Saturday, December 20, 2014

Keep Doing Something

I wrote this post about three hours after my house caught fire.

Today, my husband put some of the final touches on the restoration that we've been wading through since July. It is nice to live in a house that was once whole, was gutted (in spots) as a result of the fire that ate away part of the structure, and is restored to much nicer condition than it was six months ago when this all started.

My motivation for writing that post was three-fold.

1. I needed to get my mind off of my "loss" and move it to a more productive place. Yes, my house was charred on the outside. Yes, I had a flood in my attic, my bedroom, and my daughter's bedroom.

And I was still alive and had breath left in me with which I could turn my "disaster" into praise, giving glory to God.

2. I had been thinking about the people who are mad at God for allowing bad things to happen.  I needed to work through what my response should be to those people and to the bad things that happen.

3. Matthew West's song "Do Something" was wildly popular on Christian radio at that time and I kept hearing it.  I couldn't hear it without, well, doing something.

So here I am, sitting in a restored house, still subject to the ups and downs of this fallen world, but turning my joys and sorrows back to the Creator of it all.

The winner of the charity donation is:

...comment #4, Cheree Moore's choice, Crossnore School. In Cheree's words, "We have friends that work with a Residential Charter School for kids in foster care called the Crossnore School. The school has recently implemented a new home for kids that graduate from high school and go on college but don't have support systems."

$50 donated to Crossnore School
As promised, I have also donated to Amazima Ministries, the organization started by Katie Davis. She is doing an amazing work in Uganda.
$50 donated to Amazima Ministries

I'm sharing this with you so that you know what happened with my previous challenge, and to encourage you to keep doing "somethings" that change the lives of fellow citizens of earth.

The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’  Mt 25:40

Thursday, December 11, 2014


A friend reminded me that the best gifts don't usually cost a whole lot...

My hubby and I were out shopping with the kids when we decided to stop at an inexpensive sit-down restaurant for dinner. (This is a very rare treat for our family.) Hubby and the kids stood around waiting for a table and eventually ordered dinner while I finished up the shopping at one last store.

When dinner finally arrived, the waiter placed a steaming, cheesy bowl of French Onion soup in front of me. I love it but never order it when eating out, because it's so frivolously expensive. My husband ("He Who Does Not Like To Spend Money") knew how much I loved it and just ordered it anyway.

I keep thinking about that small gift; it cost less than $5.00, but it means so much.

It means that he cares enough about me to listen. 

It means that he cares enough about me to remember. 
It means that he cares enough about me to surprise me with the unexpected. 

This is just a small part of how he shows me he loves me. And that is the best gift... Not the soup, but the love.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

We three Kings on Bethlehem's Plain... (Otherwise entitled: And now for something completely different)

We've all seen the scene...  Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, angels, shepherds, Magi.  Sometimes it's made of plastic, sometimes it's wooden.  Sometimes it's Lego and has cameos by Anakin Skywalker and a Geonosian warrior.

Last night, the church ladies had a rousing discussion about the nativity story. I brought the discussion to the kids this morning, and now I sit down to bring it to you.

The subject: The events surrounding Jesus's birth.

The question: “Where did the Magi visit Jesus?”

Most people know by now that we have no idea if there were three Magi or eight or two. We also know that the Magi were not actually included in the biblical picture of the manger scene, the one with a feeding trough and amazed shepherds.

But where do the Magi fit in? Where did they finally find Jesus?

We dissected Matthew 2 and Luke 2 to see what the time-line of events actually said. I was surprised to discover something new, despite many readings, over the last thirty-cough years, of these two accounts of Jesus's birth.

1. Day 1 - Jesus is born in Bethlehem - Matthew 2:1 “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea...

2. Day 8 – Joseph, Mary, and Jesus go to Jerusalem for purification rites. - Luke 2:22 “When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord...”

3. Day 33 to 41-ish – Joseph, Mary, and Jesus leave Jerusalem and go to Nazareth. - Luke 2:39 “When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth.

(I'm not certain on the timing here, but it was within the second month. Mary had to stay for her own purification rites, according to the Law as found in Leviticus 12:1-4)

4. Anywhere from six months to two years later - The Magi arrive in to Jerusalem and enquire of Herod as to the whereabouts of the new king. - Matthew 2:1-3 “Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.

5. Herod enquires of his gurus, those who studied the Law and the Prophets, and determines that the king was born in Bethlehem. He tells the Magi to head that way and then come back. - Matthew 2:8, 9 “He sent them to Bethlehem... After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.” It does NOT say that they went to Bethlehem, just that the teachers of the Law told Herod that prophecy said the child would be born there. The Magi, very wise men, indeed, followed the star, not Herod's advice.

 6. The Magi followed the star to “the house” where Jesus lived. - Matthew 2:10-11 “When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” Last that we heard, Jesus had moved to Nazareth. (See Point #3)

7. After the visit from the Magi, an angel warns Joseph of the danger to his son, and told him to flee to Egypt, which he did. Matthew 2:14 “So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt.

8. Joseph is told he that can return to Israel and is warned to stay away from Archelaus, Herod's son, so he settles in Nazareth. Matthew 2:23 “...he went and lived in a town called Nazareth.

If I'm reading this correctly, the Magi left Jerusalem, maybe headed south because that's what Herod told them to do, and then, following the star, did an about-face and headed to Nazareth, where Jesus was living. What do you think? Am I missing something? Mis-reading the two accounts? Where did the Magi visit Jesus?

