Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Intergrated Family and Yarn


First, while scooting around online, I happened upon the ugliest and most beautiful at the same time yarn ever! I don't know why such surface ugly yarn would attract me - but oh my goodness does it ever. I see myself in it - yes I am talking about yarn. :P But it's all crazy and chaotic and even a little ugly, but really it's just breaking out of the box, out of the mold, and is totally a unique and beautiful snowflake (okay too much FC for me...). I always lean towards more blending colors for myself or others around me because I don't want to try anything too crazy. But really inside I'm brimming with crazy thoughts and ideas (creatively not in a serial killer way of course ;0) ) and love trying new things, new styles, new colors. I mean I bought pumpkin dyed wool to make socks with because I loved the bold contrast to all things tame. I'm not a tame person, but slowly God is taking this chaos within me and knitting it together into something beautiful. This yarn makes me want to go dig into my stash and try to random put together my own beautiful/ugly/chaos looking skein as well. Buhahaha!

In other workings, during the kids' nap time (or attempt at a nap time) I had the chance to listen to some really awesome podcasts from Family Life Today. Since finding podcasts (even recent ones) can be a bit hard, I've taken the liberty of uploading these sermons to my online storage to make it easier to listen to. I highly recommend them and I know that they came right at God's time. The first one introduced a new (I think) movement of Family Integrated Church. I can see why it's creating waves at the Southern Baptist Convention and probably even more denominations (or non) as well as he calls for an end to Youth Groups and it seems (I could be wrong) Youth Pastors. I find myself totally and completely agreeing with him in all but one area - an end to age ministries (ie Nursery, Children's Ministries, etc.) And of course, it's for totally fleshly and selfish reasons - I lived four years in the LDS church where Sacrament meeting (the longest meeting of the three hour block) was totally family integrated and I H-A-T-E-D it. If nothing else left a lasting impression on me when I visited other churches - it was that my kids left refreshed and happy when they went to a Nursery the whole time versus spending over an hour with me and then going to Nursery. Not to mention the fact that DH and I never got anything from Sacrament after the kids were old enough to banish us to the foyer. And no, that wasn't my reason for apostacy.

The second one is about teaching a Christian worldview in the home. Which, I'll admit - I'm pretty torn on. Between all the secondary and third doctrines that I disagree with, I'm not sure how to really create a "Christian worldview" within my home. I'm not opposed to same sex marriage - I think it's unconstitutional, I'm not a Literal Creationist, I'm not anti-abortion, etc and so on. I do lean towards socialism which apparently from the discussions on this podcast are entirely un-Christian ::roll eyes:: - which to me seems to starkly contradict I believe Acts 5 (?) where they become one community, sell all their belongings, and NO ONE was in need. Sounds socialist to me. ;) But outside the socialism joke, I did overall enjoy most of the examples given. But cringe at trying to indoctrinate my children into narrow minded people - which of course, is probably my flesh and liberal thinking talking. :P

But I ♥L-O-V-E♥ that this pastor is stepping up and challenging men to be the pastors of their homes. That is freakin' awesome! Recently, Devin spoke about some huge church in Chicago I believe (Mars Church I think? Someone correct me if I'm wrong...) that recently did a study about their members and that the biggest mistake they made (they were front runners of this whole Emergent Church movement - reaching seekers where they are, etc etc) was not teaching their congregation to be self feeders. I think riding the coat tails closely is this - men not being taught or equipped to be spiritual leaders and heads in their families. In a world of seekers who don't even know they need Jesus, how are men to know they also need to step up and be the heads and leaders of their families? In the secular world, women can and are the leaders in their homes - why should Jesus change that?

I would love to attend a FIC service but dread the whole childcare thing - egh, that was a living hell that I never want to return to. But I for sure understand and even agree with the logic behind it all - kids should be learning to sit through "big church" and they should be learning alongside their parents. What the FIC movement does though is makes it applicable and interactive for all levels and even joke about having "rods" in the back to spank kids with in order to train them to sit through big church. However, OTOH (on the other hand) I totally agree with church's like GP's logic - that God connects to people where they are in life, whether that be newborn, toddler, elementary, middle, or high school and that the environment that kids should be in should be engaging ones that talk to them, not their parents. So I'm pretty torn on this - flesh or logic who knows. But I cannot wait to learn more. Honestly, it seems a lot like Family Home Evenings (only daily) and other "programs" (for lack of a better word right now) that the LDS church equipped us with - but again, that's not bad. The LDS church is really the model of what the Christian body and/or a Christian church should look like - of course minus the doctrine.

And yet, while some mega-uba-churches are following this model, they are just so unappealing. I really loved that Baucham's concern is about the Christian community within his church - about planting another when it gets too big which shockingly isn't a couple thousand but rather only a couple hundred. Church planting suddenly became interesting to me (not that it wasn't before - but this particular movement has certainly captured my interest).

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

American Idol - David Archuleta

I haven't really watched American Idol in years - it's lost it's awe with me. However, when I got home today DH had the computer up and ready to show me what he called the most amazing performance he had ever seen. Granted, I loved American Idol performances - but I went to a performing arts school with tons of great, amazing, chill popping talent. So when he showed me the following video, I cried from the most amazing performance I've ever heard - that includes a lot of amazing performances I've been blessed to see.

