Saturday, December 06, 2008


I am taking a holiday leave of absence from writing blogs... I need a little break from well, everything, at the moment. In the words of Bilbo, I feel a bit like "butter that's been scraped over too much bread." I plan to return in January, full of new ideas and lovely pics from the holidays. Blessings on each of you, my dear readers and lurkers, over this sacred season!

Friday, November 21, 2008

A fun little list I found on Kim N.'s blog...

1. The last concert I attended was by the Glenn Miller orchestra in Tuscaloosa~ I love big band!
2. What I look forward to most on Thanksgiving: help with the children (isn’t that ghastly!), lots of my favorite meat~ turkey, and time with family.
3. My Christmas shopping is almost completed~ yes, you may hate me!
4. Thoughts of "sleep" fill my head.
5. I wish I could wear things in the same size on top and bottom, and beautiful richly dark colors without turning into the Ghost of Christmas Past.
6. Bagpipes are the worst musical invention of man~ so shrill and squeaky, not to mention they have to be played by men with hairy legs in short skirts~ yuck!
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to calling it a day, tomorrow my plans include finishing laundry, collecting leaves, maybe I’ll make an apple pie, and Sunday, I want to get all of us to church without vomit in the car or massive doses of Dimetapp!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Things You Should Be Able To Do In the Dark

Step around all toys left out (in their most recent arrangement) to lay down a sleeping child
Kiss your husband on the lips on the first try
Pass through entire house with arms partially outstretched to avoid all furniture
Pick a butter-bean (that's a lima bean to all you up north) by feel alone
Find a flashlight with a fresh battery on a stormy night
Drink a strong, hot coffee early without splashing
Use all chemical products with eyes tightly closed to avoid suffering the box’s warning of permanent blindness
Change a diaper
Be able to listen so intensely that even while asleep you are processing all the things that go bump in the night
Play hide and seek behind a tree
Become entranced by a star
Find a match to light the candle to kiss your husband by~ you missed the first time ;o)

Here's some much overdue pics of my little ones on Halloween. We've not been feeling well, so it's taken me a while to get these up... sorry.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


When Kathryn got up yesterday morning, she was, as is usual, "Hung-uh-ry." So I ticked off some choices on my fingers: biscuits, waffles, muffins... I trailed off on the fourth finger and said, "Well, what do you want?" She looked at me so seriously, and said, "Wellllll, what's on the other fingers?" ;o)

p.s. If you like dressing up your computer desktop like I do, check out the uplifting and gorgeous (and free!) desktop wallpapers on I'm using a beautiful fall one with a Tozer quote~ makes me smile!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Election Day is Coming... and I haven't had my say!!!!

If I don't blog a little bit about the upcoming election, I think I would burst a vein somewhere! I'd like to mention a few of my aggravations with the 2008 elections for your consideration.

1. "The Race Card" ~ oooh, sounds ominous, doesn't it? OK, at this point, I would like to claim I am half-African American, Chinese, or pretty much anything instead of what I am ~ a female Caucasian. Being a "Cauc" means my opinion on racial issues is invalidated prior to being stated, and I must dig myself out by my fingernails to be heard. Ugh! As a recovering racist (see my previous and extensive posts on racism in the South posted on Jan. 19, 20, and 22 of this year), I do have a few thoughts. I live in a heavily African-American populated area. I shop with blacks, do business with blacks, and am friends with blacks. I hear and overhear a lot. Things like "I don't perceive any evil in the man (Obama); I think we should just get him in there and see what he can do." Followed by "Amen, amen!" from the partner in conversation. What is this? A religious rally? And reading an article in the left-leaning Parenting magazine available at all (and I do mean ALL) pediatric offices, the editor (a black female) says that to see "someone who looks like me" in this position is so exciting. All right, folks, step right up. All geriatrics with white hair should be voting for McCain. Poufy hair? Cute business dresses? White females? Palin is your woman. Whatever! Since when do we vote for someone just because they share something so superficial with us. Blech! I understand the desire to feel a connection with a candidate. Special-needs moms feel understood by Palin. Vets feel understood by McCain. Blacks feel understood by Obama. These differences in most cases do represent subcultures of the American people. Once again, the Presidency is bigger than feeling 'represented!' Enough said, I'm afraid.

2. McCain's age ~ The man is 72. OK. I assume that the issue is raised and re-raised for two reasons: life expectancy (can he live out the term?) and relevance (does he have his finger on the pulse of modern-day America?) Life expectancy. Oh, yes. Let's talk life expectancy. Anybody noticed the Founding Fathers' ages when they were leading our country. For example, John Adams was 62 when elected in 1797. I had a hard time finding exact numbers on life expectancy back then, but from what I read, he should have been long dead and buried. Relevance. I think we've seen a lot of elder-bashing in this election process. As long as the general health is good and the mind is sound, I don't care how old any candidate is! And I definitely don't think the wisdom of years and years of public service should be denigrated.

3. The Palin Phenomen ~ amazing, huh? Everyone out there hated McCain to have to be the one we Republicans voted before. But that was b.P. Before Palin. Now EVERYONE loves the ticket. Woohoo! We're all drooling and falling over ourselves to support him (but mostly her~ let's be honest). McCain isn't stupid. He needed to pull that conservative right vote to have a chance at this election. Does anyone remember that he's still one of the most non-conservative Republicans out there? Remember, people~ candidates pull the whole moderate rabbit out of the hat for the election, but the true colors will show soon. President Obama will be a liberal liberal liberal and President McCain will be a liberal liberal conservative. I know more than a few who are hoping the McCain will kick the bucket early on, so the darling Palin Presidency can begin before 2012.

Goodness! I know this isn't a great look at the election, obviously. I am a SAHM to two little ones. But I do have a few brain cells left. I won't be voting FOR either candidate. I will be voting AGAINST Obama. Unfortunately, you know what that means. Ugh. Maybe 2012 will be more promising.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Palin, Pet Peeves, and Miscellany

Things have been hopping around here~ blogging has been temporarily put to one side while we try to keep our heads above water. Anyhoo, I thought I'd update everyone on this exciting life of ours ;o)

Number #1: So many of you are yelling and hollering about seeing Palin, but I guarantee you none has been so close as I. See pics below. Actually, this is my dear friend Paula, who pulled off an amazing look-alike for a recent fall event. How does she do it?! This was clip-on earrings, reading glasses from Wal-Mart, and a hair piece (for the bangs and poofiness) scalped from one of her daughter's old dolls. She is definitely my creative hero!

