Monday, November 23, 2009

Caution: Explicit Material

A little over a year ago, a good friend of mine was faced with "the talk" because her son was reading through the Bible and ran across a term he hadn't heard before...

"Sexual Relations."

It's a great story. You should probably go read it on her blog. (Poop on Jelly in my sidebar.) But this story isn't really her story. No, it's mine. Unfortunately.

You see, after I heard her story, I meant to immediately go check my kids' Bibles to see what words they used. I was raised on the King James and I know for a FACT that it gave me no Sex Ed. Sure, Adam lay with Even and she bore him Cain. My kids know I LAY with their daddy, they bust in and join us LAYING (better known in the English language as lying) in our bed all the time. And they aren't old enough to recognize the euphemism of LAY, ifyouknowwhatimean, nor have the busted in on any of THAT.

Fast forward, less than a month later, PRINCESS decides it's time for HER to read through the Bible. Next thing I know, she's gesturing wildly to me in the middle of worship and pointing at her Bible. All I can see on the page directly above her pointy little finger is

SEXUAL RELATIONS (insert scary music).

Yes, I do think I thought, Oh, Dear Lord. But no, just below that little finger of my seven year old princess was her youngest brother's name. Look, Mama, Charming!

I breathed a sigh of relief, waited an appropriate amount of time, and confiscated her Bible (Children's International Version). I replaced it with a New King James.

I actually confiscated every Bible in the house that used "sexual relations" and put them UP.

Several months later, when I reorganized the bookshelves, it slipped my mind. And when Princess said something along the lines of, "Look, Mama, I found my Bible!" I figured she was in Exodus and it was probably OK for the time being. I'd bide my time until I could confiscate it again.

I missed the subtle fact that when you have four children, you don't remember things unless you see your children interacting with said thing. At which point you have a hard time confiscating them.

Leviticus didn't occur to me. As in Levitical rule. As in "Don't have sexual relations with a women during her period" or whatever the CIV calls it.


I was off at Bible study, laughing my way through the tears when Daddy was blindsided.

He's reading the kids "The Lightning Thief" which apparently has a character whose mother isn't married.

Princess: How did she have a baby if she wasn't married?
Daddy: They did it in secret.
P: Got married?
D: Um, Yeah. (uh, noooooo)
P: Oh, I've been meaning to ask you....(page through Bible)...what's "sexual relations?"
(Did I mention there is a roomful of brothers, two of them younger, present?)
D: Mom will tell you all about that...later. (Meaning when I get home.)
P: When I'm older?
D: (heaves a sigh) Yeah.

Princess has been hearing that a lot lately.

P: Mom what are those?
M: Mommy things.
P: I know, but what are they for?
M: I'll tell you when you are older and need them yourself.

Yup, I'm a wuss. But she kept accepting that. Who would fight it if their child kept accepting "I'll tell you when you're older?" I figured I'd ride that train until it came in to the station and demanded I disembark.

So, remembering Mrs. Nurse Boy's son and the fact that he asked his teacher in the MIDDLE OF BIBLE CLASS (went over the heads of the youngers, not so much the olders), I wanted to save Princess from making the same, um, mistake and feeling later embarrassment. (I also already knew the Bible teacher's answer: that's a very good question and you should ask your parents, so I knew I wasn't going to get away with leaving it to the adults.) So, I pulled her aside this morning and we had "the talk" except "the talk" didn't go the direction I expected.

M: So, Princess, Daddy said you had a question for me last night.
P: Uh, huh. But I forgot what it was.
M: Well, do you want to skip it, then?
P: Can't you tell me?
M: Yes, but (very long dialog about how it was Daddy's responsibility to tell her brothers and she wasn't to do it, nor tell her best friend because I knew for a fact she hadn't had "the talk" either and I would answer any questions she had, but she shouldn't ask anyone else....especially her bible teacher...blah, blah, blah.) So, hon, sexual relations is something a Mom and Dad do to help God make a baby.
P: You mean marriage?
M: Yeah, but something more.
P: OK. How many ships are on your pants? One, two, three....giggle. (run off)

Is it just me or do you think she still wants to stay little?