Ironically, this was also GP worship band's opening song. Add David Archuleta to GP's band and it'd be unstoppable.

Going Green....

DH and I are both environmentalists - albeit him way more than me, but we both care about taking care of our environment. One thing that has greatly hindered us from going "green" is the cost attached. Here in GC they charge you in order to recycle. Who ever heard of such a thing? :P

Lately, we've had more luck with going green. A friend told us about a new grocery store, Fresh and Easy that was coming to town. We tried it out and loved it! We feel healthier just shopping there - sure there are still junk foods there, but they are limited. They have cute little parking spaces for hybrid cars and amazing customer service. It's an experience to shop there. We love it. :)

One of the podcasts I listen to is Albert Mohler's radio show and last week he mentioned an upcoming show on "green" moms - moms who feel it is their place to save the world and be a mother. I'm interested in seeing what he has to say on the topic. Obviously, as a Christian I do believe motherhood is my first and most important ministry - beginning in the home and expanding into the world around us, but I see nothing wrong with doing both. In fact, it seems almost insulting to perhaps think that one would have to choose between being a "Christian" mother or being "green". Is multi-tasking really that foreign of an idea to men? :? Of course I could be totally wrong in assuming the tone for the show - but after his blog and radio program, "Two Irreconcilable Worldviews", I can't help but be a little skeptical. I suppose being in a baptist background church, I should get used to the fact that people are going to look at me like I'm from Mars because I absolutely do not believe in a literal Creation (see Theistic Evolution) and that does not make me any less of a Christian and it does not hinder me from believing God - but that'll be for another blog some other time.

It seems to me, that fewer and fewer Christians are concerned or care about the environment. Not saying I'm some fanatic otherwise we'd make room in our budget to pay for recycling, we'd buy a hybrid, we'd always use E-85 gas (which is almost .30 cheaper/gallon anyways), and we'd have bought those reusable shopping bags long ago (bought my first one today).


However, I do see some great points raised by Al Gore's Inconvient Truth - which sadly a lot of religious people (and relationship ones too) have made fun of. I'm sorry, I thought God assigned us stewardship of our families, communities, and environments?

And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. (Genesis 2:15)

Yet, James Dobson instructed the Christian community that the only proper areas of concern are, "the sanctity of human life, the integrity of marriage and the teaching of sexual abstinence and morality to our children". Um, so the first thing that God did in the garden - ie, give stewardship over the care of the Earth is not important? Okay....

Lucky for us, there are more clear thinking Christians on the horizon and just a little over a year ago, the NAE changed declared that we (Christians) should be concerned about damage to God's creation. :)

About this time or perhaps a little earlier than this, I recall James Dobson actually firing someone from his ministry because they were vocally concerned about God's creation. (Edited: Thank you Belen! HERE is the link where Dobson calls for the firing of the VP Board member.) I am a bit Google disabled, so I haven't been able to pull up any links yet, but I think this is extremly interesting. It seems to me, loyalties are being misplaced into today's professional ministry. If one disagrees with a leader or God forbid their pastor, what are they supposed to do? Keep their mouth shut? Change churches? Or just go to God with it? Perhaps it's the outspoken liberal in me - but really, how are concerns going to be addressed if no one starts talking about them? What is considered "disloyal"? That Dobson went as far as to fire someone is just appalling to me. Aren't our loyalties just to be to God?

It seems to me, that time and again science and God are clashing, when really, is science the enemy or are our own opinions the enemy?

By no means would anyone ever consider me "green". I would hope that any sane person would see an empty lot littered with trash and be upset, I would hope that normal people would turn off light they are not using and open their blinds using natural light when possible. I would hope normal people would look for a trash can versus just throwing it out the window or on the ground. I would hope that normal people would be considerate of the space and environment that God has blessed them with - if only for a moment. I knit with acryrillic yarn (someone once told me it's harmful for the environment) and I don't foresee myself anytime in the future going 100% fiber.


Being green doesn't mean you're a nut that splashes red paint on people, or that you're a vegan, or that you live in a biodegradable house - it simply means taking care of what you have and the space around you, and isn't that a basic lesson in the Christian walk?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Taking the "day" off....

The experience of this weekend has been great. I went to bed both Friday and Saturday night by I think 7 pm. Ahhhh the much needed sleep. :) With my allergies and migraines to boot, I've been keeping myself pretty well medicated - tons of allergy meds and pain killers. Cannot wait for the allergies to calm down so the migraines will stop.

I've decided to start taking Monday's days off. I work Saturday mornings, usually am wiped out Saturday afternoons, still have to do grocery shopping and prepare for Sunday. Then get up and serve from morning until early afternoon. And yet, it's nothing compared to actual staff members and their families on Sundays - I realized this as I woke up from a late nap on Sunday and looked at the clock. I began thinking about the new night venue, Five20 and how they have to setup, actually teach and mingle, and then tear down. As I thought about how long they all must go each Sunday, I had to lay back down. Man, having a portable church must be harsh sometimes.