Number #2: Fall has arrived. I love the glorious cool wetness of it all. We're having drizzly days, accented with the smells of cinnamon and pumpkin (from the Bath and Body Works soap I picked up last week). Hey, at least you know we wash our hands ;o) So, as the holidays approach, so do my annual pet peeve~ inflatable yard decorations. They're lovely at night. Let's see, the black cat holding a pumpkin, a lovely little ghostie, and soon, turkeys and then Santa Clauses and even a nativity scene or two. Does anyone realize that they're most often viewed in the daytime? When they're allowed to deflate into little heaps of colorful plastic all over the yard?!?! Nothing like a few piles of trashy-looking holiday decor for the neighbors to ooh and aah over. No offense to you inflatable-lovers out there. We still love you. Love covers a multitude of sins :o)

Number #3: Goodbye Mr. Chips! We've been searching for a new home for our little mini-dachshund, Chips. Between Alex eating the dog food, and Chips eating any poo diaper he may find (that only happened ONCE, I can assure you!!!), and just the general care of an indoor dog, he's a little much at the moment. I couldn't bear to drop him off at the pound, knowing how anxious he gets at the vet. Whoever adopted him would get an extremely upset and un-potty-trained puppy. So I've been looking high and low for someone to appreciate how much he loves raw broccoli, likes to sneak under bedcovers and kill spiders. Any takers? He's such a sweetie!

Number #4: We're still recovering. I'm doing much, much, much better. All the iron I'm taking is wreaking havoc on my poor tummy, but that's to be expected. Unfortunately, Nathan's broken toe wasn't healing (the bones had a gap/tissue/? between them and couldn't heal correctly). So they kind of rebroke it, wiggled it around and reset it. So, he started over. But, now he should be fine.

Number #5: The real reason I haven't been blogging is I've been sewing costumes for the fall festival. Kathryn has been begging to be Little Red Riding Hood for months. And Alex ~ well, it has been decided that he will be a monkey. I labored over the hood (pics coming soon), gave it to Kathryn, who promptly declared, "I don't want to be Little Red Riding Hood; I want to be a skinny cow!" In my infinite maternal wisdom, I said, "OK, you can just give this to your friend, Brenna, at church." So. She's Little Red Riding Hood and quite happy about it. For now.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Our Nephew, Stephen Nathaniel Brown, has arrived!!!

See pics of the handsome little guy and updates here. Congrats to Phil and Marianne!!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

More Yummies... That No One Got to Eat :o(
This weekend was something else! I was assigned to make sweet goodies for an Alabama football night at friends. We were playing Georgia, which was to make for an exciting evening. So check out what I made. Obviously, I'm in a celebratory mood now that fall's officially upon us. With a great sigh of satisfaction (and a very, very messy kitchen) I had everything ready to go. Nathan and Kathryn were racing in and through the kitchen and bedrooms in a crazy game of chase. Nathan skidded around the kitchen corner and as the X-ray tech said, "snapped the bone in his toe like a toothpick." So, of course he's lying in the floor, trying to keep Kathryn from jumping on him, while he's gasping for help. Alex chose that chaotic moment to get a boo-boo, hence the shrieking from the kitchen. And let's see... oh yes. A cauterization from a minor office procedure on myself chose to give way at that moment, and I began losing much, much, much blood. So!!! Nathan was in ER Room #10 and I was in room #20 at the same time. He did drive to the hospital with his broken toe. We made quite the pair. Unfortunately, I lost an inordinate amount of blood, and had to be admitted for stabilization. Two IV lines, oxygen, and some suturing later, I spent the night in the Women and Children's Center. They pumped in the fluids to get my blood pressure up, thereby diluting what little blood is left in my body. Ah! Oh, yes. Every four hours, they came to draw more blood (can't you just get it off the floor? my word!) only to tell me that I had even less than before~ so curious! Wonder why?! Thank God, we're both home now. He can't walk, and I'm anemically weak. Dear friends have taken the children for the night, cleaned the mess off the carpets, and even cleaned up my kitchen. Oh, yes. The game. I know you're wondering. We kicked their little booties all around the field. How do I know? There was a TV above my ER bed. Count it all joy...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Yummy Success!

I tried out a new recipe last night on our church family. Several have asked for the recipe, so here it is.

For those of you who requested my specific substitutions/variations:
1. instead of butter-flavored shortening ~ equal amount of softened Blue Bonnet margarine
2. instead of all-purpose flour, baking soda, and salt ~ equal amount of self-rising flour
3. instead of spices, I used pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon to taste
4. in the frosting, I used margarine instead of butter
5. oh, yes... I also halved the recipe
Note: It says 11 dozen! The halved recipe made about 3 1/2 dozen. I guess mine were a bit larger than theirs ;o)

Go for it, gals. These were delicious and so very fall-ish!!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Jesus in the Nitty-Gritty

Yep, I'm still alive and kicking~ myself, that is, for allowing a three-year-old to "help" me paint. More about that later. I've been thinking a good bit lately about this wonderful calling MOTHERHOOD and its companion ORDINARY, EVERYDAY LIFE. My mom told me once that surrendering to do the great things for God is easier than submitting to do the ordinary and common for him. That has really stuck with me. Oh, at a tender age (thank God), I hit the altar every missions service pledging my life to be a willing Joan of Arc or Mother Teresa. No one asked me to surrender to the daily sacrifices that a mother makes.

Recently in Sunday School, the teacher read aloud the account of Stephen. You know, that amazing first martyr of the Church. Go back and read it again. I did, and then once more. Can it be that Stephen was the appointed head distributor of the local food pantry? That when the apostles needed solid laypeople to do the mundane, thereby freeing them up to study the Word and pray, Stephen was at the top of the list? What qualifications were to be filled by the seven people chosen to deal with "serving the table?" "Brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task" (Acts 6:3). I did a little research in the many commentaries of Nathan ;o) (what a blessing to have a man who values filling our home with good books for Bible study). These men obviously were dealing with more than just, "one biscuit or two?" This was a sensitive issue, involving the unity of the Baby Church. Obviously, Stephen did more than this, as he performed signs and wonders, and eventually brought down the wrath of his soon-to-be murderers through his astounding teaching. Don't you think the church should have sent this powerhouse out to start new churches? I mean, why wasn't he a pastor, for Pete's sake? But nope, it seems he was 'just' a layperson.

I found my personal study very challenging. I think it safe to say that all laypeople (of which I am one) need to be striving to meet Stephen's qualifications: holding a good reputation, full of / directed by the Holy Spirit, and full of wisdom/seeing life from God's perspective (as the song says, "let me live in Your Word, 'til Your Word is living in me).

So, this week I found myself asking as I headed to the dreaded dentist appointment where I knew some nasty pain was awaiting my arrival, and as I introduced myself (YET AGAIN) to the nursing home residents we visit, and as I waited a very long time for a non-appearing paint technician at Wal-Mart, and as a I gazed upon the yellow showing through the "guaranteed one-coat coverage" paint I paid a pretty penny for, and as I continued the never-ending kitchen cleaning....

WHERE IS MY WALK WITH JESUS IN THE NITTY-GRITTY LAY LIFE I LIVE? Are my reactions to frustration directed by the Spirit? Is His wisdom flowing out of me toward my children, in my decisions? Am I careful to glorify Him at home, at Wal-Mart, at the DENTIST when they are re-doing the Novacaine injection- youch! Am I like Stephen? Like Jesus? Would I qualify for distributor of the food pantry? Would I accept such a position with a thankful heart and a gracious attitude? To be honest with you, dear reader, I found myself lacking in this examination, and I intend, by His grace, to live more carefully.

"Towels and dishes and sandals, all the ordinary sordid things of our lives, reveal more quickly than anything what we are made of. It takes God Almighty Incarnate in us to do the meanest duty as it ought to be done." ~Oswald Sanders

Monday, September 01, 2008

A Few More Things I Just HAVE to Share...

