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Magnificent Preparation

For those that asked… a repost here before it gets printed.¬† ūüėČ

Born Thy People To Deliver

 Did you know that every baby girl is born with every egg she will ever conceive?  Talk about potential!  So each precious little baby girl is born with her half of the next generation just waiting to mature and be delivered.

Advent is the time when we as Christians wait with anticipation.¬† We wait for a new year… a new chance… a new opportunity to be Christ, an anointed one, ¬†for someone else.¬† We wait to see and feel Christ in us anew, reinvigorating us for the coming deliverance.¬† We prepare.

And yet, the preparation has been going on for centuries.¬† It is amazing to me to think that some Jews even believe that there is a person born every generation with the potential to be The Messiah.¬† This is at least a small reason why lineages are so important to the Jewish people.¬† The Messiah’s purpose is to deliver His people from their bondage.¬† For the Jew, this is a very earthly deliverance.¬† For Christians, we understand deliverance not so much as what it’s taking us from, but what it’s delivering us into – a renewed relationship with the Father, into His arms.

So in the Middle East, over two thousand years ago, a baby girl was born to deliver The Messiah.¬† A baby girl was born who could reach back through the generations in her lineage to King David, through his son Nathan.¬† A baby girl was born who would one day raise her voice in praise to the Father of Abraham and us all, acknowledging that she was a lowly servant, and preparing for the Word to be made flesh… the delivery of our Deliverance.¬† And so, with Mary, I count myself blessed to be among the delivered.

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I have totally no idea… really more of a refresher course for me.¬† So, some things I want to remember, in no particular order, except when I come upon them:

* Beyond reason, but not contrary to it.

*¬†“Without somehow destroying me in the process, how could God reveal himself in a way that would leave no room for doubt?¬† If there were no room for doubt, there would be no room for me.”¬† Gotta love self will.¬† The ultimate parental worry…

* From the poet, Emily Dickenson… “We both believe, and disbelieve a hundred times an hour, which keeps believing nimble.”

It’s interesting what happens when the rain comes along with a son’s worry on a Sunday morning.

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This isn’t the Christmas recap… sorry… it’s coming, but probably a weekend thing.¬† THIS weekend?¬†¬† Oh, I don’t know… depends on if I can get the Christmas tree completely down or not.¬† Well, no.¬† It really has nothing to do with that.¬† Cause one minute¬†the lit but undecorated tree¬†inspires me to remember my wonderful holiday season, the next it just yells at me that I’m being a “put-offer” and I should just get it done and get life back to normal around here¬† the table moved back into place and things straightened back up a bit more.¬† We have more physical room without the tree up.¬† But there’s also a little gap left in my spirit… a gap that equals dull and boring and routine.¬† I’ve got to change that!¬† Giminy… taking the tree down is NOT the end of all smiles Tammy!¬† Get your act together!

OK… now that that is out…¬† The little everyday things are starting to crowd around in my head and beg to be written down before I forget them.¬† And since we have this wonderful new computer (yeah!), it’s actually a pleasure to tap on the keyboard a bit.

Whether or not ya’ll know it,¬†I check my blog often.¬† I like to see who’s lurking, where they’re coming from and use my sidebar to get to all of your pages.¬† This morning in my blog stats I find that somebody has navigated to my page¬†who is Almost an Empty Nester.¬† Huh!¬† If you read this (you’ll have to know who “you” is, cause my stats only tell me so much…) I’d love to know how you found me!¬† It’s just the curiosity in me.¬† She’s got a nice blog, though,¬†¬†so go check her out!¬† What a nice time in your life… to be awaiting a new family member!¬† Anyway, I scan down her list of blogs she likes to read and there’s little ol’ me.¬† Huh!¬† She must like inconsistency and long gaps between writings… *blush*.¬†

She also had a little quiz to take, so you know I did!¬† It’s a little difficult to pick my answers, though.¬† The first one really got me.¬† Cause, if you must know, several of those choices would make a great Sunday for me.¬† I just could not pick practicing my faith… I’m not sure about that.¬† I love going to church, teaching or learning… talking and sharing with all of my family there.¬† But getting “it” all together and going anywhere when I have to be “on time” is not going to be a favorite activity.¬† Now, if my Sunday School class would come here to my home for breakfast and searching and sharing… THAT would be a wonderful Sunday!¬† ūüėȬ† Anyway, here’s my color quiz:

        VIOLET

You surround yourself with art and music and are constantly driven to express yourself. You often daydream. You prefer honesty in your relationships and believe strongly in your personal morals.

