Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Happy Birthday, Katrina!

On March 22, 2002, at 12:45 a.m. - forty-five minutes after arriving at the hospital - I gave birth to an 8 lb. 3 oz. baby girl.  Her delivery was the most different of any of our children.  It was the fastest, the most painful, and the most surprising.  It was the only time we didn't find out ahead of time what we were having.  Our baby was also born still in the bag of waters.  We named our baby Katrina Grace.  She has been full of surprises and different from her brothers and sisters ever since her arrival.  While her different nature has been a challenge at times, I am growing to appreciate those differences.  

Katrina is very much like her daddy in many respects.  She loves to work with her hands.  She likes people, but she doesn't NEED them.  She hates to be the center of attention; even when we sing "Happy Birthday" to her, she looks like she'd rather crawl under the table until it's over!  She is quiet and listens much of the time.  Katrina does not express happiness and surprise like most people.  You can give her the gift she's been dreaming of for years and, while most 10 year old girls would jump up and down and hug and kiss the giver, Katrina will just give a small smile and say, "Thank you," just like her dad.  We joke and say, "She's jumping up and down on the inside." Katrina also has her daddy's beautiful blue eyes.

Katrina is also very much her "own" person.  She works on her own schedule.  She has a quirky sense of humor.  She loves animals, but not in the typical little girl-way - she enjoys them a bit more maturely.   She isn't the type that wants a lot of hugs and physical attention, but enjoys it once in a while.  She enjoys reading her Bible, but her walk with the Lord will probably always be a private affair.

This past week, on Katrina's 10th birthday, the weather was near 80-degrees.  Perfect for going to a playground - a rarity for a March birthday!  We picked up a friend, packed a lunch, and headed off to the park where the kids had hours of fun playing hide & seek, queens, guards, & pirates, and just running all over the place.  

It was voted the Best Playground Ever by the kids!

 "Shhh....I'm hiding."

 Um, ouch.

 A happy birthday girl

After running around and getting really warm at the playground, we headed to the lake.  The LAKE in MARCH!

 One of their favorite friends with whom my girls love sharing their birthdays.

 Discovering various rocks & creatures along the lake.

 Huck Finn pushing off his raft. 

 Wouldn't it be nice if we all could be this photogenic?


 The beach... full...

...of interesting...


After the lake, we took our friend home and headed back to our house.  Katrina went with her daddy to pick up some Chinese food on which we gorged ourselves!  We then watched her open her presents.

Beautiful dress from Grandma.

Brothers just aren't into pretty dresses.

Easy to please, as always, all she wanted was a journal.  She had much to write for her birthday entry!

The delicious chocolate-truffle cake Grandma makes.

A precious photo to be treasured.

Happy Birthday, Katrina!

Thank You, dear Lord, for this sweet, bright-eyed girl who is teaching me to appreciate the differences in people.  Thank you for her desire to give to others and lead her younger siblings.  She is a precious addition to our family and I am honored You chose me to be her mother.  Bless her in her 10th year & I hope & pray she will strive to please You more with each passing day.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Missionary Monday - The Schwaderers

(stock photo)

The Doug Schwaderer family are veteran missionaries.  Years ago, they served in Mexico reaching the people there for Christ.  The Lord then led them back to the States and Doug served in our county jails as chaplain.  What a mission field the jail cell is.  People have hit rock-bottom, are paying the price for their sin, and in comes someone to tell them that Someone has paid it all for them!

We met the Schwaderer family while Doug was ministering in the prisons.  Their family was a integral and wonderful part of our church.  When such a family gets called to a foreign mission field, we have mixed emotions.  We're thrilled that they are answering God's calling, yet we know we will feel the void they leave in a big way.  Such were our feelings when this sweet family was being moved from New York to the Canary Islands.

When I visualize "paradise" I basically envision the Canary Islands.  Bright blue skies, beautiful blue oceans, colorful tropical flowers, warm temperatures...perfection!!!  Some may think, "wow!  I wish we were called there to be missionaries!"  However, while the island is beautiful and prospering, the souls are hard.  It seems that countries that are poverty-stricken are reaping large harvests while financially "strong" civilizations just don't "need" God.