I'll tell you this:

Last night, the ladies and I decided that it didn't really matter where the Magi visited Jesus. He was born, the Magi went well out of their way to worship him, and we should do the same. That is the theme of the story of the Magi.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Great is Thy Faithfulness - Let it Snow!

Early this morning I opened the fridge to get cream for my coffee when I noticed the carton of Egg Nog, the first of the season, purchased just two days ago. "We should open that tonight," I thought to myself.

I pulled my sweater tighter around my torso to get rid of the snowy chill creeping into the house when I heard a THUD against the window. I saw two Red-Cheeked Faces gleaming up at me just as the third Red-Cheeked Face yelled through the door, "Mom, you have to come to the window. There's something for you to see."

Before he finished the words, the first two threw their first snowballs of the season, right at the window. I made faces at the throwers, staying there long enough for their target practice to be successful, then went back to pouring my coffee.

I sipped the hot liquid, letting it warm me as I listened to the giggles of glee from my children on this, the morning of the season's first snow fall.

Although I would usually cringe at the cold and mess, today I am reveling in the joy that change brings and the reminder of God's covenant with Noah, "As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease."

While I've been playing Christmas music for the last week or so, you might find me humming this verse of the beloved hymn "Great is Thy Faithfulness" today:

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Honest Mom Files

Can we all agree that there is a point at which we can stop pretending to be interested in every little thing that our children want to show or tell us?

Yesterday, in a moment of exhaustion, I told my 12 year old that "Now is NOT the time to show me your K'Nex crossbow's many stages of production. I love that you're excited about building it and I think it's great that you are finding new ways to make it stronger, but I'm busy and I don't want to look at it a gazillion times this afternoon."

That may not be a direct quote. But I'm pretty I said the word "gazillion."

Just now my youngest walked into the kitchen while my hands were busily scrubbing away food crud from the day. "Mom, I got to level 16 and I've only been playing for 45 minutes. And on Super Mario Something-Bros I got mumbling and more mumbling with random numbers that don't mean anything."

When I realized that he was, in fact, speaking English, and that he expected me to respond in kind, I stopped him short. "Are you talking about video games?"


" I don't want to hear about video games right now."

"Oh.  Okay." And he was gone.

(To be clear, I love my kids, spend every waking moment with them, and never really thought about this until I started homeschooling.  I may be going slightly insane, but it's worth it to see how my kids are changing as a result of all this time together.)

How do we find the line, draw the line, and stay on the sane side of the line that determines what we need to listen to and be interested in?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Coloured People

When you hesitate to post your honest thoughts because of all the disclaimers you think you need to post, it may be a good sign that you shouldn't post your honest thoughts.

I'm going to anyway.

I trust that my readers know me well enough at this point to understand that I am not trying erase history. I want to read and understand the true stories of what people have done to other people in the name of "race" and to totally change the way we talk about "race" now and to totally change how we treat each other.

I realize that I am certainly not the first to broach this discussion and I won't be the last.

Please read with a kind heart, the same heart with which this was written.  If you choose to comment, please comment with a kind heart.  Let's be loving to each other.



I came across the story of Paulo Serodio and became curious about the term “African-American,” so I looked it up online.

"Online" – the definitive authority on anything and everything.

Specifically, I wanted to know if any American who comes from the continent of Africa can call himself “African-American.”

It turns out that they can't, and, in fact, they shouldn't. The only people who should call themselves “African-American” are those who descend directly from dark-skinned slaves in the United States of America. The reasoning is that the slaves, when taken from their native lands, were stripped of tribal or national identification, allowing them only to identify as “African.” This, apparently, prevented them from banding together and revolting against their slave masters.

So, anyone who comes from the continent of Africa to the USA should not call themselves African-Americans as this is insulting to those who actually descended from African-American slaves. They are, instead to call themselves Nigerian-Americans or Tanzanian-Americans (or country-of-origin-American), to eliminate confusion.

Except that other people of colour say that the slaves were taken from Morocco, and they insist that the descendants of slaves be called Moor, Moorish-American Moslem, or Asiatic.

Still others claim that the slaves brought over from the east are actually descendants of the 12 tribes of Israel and should only be called Hebrew Israelites.

Finally, there are those who say that American-born folks are so different from Africans that they should never call themselves "African-American," because it's offensive and disrespectful to African immigrants.

So, does that clear things up?  All it tells me is that the people that the US government classifies as "African-American" can't agree on whether they should be called "African-American" or not.

But wait, there's more...

White people, typically known as "Caucasian" should continue calling themselves “Caucasian” even though most white people have no idea where Caucasus is. (It's a region in southern Russia, very close to Sochi, the city where the Olympics were recently held.) The term “Caucasian” was given to people of a region, regardless of their skin tone. It was then changed to “Caucasian Race” to describe one of the two known races at the time. (The other was “Mongolian,” obviously.)

At the time, people of the Caucasian Race were considered more attractive (physically, morally, and intellectually) than their Mongolian counterparts. Within this specific "race," the ultimate archetype was found within the German people; it was concluded that they were the most attractive and virtuous people on earth.

And so, World War II happened.

"Caucasian" is now used to describe people both anthropologically and racially; it can refer to their ancestors' region of origin or their skin colour.