Find out your color at QuizMeme.com!

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Some M-isms for you this new morning…

My little 3 year old has picked up A LOT of things from her older siblings.¬† No longer is she the little being who knows nothing else but to be acted upon.¬† She’s now at that most interesting time… emotions are right under the surface because showing them means things happen.¬† Yes, there are the ubiquitous tantrums.¬† Though she knows it doesn’t make anything happen for her, if she doesn’t get what she wants she will lay down on her belly with her head in her arms.¬† Sometimes she continues crying.¬†¬†Sometimes just the act of lying down, having me ignore the behavior and getting up again is enough to blow the storm clouds away.¬† But for the most part, she’s starting to understand that the crying fits will get her nowhere… good or bad.¬†

The emotional little child that makes me curious, though, is the one who, just this morning, pats Sissy’s hand and croons “It be ok sissy… it be ok”.¬† Or the little lady who will run to the side of a crying baby and start hushing it and wanting to put a calming touch on the wee one.¬† Last night it was W’s baby boy and the only thing she could reach was his socked toes.¬† By the way, this baby boy has a sister M’s age… they are constantly bickering over the correct way to “mother” the little one.¬† It is VERY funny!

If, during the course of our school day, I start to loose “it”… you know, voice raises just a bit and I pull out my angry eyes (but that never happens in your homes, does it?), she will run to the rescue of her older siblings with “you hurt my bubby’s/sissy’s feelings”… “no mom, no!”.¬† And she is forever apologizing for things…. “waury mom”.¬† Even if I’m not in the same room!¬† You better believe when I hear her say it I’m running to the scene of the crime!¬† LOL¬† Mostly it’s just some little something… a spilled cup of water or she’s “broken” something that is easily fixed.¬† But you see, the apology doesn’t seem to be her way of getting out of something (I’m not even in the room or she’s had many past experiences- the spilled water- to know it’s no big deal).¬† But it does seem to me to be genuine regret for what she’s done.¬† I don’t know.¬† Maybe you think I’m reading too much into my child’s behavior.¬† What I know is that if I continue to respond to her as if it’s genuine regret, then that is what she will learn.¬† I LOVE rasing my children!!¬†

This past weekend we were at P’s volleyball game and she was upset because she couldn’t join the gymanstics class in the other part of the gym.¬† So, down on the floor she drops, crying.¬† Her Daddy tisk-tisks and remarks that she is spoiled rotten.¬† He has very little patience for public displays like this.¬† I have to admit, they make me flinch.¬† But I’ve always worked under the assumption that a harsh reaction is just as apt to continue the behavior as a crooning “give-in” reaction.¬† She laid there for a minute until she just couldn’t help but stop the crying and divert her own attention back to the gymanstics class activities.¬† Then I went over, picked her up, remarked that the behavior was not appropriate… and acknowledged her desire to be a part of the class… and diverted her attention to a potty break.¬† When we came back she was ready to cheer for sissy, walk the bleachers, play a little bouncing-ball game with Daddy in the recently vacated half of the gym and make a friend.¬† She is a little body, full of emotional tumbleweeds.

Out of the blue, without anybody’s attention fully on her, she will shout out “BEHOLD!”.¬† She’s got some little thing she has marked on, or a dress-up piece she’s put on or something else she feels is worth attention and comment from her adoring masses.¬† And we give it!

She has been very concerned about baby Jesus recently and just where He is.¬† For our church’s¬† Christmas madrigal, she was a shepherd and close enough to see “baby Jesus”.¬† One night he was crying, the other night he was happy.¬† And, of course, his happiness was because of her presence.¬† You’ve really got to love the simple A=B that children have.¬† After everything was over, and for the month since then, she wants to know where He is.¬† So I explain that He wants to be in her heart… that he’s not a baby anymore.¬† She tells everybody that Jesus is in her heart… and, by the way, he likes blue… and pink… and whatever else she thinks babies like.¬† This past Sunday she comes into my Sunday school class (ours ALWAYS lets out after all of the other classes, and my chidlren are ALWAYS waiting for me, and my class is never REALLY finished… probably a bit of why I would love to have class here at my home… no time restraints) and announces that she has found baby Jesus and he is back in the corner of the church!¬† (Just in case you were wondering….)¬† I smile as I write this…¬† my 3 year old has something that most people loose.¬† Without knowledge or being “of age”, she’s close to Jesus.¬† And she knows that SHE makes Him happy.¬† Her being makes Him happy.¬† And I cry because she’s on a path that He wants her on… closer to Him.¬† Tickling His socked toes, crooning sympathy to those who need it, doing little things that should beckon great attention¬†and somteimes being righteously indignant at injustices around her.

