February 2013

There’s a Bumper Sticker for That

by Priscilla on February 28, 2013

A friend of mine, knowing of my love for all things bumper sticker related, recently messaged me with a picture of a bumper sticker that read Debt Free and Lovin’ It!  from those nice folks over in the Land of Dave Ramsey.

Now, before you DR fans click the exit button, I’m not after Dave.  He appears to be a genuinely good guy with a lot of common sense, and at a time when both the President and the current members of Congress view us  tax payers as one big MasterCard, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to force Washington to sit through one of his Debt Free and Lovin’ It weekends. It’s the bumper sticker folks I’m after …and all of us who must self proclaim our accomplishments to the driving world around us – the number of kids we’ve sired, the honorary elementary attendees, the soccer clubs we pay ridiculous amount of dues to, the politicians we support – both losers and winners dating back to the Eisenhower administration, the trees we hug, causes we follow, the destinations we’ve visited….and on…and on….and on.

You know who I blame….because in our society we must blame someone for the ills facing us, and in my case it’s the ill of the bumper stickers….I blame the folks who 20 years ago decided all kids needed trophies just for putting on a uniform.  These “show up and you get one” trophies were supposed to make every boy and girl feel better about themselves no matter what they did or didn’t accomplish on the playing field.  Mission accomplished, and now all the Trophy Kids have grown up and are Bumper Sticker Adults who feel good about anything and everything, and in order to offer public proof of their accomplishments – be they ever so humble  – slap stickers on their cars regarding them.

Since I am feeling a lot like these guys when it comes to all things bumper sticker related,

 

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(Thanks to a fellow swim team parent who printed this out for me.) I’ve decided to come up with all kinds of affirming bumper stickers that you, dear readers, and I can produce and share with one another.  Please feel free to comment and add your own.  I know my own ideas will not encompass all the bumper sticker angst out there in the blog world.

  • My child didn’t knowingly pass lice onto others at school today!
  • I use Windex, and I vote.
  • Scored a Negative on my Pap!
  • Proud Parent of a brunette!
  • We’re  a crock put usin’ family!
  • I brake for deer in the road.
  • Proud wearer of contact lenses.
  • I own a library card, and I vote. 
  • 3,578.6 (for the number of lunches I’ve packed. Take that you 13.1 folks)
  • Proud father of a child with  pierced ears.
  • The goldfish my son won  at the school carnival last week is still alive!
  • Proud consumer of Goldfish Crackers.
  • This family practices safe coughing methods!  
  • I  locked my back door upon leaving the house today, and I vote.
  • I’ve never knowingly infected my house guests with the e. coli virus.
  • (or)
  • All house guests my cooking has infected with e.coli have fully recovered.
  • I’m an American Idol Watcher…and I vote.
  •  I’ve never licked peeling lead paint off of the wall
  • or
  • Lead Free and Lovin’ It!
  • Have you vacuumed your apartment today?
  • I floss, and I vote.
  • Today I thought about turning down the thermostat to save energy.
  • We pump our own gas!
  • Proud parents of a nine year old who’s never contracted the e.coli virus.
  • I can drive into a car wash without having to back up three times to get on the conveyor, and I vote.
  • My other car has lots of these stupid bumper stickers on it too.
  • I brake from small children and their mothers crossing the street!
  • I surf the web, and I vote.
  • Proud parent of mortals.
  • Have you hugged your piano teacher’s husband’s co-worker’s door installer’s sister today?

 

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Poolside Prayers

by Priscilla on February 25, 2013

The story behind my last post has left me pretty cynical, and I’m really fighting dark thoughts.  Once again, my husband and I have had to sit with our sweet nine year old twins as we’ve tucked them in and remind them of our love for them no matter what. We’ve had to repeat warnings about bad touching from other people – even people they view as friends. It’s the necessary part of parenting I’ve never been comfortable with – the part where I must teach my kids that evil resides in this world.  I think of the biblical account of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and wonder what it would be like only be aware of the good  branches and not have to face the reality of the bad ones.  My sleep is fitful.  My mind is black, and my overall life outlook is bleak…and all I did was a little research.  I can’t imagine how abuse victims or their families cope.