Thank God.

I let her go.

But I tell you what, the Children's International version should come with a label.

Warning: Contains Explicit Material

Thoughts as my dinner bakes

I thought European countries were all about their baked goods.

I find it strange that ovens are so rare in European countries.

How do they bake? Do they really go out and buy all their baked goods?

Asks this new addict of House Hunters International.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Just for Fun

The very attractive floors we replaced with the unfinished portion with which we replaced them.

Top is the kitchen. Second is the entryway and dining room.

Because, the sad fact is, I will probably never post before/after photos. So you have to deal with a few "during."


Good morning to you, too, son.

So while I should have been making breakfast and packing lunches, what was I doing? Rooting around for coats and hats and gloves. Because if the big kids are out in it, the Tiny Tyrant must be also.

Mom is such a spoil sport. I told them they could walk around in it, but I absolutely forbade them to "play" in it. No snow pants.

I know, I'm mean.

Eldest, whose idea it was to go out in the first place, refused to even go with that stipulation. Once I convinced him that that was foolish, Princess had already come in and since she wouldn't go back out, he wouldn't either. Even though the Tiny Tyrant and Frodo were still out.

Oh, the adolescent angst.

And the reason I didn't want snow pants? Wet, drippy slush in my entryway. But TT took care of that when he brought in his snowman.

Do you see it? Right there in his hand? It's also there on the carpet behind him. Where he proceeded to stomp it.

Yes, there, where I stand in my socked feet to wash dishes.

Good times.

Which is why I refer to this seasonal blessing as "SNooooooooooo!"

Monday, November 16, 2009

Credit Cards and Banks...ugh.

Today, out of nine pieces of mail, I got one charitable giving receipt, two soliciting donations, one warranty, and FIVE credit card offers.

Who sent out the memo that I overdrafted my checking account and WHY didn't they send the same memo to the charities?

(No worries, Mom, it was an oversight. A distressing one, but it's covered. And yes, the CC offers went through the shredder.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran Survivors...thank you, too

When I was a child I never really could understand my father’s propensity for tears during a parade. Yes, I was probably too distracted worrying about when a float would go by that would have people throwing candy than I was about why my father stood silently saluting a flag carried by old men. It did strike me as odd, though that he found parades so sad.

And I never really understood why we spent the first day of summer haunting cemeteries. I’d sit hunched in the backseat of our sedan as the day grew long, fuming at the injustice of missing a day at the pool while Dad’s shoulders heaved over in the corner at a grey memorial.

I started to grasp that Dad might have a story once I entered high school and began writing a research paper on the men who served in Vietnam. When I mentioned that I’d like to speak to uncles who’d served, Dad erupted in anger and then dissolved into a heap of misery the likes of which I never saw before or since. And slowly his story emerged.

As his father before him did when Pearl Harbor was bombed, Dad enlisted when things began to heat up in Vietnam. Dad went to boot camp in Louisiana and, as often happens in the companies that do boot camp together, Dad and his fellow enlistees bonded. When it came time to ship out, however, Dad was sent to patrol in Germany while the rest of his company was sent to the heart of the action in Vietnam.

The day that changed my father forever was the day he opened a military paper listing the latest fatalities in Vietnam. His entire company, minus him, was listed. They were all dead.

In my teen angst I found myself angry at Dad for his despair. If he had been with his company, I wouldn’t exist. But as I’ve matured I’ve come to realize that survivor’s guilt can’t be explained away logically. It just is.

Who really knows why my dad was spared death in Vietnam? Why he was sent to relatively peaceful Germany. Why my sisters and I were allowed to live. The same can be asked on behalf of my father-in-law who spent his military years picking up cigarette butts in Thailand and of my granddad who spent WWII training pilots in the LINK trainer in Florida rather than flying in the Pacific. What I do know is this; they made themselves available to their country just like all the rest.