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Called Upon

What a wonderful Sunday with brothers and sisters!¬† Cold though it was (I’m seriously not ready for it to be this cold, this early… yes Mom, I brought the kerosene heater in), we had a busy day to keep us warm on the outside and meaningful fellowship to keep us warm inside.

The tweens headed off to their Sunday school class, only to find out that the thermostat couldn’t be convinced to come on, so they had SS in the main church building on comfy couches with doughnuts at hand.¬† Good stuff for a teen boy who does a lot of his thinking with his belly, I think.¬† The three year old was dropped off at her class, jumping in to the pre-class play without much hesitation ( good stuff for Mommy… seperation anxiety is no fun).¬† Taking the stairs instead of the elevator, I made my way up to my class to find it has been moved to the gym.¬† I had forgotten, but one of our class teachers is at the end of her ordination and she has to have a series of class teachings taped for it.¬† The topic is “History of Methodism”.¬† COOL!

Sandra is a wonderful teacher, having, I believe, a background in a couple different Holiness churches/denominations.¬†¬† She has a true spirit for the Trinity that absolutely shines in her teaching.¬† Very well studied, not apologetic for anything scripture asks of us and intensely human and personable in her walk with God.¬† When she teaches, you know you’re sitting with another sinner saved by grace.¬† It is good to be in her company.

She starts her lesson with “You might be a methodist if…”¬†¬†¬† A couple of my favorites –

  • you know that a circuit rider has nothing to do with electricity
  • you’ve never sat through a hell-fire and brimstone service and you don’t think you’re missing a thing

I really must do a study on the Wesley family.¬† More than Luther or Calvin, I see my own struggles in what I know of these people.¬† Where the previous men always come off as down in the mouth, woe-is-me kind of¬† men, the Wesleys seem to have been folks struggling, doing the best they could do, striving for better and concerned about their relationship with God… not the church so much, though they remained in the Anglican church throughout their lives.¬† Suzannah, mom of John and Charles and, I think 17 (?) others, taught all of her children and was a stout disciplinarian.¬† And John was, lifelong, walking with God on the path and in God’s plan.¬† Point was made that John had several¬†times in his life that were defining… moments that some would call saving moments or something like that.¬† But my understanding is that he was always walking… no matter how much he doubted or what his doubts were.¬† And it is in this constant walk… this constant desire to see God and to be seen as one of God’s own… a constancy that soaks through in daily life and daily doings… this is what resonates with me.¬† Like John in one little way, I know I’m not good enough except when Christ stands in my place.¬† Perfect love… how sweet the sound.

“Wesley’s call to personal and social holiness continues to challenge Christians who struggle to discern what it means to participate in the Kingdom of God.”¬† Wikipedia

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Since P was to acolyte, we stayed for the late church service.¬† I love watching my daughter serve God.¬† Another person that humbles me somewhat in her walk with God.¬† It being an Advent morning, another tradition was observed… the Advent candle lighting, and the sermon was concerned with being called upon to serve God and¬†His Kingdom.¬† The pastor spoke about having been in an elevator at the local hospital with 3 other people – a nurse and a Dad with his little boy.¬† Now, if it were me, I would have been chatting with the folks riding with me.¬† It’s just who I am.¬† But our pastor confessed to being one of the other sort of folks… glancing at a watch, his feet, the numbers ascending as they past the floors.¬† And just as the elevator doors were about to open onto the maternity ward, the nurse asks the dad how old the little boy was, commenting on how cute he was.¬† Dad says he is 18 months old and just lost his baby brother.¬† The doors to the elevator shut without another word.¬† Pastor says he felt like he missed a chance.¬† Like he had been called upon, but wasn’t observant enough to hear the call to simple small talk and what would have been an opportunity to console.

And that message stirred in me¬†a recent lesson on being prepared by our prayer time with God.¬† Just because of my personality I tend to leave open doors everywhere around me.¬† But where I am negligent is in my preparation time… time in prayer to just listen for how God wants to prepare me for my future place in His plan.¬† I’m good with hindsight… but how many opportunities do I miss because I didn’t give God a chance to prompt me beforehand?¬† I am called upon to be ready… called upon in an advent season (what will probably be my whole life).