~Alex turned one on July 26th. We waited until we got up to Nathan's parents to have a little party. Mom and Dad Brown were there, along with my mom and Chelsea, and Philip and Marianne and kids. Marianne outdid herself once again, producing a lovely and delicious! cake for the occasion. Because we often call Alex our "chunky monkey" he got a bananas cake with monkey cupcakes. Here's a pic! If you are like me and just LOVE those monkeys, you can find the recipe here.

~I also found a jewel!, a treasure!, a mind-saving device! for this trip that I'd like to pass along to other moms and dads. I picked up this from our local Christian bookstore for about $10. 6 hours! of playing time. Did I mention 6 hours?! It goes through the entire Bible. Zephaniah and Haggai included. It goes through the Roman Road in Romans, and Steve Green does the voice of Jesus. Other well-known Christian voices (Joni Tada, etc) do other characters. The music isn't annoying. It's tastefully done, not a rock concert, and not a Gregorian chant. For those of my readers who like CCM, it's not boring. And for those who like a more traditional approach, I don't think it's offensive. (Of course, this is my personal opinion and does not reflect the opinion of anyone else who shares my last name~ Nathan hasn't heard it and so has nothing to say ;o) And the SCRIPTURE! Dramatized, yes, but it stays very close to the text. I was amazed! I didn't know how much Kathryn had picked up until we were wandering through the thrift store the other day and she was saying (in a loud voice ;o) "Is there ANYTHING too hard for the Lord?!" over and over. Maybe someone needed to hear that...

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Catching Up On Laundry & Blogs

I have found an unexpected side-effect to taking a blog hiatus. When my fingers head for the keyboard, I have so many different thoughts running around in my head that I don't know where to start. As such, this will be a bit random.

~Chelsea is doing great. She has successfully begun her "flight from the nest" and her college career. I'm very proud of how well she is transitioning. While I was up there, I spent a lot of time with her, repainting her dorm room, sewing new curtains to match her bedding, talking, eating too much fast food, working out schedules, finances, job hunting, etc. Marianne & Philip, as well as Mom and Dad Brown, were extremely helpful in keeping the children during all the craziness. Thank you so much for your thoughtful and patient help!!!! I learned a lot about driving around Cincinnati. I think I got lost about once a day. I know for a fact that I ran through 2 or 3 traffic lights by accident, turned up 3 different one-way streets the wrong way, and got lost in the 'hood' at night. I swallowed what little pride I have left, and even got a police escort (no lights and siren, thankfully) back to campus just in time for Chelsea to meet her curfew. Would someone PLEASE get me a GPS for Christmas? So now I'm home, and glad to be here, except for one thing...Agh! The laundry!!!

~I'm ticked off that I am met by Ellen DeGeneres' and her 'bride's smiling faces at every newsstand. Do we HAVE to celebrate their 'wedding?' Yuck!! Nathan's mother likes to quote this little poem by Alexander Pope:
"Vice is a monster of so frightful mien, As to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face, We first endure, then pity, then

Spot on, Mr. Pope!

~Two funny things I saw while out and about: 1. "Used Cows for Sale" on a sign in Kentucky. Any idea what THAT means? ;o) 2. "30% less calories" on a Trident package. On the back, it noted that the caloric content of one piece of gum had been reduced from 5 calories to 3 1/2. Whatever! Are we THAT dumb? Honestly!

~Vida, the male cat with the female name, is finally earning its keep. He killed a huge! rat in the backyard this weekend and seemed very pleased with himself. Take a look!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Back-To-School Pause in BlogWorld

This Friday, I'm heading off with my chilluns and my mom to take my little sister to God's Bible School and College. I'm busy doing all the pre-trip stuff. So! I'm officially calling a timeout to my blogging 'obligations.' At the end of the month, I'll update everyone on Alex's 1st birthday party, etc. Yep, my little man's officially a 1 year old and the proud owner of seven little pearly whites. Those of you who remember being away from home for the first time, say a little prayer for my home-loving sister. This is a big deal, and hopefully will be a huge positive thing in her life.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Praising My Man

As referred to in the last post, this is my personal 'praise your man' week. Most of you know Nathan~ I have been privileged to be married to him for the past 7 years. I'd like to share a few things about him that make him my wonderful man:

~ His goal is my happiness (let's start off with my selfish side ;o). If I ask him if he's happy, he most often responds with, "Are you? If you are, then I am, too."

~ He took the early years of his adult life to study Carnegie, and people, in general. On top of his uncanny ability to psychoanalyze people, he is a brilliant conversationalist and deep thinker.

~ He is thoughtful. When he comes to bed late, he tiptoes around the room with a flashlight so he won't wake me up.

~ He is clean and orderly. Thank God from Whom all blessings flow! Cleaning up after Nathan is practically unheard of, and I'm never embarrassed to be seen with him in public.

~ He says I'm beautiful. What woman doesn't like to hear that?! And he's a 'hot hunk' (as Kathryn has been taught to say ;o), so we make quite the pair...

~ He loves our children, and sees his life goal as training/teaching them to be a part of God's kingdom.

~ He's affectionate and kind to our dog. (Don't laugh: men who kick the dog, or otherwise take out their frustration on weaker creatures scare me)

~ He's like his father. (Here's a little embedded tribute to Dad Brown: thanks so much for teaching your sons to be such great men, and I'm truly blessed to be married to a man who's often considered to be like you)

~ He is a valuable employee at his company, provides a beautiful and comfortable home for us.

~ His provision allows me to be home with the children. This is such a blessing! He could be sending me out anyways, to pull in the extra dough for an 'enhanced' lifestyle. Instead, he fully supports my role at home.

~Last, and most important, he is godly. He bows his knee to the word of God on all of life, and truly treasures his study in it. He is sensitive to God's voice, and I have full confidence in his spiritual leadership.

Some of you have posted/have said you will post a tribute to your man. Check out Messner's blog below for a sweet tribute from Lisa...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Calling All Wives!

I'm giving you heads-up regarding my posts next week. I've been reading a new-to-me book that all wives should have in their library. If you don't have the $ to own it right now, run, don't walk to your nearest library and ask for an interlibrary loan if they don't have it on hand. Much of it I've heard before in some form or another, but I'm only through four chapters and I'm so challenged to be a better wife and mom.

So!!! I'm challenging you as well. You've seen how denigrated men are in our society. I'd like to proclaim a "Praise Your Man in Public" week, and challenge each of you to post a little (or large) post on your blog next week telling us all how privileged you are to be Mr. X's wife. I've seen more than my share of women's groups fall into 'bash your man' groups. And 'if you think that's bad, listen to what MINE did' groups. Ugh! Let's be godly ladies, gals, and raise our man up in the process!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Surprised By A Smile

How shall I say this without murmuring? (See Holly Walker's blog below ;o) Let's say my life right now is a bit on the downside. Nathan's been sick, our best friends are on the world's longest vacation, and it's Alabama-summer hot. You know it, you southerners. The pulsing sound of cicadas in the trees that mimic the heatwaves floating across the road. I broke a sweat carrying trash down to the bin this morning. I'm longing for the cool breezes of fall.

