March 31, 2009

I Read It! Easter Edition

I Read It!

I really don't have a library of Easter books, so I was very thankful when Carrie wrote this post. We ended up reading these two books, and they were fantastic. Carrie describes them perfectly.
One thing I really like about the Happy Day Easter books is that they connect the traditional festivities we participate in to the true meaning of Easter. I liked this series so much that I bought two more in it...

This book portrays the Biblical Easter story and on each page there are 3-4 questions to engage the child's thought processes. These books have a "reader" type format, so they are simple enough for my kindergartner to read on his own and yet present real Biblical truth.

The bookstore I was at also sold the coloring books in the series. The exact same words are on each page above or below the picture. I bought the coloring book version of this last book. This gives my 3 yr old a way to interact with the story more personally. Plus, it was half the price!

For more I Read It! posts, click over to 5 Minutes for Books!

My Life. In Pictures: On Your Table

I just have to applaud Jenn at Living with Bryan! She received Monday's "best shot of the day" honor!

Homework folder comes home on Monday, and this is what our table looks like!

Head on over to Everything Except the Grill to see what's on everyone else's tables! It's not too late to join in. You can participate in whichever days you like!

March 30, 2009

CF Shout Out!

Tomorrow night is my monthly CF Support Group meeting. A couple of moms through our local foundation just started it last month. There were 5 of us there, and Samantha was in the middle in terms of age (1 mom had a 1 month old). I thought it would be cool to take a list of CF blogs to these moms. I know I have found the most amount of support from this online community! I just don't want to write your blog down without your permission. If any of you would be willing to be "read" just leave me a comment saying so! Thanks!

***This is for both CFer blogs and CF mom blogs.

iHeartFaces: Pouting

Samantha is a pouter at heart!

I'm entering the iIHeartFaces photo contest of the week. Subject: pouting!

My Life. In Pictures: Something New

Everything Except The Grill is hosting a wonderful Photo Challenge this week. I think it looks like a lot of fun...

Monday- Something new
Tuesday- Something on your table
Wednesday- The view from your front door
Thursday- Something you do each day
Friday- Something old

My "something new" is my new Nikon D50 SLR my mother sent me! My camera had been having all kinds of problems and needs a great deal of repair! But to make sure I would have a wonderful, working camera for Disneyland, my mother sent me hers. I'll never be able to take pics without an SLR again. I can take delicate pictures like this one now...

Head on over to Everything Except the Grill to see more "something new" pictures.

Menu Plan Monday: Vacation Coming

We're going on vacation next week, so my twofold plan this week is to empty the fridge & save grocery money by doing it!

Monday: Breakfast Pizza (recipe at bottom)

Tuesday: Sweet & Sour Chicken (I use the little packets)

Wednesday: Chicken Tacos

Thursday: Veggie Chicken Rice Casserole

Friday: Hamburger Soup

Breakfast Pizza
1 can biscuits:Press in bottom of 8x8x2 dish
Next beat:4 eggs and 1/4 cup milk
Pour over raw biscuits
Then sprinkle: Sausage, ham, or bacon bits
Bake at 375 for 15 min.
Then sprinkle 1 cup grated cheddar cheese.
Continue to bake until cheese melts and slightly golden.

March 29, 2009

Weekend Wrapup # 10: Weather Differences

A couple of days ago I wrote on my Facebook status that it was a perfectly sunny San Diego day. And my thoughts behind it were that we've had some very overcast days lately, and my friends here would get that it's great for it to finally be bright and springy. So I laughed out loud when my friend, Christi, responded, "It's 20 degrees here!" Yikes! I am not made for that kind of weather. I got another tickle today when I checked Christi's blog to see these pictures and another friend who blogged these pictures. I think I got cold just looking at those (4D blogging!) And this was our weather today...

Would Timothy and Samantha pick building a snowman over blowing bubbles? In a heartbeat!

March 27, 2009

Karate Pics

Every minute I'm not blogging (or reading blogs), I'm planning our big Disneyland trip in less than 2 weeks! This will be the first time for both of my kids, so you'll be hearing a lot more about that in the near future. Here's what's been going on this week...

Timothy lost tooth #3, and I can't figure out where the permanent is going to fit in:

Karate advancement. We went from 1st degree yellow (plain yellow belt)...

To 2nd degree yellow (yellow w/black stripe down middle)...

Samantha loves pretending to do karate, so I bought these gloves for her (garage sale) to practice her punches!

And doesn't the orange belt make a great magnifying glass?

Timothy blocking...

Tournament is this coming Sunday!