All too often we are asked “remember our military” and usually that means to remember the dead. At times like these, both my dad and my granddad have been known to say, “I didn’t do a damn thing in the war,” as if fighting and dying is the only price a soldier can pay. And though it is important that we remember the soldiers that paid the ultimate price, I think it is time for us to also remember the brave men and women who enlist, serve, are discharged and go on to live out their lives outside of the military. Their service is just as valuable. Their bravery is no less. And, many times, the grief they carry at the loss of their fallen comrades is more than they can bear alone.

These days I stand proudly at parades beside my father with his hand in mine. I’m no longer confused at his tears, for those old men carrying a flag also bring on my own.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Clinging to the Beam

Hoping to try a full with a double twist dismount.

Thanks Meg.

The Age of Giving Back

Back when my first three kiddos were tiny (2, 2, and new) people would tell me, "Hang in there, soon they'll be able to give back." I interpreted that to mean that they would eventually pick up after themselves and bake their own cookies. It sounded glorious if a bit unrealistic.

I didn't anticipate the mental stimulation.

This morning, less than a block from home, there was a big white TV van driving through the neighborhood that I believe was the home appraisal people. For the next seven minutes my children discussed home appraisal, its purpose, how much they charge and the term "highway robbery" and its root meaning. The reason property taxes goes to public schools and the reason private schools are defined as private. Why it takes so long to pay off a house and how much of each payment goes to property taxes whether or not you use the public school system. And the fact that you do still have to pay "the king" to drive on certain highways. It was VERY enjoyable.

Much more so than the previous conversation about what the proper way to play Old Maid is and how Frodo was doing it wrong and whether Princess was overreacting and whether Frodo was really too loud when yelling "Cookie Crisp!" and whether that would be distracting should he do it in the classroom and how ridiculous it would be for him to do it since there is no Cookie Crisp in the classroom. They were in rare form, I tell ya.

Except it is hard to call it "rare form" when that is the dominant form.

But maybe that's just me.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Nothing quite so cute as hearing your potty trained(ing) two year old chanting "Don't go, don't go!" while dancing in front of the potty waiting for help.

OK, plenty that is cuter, but it is music to this mama's ears.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Good Books, Good Coffee

(Dallas, Texas)- There's nothing better than curling up with a good book and a cup of coffee--and there's no better book than the Bible. Sandra Glahn continues her series of Coffee Cup Bible Studies, presenting Kona with Jonah and Frappe with Philippians. Using creative teaching resources, including the Internet, art, online study groups and more, Glahn provides a special blend of bold and flavorful experiences that will bring participants back for a second cup of God's Word.

Kona with Jonah begins with a brief history of Jonah and Ninevah. Merging historical event with current modern day practicality, Glahn invites readers to take a walk in Jonah's sandals. Coffee sippers will find it hard to escape the similarities as these two worlds collide. Prayer, mercy, city revival and other strong themes will perk the interest and heart of diligent students.

Frappé with Philippians brews for five weeks of strong, powerful conversation about Paul and the heroes of the Philippian church. With detailed study time spent examining the letters of Paul to the Church, readers will come away feeling like they have met with the man himself. With sections entitled "That God Will Get me Out of Here, and Other Prayer Requests Paul Doesn't Make," Glahn keeps the tone of the study light, without disrespecting the seriousness of the study of God's Word.

A Chat Over Coffee w/ Sandra

Women who typically feel they don't have the time to do Bible Study find your studies relevant and easy to use. What's the secret to making the study inviting?

I don't know if there's one secret. Different things appeal to different people. But I do know that with my own personal Bible study time, I've been able to stay fairly consistent Monday through Friday when my daughter is at school. But on the weekends everything changes in our household. Sometimes we travel. Or we sleep later on Saturday. And we rise and go to church on Sunday. Result: my routine gets disrupted. For this reason I often have a more difficult time doing Bible study on the weekends. So I designed the series for Monday-through-Friday study with only short devotional readings on the weekends. The weekday time can require twenty minutes or more; the weekend readings take less than five minutes.

