Thursday, August 21, 2008

Can someone find me an organic Happy Meal, please?

I went to bed last night with a heavy heart. Going through a pile of mail as we returned home, I scanned an article in last Sunday's paper entitled, "If you want to go to heaven..."
Evangelicals are neither as numerous nor as uniform in their beliefs as once thought, they are not immune from the shifting of American culture.
The reporter continued with a couple thousand words describing the yuck among today's (and especially yesterday's) Christian culture.
Reminded me of a recent conversation when my friend felt clearly irritated as we discussed another friend's "conversion." Just another marker that we don't see eye to eye.
I don't like feeling at odds with others, especially not with other Believers. And yet division feels rampant among Christians especially. It seems every author I read is controversial - makes me tired. And all these passionate dialogues about where Christianity has come from and where it's headed... the simplicity of Christ seems snuffed out. And it's not just theological matters where we all differ, that's the tip of the iceberg. It's school choices and medicine/vaccine choices and food choices (thus my title) and all the details of life.
I suppose that because so much of our parenting and marriage and life choices stem from prayer and a desire for God's best, it seems that if others make different choices, someone is off.
So I went to bed with these heavy thoughts of division and dissension and bickering among Christians. And then this morning I happened upon this post by Sally Clarkson. She read my mind, but with a little more wisdom and eloquence. She posted this a few days ago... worth reading. I do hope it's not too controversial.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Meet Baby Rowan

Well, we met her! Finally!
Rowan Beth Benjamin, our new little niece. Three 1/2 months old, she is just beautiful. And CONTENT. I’ve met just one baby as “easy” as this one - my friend Sarah’s little Joseph was the same way. Make so little noise, you forget they’re in the room.

So all week we got to hang out with little Rowan in Eagle Nest, NM. Cameron took me to her fav spa one day (absolutely unbelievable, that’s a blog post on its own), with signs everywhere that read “Whisper.” Well, no worries with Rowan, she didn’t make a peep the entire day. Just hung out in her infant carrier, and when I would glance her way she’d give me an open-mouth grin, just thankful for the attention. What a little miracle she is, and as Cam mentioned a couple of times, “Can you believe she was frozen?!
We’re headed home today, always difficult to leave Papa’s Mountains. The end of summer is such a beautiful time up there - rain showers every day, wildflowers still in bloom, warm enough for hikes but cool enough for fires and s’mores.
We managed somehow to keep our now-very-familiar virus flowing from one family member to another. This is going on three weeks. Basden (again) started our trip with the yuckies, Essie (again) held onto it our entire stay, Branson got it (again) a couple of nights before we left (in the middle of the night on a campout, thanks Papa & Uncle Alan for the clean-up!) and Corbin is somehow making the 11-hr drive today with a yucky tummy. Want to join our pity party?! It was more than a little disappointing to deal with this crazy sickness.
But even so, I loved our week in the mountains. Hud and Bran BOTH passed their Papa-administered “4-wheeler tests,” certificates and all (evidently Foster passed his a while back). Basden and Nettie May collected daisies and feathers and fairy dust on their treasure hunt. And Essie, well, she simply stayed in mommy’s arms all week - all week. Mix in bike rides and zillions of air-soft-gun wars and yummy meals, and you've got a glimpse of our week. Papa and Mama are due a few days of rest and restoration with our crew’s exit.
As we piled in the car this morning, as usual, Mama couldn’t keep a dry eye. And as with each time our suburban pulls out of the scenic driveway, Branson remained teary-eyed through the canyon. He’s in the back seat now planning our next trip to Papa’s Mountains...
Papa & boys reloading for another air-soft war
Basden and Nettie May
Papa & Essie
Hud crawdad fishing

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Cold Tangerines

Agh!!! I LOVE this book!
First, I love the layout. A collection of 4-5ish page essays, easy & entertaining to read whenever and wherever.
Second, I love Niequist's insights into the spiritual snippets of every day life. She dives deep into the motives and intentions of her heart and describes with refreshing honesty how God creates beauty in the midst of chaos.
Third, this is a funny girl. Laugh-out-loud, oh-my-gosh funny. I cannot get over the way her brain thinks, her outrageous metaphors and similes, and her witty thought processes. Niequist is relatable and quirky and self-deprecating and clever. And quite intelligent.
Read a few chapters here to get a taste of Cold Tangerines.
Enjoy, and know that as you’re laughing out loud and wiping away tears, you will be richer for the reading.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Hyatt Hill Country and Hyatt Lost Pines