March 23, 2009

Book Author Interview

Author: Edward Willian Fudge
Publishing Information: Leafwood Publishers, 2009, 262 pages, $19.95

A Neglected Book

Q: Hebrews is not a book we hear discussed very often. Why do you suppose that is the case?

EWF: You are right about that. This neglect is very unfortunate, in my view, because Hebrews is one of the most Jesus-focused, gospel-packed books in the New Testament. You will see the evidence for that on almost every page of Hebrews: Ancient Encouragement for Believers Today.

Q: Why do most people miss this focus?

EWF: It comes from a lack of real study of Hebrews. Folks go away from it without ever seeing and appreciating the book’s real message. They assume it is just an old book about even older Jewish rituals, sacrifices and priests, with no meaning or value for them.

Who wrote Hebrews?

Q: Do you know who wrote Hebrews?

EWF: I know as much about it as anyone else, which is finally nothing for sure!  Origen told the truth about two centuries after Christ when he said that the author “is known to God alone.” It almost certainly was not Paul, for a variety of reasons. My personal vote among the candidates goes either to Barnabas or to Apollos.

Q: Why do you favor Barnabas?

EWF: The author of Hebrews calls his own work a “word of exhortation” (Heb. 13:22). The same Greek expression is found at Acts 13:15, where it is translated as “word of encouragement.” There, Paul and Barnabas are invited to address a Sabbath synagogue audience, which they do for the next 31 verses. Their remarks are called a “word of encouragement.” Not only is Barnabas involved in that, his name means “son of encouragement” (Acts 4:36) – a comment on one of his chief characteristics. He is also a Levite, who would be very interested in the subjects of priesthoods, sacrifices, and their results. These themes permeate Hebrews and can also encourage us today, as I show in Hebrews: Ancient Encouragement for Believers Today.

Q: What can you say in favor of Apollos?

EWF: Well, for starters he is called “mighty in the Scriptures” (Acts 18:24). This fits Hebrews very well since its author clearly was exceedingly familiar with his ‘Bible,’ which was the “Old Testament” as we call it. (Hebrews actually tells the Story of the Son of God -- from heaven to earth and back to heaven again -- based on four different Psalms.) Apollos was also “an eloquent man,” as was the author of Hebrews). And he was from Alexandria, Egypt – a city of learning noted for a particular type of Scripture interpretation. The author of Hebrews reads his Bible in a similar manner.

Why was Hebrews written?

Q: Do we know why Hebrews was written?

EWF: Yes we do, although we don’t know exactly to whom, when, where, or precisely what was going on. But we do know that, for a variety of reasons, the original recipients of Hebrews were worn out, disheartened, tempted, and seemingly about ready to walk away from their faith. The book hints at some possible causes, including persecution, passing of time, being misfits in their culture, the appeal of sin, and so forth.

Q: That situation sounds very up-to-date! How does the author of Hebrews respond to it?

EWF: I love it! To revive his readers’ spirits and to renew their commitment, the unknown author re-tells the Story – the story of the Son of God who became a man, to live and die as our representative, and who is now in heaven representing us as our High Priest. Hebrews is thoroughly focused on Jesus! Its message is always contemporary. We can never go wrong by focusing on the Savior himself. I am very pleased that several reviewers have described Hebrews: Ancient Encouragement for Believers Today in those same terms.

A ‘bridge’ commentary

Q: You call Hebrews: Ancient Encouragement for Believers Today a “bridge” commentary. What does that mean?

EWF: When it comes to Bible studies, there are two worlds out there which often never come together. One is the ivory-tower world of academic specialists with all their scholarly issues and technical jargon. The other world is where most believers live and work and worship. Hebrews: Ancient Encouragement for Believers Today attempts to bridge this gap. For example, I worked from the Greek text of Hebrews but Hebrews: Ancient Encouragement for Believers Today doesn’t have a single Greek word in it. Although the bibliography covers eight pages and includes 80+ scholarly articles from theological journals, this book uses everyday language. By linking scholarship with simplicity, I hope to give the reader the best of both worlds.

A narrative-style book

Q: You also describe Hebrews: Ancient Encouragement for Believers Today as a “narrative-style” commentary. Tell us about that.

EWF: That refers to the fact that Hebrews: Ancient Encouragement for Believers Today is written as flowing narrative, although it discusses each verse of Hebrews in detail. It does this in 48 chapters, each covering a portion of the Scripture text. Each chapter begins with a very short section called “Why & Wherefore,” which relates that section to the big picture. That is followed by “Unpacking the Text,” which goes into detail, but in narrative style, with subheads to make it read more like a typical book.


