What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Monday, February 28, 2005

Corynn and Her Hat Fettish...

I am ready to go to China, Mama. Now, how do we GET there?!?!?! Posted by Hello

I love this picture. Her legs are just so scrawny-it is even funnier to see without a diaper...but I won't do THAT to her!  Posted by Hello

Here she is an old hag-complete with a stooped back and lacking the strength to hold herself straight without leaning into furniture! Posted by Hello

"I am cracker-box-head, chief of the Ritz people." Posted by Hello

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Exhausted from the shower and having been away from Corynn all day-I needed some cuddle time with my favorite little tyke. Cuddle time with my favorite BIG tyke comes later... Posted by Hello

Look at all those new teethers! Would hate to be nursing with THAT mouth full! :-) Posted by Hello

Phew...my feet hurt, my throat is dry, but it was a success!

I am so sorry you couldn't come to the shower Abby! I was half hoping you were planning to surprise us-since you often come without warning or notice. Well, since you weren't able...here are the highlights.
I left for the church around 10:00...just to drive half way there and realize I didn't have my camera (my sister asked me to bring it to take pictures...) So I turned around but made it to the church on time. By the time I got to the church-my feet were all cut up from shoes I got on clearance for $3.00 at Walmart. I had open sore before I even started decorating. Before and after the party I walked barefoot on the cold cement-and during the party I made tiolet paper pads to stop the rubbing. Hence, my feet hurting. Samantha helped me decorate. We used the colors yellow, tealish/mint green, and light blue. The tablecloths were white with Y,G,B streamers going down the tables. We added glitter and confetti, threw a glass bowl filled with water on the table and added rubber duckies to float on top. We finished the tables with a round candle. The walls had Y,G, and B streamers and Y,G, B pearlized balloons taped on. It was pretty. Some people brought snacks-but Bob had prepared quite a spread. Wow-was there A LOT of food! We played fun games, one I made up, one I stole, and one that was inspired by a game show. The one I made up was matching baby animals with mama's. It was (oh, so originally!) called Are you My Mother? Here is a sampling....
Name the Mama to...
and so on.
Michelle F. won with 12 correct answers...Leah was a close second with 11.
I also had a bonus question (winner gets another prize...) that involved naming 11 animals whose babies are called "calves". The bonus prize was awarded to Jessica H.-she must have had six or seven right ones.
The one I stole was a baby race that required guests to write down a boy name starting with each letter of the alphabet. Wendy Valentine one this only because she made up the name "Yarden" for Y. I gave it to her anyway. The whole way home I tried to think of a "Y" name but I still couldn't. I guess it is a good thing I did give it to her-we might have been there all day!
The last game was an offshoot of "Win, Lose, or Draw." I made categories pertaining to babies and prenancies and....well, you know the rest. It was a good time. I'll tell you what though-I have never heard so much commotion before...I had to practically yell out the directions to the games because no one would stop and listen-and even then I had to say them once or twice because inevitably SOMEONE didn't hear the first time. Hence, my sore throat.
Elizabeth got beautiful gifts including two homemade blankets...one crocheted and one made with flannel. I too, will be making her a blanket. I handed out fabric squares and a permenant fabric marker and had people sign them and/or write messages. With these squares and some of other colors, I will be making a quilt for Samuel. My first ever. I hope it turns out nice. My only problem is that many of the women used the whole square-not accounting for the seam allowances. I am not sure how I will fix that. She received some very cute outfits, toys, and even got a pamper basket full of stuff for HER. She also loved her "church gift" of a changing table. She had lots of people come, including some out-of towners and a neighbor friend of Elizabeths'. Personally, I am very excited about Jenny (the neighbor) and hope to do some things with her this summer. She is SUPER sweet. She is probably in her 30's, she has three little stair-step girls, and like I said, is super sweet. I hope Elizabeth starts to spend more time with her too. It lasted from 12-3:30...but since I did it I was there for 2 hours before and two hours afterwards. I think Elizabeth enjoyed herself...Hence, the success of the day! Unfortunately, I didn't bring my digital camera but I used a whole roll of film so when I get them developed I will post some for you.
So, that is the not-so-eloquently put details of the shower. I hope I didn't bore you. Now that THAT is done...I have another party to plan! I don't even want to think about THAT! Anyway-I am bushed. Hope you liked the virtual baby shower! :-)

