May 31, 2014

"Praying for Boys" ~ End of the Month Wrap-Up


"Parenting my sons is my greatest joy and my greatest challenge.
I love them to the ends of the earth and back, 
but honestly, sometimes they suck the life out of me.

Each day I target their hearts, 
aiming high and taking my best shot, 
but so many days I fall short, 
or my aim is off.

I go to bed those nights 
exhausted 
physically and emotionally.

But in my weakness, 
God is strong.

Perhaps the best place for a weary mom to be 
is exhausted 
and on her knees.

With each day that passes, 
I'm more convinced I have absolutely no power 
to change the hearts of my boys.

Oh, I can change their behavior 
if I try hard enough. 

Anyone can do that.

But I know that what's 
in the heart 
eventually comes out.

I know that if their knees 
are ever to bend to 
Jesus as Savior,
their hearts must bend first.

And that's God's business.

I'm praying you'll grasp this concept so clearly 
it will bring you strength and peace
in the midst of your wildest storms."

-Brooke McGlothlin-





"The good person out of the good treasure of his heart
produces good, and the evil person out of the evil treasure
produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart
his mouth speaks."

Luke 6:45

May 24, 2014

Other than Little Boys...

...what is the cutest thing in the whole wide world???????

LITTLE BOY UNDIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




Food smeared all over head on the other hand... not so cute! LOL
Ok... kinda cute... but just because of who did it :)

May 23, 2014

The "Attractions of Losing Innocence"

"We may find ourselves deeply troubled 
if we take in our culture's favorite storylines."
-Gregory Spencer

We had a great discussion in our Bible Study group this past Wednesday evening, after watching an eye-opening talk by Mary Kassian, about how the culture we live in is pressuring us all to veer off track from our morals and the way God intends us to live (and how we are veering off, at an alarmingly rapid pace)... and how we need to send out an S.O.S.!

The discussion reminded me of another S.O.S. I had read before but I couldn't quite put my finger on it... 

I searched my books the past couple days and I finally found what it was I was looking for, and here it is for your reading pleasure.

An excerpt from 
"Awakening the Quieter Virtues" 
by Gregory Spencer

(I know it is a long post, but you won't be disappointed 
if you take the time to read every word!!!)


"Adult innocence is not the same as ignorance.  Like competent competitors, innocent adults know their opponent; they understand the shape and appeal of evil.  They may even study evil, but they attempt to learn by observation, not by participation.

Our hope is to imitate Jesus, who, as Hebrews 4:15 says, 
was 'tempted in every way, just as we are- yet he did not sin.'

Innocence is intimately connected with good; it aims to set it free.
At the same time, innocence has much to do with evil; it aims to restrict it.
As it seeks to achieve these goals, innocence does its best to learn about evil 
by observation and analysis, not by experience.

Inadequate views of innocence tend to keep the virtue from being taken seriously by adults.
At first glance, innocence sounds like perfection, like utterly undefiled wholesomeness.

But innocence is not the same as total purity.  

The virtue of innocence doesn't require perfection any more than any other virtue.  
Though we may "lose our innocence" temporarily, it is not lost forever.

Innocence is not a denial of pain and tragedy.
It is not a Precious Moments sentimentality.

Also, innocence is not the same as gullibility, 
a state of mind ripened for manipulation.

Instead, virtuous innocence is a paradox of informed ignorance.
A qualified knowledge of evil makes us better able to resist the seductions around us.

Parents reveal this perspective when they tell their children, 'Don't get into a car with a stranger'.  
In other words, 'Don't be gullible. We want you to be innocent of the experience of being kidnapped,
but not of the threat.'

Although certain tensions are timeless, 
each era's dominant story tellers create their own versions of 
the attractions of losing innocence.  

Hollywood is not in a conspiracy to advance a wicked agenda, 
but certain themes in stories tend to get repeated in appealing ways.
From Clark Gable to the latest incarnation of James Bond, the suave and street-wise man--and, more recently, the aggressively romantic woman-- typically outshines characters portrayed as the shy, unadventurous innocent.

Those who are not boldly seductive or wildly dangerous, or not violating the boundaries of others, are often played as boring and unsophisticated-- in a word, losers.

Hollywood tells us that innocence is fine for children, but the rest of us get the message that we need to suck it up and see life as it is.  Life is dark and gritty, full of deceit and insincerity and greed. Yet the 'real life' presented on the screen is usually far from real.  For the most part, real life is rather ordinary.  My life isn't dreary-- but it will not be coming soon to a theater near you.

