Prayer Dare

I’ve started and stopped this post numerous times. I wanted to write something about the things I’ve learned this past year. My goals for the next one. I have goals. I do. They’re just not all that important.

“Seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness”. I want to do 5K thing. Finish the first draft of my novel. Eat healthy, lose weight. Blog. Be a better Mommy. All groovy, but in comparison- not all that important.

Prayer is important. Prayer changes things. Prayer changes me. The most incredible adventures I’ve ever been on started with prayer. Miracles I’ve seen- prayer. I remember a sweet time of prayer right before an evangelistic event. The hundreds that responded to the alter call were only a shockwave, an aftermath. God had already met with us in prayer.

I remember meeting with a couple of friends in the wee hours of the morning at EMU. We prayed for revival. We found it, but not quite the way we envisioned. We were revived, in fact, seeds were planted in those days that would leave our hearts burning in years to come. I remember the Sunday nights that tarried into Monday mornings. I’ve grown older and wiser since then, but I don’t think I’ve ever been as fervent. I miss that.

I want to pray more this year. I want to really change. Inside change. Not just rearrange the furniture.

You want revival? You want God’s kingdom to come in your heart, your family, your communities or your nation?

Pray with me. I dare you.


Underhill Academy Spring Semester

We started the morning with frothy hot cocoa to celebrate the beginning of our spring semester of school!  Everyday we do Bible, Math, Spelling/Phonics, PE, and Literature/Grammar. Latin is weekly. Zoology and History are on alternate days.

Bible: Child’s Story Bible by Catherine Vos; Heidelberg Catechism
Math: continuing Saxon 8/7 for Em and Horizons for Gracie and Maggie
Spelling: all working through the Websters Speller
PE: One hour outside as weather permits, riding bikes at the chimneys, preparing soil for gardens, hunting wildflowers, or inside playing the wii if the weather is bad.
History: Em in Landmark History: Appomattox to Moon Landing. Little people doing Geography/Cultures unit study.
Science: Em reading an Elementary Zoology book (Apologia)to little people and helping plan projects and experiments
Phonics: Maggie reading the Speller to me daily and has Dolce sight word flashcards. Gracie reading 1 chapter in Bible to me daily. Millie and Annie watch a few minutes of you tube phonics videos and Millie has papers to do
Literature/Grammar: Gracie doing selected reading in book “What every 3rd grader should know” Em selecting own books to read from an approved list
Latin: one lesson a week from Latin Primer, translating Genesis from Latin to English

Family Project: I am busy printing out fact sheets about various flowering plants and vegetables. Kids are going to research what plants would grow best in various locations and each plan a garden plot (with my help). We will order seeds, start plants in the greenhouse, and work together to turn their gardens into a reality.

Coop: Kids will be in a musical and continuing with PE. Maggie will learn about sign language and community helpers. Gracie and Em will get some more Geography or Cultures

Margarita Religion

I’m sipping water and B vitamins this morning, trying to flush the slightly toxic feeling from my system. I don’t normally drink much at all, it upsets my tummy. This Christmas found myself handing out margarita’s with liberality and joy.

Though we try to dress it up with tinsel and lights, Christmas is a celebration of brokeness. Broken world. God who puts on broken flesh. “This is my body … broken”

So, what does that have to do with this slightly nauseated feeling? Everything.

I saw those pictures we all posted to facebook. The warm glowy perfection of the holiday season. Only, is it really like that? Or is Christmas the time when all the fault lines and hurt rise to the surface. The only time the whole family gets together to judge and fear judgement. Maybe I’m the only descendant of the first parents out there, but I doubt it.

I am a sinner, the child of sinners, the sibling of sinners, but I never learned to be a friend of sinners. I never learned of the one whose yoke was easy and burden is light. Perhaps I’d never forgiven and been forgiven.

We can’t change the past, but there is Someone who can redeem it. I can’t fix people of make them follow my plan for their lives, but there is One who promised the His sheep would hear His voice and follow Him.

So I’m with the guy from the wedding in Cana. The One who turned water to wine. The One who put on our flesh and ate with prostitutes and drank with the IRS. I’m the one in the corner mixing the drinks and saying Come! Come drink with me, come eat with me, come know me in all my foolish brokeness. We don’t have to talk religion. Or politics. Welcome to my life, there’s another guest at the feast, and He throws a much better party then I can.

His name is Jesus…

The people sitting in darkness have seen a great Light. He came, true God clothed in poor flesh. He was often moved to compassion. He was the son of David that healed blind Bartimeus. He was the Son of God who did not despise the Samaritan woman, but pointed her to the day when all would worship in Spirit and in truth. He told a rich young ruler that if he wanted to be perfect he should sell everything he had and give it to the poor. He healed on the Sabbath.

Long ago, a guy named Balaam was called upon to curse Israel, but each time he opened his mouth, blessing came out. The greatest and final blessing was that at some time in the future, a Star and Scepter would come. In fact, all of creation has born witness of his coming through all the ages. I though it was cool the other day when I read about an ancient Sumerian prophecy about a lamb whose blood would be that sacrifice for sin.

He came. God put on Flesh. His mission: seek and save that which was lost. His stated purpose: The Spirit of Lord Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.

Joy to the World!

Have yourself a Sexy Sol Invictus…and Lift up your eyes

Warning… this post is probably offensive. I don’t care.
If you are like most Americans, you’re getting ready to celebrate Christmas. Awesome. I am not going to rail a bunch of trivia at you about pagan holidays, because, in the end if a thing is pointing to the Incarnation of the Savior of the World, even a little bit, its GOOD. GOOD. It may not be sanctioned. It may not be best. But if it turns our world weary eyes just A LITTLE BIT to the throne of Grace, then YES and AMEN. Both Jesus and Paul seemed Ok with the whole “whoever isn’t against us is for us” take on it.