The Schwaderers recently came back to the States for the first time in four years to see two of their daughters get married.  While home for less than 6 months, when they returned one of the 2 churches they had left was no longer meeting.  What a heart-break.  These missionaries do, indeed, see souls saved.  They spend countless hours passing out tracts on the street, going on door-to-door visitation, discipling new converts, and having church meetings.  Doug has recently been able to get into the prisons there and continue reaching that group of people God gave him a passion for many years ago.  However, with all the hard work & with the successes, the disappointments are often many & deeply felt.

Yet, this family keeps smiling.  They keep loving the God Whom they serve.  Carolee continues to homeschool the two remaining daughters at home (4 of their children are married & all are missionaries or in the ministry).  She, especially, is a wonderful example & testimony of a woman who has been through much and continues to "stay by the stuff."

Carolee often updates her blog, Carolee's Corner - Canary Islands, in which we learn about the trials and joys of life in the Canary Islands.  I love that she is REAL.  I love that I know how to pray for her and for her family.  I love how she quietly supports her energetic husband and loves her Lord.  Her most recent post is one that all of us should read and ponder.

Please pray for the Schwaderer family this week.  Pray that they will see fruit and maybe a soul will be saved even in the next several days.  Pray as they are separated from their children and grandchildren who are, literally, spread out all over the world.  Pray for their health and for their unity as a family.

While we're at it, let's pray that we will have loving hearts for those who are lost & hardened towards the things of God.  We can learn so much from our missionaries.

My Week in Pictures - March 18-24

I should re-title this series, "My LIFE in Pictures" or "My INCONSISTENCIES in Pictures."  While I am definitely using my cameras and capturing more life-moments this year than I ever have before, I am not very good at getting shots daily.  There are various reasons for this, but I must admit, the main reason is forgetfulness.  7 kids, homeschool, shopping, illness, visits, planning various activities....have no idea why I forget to pick up a camera every single day.


Sunday & Monday 3/18 & 19 - Forgot. ;)

Tuesday 3/20 - My daughter is a mother's helper & returned home w/ this portrait of my husband & I drawn by the 4 year old.  I always wanted to be tall and thin with big hair.  (iPhone photo)

 Wednesday 3/21 - The 70-degree temperatures were perfect for our first visit to the pond for the year.  (iPhone photo)

Thursday 3/22 - Katrina's 10th birthday. We had a dinner of Chinese take-out and a delicious cake made by Grandma.  More photos of her birthday will follow in another post.

 Friday 3/23 - Zane had his follow-up appointment to see how the bifocals were helping.  The results of his vision test proved that his left-eye needs some re-training.  When I heard that he needed to be patched, I almost cried.  When I found out it's only for 2 hours/day, I felt much better.  The adorable train helps, too!  (iPhone photo)

 Saturday 3/24 - The only picture I took was this one to send to my mother-in-law.  Zane actually is really good about the patch - so far.  (iPhone photo)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Jog

I am not a jogger.  I hate to jog.  I don't just not LIKE jogging;  I don't just not CARE for it.  I.  Hate.  Jogging.   My lungs burn.  My legs hurt...for days.  It's not fun.  At all.

However, my husband's exercise of choice is running.  Even before he came back to the farm & he was an engineer, he would take time after work or during his lunch-hour to run.  No, he's not a marathon runner.  He's never even done a 5K.  He just likes the work-out that a short run gives him.  Now, he runs all over the farm and still likes to take a jog after work.

Me?  I'm more of an elliptical person.  I love my elliptical.  I'll put in my headphones & listen to a couple of Christian podcasts while I run that machine into the ground.  I get off of it 45 min to one hour later sweating like crazy and feeling good.

So, I don't know what possessed me on Sunday afternoon when my husband said he might go for a run and I piped up, "I'd like to go, too."  His look of surprise mirrored my feelings.  After a bit of a nap, I impatiently got up and started getting ready to jog down our lane.  This lane has conquered me before.  I have run it a few times only to confirm my loathing of the exercise.  My husband got ready and before I knew it, I was outside jogging.