Just as Herod's slaughtering of the innocents was a tragedy, 
so Hollywood's stories that slaughter innocence are tragic.

The good news is that Herod was not entirely successful-- and neither is Hollywood.

The Messiah survived then and he is with us today, 
helping us resist breaking the boundaries that protect innocence.

We hear a lot about lost innocence, but what is lost when we lose it?
Some would say we lose the inhibitions that keep us from having fun.
But the more important issue here has to do with the long-term, good effects of innocence.  

Typically, we think in terms of losing innocence, but it might be more helpful to think of what is gained when innocence is found....

-You gain the ability to experience pleasures wholeheartedly:
All losses of moral innocence diminish the fullness of joy in which a pleasure was meant to be experienced.  An innocent pleasurable experience has no tainted memory associated with it; in has no lingering recollection of twisting a good act into self-indulgence or vindictiveness.  

Spoiled innocence, when it takes over a life, leads to a thoroughgoing cynicism.  

We've seen it all and we aren't impressed.  

"Oh you care about politics? Good for you.' 
'Isabel just received a promotion? Who cares?'  

A disdain of all things innocent is a way of saying that nothing is worthy of our commitment.  Wholesale cynicism moves us toward a kind of nothingness, a diminishing of self and a sense that others should vanish as well.

When spoiled innocence reaches a critical mass-- 
or when we believe culture is unredeemable-- 
we live in a communal cynicism.

-You gain the reassuring security of unbreached borders:
In the late eighth century, European emperor Charlemagne asked a councilor, Alcuin, to tutor his son Pepin.  To accomplish this task, Alcuin created a series of questions and answers for Pepin to memorize.  The catechism included the following exchange:

Pepin: What is the liberty of man?
Alcuin: Innocence.

Alcuin recognized the relationship between secure moral thresholds and freedom.

The self-indulgent try to convince us otherwise, but there's plenty of evidence to support Alcuin.  Although it may appear to restrict freedom, 
innocence in fact creates a stability that leads to greater freedom.

Perhaps the most obvious example is the keeping of covenants.  If a wife is secure in the innocence of her husband's faithfulness, she trusts him with greater freedom as he interacts with other women. If a student maintains the classroom covenant of not cheating, her professors are much more likely to trust her during an exam.

We can also see the importance of secure boundaries in neighborhoods, cities and nations.  The greater the communal innocence, the greater the freedom.  In a safe neighborhood, we might not even lock our houses.  But if a sexual predator moves in next door we snap the deadbolts shut.

A culture that, on the whole, values healthy norms 
will find it easier to remain innocent regarding the violation of those norms.

Once borders are breached, forgiveness and recovery are possible, but they may prove difficult.
Rebuilding a secure wall takes time.

Since innocence is a choice, we are all day long deciding if we will keep our borders in good repair, if we will learn of evil without experiencing it.

We need to remember that every hour we make these choices is a good hour.  The voice of the Liar tells us that these choices don't really matter, that once the border has been transgressed, we are now 'damaged goods.'  But this is a lie, because innocence is a virtue, not a 'once and done' phenomenon.  The prophet Micah might have us add, 'Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise.  Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light" (7:8)

And make no mistake; though a border gets repaired, the broken wall is part of our history-- and that's okay.  Our innocence is not hidden somewhere, waiting to be found.  It is in us, by God's grace, waiting to be transformed.

-You gain a heightened sense of justice:
Because innocence is a child of justice, a strengthened virtue of innocence produces a more mature ability to separate the just from the blameworthy.  We also become more willing to speak out against injustice.  When Jesus says, 'Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God' (Matthew 5:8), 
I think he means it proportionally; 
the purer we are, the more we will see God, 
that is,
 see Him at work in circumstances around us, 
see life as he sees it, 
recognize what God calls just or unjust. 

During World War II, the village of Le Chambon near Vichy, France, became known as the safest place on the continent for Jewish refugees.  The leader of the town, Pastor Andre Trocme, influenced others with a sense of justice borne of his passion to protect the innocent.

He fed them, often going hungry himself.

Though Nazis constantly pressured him to obey orders to name and locate Jews in the area, 
Trocme refused, and led thousands of Jews to Switzerland.  Biographer Peter Hallie says,
"He believed that decent people who stay inactive out of cowardice or indifference when around them human beings are being humiliated and destroyed are the most dangerous people in the world.  His nonviolence was not passive or saccharine, but an almost brutal force for awakening human beings."

