Saturday, May 30, 2009

Conversations with Evelyn, Part X

First, you should know that Tyler is my 12 year old brother and that Evelyn has my speed dial numbers memorized so she can call people. This morning she was trying to get a hold of my mom.

E: She's not answering.

Me: Are you using my phone? (Richard's phone is identical to mine).

E: I'm using my phone.

Me: Your phone?

E: Ya, my phone. You know how Pappy and Tyler share a cell phone? Well, you and I are going to share this one.

She completely made that deduction all on her own. We're so in for it!

Evelyn has been on a kick for the last few months where she wants a real cell phone. I'm sure the kick isn't going to end until we give in in like 10 years. But I find it amusing how early this is starting. The girls in my youth group help her send text messages back-and-forth. And I'm sure as soon as she can start writing, she's going to be using my phone to do that as well!

And we do have three daughters! Oh, my.

Teenage Boys and Baby Girls

Last night we had a youth group gathering at my house. Usually, we have more girls than guys, but last night we had 8 guys and 6 girls. Keep that in mind as I get further into this. So the first car-load shows up and it's a bunch of the guys. Immediately, one of them is jumping on my girls trampoline which has a 175 pound weight limit. So I look at them and say:
Guys, I have two rules, one at a time on the trampoline and two,
One of the Guys: No jumping off the roof onto the trampoline.
Me: Stay off the roof.
This conversation pretty much sums up younger teenage guys (13 to 15).
So a little while later the girls show up and we're about to start a game of capture the flag; the girls think it's a swell idea to play guys versus girls. I understand the whole women's lib movement and what the intent was . . . but seriously, 8 teenage guys versus 6 teenage girls in a game of capture flag . . . girls, get a clue! Anyway, after 20 minutes of screaming about birds, bugs and poop, the girls finally got their flag hidden in which it took the guys 4 minutes to recover. Sigh.
So after capture the flag, the girls are intent to sit around and talk. The guys are not, and I find out that they're "turkey hunting." I'm not going to even explain what turkey hunting is, but I will say it's extremely inappropriate. So after discovering what it is they were doing, I went up to Richard and explained the situation; his response was, "That's kind of funny!" Ah, girls are so different than guys! He did agree, however, that it was inappropriate and nixed that situation. Ah, praise the Lord, that He saw fitting to make suitable helpers!
So last night, Gigi fell asleep for her evening nap at 5:45. Normally, I would have woken her by 7 but when you have 8 teenage guys, an accessible roof with a trampoline below it, turkey hunting, and an electric fence, for heaven's sake, you let the baby sleep! Apparently, she needed it. She slept until 5 am! She fell back asleep until 7 am. Fell back asleep again at 9 and slept until noon! The great part of that whole scenario is that it's Saturday; Richard and I took shifts and we all got sleep! Yay!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My Children

I read some moms' blogs, and it seems like they mostly blog about their children. I, on the other hand, rarely blog about my kids. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because I lost my mind, oh, I don't know, probably, when I found out I was pregnant with Gigi. I have three kids, three and under. There are also three very good reasons why I'm not completely insane: I have all girls, my mom has the oldest two probably 20 hours a week, and Richard helps me.
[Not that Richard shouldn't help me, I was just pointing out that he does, probably more than most dads do].
A lot of parents I think have a surreal experience where they have children, where it changes their life. That didn't happen to me. I think part of the reason is because (just like I've believed in Jesus for as long as I can remember), I've wanted to have children for as long as I can remember. Perhaps, I was just loving them way before they were born. I don't know; I'm just thinking as I write.
Anyway, here's some thoughts about my children:
Evelyn is smart, witty, communicative, curly haired,
beautiful, strong-willed, nurturing, creative, and energetic. She has figured out lying, but is learning that it's wrong (thanks to some mama-smackdowns). Ah, she gets her quirkiness from me.
Riley is so different. At 2, she can play by herself for hours, in her own little imaginative world. She's funny, nurturing, straight haired (like her Mama), beautiful, ornery, and smart as well. They both love music and dancing, which shouldn't surprise anyone considering Richard and I.
Gigi's personality has yet to blossom. She's such a "pleasant" baby. She only cries when she has a need, and is just as sweet natured as can be. It's hard to believe that she'll be have "bad behavior" one day. I have a feeling she's going to be hard to catch up with . . . she starting crawling right at 6 months, and is showing no sign of slowing down. She's also a morning baby. Six a.m. beckons her name, unforntunately.
New challenges every day, new blessings every day.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Listen to this!