So! I thought maybe some of you are in the doldrums just now, and I thought I throw some happy thoughts your way. What makes you smile? You know, those idiosyncracies (we all have them?). Those fun little things that bring a little cheer to your heart on the rough days. I had a group of happy moments hit me the other night. I was on the way home from a child's birthday party, where I got to hang out with good Christian friends (number #1), when suddenly I passed a parade of antique cars on the interstate (number #2), when I found a Christmas in July special on the radio and heard Nat King Cole and Karen Carpenter belting out holiday tunes (number #3). I turned the a/c up high until I shivered, and my child sat happily looking at books in the backseat (number #4). Who cares that you now all know my dream car is something along this line? Anyone got $50,000 to donate to your favorite 'charity'? (I know, that's the oldest line going). Who cares that you now all know that I'd listen to a crooner any day, any time over any other genre of music? Who cares that you now know how really strange and retro I am? Find some fun things that make you smile today! For starters, may I suggest this delicious homemade dressing to drizzle over some ice-cold lettuce wedges? It doesn't hurt that the title is the name to an oldies song ;o)

***p.s. I would also like to introduce the latest project of the Browns to my readers: This blog is/will be a compilation of my brother-in-law, Philip Brown's articles, some previously printed in the Revivalist, and some of my father-in-law, Allan Brown's written sermons. All of these will be translated into Spanish by yours truly. We hope this will be a blessing to Hispanic pastors & students in the future. Feel free to check it out and recommend it to any Spanish people you may know...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Self-Centered: It's Just What We Are

Kathryn and I had a teachable moment today. Upon leaving ALDI Supermarket, we saw a woman rummaging through her purse, presumably for the quarter to release a shopping cart (hereafter referred to as a 'buggy') from the rack-thingie. Kathryn had just rescued our quarter, which she deemed a 'miracle!' By this, I'm assuming she did not see me put it in. Anyhoo, there's this poor woman who has succumbed to the 'carry-no-cash' mentality that I also suffer from on most occasions. After all, I only bought hamburger buns, because I only had 95 cents on me in the first place. Pity welled up, and I instructed Kathryn to give the lady our quarter for her buggy.

We got all strapped in the car, and I launched off on this teachable moment. You know how it goes... The Bible tells us that if we have the means to do good to someone who needs it, we should... and this poor lady needed a quarter, and we had one, etc. etc. Quietness ensues. I imagine deep truths of compassion and generosity sinking into the fertile heart of my child. Then a little voice pipes up from the back seat, "Mommy? I need a quarter, too." Ah, well...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

And Now For My 100th Post!

This post is a rather random collections of my recent thoughts/doings...

* Number 1: Guess what arrived in my mail yesterday? Here's a hint: black with eight legs and a red hourglass on its middle. Yep. A black widow spider. Thankfully, I saw it crawl toward the corner of our mailbox. Using spider-killer spray made specifically for those of us who like to keep our distance, I annihilated the evil creature. It gave me two thoughts: one, thankfulness for the protection from who-knows-what that our Father continually provides, and two, a desire to blog on our family's history of spiders. We'll get to that later...

*Number 2: Mom and Dad Brown, Phil, Marianne and their boys were here for several days recently. I didn't get my camera out once. So shoot me. I'm awful about that. I really wish I had, but we're going up there in 5 weeks or so; I plan to correct this oversight. We had such a wonderful time with them. Lots of food, fun and great fellowship. I wish you all had the opportunity to sit in on a Brown family discussion of the Word. Wow! What a privilege to be a part of such a knowledgeable and wise family. I think they should do a radio call-in show on Bible questions. I will care for the children and provide mail-order snacks to the 5th caller ;o) We also were able to go the Pell City Camp for a few days. What can I say? I love that place!

*Number 3: Mom fixed my pitiful begonias. She gave them dirt. Yep, they were looking quite sad. She noticed my potting soil was a little low and filled the container back up. Up they popped, happy as can be. And now they're thriving. OK, here comes the cheesy application. I was thinking about how sometimes in our spiritual walk, God gives us a little "dirt"~ some grimy trials, filthy tribulations to help us thrive. It takes more than sunshine and a gentle shower to grow things. It gave me a new perspective on being thankful for all things.

*Kathryn told me today that she's for sale for 'twenty bucks and a half.' After today, what can I say? Any takers? ;o)

Have a wonderful Sabbath!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

No Lapses in His Goodness, Part II

Thanks for all your kind remarks on my previous post. In answer to your question, yes, the dogs were destroyed by the (very reluctant) owners. I had planned to put some great thoughts down in here regarding all the life lessons one can gain by being mauled by an insane animal ;o) However, at the moment, I'm doing good just to keep my head above water here at home. In fact, reminiscing about and looking at pictures of what happened four years ago has just managed to weigh me down during a time of already heavy stress. SO! I'm removing the offending images, and I'll get back to this topic during a more cheery phase of life. Sorry to all waiting with bated breath for my words of wisdom ;o) So I guess I will give a SHORT summary...

The title of this blog is the life lesson that I really learned during that time: There are no lapses in the goodness of God~ EVER! What happened today was the best thing the Father could have allowed for this day. Including the wet bed right after I put on the freshly laundered sheets. From the trivial to the traumatic, God is out to use my trials to conform me to the image of His Son.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

No Lapses in His Goodness, Part I

Tomorrow marks four years since the scariest day of my life. Most of you know part of this tale. Instead of rehashing all of it myself, I thought I'd just share some quotes from our lawyer, along with some pictures. (If you don't like yuck, don't scroll down~ I didn't put the really yucky stuff on here, of course). In the next few days, I'd like to share a few things I've learned from this "random act of violence" in my life. Here are the facts of the 'case.' Obviously, this was written right after the incident, hence the paranoid behavior described below ;o)

"On June 23, 2004, between 1:00 PM and 1:30 PM in the afternoon, Charity Brown, a 23-year-old female resident of Coaling, AL, opened the back door to her home and took her miniature dachshund puppy Chips out onto the back porch. The dog Chips was on a retractable leash and needed to go the bathroom. She was standing on the back porch steps of her home when, without warning, the defendant’s dogs came racing around the corner of the house. They didn’t seem to see her at first and went for the puppy. Instinctively, she yelled, “No!,” diverting the dogs’ attention. As soon as they became aware of her, they completely lost interest in the smaller dog. One of the dogs lunged at the front of her thick denim skirt. Shocked that they were actually trying to bite her, she turned on the steps to get back inside the house. That’s when the actual attack occurred. The dogs together pulled her, by the skirt, off the porch backwards where she fell facedown in the grass. Mrs. Brown then sustained multiple bites and evulsions in the lower legs, one in the buttocks, and a scratch across the back. She had instinctively curled her hands into fists and tucked them under to protect her face and neck. It is assumed that at some point one of the dogs made an attempt to get to her face, as her upper arm was badly scratched, either by nails or teeth. The plaintiff is not sure exactly how long the attack lasted, but it was surely no more than five minutes. She called for help initially, but no one came. It was a drizzly day, and no one was outside within hearing distance. The dogs began to fight over a piece of the skirt’s fabric they had ripped away, giving her the critical seconds to pull away from the distracted animals and walk the few feet to the back door of her home. As she was reentering her home, the dogs came after her again, and one began biting at her feet. The slides she was wearing came off, and one of the dogs latched onto her left foot and began trying to drag her back outside. She realized at this point that if they succeeded in getting her back on the ground, she would most likely die, as no one was there to pull the 60 lb. dogs off her again. In panic, she ripped her foot from the dog’s mouth and hurried to shut the door. Her puppy had rushed back inside, unscathed. Once inside, she could tell she had sustained serious wounds. She took the portable phone and headed for the bathroom to wrap the leg that was bleeding the most in a towel, calling 911 as she went. She then went back into the living room and sat in the floor to await help. Local volunteers arrived within minutes, then paramedics with the ambulance. She was transported to Northport Medical Center, where she spent 3-4 hours being cleaned and sewn up.