Anyways, my weekend schedule - while in no way compares to others - is exhausting for me. So I've decided on Mondays days I'll just relax. Who cares if the house looks like a tornado from Kansas if someone were to by chance drop by? Whenever I bust my hinny and clean the place till it sparkles, one of the kids spills their juice over my freshly mopped floor, or Steve decides to "cook" or something along those lines. Since I have to work on Monday nights, Monday days are strictly for playing with kids, reading books, knitting, going to the park, and even mid-day naps.

Oh and Mikey's Subs ROCK and Steve and I got FREE Krispy Kreme donuts on Saturday night.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

30 Day Sex Challenege



This is getting a lot of publicity from the media. A pastor encouraging the married members of his congregation to have sex for 30 days, and for unmarried people - no sex for 30 days.

Of course, since Steve is the news guru in our home, he was the first to hear about this on NPR. A link to the information:

Relevant Church's website - it seems a lot like GP.....

I do not advise going to the Youtube site unless you directly go to Relevant Church's profile - it's all been linked to porn. :P

I've added this church to my podcasts - I'm interested to hear some of the sermons...

In the broader scope - what's up with some church plants? I am not saying this critically, but rather I just don't get it. I've heard now of two mega/uba churches that plant others that have at least two (or more) campuses where the "lead pastor" is such a superstar that they need video equipment so the other campus(es) can view the lead pastor teaching via video. What? Excuse me? I thought we were all at a church to go and worship God - you know the one who hung on a cross, not the one wearing the slick suit. Maybe someone can explain it to me, because if your congregation is asking staff members where the pastor will be teaching "live" so they can go there - something seems REALLY wrong there.

On a related note - I've been finding more and more church's either one their websites or in their sermons make a note about dress codes. Not like GP where it's, "Come as you are," or however you feel comfortable. Devin makes jokes about people showing up dressier than him or in jeans and a t-shirt and that that's all totally fine. But I find it frustrating (maybe I've been in a seeker friendly church too long :P) to hear a pastor say, "If you see someone in a suit and someone with piercings, then the one in the suit is a first time guest, and the one with the piercings is the staff member" (paraphrase). Egh! Why point that out? Steve wore a suit on Christmas (my request - tradition, legalism, and all) to Christmas services and had someone said something like that at GP, I'd been very putt off. What's wrong with dressing up for God? Nothing. Just like there is not anything wrong with coming as you are. Grrr....


Last thought, I realized tonight while listening to a sermon (from one of the uba churches) that God knit me in the womb - I've heard a million times before, just haven't paid it much mind before. God KNIT. God is a knitter - no wonder it's so awesome. ;)



Just goes to show - knitters rule. :P

Socks

Every knitter that I know that knits socks - is addicted to knitting socks. I hate plain socks - they bore me to death. :P And since I'd be making the socks - I can make them as unboring as I want. Yippie! So finally, after much agonizing over whether or not to order a sock loom, which one to order, etc and so on - I finally ordered one today.

As I was checking out I saw the little disclaimer, "Orders can take up to five weeks to ship out." Ahhhhh! Five weeks! Of course this company is the only company I've seen with sock looms, so it's not like I can go elsewhere. I am so looking forward to knitting up some socks.

I am still drooling over a prayer shawl loom - but I'm going to put my long looms to use and see if I can make one on them. Some women from GP might start gathering at my home Sundays after church - totally excited.

The Love of Knitting...


Okay, I have now knitted up six hats and am working on a 100% cotton dish clothe. I'm loving making all of these. But I totally love looking at beautiful (albeit expensive) yarn... Ahhh....

Drool with me now... I see a beautiful and soft striped hat and if I ever learn to knit socks - socks......

Monday, February 18, 2008

Rantings from the register....

1. If there is one cashier, then there is ONE line - single file, one behind the other. NOT one customer on top of another. We've all be doing this at the very least since kindergarten - it's not rocket science people.

2. If the person before you had to swipe their credit/debit card, and go through this whole thing of choosing their gas, then chances are, you will too.

3. If the person before you had to put their $100 or $50 bill into the slot machines in order to pay - then should you have a $100 or $50, you will too.

4. Waiving your money in front of my face like a fan is never cute, funny, or hip.

5. My name is not "sweetheart", "baby", "babe", "honey" - etc. If you want to call me something manners are always in - call me by my name or simply say, ma'm.

6. Dropping your money on the counter and running out is not cute or good manners.

7. Dropping your money on the counter and not even knowing how much there is, "Whatever this is on that pump over there," is not cute or good manners.

8. Each gas pump has an offensively LARGE number painted on it, it will not kill you to take a moment and look at it for reference.

9. I am not a mind reader - SPEAK!

10. If you walk up to my counter while yacking on the cell phone one more time, I will of course stifle the urge to shove it down your throat and instead simply skip you in line. Get off the phone or get out of line. If you can't do it, I'll do it for you.

11. Pumping gas is NOT that hard. There are three buttons for each grade (ie type) of gas, these buttons are as big as your face - push one of them, put pump in car, and squeeze. Where does the advanced caculus come in that so many people are obviously stumbling over?

12. Rude people suck.

13. I am not the reason you had a bad day - so stop treating me like I am.

14. You are not a special, important, or unique snowflake to me - you are another person in line and I am not going to let you cut 20 people because you can't figure that out.

15. You're not funny.

16. Please listen to directions.

17. If there are five huge signs all over the doors, windows, and even the counter that ALL say, "We do NOT have a public restroom," then guess what that means? We do not have a public restroom and no amount of two year old kicking and screaming and tantrums will change that fact.