I'm in a good mood today. I guess I'm rolling with the punches and recognizing the blessings! I'm going to recap my day:

1. I got up early to finish typing up the test that I needed to give today at 10 a.m. It was going well until I dumped a glass of water all over the keyboard! I guess when you have a desk top that would just mean buying a new keyboard, but we have a lap top. Hmm.

2. I decided to try to blow-dry it. That went semi-well. I only managed to melt one key off.

3. I went back to trying to do the test, but the backspace and space key would not work. And, the period key would stick. At one point, I had 6 pages of nothing but periods.

4. I managed to email it to my mom, thankfully, she was in my address book because I couldn't type the dot in .com. Apparantly, it went from working too well to not at all.

5. She was nice enough to come out here and try to finish drying the computer while I finished the test at her house, another thanks go's in here because she just got Microsoft Word a few months ago.

6. Riley threw a temper tantrum about Brian babysitting and I caved in and took her to my mom's. Seriously, how do people survive parenting toddlers without family close by?

7. On the way to class, someone ran me off the road. I'm not joking or exaggerating. They were completely left of center on a blind turn! Thankfully, they ran me into someone's yard and not a tree or ditch!

8. My students did horrible on the test! Three A's out of 19 students and it was open book! I'm still peeved at this one. I'm seriously considering not letting my students leave after the next test. (We have a two hour block and I let them leave as soon as they're done). Some of the students practically did not do the last two pages!

9. Richard came home from work sick. Besides the obvious, this is not good for two additional reasons. One, this is the last week in the quarter and Richard hasn't hit all his sales goals, which means his commission rate will drop 1%. And, I had planned to finish laundry and clean our bedroom today, and now he's sleeping in it. However, his boss told him he could work Saturday. And, it's not like the rest of our house isn't a mess. lol.

10. Dang it! The period key is acting up again. It's a good thing Richard started school and in another couple of months we should be able to replace the computer anyway. She's been good, we got it when we got married :)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

6 Years Ago Today.

Today is Richard and I's anniversary. Yay!

I'm really excited about it. I don't know the statistics, but I know a lot of marriages don't make it to five years, so that in itself is exciting that we've made it past that and are thriving!

This has been the best year of our marriage. The first year we were married, with the exceptions of a few weeks, we lived apart: Richard in Japan and me at Muskingum. The second year of our marriage we lived in a tiny apartment on Yokosuka Naval base. You may think that was a good year, but I was extremely depressed, and although we made a lot of great memories and had a good time it hasn't compared to this year. The next three loooong years, we lived with my parents while we built our house. Enough said.

But this past year, we have had our own little home, Richard doesn't leave for weeks/months at a time, I have family support, and currently, I'm not pregnant! Yay! Double yay! Triple yay!

In a lot of ways I feel like we're just getting started, just getting good at things . . . we're just figuring this whole thing out. It's great! Awesome!

I love you, Richard! Happy Anniversary :)

My week.

Monday morning I woke up like usual and was going about my day. Someone had sent me a message on facebook that I decided to check. When I got on, I noticed that one of our church kids (who is away at college) had RIP Keith on his wall. It didn't take me long to find a page dedicated to his memory. I asked Scott, who graduated from St. C., what happened; it was then I found out Keith had committed suicide.

I was concerned because he was just a year out of high school, and I wasn't sure what my role should be. After making a few phone calls, I found out he was the cousin of one of my comes-to-youth-stuff-but-not-our-church girls. So I texted all the girls and we met at the church on Monday evening.