The physical injuries sustained by Mrs. Brown required 37 stitches. The description of the injuries is as follows: one bad scratch to the back of upper left arm, one bite/scratch to middle of back, one bite to lower right buttocks, (none of which required stitching although they were bleeding); one bite behind left knee, three deep bites on left calf (evulsions, with tissue hanging out), one bite to back of right knee, a bad scrape to front of left knee (possibly from being dragged across porch steps), and injuries to the left foot. The left foot was sliced horizontally below the little toe, and vertically between the little toe and the one next to it. The wound went between the toes, up the side of the second and around the back. There was very little skin left on this part of the foot and the bone was exposed. The physician who sewed it up had to work particularly hard to pull together what ripped remnants he could to reconstruct the second toe. 15 of the 37 stitches were used to put the toe back together. X-rays were done, but thankfully, no bones seemed to be broken. Each of the injuries described above left scarring, with the toe, back of right knee, back and front of left knee becoming keloid scars. There was a small puncture on the sole of the left foot, which left no scar. There was also serious bruising, as may be imagined, which faded with time.

The treatment itself caused physical problems. The strong antibiotics she was placed on stripped her intestinal tract of healthy bacteria, causing four weeks of intestinal upset... She also developed [various infections], requiring medication. Darvoset (sp?) made her ill, and she had to take another pain medication instead.

Healing was extremely painful. For the weeks she was on bedrest, anytime she lowered her legs to the floor caused excruciating pain as the blood rushed into the injured areas. Standing was impossible for some time.

The emotional injuries sustained by Mrs. Brown are much more permanent. Having grown up with very large dogs (i.e. German shepherds, etc.), she never was afraid of dogs, and truly enjoyed being around any and all types of dogs. Friends had Rottweilers, bulldogs, Labs, beagles, collies and she enjoyed them all. She often went door to door canvassing with church groups, encountering strange dogs without fear. However, her perception of dogs has permanently changed. She describes taking her dog to the veterinarian’s office as “sitting in a room full of loaded weapons.” She sees each and every dog as a potential threat, and avoids all contact with them if possible. For several months following the attack, she never went outside without a container of mace. Even now, a simple trip to the mailbox is approached with wary caution. Her worst fear is that a dog will sense her fear, making her more prone to fall victim to another attack in the future. She is afraid that her fear of dogs will be sensed by her child, making her a possible victim to such an attack. She feels cheated out of enjoying an animal she has always truly loved. Knowing that 99% of dogs would never attack a person in that way does not ease the fear. She has had many nightmares about the incident, where the feeling of hopelessness and imminent pain and death are the main themes."

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Better Late Than Never

In a recent post, I mentioned some pictures. Here they are ~ better late than never. The first set is of an Jewish dinner we held with friends to commemorate Israel's 60th anniversary. The second is from my sister's high school graduation.

Our Centerpiece: Nathan brought me this menorah back from Israel last time he went. I love it.

Paula's Challah was beautiful and TASTY!

Lentil Pilaf (from a mix) ~ very tasty. Unfortunately, I had just removed a tick from our dog, and the lentils, well, they looked so much like... well, let's just say, I struggled ;o)

And here is my first attempt at making potato latkes. They were quite scary looking. The greenish tinge is from the olive oil and the potato starch mixing. I should have fried them up ASAP, instead of letting them sit. Anyways, they're like a glorified home-made hashbrown, traditionally consumed with applesauce and sour cream. We tried the combination. The dish in the background was like a nasty gruel I made from a mix~ hey, you win some, lose some!

So proud of my little sister! She gave the Salutatorian Speech!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Ethics Question of the Day:

Would you ever cheat at Chutes and Ladders with your three-year-old to make it go faster? Who in their right mind would ever create such a maddening game for toddlers? The only thing it seems to teach is how to deal with moments of mega frustration. (Not a bad lesson, I suppose.) And, no. I haven't cheated so far...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Laughter is Good Medicine~ even at one's own expense!

For the sick and weary, read on. For those healthy and hale, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. (BTW, some dear friends have suggested that my self-deprecation is excessive. Thanks for your concern. I hate to tell you that this post is along the same lines. If you compassionate souls can't bear it, link to one of my more cheery friends ;o) Besides, I like to make others smile, even if they have a laugh at my expense.

With that said, I went to Winn-Dixie this evening with Alex. I planned to stroll leisurely through with my pajama-clad child, pick out a few necessities like Low-Fat Honey Graham Crackers, and head home. Kathryn MUST have graham crackers dipped in milk before bed, or the end of the world has come. When I returned to the parking lot, I noted a suspicious looking gent in a nearby car (you have to know that our area has an abundance of these). So I quickly loaded my child and groceries into the car, opened, closed, and locked my door in one smooth motion. As I prided myself on being so safety-conscious, I put the key in the ignition and turned. Nothing. Nothing at all. I ran through checking the radio, the lights, the a/c, the locks, still nothing. After about 5 minutes of checking through my options (and yes, I left the cell phone at home~ no hate mail, please), I realize that it is getting hotter in the car by the moment. Outside the car, it was 97 degrees, so you can imagine. I now realize I am locked in my sweltering car SOMEHOW with my baby, and we're going to die.

I threw my pride out the proverbial window and began banging on my own closed one. The only person I can see is a smoking, dreadlock-clad brother jamming out to his very loud rap. So HE couldn't hear me, obviously. Finally, after much banging and a good bit of prayer, I managed to attract the attention of someone (more blonde than myself). She promptly panicked, called 911, and began going through my trunk to open an air passage for us. She asked me about passing the baby back through the back seat to her, but I thought the air was enough, thank you. Just then, I think, "Did I MANUALLY try to unlock this door?" Quickly followed by, "Please, Lord, don't let it open!" But it popped right up, and I popped right out.

Then the uniforms began to arrive (due to above-mentioned 911 call). The first was more than generous and just kind of stared at me in shock. The second muttered under his breath, "HOW can you lock yourself in your own car?!" and sped away. So! Tonight, I am the topic of conversation over doughnuts and coffee at our local Hueytown Police Station. Blessings on them for taking care of us idiots. And hey, I needed the laugh. Maybe you do, too. ;o)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Confessions of a Perfectionist

I just humiliated myself. I just pulled our riding lawn mower to the front yard and then right back into the garage. I couldn't figure out how to make it cut grass. I hate moments like that. That's when I hope all the neighbors were busy cutting onions in the kitchen or better yet, gone. Thankfully, the woman whose kitchen window faces my house is on vacation. Yep! I had all those thoughts. I hate feeling stupid.