Trocme expected a dedicated innocence to result in a zeal for justice.  

Likewise, the loss of innocence may reduce the 'gumption' that justice requires.

  We tend to downplay the immorality of what we do not resist.  

If we have transgressed boundaries concerning revenge, we may struggle to forgive others.
If we have habitually lied, we probably won't defend the importance of the truth.
If we have lost innocence through gossip, we find it difficult to practice the justice of protecting another's reputation.
If we have lost innocence through promiscuity, we may find it difficult to pursue sexual justice.

Our sense of justice matters, and innocence is tightly wrapped up in it.





The Discipline of Advocacy
____________________________________________
Sometimes in the trial of life, we are innocent, 
but we hear voices and arguments pushing us to be unfaithful.

How should we respond?

Thankfully, Jesus showed the way.

In the wilderness, the accuser challenged him to abuse his power, deny his spiritual loyalties and reduce God to a carnival trick.  When asked in these ways to transgress his innocence, Jesus defended his commitments.

He knew what he believed and could cite scriptural support.

When a temptation to break our innocence comes, we can pray, and we can also exercise our reason.

In the context of justice, and our legal system, who protects the innocent?
An advocate.

Who exposes the guilty?
Though lawyers have a soiled reputation these days, 
the falsely accused surely want the best defense.

And remember, one name for the Holy Spirit is 'the Advocate,' 
because he testifies for Jesus and intercedes on our behalf (John 14:26; 15;26).

Though we usually think of an advocate as someone who speaks on behalf of someone else,
I am thinking of the ways we can be an advocate for our own spiritual vitality.

When our innocence is at risk, we can plead our case with good arguments and solid evidence.
We can learn to be bold enough to say to our accusers what Job said of his:
'Your maxims are proverbs of ashes; your defenses are defenses of clay' (13:12)

Many biblical sources affirm the importance of advocacy.
In addition to Jesus' brilliance in the desert during his temptation, Paul skillfully makes his case for the gospel in Romans.  Another resource can be found in Proverbs 7.  In this chapter, a father teaches his son about the dangers of sexual seduction.  He wants his son to know what evil is like and how it attempts to convince.  The son should know about prostitution, but not by experience.

And what does the father offer as resources for his son?
How is the son to fend off the seduction?
First, he tells his son to have clear goals, to remember his words and commands.
Don't be ignorant; know what it is you are trying to retain and to protect.

Next he says, in essence, 'Be wise. Know the innocence-breaker's non-verbal and verbal schemes. 
Be prepared to reject weak arguments.'

The father wants his son to be a good advocate for his own innocence, 
to know the opposing side and how to marshal a case against it.

That's what Jesus did in the wilderness.
He was a skillful advocate against his accuser.

And he prayed.

Maintaining our innocence has more benefits than we might imagine.

Perhaps it is time to attend to innocence."

_________________________________________________________








"Behold, I am sending you out as sheep 
in the midst of wolves, 
so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves."  
Matthew 10:16


I have fallen in love with this bible verse... It was Jesus himself telling us that if we embrace the "purity and peacefullness of doves" combined with "the wariness and quick-strike capabilities of snakes"... that we truly can survive in this world, even as sheep in the midst of wolves.

I'm praying for you all, my blog followers...  
To be wise, and to bravely protect innocence!


(Also see my *much shorter* blog post from last month 
on this same topic of Innocence)

May 21, 2014

Abby

Abby is one of my best friends and she is a beautiful woman 
who is spreading the Gospel all over the globe!!!  
I added the font to this awesome picture that was taken of her while she was preaching (for the first time!) in Uganda this past February!  She was there with her husband and others on a mission trip with Wildfire Ministries International.













May 18, 2014

Girls' Day!

Laurel spoiled me by getting Wicked tickets for us to go see together while it was showing in Spokane, as an early birthday present to me... BEST PRESENT EVER!!!!!
It was our "first date", so we got all dressed up ;)


I was SO EXCITED to see this show, since i've been listening to the Wicked soundtrack for as long as I can remember and have it all memorized, and all the members of my family have seen Wicked (at least once!!!)...  Bout time it was my turn! LOL



5 minutes until show time!!!



Intermission & wine :)
The riverfront in downtown Spokane.


It was Laurel's first time seeing a broadway show... she LOVED it, and is hooked!!!