Then today grace showed up in a place I didn’t expect it to …

The YMCA swimming pool.

Don’t you love it, when you don’t go looking for Grace, but it makes an appearance anyway? I’ve learned Grace can be quite bossy and sticks its nose in my business even when I don’t care to acknowledge it thank you very much.

Mr. TIS is home for a bit, and it just so happened our girls’ swim team hosted time trials today to give area swimmers one last shot at qualifying for the state swim meet next weekend. This meant Mr. TIS and I got a lot of quality time together sitting behind Lane 5 timing kids aged 4-16 and swim levels from You should really be back in swim lessons to Holy cow, that kid’s the next Michael Phelps. It also gave me the opportunity tear up when some poor swimmer was informed of a disqualification for scissor kick on her breastroke or failure to bring his arms fully out of the water on butterfly.  I hate seeing little kids disqualified.

But somewhere between false starts and bad flip turns, a little voice in my head said, You know, this is a great time for you to pray.

Huh?

Pray for what?

You have to understand I am the world’s worst prayer.  I know I’m supposed to have a devoted time and place every day to Be Still, but ever since the doctor introduced me to my daughters while I was under heavy sedation in the OR nine years ago, there ain’t been a whole lot of quiet time, like I was told I was supposed to observe at summer church camp years ago.  I’m in Anne Lamott’s camp of sometimes the only prayers we can get out are Help me! Help me! Help me! and Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!  Sometimes I get in a Wow! You are amazing!  but I’ve had more than a few Are you kidding me’s?! than I care to admit.

Today, not long  after timing the slowest 50 butterfly ever, I got the idea to pray over every kid who swam in Lane 5.  Every single one. From Colin, the six year old blonde who was more than a little clueless, to 15 year old  Swarthy Steve who might be in the Olympic time trials here in a few years.  From the time they dove into the water until the second they touched the wall to finish, I prayed over them.

Dear God please watch over and bless Logan. May he grow up to know you and love you and be loved by you.

Dear God, bless Mamie with all the blessings of heaven and protect her from all manner of evil that may be set against her.

There were some very short prayers whispered over the very fast 15 years old swimming 50 freestyle in 26 seconds.  They went something like, “God, he’s young.  Bless him with discernment and good friends that will help him make good choices.

Then there the very long ones uttered over eight year olds swimming the 100 Individual Medley. One little girl, Kate, was gracious enough to give me the time not only to pray for her but also her parents and grandparents, cousins and aunts and uncles as well as her future spouse and children.  Let me tell you, I’m looking for Kate’s family to be doing some pretty big kingdom work based upon the amount of prayer I did on their behalf thanks to Kate ‘s 3:35.09 in the water. (Guess who got disqualified. Sigh. But at least she got some good blessings prayed over her in the midst of her illegal breastroke kick.)

As I prayed over every swimmer assigned to Lane 5 something started to happen.  The darkness that has been following me around for the past few days has started to lift, and in its place Hope took hold. I cannot undo the evil put upon children in this world, but I can fight back with prayer.  I don’t know anything about the spiritual lives of the kids I saw today, but I do know this, they are loved and cherished by the Creator of the universe.  They are worthy of my intercession on their behalf.  They were put here on earth for a purpose that God has chosen them to fulfill.

Kind of helped me change my perspective on things.

I don’t claim to be any kind of teacher or minister.  I really don’t want to speak to any kind of spiritual behavior or lead a  revival, but for you believers out there, may I share this request with you: next time your bum finds itself planted on the hard gym bleachers cheering on your child’s basketball team or watching your daughter fly over the pummel horse, would you take some time to pray over all the kids you see? Would you intercede for the soccer goalies and cheerleaders?  Can you send up a request for blessings upon the children getting ready to take to the ice or the mat? While you are stuck in that long debate meet or even longer band contest, would you consider all the lives standing before you and offer heaven one or two prayers on their behalves?

Being still doesn’t require being alone.  Sometimes it can be accomplished holding a stop watch and cheering on the kid swimming backstroke in Lane 5 at the  local YMCA pool.

