March 29, 2010

Family tidbits

Kyle and Elizabeth are playing Monopoly with grace and charity. Elizabeth lended freely from the riches of her fortune when Kyle worked himself into debt by landing on her hotel filled Park Place so that the game could continue. However, she is not gracious enough to "let" him win. Does that count as playing for the love of the game?

John has decided to continue taking gymnastics until he can knock down doors. (?) I am wondering if we should have him try karate instead. He went on his first ride on the trail-a-bike a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed it. Kyle is riding his bike well, too. He also started taking art with the older kids, since he does really enjoy drawing and it is recognizable.

We are starting to take family rides more now that three kids can ride around. Last week, we took a short ride around the neighborhood to teach Kyle the rules of the road and get me comfortable with riding with three unattached kids. I think we will stay on neighborhood roads for a while.

Jessi did an amazing job in her piano recital, making "The Can Can" really dance. She is improving in gymnastics and met national fitness standards in everything but running. She is currently pretending to go on dates, which is concerning me. I asked her once what she thought people do on dates. She said, "Go to dinner and talk about stuff like sex." As I felt a heart attack starting, I, somehow, calmly asked her, "What do you think sex is?" to which she replied "I have no idea." I think/hope/pray that "sex" is a word she has heard somewhere and is just parroting it, like two year olds do. Maybe I had better remind Elizabeth that our little "talk" is really not to be shared in any way shape or form. Maybe Eric needs to take her out on a date. Soon.

Elizabeth has survived oral surgery, followed soon after by braces. She had six teeth removed during oral surgery with one being fused to the bone. She went about four weeks eating soft foods. Another tooth was lost this week which, thankfully, did not have a bracket on it because it was already loose. Yes, she still can chew, but she needs to be creative sometimes. She met national fitness standards in everything but flexibility (0.5 inches short of the goal). She also participated in the recital, playing "Ode to Joy" on her guitar very nicely.

We attended our first Cubs pre-season game at Hohokoam Park, which is less than five miles away. It was a lot of fun, although I had to give a guy "the look" when he started dropping "f" bombs right and left. I didn't want to call the kid's attention to him. They seemed oblivious. It was fun sitting on the grass for several hours watching a pitching duel in between getting food and drinks.

I attended my first "Ladies Movie Night" last weekend and thoroughly enjoyed "Julie & Julia", good food, and female conversation uninterrupted by kids. It was also great to see a movie with married couples working through problems, encouraging each other, and enjoying each other in every way ;-). I especially liked how they handled one line that I thougt was especially corny. Julie makes a comment near the end about Julia Child "saving" her, to which her very wise husband says, "Now don't get ridiculous."

Eric is still enjoying bicycling into work, although his "usual route" is partially underwater thanks to all the rain we have been receiving. He has an alternative route which takes him through the Indian reservation.

The weather has been beautiful and we are getting very tan. We are seeing lots of water in riverbeds for the first time. Flowers are blooming everywhere and I have realized that the smell of orange blossoms is almost overpowering, though it might be because the neighbor behind us has about ten of them in his yard. It is not a good time to be visiting if you have allergies. The pool is too cold for swimming at this time, though by the end of the month, it should be fine.

Last night, at art class, the three oldest kids had made play cell phones with internet connection and portable computers that would make future "iPad" owners jealous. They were really blocks of wood attached with hot glue gun and marked properly with marker. On the way home, Jessica notifies Elizabeth that she is "calling" her cell phone. Elizabeth starts singing part of a Francesca Battistelli song before "answering it" (think ringtones). Then they start file sharing different movies they have "watched" and enjoy: "Attack of the Killer Toothpaste", "Attack of the Killer Cheesecake" (which Kyle informed me was a tragedy because all the good guys die at the end), "Attack of the Killer Cheese Curls", "The Incredibles, 2" and "Much Ado About Nothing, 2". Do you know how hard it is to drive while trying NOT to laugh because you are afraid you will hurt their feelings OR cause them to work harder at being funny?

Happy Easter, everyone. We miss you!

March 7, 2010

What is your picture of Jesus?

When you think of Jesus, does your mental picture look like this? Do you picture Jesus as a meek, mild, good shephard who gently knocks at the door of your heart asking if you would let Him in?

Or do you picture him like this--the One who kicks down the door to your heart, ripping out your heart of stone and replacing it with a heart of flesh and giving you His Spirit as Ezekiel 36:26-27 describes it. That was the question presented during a recent sermon. The sermon centered around Ephesians 2:1-10, which starts out saying that we are dead--not mostly dead, not almost dead, but completely, totally, undeniably dead in our sins. Since Jesus knows we are dead, would he politely knock on the door and actually expect a dead person to be able to answer it? C. S. Lewis, in his autobiography, Surprised by Joy, basically claims that he was dragged, kicking and screaming into faith. I don't think Paul, the only apostle who saw the Resurrected Jesus after he had returned to heaven, was a willing follower either, considering that he was on his way to Damascus with the sole intent of persecuting all followers of Jesus Christ. By the way, Paul was the one who wrote the book of Ephesians, for those of you who don't know.

The discussion, both in our small group and in the sermons has been focusing a lot on a big word--predistination. It is a concept that is distasteful to a lot of people, because it states that God chooses who will follow Him and we don't have much of a say in the matter. It digs against our concept of free will. It has definitely challenged my picture of God and Jesus. I knew Jesus wasn't necessarily meek and mild because he was definitely in the face of the Pharisees and challenging them. My favorite dialogue is found in John 8:31-58, which I nickname, the "Whose Your Daddy?" argument. I also believe that God is sovereign, which means He rules over the earth and everything in it. However, I guess I confess that my view of God, based on how I act sometimes, is that he is mostly sovereign, not totally sovereign, as the Bible says in many, so many places it would be difficult to come up with a limited list. The real head banger question is how He allows free will and yet remain sovereign. To me, those two things seem to be mutually exclusive, and yet, if God can create everything we see out of nothing and make it so incredibly complicated that the most brilliant scientists are still confused, if He can somehow be one God in three persons without contradictions, then he can make opposites work in harmony. I think that is where faith really comes in. And I think God wants me to take my faith and "kick it up a notch".

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."
---Isaiah 55:8,9

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
---Hebrews 11:1