I have an idea. How about we all just be people... people who live in this country or that country? When we try to define humans by “racial” classifications it gets very confusing. If we want to fix “racial relations,” let's start by treating each other like members of the Human Race. We could pretend that we're all kind of the same and kind of different, regardless of our country of origin or genetic lineage. It should be pretty easy since we are all kind of the same and kind of different. If our governments and schools and employers can stop segregating us on forms and censuses, we may just have a chance to break free of the social construct (man-made myth) that "RACE" defines us. Shouldn't we, instead, consider who the person is underneath the skin?

I have less melanin than some people. I have more melanin than other people. I try my hardest to not let that make a difference in how I treat anyone. I encourage you to do the same.

**I know that someone reading this will say that, medically speaking, it is important to know your "race" and report that to your doctor and/or pharmacist, as certain "races" are predisposed to certain problems. I disagree. Ethnicity matters. Ethnicity is "a socially-defined category of people who identify with each other based on common ancestral, social, cultural, or national experience." If you feel that your ethnicity matters, by all means, report that to your doctor.  Let your ethnicity guide your medical treatment, just as the report of a trip to West Africa may guide my medical treatment. But please understand that we define our ethnicity; it does not define us.  It is medically necessary, but not socially necessary.**


by Toby McKeehan and George Cocchini

Pardon me, your epidermis is showing, sir
I couldn't help but note your shade of melanin
I tip my hat to the colorful arrangement
Cause I see the beauty in the tones of our skin 

We've gotta come together
And thank the Maker of us all 

We're colored people, and we live in a tainted place
We're colored people, and they call us the human race
We've got a history so full of mistakes
And we are colored people who depend on a Holy Grace 

A piece of canvas is only the beginning for
It takes on character with every loving stroke
This thing of beauty is the passion of an Artist's heart
By God's design, we are a skin kaleidoscope 

We've gotta come together,
Aren't we all human after all? 

Ignorance has wronged some races
And vengeance is the Lord's
If we aspire to share this space
Repentance is the cure 

Well, just a day in the shoes of a color blind man
Should make it easy for you to see
That these diverse tones do more than cover our bones
As a part of our anatomy 

We're colored people, and we live in a tainted place
We're colored people, and they call us the human race
We've got a history so full of mistakes
And we are colored people who depend on a Holy Grace

Monday, November 3, 2014


So many thoughts...  Shoeboxes about to be packed, Christmas around the corner, rooms being re-arranged with stuff being moved back in.

Let's start at the beginning.

In July, I found myself yelling words that I had never dreamed I'd be yelling.  "Aaron, our house is on fire!!"

An errant ember, coming to rest on a stack of cardboard, made short work of the side of our house. The fire department came quickly, just in the nick of time, and doused that corner of our house from top to bottom.

We were very thankful for the quick response that left the inside of our house intact, but we were left with a soggy mess.

A team of first-responders came the next day to help minimize the damage done by the water. Drywall, insulation, and ceilings were removed.  Carpet was rolled back.  Furniture was moved to other parts of the house and many non-essentials were packed up and transferred to a storage facility 30 km away.

There were many days when we felt the uneasiness of living in a house that is torn apart with no timetable for reconstruction in sight.

After a while, some of us really started to miss some items that had been packed up and stored.

Our family was finally given a schedule and told to make arrangements for living elsewhere for about five days as work commenced on the interior of the house.  We lived in a hotel for ten days. With very little of our stuff.

Today we are moving our stuff around once more. Our bedrooms have insulation, ceilings, drywall, three coats of paint, baseboards and we'll soon have doors too!

My daughter's main task for the day is to sort through her *stuff.*  As we sat down to start our formal learning for the day, she commented that there was a lot of stuff that she doesn't really need.

Tomorrow we will get the rest of our stuff from storage.  More stuff to weed through.

We decided to forgo the lesson plan and talk about stuff.  What does God have to say about stuff?

1. He asked the rich man to give away his stuff. (Matthew 19)
2. The wise men gave Jesus stuff. (Luke 2)
3. Life is about more than our stuff. (Luke 12:15)
4. Being with people is more important than getting stuff. (2 Corinthians 12:14)
5. You cannot serve both God and money. (Matthew 6:24)

There are plenty of other verses about stuff...  Go ahead and look for yourself.  One of my favourite *stuff* verses is Acts 2:45 - "They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need."

We chatted more about stuff and Christmas lists and Christmas shoeboxes, and Compassion children whose pictures are on our fridge and decided to see what it was like to give up some stuff...  some comforts that other do not have.  We decided our chairs and couches and tables were not necessary, so for the rest of class, for the rest of the day, for every meal today, we are not going to use them. We are standing or sitting on the floor instead of sitting on chairs - just to get an idea of how reliant we are on stuff.

As our good friend likes to say, "It's all gonna burn."

It's just stuff.  Don't get wrapped up in the stuff that distracts you from serving your God-given purpose.

If you don't know your God-given purpose, ask Him.  He's given some pretty good feedback already.

"Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do,
do all to the glory of God." 
1 Corinthians 10:31

"Let your light so shine among men
that they may see your good deeds
and give glory to your Father in heaven." 
Matthew 5:16

~Soli Deo gloria

Friday, October 3, 2014

150 words or less

Who are we kidding?  I generally cannot keep anything under 150 words.

But I did!  I was challenged to write a story to accompany a picture on a friend of a friend's blog.  I'm quite proud of the results and wanted to post the link here.  If you feel so inclined, go ahead and click over to see the picture and my accompanying story.  It's in the comments section.

