Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Resolutions

I have not yet come up with my own list of new years resolutions - maybe sometime this week I'll figure mine out. But in my blog reading this morning of Between Two Worlds, I enjoyed reading the list of New Year's resolutions that Jonathan Edwards wrote. I've read them before, but am always amazed to read them again. I like #6 "Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do". To read the whole list, click here. Which one do you especially like?

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Funny Music Video Parodies

I just found two funny music parodies while reading Joshua Harris' blog. Click the picture above for "A Homeschool Family" and the below for "Cletus take the Reel." Enjoy!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Today's Top Pictures!

We begin the evening by eating dinner with Grandma and Grandpa at their retirement home dining room. They live in a very nice place and the meals are always good. This evening we were given a choice of veal or lemon fish. I chose lemon fish - it was good. John says that the veal was good too.

After a dessert of chocolate or strawberry ice cream, Grandma demonstrated a tried and true method of getting rid of hiccups. She says that it's worked for the last 83 years! I've never seen it done before - but next time I get the hiccups, I will definitely try to take a sip of water between a spoon handle and see if it works!

We enjoyed our evening with Grandma and Grandpa watching a Christmas show hosted by a Japanese violinist from Branson and looking at old pictures.

Now we're back at our cousin's house, finishing up the day by letting all of you know what we've been up to! Tomorrow we have to get up early in order to get to Little Rock. We get to spend some time with two of my best college friends - Ivory and Tamra!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I'm in Kansas City for Christmas at my Aunt and Uncle's house this year, and am once again enjoying my time here. Time with family is always filled with lots of food and tons of games. We slept in this morning and then played sequence. While we played sequence, I actually joined facebook. I know, I'm a bit behind the times. I've kind of avoided joining things like facebook or myspace just as I waited a long time before starting a blog. But when I found out today that Lydia had posted some pictures that I wanted to see on facebook and realized I had plenty of time to mess around with it since I have the laptop with me, I decided now was a good time to join. I don't intend to spend a lot of time on facebook, but it will be fun to use it to keep up with family and friends who use it to post pictures.

We spent the afternoon playing clue and then basketball. Basketball with our cousins has been a fun two year "tradition." My team barely pulled ahead thanks to some awesome ball handleling and shots by my cousins and dad! I like basketball, but am not very good at it though I do have a lot of fun playing.

After dinner, we got to play chicken feet with Grandma and Grandpa. Chicken feet is a game with dominos that we've played with Grandma and Grandpa for as long as I can remember. Though they're 82 and 83 right now, it's still a game we can all enjoy together.

Games are still going on downstairs - I think dutch blitz is the current craze, but I decided to take a break from it all and get in a little post. This trip is going well. Soon I'm sure I'll get some more posts in detailing other awesome things going on. But for now, I just want to say Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sleep and Waking

Posting about sleep is maybe a sign that you ought do get more of it! I just thought I post my funny story of the day. It may only be funny to me, but hopefully it puts a smile on your face.

I woke at 5:30 to my alarm and the first thoughts through my mind went like this:

"I'm too tired to go running"
"Maybe I'll hit snooze three times and get up at six"

. . . I hit snooze . . .

"I wonder why the lights are on in the house"
"Why would Mrs. Alma be awake at 5:30?"

"Is it possible that I really slept all night and am this tired"

. . . slowly sanity comes back upon me . . .

"Wait a second, I think I set my alarm for 5:30pm. It's not morning! I'm supposed to go to the evening service at church".

It was quite a releaf to realize that it was not yet morning, simply time to go to church. My hour nap was over - not the entire night! The good news is that I still have an entire nights sleep before the work week begins!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Is Church an Important Part of your Christian Life?

I've been catching up on reading blogs recently. Today I read the latest New Attitude Blog post "Why I don't Go to Church." This post challenges those in their 20's to really examine their reasons for not attending church rather than accepting the standard "I'm too busy" excuses.