 

 

 

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On Innocence and Alma Maters

by Priscilla on February 23, 2013

My mother lives in a large, white, 100 year old home fronted by an enormous porch supporting four,  two story columns that greet visitors entering into a warm and inviting space.  As long as I can remember my mom has been an entertainer – youth group Halloween parties and scavenger hunts, Bible studies, symphony fundraisers and swim team get-togethers, but the thing I remember most as a child regarding Mom’s hospitable ways was our family’s hosting of missionary families whenever they came to town to speak to our church. I loved visiting missionaries because it meant exciting slide shows of foreign lands and peoples instead of dry sermons explaining the setup of the Jewish tabernacle. It meant the possible sighting of a cute missionary son or socializing with a funny missionary daughter.

That was over 25 years ago.  My mother hasn’t stopped entertaining youth groups or musicians, and she certainly hasn’t stopped with the missionaries.

Last night I had the privilege to visit with some former missionaries around Mom’s enormous dining room table, but looking across at this couple’s worn and weary faces, I knew this wasn’t going to be the amusing missionary visit of days yore. Whether I wanted to or not, I was headed into a tough conversation about some tough stuff…a conversation I knew I needed to hear straight from these people.

Years ago, this sweet couple gave up a life in the US and traveled with their family to a remote part of Bangladesh where they worked side by side with other missionaries at an American missionary hospital sharing the love of the Gospel of Jesus Christ… and years ago they were betrayed.  Their daughter was sexually assaulted by one of the missionary doctors.  The truth came out in 1989…but not the full truth.  The predator was sent back to the States, but no one back home was told why except that he had a “moral failure”. The parents of the victims were not informed of the details of the abuse. The vile, evil, sinful details of sexual assault, which had taken place over a two year period, were kept from them, as were many other details –  all dark secrets kept by the leaders of the mission agency.

In 2002, more child victims, now adult women, came forward with their own stories of abuse by  the hands of the same doctor, this time telling the new leadership of the mission agency. This new leadership promised counseling and support to these girls, but to their (the original victim’s parents)  knowledge the siblings of the victims were never questioned to see what they knew or if they too were abused…and again the parents were not informed that there were more victims.  Yes, the victims were now adults, but the abuse happened to them as children.  The state of Michigan where this doctor was now practicing was also not informed.

Let that sink in.

Your child is abused as a child at the hands of your coworker, a trusted missionary doctor.  You don’t find out the details until your child is an adult. You didn’t know that it was full on sexual assault.  You didn’t know that they had her sign a “confession” at age 14.  You didn’t know.  And now, for years, your child has thought you have known of her horror and ignored it.

Let that sink in.

Now, imagine it’s 2011, and the victims are looking around years later having heard nothing from the mission agency, getting not all – if any – counseling, finding out others have not been contacted  nor an investigation begun to pursue the truth about the abuser.

There’s a Baptist college in the Midwest.  Its motto reads For the Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ. It is run by a board of trustees filled with pastors and successful business people…and the man who promised these victims counseling, honesty and truth, but has done nothing to follow through with those promises.  His name is on the school’s website along with his new business venture. 

Let that sink in.

That Baptist college is Cedarville University, my alma mater, and the man who didn’t make good on his promises is Dr. Michael Loftis. For the sake of the innocent victims, I will not reveal any family names here, but I encourage each and every one of you to read through this very thorough website.  

It tells much of the story, and the women who run it aren’t out for revenge.  They just got tired after waiting for over nine years for the help and transparency promised them by Dr. Loftis and the mission agency, ABWE.  The help never came so they decided to take their story public.

The result?  The mission agency, pressured by the spotlight of the MK blog, finally hired a third party to investigate the stories of the abuse victims and report the findings to the mission board and the public.

The result?  We’ll never know.  The mission agency fired the third party just this month, weeks before the final report was due, citing unprofessional behavior. The third party responded with a thorough and detailed response to the agency’s arguments.