It's the second time in my life I've held someone who was grieving the loss of a loved one. There's nothing you can say in those moments, and certainly nothing you can do to make it hurt any less. Then came the questions and flood of emotions that I just listened to and understood, but didn't have an answer for.

Yesterday, I stood at the funeral home with her next to the dead body of her 19 year old cousin. I watched young person, after young person file through and cry and ask the same questions she was asking.

But the hardest part of it all was on Monday evening, that sweet girl looked at me with tears in her pleading eyes and a voice that was whisper said, "And the worst part of it all, I don't even know if he was a Christian." And the hope I could offer her wasn't very comforting.

I could have told her that God was sovereign and righteous and just. I could have told her that he was a God of comfort and mercy and grace. I could have said a lot of things, but all I said was, "All we can do is hope."

Please pray for me.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Mr. President

I wish President Obama could hear the ordinary conversations that people have everyday. For example, Richard and I had this conversation almost word for word yesterday:

R: I'm really starting to hate Obama.

K: Oh my gosh! I was thinking the same thing earlier today. My dislike has moved to borderline hatred. And when I realized that I started praying that God would change my heart because I know we're supposed to love our enemies.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Conversations with Evelyn, Part IX (maybe)

Riley pretty much is naked as often as she can get away with it. Two year olds love to be naked.

Today she slid down a dirt hill on her naked butt, on purpose. To which Evelyn commented:

"That's impressive!"

Ten More Things . . .

1. Evelyn told me the other day, "You don't ever have fun!" upon me giving her time-out. I wasn't prepared for that talk to start so soon.

2. Camp starts one month from today! Yay! Better start getting ready!

3. Richard started college. "Yay" and "sigh," all at the same time.

4. Gigi is slow crawling, sitting up, and she took a bath the other day with the big girls for the first time!

5. Riley (and Evelyn) destroyed about 1/4 of my little 'greens' garden yesterday. I'm pretty sure I've never been so angry at my children!

6. I baked an apple cake yesterday and have eaten half of it :( Dang it! I'm supposed to be losing ten pounds.

7. I'm tired, but did manage to do yoga today. I probably wouldn't feel so tired if I wasn't sugar crashing from eating so much cake!

8. I made a chart organizing the ministries according to age groups that our church offers. I love doing stuff like that. It helps me think better when I visually organize my thoughts.

9. Richard and I will celebrate our 6 year anniversay this month :) I love him more now than then!

10. I'm going to work on camp stuff . . .

Monday, May 11, 2009

Perseverance of the Saints

So we've been doing some theological debating on Carnal Christianity in regard to it's relationship to the Perseverance of the Saints or Eternal Security.

First, I'm going to agree with some of the others and say that in the parable of the sower only in the last scenario is the person truly saved. Initially, I thought differently from reading it on my own, but I've been reading some other thoughts on it and I changed my mind.

I wanted to publish some thoughts from a few books, but I can't find one of them. I'll try to summarize it the best I can.

First though, from the Westminster Confession (17.1):

"They, whom God hath accepted in His Beloved, effectually called, and sanctified by His Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved."

From my Bible, the Reformation Study Bible, general editor, R.C. Sproul, 1995, p. 1781:

"Those who pursue holiness of heart and love of neighbor and so show themselves to have been regenerated by God are entitled to believe themselves secure in Christ. Belief in perseverance properly understood does not lead to careless living and arrogant presumption.

The regenerate may backslide and fall into sin. In so doing they oppose their own new nature, and the Holy Spirit convicts them of their sin (cf. John 16:8) and compels them to repent and be restored to righteousness. When regenerate believers manifest a humble, grateful desire to please the God who saved them, the knowledge that He has pledged to keep them safe forever increases that desire."

Other Bible citations supporting the Perseverance of the Saints: Phil. 1:6, cf. 1 Cor. 1:8-9, 1 Thess. 5:23-24, 2 Thess. 3:3, 2 Tim. 1:12, 4:18.