Just returned home from a week in San Antonio and Austin. We turned Corbin’s conference at the Hyatt Hill Country Resort into a family vacation and then headed over to the Hyatt Lost Pines outside of Austin for the weekend. What beautiful and fun vacation spots! As with any family vacation, ours had its share of comedy and errors and mishaps and adventures. Here’s a few (un?)mentionables:

- I anticipated leaving Fort Worth mid-morning last Tuesday. So by Monday night I’d finished laundry and made arrangements for our home & Yukon, but saved the actual packing for Tues morning. About 10:00 pm Monday Corbin informed me his conference started earlier than he’d realized, and we would need to leave the house by 6:45 am the next morning. Hmmnnn.
- Deciding we could unload and carry our menagerie of bags and suitcases without help from a bellman... yikes.
- Esther’s diarrhea streaming all over Corbin’s shirt and onto his pants as he held her in his arms a few hours after we arrived at the hotel.
- One child throwing up in the middle of "Cinderella on the lawn."
- Another child vomiting on Mommy as we tubed around the lazy river. Can't get the horrified expression from a near-by mom out of my mind...
- Trying to come up with "disinfect" in Spanish
- Attempting unsuccessfully to avoid the arcade. Why in the world do they have an arcade??!
- The sanctification that occurs when all six of us stay together for a week in a not-so-large room. Add a nasty virus to that room, and it gets even more exciting.

Thankfully, everyone felt well (other than Bran's croup, go figure) by the weekend, so we enjoyed a fabulous few days at Hyatt Lost Pines. All things considered, it was a great week full of laughter (and bickering) and loads of fun.
And if you happen to hear of anyone coming home sick from their vacation last week at Hyatt Hill Country, you didn't read it here!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Family Driven Faith

I love it when friends pass books on to us. This one came highly recommended, with good reason. Read it yet?

In Family Driven Faith, Voddie Baucham challenges parents to disciple their children in such a way as to instill a multigenerational faith that stretches from generation to generation. This book is making the rounds. I started reading it over Christmas and have mentally chewed on the insights for months, intrigued by this author who’s not afraid to push unpopular and un-PC parenting advice.

Baucham is clearly intelligent and well-read. He writes with candor and passion and a spirit of urgency, giving parents a kick in the rear to be intentional and proactive in saturating our kiddos with truth.

My favorite is chapter 4, “Give Him your Heart,” where Baucham describes a biblical worldview and offers practical tools for passing on these truths to our children. Throughout the entirety of the book, Baucham reiterates that it’s the parents’ (not teachers or Sunday school teachers or youth workers) job to spiritually train our children:
“We simply cannot fail to give our children the basic tools they need and expect the “professionals” to get the job done for us.” (pg. 90)

I’ve read few contemporary books with which I wholeheartedly agree. There are typically one or two ideas in any given book that don’t perfectly jive with my opinions, and Family Driven Faith is no exception. The unique thing about this book, however, is that I so totally and completely and fully agree with many of Baucham’s ideas and arguments, and then hugely disagree with about five pages. I read and re-read this handful of pages to make sure I was reading correctly. Baucham’s narrow opinions in one specific area took me by surprise. The thing that saddens me is that while he offers many encouraging and stimulating Scriptural ideas, he inflicts condescending and condemning language along with broad generalizations as he claims this specific opinion to be an absolute Biblical mandate. He thereby imposes an undeniably personal conviction as a standard to which God holds us all. Very disappointing.

So... a stimulating, interesting read, and one I would (for the most part) recommend. Just as with any book, read with awareness. And by the way, if you read Family Driven Faith and can’t figure out what in the world made my blood pressure rise, fantastic. I don’t have a problem with any of Baucham’s methods or opinions, my beef is when he claims them to be TRUTH.
Anyone read this book? Would love to hear your thoughts...