The website is a tough story to read through.  It’s long with many links and documents, but will you please do it? It’s well organized, respectful, thoughtful and Christ like. It seeks the truth in love but it does not bow or cave to pressure or threats.

If you are a pastor or deacon, will you please give these victims the time of day?

If you are a parent, will you please give these victims the time of day?

If you are a brother or sister will you please give these victims the time of day?

If you are a Christian or Buddhist or Sikh, or Jew or Muslim or Atheist, will you please give these victims the time of day?

If you are Cedarville University, will you please give these victims the time of day?

If you are Dr. Michael Loftis, will you please recognize that while you are not responsible for the abuse heaped upon these victims, that you failed them by not publicly exposing the sin and damage placed upon them by this missionary doctor and by not giving them the investigation they were promised?  Will you please recognize that this failure of leadership precludes you from holding other leadership positions, be they in schools or churches or communities?

And if you are a reader of my simple words, will you please grieve for the innocence lost?

It is worth our time of day.

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Returning to the Scene of the Crime

by Priscilla on February 15, 2013

By now most of you are aware that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) declared that it is removing wrestling from the  summer Olympics menu of sports.  As I understand it, there’s still hope for its return, it just has to be voted back on, but now it’s competing with things like roller sports and wushu.  I don’t know how the lobbying for this is done, but its starting to look like Survivor in reverse.

If you are a faithful reader to my blog, you know I have a background with wrestling…specifically with undergarments…so this announcement saddens me. If you are new to my blog, you may familiarize yourself with my wrestling activities here.  (I suggest you read the entire series to fully grasp my shortcomings.) The site of my wrestling took place at the beautiful Lerner Theater in downtown, Elkhart, Indiana, a breathtaking place that the people of my new hometown should and do take pride in restoring. Their efforts say a lot about this place.  However, my encounters there do not.  Please do not judge an entire town based upon one of its less than stellar citizens.

This past week, on Valentines Day, Mr. TIS and I returned to The Lerner as we accompanied our daughters’ third grade class to a production of The Wizard of Oz. Two of their classmates participated in the cast as Munchkins.  Other cast members included a local dentist as The Wizard as well as someone’s dog as Toto…that relieved itself on the stage while Dorothy was singing that famous rainbow song.

The real drama for me occurred before the lights dimmed as I was asked by the teacher to keep an eye on the row of nine year old boys sitting in front of me….no small task since we arrived approximately 35 minutes before showtime, and these young men were asked to sit and behave for a pretty long period. I’m proud to say that they did sit and behave, and I learned  a little something while monitoring them, and if you will oblige, I’d like to share my observations.  I took copious notes on my phone.

– There were friezes of mermaids located on the walls around the theaters.  These mermaids were topless.  When nine year old boys are asked to sit for long periods of times, they notice things like topless mermaid friezes and snickering and pointing ensues.  Before unloading the bus, one teacher (not ours) asked her students to notice the architecture of the theater once inside. Lady, you’ll be happy to know they did. (I did not include photos here of the frieze as I thought it not in good taste to be that lady walking around a theater filled with a thousand school aged children taking pictures of topless mermaids.)

– I have a new friend named Charlie.  Charlie asked me if I knew that they showed free movies here once or twice a month.  I told Charlie that I knew that they did, but I hadn’t attended one.  Charlie then asked me if I’d seen the Blues Brothers, and I told him yes a very long time ago.  He then shared with me that he saw The Blues Brothers  here at the Lerner for free with his father and that it was now his favorite movie.  I like Charlie.

– Mr TIS needs me to save him from embarrassing himself and nine year old boys as he almost mistook one of the boys for a girl.  I stopped him just in time before he spoke. In his defense, he was trying to be nice.  This particular boy had a fear of heights and felt uncomfortable sitting high up in the balcony. (Nine year old boys and Mr. TIS are often relegated to the balcony for obvious reasons.) Mr. TIS wanted to tell him, he understood the feeling, but kept referring to the poor kid as “she” before I had to whisper hard into his ear, that the young person was a “he.” Long hair from the back sometimes confuses Mr. TIS.