Ok, well, it was probably more of a fast walk with arms flying.  My husband and daughter quickly moved ahead and left me picking the dust out of my teeth.  I had no idea how far Eric was planning on running, but I was determined to do the same.  Because I'm a person who gets overwhelmed with the far-reaching goal, I kept my eyes to the ground immediately in front of me, raising them only once in a while to gage how much further I had to go.

My lungs were burning.  I was breathing hard.  I had gone about 10 feet.  But, I was still jogging.  So far, success.

I reached the trees that line the lane for a few yards.  I was about five minutes into the jog and Eric and our daughter were specks in the distance.  I suddenly heard footsteps approaching.  Fast footsteps.  Running footsteps.  My eight year old son had run from the house and caught up with me, rather quickly.  He then stopped running and walked along side me as I continued jogging.

Did you read that?  I said, he WALKED along side me as I continued jogging.  Sure, he had to "run" to catch up with me a couple of times, but I think he only did that to make me feel better.

When his dad & sister came running back towards home and passed us, my son turned to go with them.  Doubtless, he saw his father as more his speed.  I heard my sweet husband encourage Seth to stay with me.   Obviously, there was some concern that I'd end up unconscious in the middle of the deserted country lane with the hawks flying over me.  My dutiful and loyal son obeyed & watched over his poor mother.

I reached the hill where Eric had chosen to turn around.  I continued to jog.  Seth now was doing a glorified fast-walk with a bit of hopping to make it look like he was jogging.   It was obvious I was holding this kid back.  I told him he could run, but he thought it wiser to stick with me.  Those hawks were gathering in numbers.

I saw that I was approaching the end...where I began.  My lungs burned.  I breathed heavily.  My legs ached.  I kept thinking of how much I hate running, yet how badly I needed to finish this run & not give up.

I finished.  I ran the whole mile.  I did something hard and didn't quit.  It felt good.

And, do you know what?   I went back out today and I enjoyed it.

This time, my 11 year old daughter ran beside me; not walking, but jogging. My lungs were not burning and my legs didn't hurt as much.  I felt a bit better about myself...until I realized that my asthmatic daughter was having an easier time breathing than I.  She was also wearing flip-flops & still keeping pace.

Where DO these kids come from?

Maybe I don't quite HATE jogging anymore.  I still love my elliptical, but it might be fun to jog a few times a week.

I can't believe I just said that.

Maybe if I keep at it, my son will actually break a sweat and my daughter will find it necessary to actually put on sneakers to keep up with me.  

I can dream, can't I?

Monday, March 19, 2012

My Week in Pictures - March 11-17, 2012

What a beautiful week it was!!!  The warm weather hit and the kids spent much of their time outside & went to bed late just about every night as we hated to make them come in.  I must say, though, that as farmers, we're not as excited about this weather as many New Yorkers are.  The other shoe must fall....however, we did take the opportunity to grill some yummy steaks on Thursday evening.  Saturday brought Katrina's 10th birthday party and she had a blast bowling with her friends.  Nice weather, family time, and can't ask for a better week!


Sunday 3/11 - The night before, our good friends who have moved back from Alaska came for a visit. They brought us some whale to sample.  Thought I'd take a photo of it before we divided it among ourselves on Sunday afternoon.

Monday 3/12 - This and a banana made up my lunch for the day.  Counting calories least this juice is loaded with the vitamins I need. (iPhone photo)

Tuesday 3/13 - Counting calories doesn't mean cutting all the "good" stuff out...just eat less.  Only ate one of these and enjoyed it immensely! (iPhone photo)

Wednesday 3/14 - The warm weather has the chickens literally spreading their wings.  This beautiful rooster is one that my daughter hatched in her incubator this past fall. (iPhone photo)

 Thursday 3/15 - Delmonico steaks on the grill.  Can't you just smell them?  These were the best-tasting steaks I've ever had...and fed from our own corn.

Friday 3//16 - Crazy day.  No photos.  Still doing better than last week.

 Saturday 3/17 - The happy birthday girl at her party.  What a blessing to find a church with a bowling alley - had it all to ourselves, no music, no bar.  Family friendly, indeed!