I admit to giggling a few times over my little piece of prose.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Big Bang - A limerick

Based on real life events.

Hairs ran down my leg just last hour
And swirled around with great power.
As if by design
(But of course, not divine)
The hair was a ball in my shower.

Inspired by the story of a girl who took a shower, felt the shed hairs being washed down her legs, and looked down to see a hairball.  For a split second she thought it was very strange that a hairball could form, just from hair being washed away, and then she giggled upon remembering that she had wadded up some other stray hairs moments earlier.

But if couldn't have formed into a hairball by chance, right?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sibling love

This morning I heard:

thump, thump, thump, thump, thump



I ignored it for a split second... until I realized it was the child who doesn't usually slide down the stairs and doesn't usually cry about getting hurt while indoors. (Outdoor injuries typically involve a lot more force and often cause crying. But I digress...)

Unfortunately, I was indisposed at the time, so I called upon the two boys to comfort their sister. When I arrived on the scene it was all I could do to not laugh. The eight-year-old was saying, in a sing-song, baby voice, "It's okay. Are you okay? Does it hurt anywhere?"

He spotted me. With a mischievous twinkle in his eye he said, "Mom, she hurt her bum-bum but didn't want me to kiss it better. I patted it instead."

insert sarcastic font

Such a fine helper.

end sarcastic font

But at least the sobbing gave way to giggling.

Saturday, September 20, 2014


In anticipation of September 29, International Coffee Day...  Please drink responsibly: With friends, with good tasting coffee, and with fair-trade, whenever possible.

I haven't always been a coffee drinker. I've always enjoyed the smell and the social part of me wished that I could say, “Yes” when asked if I wanted a coffee. But I just couldn't get past the bitter taste.

I have always enjoyed hot chocolate, so the jump to Tim Horton's English Toffee Cappuccinos was pretty easy to make. They had the slightest hint of coffee in the cappuccinos, so I almost felt like I was drinking a grown up drink.

One cold morning, I was out shopping with a friend when we decided to stop at McDonald’s for a hot beverage. I went for a caramel mocha cappuccino, took one sip and screwed up my face. This stuff was real coffee with stuff put in; not what I was expecting.

Another of my friends convinced me to let her make me a coffee. She loaded it with three cream and three sugars. It was sweet and drinkable. I decided I might be able to turn myself into a coffee drinker after all.

I started saying, “Yes” when asked if I wanted a coffee. “Triple cream and triple sugar” was a bit too much for me, so I started drinking Double-Double. I remember ordering a Double-Double from Tim Horton's, sitting down to watch my son's soccer practice, and thinking to myself, “Mmm, this tastes great.” It was at that moment that I realized I had become a coffee drinker.

Fast forward a couple years and here I am, staring at the cup that holds what could possibly be the worst cup of coffee known to man. I have had coffee from many restaurants, coffee shops, friends' houses, and miscellaneous shops. I know when coffee is too weak and I don't enjoy coffee that is far too strong (although I err on the side of strong these days.) I don't enjoy a really acidic coffee nor do I like a burnt bean. I also find that it tastes best when I know it's been farmed by workers who are fairly treated and paid an appropriate wage.

I got a coupon in the mailbox a couple days ago - one coffee and one bakery item for $0.99... from Wendy's. I didn't even know they had coffee and bakery items, so I went in to give it a try. I ordered my coffee (two creams and two sugars, please) and chocolate chunk cookie. The lady at the cash register winked and said I'd be happy to know that she had just brewed a fresh pot. What luck!

I paid, went back to my car to continue my shopping for the day, and had my first sip of the coffee. It tasted awful! I tried again, thinking that I might have misjudged it on that first sip. It still tasted awful! I had a bite of the cookie to get the taste of what Wendy's calls “coffee” out of my mouth. I ate the rest of the cookie, little bits at a time, as I drove to the next store. Without thinking, I picked up the cup of hot liquid, more out of habit than anything else, and took another swig. Blech!

At this point in my adventure, I was more interested in pin-pointing the less-than-subtle undertones in this cup of coffee. The beans were dark-roasted, darker than is typically considered appropriate for coffee that is not being written off in an insurance claim. But there was something else, something Robust yet Refined, with a hint Agrarian undertones, something typically unbeknownst to coffee aficionados.

It was Robust in that this coffee would not allow me to forget about it, Refined inasmuch as the taste was reminiscent of the plastic that my grandfather processed at the Polysar plant was refined, and Agrarian in that it tasted like dirt.

A fresh pot, indeed.

I do not recommend this taste-experience for new coffee drinkers as your palette has not fully developed to appreciate the complexity of these flavours.

I also do not recommend this taste experience for seasoned coffee drinkers as you will never forgive me.

Come to my house. I'll make you a cup just the way you like it and we'll have a nice chat while we sip away. That's the way coffee should be enjoyed anyway; it is, after all, my social beverage of choice.

And if you can't make it to my house, we may just catch up over Facetime or Skype or some other fancy technology and share a cup of coffee anyway.

Thursday, August 28, 2014


Me: You need to shower.
Child: Harumph
Me: I told you that you needed a shower yesterday and you didn't get one. You must shower right now.
Child: Okay.

Bathroom door closes.

Child pokes head out: Is it okay if I just get my hair wet?
Me: No, you need to clean yourself from head to toe.
Child: Harumph

The shower was just turned on. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.


