorations just for fun.