18. You all make me want to be a Republican. Egh.... I should shower now.

19. Do not touch me.

20. My mother is in town - I'd rather spend time here.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Thinking on things...

Almost finished with DS's new hat. Cannot wait to see how he likes it. :) Found some delicious aqua yarn by Homespun and an amazing pattern for a scarf with a hood! It looks daunting, but I cannot wait to tackle it!

Took the kids out for errands today and rewarded their super duper good behavior with a trip to the double arches. There's this one particular that they love and I like it too because the layout is just awesome. I got to plug into some worship music, knit and watch them have a blast. Which was awesome since the weather went from fantastic to horrible overnight. Yesterday morning was a bit breezy when the kids and went to the park - by time we were heading to small group last night, the winds were very scary - even uprooting a tree a few houses down from small group. Ewk! Today, not as bad - but chilly with a bite. So indoor play was a must.

I've been changing my "eating lifestyle" (totally sidestepping the "d" word..) little by little. I've replaced most of my meat meals with chicken, turkey, or fish. Yay! Found some really yummy fish that DH and I are totally loving and now with the discovery of Steam Fresh veggies, meals are becoming easier each time around. I've also cut all soda from my diet for almost 4 days now I believe - still haven't shaken the daily cherry flavored Amps, but I'll get there. Wayne said that the protein would become my energy - I'm just nursing myself along until that kicks in. :P

Learned last night that I know now three families (I think, I might have misunderstood one couple) are being visited by LDS missionaries or pressured to visit a LDS service. Can I chuckle? Can I laugh? It seems when I'm trying to totally disconnect and untangle myself from the LDS church, it comes right back to me. At first, I thought perhaps God was using my experience to help others - but now, I'm doubting that. I mean three families?! When I told Steve last night, he joked that our Bishop was targeting specifically GP families since it's where we went. :P (Again, he was joking.)

One person's husband is deployed and her LDS friend divulged all her personal information to the missionaries (a common practice - we've done it, it's encouraged) to the Elders to come visit her. They've made two visits, dropped a Book of Mormon, and told her that the LDS church isn't really different from what she believes now. :::rolls eyes::: I didn't want to call the Elders liars, so I just told her from their POV of course it isn't that different, but really it is. The missionaries have an appointment to come visit her again on Saturday and I just hope she's strong enough for them. Another person has a son who has a friend who is LDS and getting the pressure to come to a LDS meeting....

While we were talking through some of these things at small group last night, someone joked about how if they know the missionaries are knocking, the don't answer the door.

So I want to take a minute and perhaps drop some helpful tips on dealing with LDS missionaries and/or friends:

1. Know your Bible. If you know you're Bible, then they can't slip anything past you. In the time I've dedicated to just the Bible since leaving, my eyes are wide open wondering if I had just read my Bible cover to cover before ever becoming LDS, if I still would have joined.

2. Know the lanuage: A LDS will tell you - a Christian, that you are saved, but they are not talking about eternal life with God, they just mean you won't go to hell - which for the zillioneth time on this blog, they don't even believe in to begin with. Seems fruitless to me to believe you're being saved from something that doesn't exist, but I digress. The other part of being "saved" in LDS terms, is that you have a physical resurrection - so you are physically saved, but no one outside the LDS church is spiritually saved (the big one). So know you're terms - if you don't know them, ask them to be specific as possible. Ask questions.

3. Serve them: A shocker right? Remember, the first thing DH and I noticed was the Holy Spirit in non-Mormons. What the heck?! They aren't supposed to have that. Be fruitful and show them the Spirit resides outside the LDS church.

4. Say no - Practice it in the mirror, it's not mean, it's what you need to say to them.

- "Do you know anyone we can talk to?" NO
- "Can we leave a Book of Mormon with you?" NO
- "Can we come back again?" NO

Hey, if you want them to come back, the obviously the answer wouldn't be "no" - but if you do have them come back, have a FRIEND with you. Someone who can keep you accountable. They are very nice and will lure you in. And plus, their activities are fun - darn it, I'd probably go if they'd invite me. :P

5. Finally, if you don't want them to come back - each missionary set has a "Do Not Contact Binder". They keep notes on anyone they've visited more than once and on anyone that makes it into this binder. Tell them you know about it, and request that you are added to it. If they come back again, ask for the Mission Leader and Stake President's contact information, get it, and complain. I can't say for certain that either leader would care that you were bothered by the Lord's messengers, but since in a religious sense, LDS are so liberal (think it through) you might find someone sympathetic to your case.

It's way too easy to become entangled within the LDS community - so be careful. When in doubt, call your pastor. ;) YES LDS will make fun of you for doing it and will tell you that bringing your religious leader into the picture brings no good, but do it anyway. If you're pastor won't come, then there's always the, "not answering the door" tactic. Although I can say from personal experience - some missionaries are very persistent and will visit you every single day until you finally open up. And it's hard to be mad when the first thing they say, is offer service.