– Mr. TIS fits right in with nine year old boys as somehow, and I don’t know how, but within five minutes of our being seated,  he was discussing Star Trek with them and the next thing I knew, they were all flashing the sign of the Vulcan to one another. I was happy to discover that Twin A couldn’t give the sign of the Vulcan without the help from her other hand. I’m thoroughly fine with this discovery about my child.

So, once again, instead of partaking in a cultural event, I am left commenting on the scenes around me. I’m sure this is not what the selfless donors – big and small – had in mind when they determined to return this theater to its former glory…a woman wrestling undergarments in its bathroom and taking notes on the actions of children seated around her waiting for the play to begin.  Unfortunately, when the big Atlas moving truck pulled into town a little over a year ago, it brought a whole new kind of citizen in their midst.  They might want to remember this when planning their next big community restoration project.

 

 

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Rethinking the Classics for the Under 10 Crowd

by Priscilla on February 11, 2013

I spent over an hour on the phone the other day catching up with an old friend, and, our both being bibliophiles, inevitably we got around to book lists – to read, to check out, to recommend, to blow off.  Since we are both former teachers, we spend a  good amount of time grumping around the dearth of crappy young adult books trying to pass as lit-er-a-ture. Don’t get us wrong, there’s a lot of great stuff out there for kids to read, but there’s an alarmingly equal amount of crappity-crap-crap sitting on the shelves of middle school libraries and youth sections of your local books stores, and as keepers of the front doors to our children’s minds, we are discovering the older our kids grow, we have to be more and more vigilant about what is coming into our  homes via  back packs and book bags.

Pat.On.Back.

I.Am.So.Good.

Everyone.Should.Emulate.Me.

Enter.Parent/Teacher. Conference.

The next day after my friend and I had solved all the world’s literary problems, I headed to school where I met with Twin A and Twin B’s teachers to discuss their progress so far this semester. It was there I learned their reading level was beyond third grade – way beyond it.  I’m not sharing this to tell you how smart my kids are because quite frankly, I don’t understand how kids who are labeled “high ability” by the school system need me to tell them approximately 3,945 times in one hour to retrieve their dirty socks out of the family room.  “High Ability” it appears also describes their level of ignoring their mother’s wishes when it comes to all things housekeeping.

While Twin A’s reading level is very high, Twin B’s is almost two grade levels higher which is a good things since Twin A seems to master everything faster and better than her younger sister. The teacher and I discussed that Twin A could branch out a bit more in her reading subjects as right now she only cares to read about rocks, building machines that can fling rocks, the history of rocks and  how to make your own rocks.

Upon returning home, I shared all the information I gleaned with the girls, and I challenged Twin A to expand her reading experience beyond How To Be Your Rock’s Best Friend. 

Later in the evening when I climbed up to their attic room to say goodnight, I found Twin A immersed in The Lord of the Flies. 

Of all the books.

You have to understand the hundreds upon hundreds of books these kids own that cover every topic from the Gettysburg Address to The Civil Rights Movement. From the ancient Greeks to present day Percy.  We’ve got Rambunctious Ramona, Judy and Junie as well as Laura of the Little House.

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Then there’s those adventuresome fellows Encyclopedia and Harry.  Nancy leads them into mysterious situations while The Borrowers have them rethinking just who might have hauled away their missing bobbles. I’ve covered the Presidents from George to Barak…

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and Bible stories from Genesis to Revelation. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that while touring the house, Mr. TIS and I took one look at this bookcase in their attic room, and exclaimed, We’ll take it! to our realtor.

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I love books. Being a born rebel I especially love Banned Books Week, but there’s a limit to everything – especially when you gave birth to a child who runs screaming from the room whenever the fittest start prowling around the not-so-fittest on those Planet Earth DVDs. And I’m not just talking about cheetahs downing giraffes, I’m talking wailing and gnashing of teeth at one school of fish being swallowed up by a larger fish from a larger school. If she can’t handle natural selection in the world of nature, reading about a bunch of British school boys trying to off each other pretty much guarantees therapy for the next six years.