Q: I see that Hebrews: Ancient Encouragement for Believers Today is already endorsed by a considerable variety of notable scholars and church leaders, even before its release. Isn’t that a bit unusual?

EWF: What is somewhat uncommon in the case of Hebrews: Ancient Encouragement for Believers Today is the theological and international diversity of the endorsements. Hebrews contains a number of quite controversial passages, about which Christian “tribes” traditionally disagree. I am very pleased, therefore, that this book is recommended by knowledgeable reviewers across the spectrum.

For example, the quotes on the back cover of Hebrews: Ancient Encouragement for Believers Today come from Methodist, Calvinist, Church of Christ, Baptist, mainline Protestant, Pentecostal and Emergent church scholars. The full text of these seven endorsements, plus 29 others, fills the first six pages of the book. You can read the endorsements online already, with photos, biographical comments and (where applicable) website links of the reviewers, by clicking here.

I want to thank Ed personally for his time, and I encourage each of my readers to buy his book!
For my personal thoughts on the book click here.

March 22, 2009

Book Review: Hebrews

It is my privilege to review the commentary Hebrews: Ancient Encouragement for Believers Today. This book is written by Ed Fudge of Edward Fudge Ministries. You can read Ed's testimony here. Dan discovered Ed almost 10 years ago, and we have been receiving his GracEmails ever since. These are 3 paragraph emails where Ed addresses theological questions raised by his readers. Ed's writing style has always been theologically sound, easy to comprehend, and inspirational. The same way I describe Ed's GracEmails is the way I would describe his new book.

We all love having a good commentary when we want an in depth look at a book of the Bible, but so often to find that if it has strong theological content we can barely comprehend it! Not so here. In this book Ed utilizes his vast theological training, but does not bog us down with terminology that doesn't actually help us understand the text. Instead, Ed's education is a springboard for embracing what Hebrews is supposed to mean for us today. As the intro of this book states: "This commentary is written for the serious Bible student who seeks scholarly content in non-technical terms. As such, it bridges a gap that many commentaries simply ignore." Nothing is watered down, and yet these Biblical truths are explained simply and thoroughly.

I love this written by Ed in the "About This Commentary". It shows his heart: "Reverent scholarship is important, and that has ever been my goal. However, as beneficiaries of the new covenant, our ultimate teacher is God himself (Hebrews 8:10-11). With that reality in mind, let us fix our eyes on Jesus and receive with faith the word that God has spoken by his
Son (Hebrews 12:2; 4:2)."

Check back later today for an interview with Ed!!!

Psalms 139 Sermon Series

Our pastor is doing a great series on Psalms 139: God's Character Revealed. Today was Psalms 139: 17-18, "I am Always on God's Mind."

Psalm 139:17-18 (NIV)

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!

18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake,
I am still with you.

5 of the ways God pays attention to me:

1. God is thinking of his love for me.
2. God is thinking of my future.
3. God is thinking of my hurts and my needs.
4. God is thinking of my service to him.
5. God is thinking of my hidden motives (so no need to hide them).

MY RESPONSE: Pay attention back to God. Do I think about God as often as He thinks about me?

Weekend Wrapup #9: Newport Beach

We have wonderful friends in Texas who went to Disneyland this week over Spring Break. We met up with them at Newport Beach on Saturday, and even though it was COLD, we all had a wonderful time!

Josh building a sand castle with essentially no tools!

Samantha working on it later...

There's a Ruby's at the end of the pier!

Then we decided to get on the Ferris Wheel. The kids loved it, but Sheila & I were a bit freaked. What was I thinking?

March 20, 2009

Weekend Wrapup #8: Did You Know?

Last Saturday I went to a children's conference with some women from my church. We got to pick 4 breakout sessions that we wanted to attend, and I learned a great deal that I want to implement at AWANA. During one of the general sessions, they played this video about how technology has changed since the mid-80s and what the future global impact will be of technology. Pretty interesting stats...

March 19, 2009

Guest Writing: Contentment

Stephanie at Stephanie's Mommy Brain is hosting a blog series entitled "Living as a Single Christian Woman," and I am honored to be one of the guest writers. Even though the article is related to singlehood (I married at age 27), my main point is how critical contentment is, no matter the marital status. Please head over there to read it. I would love your feedback.

March 18, 2009

WW & SEW: St. Patrick's Day

No matter how important green is today, Samantha's favorite color is RED!

Timothy was in a picture taking mood, so I took advantage!

For more Wordless Wednesday, go to 5 Minutes for Mom.
For more Special Exposure Wednesday, go to 5 Minutes for Special Needs.

