(this is the chapel Erin and Lance will be married at in 7 weeks)
Mark 10:17-25 Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" So Jesus said to him, "why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and your mother." And he answered and said to Him, "Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth." Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "one thing you lack; Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross and follow Me." But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, "Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!"
This story is so NOT about riches. It is NOT about giving to the poor. And, fortunately for most of us, its not about keeping God's commandments. Jesus sums up what it is about in the last sentence which he delivers to his disciples: It is hard for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God. Truthfully, if you read the whole of the gospels, you will see that the sentence could actually read: It is hard for those who trust in ________ to enter the kingdom of God. We have access, freely and without cost, to an abundant life of living in God's kingdom in the here and now. We don't have to wait for death or perfection or selling all our possessions. But we do have to lay it all down. My touchstone is the story of Abram and Isaac found in Genesis 22. If I were to have another son I would name him Isaac because of this important story. In the story, God asks Abram, now Abraham, to sacrifice his only, long awaited son on an altar to the Lord. Pretty gruesome stuff, no way around it. For three days Abraham walked with his son toward the place God had asked him to make a sacrifice. For three days he was saying goodbye and letting go of the one he loved best in this life. I can't imagine the torture of those three days. Then it says, "So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together." Isaac asked his dad, "Where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" Imagine how Abraham was feeling at that point, his baby boy looking innocently up into his eyes. Of course we all know how the story ends. "The Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, Abraham, Abraham! So he said, Here I am. And the Angel said, "Do not lay a hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not wethheld your son, your only son, to me" And the Lord provided a ready sacrifice instead, a ram caught in a thicket of thorns.
Sometimes the thing getting in the way of putting God first in our lives is our riches, or in other words, our own perceived power to run our lives effectively. Sometimes it is something big and taboo like our relationships with our loved ones.
To fully enter into the life God has for us, we have to lay down ANYTHING or ANYONE that is getting in the way of putting God first. The quest God/Jesus laid out for the rich young ruler and Abraham was unique to each of them, and yet it teaches a valuable lesson. Bring before God your life and ask him to issue you a quest, which will tell you what you are putting first. You may be asked to sell everything or give up your control over your children, you may be asked to let go of a hurt or release the power of a long held secret. What separates us from a great life with God is not always something lofty like riches or our children, sometimes its something ugly like unforgiveness or a bad attitude about ourselves. Sometimes it is our need to be perfect, or our desire to make others see us in that light. Whatever it is, ask for a quest and then eagerly set out to do it, lay it down and move into the better life that can only be found by putting God first.
This is what I seek today. I want to lay it all down.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Another LOAD off my mind. Saturday Lisa and I shopped for a dress for me to wear Erin's wedding. We were headed to MOA Nordstroms, as they had the best selection online, but we passed Macy's first and I said, "Hey, we should give it a try" We headed in and I fairly quickly found two dresses that looked good on the rack, so I marched on in to the dressing room and tried them on. I LOVED the first one and liked the second one, but it was a bit young for me.
It felt a little loose on the top in my size and I knew I needed some sort of jacket or wrap to deal with the straps, so I didn't buy it then. We then spent the next two hours looking at several other stores and I never even got as far as trying anything else on. That is when I began to realize that first dress was "the one."
I really wanted to try it on in a smaller size though, and figured I'd hit the mall again on Monday when the traffic was less of an issue.
I had to prep and teach poetry this afternoon, and sweet Lisa volunteered to call around to the various Macy's to see if anyone had the two sizes I wanted to check. Then after class we headed over to Ridgedale where they had what I wanted. As every girl dreams, the smaller size fit! I was hesitating to buy it, even though I knew it was the only on in the cities, and then I found I could save %20 on it if I opened and then paid off a credit account with them. Since Erin is registered for her wedding there too, I used the discount to pick up her wedding shower gift, and heck, picked up a new commercial coffemaker for us. I saved a bundle and got two of my four major errands done for the wedding. Such a load off my shoulders! Thank you Macy's.
Here is an UNVARNISHED photo of the dress, somebody has a date with some self tanner I think!
Friday, September 19, 2008
We've hit the "school year" season with a boatload of reading in our house, and today things got even more exciting. Andrew has been eating up Magic Treehouse and Andrew Lost books like there is no tomorrow, reading one per sitting, and gladly not asking for them to be read aloud. Scott has started reading a Jack London book to him (my mind is drawing a blank...) and
I've been reading to him from the first book in the Sisters Grimm series, hoping to hook him on these better written books, and he also fit in the first book from the new Spiderwick Chronicles series, having polished off the last SC series earlier this summer.