Friday, February 25, 2005

Baby and Chin Bashes

I have been pretty busy lately, getting ready for Elizabeth's baby shower. I want it to be special...first of all since we have had so many baby showers this past year, and secondly because it is such a joyous time given the struggles she has been through. It will be the most "uppity" shower I have ever been to anyway! Bob is coming as a "caterer" and fixing a whole ham and turkey breast for sandwiches. He is also making soups and some salads. I have never been to a catered baby shower before so it will be interesting! I am heading to the church right now, to get the bulletin's done and to drop off a crockpot and my roaster oven at Bob's house...he took the day off to prepare for tomorrow! I hope Elizabeth isn't disappointed in any way. I guess I will let you know how it turns out!
As I close, Corynn was standing on a Huggies Baby Wipe box full of blocks, watching as I typed when it slipped out from under her and her chin bashed on the corner of the keyboard drawer. Ouch!

Friday, February 18, 2005

Disappointing Discrepancies

Upon publishing the last church newsletter, I was very excited to read a book review submitted for the book “Parenting in the Pew”. It seemed to me it was high time there was something in our library on such an important topic-and one that we as a church surely need some instruction on! “Finally!” I thought… “Some encouragement for the minority!”
Well, upon reading the book, I am very disheartened. First of all, though Presbyterian, the writer is not Reformed in any sense of the word. She talks about going to church in bare feet and t-shirts, “Atomic Praise choirs” for teens, and children’s church. So as not to leave anyone out, she even encourages Pentecostal and charismatic practices such as laying on of hands and speaking in tongues, for those who believe in those things!
But most importantly, her book is full of contradictions! It is a shame! She has made some wonderful points and then a paragraph down manages to screw it all up again. Here are just a few…

Good Point #1~Children are not excluded from worship-God, in fact, uses a child as an illustration of true faith. God delights in children being a part of the worship service. “Children can infringe on our worship experience. I know more than a few parents who have resented the distractions ushered into the pew by the presence of their children. Many just give up. However, children do not have to interfere with God’s experience in worship! Worship is first a blessing to God, and he values the presence and praise of children (Matthew 18:14; Mark 10:14; Luke 18:16). (page 24)

Antithesis of Thought #1~She says the above but then gives a timeline for when children ought actually to be left in the sanctuary during worship!
“Older infants and toddlers up to two and a half or three years old do well in the nursery. Nursing infants and older toddlers do well in the service about half the time. Three-year-olds and some younger children, can be trained to participate in worship that includes the creed, Scripture readings, music, and offering. In most Protestant, evangelical or charismatic congregations, this is a little more than half of a service. By about the fourth year of age, children can be in a service of worship for the entire time.” (page 59)

What happened to who cares if a child squirms-what matters is that God is glorified by having ALL of His children worshipping Him? ALL of his children are only four and up?

Good Point #2 “Worship-as-entertainment will not accelerate the spiritual growth of our children. Worship needs to be the one realm in our culture that refuses to accept the world’s addiction to be entertained in order to learn.” (page 55)

Antithesis of Point #2~Strewn throughout this book, she talks about the Praise bands, special services of music, and revivals.

Good Thought #3~ She recommends a certain devotional called Youth For Christ because it does not dumb-down the content for children. (page 91)

Antithesis of Thought #3~ She speaks of her church’s practice of “a sermon just for younger children is included after hymns, readings, choral anthem and creed.” It goes on to say that this is helpful because it teaches just “the main point of the adult sermon in a shorter, more anecdotal way.” In short, dumbing it down.

Good Point #4~ “Sundays are special. Children know that there is a difference between a birthday cake and an any-day cake. Birthday cakes are planned, designed in a special way and focused on the person being celebrated. A birthday cake is the person’s favorite; the frosting is sweeter, and the anticipation is so thick you could cut it with a knife. An any-day cake can be eaten without much introduction, but a birthday cake is eaten after candles and songs and ceremony.
Technically, cake is cake…
Worship is loving the Lord with an attitude. We love the Lord every day, but Sunday is God’s favorite flavor and the frosting is sweeter.” (page 44)

Negation #4~She speaks of not having a dress code for Sunday worship…anything to be comfortable. “They can dress as they like…as long as it is ready by Saturday evening.” (page 47) She also just makes sandwiches on Sundays…now, I know I am stretching it here and making mountains out of mole hills, but I just can’t see how these things are setting the day apart from any other day. How we dress can be glorifying (or not) to God just as how we act can be glorifying to God (or not). Personally, to me, Sunday is a day where the food is more abundant, dessert is made, good dishes and tablecloths are used, and (you know me!) candles are lit… A day set apart, a feast for our King.