Another day.  A Saturday, to be specific.

Me: You all need to shower tonight.
Boy: But I just showered yesterday!


Me: Were you out walking around in the hot sun getting all sweaty?
Boy: Yes.
Me: Then you need to shower tonight.


Farther down the proverbial road:

Just getting out of the shower, still soaking wet, with a loud fan running, I hear a small, eight-year-old voice at the door.

"Hey Mo-oom..."

I turn the fan off so I can hear better. "Yes?"

"Do you wanna play cribbage with us?"

"I'm kind of wet, buddy. Go ahead and play without me."

When do they learn the value of proper timing?


Oldest Boy: Is that salmon?  I smell something yummy.

I look at the cinnamon roll in my hand and the coffee dripping through the machine.

Oldest Boy: What's that noise?  Are you making salmon?

Me, giggling: Well, I'm eating a cinnamon roll and making coffee.

Oldest Boy, disappointed: Oh.

Friday, August 15, 2014


I heard on the news today that in Iraq and the surrounding areas single bedroom apartments are being crammed with five or six families, just so these people can stay alive and safe. I had déjà vu to a book I read recently about the Holocaust. Jews were forced to leave the towns where they grew up and the possessions they worked hard to purchase. With nothing but the clothes on their back and whatever they could stuff in their pockets, they fled and hid in homes of family and friends. But this modern-day Hitler is an organization called IS(IS) and they aren't targeting Jews... They're targeting anyone who won't convert to their religion of Islam.

I was reminded of another religious zealot/terrorist who was proud of his job of killing Christians. He bragged about it, was supported by the local government, and the Christians certainly knew who he was and what he was capable of.

Hitler, Osama bin Laden, Gaza's Hamas leader Ismail Haniye, ISIS's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi... It's hard to imagine any of these guys having a change of heart and deciding to spread love instead of hate, but it's still what we need to be praying for.

Please read this true account of a religious terrorist who spent his efforts killing every Christian he couldn't sway away from their faith. Any time you see the name "Saul," insert the name of one of the above terrorist leaders.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.

In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”

“Yes, Lord,” he answered.

The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”

“Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”

But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.

Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn't he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn't he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.

After many days had gone by, there was a conspiracy among the Jews to kill him, but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.

When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. He talked and debated with the Hellenistic Jews, but they tried to kill him. When the believers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.

Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.

(Acts 9:1-31, NIV)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It is challenging and exciting to read that and imagine it happening today. But it is what we need.

Please pray with me for a Damascus conversion for these religious terrorists. That is what we need to see.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Sprouts and buds

We headed out to the market and library, expecting it to be much like any other day.  We smiled at our market-vendor friends, made our purchases, and headed over to the library.  My 8-year-old boy made a bee-line for the computer so he could look for a book on a certain topic.  My 12-year-old boy also had a specific book in mind so he looked that up. All this, while I was taking care of business with one of the librarians.

My 8-year-old's book was in the adult non-fiction section, which is on another level of the library.  I convinced him to look for the same type of book in the children's non-fiction section first.  We looked and were rather dissatisfied with the books, so we collected the 12-year-old (who had his new book in hand) and went to the second floor.

My 8-year-old found the section he needed (700s...  746...  746.434) and started perusing for the perfect book.  (Anyone who knows the Dewey Decimal System can probably figure out the topic that had piqued my young son's interest.) 

As we walked through the 700s, we saw a young man, probably 15 or 16, sitting at a table, reading a book, with a chess board in front of him.  I mentioned this to my 12-year-old and suggested that he could go over, introduce himself, and see if the young man was interested in a game of chess.  My 12-year-old asked a few clarifying questions, establishing the parameters of our time at the library and what the best words would be to begin such a conversation, and approached the young man.  I peeked through a bunch of photography books to see my young man happily engaged in a mental battle with a complete stranger.

My 8-year-old continued searching through the books, probably five or six, until he found just the book he was looking for:

As I was lying on my bed, thinking about the day, I marvelled at these events.  One year ago, my youngest had no interest in learning crafty things.  Now, he just determined that he would learn to crochet, without any prodding from me at all. One year ago, my oldest would never have had the gumption to approach a stranger and ask to play chess with him in the library.  Now, he spent half an hour playing two games of chess and making pleasant, not-at-all-awkward conversation.

They're growing and maturing.  Days like this make my heart happy.

Saturday, July 26, 2014


My husband, to our oldest boy, about our girl: She talks a lot, doesn't she?

Boy nods in agreement: Can you keep talking to her, so I don't have to?

(Our boy is so sweet and giving of his time. Everyone has their limits, I suppose.)

Thursday, July 24, 2014


I read a lot of articles that speak to people like me...Wives, moms, middle-aged women, homeschool teachers, Christians in general. There are a few topics that seem to come up again and again. Modesty. Breast-feeding. Cell Phone use at the park. Pleasing our spouses. And so on, and so on...

I think I've reached my saturation point. Maybe I follow too many people who tend to say the same thing. Maybe there are just a lot of people who feel very strongly about these things. Maybe I waste too much time reading articles on the internet.

Or maybe we just need to get over ourselves and stop it.

Stop setting the bar for others.
Stop (passive-aggressively) telling your friends what choices they need to make.
Stop comparing and measuring what others do against that thing you read about those people who said what they said.
Stop passing judgment on one another.

I have written about judging others. I haven't written about Romans 14.