Ah, if only as Christians we could follow the model and example that the LDS church sets in service, missions, and community. :/

With my new found love of knitting (even if some don't consider it actual knitting :P ) I've spent more time on a knitting board - especially in their BID forum. I have always considered myself a liberal - albeit not as vocal as I used to be and certainly not as knowledgeable. To me, being a liberal has always first and foremost been about choice. The same with feminism - to have the freedom of choice. And while, on a personal level I've been becoming more and more conservative - especially after having children and an experience with God, I still hold true to most my I guess, macro socially liberal ideals and opinions. Yet, spending more time on BID - I'm noticing that the posters who are liberal don't really line up with what I've always understood liberalism to be about - choice. I choose to be a Christian, I choose to stay home with my children, I choose to believe what I believe and last I understood, that's not a crime. I've bookmarked a few sites - from Feminist for Life, a wiki article on liberalism, and a few others - a little less random, I'm going to read up on the two movements some more. Somehow, I don't really think the over bearing, extreme left wing, "easily outraged" posters are doing either of the movements justice.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Kids and knitting -- rocking my socks...

Kids rock. :) We've been to the park everyday this week and yesterday, I noticed Paul, er, watering a tree. I informed him in the future, to go before we head out to the park (we walk maybe two blocks to the park if that) or tell me and we can run home. Today, I caught him watering the tree again and repeated myself. Later, as I was putting out our picnic lunch, I notice him sitting by the tree, totally shortless. I asked him what he was doing, "Poo-poo Mama!"

Totally rockin'. I got him home before he had to go poo so no little mess in the park (although they did have those doggie bags I guess I could have used, but no TP or wipes..) but I just thought this was a total blast. Right up there with stripping down naked at Ty and Angie's on the trampoline during lunch. Totally great. Moments like these make so grateful to be a mom and living life with my kids.

In other news, I have finished now three projects! Steve loves his new green hat. I have two projects in progress now - one green hat for Paul (correct size this time) and a extra large black fuzzy hat for me to cover during worship, prayer, etc when Steve might not be comfortable with me covering.

I totally want to try some sock knitting - found one pattern today and it looks totally daunting. Perhaps I should try "actual knitting" (:P Barbie) with the socks. ;) Off to get in the Word and knit.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Rest in You

There are days, like yesterday and today when I just feel like God has come down and wrapped a super soft and snuggly blanket around me and is just squeezing tightly. Sarah McLachlan's song, "Angel" comes to mind to perfectly capture the overall mood and feeling (yes, I am a music geek and have an ever ongoing soundtrack to my life...) :P



This has been my view the last few days - in the shade playing with the kids. It's been awesome. Before we left today, I opened up the house so it wouldn't be too stuffy or warm when we returned. We had a fantastic time again - some more snacks and knitting of course. :)







When we got home and I opened the door, the whole house smelled like spring. I loved the smell - my mind flooded with afternoons with Jess and Andy at their condo, Andy and the kids playing, Jess and I talking and hanging out. I sure do miss them - especially since now Andy is a big brother and we've got a brand new nephew Noah that we haven't met yet.


God is so wonderful. He created us so amazingly. We smell something (or at least I do) and a memory is associated with it, a comfort, a feeling, love. I hear music and a new memory forms and stays with that song. The weather is perfect, the kids have been having a blast, and I just feel so nestled, rested, and at peace with God right now. He is really amazing.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Perfect Day...

Well so far - I still have not been to work yet or seen my schedule for this week. :P

But today has been the most amazing day! :) I have taken up knitting - which I'll have to devote one entire blog alone to - and have found it so amazingly relaxing. The weather is just perfect right now in Vegas. Here's hoping I can cut off the heat and ac until atleast May. That would be so nice. It even felt nice enough to wear shorts and maybe fill the pool for a swim .... but haven't gone that far yet. ;)

So I packed up a tote with my newest knitting project for DH and DS, some snacks, a bottle of water, mp3 player and headed out with the kids. We walked to our current favorite park - I sat in the shade while they ran through sprinklers and chased one another on the slides. I got a lot of progress done in my knitting, had one earbud in, and enjoyed the sound of my kids playing and the perfect weather. We had an awesome time.

Before heading out, I tried on DS's finished red hat that I knitted for him - I should have remembered that he has a melon of a head. It didn't fit. :( But that's okay! I still had one last Revolutionary Love card left, so I baked up some cookies, found a cute snowman plate and a pretty basket and put the card inside the hat, wrapped everything together and dropped it at the doorstep of my former Visiting Teacher. I rang the doorbell and RAN! I don't think she saw me but I hope she enjoys the hat for her slightly younger and smaller toddler.

Also, I received an email from our Bishop - no updates yet, but I believe the 30 days is almost over! I thought, as corny as it is - I'd include a theme song for this particular blog. I hope all your days are going as well as mine! :)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The awesomeness of God


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Originally uploaded by MaggielSelah
Today, I finished my very first knitting project! :) I am totally excited to finish DS's red hat and see how he likes it. Knitting is so awesome! I put on the Word last night and just knitting Anya's little pink hat. It is the most relaxing thing in the world for me right now.

GP is currently in a series called, Arrested Development and it's totally kicking my butt - in a good way. In a much needed way. In a life changing way. Today, Devin mentioned, that we come to times in our lives when we are in a "need to grow" basis. At the risk of sounding disloyal (bear with me) - I have been really struggling with this series (and we're only two in). I've found myself in moments when I've wanted to get up, walk out, and yet just sit there and shake and quietly wait for God's grace to come and calm me. It's been a super hard series and today, I was able to take a GIANT leap forward.