Now certainly, not all of her points are antagonistic…there is certainly good to be gleaned from the pages of this book. Unfortunately, however, I tend to like books that are consistent throughout and are well thought out. So I guess, until I find a good book on the topic of children in worship-I will just have to go with my gut.  Hey! If I want it to be written, maybe I should write it! Hehehe.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Is that Daddy's white steed I hear gallopping up the drive?!? Perhaps we should go see! Posted by Hello

No-it's just mommy taking a picture. Posted by Hello

Inside her fantastical abode, she resides with "Big Baby" who is extraordinarily the same size as she is! (This doll was mine since I was her age and one I did not retire until I was probably 13....she was attached to my side from car rides to dinner...) Posted by Hello

Life's A Party...

Matt had a wonderful time this week extending his birthday out from Tuesday to Sunday. His parents came over on Thursday, we spent Friday and Saturday nights at his parents' house, and had my family come over on Sunday. Today I think, the guys are planning to try to brew more beer so Leah will hopefully come and keep me company...too much testosterone is a bad thing. hehehe-we need to even it out a bit. :-) Tomorrow Zaccardo's are coming over. We have tons of leftovers (including cake)...and tomorrow I am making a fantastic Artichoke and Spinach lasagna. I like it even better than ones with meat! So much for me trying to watch what I eat...
I surely like entertaining but it a week this full sure can get me tired! Will life slow down? I doubt it....'course, maybe if it did, I would get bored!
Now that all his gifts have been opened, I can tell you the secret surprise one I made for Matt.....drum roll, please....
Flannel lined pants! I bought pants for $6.00 at Old Navy and made a flannel lining for them. He has wanted them for quite some time but they are terribly expensive pre-made. Since my machine hardly works with cotton, let alone jean fabric, I opted to buy the jeans instead of trying to make them. When he wears them (which he had for the past few days...) I feel proud to have done something to provide for his needs...specifically, warmth. I feel like he is warm because of me! I know, weird, but it gives me a good feeing inside.

Matt surprised me with the DVD for Sound of Music for Valentine's Day. He is very thoughtful because I had just mentioned that we need to get rid of our "other" movie supply and replace it with musicals and classics. He also got me some tulips in a pot. I wonder if I will be able to plant them outside?!?! Maybe I shouldn't since, who knows how long we will live here. I could always save the bulbs for our home-somewhere in the distance...although, I don't think bulbs can live that long just as bulbs. :-) I got little Rynnie Roo a helium balloon from the dollar store. The lady behind the counter said, "I have never seen one so little so excited about a balloon." She said thank you to me as soon as I handed it to her. I was so pleased.

Corynn has been terribly sick for the last few days with cough and runny nose. Probably just a cold or something but she is cranky all the time and very clingy. Last night I tried to give her medicine with a spoon and she choked so bad she could cough-or breath. She first turned red and then started to change to purple. I was really afraid but the arm trick worked. I don't know WHAT I would have done if it didn't. It really scared me- and her too...and Matt froze on the other side of the kitchen as he watched. I don't think he could move. The rest of the night I couldn't get the thought of her dying out of my head. I kept listening and woke up whenever she coughed.

I changed the bedroom around-it is SO much nicer now! More open, more convenient, and more homey! I should have thought to do it a long time ago. While I worked on it, I put Corynn in her room with a baby gate up so she could play. At first she hated it, then I came up with a brilliant plan! I changed the sheets on my bed so I took a large blanket from the bed and made a tent for her. She played in it for three hours straight! I didn't hear a peep from her! I was so excited and thrilled and amazed! I used to do that as a girl...my favorite place was under the dining room table because my mom always had tablecloths on it. As I watched Corynn, I took a trip down memory lane. I too was playing under there, feeling so big and grand-being the owner and ruler of my own place (which always seemed so BIG!) Corynn really is becoming a little girl and her babyhood is fading away. I took some pictures and will post them with this message.
I sat down and paid the bills today. Bah-humbug...but we are all caught up! That is good. I cleaned out the car-Matt will appreciate that...it is important to him to have a decluttered lifestyle. Last week I went to Aldi and spent the whole time writing down prices and weights of items I usually buy. I just need to have time to set up a spreadsheet to compare prices. This evening I may mend clothes and maybe iron while I visit with Leah. Kill two birds with one stone...two birds that have needed to die for a looooong time! :-)

Okay-enough jabber for now I suppose...I have to get Corynn up from her nap soon and I still have much to do before Matt comes home!