I'm looking forward to another great week!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

In the Words of St. Patrick

"For there is no other God, nor ever was before, nor shall be hereafter, but God the Father, unbegotten and without beginning, in whom all things began, whose are all things, as we have been taught; and his son Jesus Christ, who manifestly always existed with the Father, before the beginning of time in the spirit with the Father, indescribably begotten before all things, and all things visible and invisible were made by him. He was made man, conquered death and was received into Heaven, to the Father who gave him all power over every name in Heaven and on Earth and in Hell, so that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and God, in whom we believe. And we look to his imminent coming again, the judge of the living and the dead, who will render to each according to his deeds. And he poured out his Holy Spirit on us in abundance, the gift and pledge of immortality, which makes the believers and the obedient into sons of God and co-heirs of Christ who is revealed, and we worship one God in the Trinity of holy name...
I am, then, first of all, countrified, an exile, evidently unlearned, one who is not able to see into the future, but I know for certain, that before I was humbled I was like a stone lying in deep mire, and he that is mighty came and in his mercy raised me up and, indeed, lifted me high up and placed me on top of the wall. And from there I ought to shout out in gratitude to the Lord for his great favors in this world and for ever, that the mind of man cannot measure."
                                                                                                                                       -Saint Patrick

Nothing about beer, parties, or parades. Just the holiness of God, the goodness of God and the need to worship Him.

"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ" & you will, indeed, have a Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I am God's Gift to My Husband!

That's a pretty bold statement, isn't it?  After reading I Corinthians 11:9 this morning, I truly believe it.

"Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man."

God created women FOR men.  He created me FOR my husband.

So often, the biblical concepts of wives submitting to and helping their husbands is condemned.  "How out of date."  "How male chauvinistic!"  "That's only because the Bible was written by men who didn't value women!"

Even good-intentioned Christian leaders would have us believe that because of the Fall, one of the punishments was that women would have to serve their husbands.  Horror of horrors.

However, the Bible tells me that I am created for my husband...When I make something or buy something FOR someone and give it to them, it is normally thought of as a gift.  God made woman FOR the man.  He saw that Adam needed someone for companionship, for help, for, He made the woman for him and gave her to him.   That, my friend, is a gift.

Have you ever been given a gift of something you've been wishing for only to be soon disappointed because it didn't work, wasn't all you expected it to be, or it broke because it was cheaply made?  That is a bitter disappointment, to be sure.

Excuse the illustration I am about to use, but I think it shows the nature and need of men:

While men are often criticized for giving gifts that are useful (i.e. - blenders, vacuums, etc.), that is often because they enjoy getting gifts that they can use.  My husband and his dad bought a new combine last year.  It's large.  It's shiny.  It's green.  It's only a year old with few hours on it.  This combine was the greatest thing ever.  There was an adjustment period in learning how to use it, but because they knew it was going to enable them to get more crops harvested in less time and with fewer break-downs, they patiently learned to operate it.  They had the heads they needed for the crops they needed.  As soon as the wheat was ready, they took that baby out and were thrilled with the work it gave them.  It did everything they wanted it to do.  Nothing broke.  It got the job done.  When corn season came, they switched the grain head and they breezed through the fields.

Between the harvests and after the season was over, they spent a few days cleaning the combine - in and out.  While the days in the field had made it dirty, the guys put some time into it and soon the bold green paint was shining like it was the day it was delivered.  Once clean, the combine was put into the barn where it would be protected from the elements of fall and winter.  They know that by taking good care of their combine, they will benefit from many years of work (help) from it.  They know as the previous combine had lasted them 30 years, because of the care and labor they put into it.

While the combine wasn't necessarily a gift, it is something that my husband appreciates and loves.  Trust me, if it was a gift, I'm pretty sure he'd even be happier and take even better care of it!!  Anyway, not to compare women/wives to large pieces of farm machinery, but let's apply the illustration to biblical marriage.

The woman is a gift. If the brand new combine wouldn't start immediately or broke down often its first season and needed parts replacements every other day my husband would have been frustrated and severely disappointed.  While the combine may have, eventually, gotten the job done, it wouldn't have been what my husband was hoping for and it would probably cause crop damage due to delays. He would probably replace it by the next season.  So, also, the wife who argues, fusses, or is "high-maintenance" (that's just a nicer word for selfish) may get the job done, but her husband will not be happy.  He may be constantly considering getting a "new model."