Honey, I started, taking the book slowly from her,  I appreciate the fact that you are wanting to read this book.  It’s a great, book, but it’s not for nine year olds, and just because you can read something, doesn’t mean you should.  I taught this to high school students, and when you are a little older,  you can read it, and we’ll discuss what it’s really about…because despite the fact that the word “Lord” is in the title, it has nothing to do with Jesus. 

But, you are the one who told me to read something else besides rock books! she protested.

She was right, of course, but when I said I wanted her to expand her literary range,  I didn’t mean for her to jump headlong into a world of plane wrecks and pig’s heads.  Looking over my own personal library,  I also don’t think she’s quite ready for anything to do with catching rye, French revolutions, a woman by the name of Chatterly or anything about meat packing plants in general. Until I say, she and her sister are stuck with talking pigs, lost boys and mixed up files.

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Welcome to the World, Baby Girl!

by Priscilla on February 9, 2013

I can’t even remember why I picked this book up almost a year ago.  I think I was in an All Things Southern kind of mood, and Fannie Flagg never fails me. I didn’t want to read an simple story filled with mammies and good hearted white folks.  I wanted a lighter tale, but I still desired quality characters and real depth.  Baby Girl! delivered.

Like all books, the back cover is filled with glowing reviews.  People said, Satisfying…{Flagg’s} faith in the healing power of small towns and family are refreshing.  Reading the book, I couldn’t imagine why that quote was chosen to describe this work because it’s so much more than this somewhat flippant blurb.  Instead, Southern Living’s observation of Rich….intriguing…a cast and a place every bit as memorable and touching as those at her Whistle Stop Cafe…[Flagg] was put on this earth to write… hits the mark in its description.

The book centers around the rising star of Dena Nordstrom, a New York newswoman climbing the network ranks in the early 70’s.  Determined and focused, she doesn’t realize it, but she is lost.  She doesn’t realize it because she’s never stopped to ask herself some hard questions about who she is until she suffers a panic attack and finally deals with some buried memories with the help of a wheel chair bound, black female psychiatrist.  These memories lead her to unsuspecting places and almost unbelievable stories of her families’ history, and while difficult and disturbing, they also lead her to peace and complete connection to the seemingly simple people in her life who love her with a pure and unselfish love with no strings attached.

Flagg tells this story bouncing back between and forth between various decades and various viewpoints using characters whom you enjoy and despise, giggle with and cringe at, and she writes it all as if her endeavors were effortless.  I couldn’t agree more with Southern Living’s take on this one.  Flagg, indeed, was put on this earth the write.

It’s a book one can either sit and read large chunks of at a time or simply take in a few pages before falling asleep every night.  Either way, it’s a great read.

 

 

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Things I Say Yes To When I’m Not Paying Attention

by Priscilla on February 6, 2013

Weeknights, though predictable, are always a little challenging.  I arrive home with the girls after their swim practice in the evening, and we have approximately 45 minutes to feed the dogs and cats, finish up any paper signing, shower, lay out clothes for the following day and order  our backpacks. Oh, and snacks.  They are always begging for snacks because they’ve just burned up about 3598 calories in the past two hours of swimming.  Of course, their idea of a snacks is the McDonald’s drive-thru that calls to them every evening from across the Y parking lot. My idea of a snack is a bowl of Chex at home. My idea of snacks, though never popular, always wins.

Tonight proved to be a little different, however.  Tonight right in the middle of all the flurry of after swim practice activity, my stomach dropped.  Those of you with over 40 stomachs know of what I speak.  After the age of 40 my stomach decided to have a mind of its own and churns and shutters and drops at the most inopportune of times like wedding receptions and parent/teacher conferences. Time in the bathroom didn’t seem to help the situation so I lay down on my bed and yelled out  to whoever was listening that it was time for bed.  Then I started listening to a sermon online.

(I need to listen to sermons online more than I do because lately I’ve been feeling the need to go all biblical on some people in my life, and by biblical I mean as Rain Down Fire Like Elijah biblical not Nice Timothy’s Grandmother biblical.)