Friday, February 11, 2005

Our kids are like cattle...

Here is an article I read on a Forum I am on. It is about mandatory computerized ID tags that kids need to wear in school. We are turning into the Jetsons, aren't we?
The article...

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

I told you! He couldn't wait until his birthday! To make this very somber occasion fun, I proposed a multi-step transformation. Scroll downward to see the many faces of Matt! Posted by Hello

Just call me Mr. Stolfuz... Posted by Hello

Matt with porkchops...straight from the 1800's. Posted by Hello

He couldn't give it all up-so we decided to keep it like this... Posted by Hello

Just kidding! Here he is-the completion of his transformation is when I cut his hair short again.  Posted by Hello

"My Daddy is pretty handsome!" Corynn seems to like seeing her Daddy's face just as much as I do! Posted by Hello

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Blah Blah Blah.

The Tuesday before Valentine's day,
when all through the house,
not a creature was stirring....
except a Mama who is going stir-crazy! :-)

This post if chock full of nothingness. Feel free to skip altogether....
I have the intrinsic desire (nay rather...urge) to say something to someone-though I mustn't because my two loves are both resting and Matt has already talked to me about talking to myself...that leaves only my blog and the possible readers that live in my computer and come out to play only at night when I too, will sleep peacefully.
Yesterday I was busy busy busy-working (and FINISHING!) Matt's surprise. I also wrapped his presents and put them under the Cupid Tree. Big Mistake. He wants to open them all now (not a surprise...he can NEVER wait until his birthday...) but the problem is...I am so excited for him to see his presents, so seeing them is tempting me to give in! EEK! I finished off four rolls of wrapping paper (and each one contained hardly enough to wrap the packages)...that's what I get for saving every scrap of paper! I made Rynnie-Roo a rain stick out of one tube. She likes it but was using it as an oar for her laundry basket rowboat, instead of it's intended purpose Oh well. :-)
Today is garbage day and when I went to put out the garbage, I noticed our Landlady had put out a filing cabinet. The drawers are in good shape but the rest is all rusted. BUT-we have been needing one since Matt is obsessed with making three ring binders for every subject available. So, I got out some of Matt's camo gear and painted my face, I gathered my hair to the top of my head and put on a knit face mask. Looking around to make sure I wouldn't be seen, I snuck out-crouching...slowly...and then made the move RUNNING full throttle back to the house. Once inside, I was welcomed with cheers from Corynn who then proceeded to put me on her shoulders and bounce me around in a victory hu-rah. (Events slightly exxagerated for comical purposes.) Needless to say, I had to move furniture around to make the added piece look okay in the house (once covered by a scrap of fabric-the rust didn't show at all...hardly. hehehe) But then, moving the furniture around made me realize the yucky dustbunnies that have been successfully hiding from me these past few months. Don't you hate how one such project turns into a TON of different projects?!?!
I still have so much to do that I wanted to get done-but didn't since my day switched gears.
~I need to make Valentine's and write some letters.
~I want to change our room all around...it just isn't conducive to our needs right now since the only light we have it squished in the corner and we have to walk all over our bed to get to it. I hate that this house has no overhead lighting. Grrrrrrr...
~A few things to be mended has turning into a large pile that I NEED to do. Clothes I haven't been able to wear, though I have had them for years, will be like having something new when I actually get to wear them again!
~Mom gave me a bunch of magazines-I love it but now I have such I pile I need to go through them, cut out recipes, helpful tidbits, and ideas and THROW THE REST AWAY!
~I really want to make Matt some special birthday goodies....heart shapes and all. I got to get to it!
~I am currently working on a price comparison sheet for groceries. I need to put it in spreadsheet form.
~I have letters and stories to write! :-)
~I have bills to pay and money to manage....I DON'T look forward to this!
~I bought the flannel for Corynn's nightgowns....I just have to do it now.

Oh-there is lots more but I just don't feel like wasting any more time writing it. On a positive note, The beginning of Febrary I began to use a "Read the Bible in a Year" study for my personal devotions and I have begun eating breakfast with Corynn and reading her a Psalm in the morning while she eats. Each day I read from three books...currently, Luke, Genesis, and Psalms. As I read, I write something down pertaining to what I read from each book....whether it be a summary, an interesting verse, or questions. I am very pleased with how things are working out. For a very long time, I just wasn't motivated to sit down and read on my own but I look forward to it with all eagerness now. I realize it has only been a week, but that is much longer than I have lasted in previous attempts to get a devotion/study schedule...and I have never felt such eagerness to open God's words and fellowship with him.