St. Patty's Day Book

Title: Jeremy Bean's St. Patrick's Day
Author: Alice Schertle
Illustrator: Linda Shute
Publisher: Lothrop Lee & Shepard
Reading Level: Ages 4 - 8

We read the cutest St. Patrick's Day book tonight. I know the day is done with, but there is always next year, and who knows if it will be on clearance tomorrow? This book is about Jeremy Bean, who by accident doesn't wear green to school on St. Patty's Day. All the kids laugh at him chanting...

Jeremy Bean
Didn't wear green
Jeremy Bean
Didn't wear green

Jeremy is mortified and hides in a broom closet to avoid his schoolmates. Upon seeing this, the Principal invites Jeremy to his office instead. Much to Jeremy's surprise, his Principal doesn't ask anything about the color green, but happily shares his own green accessories once Jeremy admits that he left his green sweater at home. I love that it shows that a child can count on an authority figure when they are experiencing their worst nightmare!

March 17, 2009

Weekend Wrapup #7: Memorial Service

On March 3rd, the husband of one of our MOPS moms, went to be with the Lord. I did not know him, but his wife is an amazing, cheerful woman who exudes the joy of Christ every time I see her. They have two young children, and my heart hurts for her. One thing that always amazes me about being around Christians when death occurs is the reminder that this life is not the end. Those of us who believe that Jesus is Lord and God raised him from the dead have eternal life! (Romans 10:9, John 3:16)

And this Memorial Service proclaimed that over and over. Perfectly selected song choices and tributes from family and friends (including my friend) made this memorial service a celebration of her husband's life and a worship service to our Heavenly Father. The following song was sung, and because the words are quite poignant I thought I would share them...
Find Us Faithful

We're pilgrims on the journey
Of the narrow road
And those who've gone before us line the way
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary
Their lives a stirring testament to God's sustaining grace

Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses
Let us run the race not only for the prize
But as those who've gone before us
Let us leave to those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness
Passed on through godly lives

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful

After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone
And our children sift through all we've left behind
May the clues that they discover
And the memories they uncover
Become the light that leads them
To the road we each must find

Repeat Chorus Twice

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful

Words and Music by Jon Mohr
Copyright 1988 Music/Jonathan Mark Music (admin. By The Sparrow Corp.) All Rights Reserved. International Copyright secured.

Kid's Picks: How BIG Is It?

Every Monday, Timothy's class gets to visit the school library and check out a book. This week Timothy brought home How Big Is It? written by Ben Hillman and published by Scholastic. I've never seen him so excited! He wanted to read it in the car all the way home, he wanted to read it when we got home, and then he wanted it to be the 1st of our 3 books we read before bedtime.

This is a clever book that shows the size of various objects or animals around the world, and compares them to another known object so that we get an idea of how big it is. For example, the giraffe, being 17.3 feet tall, is shown standing in a living room with it's neck & head in the upstairs bedroom above it. Timothy's favorite page is the tarantula! Yuck! The picture shows the tarantula spanning a dinner plate (12 inches). When I asked him why that was his favorite, he said, "Because it's scary." Of course.

Other books in the "Fun Science Series" include How Strong Is It?, How Fast Is It?, and How Weird Is It? Scholastic says this book is for ages 7-10. It's easiest to see excerpts of all the books by clicking here.

For more Kids' Picks, please visit 5 Minutes for Books.

Ireland & Cystic Fibrosis

I am of Irish descent, but unless you knew my maiden name and the fact that my entire family has red hair, I don't know that you would guess that. In fact, I've never thought very much about my ethnicity until I had a child born with Cystic Fibrosis. While CF does affect EVERY race (I do not want to be misleading), it occurs most often in white people of Northern European descent. Remembering that approximately 30,000 Americans have CF, here is the statistical breakdown:
  1. About 1 of every 3,600 Caucasians is born with CF
  2. About 1 of every 17,000 African Americans
  3. About 1 of every 90,000 Asian Americans
And the stats on those who are CF carriers in America varies. Any idea which stat is right?:
With St. Patrick's Day approaching, I got to wondering what the CF stats look like in Ireland. I was surprised to learn that...
  • With 1100+ CF Patients, Ireland has the highest proportion of CF people in the world.
  • Approximately 1 in 19 is a carrier for the CF gene.
Always consult your local CF clinic first, but the CFAI has a lengthy list of online publications, including "A guide for Parents of Newly Diagnosed Children with CF". And they even have a website for their CF Registry! I thought that was pretty cool! Have a safe and happy St. Patrick's Day!