The combine that just sits in the barn keeping its paint shiny & new-looking is of no use to the farmer.  There it sits while the crops rot in the field.  Again, so is the wife who thinks looking good for her man is enough.  Sure, he'll ooh and ahh when he first sees her, but after a while, this gorgeous woman will just make him angry or nauseous while he sees his house & his children falling apart or if he can't get a decent meal after a long day because she's been out getting her nails done, hanging out at the salon, or sun-bathing.

My husband likes the fact that his new combine looks so nice.  He likes the fact that it gets the job done even better.  My husband realizes that his combine will not always look so good.  It will begin to age.  Paint will fade or chip.  Dents will be found on its body.  He's ok with that.  Oh, he takes care of it so it won't happen more quickly than it should, but, as long as it's getting the job done without a lot of agony on his part, he doesn't really care too much how shiny it is.

Husbands appreciate their wives looking nice.  But, have you ever seen a man praise his wife for how she helps him?  He beams!  "She's a great mom!"  "She makes the best meals!"  "I'm so glad she takes care of house so I don't have to worry about it when I get home!"  "She's my best friend - I can talk to her about anything!"  I've seen husbands with gorgeous wives go around looking miserable, while husbands whose wives are homely, but cheerful and industrious look happy & content.

No one views the combine as an inferior part of farming.  It is essential.  Without it, the farmer would not be able to grow as many crops nor make as much profit.  However, when the harvest is done, it is not the combine that gets the credit, it's the farmer.  The only one who may appreciate the combine is, indeed, the farmer that owns it - the farmer who knows how much it helped him.  Again, so it is with a godly marriage.  It is not demeaning to us to help our husbands; we are essential to his life's work.  No, they aren't so incompetent as to say they couldn't ever live without us, but he wouldn't be able to do as much.  If we do our job well, we make their job easier, more profitable, and more pleasant.  The more we serve him, the more we fulfill his requests for our home, our children, our relationship with him...the more willing he'll be to treat us as we wish to be treated.   Men care for their prized gifts...the ones that prove themselves useful.

That may sound harsh.  It may be a over-simplified view of marriage, but, why do we make it so complicated?

To be fair, we'll flip the coin a bit.  There are men are irresponsible and don't care for the things given to them.  They get a new tool or piece of machinery, ooh & ahh over it, show it off to their friends, use it once or twice and then leave it on the ground to be rained & snowed on only to get upset & angry when it won't work for them the next season.  That man is a fool.  If he wants the tool to work for him, he must care for it.

The godly man will protect his wife from the cruel elements of this world.  He will see when he's putting too much of a work load on her and not strain her.  He will be sure to praise her and take care of her after she's put in a good day's work or has finished a project he needed done.  He will give her some rest and shelter via a date-night or a couple of hours of quiet.  A bit of care will go a long ways in keeping her going.

And, as a sweet, helpful, submissive wife ages, her husband may see the dents & the fading paint...but he'll appreciate her and care even more tenderly for her...just to keep her going with him.

Am I a gift that pleases or disappoints?  Knowing, now, that I am, indeed, a gift for my husband, I will put in even more effort to be one that pleases and meets all his expectations and desires.  God chose me above all others to give to this man.  I am not insulted; I am honored.

What about you?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Missionary Monday - the Shulls

A couple of weeks ago, I was preparing to teach my Geography class and the week's lesson was going to be covering the continent of North America.  Some do not realize that Greenland is part of North America. Many think it's part of Europe, if they even think about it at all.  I mean, seriously, how much of our time is spent thinking about Greenland...or any other country besides our own, for that matter?

Some facts I discovered about Greenland:
It is the world's largest island
Eighty-Five percent of the country is covered in ice up to a mile thick
It snows about 9-10 months out of the year
The sun doesn't come up for 3 months during the winter
There are just over 57,000 people in Greenland - there are a lot more people in the county I live in!
Greenland is a territory of Denmark and the national religion is the Lutheran Church of Denmark - in fact, it's an actual branch of the government
High school is optional in Greenland; there are only 2 in the entire country and the villages in which they are in house the students who come in to attend
Though there are hospitals, citizens must fly out of the country if they need major medical care
Sled dogs are used often and only one type of dog is allowed in Greenland

When I was reading about the frozen & difficult conditions of the country and the few people who live there, I could not help but think: "They are still souls that need to know Christ.  Is there any one there telling them?"

