Wednesday, January 30, 2008

'Kinz Kraze

You haven't lived until you've seen Webkinz! These very cute stuffed critters are a few more dollars than Beanie Babies, but they come with a secret code to their own website and offer endless fun. (I know, I should work for them.)

Each animal gets its own room, so once you have an account, you keep adding rooms to your "house". You can clothe them, feed them, accessorize them, decorate their rooms, read virtual books with them, take them to the arcade (oh, so many fun games!), send them to name it! My sister-in-law has said that Facebook is "gaming for girls", but I'm here to say, THIS is gaming for girls at its finest!

Check out Ben's tiger riding around in his little Chevy, and sleeping in his racecar bed. (Of course, there's also the cat with the baseball room, the dog with the beach get the picture.) Well, if you'll excuse me, I've got some (ahemmm) work to do before the kids get home.

P.S. It took a mom with little kids (way to go Lainey!) to answer the question of what had Ben and Bethany so preoccupied that I could snap all those cute pictures in this post. She recognized the "Webkinz stares" right away!

(Originally posted on Tracy's Scrapbook)

A farewell of another kind

We did something last week that we've never done before, never really considered a possibility since we moved into this house almost six years ago. We had guests over, and actually hung their jackets in our front closet! I know--kinda pathetic--but it's small!

One of my major goals when the kids went back to school was to go through our STUFF and get rid of things we don't need anymore. Today yet another donation truck came and took away a load, and I am happy to say that we are whittling away at it! I must also say, however, that I have a really hard time getting rid of things that my husband bought me, even if they are worn out or outdated. I had to try some of them on to figure out why I don't wear them anymore since I loved them so much for so long. Oh yeah, the shoulder pads. I still have a long way to go on this project, but we're making progress! And so far I've gotten a working front closet out of the deal...

Monday, January 28, 2008

How beautiful

This post is in honor of my brother and his family.  We have had the privilege of enjoying them nearby for the past six months, but now it is time once again to send them off to West Africa.

The photo above is again from Timothy Botts's rendering of Handel's Messiah.  In case you can't see it well, it reads "How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things."  (Romans 10:15)

Botts notes the following:  "Some of the most beautiful people I know are missionaries of the gospel.  There is a loneliness about this melody, much like the path they are called to travel. Just as missionaries do not bring attention to themselves, I have placed the visual emphasis on their message."

Amen.  We love you guys!  We don't want you to go, but go you must, and we bless you. 

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Parlez vous?

About once every five years Lee decides to see if he can still cook.  Yesterday he had a hankerin' for some macaroni and spaghetti sauce.  He was reading the directions for the noodles and said, "For al dente pasta...what's al dente?"

To which Ben replied, "Dad, why don't you just read the directions in English?"

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Study in Delight

If you asked me who my kids resembled, I would tell you different sides of the family for each. But the reality is, they look like each other. Their expressions, the way they turn their heads, hold their mouths, the way their eyes light up. It forever amazes me. And then I always laugh thinking about it because of the way Ben describes it in this post from last year.

Now here's a challenge for YOU...guess what they were doing while I was having this snap fest. Click on the photo to get a closer look.

NEW HINT: Notice the furry clues in the photos.

(Originally posted on Tracy's Scrapbook)

Friday, January 18, 2008


"If we say we have not sinned, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:8-9

You might have caught the fact from my last post (or from knowing me!) that I am, as Lee and I laughingly say, a recovering legalist. (He's one too.)  Legalist...perfectionist... the two seem to go hand in hand.  It really bugs me when I fail to live up to my own or others' expectations, and more importantly, what I perceive to be God's expectations.

I caught a conversation between some youth of our church last night that warmed my heart. They had apparently had an animated discussion about original sin during youth group, which spilled over into the hallway afterwards. I don't know the details, but what I thought I heard was some friends encouraging one guy who seemed to be frustrated over his sinful nature. I'll skip the theology of sin for this post, but I'm always glad when people are grieved over their shortcomings. Grief is the open door to grace. But we must be willing to receive it.

This conversation reminded me of a song that has helped me numerous times when I have messed up. So Wayne Watson, bless you! Here's the verse, from "Every Now and Again":

It's good to go down to defeat now and then
To fail at some noble pursuit
To fall short of the prize
And find in His eyes
There's nothing your victory can do
To secure higher favor
Oh, He cannot love you more than now
Winners and losers
all are the same somehow.

Thank you so much, Lord, for every reminder that your love is unconditional, and your grace and mercy are constant.  

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Fresh Perspectives

Our pastor is challenging us this year to memorize scripture. I'm glad, because I used to memorize quite a bit of it, and I've gotten a little lazy in my old age. I should have been done with Colossians 3 by now, but I'm only about a third of the way through it.

Last week he assigned Philippians 1:6: "...he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." It was good to ponder this encouraging truth again. The "he", of course, is God, the one who made us and is still in the process of conforming His followers to the image of His Son.

One thing I hadn't focused on much before was the fact that Paul's letter is addressed to the CHURCH at Philippi, not to an individual. Just as God pursues individuals to bring us into relationship with him, He also establishes the church in various locales and among various groups of people, and these living entities are also growing at his initiative and by his power. This is great news for the body of Christ wherever it dwells, because we need to be reminded that this sometimes-too-human institution is never beyond God's redemptive capabilities.

As I considered once again how blissful it is to know that God will also complete the work He has begun in me personally, I was struck by the question of what kind of completion HE is after. I know that what I want for myself is perfection. You know, no more mistakes, no more talking faster than I can think and regretting it later, no more frustration with my limitations. But that picture sounds pretty similar to what the serpent offered Eve--independence from God. And it's true. I want to be able to get it all right on my own. 

I really don't think my picture-perfect idea of completion matches God's very well. My reflection has led me to the idea that He is most concerned with completing the RELATIONSHIP that He initiated with us.  He knows we are most fulfilled when we are most dependent on Him. "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" echoes in my mind. (2 Corinthians 12:9) 

Lord, I trust that indeed, when you complete your work in your people, including me, the results will be glorious. The fulfillment of our relationships with you will be beyond our wildest imaginations. Help me to be less self-conscious, and more relationship-conscious.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

New Things

Last night we went to the mall to walk.  There was game the kids wanted to play after we were done, and it just happened to be right outside a kids' clothing store that has great clearance sales. I took each of the kids in for a turn to shop for some clothes. It was the fashion statement I'd managed to avoid for more than eight years. Camouflage. They both chose it, each independent of the other. What's a mom to do?

Earlier in the day I had taken them to shop with their Toys "R" Us gift cards. Bethany picked out an electric guitar with two microphones. So today the "Wildcat Band" spent the day rehearsing for their first concert. Good thing they had chosen matching costumes.

So now I'm laughing at myself for wondering if there would be anything new to add to my blog in 2008. :-) 
Happy New Year!

(Originally posted on Tracy's Scrapbook)