Many people in my past think that I'm really something special. That's because most of them knew me in a school setting. If there's one thing I can do consistently well, it's academics. Yes, sir. I'm a certified nerd. I can pull a ridiculously high grade in pretty much any subject, and to top it off, I test well, too. Growing up, I was a big fish in a small pond. Aha, the birth of a perfectionist. If I ever made below an A, and it was "publicized" somehow, I was harassed by classmates for days. My mother, working in an adjoining school, found out about my one B in ninth grade, before school was dismissed for the day. Anyways, I quickly adjusted by avoiding anything I wasn't sure I'd succeed at. Pretty easy until you're 18. When your whole life is school, and that's easy enough, well.... the real world was coming quickly.

The truth is I'm pathetic at many things: I don't sing parts. When I'm with Nathan's talented friends, I lip-sync. Decorating a home is extremely hard for me. I hate scrapbooking. I'm technologically and mechanically challenged (hence, lawnmower and aforementioned computer problems). I'm not athletic or graceful on skates. Have you ever mistaken four cloves of garlic for four BULBS? Whew! A 12x60 trailer will stink for weeks! I don't take enough pictures of my kids. And did I mention that I really struggle with praying?

Sometimes, I get so caught up in 'hiding' my shortcomings. I guess subconsciously that I expect the people in my life to snicker behind their hands or even openly say, "What! You can't do THAT?! I guess you're not perfect, after all." Well, here I am, opening my insecurities up to you, my dear blogger friends. I thought it might be more helpful to blog on this than to keep crying on the couch while Alex screams and Kathryn says, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry...." ;o) I recently heard someone say, "When I became a man, I put away childish things, including the fear of being thought childish." That's my goal for right now. And if anyone would like to mow the grass before Nathan arrives home from TX tonight, just knock.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

A Backlog of Blogging...

Following are some pictures of some things we've been up to. The first set are pictures of a 'kosher' dinner we had with some friends to commemorate Israel's 60th birthday. It was such fun! We followed the meal by watching a neat documentary called "Israel: A Nation is Born" with Abba Eban as narrator. Very educational. I thought Paula's challah bread was most impressive!

Next are some pictures of my younger sister, Chelsea's, high school graduation. She was the salutatorian of her class. Congratulations to my brave and smart sis! I just can't believe she's old enough to graduate. She also just turned 18, and plans to go to Bible College in the fall! I plan to gift her with a car tag that says, "PLZD8ME" What do you think?

UGH!! Wouldn't you know it? My camera and computer are giving each other the cold shoulder. In other words, they're not communicating, and our resident tech guru is sitting in a Ruth's Chris steakhouse (I'm feeling slightly jealous) somewhere in TX with his boss. OK, so pictures later...

Friday, May 16, 2008

None in Hell Unloved

Like the rest of you, I've been shocked and saddened by the immense human loss in Myanmar and China lately. In just one fell swoop, a natural disaster can take out many times what 9/11, the war, or acts of terrorism can. They always seem to be poor, barely surviving as it is, working themselves to the bone for a scrap of food. This time I was struck by the spiritual side of the issue. These areas are largely non-Christian. Can you see it in your mind? Hell being flooded with thousands of new residents in mere minutes, going from a sad life to an even sadder eternity. Heaven also received some new occupants, but I suspect not as many... We believe the Bible. Therefore, we believe that each individual lost in the last few weeks was specifically given enough general revelation (and more than enough) to be saved. Romans 1:20 speaks to us on the question of "those who have never heard." We can have confidence that the fair Judge who knows all was indeed fair. As Jack Graham said this morning on Moody, "You may not go to heaven, but you'll never go to hell unloved."

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day 2008

Last year I posted a little about my sweet mom (see here and scroll down). I thought I'd take the chance this year to say a little about my wonderful mother-in-law. Mom Brown (or Dr. Nadine Brown) is a brilliant and wonderful person. Since Dad Brown's (Dr. Allan Brown) life is so often up on the platform and hers is not, I think many don't know her well. So... a few random thoughts that describe Mom:

~ Brilliant~ she works in a science lab helping advance medicine. Works with rats and needles and cancer and all that fun stuff. If I need an idea about ANYTHING, I know exactly whom to call. She's been all over the world, and knows so much about so much. Whether it's architecture or how to grow orchids, she's got the answer.
~ She loves beautiful things, and has the unique ability to see nature through a child's eyes. She knows just what to point out, and enjoys watching the wonder in her grandchildren's eyes.
~ Sacrificial ~ she gave up the chance to rise to the top of the scientific field and taught at Hobe Sound Bible College instead so she could be there for her kids. She had her priorities straight and made decisions that inspire us even today.
~ A great parent ~ she and Dad did such a phenomenal job raising their sons to love and serve Jesus. If you haven't read her book on parenting, you've missed a treat and an opportunity to learn biblical approaches to common character issues in children. I benefit every day from their efforts as I live with the results ;o)
~"Even-keeled" and cool-headed ~ she is logical and methodical in her thoughts... must be where Nathan got his personality...

*Mom, I feel so blessed to have joined your family seven years ago. Marianne and I are truly fortunate to have married your sons and gained you for a mother-in-law. Love, Charity

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Dating vs. Courtship

Julia suggested this title for my next blog ;o)

Actually this is just a little piece to pass along yet MORE Kathryn stunts~ thankfully, no dating/courtship issues in our home yet:

1. After watching Sound of Music, she walked around talking about how much she loves 'Diarrhea'~ I finally figured out she thought Maria (Julie Andrews) was 'Diarrhea'

2. Tonight after she did 'her part' in the toothbrushing routine, she decided to work on brushing her bellybutton. Too bad my camera was downstairs...

The kids and I went to the zoo last Tuesday to help our friends' little boy, Cason, celebrate his 5th birthday. Below are some pictures from our day...

Kathryn with Brenna, getting ready to hit the motherlode at the zoo.

The newest exhibit at the B'ham Zoo is the Kangaroo House/Place/Thingie. Anyways, this little guy was lapping up water like a dog. I was surprised at how much he reminded me of a deer from the front. Must be something to do with evolution ;o)

A resting butterfly in the butterfly house with all the other butterflies. What a restful place. I enjoy seeing the cocoons and such in their various stages.

Cason rides a camel. Very exciting for a 5 year old. Kathryn threw a grand tantrum because she didn't get a ride. She's so close to perfect, but that sinful nature trips her up occasionally...


Monday, May 05, 2008

Oh, What To Do With The Littlest Members Of The Body? Version 2.0 (Modified Remarks in Red)

This has been so fascinating for me! All your comments have been read and reread not just by me, but by many others. Thanks for taking the time to think out such in-depth responses. Thanks to the "childless" for participating. I even received some very honest e-mails that gave me much food for thought. The conclusions reached by my readers will and should be a bit different. Each church, family and child is a different ballgame, so one-size-fits-all will not work here. Obviously, this is a humongous topic. I'd like to just scratch the surface of the surface, if I may.