It took me a while, but I found the Shull Family.  They are sent out of Victory Baptist Church in Wilmington, DE and associated with the Points North Baptist Mission (a mission board that focuses directly on missionaries sent to the Arctic people. Arctic-living is difficult and this board helps with the conditions and situations specific to these places).

The Shulls are the first Baptist missionaries ever to be allowed into Greenland.  Though 95% of the citizens are baptized into the Lutheran church, most people do not attend.  Reading through the Shulls blog, it is evident that Greenland is a spiritually dark country.  Suicide, alcoholism, & abortion abound throughout the various towns and villages.  In fact, on Thursdays the hospital in Ilulissat is only open to perform abortions.  That's in a town of just 5,000 people!

The Shulls arrived in Greenland in 2007, have 5 young children and are working together as a family to reach their neighbors and townspeople for the Lord.  It is their mission to establish a church in Ilulissat and make that their base while they plant other Bible-believing churches in other villages.

Please read about the Shulls ministry, the country of Greenland, and their daily life & prayer requests over on their blog, Arctic Adventures: A Glimpse into Our Life at the Top of the World!  The page about their field is where I gleaned much of my information on the northern most country in our continent.

Pray for the Shulls.  The hardships and isolation of their field and ministry are immense, I am sure.  May God continue to give them the love, grace, strength, and joy to accomplish His mission.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

My Week in Pictures - March 4-10, 2012

Well, this week was an utter failure.  I had intentioned to take a photo of each child for each day...7 children for 7 days.  Sounds like a great idea, right?  I thought so.  I got through 3 children.  On Wednesday, the fourth child had a hat on her head all day and I thought I'd get her picture when she was ready for church and looking a bit more photogenic.  Anyone who gets a bunch of kids ready for Wednesday night church probably already has deduced that THAT never happened.

I'm the kind of person that gets focused on one particular project and if it doesn't go to plan, I assume it's a failure.  I'm a fairly flexible person when it comes to the plans of other, but it takes me a while to realize that I just need to move on when one of my plans is failing.  Because I missed Wednesday, I thought that I could double-up on Thursday with kids.  That didn't happen.  Then I thought I'd can the 7-day thing and just have 7 photos - 1 of each child.  Have you ever tried to take decent photos of 3 or 4 children all in one day?  Let's just say there wasn't time for it.  So, because I couldn't forget about the goal, I dropped the ball completely.

Ever do that in your life?  We cling to a dream that proves impossible (due to circumstances, God's will, etc.) and refuse to notice the other opportunities that are flying by us.  When we finally realize what we are chasing or holding on to is futile, we often are left empty-handed.

The good news is, as long as we are breathing, there's still time to regroup.  Which is what I'm doing.  I missed 4 days out of this year.  That's a lot in a week, but a minuscule amount in the course of a year.  This week, I will pick up my camera and continue shooting.  Maybe the other four children will appear in next week's post.  I know I already have a shot for today.

Lesson learned...on a photographic and spiritual level.  Love how God used the literal illustration of pictures to show me a picture of my walk with Him.  I may fail, but I must not give up completely.

WEEK TEN (which consists of only 3 shots):

 Sunday 3/4 - Michael - 14 years old

 Monday 3/5 - Cassia - 12 years old

Tuesday 3/6 - Anna - 11 years old

These are the first three I cut my teeth on in parenthood.  I look back when I had these three little ones (they were born within 3 years & 1 month of each other), and remember how exhausting it was.  However, we had some fabulous times and did things we don't have time to do now.  While I should have probably stayed home more, I'm glad for the fun places we went to and the things we did together making memories.

Funny how we neglect to enjoy the good old days when they're today.

My oldest three, like all of my children, are a treasure.  But, in a different way.  They are my life-line on the tough days.  They are my responsible ones.  My muscle & brawn.  My biggest helpers.  I should thank God for them more.  And, I should thank them.  