With all that said, you may think I'm going to change my mind and say Carnal Christianity is impossible, but I'm not :) I'm not going to get into the Biblical side of that. I think the article Amanda posted and Scott in his reply to Amanda's post from May 5 did a pretty good job of summing up that aspect.

The book that I wanted to use a quote from on here, that I know I own and am mad that I can't find, is from Messy Spirituality by Mike Yaconelli. Unfortunately, Mike died before I ever had the opportunity to hear him speak, but I would like to encourage everyone who works in any type of ministry to read his books!

This quote comes from the book Getting Fired for the Glory of God. It's a book of excerpts his kids put together after his death. It's either speeches or columns he wrote. This one comes from "Caring for Your Own Souls while Ministering to Others." I think this is a great testimony to this entire topic we're covering. (pp. 132 and 133).

"When I was 20, I knew everything about Jesus. I swaggered into high schools afraid of no one's arguments. The Bible was true, Jesus was God, and we all needed him. I still believe those things, but the swagger is more like a limp now. I know Jesus, but I don't know much about him. I love the Bible - it's even more true to me today than it was 40 years ago - but the truth I see now is much more complicated and mysterious. Jesus is very real to me, but he's also very elusive. Sometimes I wonder if I'm following him, or he's following me. Life has left it's scars on me. My soul is thick and leathery, faded and torn, knocked around a lot. I'm not as sure about things as I used to be.

Yet here's the amazing part, the one abosolute I cannot shake: Jesus.

As many times as I have disappointed him, as often as I have run from him, he hasn't given up on me. Every time I turn around, he's there. Every time I run from him, he's there.

I don't know as much about Jesus as I used to, but I do know one truth for sure: He's closer."

Some other thoughts:

I personally feel it does us no good to debate theology unless we're going to apply the truths that we uncover to our lives and our ministries. In my personal life, I've long been comforted by the assurance that Christ is continually working in my life. Sometimes I feel like it's more like a tug-of-war than anything else, but it's also reassuring to me to know that Christ is not yet finished me and that He'll bring me to completion! There are times in my life where I question my faith, and it is during those times, that I cling to this truth!

Recently, I've had two other thoughts running through my head:

Equipping Members from Ministry and

the Role of the Church in regard to Conviction.

I've spent a lot of time studying Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry and also PDYM, both by Doug Fields, the youth pastor at Saddleback in So. CA. The leadership at our church has also been studying Purpose Driven Church by Rick Warren. (Even if you're not a big Saddleback fan, I would find it hard to believe you could disagree with too much in these books. They have done an excellent job of concretely discribing and organizing how churches should work and wrote it in a very easy to understand format). One of things they emphasize in their books is that members of the church are called into ministry. Obviously, this doesn't mean paid full-time ministry, but your church should have a way for every member to engage in ministry.

Hold on, I'm going to get back to that . . . .

Yesterday, Richard and I were watching some videos produced by Jeanne Mayo's group Youth Leaders' Coach. The video's were suppliments to her book Dirty Little Secrets. Jeanne is hard core; she's not afraid to tackle tough issues. Anyway, she gave this quote by Dr. Dobson. I can't remember it exactly, but the point was this: Dr. Dobson estimates that more young men leave the church over guilt in the area of masturbation than for any reason. That blew my mind! Richard wasn't surprised.

I'm going to roll all of this together now.

Assumming God preserves those whom He calls AND Christians can live carnally, we can therefore assume there are young men (and women) out there who are living carnally most likely out of a false pretense that they will never be able to live up to God's standards! And consequently, are totally missing the bigger picture of God's calling for them into ministry, to bear fruit.

When we start judging people's salvation based on our perceptions* of carnality, we become the very people who are driving sinners out of the church! And I believe it was not your ordinary sinners but rather the morally righteous people at that time whom Jesus was talking about when he said, "Away from me you evil doers." They were the people who held righteousness up for the sake righteousness, rather than righteousness up out of a love filled, humble response to God's calling in their lives.

