Saturday, March 29, 2008

Thursday, March 27, 2008

First official in-house sleepover

Since Stafford County had spring break this week, Elizabeth and Arianna decided to sleepover Sunday night. It was a very exciting event for my girls and Haley Jane insisted on sleeping in Darcy's closet to add to the festivities. I couldn't think of any good reason not to let her. Although there was a little scuffle in the middle of the night (another story for later), all went well. After having their weekly "kitty club" meeting in the basement (they have a pledge, a song, and's too cute), they painted race cars from Jackson's birthday goodie bags. Things got a little out of control with Darcy as you can see. I'm starting to expect nothing less.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

"Out of the mouths of babes"....literally and figuratively

1.Yesterday we were at the playground and I noticed Darcy hunched over stuffing something in her mouth. I was on it right away..."Darcy, come here right now and take it out." She opened her mouth and saliva mixed with 5 colorful BB gun pellets emerged. She smiled and said, "Pah-bah-poo." When will it end?

2.Tonight at dinner, Colby started randomly singing "Praise God to whom all blessings flow." After the line, "Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost," Haley Jane, with a furrowed brow asked, "Why are you singing about a Ghost?" Colby tried to explain the doctrine of the Trinity to her and Haley's response was, "let's just call Him the Holy Spirit, okay?"

New Tradition

Painting Easter eggs together was a fun family activity, but hopefully as the girls get older it will be a little less stressful of an activity (DARCY....NO!!!...DON'T DRINK THE DYE!!). Easter Sunday we did the traditional hunt out in the backyard and then ate the hard-boiled eggs for lunch. I like the new tradition...the last thing I feel like doing is cooking a big meal after a long morning at church. After everyone took a nap, we went to the Fauth's for a wonderful dinner and another Easter egg hunt (This was hunt #4 for the month...). Grandparents (or anyone else who cares), there are new pictures uploaded on from the last two months!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Annie Gets Therapy

I feel like I have been sprinting the last two weeks. Between the Easter cantata, finishing one class, and all the pre-work I needed to have done for my intensive class, I was truly stretched to the max. Sunday night before my class, I was up till midnight trying to finish the workbook that I was told I would fail if I didn't have completed by Monday morning. It got done, barely. What a week in Lynchburg! Liberty has changed SO much in the last ten years. I was able to stay with my old roommate, Heather (Sagan) Zealand for the first three nights. We hadn't seen each other for almost two years, so we were up late every night catching up. The last two nights were spent with my first college roommate, Tracy (Hoare) Wu. Class was so much fun. Every morning we had lectures, and every afternoon we had practice time in small groups using our techniques. One afternoon, I played the client and the whole class practiced their counseling skills on me. I decided to use a real-life scenario instead of making one up. You see, I have had a chronic problem since childhood. It actually became manifest as I grew older and gained more responsibility and independence, but has plagued me my whole I building enough suspense....I have a problem with chronic tardiness. In high school, I would sleep in to the last possible minute, take a 3 minute shower, chug down a bowl of cereal, and sprint out the door with wet hair (in Wisconsin winters) across the street to the school building. It was always a race to see if I could beat the first period bell. There actually was a computer class on the north side of the school that would watch this whole ordeal in the mornings. I never could change this pattern. I did it nearly every morning for four years. Even when I started college, every morning, wet-haired Annie would be sprinting from her dorm on the hill to the cafeteria to smuggle a bagel and continue the race to her first class. The pattern continued after graduation as I took a position as an ESL teacher...poor Tracee Pelt. We only had one car, so every morning Tracee had the privilege of picking me up so we could commute to the same school. She quickly learned of my chronic tardiness problem. Every morning, she would call me to announce that she was leaving her house to pick me up (a 5-7 minute trip). Many mornings this was my wake-up call and I would test my limits to see how quickly I could get ready. Every morning Tracee would either be greeted by wet-hair Annie or greasy-haired Annie...again, let me say...poor Tracee. Fast forward to March 2008. I felt like I was in a time warp as I ran around campus trying to get to my class on time. After doing this two mornings in a row, I told my class about my problem and they all practiced their counseling techniques on me. It was fun to hear everyone's different perspectives and I gained a lot of insight as to the roots of the problem. Later that night as I told Colby about my day, he disagreed with some of the rather behavioristic advice that my professor gave me and said the root of my problem was self-centeredness. That's why I love my husband. Anyway, his advice was probably right and after reflecting on his thoughts, I repented and was FIVE MINUTES EARLY to every class the rest of the week. The class was cheering me on all week as I continued to make progress. I felt like I made a breakthrough in this area; it was really encouraging. I brought up other issues I needed help thinking through, and listened to others who were struggling with their own issues. At the end of the class, I felt like I had gone away to a rehabilitation center for therapy all week. I know God is using this counseling program to help me personally, and I pray it can someday help others as well.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Two Great Celebrations, One Weekend

It will be another 220 years before Easter and the opening of the NCAA Men's Basketball tournament fall on the same weekend; this is truly a momentous occassion. I just thought I would clebrate by posting my first round upset predictions. Here are the lower seeds that I think will prevail in the first round.