My main goal in bringing this topic up is to challenge the status quo (imagine that!~ little passive me ;o) and to (hopefully) provoke discussion and thought in the other parents out there. I think we all want to be purposefully rearing our children, and I believe this includes "parenting in the pew." If all children get is "sit still and shut up," why are we surprised when they turn into adults who just "sit still and shut up?" That is, if they come at all!

We've all seen them (maybe even BEEN them): the 12 year olds doodling in coloring books, the seven year olds running trucks across the floor of the sanctuary, the toddler who 'gets loose' and makes it under six pews before being snatched up by an embarrassed dad, oh and did we mention? the teenagers passing notes on the back pew! Or maybe you've observed the 'good' kids, the ones who sit like little angels with shining halos, but who are totally disengaged from the service. The ones who could tell you more easily the number of yellow flowers in the arrangement or the ladies whose tags are turned up in the back than what was preached or sung. I really (call me ambitious) have bigger dreams for my children's church experience.

As I thought through this topic, two main thoughts came to mind: What is the purpose of the church service? and What are my parenting goals? This topic seems to be the place where these two questions intersect. I think we can all agree here. Church is to be a place where the Word is taught, where edification of other believers happens, where God is worshiped in music, where corporate prayer is engaged in, where __________ (you fill in the blank). And our goal for parenting is to get our children to heaven, helping them toward Christlikeness on the way.

So, keep them in or take them out? At what point do we integrate? This is THE QUESTION! And just as important, what do we do them after they are in main service?

Here's where we shall diverge in the yellow wood. Please note the following thoughts are more than a bit random.

Pros on Keeping Them In:
~ OK, I can't think of any ;o) However, Tara makes a valid point in wishing her children to not be exposed to tons of germs. That's obviously very understandable. To each their own...

Pros on Taking Babies Out
~In my opinion, babies are a notorious distraction, even the cute, non-screaming ones. This may be regional? I received an e-mail from a Southerner commenting on the freedom felt in Southern churches to wave, coo, and make faces at babies across the church. I HAVE seen this in previous churches we've attended. Maybe it's a Southern thing? If they can be in a safe and well-staffed nursery, the congregation can be more focused on the service, or they can fall asleep sooner. Anecdotal evidence of distraction:
I remember distinctly sitting near a young man when Kathryn was an infant, who would become distracted (intentionally) with her when the preaching got a little close to the sin in his life. Also, some moms and dads do need a break from babies. There are some of us who don't have that during the week (we live far from friends and family), so church is a welcome breather for us.

Cons on Taking the Babies Out:
~No one will notice the color coordination of your whole family. Don't laugh! This actually came through in an anonymous e-mail. Hey, nothing's wrong with color coordination, don't get me wrong. Don't sneer either, please. When you've worked for a month like I did on a homemade Easter dress, it's a pain that no one will even notice. This is also a great illustration for wrong motives for keeping children in. There are more, believe me! Another is using church as the primary place for behavioral training. Appropriate behavior is crucial as we love others and desire for them to be able to listen, etc. If there's no respect for authority taught at home, we all know trying to enforce it in church will be disastrous.

YOUNG CHILDREN: Random! Thoughts

Young children need to MOVE. I wouldn't expect a three-year-old to sit perfectly still in private OR in public for huge lengths of time. This is especially true of Kathryn (I know none of you have hyper children ;o) Note to Sunday School teachers who aren't as smart as ours: no sweets without permission and please let them move around during that hour some! If we go straight from a 30 minute car ride to a service~ agh! Sunday School helps burn off those wigglies. I encourage her to move in time to the music (not pirouetting like Sophie, Tara ;o), but moving her toes or fingers or QUIET clapping.

~As the Canfield commentator noted, small children can be sensitive to the Spirit in a service. These are sweet moments that should be allowed. Even if they're just imitating in an innocent, non-show-offy way. If a child raises their hand in service, etc., I think they should be ignored. Never oohed and ahhed over. Spiritual exhibitionism just to be thought cute is disgusting. Also, they may NOT be aware of the Spirit. I'll never forget when a visitor began shouting praises and swinging his arm in the pew in front of us. The whole church was enjoying the presence of the God, and my child was screaming bloody murder because it startled and scared her. So we don't sit near those type of people if can help it.

~In the Old Testament, the Israelites were told "When your children ask "Why do we do this?," say..." implying that children at the age of curiosity benefit from participating in and observing worship.

~There are a million other little thoughts racing around my head. What about a children's program to pass out for reader-age kids with a place for taking notes, a box for illustrating their favorite hymn of the day, writing out the key verse? What about a mom illustrating the sermon for her little ones on a notepad? What about discussing the sermon over dinner? What about not complaining in the car about the service in front of the kids? Many of your comments gave me other ideas- really good ones. Thanks!

~Now... I didn't say all I'm thinking, but I think it comes down to us not checking our brains in at the foyer. We need to take advantage of this time every week to enhance our parenting process. Some may do this at 3, some at 5, some at 9. I don't think there's any hard and fast rules. Blessings on you and yours as you parent in the pew.

~Some of you have requested that I be more specific about my personal goals. My personal goal for Kathryn at this point (age 3) is to be guided by one of us through the offering, songs, etc. until sermon time. During the sermon, she occupies herself with a book or other quiet activity. Gradually, I expect her attention span to be able to stay engaged through more and more of the service. At that point, I would like to see her engaged through various techniques, many already discussed. I DO like families together in worship, sitting together, interacting together. We attend a church that doesn't have a nursery, so Alex is with us in service. I would, however, (if it were available) put him in one to be able to focus more intensely on Kathryn during these impressionable years.

****The purpose of this post is not to polarize people or to hold one approach over another as more Godly. Rather, I wished simply to bring the topic of intentional parenting into the church so we can better raise our children to succeed in the Body of Christ.****

Recommended Resources:
Parenting in the Pew by Robbie Castleman (many wonderful ideas!!!!)
A Children's Guide to Worship by Ruth Boling, et al (a neat, if a bit liturgical, look at something you might give a child)
The National Center for Family-Integrated Churches (interesting articles, even if I don't agree with all of it)

***NOTE: I mentally filter my resources for useful information, and totally agree with... um...none. So, that being said, go for it***

***NOTE #2: On second thought regarding my title, I do realize little ones are not officially 'members of the body.' That is, UNLESS you practice infant baptism ;o)

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Have you ever wondered, "What IS he THINKING?" Well, here it is, ladies!

Shaunti Feldhahn's book For Women Only held me on the edge of my seat. I finished it way too quickly~ Nathan even caught me sitting on the bathroom floor reading it. Hey~ there are only so many quiet places in a house with children. Right, moms? I'm not really bringing it up as a discussion point; more of a recommendation to check it out for yourselves. It's worth your time. It's not a very big book, so go for it!