Okay . . . I'm done! And Amanda, I think we probably did agree from the very beginning :)

*I used the word perception because in order to judge carnality we have to as humans to be able to say, well, here is the line between just sinning and being carnal. I can attest to doing things in my life that I knew were sins, but I wasn't repenting for them and I certainly was justifying them. Did that make me carnal? And if you assume that one can't be carnal and a Christian, explain how I was?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Theology Highlights

Amanda, John, and Richard and I have gotten into debating some theology via Amanda's blog: So I thought before people judged me too harshly, I should give a little history of my theological background and how it's developed over the years. Maybe I'll even make a list of TEN!

1. I grew up Presbyterian, the heir of Calvin's heritage, and I didn't know anything about it. LOL. Our preacher was an Arminian (sp?) and preached firmly against "once saved, always saved" and election. Very, very into free will.

2. When I went to (Presbyterian) church camp my freshman year of high school, the guy who was leading it at the time was a Calvinist. It was first time in my life I had ever been exposed to Calvinism, except for history class, and my teacher made him seem like a loon!

3. I spent several years angry that I had been denied these truths of God's character, and often felt compelled to forcefully share my views with others :(

4. In high school, I was sold out hard core for Christ, and was not in any way a 'carnal Christian.' For the most part, I practiced what I preached, recognizing I will always fall short, hence the reason I'm in need of a savior. But I still had the looming fear, "What if God didn't choose me?" And "It's not fair that God would choose me, and not this person."

5. After 3 more years of church camp, mentoring by two ladies whom I dearly love, an awesome college experience with Tim Burgess, and studying my own Bible, I've recognized the truth of Calvin's theology. I love it and am comforted by it.

6. Side note: I haven't read anything on carnal Christianity, but one of the reasons I'm inclined to believe it's possible, is from personal experience with one of the aforementioned ladies. Man, she jacked her life up hard core with sin and has really allowed parts of her past to enslave her. But I don't doubt for a minute the authenticity of her faith.

7. I've matured a lot. I love my theology, but it's not my God. There's a forward from a book that I'll share with you all later that really explains what I mean by this.

8. I completely trust the sovereignty of God. I don't spend a lot of time (any more) fussing over whether or not my theology is exactly right, what heaven will be like, or even convincing other Christians why they should believe what I believe. I just trust God, and know that His way is the best way.

With 8. said, that leads me to my last two points:

9. If you want to debate theology, I will and can. As long as you're willing to except two truths, the gospel message is first and friendship comes before theology.

10. If you are a person that is dear to my heart and whom I am confident has a personal relationship with Christ, if I feel God's nudge I won't hesitate to challenge you to take steps in your faith :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Yesterday, I had the opportunity to go to Christian Educators workshop that our Presbytery CE director put together. There were just a few people there, and we were sitting around talking during dinner. I get so sick and tired of hearing people in our churches whine about apathy amoung current members and stagnant growth in our churches. AND HOW THEY DON'T FEEL THERE'S ANYTHING WE CAN DO ABOUT IT. Ah! Quit whining!!!!

Here's a provoking thought that just popped into my head: do you when I'm most effective in ministry? When I'm excited about my faith!

There you have it, advice from Kendra: Stop whining and get excited!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Conspiracy Children

This blog is due to sleep deprivation:

I'm pretty sure that Riley and Gigi conspired against me last night. I think they had a conversation that went something like this:

G: Riley, I have a great idea! Let's keep mom up half the night and make her totally sleep deprived.

R: Yeah! That sounds like fun!

G: Okay, here's what we'll do. I'll get up at around 3:45 a.m. and not cry a lot or anything. Just enough to keep her awake. I'm pretty sure I can make it until around 8:30, when you get up. But just in case I fall asleep, you need to come and cause just enough commotion to wake me back up. I still take naps during the day, so I'll be good.

R: Sounds good! Let's do this!

G: This is going to be awesome!