I think the studies also appeal to the right-brained person. As an artsy type, I sometimes engage more with the Bible if I can write out a prayer, draw, view a related video, compose a story, sing a song... And I wrote this series with that person in mind. The devotionals are also full of stories, which most of us love to hear.

In addition (and this is probably the main reason), when I was working full-time, I wanted a study I could stash in my purse without having to lug a Bible and a commentary. I wanted to use my lunch break for a quiet time without parading my resources in front of people. And I think it helps that the Coffee Cup series books don't look like typical Bible studies; they're all-inclusive (text, commentary, questions included); they're small enough to throw in a briefcase or diaper bag; and they're both spiral and bound--making it easier to use on a treadmill or fold in the lap and write on while sitting. In short they're designed for the multi-tasker. I heard from an ob-gyn who uses them as she's sitting in the doctors' lounge waiting for babies to arrive.

And one more thing--I also include a prayer at the end. I heard from an eighty-something man who told me how much those prayers meant. All his life he had struggled with prayer, and that guidance helped him respond to God. I'm glad that a series directed to women didn't scare him off!

In Jonah with Kona, what do you hope participants will take away and apply to their own lives?

We tend to like our own causes best; we like our own country best; we like our denomination best; we like our own families best; we prefer the schools we attended, the neighborhoods where we grew up, our own political party or cause, our gender--even our brand of peanut butter. And somewhere along the way we cross the line from preference to prejudice. We pray for our loved ones but rarely, if ever, our enemies. Mention atheists, opposing politicians, humanists, materialists, homosexuals, and radical feminists in most churches today, and the response you'll evoke will sound nothing like, "Let's pray right now for God to pour out his love."

Genesis tells us that humans are fellow creations of one maker. The qualities of God that so angered Jonah are the very qualities we most need: grace, compassion, patience, mercy, abundant love, and truth. And not just for those we love--but for those we hate. For those who have wronged us. For those who want us dead. For those with whom we strongly disagree. The only possible way we can demonstrate such remarkable goodness is through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The focus of Frappé with Philippians is the life of Paul and the early church. What kind of historical research did you do and did you learn any surprising facts as you compiled your information?

I think it's enormously important to understand the world in which Paul was writing. Let's take the view of women, for example. The Jews were the most conservative. The Greeks were better, though greatly influenced by Aristotle's low view of women. And the Roman women had the most freedom--even owning property and supervising gymnasiums. Knowing a city's predominant citizenship helps us understand Paul's letters on such issues.

My PhD work relates a lot to the Greek pantheon and Greek and Roman history. The historical backgrounds for the Bible books are essential, and fortunately they interest me.

I also love getting a sense of the geography, if I can. I had the advantage this summer of taking a clipper to follow the journeys of Paul. Some of our stops included Corinth, Troas, Neapolis, Philippi, and Athens.

One sentence out of the mouth of a guide in Corinth really stuck with me, as she provided a key to understanding the cities we visited. She mentioned that while American visitors seem generally uninterested in talk of gods and goddesses, knowing which member of the Greek pantheon a city worshiped is essential to understanding that city's mentality. The more I thought about this, the more sense it made:

ATHENS. Athena was the goddess of wisdom, so citizens of Athens wanted their city to reflect culture, religion, and philosophy. And sure enough, in Acts 17 we find Stoic and Epicurean philosophers hanging out at the Areopagus (Mars Hill). Paul affirms them for being religious, and rather than dissing their many false gods, he zeroes in on their altar to the unknown God and tells them about this Almighty one who was not made with hands--One who is never far from any of us.

CORINTH. Corinth was the home of Aphrodite, goddess of love (and not the agape version). Behind the city ruins stands a towering hill at the top of which sat Aphrodite's temple. One could not walk down the street without being conscious of its prominence. Might that explain why the Corinthians had so many issues with sexual immorality, and why Paul tells them that it's good for a man not to touch a woman (1 Cor. 7:1)? For the sake of the kingdom, he encourages them to consider embracing sexual abstinence rather than marrying. How fitting that in a city that prides itself on being a center of love, Paul pens the beautiful definition of true love--known to us as the love chapter (1 Cor. 13).