I've read this Romans 14 passage many times, enough that it just pops in to my head without me even trying to recall it. Just tonight, I realized that this passage needs to be read every single time I think I'm about to get into one of these discussions.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Romans 14:12-19

So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

(I started highlighting the good parts, but it's all the good part, so I didn't highlight it. Just go read it again if you skimmed the first time. And imagine that it's all highlighted because it's all the good part!)

It's about eating, but it's about a lot more than eating. It's about the choices we make. What's right and wrong...

You may have your own idea of modesty and what works for you. I have mine. They're probably different. That's okay.

We probably think differently about those moms with their phones at the playground. You know what? We can still be friends.

Breast-feeding? To cover or not to cover. That is the question... that we won't be talking about here.

There are plenty of others... Swearing, sharing, every little thing that they are wearing. Dating, waiting, how we spend our time recreating. (Okay, I may be getting carried away here. But did you at least catch the White Christmas reference?)

Anyway, you get the point. I think it's great to dig into these topics and figure out what the right thing to do really is. But there's not always a Bible verse that tells us the right thing to do. (When there is, of course that is the end of the discussion for me.) We are each responsible for the decisions we make. I will answer to God for my choices.

Until then, I really do appreciate the gentle guidance of those who care. Ultimately though, I am the one who decides for myself what is right. And I have no reason to try to force my opinions on others. If I try to do that to you, please gently remind me that you are responsible for yourself, as I am for myself.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Bedtime strikes again

She: I really appreciate the braid that you put in my hair today, even though it ended up getting messy.

Me: You know what?  You are a really sweet girl.  That's a really nice thing for you to say and I appreciate that you told me that.

She: Aw, you're welcome.

Me:  You know what? I love that about you... You are just so sweet.  I would love you even if you weren't this sweet, but you sure make it easy for me to love you.

She:  I would love you even if...

Me: *hands on my hips*

She: ...even if...

Me: *grinning at her in the dark, hands still on my hips*

She: You're just awesome.

You can't help but love this girl

Sunrise, Sunset

This was the scene at 9:15 this morning:

My kids are at the table playing one of our favourite board games, Ticket to Ride, and the youngest starts singing the guitar riff from the beginning of "God's Not Dead" (the Newsboys' song). The others can't help it... They join in.

I ask if they want me to put some music on for them and they all unanimously cheer, "Yea!" I start the playlist of our current Christian favourites and they sing along as they keep playing.

This is a great way to start the day.


Yesterday, my girl got in trouble for doing something. (To be honest, this is a rare happening in our house.)  After the shedding of many tears, she and Dad went out for an already-planned bicycle and ice cream date. When they got home at dusk, she bounced in the door, happier than a lark, singing and smiling and hugging.

I had just finished tucking in the two boys, taking time to talk to them about the day and encouraging them in making good decisions the following day. As I was closing the second boy's door, she came up to me and asked me to tuck her in.  

I walked into the room and plopped down beside her on the bead.  We chatted about the day, her date with Dad, and the resolution of the problem that caused so many tears.  She smiled through it all, telling me the good and the bad, and saying that it was a good day because she started happy and she ended happy.

And then, after we prayed together and hugged and kissed, she said something that stuck with me.  "Mom, I like it when you tuck me in because we get to talk for a while.  I like talking with you."

Oh, I hope it stays that way.  I hope she wants these tuck-ins for a good long while still.  I like talking with her, too.

This is a great way to end the day.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Changing Course

Well, that didn't go as planned.  I gave it a week and after 125 people clicked over to see how I wanted to Do Something, four people commented with the name of a charity that was trying to do something. I had planned to donate money and I will.  I'll check back at the end of the month and randomly choose a charity to receive $50 from the comments at that time.

In the meantime, I've learned a few lessons this week:

1.  I need to stop trying so hard - People will read this page if they really want to know what I have to say.  Otherwise, I just need to stop pestering people.

2.  I'm not Matt Walsh  - That is to say, I'll never be the kind of blogger who impacts multitudes of people. I will never have a lot of people reading what I write, I won't make a big difference on the world, and that's okay.  I make a difference to the immediate people around me, and that's enough.

3. I need to stick to writing for my kids - When I started, I wanted to transcribe the fun and the funny, kind of like an online scrapbook. I realize that I have tried to make this more than it intended to be.

4. Numbers don't matter - I need to stop looking at numbers.  They don't matter.  People matter.  If I can make a difference to people, just the small handful around me, then I am doing a Good thing.


I want to apologize...

If it seemed like I was trying to get bigger, well, I probably was. I'm sorry for that. I won't use my readers to try to generate more blog traffic.

I have removed any ads that I could from my page.  I never made any money from them anyway.
I'm not planning on updating my blog's Facebook page.  It rarely generated any meaningful conversation.  I will, in fact, be removing it.

I will continue to write about our life as a family as we learn, love, and laugh together.

If you want to walk with us, please continue to do so.  We're happy to have you along the way.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Do Something

There's this song that has been playing on Christian radio stations a lot lately. It echoes the words of many who are frustrated at the suffering that we all see in the world. People do evil things, nature tears our homes apart, and we blame God. "God, why don't you do something?"

Listening to these lyrics, I thought, "People who are mad at God need to hear this."

And then I thought, "You know what? I need to hear this." And you might too...