Well-we plan to go to Scott and Leah's tonight to help out with the trailer....so that means I have to get dinner done early. Though it is only 3:00, I had better get started. Tonight we are having Carmel Apple Pork Chips, Cous Cous, buttered green beans, and a corn "souffle" (not really a souffle-it is just a wet cornbread casserole or sorts...) Until next time........

Matt is snug as a bug in a rug. His favorite place to nap is on the couch with his J.D blanket...I guess he deserves a little nappy-nap since he didn't get home from work last night until 10:30 and then had to leave the house at 3:00 THIS morning! :-) Posted by Hello

Friday, February 04, 2005

Apples to Oranges

“Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” (Genesis 3:16)

I have read or listened to the Genesis account thousands of times in my lifetime. I thought I knew it all by heart, really. I am always amazed by how far I have to go, how much I have to learn, and how one passage of scripture can not be fully and completely realized in any period of time. Even when we think we have things down pat-here comes something else to ponder. I do think these are good signs though.
First, that we realize we are still able to learn new things from Scripture.
Second, because we realize we still need to learn new things from Scripture.

Third, we reinforce things already learned by continuing to go over Scripture.
Finally, we are put into a teachable frame of mind.

When rereading Chapter 3 of Genesis, recounting the Fall of Man, I was surprised at verse 16. I made a chart of all the punishments for each of those involved (the serpent, Eve, Adam, the devil) and what that meant to us. (On a side note: I bet Eve thought she was getting out of it when God spoke to the serpent first. She soon found out, though.)
One of the punishments on Eve, though clearly written in Scripture, is left out of all conversation pertaining to it. The latter half of verse 16, “…and thy desire shall be to thy husband and he shall rule over thee” is never mentioned as a punishment of sin OR used in the context of a command for submission. I am not sure why but it should be.
Surely, Eve was in submission to Adam before the fall of man, but it was a liberal and gentle submission. Eve was created to be Adam’s helpmate, a role in which requires one to move up and one to go down in order to bring the other up. The very title exemplifies submission. But when Eve stepped out of her proper role to give Adam that which was not good, she had already over-stepped her bounds. The Lord put her back in her place, and put her back some more. No longer would it be a perfect submission, submitting to the perfect will of a perfect man; but rather, a necessary submission to her fallen husband. A husband who may make mistakes, who may make decisions selfishly or prematurely, who may be harsh, unkind, or domineering…all these things are the result of SIN and not submission. Eve never would have had to deal with any of these things in the pre-fallen Adam. Therefore, we mustn’t despise submission and we mustn’t complain about it…we should despise SIN (which is how we got here in the first place.)
As Matthew Henry states, “Those wives who not only despise and disobey their husbands, but domineer over them, do not consider that they not only violate a divine law, but thwart a divine sentence.”
My last thought on this topic, is one that warms the soul. Notice that the punishments given to Eve are given not to break her but to chastise her. God punished by making childbirth hard, painful, and scary…but in the end we are truly blessed by the miracle of a child! IN the same way, we are told to be in complete submission to our husbands, but in doing so, we are PROTECTED and LOVED like Christ loves the church. We needn’t submit to any other husband but our own. And let’s face it, we don’t want the blame if we make a bad decision-we don’t like that kind of responsibility. Our lives are enriched by our husbands and enriched through our role of submission. This punishment was not a curse to us, but meant just to bring us low enough to see our sin and repent. The Lord is a merciful God!

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Cupid's Tree

Yesterday was my Valentine’s Day decorating day. What fun I had! I was like a little kid! I gathered anything remotely romantic, red, or pink and made focal points on the dining room table and any other area that could use it. I made tissue paper window clings (even though Scott thinks they are mushy gushy-I like ‘em!) My very favorite decoration, though, is our Cupid Tree! I had the tree from my craft show display…and so I hung ribbons, all my costume jewelry and Corynn’s play jewely on it for garlands, and I cut the thumbnail prints off that Victorian calendar and made ornaments. I also plucked some fake flowers here and there…I think it turned out great! I really missed the pretty lights of the Christmas tree…and now I have them again! (I wonder what John Owen will think?!?!?!)

Anyway-one fun thing done-now for a boring day of cleaning, laundry, dishes, and diapers….. Ho hum. 

O Cupid tree, O Cupid Tree..... Posted by Hello