In the middle of this stomach turning and sermon listening, the girls came in, crawled onto my bed with me, hugged and kissed me and asked how I was feeling, and then said something like, Mom, can we blah, blah, blah, blah, blah?  My children speak Charlie Brown’s Teacher fluently.

To which I replied, Yes, and then get to bed. It’s almost nine o’clock! They scampered away…somewhere.

I finished listening, and the sounds from their room above me subsided somewhat, along with my stomach activity so I headed downstairs to lock up for the night when I discovered this in the kitchen….

bedtime snack

Apparently, the question I said yes to was, Mom, can we make crushed M&Ms covered with Hershey’s chocolate syrup for a snack right before bedtime?

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Choosing Joy

by Priscilla on February 3, 2013

My mom’s life hasn’t been so easy these past couple of years.  In 2007 within the space of 11 hours she lost both her mother and husband, and it’s taken a long time to readjust to life without them and work through her grief.  My mom and I don’t always have the easiest of times with each other because we both can be quite stubborn; however, because she’s a mom, she’s much more forgiving, and she overlooks my shortcomings so much more than I ever do hers. There’s one huge trait my mother chooses to exemplify that I quite admittedly do not.  My mother Chooses Joy. Ask some members of our family, and sometimes they will admit that all this joy choosing can be quite taxing.  But I have to admit, that I’m thankful my children have a grandmother who celebrates everything, and by everything, I mean everything.  And she doesn’t celebrate it with her just her younger grandchildren, but also her older ones as well….right into their 30s.  So, when most of them received their mail this week it probably included one of these….because my mom has decided to find joy in the smallest of things….even groundhogs.groundhogs from Gramma

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Going Old Testament on Tweets and Hashtags

by Priscilla on February 1, 2013

I attend a weekly Bible study with a group of lovely ladies mostly aged…well, lets just say I bring the median age down by about 30 years.  It’s what I consider a true Bible study – for lack of a better descriptor – because all we are doing is reading through portions of the Bible and discussing the events and the culture and where God is in the middle of all of it. We’re not trying to apply anything to our lives – not that application studies are bad,  I’m just applied out at the moment –  which is a good thing since we recently finished up the Book of Ruth with a very interesting discussion about drunken parties on the threshing floor along with prostitution.  Don’t let the white hair fool you, these gals had a lot of interesting takes on that book:  What do you think the men did when they all got together and no women were around? observed one octogenarian. They got drunk!  The church bulletin mundanely labels this group as the Wednesday Morning Bible Study.  It should be called the No Holds Barred, Take No Prisoners, We Can Read Between the Lines with Song of Solomon, Bible Broads.

Right now we are in the book of First Samuel, and if you are not familiar with the book let me just explain that it involves the prayerful Hannah and her wise son Samuel, a lot of whining from the Israelites, a lot of God saying Be careful what you ask for, a new king, lots and lot of blood and guts and pesky Philistines and sacrifices and cover ups and, that cool kid, Davy,with his river rocks, more Philistines, more blood and more even more whining in ancient Hebrew. There. I am nothing if not the master of synopses.

This past Wednesday I sat by a woman who grew more and more agitated throughout our discussion of  I Samuel 15 where God tells Saul to slaughter  all the Amalekites, and Saul slaughters some… but not all… (Big.Mistake.) and brings back King Agag to show off and humiliate and some animals to sacrifice. So, my troubled friend said, God, who is supposed to be good, okayed a huge bloodfest?  He okayed killing innocent women and children? Why?  I thought God was good? So we started to hash this out as a group which is why I love these ladies.  When you’ve lived through everything they have,  cancer, death of spouses, lost jobs, lost loves, lost faith, you aren’t afraid to hash.  You don’t settle for pat answers like, Well, the Bible says so, so we just need to accept it…now please pass around the prayer request list and consider signing up to bring a covered dish to the Sunday’s carry-in. 

One thing led to another, and we discussed the wars of today, the evils of drone strikes and the instant news and how on one hand humanity has really progressed since biblical times and how on the other hand we have not; and somehow, I don’t know how, but we wondered aloud together what King Saul might do with a Twitter account, and what hashtags might be the most popular back then in 1100 BC.