However, in the name of living an Incarnate life, I am going to add a few of my own Christmas traditions (in totally random order).
1) I shaved my legs. Above the knee. I am donating to a charity for hairless cats. And I am making an effort to push toward the things that are good and excellent an praiseworthy in my marriage bed. The whole “growing my own winter stockings thing” wasn’t humility, it was laziness.
2) Christmas morning, I am making a decadent breakfast.Then we will watch each person open their gifts. One by one. And we will take joy in each persons joy.
3) No elf on the shelf. We use this season to remind the kids that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Santa isn’t keeping a list of naughty or nice.  Sin is offense punishable by death, not a few lumps of coal. We are all sinners utterly dependent on God’s Great and MOST PRECIOUS gift.
4) I assign to Christmas the same importance I will assign to the day I get out the graph paper and help the children plan our garden and flower beds. It is part of the rhythm, the seasons on life that we trod deep groves and learn devotion in. I happen to like the liturgical calender. It’s a teaching tool, like phonics or flashcards or anything else we use to help imprint important things on young minds. It is not holy in itself, but can be used to holy ends.

So bring on the figgy pudding. Break out the Wassail. In the darkest days of the year, on those cold winter nights, we’ll sing you a song of the days of the Light.

Snapshots from this Advent Season

My camera isn’t working, so I’ll try to catch some of these memories with words. This year brings with it rousing chorus’ from well loved Christmas songs, especially since Gracie came home from caroling with all of the words. Vomit to be washed from hair after one child, who shall remain nameless, ate almost an entire peanut butter pie. Mimi at the dining room table with paints and ornaments. Hiding a bicycle (a present for Em) while she was away caroling with the youth group. Trying to hang said bicycle on the back of an outbuilding door 🙂

The kiddos were is a Christmas program at church yesterday. They belted out Away in a manger and Silent night, then got to dress up for a manger scene. Annie was with Shane, but got away right before the service started. She visited several of our neighbors before making her way up to the front.

Emily herded a group of sweet, mischievous little shepherd boys. They were well behaved, but my angel Millie must’ve gotten her halo on crooked. She had a hard time standing still during the readings.

Annie talking, coming up with new words and sayings daily. Millie loudly singing the words to her favorite carols. Always hungry Maggie, looking for one more Christmas cookie. Sweet Emily. Serious Gracie.

I look forward to this coming week of happy celebration. The rhythm of our lives remain. Chores. Reading in 1st and 2nd Samuel. The singing of Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Even a bit of schoolwork. For now, those little snapshots are bordered in tinsel, frosted in buttercream, and a constant reminder of an Incarnate God who ate and drank and wept and loved well. And told the lisping children “Come”.


The Moon Bat Mystery and other Capers

Moon Bat

Gracie: (hands me a blue t-shirt) I want you to iron those glitter letters on to this.  I want it to say “Moon Bat”

Me:  Moon Bat? Why Moon Bat?

Gracie: (as if what she is saying is both obvious and perfectly logical) Because I don’t want Moon dogs or moon cats.

The Truth

I know what you and Daddy do. You kiss after we go to bed. I figured it out.

The Scientist

Maggie: Mom, when I grow up I want to be a scientist. I already know everything. Well, there is one thing I don’t know. I’m not sure what is inside the human body. You need to get me a book about that so I can be a scientist.

The Secret (shared with permission)

Maggie: Mom, I have a secret, but I am embarrassed to tell you about it. You might be upset

Me: (spends the next 10 minutes assuring Maggie that she can tell me anything, that she should never have secrets from Mommy, that I love her no matter what. I am getting increasingly alarmed, Maggie increasingly embarrassed)

Maggie (completely red faced, finally whispers in my ear): I think Ninjas are real.

Me: There are such a thing as Ninjas, the are more a historical thing then the lego version on the cartoon. Ninjas were ancient fighters, not legos.

Maggie: Really? There are Ninjas?! I am so relieved! I thought I believed in something that wasn’t real!


Millie is my emphatic child. She is a lisping three year old with a good vocabulary and very specific ideas about what she wants.  She doesn’t want a drink, she wants whole milk in a specific pink sippy cup, with a lid. She doesn’t want to just sit and sing with Mimi, she want to “ting Critmas  songs in ‘banish (sing Christmas songs in Spanish-specifically Jingle bells). This is particularly adorable/maddening when she gives me step by step instructions for what she desires.

Millie: Mommy! I hungry! I want a sandwhich with peanut butter and a piece of tlhoclate candy, and milk in my princess cup with a lid. I need a lid Mommy! Take off your coat and get the bread. STOP talking! Take your coat off. Please. Now get my ‘pecial plate. (her eyes are very big and wide, and her entire body gestures). Good girl, Mommy! Now find the peanut butter! PEEEAAAANUUUTTTT BBBUUUUTTTEEEER. I get the milk. I will help!


Annie’s favorite phases are oh-oh! and wow!. Closely following are the names of family members and favorite foods. The rest is jabber only discernible by her for now.


Emmy’s a teenager, so I won’t tell on her. I will try to remember her giving the little girl’s Princess Lea hair, how hard she works at her school work, her beautiful smile,  the sound of her singing, and a thousand other special moments, but I’ll try not to embarrass her.