It's been on my mind for a long time now that the very prescence of LDS books and such are becoming "high places", temptations to return, and stumbling blocks. I clearly hear God speaking to me - showing me His vision in my life, telling me that I will feel amazing liberation if only I'd be obedient, and yet - I totally disobey. I've decided to give a large chunk of my books and such to our pastor - I have to get rid of them, they are spiritually holding me back because of my refusal. Yet, I cringe, I flinch, I HATE that they're just going to be thrown away. It's of course the only logical thing to do, but really, I don't want to know that they're being tossed in the trash. Eh. (I want to be clear here - I totally agree that they should be thrown away, but in general I hate books being either burned or thrown away, so in general not just because of their content or emotional connection, do I dislike that they will hit the trash. But again, I totally agree that they SHOULD be thrown away - so I 100% agree with my pastor, it's just HARD. If I could do it, then I wouldn't need to give them to him to do it. Make sense?) So the ones I'm not quite ready to just toss out, a friend at GP has agreed to store them for me until I'm ready. I sent the first "load" to her home today - both temple bags with temple recommends inside. It was a HUGE step for me. Yes, there is a "risk" that either her or her husband will look inside a see a temple costume, but for the first time in my life - I am totally (okay mostly) okay with that. The temple is not what I should be protecting - my FAITH, my WALK, my belief in God is what I should be and will be walking to protect and hold tightly to.

There is also this really amazing ex-Mormon who found my blog in Canada (love to ya R!) who sent me the most amazing email today. She found me when she was just first hearing God's call out of the LDS church and has been such an inspiration to me in her emails - yet, I was out for almost six months when she first came out. I've felt like such a disappointment for still struggling with things that I should have moved past and so have not been writing her lately. Today, she sent me an email explaining how she totally connected with what I've been writing about. She was a total Godsend. I'm going to quote from her email because it's just so good at totally summing up my thoughts about the LDS church.

" Even knowing that so much of the doctrines are false, even knowing that so many of the programs and works actually take my focus off of Christ, so much of it makes sense! It all fits together so nicely, so logically, it seems so good, it’s hard to leave it behind. I like my world being neatly ordered and defined, with no ambiguity. And, taken as a whole package, the LDS church gave me that. Of course, when you start to really dig into it, and really compare it with the Bible, it starts to fall apart, but hey, Joseph Smith “fixed” the Bible, so that’s okay, too! If you can just believe that, then it all works, and it has all the answers. I really see so much of the theology as being a way of “fixing” the gospel, taking the parts that are hard to understand, and making it all understandable on a human level. The Trinity hard to swallow? Fixed! God to much for the human mind to fathom? Fixed! Hell an uncomfortable thought? Fixed! So, it’s hard to leave it behind, because it takes care of everything, at least on a certain level.

So, like you said, even having experienced Christ in a whole new way, and knowing that there is so much more out there, I have a hard time pulling off those tentacles. Especially since there is so much “truth mingled with error”. It’s hard to know what is good and true, and I should keep, and what I need to throw away. I catch myself so often thinking in that LDS mindset, and I have to shake it off. I know what you mean about being more easily offended for the LDS, I still have that inner apologist, and I don’t know quite how to shut it up."


As a Latter Day Saint, I didn't really believe in spiritual warefare in the same way Christians do - but as I've walked out of the LDS church, my eyes are becoming so open to it. And yet God walks us through it - we just have to rely on Him.

Today, has been a hard day - but it has also been a totally awesome one as well. If you can, take about45 minutes to listen to today's GP sermon, "Adolescence" - it's a hard one, but well worth it. Caution: there is no "tickling of the ears" but really blunt truth.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Purge

Today has been (so far) a very purging day. I had my first lesson in knitting - which totally rocked. I cannot wait to have some real time to myself where I can finish my project (well as much as I can without my awesome teacher). :P

But I feel like I'm being purged out right now by God and it's such an awesome and lifting feeling. It's too amazing to really explain, but I'm going to try.

First, over the last eight or so months, I've really struggled back and forth with the whole leaving the LDS church, to the point that more recently, I've seriously been re-reading over the Born Again Mormon's website. I'm going to be a bit more blunt and really do not mean to be offensive. But for those of you who are probably shaking your head at the screen right now, maybe muttering, "It's false, you've had an encounter with Christ, WHY is this still an issue?" I totally understand but the problem is that you don't. It's one thing to just fall away from the church from disinterest or not being able to live the standards or whatever, it's another to be born, raised, come back, and totally love the church and then leave. When those letters begin to arrive that remind you, you only have 30 days to change your mind, then your name is removed from the Book of Life, you are no longer baptized for Christ, you are no longer able to be with your family for time and eternity, so on and so forth - then it can be a bit wavering. Sure, it's easy to tell someone, "It's false, get over it." It's a completely other to be that person, read that letter, and to have believed that for so long. To think, to wonder, to hear that voice whispering to you, "You'll never be with your family again, you're walking away from God and He won't want you back," - it sounds EASY to simply recite over and over, "It's false, it's false, it's all a lie.." but it's not.