I do have a question on my mind. I'd love to hear from some of you how you approach church services with small children. Some, I know, are proponents of nursery for infants. Some aren't. What are your goals for your children in main service? Please be specific. "I want them to sense the presence of God from an early age" may sound good, but what does this mean to you? My curiosity is going somewhere. I'm going to be posting on this topic soon. By the way, feel free to comment even if you don't have children. There are those who discredit opinions of childless and single people. Well, if you DON'T have any views before you have those kids, they'll be in a world of hurt. And for those lurkers, feel free to e-mail me your views. I'd like to get as many thoughts as possible.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Recent Trip to Florida

L to R: Chelsea (my sister), Christy Frederick, Danielle (Thomas) Stubbs, Heidi Frederick, Wendy (Thomas) Drennen, me, Alana Frederick, Kira Frederick (Heather (Frederick) Baldwin was the only girl cousin not there that day)

Christy and Heidi Frederick (two of Stephen's three girls); I have to say that all my cousins are brilliant, witty and fun people. What a fun time we had!

Alex looking stunning ;o) against Mr. and Mrs. Eggman's flowers (my grandparents' neighbors in Hobe Sound)

Dean Stubbs (Danielle's) and Alex being chummy. Actually, Alex was eating grass and Dean was poking him. (That's a great time when you're 8 months old!)

My wonderful grandparents, Joyce (Frederick) and Alvin Morgan. These are Kathryn and Alex's ONLY great-grandparents. For those of you in Hobe Sound, you know what a sweet and classy lady my grandma is! They were so gracious to let us stay at their house~ not a small thing to bring toddlers into a quiet world like theirs. Thanks so much!!!

Danielle and part of her first-born, Leah (sorry). Danielle (Sheila's youngest) is another super-special cousin that I love spending time with.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Life Outside the Box

Kathryn was thrilled to find Nathan's hard hat from work...

And his safety glasses... ;o) (she often wears her sunglasses this way, too)

She has an alternative way of apple-eating. That's the stem sticking up.

And thought I should be able to rescue these lunatic cats. I know you can't see them well, but believe me, they were there. Thankfully, they 'rescued' themselves. I DID learn the true definition of CATerwauling!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

What My Three-Year-Old Says in a Week:

To the pest control guy: "Well, MY dog doesn't have fleas, because we took him to the vet, and he got a 'pository (suppository)!"

To a nice lady in Wal-Mart after a little talk on who's allowed to touch us where: "And SHE (pointing at the lady) isn't allowed to touch my private spots, cause only mommy and daddy....." This is where I quickly exited stage left with my blabbering child.

To the employee stocking soaps on the next aisle: "My mommy NEVER uses soap in HER bath."

To me about a lady in Cracker Barrel's restroom (pointing again :o( "Mommy, there's a MAN in here!"

Yep, my life is a series of mortifications. What I wouldn't give for a trapdoor to fall in sometimes!!!

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Need for Personal Integrity & Self-Evaluation

I miss the carefree days of childhood, when (for the most part) the sins of others didn't mess with my world. But we adults know, don't we, how easy it is for someone else's actions to 'throw rocks into our quiet ponds' (as Nathan likes to say)? This has been one of those weeks for many of my readers. How do we respond personally, internally? I think it provides a perfect opportunity for self-evaluation. A careful, probing look into our own lives. An accountability to the Word. A weeding out of the little sins that can grow into a nasty harvest, infecting the fields of the Church. A request for God's perspective on the hideous nature of even our 'little sins.' A fear of judgment, of a holy God. Let's each one stand before the Savior, begging grace for our own weaknesses and mercy for those in others.

"I Would" by the Southern Gospel group Booth Brothers has been running through my mind for days. Call your local Christian station and request it. Or click here and scroll down to read the lyrics. It'll bring food for thought.

p.s. Definitely click here to read my brother-in-law's (Dr. Phil Brown) superb article on "What Should I Think When I Hear of Sin in the Church?"

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Jamie (Howard) Taylor has tagged me. I'm afraid my list won't be quite as "exotic" as yours, Jamie, but here we go.

What I was doing 10 years ago:

I was finishing up my junior year of high school, getting ready to go on TLC '98 to Bolivia. I was dating Nathan (for the first time~ there's another story there ;o)

Five things on my to do list today:

1. Clean up the lunch dishes.

2. Join Nathan and Kathryn for family devotions.

3. Put Kathryn to bed.

4. Enjoy a quiet evening with Nathan

5. Nothing else~ I LOVE Sundays!

Snacks that I enjoy: Graham crackers with peanut butter and chocolate chips, apple slices sprinkled with salt

What would do if I were a billionaire:

1. Have fresh flowers in my house all the time

2. Invest wisely, and use the interest to give huge anonymous gifts to ministries

3. Pay off our mortgage

4. Raise the pay significantly at the Bible colleges we support

5. Hoard (gasps of horror!); My parents never had much money when I was growing up, and I watched the stress that comes from living that way. A comfy $ amount in the savings account is an easy way to achieve security here below for me. I'm not saying that that's a good thing, I'm just being honest.

Three of my bad habits:

1. Procrastinating a chore because I don't have time to do it perfectly.

2. Snacking while I cook. (I'm trying to learn to chew gum while preparing and cleaning up the dishes~ those calories from a bite here and there count, too, you know)

3. Trying to fix people (just ask my poor sister ;o) I CAN be a bit of a steamroller because my personality can be a wee bit forceful.

Places I have lived: (there is a repetition here; my mom's folks live in AL, my dad's in FL)

1. Nixon Chapel, Alabama (where I was born)

2. Hobe Sound, Florida (when I was 3-5 years old)

3. Nixon Chapel, Alabama (until I was 10)

4. Columbus, Georgia (from 10-12, while my dad pastored the Bible Methodist Church)

5. Nixon Chapel, Alabama (from 12-18, while I finished school)

6. Hobe Sound, Florida (one year of Bible College)

7. Nixon Chapel, Alabama (less than a year while I planned my wedding)

8. Tuscaloosa, Alabama (years 1-5 of our marriage)

9. Hueytown, Alabama (since then)

Five jobs I have had:

1. Spanish translator for a GoldKist poultry plant. I did HR, switchboard, new hire orientation, translating documents, verbal translation (including one time after a food fight with chili peppers and sexual harassment cases), firing illegals, working with the INS, and just about everything else. I LOVED this job. Higher stress levels make me perform better. Funny how that quit working when I had kids ;o)

2. Cleaning a NASTY house with a NASTY cat in FL. The cat was so violent & sadistic that I would have to find it and sweep it into a back room while I cleaned. (It would hide and leap upon my back or scratch my ankles up) It spent the next few hours jumping from the guest bed to fling itself against the closed door~ what a creep!

3. Working as Sidney Grant's Hispanic Ministries secretary in Hobe Sound.

4. Professional tutor for the public school system, traveling from school to school helping children who were learning English with their work.

5. Teaching Spanish I & II at Tuscaloosa Christian School for one year.

I'm tagging: Marianne, Wesley, Sylvia, Julie & Marty (if you don't have time, no worries...)

Saturday, April 12, 2008


This is a bit belated, since our 7th anniversary was last Monday, but I was trying to get this picture online. This was our engagement picture. The last 7 years have not been the easiest of our lives, but even the hard ones were better because of being together. Marriage is an amazing journey! I LOVE YOU, NATHAN!