I think I will.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

God, Kirk Cameron, and Homosexuality

Kirk Cameron is being ridiculed, condemned, and even being called "an accomplice to murder" by many in the media and in Hollywood.

Something tells me that while he cares about these souls, he doesn't care what these people think of him.  He's obviously not out to please others, but God.  That's evident in his ministry and current public life.

One news report says that "Cameron is out of step with a growing majority of Americans" - as if that was a bad thing.  Most people in this world say that it's commendable to be an independent thinker; yet, when one thinks differently than the "majority" and dependent upon God's Word, there's nothing but public condemnation.

What were the horrible and hateful things Kirk Cameron said?  Read some excerpts from this article:
"Marriage is almost as old as dirt, and it was defined in the Garden between Adam and Eve.  One man, one woman for life till death do you part.  So I would never attempt to try to redefine marriage.  And I don't think anyone else should I support the idea of gay marriage?  No, I don't."  And when asked if he though homosexuality was a sin, Cameron went on to say, "I think that it's unnatural.  I think that it's detrimental, and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization."

Kirk Cameron spoke the truth concerning homosexuality (though I think he should have directly answered the question and said that, yes, indeed, it IS a sin).  While others are saying how hateful he is, they are ignoring the fact that he never said he hated homosexuals.  From what I can find in the Bible, GOD never says He hates homosexuals.  Hating the person is far different than hating the sin.  God hates all sin.  He hates the sins I commit, but He does not hate me. Kirk Cameron mentioned homosexuality because he was originally speaking at a Conservative political rally and he was speaking on the legalization of gay marriage,  If given the opportunity, I'm sure he would discuss how other sins are also a detriment to society - such as, fornication, abortion, covetousness, lying, thievery, lust, etc.  Just think of how many more groups he could have screaming at him right now!

I have some shocking news:  God does NOT accept us just as we are.  We must go to Him asking forgiveness and repent from our sin.  Repent means to turn away.  Does this mean we'll never sin again?  No.  But it does mean that we will look to Jesus, read His Word, surround ourselves with His people, and rely on His strength to do what is right.  When we sin, we face it and ask God to forgive us.

What if you had a friend that slapped you hard in the face every time he say you?  Would you allow that person in your home knowing that all he would do is slap you?  Would you want to hang out with him?  Why not? You wouldn't necessarily want him to get hit by a truck or get some horrible disease, but you would be a fool to continue to allow him to hurt you.  You tell the person that you will be more than happy to spend time with him and invite him to dinner IF they stop violating you.  Yet, that friend calls you hateful and un-loving because you won't accept him just as he is...with all his imprecations, including the one that causes you pain.

Let's say the friend comes to you and apologizes.  You welcome him into your home.  He then slaps you immediately.  He didn't even try not to.  Was he really sorry?  Will you keep him in your home?  However, what if he apologizes and is a great  friend for months and treats you with great kindness.  Then, one day, he slips up and slaps you.  He immediately comes to you and, through his tears, he asks you to forgive him. You know he hasn't hurt you in quite some time, is trying hard to do right by you and you know he's truly sorry.  You forgive.  You KNOW now that he is your friend and you can and will accept him, though not perfect.  

That's how it  is with God.  For some reason we think God's holiness makes Him a doormat or, worse, a fool.  Anyone who continually accepts someone into their home knowing they will only be abused and violated is a fool.  The world seems to expect that of God.  That is not the true God of the universe.  He loves us.  He sent His Son to die for us to prove His love.  However, the stipulation of acceptance is repentance.

If you think the Bible is an outdated source and not to be believed, then you don't truly believe in God or care what He thinks.  However, if you truly care about what God says and are just not sure where to look for His thought on homosexuality, here are some verses for you to look up and ponder.  Don't listen to me.  Don't listen to Kirk Cameron.  Don't listen to the Hollywood stars who think they're God.  Listen to the One true God:

Leviticus 18:22 - Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

Leviticus 20:13 - If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.  (wow! Aren't you glad we no longer have to pay for our sins with our blood? Praise God, Jesus' blood covers all sin...we just need to accept His gift of love)

Deuteronomy 23:17 - There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.  (Obviously, there are many more sins God hates in addition to homosexuality)

I Kings 14:24 - And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord cast out before the children of Israel. (God does NOT accept it)

I Kings 15:12 - And he [King Asa] took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made.  (Not very tolerant, however, this is what is said about him in verse 14: "Asa's heart was perfect with the Lord all his days.")