St. Joseph's
Kansas State
St. Mary's
Texas A&M
Western Kentucky

8 upsets (if you call a 9 beating an 8 an upset) in the first 32 games, every other seeded team prevails.

I will also go ahead and put my Final Four picks out there.

Sin as the Context for Resurrection celebration.

I want to encourage everyone to read todayss USA Today article on sin found here.

Then have a gander over here at the Pilgrim in DC.

I thought they were a good combo read today on a seldom discussed subject.

My Week Without My Wife

I believe there are positive and negatives to most everything. Annie and I are are spending the week apart. She left on Sunday Night for a class at LU and will not return until Friday at 3:00PM. The girls and I have been living life here in Stafford missing our favorite family member. So here are the Pros and Cons.

1. We miss Annie a lot.
2. Darcy's hair looks really wild, considering my inability to tame it.
3. Every morning Haley asks if it is Mommy's day and I get to inform her that it is still not Friday

1. I have enjoyed my time with the girls.
2. It is good to spend some time apart because it only makes being together that much better.
3. After church tonight some of the Stafford Baptist Boys came over and we ate Steak at 11 PM and played hearts. Most women (my wife included) would not consider forgoing some sleep for a late evening steak.

Bottom Line- I cannot wait until Annie gets back, but I am also very proud of her work in school and excited about her opportunities to learn and grow.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

"Out of the mouths of babes..."

I have decided to write reoccurring posts about the cute things my kids say. Those posts will always be titled "Out of the mouths of babes," referring to the Psalm, "Out of the mouths of babes He has ordained praise."

1.) Haley Jane is ridiculously particular. If you have been around her for more than 10 minutes you have realized this. She is incredibly precise and has recently begun critiquing my driving. Ever since she learned that s-t-o-p means STOP she has harassed me for not coming to a complete hault and pausing for 3 seconds before continuing. I guess I have gotten better because yesterday when I came to a stop sign she commented condescendingly, "Good job, Mommy. You stopped very correct." For some reason it made me want to stick my tongue out at her. I refrained.

2.) We were out side playing this week and I tried to encourage Haley as she tried to skip. "Wow, Haley are doing a great job skipping." Her response? "Actually... I am galloping." Where in the world did she learn that distinction?

3.) The girls went to the doctor to get their blood drawn 2 weeks ago as part of our medical clearance for Iceland. Haley pranced down the hallway and announced to the nurses, "Daddy says this is going to be an adventure, just like Dora!"

In the end, it was quite horrifying for both of them . If that wasn't enough, the doctor called back, said their platelet levels were high and needed to draw their blood again. They both started screaming when we went back today. After the whole ordeal, Darcy stopped crying, looked up at the nurse and said with tears still in her eyes, "anck oo, Dah-Tah."

That's enough for one night.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Annie's Version of Things

I'm taking a break from homework to comment on Colby's post "Little Miss Thrifty." I have several things to say about this topic.

1. My grandmother, Alice Brogan Sylwester, was raised during the Great Depression and was significantly impacted by it. This, in turn, affected the way she raised her children and her children's children. My obsession with saving pennies has been commonly referred to as the "Sylwester gene." My mother has it worse than me. She cuts open lotion/shampoo/detergent bottles and scrapes out the remaining residue.

2. I realize that I am not always logical about how to save the most money. The Burkes pointed out that if I really wanted to save money, I could walk and bike everywhere....toothpaste and baking soda cost about the same (I have since begun to consider getting a bike trailer for the girls to ride in). Colby said that now it sounds like I am fishing for gifts. How offensive.

3. An important point to note here is that I like to save so that I can spend on something I really value. I try to save money on things that don't really matter to me (like generic bath products), so I feel justified spending money on a date with Colby or traveling. Seeing new things and new experiences really excite me and are worth the money to me.

4. This has caused a "conflict of interest" in the area of food. Being so concerned about having a low grocery bill, I was tempted to buy generic brands and the cheapest options. Unfortunately, I am starting to learn that if you want to eat healthy you have to be willing to pay for it. Recently we have decided that our health is a priority and it is cheaper to pay for healthy food now than health problems later.

5. Is anyone still reading this? This is probably getting boring...I am just thinking through this issue out loud.

6. Another motivation for trying to save money is the global poverty crisis. I have been significantly impacted by traveling to third world countries and seeing first hand the extreme need. Many times I feel guilty buying something I don't really NEED because I think of all the children who could have a meal with that money. I have such a strong desire to see things balance out a little in our world...I hate that America is so rich while other countries are so poor.

7. However, its not like I'm totally consistent and send every saved penny to World Vision. Some people think this about me and are insecure around me. I vacillate between wanting everything and not wanting anything (Just like the Caedmon's Call song: This World).