In fact, simply reciting all of that is at times, the only thing that gets me from one moment to the next without running back to Mormonism. I was in a lot of ways a True Blue Mormon and I hated leaving. I've found myself, as of late, more easily offended for the LDS church - from the events around GBH's funeral to comments made by friends, family, and even leaders that have totally and completely pissed me off. I've found myself smiling more at Mormons in my store, I've found myself preferring them again. And without someone who seemed to understand IRL here in Grace City, I didn't know who I could talk about it with without getting incredibly pissed off at. What people have meant as kindness - to help me move past all this gently or toughly, has been taken as just the opposite.

Barbie had suggested that I read through the doctrines of the LDS church to help me open my eyes and keep them open, to the falsehood - but then I know myself better. I'm not grounded enough in the Word to feel able to resist that call to come back and that I'm just misunderstanding.

So I have these two amazing women who are in a sense, keeping an eye on me, helping me to keep myself busy to pull out of this lure, this call, this pulling to return. And now after totally drowning myself in the Word the last few days, I feel so much more relaxed and at ease with God. I don't feel like I'm in this battle with Him or with me while I'm listening and/or reading the Word. I hate using the words, "I feel" because I don't want to base everything off my feelings, but really I have no other way to describe the peace that has come with so much of the Bible. And I think it helps that I'm not trying to take apart, and analyze each sentence, word, event, etc that I read about. I'm just trying to read it for surface value and allow God to work in me.

I've written this before, and I'll write it again. I know God is working on me through this, so I'm just trying to get out of the way and let Him. And through this, I feel alive. I don't feel all down, and sulky, and angry - I feel great. God is great.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Bible in 90 Days

Early in the year, Haven Ministries had a two part broadcast on the Bible in 90 days. I hate reading programs, but combining reading and listening is working really well for me. I am loving this schedule and seem to be picking up little things here and there. I really love the time I'm spending with the Lord and my husband (who started this unknowingly after Christmas and therefor is much further along in the Bible than I am).

I'd love to somehow bring the kids in on this - we've already read through their new Bible they got at Christmas - which by the way is positively the BEST children's Bible ever. :) For any age but especially for pre-k kids. It's called, "The Jesus Storybook - Every Story Whispers His Name". We're starting it for a second time now. But want to bring the kids into a routine with me. When I was a kid, Mamau and I always had special reading time together - even before I could read. It really created a passionate love of books in me, and I want my kids to have that as well - preferably their first love being with the Bible. Not sure best to achieve that yet because I also don't want to force my kids and not make it fun for them.

On another note - little Anya is starting her potty training today. So far, everything that should be in the potty has been - and not on the carpet. :)

Our friend Wayne wrote out a new eating lifestyle for us and of course wonderful Barbie emailed us a sample menu. I successfully picked up at the store foods to meet this new lifestyle and here's hoping it works this time! I'd love to drop the baby weight and really honor God with my body as completely as possible. The knitting lesson is this Saturday so I'm totally excited about that. I cannot wait to learn this and knit and listen to the Word at the same time (for some reason this just seems totally great to me :P ).

Off for a walk! :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Anonymous

Sometimes I really wish I was more anonymous in my blogs - sometimes it bothers me that people IRL are reading this and knowing me on a more personal or intimate level than perhaps I'd be comfortable with. However, I started a blog a long time ago to discuss a journey with Christ, and regardless of it being an up or down day, I still am going to be blogging.

Last week, the leader and "prophet" of the LDS church, Gordon B. Hinckley passed away. He was 97 years old. Since his passing, various discussion boards involving Mormonism or that have LDS posters, have been a buzz with one of two discussions - the life, memory, and paying respects to GBH as the modern day "prophet" and the other, calling LDS to repentance so that they, like their leader, don't burn in hell. This has been particularly disturbing for me. When I post about human decency, kindness, and respect - the passage from Jeremiah is thrown up that our hearts are deceitful, that God isn't a respecter of persons and nether should we be either, and so on and so forth. Even my own husband, thinks that there is no better time to bring attention to the falsehood of the LDS church than the time following the passing of Gordon B. Hinckley. And yet, I cannot disagree more. When I see Christians reacting in these manners, all I can think of is how this appears to the world outside - those religious fanatics who cannot give peace even in a time of death. And I cannot help but think of how much these people must truly hate the LDS church to be moving in such a manner.

Yet, while I observe some LDS posters begin to write about crying the whole day, or rewinding their recorded funeral services for GBH and watching them over and over and over - I begin to wonder if those heartless Christians I'm observing might be right. I cannot fathom crying all day or even at all over GBH if I were still LDS - I'd be so ecstatic for him. I wouldn't mourn him. Even now, a part of me that still respects him as a man of God, is happy that he's passed on into a better life with Christ. Through all of these seemingly cold discussions, I've found a lot of peace with my past in the LDS church and feel almost like I'm back at the beginning of my journey. I was recently sent an email from a fellow GP attendee and it was about the lack of discernment that Joel Olsteen was without because he didn't see Mormons as non-Christians. And yet, when I really stop and think about it - I totally agree with Olsteen and disagree that he's lacking discernment because he won't chuck them out of the Christian umbrella.