It also links to the first chapter of a book which begins with “If you call yourself a Christian but you are not a member of the church you regularly attend, I worry that you might be going to hell.” The explanation for that statement is worth the read here as he continues by saying:
"But I’m concerned that many Christians don’t realize how this most important relationship with God necessitates a number of secondary personal relationships—the relationships that Christ establishes between us and his body, the Church. God doesn’t mean for these to be relationships that we pick and choose at our whim among the many Christians “out there.” He means to establish us in relationship with an actual flesh-and-blood, step-on-your-toes body of people.
That article points out that we are identified as already being a part of the universal church. But at the same time we are told to be part of the local church and not to give up meeting together especially as the time gets closer for Christ to return.

To me these articles brought up interesting thoughts. Many of the great homeschooling families in this area who read this blog (mine included) have at one time not attended or are currently not attending traditional churches. Some simply don't attend any church at all. To be honest, not being a part of a traditional church that has a pastor and a meeting place makes me a bit nervous. Of course my nervous feeling doesn't make the thing wrong.

People have many reasons for distancing themselves from "regular churches." Sometimes the reasons seem good. Maybe the teaching their kids would receive in a traditional youth group is contrary to what they are being taught at home. Maybe the preaching does 'put you to sleep' and the fellowship leaves much to be desired. Maybe the kids in the church you attended are not properly disciplined and would make your job as a parent more difficult for the rest of the week.

But consider this. Maybe God has given you the ability to be an instrumental part of someone else's life in building up people who have needs in the local church. Obviously none of us are perfect, but maybe you have learned something that another has not. Does that mean you should stop being around that person because they don't understand what you do?

I am very thankful for my local church Fountain of Grace. After college I did consider looking for another church. I didn't choose Fountain of Grace - it was a church my family begin attending and eventually joined while I was in college. But after prayer and consideration, I realized that I had not really given Fountain of Grace (then called Prattville Alliance) a chance. I wanted to get to know people, but yet was not involved in much of anything. Instead of leaving, I became involved. Is my church perfect? Certainly not! I know that I'm not perfect so any church I'm in will also not be perfect. There is no perfect church. But there are churches in which the Bible is preached and people are real - two things that seem very essential in a church.

So whether you attend a traditional church, do home church, or have family church, do nothing or something in between, what impact does it have on your life?

So what can I say about my church? I can say that relationships I've developed in church have enriched my life. A friendship with Pam and attending a church related prayer meeting brought me a new place to live across the street from her. This made deepening a relationship with her and her family possible and a lot of fun. Having many ladies who know me and are interested in and concerned about me is invaluable. I know that many of them pray for me and I'm sure that makes a big difference in my life. Learning and thinking about things preached by Pastor Tony has hopefully shaped my thinking in many ways. I know that his teaching on position based acceptance versus performance based acceptance is something that I have come back to time and time again. Being reminded of grace and righteousness is important and having it come from a Pastor who seems to genuinely care for the people of his church is invaluable. Pastor Phil and all the mission trips he has led keeps me reminded of all the needs outside of our church. It gives me a better perspective on life and a reminder of how small our emergencies in life really are. Being a teacher in AWANA has given me more than just an opportunity to serve. It's given me a chance to relive the joy of children's excitement in science experiments and to see how the little things matter to a child. Running sound has taught me to appreciate the job that so many others do in conferences. It has also taught me a skill that I may have never otherwise learned. Being in board meetings has given me an invaluable look at some of the issues faced by a church and the needs of both the people and the church leadership. Being a part of a "smaller" church means that even your yet undeveloped talents may have a place to be used (especially if you have a little time and a brother like Elijah who will help you get a website going!).

I still have a lot to learn about the Church. My involvement in it can sometimes degrade into duty instead of joyful service. Church is not always as important in my life as it should be. But for all its flaws (and mine!), I am very thankful for the local church. What about you? Is your church important to do? Has it changed your life or does it impact you at all?