We went out for some Happy Hour apps and drinks in Spokane after the show too, 
it was a wonderful date with my beautiful sister-in-law :) :) :)

THANK YOU AGAIN LAUREL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

May 17, 2014

"I'm guessing you don't have much experience with heat"

"Nope!  But sometimes I like to close my eyes and imagine what it'd be like when summer does come..."


"Bees-a-buzz, kids that blow dandelion fuzz
                                           And I'll be doing whatever snow does in summer. 
A drink in my hand, my snow up against the burning sand
                                          Prob'ly getting gorgeously tanned in summer.
I'll finally see a summer breeze, blow away a winter storm.
                               And find out what happens to solid water when it gets warm!
                                   And I can't wait to see, what my buddies all think of me.
                                         Just imagine how much cooler I'll be in summer.
Dah dah, da doo, uh bah bah bah bah bah boo
The hot and the cold are both so intense,
                                                  Put 'em together it just makes sense!
 Rrr Rat da dat dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah doo 
 Winter's a good time to stay in and cuddle,
But put me in summer and I'll be a — happy snowman! 

When life gets rough, I like to hold on to my dream,
                                       Of relaxing in the summer sun, just lettin' off steam.
Oh the sky will be blue, and you guys will be there too
                                       When I finally do what frozen things do in summer!!!
 IN SUMMER!!!!!!!!"


 (And if you have no idea where this came from, it means you haven't seen "Frozen" yet!!!  
Check out the adorable music video here: "In Summer" by Olaf the Snowman.  Enjoy!)


May 15, 2014

"Praying for Boys": Mid-Month Discussion Question from Brooke McGlothlin


"Consider your own parenting style. Is the way you interact with your child targeting their heart and motivating them toward real heart-change, or do you mainly focus on changing behavior?"

An excerpt from "Heartfelt Discipline" by Clay Clarkson:
"We often aim our disciplinary efforts at the wrong target.  We set our sights on stopping and changing a child's wrong behavior, and we miss the real target of shaping and influencing their heart, which is the source of the wrong behavior.  Selfishness is an internal, spiritual issue, one that needs true biblical discipline, not simply isolated acts of punishment.  The concern is not "How can I stop my child's selfish behavior?" but "How can I change the selfish attitude that causes my child's selfish behavior?"

May 14, 2014

May 14th


We don't know if our little Bennett has apraxia of speech, but what we do know, is that our sweet, sensitive, energetic, and loving little boy, who is almost three years old now, has a very hard time saying what he wants to say.

Either way, i'm supporting Apraxia Awareness Day today May 14th!

Here is the link to the website: What is Childhood Apraxia of Speech?

May 12, 2014

Three Monkeys on a Swing

A beautiful day for swinging with Dad!
WHOOAAA Dad this is scary!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Here, hold my hand Sawyer, it'll be fun :)


video



May 7, 2014

"I want to raise men who will be different"

"Respecters of women, lovers of God."
"Men who will work with their hands,
Take commitments seriously, and protect the least of these."
"Men who are warriors, protectors, worshipers, peacemakers,and friends."

-Brooke McGlothlin-


Praying for Boys: May 2014: Heart Change

May 6, 2014

National Nurses Week!

"Loving God,
Today I seek to be a calming presence,
to know that in this moment the patient before me is the most important person in the world,
to look in the eye of another and give reassurance that regardless of the news, s/he is not alone,
to listen and hold sacred the story of the other,
to relieve apprehension and to ease the way of all I meet,
to model compassion and care in every interaction,
that in doing so, I may be faithful to your call to serve and
a source of transformation for the community."
   Amen

Written by Michele Sakurai
Director, Spiritual Care & Mission Integration, Providence Stevens County


I love being a NURSE for PROVIDENCE!
Especially at ST. JOSEPH'S LONG TERM CARE UNIT in
 CHEWELAH, WASHINGTON!!!!!!!!!!

"As People of Providence we reveal God’s love for all, 
especially the poor and vulnerable through our compassionate service."


Link: A “non-serving Christian” is a contradiction in terms.

May 5, 2014

Take this Cup



"Not my will, but yours, be done."
Luke 22:42

May 4, 2014

Picture Update

A quick picture Judy took before Erik and I went out to eat for his birthday on April 23rd... 
sorry such a late post!
'

 Bennett loves his "new" bathrobe!
("New" = A great yard sale find!)



Hi Cream, Hi Sugar!

 Sawyer collecting food for the cows.




Making progress on the potty training!