Do Something
by Matthew West

I woke up this morning
Saw a world full of trouble now
Thought, how’d we ever get so far down
How’s it ever gonna turn around
So I turned my eyes to Heaven
I thought, “God, why don’t You do something?”

Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of
People living in poverty
Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, “God, why don’t You do something?”
He said, “I did, I created you”

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something...

(Click the link below to hear the song in its entirety.)

If you are sick and tired of the suffering in this world, do something about it. There are so many organizations who are helping in very real ways. They aren't just feeding starving masses, they are teaching them how to farm. They aren't just healing their diseases, they are teaching them to how stay healthy. They aren't just pulling people out of slavery, they are giving them love and teaching them how to live a meaningful life for themselves.

I can't do it all. You can't do it all. But together we can each do something. 

I'm going to do something...

Please comment below with the name of an organization that is helping in ways that I listed above. For every comment written below, on this blog post, I am going to donate $0.25 to charities that are doing something. One will be my choice, Amazima Ministries, Katie Davis's organization in Uganda which serves the poorest of the poor, and the other will be from a random comment from below, to a maximum of $100 ($50 to each organization.) 

It doesn't need to stop there either. I'd love for someone else to step up and offer to keep the donations going. $10, $50... Every bit makes a difference.

Ready to change the world?


Friday, July 4, 2014

Blessing and Suffering - Part Two

I wrote in my previous post, Blessing and Suffering - Part One, about the word "blessing" and how we can abuse and misuse it. Please read it before reading this one. 

Abuse and misuse of the Bible isn't limited to the word "blessing." I think that if we misuse any section of scripture, we can really mess up people who aren't fully grounded in the Word. Those who haven't searched out the Truth for themselves, but rely on what other Christians have to say, are at the whim of our faulty turns of phrase and misconceptions about God's Word. (This is why I'm always stressing context and looking at the chapter(s) around a verse in order to understand it better.)

My dear friend is struggling right now with the thought that a loving God blesses me with health and wealth, relative to the rest of the world, and lets a child starve to death in another part of the world. “Why do I receive physical blessings and the child in Africa does not? Does God play favourites? He is omniscient and all-powerful, so he should be able to just make everything right. No loving father would let his child suffer when he can intervene. He's either a sick, twisted God, or he's not real.

I think there is a third option. God is neither sick, nor twisted, nor is He made up. I propose that the gap in our understanding has more to do with our own imperfect understanding of God than God's lack of desire to “make things right.”

Please read that again. Our inability to understand why God does this or that has more to do with our own imperfect understanding of God than God's lack of desire to “make things right.”

I cannot control God, neither can I fully understand Him.

hen I use the Bible to say that God's gifts and blessings are physical, then of course you'll think that my wealth and health are extremely unfair. I'm going to be radical here and use a word that many Christians try not to use. I'm just plain old lucky. (I saw one of you twitch right there. Bear with me as I trudge along this muddy path.) I beat the odds so far. Luck, as defined by the Oxford Dictionary, is “Success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions.

I try to make pretty good decisions, living according to the morals and ethics that God delineated in the Bible. And I was born into a family that lived that way, so it's kind of been all I know. I don't engage in dangerous behaviours, and I try to avoid putting toxins in my body. I am healthy and have all that I need for survival (and so much more.) The truth is that there are plenty of people who live their lives the same, making the same decisions, and they are afflicted with brutal, ultimately fatal, diseases.

So why? Why does all this bad stuff have to happen?

I explained it to my kids this way: I could write a computer program to say, “I love Wanda” every time I hit a button.

Plunk - “I love Wanda.”
Plunk - “I love Wanda.”
Plunk - “I love Wanda.”

But do you think that would really do much for me? Would I feel loved because I programmed my computer to tell me it loves me? Uh, no. How about my kids... What if I forced my kids to say they loved me, every morning when they woke up, regardless of what they really think? Do you think that I would really feel loved by them? Uh, no.

Relationships work best when there is choice involved. Some mornings, my son comes up to me and says, “I like snuggling with you. You're so warm and cozy and nice. You're the best mom ever!” My heart melts. I'll take that over a programmed computer any day.

And that's what God did. He created this world and the people in it. And he gave them choices. He knew what the choice would end up being, and what the result of that was, and I'm sure he grieved over it. But he wanted the relationship to be a two-way relationship. Otherwise, we would be equivalent to programmed robots, going through life with no emotion, no choices of our own. And with imperfect choices and imperfect people comes an imperfect world.

Creation is decaying as a result of sin. Romans 8 discusses this, as do Isaiah 2 and Genesis 3. As Genesis suggests, our genetic makeup is moving away from perfection, not evolving into better health as Darwinians would have us believe. We are subject to the natural laws of this cursed earth.

Yes, there are miracles and there are times when God intervenes. Why does he choose one to receive the miracle and not another? Only God knows. Just as a parent knows and understands why one child receives a benefit that another child does not, only God can say why one lives while another dies.

But, without wanting to sound uncaring, I want you to understand that the 20, 40, 80, 106 years that you are on this earth are so insignificant in light of eternity. It is best summed up in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
God's perspective is so much greater than ours. I trust that he knows what he's doing.

I'll leave you with a few quotations from Katie Davis, author of “Kisses From Katie.” She went to Uganda to do mission work and ended up staying there, ministering to, and bettering the lives of, thousands of people in the process. But more importantly, she brought the love of Jesus to these people. She is Jesus's hands and feet to thousands of people in Uganda, day in and day out.