While they laughed and carried on about the possibilities, ideas started swirling around my long uninspired writer’s mind. If you’ll indulge me, I’m going to try to create some using various Old Testament characters, and please feel free to add your own.

Eve @firstlady

@Adam is making me sew clothes from fig leaves. #usinned2 #ilookbetterinanimalprints

Noah @boatbuilder

#Rain in the forecast. Stop mocking. #rainisreal

Lot @greenerpastures

Can’t find my wife again.  What the?  pictwitter.com/38sl0cd1

Rebecca @momoftwins

Anyone have any extra #sheepskin? New sewing project. #blindhusband #birthright

Leah @secondfiddle

@helovesmemore and @momoftwins are hanging out with me in the #redtent for the next few days.  Stop in and say hi. #unclean

Moses @speechimpairedemancipator

The shrubs are speaking to me. #desertsrhard

Ramses @RamsestheGreat

Hey, @speechimpairedemancipator, Do something about these d*** frogs. They’re screwing up my #pyramid building timetable. #stupidplagues

Priests @TempleLevites

@TempleLevites reminds everyone to put blood on ur doorposts 2nite.  #angelofdeath #nojoke

Miriam @bigsis2Moses

Wish @Aaron would stop with the calf building and help me lead the people. @speechimpairedemancipator is going to be pissed. #wasteofgoodjewelry #cashforgold

 Joshua @Mosesreplacement

Hey, Hebrews, come join me this Saturday on an adventure walk.  This week we are touring #Jericho! #bringsnacks #comfortableshoes

Jael@badasshebrewchick

@Deborah, Nailed It! #Sisera #tentspike

Gideon@Idontlapmywater

@300Hebrewpeeps, bring #swords and #lamps 2nite. I don’t understand it either.

Priests @TempleLevites

@TempleLevites reminds everyone to keep their hands off the #ark.  Having problems with #instantdeath lately.

 David @shepherdboy

Taking lunch to my older bros.  Could my life be any more boring?   #sucksbeingtheyoungest

Saul @Imstillkingpeople

Alright, @shepherdboy, the voices are back again.  Bring your harp. #beingfirstkingofasmallnationsucks #needmedsinsteadofmusic

Absalom @goldilocks

Rethinking the #longhair. #hangingintree  #ohcrap #Joab

Jezebel @ineveraskedtobeyourstupidqueen

This place is going to the dogs. 

Priests @TempleLevites

@TempleLevites reminds everyone to to make sure your animal is #clean. #kosherrules

Solomon @wiseguy

@Godschosen, no more #deadbaby cases.  Seriously, people. The #QueenofSheba will think we’re nuts. #StraightenUp #thisisntHoneyBooBoo

Average Hebrew @Imjustaguy

@Jezebel is one po’ed Phoenician. Watch out #prophets.  Not happy with you dissin’#Ahab  .

Eljah @dembones

Watching @prophetsofBaal make fools of themselves. #norain  #theydancelike@Elaine

Priests @TempleLevites

@TempleLevites are slaughtering lambs for the Sabbath. Stop by if you need #wool.

Elisha @mine’switha-sh-not-a-j

@snottyHebrewkids, I warned you not to mess with me. #bears

Josiah @youngun

@Godschosen, Found some scrolls.  Meet me at the #temple.  We’ve been doing it all wrong. #Baal=#fail.

Priests @Temple Levites

@Godschosen, we’ll be selling #livestock at the #temple tomorrow.  2 for 1 sale on sheep.  Family discounts. #sinisexpensive #cashonly

Esther @beautyqueen

@haman ur goin down. Don’t mess with #thechosen. #gallows

Jonah @thatbigfishguy

Lot of racket coming up from on deck.  Goin up to see what the deal is. #justwant2sleep

God @YHWH

@Godschosen, You quit listening. I quit talking. #400 years.

Priests @Temple Levites

@TempleLevites reminds everyone there’s a Diaspora sale!  Everything must go!  Moving to Babylon! #cheapincense #altars

 

 

 

 

 

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