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Why do I do it?¬† Why do I allow myself to get sucked into conversations about homeschooling with folks who either A: want to argue or B: are arm-chair quarterbacking the issues?¬† Why do I read someone say “for the sake of the children and society in general, there should be some accountability of parent/teachers” and WANT to respond?¬† I’m not even good at those responses!¬† I need to just stop.¬† Is there a 12 step program?¬† But since this is my blog, what I would have said (yes, I did stop myself from responding… see!!¬† Aren’t you proud of me already?) may have contained some of the following:

Accoutability doesn’t seem to have helped the public school system out any… what would more accountability accomplish for private homeschools?¬† See, I think most of these quarterbacks choose not to acknowledge that homeschooling works to the advantage of society.¬† Or if they do, they just don’t want to admit that it works without somebody outside of the homeschool watching over the school’s shoulder.¬† “How can something work if society doesn’t have concrete knowledge of how it works?”¬† Here’s a good article: http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2sql/content_storage_01/0000019b/80/29/e6/28.pdf

So, are they just nosey and saying it’s for societal good alleviates the guilt of being nosey?¬† Can folks truly just not be content with staying out of other people’s business?¬† Yes, I know there are bad things that happen in isolation… but why is it better to regulate and limit innocent whole groups to save a small number of bad things from happening than just punishing those guilty of doing these limited number of bad things?

So, when I made that point on a messageboard I was told that the libertarian philosophy is nice but just like communism, doesn’t work in practice. *sigh*… I really don’t belong in debate circles… I’m not cut out for it.

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The holiday weekend was very nice.¬† P participated in a “Day Between” service at church meant to make you more aware of the depth of loss the disciples would have felt and therefore, the great hope that we have after resurrection.¬† It was a poignant service… all the teens were dressed in theatrical black, there was a Mary and Joseph carrying in a baby Jesus to begin and a reverse advent candle ceremony where candlelight was extinguished one at a time to emphasise everything the disciples believed they had “lost”.¬† At the end, each teen walked out and flanked the door with small votive candles in hand.

Easter dinner was here at home and my family came up but my in-laws didn’t want to be caught by bad weather.¬† Did I tell you we had about an inch and 1/2 of snow on the ground Monday morning?¬† It was gone by noon, but still!¬† Anyway, their Aunt surreptitiously hid eggs in different rooms of the house for them to hunt (I would have made them go outside) and I lazily put together different aspects of the meal all day long.¬† We had ham, Sam made biscuits, asparagus, steamed peas, baked beans and potato salad.¬† I had made a cheese torte the night before that was highly addictive with wheat thins and my cheese cake was a mess (I don’t know what happened… it was floating in water when I brought it out of the oven, but the springform pan was tight… don’t know.¬† So I bought a cheescake and everything was fine).¬† The tweens played darts with their aunt and the little one just flitted from one endulginf relative to the other.

Did I get my grand plan of home cleaning completely accomplished?¬† No, but we did make a lot of headway.¬† I still have some broken Christmas ornaments on my mantel that need to be repaired before packing up… still several boxes that need to be stored (including toys that overwhelm the upstairs spare bedroom) and ceiling tiles that need to be replaced in the kitchen AFTER I get up on the roof and sweep off the puddles of water (flat roofs are ALWAYS wrong!).

I rearranged my bedroom and that’s nice and the office is clean and orderly – that’s VERY nice.¬† Laundry is a constant and it seems the refrigerator stays messy and yucky.¬† Oh well.

Yesterday found the children and me dying Easter eggs and beginning to craft a tree to hang them on for a spring centerpiece.¬† Yeah, it’s a day late and a dollar short, but I’m not terribly fussy. ūüėČ

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Our itty-bitty production of Act 2 of¬†A Midsummer Night’s Dream is in full swing.¬† My dancers are all picking up the 3 dances and one variation (Heart’s Ease, Maypole, Petit Reinse and a variation of that) nicely and we have 5 more 2 hour meetings until the event.¬† Hopefully the weather will cooperate with us as we are having it at the local nature preserve in a huge open meadow.¬† Tempting fate?¬† Probably, but we have a raindate and it’s free!¬† P is Puck, so she has a lot of lines to memorize… *biting fingernails and hoping she doesn’t see me*

And life goes on!¬† How is your spring going?¬† I’ve got some pictures I’m going to try to post soon and maybe a link to a video…