Katie spent a year in Uganda and then came back to the USA to fulfill a commitment she had made. Sitting in her room with all of the stuff that she had in the States, she marvelled at the difference in the two lives. She writes in her book, “I hadn't realized what a transformation had taken place while I had been in Uganda, the spiritual richness I had experienced in material poverty and the spiritual poverty I felt now in a land of material wealth.”

Elsewhere she says, “I'm running from things that can destroy my soul... I am much more terrified of living in a self-serving society and failing to follow Jesus than I am of any illness or tragedy.” Perspective. It's important. We are chasing fleeting dreams and temporal riches and totally forgetting what should be most important to us.

One more word from Katie Davis, “Do not forget in the darkness what you have been promised in the light.” There is much darkness in this world. Be blessed as you find the light that is promised.

Ready to do something about the suffering in this world?  Keep reading...

Blessing and Suffering - Part One

There is something about having friends who suddenly abandon their Christian faith that makes a person revisit their own beliefs... That's not to say that I'm questioning my faith (been there, done that, got my feet firmly planted), but that I'm tweaking the way I present it.

But before I get there, I've been thinking about the word “blessing” a lot lately.  It's not a new topic for me, as I've written about it before. It's been written about by others and we've been asked to stop using that word. (I'm sure some of you have read "The One Thing Christians Should Stop Saying.") We seem to toss it around flippantly without really understanding the word:

“I was blessed to get that job.”
“We're blessed with three kids.”
“What a blessing you are to our family!”
“We've been blessed with so much.”

I don't think it's wrong to attribute physical, tangible things to God. After all, every good and perfect gift comes from the Father (James 1:17). Of course, if you read that verse in context (D'oh!) it's speaking more towards the eternal. But there are verses that speak of physical blessing.

Proverbs 5:18 may make you blush when you read it with the surrounding verses... “May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.” It's saying that having babies with your wife is a blessing. (Psalm 127:5 says something similar; “Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of [children].”) It doesn't get more physical than that!

God, in prophecy to the land of Israel, in Malachi 3:11-12, says that physical prosperity is cause for saying one is blessed. “I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty. “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty.

So it is certainly scriptural to call ourselves blessed when positive, tangible things happen, but it goes beyond that. In fact, as I read through and look at the various ways that the word “blessed” is used, it seems to indicate a God-given joy for the one who is blessed, rather than a feeling of having much.

In all of this pondering, I kept coming back to The Beatitudes. I think that I may have totally misunderstood them over the last 30-some years that I've been reading the Bible. I've been reading and comprehending them backwards.

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

I always felt that there should be a sense of pride or exultation when the first line of each Beatitude happened to me, because it meant that I was being blessed. As if, somehow, the blessing was in the beat-down. “I am merciful, therefore I am blessed. I get involved in arguments and make peace, therefore I am blessed.”

I had it totally backwards and flat-out wrong!

I'm sure you already know this, but I'm a bit dense at times, so let me write it all out here, just to make sure I've got it straight.

It's actually saying something like:

Even if you have a weak spirit, you will be blessed with the kingdom of heaven.
Even though there will be times of mourning, take heart, because you'll be blessed with comfort.
Even though you are meek, you will be blessed with the inheritance of the earth!
In those times when you feel far from God and are searching for him, you will be blessed with his overflowing spirit.
When you resist the urge to get revenge, you will be blessed with the same mercy you showed others.
When you rid yourself of worldly filth, you will have the blessing of truly seeing God's beauty.
When you make peace and dispel discord, God blesses you by calling you His Child.
In those times when trouble comes to you for doing the right thing, you will be blessed with the kingdom of heaven.
When your faith in Jesus is being assaulted, you are blessed because you are following in the footsteps of the spiritual giants who have gone before you. And, just like them, your reward is in heaven.


So, what are the real blessings here?

Kingdom of heaven
Inherit the earth
Filled with God
Shown mercy
Seeing God
Called a child of God
Kingdom of heaven
Reward in heaven.

These blessings have little to do with physical, tangible comfort and more to do with the eternal. (I should note here that inheriting the earth does seem rather physical in nature.)

A scripture that is often misused to say that things will be hunky-dory in this life is Romans 8:28. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” It seems to be saying that followers of God will have good things happen to them in this life. That doesn't line up with the rest of scripture. Jesus tells his disciples that there will be trouble in this world, but to take heart as he has overcome the world. (John 16:33)

When you read Romans 8:28 in context (you'll need to back up to about Romans 8:18 to get some context) you see that it is speaking more to the eternal than the temporal:
v 18 - our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us
v 21 - in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
v 23 – we... groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.
v 28 - called according to his purpose...
v 29 - to be conformed to the image of his Son
v 30 - those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
v 32 - He who gave [his Son] up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? [Is that “all things” in a physical way, or “all things” in an eternal way?]
V 35 - Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
V 36 - “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

And the big summary at the end of this discourse which says:
v 37-39 “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

So, to summarize so far... Blessing is often used in the Bible to speak of God-given joy, rather than a feeling of getting something from God. But, when the word “blessed” refers to us receiving something, it is often of eternal value, rather than temporal value.  The few times that it is a tangible, temporal, earthly thing, the blessing is still in the God-given joy just as much as it is in the physical gift.

...Which brings me back to the beginning of this discourse.

Read Part Two to read more on how our misuse of the Bible can lead people away from God.