I Kings 22:46 - And the remnant of the sodomites, which remained in the days of his father Asa, he took out of the land.  (speaking of Jehosophat)

Romans 1:26-27 - For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
   In all fairness, let's see the other sins God mentions in this particular passage:
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Homosexuality is wrong.  It is an abomination to God.  He did not create it.  He does not accept it.  He will forgive it.  He will change the homosexual.  He will change the sinner...just like He changed me.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Missionary Monday - the Matacchieras

I'm trying a new feature on my blog.  As I've been teaching a World Geography class in our homeschool co-op, I've been made even more aware of distant lands, their need for Christ, and the missionaries in those places...or lack thereof.   Therefore, I would like to make you all aware of different missionaries all over the world.  Some, you may already know.  Some may be new names.  My desire is that you would pray for these missionaries.  Maybe not for the rest of your life, but for one week.  From Monday to Monday until I introduce the next missionary.  If you pray for them for a week, there will be times in the next months & years that God will bring them to your mind and you will pray.  In this way, we can have a large part in world missions...even if we never leave our home-town.

Our first missionary:  Damon & Lisa Matacchiera and family

Damon is the oldest son of the first missionary family that was sent out from our church in the year 2000.  He was a recent high school graduate when his family set out to reach Zambia, Africa for Christ.  While serving along-side his father, Damon felt called by God to continue reaching the Zambian people even after he would be married and on his own.

In 2004, Damon married Lisa,  a young lady who also attended our church.  The two of them set off on deputation and later settled in Kitwe, Zambia where they helped Damon's family for a time.  Recently, they have begun a work in Chipata, Zambia.  Their mission is to win souls, plant churches, and train nationals to have a burden for their own people.  Zambia is a poor country with over 10 million people & a low life expectancy.  Christ died for each one of these people and He does not want them to die without Him.  The mission is an urgent one.

Damon and Lisa have two precious little girls, an adorable son, and another baby will arrive in October 2012.  I love following Lisa on Facebook and really learning about what a missionary-wife/mom's life is like on the field.  Lisa is dedicated to making their house a home and nurturing their children to have a walk with the Lord.  Through Lisa's updates, I know they deal with unpredictable internet, daily power outages, bouts of malaria, & poisonous snakes, yet she keeps an upbeat and cheerful attitude - even now as those challenges are compounded by the nausea and exhaustion due to early pregnancy.

The missionaries I will feature on this blog will be those who have blogs or websites they update frequently, as it will be easier for you to get to know them and keep up with what God is doing in their lives and ministries.  Damon & Lisa do a wonderful job with their blogs.  Damon's focuses on their ministry while Lisa's keep us informed on their family-life.
                  Damon's Blog: Inside Zambia
                  Lisa's Blog:  Hilltop Happenings

Go on over and learn about the Matacchieras.  Pray for them...and let them know you are praying.  An encouraging word from their brothers & sisters in Christ, I am sure, goes a long way in giving them the motivation they need to continue serving the Lord from day to day.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Week in Pictures - February 26-March 3

When I posted last week, I was just getting sick.  I am getting over illness now (I think) and this cold has hit most of the family.  I think we had a family record low church attendance this morning - only our 2 oldest went!!  Because my head was in a fog most of the week, I neglected to take pictures a couple of days.  But, I have most of the week!


 Sunday, 2/26 - Farm fresh eggs.  No, they don't come out of the hens perfectly clean.

Monday, 2/27 - Sick in bed.  A couple of my meds - Jr. mints & a homeschool magazine. (iPhone photo)

Tuesday, 2/28 - No photo :(

 Wednesday 2/29 - One of my students. ;)

 Thursday, 3/1 - Look what I found in the bathroom! (iPhone photo)

Friday, 3/2 - No photo :(
Saturday, 3/3 - Can't wait to go through this book with my 14 year old son! (iPhone photo)

Hoping you all are healthy and have a wonderful week!