Today we are entering in to these three tomes:
The 39 Clues is something Andrew stumbled across at the bookstore today and I got all excited when he started looking into it. The publisher is the now infamous publisher of the Harry Potter series and not only is it going to be a ten book series, but there is an online website that coincides with the book with cards that contain clues and prizes to be won. THIS is up his alley. From a recent Time magazine article:
It's all very entertaining, and the educational stuff goes down with only the faintest academic aftertaste. (David Levithan, executive editorial director at Scholastic and a young-adult author himself, calls The 39 Clues "subversively educational," by which he presumably means that kids won't notice they're learning, not that the books actually subvert any societal norms.) "It's very much about family dynamics," Levithan says. "That's the heart of it. The most relatable factor about it is that every kid thinks their family is just really strange and large and weird. The idea that you can be born into this family that has these secrets — almost every kid feels that way."
Whether he's right about that or not, Amy and Dan are certainly appealing — Dan is nerdy (he's an obsessive collector) and bratty but surprisingly resourceful, and Amy is brilliant but touchingly shy and insecure. The plot ticks along with the iron reliability of an atomic clock. If you forcibly interbred Lemony Snicket and National Treasure and chose the most viable of their mutant offspring, you might come up with something like The 39 Clues. Scholastic is printing a first run of a million copies and holding launch events in seven cities.
The next book, Twilight, is for me (and Lisa). Everyone in the scrapbooking world is going NUTS about this book series, I've nearly lost all my scrapbooking friends to reading of this four book series that was aimed at teen girls. I tried to resist, and tried to resist, but all the hubbub over it lead me to read about the author and from that moment on I was officially intrigued. Certainly on a smaller scale, but true JK Rowling potential here...unknown mom, never written before, skyrocket to success (five months after writing the first word of her first ever book she had a FAMOUS agent and a $750,000 three book deal). That ladies and gents does not happen every day. JK was offered $105,000 and a one book deal, and I think this author would be more than happy to admit that the raging success that was JK made for an easier book deal for this young mom. I'm withholding judgement until I'm further in, but I have to say in the half hour I read this afternoon I was already interested in continuing to read.
Finally, in three short hours, the third in the homeschooled Christopher Paolini series comes out, and I'm trying to bribe my husband into picking it up at Walmart after his shift is over tonight. I am the only one in this house already in love with this series, but Andrew has potential, and I know they will be hooked once winter sets in. Lisa and I and my mom are all excited about settling in for a long week or two of reading Brisingr, which is sure to be a gem.
Gotta go, I have alot of reading to do!
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Thought it might be fun to post them all in one place. One of my favorite things about www.Tallyscrapper.com is the challenges. Everyone is very creative and when I start to get stuck in my creativity, I know I can count on a good challenge or two on the site to get me going again.
Recently we completed a five week Olympics inspired challenge. We formed two teams and Team Crowe won three of the five weeks to take the overall championship. I was on Team Whetzel and we put up a valiant effort until the end!
The challenges were issued weekly with a goal of them being very tough. I had a great time, some weeks coming easy, some much more difficult. Here are my entries:
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
What Minda Means
You are confident, self assured, and capable. You are not easily intimidated.
You master any and all skills easily. You don't have to work hard for what you want.
You make your life out to be exactly how you want it. And you'll knock down anyone who gets in your way!
You tend to be pretty tightly wound. It's easy to get you excited... which can be a good or bad thing.
You have a lot of enthusiasm, but it fades rather quickly. You don't stick with any one thing for very long.
You have the drive to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. Your biggest problem is making sure you finish the projects you start.
You are very intuitive and wise. You understand the world better than most people.
You also have a very active imagination. You often get carried away with your thoughts.
You are prone to a little paranoia and jealousy. You sometimes go overboard in interpreting signals.
You are balanced, orderly, and organized. You like your ducks in a row.
You are powerful and competent, especially in the workplace.
People can see you as stubborn and headstrong. You definitely have a dominant personality.
You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection.
You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive.
You have the classic "Type A" personality.
One of my favorite people over at www.tallyscrapper.com is Latte_Grande. Christi has been such a special addition to the site and I've really enjoyed her two stints on the design team. This month she designed the monthly kit that goes on sale 9/15.
Here is a little sneak peek.
They usually go up for sale at noon on the 15th, so get there early, because this one is gonna fly out the door!
Friday, September 12, 2008
Yes, we were fed up. Although homeschooling year round is only a couple of hours a day we were tired of the fighting and whining and bickering. So, Scott and I talked and we quit!
Instead, Andrew is on his own. We set up a hanging folder for each day of the week he does homeschool, and in each folder we put his work for the day. He has a general skills worksheet he has to before playing or breakfast, and the rest has to be done and signed off on before we leave the house, or by noon, whichever comes first. He can ask for help if he needs it, but mostly he doesn't. We are cautiously blissful about the changes. He doesnt' complain at all and he infact seems to really be enjoying the self direction. WHEW!
On other fronts we also dethatched his room pretty seriously yesterday and came up with some new approaches to improve his eating habits and his sass mouth. A total parenting overhaul you might say!