EPHESUS. Ephesus was home to the virgin Artemis who loved her virgin status and was immune to Aphrodite's love arrows. Among other things, Artemis was the goddess of the hunt. If you take a close look at the Artemis statues from the first and second centuries, you find her legs covered with numerous animals and flanked by a couple of deer. Now, usually we think of women as gatherers and men as hunters. And the fact that Artemis was a hunter suggests she had a less-than-feminine persona. In Ephesus we find stone work with the Amazon story (these women were way independent!), and guides tell visitors that the city was founded by an Amazon queen. The Book of Ephesians was probably intended for more than one city (like Laodicea), so we don't find much that points to a specific city's mentality in that book. But we do find 1 Timothy directed to Paul's protégé in Ephesus, and in it we find an emphasis on widows, women teaching false doctrines, and the need to marry and have children.

When reading the New Testament, I think it's important to find out something of its geography and certainly what member of the Greek pantheon each book's readers were up against. How its authors approached the cities' demons can provide insight for us into engaging a culture that's in love with worldly wisdom, immorality, and a low view of family.

I Don't Know

Do you think, maybe, I've used this washcloth enough that I can throw it away?

Guest Blog

The Jesus Movie for

the Next Generation

Guest post by Bruce Marchiano, producer of Jesus...No Greater Love

The truth of the gospel never changes. But Christianity has many faces. They reflect the customs and cultures and the beautiful diversity of the global church. They are lined with the wisdom of age and vibrant with the passion of youth. One gospel for all the world…but how will we deliver it in a way that reaches the whole world? How will we reach the next generation?

Young Christians today are more like St. Francis of Assisi than a circuit riding preacher. “Preach the gospel at all times and when necessary, use words.” This is a generation focused on being the hands and feet of Christ and meeting the physical needs of those in both the local and global community. They are building houses, planting gardens, taking food and clothes to the poor and helping the widows and orphans… and then they are sharing the gospel. And they are using technology like never before. They communicate the message through audio, film, video and the internet, and they strive for excellence within those mediums. They must. This is how they will reach their generation for Christ.

I share their passion. In the film, The Gospel According to Matthew, we were able to capture the heart of Christ that is so often missing in Christian films, but the quality of the film making was constrained by an $800,000 budget. Now we are inspiring a movement that will bring Jesus to film in a version that literally leaps off the screen and into the hearts of viewers.

Jesus…No Greater Love, the new Jesus movie, ( will be a word for word, verse by verse film adaption of the Gospel according to John. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. That’s really our concept, that the gospel would go out in the power of the film medium, unaltered by any human script writer.

The budget for a typical Hollywood production is $100-110 million. Actors’ salaries account for much of that cost. Because the new Jesus movie will be not be paying big name actors, our team believes we can produce a world class, state-of-the-art film incorporating the latest cutting-edge technology for just $45 million. The production will be shot on location in Jerusalem and shot digitally using CGI backgrounds and a green screen stage, providing unlimited potential for sharing the gospel for generations to come.

We are inviting people from all nations and all generations to join this movement to bring the gospel to all people. A movement made of 4.5 million people contributing a tax deductible donation of $10 each would fund the cost of the film. The Gospel belongs to everyone, and the new Jesus movie will be produced expressly so it can be accessed by everyone, no matter their financial situation. Our team's vision is to see the film translated into as many languages as possible and supplied to mission organizations and churches all over the world.

You can become a part of the movement to reach the next generation. Please help us spread the word to your friends and family. If you would like to make a donation, you can do so at

Also, you can keep up with our progress by visiting any of these links:


Bruce Marchiano is an actor, author, international speaker, and the founder of Marchiano Ministries, a non-profit organization reaching out to people both spiritually and practically in the USA and across the world. He is best known for his joyful, passionate portrayal of Jesus in the film, The Gospel According to Matthew.