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Church Christmas Party

Last night we had the adult Christmas party for our church. It's always been a fun party, and last night was no exception. After eating a wonderful dinner, we have what's become the traditional white elephant gift exchange. The 37 adults each drew numbers and the fun began. Some gifts were definitely of the white elephant variety (like the brick!), but others were gifts that many people wanted (like the nuts or flood lights). The most guarded gift was the duck! It actually was stolen by a very smooth move by Susie before the game was over! She did end up returning it since new house rules were created saying the the duck couldn't be stolen until it was frozen (stolen 3 times) or until the exchange was over. Mrs. Duck comes to almost every Christmas party as a gift and almost every year is kidnapped. Sometimes, like last year, it's even before the winner of the duck is able to bring it home.

This year the Morton's ended up with Mrs. Duck again. They got the duck in 2005 and I (through the help of my siblings) was able to ducknap it in 2006. After holding on to the duck for about a month, I sent ransom notes through the mail. When they never responded to my email contact (due to some email problems of their own), I eventually returned the duck with Easter candy (ducks and chicks and eggs and peeps) about a month later. It was fun to create and send the ransom notes, but I certainly found out that I don't like to be the one suspected of a "crime" like this. To this day, the Morton kids will often refer to me as ducknapper. Below are pictures of my ransom notes!

Friday, December 7, 2007

AWANA Science Experiment - Silly Putty!

It has been too long since I posted one of our AWANA class science experiments on here. The one we did on Wednesday is one of my favorites. We made Silly Putty, and this time the putty turned out perfect! In the past I haven't gotten the mixture right. So, here goes:

This Experiment is from Science and the Bible Volume 2. But I don't use the silly putty recipe in that book. Instead I use one I found online which works a lot better. An unstable person is of two minds-unsure whether or not to trust God

Bible Verses: He who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.. . he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does (James 1:6,8)

Materials Used: 2 T Elmer’s Glue, 1 T Liquid Starch, Food coloring, glitter

Lesson: James 1:5 invites believers to ask God for wisdom, but there is one requirement for this help. The request must be made without wavering or doubt (v. 6). A doubter is not sure if God hears him, or if God even understands his plight. Such a man is double-minded; he attempts to divide his trust between God and himself.

This person can be compared to Silly Putty. This strange material doesn’t keep its shape. Instead it always tends to flow downward. It has not strength and can be twisted, bounced and flattened. Silly putty is unstable and cannot be trusted to maintain its shape. In the same way, the unstable person cannot be trusted as an example to follow because he lacks the balance of God’s wisdom

Illustration: We each made our own silly putty by mixing 2 Tablespoons of glue with the food coloring (using a craft stick or spoon) and then adding the 1 Tablespoon of starch a little at a time as we stirred. To achieve perfect silly putty, keep adding a little more starch and stirring until the putty is no longer sticky. Once it gets thick, you can take it out of the cup and mix it with your hands. Just poor a little of the liquid starch on your hands to keep them from sticking with the putty while you mix. If your putty ends up with too much starch it will turn stringy and then you can just add some more glue. When the putty is a perfect consistency, add glitter if you like to make it even more fun.

I loved playing with silly putty as a kid. I would press it on windows and made pictures with it or cover little toys with it or make balls and more. Once I got some glow in the dark silly putty. I thought it would be cool to be able to see the fan go around at night so I stuck in on the fan blades in the bedroom I shared with my sisters. It didn't turn out quite like I planned! We were picking up little specs of silly putty for days!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Engineering Jokes

Inventory is now over (at least all but a little more paperwork!). It went very well. We were able to finish up on Friday - just barely! Connie and I actually left the shop just after midnight on Friday night. But we accomplished the goal of completing all required transactions so we would not have to come back on Saturday. Both of us planned to go out of town so didn't want to be stuck not going because of work.

As has become usual in the last month, I don't have much time to post (reality is I don't take the time to do this - I chose to spend my time in other ways. I have to remind myself that I must take personal responsibility for my actions - we each have many choices in this life.)

But anyways, I wanted to take a minute to share a couple engineering jokes that I liked. They are from Machine Design magazine.

If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be called research!

Research is the act of going up alleys to see if they are blind.

To err human, to forgive is divine, but to check - that's engineering!