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Happenings…

Well, it’s been a week of bloggity-hopping and very little blog writing.¬† Can you believe there were almost 2000 partiers during the ultimate blog party?¬† That just amazes me!¬† This internet just makes the world so small when you can party with folks in England, Ireland and New Zealand without even leaving the comfort of your own home.¬† They announce who won the door prizes tomorrow… I’ll let you know if I got luckier… you know, I’m already pretty lucky to get to cyber chat with so many wonderful women! ūüėČ

I had the awesome opportunity to teach MY Sunday School class this morning.¬† So cool!¬† One of the teachers called me up on Valentine’s Day to ask if I would teach on this Sunday and actually apologized that the material would be so heavy for my first time with this group.¬† You see, we are rounding up our study of Matthew which put us squarely at the crucifixion today.¬† When she called I told her I would think about it and pray and let her know by that evening.¬† I can’t remember the specifics now, but that day had been fine, going along gang-busters, until after she had called and then everything just started going wrong all over the place.¬† I can not help but think that it would have been a¬†bad time for me to start doubting myself in Christ and what gifts¬†He has given me.¬† And every time I thought about that, it kept occuring to me that it was Valentine’s Day and I was being asked to teach the most loving¬†story my God has for me.¬† So I put everything aside and told her yes!¬† And isn’t it great to get to teach people your age and older… folks that know the story or have at least heard it a million times, but you get to study a little deeper and see if there are any new stones to turn over.¬† I don’t know if I was able to turn any stones, but while I was studying, a few were turned over for me.¬† Try Isaiah 22:22-23… “What he opens, no one will shut.¬† What he shuts, no one will open.¬† I will fasten him firmly in place like a peg…”¬† WOW!¬† and I can¬†hear echoes of¬†God telling Moses “I Am Who I Am” when Christ tells the pharisees and priests “Yes, I Am” when they asked if he was the son of God.¬† It is always a thrill and amazement for me when I catch glimpses of prophecy revealed… strains in the song that God conducted from the beginning of the world catching my ears.¬† It was very nice to get to spend time with my SS peers on this lesson.

And today I took the girls to the nature preserve park here in town and finally got to plant the last 2 of my Incredibles letterboxes.¬† Phew!¬† I’m so glad to have that done.¬† They were fun, but it’s an anxiety game to a little degree when you agree to be a part of someone else’s letterbox series.¬† But it’s done!¬† Yeah!¬† And they’re all in a really neat area of town too.¬† Like I said in one of the clues ~ “Who’d have thought there was a wetlands here in Frankfort?”¬† Nothing really pretty going on yet in nature, but that will change in the next few weeks.¬† And it should be absolutley bursting with life and color by the time our Girl Scouts host their letterboxing workshop at this park in about a month.¬† Ooooohhh the aniticipation!¬† I hope somebody plans on coming!!¬† NINE boxes in this little nature preserve for the GS’s to hunt for.¬† Woo-hoo!

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Today was my second yoga class and I liked it a lot more than the first.¬† After the first class I was left thinking “I can do this in everyday activities”.¬† Today I have a much better appreciation for the art?… sport?… hobby?… exercise (I guess).¬† It was a ton more strenuous than I even imagined it could be, but not at all aerobic, which is nice for someone who can’t breath very well out their nose most of the time.

The class had a very nice flow from easy warm-up stuff to a strenuous climax to a cool down, stretch it all out kind of deal.¬† There was a lot of the happy go lucky “feel your energies… center your feelings… let your favorite color engulf you” talk… she really didn’t stop talking the whole class.¬† But somehow it ended up not sounding near as pseudo-health nut as I expected it to.¬†

And at the end, while we were relaxing all of our muscles and all, the teacher just casually segued into a scripture reading and prayer thing that really brought it all together nicely.¬† She compared a mountain pose to the mountains around Jerusalem… the strength and God’s protection and included the nation of Israel in her prayer.¬† She thanked God and acknowledged His authority over us.¬† She spoke (or read… I couldn’t tell… I was¬†dozing off¬†relaxing) from Psalms and the warrior poses we had done reminded me of David.¬† It ended up being more than I thought it would be.

Now, I know some consider this Christianizing of yoga to not be a good or healthy thing for the church or it’s members.¬† And I suppose my brain could think “yeah, using the conventions of the church to make something acceptable”.¬† But my heart says she’s not doing that.¬† I enjoyed the class and look forward to it again next week.

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