CFers or carriers...tell us about your ethnicity if you know it.

March 16, 2009

Weekend Wrapup #6: Mamma Mia!

February 28th, a friend of mine and I watched Mamma Mia. Talk about torture. I know several people who liked it, but I'm not one of them. It had vulgar moments that didn't have to be there, terrible singing (why can't Pierce Brosnan just go back to being Remington Steele?), and random songs that didn't even relate to what was going on. I did not like it.

Weekend Wrapup #5

I'm backtracking big time, but when this deployment is over I want to look back and read about each weekend, so here goes...

Saturday, Feb 21st was our AWANA Games competition. Timothy has 2 characteristics that work against eachother. He is extremely competitive, but like many SPD children, he lacks coordination. Our parenting philosophy is two fold: 1) practice makes perfect (which Timothy has actually started to quote!) and 2) let him lose until he learns that winning is not everything in life. Timothy was disappointed that our team didn't win at the games, but he recovered in a shorter amount of time than the last time he didn't win. We call that progress!

Sunday, Feb 22nd I had a cookie exchange (or combining) with other wives from Dan's ship, and we mailed the division a bunch of cookies. I haven't heard anything about the package, so I think they STILL haven't gotten them. Think they'll be good?

March 14, 2009

Say It Forward

Mom Blogs

Say It Forward – Carnival of Loyal Commenters is a new weekly carnival at 5 Minutes for where bloggers feature their loyal commenters!

I have many, many loyal commenters, and I don't want to leave anyone out! But I have to start somewhere, so I will begin with my friend, Stephanie. I met Stephanie 16 years ago when I was her R.A. as a freshman in college! She is miles ahead of me in the blogging world, but always finds time to leave me a comment. And often a thought provoking question!

Steph is a stay at home mom to 4 kids and home schools her oldest. She blogs about cooking, books, homeschooling, and blogging. Depending on what your interest is, you can find her providing great information on the following blogs...
Stephanie's Mommy Brain
Stephanie's Mommy Brain In the Home School
Stephanie's Mommy Brain In the Kitchen
Profitable Mommy Blogging
Are you looking for some loyal commenters? Find some at 5 Minutes for Mom!

March 13, 2009

Aloha Friday: Economy

Welcome to this week’s edition of Aloha Friday.

In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day that they take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So on Fridays we take it easy on posting, too. Therefore, Kailani asks a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response. Then everyone else asks a simple question on their own blog for others to answer.

My question is:

How you have been most effected by the current economy?

For more questions from Aloha Friday, go to An Island Life.

March 12, 2009

Guest Writing: Olivia

Back in January, I wrote a review on Olivia for the 5 Minutes for Books monthly Children's Classics carnival. Olivia is now on the small screen at Nick Jr., and I am writing about it over at 5 Minutes for Books today. After you read my article, click on the "Join In" tab to learn of their amazing weekly book carnivals.

March 11, 2009

Sailor's Perspective: Hong Kong IBC

Cheaper Than Therapy

If you missed Dan's first article about Hong Kong, click here and here.

I know this picture may not immediately say much to you, but it speaks volumes to me. Dan and I met when he was stationed in Japan, and I was working in Guam. One of the first things that drew me to him was the fact that he loved to visit missionaries and pastors in each port he visited. In fact, come to think of it, if he hadn't been in that habit I never would have met him. Here he is 10 years later continuing this activity that he cherishes, but I'll let him tell you...

On my last day in port Hong Kong, some friends and I met up with Nathan Loudin from the International Baptist Church-Hong Kong. It has always been a tradition of mine to meet up with missionaries, pastors, or Christians in the ports I visit to learn from them or encourage them in their work. So often, as you might expect, I am the one who receives encouragement!

Nathan has been the mission's pastor at IBC-HK for almost a year now and has begun filling some of the pastoral roles as well. What fascinates me most about the church right now is the ministry to a little-reached country in Southeast Asia. My heart has always been in missions and to hear how Nathan and IBC-HK are reaching out in a very hostile (to the Word of God) part of the world leaves me in awe.

As HK continues to be assimilated into mainstream Chinese culture and life, the churches in the tolerant Hong Kong find themselves in great positions to reach the lost in the rest of China, or to at least help the Christians in China as they reach out as well. I'm happy to hear that IBC-HK is working hard in this area as well.

It has been almost ten years since I've visited IBC-HK and it was such a joy to be with one of their staff again. I have committed to pray for Nathan and the ministry of the church body, and I invite you to as well.

For more pictures worth a thousand words, go to Thousand Word Thursday!