8.Getting married has challenged this issue in me. Like I said in #3, I don't have as much trouble spending money on something I value. However, there are things that Colby values that I don't....take, EXPENSIVE COFFEE. He has gotten A LOT better, I must admit. I have come to realize that not everyone values the same things as me, and the guy deserves a cup of coffee if thats what he wants (He also convinced me that by buying fair trade coffee he is supporting the economy of many third world countries...he sure knows how to win an argument).

9. As a side note, I did not "firmly instruct (Haley) that she better get used to it because if we go to Iceland this is all were going to have" as Colby quoted. I simply suggested that it would be economical to use it in Iceland. After I saw how much that upset her, I apologized and she forgave me (Brooke was there to witness this). Colby said not to get Brooke involved. Anyway, she said she didn't want to go to Iceland, but it had nothing to do with baking soda. The next day she told me that she did not want anyone to live in our house. She wants to live in this house forever. hmmmm.....

10. Lastly, Thank you, Josh and Jadey, for giving us a 9 month supply of toothpaste...that was very kind and thoughtful (Colby says, "Now we only need to use baking soda for 15 months!!"). haha....

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Reading Recommendations: Part Deux

Here is the second installment of books that I have read that have left enough of a mark on me that I still remember them regularly. In college I remember hearing several times that the books we read and the people we spend our time with will most determine who we are 10 years from now. I think it is true.

11. The Resurrection of the Son of God (N.T. Wright) - Theology and Biblical Studies, Advanced Reading Level
12. My Name is Asher Lev (Chaim Potok) - Fiction, a enthralling tale about a Hasidic Jewish Artist
13. The Gift of Asher Lev (Chaim Potok) - Fiction, part 2
14. Heaven is a Place on Earth (Michael Wittmer) - Theology and Christian Living, Intermediate. The book is a great place to start for an overarching Biblical view of life.
15. Roaring Lambs (Bob Briner) - Christian Living and Cultural Impact, an inspiring and accessible encouragement to cultural engagement.
16. Creation Regained (Al Wolters) - Christian Theology
17. The Bruised Reed (Richard Sibbes, Puritan Paperbacks) - Christian Practice
18. The Risen Jesus and Future Hope (Gary Habermas) - Christian Apologetics, Theology and Practice
19. Reflections on the Psalms (C.S. Lewis) - This book has no category, but is incredibly insightful
20. The Dangerous Duty of Delight (John Piper) - I still think this is the best place to start reading Piper.


Saturday, March 8, 2008

Reading Recommendations

Kelly Driggers asked me for a reading list and I thought I would start a multi-segment blog series on the topic of books I have read and highly recommend. I will categorize the books and give them a reading level if necessary. I will be putting the books out there in no order but based on how they come to my memory.

1. To the Golden Shore: The Life of Adoniram Judson (Courtney Andersen) - Biography
2. The Godly Man's Picture (Thomas Watson, Puritan Paperbacks) - Christian Practice
3. The Reason for God (Tim Keller) - Christian Apologetics, Intermediate
4. Peace Child (Don Richardson) - Non-Fiction Missionary Tale, Anthropological, Popular Level
5. Love Your God with All Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Soul (JP Moreland) - Christian Thought and Practice, Intermediate
6. The Lost Virtue of Happiness (JP Moreland and Klaus Issler) - Christian Practice and Discipline
7. Sacred Marriage (Gary Thomas) - Marriage
8. The Spirit of the Disciplines (Dallas Willard) - Theology of Spiritual Disciplines, Intermediate
9. War and Peace (Leo Tolstoy) - Classic
10. Not the Way It's Suppose to be: A Breviary of Sin (Cornelius Plantinga) - Christian Theology and Practice

Happy Reading

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Little Miss Thrifty

Anyone that knows Annie knows that she is always strategizing to save a buck. For the most part I appreciate it about her, until it really becomes a bit over the edge. A few nights back I had put little Darcy to bed and Annie was still upstairs getting Haley Jane ready when chaos broke out in the upstairs bathroom. It was not just Haley whining, but really screaming in a rather disturbed manner. The only thing I could hear her make out was, "It's too spicy, I don't like it!"

Then, Annie firmly instructed her that she better get used to it because if we go to Iceland this is all were going to have. The mystery finally got to me and I had to find out what was causing the commotion. Turns out that Annie was brushing Haley's teeth with Baking Soda. Not baking soda toothpaste, not toothpaste with baking soda on it, but plain old Great Value Baking Soda powder. I could not believe two things about what had just happened.

1. That Annie was trying to brush Haley's teeth with Baking Soda.
2. That Annie thought that we would have to switch from toothpaste to Baking Soda to save two dollars a month in Iceland!

So last night Haley came down the steps right before bed and said to us as we were sitting on the sofa, "I don't want to go to Iceland anymore!" Annie looked at me with a bewildered and searching look, and then it hit me. She still thinks she's going to have to brush her teeth every night with Baking Soda