A LDS poster has been posting about the GBH BOM 97 day challenge (symbolizes GBH's 97 years alive) - and I have to say, it just totally and completely creeps me out and I hope, if I were still LDS, it'd creep me out as well. In all my time in the LDS church - as a child, adolescent, and finally an adult - I cannot ever remember the church creating a Bible challenge - or even a Doctrine and Covenants or Pearl of Great Price challenge. It's always the Book of Mormon (the very cornerstone of the religion). In fact, in just the last two, maybe three years - there have been as many Book of Mormon challenges - to read it by the end of a year, to read it in 30 days, and now to read it in 97 days. My skin just crawls.

However, my all time favorite apostle was appointed as the new Prophet, Seer, and Revelator - Thomas S. Monson. Steve and I just loved him. While I know some Christians won't understand, but I'm happy for him. I look forward to observing his leadership in the LDS church.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Revolutionary Love

Manna Church is feeling like a home away from home now a days. Their sermons never fail to reach and touch and inspire me in some way. I am so thankful for their podcasts and staff.

This year, they've been doing a series called, "Revolutionary Love" and it is amazing. It is probably the best idea I've seen a church implement ever (and Grace Point has a lot of great ideas going and the LDS church is always super organized - but this is the best yet). I highly recommend tuning into this four part series through iTunes (put in, "Manna Church" or "Michael Fletcher" into the iTunes store search) or go to their site, MannaChurch.org and listen to the sermons there, email the church and request your own cards (I did) and start a revolution!

It's not just about service, but being anonymous so that the person can experience a form of grace in their lives as we, Christians, have experienced grace from Christ. Manna has set up a blog for people who are sharing RL (Revolutionary Love) or are experiencing it from others can stop and blog about their experiences. I've been following the stories and they are just amazing. God is not only transforming their local communities, but He's also transforming His people. It's amazing. You can read their experiences here.


Take this, share it with your leaders, get this amazing idea going nation wide. The love of Christ is a revolution! Allow it to become a revolution in the life of another. :)

Friday, February 1, 2008

God's Pursuit of the Christian woman in me...

It seems more and more my blogs are becoming bluntly and frankly honest. I don't recall being this aware of my sinfulness when I left the LDS church 8/9 months ago. Now, I see God exposing myself before both Him and me, and I want to turn and run away. I know this is good - but at the same time, my lack of obediance to these items has weighed on me.

In the most recent concluding sermon in the Fight Club series, Devin taught about giving our cares and worries over to God. This falls under the same idea of "palms up" or "open handed" worship that I hear so much about from various Christians. Yet, this idea very much confuses me. In our small group, I was able to finally admit this and seek advice - how does one lay it at the feet of Jesus or just give it all away?

There are amazing women in my life as I see as the Christian woman - many for various reasons - from obediance, to knowledge, to faith, to works - I see all these various traits in a few women I know and feel totally bummed that I am not them. The Lord clearly said over the summer - "clear out your high spaces" - I took everything off my bookshelves, put it away in a tub in a closet, gave some of it away and there it remains. High spaces were moved, not cleared out. Yet I am possibly even more resistant to finishing the job than I was over the summer. Lord says, "become addicted to Me, your husband, and the kids" and what do I do? Move further away from Him.

I became so frustrated, overwhelmed, and angry - why is the Lord exposing these sins within me if I cannot or will not change them? I didn't want to share this struggle with anyone, not even Steve. Yet, Wednesday night as I cleaned up the playroom at small group, it all came tumbling out. A long time ago, the Lord moved me towards Jean - but I was too shy to really open up that much to her. And yet, Wednesday night it all came out - from my total disobedience, to my addiction to all things LDS, to my desire to really just be addicted and on fire for God, for Steve, and for the kids and nothing else.

It was amazing how God used Jean to totally and completely open my eyes - He took my legalism of looking for a mediator outside of Christ and used it. She reminded me that God is pursuing me and He is doing something in my life. I always know hindsight that what I just came out of was God's attempt to transform me - but that I wanted to cling tightly to my flesh and drown Him out. But right now, right this minute - I know that God is using this to refine me, to bring me closer to Him, that He is pursuing me as He did with Jonah and any other disobedient child of His.

As God opened my eyes to this - He also showed me that what I had drastically narrowed my idea of who God would use to speak to me. I had a small list of women who I trusted in advice, guidance, and even who God would use to speak to me through. And I never looked outside this small list - until I realized He was and had been using my best friend *Panana (nickname). We stayed up late in the night discussing God and how He has speaking into our lives using one another, small group, and others.

I for sure don't feel like I fit in anywhere right now - as a Mormon or as a Christian at Grace Point. I have this vision for myself of who I want to be and believe it's the same vision that God has for me as well. A woman who hopelessly addicted to Jesus, a woman who is crazy in love with her husband, a woman who blesses her children while bringing them up in the Lord, and a woman committed to serving those God lays on her heart. I have this vision of the woman God will make me into - and to be completely honest, I am a bit scared of the path there, but I have to trust that God is in this with me. Easier said than done - but I think it's that "doing" part that brings the transformation. God has equipped me for this journey - from His Word, to my family, to Grace Point, and everyone from Panana to Jean and everyone in between. While I'm trembling at the changes that this will bring in my life - I'm totally excited to just surrender myself, my circumstances, and everything I think I know, deserve, or have a right to to God.